Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Shall We Speak of God? 7 Reasons We Can't Call God Mother

The fall 2008 issue of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is now available at their websited. In this issue you will find an article by Randy Stinson and Christopher Cowan entitled How Shall We Speak of God? Seven Reasons We Can't Call God Mother. The article is short and compelling, I strongly encourage you to read it in its entirety, but I have posted some of the highlites below.

1. There is no biblical precedent for referring to God with feminine terms such as "Mother" or "she."

2. Biblical, masculine language for God is not culture-dependent, but rather is God's chosen self-revelation of his identity.

Some have argued that the patriarchal culture of ancient Israel dictated the biblical use of masculine terminology for God. However, other ancient Near Eastern cultures, though no less patriarchal than ancient Israel, worshipped masculine and feminine deities (See Jdgs 3:7; Acts 19:34) and even referred to one and the same God as both "Father" and "Mother." Thus, ancient Israel's culture did not of necessity require masculine language for God.3

3. The use of "feminine imagery" for God in the Bible does not demand or even imply that we may refer to God with feminine terms such as "Mother" or "she."

On rare occasions, Scripture describes God's actions using feminine figures of speech —
metaphors and similes (see, e.g., Deut 32:18; Job 38:29; Ps 123:2; Isa 42:13-14; 46:3; 66:13; Hos 13:8). However, the Bible also uses similar figurative language to speak of the actions of male human beings. In 2 Sam 17:8, Hushai says that David and his men "are mighty men, and they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs."4 The Lord announces that Israel will one day "nurse at the breast of kings" (Isa 60:16). Paul tells the Galatians that he is "in the anguish of childbirth" until Christ is formed in them (Gal 4:19), and he claims that he and his colaborers treated the Thessalonians "like a nursing mother taking care of her own children" (1 Thess 2:7). Do these statements imply that we are to refer to any of these men as "mother" or "she"? Of course not. Such language is simply a literary device that makes for a vivid description. If, then, this figurative language does not result in feminine terminology for human beings, neither does it imply the same for God.

4. All feminine metaphors for God in the Bible are verbal — none are names or titles for God (like "Father").

5. "Father" is a name or title that communicates something real about God's nature.

6. Calling God "Mother" may require an unbiblical revision regarding how God relates to the world.

It is difficult to show a direct causal connection between feminine God language and doctrinal revisions regarding how God relates to the world. In the past, most non-evangelical feminists who have argued for feminine or neutral language for God, have done so at least partially because of their presupposition that masculine language (Father, Lord, King) indicates God's unilateral rule over the earth and leads to abusive relationships where men unilaterally rule over women and nature. In other words, for them, the "masculinity" of God and its connection to the classical understanding of the sovereign rule of God has been at the root of ecological destruction and the domination of women.

7. Calling God "Mother" calls into question the sufficiency of the biblical revelation.

Stinson and Cowan conclude with the following words:

Although there are only a few evangelical feminists who have opened the door for feminine language for God, many churches in mainline denominations have been doing so for years. There are new hymns being sung to "Mother God" and even books designed to teach our children how to pray to "her." We fear that this practice may become even more common among evangelicals, as the pressure to accept egalitarian teachings on manhood and womanhood grows. We hope that evangelical believers, pastors, and churches will prayerfully consider the seriousness of this issue and hold fast to the authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the glory of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Salvation and The Fear of God

My wife and I were talking last night in the car about the biblical account of Noah's Ark. This is a feel-good story that we often teach to our children. We smile and laugh about the animals, and I remember a song from my childhood about God sending the rainbow. The ark was God's vehicle for salvation of Noah, and eventually the propigation of the human species, but was the ark all good news?

The ark was not good news to those who were not on the ark. Instead, the ark screamed God's judgment to sinful human beings who refused to honor God in their lives. God punshed those who refused to honor him and saved those who loved him. God was active in the entire process, even closing the door of the ark. Noah and his family did not take a beautiful cruise. Imagine the screams they must have endured and the nightmares that must have followed them throughout their lives as they recounted God's judgment.

