Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pearls before swine?

How does "evangelism" square with the passage that tells us to not "cast our pearls before swine"? In a Calvinistic worldview (something held by the following folks referenced below in an unpleasant Facebook outburst I witnessed), it makes total sense to reject the non-Christians around them; after all, Fred Phelps sees himself as a modern-day prophet proclaiming God's condemnation rather than preaching the Good News of hope and salvation.

That might be fine... but it's not the Gospel. And I regret that people shout with this attitude while claiming it's one that Jesus shared:

> I find it interesting how {non-Christian friend} consistently disagrees with so many of your posts, {Christian friend}. He makes an awful lot of noise about how untrue he now finds Christianity to be. There is something to the statement of "one protesteth too much." Obviously you continually hit a nerve with him (or is it perhaps the Spirit nudging him?) that he feels he must respond in such a way. Remember, pearls before swine. Nothing you can say or "argue" is going to change the mind of an unbeliever.

How is it winsome and Christ-like to call our questioning, seeking, spiritually-engaged friends "swine"?

Or does someone have an argument for me that can ground this kind of public scorn in a New Testament context? Feel free to reply here...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Is "sanctification" a process, or a completed event?

1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV

"And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

See it at YouVersion.com<http://YouVersion.com>:

http://bible.com/59/1co.6.11.esv

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Happy is the man...

...who dashes the heads of his enemy's children against the rocks."

...huh?

Explained beautifully (yes, beautifully!) by Greg Boyd:

"Woodland Hills Church - (Honest to God)"

In order to be in a relationship with another, we have to be honest with the other person. The same is true for our relationship with God. In this sermon, Greg shows how we need to be honest with God in our prayer.

http://media.whchurch.org/2013/2013-8-04_Boyd_Honest-To-God-2.mp3

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Who are today's Samaritans?

In order to understand parable of the good Samaritan, we need to think of modern day non-religious or non-Christian people in the Samaritan's place. Instead of Samaritan, we would say something like Taliban member.

What concerns me is that the "good Christian answer" would be that such a person was not the ones were justified. That we would be forced to say, "No, Jesus, those people who did good thing for the poor injured person were still in the wrong, and those who passed by him were in the right as long as they believed in You."

Any time you have a theology that would have to insist that Jesus was incorrect, you have a problem.

I think I'm going to have to ponder that passage in context a little bit more...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conforming vs. Transforming

Over the years, some folks have criticized me for using the word "conforming" instead of "transforming" in this site. They usually point to Romans 12; see http://teachingwhatisgood.com/conformed-vs-transformed/ for a typical summary.

But Romans 8 (verse 29) very clearly uses the word "conforming," albeit in the context of God being the Master of the work of conforming us to Christ. See http://bible.cc/romans/8-29.htm

So, which is right — Romans 8, or Romans 12?

Yes, I've set up a false dichotomy here… but it proves the point. There's nothing "more Biblical" about saying we're "being transformed" over saying we're "being conformed," unless I've missed something that I need clarification on?

(And none of it has anything to do with the fact that the conforming.me domain was available while transforming.me wasn't…)

What is "Worldliness"?

Found some really old notes on a Mark Driscoll talk from four years ago. Probably from http://marshill.com/media/trial/temptation-from-worldliness


Notes on Mark Driscoll, Feb 16, 2009. "Temptation from Worldliness" Worldly is elevating culture over scripture. There are two ways to do this: to be traditional, or to be progressive. Some people think that worldliness is acting like it's 2009; it can also be acting like it's 1950. We are to live in this culture to bring people to Jesus; we are not to take our identity or worship according to this culture. Some people believe that all we need to do is to go back to the 1950s, and that's worldliness -- suits, organs, avoiding Song of Songs. That is 1950s traditional worldliness, trying to take the world of the 1950s and impose it on people.


"Our goal is not to go back to the 1950s or forward to 2010, but to go to Jesus."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

When did God choose to save us?

At 39:20 in this message from Grace Community Church, the pastor says that God looked out, saw mankind's heart, and decided to send His Son to rescue us. Which sounds poetic, but is an interpretation of 1st Peter 1:20 that I've never heard before:

1 Peter 1:18-20
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)

So,when did God "make the choice" to save mankind? Granted that He exists outside of time so the question of "when" is an odd one, I think that "before the creation of the world" is more theologically sound than "after observing our behavior"...?

Listen to this link, then come back here to comment:

http://gracechurchmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/130324_001_0.mp3

Friday, March 22, 2013

How to engage with people and ministries without losing your grip on reality


With Easter right around the corner, I had a lot of thoughts running through my head at this morning's "Social Media Shepherds" gathering. That group, which is “an ecumenical group that hosts monthly events focused on empowering churches, ministries and individuals in their use of social media,” always reminds me that “church” is an awkwardly complicated thing to describe.

Why? Well… Do I really want to invite friends and neighbors to an unfamiliar Easter services in an intimidating building with awkwardly formal songs and performances that serve to introduce a 30+ minute speech that may or may not successfully convey to them that the God of the Universe wants to reconcile Himself to them, personally?

Maybe.

Maybe that’s exactly what they need.

Maybe.

But, as I said this morning, what I’d really like to do is invite them into the conversations that we have around our tables in our Sunday morning “Adult Bible Fellowship,” or show them the way I and my friends email and text each other for support during the joys and challenges of our professional and personal lives.

That, I think, is where the Gospel is lived out.

In the meantime, I know (and try not to get frustrated by the fact) that our church databases are out of date and the world’s “CRM” is a foreign (or, at least, unexecuted) concept in the ministries I dedicate my time to. We don’t even “perform” as well as the world does when it’s trying to sell the latest widget.

We can do this better. Yes, from a theological standpoint it’s not “we” who “do the doing,” but Jesus did tell us to be engaged in the world for His sake… and in my circles at this particular point in time I’m not steeped in “an environment of engagement” like I wish I were.

As my video production professor used to say, “If your shot isn’t working, move the subject, the camera, or both.”

So… What needs to move?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Paul's thorn was...?

Ray Edwards has a fascinating argument for Paul's "thorn in the flesh" being not a health problem or besetting sin, but persecution. I'll have to dig into the verses he shares in this episode:

Listening to Spiritual Foundations Podcast (When You Feel Like Giving Up [#003])

When you feel like giving up, there is a way to have faith -- even in the toughest times

You're often closest to your big breakthrough right when you feel like giving up. God provides a way for us to have joy and peace, even when we face real trouble.

Every believer can overcome trials if they will follow the example of the Apostle Paul, and his very explicit instructions. In this podcast, I explain what the Apostle Paul has to teach us today.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 How Has God given you peace and joy, even in the midst of trouble?