Tag Archives: Jesus

Suicidal Sinner Meets All Sufficient Saviour

He tried to burn the house down

I grew up in a family of multiple gods.  Sex, money, power, drugs, and drink.  Most of these idols demanded devotion as my dad attempted to burn the house down, desiring an insurance payout.  Mum was at work and three children, all under 10 years old, were evacuated from a lightly smoldering house.  The house didn’t burn to the ground, but there was enough of an insurance implication to provide dad with a couple weeks work in his trade as a builder.

Though christened into the Catholic Church, and while for some reason the attendance of midnight mass was a feature of the Christmas season, there was no church attendance as a family.  There was the additional absence of the Word of God or prayer (or instructions on those things).  Whatever my parents may have believed, it was evident that in practice they were atheists.  I recall going to Sunday School on a handful of occasions – one season with a neighbor, and another where a local church constituted the neighbor.  Interestingly, both were Presbyterian churches.

The atheistic idolatry of my parents was augmented by a history of mental illness.  This history has not left me uninfected and so my teenage years were wrought with visits to counsellors and vague diagnoses by psychologists.  The trauma of my parent’s divorce certainly didn’t help the sense of neglect I already felt.  Beyond their divorce, there was an entrenched sense of abandonment – physically by dad; emotionally by mum.  I was being told more and more that I wasn’t wanted.

Atheist, Agitator, and Addict

At the age of sixteen, a self-professed atheist and anti-religious agitator, depression gained a foothold in my life and suicidal ideations began forming.  By that stage I was also abusing solvents, huffing petrol and inhaling the propellants of aerosol cans, and smoking marijuana on a regular basis.  I had lost interest in school and so my attendance was irregular and characterized by time in the Student Services area.  By this stage I was also addicted to pornography in whatever form I could access it.

With all these factors in play, I had few if any friends, a less than ideal relationship with my family, and as a very lonely and very angry young man, it’s no wonder I attempted suicide.  My chosen method was self-strangulation.  No sooner had I tightened my grip around my neck, did I realise the impossibility of my method.  I would not be able to maintain my grip and so this attempt was unsuccessful.

God, if You’re real…

I was smoking dope every day and feeding my addiction to pornography when the next memorable suicidal contemplation became a daily fascination.  I was essentially failing at life and felt more and more that I had nothing to live for.  I half-hearted wanted help with the one slender thread that represented my hope.

I do not know whether it was the casual visits to Sunday School, the nostalgic attendance at midnight mass, the silent witness of a network marketing guru, or having read (and subsequently defaced) a Gideon’s bible in a Brisbane hotel room – but I was tempted to pray, perhaps for the first time.  It was the prayer of a self-professed atheist with borderline-agnostic-disorder… “God, if you are real…”

Whatever petition my prayer contained, it was answered.  Now I was in trouble.  The God I had militantly and publicly denounced had caused me to doubt my unbelief.  It was the 25th of November 2002 but I cannot say with confidence that this was I had become a Christian.  The main reason for this lack of confidence has to do with the absence of conviction.  At that stage of my life, the inward turmoil always seemed to have an explanation in a social evil – whether it be the influence of religion or capitalism – but never my fault, never something defective within my self or my works.

Sin, Sex, and the Holy Spirit

The drug use continued, the exposure to pornography increased.  It was around this time that pornographic fantasy lead to real sex.  For years I had thought that sexual activity, not just with a computer screen or magazine, would be the key to fulfilment.  It wasn’t.  I had performed terribly, and for reasons beyond that, felt terrible for it.  My previous concept of sin and forgiveness was limited to the idea that you could willingly sin and ask for forgiveness after the fact.  But this act of sin carried with it a real sense of guilt.  I knew for the first time the sin-convicting power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

This lead me to discover Jesus as more than just the central figure in a book about the God to whom I had prayed and from whom I had received an answer.  My sin and the overwhelm of its guilt brought me beyond the mere “confess and be forgiven” mantra – rather, it forced me to consider the significance of my sin, my inability to rid myself of the guilt, and the need for something bigger than me to take away that guilt.  I came to realise the significance of the stated fact of Jesus death – that though my sin had a temporal and eternal consequence, what Jesus had done dealt with both – and not just in some abstract way, but for me.

