The whole business of Christianity contradicts sense. We give up the visible for invisible rewards. —Thomas Manton
The Daily Discovery (March 13, 2015)
Former Staff Members: Faith Christian Church Members Taught to Spank Infants to Curb Rebellion
When putting the child down, if the child lifted his head, you were to push his head down and say “no” firmly. If he lifted his head again, you were to spank him on the backside with the rubber eraser end of a pencil or a cardboard tube from a clothes hanger. You were supposed to strike the baby hard enough to make him cry. You repeated this process until the baby complied, usually by falling asleep.
Spiritual Joy v Worldly Joy
Spiritual joys are inward, they are heart joys. Worldly joy is superficial, lying on the outside, like the dew on a leaf. But spiritual joy lies most within. “Divine joy is like a spring of water which runs underground!”
The Integrity of Words and Our Confession of Faith
Theological education is a deadly serious business. The stakes are so high. A theological seminary that serves faithfully will be a source of health and life for the church, but an unfaithful seminary will set loose a torrent of trouble, untruth, and sickness upon Christ’s people. Inevitably, the seminaries are the incubators of the church’s future. The teaching imparted to seminarians will shortly be inflicted upon congregations, where the result will be either fruitfulness or barrenness, vitality or lethargy, advance or decline, spiritual life, or spiritual death.
Amy Carmichael – ‘Beauty for Ashes’ by Iain H. Murray
But Amy’s work was no mere watered down social gospel designed to meet only temporal needs. Rather, her chief desire was to see these dear children transformed by the power of the Gospel so that they might serve the Savior and others with a whole heart.
The Stupidest Sin of Them All
Why do I repeatedly give in to the sin of worry? I think it’s because worry gives me the feeling that I am somehow in control. Like if I think and scheme and worry enough, I can somehow control the various outcomes on the table. Of course, this is stupidity turned up to 11 (see Spinal Tap). I can barely control the characters in the video games I play, let alone any actual real life circumstances.
Margaret Sanger’s Legacy is Not Salvageable, So Let’s Not Try
No matter how you dress it up, Sanger’s racism and eugenics were and are indefensible. Her legacy in Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider—has been notoriously bloody. I just can’t imagine why anyone would offer a defense. Perhaps it makes sense when Planned Parenthood does it, but it makes no sense coming from a pro-life person.
Seven Marks of a Healthy Church
Third, and most importantly, by focusing on the cross Luther picks up on the Pauline notion of the cross as the revelation of God’s purposes and as the criterion for truth in theology and church life. This last point is arguably his most important and original contribution to the doctrine of the church. It connects to his understanding of revelation, of the gospel, and of the church’s embodiment of those two things prior to the Second Coming and the Final Judgment.
Stop Saying “Divorce Causes Broken Homes.”
Divorce doesn’t prevent a father from providing. It often just reveals the fact that he never did. Not all abusers utilize financial abuse, it’s just the one thing the statistics focus on because it’s easily measured. But even then, divorce is painted as the culprit instead of the one who is “worse than an infidel.” There’s nothing preventing a parent from providing MORE than what the courts mandate. I know of fathers who have/do. The problem isn’t the divorce. Divorce calls attention to the problem.
Protesting Papal Snares
It’s important to keep this in mind when reading Reformed works that criticize the theology and practice of Rome. Protestants have often used harsh language when writing against Rome. Although these Protestant writers were not without sin, by in large Rome’s corruption and abuses deserve harsh language because Rome distorts the gospel, binds consciences, and takes the spotlight off of Christ, his promises, and his love. Here’s an example from William Tyndale, one of the early English Reformers.
Raising the Bar on Salvation?
I had an interesting conversation with a Christian brother a few weeks ago. He is adamant on his beliefs on “sola scriptura” and frustrated that some Christians seem to be “raising the bar” on salvation by preaching what he calls a “works based salvation” through ideas like the Social Justice Movement. The conversation moved on […]
How we read the Bible
Sanctification is a long process, and sometimes we can lose patience with one another. What is the biblical way to contend for the faith? Guest Jay Seegert joins us today. Jay is an author, international speaker and co-founder of the Creation Education Center. Jay knows well the attacks on God’s Word, and has been on the […]
The Downward Plunge of American Christianity
by Bill Muehlenberg
There is no shortage of examples of how the church in America is doing a great job of subverting the faith from within. Forget about all the external enemies and threats to biblical Christianity when so many folks within the church seem to be single-handedly smashing it down.
