Claiming Charles Darwin: Confessions of a Christian

The phrase “Father, forgive me, I have sinned” might be an appropriate statement for generations of Evangelical Christians who demonized evolution as the enemy of faith. It’s not the first time in history that the church has misunderstood both science and its own theology. Continue reading

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Death’s Sting of a Young Life: A Fumbled Promise of God?

The following is the eulogy for Joshua Baranieski who left us suddenly at the age of nineteen. It was given by Murray Owen at St Albert Alliance Church on June 20th 2008. The heartfelt tribute celebrates Josh and explores the tradgedy of the believer.

A Tribute to Josh
In his tragic accident on Sunday, June 7, 2008

It was early Sunday morning when I got the call about Josh’s car accident. What had started as a peaceful Sunday morning now changed and our hearts were heavy as all we could do is wait for news as the drama unfolded from a distance. I don’t think any of us will be able to pass by a highway marker of a cross and flowers without feeling the pain of this moment. And, it’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have someone taken at such a young age with all the promise of youth and who was loved so much by so many. And, it is why we are here, because he, Josh, was so open to all of us. Josh was easy to make friends with and in this way he reminds me of his late grandfather. Continue reading

Obsolete Christianity and Revitalized Faith: Sanctorum Communio, the Communion of Saints

The ardent Atheist or devoted Relativist might view the decline in North American church attendance as signaling the death of Christian religious fever. The Atheist or Relativist who measures success in numbers would politely suggest that we are witnessing the secularization of America, similar to trends in Western Europe as church attendance declines. Even the North American Christian faithful would quietly agree with this trend. However, as history has been here before at the beginning of the last century, perhaps both the religious and secular should ask themselves if their assessment is correct. Is more going on than can be reconciled by church attendance? Continue reading

Critiquing Christians: A Founders Warning

Critiquing Christians: the Lord’s Prayer, a Founders Warning

The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most recited and well known prayers worldwide. Yet, it is probably the least understood. We speak it so freely and frequently in Western society, but do we understand its historical message. As a child, I memorized the prayer, but not until college did I ask for its meaning. What is the “kingdom” all about? Is “hallowed” no more than a vague feeling cosmic importance? It was this prayer that led me to question the Gospel’s demands of me.  Was the Gospel simply a call for private moral forgiveness of the soul by God, which plays outs as a numbers game of winners and losers, of heaven or hell, a Monty Python stereotype of religion? This was hardly a satisfactory answer.  Even a causal reading of the Gospel writings tells a broader story.  What does the Lord’s Prayer teach in its historical, grammatical and literal setting? Continue reading

A Case for Religious Possibilities: Jonah, a Whale of a Story

For some, the book of Jonah in the Hebrew Old Testament is reminiscent of a grand fishing story. Not only did the fish get away, but the tale seems larger than life. It makes a great children’s story, but is of little use in our modern lives. Even the theologians have reduced it to a metaphor of Jesus Christ death on the cross. However, Jonah, the city of Nineveh and the Hebrew God, Yahweh, have more to teach us then just a cute Sunday school story or a theologian’s confirmation of the Christ centric understanding of the Old Testament. Continue reading

The Use of “I AM” in John 8:24

The Women Caught in Adultery: Forgiveness and Jesus “I Am”

The following is an email conversation on a message given in July of 2006 and the use of “I Am” in John 8:24 “unless you believe ‘I Am’ you will die in your sins.”

Andy,

I thought your message last Sunday morning was excellent. It’s not often you hear a message on Deity of Jesus, or Trinitarian theology. And, I appreciated your candid “So what?” question to Jesus’ “I Am” statement. It is the better question. In fact, it was such a good question that I wish you could have spent more time developing it. The answer is the “punch line” to Jesus’ “I Am” claim and the women caught in adultery which I’m still discovering the importance of in the practice of forgiveness. Continue reading