The Good Shepherd

Amidst all of this, I was still struggling with the idea of being not only acceptable, but fought for and pursued.  I remember an episode of particularly powerful depression wherein I was crying out to God for deliverance.  No matter how much I prayed or read the Bible or even fasted, the depression would not lift.  In angry resignation I told God to leave me alone, to get out of my life, to stop interfering, that I wanted nothing more to do with Him.  Within moments of handing in my notice as a Christian, I found myself worshipping Him again.  I had wanted Him to flee from me, to depart from me – but He did the opposite.  I know James said “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” but what happens when you resign to the fact that you have nothing left with which to draw near?  It was in this moment that I began to comprehend the love of God.  His love would be expressed in such terms as “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and “No one will snatch them out of my hand/out of the Fathers hand”.  That last phrase, spoke to me about security in both the Son and the Father – that went so far as to preventing me from snatching myself out of a divine double grip.

I would later reflect on the doctrine of perseverance, citing that occasion as an attempt to run away from God and in the process finding it to be an exercise in futility.  It wasn’t in a sense of a prisoner unable to escape a dungeon of oppression, but a little lamb, secure in the protective custody of the Good Shepherd.

When Strivings Cease

Whether we know it or not, humanity seems to work and strive in an attempt to be acceptable, accepted, loved, cherished, and worthy.  But what happens when, as a result of having been thoroughly converted, one realizes that he is all these things and more, and this without his own work and striving?

Continued striving would come mostly as a failure to apprehend the reality of God’s unmerited love.  But apart from this, what was I living for?

A couple verses have become personal mission statements over the years.

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… (Matthew 6:33)

…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (Philippians 3:10)

My driving passion was to be characterized by an increasingly wholehearted pursuit of God in Christ, His Kingdom, His resurrection, His suffering, and ultimately, His death.  While always conscious of the need to work so as to provide for my own and my families physical needs, a desire to know Him has been at the back of some of the major decisions I have made in my life.  Where to live, who to marry, the kind of job to pursue.  Back of these questions has been the consideration of whether these choices would allow me to continue my pursuit of the King, would they afford me opportunity to pursue the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus Christ?

The struggle to seek my own kingdom, my own sense of importance and power – this is a daily one.  Though born again, there seems to remain in me something that unchecked would drive me back to self-gratifying addiction and abuse.  But by the grace of God, it is in check.  By the grace of God there is a more compelling vision, a more satisfying pursuit – to know Jesus Christ, and pursue the reality of His Kingdom.

The Ancient of Days

132px-europe_a_prophecy_copy_d_1794_british_museum_object_1“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’ “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
(Daniel 7:9-22)

Mormonism in a Nutshell

mattslick4Matt Slick is the founder and president of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.  He wrote the following article: Mormonism in a Nutshell.

Mormonism in a Nutshell.

Mormonism teaches that God used to be a man on another world, and that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of his god on his home world.  He brought his wife to this world, a woman he had married on the other world.  She is essentially a goddess.

In his present god-state, he rules our world.  He has a body of flesh and bones.  Since god and his wife are both exalted persons, they each possess physical bodies.  In their exalted states as deities, they produce spirit children that grow and mature in the spiritual realm.  The first spirit born was Jesus.  Afterwards, Lucifer was born along with the rest of us.  So, Mormonism teaches that we all pre-existed in the spirit realm–having been produced from the union of god and his goddess wife.  Therefore, we all existed in spirit form before coming down and entering the bodies of human babies that are being born on earth.  During this ‘compression’ into the infant state, the memories of our pre-existence is ‘veiled.’

According to Mormonism, this god’s name is Elohim

God the father, who is called Elohim, was concerned for the future salvation of the people on earth. In the heavenly realm, the Father had a plan for the salvation of the world.  Jesus endorsed the Father’s plan.  Lucifer did not.  Lucifer became jealous and rebelled.  In his rebellion, he convinced a large portion of the spirits existing in heaven to side with him and oppose god.  God, being more powerful then they, cursed these rebellious spirits to become demons.  They can never be born in human bodies.

The remaining spirits sided with God.  Since they chose the better way, when it comes time for them to live on earth, they have the privilege of being born in races and locations that are relative to their condition and choice made in the spirit realm.1

The Plan of Salvation

In the Mormon plan of salvation there needed to be a savior: Jesus.  But Jesus was a spirit in heaven.  For him to be born on earth, Brigham Young, the second prophet of the Mormon church, said that instead of letting any other man do it, God the Father did it with Mary.  He said that the birth of our savior was as natural as the birth of our parents.  Essentially, what this means is that Brigham Young taught that god the father came down and had relations with Mary, his spirit daughter, to produce the body of Jesus.  Though many Mormons will not entertain such incestuous thoughts about God and Mary, this is what Brigham Young taught; and as far as we know, this has not been denied by the Mormon church.

