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Series: New Testament Eschatology

From time to time, I hear a lot about the early church’s understanding of the “end of the world” or their belief that the “Second Coming of Jesus” would take place within their generation. And it’s usually not in a very good light. “They were obviously mistaken,” is often the remark I hear most. I know it’s hard to imagine but what if we’re mistaken? What if we’ve misunderstood what they meant? I’m hoping that this series on some of the major statements from the New Testament about the “end of the world” will show that they weren’t mistaken in their understanding of the “signs of the times.” Before we begin, however, let’s look at some terms that will have to be used. As most of you know, I try to refrain from using big “church” words. My reason for this is because those words are like suitcases where ideas and thoughts and understandings are packed into them. To explain the words would mean a long time spent unpacking the suitcases and explaining their contents. While such a pil

Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

  1 John 4.7-21 (TIB; adapted): [1] Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God. 8 Those who don’t love have known nothing of God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed in [us] this way: by sending the Only Begotten into the world, so that we [live] through the Anointed One. 10 Love, then, consists in this: not that we have loved God, but that God has loved us and has sent the Only Begotten to be an offering for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God has loved us so, we must have the same love for one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another, God dwells in us, and God’s love is brought to perfection in us. 13 The way we know that we remain in God and God in us is that we’ve been given the Spirit. 14 We’ve seen for ourselves and can testify that God has sent the Only Begotten as Savior of the world. 15 When any acknowledge that Jesus is the Only Begotten, God dwells in them and they in God. 16

“What About the Branches?”

Recently, my friend Jim and I were on Rick Fry’s podcast, Inside the Man Box . The topic was the diversity within the Christian family that stretches from annihilation on one end and universalism on the other. Jim and I are on the end of Universal Redemption (universalism). During the conversation, Rick asked, “What about the branches?” While we addressed that briefly, I don’t feel we did it any justice. So I’d like to flesh out my thoughts here. There are a couple of places in the New Testament that refer to branches — John 15 and Romans 11 . We’ll address John first, which is the passage I believe Rick was meaning. In John 15, Jesus said —  “I’m the true vine, and my Abba is the vine grower 2 who cuts off every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, but prunes the fruitful ones to increase their yield. 3 You’ve been pruned already, thanks to the word that I’ve spoken to you. 4 Live on in me, as I do in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, neither can

Third Sunday in Lent (Year B)

  John 2.13-22 (CEB): [1] It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 He found in the temple those who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as those involved in exchanging currency sitting there. 15 He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep. He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency. 16 He said to the dove sellers, “Get these things out of here! Don’t make Abba’s house a place of business.” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written, Passion for your house consumes me. 18 Then the Jewish leaders asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? What miraculous sign will you show us?” 19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.” 20 The Jewish leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?” 21 But the temple Jesus was talking about was his body. 22