Radically Christian https://radicallychristian.com Learning to Love Like Jesus Mon, 26 Jul 2021 10:35:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i2.wp.com/radicallychristian.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/cropped-Radically-Christian-Icon.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Radically Christian https://radicallychristian.com 32 32 35066807 When Our Heart Condemns Us (1 John 3:20) https://radicallychristian.com/when-our-heart-condemns-us-1-john-320 Mon, 26 Jul 2021 10:35:14 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10231 1 John 3:20 says, "...whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart"? What does John mean by this? That is the question Wes McAdams and Travis Pauley discuss in today's Bible study.

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Whenever our heart condemns us (1 John 3:20

1 John 3:20 says, “…whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart”? What does John mean by this? That is the question Wes McAdams and Travis Pauley discuss in today’s Bible study.

This discussion was prompted by a listener named Jacob. Jacob asked, “One passage that really is giving me fits in trying to understand and unpack the author’s intent is 1 John 3:19-20. In particular, I am wondering what kind of condemnation of the heart John is referring to. These verses do give me confidence that I am not God, so when I label myself one thing, God probably does not see me the way I am seeing myself – and His thoughts are what matters!. I was wondering if you could help me put these verses in context and shed some light on this passage and what these verses mean for followers of Jesus?”

Wes and Travis discuss different interpretations of the phrase, “when our heart condemns us.” What does this phrase mean in context? What does it mean in practical application? How does this phrase relate to our confidence? Can we ever be confident that we are saved?

We hope and pray this Bible study is an encouragement to you.


Bible Passages Discussed:

  • Ephesians 2:1-10
  • Romans 8:1
  • 1 John 3:9-24

Links and Resources:

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Is Stoicism Compatible with Christianity? https://radicallychristian.com/is-stoicism-compatible-with-christianity Mon, 19 Jul 2021 11:26:35 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10225 Is stoicism compatible with Christianity? In what ways does stoic philosophy agree with Christian thought? In what ways does stoic philosophy contradict Christian thought? These are some of the questions Wes McAdams and Travis Pauley discuss on today’s podcast. This discussion was prompted by one of our listeners, Ryan, who has noticed an increasing number […]

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Is stoicism compatible with Christianity? - Graphic

Is stoicism compatible with Christianity? In what ways does stoic philosophy agree with Christian thought? In what ways does stoic philosophy contradict Christian thought? These are some of the questions Wes McAdams and Travis Pauley discuss on today’s podcast. This discussion was prompted by one of our listeners, Ryan, who has noticed an increasing number of social media influencers who promote a modern version of stoic philosophy.

Christians must have a discerning ear. We must be very careful that we do not adopt certain philosophies simply because we find them to be logical. Just because a philosophy “makes sense,” doesn’t mean it is true. In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he warned against the danger of supplementing the Christian faith with worldly philosophies. Stoicism might very well be one such philosophy.

Before we adopt any philosophy (or even parts of a philosophy), we must critically examine its assumptions and its claims. That is why this question, “Is stoicism compatible with Christianity?” is particularly pressing as we see more and more people promoting the tenets of stoic thought.

We hope you find this Bible study encouraging and helpful.


Bible Passages Discussed:

  • Romans 2:14-16
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
  • 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
  • Hebrews 2:14-15
  • James 3:17-18

Links and Resources:

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When to Shake the Dust Off Your Feet https://radicallychristian.com/when-to-shake-the-dust-off-your-feet Wed, 14 Jul 2021 10:48:54 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10214 Many Christians assume, when an unbeliever is unreceptive to the Gospel, there comes a time to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on. This phrase is taken to mean: give up on that person, declare they are a lost cause, or move on to others who might be more receptive. Based on this assumption, I will occasionally be asked, “Here is my situation…At what point should I shake the dust off my feet?” But what if our assumption is wrong? What if we should not be shaking the dust off our feet? What if we are misunderstanding Jesus by taking his words out of context?

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Many Christians assume, when an unbeliever is unreceptive to the Gospel, there comes a time to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on. This phrase is taken to mean: give up on that person, declare they are a lost cause, or move on to others who might be more receptive. Based on this assumption, I will occasionally be asked, “Here is my situation…At what point should I shake the dust off my feet?” But what if our assumption is wrong? What if we should not be shaking the dust off our feet? What if we are misunderstanding Jesus by taking his words out of context? 

