• Is it biblical to say God “loves you” to believers and nonbelievers alike? Question and Answer

    Matthew 5:45

    Historically and theologically, we distinguish among three types of divine love. There is God’s love of benevolence, where God has a kind spirit to the whole world. His benevolent will and love fall on everybody. There is also the sense in which the love of God is defined in terms of God’s love of beneficence, which refers not just simply to His attitude toward the world, but how He displays that goodness universally. “The rain falls upon the just as well as on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). So that universal dimension of the love of God is manifest. When we’re … View Resource

  • What does it mean for us to call God our Father? Question and Answer

    Matthew 6:9

    One of the most well-known statements of the Christian faith is the Lord’s Prayer, which begins with the words “Our Father which art in heaven.” This is part of the universal treasury of Christendom. When I hear Christians in a private gathering praying individually, almost every single person begins their prayer by addressing God as Father. There’s nothing more common among us than to address God as our Father. So central is this to our Christian experience that in the nineteenth century, there were some who said the basic essence of the whole Christian religion can be reduced to two … View Resource

  • How should I preach the doctrines of grace? Question and Answer

    Matthew 11:25-30

    I think, pastorally, one must always recognize that in some of these areas people do not have the paradigms to be able immediately to take in what Scripture teaches. Sometimes they have been taught in a way that is contrary to the doctrines of grace. So I usually say to younger men, or men who are younger than myself, “One of the best things to do with someone you think really is a Christian is sit down with them or preach to them with this question in mind, ‘How did Jesus think about this?’” Because sometimes people think they have … View Resource

  • Why did Jesus speak in parables? Question and Answer

    Matthew 13:11-17

    He actually answers that question Himself, or gives one answer to it, when He tells the parable of the sower and the soils and His disciples don’t get it. They come to Him and say, “What was that all about?” and He explains it to them. He says, “I’m giving these explanations to you because you’re my disciples. But one of the reasons I tell these parables is because when I tell the parables it actually makes clear whether people really grasp the meaning of the kingdom or not” (see Matt. 13:11-17, Mark 4:10-12, or Luke 8:9-10). I don’t know … View Resource

  • How did the early church fathers interpret the “rock” of Matthew 16? Question and Answer

    Matthew 16:18

    I would say if this were the lightning round we could say, true. The notion that Peter himself was the rock rather than his confession being the rock seems first to be articulated by a bishop of Rome in the third century. Now, the third century is very early relative to us, but it’s a long time after Jesus—two hundred and fifty years after Jesus. And this is a sort of solitary point of view of the bishop of Rome initially, not even followed up by all later bishops of Rome in the ancient church period. So yes, I think, … View Resource

  • Should all Christians pursue missions? Question and Answer

    Matthew 28:18-20

    It is good to hear that there are young people out there pursuing missions because that’s a pursuit the Lord has placed upon the church. We all are responsible for the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20). Whether one is actually going as a missionary or contributing to that endeavor, all of us are responsible to fulfill the Great Commission because Christ is Lord. Because He is Lord, we have to do what He commands us to do. So I would encourage all Christians, not just young people, to make a priority of missions. This … View Resource

  • Why has the church lost its appreciation for the Sabbath? Question and Answer

    Matthew 28:20

    I think one of the temptations of American evangelical Christianity—borne out of something fundamentally good, namely our desire to see the church revived and our desire to see the church involved in evangelism and missions—has gotten persuaded, in our time particularly, that the way to advance evangelism is to pursue minimalist Christianity. “What is the absolute least we need to know and believe and require of people to make them Christians?” I understand the motive behind that. In some ways you can say the motive is praiseworthy. But it’s a fundamental betrayal of the Great Commission. The Great Commission was … View Resource