Surely, no one has ever lived who should have had as great a fear of the Lord and appreciation for his saving acts as Noah and his family. Noah must have truly understood what it meant to be saved from the wrath of God, because God's wrath was not a future possibility, but a present reality during the flood.

If we ever truly understand just all that we've been saved from, I'm certain that our appreciation for salvation and our fear of God would change. It is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Please Pray For Bayler Teal

Bayler is five years old and is struggling with an aggressive form of cancer. Please keep him in your prayers. You can visit his caring bridge site below.


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Christians Are Not So Crazy

The Wall Street Journal (along with many other news outlets) is reporting on a new study from Baylor University that shows religious people to be less superstitious and less inclined to believe in pseudo-science than those who claim no religious affiliation.

You can't be a rational person six days of the week and put on a suit and make rational decisions and go to work and, on one day of the week, go to a building and think you're drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space god," comedian and atheist Bill Maher said earlier this year on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

But, in Look Who's Irrational Now, WSJ reporter Mollie Ziegler Hemingway reports that Evangelical Christians are actually more inclined to logical thought than those who claim another or no religious affiliation. Ms. Heminway writes,

"What Americans Really Believe," a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

The report goes on to say much more, but sufficient for our purposes is the statement above. There may be many reasons for evangelical Christians to be more logical in their thought processes, but I believe that God-centered thinking may be the number one reason.

Faith in God and in Christ's sacrifice on the cross is not blind faith. Rather, it requires an understanding of an intricate doctrine of subsitutionary atonement. The Christian is not a mindless zombie, but rather a person who has carefully considered his or her life and weighed his or her sin on the scale of God's holiness. The regenerate believer has thought critically about his or her life and about the life and sacrifice of Christ. The Christian, therefore, must have the ability to think in the abstract.

A refusal to ackn0wledge God as an all-knowing creator also leaves a void where understanding is desired. Without faith in God, we look for answers about the future, the past, and life. The Christian, on the other hand, is confident not of what the future holds but of the one who holds the future.

For evidence that all people are looking for answers, the report gives one more interesting statistic:

We can't even count on self-described atheists to be strict rationalists. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's monumental "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey" that was issued in June, 21% of self-proclaimed atheists believe in either a personal God or an impersonal force. Ten percent of atheists pray at least weekly and 12% believe in heaven.

Something to think about.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Young Evangelical Declaration on Theological Purity and Cultural Engagement

Young evangelicals are anxious to engage secular culture. However, any attempt at engaging the culture must be one that seeks to change the culture with the strong and often offensive message of the gospel. Cultural engagement must be theologically sound and doctrinally pure before that engagement can be labeled “Christian.” It is our concern that many in evangelicalism have chosen relevancy over orthodoxy. It is perfectly acceptable to be cool as a Christian, but young evangelicals must assert themselves as Christian before they seek to be cool.

One young evangelical has recently chided Southern Baptists regarding their record on environmentalism by saying that our response may be seen by the world as “uncaring, reckless and ill-informed. We can do better.” Even if our position on global warming and environmentalism is not seen as “uncaring, reckless and ill-informed,” there is little doubt that a strong commitment to the sanctity of human life, exclusive salvation, and Christian Orthodoxy is viewed by many outside of the evangelical church as “uncaring, reckless, and ill-informed.” But, can we really “do better,” than to proclaim the unadulterated truth of the gospel?

The gospel is offensive by nature and evangelicals stand under the banner of the cross long before we stand under any other banner. Our engagement with secular culture is best envisioned as a militaristic engagement with sin and evil. We recognize that we stand as followers of Christ within our culture and not as outsiders looking in, but the god of this world is not the God whom we serve. Though HIV/AIDS, poverty, and environmentalism are all concerns worthy of our efforts, Christ has called us to engage culture at a deep level that brings about reform from the inside out.

Secular culture desires to see these issues engaged, but that same culture is unwilling to address the root causes of all of these evils. The church should be active in ending abortion, promoting peace, protecting our natural resources, working to end poverty, and working to see a cure for HIV/AIDS. Focusing merely on these issues, however, offers a social gospel that, with its failure to confront the ultimate issue of sin, is unbalanced and ultimately at odds with the evangelical message. The former are secondary issues, not primary issues. The primary issue for our culture and our world is sin that lies at the root of all other evil.

