Dec 232013

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. As I said over the weekend, the simple truth that no one wants to say out loud is that most people agree with Phil Robertson ‘s basic view of homosexuality. The second (and most important thing) that no one wants to say out loud is that people are sick and tired of being forced to pretend they accept something they don’t.


2. In a pluralistic society “tolerance” is a necessary virtue. “Tolerance” does not mean “wholesale acceptance”. It is also necessary that the people and views I “tolerate” in turn “tolerate” mine when they differ within the limits of the law, or there really is no “tolerance” at all. Rick Warren said it best; “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

3. Why do most people agree with Robertson? General revelation.

4. If holding a biblical view of homosexuality makes you a “homophobe”, then are people who oppose that view “Christiaphobes’?

5. “And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.”(Job 42:10 ESV). Cause and effect?

6. The more I study the life of Luther the less I like him as a person and the more grateful I am for the grace of God who uses flawed vessels to do all of His work…including that which I’m involved in.

7. One of those ads is an open door for hackers that I need to close…I’m hoping it’s the one with a toilet.

8. The more you study church history the more you understand that when the church leaves it’s place of speaking truth to power and desires instead to share the power, the church ceases to speak anything that power doesn’t want to hear.

9. The “Duck Dynasty” scandal actually laid the ground for a counter revolution against the silencing of the ethics of the common man…we’ll see if any of our “leaders” pick this up and run with it.

10.  The issue of homosexuality needs to be addressed with immense biblical grace, compassion, and discernment. However, it’s hard to have those kind of conversations when one side is unwilling to be as “tolerant” as they are demanding others to be. Forced tolerance isn’t tolerance at all…it’s something far more dangerous.

Preston Sprinkle did a 20 part blog on the biblical view of homosexuality that is brilliant.

On another note, another fine word from Sarah…

Jason with some thoughts on using tech…


Dec 212013

thumbnail.aspxWe give you thanks for the babe born in violence.

We give you thanks for the miracle of Bethlehem, born into the Jerusalem heritage.

We do not understand why the innocents must be slaughtered; we know that your kingdom comes in violence and travail.

Our time would be a good time for your kingdom to come, because we have had enough of violence and travail.


So we wait with eager longing, and with enormous fear, because your promises do not coincide with our favorite injustices.

We pray for the coming of your kingdom on earth as it is around your heavenly throne.

We are people grown weary of waiting.

We dwell in the midst of cynical people, and we have settled for what we can control.

We do know that you hold initiative for our lives, that your love planned our salvation before we saw the light of day.

And so we wait for your coming, in your vulnerable baby in whom all things are made new.

Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 149). Kindle Edition.

Dec 212013

Christianity  tourism destinationsINCARNATION


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

JOHN 1:14

Trinity and Incarnation belong together. The doctrine of the Trinity declares that the man Jesus is truly divine; that of the Incarnation declares that the divine Jesus is truly human. Together they proclaim the full reality of the Savior whom the New Testament sets forth, the Son who came from the Father’s side at the Father’s will to become the sinner’s substitute on the cross (Matt. 20:28; 26:36–46; John 1:29; 3:13–17; Rom. 5:8; 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:19–21; 8:9; Phil. 2:5–8).

The moment of truth regarding the doctrine of the Trinity came at the Council of Nicaea (a.d. 325), when the church countered the Arian idea that Jesus was God’s first and noblest creature by affirming that he was of the same “substance” or “essence” (i.e., the same existing entity) as the Father. Thus there is one God, not two; the distinction between Father and Son is within the divine unity, and the Son is God in the same sense as the Father is. In saying that Son and Father are “of one substance,” and that the Son is “begotten” (echoing “only-begotten,” John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18, and niv text notes) but “not made,” the Nicene Creed unequivocally recognized the deity of the man from Galilee.

