The term nonconformity is a Biblical term derived from the Scripture be not conformed to this world, as found in Romans 12:2. The word conformed comes from the same Greek word that is translated fashioning in I Peter 1:14, where Peter tells Christians not to fashion themselves as they did when they lived in ignorance. This word, as it is used in the Bible, always refers to the outward appearance of a person or object. The fashion pages of the newspapers and catalogs will also verify that it has reference to outward appearance.
There is a tremendous need for warnings against the accumulation of wealth in the affluent society in which we live. During Jesus’ day, wealth and riches were very prevalent as well, although perhaps on a different scale. Jesus was anything but silent on this issue, and we have many foundational teachings regarding affluence. However, because of the effect that riches can have on us, it is quite easy to misinterpret scripture making us feel more comfortable with our accumulation of wealth.
Some questions frequently asked in our day are: Which translation of the Bible should we use? Which translation is best for our churches? Shouldn’t we use a translation of the Bible that people can easily understand? Is it right to read other translations?
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Matt 12:33-35).
What is Covid-19? It is said to be a particularly dangerous strain of Coronavirus, which first appeared in China in November of 2019. It is believed to be a novel virus, never before seen on earth, which means no one is immune to it, and nearly everyone who comes in contact with it will get sick. When a person is infected, they typically have no symptoms for one or two weeks, during which they unknowingly affect others. We are told the infection rate doubles about every six days, which, if true, every person on earth will have had it eight weeks from now.
In our world, today, loneliness is an epidemic. According to recent surveys, nearly half of Americans aged 18 and older report they sometimes or are always feeling alone or left out.1 One in four Americans rarely or never feel as though people understand them. Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel their relationships are not meaningful and that they are isolated from others. And one in five people reports they rarely or never feel close to people or feel like there are people they can talk to.
We are in the upheaval of what many are calling a global pandemic. COVID-19 is claiming lives. Anxiety, dread, and fear are present in the hearts of many. Financial markets are teetering. This global pandemic dominates the news headlines. It comes up in nearly every conversation when we meet neighbors and townsfolk. Schools and church buildings are empty. Many businesses are closed or struggling to survive. Unemployment claims have spiked to new records. Some would say COVID-19 is controlling our lives.
It began for many of us like a rather normal year. There was the usual anticipation of spring and summer. Suddenly it seems our world has become a quandary of unknowns, and a frantic search for facts and reason. We have witnessed flu seasons before and many of us had already had our turn with what seemed like ordinary winter flu, with some even experiencing it in overdrive. But we had recovered and we assumed time would now carry us into the spring and summer normalities of life.
The prophet Isaiah foretold that Jesus’ visage and body would be marred more than that of any man in history (Isaiah 52:14). As an Emergency Medicine medical provider who is Advanced Trauma Life Support certified and who frequently cares for critically injured trauma patients, my mind goes to these words when caring for patients whose faces and bodies have been bruised and battered by trauma. What did Jesus endure from a medical perspective in His Passion for you and me?
From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. So begins Matthew’s account of Jesus’ public ministry.
“We believe and confess that, since the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, and therefore prone to all unrighteousness, sin, and wickedness, the first lesson of the precious New Testament of the Son of God is repentance and reformation of life.” So begins Article 6 of the Dordrecht Confession.