Need to Know

Blog Posts

Devilish devices

Every now and again, a biblical phrase is lifted out of context to teach things that the writer never intended. Despite President Lincoln’s bold claims, Jesus’ words about a house divided had nothing to do with the American Civil War. Biblical phrases like, “I…

Angels with flats

Have you ever wondered about the verse that suggests a stranger might be an angel in disguise? Or, at least, the verse that is sometimes interpreted that way? I am speaking of Hebrews 13:2: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby…

Final judgement: Real, certain, irreversible

You may be unaware, but if you’re reading this, you survive the apocalypse. Again. American numerologist, David Meade, recently predicted that the rapture would take place on 23 April 2018. It was a complex prediction, involving Bible codes, astrological constellations, and newspaper exegesis. On…

I’d be less

I recently read the autobiography of Andre Agassi, an American tennis player whose profession career spanned twenty years (1986–2006) and whose unorthodox apparel and attitude is widely credited with helping to revive the popularity of the sport by which he made his living. Agassi’s…

Here I stand

I recently listened to a recorded conversation between Christian author and speaker Skye Jethani and American journalist Jonathan Merritt. During an interview with Eugene Peterson last year, Merritt asked Peterson, a member of the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA), if he would consent to conducting…

As he is

An illustration in a 1916 edition of The Washington Post portrayed a group of Roman diners at a table with a large bowl beside each. The caption read, “The disgusting Roman custom known as the ‘vomitorium.’ After the banquet was over bowls were brought…

Reviews

Review: Fight!

I was first introduced to Preston Sprinkle through his book Charis, which tackles the enormity of God’s grace toward his people. Since then, I have come to respect Dr. Sprinkle. I have found him to be a theologian who really challenges my thinking. Even…

Review: Praying Together

“What is the best book on ____________?” I see and hear that question asked all the time. You fill in the blank: spiritual warfare, baptism, the local church, preaching, etc. It’s a question, of course, that invites highly subjective answers. Where I might recommend…

Hymn Stories

Hymnody: “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”

James Milton Black (1856–1938) was an American hymnist, youth leader and Sunday school teacher. It is said that Black had a great passion for reaching children with the gospel. One day, while on his way to a meeting, Black cut through an alleyway in…

Hymnody: “This is My Father’s World”

“He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD” (Psalm 33:5). Maltbie Davenport Babcock was an American Presbyterian clergyman and hymn writer in the 19th century. He was born on 3 August 1858 and died on 18…

Hymnody: “Day by Day”

Lina Sandell (1832–1903) was a Swedish hymnist and the daughter of Lutheran minister, Jonas Sandell. She greatly loved her father, and since she was a frail child, she frequently spent a great deal of time with him in his study rather than outside with…