Author Archives: Kenneth Berding

A Lesson in Church History: What Pliny the Younger Learned When He Interrogated Christians

Lesson in Church History: The Younger Pliny Reproved, colorized copperplate print by Thomas Burke (1749–1815)Here’s a quick idea for a lesson in church history: For many years I have been curious about a Roman governor known to us from history as Pliny the Younger. My interest initially arose because I resided for four years in one of the principal cities he governed—not to mention that one of my four daughters was born in that city. Moreover, since I have expended significant effort studying the writings of the earliest Christian authors after the period of the apostles (those authors known as the “Apostolic Fathers”), I continue to be intensely interested in learning anything I possibly can about the lives of Christians who lived during the first half of the second century.

What if someone like Pliny had come in contact with Christians? What if a Roman governor had wanted to know what Christians believed and how they lived? Read more

Walking in the Spirit

Editor’s Note: With winter thawing, today’s post, Walking in the Spirit, comes from our contributor, Ken Berding, who teaches at Biola University, and writes for the Good Book Blog. Read this, originally posted September 19, 2016, on their site. This post is an excerpt from Dr. Berding’s book, Walking in the Spirit (Crossway, 2011), which you can buy on Amazon.

Ice cream cone held against the horizon

As you daily walk in the Holy Spirit, God will fill you with his Spirit in such a way that your desires to sin lessen. Galatians 5:16—set in a chapter that parallels Romans 8 in many ways—says it so well: “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” The one who walks in the Spirit will not give in to the desires of the flesh. Walking in the Spirit and carrying out the desires of the flesh are mutually exclusive ideas; you cannot do one at the same time as you engage in the other. Read more

5 Things Paul’s Comments on the Law Teach Us About Parenting

paul_blogPaul’s discussion of the Old Testament law in Romans and Galatians connects well with a practical life concern: How do we effectively parent our children? In particular, one question parents regularly face has to do with what part rules play in raising children. Since Paul actually uses the raising of children as an analogy to explain the role of the law (Galatians 3:24-26; 4:1-7; Romans 8:14-17), perhaps we should turn the analogy on its head and ask if there is anything we can learn about raising children from Paul’s teaching about the law.

What can we learn about raising children from Paul’s teaching about the law? Five things: Read more

This Was the Year the Adults Gave Up

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Columnist Joel Stein in the December 21 issue of TIME (p. 174) labeled 2015 as “The Year the Adults Gave Up.”

Stein writes:  “All kids know the one, immutable truth that is the source of all their power:  Adults give up.  They’re lazy.  That’s why they still have cable and landlines, and why their kids ultimately get all the ice cream, iPad games and Smosh videos they want.  So it’s no surprise that after years of enduring all that sexting, app-ing and startup-ing, 2015 was the Year the Adults Gave Up.  Even the most responsible workers in journalism, copy editors, just let me capitalize four words for no reason.”

Joel Stein has a way with words, and his article is provocative.  But is he correct in his assertion that parents en masse are giving up?  Read more