30 May, 2006

An Old Kind of Christian on A New Kind of Christian

I have begun A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren. I really have enjoyed some of the insights that McLaren brings to the theological table. We have, in American Evangelical Christianity, read ideals into the Bible that are not there. As an example, many American Christians view democracy as the biblical standard of civil government. In the Middle-Ages the divine right of kings was seen as the biblical standard. We are called to examine these ideas in the light of the Word of God.

Some of the ideas that I am not persuaded by include the idea that Modernity (and the Christianity that fits into it) found its fullness in 19th century rationalism. Most of the book thus far, argues that this is the fullness of Modern Christianity and we interpret our experiences and our understanding of Scripture from this vantage point.

I would argue that there was a decline in Christianity and its adherence to the Word of God after the end of the 17th century. Thus making Modernity itself a falling away from the biblical standard. We are called to a personal as well as a communal relationship with Christ. Modernity stresses the personal at the expense of the communal. Although much fruit for the sake of the Gospel has been produced after the 17th century- Christianity was at its height as a spiritual and cultural power prior to this time.

There are many things that I have enjoyed about the book but I think that McLaren is missing the mark. McLaren challenges Christians to take the leap from Modernity to Post-Modernity to aid in our understanding of culture and Scripture- but I would find the biblical challenge to be to jump out of Modernity and Post-Modernity into an eternal perspective from which to view the world, the Church, and the cultures around us.

23 May, 2006

Dignity of the Pulpit II (Westminster Larger on Preaching)

Q158: By whom is the word of God to be preached?
A158: The word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted,[1] and also duly approved and called to that office.[2]

1. I Tim. 3:2, 6; Eph. 4:8-11; Hosea 4:6; Mal. 2:7; II Cor. 3:62. Jer. 14:15; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4; I Cor. 12:28-29; I Tim. 3:10; 4:14; 5:22

Q159: How is the word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A159: They that are called to labor in the ministry of the word, are to preach sound doctrine,[1] diligently,[2] in season and out of season;[3] plainly,[4] not in the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power;[5] faithfully,[6] making known the whole counsel of God;[7] wisely,[8] applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers;[9] zealously,[10] with fervent love to God [11] and the souls of his people;[12] sincerely,[13] aiming at his glory,[14] and their conversion,[15] edification,[16] and salvation.[17]

1. Titus 2:1, 82. Acts 18:253. II Tim. 4:24. I Cor. 14:195. I Cor. 2:46. Jer. 23:28; I Cor. 4:1-27. Acts 20:278. Col. 1:28; II Tim. 2:159. I Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12-14; Luke 12:4210. Acts 18:2511. II Cor. 5:13-14; Phil. 1:15-1712. Col. 4:12; II Cor. 12:1513. II Cor. 2:17; 4:214. I Thess. 2:4-6; John 7:1815. I Cor. 9:19-2216. II Cor. 12:19; Eph. 4:1217. I Tim. 4:16; Acts 26:16-18

22 May, 2006

The Dignity of the Pulpit

In my seminary we often here the phrase "the dignity of the pulpit". We talk about how the pulpit needs to be a place that is seen as holy and reverent. The preaching of the Word is as Christ speaking to his bride.

My wife and I just heard a sermon by the dean of an evangelical seminary that actually ended his sermon with this- "and if you do not like it I have one word for you- www dot get over it dot com"! The crowd then burst into applause.


21 May, 2006

Lord's Day a'Brakel: On Spiritual Deadness

Listen to the knocking and arousing voice of the Lord Jesus and reflect upon the words of the bride: "I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night." She, not being worthy of arising says, "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him...My soul failed when he spake" (Song of Sol. 5:2, 4, 6) [IV: 273].

19 May, 2006

Soul Tsunami

Pat Robertson's latest prophecy had better be correct. I think that Moses would not like this kind of thing- neither would Jesus.

Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

Sedimentary rock or do you prefer Igneous for tossing?

