Daily Archives: February 3, 2014

My Reality: Hating Sin

The unsaved sinner doesn’t “consent with the law that it is good.”  He violently disagrees with the law and suppresses God’s truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  Because the unsaved sinner hates God (Romans 1:30), he hates the law of God because it comes from God and is holy, just and good (Psalm 78:1; Romans 7:12).

Preach the Word: Because It Makes the Ministry Dependent on God – John MacArthur

 

You wouldn’t expect to hear a pastor tell his church, “I know better than God.” And yet that’s what many preachers and leaders today communicate when they focus their ministry strategies on market research and consumer response. Chasing popular trends and whims is a sure recipe for tickled ears, stunted spiritual growth, and congregations full of false converts.

By contrast, a ministry that centers on the preaching of God’s Word is a ministry that is, by definition, wholly dependent on God. Rather than relying on gimmicks or ploys, it relies on God Himself for both its content and direction.

Early in my ministry I committed, before the Lord, that I would simply worry about the depth of my ministry, and I would let Him take care of the breadth of it. Needless to say, He has extended it far beyond what I could have ever even thought possible. But the market appeal of this ministry was not something I ever strategized about, trying to think of schemes for how to be popular or how to energize church growth. Instead, the focus was on teaching the Bible—deeply, consistently, and accurately. Beyond that, I simply decided to depend on the Lord.

When pastors preach God’s message rather than one of their own invention, they demonstrate that they are fully depending on God for results. It is His Word that is taught; it is His Spirit who works; it is His power that convicts and transforms. We simply convey the message faithfully, and when people respond, God receives all of the glory.

And that, ultimately, is why I continue to preach the Word after more than four decades of ministry. The goal of my life, from the outset, has been ministry faithfulness for the glory of Christ. That should be the aim of every pastor. And what could be more glorifying to Him than to exalt His message, bringing it to bear on the lives of His people, and depending fully on Him for the results. As Timothy was charged by Paul, so every pastor—if he is to be found faithful—must embrace his sacred calling:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. . . . I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. . . . The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:1–5, 7–8, 18)

Paul’s exhortation is directed at preachers, but its application isn’t limited to them. The men and women in the pews must place an equally high priority on submitting themselves to the preaching of the Word, and faithfully testing the teaching they receive against Scripture. Like we saw last time, all believers need to be Bereans. It’s vital that the pastor teaches Scripture with clarity and accuracy, and it’s vital that his congregation stay hungry for that kind of Bible teaching and the spiritual fruit it produces.

It’s been a privilege to serve the Lord at Grace Community Church for nearly forty-five years. Throughout that time, my prayer has always been to be subject to God’s biblical agenda, rather than subjecting God’s Word to my personal agenda. It is the difference between biblical preaching and motivational speaking, between shepherding and manipulating, and between understanding what God has already said in Scripture and putting new words in His mouth.

It’s no coincidence that we kicked off the new year with a series on the importance of biblical preaching. Preach the Word sets the tone for everything else you’ll read on the GTY blog in 2014 and beyond. The subject matter may vary, but the underlying theme will always be the same: Scripture rightly handled, faithfully taught, and properly applied.

 

(Adapted from The Master’s Plan for the Church.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140203
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You

“The Multiverse Created Itself” and “Who made God after all?” – The Kalam Cosmological Argument

With All I Am

mult

The most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing. -Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, 135.

Is this so reasonable? Is it true that we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing? The Kalam Cosmological Argument is one of the most compelling arguments for theism. The broad opposition to the Kalam (or, more specifically, to its implications) from atheists has lead to some sophisticated arguments (like those of Graham Oppy or J.L Mackie), but it has also lead to some pretty poor arguments. Below, several objections to the Kalam Cosmological Argument have been outlined, along with rebuttals of varying lengths.

The Multiverse?

Some have objected to the Kalam by raising the possibility of a multiverse. They say that this counters the Kalam because it’s possible that our universe is one of nearly infinite past universes, generated as another “bubble” among untold…

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Keep keeping on – Perseverance of the Saints

AcquariThe sun was setting at about 7pm one balmy Summer day during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. The stadium was emptying after a day of track and field events. The 20 mile marathon’s gold medal had been awarded about an hour earlier. Suddenly the sound police sirens caught everyone’s attention. They were clearing traffic for a lone figure to enter the stadium.