The church and its message is the one hope this world has for eternal healing. Evangelicals must engage secular culture, but let us not grow confused about the greatest need of that culture. It is true; when we preach Christ as the only way to salvation, we will be seen by the world as “uncaring, reckless and ill-informed,” but it is only through the preaching of this foolishness that men, women, boys and girls have any hope of salvation.

The social gospel that gained popularity at the turn of the twentieth century had high hopes for world peace and prosperity. However, those hopes were ill conceived and led to a loss of evangelical fervor as the goal of missions gradually changed from conversions to comfort. We call on young evangelicals to reject the humanistic social gospel being pushed by popular culture and to seek instead to engage the culture with the life-changing truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Though we champion the civil advancements encouraged by men and women committed to social reforms, and applaud successful attempts at creating a better temporal world, we must adamantly reject any view of salvation that holds social reform above individual response to the gospel. We value the commandment of Christ to love our neighbor as ourselves, but affirm that the greatest love we can show is the presentation of the gospel. Thus even in humanitarian work, our ultimate goal must be to point the glory to Christ and to present opportunities for eternal salvation and not merely temporal comfort and security. We must often feed the stomach before we can feed the soul, but we must not neglect the soul in favor of the body. Man does not live by bread alone.

The Christian worldview is, by definition, in opposition to the worldview of secular culture. Consequently, we call on young evangelicals to accept their place as outcasts of popular culture just as did our Lord. When the worldview of the Bible clashes with the worldview of this culture, it is the responsibility of Christians to take their stand on the truths of God’s word.

Therefore, we call on young evangelicals to engage culture with an emphasis on changing it rather than adapting to it. Culture change can occur, but it will happen one person at a time. That one-by-one change can and must be wrought through emphasis on evangelism and conversions and trusting the Holy Spirit to change lives. We call on young evangelicals to encourage good works as it flows out of a love for God in evangelism. God’s kingdom is present on earth in all who call on his name, and the riches of God’s kingdom are open even to the least and most underprivileged among us. Let us work to see society changed, but facing the reality that poverty and injustice will always exist, let us focus on proclaiming the theologically pure gospel in culturally relevant ways that brings eternal salvation in spite of the sin-filled world we now occupy.

Please feel free to l eave your comments or criticisms.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Green Bible Not Likely To Upstage The ESV Study Bible

I posted a video last week about the new ESV Study Bible. Some folks (maybe even me) are downright giddy about the introduction of this new study tool. However, Time is out with an article about another new Bible publication that is getting news: The Green Bible.

In The Bible Goes Green, David Van Biema writes,

On Oct. 7, HarperCollins is releasing The Green Bible, a Scripture for the Prius age that calls attention to more than 1,000 verses related to nature by printing them in a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus.

No one questions whether God cares about his creation, the ultimate question we must ask is whether or not creation is God's greatest concern. The Bible, though it may speak of creation care, is not a book about creation. The Bible is a book about God and his offer of salvation. The Bible has God for its author and salvation for its end.

Though we should protect the earth God has given us stewardship of, we should also not be surprised that it is wasting away. It is scarred by sin just as we are. The Bible is a book that speaks of God's redemption from sin and that redemption is total. The most promising fact of creation care that we see in the Bible is that God will give us a new heaven and a new earth.

I'm not saying that the Green Bible is bad (after all, its no worse than say, the Leadership Bible), it just shows the creativity of publishers who wish to sell books to consumers. Harper Collins has found a niche audience and they know that they will be able to sell their unique product to a certain group of people.

As for me, I'll stick with my black leather, black letter ESV. It's not green, but praise God is is good.

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Saying Hard Things

I received a phone call today that may strike some as odd. This person praised her friend for making her mad. "She told me I was wrong, and I got mad. But then, I started reading my Bible and after thinking about what she had to say, I gained a whole new perspective on what the Bible was saying to me."

