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“Respect the Office, Not the Person”, Kevin Bacon and our Doxological-Gospel Purposes

Living the Good News to the Glory of God and Interacting with Everyday People and Politicians

In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit instructs us to make the glory of God our highest priority (1 Cor 10:31) even down to our motivations for consuming food!

Elsewhere He also exhorts us to live in such a fashion as to discern wisdom from folly, and good from evil. In matters that regard our political leaders, (more…)

Christians and Gambling–First Initial Post–First Sin

Posted in "foolish" Christian thinking, challenging human thinking, discernment, Lordship, Postmodern, Worship by Sam Hendrickson on 15 February , 2011

(This is a work in progress–unmarked changes will occur as the document matures). Rev A is in place (11:30am 15Feb2011)

Mankind’s plunge into sin began when we[1] entertained the Opponent’s[2] sly question: “Indeed, has God said…?” (Gen 3:1) He then told Eve a bald lie: “You surely will not die.” He first questioned her—casting doubt on whether God’s command should really be understood as God’s command. Second, he told her a bold lie—contradicting God’s authority, and setting Eve up to make herself the authority. Then, he dangled a temptation designed to stir up disquiet in her—thoughts that God was withholding something valuable from her. That God was preventing her from attaining self-fulfillment, and even proper self-actualization. In other words, Satan wanted Eve to believe that God did not want the both of them (“you” etc. is plural) to become all they could truly become—Godlike, having full knowledge and wisdom.

And although up to that point, God was everything to them and they had fully relied upon Him for truth (as they were designed to do)—although their lives were essentially limitless and boundless—they chose to cross His one limit, His only boundary. Think of it! Before them lay a planet (a planet!) of great beauty, discovery, adventure and blessing.[3] Planet-wide there were likely trillions of trees, trillions of bushes, quadrillions of different fruits to eat—essentially innumerable alternatives to sin![4] And, what if He had “limited” them to the Garden only for the time being? Does that leave them wandering around constantly staring at the Tree?

If we understand some of the biblical boundaries for the Garden of Eden, it was possibly as big as the states of California and Nevada combined. It is impossible to be too specific about the size, but its topography is described usingfour rivers—with the idea that the Garden could be described as “vast.”[5] By stating “of all the trees of the Garden you may eat, but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat” (Gen 2:16 – 17) God pointed out that they had plenty to choose from, and more than enough places to explore and live.

And yet, because Eve judged the tree to be good for food (in complete rebellion against God) she ate. Even though God had given her all that she desired, because she felt a great desire for the fruit (the word “delight” is the same word used to describe sinful lust elsewhere in the OT) she took the fruit and ate. Even though God was supposed to be her Source of wisdom and truth, she looked at eating the fruit as being “desirable” to give her wisdom (apparently supposing God was somehow depriving her of this wisdom—in light of Satan’s tempting words). Again the word for “desirable” can have meanings which point to satisfying selfish desires—like sexual lusts, etc.

So, even though at one time, she had put up a personal rule of holiness for herself (“do not touch the tree”—God had never said “do not touch it”, only do not eat it), she trusted a talking serpent and gave herself over to her sinful, self-centered desires. And Adam ate it with her—possibly (likely?) witnessing the whole conversation (“she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” Gen 3:6). There is no further record of her (or Adam) arguing with Satan. Instead, in an eerie foreshadowing of our inborn sinfulness in Romans 1:32, she sinned, and dragged someone else into the sin with her.

The Bible’s description of the first sin hearkens with me when I look at gambling. The strong desires attached to it, the response of professing Christians when someone confronts them on the issue–these both seem present at the tree.

These are my initial thoughts–more to come.

 

 


[1] We bear the guilt and propensity to commit Adam’s sin (Romans 5)

[2] “Satan” means “adversary” or “opponent”

[3] The current area of land on the globe is approximately 57.5 million square miles. It is possible, given the description of the Flood waters, (bursting from the depths of the earth, and falling from the sky) that there was even more connected land in the pre-Flood world.

[4] By the way, lest we think otherwise, as Christians, we are in a similar situation.

[5] Doing some research to see if when Moses recorded such statements as in Genesis 2:8 – 14 if the geographic markers are meant to record the geography and topography of the Garden before the Flood, or is Moses saying the Garden was located in the areas where the four rivers mentioned currently flowed (at the time when Moses recorded Genesis)?

 

Worst-Case (?) Thoughts on Withdrawing From Regular Christian Worship

Admittedly this post is philippic in nature. As such, it is anecdotal–personally, or in my observations of others.

Professing Christians, upon forsaking regular, periodic worship of God, naturally begin to focus that time & devotion toward idols of our own making. What before was a sporadic guilty sinful pleasure (often followed by heartfelt confession to God) now is routine and relished–callously so. This is part of the point of Hebrews 10:25 and the paragraph surrounding it.

Yeah it used to be a sin for me, but not no more...Is it a sin for you? Oh, too bad for you!"

Yes, we had sinned before abandoning gathered worship, but now it seems we race in breathtaking descent into increasing sin. Like Romans 1:32 which was written to describe the depth of unbeliever’s sin, we begin to flail about, lamely excusing our self-worship–even tempting other believers to join in our sin.

Made to feel guilty by others (but not repentant), when we do seek “to go to church” we choose modern, contemporary places, where our ears will be itched(2Tim4:3), and the worldliness of the seeker-sensitive approach will not dent our calloused spiritual eyes, or heal the seared flesh of our consciences. And we call it “Christian liberty.”

Sunday’s comin’… Jus’ sayin’ is all…

So Young “Christian”…You’re OK With Sex Outside of Marriage? Really? Ummm…Is God?

Posted in "foolish" Christian thinking, America's spiritual crisis, discernment, Lordship, Phil Johnson by Sam Hendrickson on 31 January , 2011

Over the years I have been dismayed how young people calling themselves “Christian” look at sexual relations. I personally know or have known several young 20-somethings who would be offended if I questioned their salvation or their willingness to be led by the Spirit, based on their continuance in stubbornly refusing to give up sex before or outside of marriage.  Note: you’re not “struggling” with sin, if you’re not struggling against it!

Great article from Phil Johnson!

Armchair Suffragists and 1 Peter 2:20

Posted in "foolish" Christian thinking, challenging human thinking, Holiness, Lordship by Sam Hendrickson on 26 January , 2011

When we suffer as a result of our disobedience to God, God does not view it as “sharing” in Christ’s sufferings. Will we learn the lessons of the consequences of our sin? Alright then.

But how many times do we sin, all the while knowing what “God’s will for our lives” is? Later we cry out to Him as though we have somehow suffered for the sake of Christ. What hubris and arrogation! We deign to pull our overstuffed egos into Gethsemane, into the Philippian jail, or onto the Hill of the Skull and play armchair suffragists?

O how often we hold the Cross of Christ in contempt as we compare the hardships due to our sin, to His divine suffering and sin-bearing!

God help us!

19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.  20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.  21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;  23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;  24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.  25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:19-25 NASB

On Burning Qurans, Terry Jones, and our “Rights”

This rough, I might clean it up later, but I posted this recently at a friend’s Facebook page. If it is helpful to you, good…

From what I can see of the NT & the OT, our faith is not a tit for tat kind of thing. “Vengeance is mine–I will repay” says GOD. If someone is burning Bibles, we are called to feel compassion and pity and chalk it up to ignorance. Don’t forget Saul of Tarsus was willing to kill and may have been part of the process of killing Christians (Acts 8:1 – 3, 9:1)–and yet God showed compassion to him–through Ananias (who was nervous about meeting and helping Saul (Acts 9:13f), and brought him to salvation.  Paul calls his unbelief and opposition to Christ “ignorance”…There is Pauline, and Petrine precedent for this attitude:

(1 Peter 1:14 14 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance…” Ephesians 4:17-18 17 “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;…” 1 Timothy 1:12-13 12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;”

If someone is naming the name of Christ–i.e. calling themselves Christians, yet are false teachers, then we go after them like Paul and John say to. Neither Paul or John, gave quarter to apostasy or stubborn false teaching. But, the example of the Apostles, and our Lord was to crush false teachers, feed the sheep, and show compassion to those acting in ignorance. But, if they are unbelievers, and not false teachers as described above, our business is to evangelize them–not to foster hatred. Terry Jones is adding to the offense of the Gospel, and it is sinful to do that–in the name of patriotism, in the name of indignation, in the name of vengeance, or whatever. Even if he thinks he is somehow helping God, it is more like Peter’s “Malchusian moment” when he foolishly, and sinfully took off the high priest’s servant’s (Malchus) ear. If anyone needs censure here Jones does. Not censorship, he has the freedom to be foolish and sinful. But, simply because the Constitution allows it, that doesn’t make it moral.

And you are right, it is no big deal to offend Christians–I would posit that our Lord not only taught that, but gave the ultimate example of humility. He modeled and taught a humble acceptance of crimes done against Him, murderous crimes, and He bore the Cross, despising the shame. He told us that we should expect to be hated, despised, harrassed, persecuted and lied about–and we are never to raise a hand in an unbiblical way so as to prevent our being able to evangelize even our persecutors!. When Paul wrote Romans 13:1 – 7, speaking to the matter of obeying “authority”,  Emperor Nero was the “authority”–burning Christians as party lights, and persecuting the Church in numerous ways. And Paul’s response? Romans 13:1 – 7. However offended I am, (and I do get offended), however indignant I am (and I do get so sometimes) at the actions and mindset of Islam, as a Christian, I don’t get to foster those feelings, and should repent of them if they would get in the way of my evangelizing a Muslim.

Paul and Silas evangelized their jailer–their enemy. I don’t think that Terry Jones is doing the equivalent of sitting in prison, singing hymns and leading the jailer to Christ. When we became Christians, we surrendered our rights, if those rights in any way shape or form cause a stumbling block for the progress of the Good News. We are Christians first, Americans second. Peace and grace.

With the usual waivers regarding political candidates, etc.

This article from Russel Moore is a good reminder for us about what we might be thinking of doing  regarding our privileges as an American, and what our obligations/priorities are as children of God through faith in Christ.

What are American Christians willing to sacrifice (in terms of the amount of time–effort–treasure striving for the sake of the Gospel) as they struggle for whatever political/social cause? In this election cycle, will we make “making patriots” more important than “making and maturing disciples who look like Jesus Christ?” HT Greg Linscott [And, ummm, I’m not going to try to defend myself to Beck-heads–you know who you are].

Thinking About the Church and “Fixing America” Part One

Admittedly, these articles are written by someone else. But, he has done some serious, biblically-guided thinking about the role of local churches in “fixing America.” I hope you will read thoughtfully… Go here to read about America’s need for preaching…

In the wake of (continuing) political & societal shift…

I posted my initial root thoughts of this on a friend’s facebook recently. In light of recent political events, people are vowing to begin listening to Limbaugh, Ingraham, Hannity, etc. in an increasing fashion, or for the first time. There is a certain sense that I congratulate them (more…)

Pray for Celebrity Umph for the Gospel–God Needs all the Help He can Get?

Ok,

maybe I am being too cynical–maybe not. Why (oh why) do Christians think star power is so important? Why are we so enamored with celebrity? Why are we so convinced the Spirit cannot move on hearts with the simple message of the Good News?

Is it wrong to pray for people to come to Christ? Of course not! But what is shown below seems so misguided, and so man-centered…

Go Here…