Myths about Missions and Calling

The world we live in, it’s a funny one.  Especially when it comes to gossip or communicating mistruths, halftruths and other kinds of myths and pithy sayings that when heard sound great but when looked at closer we often find out it is just a misconstrual of something being taught in the Bible or a misrepresentation of God’s character and person.

What might be an example?  Here is one:

“If God has truly called you then…”

I’ve come up with a saying lately: “There’s too many “if”s in that sentence.  Many times “if” is used appropriately but a lot of times it is not.  Used appropriately it might look like “if you arrive at the theater early you might be able to get a good seat for the movie.”  Used inappropriately I think it a means to condescend someone or manipulate them (though not always).  The example above, I think, applies. Here is it again:

If God has truly called you, then…

In Moraeu et al.’s book Introducing World Missions (Baker, 2004, 2015) they have a section on “misunderstandings about the missionary call” (151-153).  They cover several areas (that I plan to do a blog series about) and one of them is the “If … then” misunderstanding.

My wife Debbie and I are planning to plant a church here in Greenville, North Carolina. When one decides to pursue God’s calling in one’s life, there is going to be resistance. Resistance is often a sign of unbelief.  Some will not believe in your or your pursuit of God. They are going to say things, like “If God has truly called you to plant a church then….” “if God has really called you to (the ministry / mission field, etc you name it), then….”

In reading through Moreaeu, my wife wrote:

There are no “if’s” when God calls. God’s call is no more mysterious than the Spirit’s voice that persists to constantly draw you closer to Christ, day in and day out. It is the dream that you cannot shake, the vision you cannot unsee, the driving force behind all you do. Therefore, the “burden of proof” is not on you, but it is a joint effort of the Spirit’s outworking in your life. Any failure to provide this “proof of concept” is never truly failure, but an outworking of the Spirit building character in you. The only failure you can truly have is a failure NOT to pursue God’s call. If you do not “measure up,” it is not because God did not call you, but perhaps a lack of support, insufficient training, a re-direction, or a tough field. God’s call is more than one moment of time. It is a process in which His Kingdom purposes are always at work.

This is surely something to think about….


QOTD: Gospel of the Kingdom

Wanted to share a great quote here from chapter three of George Eldon Ladd’s little book The Gospel of the Kingdom:

God’s Kingdom means the divine conquest over His enemies, a conquest which is to be accomplished in three stages; and the first victory has already occurred. The power of the Kingdom of God has invaded the realm of Satan—the present evil Age. The activity of this power to deliver men from satanic rule was evidenced in the exorcism of demons. Thereby, Satan was bound; he was cast down from his position of power; his power was “destroyed.” The blessings of the Messianic Age are now available to those who embrace the Kingdom of God. We may already enjoy the blessings resulting from this initial defeat of Satan. Yes, the Kingdom of God has come near, it is already present.

This does not mean that we now enjoy the fulness of God’s blessings, or that all that is meant by the Kingdom of God has come to us. As we said in the previous chapter, the Second Coming of Christ is absolutely essential for the fulfilment and consummation of God’s redemptive work. Yet God has already accomplished the first great stage in His work of redemption. Satan is the god of This Age, yet the power of Satan has been broken that men may know the rule of God in their lives. The evil Age goes on, yet the powers of the Age to Come have been made available to men. To the human eye, the world appears little changed; the kingdom of Satan is unshaken. Yet the Kingdom of God has come among men; and those who receive it will be prepared to enter into the Kingdom of Glory when Christ comes to finish the good work He has already begun. This is the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Intermediate Greek Grammar – Mathewson/Emig (Gupta)

so I guess things really have improved – I too learned intermediate Greek from Wallace (Machen was my ‘baby” Greek) – I need to check this one out. I recently got Rob Plummer’s Going Deeper with Biblical Greek and that one is pretty good too.

