I don’t know about you, but I have a problem submitting to authority. Call it my sin nature, my culture, my temperament, whatever may fit, but I want to do things my way, when I want and how I want.
Perhaps I am not really alone in this, and this really isn’t something located in me or my society, but is something inherent in all humans. Writing almost 2000 years ago Paul tells us in Col 3:22-23 that we are to obey our earthly masters as serving the Lord. “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”.
If you have spent any time under good Bible teaching or have spent your own time studying the Bible deeply, you may have come to the belief that Prayer is always appropriate. Contrary to the title of this article, I would agree with that sentiment, however, that sentiment is broader than you think, and I am going much more narrow and specific with this article than you probably first assumed.
While Prayer is always appropriate, this doesn’t mean it is always sufficiently appropriate. Something can be appropriate, like calling 911 when your house is on fire and you wish to have a chance at putting it out; yet calling 911 isn’t sufficient to save your house. Meaning, that if you simply called 911, your house doesn’t magically stop burning, but instead it takes other actions to put out the fire. In the same kind of way Prayer can be appropriate, but not sufficient. Please note that I am not saying that God isn’t sufficient, however, He has orchestrated life in a way that we are to pray to Him, but He doesn’t always directly act in response and most often uses other humans to answer our prayers. My point is, Prayer doesn’t move all the responsibility off of us onto God so that we may simply sit back and consider our duty fulfilled. Consider the following examples to help illustrate what I mean: Continue reading
Cross burning and Satanism are two acts that, to most people, exemplify the idea of rebellion against God, but there are greater rebellious activities that often go ignored or unnoticed even by Christians.
To quote from Roman’s chapter 1 starting at verse 18 and finishing the chapter we read, Continue reading
Have you ever recommitted your life to Christ? Did you raise your hand or go forward again at an alter-call after already trusting in Christ? You are not alone, or should I say, we are not alone for it seems many if not most Christians recommit their lives to Christ at least once in their life and if you are in the alter-call tradition, have gone forward to more than one alter-call.
Before you blast me for being against recommitting one’s life to Christ, which I am not against per-say, allow me to explain a little further what I am attempting to point out. Every Christian’s walk goes through peaks and valleys. Sometimes we feel very close to God, and trust Him so much that we just see His providence and care so clearly. Other times we feel very far from God, and doubt His love for us, or even often forget God and live like He doesn’t exist. Such a ping-pong of emotions is normal and to be expected in the Christian faith. When one realizes they are not walking close to God, it also is a good response to “recommit” their lives back to God. My problem with “recommitment” is that often it is something done wrongly with the right attitude. Continue reading
Throughout history Biblical understanding seems to ebb and flow. The doctrines of grace seem to be lost then found again. We are in one of those days where the Gospel is being rediscovered anew, so I too would like to throw my hat into the ring if only to add to the growing swell.
Rom 10:9-13 “ because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
Soiled by sin I am a Mark Driscoll, a Bob Coy, a Peter, an Adam, a David. What do I and these men have in common? We are all men created in the Image of God, yet we don’t want to obey and follow him by nature. Adam may have started this sin thing (or maybe it was Satan), but we definitely are keeping up with Adam in his absence. Stained by sin in Adam, we are not just sinners because of his sin, we are sinners because of our own sin too. Yet, I and all these men alike have tasted of the heavenly blessing in Christ, heard the Gospel preached, professed faith, and have responded in obedience to His Word, so why do we still fail? Besides the theologically accurate, “because we still are in sinful bodies” it is also because practically we take the Gospel for granted, ignore the means of Grace that Sanctify us, love the world too much, and ultimately because we don’t have the accountability of the Word being preached to us, by others and ourselves, quite often enough. Other voices and messages often take up the airwaves of communication and distract us from the most important message in the Gospel, yet not all these messages are bad just distractions.
Most recently Mark Driscoll reminds us of the false belief in our Christian Culture: that Pastors are more mature, don’t need to be pastored, don’t need to be shepherded, don’t need accountability, don’t need to be submitted to others who will call them on their sin, and are better serving God when their external fruit is magnificently evident to all. Every pastor (and Christian) should read Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Calling-Confronting-Challenges-Pastoral/dp/1433535823 as he explains many of the reasons why we as Christians fail and why so many pastors struggle with sins in-spite of our placing of them on a pedestal, and the most scary thing is most pastors believe their own press, and the result is the list of men I provided.
