Category Archives: Further In and Higher Up

Be Forgiven, You Vanquished, Conquered Warrior

by Layton Friesen

What exactly is God’s problem with us?

When you look at our cure, you have to conclude we have a major sickness. In the story of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21–35), the King, representing God, forgives the servant 10,000 talents of debt. A day-labourer, I am told, might pay that in 20 years, if he spent money on nothing else. Jesus is using exaggerated figures to make a point: God has given you a mind-blowing forgiveness, now go and forgive your fellow servant likewise. Continue reading Be Forgiven, You Vanquished, Conquered Warrior

The Limits of Bible Background

by Layton Friesen

A Bible study leader will often say “in order to understand this verse I need to tell you about the background to this passage.” The leader then describes pagan religion in Ephesus, or farming practices in Palestine, or shame and honour in the Roman empire, and everyone comes to a better understanding of the passage. This is important. If I am reading the apostle John as if he were some white guy sitting in a cubicle in Saskatoon, I am going to seriously misunderstand his gospel. Continue reading The Limits of Bible Background

A Cornered Cat or Hungry for Honey?

by Layton Friesen

Christians have a complicated relationship with the law of Moses.
As far as we can tell, Jesus and Paul kept Moses’ law faithfully all their lives. For them this was part of how they lived their Christian lives. But in passages like 1 Cor. 15:56 and Rom. 7:5 the law is described as arousing sinfulness, goading it in almost demonic fashion. Continue reading A Cornered Cat or Hungry for Honey?

Layton Friesen: Without the Church, You’re on Your Own

by Layton Friesen

Do I need to be a member of the church in order to be a disciple of Jesus? Can I be saved if I am not a part of the church? By church I don’t mean some invisible, “spiritual” church, but the real live congregation of believers that meets in Jesus’ name down the street. Continue reading Layton Friesen: Without the Church, You’re on Your Own