May 212015
 

thevillage1This story is a bombshell.

A woman is being disciplined by her church (the 11th largest in the country) for exposing her former husband as an alleged pedophile and consumer of child pornography.

“It would be hard to believe that the events of the past five months had happened had I not experienced them myself. The discovery of Jordan’s pedophilia and use of child pornography was an indescribable shock and triggered a thorough upheaval of every aspect of my life. While I have been upheld by the grace of God every step of the way, I have wondered many times whether it is possible to fully recover from something like what has happened to me. And during these months, what has become even more troubling than the issues that have come to light in Jordan’s life has been the consistent refusal of the pastors and elders of The Village Church to respond in a way that takes into account the seriousness of the situation at hand.”

We will wait and see what Matt Chandlers response is to this incredibly well documented and well written expose is…

May 212015
 

israel-flagIsrael has a very prominent place in the eschatological theology of American evangelicalism.

What evangelicals often miss is that the vast majority of Christendom doesn’t share those views on it’s place in end times theology.

The majority of Christendom for most of our history has believed that all the promises and purposes of Israel have been fulfilled in Jesus.

There are substantial biblical reasons to believe that… these folks are not apostates.

Now, however, some from that majority are looking at the Scriptures with fresh eyes and less tradition and are seeing there may well be a place left for national Israel in Gods plan for the ages.

Anglican scholar Gerald McDermott wrote this article for First Things.

A series of papers were presented in these lectures.

I think getting our arms around this subject is vitally important if we’re to understand the times we’re in.

I encourage you to at least read the article and add to the points “pstrmike” posted earlier.

1. Not all non-dispensationalists are anti-Semites.

2. Other groups also recognize biblical prophecy that speaks of a future in the land for Israel. If you’ve read much covenant theology, you would recognize that is a big deal.

3. I am encouraged by those who are willing to take a hard look at their systematic theology and ask difficult questions, recognizing that the Bible is final authority.

a. There is such a thing as respectful disagreement of the authorized version of theology. We should glean a thing or two from that concept instead of the default of “showing someone the door”.

b. Even founders of movements are not infallible and it is important to receive the good things they have taught and exercise the freedom to challenge those things that are not airtight theologically.

4. We should see these groups as allies in our work of justice for Israel. They are the one nation in the Middle East that respects human rights and they should be encouraged to continue to do so.

5. Hopefully, this will encourage better discourse between dispensationalist and no-dispensationalists. Too many of the rank and file foot soldiers of dispensationalism have a rather truncated, narrow view of Israel that has been fostered by a flawed hermeneutic and incomplete exegesis/exposition of Scripture.

6. In contrast to #4, it is also important to recognize that Israel today consists of an unregenerate nation, that their policies are not always correct, and we should not cower in expressing our protests when they go off the rails.

May 202015
 

prayer_sunset“Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”

(Psalms 10:1 ESV)

It has been a hard week already…a hard week in the midst of a long, hard, season.

In the midst of my own difficulties, I also note the ones around me who are suffering more.

There is injustice and unfairness and grief all around us.

“In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”” (Psalms 10:2–11 ESV)

The wicked act as if there is no God…or if there is a God, He is oblivious to the evil they do.

We see it, are wounded by it, and wonder where the God we do believe in is.

“Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?” (Psalms 10:12–13 ESV)

David often felt the same way and God saw fit to have him write his pain filled questions down for our benefit…for the days we would be asking the same questions.

Make no mistake when you read these passages…these aren’t Davids intellectual pondering about theodicy or theology.

These are cries from the gut for justice and hope.

He doesn’t end with questions, he answers them.

“But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.   The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” (Psalms 10:14–18 ESV)

David affirms the presence and power of God.

“You do see”

“You do hear”

“You do strengthen”

“You will act”

There will be a day when all things are set right, where all accounts will be settled, where the righteous will shine and the wicked get justice.

Sometimes we will see that day, sometimes it lies in the future beyond us…but it will come.

Our hope is not on the here and now, but the now and then.

Our hope is in God and it is a sure hope.

