Monday, October 25, 2010

The Word of the Cross

For the word of the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved
it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18)

The Word of the Cross rang out from the Garden
Proclaiming destruction that surely would come.
The price for man’s sin would last through the ages.
The payment through Seed would bring man back home
The Serpent fights on with his minions beside him.
His reign he pursues through the passing of time.
The Seed of the Woman would suffer, but slightly,
The victory he’d win in the fullness of time.

The Word of the Cross rang out from the Prophets
Proclaiming Messiah, his kingdom on earth,
Announcing a Son to be born of a virgin,
A King who would die being judged of no worth.
His death He would face as a sheep bound for slaughter,
Injustice and judgment would take him away.
His blood He would shed as ransom for sinners;
His Kingdom would come at the dawning of day.

The Word of the Cross rang out from the Mountain
Proclaiming forgiveness as Jesus was torn.
The sins of the world were placed on the Savior
The ransom for many by faith to be born.
The Father’s just anger was met with His mercy,
The Father’s great love was revealed in Christ’s death.
Atonement for sin—now sin’s power is broken,
The payment was made through the God-Man’s last breath.

The Word of the Cross rang out from the Garden
Proclaiming the vict’ry o’er death and the grave.
The soldiers unconscious, the grave clothes lay folded.
The stone rolled away—Empty now was the cave.
The power of death was unable to hold Him,
Its sting was removed as his life He reclaimed.
Appearing to many He showed He was living.
Ascending to heaven He gave them His name.

The Word of the Cross rings out from the Body,
Proclaiming our union with Jesus our Lord.
The Church on its mission proclaims to all nations,
Declaring salvation that none can afford.
The gospel is preached by each one to his neighbors,
“Salvation from sin is in Jesus alone.
Our freedom is purchased, damnation is ended.
Repent and believe—with our Christ be made one.”

The Word of the Cross rings out to all nations,
Assembling a people to honor the Son.
His blood shed on Calv’ry cries out to each sinner,
“The price has been paid, now the victory is won.”
The Lamb slain for sinners now stands in the heavens,
Preparing His bride for eternity’s shore.
The victory is promised, His presence is with us.
Come join with the body in Christ evermore.

Opening Lines – Golf and the Church

Just as the church has become more tolerant on certain issues in recent decades, so too is golf equipment letting us get away with more on our mis-hits.

So begins an article entitled “How Forgiving Can an Iron Be and Still Look Like Something You’d Want to Play?” in the October 2010 issue of Golf Digest.

Puritanical title aside,  it strikes me as an odd place to see a church reference, not to mention a not so flattering way to reference a church.

It is true that the church has become more tolerant on certain issues. Depending on which issues are in focus, I am not convinced that is a good thing.

If you know me, you probably know that I play golf from time to time … at least a few times a year. And it’s well known that these days you can buy a better game. To cut that handicap down, you can skip the hours at the driving range and just hit the pro shop.

I am not saying that’s a bad thing in golf. In answer to the title question, based on the clubs I have seen, people show a remarkable ability to overlook ugly stuff if it works, or if they think it will work.

But church?

I think there are a lot of churches who have “bought a better game.” They are bigger, not because they are dedicated to the hard work of being a better disciple-maker but because they have used technology to leverage the show. And some of it is just plain ugly.

People are being entertained, not discipled. Ears are being tickled; worldviews aren’t being transformed.

I am not opposed to technology, design, and modern conveniences in the church. I use them.

And I not condemning everyone who does it differently than I do, nor those who have large churches.

But let’s be careful that we aren’t merely “buying a better” game that is a charade of the real thing.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Detroit Baptist Seminary’s Mid-America Conference on Preaching concluded today. The conference this year focused on the missional church movement. It was a rather large task—to summarize and then interact with the missional church movement.

Overall, I thought the conference was very good. Dave Doran, pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church and president of the seminary, spoke at all four main sessions. He did an admirable job of taking a rather large and sometimes nebulous idea and making it digestible in a brief period of time.

I have written about the missional idea recently here at my blog, and will be doing some more short articles on it in the near future.

But here’s some off-the-cuff remarks that are on my mind this evening that I am going to unload here.

This conference, along with my own thinking over the last decade since I first encountered the missional idea has convinced me of this: It is far more important to know your Bible and your community than it is to know what the newest incarnation of missional is.

I think there are some useful ideas in missional that I will highlight in coming articles. I also think there are some severe shortcomings and I will also point those out.

