Wednesday, September 28, 2005

We're not the people of revenge....

Luke 9 1When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3He told them: "Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them." 6So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

Luke 9 51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they went to another village.

A few things going on here. We have the disciples being instructed on how they are to act when people openly reject the Gospel. Don’t seek vindication, shake the dust off your feet and move on.
How quickly people, even those closest to Christ, forget because later we see (in the same chapter no less) that James and John ask Jesus for permission to call down fire from heaven when they are rejected by a town.
It’s interesting to see that the disciples are a lot like us. They forgot Christ’s instruction, they were offended by the rejection of their faith, and they wanted revenge. Now, Christians don’t always want revenge when it comes to outright rejection of the Gospel, but sometimes Christians have been known to make statements to the effect.
Think of how many times you’ve heard “if only San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake; that would show the gays!” “If only an earthquake destroyed Hollywood. That would teach ‘em”
There are also times when we (especially conservative American Christians) have succumbed to the temptation of desiring the ungodly (targets include: democrats, the Clintons, abortionists, skeptics, & celebrities) to be destroyed in the here and now.
We, like the disciples, need the rebuke of Jesus to remind us to shake the dust off our feet, and let God be God in those situations. Vindication, or the desire thereof, is not our responsibility. We know from the Psalms that God will judge the ungodly, and there is a sense where we will long for it, but we should never crave it or find a sense of satisfaction in the empty plight of those who reject the Gospel.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Today in Church History

Sometimes it's nice to get some perspective.

Birth of pioneer environmentalist Jonathan Chapman (Johnny Appleseed). Distributing apple seeds and religious tracts from the Alleghenies to the Ohio Valley, Chapman's theology was strongly reminiscent of Swedenborgianism, which taught an empathy with the natural world.

With over 1,000 delegates from 17 churches, the Flint River Association was established -- the first official Baptist organization of its kind in the history of Alabama.

The Suwanee Association was formed, in Florida. Comprised of eight member churches, it was the first official Baptist organization in Florida history.

In Russia, the Supreme Soviet ended decades of religious repression with a new declaration, forbidding government interference in religious activities and giving citizens the right to study religion in homes and private schools.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Something random (Southern Baptists and alcohol)

Apparently, there is a brew-ha-ha (pun intended) in the Southern Baptist Convention over moderate consumption of alcohol.
It seems that Dr. Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, made a statement to the effect that 99% of all SBC church doors would be closed to men entering the ministry that practice moderate consumption of alcohol.

In what seems to be a reaction against this, some SBCers are going to propose a resolution during the 2006 convention against Gluttony and Self-Control.


WHEREAS, One third of all American
adults (well over 60 million) are obese; and
WHEREAS, 16% of American
children (9 million) are overweight, and the
percentage continues to increase (the numbers have tripled since 1980);
WHEREAS, Obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor for coronary
heart disease, which can lead to heart attack; and
WHEREAS, Gluttony is one of the causes of obesity; and
WHEREAS, The Bible condemns gluttony as a serious sin akin to
drunkenness; and
WHEREAS, Gluttony is the abuse of God’s gift of food to
us; and
WHEREAS, Gluttony is the opposite of self control, a fruit of the
Spirit; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the
Southern Baptist Convention meeting in
Greensboro, North Carolina, June
13-14, 2006, decry the lack of self control,
and over-indulgence in eating
throughout our culture and our churches; and be it
we promote moderation in all of our eating, giving thanks to God.
Relevant Links

I do find this interesting considering one of the hallmarks of Baptist (and Presbyterian) life is to be liberty of conscience.

Doubly interesting is the proposal bring up gluttony, which comes from (what I understand to be) pro-moderation SBCers.

I know why they are doing that. It's to point out the folly of decrying a 100 calorie light beer (or a Guinness) when it's perfectly okay to hit the buffet at Shoney's, or value menu at Taco Bell and stuff yourself. I do hope that this doesn't lead to a split, but even moreso, I hope it leads to a consideration of practice in light of Scripture, rather than a very short tradition.

One last thing to ponder: which is worse, one glass of wine daily, or a Big Mac? And which is more likely to be attacked from the pulpit?

Disclaimer: I am not attempting to bash anyone in the SBC. I have great respect for the SBC and many who are leaders in that denomination. My problem with this situation, and it can be said with regard to issues in my own denomination, is that sometimes certain cultural traditions to not withstand the scrutiny of Scripture. When that happens, the cultural tradition must never be placed over Scripture. When we do that, we lose sight of the basic principal of sola scriptura.

Monday, September 19, 2005

No hassle contest from

Seriously, they don't bother you.

Sept Giveaway

Those things that never happened....

An old friend from college came to visit me this weekend. It was a great time of talking, catching up on old times, and updating on people we used to know.
We had a long conversation last night that unintentionally centered on all those things in life that never happened.
The girl that broke up with you, the job that was refused to you, and the friends who disappeared. Every twist and turn of the conversation had basically the same ending..."wow, I'm so glad that never happened!"

