Archive for May, 2008

Our brother over at Extreme Theology continues to take the high road with regard to how our conversation should always be tempered with gentleness and respect. Quoting this phrase from 1 Peter 3:15, he writes:

I know that I have been guilty of the very behavior I am decrying in this post and I am deeply sorry for committing this sin and repent of it. That being said, I am appealing to all of my Christian brothers and sisters who have a passion for defending the truth and defending the gospel to repent of ad hominem and personal attacks and let your actions and statements and debates always be seasoned with love, compassion, gentleness and respect.

I agree. And, I for one, will join him in asking for forgiveness and the grace to temper all of my future posts and comments with gentleness and respect. Moreover, I have NO doubt that when he ultimately posts his take on the PD conference, he will NOT be in agreement with all that was said there.

That’s OKAY.

As we engage in a conversation with him about ministry philosophy, the role of sola scriptura in our churches, and the centrality of preaching Christ crucified for our sins, let’s take this opportunity to model what we stand for here at which is summarized so clearly and succinctly in the passage that Chris R quoted:

but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good hehavior in Christ may be put to shame. 1 Pet 3:15, 16.

Notice, it is the “good behavior in Christ” that Peter is highlighting here as being the salt and light aspect of our witness, not the cleverness of our defense. So, let’s all take a deep breath and honor Christ in our tone as the conversation continues.

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Comments on have recently gotten a little frustrating for many of us. I believe that heads bashing against random hard surfaces have been brought up repeatedly. If you aren’t familiar with it on this site, then I’m sure you can relate at some point in your life.

You see, communication is difficult. Not only does everybody have to agree on what words and symbols mean, but they have to understand concepts and ideas that are often larger than any word. This especially causes problems when we try to label a particular concept or idea with a single word.

All of this was made humorously obvious to me this evening at dinner. My wife and eldest daughter (she’s only 3) had chicken noodle soup. My daughter dribbled, as small children are inclined to do, and so my wife firmly reminded her to lean over her bowl as she ate. My daughter immediately and repeatedly responded, “No, lean over my SOUP.”

Please remember, you are eating soup here, but it’s served in a bowl.

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I recently came across a wonderful tool called visuword.
Which is in their words a “online graphical dictionary”. They have this to say about it:

Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.

Having a little fun with it I decided to check out some words about the Christian faith. First I checked Jesus. Then I checked Christianity, theology and doctrine. It was interesting that Jesus was a very simple non-complex diagram but Christianity, theology, and doctrine were a convoluted mess. It was even more interesting that there were some negative connections made to Christianity, theology, and doctrine but none to Jesus. So all of this got me thinking about our faith (which also had some negative connotations).

Jesus in his earthly ministry used parables and stories to illustrate the nature, character, and make-up of the kingdom of God. There were no deep theological discourses explaining the complex concepts of truth. Rather he used simple and common, yet powerful, illustrations of Gods desire for all of humanity. For Jesus if you wanted to study God (theology) he simply said “follow me”. Jesus’ life was the only theology necessary to understand the kingdom of God.

There is no seminary degree required to understand “be a servant” or “feed my sheep” or “what you have done unto the least of these you’ve done unto me”. Nor do you need a PhD to grasp the concept of being “Born Again”. In fact Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3:

10″You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?

If we are honest with ourselves it is often a fruitless (pun intended; Galatians 5) endeavor to engage in debate about theology. Sure we have lots of opinions about what is the best way to follow God but aren’t we all called to walk our own path? Are we not all called to walk the way of Christ? To die to ourselves?

If so then should we not spend more time focused on what he means to “follow me” then nailing down our eschatology or our doctrinally viewpoints. There is no Arminianism in “follow me” nor is there any Calvinism.

Friends the way of Christ is simple yet profound. I’ve yet to understand or fully grasp “If you want to live then die” but this is the way of Christ; the way of the cross. A path made clear for all that answer the call to “follow me”.

Grace and Peace

HT to marko

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Shark!I guess it’s time for the weekly question about Mark Driscoll: Do the ODM’s love him or hate him this week?

[spins the wheel]

Love Mark – Hate Mark – Like Mark – Hate Mark – Like Mark …

-Hate Mark-

Oops! Guess it’s his time to toss Mark in the barrel. Why, you might ask? Let’s start with the video below, part of the promotion for a one-night appearance in Sydney, Australia called Burn Your Plastic Jesus. subtitled “Mark Driscoll takes a blow-torch to the 21st century Jesus, and rediscovers the Jesus of the New Testament”.

YouTube Preview Image

Probably the quote that tipped it over the edge was the one the held a mirror to a particular type of Christian, of which discernments are a key subset -

Ask the average person, walking down the street, what they think of Jesus, and they will immediately identify him with someone who is religious, loves rules, is unpleasant, unkind, unhelpful. Someone they do not want to be with. Someone they do not want to be like.

