theolog shmeolog

Enjoyments That Require Effort…

Posted in run on sentences, Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 15 February , 2014

When I was young, I would see people doing something (skating, skiing, playing music, etc.) and clearly they were enjoying themselves. I would eagerly want to start doing those things–which would mean that my parents had to buy me skates, skis, etc. (more…)

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Posted in Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 16 December , 2013

This from one of the most hardworking (and prolific) Baptist soulwinners. (I say soulwinner, because based on what hspurgeone has to say, many would say “Why not just stop this divisive talk and get back to the Gospel”). Notice where he points his hearers…

From Charles Haddon Spurgeon,

THE PARACLETE, NO. 1074, A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, OCTOBER 6, 1872, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON

Dear Brothers and Sisters, honor the Spirit of God as you would honor Jesus Christ if He were present! If  Jesus Christ were dwelling in your house you would not ignore Him, you would not go about your business as if He were not there! Do not ignore the Presence of the Holy Spirit in your soul! I beseech you, do not live as if you had not heard whether there were a Holy Spirit. To Him pay your constant adorations. Reverence the august Guest who has been pleased to make your body His sacred abode. Love Him, obey Him, worship Him! Take care never to impute the vain imaginings (more…)

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…)

Sin & our Past

With apologies to my friends who are More Educated on Automotive Computer Systems than me–this is not a perfect analogy, so don’t miss the point.https://i1.wp.com/us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/gudella/gudella1202/gudella120200047/12650881-old-dirty-car-engine.jpg

My brother-in-law says he knew a German mechanic who talked about Mercedes engine problems this way: (more…)

We’re all Equal–in God’s Eyes

Posted in America's spiritual crisis, Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 28 March , 2013

I am a sinner. You could see that in my life, if you were around long enough (short enough).

But, God doesn’t see me that way anymore–and He’s the One who made this happen, not me.

It’s as though a man was in a $5000 suit, and for a brief moment you look at him, and what you see causes you to say “wow–sharp suit, man!” But, then you keep looking, and his gaze is aimless, the cheeks are grayish green and sunken, his eyes are jaundiced and bloodshot, his well-coiffed hair is (more…)

John MacArthur with Some Good Thoughts on Church Membership

Posted in Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 14 January , 2013

A Man Blind From Birth…

Posted in run on sentences, Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 21 November , 2012

A man blind from birth–his blindness and our Lord’s healing–both for the glory of God (9:3).

Jesus heals the man through a means which prevented him from knowing the face of Jesus (there are other speculations regarding the spittle/mud thing–many of them get rather allegorical). He relates that “Jesus” healed him, both unaware of his looks and of his whereabouts (9:12).

He is brought to the Pharisees on the Sabbath–the same day of his healing. The dilemma–had the man been healed by someone who had broken the Sabbath in order to do the healing? (Jesus has set the stage for a significant change in the man’s life, through an encounter with the legalistic Pharisees on a matter regarding the Mosaic Law–no small thing. See v. 16) The Pharisees question him as to the personage of his Healer–“He is a prophet” is his response. (This will not bode well for him.) His parents are called in and for fear of being “put out of the synagogue”–no minor thing, their entire life would be a shunned life from that point on–they refuse to be involved in any answer which might lend credibility to their son, or to their son’s Healer. (Notice the crisis is ramping up.)

The Pharisees interrogate him again and imply he might be lying, “so now tell the truth” (“give glory to God…”). Their approach is laden with a more obvious threat “we know this man is a sinner.” The threats and tactics essentially do not have the effect for which the Pharisees are hoping–in a real sense he gives as good as he gets in verse 27. They accuse him of being a follower of Christ, which they clearly contrast with being a follower of Moses.
His response indicates the conviction which is gripping him regarding Jesus–he is certain that his Healer is “from God” (v. 33) because of His healing ability.

Because he will not bend to their view of his Healer, and due to their pride, they cast him out of the synagogue (v. 34). He essentially has no standing as an Israelite in Judea or with any other Jewish group in the world. He is to be shunned in family, religious, societal and all other ways–in a very real sense he is disconnected from Israel by their pronouncement.

Jesus comes to him and through their encounter the newly seeing man also sees God in the person of His Messiah–through faith, evidenced by worship and proclamation of belief (vv. 35 – 38). This man has gone from exclusion to inclusion. The Pharisees thought they had cast him out of any connection with God’s things, but in reality, through Christ he is fully and completely in relation with God in ways he had not understood before.

Jesus brings the event to a close by rebuking the Pharisees, showing that His healing was actually an act of judgment upon the Pharisees, and any other Jew who saw himself as righteous in the way they did. I think His spit & mud method included the fact that when the man first sees Jesus, Pharisees will see his first reactions, and his subsequent faith. The spit & mud have a purpose for surprise and revealing the sincerity of the man’s faith and devotion.

Chapter 10
As the conversation continues, Jesus points out how He is seeking to enter into the shepherding of Israel (as a nation, as a people) through legitimate means (10:1 – 2).
He refers to the Pharisees, and their ilk as being illegitimate–with desires for personal gain in their shepherding (“thief and robber.”)