Shake the dust off your feet image

Understanding the Context

When it comes to understanding the phrase, “shake the dust off your feet” there are several things we need to understand. This idea is found in four verses of the Bible (Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; Luke 10:11). And in all four of these verses, Jesus was sending his disciples out on what is called the “Limited Commission.” It is called this because it stands in contrast with the “Great Commission” (see Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:44-49). 

In the Great Commission, Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim the Good News to all people, but the Limited Commission was limited only to Israelites (Matthew 10:5-6). This was a special mission to find out who in Israel was “worthy” to receive the King. The disciples were not to take any supplies with them, because Jewish hospitality (or lack thereof) would help determine the worthiness of a particular home or town. Jesus said:

“Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”

Mark 6:10-11

The Limited Commission was never intended to be Jesus’ final instructions about spreading the Good News. It was a very specific part of his earthly ministry.

Understanding the Significance

Shaking the dust off their feet was not simply a way of saying, it’s time to move on. It was an official declaration or “testimony” that this family or town should be marked for judgment (Matthew 10:15). Outside of the Limited Commission, the only other example we have of shaking dust off of the feet is against Jewish communities who rejected Paul’s preaching (see Acts 13:51). In every case, it was an apostolic condemnation of the people living there because they refused to welcome the King’s ambassadors.

Have you ever walked through a forest and seen trees marked for removal? Someone was tasked with locating those trees and marking them to be cut down. This is similar to the task Jesus gave his disciples. If the disciples had to shake a town’s dust off their feet, Jesus said, “It will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town” (Luke 10:12).

Do we realize this is what we’re saying when we ask, “When should I shake the dust off my feet?” We are essentially asking, “When can I mark these people for condemnation?” Even if we had been tasked with doing that (which we haven’t), should we really be eager to do so?

Understanding the Big Picture

Jesus told a parable that can really help us understand what it means to shake the dust off your feet. Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a wedding feast to which many were invited (Matthew 22:1-14). However, the invited guests “would not come” (vs. 3). When the master’s servants invited them to “come to the wedding feast” (vs. 4), they ignored, mistreated, and even killed the master’s servants (vs. 6). 

The master in Jesus’ parable, “sent troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city” (vs. 7). Then the master said to his servants, “The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find” (vs. 8). The servants went and found all kinds of people to fill the wedding hall with guests.

The Limited Commission, in which Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet, is equivalent to the first part of Jesus’ parable. Jesus’ servants took the wedding feast invitation to those who were first invited, the Jewish people. Only after their initial rejection could the invitation be taken to the whole world. 

Paul wrote about this reality at length in the book of Romans. He said the Good News was for “the Jew first” (Romans 2:9-10). The nation of Israel collectively rejected the invitation Jesus offered; and “their rejection means the reconciliation of the world” (Romans 11:15). Because they rejected the invitation, and the dust of their cities was shaken from the feet of the apostles, the invitation could then be taken to the whole world.

Understanding the Application

As modern believers, we can be thankful for (and humbled by) the Limited Commission. We can be thankful the first-century Jewish world initially rejected the wedding feast invitation. Because of their rejection, space was made for all of us. Today, both Jews and Gentiles can accept the invitation to receive God’s kingdom and be “grafted” into Abraham’s family tree (Romans 11:11-24). In other words, the Limited Commission lead to the Great Commission.

Now that we are living in the era of the Great Commission, there is no instruction to shake the dust off of our feet. We are to “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that [God’s] house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). We are not to give up on whole families and whole towns, as the apostles were told to do in the Limited Commission. Now is the time to keep compelling, inviting, and pleading with people to come to the wedding feast.

Practically speaking, there may be a time when a particular person is not yet ready to accept the Gospel invitation. In such cases, it makes sense to try again later, try a different approach, or allow someone else to try. But there is a big difference between these approaches and shaking the dust off your feet. Shaking the dust off your feet is equivalent to condemning someone. This is why I don’t believe it is our place to shake the dust off our feet.

I love you and God loves you,

Wes McAdams

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What is the “Perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10? https://radicallychristian.com/what-is-the-perfect-in-1-corinthians-1310 Mon, 12 Jul 2021 11:10:18 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10209 What is the “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10? That is the question that Wes and Travis tackle in today’s Bible study. This question was raised by a listner, who wrote, “1 Corinthians 13:10 says, ‘but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.’ I’ve always heard (and my husband still firmly believes) ‘the perfect’ […]

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What is the perfect in 1 Corinthians 13:10

What is the “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10? That is the question that Wes and Travis tackle in today’s Bible study.