A crucial event for the church’s confession of the doctrine of the Incarnation came at the Council of Chalcedon (a.d. 451), when the church countered both the Nestorian idea that Jesus was two personalities—the Son of God and a man—under one skin, and the Eutychian idea that Jesus’ divinity had swallowed up his humanity. Rejecting both, the council affirmed that Jesus is one divine-human person in two natures (i.e., with two sets of capacities for experience, expression, reaction, and action); and that the two natures are united in his personal being without mixture, confusion, separation, or division; and that each nature retained its own attributes. In other words, all the qualities and powers that are in us, as well as all the qualities and powers that are in God, were, are, and ever will be really and distinguishably present in the one person of the man from Galilee. Thus the Chalcedonian formula affirms the full humanity of the Lord from heaven in categorical terms.

The Incarnation, this mysterious miracle at the heart of historic Christianity, is central in the New Testament witness. That Jews should ever have come to such a belief is amazing. Eight of the nine New Testament writers, like Jesus’ original disciples, were Jews, drilled in the Jewish axiom that there is only one God and that no human is divine. They all teach, however, that Jesus is God’s Messiah, the Spirit-annointed son of David promised in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 11:1–5; Christos, “Christ,” is Greek for Messiah). They all present him in a threefold role as teacher, sin-bearer, and ruler—prophet, priest, and king. And in other words, they all insist that Jesus the Messiah should be personally worshiped and trusted—which is to say that he is God no less than he is man. Observe how the four most masterful New Testament theologians (John, Paul, the writer of Hebrews, and Peter) speak to this.

John’s Gospel frames its eyewitness narratives (John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24) with the declarations of its prologue (1:1–18): that Jesus is the eternal divine Logos (Word), agent of Creation and source of all life and light (vv. 1–5, 9), who through becoming “flesh” was revealed as Son of God and source of grace and truth, indeed as “God the only begotten” (vv. 14, 18; niv text notes). The Gospel is punctuated with “I am” statements that have special significance because I am (Greek: ego eimi) was used to render God’s name in the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14; whenever John reports Jesus as saying ego eimi, a claim to deity is implicit. Examples of this are John 8:28, 58, and the seven declarations of his grace as (a) the Bread of Life, giving spiritual food (6:35, 48, 51); (b) the Light of the World, banishing darkness (8:12; 9:5); (c) the gate for the sheep, giving access to God (10:7, 9); (d) the Good Shepherd, protecting from peril (10:11, 14); (e) the Resurrection and Life, overcoming our death (11:25); (f) the Way, Truth, and Life, guiding to fellowship with the Father (14:6); (g) the true Vine, nurturing for fruitfulness (15:1, 5). Climactically, Thomas worships Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (20:28). Jesus then pronounces a blessing on all who share Thomas’s faith and John urges his readers to join their number (20:29–31).

Paul quotes from what seems to be a hymn that declares Jesus’ personal deity (Phil. 2:6); states that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9; cf. 1:19); hails Jesus the Son as the Father’s image and as his agent in creating and upholding everything (Col. 1:15–17); declares him to be “Lord” (a title of kingship, with divine overtones), to whom one must pray for salvation according to the injunction to call on Yahweh in Joel 2:32 (Rom. 10:9–13); calls him “God over all” (Rom. 9:5) and “God and Savior” (Titus 2:13); and prays to him personally (2 Cor. 12:8–9), looking to him as a source of divine grace (2 Cor. 13:14). The testimony is explicit: faith in Jesus’ deity is basic to Paul’s theology and religion.

The writer to the Hebrews, purporting to expound the perfection of Christ’s high priesthood, starts by declaring the full deity and consequent unique dignity of the Son of God (Heb. 1:3, 6, 8–12), whose full humanity he then celebrates in chapter 2. The perfection, and indeed the very possibility, of the high priesthood that he describes Christ as fulfilling depends on the conjunction of an endless, unfailing divine life with a full human experience of temptation, pressure, and pain (Heb. 2:14–17; 4:14–5:2; 7:13–28; 12:2–3).

