Archive for May, 2007

Global Gospel Warming

May 30, 2007

Tim over at The Global Warming Heretic brought an interesting article to my attention. There is so much wrong with this gathering that I am aghast. But in this little Tennessean article Brian McLaren says the following:

Brian McLaren, an author and Christian activist who spoke Thursday, said many television and radio evangelists had delivered to their listeners the kind of fear-mongering and finger-pointing messages that promote factionalism.

In his lecture at First Baptist Church, McLaren proposed that preaching should remedy, rather than incite, controversial issues.

These include poverty and climate change, and he encouraged his audience not to shy away from such global issues.

“We can’t really afford to waste too many Sundays with so much at stake,” he said.
“If instead we play it safe, in a true sense we have switched sides from being part of the solution to being part of the problem.”

I don’t know what it means to waste time on Sundays promoting factionalism but there ARE important things to do on Sunday mornings. Not-a-one has anything to do with CO2 emissions.

Perhaps someone would like to discuss whether or not it is a good idea to have a “Festival of Homiletics” where folks are taught: “What preaching attempts to do is to foster a courageous and creative reading of scripture.”

Talk amongst yourselves.

al sends

I Think I’m Crunchy

May 29, 2007

“It seems to crunchy cons that most Americans are so busy bargain shopping or bed hopping, or talking about their shopping and screwing selves, that they’re missing the point of life. Sex and commerce are fine things, but man cannot live by Viagra and Dow Jones alone. A life led collecting things and experiences in pursuit of happiness is not necessarily a bad life, but it is not a good life either. Too often, the Democrats act like the Party of Lust, and the Republicans the Party of Greed” (p. 12).

Rod Dreher, Crunchy Cons

The Power of Pentecost Without Being Pentecostal

May 28, 2007

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day on the Christian calendar in which we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell the church of Jesus Christ. This is a most momentous day, for on this day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles, giving them gifts and empowering them for the proclamation of the gospel and the works prepared for them by the Father.

Pentecost created the church. There has always been a church, in the sense of there being a people of God set apart for His worship. But in a unique way the descent of the Spirit 40 days after the ascension of Jesus empowered the disciples of Jesus to be the continuation of the presence of Jesus in the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the church is the body of Christ, incarnating the risen and ascended Savior in the world. Christ Jesus is mystically present in His body, the church, by the Holy Spirit.

So this means that any fruit we bear for God is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Any good works we perform is the working of the Holy Spirit in us. Any mighty deeds that are evident in us are the workings of the Holy Spirit. Any real progress in holiness and faith and repentance is truly the evidence of being baptized into the Spirit of Christ.

What then should we do? We should earnestly seek the aid of the Holy Spirit in worship. We should ask for His presence and power to be strong with us so that our praise is Godward and our prayers are fervent and our hearing of the Word is effectual.

So here is my exhortation to you today: you can live out the power of Pentecost without being Pentecostal! You can be full of the Spirit without doing anything weird that makes people stare. And you can be “spiritual” in the true sense of that word.

Worship the Lord, I exhort you, by walking in the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit and trusting the Spirit to help you in your weakness and to lead you to call on God as your Abba, Father.

A Royal Family Feasting on Fine Fare

May 28, 2007

The Scripture says that our Savior “was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray;  We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

All of you who are united to Christ by faith are forgiven of your sins, and you are invited to come and sit at the table of the Lord. This is the Lord’s Supper, the Communion meal, the Holy Eucharist. Each week we sit together here and receive the bread and the wine and are thus fed with the very body and blood of Christ in the heavenlies by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Consider this description of the Lord’s Supper: in the Lord’s Supper we come as a royal family and sit in His presence. Here, He feeds us and nourishes us. And having tasted the goodness of God and rested in His provision, we are then prepared to go and be His presence in the world for the sake of the gospel of grace.

Consider it! You are a royal family sitting at the table of the King of kings, in His very presence. You are being fed and nourished, not with crumbs and ditch water, but with the very dainties of the King’s royal larder, His own dear and precious Son’s body and blood, which has been given at great price for you. You are tasting the goodness of God and resting in His provision. All week long you work hard to provide for your family. But here you are resting in the provision of Another. God Himself has graciously provided for you – you who are hungry and needy and starving for food that endures.

What a pleasure and a delight! What a royal privilege!

Come, you who are the beloved of the Father, you who know Jesus Christ, you who are the body of Jesus Christ, come and receive the body and blood of the Lord. Come and feast on the grace of God. Come as one body in unity and in peace, come and commune together as a royal family.

Come, taste and see that the Lord is good

Saturday Night Funny

May 26, 2007

 

al sends

Meme

May 26, 2007

    Instructions:
1.    Grab the nearest book.
2.    Open it to page 161.
3.    Find the fifth full sentence.
4.    Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5.    Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
My result:

“Just prior to and during his retirement, Wilberforce was castigated in verse by Lord Byron.”  Hero for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce by Kevin Belmont

If you are interested post your results in the comments section.

al sends

When you’re wrong you’re wrong…

May 25, 2007

When writing for public consumption (at which, I am a novice) one should not answer brothers-in-Christ the way one does the average passerby.