John Steven Acquari was the last runner in the marathon. Wearing the colors of Tanzania, he was grimacing in agony as he hobbled onto the track for the final 500 yards.

He had taken a serious fall in the race and had ripped a hamstring and badly grazed the skin off his legs. He was bleeding and cramping, but tenaciously shuffled around the field toward the finish line. The crowd quickly gathered to cheer him on. They were clapping and shouting encouragement to him as he finally collapsed over the finish line in sheer exhaustion and pain. After he had recovered somewhat a journalist asked him the question on everyone’s mind: “You were so seriously injured, why didn’t you just quit running?’

 

 

Acquari said with feeling, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race, but to finish it.” There is something about dogged determination and perseverance that inspires us.

What would you have done? Quit, or keep on keeping? The honest answer for most of us would be: I have no idea what I would do. I know what I would want to do. I know what I wish I would do. But it all depends on the severity of the injury, the remaining distance, the support I’d have, etc.P

Personally, I like to think that I would persevere to the end, no matter what. But in the case of my salvation, I’d like better assurance than what I think I’m capable of doing. Thankfully, the BIble teaches that as a believer in Jesus, I don’t have to worry about my own tenacity and stick-to-it-ness. I can rest in the faith that Jesus will get me into glory, if he has to drag me himself!

Philippians 1:6 “For I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.”

Yes, I am confident that I will get to Heaven, but it is not a confidence that rests on my experience, or my proven track record of always finishing what I start. It is an assurance based entirely on my knowledge of Jesus and his power to save.

2 Timothy 1:12 “For I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

This is the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints.

Westminster Confession:

They whom God hath accepted in his beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.’

Or put more simply: true believers can be sure they will get to Heaven, no matter what, because Jesus takes responsibility to get them there no matter what. snatched

For those of you who have persevered through the last five Mondays, you will recognize that this is the final of our five points of Calvinism. And you will hopefully glean that it is not only a clear Scriptural proposition, but also a logical necessity of all the petals of the TULIP, especially Election and Irresistible Grace.

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What are the historical arguments for the empty tomb narrative?

WINTERY KNIGHT

I wanted to go over this article by William Lane Craig which includes a discussion of the empty tomb, along with the other minimal facts that support the resurrection.

The word resurrection means bodily resurrection

The concept of resurrection in use among the first converts to Christianity was a Jewish concept of resurrection. And that concept of resurrection is unequivocally in favor of a bodily resurrection. The body (soma) that went into the grave is the body (soma) that came out.

Craig explains what this means with respect to the fast start of Christian belief:

For a first century Jew the idea that a man might be raised from the dead while his body remained in the tomb was simply a contradiction in terms. In the words of E. E. Ellis, “It is very unlikely that the earliest Palestinian Christians could conceive of any distinction between resurrection and physical…

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All Religions Are the Same

all religions are the sameIt’s true what they say: all religions are the same.

And make no mistake, I am including the Christian religion in with that. All religions are the same, including the Christian religion.

All Religions are the Same

All religions have at their core the idea that God is mad at the world and people have to do certain things to make God like them again. Usually, the good things that God wants us to do involve wearing silly hats, eating certain foods, and listening to some person talk for an hour before we give him money. This is true of any religion, whether Jewish, Muslim, Rastafarian, Santeria, Moorish Science Temple, Hindu, or… dare I say it? …Christian.

If you took away the hats, the robes, the names on the buildings, and some of the titles for “God” that different groups use, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between most of the world religions, …including Christianity.

The objection to the claim that all religions are the same is that “Christianity isn’t a religion; it’s a relationship! It’s a way of life!”

Right.

Few Think They are Religious

But do you know that this is what almost every person of every religion says? Almost nobody of any “faith group” thinks they are in a religion. If you ask the average “religious” person if they are in a religion, no matter what “religion” they follow, almost all of them will say, “No, I am not not in a religion, I practice a way of life.”

