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You Cannot Make This Stuff Up

Mollie Ziegler Hemmingway writes about the ongoing conflict between the Episcopalian Leadership and individual churches breaking away from the denomination because of the leadership’s abandonment of clear bible teaching.

When the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, N.Y., left the Episcopal Church over disagreements about what the Bible says about sexuality, the congregation offered to pay for the building in which it worshiped. In return the Episcopal Church sued to seize the building, then sold it for a fraction of the price to someone who turned it into a mosque.

The congregation is one of hundreds that split or altogether left the Episcopal Church—a member of the Anglican Communion found mostly in the United States—after a decades-long dispute over adherence to scripture erupted with the consecration of a partnered gay bishop in 2003. But negotiating who gets church buildings hasn’t been easy. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she’d rather have these properties become Baptist churches or even saloons than continue as sanctuaries for fellow Anglicans.

Read the rest of the article here.

HT: Challies

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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Campus Crusade for Christ Namechange

Campus Crusade for Christ recently changed its name to “Cru.”  The national media has picked up this story and has emphasized the point that Christ was removed from the title. As usual, the media missed the controversial word in the old title. Campus Crusade for Christ did not shrink back from the word Christ, it was more about the words  “crusade” and “campus.”

John Piper has spoken with great wisdom on the overreaction of some who are defunding those men and women who work in this ministry. Check it out here.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Red Letter Christianity

I am not a red-letter Christian.

As many of you know some Bibles print the words of Jesus in red, while leaving all other words printed in black. Some Christians, as they look at the entirety of the Bible, value what Jesus said more than anything else written in Scripture. They even formulate a view of Scripture that believes the words in red are more important than the words in black. Red letter Christianity is that view of Scripture that elevates the words in red ink over the words printed in black ink in some English Bibles.

I recently preached a message that touched upon the danger of having this view. And here are some of my concerns about red-letter Christianity and why I reject the view.

1. When one adopts a red-letter view, we undermine what Jesus actually taught about all of God’s word. When Jesus appeared to some disciples on the road to Emmaus, he actually showed them how the Old Testament instructs and teaches us about Jesus (Luke 24:27). Every book, rightly understood, instructs us about Jesus, not just the Gospels.

2. When we elevate the importance of the red-letter words above the black-letter words, we undermine the truth that God himself is the principle author of every book of Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reveals to us that every word in the Bible comes from God himself. And God does not waste his breathe. Every word he uttered through the writers of Scripture are to be cherished as words from our loving heavenly Father.

3. If we neglect the black-letter words of Scripture, we will not rightly understand the red-letter words. Imagine, if you took away every book in the Bible except the Gospels. Could you really understand what Jesus did? I admit that I could not.  I could not understand why God the Son needed to come in the first place. Additionally, I could not understand all that Jesus accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection without the rest of the New Testament.

4. One tendency that I see in red-letter Christians is a reduction of Christianity to WWJD (What would Jesus do?). Jesus is reduced to the example of how we should treat others. We should learn much from the example of Jesus, but one big problem with this reduction is that we do not treat others like Jesus did. We fail every day. What was more important to the writers of Scripture than WWJD is WJD, (What Jesus Did!).

We should follow Jesus’ example in most things, but there are certain things that he did, that we cannot do. Jesus’ death on the cross actually saves sinners. Peter’s death on a cross (tradition says he was crucified on a cross) did not save anyone. Here is my point: If I only have the gospels, I would be without so much of what God says that brings me great joy and so much of how God tells me to live in light of Jesus’ death on the cross. 

“It’s all about a relationship with Jesus, not _______.” Pastors hear this all the time. Well, yes, kinda of. Life is found by being in communon with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And all the details of that life are revealed to us in Scripture. This is why God ordains local churches. This why God ordains structure to the local church. This why God gives leaders to the local church. This is why he gifts everyone in the church to serve others. Every single thing in Scripture is breathed out by God so that we can treat every person according to God’s perfect standard.