Imagine that, God shapes us through our relationships (Proverbs 27:17). Proverbs 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." Friends must exist to do more than heap praise upon one another. One of the most difficult aspects of friendship is being confrontational or point out a sin in our brother, but it must be done.

Luke 6:42 tells us to examine the faults in our own lives before we turn our attention to our brothers and sisters, but it does not tell us to overlook the faults in our friends. Instead, let us always approach one another with love and humility. Who knows, maybe one day one of your friends will say, "I got mad at you, but then I gained a whole new perspective on what the Bible was saying to me."
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Putting The Truth To Work

I've posted a new book review at Passion For Preaching of Daniel Doriani's excellent work on biblical applicaton called Putting The Truth To Work.

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Do Words Reveal Our Character: The Ugly Abortion Issue

Kevin Bussey at the Recovering Pharisee blog has an interesting post that focuses on an article written by a college student in The State Hornet, the news paper of California State University, Sacramento.

In an attempt to show her disdain for Sara Palin and her anti-abortion statnce, Briana Monasky goes so far as to say this in Sara Palin Hardly Represents Women,

That may be my main issue with Palin, the first female candidate for this position. This should be monumental. I should be incredibly proud to finally see a woman on the stage. Instead, I am ashamed that my country is letting her run. When I hear that women are pro-life I simply don't understand. Beyond that, as a victim of sexual assault I consider it devastating to think that a woman may have to carry a child to term conceived from an act of hate. I hope her dad rapes her and she has to carry that child to term. I bet you she wouldn't. I bet she'd grab a coat hanger herself and take care of it.

Though my heart goes out to this young woman for the terrible tragedy that she has experienced in her life, there is no excuse for anyone even suggesting that this kind of harm come to a woman running for office simply because she disagrees with her views on abortion. This article does go go show just how high emotions run on this volatile issue (for instance, let's not excuse anti-abortion activists who have blown up clinics), but I want to point out something else that becomes evident from Ms. Monasky's follow-up article after she received heavy criticism.

All anger aside, I stand behind the statements I made about her. One line lacked eloquence, but it was supposed to. To take what I said and somehow attribute it to who I am as a person is equally offensive.

Jesus was very clear about this, in Matthew 15:11 and 18, Jesus tells us that it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person for what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. If we cannot make judgements on a person's character based on the words that come from their mouth (or their pen), in both public and private, then how will we ever truly know who anyone is "as a person." Our words matter and our words are a window to our heart and soul. Be careful of the words you choose, they will reveal something of your character.

For more on the use of strong language, see Mark Dricoll's comments on strong language in the pulpit at Passion for Preaching
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ESV Study Bible

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hindu Mobs Destroy Christian Churches

The Austrailian is reporting that mobs of Hindu fundamentalists destroyed at least 14 churches in the South Indian state of Karnataka.

Sunday's violence -- in which the churches were attacked in a co-ordinated 15-minute onslaught across three coastal districts -- follows weeks of anti-Christian militancy in the eastern state of Orissa in which 18 people have been killed and thousands forced to flee from their homes and take refuge in the surrounding jungles.

The article cites as the cause of the violence, the conversion of many Hindus to Christianity. The violence, however, has led some to abandon their Christian faith to save their lives, and the Times of India reports the violent attacks have now spread to police in retalitaion of their arrests of church vandals.

The Voice of the Martyrs explains the recent outbreak of violence this way:

On August 23, widespread violence erupted against Christians following the assassination of World Hindu Council leader Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati, the alleged mastermind behind the December 2007 attacks on believers in Kandhamal, Orissa State. Saraswati was killed with four of his followers. 30 men believed to be Maoist extremists, stormed a religious center in Kandhamal and opened fire, VOM contacts reported.

"Despite evidence indicating that Maoists are responsible for Saraswati’s murder, several Hindu militant groups have blamed Christians," VOM contacts said. "As a result, Hindu militants have launched attacks on Christians throughout the state, setting buildings on fire and beating and killing believers in at least 12 districts. The Voice of the Martyrs has been receiving numerous reports on this developing crisis. At present, it is difficult to know the full extent of what is happening to Christians in Orissa State.