It occured to both of us how God doesn't allow things to happen so we can get to the place where He wants us to be. I think that's a better way of looking at life, rather than the "what might have been" senario.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Holy Spirit...he's been around a looong time...

One of the joys and pains of Seminary is writing. Not that I dislike writing, it's that I dislike writing short papers, especially of the reflective type (always 1-3 pages). Give me a research paper, tell me 10 or more pages and I'm there with more footnotes than anyone else in the class. Give me a reflection paper and I cringe.
Why? I think it's harder to do reflection because it opens up my thoughts and emotions in a personal way, as well as explaining how material impacts my views on certain topics. Not to mention that the ones reading these reflections are people who are/were pastors, first rate in their fields, and published authors.

Here is one paragraph of my soon to be finished reflection on Sinclair Ferguson's The Holy Spirit. It deals with one chapter in the book on the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

Growing up in a conservative fundamentalist environment and migrating toward a Reformed Evangelical setting, I have noticed that often the Holy Spirit is regulated to the New Testament with relation to preaching and teaching in both camps. This tendency lends the learner to think of the Holy Spirit as inactive until a New Testament dispensation. Ferguson did well to correct my tendency to not view the Holy Spirit as active during all time by pointing out the obvious from Scripture that a Trinitarian understanding of God can be gleaned from the Old Testament. This is especially important because all Christians need to understand that the Godhead has been actively involved in the stories of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation from the beginning. This helps myself, as well as the people I teach develop a correct Trinitarian, and fuller Covenantal understanding of Scripture and how God, three in one, operates in real space and time. Seeing the activity of the Holy Spirit from the beginning also serves as a guard against ideas of a soft-Marcionite* dichotomy of understanding the role of the Trinity, as well as other un-Biblical nuisances of seeing the role of God the Holy Spirit through time.

*Marcion was a 2nd century heretic who taught that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of the New Testament.
While most evangelicals would not hold to that in theory, relegating the Holy Spirit to the New Testament, or holding to a complete change in any member of the Godhead is what I termed a "soft-Marcionite" view. I am not calling people full Marcionites, my intention was not in belief, but in practice perhaps.
And I am not denying that the Holy Spirit worked differently (i am being intentionally vague) in the New Testament, but I am contending that the Holy Spirit should be seen as active in the Old and New Testaments.

One God, three persons without beginning and without end working throughout time and through what we know as Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Love is a doctrine

This morning in Ecclesiology and Eschatology, Dr. Peterson was talking about good doctrine and he said this, which I will paraphrase: Some of you have seen this, you will talk to a person or you have said this yourselves, that you hear of a church that has good doctrine, or sound doctrine because of their emphases on theology, but they just don't love people. Well, they don't have good doctrine because the doctrine of love is all over the Bible and if we neglect love in favor of our "good" doctrine, we don't have good doctrine.

I think this statement is going to have a lasting impact on me.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Feeling lonely...

My wife works for a luxury travel company. One aspect of that is a requirement on the employees to go on one of the trips they offer every now and then. Well, my wife has been turning down their requests for going on one of their trips for about a year now.

Obviously, when you're supposed to go on a trip now and then, eventually you will agree to go on one.
This past Thursday at 11:00am my wife's boss asked her to go on a trip.
She had an hour to say yes or no.
She said yes.
They said a South African Safari.
At this very moment she has been on a flight to South Africa that left 10 hours ago. Her flight has about 7 more hours left.
She won't be home until September 22. (no cooking jokes, I've been cooking for 21 years)
I miss her.
She misses me.
I'm glad that she has the chance to go on a once in a lifetime trip, but I'm sad not to be with her.
At least she has a 1 gigabyte SD card for the camera.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I've said this before

But today I was exposed to just another reason why I see some sort of formal training for ministry as a very, very good thing.

Our professor, Dr. Chapman, put on his "critical hat" and challenged the view that Paul was not the author of the Pastoral Epistles.
It was a very interesting exchange in which he used arguments from the cream de la cream of scholars who would argue this particular way.

While some may say that it's silly to be exposed to this type of view and to read how scholars may question traditional views, it is also a bird's eye view into something that happens everyday.
Take any Philosophy of Religion class or Intro to Religion class on a university campus and there's close to a 100% chance that the students will be exposed to ideas and teachings about canonicity and authorship of the Bible that are contrary to how most evangelical churches teach.

Now, to futher compound this situation think of all the people who attend a public university, either as a Christian or a pre-Christian, then come to church with these things on their minds.
"Well Pastor XXXX, you said that Paul wrote 1 Timothy, but in college I was told that this was a second century writing and could not possibly be Paul's, who's right?"

How will you answer that?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Keys to a good vacation.....

A Boat....

Plenty of Trout

The Best Fishing Buddy in the World

And now it's time for the rigors of year three in our seminary experience.

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