theolog shmeolog

Defense of Marriage Act

So, DOMA is struck down. This decision makes clear that for those who oppose same-gender marriage and related matters there is tough sledding ahead.doma

Our ultimate hope is not in governmental or societal change, it is in Christ. Any effort we might make (more…)

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Tick-tock-tick-tock…

Of course there is some value to seeing themes of redemption, grace and the like in popular media (songs, books, motion pictures and in television programs). The Spirit of God does indeed open our eyes to see our world’s messages differently. But let us never forget that He does so by means of His Word.

Let’s say a Christian reads his Bible 5 min/day, https://i2.wp.com/www.hourplace.com/store/images/catswingtail.gif (more…)

When life is bleak, harsh, and in a death spiral…

Posted in challenging human thinking, discernment, local church, Pastoral concern, Uncategorized, Worship by Sam Hendrickson on 9 July , 2012

From a FB post…When life is bleak, harsh, and trying…

When sorting out the phenomenally difficult times/things of life, the answer NEVER lies in pushing away from the basic graces that God provides.
1. No valuable answers come from stopping regular Bible intake–hearing God’s Word read, preached, taught.

2. No valuable answers come from refraining from proclaiming the Good News to those in need (as someone did for us).

3. No valuable answers come from praying less not more.

4. No valuable answers come from pulling away from worshiping with the local church–to get “family or______________time”.

5. No valuable answers come through the stopping of serving other Christians in the local church, and serving the lost.

6. No valuable answers come by blaming God or others for the mess we have made of life, or by blaming God for the evil that others do to us(even those who said they loved us once).

7. No valuable answers come by running to worldliness while squelching righteous thoughts. In short: there is no hope for the messes, headaches, and heartaches of life except in the graces that God has provided.

So…where are we looking for answers? Where are we teaching our families to look for answers? Get over ourselves and run to Christ!

Many Evangelicals do not Believe that God is Very Specific About How to Worship Corporately

 

J. Ligon Duncan III:

Evangelicals have for a century or more been the most minimal of all the Protestants in what they think the Bible teaches us about the church in general and in their estimation of the relative importance of ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church).

  • They do not generally believe that church government is established positively in the Word;
  • they often do not see the local church as essential to the fulfillment of the Great Commission or to the task of Christian discipleship;
  • they are suspicious of order as restrictive of freedom…

Consequently, since the doctrine of worship is a part of what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of the church, they are not predisposed in general to expect much in the way of important, definitive teaching about the conduct of corporate worship…

…The greatest obstacle to the reform of worship in the evangelical church today is evangelicalism’s general belief that New Testament Christians have few or no particular directions about how we are to worship God corporately:

  • what elements belong in worship,
  • what elements must always be present in well-ordered worship,
  • what things do not belong in worship.

To be even more specific…we may say that

  • evangelicals emphasize the dynamic of Christian worship (the grace of the Holy Spirit)
  • and its motivation (gratitude for grace, a passion for God),
  • but de-emphasize the standard (the Bible)
  • and goal (the prime telos [the purposed end] of glorifying and enjoying God).

Evangelicals do think that worship matters, but they also often view worship as a means to some other end than that of the glorification and enjoyment of God:

  • some view worship as evangelism (thus misunderstanding its goal);
  • some think that a person’s heart, intentions, motives and sincerity are the only things important in how we worship (thus downplaying the Bible’s standards, principles, and rules for worship);
  • and some view the emotional product of the worship experience as the prime factor in [evaluating] “good” worship (thus over-stressing the subjective and often unwittingly imposing particular cultural opinions about emotional expression on all worshipers).

Evangelicals believe these things about worship, but they do not think that there are many biblical principles about how to worship or what we are to do and not to do in worship.

In part, this may be the result of an understandable misunderstanding of the precise nature of the discontinuity between  the worship of the people of God in the old covenant and the new covenant.

…Consequently, though evangelicals know that the Old Testament has instructions on what Israel was to do in worship,

  • they tend to think that there are few if any abiding principles [let alone commands] to be gained for Christian worship from the Old Testament,
  • or they think that the New Testament emphases on the heart, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and worship-in-all-of-life displace these Old Testament principles,
  • or they think that the New Testament has correspondingly little or nothing to say about the how of corporate worship,
  • and some even think the category of corporate worship disappears altogether in the new-covenant expression of the economy of God…

And not surprisingly, these assumptions help an evangelicalism enveloped in a culture of individualism, relativism, and situationalism remain, in its approach to the gathered worship of God’s people,

  • strong on the individual, weak on the corporate;
  • strong on the subjective, weak on the objective;
  • strong on the heart, weak on the principles.

Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, P & R Publishing, 2003, pp. 24 – 26

[Nota bene: These are Duncan’s words, but I did the bulleting to make the lists and long (dare I say run-on?) sentences more easy to navigate.] Presented with all the usual waivers as to how his beliefs and practices differ from mine, etc… I.e. simply because I am quoting him doesn’t mean you should become a Presbyterian or whatever…I’ll trust your discernment…

Are we What we Ought to be as the Church?

Doing some reading…

The test of a congregation, apart from personal holiness, is how effectively members penetrate the world. American churches are filled with pew-sitting, spiritual schizophrenics, whose belief and behavior are not congruent.

The Disciple-Making Pastor, Bill Hull

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…

Whose Agenda–Whose Glory?

By events, books,sermon mp3s, and conferences, I have been often forced or moved to think on the priority and importance of the local church–a sacred God-ordained people. The local church is the primary means by which black-hearted rebels are transformed into Christ-obeying disciples through the saving and sanctifying power of the Good News. This is a significant portion of God’s agenda of self-glorification.

The church belongs to God, it is the body of Christ, His bride, and glory.

What are we doing in, about or to the local church which promotes our own agenda and glory?