Jul 212010

For everyone, but especially for PP readers: please visit TonyP’s new blog, Step Out of the Boat.

Kevin DeYoung’s suggestions on how to make a difference in one’s church, courtesy of C.J. Mahaney, (HT: James Grant).

Chris Elrod’s comments about an affair.

D.J. Chuang’s very, very helpful list of blogs by some of the top minority church leaders.

James Grant on whether (and why) Christians should imitate other Christians.

Dan Edelen on John Piper’s prophetic warning.

David Hayward’s tips on building community.

Abraham Piper: everyone – even atheists like Ricky Gervais – has a faith-story.

Mark Lamprecht on altar calls and gospel proclamation.

Jason Stellman on Reformed self-loathing (HT: Scott Clark).

Cathleen Falsani on the passing of a pet.

One megachurch pastor’s views on what to do when staff members leave, part 1 and part 2.

Jared Wilson on the blessing of persecution.

Mike DeLong continues to post solid articles on his blog, including this one about the academic pedigree of Liberty University professors in the 1980s.

Matt Edwards reviews Michael Spencer’s Mere Churchianity.

Jon Busch wonders if there can be redemption for Mel Gibson.

Scott Thomas on moralistic therapeutic deism.

Tim Chester recently taught a series of informal talks on eschatology, including this one on the kingdom of God and the atonement.

Chester also posts a few Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes on giving and receiving rebuke. Agree or disagree?

Julie Clawson on a neighborless Christianity.

The second part of Dan Edelen’s series on what being a church family means.

Esther Meek on why she goes to church.

Ed Stetzer interviews Adrian Warnock.

William Black responds to Al Mohler’s article on biblical authority and evangelical feminism.

Daniel Jepsen on ministry as viewed through the lens of the movie What About Bob?.

Ben Witherington with a post on cave churches.

Rules for interns at a certain ministry. PP newbies: you now have a week to memorize everyone’s blog name, even if that means studying the blog at night 🙂

Jul 212010

Most of you know me here as
( |o )====:::
In my public persona I am just a guy who is a graphic designer who is also a musician and audio engineer. I stay far away from religion & politics in my professional life as my religious views state “if it doesn’t show in how I act then you’re not going to care ;)”
Last night I watched something unfold that so outraged me that I shared the following with my network of Facebook friends…
“Those of you who are my friends know I avoid religion & politics with rare exceptions. This is one of them. An innocent woman named Shirley Sherrod was unfairly dismissed from her position due to a heavily edited videotape that FOX News ran with complete disregard for the facts. Like my political profile says, I am an …:: Independent :: and this is why! Kudos to Rachel Maddow, a fellow Northern Californian from Castro Valley. I don’t care what your politics might be or your opinion about MSNBC or FOX, :: please :: follow this link and review all the facts as Rachael is reporting them…

I watched Rachael Maddow do an outstanding report on Shirley Sherrod’s presentation to the NAACP. Character is worth speaking up for. Shirley Sherrod has been unfairly asked for her resignation by the government and all over an edited video which is exactly the OPPOSITE of the truth.
Rachael Maddow did an outstanding job of reporting the full story.
Shirley is a person of faith (15:33 on the video)
I loved her unashamed, matter of fact statements about God and His work in showing her it was about “poor people” and NOT about race!
At 17 min into the video she recalls her story which she speaks of her realization. Listen to 18:28.
What is OUTRAGEOUS is the fact that FOX & Breitbart ran with an edited version of this video without checking the facts, sort of “ready, :: FIRE! :: … aim…”.
To quote Anderson Cooper, “Her story, the whole story, says a lot about how quick we can be to judge, how wrong we can be when we do and how the truth is out there if people would only seek it out instead of trying to score political points or run from political heat.”

Jul 202010

I added a piece and two videos about one of my heroes..”El Pastor” of Juarez.
You can view them in the “Pages” section on the right side.