Be encouraged…and make your own application…

May 202015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

You can follow Naghmeh Abedini for the latest news on her Facebook page…

May 192015
 

timthumb.phpThis probably should be the only link I post this week…the horrors of ISIS. 

The shrinking attention span…

Who’s really engaging with Christian media?

How seriously should we take the “nones”?

The blessing of the toilet paper…

Driscoll…whine and cheese.

Turtles, speed, and retribution…

Is Genesis 1-11 historical?

7 ways to recognize false teachers…

A fight about the finish…(hell)

The dying art of civil disagreement…

Why millennials are sick of church…

Same sex attraction and the church:the problem of plausibility.

Pro life and the death penalty…

The curse of Genesis 3…a lament.

Is it how we read the Bible , or if we read the Bible?

Michael Brown and Andy Stanley about gays…

Love theologically…

Why bigamy is a bad idea…

Free ebook by Dr. Packer…

Who would Jesus execute?

Why is Jesus human? 

Town church feud pits everyone against the Methodists…

May 182015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251.“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

(Matthew 16:18 ESV)

That…is what the Pew Report missed.

2. The Bible always speaks of the true people of God as a remnant until the eschaton…therefore when studies show that the visible church is shrinking they are simply agreeing with God.

3. Very interesting to me that traditional evangelicalism is actually holding steady while the “liberal” groups are shrinking. If you don’t believe that there is any absolute truth you’re going to have a hard time convincing people to give up Sunday morning to hear your opinion. Opinions are like…noses…everybody has one and everyone thinks theirs is right. No need to rise and shine to hear somebody else’s.

4. Being a remnant, a minority, is the only way to keep the church from all the sins that come from trying to win a majority. It is only when we’re stripped of earthly power that we will turn to God and the power of Word and Spirit.

5. Bearing false witness on Facebook is still bearing false witness.

6. Despising your brother for political differences is still despising your brother.

7. One of the gifts of poverty and sickness is that you have little trouble putting your hope in the proper kingdom. I’m trying to be grateful for that blessing…

8. Social media can make you feel awkward for not being angry or afraid…

9. You only learn of the faithfulness of God when you have no one else to count on and your own efforts fail. When you truly know that He is faithful, your failures become your greatest success. It is still a very difficult process to endure.

10. A shout out to the theologically minded among us. I highly recommend a series of lectures I recently viewed where non dispensational scholars make the case for an eschatological place for national Israel in the plan of God. I would particularly commend them to our amillennial brethren as the scholarship is excellent and the conclusions critical. You can view “A Case For 21st Century Christian Zionism” here… and you should.

May 182015
 

Calvin's Corner headerPastor Michael Newnham and Phil Naessens discuss the suspension New England Patriots QB Tom Brady received, Rick Warren and the Anti-Christ, N.T. Wright, lazy pastors and much more on this edition of Calvin’s Corner!

Download the mp3

May 172015
 

Christianity  tourism destinations“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

(Ephesians 4:1–6 ESV)

Paul has spent three wonderful chapters telling us who we are in Christ and all the benefits and blessings the come from being in Him.

Now, he calls us to act like who we really are if indeed we are in Christ Jesus.

To walk worthy of the calling is to walk in a way that reflects the character of God and the heart of God…and we do so in response to what He’s already done, not in hopes of what He may do in the future.

His saving work on our behalf is finished…we cannot add to it, we simply live our lives in response to it.

We are to live  and act in such a way that we “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.

You “maintain” what is already present and working.

Paul tells us that despite all the fractures and differences in the “visible” church, the “invisible” church is one people in Him.

In Him there is;

One body

One spirit

One Lord.

One faith

One baptism

We are one family, with one Father who is absolutely sovereign in all things.

In Christ, our different methods, different theologies, different liturgies and different understandings disappear…until all that can be seen is Him.

We are one family…and we are called to act like it.

Sometimes that means we’re going to have to “bear” with each other, with patience.

We find it difficult to do so at times.

Do it anyway.

That’s how they will know us by our love…

May 172015
 

thumbnail.aspx“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!

You have given me relief when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!  

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?

How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

(Psalms 4:1–8 ESV)

%d bloggers like this: