IMPORTANT NOTE: No services this Sunday January 20 due to the storm.

Deeper Study Blog

by Doug Becker, Pastor of Theology
Is It Wrong for Christians to Celebrate Christmas?
December 25th, 2019
Most Christian churches, Emergence included, celebrate Christmas. We decorate, we sing songs, and we have special services. We gather in our homes with our loved ones to feast and to give gifts. And we walk around wishing one another a merry Christmas.But are we right to do all this? Is it healthy for us, as disciples of Jesus, to give this holiday such an important place on our calendars, and to ...
Shepherds Did You Know?
December 17th, 2019
by Donna Aust Being creatures of habit and expectancy, we often take for granted the presuppositions we hold to be true. We can overlook seemingly insignificant details in current events or characters in our favorite TV miniseries. And we might disregard obscure details surrounding familiar Bible stories we’ve learned growing up. When we bring into focus those details we have routinely dismissed, ...
What Is True Greatness?
December 3rd, 2019
by Donna Aust[20] Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. [21] “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”[22] “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they...
Children in the Kingdom of God
November 14th, 2019
Donna AustThis week in our journey through Matthew, Jesus will once again put forth children as examples for his followers, preparing us for his exchange with a rich man who is unable to enter into the kingdom of God because of his wealth (Matt 19:13–30). This story also appears in Mark’s Gospel. In this article, Donna Aust examines Mark’s telling of Jesus’ encounter with these children, in order ...
Love Wins Book Review
August 3rd, 2019
Book ReviewLove Wins, by Rob BellLove Wins is a book by the popular Christian author Rob Bell, former senior pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[1] Published in 2011, the book was released to considerable fanfare, partly because Bell was already known as one of the most influential and controversial figures in American Christianity, and partly because of an attention-grabbi...
Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?
July 7th, 2019
Our opinions and practices should come from a thoughtful engagement with Scripture on this topic, rather than a desire to justify a particular lifestyle or adherence to certain church traditions....
What Is Faith?
January 4th, 2019
This week, we will begin studying Hebrews 11 in our community groups. This is a chapter that is all about faith, which is literally at the center of all we do and think as Christians. As we read in verse 6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” And yet, many Christians are in the dark about what faith actually is. I would like to offer the following brief comments to put us on the right ...
Hebrews Intro Part 2
January 4th, 2019
A Summary of Hebrews 1–10In last week’s sermon, Ryan announced that I would be writing a “summary” of Hebrews. While I have chosen to retain the label of summary (since that’s what I told him I planned on doing!), I am well aware that a summary is supposed to be shorter than the work it purports to summarize ;-)[1] However, I have found it necessary to be more detailed than I originally intended i...
Hebrews Intro Part 1
January 4th, 2019
Authorship, Recipients, and Why Hebrews MattersIn our next community group season, we will be studying Hebrews 11 together as a church. This is probably the most well-known chapter in the entire book of Hebrews. In it, we are reminded of many men and women from the Old Testament who demonstrated the kind of faith that we are called to have. There is great comfort and power in knowing that others h...
The Formation of the New Testament
January 4th, 2019
Why these twenty-seven books? As a pastor, this is a question that I get quite often. If we regard the New Testament is the "final authority in faith and life," we should have good reasons for doing so. In this essay, I lay out the basis for our understanding of why these books, and these books only, belong in the collection we call the "Word of God."A Brief Word On CouncilsBefore we begin, I need...
The Historical Reality of the Elijah and Elisha Narratives
January 4th, 2019
Over the next few months, we will be learning about the ways in which God used the prophets Elijah and Elisha to call the northern kingdom of Israel to repentance. Together, their ministries spanned approximately seventy-five years, covering the reigns of five Israelite kings (Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, and Jehoahaz).[1]Here I will call to light several different points in which archaeological ...
Does the Bible Condone Slavery?
January 4th, 2019
Does the Bible condone slavery? Eventually, every thinking Christian must confront this question. For one thing, if you read your Bible on a regular basis, it is only a matter of time before you will run into passages that speak quite frankly of it, such as the laws in Exodus that govern slave-master relationships. The New Testament too has passages such as Ephesians 6:5: “Bondservants, obey your ...
Was the Resurrection of Jesus a Repackaged Pagan Myth?
April 2nd, 2018
The purpose of this brief essay is to confront the idea that the New Testament concept of the death and resurrection of Jesus was somehow borrowed or influenced by pagan religious traditions. The attempt to account for the origins of Christian beliefs in this way is often called Jesus mythicism, and is commonly found in popular-level conspiracy theories such as those put forward in the 2007 film Z...