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Sacraments as Physical Signs of God’s Actions

October 26, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with a little history behind the Theses: Luther wanted to debate the abuses of indulgences. But are we familiar with Luther himself? His background? What led him to dispute the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church? What impact his ministry has on our church today? In what ways might we disagree with Luther? Over these few weeks leading up to the 500th anniversary, let’s consider Luther and his teaching. I will use primarily Carl Trueman’s book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, as a resource. This is part six of a multi-part series. Protestant churches all over the world are recognizing or celebrating this week in some manner the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses. For many Protestants, Luther is a champion of Christian faith, especially justification by faith alone. Most Protestants, however, would be astonished to find out that Luther would think very little of their Christian practice, even while they celebrate him. What’s behind this? Divergent views of the sacraments.... Keep Reading

Daily Christian Life in the Word

October 19, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with a little history behind the Theses: Luther wanted to debate the abuses of indulgences. But are we familiar with Luther himself? His background? What led him to dispute the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church? What impact his ministry has on our church today? In what ways might we disagree with Luther? Over these few weeks leading up to the 500th anniversary, let’s consider Luther and his teaching. I will use primarily Carl Trueman’s book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, as a resource. This is part five of a multi-part series. What does the daily Christian life look like? That’s a question many of us wrestle with on a regular basis as we face various trials and temptations. Specific situations become the driving force behind our spiritual activities. Our aims in the study of Scripture, our prayer life, and our conversations with other believers often are centered on the most urgent need on our hearts and minds. And since we live in an age and culture of abundance, we have vast numbers of resources to address our various needs.... Keep Reading

October 31st will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with a little history behind the Theses: Luther wanted to debate the abuses of indulgences. But are we familiar with Luther himself? His background? What led him to dispute the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church? What impact his ministry has on our church today? In what ways might we disagree with Luther? Over these few weeks leading up to the 500th anniversary, let’s consider Luther and his teaching. I will use primarily Carl Trueman’s book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, as a resource. This is part four of a multi-part series. Luther was led to challenge the Roman Catholic practice of indulgences because of his growing conviction that sin was moral decay and death within us and that the only condition by which we can be saved is faith in Jesus Christ. These two areas were a major shift from the medieval church that emphasized our need (and capability) to deal with our sin through the sacraments (and indulgences).... Keep Reading

The Power of the Word

October 5, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with a little history behind the Theses: Luther wanted to debate the abuses of indulgences. But are we familiar with Luther himself? His background? What led him to dispute the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church? What impact his ministry has on our church today? In what ways might we disagree with Luther? Over these few weeks leading up to the 500th anniversary, let’s consider Luther and his teaching. I will use primarily Carl Trueman’s book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, as a resource. This is part three of a multi-part series. Martin Luther penned the famous hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God, in 1529. In it, Luther affirms the spiritual struggle we face with “our ancient foe,” Satan. With confidence, though, Luther states, “we tremble not for him.” Where does Luther find such confidence, especially when the world is filled with devils that threaten to undo us? The last line of the third verse reads, “his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him.”... Keep Reading

A Theologian of the Cross

September 28, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with a little history behind the Theses: Luther wanted to debate the abuses of indulgences. But are we familiar with Luther himself? His background? What led him to dispute the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church? What impact his ministry has on our church today? In what ways might we disagree with Luther? Over these few weeks leading up to the 500th anniversary, let’s consider Luther and his teaching. I will use primarily Carl Trueman’s book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, as a resource. This is part two of a multi-part series. One of Martin Luther’s most famous theological distinctions came six months before nailed the 95 Theses to the church door. This theological distinction is found in what is known as the Heidelberg Disputation, held in April 1517. At this disputation Luther had 40 Theses presented, mostly unpacking his new understandings of the nature of sin and the condition for salvation. The famous theological distinction comes in the 21st Thesis: A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is. A theologian of glory versus a theologian of the cross. What does Luther mean by this distinction?... Keep Reading

Why Did Luther Nail Those 95 Theses?

September 21, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Most of us are familiar with a little history behind the Theses: Luther wanted to debate the abuses of indulgences. But are we familiar with Luther himself? His background? What led him to dispute the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church? What impact his ministry has on our church today? In what ways might we disagree with Luther? Over these few weeks leading up to the 500th anniversary, let’s consider Luther and his teaching. I will use primarily Carl Trueman’s book, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, as a resource. This is part one of a multi-part series. Martin Luther was born in 1483 in a poor mining family. His father sent him to university to study law so that Martin would not share the same financial strain. While traveling back to school in 1505, Luther was caught in a thunderstorm. When lightning struck near him, he cried out for rescue, promising to become a monk if he survived. Much to his father’s disappointment, Martin kept the promise, leaving behind law school to study theology. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1507.... Keep Reading

I love Jesus… I Don’t Need Theology

September 14, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

October 31st will mark the 500th year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing 95 Theses (points of contention to discuss with the leaders of the Catholic Church) to the church door of Wittenberg (the public bulletin board). This event commonly is held as the beginning of the Reformation. Many Protestant churches will celebrate this anniversary. At Oak Hills, we are recognizing this momentous event by studying some of the theology recovered and championed during the Reformation. These theological convictions have served Protestant and Reformed churches for the last 500 years as a solid foundation. Over the next five Sundays, Tony Layzell is teaching an Adult Christian Education class on what has come to be known as the five points of Calvinism (acronym TULIP). While TULIP is a modern construct, the summary is helpful in understanding how the Reformers thought about the gospel as taught in Scripture. The Reformers were responding to false teaching in the church and desired to recover and preserve the purity of the gospel message.... Keep Reading

To Ignore or Not to Ignore the Next Hurricane

September 7, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Hurricanes have been on my mind lately. No surprise with the devastation of Harvey in Texas and Louisiana and with Irma bearing down on the Caribbean and Florida, not to mention Jose and Katia. Hurricane season comes every year and we have witnessed in recent history some horrific destruction by hurricanes. How do we, as believers in a sovereign and gracious God, respond to such devastating natural disasters?... Keep Reading

Was Hosea Successful? How About Me?

August 31, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have often wondered how the prophets of the Old Testament understood “success.” How did they define success? How did they measure success? How could they know if they were successful or not? Take Hosea as an example. His ministry spanned a period of 20-30 years in the middle of the 8th century BC. We have 14 chapters recorded of his message to the northern kingdom of Israel. The center of his message was a call to repentance from spiritual idolatry. We know from biblical history that Israel, as a nation, never repented. The warnings of Hosea came to fruition. The Assyrian Empire destroyed the nation and scattered the people in exile.... Keep Reading

Grace Through Relationships

August 24, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

I have asked the men of Oak Hills to read a book with me this summer, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. I’m drawn to this book because I want to see the grace of God lived out more and more in my life, in my thinking, in my feeling, in my marriage, in my family, in my relationships, and in my work. I hope you are able to pick up a copy and read with me. It will be the launching pad for discussion at our Men’s Breakfast this Saturday. In the meantime, I want to use these Touchpoint articles to share some of my reflections as I work through Murray’s book. This is part five. I have enjoyed reading and reflecting on Murray’s book, Reset. This book has been highly practical while rooted in deep Scriptural principles. In each chapter, Murray focuses on a different area of our lives where the grace of Christ needs to be applied and practiced. This discipline of living a “grace-paced” life leads to healthy routines in our families, our marriages, our mental processes, our emotions, our churches, etc. I highly recommend this book (Murray’ wife also wrote a counterpart, specifically for women: Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands, coming out in October).... Keep Reading

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