For these reasons, I guess you could call me a black-letter Christian (because I purposely did not buy a Bible with Jesus’ words in red).

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

A Good Debate on Church Architecture

There is a healthy and interesting discussion going on at The Gospel Coalition about the importance or lack of importance local churches should put upon the design of new structures.  Thus far, David Platt, Should Churches Spend Money on Nice Buildings?, and J.D. Greear, We Want to Stay Light and Mobile, Flexible and Ready have played down the significance of elaborate and usually costly structures, while Matthew Lee Anderson, Buildings Matter Because Bodies Matter, and David Gobel, Reforming Church Architecture, have argued for local congregations to rethink the plain box structures (think cheaper) that are being built more and more today.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Does the Bible Forbid Interracial Marriage?

Here is an except from a sermon John Piper preached January 16, 2005 titled Racial Harmony and Interracial Marriage.

Opposition to interracial marriage is one of the deepest roots of racial distance, disrespect, and hostility. Show me one place in the world where interracial or interethnic marriage is frowned upon and yet the two groups still have equal respect and honor and opportunity. I don’t think it exists. It won’t happen. Why? Because the supposed specter of interracial marriage demands that barrier after barrier must be put up to keep young people from knowing each other and falling in love. They can’t fellowship in church youth groups. They can’t go to the same schools. They can’t belong to the same clubs. They can live in the same neighborhoods. Everybody knows deep down what is at stake here. Intermarriage is at stake.

And as long as we disapprove of it, we will be pushing our children, and therefore ourselves, away from each other. The effect of that is not harmony, not respect, and not equality of opportunity. Where racial intermarriage is disapproved, the culture with money and power will always dominate and always oppress. They will see to it that those who will not make desirable spouses stay in their place and do not have access to what they have access to. If your kids don’t make desirable spouses, you don’t make desirable neighbors.

And here is a great and sad irony. The very situation of separation and suspicion and distrust and dislike that is brought about (among other things) by the fear of intermarriage, is used to justify the opposition to intermarriage. “It will make life hard for the couple and hard for the kids (they’ll be called half-breeds).” Catch 22. It’s like the army being defeated because there aren’t enough troops, and the troops won’t sign up because the army’s being defeated. Oppose interracial marriage, and you will help create a situation of racial disrespect. And then, since there is a situation of disrespect, it will be prudent to oppose interracial marriage.

Here is where Christ makes the difference. Christ does not call us to a prudent life, but to a God-centered, Christ-exalting, justice-advancing, counter-cultural, risk-taking life of love and courage. Will it be harder to be married to another race, and will it be harder for the kids? Maybe. Maybe not. But since when is that the way a Christian thinks? Life is hard. And the more you love the harder it gets.

It’s hard to take a child to the mission field. The risks are huge. It’s hard to take a child and move into a mixed neighborhood where he may be teased or ridiculed. It’s hard to help a child be a Christian in a secular world where his beliefs are mocked. It’s hard to bring children up with standards: “you will not dress like that, and you will not be out that late.” It’s hard to raise children when dad or mom dies or divorces. And that’s a real risk in any marriage. Whoever said that marrying and having children was to be trouble free? It’s one of the hardest things in the world. It just happens to be right and rewarding.

Christians are people who move toward need and truth and justice, not toward comfort and security. Life is hard. But God is good. And Christ is strong to help.

Piper concludes that the Bible does not forbid interracial marriage and argues that it can be for the social good in many cases.

His four points are:

1. All races have one ancestor in the Image of God, and all humans are in God’s Image

2. The Bible forbids intermarriage between unbeliever and believer, but not between races

3.In Christ our oneness is profound and transforms racial and social differences from barriers to blessings.

4. Criticizing one interracial marriage was severely disciplined by God.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tim Keller on suffering and evil, pt 4

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Tim Keller on suffering and evil, pt 3

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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