I just encountered two more shocking examples of this today. No wonder the church is in such a mess when those who claim to be Christians are scoring own goals. For those not familiar with that term, ‘an own goal is when a player scores a goal against their own – not the opposing – team.’
In biblical thought, we are either scoring goals for Jesus or we are scoring goals for Satan. These two examples show us just who is getting all the goals here. They are shockers, but are sadly representative of far too much capitulation, cluelessness, carnality, compromise and cowardice in American Christian circles.
by Christopher Ames
Jonathan Aigner incisively questions the distraction-heavy methodology of many contemporary churches. Have we lost the ability to sit in silence without having our minds wander? Do we need a constant stream of input to keep our attention? “Could ye not watch with me one hour?”
Seek the Lord While You Are Young
Experience tells me that people’s hearts are seldom changed if they are not changed when young. Seldom indeed are men converted when they are old. Habits have deep roots. Once sin is allowed to settle in your heart, it will not be turned out at your bidding. Custom becomes second nature, and its chains are not easily broken.
David French has an article for National Review on Barack Obama’s religious views. There’s a lot of significant information there, but here are some good portions that have implications beyond Obama:
5 Reasons Why Your Marriage Matters
Though I’ve written often on marriage (see this and this and this and, somewhat famously, this), I am returning to it from a number of angles, Lord willing. My hope is both to help couples, and to give an “assist” to fellow-pastors.
Here I just have a simple point to make: your marriage matters.
“Matters” to whom? Well:
It matters to God. Really, if I’m writing to actual Christians, we should be able to stop with this one, shouldn’t we? You took vows invested with meaning He’d given to them, and He cares about that (Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21-23; Pss. 61:8; 76:11; Prov. 20:25; Eccl. 5:5). He is invested in your marriage. He invented it, it’s His institution, and you entered into it.
It matters to your spouse. You promised that man, that woman, that (s)he could trust you absolutely. Brother, you promised to lead and love and sacrifice, as Christ did for the church. Sister, you promised to respect and to subordinate yourself, as the church should do towards Christ. You told this person, “Though all else fail you, you can count on me. You can forget about looking for sex or love or devotion anywhere else. I’m your man/woman.”
It matters to you. In more ways than you can think, it matters to you. Let’s just start with the boneheadedly obvious: supposing you’re in a marriage that is other-than-humming, and there’s something you can do about it. But you’re not. Why? You were going to get going on that when, exactly? When life really starts? Dude, sister, news flash: it started. When you get to Heaven? That’s stupid. When the kids are grown? That’s stupid, hateful, and irresponsible (see below).
It matters to your children. This is the saddest part. We all say we think it’s the saddest part — even people who tolerate and even cultivate marriage-harming sin in themselves pay lip-service to caring about The Children, while their lives show they care a whole lot more about unrepentantly indulging their flesh in this or that way. But kids see, they notice, they take note, they know at some level, and they are harmed. Not merely discouraged, distracted; harmed. Home should be a safe, healthy, Christward place for them. They get their ideas about marriage by watching yours.
It matters to your church. Maybe not right away, because it is possible to put on a good face for an hour or two a week. But you can’t be giving yourself to godly, Spirit-led worship and service with a bunch of relative strangers if you’re not obeying the great and the second commandment (see numbers 1 and 2, above) at home, can you? Does that make any kind of sense? Seriously. Wake up.
Abrahamic Covenant Fulfilled By Christ
“The Abrahamic covenant referred to blessings that were YET FUTURE (e.g.. the justification of “all the nations” (Gal 3:8) through faith in Christ. The New Covenant on the other hand speaks of these same blessings NOW REALIZED “in the fullness of time.”
Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” Gal 3:8
Paul describes the events surrounding the coming of Christ and the inauguration of the New Covenant by the term “Faith”. He does this in order to contrast the gospel’s central principle (faith) with the Old Covenant’s central principle (works).
With the coming of Christ, Promise finds its culmination and fulfillment. “All the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in Him.” Those promises include Christ’s death and resurrection for the salvation of His people, the ingathering of the Gentiles and their justification by faith, personal “teaching” from God for every true child of Abraham, and especially the “promised” gift of the Holy Spirit.
With the coming of Christ, Law also finds its culmination and fulfillment. Christ fulfills every one of the Law’s prophesies, sacrifices, types, and shadows. He also fulfills every righteous principle of moral conduct embodied in the Law. Not only this, but Christ fulfills all the legal “conditions” of the Mosaic Law represented by its blessings and curses. By His perfect life, He satisfies on our behalf the Law’s positive demands, and by His perfect death, He satisfies on our behalf the Law’s negative demands.
