Daily Archives: July 3, 2014

Independence Day and the state of the church in America.

Truth in Grace

Today marks the 234th anniversary of our nation’s birth, but this occasion brings to mind two problems that I see within Christendom; both of which have the same solution.

Firstly, why do we (every year at this time) feel the need to mix nationalism with the church? On this Sunday, Christians will be running from church to BBQs and parties; some won’t even need to leave the church property as all the festivities will be rolled into one like a church in my local area advertising the events they’re having at their “community freedom festival” which include:

Pony rides / Face painting / Food and drinks / Sno-cones, popcorn, cotton candy / Games and prizes / Bounce houses / Giant slide / Dunk tank / Crafts for the kids / Live music / And much more.

Remember, dear readers, this is a “church.” The only reference on their advertisement that…

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Are you “on the wrong side of history” (and should you be worried)?

Historical ignorance and the move away from traditional religious and moral beliefs are undoubtedly tied together. “History is a hill or a high point,” wrote G. K. Chesterton, “from which alone men see the town in which they are living and the age in which they live.” So many today are confused and lack perspective because they have no vantage point from which to see their own tiny plot of time and place.  To borrow the analogy from James the Apostle, we never look into the mirror that would show us a more accurate reflection of ourselves and our surroundings.

 

Reading the words or biographies of prominent people from our past would likely shock – and maybe offend – many contemporary fans of the “progressive” left. A lot of young people who encounter the voices of the past while reading for college courses are given to the foolish habit of rejecting them with a knee-jerk reaction that assumes that everyone who lived before iphones was backward and just didn’t get it. In most cases they read just enough to condemn everyone in history of being ignorant, racist, puritanical religious nuts. This childish view of history says more about our own culture than any of those from the past. We’ve become too inept even to know how to process the predominant ways of thinking of those in our history. “To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child,” wrote Cicero, and he had so much less history from which to learn than we do all of these centuries later. Our confusion is of our own making. We have libraries of brilliant teachers to tutor us, but we’d rather get our wisdom from our peers, from Hollywood, from jaded comedians, or from the twittersphere, all within 140 characters.

 

I challenge anyone to begin reading biographies of the American founders, and see how long it takes to start re-adjusting everything that you thought you knew about the moral and political debates of our time. For all of the specific and distinct differences between them, they all seem to have shared a general worldview that many young voters today would hardly recognize. As far as I can tell, none of them – to a man – could get elected to any office today with the views they expressed in their writings and speeches.

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Real Church

 

Confess your sins to one another . . . that you may be healed.James 5:16

There’s a strange idea I’m unlearning these days. Actually if I’m honest, I’m not yet unlearning it at all. But I’d like to. I need to.

 

The strange idea is: church is for displaying the best about us, not revealing the worst about us.

 

The result is: burdened, burned out, suffocating Christians and church leaders.

 

We’ve all heard the stats about how pastors are leaving the ministry in droves, and how all the rest would like to but don’t have a medical or law or business degree to fall back on. Is it because they feel unable to exhale the carbon dioxide of their failures and inhale the oxygen of grace? Are we letting our leaders be human beings?

 

And church members. How many actually enjoy small group? Honestly—how many go not out of a sense of duty?

 

Someone gets wonderfully converted and we all rejoice, then promptly saddle them with spiritual disciplines to help them “grow.” They’re not Christians two weeks before they feel like worse failures than they ever did as an unbeliever. Maybe they were dealing crack before conversion, but at least they didn’t feel hypocritical about it.

 

What if we let a new convert breathe in some grace for a while? Until–I don’t know–they die?

 

What if the leaders in a church stepped off the cliff of face-saving into the mile-long freefall of humiliating honesty and found themselves floating into the delicious clouds of actual, real, for-sinners, grace?

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New Podcast: Signs of the Times – Chris Lawson

A brief overview of what the individual Christian faces when apostasy is rampant!

Although this archived message was recorded in 1999, it applies today more than ever! This is an excellent overview that warns about last days apostasy. The audio is a bit rough in some places – my apologies for this.

This topical study warns about Lucifer’s temptation in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), false christs, false prophets, and how the New Age has crept into the Church (2 Corinthians 11:1-4, 13-15; Luke 12:54-56; Matthew 24:4,11,23-26). Some of the topics warned about are Self-esteem, Word Faith prosperity Cult teaching, the New Age “World Teacher” Messiah known as Maitreya, Roman Catholicism, Ecumenism, Interfaith unity, apostate false Christianity, Robert Schuller and Billy Graham’s compromise, holy laughter, kundalini manifestations, and more. Numerous illustrations from dangerous books are also included.

Podcast: Signs-of-the-Times-Overview-Chris-Lawson.mp3

Archive: Chris Lawson Directory and the New SRN website audio page

May the Lord give discernment to those who are in need of it today!

Sincerely in Christ,
Chris Lawson

Spiritual Research Network

5 questions and the 5 solas

ImageThe Protestant Reformation threw the Christian world into chaos. At the beginning of the 1400’s the Pope’s authority was absolute and the only means of salvation were the sacraments given under his auspices. There was a secular/sacred distinction that was ironclad, meaning that the priests and laity lived in practically two separate worlds. There was no concept of church membership, corporate worship, preaching, or Bible reading in the churches. And as far as doctrine was concerned, there was no debate—the creeds and declarations from Rome (and soon to be Avignon) were the law.

Things had been this way for six hundred years. In a world where life expectancy was in the 30’s, that is essentially the same as saying that the church had been in the dark forever.

But if you fast-forward to the end of the 1500’s, all of that had been turned on its head. The absolute nature of the Pope’s rule and vanished—in large part owing to the Babylonian Captivity of the church (the 40 year period were two rival popes both ruled, and both excommunicated each other—finally to both be deposed by a church council). Church councils themselves had contradicted themselves so many times that their own authority was openly ridiculed. The Holy Roman Empire was no longer relevant, and the political world had simply passed the Pope by. 

Protestants found themselves in the wake of this upheaval, and there was one major question to be answered: what, exactly, was this new kind of Christian? What did a Protestant believe? The reformation had followed similar and simultaneous tracks in multiple countries, yet at the end of it all the content of Protestantism was pretty much the same. On the essentials, German, English, Swiss, and Dutch Protestants all stood for the same theology. But what was it?

It was easy to understand the beliefs of Catholicism—all one had to do was look at their creeds and the declarations from their councils. But Protestants were so named precisely because they were opposed to all that. So what council would give them their beliefs then?

This is where the five solas came from. These were five statements about the content of the Protestant gospel, and by the end of the 1500’s, these were the terms which identified Protestantism. These five phrases are not an extensive statement on theology, but instead served simply as a way to explain what the content of the gospel was to which Protestants held.

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A Christian Psychology of and Response to Homosexuality, Part 4

A Christian Psychology of and Response to Homosexuality--Part 4

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the fourth of a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series by Dr. Sam Williams on A Christian Psychology of and Response to Homosexuality. You can read Part One herePart Two here, and Part Three here. You can watch a video presentation of this material here. You can read the entire series in PDF format here.

Can People Change SSA or SSO, and If So, How Do They Change?

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Authentic Fire Review: Chapter 9

 

Authentic Fire is Dr. Michael Brown’s book-length response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Because of the importance of this debate, TheCripplegate is using every Thursday to respond chapter-by-chapter to Authentic Fire. You can find an overview of this debate, as well as links to the reviews for each chapter by clicking here.

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