17 May, 2006

A Hearty Invitation

The graduation services of Puritan Seminary will be available to watch here Thursday evening, 7:00 PM. Mr. Terreth Klaver, who many know and love, will receive his Master's of Divinity at this event. All are welcome to attend if they wish. Commencement speaker will be Rev. Geoffery Thomas who will be speaking on the offices of Christ. We are hoping for an announcement from Terry concerning whether he will accept the call to be a minister in the Southern Presbyterian Church of Tasmania.

15 May, 2006

Systematic Belief in the Believability of Our Belief System

I was reading a great article on the Council of Nicea. A discussion was being had as to the differing views that were debated concerning the Divinity of Christ and His relationship to God the Father and the God the Holy Ghost.

A total side note, but there was a great quote by Saint Augustine as to the Christian faith being a faith of thought. Christ preached first to the mind- Christianity is to be believed. The true faith is one that is believable as well as to be believed.

"No one believes anything unless one's first thought is that it is believable...not everyone who thinks believes, since many think in order not to believe; but everyone who believes thinks, thinks and believes and believes in thinking."

14 May, 2006

Lord's Day a'Brakel

"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). Our compassion must also extend itself toward those who hate us. "Do good to them that hate you" (Mat. 5:44); "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him" (Rom. 12:20). Among all natural relationships with people, our relatives are nearest to us, and they must have preference over all other people. "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8) [IV: 115].

12 May, 2006

Some thoughts on Ephesians

Ephesians 2.19. Then accordingly, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow-citizens with the holy-ones, and of the household of God. 20. And are built over the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, and the Cornerstone Himself-- Jesus Christ. 21. In whom all the building fit together is caused to grow into a temple, holy unto the Lord. 22. In whom you also are built as a dwelling for God in the Spirit.

Paul shows the Gentile believers in the area of Ephesus their standing before God. There must have been some questions concerning their position as to their citizenship within the body of Christ as well as in the history of the Church (both Old and New Economies). The Apostle answers these questions with great pastoral clarity and compassion. The Gentile believers are not second-class citizens within the household of faith, but are being built upon the same foundation as the Jewish believers past and present.

The foundation on which these believers are being built is the one that has been laid by the Testaments of the Old Economy as well as the New Economy. The Old Economy was laid by the Prophets of old. They were the ones who brought the Word of God, the oracles of God, the thoughts and rebukes of God. The Prophets were the primary writers of the Old Economy and held the schools of prophecy to ensure the preaching of the Word for the covenant people.

The New Testament section of the foundation was laid by the Apostles. The Apostles were the ones who learned at the feet of Christ; they were given the ordination by Christ to preach the Word and to dispense of the sacraments. The Apostles of the New, as the Prophets of Old, were entrusted to ensure the carrying on of preaching, the administration of the sacraments, and the proper use of discipline. The Apostles are the primary Words that are read and studied in the Church today as the Prophets were in the Old Covenant.

The Cornerstone is Jesus Christ. A cornerstone, as a tool of architecture, is important to be laid as straight as possible, since it is the stone by which all other stones will be laid. If the cornerstone is not straight then the rest of a building will be crooked. Jesus Christ is the canon by which all believers are to judge themselves as well as the standard by which all Churches measure their faithfulness.

The purpose of this allegorical building is so that a spiritual habitation can be made for the Spirit of God as well as to grow spiritually in holiness. This needs to be reflected in the Church as the Gentiles as well as the Jews who believe attempt to live lives that are holy and set apart for the use of the Lord. The Church is also to be a dwelling place that is fit for the Spirit of God. A dwelling place for God must be holy and cleansed, and this is what Paul is promoting, as well as the Church of Ephesus is to be set apart for a fit dwelling of the Spirit of God.

02 May, 2006

Closed until May 12

Please pray for me as I attempt to finish this semester . I am having a difficult time managing my time, so I will see you in a week and a half! I also am preaching May 10th at Puritan Seminary, I covet prayer for that as well. See you soon.