Thursday, January 29, 2009

Church Done Differently

Mark Driscoll is the pastor/church planter of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. His early years of ministry were frought with controversy that actually won him the title of "The Cussing Preacher." Obviously, foul language has no place in the pulpit and in recent years he has distanced himself from the immaturity and filthiness of his past.

Whether you agree with all that Driscoll does or says, he is very orthodox and is reaching people with the message of the gospel in one of the most unchurched cities in America. I encourage you to watch this video and see how church is done differently to reach a different audience with the same old message.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Churched Teens Have Little Knowledge Of The Gospel

I'm reading a new release by Michael Horton titled Christless Christianity. So far this book is incredible and may be the best book I'll read all year. One terrifying observation made in his book, however, is that recent research suggests that there is little difference between churched and unchurched teens in their ability to articulate the actual content of their faith. Citing Christian Smith, Horton makes the following observation.

Smith observed that most teens--including those reared in evangelical churches who said their faith is "very important" and makes a big difference in their lifes--are "stunningly inarticulate" concerning the actual content of their faith...In contraast to previous generations that at least had some residual knowledge of the Bible and basic Christian teachings, it seems there is very little serious ability to state, reflect upon, or examine their beliefs, much less to relate them to daily life. Many young people seem to be living on the hype and the familiar circle of friends in the youth group, both of which eventually lose their influence, especially in college.

It seems then, that for many teens, church is a place to belong instead of a place to become. No longer are they challenged to learn God's word and be changed by it, but instead are invited into a safe place for "relationship building." Pastors, parents, and youth pastors need to wake up to this growing trend in the church. These are the future leaders of the church, and the gospel they will be peddling will not be the gospel of the Bible, but instead the gospel of what Smith and Horton call, moralistic, therapeutic deism. Moralistic, therapeutic deism is defined this way

1. God created the world
2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in
the Bible and most world religions.
3. The central goal o flife is to be happy and to feel good about
4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when
needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

In simpler terms, this is the gospel popular TV icons such as Joel Osteen and Robert Schuller, but it is not the gospel of grace. This distorted and perverted gospel will serve to turn the church into an institution of damnation rather than salvation because it explains away sin and had no need of a savior or of redemption. As Mark Dever writes, A gospel that in no way offends the sinner has not been understood. Why? Because the message of the cross is a message of offense. It's not a message of self-esteem and fitting in, it is a message of death and life in Christ.

If the best our teenagers can offer to explain their salvation is that they have "Jesus in their heart," they do not have a firm grasp on salvation. Salvation is God's miraculous activity of giving life to the spiritually dead. It is the reconciling act of Christ on the cross that appeases God's wrath so that his enemies can become his children. Our teens need to know the true gospel, not the feel good gospel and it is the responsibility of their parents and pastors to educate them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Piper Thunders To Obama on Abortion

HT: Denny Burk

Add to Technorati Favorites

Abortion, Genocide, and Pro-Lifers in Obama Land

A recent Newsweek article explores the changing face of the pro-life movement in America, especially since the political landscape has changed under the leadership of Barak Obama. In Pro-Lifers in Obama Land, Sarah Kliff looks to those in the pro-life camp who are leaning toward legislation and agendas that aim at reducing abortions rather than eradicating the awful practice.

Though, I agree that one life saved is worth the fight and that a reduction of even a small percentage in the number of abortions would be a victory, I do believe that the battle of abortion is more about life than about numbers. When our focus is on reduction rather than eradication, our ethical standards have to shift. For instance, which area should we focus on reducing abortions? Should we focus on minorities, on the poor, or on the rich? Should our efforts at reduction focus on sex education, economic improvement, or visible fatherhood? In other words, which lives are worth saving and which lives are to be ignored?

The Obama administration claims to have abortion reduction as its goal (and I hope that it happens), but President Obama's track record is not one that speaks of abortion reduction (click here for an example). However, Obama's hero, Abraham Lincoln, did not have slave reduction as his goal. Instead, Mr. Lincoln saw slavery for what it was, an evil brutish act that robbed people of their basic human rights. Lincoln fought to end slavery and Wilberforce was used by God to pave the way.

Abortions will be reduced as we continue to fight to see the practice of abortion ended. Until that day arrives, however, we must continue to stand firm on the priniciple that an unborn child is a human life. Any policy that continues to allow for on-demand abortion does not take into account the value of the unborn life.

I would like to ask President Obama if it is his goal to reduce genocide or end it? My hope and prayer is that he would like to end genocide because it destroys innocent human life. I hope to end abortion because it does the same to victims who are far less capable of defending themselves.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Links That Choose Life

Echoes of Babel- Trevin Wax examines our new national sin.

Our Struggle for The Soul of Our Nation- Princetion professor, Robert P. George reflects on Roe v. Wade and its implications for our country then...and now. This is a great piece on abortion and the pro-life movement. I encourage you to read it.

Being Pro-Life Christians Under a Pro-Choice President- John Piper preached this sermon in 1993, but it is just as applicable today. An excerpt from this sermon is found at the link above.