Nevertheless, almost everybody is in a religion, including most Christians. Most people believe God is mad at them for something they did or said, and they are doing certain things to try to make God happy again. The core of religion is that we can somehow pleas or appease God by our own good behavior or beliefs. If you believe that, then you are part of a religion, even you bear the name “Christian.”

Of course, I do consider myself a “Christian” in the sense that I am a follower of Jesus. I just think there is a vast difference between what has come to be known as Christianity, and what Jesus actually intended.

And when it comes down to what Jesus intended his followers to be and do, and what the religions of the world do (including the religion of Christianity), there are a few major differences. There are things that sets Jesus and His followers distinctly apart from all religious groups in history, including those religious groups that bear the name “Christian.”

What Separates Jesus from All Religions?

So what sorts of things separate Jesus followers from all other religions in the world?

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The Churches and Islam (Video)

In this episode of my ABN Jihad Watch program, Christine Williams, Public Affairs and Media Consultant for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem Canada, and I discuss the stance of contemporary churches toward Islam, and the dangers of the road they’re taking. Christine Williams is also a nine-time award-winning TV Host and Producer and a Director on the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

Source

Bible Secrets Revealed: The Complete Series

For the last few months I have been working through the various episodes of Bible Secrets Revealed from the History Channel.  This series challenges a number of popular beliefs and conceptions that people hold about the Bible, and raises questions about the integrity and reliability of the Scriptures.  In each of the posts below, I summarize the main content of each episode and offer an evaluation and response.

This entire series has reminded me of two critical truths:

1. Our popular culture is prone to distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Bible. I was struck again by how sensationalistic and misleading popular-level programming can actually be when it comes to the Bible.  Although this series had some good moments, as a whole I was disappointed to see the History Channel offer the standard Da Vinci Code-style approach to the Bible.

2. The church must be equipped to respond to these sorts of critiques.  Given the high-profile nature of the History Channel (and similar style programming), the average person we are trying to reach is going to be exposed to this type of material.  And we need to be ready to offer some answers if we expect non-Christians to give the biblical message a hearing.

But, the implications are even bigger than this. Even believers are being exposed to these sorts of arguments, and often find their confidence in the Bible shaken.  At that point, they need a pastor who can speak intelligently about these issues.

Hopefully, these posts below can play a small part in equipping the church for these challenges:

1. Lost in Transmission

2.  The Promised Land

3. The Forbidden Scriptures

4. The Real Jesus

5. Mysterious Prophecies

6. Sex and the Scriptures

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Seattle Seahawks Linebacker Mike Morgan Leads Broncos Players in Prayer After His Team Devastates Them in Super Bowl Blowout

In an amazing display of faith on Sunday, a group of Denver Broncos players joined Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mike Morgan for a moment of prayer on the field after his team handed them a devastating 43-8 blowout win in the NFL Super Bowl 2014.

Christians Nearly Extinct in Religions’ Birthplace: The Middle East

We must stand up for Middle East’s persecuted Christians 

ICC Note:

“See, what most American Christians don’t realize is that the “Islamic World” was once the Christian world.” Sadly, Christians are nearly extinct, and usually greatly persecuted in many of the cities and countries where Christianity once began and thrived. “Christianity was once so entrenched in the modern Islamic world that for centuries the center for Christian scholarship was Baghdad, and the long-ruined city of Merv (not far from border of what is now Afghanistan) was not only the largest city of its time, it was also best known as the center of Bible translation.”

By Johnnie Moore

1/31/2014 Middle East (Fox)-Christianity began in the East, not the West, yet today Christians in the East are enduring an all-out-assault by Islamic terrorists, while Christians in the West live their lives largely oblivious to it all. This has to change.

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Thomas Nelson Publishers creatively edit “Jesus Calling”

New Age book, “God Calling,” is not the Christian Yahweh God.