This question was raised by a listner, who wrote, “1 Corinthians 13:10 says, ‘but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.’ I’ve always heard (and my husband still firmly believes) ‘the perfect’ mentioned here is referring to the written Word of God or the Bible. Recently I’ve heard from 3 different sources that ‘the perfect’ is when Christ returns. This explanation actually makes sense to me, but I’d like your opinion about it. Thank you for your time and your podcast.”

The Greek word translated, “perfect” (τέλειος) generally means, “attaining an end or purpose, complete” (BDAG Lexicon). With that definition in mind, Wes and Travis study the context of 1 Corinthians 13:10, as well as several other passages that discuss the “end” or “purpose” for disciples. What “end or purpose” did the miraculous gifts serve? To what “end or purpose” are Christians supposed to be striving?

Another Greek word discussed in this episode is κατεργάζομαι, which is translated, “work out” in Philippians 2:12. Paul tells the Philippian church, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” By this, he seems to mean they should live out their salvation or bring their salvation into full effect. What does salvation look like when it is fully realized, when it reaches its fulfillment? What would our salvation look like if it was “made perfect” in our lives?

These are some of the thoughts and ideas with which we wrestle in today’s Bible Study Podcast. We hope it is a blessing to you.


Bible Passages Discussed

  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Ephesians 4:11-15
  • Philippians 2:1-16

Links and Resources:

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What the Bible Says About Our Work https://radicallychristian.com/what-the-bible-says-about-our-work Mon, 05 Jul 2021 10:00:00 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10204 Today’s question comes from Stephen Scaggs, who writes, “Paul often gives a theology to work. Will we work in the new creation? What does it mean ‘their work follows them’? In connection to the bodily resurrection, what does it mean when Paul says our work is ‘not in vain’? Should we love our work?” In […]

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Today’s question comes from Stephen Scaggs, who writes, “Paul often gives a theology to work. Will we work in the new creation? What does it mean ‘their work follows them’? In connection to the bodily resurrection, what does it mean when Paul says our work is ‘not in vain’? Should we love our work?”

In response to these excellent questions, Wes and Travis discuss work, career, and vocation. According to the Bible, work is part of creation and not part of the curse. But if that is true, how did the Fall affect mankind’s work? The most important part of this Bible study is how the Good News of God’s new creation impacts the way we work.

We hope you find this conversation encouraging.


Bible Passages Discussed:

  • Revelation 14:12–13
  • Genesis 2:15
  • 1 Corinthians 3:10–17
  • 1 Corinthians 15:57–58

Links and Resources:

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Lessons Learned from 20 Years in Ministry https://radicallychristian.com/lessons-learned-from-20-years-in-ministry Mon, 28 Jun 2021 03:04:13 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10195 Today's Bible Study Podcast is a bit different. Hollee McAdams joins us to ask Wes some questions about his first twenty years in ministry.

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20 Years in Ministry

Today’s Bible Study Podcast is a bit different. Wes McAdams recently celebrated his twentieth anniversary in full-time ministry. To mark the occasion, his wife, Hollee, joins us to ask Wes some questions about his first 20 years in ministry. Wes and Hollee discuss questions like:

  • When did you want to become a full-time minister?
  • If you could back to 2001, what advice would you give yourself?
  • What have been your favorite aspects of ministry?
  • What have been your least favorite aspects of ministry?
  • In the next 20 years of ministry, what would you like to accomplish?

Whether you are in ministry or you know someone is in ministry, we hope this episode encourages you and helps you encourage others.


Links and Resources:

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The Roles of Men and Women in the Bible (Part 2) https://radicallychristian.com/the-roles-of-men-and-women-in-the-bible-part-2 Fri, 25 Jun 2021 14:56:57 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10192 What does the Bible say about the roles of men and women in the public worship assembly? Wes McAdams again joins Lee and Kevin, from the Exploring Faith, Pursuing Grace Podcast, to continue their discussion on what the Bible says about the roles of men and women.