Why? Well, God says that we are to love one another (in a particular way) so that the average passerby, rank heretic or raging atheist might pause and wonder at the Christ these brothers serve. And in wondering, glorify God. That should be motive enough.

Here is another reason. Since we know one another, how greater grace has overcome great sin in each of our lives, we should be on a hair trigger to offer that same grace in these disputations. There is the whole thing about have received much and much being required. Oh, and it is required of ME! Not some disembodied soul in the nether regions of cyberspace. ME. I have received much and there is much required of ME.

With that in mind:

I was wrong. I was wrong to answer my brother (in the post below) the way I did. I was wrong to make this personal by answering him by name. I was wrong to impute motive to his questions and I was wrong to simply try and win an argument.

With that in mind… I repent of the above and ask him for forgiveness. I will endeavor to make amends in private but, public sin – public confession.

al sends…

Some Folks Question (edited title – see above)

May 24, 2007

This post has been edited to remove an offensive insinuation on my part – Al sends
Via Email I received a note from a Baptist brother of mine. He asked a few questions about my 5 points post. Really it was just one question with the “are you sure you wanted to say that, that way” thrown in there for good measure 🙂 Here is what he asked:

In the 5 points post you said:

“Baptism has a shot, scripturally speaking, of making one a Christian.”

Are you saying that water baptism “has a shot…at making one a Christian?” It would seem that you are equating sacramental participation in baptism with “making one a Christian.” Am I reading that correctly? If so, then it would be acceptable to look to my baptism as the moment of my being made a Christian. Or have I misunderstood you?

No Tom you have not misunderstood me.

Your last statement seems to confirm my understanding of what you wrote:

“WHO makes one a Christian.” It is being buried WITH Him in Baptism.”

Or maybe you are refering (sic) to someone who is already in Christ as a result of their having come to Christ in faith.

Well, it applies to one who already expressing belief in Christ, but it equally applies to those (the children of believing parents) who are expected to come to faith, being born into the covenant God established with Abraham so long ago.

The emphasis on WITH, meaning what exactly? Does the emphasis on WITH mean that they are already in union with Christ through faith? So that your sentence would mean:

You may look to your Baptism as proof that you are a Christian, as long as you were in actual union with Christ when you were Baptized.

Baptism is not so much something we do, rather God places His seal on us and unites us to Christ. We are encouraged to look back on our Baptism as a sign of our engrafting into Christ and an encouragement to faith. This does not mean that all who are Baptized are elect, rather they are united to Christ in some way. John 15 applies here.

The question I was attempting to answer in my original post is “what makes a Christian?” I said there are more objective/biblical ways to discern if someone is a Christian.

In the two texts on Baptism I mentioned (you did not reference them, strange)

Col 2:11-12

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism , in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
NKJV

and

Rom 6:1-4

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
NKJV

Baptism points to our union with Christ and fulfills the promises of God to Abraham, whose children were included in the promises. In Acts Peter brings these promises to bear in talking about baptism in particular:

Acts 2:36-39

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them,”Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

NKJV

What promise is Peter talking about here? The promise of regeneration and inclusion into the household and family of God seems to fit. And if they are included in the promise they should receive the sign of the promise (Rom 4).

Either way, I have trouble with the statements that Baptism “has a good shot… at making one a Christian” and “[being made a Christian is synonomous (sic) with] being buried WITH Him in Baptism.”

I am sure you do Tom. You are a credobaptist and see a division between the covenants that is foreign to the NT. Let me leave you with this quote I saw today on Wilson’s Blog…

Paedobaptism and Porcupines
Topic: Chrestomathy

“The hermeneutic of requiring express warrant from Scripture for all elements of a worship service is essentially a baptistic approach. For example, because we have no express mention of infant baptism in the New Testament, infant baptism is prohibited. Presbyterian strict regulativists try to get away from this by allowing for express warrant through ‘good and necessary’ deductive consequence. But the case for infant baptism (a compelling one, I believe) is theological and broad and not analytic and narrow. It is not on the order of ‘God made all porcupines, this is a porcupine, and therefore God made it too'” (Mother Kirk, p. 122).

 

Thanks Al,

You are welcome Tom…

al sends

The Scrabble Study Bible

May 23, 2007

“If you’re looking for a sign from God this is it.”

Whew! What a relief. I was looking for a good opportunity to put God to the test this afternoon, so I sure am glad I ran across this fine piece of theological absurdity. I guess the resurrection was not a good enough sign after all.

Though it does make a fellow think: If the Almighty were going to send me a sign, would he use a literal sign with movable vinyl letters? Maybe when I get home I’ll take my bag of Scrabble letters and dump them out and read the “message.”

Stand by, Ubergoober! You might get a prophetic announcement soon.

Jesus the Science Experiment

May 23, 2007

Spotted: “Ascension: what goes up comes down.”

So Jesus’ Second Coming will be the result of gravitational pull?