Monday, September 29, 2008

Holy! Holy! Holy!

Great post by Doug Wilson over at his blog...

The seraphim who constantly adore Him do not worship before the throne, saying, "Love, love, love." Nor do they say, "Just, just, just." They do not cry out, "Good, good, good." Although these are all attributes of God, His attribute that fulfills and permeates all the others is His Holiness. The seraphim cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy" (Is. 6:3; cf. Rev. 4:8).

Certain attributes of God, like His omniscience, are called incommunicable attributes. This is because creatures cannot partake of them. But holiness, for all its ultimacy, is not in this category. There is such a thing as communicated holiness. This attribute is shared to us by the grace of God. We are called to be saints (1 Pet. 1:13-16).

read the rest here:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"we can't be one-issue voters" ???

Who do we want as the leader of our nation? What direction do we want our nation take? Some time ago, I preached a sermon directed against Christians who will vote for a pro-abortion candidate because of other issues, often with a statement to the effect "The issues are complex, and we can't be one-issue voters." My illustration in the sermon imagined some German in 1938, "Well, I don't really like his attitude toward the Jews, but look what he's done for the economy!" Right. ~ Barry Hofstetter, from his blog, Theology Thoughts

Friday, September 26, 2008

5 Points and a Poem

Well...maybe not the poem, (unless you know a nice little limerick about a tulip,) but a friend posted this on his facebook wall and I thought it would be of great benefit for those who come here here it is, "What We Believe About The Five Points of Calvinism" by John Piper:

and for those who consider the Doctrines of Grace to be "abhorrent!" make certain you read this article, and not just some ignorant drivel about them, before you decide that you actually think.

And oh yeah, PLEASE, by all means, THINK!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

S.M. Hutchens on Quenching the Spirit

But I am more confident now that the Holy Spirit, while mysterious, infinitely subtle, and often counter-intuitive is for all that no fool. The gabbling of enthusiasts is not his favored means of communication, nor is he a private gentleman. If he has a message for one who speaks for him, it meets what he has already placed in many of his own, and agrees. He is a friend to reason because he invented it, a friend of counsel, because he is eternally in counsel himself (some would even say, and not without reason, that he is Counsel), and a friend to the wisdom of age and experience, for he is the one who has given it, presumably for use toward his ends. (The presence of these virtues in the church virtually eclipses, I believe, the need for much of what is commonly regarded as charismatic gift. Since they are themselves part of the concrete and enduring telos of the Spirit’s work, there is good reason to suspect that the overuse and overvaluation of charismata--which may indeed be from God--is also, in whatever age and in whatever church they appear, a sign of spiritual infantilism.)

read the rest here:

i found the comments to be interesting as well, this one was especially entertaining:

>>>False prophets were stoned in Biblical times.<<<
A lot of modern ones are stoned, too. Just not in the same way.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

You can’t legislate morals...?

Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there’s half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government. ~ MLK

now, apply to abortion

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WOW! Look At This!!

Dr Wayne Grudem teaches his "Systematic Theology"...on MP3...for FREE!!!


The left wing/right wing distinction

Doug Wilson comments....

I try not to describe myself as a man of the right -- although I do self-identify as a conservative. With the former, when joking, I will say that my positions are slightly to the left of King Arthur. With the latter, when I say that I am a conservative, the obvious question is "what are you seeking to conserve?" The answer to that is "the heritage of Christendom," and to do so in a way that looks forward to the contributions of the next Christendom. There is no way to be "medieval" or "reformational," as I am, and not be a conservative of some stripe. And the fact that I am looking forward to the glories of the coming Christendom does not make me "progressive," as I am sure would be plain once I was allowed to describe what I think those glories might actually look like.

the rest:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Duty of A Theologian

The duty of a Theologian, however, is not to tickle the ear, but confirm the conscience, by teaching what is true, certain, and useful. ~ John Calvin, Institutes

Who Needs Theology?