Dear Brother and Sisters,
Greetings in the Lord Jesus! It has come to my ears the great zeal that you have for the Lord and desire to spread forth his Gospel. Striving hard for the faith you attempt to remove any offense of the Gospel that is not organically derived from its core message of Christ crucified for sinners. Whole heartily my applause is with you and I share your concerns for the foolish shame that many Christians bring to the gospel through their poor theories and knowledge of how this world works. Students of science have a right to critique many Christians for their ignorant but proud understanding of how the universe functions, and I do agree with you that these Christians do bring shame to the Gospel because the secular scientists doubt the Gospel message because the Christians can’t even get science right. Doubtfully there is error in judging one’s position on the Gospel based on one’s position on science, but we are sympathetic to the concern. If a doctor told us he believed that the sum of two plus two equaled five, we would not readily concern ourselves with his opinion on the health of our liver. With you I agree that we should work hard on removing all offense to the Gospel, but the Gospel itself.
Deep in my bones I fear you have stumbled upon a great error in your zeal and too have brought undo condemnation on the Christian faith, birthed confusion among the brothers, and have distracted all from the primacy of the Gospel. To your error I call you to repent and consider a better way. My humble goal is to show you your error and hope for your repentance.
“Where God guides God provides” is a statement I believe most of us Southern California Christians have heard. Like most people I embraced this statement as Gospel truth and didn’t think twice about it because it seemed so self-evident and obvious, but is it really, now that I think about it more?
As I think about it now, it seems to me more of clever statement about God’s sovereignty than what I think the author and the rest of the people has historically meant it to mean. Surely Scripture teaches us that God is the great guider of history and all things, like Dr. Sproul said, “there are no maverick molecules in the universe.” Scripture also teaches us that God provides every provision for everyone, there is not a provision that anyone has that hasn’t come from the hand of God “For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Mat 5:45b and Acts 17:24-27:
What do you tell your children when they ask you: “why do we decorate for Christmas”? I know many people haven’t really thought about it much. Obviously the most simple answer would be something akin to: “because its tradition” or “we have always decorated”. This simple answer is like answering the question of, “where did the universe come from” and responding with: “aliens”. It doesn’t actually answer the question because then one can ask a further question: “where did the aliens come from” or in our case “why did this tradition start”.
Wouldn’t you like to know what the decorations mean so you can tell your children why we decorate? Well I cannot tell you what they mean objectively because God hasn’t given us any objective revelation as to what they should or do mean, however I can tell you what I will tell my children when they ask me that fateful question: “daddy why do we decorate?”
To begin my thoughts on this subject I must first make it clear that I myself am a product of homeschooling, and a fan of it as well. In spite of these facts about myself I do believe there are some problems inside the world of homeschooling. The concern or issue I am going to discuss today is the one regarding homeschooling parents unspoken or often spoken distrust of educated and credentialed teachers. Throughout this post it will be tempting to discuss the much larger topic of education in our culture but I will resist for the sake of brevity.
I have begun to notice a norm among people who homeschool their children, or those who wish they did but currently are unable, they distrust credentialed and experienced teachers. Most often this distrust isn’t explicit or verbal, but is subtle and unspoken. What I mean by unspoken is simply what goes unsaid, or specifically unasked. There is no way a homeschooling parent, unless they have been trained, really know that much about the job of educating children, and yet these same parents do not turn towards trained teachers for assistance and advice but other untrained homeschooling parents. Without meaning to come across offensively, it simply seems to be a situation of ignorance breeding ignorance. In other words I could liken it to untrained volunteer firemen asking other untrained (but more experienced) volunteer firemen how to fight a fire and not the trained (and experienced) fireman standing right next to him, quite preposterous isn’t it. But this sort of things happens every day, a homeschooling parent asking the advice of another homeschooling parent right in front of a credentialed and experienced teacher, without any consideration as to what input the credentialed teacher might have. A side note comment on how this might possibly stem from our current social idea that our own experiences are more true and valid than the experiences of the group, but I digress that point for another time.