Nevertheless, Jesus was born, got married, and had children.2 He died on the cross and paid for sins–but not on the cross only.  According to Mormonism, the atonement of Christ was not only on the cross.  It began in the Garden of Gethsemane before he went to the cross.

BYOG (Be Your Own God)

In Mormonism, men and women have the potential of becoming gods.  President Lorenzo Snow said, “As god once was, man is. As God is, man may become.”  In order to reach this exalted state of godhood, a person must first become a good Mormon, pay a full ten percent tithe to the Mormon church, follow various laws and ordinances of the church, and be found worthy.  At this point, they receive a temple recommend, whereupon the Mormon is allowed to enter the sacred temples in order to go through a set of secret rituals: baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, and various oaths of secrecy and commitment.  Additionally, four secret handshakes are taught so the believing Mormon, upon entering the third level of Mormon heaven, can shake hands with god in a certain pattern.  This celestial ritual is for the purpose of permitting entrance into the highest level of heaven.3  For those who achieve this highest of heavens, exaltation to godhood awaits them.  Then he or she will be permitted to have his or her own planet and be the god of his own world, and the Mormon system will be expanded to other planets.

Please see Mormon Beliefs, are they Christian? for further documentation of Mormon beliefs.

What does the law of God require?

Question seven of the New City Catechism asks: What does the law of God require?

Personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience; that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves.What God forbids should never be done and what God commands should always be done.

Bible on: What does the law of God require?

Matthew 22:37–40

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Commentary on: What does the law of God require?

Loving the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength is the first great branch of Christian righteousness. You shall delight yourself in the Lord your God; seeking and finding all happiness in Him. You shall hear and fulfill His word, “My son, give me your heart.” And having given Him your inmost soul to reign there without a rival, you may well cry out in the fulness of your heart, “I will love You, O my Lord, my strength. The Lord IS my strong rock; my Savior, my God, in whom l trust.” The second commandment, the second great branch of Christian righteousness, is closely and inseparably connected with the first: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love—embrace with the most tender goodwill, the most earnest and cordial affection, the most inflamed desires of preventing or removing all evil and bringing every possible good. Your neighbor—not only your friends, kinfolk, or acquaintances; not only the virtuous ones who regard you, who extend or return your kindness, but every person, not excluding those you have never seen or know by name; not excluding those you know to be evil and unthankful, those who despitefully use you. Even those you shall love as yourself with the same invariable thirst after their happiness. Use the same unwearied care to screen them from whatever might grieve or hurt either their soul or body. This is love.

John Wesley (1703–1791). An English preacher and theologian, Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles, with founding the English Methodist movement. He travelled generally on horseback, preaching two or three times each day, and is said to have preached more than 40,000 sermons. He also was a noted hymn-writer.

From “The Two Great Commandments” in Renew My Heart: Classic Insights by John Wesley (Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour, 2011).

Juan Sanchez: What does the law of God require?

Prayer on: What does the law of God require?

We thank you Heavenly Father that you have not left us to grope in the darkness without any light to show us the way. We thank you that your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. And we thank you that you have given us in the Holy Spirit an indwelling comforter and strengthener who writes your law in our hearts enabling us to love and to obey it. Grant us in increasing measure the fulness of the Spirit that we may live a life that is pleasing in your holy sight. For the glory of your great name. Amen.

John Stott (1921–2011). An English Anglican preacher who for many years served as rector of All Souls Church in London, Stott was one of the principal framers of the Lausanne Covenant (1974). His numerous books include Why I Am a Christian and The Cross of Christ.

From the end of the sermon “The Call to Fulfil the Law” on Matthew 5:17–20, recorded 15th October 1989, available from www.allsouls.org

What Old Testament Persons Foreshadow

What Old Testament Persons Foreshadow

It is characteristic of the Old Testament persons and events that despite their imperfections, they foreshadow the perfect which is to come (I Cor. 13: 10). In fact it must be this, for if the foreshadowings were perfect they would no longer be mere shadows and would become the solid reality. Saul, along with the judges before him, and the kings after him, is part of the historical foundation laid in the Old Testament for the revelation of the perfect human king, Jesus of Nazareth, who mediates God’s rule.

Goldsworthy, Graeme. The Goldsworthy Trilogy: Gospel & Kingdom, Wisdom & Revelation (Kindle Locations 1010-1014). Paternoster. Kindle Edition.