Donald Macleod's The Humiliated and Exalted Lord:

Theology exists in order to be applied to the day-to-day problems of the Christian church. Every doctrine has its application. All scripture is profitable and all the doctrine is profitable. Similarly all the application must be based on doctrine. In both the Philippians example-passage and the Corinthian example-passage, Paul is dealing with what are surely comparative trivia, the problem of vain glory in a Christian congregation and the problem of failure of Christian liberality. As a Pastor one meets with these difficulties daily. They are standing problems. Yet Paul, as he wrestles with both of them, has recourse to the most massive theology. It’s not only that you have the emphasis on the unity between theology and practice but you have the emphasis on the applicability of the profoundest theology to the most mundane and most common-place problems. Who would ever imagine that the response to the glory of the incarnation might be to give to the collection for the poor? Who might imagine that the application of the glories of New Testament Christology might be to stop our quarreling and our divisiveness in the Christian ekklesia? That is what Paul is doing here. He is telling them: You have these practical problems; the answer is theological; remember your theology and place your behavior in the light of that theology. Place your little problems in the light of the most massive theology. We ourselves in our Christian callings are to be conscious of this. We must never leave our doctrine hanging in the air, nor hesitate to enforce the most elementary Christian obligations with the most sublime doctrines.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Purpose of The Local Church

Great post by Tony Payne!

Is church for evangelism?
Apologies for posing what, at first glance, may seem an obvious and even silly question, but it's one I've pondering lately: is evangelism a key purpose of Christian assemblies (or ‘churches’)?
Now, at the very least, we would have to say, “Yes, evangelism should and will happen in Christian assemblies, because of their very nature as places where the word of God is prayerfully proclaimed”. In any true Christian gathering, the gospel will be taught and heard, and since outsiders or non-Christians will often be present (by invitation or otherwise), evangelism, by definition, will take place.

There's another sense in which the answer is yes: the Christian assembly functions as a testimony to Christ by its very existence. This is Paul's point in Ephesians 3. In the assembly, God's manifold wisdom is on display as he brings together Jew and Gentile in one new humanity. Mind you, in Ephesians 3, it's the powers in the heavenly places who receive this testimony, so maybe it doesn't really qualify as ‘evangelism’ in the normal sense.

However, even if we acknowledge that there will be ‘gospel’ things happening all over the place in church, it is also important to say that evangelism is not the purpose of Christian assemblies. It is certainly not their focus. In the New Testament, churches are characteristically the fruit of evangelism, not its agent. Evangelism usually takes place outside the assembly—in the marketplace, the synagogue, the prison, and in daily gospel conversation.

More to the point, theologically, the Christian assembly is a fellowship of the redeemed. It is a manifestation, as well as an anticipation or foretaste, of the great assembly that Christ is building—the assembly of the firstborn in heaven that will be revealed on the last Day (Heb 12:22-24). The purpose of our earthly assemblies, therefore, is to fellowship together in what we already share—our union with Christ—as we listen to and respond to him together, and build his assembly by the words we speak.

This runs counter to the common (although often unspoken) assumption that one of the main aims of a church gathering is to be attractive to non-Christians—to draw them in, to intrigue them, and to evangelize them. Perhaps it's a legacy of the parish model, where those attending the Sunday assembly were often not Christians at all, and evangelism consisted of preaching the gospel to them. Or perhaps it is the influence of the seeker-service model, where the main aim is to attract and win over unchurched Harry. Or maybe it's a bit of both.

There is an important difference, it seems to me, between running a Christian gathering whose focus is on evangelizing the outsider, and running a Christian gathering that is welcoming and intelligible for the outsider, but where the focus is on fellowship with Christ, in speaking, hearing and responding to his word.

1. When we talk about ‘Christian assembly’, are we talking about any assembly of Christian for Christian purposes (such as a big evangelistic assembly in the town hall)? Or about the local, regular assembly of the believers to whom Paul addresses his letters. Both are assemblies of course (by definition!), and we see both of different kinds in the NT, but I was talking mainly about the latter in my post.

2. I’ve come to think that the local, regular assembly of the believers is not the primary focus for evangelism—that is, for breaking new ground and preaching the gospel to unbelievers. (And see all the caveats in my post re: 1 Cor 14 and the rest.)

3. What’s the cash value of all this? We need to focus on getting our regular assemblies to meet their fundamental purposes, and if we do so in a way that is culturally accessible and intelligible to the believers, it will be likewise to the visitors or unbeleivers present. The only strange or offensive thing should be the Word of God.

I fear that by thinking of our regular Sunday assemblies as a (or the) primary theatre for evangelism/outreach, we fail on both counts—the assemblies fall short of their purposes for the believers, but also aren’t really that compelling for the unbelievers.

I think some confusion exists because of the misunderstanding of the role of the Evangelist...he is primarily an equipper of the church, by precept and example of course. But it is the believer, going about his everyday life that is to do the bulk of evangelism. The reason we have "seeker" churches and "mission" churches to begin with, is that the church has failed to equip the believer in evangelism.