on friday 10/23/15 • Leviticus 26:1-20; 40-46
What about the law and the anger of God? Christians can be known to talk much about grace and love, but what about all the conditions in the Bible? What about all the laws? And what about the judgment of God?
on friday 10/16/15 • Hebrews 6:13-20
How would you sum up the Bible? This is a bold question, but not inappropriate. Shouldn't we, Christians, be able to explain the Bible, even summarize it? Sure why not! Hebrews 6:13-20 is not bad for this in that it speaks about the Father's unchanging purpose in Jesus Christ to save. Put even in a more pithy way, God takes the initiative.
on friday 10/9/15 • 2 Timothy 3:10-17
What use is the Bible anyway?
Fri-Sun 10/2-4 • Fall Conference!
What is faith? What does it mean to believe? THAT is the topic of our this-weekend Fall Conference (10/2-4)! Do you remember the immortal words of George Michael, "You gotta faith"? But what does that mean? We'll hear all about it at RUF New England Fall Conference from RUF Mid-South Area Coordinator, The Rev. Les Newsom! Friday, 10/2 to Sunday, 10/4: a retreat in New Hampshire. You can check back for more updates!****
On Friday 9/25/15
Isn't the Bible open to interpretation? No. We recruited for Fall Conference, but that's not all we did! We heard from 2 Pet. 2:16-21 on the nature of scripture and the gospel. The Bible is NOT in the first instance open to interpretation. The Bible says there is greatness in humility (Mark 8:35; 9:35; 10:43-45). For instance, those in this world who suffer hard suffering are biblically speaking the most privileged of people. In suffering, they have no qualms about God in heaven, and they have the best chance of understanding free grace that cost Jesus so much but that we do not need to earn. This is one of the sorts of things the Bible teaches that is definitely NOT open to interpretation. Thanks be to God!
On Friday 9/18/15
How do you love others? College is exciting, and it can be ridden with anxiety. What's a Christian to do? How can we love one another and our non-Christian friends in all the busyness of the beginning of the year? We heard from Philippians 4:8-9 about the nature of the Bible. The Bible isn't just literature. It isn't just historical data. It isn't just theological information. In Philippians 4:8-9, the Apostle Paul encourages us to think about the things that are truly lovely, worthy, excellent, and just, AND to do such things--the sorts of things he's taught them about and demonstrated in his own conduct and walk with Jesus. The Bible isn't just something to be known in an abstract sense of knowing, but it is elicit a response of worship unto God. What is just, lovely, excellent, and worthy? What is it that the Bible teaches? The gospel which is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus apart from works. Biblical humility is what we talked about is the chief experience of a believer as they encounter Jesus Christ in his word.
On Friday 9/11/15
What about discrimination? Hasn't the Bible been used to divide and separate? We heard from Galatians 3:23-29. The gospel of Jesus Christ is made available to any and all who will listen and accept the grace of God in Jesus by faith alone apart from works. That same faith is alive and active in our community with particular effects. As according to Galatians 3:23-29 and so much else that the Bible teaches, the gospel is an indiscriminate gospel, open and available and intelligible to any and all who dare consider it, irrespective of wealth, pedigree, intellect, age, race, gender, nationality, or otherwise. For God is no respecter of persons. He shows no partiality (Deu. 16:19; 2 Chr. 19:7; Prov. 24:23; 28:21; Mal. 2:9; Luk. 20:21; Rom. 2:11; Acts 10:34; Gal. 2:6; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Tim. 5:21; Jas. 2:1, 9). All glory and thanks be to our God and Father in heaven!
Academic year '15-'16
The Bible in a Nutshell!
How can I know the Bible more? Is the Bible true and truly the word of God? Why is it so important? These are key questions for all of us to consider, whether you are a Christian or a skeptic!
In RUF, we believe the Bible to be clear enough for the simplest of minds and deep enough to occupy the smartest of geniuses. That means a variety of things. You don't need a Ph.D. You don't need to have the right education. You don't need the right upbringing or else you're up a creek without a paddle. The word of God is indiscriminate and no respecter of age, race, gender, class, or status. It stands on its own so much so that it is able to be plainly understood by the simple and the wise, the rich and the poor, the young and the old alike. Consider what the Westminster Confession of Faith 1.7 has to say.
All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all (cf. 1 Pet. 3:16): yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them (cf. Psa. 119:105).
Thank, God, we don't need to be "all that" to know him and his word deeply! Thank, God, the love, mercy and grace in his gospel are alone sufficient for our salvation!
Consider Psalm 119:130,
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
Or again Deuteronomy 30:11-14,
11 For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?" 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?" 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
Words to live by! In fact, the only words worth living by. Therefore for the academic year 2015-2016, we are going to hear from scripture (as we do every year!), and we're going to take a look at it in a nutshell to get a handle on the broad themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Now yes, in one sense, this is impossible. In another sense, it is very important to make sure we have a grasp of the whole breadth of the Bible, rather than just lifting one piece after another and never get a sense of the over-arching story. And so for roughly the Fall semester, we will look at "The Old Testament In A Nutshell," and "The New Testament In A Nutshell" in the Spring.
We're going to do this because the Bible, more than a random collection of wise lessons for life, conveys a coherent, consistent, and potent story that point to the good news of God in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. We're going to do this, because scripture and the gospel are a delight to the soul (Psa. 119:103). We're going to do this, because we believe the whole Bible is available to the whole person--everyone, every day, every moment of their lives with all its profundity, potency, simplicity and clarity. Oh that everyone would come by faith alone in Jesus alone.