Paul de Vries

Special to CP

Why Should Christians Care About the Jewish Holiday Purim?

The annual Purim date is fixed at about one month before Passover, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday. It is seen by some as a strictly Jewish holiday, but since we Christians are fully "grafted into" God's special relationships, it makes sense for us to celebrate Purim as well.

FBI Director James Comey Sees the Path to Racial Understanding

On February 12, 2015 – exactly 150 years after Abraham Lincoln's final birthday – Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James B. Comey gave one of the most wise and relevant perspectives on the racial issues of 2015 in a 23 minute speech at the Jesuit Georgetown University. Even through the media sound-bites, the timeliness and truth of Director's comments were cogent, clear, and widely praised. I

Biblical Creation Care Is Not a Climate Issue

One of the greatest beauties of Biblical living is that it does not depend on the weather! Weather and climate issues have often worked to awaken people to their Godly responsibilities, but many of those human responsibilities have been defined from the beginning.

Why Volunteer Service Embodies the Spirt of Christ

"Tutor 2-hours a week and benefit 2-people forever," I just heard someone wisely advise. So very true. That quote captures one of the most important expressions of faith, hope and love in any community – the volunteer spirit. Every act of devoted action to give faithful, informed, regular service to address needs within our communities or on mission trips can embody the very spirit of Christ. That joyful ministry service can be a measurable benefit both to the people who are helped and to the volunteer helpers.

In Redeeming Racial Relationships, It Matters How We Look

This is deeply encouraging, because Gospel-teaching churches must take bold Biblical leadership on the present American racial scene for there to be real progress. The very institutions that remain so embarrassingly segregated on Sunday mornings can become the brightest, exemplary beacons of light for racial justice and reconciliation going forward. This is also a personal passion; racial social justice has been a constant and costly major theme of my life and ministry.

Christian Philosopher: Why the 2014 Protests Missed Their Mark

Many of the 2014 protests have missed their mark. At the risk of oversimplification, we believe that there are two profound traits that distinguish many of the 2014 protests. If we deal with these two profound traits, we can achieve the needed social changes more effectively in 2015 and beyond.

Happy 1660th Birthday: Augustine's Enduring Appeal Is His Personal Passion for the Living Lord

Of the hundreds of thousands of published Christian writers over the centuries since the Scripture books were complete, none have had a level of influence to compare to Augustine. Even now in 2014, he remains a #1 favorite for huge numbers of both Evangelical leaders and Roman Catholic leaders. He was a scholar and an evangelist; he was a faithful senior leader of the church universal and a charismatic healer who made house calls. Now he is 1660 years old. Happy Birthday, Augustine!

Martin Luther, Ignatius Loyola, and Protestant Reformation

The Reformation was a precious but complex step in Church history, where the beloved Biblical teachings of the amazing grace of God were renewed. We are all beneficiaries – Protestant, Roman Catholic, and everyone else. What can we learn from Martin Luther, Ignatius Loyola and others from that era – and especially from the Living Lord now – so that we can approach this 500th anniversary with a renewed awareness of the Lord and his purposes for his whole Church?

Climate Change, Creation Care, and the Cosmic Glue

In 2014, the agenda for right action when it comes to the creation, our environment, is still best described by the Scriptures. Creation-care guidance includes four vital Biblical teachings, all four of them introduced early in the Bible and then repeated significantly throughout its pages.

9/11 in NYC: 2014 Prayers and Remembrances

From Rockefeller Center I took the subway to St. Paul's Chapel, directly across the street from where the World Trade Center Twin Towers had stood, on the east side of WTC. Thirteen years ago those towers became a huge pile of massive steel, toxic ash, broken concrete, human remains, and burning fuel from the airplanes and massive tanks full of heating oil for the Towers.

9/11 in New York City: Liberty and Prayer for All

Thirteen years have passed since the tragic terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers. We remember that day as if it were yesterday. Two years ago I wrote on our reflections on 9/11. Much has changed, yet what matters remains the same.

What Is the Answer to Apathy and Ignorance in the World?

Such grace-based spiritual freedom is the best antidote to Jihadist exploitation and oppression. Existential freedom fully supports all people's right to choose their religion and values – and also to choose to change their religion and values. This is why the Gospel is transmitted by witness, not by warfare.

The Great Gospel 'Divorce' and Restoring Gospel Faithfulness (Part 1)

What's truly tragic in an ironic way is that many of our divisions make no sense at all! For example, are you an American passionate about the health and safety of all babies being nurtured in the womb? If so, you are most likely against abortion-on-demand, and you are drawn to supporting the Republicans. However, are you passionate about the healthy environment of all people once they are born? If so, you are now likely drawn to supporting the Democrats and their programs for protecting and improving the environment.

Biblical Reasons We Fail to See Jesus

The Bible text itself – especially in John 20:11-18 – suggests four reasons for her failure in recognizing the living Jesus, even though Jesus is standing right in front of her and speaking with her, and even though she is thinking only about Jesus at the time.

Seeing the Grace of God

What we see with our eyes matters. Each of our "perceptual worlds" depends upon what is in front of us to see, to look at. But what we see also depends upon other factors, too, such as our knowledge, our interests, our experiences, our attitudes.

The Best Christians Are Doubting Christians (Part 1)

By contrast, I know of no Biblical passage where we are even warned against doubt! Perhaps this is because doubt and belief are fully compatible and because there is no slippery slope from doubt to unbelief. Actually, as odd as this may sound, doubt is never a hazard to vibrant Christian faith. Rather, some sincere doubt is necessary to sustain the vitality of the Christian walk.

Why Christians Need to Have Great Courage Living Today in the World

We live now in a time of great courage. More people are suffering for their faith in Christ than perhaps at any other time in history. Christians are suffering in Muslim countries in many places in Africa, southern Asia, and the Middle East. Not only are churches burned with worshippers locked inside, and other Christians are severely tortured – but more "camouflaged" persecution continues, too, with harsh discrimination in jobs, education, housing and other necessities. In some countries like Afghanistan, no churches are even allowed, and it is a capital crime either to communicate the Gospel or to commit to Jesus Christ.