The eagle eye team over at Lighthouse Trails Research Blog notes that something is different about “Jesus Calling,” the controversial book by Sarah Young in which she claims to be channeling our Lord, and He is speaking new words of truth. In fact, she said she was inspired by God Calling, a New Age book. Well, she did say that. But not anymore:

Key words, phrases, and whole paragraphs have been vastly altered and/or eliminated all together. The most notable deletion is the removal of Sarah Young’s enthusiastic endorsement of God Calling—the channeled New Age book she described in her original Introduction as a “treasure to me.” It was God Calling that inspired her to begin receiving the personal “messages” from “Jesus” that comprise her devotional Jesus Calling:

Will Thomas Nelson also edit its new Bible, Jesus Calling Devotional “Bible”? You might want to read Warren Smith’s “Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs are Entering the Church through Contemplative Prayer.”

 (order here)

Here’s the Lighthouse story:

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Historic Heresies Related to the Nature of God the Father (Free Bible Insert)

Historic Heresies Related to the Nature of God the Father (Free Bible Insert)Over the course of Christian history, sincere men were sometimes on the wrong side of the truth. Sincere believers have been sincerely wrong; misinterpreting the scriptures for one reason or another. Peter warned us to be careful in our interpretation so we might come to a correct and true knowledge of the scriptures:

1 Peter 1:10-12 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

It takes more than sincerity to be correct; it takes careful study. Over the course of history, believers and Church leaders have sometimes allowed their own desires to color the way they interpreted the scriptures. Paul warned us that this would happen:

2 Timothy 4:3-5 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.

Over the next few months we’ll be examining some of the historic ways believers have altered or misunderstood the Christian truth claims related to the nature of God the Father, Jesus, the Family of God, or the Nature of Man. Remember these distortions are either the result of sincere (albeit reckless) efforts, or insincere efforts reflecting the desires of men who “turned aside to myths”. We’ll begin with historic heresies related to the nature of God the Father.

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“Apostle” David E. Taylor doubles down on false prophecy

One of the more controversial (most commented on) articles we’ve done is about a charlatan in Michigan (with a St. Louis P.O. box)  named David E. Taylor. (See “False Prophets: Here come more wolves,” and be sure to read the comments section.)

This self-appointed “Apostle” has a FiveFold Ministry in which he hosts Dream Schools and healing events.  But make no mistake, he is a false prophet.

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Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian Work as a Bartender?

 

As Christians, we are called to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Clearly, bars are usually filled with people who need to hear the Gospel. Further, many people will open up to a bartender more than they would to some other random individual, especially when they are intoxicated. So, yes, a Christian might have some ministry opportunities while working as a bartender. However, working and building relationships in a sinful environment, surrounded by ungodly music, the abuse of alcohol, and sexual temptations for several hours a day is clearly unwise. “What fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Realistically, after a long shift of serving drinks in a bar, would the spirit of a Christian be edified? Would he/she leave with an increasing hunger for God’s Word? Would his/her mind be filled with holy images? Would his/her thoughts be that of Philippians 4:8? Scripture clearly teaches us to, “Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good” (Romans 12:9). Perhaps a Christian feels he/she would enjoy interacting with unbelievers to share the message of Jesus Christ. But is that the biblical model of evangelism, to share in their lifestyle? Yes, Jesus ate and drank with sinners (Matthew 11:19); however, with a heart of true compassion, His primary goal was, and still is, to save sinners. He never indulged in their lifestyle; rather, He commanded them to come out of it and live godly lives (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Many refer to 1 Corinthians 5:10 when debating over whether we should work in an environment where sin is prevalent. However, Paul is not encouraging us to enter into full-time business relations with the “fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters.” He is simply saying we cannot escape their company altogether: “In that case you would have to leave this world.” But we must not spend huge amounts of time with those indulging in evil lifestyles—as is certainly the case when working in a bar—in hopes of having a moment or two in which to share the gospel. Realistically, not many bar owners would tolerate a bartender who spent a majority of his/her time evangelizing the customers. He knows that would be detrimental to his bottom line. The fact is that people who go to bars are not usually in any frame of mind to hear the gospel.

As Christians, we are to obey the commandment of God to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). So “let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about God: Does God Killing People Make Him a Murderer?