Does that sound like the most accurate understanding of Jesus? In no way.

When Jesus was on the earth, he called sinners to repent of sin, go find your pants, stop drinking, get a job, move out of your parents’ house, grow up… He said those sorts of things and people loved him for it.

Religious people hated him the most. He told them to repent of their religion. Stop being so prideful. Stop being so self-righteous, so judgmental, so holier-than-thou. The result is that they despised, opposed and ultimately murdered him.

This may shock you – Jesus is as opposed to ‘religion’ as he is to sin…

Ah – no need to wonder anymore why the teeth were set to ‘gnash’ in ‘discernment-ville’ today.

Apparently, Mark’s public message in Australia, which partly concludes (if the advertisement is correct) that Jesus wants to save Christians in addition to the lost, isn’t going to cut the mustard because he is disrespectful of the plastic, pop-culture “Jesus”, represented by the kitschy bobble-head represented on the page. Or possibly that he describes religious folk as being just as bad as sinners. The mysterious “editor” doesn’t let us know.

And so whose spiritual advice does the anonymous discerner give regarding Driscoll ? Jesus? James? Peter? John? Paul? Nope – a few steps above those (though still below Spurgeon) – Christian mystic A. W. Tozer:

Some preachers have such a phobia for repetition and such an unnatural fear of the familiar that they are forever straining after the odd and the startling… We dare not impugn the honesty or the sincerity of the men who thus flap their short wings so rapidly in an effort to take off into the wild blue yonder, but we do deplore their attitudes.

Ah, poor Mark. He didn’t get the ODM playbook on the only proper ways to preach. I just wish these guys would make up their minds about Driscoll – is he OK or not? Will they not discern for the masses?

Or – have the sheep already heard the echo of the master’s voice in his under-shepherd from Seattle and recognized the baying of the wolves for what it is?

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Here’s the proof.


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Over the next week or so, I’ll be playing with the general look and feel of the site (trying to constrain my tinkering to the wee hours of the US day).  Please use this thread to attach comments about things you like/dislike in any changes that occur…

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Abraham Piper weighs in on some of the shortcomings of Christian modernity… in 22 words:

Opponents of postmodernism often judge texts according to what they would’ve meant, not realizing this is the self-creation of meaning they deplore.

In the comments he opines further:

I run into it almost every time I read an anti-postmodernist’s review of anything he disagrees with.

For example, every negative review I’ve ever seen of Rob Bell or Donald Miller, interprets their words to mean what the reviewer would have meant if he’d written them.

And, of course, since the reviewer would never in a million years write anything like Velvet Elvis or Blue Like Jazz, then they must be full of heresy.

Ooooh if you thought Steve Camp was anti-Abraham Piper before you can just imagine the capillary busting trauma that will result from this.

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From MMI:

So, what would you do if a Hooters-style restaurant decided to set up show directly across from your church? That’s what is happening to the First Prebyterian Church near Charlotte. Church members began circulation letters against the proposed Coyote Ugly Restaurant.

The Beerean puts it this way: “To be honest, I didn’t know what to think when I first read about the situation. I can understand where the church might be coming from. Most of us wouldn’t want a place that is known for half-dressed women using sex to sell booze to horny men moving in next to where we meet to worship. But the other side of me says this is a great opportunity. This is an opportunity to have the lost right at your front door. The people that go to this place, go to try to fill a void in their lives. Those that are in the church have the only thing that will ultimately fill that void. Jesus.”

Here’s more from the newspaper report…

So… what if this happened to your church? Would you oppose the restaurant? Or would you look at this as a great opportunity for more new people to make it into your neighborhood… people that need Jesus who you might be able to reach?

And if you chose the “let’s embrace this” thought… how would you actually use this restaurant as an opportunity to reach people, (and not just to go out and have some good wings after the service)?

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Not that I’m really keeping score but if I were Miley is way ahead in the apology count.

Found Here

TEEN star Miley Cyrus has told a Hannah Montana co-star she is “hurting” and wants to quit the Disney show after she received global criticism for her racy photo shoot in Vanity Fair magazine at the age of 15.
Hannah Montana’s Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, who plays Ashley Dewitt on the popular children’s show, said, “Sometimes I’ll talk to her on the phone and she’ll be like, ‘It’s really hard’ or ‘I’m really tired. I can’t do this,’ according to Showbizspy.

“It really hurt her inside,” says Perez de Tagle. “She didn’t know that people would look at it like that.”

Miley has since apologised for the risque photos, and Annie Leibovitz, the photographer behind the pictures, said she was sorry for any misinterpretation.

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Michael Spencer asks the question: What can you not say around other Christians? The entire article is worth reading as a look at what we claim (IE personal interpretation, priesthood of all believers, etc) and what we do (shut up and conform!).

So I thought I’d post the question here.

What can you NOT say around other Christians (or in Church)?

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