Monthly Archives: May 2013

What God Says About His Word

On the heels of the discussion contained within the post “Adam and Eve and Andy Stanley,” it seems appropriate to take a few moments to consider exactly what God, the Creator of all and the Author of Scripture, says about His own Word. Far too many professing evangelicals today are willing to undermine and compromise the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God. It simply is not popular for a man to state unabashedly that the Bible is true, that it means what it says, and that men are subject to the truths contained within it.

Today’s postmodern culture would rather that men stand in a pulpit (or more likely, on a stage) and perform a skilled tap dance around the truths of Scripture. The “all truth is relative” mentality has invaded the visible church and as a result many who call themselves pastors are nothing more than weak, wobbly-kneed men (or worse, women) who are more concerned about the world’s opinions than the Lord’s.

This simply will not do. These men may call themselves pastors, but they are not true under-shepherds of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are a myriad of terms for them: hirelings, wolves, blind guides, but they are not shepherds. They are not true pastors. Those who do not boldly preach under the authority of God’s Word are not serving the Lord, no matter what they may claim. Those who would dare to diminish the authority of Scripture in any way find themselves standing in direct opposition to the God they claim to serve.

What, then, does God say about His own Word? Is the Bible actually something that was breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16), or is it instead just a mere “collection of ancient documents” as Andy Stanley has stated?

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/05/what-god-says-about-his-word.html

Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That 5/31/2013

  • This is good news. If Jesus used to be an IT guy, maybe he can help me with my increasingly slow-moving computer. But, really, it would be nice if, just once, ‘Jesus’ would show up in the Midwest. I mean, who has the money to pick up and move to Australia?
  • So, essentially the ACLU is saying that they support sex-selection and race-based abortions. Good to know.
  • I had no idea that Christ bled and died to redeem my potential. I’m so thankful Steven Furtick is around to teach me such things.
  • Speaking of Furtick, could these be leaked excerpts from his Audaciously Revised Translation of the Bible?
  • The Huffington Post says without gay people, there’d be no gospel music.
  • Michael Horton offers a helpful overview of the life and dangerous theology of Charles Finney. He says that Finney “is the tallest marker in the shift from Reformation orthodoxy, evident in the Great Awakening (under Edwards and Whitefield) to Arminian (indeed, even Pelagian) revivalism, evident from the Second Great Awakening to the present.”
  • As mentioned last week, one of the breakout sessions at the recent Moody Pastor’s Conference taught the Roman Catholic mystical practice of Lectio Divina. Voddie Baucham responds to questions regarding his involvement as a speaker at this conference. (Spoiler: He didn’t know about the LD and denounces it).
  • Can you imagine your child coming home from school and announcing that tomorrow will be Cross-Dressing Day?
  • Speaking of drugs, ever hear of “meth mouth”? Well, if you’re a lover of diet soda, your chompers could be in for the same fate.
  • Ah, the elementary school pageant. The off-key singing. The tin-foil helmets. The cardboard swords. The praise of Allah.
  • Speaking of super heroes, a children’s television network is launching a new cartoon about a transsexual super hero.
  • Tim Challies reviews The Circle Maker. His conclusion? “The Circle Maker is a mess.” I agree. Maybe now that Challies has said it, more people will start to take heed.
  • Praying for sinning Christians:

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/05/this-n-that_31.html

Louis Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology” & “Summary of Christian Doctrine” Publications For Free

Louis Berkhof (1873-1957) was a great Reformed theologian and spent three decades as a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary. We now have one of his most influential works available in the BT library, his Systematic Theology. You can also download it in PDF and ePub formats, all for free. We also have his Summary of Christian Doctrine.

http://www.biblicaltraining.org/forum/overcoming-great-odds-berkhofs-systematic-theology

One country, two religions and three very telling pictures: The empty pews at churches just yards from an overcrowded mosque

  • Two photos show Sunday morning services in  churches in East London
  • The third shows worshippers gathered for  Friday midday prayers outside a nearby mosque
  • The difference in numbers could hardly be  more dramatic

Set aside the fact that our Queen is the  Defender of the Christian Faith. Ignore the 26 Church of England bishops who sit  in the House of Lords.

Pay no attention to the 2011 Census that told  us 33.2 million people in England and Wales describe themselves as  Christians.

For if you want a more telling insight into  religion in the United Kingdom today, just look at these photographs. The story  they tell is more revealing than any survey.

St Mary's, Cable Street
HUNDREDS OF WORSHIPPERS GATHER FOR FRIDAY PRAYERS AT THE BRUNE STREET MOSQUE

The photo on the left shows St Mary’s Church in Cable  Street while the photo on the right shows worshippers gathered for Friday midday  prayers outside a nearby mosque in Spitalfields, both in East  London

What they show are three acts of worship  performed in the East End of London within a few hundred yards of each other at  the end of last month.

Two of the photos show Sunday morning  services in the churches of St George-in-the-East on Cannon Street Road, and St  Mary’s on Cable Street.

The third shows worshippers gathered for  Friday midday prayers outside the nearby mosque on the Brune Street Estate in  Spitalfields.

The difference in numbers could hardly be  more dramatic. At St George’s, some 12 people have congregated to celebrate Holy  Communion.

Empty pews: 18th-century parishioners crowded into St  George-in-the-East hear John Wesley. Only 12 people attended the service

When the church was built in the early 18th  century, it was designed to seat 1,230.

