Have you ever read through the Old Testament laws in places like Leviticus and Deuteronomy and thought, “Do I really have to do all this? What happens if I break one of these commands? Or, more likely, what happens when I break nearly all of them?” There are over 600 Old Testament laws, many of which seem outdated, even silly, to modern people. For example, Leviticus 19:19 says plainly, “Do not wear clothing woven of two different kinds of material.” Does this mean that it’s a sin to wear a cotton/poly blend tee? Or, perhaps more disturbing to people like me who love shrimp, Leviticus 11:12 says, “Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.” What role do these Old Testament laws play in our Christian faith today?

One common way of answering this question is to divide the Old Testament laws into categories. There are moral laws, ritual laws, or civil laws. When we break it up this way, it’s easy to deduce that only the moral laws are still binding. But what would Moses think of this categorization? Is it faithful to the original text to place these commands into distinct categories? I don’t believe that it is.


When God has set a law in place, only God can revise or revoke it.
The better way to answer the question of the relevance of Old Testament laws is by applying this principle: Revisions to the binding nature of Old Testament laws must be made through revelation. Revelation guides revision. When God has set a law in place, only God can revise or revoke it. Just as the original law was issued through an act of divine revelation, so the repeal of that law must be a similar act of divine revelation. In other words, it’s not up to us to decide what does and does not still apply; it’s up to God.

So, then, what has God said about Old Testament laws? Quite a lot, actually.

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A professor at Wheaton has recently caused a stir by remarking that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Although this professor is not in the Theology department, her statement has landed her on administrative leave. Many have chimed in with their thoughts on what Wheaton, an evangelical Christian university, should or should not do in this case. Thankfully, I am not an administrator at Wheaton (or any college…or in any capacity, for that matter) so I do not know what is appropriate in this matter. However, I would like to write a few words on the question at hand: Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?


Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?
Miroslav Volf, a theologian whom I respect and admire, has written a book called Allah: A Christian Response. I have not read his book, so I will not comment on its content. Scot McKnight, however, has read the book and interacted with it over several posts on his website, one of which can be found here. McKnight summarizes Volf’s assertions this way:

Christians and Muslims agree on six significant theological statements:

1. There is only one God.
2. God is creator.
3. God is radically different.
4. God is good.
5. God commands we love God.
6. God commands we love others.

When Christians and Muslims agree on the above six claims about God, then in their worship of God they refer to the same object” (110-111)

To be sure, these are significant similarities. But are they enough to qualify as being “the same”? (Volf does not take the word same to mean “identical,” but rather to mean “sufficiently similar.”) Does agreement upon these six theological points create sufficiently similar worship between Christians and Muslims?

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Naming a church is an odd process. It’s both extremely important and not important at all at the same time. Does it really matter what the church is called? Yes, it does. But, seriously, does it? Well, no.

When I planted Ember Church, I had the name picked out years before we actually even started taking the planting process seriously. The name was tied to the idea, even defining it. I could not have planted a church by any other name. But Ember’s time has passed, and now God has a new church for me to have a hand in leading. And that church has a name, too.

Hope Church.*

Christianity speaks to each of the core longings of human beings: the need to be known, the need to be loved, the need to belong, the need to be forgiven, and the need to have a hope that transcends death. The hope we have as Christians is unique in this world because it is not of this world, though it is for this world. Our hope is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that hope not only rescues us from the fear of death, but gives us confidence to live each day with faith and love.

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One of the most incredible passages of Scripture, and one to which I return often, is Revelation 21. It is the story of the consummation of redemption history, of the bride of Christ descending from heaven – walking down the aisle, as it were – for her marriage to the “Lamb who was slain.” The imagery is rich and profound, bursting with anticipation of the new creation, of the world made right, and of the end of the tyrannical reign of sin and death.

In verse 6, the unseen God shouts from his glorious throne, “Behold! I am making all things new!” A proclamation. A promise. God is making all things new. The mountains and rivers will be made new. Not different mountains and rivers; the same, but renewed. Purified. Cleansed.

The same is true for us. There will not be different people; there will be the same people, but we will be renewed, purified, cleansed, redeemed, comforted. This is what awaits us in Christ. But you don’t have to wait for it to happen all at once in heaven. This is what God is up to right now. God is making a new you, and he is doing it through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit today.

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As you can see, I’m working on an overhaul of my website. There is still a lot of work to do, but I am going to go public with it anyway. There was one snafu that occurred during the update process, and that was the unintended emails that went out to website subscribers. If you got those emails, I apologize. I hate to fill up your inbox like that, and I believe that I have taken the appropriate steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

If you have any feedback or questions about the new site, please feel free to send me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for visiting, and I look forward to providing many new posts in the future.

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