Not less significant is Peter’s use of Isaiah 8:12–13 (1 Pet. 3:14). He cites the Greek (Septuagint) version, urging the churches not to fear what others fear but to set apart the Lord as holy. But where the Septuagint text of Isaiah says, “Set apart the Lord himself,” Peter writes, “Set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Pet. 3:15). Peter would give the adoring fear due to the Almighty to Jesus of Nazareth, his Master and Lord.

The New Testament forbids worship of angels (Col. 2:18; Rev. 22:8–9) but commands worship of Jesus and focuses consistently on the divine-human Savior and Lord as the proper object of faith, hope, and love here and now. Religion that lacks these emphases is not Christianity. Let there be no mistake about that!

J.I. Packer: Concise Theology

Dec 202013

present-red“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

(Luke 2:8-11 ESV)


The cries and screams from the apartment were terrifying and loud.

It sounded like someone was being violently killed.

In reality, the noises were the death throes of hope.

The police were called and upon arrival found not a crime scene, but a hysterical single mom.

There would be no Christmas for her children…there was no money for gifts.

The pain and humiliation had grown inside her until it outgrew her and exploded outward in peals of pain.

“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.””

(Matthew 2:16-18 ESV)

Christmas has always been about the birth of Jesus and the wrath of Herod, of glad tidings of great joy and of pain that can’t be comforted.

It’s always been about who gets the gift and what the gift cost.

It’s always been about the laughter of the redeemed and weeping for the children.

Angels have always had to sing over the top of those lamenting to be heard.

The woman in the apartment was saved…the cops not only consoled her, they bought gifts for her children…and the song of an angel could be clearly heard all about the area.

They are still singing…and the song is for you…and me.

The baby came to die and from death bring forth new life and a new song in the throat of all who lament.

Someday, we will all sing with the angels even if we are crying over their song today.

Someday, every one who believes in the baby will have a very, merry, Christmas.

The promised Gift is the risen Gift and the reigning Gift…and He’s yours.

Make your own application…


Dec 192013

Bb3M9VQCcAA1MMwThe big story on the internet is the suspension of Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” by A&E for basically repeating the biblical view on homosexuality.

What remains of “free speech” in this country means that you’re free to speak, but if what you speak offends the oligarchy they will ruin you.

What remains of “freedom of religion” will soon be only the freedom to believe and teach what has been ruled to be the new cultural norms.

The state religion says you may believe what you wish as long as you don’t oppose those norms…just a pinch of incense to Caesar.

Theologically liberal Christians are busily playing Thomas Cranmer to A&E’s Henry VIII…and the marginalization of conservative Christianity continues.

They will all dance with the beast…until it turns and devours them.

I guess their consolation is that they will be eaten last.

The other story is the ongoing saga of Mark Driscoll and his penchant for plagiarism.

Mark’s take on the narrative is that he’s so busy doing so much good for so many in the kingdom of God that such ethical trivialities shouldn’t matter.

My take is that unless you are walking in the ethical precepts of the kingdom, you are tearing it down.

The job of the pastor is not to be successful…it’s to model what it means to live as a servant and follower of Christ.

Sometimes that will mean modeling how to repent and receive the forgiveness and grace of God.

If they won’t do it, we won’t do it.

On the celebrity level they ain’t and we aren’t.

In the meantime, we ignore this...

Joy to the world…

All comments are moderated and will be approved as I’m able.


Dec 182013

410+dzII85L._SL210_I read a lot of books and most I read to completion are “good” in my estimation…or I wouldn’t bother to read them.

That makes lists like this difficult.

This year my “Book of the Year” is a slam dunk, though.

Biblical Eschatology by Jonathan Menn is a classic...and should be on every pastors reference shelf.


This is the review I wrote for Amazon;

“Like most pastors, I have shelves full of books on various theological topics.

In my little library more than one of those shelves is filled with books on eschatology.

They are going to be yard sale fodder now.

Let’s just cut to the chase…this is the single best volume on eschatology ever written and I truly believe that it will become the standard teaching text on the subject in institutions of higher Christian learning.