But the reality is that, in my opinion, there is nothing useful in missional that doesn’t spring from knowledge of the Bible and good old common sense about how to relate to people in your community.

You don’t have to know who Darrell Guder is to know that a community filled with people who haven’t finished high school won’t benefit much from a 12 week series on the relationship between Pauline justification and Aristotelian logic, or an exposition about the Lukan Authorship of Hebrews (the actual title of a rather longish book I saw today).

And a reading Christopher Wright won’t be needed to convince you that a lengthy study on evil of platonic dualism and its connection to proto-gnosticism probably won’t double your church this year (unless by “double” you mean empty seats).

It doesn’t take a class with Stetzer to figure out that if you live in a community with a lot of hungry people, having some sort of food bank or food pantry is a kind thing to do to make available for needy people when they ask. It won’t get people to heaven, but it may help them go to bed without being hungry. And that’s not the worst thing you could do.

(True story: A number of years ago, my wife and I took a bag of food to a mother who just given birth. While standing in her living room, she felt compelled to show me the fresh sutures from her C-section, and before I could say, “That’s okay, I don’t need to see it” she had pulled down her sweatpants. Somehow I have never seen a missional author lay out the proper response to that scenario. I suppose something like “Wow, that had to hurt” or “That’s quite a scar” would have fit well. Perhaps my uncharacteristic silence was a rare moment of wisdom.)

If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of single moms, having moms bring in children’s clothes for needy families won’t kill you. (I needed some this past week and had nothing to give her.) Now it won’t clothe them in Jesus’ righteousness, and Jesus didn’t die to provide Winnie-the-Pooh jammies for a little tyke, but it may keep a child warm during the winter.

Is that a bad thing to do? I don’t think so. It’s basic human decency. Later, I will tell you why I think this is a legitimate possibility (not a mandate) for a church to do.

Perhaps the biggest thing you can do to be usefully missional is to not spend several months listening to missional conferences and reading missional books. Rather, since “missional” means “sent,” then send yourself out. Get out of your office, take your headphones off, and walk the streets, and talk to people about their lives, their questions, their hurts, their happinesses, and their needs, their families, their jobs. Then ask a few questions. Probe. Ask why. Listen to their story.

You may want to meet their needs, answer their questions, cry with them, or buy them a gallon of milk, or maybe have someone else deliver the post-Caesarian food run … but above all, just shut up for a change and listen for a while.

It will do wonders for your preaching.

While I am rambling, this reminds me of Tim Keller teaching on preaching. He says you will preach to the people you talk to and listen to. If you spend your week listening only to books, commentaries, and ODGs, you will preach to those kind of people. If you spend your week in your neighborhood, in the coffee shops, in the parks, and reading your newspapers, you will preach to those kinds of people.

Why? I think it is because the people you talk to will create the questions that you are thinking about. Only then will you know how the gospel and the Bible reframes and reasks their questions. Perhaps on another occasion I will interact with this a bit. I don’t think its irrefutable; I do think it is helpful. Keller is not saying abandon the commentaries. He is saying talk to people.

Pastors, we can’t get up on Sunday mornings every week and feed our flocks if we haven’t spent any time with them.

But I digress, and am way off topic by now.

So what was my topic?

Ah yes, the MACP. Download the audio from this conference and listen to it. You and your church will be better off because of it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From Edinburgh to Cape Town

As a conservative evangelical who reads history, I think Edinburgh ended really badly. It failed to value theology and formed a movement that would later de-emphasize conversion and focus on social justice and eventually walk away from so much of what they treasured at Edinburgh (Ed Stetzer).

I have to wonder if Cape Town is substantively any different? I am not holding out hope that the doctrinal foundations are any more secure in 2010 than they were in 1910.

I freely admit to not being at either Edinburgh or Cape Town. But what I have seen in the blogs and articles in the run up to Cape Town, I am not convinced that this Lausanne group yet has an handle on what the gospel actually is.

I hope I am wrong.

Missiologist David Hesslegrave writes on “Will We Correct the Edinburgh Error? Future Mission in Historical Perspective.” It would be worth your time as well. Others have recommended Arthur  Johnston’s The Battle for World Evangelism (though I am not sure this is still in print).

World evangelism needs a renewed commitment to the gospel itself. Will Cape Town lead this? In another hundred years (should the Lord tarry) will people be talking about the Cape Town error?

Shaping Little Minds

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Helping to create the next generation of thinkers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Kinds of Missional

I have previously suggested that “missional” is like Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:23: It is all things to all men. I have previously linked to Ed Stetzer speaking of missional as a Rorshach Inkblot test: What you see in it depends on what’s going on in that little brain of yours. So, when we hear the word missional, we need to ask, “What do you mean by that?”

