The story is told of a Christian missionary who traveled deep into the heart of a distant land where the gospel message had never been shared. The missionary labored for years learning the language and adapting to the culture.
At long last, he was able to clearly communicate the story of Jesus. Many of the once animistic people eagerly became Christians.
But not their chief. He listened intently and weighed the missionary’s every word. Finally, he asked, “Would I go to this place called hell if I never heard about Jesus?”
“Well, no,” the missionary replied.
“Then why,” said the chief, “did you come?”
The story illustrates an issue that has perplexed us for centuries. If faith comes by hearing, as the apostle Paul makes clear (Rom. 10:17), then what about those who have never heard of Jesus?
The epistle of Jude may be one of the most neglected New Testament books. Bible readers are tempted — in part by its brevity and in part by its similarity to 2 Peter 2 — to skip over Jude on the way to Revelation, or to give this short epistle little more than a glance.
That’s unfortunate, because Jude speaks volumes about the value of Christian apologetics. The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith, is more than a verse-by-verse study. Each chapter explores key words and phrases, and poses thought-provoking questions that make this a handy resource for personal or group study.
Last, you might want to check out the short video below.
One of my favorite scenes in the Mad Max trilogy, starring Mel Gibson, comes when Max squares off against a brutal, masked bodyguard named Blaster in Thunderdome, a caged orb in which the only rule is: “Two men enter … one man leaves.” A fight to the death. Pass the popcorn.
Sometimes I think Christians favor the Thunderdome approach for determining proper interpretation of difficult Bible passages or theological issues. Let’s pit Calvinists against Arminians, young earthers against old earthers, and premillennialists against amillennialists. Toss them into Thunderdome. Two men enter … one man leaves.
But consider what happens when two Christians holding seemingly conflicting views actually have a great deal in common.
A case in point: Paul and James on the subject of faith and works.
Christians are in the crosshairs of today’s culture, which celebrates sexual freedom and accuses those who stand on biblical convictions of engaging in a new brand of McCarthyism.
We should not despair, however. This is a God-ordained opportunity for followers of Jesus to love our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning friends, and for the church to minister to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.
What Every Christian Should Know About Same-sex Attraction offers a brief overview of the Bible’s clear teachings on homosexuality, and how Christians can express Christ-like love for our LGBTQ friends.
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom.
2 Five of them were foolish and five were sensible.
3 When the foolish took their lamps, they didn’t take oil with them.
4 But the sensible ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps.
5 Since the groom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 In the middle of the night there was a shout: ‘Here’s the groom! Come out to meet him.’
7 Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
8 But the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’
9 The sensible ones answered, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell, and buy oil for yourselves.’
10 When they had gone to buy some, the groom arrived. Then those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.
11 Later the rest of the virgins also came and said, ‘Master, master, open up for us!’
12 But he replied, ‘I assure you: I do not know you!’
13 Therefore be alert, because you don’t know either the day or the hour.”
Jesus is on the Mount of Olives with his disciples, responding to their questions about the future destruction of the Temple and the end of the age. Just before this, in Matthew 23, Jesus pronounces woes on the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy. Then, leaving the Temple and crossing over the Kidron Valley, He tells His disciples that the Temple, a glistening monument to Jewish nationalism (but a stale house of worship where He was rejected as Messiah), would soon be demolished. Shocked by this prediction, His disciples ask him in Matt. 24:3, “When will these things happen (the destruction of the Temple)? And what is the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus responds in the rest of Matthew 24-25 in what is known as the Olivet Discourse. The parable of the 10 virgins comes in the middle of this message.