Letter to the Editor: Her Pastor: “Warren B. Smith Not in Communion With Holy Spirit Because of “Another Jesus” Calling” | LT: “Church Will Bear Brunt of Pastor’s Negligence”
To Lighthouse Trails: Last year I ordered at least 10 copies of “Another Jesus” Calling to give to others who had greatly enjoyed Jesus Calling or to others who have shared my concern about the book.
Meditating on the Miseries of the Damned
This week, I came across a remarkable sermon from George Whitefield, entitled, “The Eternity of Hell-Torments,” which he preached in London in 1738. When the reality of the fate of those who perish in this life without Christ is again pressed upon one’s conscience, it always seems like a burden too great to bear. But, as Whitefield would say in the sermon, “If the bare mentioning the torments of the damned is so shocking, how terrible must the enduring of them be!” Truly this is the most solemn of subjects. But we as Christians — as preachers of the Gospel of Christ — we must give our minds and hearts to the biblical teaching of the unbeliever’s fate. And Whitefield has done us an excellent service. You can read the sermon in full here, but I wanted to highlight his conclusion today on Cripplegate.
Five Marks of a False Convert
Being a Christian is by far the greatest blessing one could receive. Who can reject the glory of God and the awesome love and forgiveness that Jesus has to offer? Yet sadly, there are many out there who have convinced themselves that they are Christians when, unfortunately, they are not. I have put together a short list of signs that you can use to examine yourself (or someone else) to test whether or not you are truly in the faith. This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to discourage true believers. Every Christian struggles with certain things, some more than others.
If you are a relatively new convert, expect to struggle more than the seasoned Christian who has been saved and serving God for decades. The fact is you should be improving constantly in all of these areas. There may be ups and downs, but if you take a look at the last year of your life and you see no improvement in any of these signs, I would suggest you start praying and ask God to open your eyes and reveal himself to you. I pray that this list be glorifying to God first and foremost, but also that it be edifying to those who take the time to read it.
How to Overcome the Most Fiercely Defended Traditions in a Church – Rainer on Leadership #106
Podcast Episode #106
Many churches are averse to change when it comes to traditions. And pastors and church leaders often realize problem areas too late. So today on the podcast, we cover the ten most fiercely defended traditions in the church and discuss ways in which you can enact change if and when it is needed.
Some highlights from today’s episode include:
- Worship and music style are not as divisive as they once were.
- Items related the worship service (time, structure, elements, etc.) are the hardest to change in a church.
- One of the ways that change can be implemented in a church is through a sense of urgency.
- Smaller churches tend to have more expectations for pastors than larger churches.
- Many churches have too many committees and non-functioning committees.
- Business meetings have become a source of division in churches rather than one of direction.
The 10 most fiercely defended traditions are:
- Worship and music style.
- Order of worship service.
- Times of worship service(s).
- Role of the pastor.
- Committee structure.
- Specific ministries and programs.
- Location of church facility.
- Use of specific rooms.
- Business meetings.
- Staff ministry descriptions.
If you have a question you would like answered on the show, fill out the form on the podcast page here at ThomRainer.com. If we use your question, you’ll receive a free copy of Autopsy of a Deceased Church.
- Hold on Tight to Your Dreams – ELO
- Leading Change — John Kotter
- Simple Church
- Is It Time to Rethink Church Business Meetings?
The post How to Overcome the Most Fiercely Defended Traditions in a Church – Rainer on Leadership #106 appeared first on ThomRainer.com.
The Only Two Step Healing
Q. First let me say how much I love your web site and how much you have taught me. My question is in Mark 8: 22-25. This is the first and only time I’ve seen where it took Jesus twice to heal someone. The blind man in Bethsaida. Do you know of any other place something like this takes place? Is there anything special we can learn from this passage?
The Times Of The Gentiles
Q. Why do you and many others refer to the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles as starting with Nebuchadnezzar instead of earlier when the Assyrians conquered northern Israel? Why isn’t that part of the reigning and trampling of Gentiles?
Idols In Their Bedrooms
Q. Please advise me on the following: my elderly mother and unmarried sister are moving in with me and my husband. They are both practicing Catholics and have idols in their bedrooms. My husband and I are both believers and we have been praying for their salvation. My husband says they should not bring their idols with them but I do not want to offend them and risk being self-righteous because I know that only the Lord knows their hearts. What is the best approach to them?
Our Time is Short
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