The Christian Post reported this morning the news that Trinity Broadcasting Network’s (TBN) co-founder Jan Crouch passed away this morning after suffering a massive stroke.
For those unaware, Crouch established TBN with her late husband Paul Crouch in 1973 and it quickly became one of the leading “Christian” television networks. Let the reader understand: TBN espouses the heretical doctrine of Word of Faith theology, most commonly known as the Prosperity Gospel, or the Health and Wealth Gospel. TBN has lead the way in spreading this false gospel across the globe, and the Crouch family has allowed these false teachers to pontificate this message in order to acquire a vast wealthand solidify their kingdom upon this earth.
It was a peculiar feeling I had when I read of Crouch’s illness yesterday and her passing this morning. When her husband died a few years ago I had the same feeling. Part of me desires to celebrate because she is no longer able to spread a false gospel message, although her empire still exists. We are told both not to rejoice over the death of the wicked since God does not (Ezek 33:11; cf. Pros 24:17–18) but there also seems to be time when one should rejoice (Prov 11:10; cf. Rev 18:20), although perhaps this is more linked with wicked rulers who oppress those who dwell in their Kingdom. Continue reading
On a recent episode of “Word Matters,” a podcast by Brandon Smith and Trevin Wax, the discussion was focused on the temptation scene in Mark’s Gospel. In comparison to the other Synoptic Gospels, the brevity of Mark’s temptation scene is almost breathtaking, especially when one considers both Matthew and Luke stretch their versions to include the dialogue between Jesus and Satan and are nearly five times longer. What Mark might lack in detail, he provides a seemingly obscure reference to wild animals being with Jesus in the wilderness.
I listened closely to what both Smith and Wax had to say about this verse because I am currently preaching through Mark on Sunday mornings and I had trouble determining what I thought was correct. There have been various interpretations to this, and Smith helpfully provides more of the popular ones. I was encouraged to hear Smith voice my understanding of this reference, especially when the commentaries I was able to reference suggested otherwise. I believe the reason Mark included the “wild animals” in his temptation scene was to point to a renewed creation in which the Christ would inaugurate at the end of the days.
I think it is important to remember that 1:1–15 comprises the first overall section of Mark’s Gospel. The description of John the Baptist baptizing people and the baptism of Jesus are meant to be compared to one another. John baptizes with water, the one after him will baptize with fire (v 8). The people from Judea and Jerusalem are coming to Mark to be baptized (5), Jesus comes for baptism as the perfect son of God who is obedient to his father (9). Continue reading