Articles by Bill Smith

  • The Church at the Center

    Toward the end of the Revelation, John sees a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. The old created order in Adam has passed away, and the new order under the lordship of Jesus has been established. Within this new creation John also sees “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out […]

  • Unequal Holiness

    In 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 Paul deals with how the Corinthian Christians are supposed to be relating to unbelieving spouses. He essentially tells them, “Look, if your unbelieving spouse is willing to stay with you as a faithful Christian, don’t initiate a divorce. If he/she wants to leave you, let him/her go. The believer is not […]

  • Worship as Ordination

    Anyone who has read his Bible straight through has done it. Admit it. When you get to those parts in Exodus that deal with the instructions for and construction of the Tabernacle, your eyes glaze over and your mind begins to wander. Measurements, lists of materials, meticulous details about clothes and tent pegs are not […]

  • The Politics of Justification

    The doctrine of justification is precious among Protestants. And it should be. The fact that God has declared our sins forgiven and that we have a righteous standing in the sight of God united to Christ is comforting and brings great joy. Unfortunately, the biblical teaching on justification is, many times, truncated. We have tended […]

  • In the Flesh: Then and Now

    The interpretation of Romans 7:7-25 is notoriously difficult. Good scholars disagree on many aspects of the passage, but the central interpretative difficulty concerns the identity of the “I.” Is Paul referring to himself? Is Paul referring to himself pre- or post-conversion? Does the “I” refer to Adam? Is the “I” representative of Israel with Paul […]

  • Grace Reigns In Death

    The evidence of sin and its death ruling in the world is clear. Paul describes the situation vividly in the opening section of his letter to the Romans. No matter who you are, Jew or Gentile, you have the same problem: you are “under sin” (Romans 3:9). Being under sin means that you live in […]

  • Learning to Laugh

    Humor is a funny thing. It is altogether familiar yet also mysterious. What makes us laugh? Why do we find things funny? There are academic fields of study dedicated to discovering what makes things humorous. These academicians even have a journal entitled International Journal of Humor Research. No joke. Just thinking of a room full […]

  • Cruciform Pastoral Care

    First Corinthians is not considered one of the Pastoral Epistles, but there is much to learn from Paul about pastoring a congregation by the way he writes to the Corinthians. Briefly, 1 Corinthians is an exposition of the cross and resurrection. In the first fourteen chapters, Paul gives an exposition of the cross. It may […]

  • Appreciating the Camera Work in Pornography

    If you are looking to start a fight with Christians, there is hardly a better subject to do so than the arts. Music, movies, paintings, and literature have provided no small battlegrounds for Christians to war. We are emotionally invested in the arts. A song, a book, or a film has affected us, marking a […]

  • What the Corinthians Did Right

    Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is one of those epistles in Scripture to which pastors and teachers resort to show the church everything that it shouldn’t be. There is, of course, good reason for this. The Corinthian church was filled with all sorts of problems. Personality cults (i.e., factions), sexual immorality (both in illicit use […]

  • Cultivating the Body

    New Year’s resolutions for weight loss are practically on the liturgical calendar of America. Somewhere around the beginning of a new year, people resolve that they will get in better shape. Some are made to feel guilty by the obesity police in our country (whose standards are, many times, very unrealistic, one-size-fits-all approaches). Others are […]

  • Face To Facebook

    I sit here in my office and poke around on a keyboard that is not even physically connected to my laptop and characters appear on a screen. I have a phone in my pocket through which I talk to someone around the world, send a text message, and to which I can ask questions and […]

  • A Pastoral Letter from Louisville

    Since Friday’s SCOTUS decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, social media have been inundated with rainbows, tweets, quips, and essays both celebrating and decrying our new culture that has been officially codified in these United States. With a strong LGBT community in our city, we, no doubt, will see a great deal of celebration and will […]

  • Paul the Levir

    The church in Corinth was a pastoral nightmare. Factionalism, sexual immorality, incipient syncretism, using the church as a stage for self-promotion, and denial of the final resurrection were just some of the problems. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, he confronts each of these problems directly and in an orderly fashion. The letter […]

  • And He Gave Some To Be Parents

    Standing in the narthex at the font, parents joyfully approach with their newborn child. The pastor asks the parents a series of questions that may include their renunciation of the devil and all his works, their faith in God the Father, Son, and Spirit as explained in the Apostles’ Creed, and their commitment to rear […]