Persecution of Christians continues well into the Twenty-First Century. As the blood of these saints water the soil for the spread of Christianity, let us pray for their perseverance and praise God that they were found worthy to be so highly prized. A missionary friend in Indonesia once told me, "The cross is spelled R I S K. We risk our lives for the spread of the gospel." These Indian Christians have risked their lives and paid the price, but we praise God that their heavenly reward will be monumental.

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Coming Home To Roost?

In an opinion article on FoxNews titled The Chickens Come Home, Cal Thomas writes,

There is an old Puritan ethic called “living within your means.” In modern times the idea of Puritans and being “puritanical” have come in for much satire and even derision. But it is a fact (just as it is a fact that abstinence is the best practice for avoiding unintended pregnancy and STDs) that living within one’s means is the best way to avoid financial calamity.

Too many have ignored this ethic and bought houses they could not afford and their salaries would not support. Too many lending institutions were happy to lend them the money out of a misplaced faith that home prices would escalate without end and that if disaster occurred the federal government could always bail them out.

This would be understood in the Puritan era as greed. Many are now paying the price for their greediness and failure to live within their means.

Whether you agree or disagree with Thomas' opinions, one thing is certain. Americans have become materialistic and it is no different in the church of Christ. We no longer celebrate prudence and saving, but instead gather around to gawk at new cars in the church parking lot without even a question of how long that car is financed.

I know that calamities come and everything is not explained away as easily as "living within your means," but I also realize that a great deal of financial calamity is caused simply because one is living above their means. I've got a long way to go in my finances before I am where I need to be and I admit to probably spending too much at times. It is because I too struggle in these areas that I can see the value in Thomas' article.

Thomas also closes with an interesting line:

We should not fear failure. It is often an excellent teacher if one is open to being taught.

Keep this in mind the next time your son or daughter needs you to bail them out financially, maybe the best way for them to learn to live within their means is to see you living within yours.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Spurgeon: A New Biography

Check out my short suggestion for Spurgeon: A New Biography at www.passionforpreaching.net.

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Ray Boltz Coming Out

Ray Boltz, a popular Christian Recording artist in the 80's and 90's has come out of the closet to announce that he is gay. This is of course heart-breaking for Christians who have been touched by his music and for the face of Christianity that he paints with this announcement. Christianity Today has posted this news on its blog, but what really gets at the issue is one of the comments left on that blog:

Really, the issue isn't whether he's attracted to men, but what he's doing about it.

The Blade article addresses this:

He and Carol Boltz remain close (their divorce was finalized early this year). ... Boltz declines to go into specifics about the first time he was with a man, but says he has been dating and lives “a normal gay life” now.

“If you were to hold up the rule book and go, ‘Here are all the rules Christians must live by,’ did I follow every one of those rules all that time? Not at all, you know, because I kind of rejected a lot of things, but I’ve grown some even since then. I guess I felt that the church, that they had it wrong about how I felt with being gay all these years, so maybe they had it wrong about a lot of other things.”

As he sorted out his faith, Boltz began building a new life for himself. He took some graphic design courses. He found he could be almost completely anonymous in Ft. Lauderdale. The mullet he’d sported in the ’80s was long gone and CCM had always been a somewhat insular community.

Here we have a Christian man living in public sin and the expectation from him seems to be that it should be celebrated. Rather than celebrate, we should all be heart-broken for the entire Boltz family as we lift them up in prayer.

In case you do not remember who Ray Boltz is, Denny Burk has posted some of his videos in his report of this story.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why Are School-Age Boys Struggling?

Peg Tyre has written a fascinating article published by newsweek this week on the recurring theme of "Struggling School Age Boys." In her own words,

Every other week it seems a new study comes out that adds to our already-formidable arsenal of parental worries. But even by those escalating standards, the report issued last week by the federal government's National Center for Health Statistics contained a jaw-dropper: the parents of nearly one of every five boys in the United States were concerned enough about what they saw as their sons' emotional or behavioral problems that they consulted a doctor or a health-care professional. By comparison, about one out of 10 parents of girls reported these kinds of problems.

