Mar 162010

What David Trotter learned after leaving his wife and church (and being restored to his family) (HT: Jonathan Herron)

Jared Wilson on Michael Spencer.

Michael Buckley is holding an art auction to help support Spencer and his wife Denise, and pay his medical bills (For a sample of iMonk, check out this thread on spiritual formation)

Guess who the Guardian says is the new face of Christianity in America. (HT: Todd Rhoades)

Al Mohler and other panelists at Southern Seminary recently grilled Brian McLaren.

Bob Kellemen blogs through McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity.

Are you a church planter???

Tim Challies reviews the book Son of Hamas.

Mark Lauterbach:

How often do I demand and critique because others do not measure up to my expectations and, of course, my “superior” gifting?  Am I aware that people are limited, as limited as I am?  Peter Drucker has a quote I live by.  In his massive book on Management, he notes, “people are weak, some of us are pitifully weak.”

As a pastor I am weak, and my people are weak.  They have limited ability, and I have limited ability.  Demanding more from them is not the path of the gentle shepherd.

More from Lauterbach:

How easy it is to think of the people I serve as obstacles to what God wants to do — and to treat them with disrespect.  They are not obstacles.  They are God’s redeemed people, my brothers and sisters, as slow to change as I am.  Does God drive his sheep — does God use a cattle prod?  I wanted to serve them as my Savior served me — with respect for their persons.

Nick Charalambous, former internet campus pastor at NewSpring Church:

My contention is simply this: The web church doesn’t solve any problems that Jesus hasn’t prepared and equipped the church to handle in the past, the present, or the future by physical means. In fact, the Web church may, in time, cause problems for the larger church that are harder to fix than the original problem of the declining evangelistic power of our physical church communities.

Mockingbird blog looks at Christoph Blumhardt’s Lutheran/charismatic theology of the cross, and on a Lutheran view of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

Tom Stipe: It could have been worse.

The Gospel Coalition’s helpful resources for responses to Christian universalism.

Philip Schroeder’s “heads-up” for megachurch pastors from a small-church pastor.

Seven counterfeit gospels, from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane (taken from their book How People Change, listed on Tullian Tchividjian’s blog) (HT: Justin Buzzard)

Tim Chester: The context of pastoral care is in the gospel community.

What’s so attractive about pornography again? This?

15-minute church services?

Dave Bruskas recommends five books for readers new to John Piper.

The Eremos blog looks at Eugene Peterson’s Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places.

Tim Chester reviews Frost and Hirsch’s ReJesus.

Scot McKnight looks at John Stott.

Westminster Seminary now on iTunesU.

Dan Edelen: The times and our response to them as Christians.

Bryan Lilly on how to preach the gospel to yourself.

An Allie update.

Good news from David Wayne (aka the Jollyblogger)!


Cathleen Falsani with N.T. Wright.

Trevin Wax with Mark Galli.

Stephen Altrogge with Bob Kauflin (part 1 and part 2) (HT: Zach Nielsen)

Mar 162010

I’ve got Bentley and Joyner pegged.

This is all about cash…and they’re getting desperate.

Watch this compendium of lies and spiritual fantasy…thrill to stories of angels with swords hovering over the hirelings fat gut and learn about the “angels of finance” who oversee the “treasuries of heaven”that the charlatans can get you access to.

They’re pulling out all the stops to get people to “buy” in to a new revival featuring everybodys favorite fornicating, covenant breaking, liar.

It doesn’t seem to be working.

Trophy wives are expensive…so are huge pieces of property with unfinished buildings.

Mar 162010

For a long time I’ve been confused by reports of abusive pastors and elders  here who disavowed repentance and seemed to evidence no fear of God.

This led some to conclude that there were unsaved pastors shepherding unsaved flocks and that was part of the bigger problem of abuse.

Those discussions ended up being long, emotional, and tense discussions about post salvific sanctification.

I think we missed the point… and those folks who doubted the regeneration of some folks could have been right on.

The light began to come on when perusing George Brysons website where in addition to hating on Calvinism, he lists “lordship salvation” as a doctrine he despises.

The “non lordship” position asserts that all that is need for salvation is a one time mental assent to the Gospel…while sanctification and discipleship should follow that “decision” they don’t necessarily have to.

Once that mental assent has happened, the believer is eternally secure…even if said believer shows no fruit at all.

The “lordship salvation” doctrine states that when one comes to faith in Christ they not only make mental assent, but commit to Christ as Savior and Lord, trusting Him with the entirety of their person.

I’ll be blunt…the “non lordship” position may not be a false Gospel but you are getting too close for comfort.

The idea of regeneration without sanctification has been anathema to church for most of it’s history and is anathema to true biblical faith.

If we have a bunch of preachers and parishioners with no fear of God because they “made a decision for Christ” at some point and believe they received fire insurance and a license to live unchanged lives…then we have a problem.

I commend to your reading the parable of the sowers…and Jesus words about them in Luke.

Ҧ Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd.
And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.”
But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.””
(Luke 8:19–21 ESV)

We never “do it “perfectly or even well…but we pursue holiness and live lives of repentance.