About The Goldsworthy Trilogy:

Combining three incredibly important books for the teaching of the Church, The Goldsworthy Trilogy offers a complete and comprehensive guide to understanding the gospel throughout the whole of Scripture. Hugely popular, this collection is being released in this special format and will be an essential guide to be used again and again for those who seek to understand the Bible in the light of who Jesus is.

Straightforward in his approach, Goldsworthy looks at how the Bible can only be understood through the eyes of the gospel. This being the base of his interpretation, he studies the Old Testament and its application for today, Israels wisdom literature and its role in the Christian life and the purpose and contemporary relevance of the book of Revelation. This trilogy follows the Bible chronologically to give the reader a complete overview of evangelical biblical interpretation forming an essential one-stop reference that will last a lifetime.

About Graeme Goldsworthy:

Graeme Goldsworthy is an Australian Anglican and Old Testament scholar. Now retired, Goldsworthy was formerly lecturer in Old Testament, biblical theology and hermeneutics at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of “According to Plan” (IVP, 1991), “Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture” (Eerdmans, 2000) and “Proverbs: The Tree of Life” (CEP, 1993). Goldsworthy has an MA from Cambridge University and a ThM and PhD from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia.

What Old Testament Persons Foreshadow

Jesus, Savior

Jesus, Savior

Jesus savior

Lord of all

The one who speaks

The one who calls

 

Calls from darkness

Into light

From law of sin

To eternal life

 

Jesus, savior

Gods final word

You have spoken

I have heard

 

You are speaking

Truth and grace

“Come and see me

Face to face”

 

Jesus, savior

You are with me

By your Spirit

I am set free

 

Free from sin

Its power and cost

Now you send me

To the dead and lost

 

Jesus, savior

Mans only hope

The God who saves

Is the God who spoke

 

By your gospel

We are saved

From wrath and hell

And from the grave

 

Jesus, savior

Speak, O Lord

To all you’ve chosen

To all you’ve called

 

As you speak Lord

We will hear

With each instruction

You are there.

 

Jesus, savior

My God and King

Into your kingdom

Us you bring

 

Give us ears

And eyes that see

All you’re saying

To us, to me.

Pattern Imitation

…Jesus teaches, exemplifies, and above all enables “pattern imitation” among his followers rather than simply calling for a simplistic, self-generated “copying” of Christ.

Pattern Imitation

Mark was thus written with the intent of providing a reliable sketch of Jesus’ public appearances with the additional aim of engendering a form of pattern imitation.

Jesus was an intentional teacher.  The contents of his “curriculum” focused on a true understanding of both God’s messianic rule and the identity and function of God’s messiah.

Bayer, H. F. (2012, p. 12). A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic between Christology and Authentic Discipleship. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing.

Other Quotes from this book:

pattern imitation

About Hans F. Bayer

Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Born and raised in Germany, Professor Bayer came to Covenant Seminary in 1994 after teaching for ten years at the German Theological Seminary at Giessen, where he also planted and co-pastored a church.

With his expertise in critical scholarship and commitment to the authority and unity of the Scriptures, Dr. Bayer seeks to exemplify our pastor-scholar model. He hopes that his personal interest in world mission might add a multicultural dimension to each student’s world vision for the Gospel.

Dr. Bayer lectures and preaches regularly in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. He has published English and German monographs, essays, and dictionary articles, primarily on the Gospels and the book of Acts. He contributed to the ESV Study Bible, as well as video-taped lectures on Acts for Third Millennium Ministries, and has recently published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship, as well as a German commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He is currently working on a New Testament Introduction volume and The Watermarks of Christ: Contours of Peter’s Transformation in Mark, Acts, and His Epistles.

Dr. Bayer and his wife, Susan, have three children and two grandchildren.

Fasting and Feasting

Fasting and Feasting

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.  (Mark 2:18-20)

Previous sermon in Mark’s Gospel: Disciples and Dinner Guests

Authentic witness of Jesus

Authentic witness of Jesus brings forth authentic discipleship in the context of the growing messianic kingdom of God. (p. 6)

Bayer, H. F. (2012). A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic between Christology and Authentic Discipleship. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing.

Authentic witness of Jesus

About Hans F. Bayer

Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Born and raised in Germany, Professor Bayer came to Covenant Seminary in 1994 after teaching for ten years at the German Theological Seminary at Giessen, where he also planted and co-pastored a church.

