Daily Archives: February 26, 2014

Counseling Related Questions: What Does the Bible Say about Conflict Resolution?

 

Conflict resolution in the body of Christ is crucial for several reasons. Avoidance of conflict, with no effort to resolve it, postpones a proper response and exacerbates the problem because conflicts that are allowed to fester unaddressed will always increase and have negative effects on relationships within the body. The goal of conflict resolution is unity, and unity in the church poses a threat to the devil who will use every opportunity to take advantage of unresolved issues, especially those involving anger, bitterness, self-pity and envy. These emotions are the basis for most church conflicts. Scripture tells us that we’re to “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from [us], along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). Failure to do this results in division in the body of Christ and grief to the Holy Spirit. We’re also told that we’re not to allow a “root of bitterness” to spring up among us, leading to trouble and defilement (Hebrews 12:15). Clearly, a biblical method of conflict resolution is needed.

Although the verses cited in the first paragraph are the two places that expressly deal with conflict resolution, every letter in the New Testament contains at least one command to believers to live at peace with one another. We are repeatedly instructed to love one another (John 13:34; Romans 12:10), to live in peace and harmony with one another (Romans 15:5; Hebrews 12:14), to settle our differences among ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:11), to be patient, kind and tenderhearted toward one another (1 Corinthians 13:4), to consider others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3), to bear one another’s burdens (Ephesians 4:2), and to rejoice in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). Conflict is the antithesis of Christian behavior as outlined in Scripture.

There are times when, despite all efforts to reconcile, sin issues prevent us from resolving conflict in the church. There are two places in the New Testament that clearly and unambiguously address conflict resolution where sin is involved. In Matthew 18:15–17, Jesus gives the steps for dealing with a sinning brother. According to this passage, in the event of conflict involving overt sin, we are to address it one-on-one first, then if still unresolved it should be taken to a small group, and finally before the whole church if the problem still remains.

The other passage where this is addressed explicitly is Luke 17. In verses 3–4, Jesus says, “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” An essential part of conflict resolution, according to this passage, is forgiveness. Any kind of disciplinary procedure should always have restoration of the sinning person as the ultimate goal.

The reason conflict resolution is so difficult is that we’re hesitant to place ourselves in uncomfortable situations. We’re also frequently unwilling to humble ourselves enough to admit that we might be wrong or to do what it might take to make amends if we are wrong. Those who do this best are often those who would prefer not to talk to others about their sin, but will do so out of obedience to God. If the matter is relatively minor, it may be that the best thing to do is to overlook the offense (Proverbs 19:11). If it cannot be overlooked, one must pursue reconciliation. This is such an important issue to God that peace with Him and peace with others are inextricably entwined. We cannot know peace with God unless we are at peace with one another, and we cannot truly know peace with others unless we are at peace with God.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Bible Commentary: What Should We Learn from Psalm 119?

 

Containing 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest single chapter in the Bible. The author of Psalm 119 is unknown, but most scholars agree that it was written either by David, Ezra or Daniel. Each of these proposed authors suffered serious difficulties in their lives, and the author of Psalm 119 reflects that in descriptions of plots, slanders and taunts against him (v. 23, 42, 51, 150), persecutions (v. 61, 86, 95, 110, 121, 134, 157, 161), and afflictions (v. 67, 71, 143, 153). The persecution and affliction of the man (and woman) of God is a major theme of Psalm 119.

Another prominent theme in Psalm 119 is the profound truth that the Word of God is all-sufficient. Psalm 119 is an expansion of Psalm 19:7–9: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.” There are eight different terms referring to the Word of God throughout the psalm: law, testimonies, precepts, statues, commandments, judgments, word, and ordinances. Psalm 119 affirms not only the character of the Scriptures, but it affirms that God’s Word reflects the very character of God Himself. Notice these attributes of God ascribed to Scripture in Psalm 119:

1. Righteousness (vv. 7, 62, 75, 106, 123, 138, 144, 160, 164, 172)
2. Trustworthy (v. 42)
3. True (vv. 43, 142, 151, 160)
4. Faithful (v. 86)
5. Unchangeable (v. 89)
6. Eternal (vv. 90, 152)
7. Light (v. 105)
8. Pure (v. 140)

The format of Psalm 119 is an acrostic, meaning that the first letters of each line in Hebrew follow through the alphabet, 8 lines per letter, thus 8 lines x 22 letters = 176 lines. One message of this psalm is that we are to live a lifestyle that demonstrates obedience to Jehovah, who is a God of order (hence the acrostic structure), not of chaos.

The psalm opens with two beatitudes. “Blessed” are those whose ways are blameless, who live according to God’s law, who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. The author of the psalm is a man who has known great trouble in his life, but also a man who has come through it with a deep and passionate understanding of God’s unfailing love and compassion (Psalm 119:75–77). Throughout his affliction, the author clings to the truths he learns from the Scriptures which are eternal and “stand firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89–91). His love for the Word of God and his dedication to remember it and live by it is a theme that is repeated over and over (vv. 11, 15–16, 24, 34, 44, 47, 55, 60, etc.)

These are the lessons for us in this great psalm. The Word of God is sufficient to make us wise, train us in righteousness, and equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15–17). The Scriptures are a reflection of God’s nature and from them we learn that we can trust His character and His plan and purposes for mankind, even when those plans include affliction and persecution. Blessed indeed are we if our delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law we meditate day and night (Psalm 1:2).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Bible Translations: What is the Amplified Bible (AMP)?