A conversation over the weekend sparked some additional thinking about the way that people use the word missional. I want to briefly address that this morning.

I would suggest that there is a spectrum of meaning of missional with two broad categories of use (with a lot of subcategories). The first is the popular usage. The second is the historical or original sense. I think we need to be careful to distinguish these two.

The popular usage is similar to a buzzword usage. People don’t really understand it’s historical underpinnings, or what it means to those “in the know.” But they see someone they like using it, or they hear someone making the rounds on the conference circuit use it, so they adopt it. For these, much of what’s in missional  is simply common sense ministry. 

For instance, just today Steve Davis (whom I don’t put in the category of buzzword user) highlights the idea of being out among people as the means of getting to know people because you need people to whom you proclaim the gospel in order to do the work of an evangelist and build the church. I like it. I think it’s absolutely necessary for ministry. I think it’s where many pastors are weak, myself included.

In this sense, missional means something like “be a Christian all the time, not just on Sundays and remember our ultimate priority with people is to evangelize people with the gospel.” When we help people with a car breakdown or raking leaves or when we are sitting on the porch talking or mingling at a community event, we are to do it with the gospel in mind, ultimately realizing that this person’s greatest need is a Savior.

I don’t think that is particularly cutting edge. It’s not exactly ground-breaking like inventing electricity or even inventing the internet.  I think it’s actually pretty straightforward NT thinking. It’s what believers are supposed to do.

It is missional only in the sense that people are being “sent out” away from the church gathered to live in their communities with a gospel mindset. It is the opposite of cloistering or ghetto-ing ourselves. We withdraw from the world only on Sundays for worship, and return to the world to live, work, serve, and evangelize for the other 167 hours or so. The church and the gospel is a way of life, not a Sunday morning diversion from life. The gospel is always to be front and center for us even away from the church gathered.

But that’s not new. It’s “rediscovery” is perhaps a testament to just how far the church has gotten from being biblical. It is, in one sense, an intentional condemnation of the seeker-church mentality that the way to evangelize is to invite people to some event (which missional people highly object to, even when they practice it).

I appreciate the emphasis of Steve’s article. I think one of the primary issues, particularly for pastors, is the priority of being around people who need to be evangelized. I am constantly thinking of my own need to be “out there” with people.

But I don’t think, historically, that’s what missional meant to many because it too closely ties proclamation to social consciousness. And here lies the other usage of missional. It is the academic/theoretical/philosophical use of missional. (Notice the absence of “theological” or “biblical.”) Much of what’s packed into this use of missional is little different than old theological liberalism that devalued or denied doctrine and gospel proclamation while emphasizing social issues. It’s the kind of missional that Brian McLaren is, alongside of everything else he is. People who use the term in this way object to the popular usage because they believe it corrupts the essence of missional by distorting the real meaning. 

Many of these proponents believe that mission is God at work building his kingdom completely apart from proclamation and largely apart from the church. Repairing social structures, eradicating poverty, and fighting for equality is the mission because the Kingdom of God surely has no such problems in it. It does not require the church. When the church does get “on mission,” it is merely finding what God is already doing in the world and joining him in it. For these, I think the mindset is that God is at work in the world, and if the church happens to be involved in it or built along the way, all the better. But the church is tangential, at best.

I think this is severely faulty, irredeemably incorrect, and indeed a false gospel—a false good news.

Many missional people (of the popular use) today would either completely disavow or strongly challenge this second view of missional. I am pretty sure Steve would dissociate himself from this. He rightly emphasizes the priority or the ultimate aim of proclamation. This is the position of someone like Keller as well.

The fact is that you haven’t preached the gospel until you have preached the gospel. All the good things in the world won’t take the place of telling people, “You are a great sinner in need of a great Savior,” and then explaining that the only suitable Savior is Jesus Christ. But many object to that, or at least do not see it as necessary. In so doing, they have denied the gospel, and this is a problem at the heart of some missional people. It’s why missional can be dangerous.

I think there is some helpfulness in the popular idea of missional.I think the other usage is mostly bankrupt.

I think there are some interesting questions to address on several facets. Here’s just a sample:

  1. What aspects of missional should we or can we embrace?
  2. How do we determine what biblical living looks like in our respective communities?
  3. How can we establish contacts and relationships in the community with the gospel in mind?
  4. How can mercy ministries be carried out inside the bounds of biblical instruction and the mandate of the church?
  5. What kind of missional ministries can we partner with to one degree or another? When has someone “crossed the line”?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Extension of the Kingdom?