Then He points out that as the door and the shepherd, He calls people from out of national Israel (the fold v. 16) to join His flock (KJV mistakenly translates the Greek here as “fold”–it is a different word than “fold” earlier in the verse).
He points out that there are other sheep (who are “not of this fold”–not of national Israel) who He “must bring them also” and like the fold-sheep, these outside-the-fold-sheep hear His voice and follow–together they are “one flock, one shepherd.” (v. 16).

It is no accident that Jesus uses this parable immediately following the healing of the blind man, his being cast out of Israel, his being made a true follower of Jesus. (Casting someone out of the synagogue was seen as “treating someone as a Gentile”).

This man is extricated from the “fold” of Israel, and through faith in the Anointed Messiah Deliverer is placed into the “flock” of Christ. Others from Israel will certainly come along out of the fold to follow the Shepherd, and Gentiles (sheep-not-of-the-fold) will follow too. Their bond to the Shepherd is seen in vv. 4, 5, 14 – 15; it is a spiritual bond, not a “son of Abraham”, “follower of Moses” type of thing. It requires the regenerating work of God so that they place their faith in the Shepherd.

Israel and the Church have different promises–there are many levels of discontinuity from worship of God before the Cross, and afterward.

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!

Liver Shivers, Goosebumps, and “I Have Peace About This Pastor”

A quote from Ken Sande in The Peacemaker (2004, 3rd ed., Baker, Ch. 1 endnote, p. 299):

I have found that many Christians rely more on their own ideas and feelings than they do on the Bible, especially when Scripture commands them to do difficult things. In particular, many people seem to believe they can be sure they are doing what is right if they pray and have a sense of  ‘inner peace.’ Nowhere does the Bible guarantee that a sense of peace is a sure sign that one is on the right course. Many people experience a sense of relief (‘inner peace’) even when they are on a sinful course, simply because they are getting away from stressful responsibilities.’

I would add that the relief can also come simply because a decision has been made and a direction has been chosen. I am not certain of the root of this false teaching historically, but it likely includes a misunderstanding of Philippians 4:6 – 7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NASB

Having spent a significant time around charismatics (Assembly of God, and Pentecostals), there was clearly an understanding among many of them (including pastors and leaders) that a physical response (including manifestations like gooseflesh) indicated that “the Holy Spirit was working.”  We cessationists often mock or deride their subjectivity, but how many Christians do you know who engage in something similar to Sande describes at the beginning of this post? Just when a choice is to be made, they decide to follow a sinful (or at least stupid/foolish) path because some kind of coincidental event occurs which “confirmed my choice in my spirit.”

Pa-lease!

Imagine if God’s Son went on such feelings, and “inner peace”?

Matthew 26:37-39  37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.  38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”  39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

The Greek words of interest are lupeisthai–“grieved,” (v. 37b) ademonein–“distressed” (v. 37b) and perilupos— “deeply grieved” (v. 38a) in the original language. They have meanings which are well represented for the most part in the various translations. Friberg’s lexicon has “afflicted beyond measure” for perilupos, which takes the meaning much deeper, and matches then His remark of the extent of his grief–“to the point of death.”

What if our Lord waited for the right kind of physical or emotional response before proceeding to do His Father’s will? What if He waited for “inner peace”? What if He would only go forward if His “inner spirit was prompted,” if “all the doors were opened,” or He felt “God was saying this” because of His circumstance? If God was speaking “through the circumstance” you’d think that Jesus would have divined the Father’s “will” to be “get out!”

Here’s a novel idea: why not labor hard in the Scriptures and strive to develop a more properly tuned moral compass so that we can discern good from evil, and pray that God would give us the courage (faith) to obey Him? (That is the kind of prayer He answers!)

Then maybe we will leave goose bumps to their real use–telling us when to put on a coat.

(From the Backseat)–“Are we There Yet?”

Posted in Uncategorized by Sam Hendrickson on 9 January , 2012

Thinking on the enormity and depth of God’s grace: Is our church at a point where we would sincerely and eagerly welcome a lost person to one of our gatherings when that person vividly, physically and audibly displayed the fact that their soul was sin-enslaved? Where their cynical, God-hating & rebellious words, and their actions cried out that they were being rent apart by evil? Would the skin-crawling revulsion we felt be sourced from a love for God & His holiness, or by a sense that we were NEVER THAT depraved? Would we repent of the part of our revulsion that was borne of hatred and pride?

Would we fly to such a newcomer and welcome them with sincere and genuine love, or would we inwardly hope that maybe next time “they’ll clean themselves up a bit” before they visit (if at all)? Would we remember that maybe we once had more “acceptable” sins, or at least a better facade, but that at one point, regardless of appearance, we were as lost as they were? Would we continue to welcome such a one to our services and events, loving them and evangelizing them, and praying for them even if other churches began to wonder about our “testimony” in allowing such a person to be among us?

After their time with us, if they left and their lives were essentially the same, would they be able to honestly look back at their interplay with us and admit that they had been exposed to God’s love and His saving truth?

 

Are we there yet?