The truly regenerate person will sin, but the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within and the discipline of a loving Father will keep them on a path of being conformed to the image of Christ.

Those who live lives of rebellion and impunity without check or discipline…need to check and see if they’re in the faith.

If your pastors teachings empower him or others to abuse people…you need to flee from a false teacher.

Mar 152010

“¶ “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
(John 17:20–23 ESV)

The most divisive doctrine in the church today is not Calvinism or hyper-Pentecostalism or the mode of baptism or church government.

It’s dispensationalism.

While Jesus prayed for unity in John 17, the dispensationalist warns against it as it will inevitably lead to the “one world religion under the leadership of the false prophet”.

Someone should have warned Jesus…

When I think about the kind of unity that J.I. Packer and John Armstrong are promoting I rejoice until I think about the assault that will soon be launched against them in the name of “Bible believing prophecy”.

Packer’s vision of unity is this...”It is the one that views the visible church as a single worldwide, Spirit-sustained community within which ongoing doctrinal and denominational divisions, though important, are secondary rather than primary”.

“Embracing this vision will mean that our ongoing inter- and intra-church debates will look, and feel, less like trench warfare, in which both sides are firmly dug in to defend the territory that each sees as its heritage, and more like emigrants’ discussions on shipboard that are colored by the awareness that soon they will be confronted by new tasks in an environment not identical with what they knew before. There they will all need to pull together in every way they can. The church in every generation voyages through historical developments and cultural changes, against the background of which new angles emerge on old debates and truths may need to be reformulated in order to remain truly the same as they were. Not to recognize this is a defect of vision on our part.”

The question before the house today…can we embrace the pursuit of unity in the church as Jesus prayed for while still looking for the signs of the times?

More importantly…are we enjoying the pride we feel in our divisions more than we want John 17 to manifest?

When I brought this up last week, Armstrong left this comment;

“You have captured the essence of the argument by responding to my friend Jim Packer’s argument in the foreword. Sadly, many on the right will reject it because of Packer alone. That tragic fact should cause some to say, “What goes on here?” The book will help them see why people react to Packer and what prompts what sometimes becomes anger and misleading comment. I always say, “Read the book and really respond to what is actually said and if you disagree then tell why in a fair and simple way.”

My prayer is to stir a great movement for “relational unity in mission” not create a one-world church, which is as unlikely as ever regardless of what some have told us for 100 years about prophecy. While we are told there is a one-world church coming we keep creating new churches (denominations) every year! Something about this picture ought to make us think but then thinking is not highly valued in some Christian circles these days. We much prefer conspiracy theories to real critical thought.”

I long to see this happen, to see this culture become the norm in the church…and I’m a dispensationalist.

So are most of you.

Can a dispensational eschatology co-exist with a pursuit of unity?

In other stuff…

Ingrid Schlueter actually wrote a really good article...I commend it to your reading.

Mar 142010

What did you teach?

What did you learn?

Did you hear the Gospel?

We continue in the Heidelberg Catechism;

Question 112. What is required in the ninth commandment?

Answer: That I bear false witness against no man, (a) nor falsify any man’s words; (b) that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; (c) that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or unheard; (d) but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil, (e) unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; (f) likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; (g) also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighbour. (h)

(a) Prov.19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. Prov.19:9 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish. Prov.21:28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly. (b) Ps.15:3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. Ps.50:19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Ps.50:20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. (c) Rom.1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Rom.1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (d) Matt.7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matt.7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (e) John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (f) Prov.12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Prov.13:5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame. (g) 1 Cor.13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Eph.4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (h) 1 Pet.4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Mar 142010

Good morning heavenly Father. Good morning Lord Jesus. Good morning Holy Spirit. Father I pray that I may live this day in Your presence and please You more and more. Lord Jesus I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow You. Holy Spirit I pray that this day You will fill me with Yourself and cause Your fruit to ripen in my life, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three Persons in one God, have mercy upon me, Amen.

John Stott’s morning prayer

Mar 132010

This may be my favorite teaching from J.I. Packer.

Here he talks about the need to learn the faith, to teach and be taught, and gives us the 10 things we most need to learn about.

Most won’t take the time to watch…those that do will be blessed and encouraged and maybe even inspired to swim past the shallows.

Mar 122010

We need a new Christian holiday.

We need to establish some day in every year that the people of God set aside for repenting of relational offenses and seeking forgiveness.

We could make as big a deal out of it as we do Christmas or Easter…plan for it, get our lists ready so to speak, and then enjoy the relief and joy that comes through restored relationships.

We can call it “Restoration Day”.

Yes, I know we’re supposed to do this every day…but we don’t.

Just as Christmas gives folks who aren’t bent to expressing love an excuse to do so, “Restoration Day” could provide the prideful with an excuse to get right with God and others.

Since we have been talking about a badly dysfunctional and abusive situation in a church family, we’ve received many more stories of the same.

How much better for the kingdom and those involved would it be if repentance and forgiveness were the hope instead of having to write a book or a blog to resolve the situation?

“Restoration Day” will never get on the official calendar..but it really needs to be on mine and yours.

Some folks need to schedule it immediately…