“The mural depicts a conquistador. A sign says, VISIÓN EN ACCIÓN. Vision in action. But one of the N’s has fallen off. In the corner stands a metal statue of a man in armor. This is the office of El Pastor, José Antonio Galvan, the evangelist who took in the battered remains of Miss Sinaloa and gave her succor in the asylum. His office was once a drug house where addicts punctured their veins and savored their dreams. El Pastor arrived here as a street preacher raving in the calles. The local priest called him a devil. But he drew others to him. As for the devil, he fights him daily—he keeps a black and red punching bag near at hand and slams it with his fists as he fights Satan. Everything about El Pastor is vital and coarse, his language often vulgar, his feel for the crazy people visceral. He is sitting in front of me, with a mop of graying hair, a fleshy body, a ready smile—but rough edges remain and keep him honed. He has a tattoo of a good-looking mestiza. And another of a beautiful indigenous woman.
He is showing me a movie of the asylum—men beaten by police and dumped half-crazy on the streets, addled addicts with seeping ulcerated wounds, women who will never remember what happened to them and never want to remember.
I stare at the ruined faces in the video and ask, “Does your congregation support this work?”
He smiles, points to the screen, and says, “This is my congregation.”

El Pastor spent sixteen years as an illegal immigrant in Los Angeles, where he learned to be a crane operator. He did lots of drugs and drank lots of alcohol and earned sixteen dollars an hour. Then, in 1985, he was reborn. He returned to Juárez to do God’s work, mainly preaching on the street to drug addicts. In the winter of 1998 El Pastor says he was driving through a bad storm when he saw a mound on the street and swerved just as a man stood and shook off the snow that had fallen and covered him. “I was driving that day and singing to the Lord and it was snowing. I said, ‘Lord, I’m working with you,’ and the Lord pulled my hair.” So El Pastor rounded up friends and spent the day gathering the wounded of the streets—brain-damaged addicts, ruined gang members, everyone left out in the snow in a city without mercy. That is the moment when he began scooping the crazy people off the streets, the moment when he began creating his asylum in the desert…”

Jul 202010

Today we begin a series of celebrations…celebrating and learning about traditions other than our own.

Eugene Peterson wrote wisely:

“Maturity develops in worship as we develop in friendship with the friends of God, not just our preferred friends.

Worship shapes us not only individually but as a community, a church. If we are going to grow up into Christ we have to do it in the company of everyone who is responding to the call of God.

Whether we happen to like them or not has nothing to do with it.”

Hopefully we’ll learn to like each other as well…

I can think of no one who represents his clan better than Martin Luther’s Disciple…and I thank him as I give him the floor.

Why I am a Lutheran: Getting myself onto the Wittenberg Trail

Reflecting back as I put together this article I see more clearly the experiences I had with the Lutheran Church long before I ever became a Christian. I was raised in a non religious, but culturally observant Jewish family. I had absolutely no experiences at all with Christianity when I met my wife in high school in 1966, she was something called a Lutheran. As someone who was not hostile to religion, I would go to church with her periodically to keep her and her parents happy. In 1969 we were married by her Lutheran pastor after going through the church pre marital counseling. The pastor made no demands on me other than to say that I needed to understand faith in my wife’s life. Between 1974 and 1978 my 3 children were baptized as babies and I stood in as god father to our best friend’s two children. This was odd as I had no Christian feelings or thoughts at all – but it was the American way.

Fast forward to 1981, I was saved at Calvary Chapel Riverside (now Harvest) with Greg Laurie as the pastor. I was the most excited and dedicated new Christian around as I am sure that my experiences were very similar to the ones  each of you had when you became a Christian. To me all I could think of was “this Christianity stuff is great!” But did you ever have the feeling that perhaps “everything is great” may not be so great? During the next 25 years I always had this thought in the back of my mind, “why isn’t my wife as excited as I am about this Christianity? I wouldn’t find out until 2006 when I sat in a Lutheran service with her.

