Blog

Forever is Forever

December 23, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I am convinced that I have little comprehension of the concept of “forever.” Nothing in my life has been “forever.” School is not forever. Relationships are not forever. My health and youth have not been forever. The clothing I wear does not last forever. The cars I drive do not last forever. Is there anything in this earthly life that is “forever”? Then we open our Bibles and hear this word applied to God, his kingdom, and his promises. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that the word “forever” is foreign to our daily experience. So much that, if you are anything like me, we don’t think much about eternal things. Let’s push ourselves to consider that which is “forever.” Moses closes his celebration song after crossing the Red Sea by declaring, “The LORD will reign forever and ever” (Ex. 15:18). The psalms echo the same sentiment multiple times. One example is in Psalm 45:6, speaking of the Messiah, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” ... Keep Reading

Christmas Love

December 14, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

In the announcements about the birth of Christ, we hear the promises of blessing from God. From the angels we hear of “good news of great joy” and “on earth peace” (Lk. 2:10, 14). Gabriel told Joseph that Jesus “will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). For Mary Gabriel highlighted the kingship of Jesus when he says, “of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:33). The Old Testament prophecies emphasize these similar blessings: God with us, joy, peace, a righteous king who reigns forever. There is one Christian blessing, however, that doesn’t get the same attention as joy, peace, hope, and the eternal kingdom. That blessing is love. Christmas, also, is about God’s love for his people. The Bible speaks about God’s love for his people in a variety of ways. Most prevalent, and probably what is on your mind, is the sacrificial love of God in the death of Christ. Romans 5:8 clearly states this, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Therefore, God’s love is most frequently associated with Easter, not Christmas. We have other depictions of God’s love in the Bible, however. One is of marriage. God betroths himself to his people and the new heavens is pictured as a marriage supper celebration between God and his people. In the Old Testament, this marriage union is spoken as between God and Israel. In the New Testament it is Christ and the church. Now, God is one; therefore, his bride is one. There are not two brides for God, as if God the Father has Israel and Christ has the church. The Father and the Son are one; Israel and the church are one. ... Keep Reading

Truth or Lies, Part 8

December 7, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part eight of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.” We have covered Butterfield’s teaching on the Five Lies. In brief, they are: Lie #1: Homosexuality is normal. Lie #2: Being a spiritual person is kinder than being a biblical Christian. Lie #3: Feminism is good for the world and the church. Lie #4: Transgenderism is normal. Lie #5: Modesty is an outdated burden that serves male dominance and holds women back. Butterfield comments, “What all these lies have in common is they don’t think that God had a plan and purpose when he created men and women. God’s proclamation in Genesis 1:27-28 stands in stark contrast to these five lies” (p. 290). We have seen in her teaching for each lie how the truth of Scripture is ignored, dismissed, or attacked. In her Afterword, Butterfield recommends two practical actions in response to these lies. The first action is “holding membership in a faithful church where you are shepherded by faithful men” (p. 292-293). With so much messaging for the lies coming through every media outlet, we need to be surrounded in the church community with the encouragement of Scripture, brothers and sisters, and faithful leaders. Let me quote Butterfield at length on this point:... Keep Reading

Truth or Lies, Part 7

November 30, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part seven of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.” The fifth and last lie that Butterfield addresses is modesty is an outdated burden that serves male dominance and holds women back. While I served as a youth minister for fourteen years, the topic of modesty focused on girls’ clothing. Butterfield briefly speaks to that dynamic of modesty, but sees that the issue as far more expansive in our social media saturated culture. She begins, however, by recounting her personal story of when she first engaged a Christian community. Coming with feminist and lesbian convictions, Butterfield believed that any emphasis on modesty was oppressive. She describes those first encounters with a Christian community as being in the presence of her enemies because of the fundamental differences in values. Overtime, however, the model of godly men and women, who value the dignity of each person and appreciate the differences between the two genders, worked on Butterfield to open her eyes to see the beauty of biblical modest and gender roles. Digging into the lie that modesty is outdated, Butterfield summarily says, “In both dress and social media use, modesty has been replaced by exhibitionism” (p. 268). Exhibitionism contends that any inhibition in what you wear or share is oppressive. Dressed up as a Christian virtue, often under the name “authenticity,” exhibitionism encourages people to hold nothing back, follow the impulses of your heart, and openly share every detail of your life. What do you have to hide? On the other hand, Butterfield commends, “Modesty, as a biblical virtue, is like a rich compound oil, marinating valor, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to achieve a stunning embodiment of moral beauty” (p. 269). This definition of modesty demonstrates the breadth of the topic. Butterfield incorporates 2 Peter 1:5-7 into her definition. Peter writes, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” ... Keep Reading