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What does the Bible say about the roles of men and women in the public worship assembly? Wes McAdams again joins Lee and Kevin, from the Exploring Faith, Pursuing Grace Podcast, to continue their discussion on what the Bible says about the roles of men and women.

If you haven’t yet listened to Part 1 of this conversation, you will definitely want to listen to that episode first. In the previous episode, the biblical foundation was laid for the “complementarian” position concerning gender roles. In this episode, Wes explains how these foundational principles apply to teaching and preaching in the worship assembly.

Does the New Testament send mixed messages about the role women should play in the church? Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” But 1 Timothy 2:12 says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” How are we to reconcile these sorts of passages with one another?

We hope and pray this conversation is beneficial, and even encouraging, to both men and women.

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The Roles of Men and Women in the Bible (Part 1) https://radicallychristian.com/the-roles-of-men-and-women-in-the-bible-part-1 Thu, 24 Jun 2021 12:14:53 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10185 What does the Bible say about the roles of men and women? That is the question Wes McAdams was invited to answer on the "Exploring Faith, Pursuing Grace" podcast. Wes McAdams takes a "complementarian" position, while the hosts of the show, Lee and Kevin, tend to lean toward the "egalitarian" position.

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Complementarianism, roles of men and women

What does the Bible say about the roles of men and women? That is the question Wes McAdams was invited to answer on the “Exploring Faith, Pursuing Grace” podcast. Wes McAdams takes a “complementarian” position. The hosts of the show, Lee and Kevin, tend to lean toward the “egalitarian” position.

The complementarian position says men and women have complementary roles in the church and in the home. While the egalitarian position says there should essentially be no distinction in men’s and women’s roles. Over the next two episodes, Wes will make the case that the complementarian position is more consistent with Scripture.

This is about more than simply finding the “rules” about gender roles. It is about following the biblical narrative from beginning to end. From Genesis to Revelation, what does the Bible really say about how men and women function together to bring glory to God?

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Was Jesus “Harsh” with People? https://radicallychristian.com/was-jesus-harsh-with-people Wed, 23 Jun 2021 10:58:47 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10182 Today's Bible study discussion revolves around the question, "Was Jesus harsh with people?" This question was prompted by listener Randall Dickey. Should we perceive Jesus as a harsh person? Was he harsh, in general? Why did Jesus have moments, like the cleansing of the temple, when he was relatively harsh? Should we imitate Jesus' "harsh" behavior? These are some of the questions we tackle in today's Bible study and we hope this conversation is a blessing to you.

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Graphic for Bible Study: Was Jesus Harsh with People?

Today’s Bible study discussion revolves around the question, “Was Jesus harsh with people?” This question was prompted by listener Randall Dickey. Should we perceive Jesus as a harsh person? Was he harsh, in general? Why did Jesus have moments, like the cleansing of the temple, when he was relatively harsh? Should we imitate Jesus’ “harsh” behavior? These are some of the questions we tackle in today’s Bible study and we hope this conversation is a blessing to you.


Bible Passages Discussed:

  • Nehemiah 13:25
  • Judges 8:16
  • Matthew 12:14–21
  • Matthew 21:12–17
  • Philippians 2:1–11

Links and Resources:

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What Does the Bible Really Say About Marriage? https://radicallychristian.com/what-does-the-bible-really-say-about-marriage Thu, 10 Jun 2021 10:44:02 +0000 https://radicallychristian.com/?p=10163 When we talk about what the Bible says concerning marriage, we have to understand there is much we tend to take for granted. If we are not careful, we will impose our cultural assumptions on the text and fail to really grasp how marriage was perceived and practiced in the ancient Near East. If we want to understand how the Bible defines marriage, there are things we have to unlearn first.

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When we talk about what the Bible says concerning marriage, we have to understand there is much we tend to take for granted. If we are not careful, we will impose our cultural assumptions on the text and fail to really grasp how marriage was perceived and practiced in the ancient Near East. If we want to understand how the Bible defines marriage, there are things we have to unlearn first. 

What Does the Bible Really Say About Marriage
Photo Credit: Geoff Duncan via LightStock.com

Modern Cultural Assumptions About Marriage

While renting a car for our honeymoon, my wife and I had a memorable conversation with a young Indian woman. Honestly, we were hoping to get some sort of discount or upgrade when we casually mentioned to the lady at the rental desk it was our wedding day. She congratulated us and asked, “Is it a love marriage?” In her culture, most marriages were arranged. She contrasted arranged marriages with “love marriages.”