 

Amplified Bible—History
The Amplified Bible was the first Bible project of The Lockman Foundation, in conjunction with Zondervan. The first full edition of the Amplified Bible was published in 1965. It is largely a revision of the American Standard Version of 1901, with reference made to various texts in the original languages. The Amplified Bible was published in six stages: Gospel of John (1954); New Testament (1958); Old Testament Volume Two (Job-Malachi) (1962); Old Testament Volume One (Genesis-Esther) (1964); Complete Bible (1965); Updated Edition (1987).

Amplified Bible—Translation method
The Amplified Bible attempts to take both word meaning and context into account in order to accurately translate the original text from one language into another. The Amplified Bible does this through the use of explanatory alternate readings and amplifications to assist the reader in understanding what Scripture really says. Multiple English word equivalents to each key Hebrew and Greek word clarify and amplify meanings that may otherwise have been concealed by the traditional translation method.

Amplified Bible—Pro’s and Con’s
The Amplified Bible can be a valuable study tool, as the different “alternate” renderings can give additional insight into the meaning of a text. The problem is the words the AMP gives alternate renderings for CAN mean those things, but do not mean ALL of those things. The fact that a word can have different meanings does not mean that every possible meaning is a valid rendering each time the word occurs. Also, it being based on the American Standard Version results in some of its wordings sounding archaic.

Amplified Bible—Sample Verses John 1:1, 14—“In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.”

John 3:16—“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”

John 8:58—“Jesus replied, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM.”

Ephesians 2:8–9—“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]”

Titus 2:13—“Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Coalition of African American Pastors: impeach Attorney General Holder

WINTERY KNIGHT

First, let’s see what Eric Holder is doing with respect to gay marriage.

CNS News explains.

Excerpt:

State attorneys-general who refuse to defend state laws banning same-sex marriage won’t face any objection from the nation’s top law enforcement official. In fact, Attorney General Eric Holder will applaud them.

According to Holder, “decisions at any level not to defend individual laws must be exceedingly rare. They must be reserved only for exceptional – truly exceptional – circumstances.’

He said that state laws banning same-sex marriage rise to that “truly exceptional” standard — because they do not “advance the values that once led our forebears to declare unequivocally that all are created equal and entitled to equal opportunity.”

Holder told a gathering of state attorneys-general at the Justice Department that they are sworn, not just to win cases, “but to see that justice is done” and to “seize the opportunities that are…

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On Faith, Belief and Salvation

Close-up picture of mustard seeds

This is a picture – a very closeup image – of mustard seeds. They are in reality so tiny that they look like a grain of sand.  Jesus said that this is the size of faith – all you need in Him – to have in order to be His. He also said that even the demons believe that Jesus is Lord.  Today we discussed our faith vs our belief. What’s the difference you may ask? Does one lead to salvation?

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3 questions about this weeks’ gay marriage controversy

Plodding through the news this week has been an attempt in both Arizona and Kansas to pass laws that specifically protect business owners from being forced to sell their services to celebrate gay “marriage” ceremonies.

Some Christians have quickly distanced themselves from these laws (Andy Stanley, Jonathan Merritt, Kristin Powers), while the media has shown that, as a general rule, it lacks even a rudimentary understanding of what is at stake here. The net result is that anyone who doesn’t have a firm grasp on the Bible’s teaching about this issue is being swept up in the tide of public opinion. So swift is the tide that even the senators who voted for the law in Arizona a few weeks ago are now publically renouncing their “yes” vote and asking the governor to veto it.

There are really three practical questions for Christians to wrestle through here:

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Authentic Fire – Chapter 6 Review

hipandthigh

afSola Scriptura and Therefore Charismatic

Dr. Brown opens Chapter 6 by recounting his testimony as to why he believes healings and tongues are for today. He begins by telling about his coming to faith in Christ when he was 16 at a Pentecostal church. However, expectations of healing and supernatural happenings that never really materialized in his immediate circles caused him disillusionment.

He left the Pentecostal church in 1977 and began pursuing Reformed, cessationist theology, [AF, 164]. Becoming influenced by the publications of Banner of Truth and such books as B.B. Warfield’s Counterfeit Miracles, he swiftly separated himself from his early experience as a Pentecostal.

When his sister-in-law was miraculously healed of an elbow injury, however, even having her injury called out from an audience of thousands by the speaker, Brown began to reevaluate the hard-heartedness toward miracles he had developed from his cessationist leaning ways. He then experienced his…

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What is the Arizona religious liberty law really about?

WINTERY KNIGHT

National Review  explains what the proposed law is designed to do.

Excerpt:

In response to a number of lawsuits in which such providers of wedding-related services as bakers and photographers have been threatened with conscription into participating in same-sex ceremonies to which they object on religious grounds, Arizona’s state legislature has adopted a law under which businesses that decline to provide such services will enjoy protection.

It is perhaps unfortunate that it has come to this, but organized homosexuality, a phenomenon that is more about progressive pieties than gay rights per se, remains on the permanent offensive in the culture wars. Live-and-let-live is a creed that the gay lobby specifically rejects: The owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado was threatened with a year in jail for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. New Mexico photographer Elaine Huguenin was similarly threatened for declining to photograph a same-sex…

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