Paul’s Thanksgivings

November 23, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

The apostle Paul is well known for many things: his missionary journeys, his deep, theological writings, his martyrdom, and more. For this Thanksgiving, I want us to remember that Paul was an incredibly thankful man. It is Paul who gave us the command, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes. 5:18). Paul not only gave the command, but he lived it. We have thirteen of Paul’s letters in the New Testament. In nine letters he opens with an expression of thanks, usually thanking God for the recipients of the letter. For example, he writes in Romans 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.” Paul does not merely thank God for people, however. He follows up with reasons why he is thankful. He gives thanks for people because: Their faith is proclaimed in all the world (Rom. 1:8). The grace of God was given them (1 Cor. 1:4). He heard of their faith and love (Eph. 1:15, Col. 1:4, Philemon 4). Of their partnership in the gospel (Phil. 1:5). He remembers their work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope (1 Thes. 1:3). They received Paul’s preaching as the word of God (1 Thes. 2:13). Their faith is growing abundantly and their love is increasing (2 Thes. 1:3). In a nutshell, Paul gives thanks to God for the work of God’s grace in the churches. They have vibrant and growing faith. Thank God! They actively love one another and all the saints. Thank God! They partner with Paul in the gospel ministry, even when he has been imprisoned. Thank God! They remain steadfast in hope, even in the face of hardships. Thank God! They received gospel preaching as the word of God. Thank God! ... Keep Reading

Truth or Lies, Part 6

November 16, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part six of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.” Each of the lies that Butterfield addresses in this book have not only caused tension in our culture, but also in the church. That tension grows as the truth becomes clouded and false ideas of what is good and kind become prevalent. For this reason, Butterfield has been harkening to Scripture as the foundation for truth. As she has said, the crux of the issue is what we believe about the Bible, what it is and what it means. The truth of Scripture is utterly important when thinking through the fourth lie that Butterfield presents: Transgenderism is normal. At its most basic level, transgenderism rejects the biblical pattern that God made humans as male and female and our gender corresponds with our bodies. It elevates one’s feelings and self-perception over any objective standard of truth. ... Keep Reading

Truth or Lies, Part 5

November 9, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part five of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.” The third lie that Butterfield addresses is “Feminism is good for the world and the church.” Of the five lies, this one, perhaps, has the greatest influence in the church today. In the last few decades, many denominations have made changes in their polity to allow women to have equal access with men to all the roles in the church. Some denominations have remained faithful to the biblical pattern of male leadership in the church. For example, this past summer the Southern Baptist Convention voted to remove congregations that had female pastors. In the culture’s eyes, this is regressive and oppressive to women. Butterfield, as a self-professed former feminist, addresses this lie in several ways. She starts by confronting those in the church who become comfortable with feminism because they perceive it as a necessary compromise with a culture that is increasingly hostile to biblical morality. Without using the words “a slippery slope,” she warns against this sort of compromise, saying, “Sin only grows uglier as it goes on” (p. 153). I have witnessed this progression. When I first came into the PCA in 2003, there was a PCA church in San Francisco. A couple years later, this church left the PCA in order to join a denomination where they could ordain woman pastors. They rationalized this move as important to their mission to reach the ever-increasing liberal culture of San Francisco. Now they fully embrace homosexuality and transgenderism as normal and have ordained gay ministers. ... Keep Reading