In 1990, someone at a bookstore came up to me and asked if I had ever looked into Reformed theology. I must admit that I was really embarrassed as I had no idea what ‘Reformed Theology’ was, at least by that term. He mentioned that there was a new radio program starting up called The White Horse Inn and I should listen. Let me tell you what an eye opener this program was since after 10 years as a Christian in Calvary Chapel  and SBC churches, I had never heard a discussion about theology or about Christ Centered Christianity.

Now I know that this statement will be a bit controversial, but I mean no harm – most American Evangelicals and their pastors think that they are Christ centered, but with the definition that I will use, they are not. Christ centered (Christocentric) is that every sermon and Bible study must have Jesus as subject, not just as an add on at the end of the message to lead to an altar call. However, all of that obviously did not take me to Lutheranism; it was just a bothersome stone in my shoe for the next 12-13 years. What it did was make me think outside of the evangelical box and forced me to look at some tough issues in a different light; baptism, the Lord’s Supper, end times events and how to read the scriptures. I was faced with this question, “why do so many intelligent theologians disagree with what I have been taught?” (I would hope that people in their camp would ask the same questions in reverse). I don’t know how to explain this, but once I asked that question out loud I became free to explore the other views. Prior to that, if I did investigate other views, it was to prove them wrong.

Well let me advance along to 2003 where I found myself convinced that evangelicalism as I knew it was not for me at best and actually wrong at worst. At the same time I was not sold on Reformed Theology although I liked their thinking and the way they approached the scriptures along with the fact that it was the only place to get into in depth theological questions and discussions.

This next part of my story is just whimsy but it changed my theological life. I have been a big fan of Greg Koukl’s from Stand to Reason since the mid 80s when he would appear as a guest panelist on the old radio program Religion on the Line. Several times he had mentioned on his own radio show that during the week he had been interviewed on a mid west radio station – without ever mentioning which station. After a couple of years, I sent him an email asking him which station and  his reply was KFUO in St. Louis, a Lutheran program called Issues etc. with Todd Wilken as the host. I found them on the internet and they had all their programming archived. All I can say is that after 20 years being a Christian and at least 11 looking for my Christian niche, I found it! For the next 2 years I catechized myself in Lutheran theology, accepted the theology as my own and still had not stepped back into a Lutheran church – it was hard to make the break as I was happily teaching classes at my Calvary Chapel. One evening during a class, it hit me like a rock to my head when I realized that I was teaching more Lutheran theology than I was Calvary Chapel theology. I resigned my classes the next day and set out searching for a Lutheran church, which we found and attended the next Sunday.

So, after all of that, who cares how I got there? Now you want to know what I see as different enough to make a difference.

The proper distinction between Law & Gospel: In Lutheran circles the distinction between Law & Gospel is the interpretive grid used to properly interpret scriptures. Often called God’s two words, they are God’s ‘yes’ and God’s ‘no’, they are the way that God speaks to us. Law & Gospel are interspersed throughout the entire scriptures, both old and new testaments. Simply put, Law is God’s commands and Gospel is God’s promises. The reason that they must be properly interpreted is that God’s commands (Law) are never done and never accomplished by man. On the other hand, the promises (Gospel) is always done and accomplished by Christ alone. If the two are mixed up in preaching, then the people leave the services thinking that the Gospel of Christ is wrapped up in their own obedience and moral living – so they write down what they have been taught as “their list” for the week. Not long afterwards, they are in complete failure of “their list” and fall into despair. What they needed to hear was that Christ is there to forgive them in their failure because he has already accomplished “their list.” The Law needs to be preached in all of its harshness (even to believers) so that they know that there is no pleasing God on our own merits, even after salvation. The solution to this problem is the Gospel which needs to then be preached in all of its sweetness to relieve the repentant sinner from this despair. Many times what happens in evangelical circles is that the Law is properly preached as is the Gospel, but then the preacher returns to the Law by saying, “now that you have heard this good news of what Christ has done for you, here is “your list” and leaves them right back in the Law. In our Lutheran church, at the conclusion of the Communion, the pastor will say “go in peace, you are free.” What a way to leave the Divine service, knowing that you are free from your sin and failures.