Because of our cultural assumptions, most of us would never think to ask such a question. We simply assume marriage is supposed to follow a period of two people:

  • finding one another attractive and interesting
  • socializing
  • developing an emotional bond
  • freely choosing to spend their lives together

In our individualistic culture, we tend to believe marriage is primarily about personal choice and personal happiness. But the Biblical authors do not prioritize the same things we do.

The people in the Bible—Abraham, Moses, David, and even Paul—had very different ideas about marriage. It doesn’t mean our emphasis on personal choice and happiness is sinful. It just means our priorities are very different than those of ancient Near Eastern people. 

The Bible’s Cultural Assumptions About Marriage

Because theirs was a collectivist culture, marriages were built upon values like community, status, honor, and even survival. These values and priorities are evident in the Law of Moses. Because of this, many of the biblical laws concerning marriage seem very strange to us:

  • fathers were responsible for arranging their daughters’ marriages, accepting or rejecting the bride-price (Exodus 22:16-17) 
  • wedding night bedsheets were used as a legal defense against accusations of premarital sex (Deuteronomy 22:13-19)
  • a man was obligated to marry his brother’s widow if the brother died childless (Deuteronomy 25:5-10)  

Jacob is a rare example of a man who married because he “fell in love” with a particular woman (Genesis 29). But Jacob’s pursuit of Rachel is portrayed in a negative light. After seven years, Jacob said to his father-in-law, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her” (verse 21). Tim Keller writes, “Imagine saying to a father even today, ‘I can’t wait to have sex with your daughter. Give her to me now!’ The narrator is showing us a man overwhelmed with emotional and sexual longing for one woman” (Counterfeit Gods).

Later in the story, even though he was tricked, Jacob should have loved and cherished Leah. However, he continually prioritized his desire for Rachel over his duty to Leah. Modern readers tend to sympathize with Jacob’s misplaced priorities. But ancient readers probably sympathized with Leah. God also sympathized with Leah (Genesis 29:31).

When we read Bible stories about ancient marriages (e.g. Boaz and Ruth, Solomon and the Shulamite woman, Joseph and Mary), we should always challenge our cultural assumptions and not read them as if they were modern love stories.

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Unintended Consequences of Our Assumptions

The ancient perspective on marriage had inherent shortcomings. A woman, for instance, had very little say about who she married or whether or not her husband divorced her. There was an assumption (which often did not materialize) that her husband or father would protect her interests.

It’s easy to see some of the shortcomings and inherent problems with ancient assumptions about marriage. But we must open our eyes to the problems we cause with our modern assumptions. Our modern prioritization of personal happiness, radical individualism, and over-sexualization seem to be at the root of things like: 

  • unrealistic expectations about the happiness and fulfillment marriage will provide.
  • justification of divorce when marriage “isn’t making us happy” anymore.
  • cohabitating outside of marriage, because the same happiness seems achievable without a covenant.
  • affirmation of same-sex marriage as a means of experiencing personal happiness.

The solution is not simply to remind people about the Bible’s rules concerning marriage. We must also recognize how our modern priorities and assumptions have consequences.

How Christians Should Think About Marriage

I don’t believe the answer is to trade “love marriages” for arranged marriages. We would simply be trading one set of problems for another. The answer is to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

The Good News of Jesus Christ, rather than fairy tales about marrying to live “happily ever after,” should shape our thinking. We need to recognize that the primary purpose of Christian marriage is for a man and woman to embody the love, care, selflessness, respect, and submission of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). It would also help if we realized marriage has collective, not just personal, implications. My marriage does not just belong to me and my wife, but to God, our families, and the church (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:13-14; 12:27; Ephesians 4:25).

In very practical terms, I would suggest we strive to…

  1. embrace a more Christ-centered (less self-centered) view of marriage.
  2. shift our emphasis from “marrying the person you love” to “loving the person you marry.”
  3. develop more realistic expectations about marriage.

If we marry, we should marry for the sake of God’s kingdom. If we remain single, we should remain single for the sake of God’s kingdom (Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35). As followers of Jesus, we must learn to anchor our hope and joy in the promise of God’s reign. If we anchor them in anything else, we set ourselves up for disappointment and even sin.

I love you and God loves you,

Wes McAdams

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