The Christian Studies Blog


A Minister’s Sin: Treading the Path toward Redemption

Posted by Matt Porter on September 7, 2017 at 9:30 AM


In the life of the church we become well-acquainted with sin (How is that for an encouraging way to start this post?). This is especially true for church leaders and ministers.

For the sinner, we encourage confession and repentance, and for the church, a path toward redemption and reconciliation by way of forgiveness – all of which we see enacted through the practice of baptism. Oftentimes, for the “outsider sinner,” the non-Christian who comes to begin this journey, the church is quick to joyfully accept their confession and welcome them into the body (Daniel Napier and Todd Hall both note the “rush to the water” in their Christian Studies articles HERE and HERE). Though there is typically some disappointment from the congregation when a fellow church member confesses, initial disappointment quickly fades into the same joyful acceptance of this “member sinner.”

When church leaders and ministers confess to sin (especially when the wrongdoing is on our list of “greater sins”), the church’s response has not always been as merciful. 

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Topics: How To, Relationships, Scripture Passage

Christian Encounters with other Cultures & Faiths

Posted by Dr. Kevin Moore on August 2, 2017 at 9:30 AM

What does it mean for Christians to encounter adherents of other religious traditions? Living in an ambulatory, pluralistic world such intersections are inevitable. While these encounters were less frequent in the past due to more limited mobility, this is no longer true. We can circumnavigate the globe quickly and with relative ease via commercial air carriers. In addition, social media has created the possibility of communicating with the vast majority of people on the planet. Given this reality, it is vital for Christians who serve or intend to serve in ministry—along with any others who have the slightest evangelistic bent—to prepare themselves for such conversations. This course, Christian Encounters with Other Cultures, attempts to address this opportunity brought to our doorstep.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Evangelism, How To, Ministry Opportunities, Relationships

How To Become A Person With Soul In The Game

Posted by Greg Neill on June 20, 2017 at 9:30 AM

In his provocative book, Antifragile, Things That Gain From Disorder, Nassim Taleb describes three types of people in society (p. 376-377). 

There are those who are described as having “no skin in the game.” According to Taleb, these are those who seek to benefit from others, regardless of the harm that might be caused. 

A second type of person is described as having “skin in the game.”  Those with skin in the game assume their own risks and neither benefit from nor harm others. 

A third type of person in society is described as having “soul in the game.”  These people are willing to take risks on behalf of others.  Those with “soul in the game” are committed to an idea and translate this commitment into actions, especially for the sake of others. 

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Topics: Evangelism, How To, Relationships

Helping Veterans on the Road to Healing

Posted by Dr. Jeremy Stirm on May 25, 2017 at 9:30 AM

At the risk of oversimplifying, Christians have at their disposal at least three ethical views concerning the use of force, namely, pacifism, Christian realism, and the just war tradition.  To be sure each of these views has various shades.  There are pacifists with just war sympathies, just warriors with realist tendencies, etc.  The issues surrounding the ethical use of force, or if the use of force is even ethical at all, are both highly nuanced and very important.  The debates between the various proponents of these views in academia have become rather complex and, at times, nasty.  One simply needs to do a search for articles on the just war tradition or the ethical use of force in such periodicals as First Things to see that the literature is voluminous and, in places, garish.  I think some of this boorish behavior needs to change and the energy required to sustain it needs refocusing.

I do not fault individuals for being passionate about their positions concerning the use of force.  I rather encourage it.  To be blunt, we are talking about the taking of human life after all, not an inconsequential debate, to say the least.  To be sure, there is value in pacifists attempting to keep Christian realists and just warriors honest and that pacifists be made to explain their position on various levels.  However, there does seem to be a bit of an impasse in the discussions.

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Topics: Ministry Opportunities, How To, Politics

Got Milk? Finding Words to Nourish a Seeker

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on May 23, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Where does one begin in sharing the faith with a seeker? We’ve all asked the question. Perhaps it flashed through your mind as you sat across a coffee table from a friend. He unexpectedly expressed curiosity about our devotion. “Where do I start? What should I say?” It’s an important question.

Fortunately, we don’t have to make up our own answer. There is biblical guidance. Early Jesus-followers employed a particularly telling metaphor complex to name the first instruction offered to seekers. Multiple authors of the New Testament (Paul, Hebrews, Peter) use the teaching as milk metaphor. In this post I unpack it in search of wisdom for addressing seekers.

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Topics: How To, Scripture Passage, Evangelism

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