Category Archives: The Gospel

A Call to Ministry

Many fine Christians believe in a call to ministry.  I have often been asked whether I am called to ministry myself.  What does the Bible say about such a call?

I wonder if the idea of a call comes from the call of prophets in the Old Testament.  Isaiah and Jeremiah were called to be prophets; Saul and David were called to be kings.  However if this is where the idea comes from it would be on very shaky ground!  We must read the Old Testament as fulfilled in Christ (Luke 24:44-46).  The kings and prophets are types of Christ, not us.  We are not kings and prophets; we are like the normal Israelites.  We need to move from the Old Testament to us in application by a two stage process, not a one stage process.  A one stage process jumps from the Old Testament straight to us in application, bypassing Jesus and the gospel.  Many errors result from such a reading of the Bible.  A two stage process moves from the Old Testament to its fulfilment in Jesus, and only then to us.  I do not believe that the call of kings and prophets in the Old Testament applies to us.  These calls apply to Jesus (and perhaps the apostles).

Broughton Knox says: “It is better to speak of “being sent” than of “being called” when speaking of the Christian ministry. “Calling” is a status concept, and in the New Testament refers to being called to be a Christian, called into God’s presence. Then God send us out, he sends us as labourers into his harvest…”[1]

In the New Testament we are called to be holy (1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9); we are called into fellowship with Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:9).  In short, all Christians are called: called out of darkness into light, called to salvation (1 Peter 2:9).  There is no verse that I am aware of that speaks of being called to be a minister.

Why is this important?  It is a good idea to use Biblical words in a Biblical way.  We should not use Biblical words in an un-Biblical way, however much it may be accepted in our own Christian circles.

My hope is that all of us who are Christian will serve Christ in holiness all the time.  Some of us may leave secular work and serve in church or on the mission field full time.  But we are all called to serve Christ in holiness all the time.  If you are a Christian, then you are called to ministry!  You might keep your day job, or you might leave it.  But either way, you are called to be a Jesus-person all day every day.

[1] [D. Broughton Knox Selected Works (ed. T. Payne; volume 1; Kingsford, NSW: Matthiasmedia, 2000), 351.]


Hanukah and Christmas

As a Jewish Christian, I celebrate Hanukah and Christmas.

Hanukah occurs in December (Dec 20 this year).  I think that Hanukah has become a modern Jewish substitute for Christmas (presents are given).  Originally this festival celebrates the Maccabees’ defeat of the Greeks in 165 BC. The Greeks had stopped the sacrifices at the Temple.  They were oppressing God’s people and trying to bring an end to God’s one true religion.  But the Maccabees trusted in God and defeated their enemies.  It was just like the time of the Judges and other Old Testament events when God defeated the enemies of his people.

After 100 years or so of independence the Jews were then dominated by the Romans.  During this time Jesus came and died for his people’s sins.  Later, the Jews were defeated by the Romans in 70 AD, and the Temple was destroyed.  The Zealots had seen themselves as modern-day Maccabees.  If they trusted in God, God would defeat the Romans, they thought, and save his people.  But having rejected their Messiah, they were not trusting in God, and they were defeated. Continue reading

The Reason for the Season – Advent

You may not have realised, but we are in a season called Advent. When we reach December (or is it October?) we start to think of Christmas. We are all too hasty, though. It is not yet time for that! Advent is a season of expectant waiting. And wait we should.

You see, before Jesus was born, Israel had been waiting for centuries for their promised deliverer. From the beginning of the story of God and his people (found in the Bible), God had promised a deliverer – a Messiah. See Genesis 3:15. Continue reading

Justified by the Resurrection

According to Romans 4:25 Jesus was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. But aren’t we justified by Jesus’ death? In what way can Jesus’ resurrection be said to justify us?

The resurrection is a doctrine that has had too little attention among us Evangelicals. We rightly focus on Jesus’ death as the central doctrine of our faith. Jesus has died on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins, which will save us from the wrath to come. Jesus also rose from the dead – true. But would the logic of the gospel be disturbed if I left out the resurrection? The problem is sin; the solution is Jesus’ death on the cross. Would it matter if I left the resurrection out of my Christian thinking and evangelism? Continue reading