Simultaneously Saint and Sinner: I think in this category there is a huge gap between evangelicalism and Lutheranism. Evangelicalism does not recognize that we are still 100% sinners along with being 100% saints. The general consensus seems to be that we should be continually improving our lives and increasing the saint 50% to 60% to 70% etc while lowering the sinner 50% to 40% to 30%. But as Christians, we still struggle daily with the old Adam. Being a saint isn’t about what I do or don’t do but about who I am in relationship with God. That’s also true of being a sinner. The Lutheran confessions define sin as the self-centered failure to trust God (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article II). Adam and Eve’s problem wasn’t just that they ate a piece of fruit or broke one of God’s rules. Their real sin was their desire to be “like God,” relying on their judgment rather than trusting God’s word. For us, too, our specific sinful behaviors are only symptoms of this self-centered condition that theologians call “original sin.”

A good example of our self centered nature is when yearbooks were given out at the end of the school year, whose picture did you look for first?

The Theology of Glory vs The Theology of the Cross: As an evangelical, the implied teaching was that God revealed himself to believers through obvious outward “blessings” or “spiritual experiences”. You knew that you were doing God’s work or were in God’s will because you could see blessings in your life or on your work (“look how God has blessed our church with a 200% growth in the past 3 years.”). Christians compare themselves by their spiritual blessing and give testimony to such. The Theology of the Cross is a pretty unique Lutheran teaching that says that God reveals himself most clearly, in the hiddenness and lowliness of the cross and sufferings–first and foremost, through the cross of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:18-25), and then also through our identification with Christ’s cross through faith (Gal. 2:20) and through our sharing in his sufferings as cross-bearers for him. If a church grows by 200% or doesn’t grow at all is no indication of God’s blessing or not – in fact, the pastor of the non growth church may be more faithful than the growth pastor in that the growth of the church may be within the individuals themselves and not the number of fannies in the seats.

The Book of Concord: This book contains the Lutheran creeds and confessions. Recognized as writings below scriptures, they do serve a valuable purpose in stating the Christian theology through three periods of time; (1) presented to argue against the Pope and RCC teachings; (2) continual statements to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to convince the political authorities that Lutheran doctrines were not blasphemous nor divisive and (3) to reunify correct Lutheran beliefs after some division and turmoil following the death of Luther. The value comes in that they have stood unchanged since 1580. Lutheran doctrines do not change on the whim of man.

The Doctrine of Vocation: Vocation is Latin for Calling. All Christians have a call/vocation that we are to live out. Evangelicalism seems to place the calling to be church related life (you have your job and you have your calling.) In Lutheran life, you life is your calling, and you have several – as a child, as a parent, as a spouse, as an employee or an employer. You have a vocation as a citizen, as a neighbor, as a community leader etc. All of these are as much a calling of God as being a pastor. The calling in all areas is to love and serve your neighbor. Lutherans even look at driving the speed limit as a part of their vocation – looking out for the safety of your brother.

The Means of Grace: God has given humanity an amazing gift in the person and work of Jesus Christ. His gift is genuine, sincere and of priceless worth. Yet many do not know this or benefit from the gift. Our heavenly Father wants us to receive the benefits of Christ’s work, so in the scriptures, he is very clear about how he makes those benefits available to his children. The means of grace are the Gospel and those applications of the Gospel known as the sacraments. Through the life giving word of the Gospel, baptism, absolution and the Lord’s Supper, the Spirit conveys the grace of God to people. Evangelicalism has seemed to turn all of these around so that baptism is not God’s working and delivering his forgiveness to us (grace), but our work giving to God (obedience). The Lord’s Supper is not God coming to us in the supper to bestow his gifts (grace) but us showing God our remembrance (obedience), and lastly absolution, freely hearing the voice of God through his called and ordained servant to whom he gave the keys for that very purpose (grace) to, well I don’t know what since confession and absolution seem to hold no place in the church at all and has been relegated to purely a private matter. Christianity is about confession and forgiveness.