 

The Old Testament records God killing multitudes of people, and some people want to believe this makes Him a murderer. The misconception that “killing” and “murder” are synonymous is partially based on the King James mistranslation of the sixth commandment, which reads, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). However, the word kill is a translation of the Hebrew word ratsach, which nearly always refers to intentional killing without cause. The correct rendering of this word is “murder,” and all modern translations render the command as “You shall not murder.” The Bible in Basic English best conveys its meaning: “Do not put anyone to death without cause.”

It is true that God has intentionally killed many people. (God never “accidentally” does anything.) In fact, the Bible records that He literally wiped out entire nations including women, children, cattle, etc. In addition to that, God killed every living creature upon the face of the earth with the exception of eight people and the animals on the ark (Genesis 7:21–23; 1 Peter 3:20). Does this make Him a murderer?

As already stated, to kill and to murder are different things. Murder is “the premeditated, unlawful taking of a life,” whereas killing is, more generally, “the taking of a life.” The same Law that forbids murder permits killing in self-defense (Exodus 22:2).

In order for God to commit murder, He would have to act “unlawfully.” We must recognize that God is God. “His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4; see also Psalm 11:7; 90:9). He created man and expects obedience (Exodus 20:4–6; Exodus 23:21; 2 John 1:6). When man takes it upon himself to disobey God, he faces God’s wrath (Exodus 19:5; Exodus 23:21–22; Leviticus 26:14–18). Furthermore, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If [man] does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready” (Psalm 7:11–12).

Some would argue that executing the innocent is murder; thus, when God wipes out whole cities, He is committing murder. However, nowhere in Scripture can we find where God killed “innocent” people. In fact, compared to God’s holiness, there is no such thing as an “innocent” person. All have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23a). God has “just cause” to wipe us all out; the fact that He doesn’t is proof of His mercy.

When God chose to destroy all mankind in the Flood, He was totally justified in doing so: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

During the conquest of Canaan, God ordered the complete destruction of entire cities and nations: “But of the cities of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the LORD your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 20:16–17). And Joshua did what God had told him (Joshua 10:40).

Why did God give such a command? Israel was God’s instrument of judgment against the Canaanites, who were evil, almost beyond what we can imagine today: “Every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:31). Their utter annihilation was commanded to prevent Israel from following their ways: “Lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 20:18; also Deuteronomy 12:29–30).

Even in the dire judgments of the Old Testament, God offered mercy. For example, when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, God promised Abraham that He would spare the whole city in order to save ten righteous people there. Though God did destroy those cities (ten righteous people could not be found), He saved “righteous Lot” and his family (Genesis 18:32; Genesis 19:15; 2 Peter 2:7). Later, God destroyed Jericho, but He saved Rahab the harlot and her family in response to Rahab’s faith (Joshua 6:25; Hebrews 11:31). Until the final judgment, there is always mercy to be found.

Every person dies in God’s own time (Hebrews 9:27; Genesis 3:19). Jesus holds the keys of death (Revelation 1:18). Does the fact that everyone experiences physical death make God a “killer”? In the sense that He could prevent all death, yes. He allows us to die. But He is no murderer. Death is part of the human experience because we brought it into the world ourselves (Romans 5:12). One day, as John Donne put it, “Death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.” God, in His grace, has conquered death for those who are in Christ, and one day that truth will be fully realized: “The last enemy to be subdued and abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

God is faithful to His word. He will destroy the wicked, and He holds “the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment” (2 Peter 2:9). But He has also promised that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Church: What Does It Mean to Be Missional? Should Christians Be Missional?

 

“Missional” or “missional living” is a Christian term that in essence describes a missionary lifestyle. Being missional includes embracing the posture, the thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to reach others with the message of the gospel. The term “missional” gained its popularity towards the end of the 20th century with the influence of Tim Keller, Alan Hirsch, and others, as well as the Gospel and Our Culture Network. Their basic premise is that all Christians should be involved in the Great Commission of Jesus (Matthew 28:19–20).

Essentially, the idea of being missional teaches that the church has a mission because Jesus had a mission. There is one mission which says that the “missional church is a community of God’s people that defines itself, and organizes its life around, its real purpose of being an agent of God’s mission to the world. In other words, the church’s true and authentic organizing principle is mission. When the church is in mission, it is the true church.” Yet there has been some confusion regarding the term “missional.”