Numbers are similar at St Mary’s, opened in  October 1849. Then, it could boast a congregation of 1,000. Today, as shown in  the picture, the worshippers total just 20.

While the two churches are nearly empty, the  Brune Street Estate mosque has a different problem — overcrowding.

The mosque itself is little more than a small  room rented in a  community centre, and it can hold only 100.

However, on Fridays, those numbers swell to  three to four times the room’s capacity, so the worshippers spill out onto the  street, where they take up around the same amount of space as the size of the  near-empty St Mary’s down the road.

Dwindling flock: St Mary’s Cable Street in East London  was built to hold 1,000 people. Today, the congregation numbers around 20

What these pictures suggest is that, on  current trends, Christianity in this country is becoming a religion of the past,  and Islam is one of the future.

In the past ten years, there has been a  decrease in people in England and Wales identifying as Christian, from 71.7 per  cent to 59.3 per cent of the population.

In the same period the number of Muslims in  England and Wales has risen from 3 per cent of the population to 4.8 per cent —  2.7 million people.

And Islam has age on its side. Whereas a half  of British Muslims are under 25, almost a quarter of Christians are approaching  their eighth decade.

It is estimated that in just 20 years, there  will be more active Muslims in this country than churchgoers — an idea which  even half a century ago would have been utterly unthinkable.

Many will conclude with a heavy heart that  Christianity faces a permanent decline in Britain, its increasingly empty  churches a monument to those centuries when the teachings of Christ governed the  thoughts and deeds of the masses.

A study in devotion: The tiny mosque on the Brune Street  Estate, Spitalfields, holds only 100 people, so the local Bangladeshi community  throng the street for Friday midday prayers

On Sunday October 1, 1738, St George’s was  packed twice during the day to hear the great evangelist John Wesley, who then  preached at the church for the following week explaining, as he put it, ‘the way  of salvation to many who misunderstood what had been preached concerning  it’.

Today, there are no John Wesleys to fill up  the pews. The church does its best, offering, for example, a monthly ‘Hot Potato  Sunday’, during which the few congregants can discuss the  readings of the  day over a baked potato.

Canon Michael Ainsworth of St George’s puts  on a brave face when he says: ‘What we are  saying now is it is not just a  matter of numbers. It is about keeping faith with the city and hanging in there  — being part of the community.’

At St Mary’s, meanwhile, Rev Peter McGeary  cannot explain why the numbers are so low: ‘It’s impossible to say, there are so  many variables.’

When he is asked if he tries to boost his  congregations, he simply replies: ‘We are not a company, we are a  church.’

In contrast, there seems a remarkable energy  attached to the mosque on Brune Street, which has been described as the ‘Mecca  of the City’.

Here, come rain or shine, members of  the  Bangladeshi community perform the Friday prayer of Jumma under the  open sky. It is a communal act which will surely only grow in  popularity.

Sadly, that’s not something that can be said  of the two nearby churches, and unless they can reinvigorate their congregations  they may finally end up being deconsecrated.

When that happens, such large buildings will  be attractive spaces for those who can fill them.

One day, in a few decades, St George’s may  well again be packed with worshippers — but they will not be  Christians.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2332998/One-country-religions-telling-pictures-The-pews-churches-just-yards-overcrowded-mosque.html

What’s Being Said about the SGM Scandal

UPDATE: Today, Rachel Held Evans posted on this subject as well, saying something extremely important that we affirm as well: we support and love the survivors of abuse, and pray with you for justice and peace.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God to put things right, for they will be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6, my translation).

* * *

Here are some of the most pertinent quotes regarding the judge’s decision to dismiss most of the civil alleging child sexual abuse and its cover up by churches affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Back in March, we asked our friend Dee Parsons from The Wartburg Watch (a main site shedding light on this case) to give an update at that time for our Internet Monk readers, and you can review that HERE.

One of the new aspects of this situation is that last week, two of the primary “New Reformed” web communities broke their long silence about the affair.

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/whats-being-said-about-the-sgm-scandal

Will a Christian who commits suicide go to heaven?

Christians sometimes live in a cloud of denial. This can be especially true if we are a member of a smaller church, where demographics may protect us from some of the worst pain the world experiences on a daily basis. Surely a real Christian wouldn’t commit suicide would they? Surely a real Christian can’t get depressed? Christians can get depressed, and they do sometimes commit suicide as well.  Every pastor, and every concerned Christian should be ready to act in ways that can reduce the risk of suicide in members of our churches. But this post addresses the theological concern felt by many: what happens to those Christians who take their own lives?  This post is part of an ongoing conversation about mental health here on Patheos. I will also be collating posts that interact with this article, or the question about suicide and religious faith that prompted it. Please link to your own posts in the comment section below and/or by linking back to this article.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2013/05/will-a-christian-who-commits-suicide-go-to-heaven/

A Bill in Texas Just Quietly Passed Both Houses Making ‘Christmas’ in Public Schools Legal

"Merry Christmas Bill"

Texas public school teachers and students may soon be allowed to utter “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” and other holiday-tinged greetings without fear of lawsuits and other reprisals. The so-called “Merry Christmas Bill” easily passed muster in the state’s House (145-2) and Senate (29-0) and now awaits Gov. Rick Perry’s signature, reports the Dallas Observer. The law would take effect …