Lincolns Logic on Slavery Applied to Abortion- Again, from John Piper with the full text pasted below.
On January 12, 2009 Samantha Heiges, age 23, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for drowning her newborn in Burnsville, Minnesota. If she had arranged for a doctor to kill the child a few weeks earlier she would be a free woman.

What are the differences between this child before and after birth that would justify it’s protection just after birth but not just before? There are none. This is why Abraham Lincoln’s reasoning about slavery is relevant in ways he could not foresee. He wrote:

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the
right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the
first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own. You do not mean color

You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks,
and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule,
you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to
your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it
your interest; you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can
make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you. (“
On Slavery

There are no morally relevant differences between white and black or between child-in-the-womb and child-outside-the-womb that would give a right to either to enslave or kill the other.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Truly Christian Prayer to the Christian God

Follow the link to read my article on the prayers of Rick Warren and Rev. Lowery yesterday during the inauguration. The prayers of these men betray their belief systems.

Read A Christian Prayer to the Christian God

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Church as a Minister of Damnation

Pastor John Piper, of Bethelehem Baptist Church has written a telling article critiquing President-Elect Obama's decision to have Gene Robinson, the first openly gay and non-celibate bishop of the Episcopal Church, deliver the invocation at the inaguration kick-0ff.

Dr. Piper writes:

This is tragic not mainly because Obama is willing to hold up the legitimacy of homosexual intercourse, but because he is willing to get behind the church endorsement of sexual intercourse between men.

It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men.
The implications of this are serious.

It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation. Again, the tragedy here is not that many people in public life hold views (like atheism) that lead to damnation, but that Obama is making the church the minister of damnation.

Of course, Obaba is not alone in making the church a minister of damnation, but all of those who have upheld Bishop Robinson's heretical activities. But, as president of the United States and a man who professes faith in Jesus Christ, Obabma is sending a powerful statement. Unfortunately, as Dr. Piper writes below the message is more destructive than Mr. Obama or Mr. Robinson know...

The apostle Paul says,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves , nor the greedy, nor
drunkards, nor
revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And
such were some of
you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were
justified in the name of
the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (
1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
What is Paul saying about things like adultery, greed, stealing, and homosexual practice? As J. I. Packer puts it, “They are ways of sin that, if not repented of and forsaken, will keep people out of God’s kingdom of salvation.” (Christianity Today, January 2003, p. 48).

In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation.

The gospel, with its forgiveness and deliverance from homosexual practice, offers salvation. Gene Robinson, with his blessing and approval of homosexual practice, offers damnation. And he does it in the name of Christ.

It is as though Obama sought out a church which blessed stealing and adultery, and then chose its most well-known thief and adulterer, and asked him to pray.

May we be in prayer for the church of the Living God, that God's people would awaken from their slumber and rise up against the sin that invades its ranks. May we also pray for our country, that we, who claim to be one nation under God, would honor that God who has so richly blessed us.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To Stay At Home Moms...

So, I took Monday and Tuesday off to be with my family (my mother-in-law stayed with Angela last week so I worked) as we continue to adjust to the new baby girl in our life. Aubrey, by the way, is awesome. Anyway, I just want to take a short minute to tip my hats to stay at home moms.

I do not have the patience to be a stay at home kinda person. I long for peace and quiet, and with a 19 month old and a newborn, it does not happen (in fact, everyone was still awake at my house at 10:45 last night). So, to you stay at home moms, you may have the most difficult job in the world, but the great part is that it is the most rewarding as well. Here's to you all for the job you are doing raising our children at home.

And, especially to Angela, my favorite mom in the world, thanks for the job you do with our two!

Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Does True Love Really Wait: A Must Have Resource for Parents

Recently, Albert Mohler aired a show on his radio program focusing on a secular study of pre-marital sex in young people. I listened to this on my ipod and I stronly encourage it for any parent. The synopsis from his own website says this:

The media has been abuzz about new research suggesting that abstinence pledges have little impact on the actual behavior of teenagers. However, a number of commentators have recently pointed out that much of the reporting missed one critical point: teenagers from conservative religious families clearly do delay sexual activity. On today’s program, Dr. Mohler discusses the research and how Christian parent should guide and instruct their children on this subject.

Most exciting and interesting for me was the discovery from this study that teenagers with parents who were actively involved in their lives were much more likely to keep themselves sexually pure.

Listen for youself at the link below.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I'm Back

Well, with the birth of our new baby girl, Aubrey Lynn, I've been out of the blogging saddle for a while, but I am back. Today, if you are interested, I've posted a review of a great OT Introduction, Epic of Eden at Passion for Preaching.

Also, Timothy Paul Jones did a guest blog on Russel Moore's site on December 31st. For parents of girls, his advice is invaluable. I encourage you to read Clothing the Character of a Child. Here's one quote from that article:

The clothes that our children wear do not merely cover the nakedness of their flesh; they shape and reflect the contours of our children’s souls.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, January 02, 2009

Pictures of Baby Aubrey

Our new baby girl was born this morning at 12:15. Baby and mom are doing great. Aubrey was 7 lbs 11 ounces and 19 inches long. You can view her pictures at

Add to Technorati Favorites