At the risk of appearing like an old fuddy-duddy, I am going to go ahead and comment on this and this.

Let me start out by saying I think buying mosquito nets is a fine thing to do. I think mosquito nets are very valuable in certain areas of the world in that they protect from life-altering and sometimes fatal diseases. I have no issue at all with mosquito nets, people raising money for mosquito nets, sending mosquito nets to people who need them and can’t afford them, etc.

Here’s the problem I see. One commenter says, “Thank you for the opportunity to take action for the extension of His kingdom!”

Now admittedly, I am no scholar, but I am racking my brain trying to come up with something from the Bible about mosquito nets and the extension of the kingdom.

And I am totally blank.

The closest thing I am coming up with is the fly in Isaiah 7:18 and the locusts in Joel. I think there were some hornets back in the conquest, right? These were sent by God as judgment though, and I am thinking that it is not our job to try to stop the judgment of God. And I am thinking that while mosquitoes are, generally speaking, the result of the fall, they are not expressly the judgment of God on Central Africa (or anywhere else).

Obviously, I speak with a bit of hyperbole and satire, and some of you will be rankled by it. But seriously, in what sense can buying mosquito nets (a perfectly good thing to do) be labeled as an extension of the kingdom. I would argue that such can be said only in some vastly distorted view of the kingdom.

When Jesus came to “extend the kingdom” so to speak, he did it by preaching repentance and belief (Mark 1:14-15), not by buying mosquito nets.

And this leads to my point: We have a severe misunderstanding of the kingdom going on in modern day evangelicalism when we confuse the pursuit of the kingdom with the pursuit of social justice. Jesus did not come primarily to pursue social justice but to redeem sinners who have repented and believed and then to institute a kingdom of social justice.

Stunningly absent from some treatments of social justice is the fact that Jesus didn’t heal everybody, didn’t feed everybody, didn’t build houses for everybody (or anybody that I can recall, except for the ones in heaven). Jesus didn’t address racism. In fact, in one sense, he somewhat encouraged it (cf. the Syrophoenician woman and the Greeks at the festival to whom he refused to talk, though with the advent of the church, those ethnic distinctions are gone).

Buying mosquito nets, or feeding people at a soup kitchen, or running an addiction center, or fighting poverty and racism are all good things to do. But they are not “kingdom work” and they are not based on the ministry of Jesus because Jesus didn’t do those things.

Can you imagine someone standing up for social justice and saying this:

Listen folks, we know Jesus didn’t feed everyone. In fact, he fed very few people comparatively speaking (5000 and 4000). In fact, he prevented some people from eating when he cursed the fig tree so that it didn’t produce any more figs. We know he didn’t heal everyone. In fact, he let some people die. We know Jesus didn’t build houses for people. In fact, he himself didn’t even have one. In fact, almost all of his miracles were done only for those who already believed on him.

But we are going to follow Jesus and have food centers, and medical centers, and house-building groups, and mosquito net-buying groups because, bless God, we want to be like Jesus and we want to show people the love of Jesus and maybe these people will see these works and come to believe on Jesus.

Of course you can’t imagine that because Jesus didn’t show people his love by doing those things.

The point is that you can’t preach “incarnational ministry” from the life of Jesus because Jesus didn’t do what the incarnational people are talking about doing. When he helped the hungry, it was by a miracle, not a food pounding or a Thanksgiving soup kitchen. When he helped the sick, it was by instant healing, not a free clinic to give people medical advice and a seven-day round of antibiotics. So if you want to be “incarnational” like Jesus was, go do a miracle. Not one of the phony TBN miracles, but actually heal someone, or feed 5000 hungry men in your city with a loaf of bread and can of tuna.

I have no problem with food pantries, soup kitchens, rescue missions, medical centers, or the like. I think they are things we should do, probably more often than we do. I think we should have great concern for hurting and hopeless people. But let’s not blame that on Jesus. Jesus did none of those things in the way that people are saying we should do them.

I think this is one place (among others) where the missional idea goes off track. It assumes (wrongly) that we are to follow the ministry pattern of Jesus in social issues. But the NT simply does not bear that out. Jesus gave no command for it. The epistles give no command for it. There’s little NT evidence for the church’s widespread pursuit of social justice in society. The emphasis is on preaching Jesus, calling people to repent and believe, and then go and live like they repented and believed. There was no call (and no apparent attempt) to reform social structures and eliminate social ills. It simply isn’t there.

