Every church believes God heals people. And, every church encourages prayer for the sick. But, do the elders of your church pray for the sick by anointing them with oil, laying their hands on them, and praying personally and intensely for them?
I was an elder in a wonderful, alive, conservative, evangelical, and non-charismatic church. We believed what James said in the following passage about the ministry of praying for the sick by the elders was true, but we just didn’t do it!
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:14-16
Then, a dozen years ago, I told my fellow elders the following story of my dramatic healing experience, which led them to embrace with enthusiasm the ministry of praying for the sick. (more…)
There is a tsunami coming at the evangelical church. It’s the gender-orientation and gay marriage debate. This is not a tsunami we can simply hunker down and ride out. To lose this issue is to lose the debate over the authority of scriptures to govern our lives. If a teaching so clear in both the New Testament and Old, prohibiting same-sex, sex is deemed dated and no longer applicable to us today, what else does the Bible teach that we longer have to obey – communion, discipline, marriage, divorce, pre-marital sex?
A friend sent this interview with a British pastor who has admitted that he has a same-sex attraction, but believes it’s a sin for him to act on it. It’s an honest discussion, framed biblically and sensitively. He also helps us understand what the church needs to do to encourage celibate gay Christians.
Following Jesus in Real Life
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Twice in the last year I’ve been asked what I would say in a letter to a gay son or daughter that was true to the Bible, intellectually honest and gracious.
So, here’s my best attempt to summarize the most important points from scripture; hopefully, stated with grace. (Although those who disagree with us on these issues often view our disagreement, in and of itself as unloving and ungracious!) I conclude with some very specific boundaries on behavior that I believe you have the right to enforce, in your home as well as a link to some talking points I’ve written on the subject.
Our Dear Michael,
Your mother and I want to make sure you know this above all; we love you, and always will. We’d rather say the things in this letter face-to-face, and I hope we will have a chance to do so, as soon as you come home for Easter. However, to avoid any misunderstanding and awkward moments, we thought we’d put our thoughts in black and white. (more…)
Sooner or later, almost every family will be faced with what to do about a son, daughter, or grandchild, who has fallen in love with someone who isn’t a Christian. So, how should Christians respond?
I helped write the following letter for some parents whose daughter has fallen in love with a person who simply had no interest in Christianity. The man wasn’t of another religion, nor was he antagonistic of Christianity. He was fine with it, for other people, and even for this couple’s daughter. Christianity just wasn’t for him. (more…)