Daily Archives: May 20, 2014

Questions about the Church: What Is a Chaplain? What Do Chaplains Do?

 

A chaplain is essentially a spiritual representative attached to a secular institution. Chaplains may or may not be certified, have a theological education, or be ordained or commissioned by a particular denomination, though many are. While chaplaincy has traditionally been associated with representatives of the Christian faith, the term is now used for representatives of any faith. Some chaplains are expected to represent multiple faiths, acting as a sort of neutral spiritual resource.

Chaplains are expected to serve the spiritual and emotional needs of others. Some chaplains perform wedding or funeral ceremonies, administer communion, deliver spiritual messages, offer prayer at public meetings, and provide regular counseling. Other chaplains meet the need of the moment, usually through listening and prayer. Chaplains may also function as advocates; hospital chaplains, for example, may make requests of a nurse to help meet a particular patient’s needs; military chaplains may provide for marriage enrichment retreats.

Chaplains work in many environments. Most commonly, chaplains are attached to the military, to hospitals, to law enforcement and fire departments, to political bodies (such as the United States Congress and Senate), to sports teams, and to educational institutions. Some corporations, music groups, and even households (historically the nobility, and now certain monarchs), may also employ chaplains.[1]

 

 

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

Questions about God: Can God Lie?

 

The eternal God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). His holiness makes it impossible for Him to lie, for by “holy” is meant that God is absolute, transcendent purity. He does not conform to the standard; He is the standard. As Tozer has said, “He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is” (The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 105). Since God is holy, all His other characteristics or attributes are also holy. Thus, when God speaks, He will not and cannot lie. He never deceives; neither does He distort or misrepresent what He says or does. Lying is against His nature.

This means that God’s Word, the Bible, is completely trustworthy (1 Kings 8:56; Psalm 119:160). Hebrews 6:13–14 says that the basis of God’s promise to Abraham was God’s own unchanging nature: “Since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.’ ” The text continues in Hebrews 6:17–18, “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.… It is impossible for God to lie.”

Two things are revealed here about God’s truthfulness. First, He stands on His own Word, the oath He made to Himself. Since He is the holy God, it is impossible for Him to lie. He cannot contradict His own pure character. Second, God has kept the promise He made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3, that through Abraham’s Seed the world would be blessed. That promise came true some 2,000 years later when Jesus Christ came into the world (Galatians 3:16). Jesus was of the Seed of Abraham and is now the Savior of the world through His death, burial, and resurrection. Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ receive His forgiveness and eternal life (John 1:12; 3:16). The promise to Abraham, then, continues to be carried out through the person of risen Christ. This means the promise is still in effect today and will be throughout eternity, for Jesus Christ is the Fulfiller of the promise (see 2 Corinthians 1:20).

If God could lie, He would not be the eternal, personal God revealed in the Bible through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, who wants to place their faith in a God who cannot be trusted in what He says? If God could lie, He would have something in common with Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), and that would be impossible. If God could lie, He would be just like us—humans sometimes lie, misrepresent or distort the truth. But “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19).

The biblical God is a God of pure moral health. He wants us to experience that same moral health through faith in Jesus Christ so we can live a life transformed by His power. May we give evidence of His holiness in our daily lives (1 Peter 1:15–16). May we love the truth as God does.[1]

 

 

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

Questions about Life Decisions: What Sort of Careers Can a Christian Consider?

 

At times we think that Christians should aspire to “Christian careers” like working at a church or in a parachurch ministry. We may realize that Christians can also work outside the walls of the church or the Christian name, but then we tend to limit ourselves to the “helping” professions. Christians can be doctors, nurses, teachers, child care workers, social workers, law enforcement officers, or counselors. But a businessman? A lawyer? An IT guru? An inventor? A builder? A fashion designer? A news anchor? A TV producer? A musician? An artist? We tend not to list these jobs among the most desirable work for Christians. There is nothing biblical about such a limiting stance.

Christians can consider almost any career. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.… Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) … So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Corinthians 7:17, 20–21, 24). Paul does not tell the believers to leave their current work and become missionaries or pastors. He tells them to remain where they are and serve God there. Paul wrote something similar to the Colossians, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). It is not so much what we are doing that matters, as for whom we are doing it. We glorify God when we work hard and cheerfully, whether as a pastor, an investor, an actor, a stay-at-home mother, or a barista.

Choosing a career can be difficult. Obviously, it is a matter for prayer. You should seek God’s direction for His will for your life. It can also be helpful to examine the specific gifts God has given you. He makes us each different (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:4–8) with unique desires, talents, and interests, and for unique purposes. It is also helpful to talk with those who know you well. Such people can serve as wise counselors (Proverbs 15:22), often providing helpful insight. It may also be beneficial to shadow or interview someone in your potential career field or to volunteer in the field to which you feel drawn.

Christians may consider any career in which they can honor God and use the uniqueness with which God created them. Of course, there are certain careers that are inherently dishonoring to God—most of them not strictly legal, such as prostitution or pornography. But any career that does not require sin in its performance is laudable Christian work and can be done to the glory of God (Colossians 3:23).[1]

 

 

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

Van Tillian Links: Third Week of May 2014

The Domain for Truth

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These are links related to Presuppositional apologetics between May 15th-19th, 2014.  We’re posting these a little earlier than usual in light of upcoming posts this week.

1.) How Can I Know For Sure?

2.) Gratitude for Francis Schaeffer

3.) Answering Objections to Presuppositional apologetics Video with Jason Petersen and Dustin Segers

4.) Presuppositional Apologetics Message: John MacArthur

5.) A FUNY and Devastating Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics?

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8 Ways to Comfort the Suffering

I have officiated over forty funerals ranging from suicides to infants. I have buried the young and the old. I have sat in hospitals with the dying as well as in prisons with those who have taken life. For the last two years, I have walked with my Resplendent Bride as she has suffered through Lymphoma, Leukemia, and, as of twenty-two days ago, a bone marrow transplant.

With one addled brained banality I hope to forever clinch my claim to the title of “Captain Obvious” by opening an article on how to disciple a member of the fellowship of the suffering with this astute observation: “People suffer differently.” So the process of discipling them through their pain will look different depending upon the person you are walking through the shadow lands with. People suffer differently. People are soothed differently. The goal of discipleship in the midst of suffering must be comfort in Christ, for the closer we walk with the Lord Jesus the more we see a small portion of the massive burden he always carries on our behalf.  Surely the Lord Jesus walks with us through the feasts and the famines (Ps. 23).

Here are some lessons I have learned since joining the fellowship of suffering.

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10 Things We Need to Hear from Young Church Leaders

 

By Chuck Lawless

I have the privilege of spending much of my life with young church leaders. As a seminary dean and missionary trainer, I hang out with people younger than I am. I’m the teacher, but I learn from the young generation as much as—if not more than—I teach them. Sometimes they teach me something new, as with technology and social media. In other cases, they simply remind me of something I’ve forgotten or have taken for granted.

Of course, all young church leaders have room to grow, and nothing I say here can be applied to every young leader. With that understanding in mind, here are some of those general reminders that I, and perhaps other older leaders, need to hear from young church leaders.

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