With his expertise in critical scholarship and commitment to the authority and unity of the Scriptures, Dr. Bayer seeks to exemplify our pastor-scholar model. He hopes that his personal interest in world mission might add a multicultural dimension to each student’s world vision for the Gospel.

Dr. Bayer lectures and preaches regularly in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. He has published English and German monographs, essays, and dictionary articles, primarily on the Gospels and the book of Acts. He contributed to the ESV Study Bible, as well as video-taped lectures on Acts for Third Millennium Ministries, and has recently published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship, as well as a German commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He is currently working on a New Testament Introduction volume and The Watermarks of Christ: Contours of Peter’s Transformation in Mark, Acts, and His Epistles.

Dr. Bayer and his wife, Susan, have three children and two grandchildren.

Two Underused Biblical Resources

Two Underused Biblical Resources

[20 June 2016]

Addictions continue their upward swing. Given that we live during a time when self-control is not yet prized, our cultural strategy with hardships is to medicate them away rather than stand in the midst of them. And the possibilities for medicating hardships are always increasing. To sexual obsessions, add illegal drugs, then prescription narcotics, then computer games, and there are more to come. With this in mind, the church has a perennial project: to draw out fresh insights from Scripture on modern addictions, and move toward those who are enslaved by them.

Many of these insights exist within biblical teaching on idolatry, which has both voluntary and involuntary aspects to it. Human beings both purposefully indulge their desires—we sin because we like it—and we are dominated by those desires. We are both in-control and out-of-control. Within these two poles are dozens of important biblical themes. Here are just two.

Lies

All addicts lie. As idolaters they forge an alliance with the anti-god and his crumbling empire, and lying is one expression of this alliance. It is a case of like father, like son. “When he [Satan] lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). For addicts, this deception is not only what they speak, it is also what they believe. They also have been lied to and believe those lies—lies from family, friends and Satan himself.

If you want to help addicts, you will create a culture that delights in openness and honesty. Be someone with whom they can speak without fear of self-righteous judgment. Invite them to speak this new language of truthfulness, in which they speak honestly and aim to know the Truth—who is the antidote to all idolatry.

Shame

Addicts are complicated. Though they have an idolatrous commitment to their desires, there is usually more happening. Many addicts have been rejected and treated as nothing by those who claimed to love them, and live with a deep sense of shame. Without any way to escape it, they use addiction to avoid it.

If they were not dominated by shame before they began their addiction, they certainly will be after. When you live for something that is ultimately worthless, you feel worthless. When you live for neither God nor people, you will hurt others and degrade yourself. Then the cycle continues—addiction leads to shameful consequences, which leads to more devoted addiction.

So, if we are to help, we watch the life of Jesus. He was born into shame and his people are outcasts. Watch him eat with the shamed and touch the shamed. Watch him identify with them so they can identify by faith with him. At every point, we expect Jesus to turn away and not be sullied by the shamed. Instead, he always invites, always surprises, and offers a connection himself in which we are given cleansing, covering and belonging. As we follow the story, our roles begin to change. No longer is there an addict and a helper. Now we are two people who are seeing beautiful realities that will take the rest of our lives to understand.

These, of course, are only two of many hopeful things that can attract someone caught in addiction to Jesus. Scripture is crammed with much more.

The final outcome of Christ’s call to discipleship

The final outcome of Christ’s call to discipleship is God-dependent, Christlike individuals and communities maturing in the context of the unending rule of God. (p. 6)

Bayer, H. F. (2012). A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic between Christology and Authentic Discipleship. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing.

The final outcome of Christ’s call to discipleship

About Hans F. Bayer

Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Born and raised in Germany, Professor Bayer came to Covenant Seminary in 1994 after teaching for ten years at the German Theological Seminary at Giessen, where he also planted and co-pastored a church.

With his expertise in critical scholarship and commitment to the authority and unity of the Scriptures, Dr. Bayer seeks to exemplify our pastor-scholar model. He hopes that his personal interest in world mission might add a multicultural dimension to each student’s world vision for the Gospel.

Dr. Bayer lectures and preaches regularly in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. He has published English and German monographs, essays, and dictionary articles, primarily on the Gospels and the book of Acts. He contributed to the ESV Study Bible, as well as video-taped lectures on Acts for Third Millennium Ministries, and has recently published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship, as well as a German commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He is currently working on a New Testament Introduction volume and The Watermarks of Christ: Contours of Peter’s Transformation in Mark, Acts, and His Epistles.

Dr. Bayer and his wife, Susan, have three children and two grandchildren.