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Archive for August, 2010

Linkathon 9/1, part 1

August 31, 2010 2 comments

Russell Moore on Glenn Beck.

John Samson to Glenn Beck: “I cannot join you”

Jon Busch: Glenn Beck and white privilege.

John Pattison on the American Patriot’s Bible.

Michael Patton: Beware of professional weaker bretheren.

Carl Trueman on pastors knowing their people. (HT: Ray Van Neste)

Donald Miller: Why the Bible is a tough book for Americans.

Two professional megachurch pastors talk to a former professional megachurch pastor 😉

Frank Viola analyzes Jim Belcher’s Deep Church.

Keith and Kristyn Getty have started a blog (HT: Jim Hamilton).

Drifting

August 26, 2010 9 comments

Have you “drifted” as a Christian?

Have you been red hot for a time, then lukewarm – or cold?

Do you believe those who drift are saved?

Or that they lose their salvation when they drift?

Do you believe that drifting is not normal for the average believer?

Or that, like Israel, all true, bona-fide Christians are prone to drift from time to time?

Categories: Theology

Linkathon 8/25, part 1

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment
Categories: Linkathon

What if cartoons got saved?

August 20, 2010 10 comments

Chris Rice’s song Cartoons:

A blight upon evangelicalism?

Or

A fun, enjoyable, sing-along song?

Categories: Uncategorized

Linkathon 8/18, part 2

August 18, 2010 1 comment
Categories: Linkathon Tags:

Linkathon 8/18, part 1

August 17, 2010 8 comments
Categories: Linkathon

Book discussion: The Charismatic Century, part 3

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Moving onward through chapter one of Jack Hayford and S. David Moore’s The Charismatic Century….

Today we’ll learn how far the charismatics and Pentecostals have spread throughout the world.

On page 9, we learn that Christianity has grown tremendously in the global east and global south largely through charismatics and Pentecostals.

The authors note that the tendency to talk about the global church in terms of its impact in Europe and North America ignores its growth in the east. In fact, the authors say that the Greek Orthodox church

had the more robust theology of the Holy Spirit and saw the exercise of the supernatural gifts of the Spirit from the New Testament period all the way through the medieval centuries. (10)

The authors also say that the worldview of those in developing countries is “far more akin to biblical realities” than those in the west. (10) Rationalism’s influence on western culture contrasts sharply with eastern views; for example, the idea of religion as a private matter makes little sense to those outside the west, the authors say, as those people often cry out for supernatural intervention in their dealings with corrupt civil authorities. (10)

It seems by the authors’ account that Christians in developing countries assume a high level of ongoing supernatural intervention in the natural world and in believers’ lives, even to the point of raising of the dead. The authors tell a story on pgs. 10-11 of a woman in Papua New Guinea who died and rose and many in the village turned to Christ, and a Foursquare church was built over what was to be the woman’s grave.

The offer of hope, healing and spiritual liberation is a significant reason for the great attraction to Christianity and its explosive growth around the world. All the more remarkable considering that much of the twentieth century pronouncements were made about the demise of Christianity. (11)

Since 9/11, Islam has gained far more public attention than the growth of the Christian church worldwide, the authors say. Yet, in many regions of the world Christianity is outpacing Islam, especially in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, and the Pentecostal/charismatics are leading the way. (12)

In North America, estimates of the number of Pentecostal/charismatics run from 40 to 75 million. (13) The charismatic movement’s largest growth on the continent is occuring amongst African-Americans and Hispanics (the authors cite two megachurches – T.D. Jakes’ The Potter’s House in Dallas and Joel Osteen’s multi-ethnic Lakewood Church in Houston – as examples). (13)

The authors say the growth of Classical Pentecostalism in the early 20th century and the growth of the Charismatic Renewal beginning in 1960 has ushered in a new era of acceptance and respectability for Pentecostals and charismatics. (13)

Over the decades they moved from poverty to prosperity, from being overwhelmingly poor as a group to middle-class (or higher), building colleges and universities, running successful businesses, becoming reputable community leaders, meeting in the nicest neighborhoods. The influence of mainline and Catholic believers who were touched by the charismata contributed to the fading of the social stereotypes associated early on with Pentecostalism. (13-14)

More and more non-Pentecostal Protestant denominations and networks are acknowledging the continuation of the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians into today’s era and rejecting the cessassionist ideas many churches held at the start of the 20th century. This is especially true on the mission field, where the need for a visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit is crucial. (14)

Other areas in which Pentecostals and charismatics have influenced the rest of the body of Christ are in worship (Integrity Music, Promise Keepers and, though not mentioned in the book, Hillsong would have to be counted) and the importance of prayer in the life of the church.

It is a fair assessment to say that Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity is helping supply new vitality to the Christian church in the United States and is prodoundly rearranging the landscape of global Christianity. Most demographers and futurists believe its worldwide impact will only grow over the coming years. (16)

The Bloginistas

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

What is the gospel?

August 16, 2010 3 comments

What is the gospel?

When I posted a version of this article over a year ago on my now-defunct blog, I kept seeing these Facebook posts from friends who, every so often, referred to “applying” or “remembering” or “resting in” the Gospel.

Reformed pastors, authors, bloggers, etc. are fond of using gospel in every verbal sense. The thing is, they do so to the point where it becomes another form of Christianese.

Last time I checked, Christianese never did anything worthwhile for anyone; in my mind, therefore, the verbage almost waters down the true, bonafide, 200-proof gospel. You don’t know if it has more to do with having a master’s degree in theology than with Jesus or what.

So, what is the gospel?

Now I would remind you, brothers,1 of the gospel gI preached to you, which you received, hin which you stand, 2and by which iyou are being saved, if you jhold fast to the word I preached to you—kunless you believed in vain.3 For lI delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died mfor our sins nin accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised oon the third day pin accordance with the Scriptures, – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (ESV)

One detailed, long explanation reflecting a Reformed point of view comes from an article by Iain Murray in a 2000 issue of the Founders Journal.

Reformed guys sure like to write, don’t they 🙂

What concerns me the most is that, in all of the explanations from my Reformed brothers and sisters of what the gospel is and does and how it changes everything, that the core of the concept is being overlooked: the Gospel as good news.

The gospel at its core is not overly complicated, and Jesus never spoke as if He was trying to earn his Masters of Divinity from the Jewish priests.

It’s simple, really: we are damned by a Holy God for our sins. God’s only Son made a way for us to be forgiven for our sins and have them covered for all eternity by dying as a sacrifice on our behalf. If we only confess our sins, repent of them, and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior, we will be reconciled to God.

Sometimes, simple is best.

I like Steve Brown’s definition:

What’s the Gospel? People are screwed up. If they go to Jesus, he will fix them, forgive them, love them and never let them go.

Amen.

Categories: Church life, General Tags:

Writers block

August 13, 2010 4 comments

I have writers block. That’s why there’s not an article here today. That, and I didn’t read thru chapter 6 of Mere Churchianity enough to discuss it 😉

I plan to resume Mere Churchianity next week, discussing two chapters. I also plan to resume the blogger interviews series…perhaps renaming it social media interviews, since we’re also touching on Twitter and Facebook, and anything web-oriented.

Meanwhile, if you had a blog…what would you write about?

Categories: Uncategorized