One of the biggest theological debates over the last few years has been on the doctrine of justification. NT Wright (in particular) has been presenting a “new perspective”, and John Piper (in particular) has been arguing for the traditional view. Trevin Wax has a brief and readable article in the latest Christianity Today that serves as an accessible primer on the debate. Read it here.

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies

Al Mohler:

“The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender–what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God’s gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight…

…And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well–compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin…

…We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth. The Gospel settles the issue once and for all. This great moral crisis is a Gospel crisis. The genuine Body of Christ will reveal itself by courageous compassion, and compassionate courage. We will see this realized only when men and women freed by God’s grace from bondage to homosexuality feel free to stand up in our churches and declare their testimony–and when we are ready to welcome them as fellow disciples. Millions of hurting people are waiting to see if we mean what we preach.”

You can read the whole article, “No Truth Without Love, No Love Without Truth”, here.

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies

James MacDonald:

“I do not view Brian as an ‘erring weaker brother,’ worthy of sympathy or olive branches, but rather as a dangerous false teacher who repackages mainline liberal theology. (Have the past 50 years not been adequate to see how liberal theology empties churches and damns souls?)

More dangerous still is that McLaren packages his false teaching and denials of Scripture as  solutions to some of the excesses currently plaguing evangelicalism—the danger being his winning over of young people who have legitimate complaints about the current church, but who lack the discernment to see that his solutions are often unbiblical even when his critiques are fair.”

In the rest of his blog post, James MacDonald explains why he believes McLaren is teaching error, and whay he believes it’s biblical to name such people publically. Read it here.

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies

Scripture exhorts us to meditate, but this meditation is an engaging of our minds as we think deeply on God’s Word, not the eastern style of mind-numbing, mantra-repetition that is gaining popularity in Christian circles today (through “Christian Yoga”, as well as what is called “lectio divina” or “centering” or “contemplative” prayer). To read some helpful thoughts from Al Mohler, click here

HT: Tim Challies

I think many Christians have been so excited about a pro-life, dynamic, Christian VP candidate, that they haven’t even given this question a second thought. I think we absolutely must wrestle with what the Bible says about this issue, as objectively and sober-mindedly as possible – just as we must wrestle with what the Bible says about any issue. Even if we emerge with the same belief, it is infinitely better to hold that belief, based squarely upon Scripture, than it is to hold a belief and be unsure of whether Scripture supports it.   

I’ll post more on this subject in the next few days. As an introduction, watch this CNN interview with Voddie Baucham and Margaret Feinberg (the first part of the video is unrelated – start watching around 55 seconds):

Last week I posted about God-honoring hip-hop, including an interview and song by a young hip-hop artist named Trip Lee. Trip is an active member of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This church appears to be a great example of what a Christ-exalting church looks like within inner city, hip-hop culture. Watch this video for their core values:

 

         

I think its very easy for us to make judgments based upon the surface level, and I have no doubt that some Christians would be hesitant about a church like this. In externals it may not seem “traditional” or “conservative”, but in it’s theology, values, mission and essence, this is a biblical church. In fact, this church is far more biblical and God-honoring than many, many churches that we might call “traditional” or “conservative” based upon surface level features… More on that in another post.

 

~Donovan 

 

On a side note: One of Epiphany’s pastors is William “Duce” Branch. He is better known as “The Ambassador”, a solo hip-hop artist and one of four members of the group, “The Cross Movement”.  

                 

Christian Democrat!?!

September 12, 2008

     
I bet that title got your attention! : )
 
My goal in this post is actually not to discuss which way you should vote… My goal is merely to point out that there are committed Christians who do prefer to vote Democratic, and to point out some of their reasoning… 
                     
                   Read the rest of this entry »

Are you lukewarm?

June 26, 2008

I just picked up a book by Francis Chan entitled, Crazy Love. We’ve spoken about Francis Chan before on this blog. He is a man that is passionate for God, His Word and for believer’s lives to reflect the God we profess to believe and follow.

In Chapter four of his book, he challenges believers to examine themselves as 2 Cor. 13:5 states, “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course you fail the test?

A great way to examine yourself is by comparing your life with the parable of the soils. What kind of soil are you? Most want to say the good soil if you are a “Christian.” Chan challenges each of us to think that we might just be the soil in the thorns – being choked out by all kinds of vices. Thorny soil depicts the halfhearted, lukewarm, and partially committed. The church of Laodicea was thorny soil – happy to claim to be “Christian” but lukewarm in every respect. And what was God’s indictment concerning the church in Laodicea? To spit them out like vomit – God was completely disgusted by them.

Are you a lukewarm Christian like the church at Laodicea. Francis Chan gives 18 examples of what a lukewarm person looks like and then compares that person to what Scripture calls a genuine believer to look like. Do they characterize you? Are you in thorny soil?

1.  Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians do, so they go. (Isaiah 29:13) Read the rest of this entry »

Rob Bell is the pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan (not to be confused with the Mars Hill Church pastored by Mark Driscoll, in Seattle, Washington), a congregation that numbers 11,000. The Chicago Sun-Times has heralded Bell as the new Billy Graham. His books (most notably, Velvet Elvis and Sex God ) have been bestsellers, and NOOMA, a series of excellently produced videos featuring his teaching (now 19 in total) have sold over a million units…

Bell is not officially a part of “Emergent” (an organization within the emerging church), but he is closely associated with two of it’s leaders – Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt. I’d consider him a part of the theologically liberal stream within the emerging church (as would many others). 

The emerging church is big on orthopraxy (living rightly), and honestly, we should all be big on this! In Bell’s opinion (and I think he’s right about this), Christians too often fail to live out their faith as they should… He uses the analogy of a trampoline, equating Christian doctrines with springs. He makes the point that often we spend all our time focussing on the springs, rather than getting on with jumping (living out the Christian life). As I said, I think this is all too often true. I have major concerns about where he takes the anaology next, however. Consider this quote from his book, Velvet Elvis: 

“What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births?…

What if that spring were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart?” (Velvet Elvis, pp26-27)

Read the rest of this entry »

The Gospel

April 10, 2008

Recently in the college & young adults group, The Refinery, I’ve been hammering home the idea that as Christians we need to be telling others the Gospel. This idea hit home with me when studying 1 Peter 1:23-25. Peter says that we have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. When I preached on this passage we hammered the fact that unbelievers do not get born again by anything but the Word. They don’t get born by being nice, they don’t get born again by watching Christian’s love each other, they aren’t born again by cool music, emergent church atmosphere, or by coffee and doughnuts. Neither are they born again by coming to church with us, they aren’t born again by seeing our really cool and “pure” lives, nor are they born again by our polished lifestyles. Read the rest of this entry »