End Times events: This topic has been exhausted here on the Phoenix Preacher in the past so I will keep it short. Being from an Amillennial position, I think frees the church to focus on Jesus Christ, His work of salvation and forgiveness.   Imagine if all of the Left Behind books had been replaced in bookstores with good theology.

Catechism and Church membership: Although not uniquely Lutheran I do think that a formal catechism (teaching, testing and confessing) is important. Of all of the churches I have been a part of in the past 30 years, only the Lutheran church asked me what I believed. We went through a process together of “getting to know each other” and to assure ourselves that we were actually in true fellowship. The church trained me in the doctrines and thoughts of the church, gave me the opportunity to say if I agreed and then asked me to publicly proclaim before the body our common beliefs. Through this process, I made commitments to the church body and they in turn made commitments to me.

The role of the Church body: Lutherans while holding a high view to the office of the minister (office of the keys) it also holds a high view of the church body itself. People’s vocation within the church is by divine call and God uses the church to make that call. It is not the pastor who chooses who will serve but a call of the body. Our Lutheran school teachers are called by the body as is the ministerial staff. The high view of the church body is also shown by the position of children in the body. The kids are full participants in the church service (except communion until a certain age). They are not warehoused in a Sunday school setting (although they do go to classes at a different time). The pastor, knowing that the children are a part of the body, calls them to the front of the church for the ‘children’s message’ on the same topic as his sermon. In my church at the service I attend, there may be 60 kids (ages infants to 12) sitting up on the chancel steps listening to the message. I think that this attitude towards the kids teaches them that they are a part of the body and not an interruption to what the pastor is trying to do.


So, back to my wife and her feelings right from the start in American Evangelicalism, what is it that I recognized all these years later as she lit back up in her faith when we returned to the Lutheran church?  Primarily she was off the treadmill of “do” and was allowed to rest in “done.” She had grown up learning that salvation was of Christ, from start to finish and what she experienced after that was a contrary view. In just watching that reaction was confirmation that we had made the right decision. To conclude, let me just try to put this in a nutshell (which may not be fair to either position) and say that the overall difference can be seen in view of this; Evangelicalism seems to preach “how you can make Jesus Christ a part of your story”, whereas the Lutheran message seems to be “How God has made you a part of His story.”

Thanks for reading,


Jul 192010

I’ve added a page on Juarez and Mexico that I’ll add to as I go…I put my favorite books and sources on it.

It’s in Pages on the right side with “Visitor Maps”.

Tomorrow we start our series on traditions with a bang…MLD on “Why I Am A Lutheran”

He darn near converted me… 😉

Jul 182010

What did you teach?

What did you learn?

Did you hear the Gospel?

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter I

Of the Holy Scripture

I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.

II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these: Of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Of the New Testament: The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians I, Corinthians II, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians I , Thessalonians II , To Timothy I , To Timothy II, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, The Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation of John. All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.[12] Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them,therefore they are to be translated in to the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come,[20] that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

X. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

Jul 152010

Yesterday I read a book called Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone
about the effect that the immigration crackdown is having on undocumented aliens in Arizona.

They live in a world of anomie, a world where many have been for decades, but a world that can be destroyed by a knock on the door or flashing lights in the mirror.

They are here, they function and live here…they really don’t belong here.

They want to belong…but there is no way for them to do so.

They yearn to be accepted, but know that many would never accept them…even if they had the right  papers.

That’s how I feel about life in the church.

I belong to no organization, denomination or fellowship, though I have been asked to leave two.

I am not on any speakers list, nor will I be invited to any conferences to fellowship with my “peers”.

