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Defining Missions Theocentrically

The late professor Samuel Volbeda taught a course entitled the Biblical Doctrine of Missions at Calvin Seminary before the school had a missions department or a full time professor of missions. The heart of Volbeda’s course was his theocentric definition of missions, Everything else he taught sprang from this definition.* With its heavy English and one-sentence, […]

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Taking Satan Seriously

There is a growing interest in the subject of satanism and demonology throughout Western society. This can be easily confirmed by checking on the books in the average bookstore. In part the interest in Satan is connected with the New Age movement with its teaching about channeling and other occult practices. This interest is seen […]

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Confronting the Roaring Lion

We observed last month that during most of the 20th century the existence of Satan and demons was not taken seriously. Liberals regarded the subject as mythological; and conservatives, while not removing Satan and demons from among their official beliefs, did not do much with the whole idea. But recently the situation has changed and […]

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How Should Missionaries Be Supported?

Every overseas mission agency I know, denominational or non-denominational, is finding it harder to raise missionary support. Part of this is due to the recession. The recession provoked a crisis that all churches and mission organizations now feel. Besides the recession, other factors make missionary support more difficult. People who traditionally supported missions are getting […]

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The Religion of Gravestones

The contrast between pagan and Christian views of life and death becomes immediately clear and dramatic when you examine ancient gravestones. Archeologists investigating ancient Roman cemeteries regularly unearthed pagan graves bearing an inscription they did not at first understand. The inscriptions consisted of seven letters, NFFNSNC. Investigations uncovered the meaning of the seven mysterious letters. They […]

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A Lifestyle for Others

One of the most awkward moments my wife and I experienced as missionaries occurred in Sri Lanka when our baggage arrived from America. A dock workers’ strike had prevented our things from arriving for nearly four months, and it meant that we had to furnish our house and get along entirely with local items. In […]

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In Defense of Intolerance

A mother approached me after a morning service and thanked me for saying in my sermon that Jesus is the only Mediator in whose name we should pray. This confirmed in her mind a decision she had made the previous week. She related to me the following incident. She had gone to a certain pre-school […]

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There Are No Fish!

For about a year I attended a church that had very little outreach to the people of its neighborhood. The members were generally skeptical about evangelism. Their reasoning ran like this: “Around here, some people already have a church, so it’s no use talking to them. For the rest, they’re not interested in church. You […]

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Are Some Fish Too Small?

There was once a young boy who lived near a lake, and the boy loved to fish. He would sit for hours with his cane pole and a can of worms. He often caught quite a few fish—perch and sunfish—and almost all the fish were small. He would take the fish home for his family […]

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Always Keep a Fishing Rod Handy

One thing that I learned from my fisherman grandfather was that a serious fisherman always keeps a rod handy. You never know when you’ll have a chance to fish and you don’t want to be unprepared. I remember well the rod and baits that Grandpa kept in the trunk of his car. In the course […]

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