Alan Hirsch, one its proponents, says that “missional” is not synonymous with “emerging.” The emerging church is primarily a renewal movement attempting to contextualize Christianity for a postmodern generation. “Missional” is also not the same as “evangelistic” or “seeker-sensitive.” These terms generally apply to what he calls the “attractional” model of church that has dominated our understanding for many years. Missional is not a new way to talk about church growth. Although God clearly desires the church to grow numerically, it is only one part of the larger missional agenda. Finally, missional is more than social justice. Engaging the poor and correcting inequalities is part of being God’s agent in the world, but should not be confused with the whole.

Hirsch also says that a proper understanding of missional living begins with recovering a missionary understanding of God. By His very nature God is a “sending God” who takes the initiative to redeem His creation. This doctrine, known as missio Dei is causing many to redefine their understanding of the church. Because the church is comprised of the “sent” people of God, the church is the instrument of God’s mission in the world. However, most people believe that missions is an instrument of the church, a means by which the church is grown. Although Christians frequently say, “The church has a mission,” according to missional theology a more correct statement would be “the mission has a church.”

Though many churches have mission statements or talk about the importance of having a mission, where missional churches differ is in their attitude toward the world. A missional church sees the mission as both its originating impulse and its organizing principle. It is patterned after what God has done in Jesus Christ, that is, to be missional means to be sent into the world; not to expect people to come to us. This idea differentiates a missional church from an “attractional” church.

The attractional church seeks to reach out to the culture and draw people into the church. But this practice only works where no significant cultural shift is required when moving from outside to inside the church. And as Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, the attractional church has lost its effectiveness. The West looks more like a cross-cultural missionary context in which attractional churches are self-defeating. The process of extracting people from the culture and assimilating them into the church diminishes their ability to speak to those outside. As a result, people cease to be missional and instead leave that work to the clergy.

Missional represents a significant shift in the way one thinks about the church. Being missional means we should engage the world the same way Jesus did—by going out rather than just reaching out. Missional means that when a church is in mission, it is then the true church.

According to Dave DeVries, author of “Missional Transformation: Fueling Missionary Movements that Transform America,” there are five biblical distinctives that form the foundation of a missional perspective:

•     The Church is sent by Jesus Christ (John 17:18; 20:21, Luke 9:2; Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8)

•     The Church is sent with the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:18, Ephesians 2:16, Colossians 2:14, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17–21)

•     The Church is sent in Community (Acts 2:42–47; 5:42; John 13:34–35; 1 John 3:16–17)

•     The Church is sent to every Culture (John 1:14; Matthew 20:28; Acts 17:22–34; Luke 5:29)

•     The Church is sent for the King and His Kingdom (Matthew 10:7; 25:34; Luke 4:43; Revelation 11:15–17; Jeremiah 10:7; John 18:36)

So, the question is asked, “Should Christians be missional?” Fundamentally, missional theology is not content with missions being a church-based work. Rather, it applies to the whole life of every believer. In truth, every disciple of Christ should strive to be an agent, a representative of the kingdom of God; and every follower should try to carry the mission of God into every sphere of his life. We are all missionaries sent into the world.

There are many ways we can do this as we’re each individually blessed with certain talents and skills to utilize to the glory of God. Jesus has told us in Matthew 5:13–16 that we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world … to let our light shine before men.

And, finally, in light of this idea of being “missional,” we can best sum it up with the words of the apostle Paul: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God … and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Edward Snowden speaks: US blackout of interview

Edward Snowden was interviewed for the German television network ARD. The interview was big news in Germany and much of the world in both print and broadcast media. However, the interview appears to have been blocked intentionally by US government authorities. In fact, the media in the US appears to have gone to ‘radio silence’ about it. It has been posted on YouTube several times, but is taken down almost immediately. …

Edward Snowden speaks: US blackout of interview (Updated with new video source)

Creationist sees high stakes in debate with science guy

PETERSBURG, Ky. (February 3, 2014) – The president of the Creation Museum says his debate Tuesday evening with Bill Nye the Science Guy will be about more than science.

What will be the most important outcome of the debate between creationist Ken Ham and ‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye?

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