I sometimes speak in tongues while reading John Calvin.

I study Packer with diligence and wish I could play piano like Swaggart.

I like whiskey and reading Eugene Peterson, preferably at the same time.

Ain’t no room in the inn for me…

There is company for the journey home however.

The road that the misfits travel is getting more crowded lately.

Once they throw you out of the camp you can see Jesus was on the other side of the wall.

Thinking is encouraged and dancing is mandatory.

Laughter just happens.

Best of all, He walks with us.

Go ahead…jump the fence.

“Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”
(Hebrews 13:13–14 ESV)

Jul 152010

I was up way late last night and woke up with a really painful back so if I’m incoherent, please forgive.

News came yesterday that the author of “The Shack” and those who helped him get published are all suing each other.

Kind of ironic, but not unexpected.

Meanwhile back at the Reformed ranch, we’re still publishing books about all the heresies in the book and the dangers of reading it.

The book is now over two years old.

There should be some objective evidence that reading the book has swollen the ranks of local Unitarian churches and led to countless cases of bad hygiene or whatever else it’s supposed to foment.

There isn’t…but a lot of people have found it helpful in their relationship with God, including me.

The doctrine of the Trinity took almost 400 years to be codified…if I were to ask the average church attendee for a synopsis of the doctrine, 90% would offer some variation that the church has declared heretical.

We don’t teach on it much and when we do most don’t understand what was taught.

My point being this…most of the theological rants against “The Shack” are rants in the wind.

The reason “The Shack” still gets negative attention is that God jumped out of the box and used something weird to accomplish His purpose.

He used a poorly written book from a rather odd fellow to bring a fresh sense of His love to millions.

If we’re going to be angry about the success of The Shack, we need to direct our anger properly…toward God.

He did this.

Perhaps the lesson here is that the message of “The Shack” was what God wanted to say to this generation…and He couldn’t get any of us to pass it on.


Jul 142010

Gary Lamb’s post reflecting on his failures in the ministry.

Ed Stetzer writes for Tim Challies’ blog on the problem of the pastor as a rock star.

Former pastor Brad Johnson talks to Lifeway’s Rick Howerton about Johnson’s adulterous affair (HT: Zach Nielsen)

Interesting interview with Tullian Tchividijian about how he responded to “dissidents” who challenged his taking over for D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida. Chaplain Mike Mercer from Internet Monk wrote a good commentary on the controversy this past week. It’s interesting to me not just from the angle of how a new pastor dealt with those who didn’t want him there, but also from this angle: Tchividijian’s opponents seemed to want someone to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps and fight the culture wars, while Tchividijian seems to want to fight for the Gospel. All that so say, you may have something to agree and disagree about with both sides 🙂

Bob Hyatt on whether the church should be there to meet “my” needs.

Jonathan Dodson: We are entertaining ourselves to death.

Part one of Dan Edelen’s series on what being a church family means.

Pete Wilson reflects on Michael Spencer’s book Mere Churchianity (which we’ll pick up discussion of on Thursday at BrianD blog).

30 years of John Piper.

Patrol Magazine‘s Jessica Belt writes on Richard Land explaining why the Southern Baptists are now pro-immigrant.

Why Keith Mathison is not Arminian.

Mark Lamprecht on a pastor who was fired as chaplain of the North Carolina House of Representatives for praying in Jesus’ name.

Michael Patton on his recent experience at LifeChurch (not its online campus, but one of its offline campuses. The comments section is quite active on that particular thread, and you may find it helpful to read through).

The list of speakers for the 2011 Gospel Coalition conference has been released (HT: Tyler Kenney at Desiring God).

One for you theologians – Gordon Fee was interviewed about the book of Revelation and principles for understanding the Scripture (HT: James Grant).

A 6-year-old boy born without both legs and one arm…who loves to swim every day (linked to at Abraham Piper’s 22 Words blog).

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