This is startling indeed. By these numbers a full 20 percent of school-age boys are not well. Tyre, goes on to argue, as I have in other places, that the issue at hand may not be an epidemic of ADHD or environmental pollutants, but may actually be problems with the very system of education that labels them as "abnormal." Tyre presses the issue further:

Could some of those changes we have embraced in our families, our communities and our schools be driving our sons crazy?

Instead of unstructured free play, parents now schedule their kids' time from dawn till dusk (and sometimes beyond.) By age 4, an ever-increasing number of children are enrolled in preschool. There, instead of learning to get along with other kids, hold a crayon and play Duck, Duck, Goose, children barely out of diapers are asked to fill out work sheets, learn computation or study Mandarin.

The current structure of education and parenting in the United States is not merely unfavorable toward boys, I would go so far as to say that it is opposed to boys. Boys, who are by nature adventurous, have been robbed of the adventure in their lives. No longer are they allowed to explore, create, and discover. Instead, they live according to the hectic schedules that we impose upon their lives. In our efforts to protect our boys, I fear that we have feminized them.

When John Eldridge wrote Wild At Heart, thousands of men woke up to the masculinity of which they were being robbed and got excited about toting guns into the woods. Some of those men may have overreacted, but many did get the message that masculinity is a male trait that should be celebrated, not frowned upon. Contrary to popular belief, women even admire masculine men. Masculinity, though inherit in males, must be encouraged in our boys so that they can grow up as men who desire to lead, love, and provide for their families as God has intended.

Tyre points out that we continue to educate our little boys in ways that diminish and punish their inherited masculinity and force them into feminine molds of play, learning, and behavior.

Active play is increasingly frowned on—some schools have even banned recess and tag. In the wake of school shootings like the tragedy at Virginia Tech, kids who stretch out a pointer finger, bend their thumb and shout "pow!" are regarded with suspicion and not a little fear.

Active play, finger guns, and tag are generally associated much more with boys, where little girls are more content participating in less vigorous activities and as the education system continues to mold itself to fit the feminine model at the expense of our little boys, little boys will continue to to be negatively affected in a disproportionate way.

Education and child rearing should find balance. Boys and girls are different because God has created it to be so in his infinite wisdom. We celebrate the differences between the sexes as adults, and we must celebrate them in our children as well. We simply cannot raise girls and boys exactly the same way, and for the lone feminist that may read this article, this is not all good news for girls and bad news for boys. If we allow our society to continue to encourage something less than true masculinity in our boys, we will wake up soon to dissatisfied women who can't find a "real man" to love them and lead them in a godly relationship.

Parents, love your girls and love your boys, but let them be little girls and little boys and not merely little children.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Abortion as Homicide

Albert Mohler released an article yesterday that reveals a fact that will be startling to many evangelicals. He rightly points out that if one affirms that life does begin at conception and then advocates for abortion, that person has advocated the killing of human life. In any arena, the killing of innocent human life is called murder.

The politics of abortion are hiding the real issue. Read Dr. Mohler's article, A Private Conviction About Murder?

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Monday, September 08, 2008

God Changes

God Changes. That is a sentence that is bound to get some criticism, but it is true. Of course, God himself does not change, but God does bring about change in people. God changes us and conforms us into his image. Sanctification is the work of the Spirit of God as much as justification.

As Christians, we must always be dependent upon the Spirit for all of salvation, not just parts of it. We have a tendency to give God all of the credit for justification, and then to place the burden of sanctification squarely on the shoulders of God's children. Jude reminds us that it is God "who is able to keep you from stumbling."

Our righteousness is never our own, it always belongs to the Lord. Keep that in mind as you counsel young Christians, and as you share your faith with the Lost. If God's power is strong enough to snatch sinners out of hell, he can also polish the rough edges. Afterall, just look at Peter. Jesus called him out and then spent three years discipling him, and yet, at the end of those three years, Peter was still not perfect. But God, being rich in grace and mercy was not finished with Peter, and through God's grace, Peter became the cornerstone of the church of Christ.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

My Son and The Plunger

Today, Wyatt, my son, who is 16 months old brought his dad a present. He was so proud of himself when he ran into the den with our plunger. I am glad we have a plunger, but there were two problems when I saw the plunger this afternoon: 1. It was in my den and 2. my young son, who chews on his hands constantly, was holding the plunger.