We need to go back and realize that the reason for the kingdom postponement (however your particular eschatology might shade that) is not because there was a failure of social justice in first century Palestine. It wasn’t because there weren’t enough blog sites raising money to buy mosquito nets or build schools, or enough people raking their neighbor’s leaves and picking up trash on the street in order to be like Jesus.

The postponement of the kingdom in the gospels is because of the lack of belief and repentance in the Messiah. That is why Jesus said, “This kingdom will be taken away from you and given to a people producing the fruit of it” (Matthew 21:43).

So my caution to us all is to be wary of pretending that social justice pursuits are the extension of the kingdom. They aren’t. We should pursue social justice. We should not think that it is kingdom work in this age.

Listen, I am not in favor of social injustice. I don’t want there to be poor and hungry people, racism, sickness, and mosquito-driven malaria. I just don’t see that Jesus came to save us from that.

We should be interested in the communities that we live in because, among other reasons, we have to live in them. Personally, I like it when my street is filled with decent people who treat others with respect, help others in need, watch out for each others houses and properties. I like it when medical help is readily available, when poor people can get food assistance in times of legitimate need, and when race barriers are being broken down.

I am not against any of these things. I am for them.

But that’s not kingdom work.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Others’ Thoughts on Missional and Unrelated Thoughts on History

In conjunction with my previous posts on what it means to be missional (and more posts to come shortly), here are some thoughts that I think are helpful, at least for those trying to understand the issues.

Perhaps I think it’s helpful because it repeats what I have already said, namely that missional means a lot of different things to a lot of different people and when someone uses it, we need to ask what they mean by it.

Here’s one drawback to the article:

Read the work of George Marsden, especially Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism, which chronicles the missteps of both fundamentalism and left-wing evangelicalism in the last century. Surely we don’t think our generation or our camp is so sharp, so vigilant that we are above repeating such mistakes.

What about the missteps of “right-wing evangelicalism”? There seems a historical naiveté at work here that puts all the problems in “them” and “them.”

The disclaimer that we should be careful not to repeat such mistakes misses the fact that you (like all of us to some degree) are the recipients of mistakes made by our forefathers. In fact, I think in some ways, they continue the mistakes; they simply do not recognize that they are mistakes.

Now perhaps this author intends no such notion and I don’t want to read too much into this. However, I want to use it to make a point, namely, that implying that there were groups or segments without blame or “missteps” is historically incorrect. It is not helpful to further progress.

Implying that some of those missteps were less serious is hardly more helpful. The “legalism” of fundamentalism that confused the gospel for some is hardly worse than some of the philosophies of the then new evangelicalism that confused the gospel in others ways.

In fact, I suggest a case can be made that the steps of the “right-wing evangelicals” were the worst of them all precisely because of the confusing message that it sent. While fundamentalism may have been legalistic on some tangential matters (and they should not have been), no one in fundamentalism was confused about whether theological liberalism was a viable option or whether the Roman Catholic gospel was the true gospel. Yet because of well-meaning but unbiblical “right-wing evangelicalism,” some were confused by that, and still are.

No one mistook where the fundamentalists were (whether they were right or wrong). And no one mistook where the left-wing evangelicals were (whether they were right or wrong). But the so-called “right-wing evangelicals” created a fair amount of confusion that, in some regards, continues to this day in their descendants. One only needs to read the Marsden mentioned above to see that.

I, for one, applaud the firm stance on the gospel that seems renewed in this younger generation. I do not applaud what seems a lack of thoughtful discernment about some of the issues that, at least on the surface, appear tangential to the gospel. This generation, having received a renewed clarity on the gospel, now needs to examine carefully the implications of the gospel for all of life, not just the parts of life that may be convenient or popular.

In a conversation with a friend recently I remarked that this younger generation is going to have to be convinced that anything more than the gospel matters in terms of Christian fellowship.

I think such convincing is made more difficult by historical revisionism. I further think that the unwillingness to critically view the “right-wing evangelicals” of the middle-to-late twentieth church will only compound the problem.

Just because someone is a Christian does not mean that they are okay. We loudly proclaim that about fundamentalists (and we should). Let us not neglect to do so for others as well.

There is a reason that the Bible contains teaching on more than the gospel. It is because more than the gospel is important. We are instructed by the Bible about much more than the gospel. We should do no less than to seek it out and live it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Youthful Indiscretions or Ambitious Self-Defense?

In arecent article entitled “Why All Indiscretions Appear Youthful,” Benedict Carey reports on the findings of a study of of moral choices of people.