Crux Sola


Truth be told, Dan Wallace taught “intermediate Greek” to a generation of students including myself with his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. It was well-organized, and pretty much the only book of its kind. It was a natural follow-up to Mounce.

In 2016, times are different. While many of us cut our teeth in Koine Greek on Mounce and Wallace, Biblical Greek studies has interfaced significantly with the study of linguistics in recent years, and it is time to bring those insights to the classroom.

In comes Dave Mathewson and Elodie Ballantine Emig with Intermediate Greek Grammar: Syntax for Students of the New Testament (Baker, 2016). It is intended to be relatively succinct, clear in presentation, and bring cutting edge discussion of NT Greek to the classroom, especially related to verbal aspect theory and discourse analysis.

I am teaching NT Greek this year for the first time in seven…

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Walter Hollenweger Memoriam

Sad News: Pentecostal Scholar and Historian Walter Hollenweger has died.

W.onderful W.orld of W.adholms

foto_hollenwegerIt is with a heavy heart I announce that the Swiss Pentecostal scholar Walter Hollenweger passed away August 10, 2016. His contributions to Pentecostalism are profound. One finds him footnoted throughout Pentecostal journals, theses/dissertations (including my own) and monographs. His vast publishing contributions fill 47 pages (a complete bibliography up to 2005 can be found HERE)! He was truly a global and ecumenical theologian worthy of emulation.
Hollenweger taught and promoted Pentecostal/charismatic (P/c) studies globally (and ecumenically) as a part of the University of Birmingham beginning in 1971 where he also later founded the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies as a resource and training centre for such interests. His scholastic namesake, the Hollenweger Centre of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, has also provided significant resources and supervision for many research projects and PhD students within P/c studies. While he has specifically contributed to P/c studies within the European…

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Religious Manipulation in the Political Arena

The Prodigal Thought

american flag and bible

I have held my tongue for a very long time in commenting on something I believe is grievous within the evangelical church of America. But today I came across a 5,000+ word article written by evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, and it pushed me over the edge.

The article is entitled, “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice.” Yes, just let that title sit there for a moment.

In it, Grudem lists a plethora (and I mean a plethora!) of reasons why Christians should vote for Donald Trump. More specifically, as the article title asserts, to vote for Trump is the morally good choice.

Hang with me for a moment as I process a couple of things, though not for 5,000+ words!

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Psalm 1

really good post here on Psalm 1!


tree_riverDuring my first week in the pulpit of Mount Hood Christian Center, I preached out of Psalm 1. And in it I shared a bit of vision. There are three points, inspired by the Psalm, that I would like our church to remember and be doing. And they are this:

  1. Delighting in God’s Word– Verse 2 tells us that the blessed person delights in God’s Word. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do see people who are and they caress their cups and sip their drinks with such pleasure. If I can do anything as pastor I would hope to inspire the people of MHCC to approach the Word of God in the same manner. Reading the Bible is not as much of a duty as it is a DELIGHT.
  2. Looking for God’s Grace – We also learned that the blessed person is like a planted tree. And…

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Going Deeper with New Testament Greek: A Review

Great review here by Jacob on the new Greek Grammer Going Deeper with New Testament Greek. Definitely one for the Pastor’s book shelf!


51ZcbZ2h4ML._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_There’s simply no good textbook for third semester Greek. Yes, there are excellent grammars, intermediate grammars, workbooks, and more. Some of the standards, in my opinion, are David Alan Black’sIt’s Still Greek to Me, Daniel Wallace’sGreek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Herbert Bateman’sA Workbook for Intermediate Greek, and several others. Each of these works has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. I own them all. I use them all. I was taught in various Greek courses with them all. And I unequivocally recommend each one of them.

But when I started teaching Greek at my local church, I encountered a host of problems. The first was, “How do I teach Greek in a manner that keeps the class interesting for students that want to reap the benefits of knowing Greek but must plod through the difficult task of learning the language’s grammar?”

I accomplished this…

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