"Simon the Magician" tried to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit from Peter. His name consequently has not been remembered for any great deeds, but for the payment of money for church office ('simony'). But is that all there is to the story? Hardly. Don't look away now or you'll miss what's behind the "magic."
We have rituals, habits, tricks, routines, formulas, and all sorts of other means to influence a situation. That’s because we feel out of control, and we’re desperate to have some semblance of mastery over our circumstances.
How do you go about resolving the tension between, on the one hand, having a “dialogue” approach to evangelism and viewing it as a process, and, on the other hand, wanting to get the whole gospel into the conversation?
When it comes to describing “the theology of the Old Testament,” not everyone is convinced that there is a single theology represented in these diverse books. It's more fruitful to understand the Old Testament as a whole in terms of an unfolding story, with five basic components.
I always felt that I was living my life according to God’s plan. I built dreams and created expectations, assuming that they would be fulfilled if I made the right choices. But then I woke up to a reality that didn’t match my hopes.
Everyone who believes in Christ has a special calling to a particular sphere of obedience and ministry. Jeremiah was not just set apart for salvation, he was set apart for vocation. God had work for him to do.
It’s one thing to be a scandal for the Gospel—the Gospel of Jesus Christ is scandalous to the world. Paul felt that, and I am proud to own that, too (1 Cor. 1:18-25). But blood moons as signs of the prophecy clock ticking is a scandal in the wrong direction.