That got me to thinking. When you need a plunger, there's no replacement for it and you are willing to put up with the fact that it is covered with gross bacteria because you are shoving it into a dirty toilet. However, for all other occassions of life, a plunger is, well...out of place. And, let's be honest, as proud as Wyatt was to bring me the plunger, that is not the gift that I want from anyone.

The funny thing is, according to the Bible, the best gifts we have to offer to God are about like a plunger. Outside of his grace, even our best attempts to do good are like filthy rags in his presence. And yet, God loves us anyway. We come to God with plunger in hand, and he gives us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. It's an unfair exchange, but I'm glad to receive it.

We serve a great and gracious God. But let's always be careful that we boast in the proper way. We can boast in our God and in the gifts he gives, but before you boast about what have to offer to God, think about that plunger...gross.
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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Politicizing The Pulpit

There is little doubt that coming weeks will bring a flurry of attention to the religious convictions and activities of those seeking the offices of President and Vice President. Newsweek is running an article on its website now titled, A Visit to Palin's Church. In this article, I found one quote most interesting.

Larry Kroons, pastor of the Wasilla Bible Church had this to say concerning the Palin's and their regular attendance in the church he pastors:

They attend here as Sarah and Todd in the presence of God, honoring God as God.

During a time when church and even the Christian faith will be politicized, I commend pastor Kroons for his comments. Given the limelight as the pastor of Sarah Palin, this pastor has chosen not to focus on the Palins or himself, but rather to redirect the attention to God. The church of the Living God must never become a political fair to showcase a candidate.

Further, as we stand before God, we stand as His creation. The president of the United States is still a nobody when compared with the awesome power of Triune God. We all stand before God in worship honoring God as God. Anything less is something less than worship.

I do not know Larry Kroons, but I will tip my hat to him today for rightly recognizing the role of the creation in worship of the Creator, regardless of what earthly position that created human may hold.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal

Post Number 300. I guess maybe I should have gone for something more exciting.
Read my review of David Dockery's Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal.

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Parenthood, Politics, and Unplanned Pregnancy

Obviously, it goes without saying that Sarah Palin's daughter needs to be left alone. A 17 year old kid does not need th media spotlight, however, it has fallen upon her. The Palin family is experiencing a family crisis that many encounter, but that none ever hope for.

I am excited to know that her parents have done the proper thing in supporting her during this difficult time and that they have maintained their commitment to the sanctity of life. Parents, this should be a talking point with your children. I am concerned, however, that in our praise of she and her parents for being staunchly pro-life, we may have forgotten to mention that the Bible holds us to a standard of sexual purity outside of marriage.

Jamie Lynn Spears garnered the national spotlight when she gave birth at age 17 and now, with another public figure poised to do the same, we must address the negatives as well as the positives. We celebrate the life that will be born, but as Christians and as parents we must also speak to the fact that sex outside of marriage is still wrong even thouth keeping the baby is right.

Parents, speak to your children about the whole situation, and not just the politically charged parts...pregnancy is the result of sexual intercourse, and, biblically speaking, sex is reserved only for the marriage bed.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Is Divine Election Unfair?

John Macarthur has published an article on the "fairness" of divine election. Because I preached on election last week, this caught my attention. Macarthur reminds us all that we must not view God's election in light "fairness."

I like this quote:

As William Perkins said, many years ago, “We must not think that God doeth a thing because it is good and right, but rather is the thing good and right because God willeth it and worketh it.”

The doctrine of election is evidence of God's love toward humanity. He loves us enough to save us and he does so of his own accord, not at the bidding of any other. God did not have to save us, he chose to do so...that's what makes it so amazing and so beautiful. Is it fair? Absolutely not, we deserve only his divine wrath and yet he extends to us his glorious grace. I'm glad God is not fair, otherwise there would be no hope.

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