It also should be required reading by all who believe that eschatology is a vital component of their faith…which should be all of us.

This book is comprehensive…it covers all of the doctrines and biblical texts associated with eschatology and the author has read and interacts with the differing positions on them honestly and fairly.

As a result, the book comes in at over 600 pages but every one of them is valuable in understanding the place of eschatology in the overall biblical narrative.

Great theology books are ones where the author has a clear position, but he is also well read and respectful of what others have written and what other traditions embrace.

Too often, books of this nature make a compelling case for one position, but do so at the expense of accurate representation of opposing views.

Not so with this one.

Menn is amillennial, but he seems to have read every dispensational author from Walvoord to Feinberg to Chuck Smith and he quotes, footnotes, and interacts with all of them based on the biblical text.

He does likewise with all the other major historical views.

None of the major views are given short shrift here and all are presented giving their best arguments and best scholars a voice.

I cannot commend Menn highly enough for this…it greatly strengthens the integrity of the whole volume.

My other two criteria for a “great” book are whether the author challenges my own presuppositions from the biblical text and whether he does so in a way that I can understand his arguments.

Once again, Menn gets my highest grades on both counts.

This will be a reference work esteemed for it’s excellence for many years to come.”

That’s this years winner, we’ll go over the runners up later.

Dec 182013

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aEvery Wednesday we will remember Saeed Abedini in prison in Iran.

This Wednesday we will be changing our Facebook profile pictures to one of his as a silent witness that he has not been forgotten.



Use your Twitter and other social media accounts to remind people that he is not home yet.

If you haven’t “liked” the main Facebook page, do so today..numbers matter.

You will also find new clickable Twitter links there.

Above all…keep praying.

Dec 172013

links_image1Why I have to keep blogging…

The Martyrs Project…

Being against gay marriage doesn’t make you a homophobe…

The divine invasion of Christmas…

Can the Bible be trusted?

A few good words about Mary…

This made me gag a bit…

Why you should be a congregationalist…

Why you should be a Presbyterian…

Seven people that you trust more than your pastor…

Harold Camping has died…

Carl Trueman nails it again…

and again…

Five uncomfortable issues the church need to talk about…


Dec 152013

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251.God has amazingly blessed all your efforts to #Free Saeed. He’s not home, so the work isn’t done yet. This Wednesday and every Wednesday until he’s released we will campaign on social media to make sure that he’s not forgotten and every effort continues to be made to secure his release. Make sure that you’ve joined and “liked” the main page on Facebook and watch it for new information on the campaign.

2. From a biblical standpoint, the worst part about the scandals in the church is that they bring reproach upon the name of Christ. We really don’t seem to care much about that…

3. From a human standpoint, when people refuse to confess and repent it negates the hope of true reconciliation. High profile leaders consider those offended as collateral damage in a greater public relations campaign.

4. When we as Christians refuse to confess and repent so that reconciliation is possible, we deny the grace of God that we claim to have received. To believe in grace means that we believe that real repentance will result in real forgiveness, regardless of how high your profile or how badly you’ve blown it. If you’re above confession and repentance you have placed yourself beyond grace as well.

5. You have to live in Oregon to understand this, but life is better when the Trail Blazers are good…and they are good this year.

6. The easiest sin for me to commit on these pages is to forget that high profile leaders who find themselves in a scandal had to be greatly used of God to get that high profile in the first place. Abraham and Noah would not have fared well in the blogosphere…

7.  The “next Billy Graham” will be the first celebrity to publicly blow it and and immediately own it and ask for forgiveness. Real humility would be so refreshing that it might become a fad…

8. When I was a younger preacher my main concern was to exegete the text properly and teach sound doctrine. Now, I still care about those things but my greatest concern is whether I lifted Christ so the people could see Him more clearly. It’s more important that the church be impressed with Him than with me…

9. If I’m not as ready to forgive as I am to be offended, then my own sin will be as great as any offense I may suffer..

10. “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”” (John 5:6 ESV) That might be the most interesting question in the Bible…

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