He says,

In recent years, psychologists have exposed ways that people subconsciously maintain and massage their moral self-image. They rate themselves as morally superior to the next person; overestimate the likelihood that they will act virtuously in the future; see their own good intentions as praiseworthy while dismissing others’ as inconsequential. And they soften their moral principles when doing a truly dirty job, like carrying out orders to exploit uninformed customers.

Dr. Jessica R. Escobedie says, “The main finding is that if I ask you to tell me about a positive moral memory, you’ll tell me something recent. If I ask you to tell me about a bad moral memory, you’re going to give me something from much further in the past.”

By this, the report concludes that “People honestly view their past in a morally critical light, but at the same time they tend to emphasize that they have been improving.”

Dr. Escobedo says, “The weirdest thing about reading about all these bad moral choices is that it make you kind of feel good about yourself. Just seeing how everyone makes mistakes and regrets not doing what was morally right: It makes you feel more attached to humanity.”

This seems to lead to several conclusions.

First, people are softer on themselves than they should be. By jettisoning poor moral choices to the distant past, they seem to fail to note that ten years from now, today’s moral choices will seem wrong to them, meaning that those choices are wrong now. They didn’t become wrong by ten years of reflection. They only became known as wrong by ten years of reflections.

Second, by having no external moral compass, they are left with nothing other than the passing of time to judge something as right or wrong. That is a sign of the poor moral judgment of people. It is a sign of immaturity, both to do it in the first place as well as to pretend that only things done in the past are morally wrong. Until we have an external moral compass, we will always be ten years behind in our moral evaluation.

Third, the fact that seeing other’s bad moral choices makes us feel better about ourselves reveals just how distorted the whole concept of “good self-image” really is. The pursuit of self-esteem is revealed yet again to be a poor substitute for meaningful living. The fact that I feel better because I see that everyone else is as big an idiot as I am should hardly be comforting, either to me or the people around me.

Fourth, and finally, it reveals that tagging old acts as youthful indiscretions from which we have grown only serves as an ambitious self-defense. “That was what I used to be” is not all that impressive. “I am much better than that now” does not hold a lot of water.

Personal growth is good. But asserting personal growth by means of “I did something wrong a long time ago” and “I see people around me who do the same thing” shows just how far we have come in human progress. Problem is, we have come the wrong way.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

You Can’t Make This Up

From a church’s statement of faith:

The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the pastor.

And this is a Baptist church … allegedly.

A few lines later, this same statement of faith says,

We believe that He [the Holy Spirit] is the divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 1:17-18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).

So if the Holy Spirit assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures, and if all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the pastor, is the pastor the Holy Spirit? Or is the Holy Spirit the assistant to the pastor?

Just who does he think he is? Or who does he think He is?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Millionaires Among Us

A man or woman who woks from age twenty-five to sixty-five and makes “only” $25,000 a year … will receive a million dollars. He or she will manage a fortune. Because we all will eventually give an account of our lives to God (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10), one day everyone must answer these questions: Where did it all go? What did I spend it on? What has been accomplished for eternity through my use of all this wealth?

  — Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity, p. 8

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Here and There

Here’s a list of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods. What may surprise some is that the Detroit did not make the list (although they apparently didn’t consider the fact that the soon-to-be-my-house was recently broken into and all the copper was taken from the basement). Atlanta leads with four appearances and Chicago, Las Vegas, Memphis and Cleveland all have multiple appearances. Interestingly, Chattanooga and Louisville KY also both make the list.

And while I am talking about Detroit, here’s the first of three videos about Detroit. They are interesting, to me at least. Detroit is a graveyard of grand old buildings. Be warned that there is some pretty salty speech in a few places, so I encourage careful listening (or careful non-listening). You can trace the path to all three from this first link.

My friend Chris celebrates twelve years of Tri-County Bible Church. God has done some great things there, it sounds like.

I recently saw someone say that certain Calvinists don’t emphasize the cross of Christ very much in their evangelistic appeals. I can only guess that they have never heard people like C J Mahaney, Al Mohler, Mark Dever (or Driscoll), John MacArthur, Matt Chandler, or John Piper. Such a person can be excused for such an oversight. After all, these guys rarely speak anywhere, and when they do, hardly anyone ever blogs about it or tweets it. And MP3s of their preaching might as well be LPs, since there aren’t many of them and hardly anyone has the technology to play them anyway. (An LP is an old vinyl record for those of you born after 1980.)

Oh well … Enough for now.