Truth or Lies, Part 4

November 2, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part four of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.” The second lie that Butterfield address is “Being a spiritual person is kinder than being a biblical Christian.” We hear this lie implicitly in yard signs and t-shirts that call one another to “Be Kind.” This lie undergirds accusations of “hate-speech” when one holds to a biblical view of sexuality and marriage. Without any explicit, outside standard, kindness is the new morality that is legalistically imposed on people. Don’t hear me, or Butterfield, wrong; kindness is biblical. Kindness is good. We ought to strive for kindness. The lie, however, touches on the difference between how one becomes kind. Butterfield writes, “The difference between ‘being a spiritual person’ and ‘being a biblical Christian’ lies in content, not emphasis” (p. 122). We all want to emphasize kindness. The question is how do we become kind? The lie rejects biblical Christianity because it views the fixed moral standard of the Bible as being opposed to kindness. True biblical Christianity understands that we cannot become kind on our own; we need the saving grace of Christ. Butterfield zeroes in on the main issue when she says, “I started to reflect on the most divisive issue of today within Christianity: what the Bible means and what the Bible is. All the other debates are downstream from this one” (p. 144). If you hold that the Bible is the inerrant, authoritative Word of God, then you will submit to the truth of Scripture. If you reject the trustworthiness of Scripture and its authority, you are left to design your own path of spirituality. ... Keep Reading

Truth or Lies, Part 3

October 26, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part three of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.” Let’s now turn our attention to the Five Lies. Butterfield writes two to four chapters for each lie. So, I am unable to cover all that she addresses, but will hit some highlights for each one. You will have to read the book if you want to catch all that Butterfield says. The first lie Butterfield addresses is “Homosexuality is normal.” She writes, “Two cultural movements have combined to create a world that believes that lesbianism is normal: the uncritical use of intersectionality as a tool to empower people who perceive themselves to be victims, and the uncritical use of homosexual orientation as a category of personhood” (p. 62-63). She addresses these two movements by sharing more of her personal story of coming out of a lesbian lifestyle and digging into biblical truth. First, we can consider what Butterfield says about intersectionality. She writes, “Intersectionality creates a grand story, a metanarrative, out of oppression. It maintains that the world is made up of power struggles, and that white, male, heterosexual patriarchy must be destroyed to liberate those who are oppressed by it” (p. 59). She goes on to explain, “Intersectionality maintains that who you truly are is measured by how many victim statuses you can claim—with your human dignity accruing through intolerance of all forms of disagreement with your perceptions of self and world” (p. 60). ... Keep Reading

Truth or Lies, Part 2

October 19, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This is part two of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.” There is one more introductory matter that we should address before we begin to consider Rosaria’s teaching on the Five Lies. This is the matter of how one views the “world” in this present time. This introductory matter can be framed by one of several questions. The first question draws from one’s understanding of the end times: will the world progressively grow more evil before Christ returns or will the world progressively improve before Christ returns? Another way to approach this issue is in this question: what is the greatest, present threat to Christianity and Christian faith: corruption and hypocrisy in the church or moral decline in and persecution from the world outside of the church? This issue of how one views the “world” is at the core of many disagreements within the Church. This issue impacts how one thinks about cultural engagement, evangelism, outreach, and mercy ministry. It also shapes how one thinks about the current trends surrounding gay marriage and sexual identity. Rosaria Butterfield approaches the topics of gay marriage, feminism, and transgenderism from the perspective that the world is evil and the greatest threat facing the church today is compromise. Her book is a clarion call to the church to reject the lies of the world and hold fast to biblical truth. She compares this present age with the city of Babel, which represents man’s rejection of God and man’s effort to make a name for himself. She ties this comparison with Paul’s teaching in Romans 1. She writes, “We all live in Babel now because people exchanged the truth for lies and have codified these lies into the law of the land. It’s a tragedy that we embrace lies because we don’t remember the truth. Paul describes three ‘exchanges’ of truth for lies in Romans 1:21-28: 1) The exchange of the Creator for the creature (idol worship), v. 21-23; 2) The exchange of truth for lies, v. 24-25; and 3) Exchange of natural sexuality (heterosexuality) for dishonorable passions (homosexuality), v. 26-28” (p. 10-11). She concludes by stating, “A world that grows in its homosexuality and gender confusion is a world judged by God, given over to sin (Rom. 1:24), and increasingly barren and corrupt…the world we inhabit is one that has completed all three exchanges in Romans 1” (p. 12). ... Keep Reading

Filter Messages By: