CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

It’s Time To Get Serious

Oct 8, 2014

I love being in the gospel of Matthew again. And the best way to read it is to pray that it strikes you as if reading it for the very first time, without any preconceived ideas, theology, or spin. Of

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Difficult Bible Passages: Matthew 5:22

Aug 14, 2014

There are two main reasons why this passage is problematic: it seems to forbid something which is done elsewhere in Scripture, and it offers a very strong penalty for something which does not seem that bad. It has to do

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Difficult Bible Passages: 1 Samuel 28

Apr 3, 2014

The episode in the Old Testament about Saul and the witch of Endor raises a number of questions, chief of which is this: Can God use a means which he had expressly forbidden elsewhere? Other questions include: Did Samuel actually

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Difficult Bible Passages: 1 Samuel 16:14

Mar 24, 2014

This is a passage which bothers many folks – both believers and non-believers. It seems to make God the author of evil, or at least make him responsible for particular evil outcomes. The verse says this: “Now the Spirit of

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On Adiaphora

Nov 15, 2013

OK, to save you scrambling for your dictionaries or your Greek phrase books let me spill the beans here: this term means ‘things indifferent’. In theological jargon, it refers to those things which are neither sanctioned nor prohibited by Scripture.

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Surrogacy and Scripture

Sep 17, 2013

As advances in Assisted Reproductive Technologies continue to take place, more and more couples are taking advantage of these new means to have children. Surrogacy is one such method. While there are various types of surrogacy now available, they all

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On Drinking the Cup

Aug 6, 2013

OK, another obscure title – but not too obscure for the biblically literate. I here wish to deal with an ongoing controversy about Christ, the cross, and the wrath of God. As I have written just recently elsewhere, there are

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The Divine Last Laugh

Jul 28, 2013

When believers think about God’s attitude toward sinners, they will automatically and correctly think along these lines: God loves sinners and wants them to forsake their sin and come back into a love relationship with him. Yes God indeed does

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Difficult Bible Passages: Psalm 105:15

Jul 23, 2013

This is another Bible passage which is not so much difficult as one which has been badly handled, poorly interpreted, and often wrongly applied. The verse in question is this: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no

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What a Lousy World

Jul 15, 2013

Some of you will recall the 1967 hit tune by crooner Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World,” later re-popularised in the 1987 Robin Williams film, “Good Morning, Vietnam”. Unfortunately for many millions of people, the Satchmo tune is not really

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On Not Praying

Jun 23, 2013

Yes, this is an article about not praying. More specifically, it examines the question, ‘Is there ever a time and place to refuse to pray for someone or something?’ That may seem like a strange question to be asking, but

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Difficult Bible Passages: Philippians 4:8

Apr 15, 2013

Like some of the other passages I have discussed in this series of articles, this is not really a “difficult” passage as such. But it is a passage which is very often misused, especially by the “positive confession” folks. They

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Difficult Bible Passages: Luke 4:18-19

Mar 7, 2013

This passage as such is not so problematic – it only becomes so when one realises what Jesus is quoting from. He seems to cite half an Old Testament passage, omitting a crucial bit. And this crucial bit may appear

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Difficult Bible Passages: Exodus 21:22-25

Nov 11, 2012

This passage is difficult in the sense that it is a contentious passage, partly because of the way different English translations render it, and how we understand certain Hebrew terms that are used. The real difficulty is the way this

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Difficult Bible Passages: Mark 16:17-18

Jun 2, 2012

This passage is as much a misused passage as a difficult one. And its misuse can often be deadly. There have been a number of fringe Christians who have died because of its misuse and abuse. Often found in America’s

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Is Physical Healing in the Atonement?

Apr 29, 2012

Divine healing proponents look to Isaiah 53:4,5 as proof that healing is to be included in the atonement. Indeed, almost all of the faith teachers appeal to this passage. The NIV rendering of the passage in question is as follows:

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