Friday, February 29, 2008

"If they knock on your door, you already gave

... You don't need no more of what's ailin' ya." -- Lenny Kravitz

I was over at an Eastern Orthodox forum, and I was astounded at the volume of guilty conscience. Guilt ridden people, led by a theology that says you might as well play it safe with God and confess confess confess. A theology that says that in the end you don't know if you're going to be saved, so do all you can. It's sad.

My hope: God made me alive in Christ. I who was once an enemy of God, who was dead in trespasses and sins, have been made alive in Christ, and I have been seated in heavenly places with Him. I have the Spirit of Sonship, a guarantee of my inheritance, by which I cry, "Abba, Father!"

My foundation: The finished work of Christ on the cross, and God's vindication of Him by raising Him from the tomb after 3 days. Christ bore God's wrath, so I wouldn't have to. (Lose this at your peril, Eastern Orthodox and Emergents....) Now by faith I am connected with God and His life flows through me.

So exhort me, but don't make me go to confession before communion.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Less filling! ... Tastes great!

Which is more important? Preaching the Gospel or Spreading the Kingdom?

This is a trick question, since it's not really either/or. Part of spreading the kingdom is preaching the Gospel (with words, Francis). The other part is stuff like physical healing, mental healing, and social healing. Oh, and exorcisms.

But I maintain that the Spiritual aspect of spreading the kingdom is more important than the physical aspect. In John 6, Jesus miraculously fed about 20,000 people, in a physical act of the Kingdom of God breaking into this world. However, the very next day, he said stuff like the following (vv. 26-29):
"Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.' Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'
And then during the rest of the often spiky interchange between Jesus and the people, narrated in chapter 6, Jesus continued to drive home how much more important the spiritual aspect is than the physical. "The flesh profits nothing."

Here's another thing: the people had all benefited from a tremendous miracle, and the very next day they asked Jesus for a sign! What gall! A wise man, Jay Carty, once preached that miracles are like Chinese food. You're hungry two hours later.

Here's a disclaimer: I'm big on physical outworkings of the power of God. I'm a member of a Vineyard Church, and one of my biggest peeves is Cessationism. What an abomination!

It's not: 100% effort to one and 0% to the other. I don't know if I'd even put percentages on it, because the two are inextricably linked.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pilate Was Postmodern

"For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." -- Jesus

"What is truth?" -- Pilate

Emergent is really starting to trouble me

Tony Jones, as a youth pastor, introduced his kids to the labyrinth, which is some ascetic practice.

So instead of giving them the Gospel, the power of God to salvation, he gives them this poison. Nice going, Tony.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Evangelicals and Catholics Apart

This is very sad. Why, oh why, James did you do it? What got into your head? You of all people! What a betrayal!

On the one hand, in _Evangelicals & Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission_, you said, “. . . Roman teaching obscures the gospel and indeed distorts it in a tragically anti-spiritual and unpastoral manner . . .”
And, “Rome’s official doctrinal disorders, particularly on justification, merit, and the Mass-sacrifice, so obscure the gospel that were I, as a gesture of unity, invited to mass_which of course as a Protestant I am not, nor shall be_I would not feel free to accept the invitation.”
But then on the other hand, to justify your fellowship with darkness, you downplay the importance of the Justification issue, calling it "domestic differences about salvation". What is this all about? Did Paul have domestic differences with the Judaizers about salvation? No! In Galatians 1:8-9, he anathematized them, twice: "8. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9. As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" He had no common mission with them.

Then you said, in 1996:
Can conservative Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholics of mainstream type join together in bearing witness to all that I have spoken of? I urge that we can, despite our known and continuing differences about the specifics of the salvation process and the place of the church in that process. . . . To be sure, fundamentalists within our three traditions are unlikely to join us in this, for it is the way of fundamentalists to follow the path of contentious orthodoxy, as if the mercy of God in Christ automatically rests on persons who are notionally correct and is just as automatically withheld from those who fall short of notional correctness on any point of substance. But this concept of, in effect, justification, not of works, but of words_words, that is, of notional soundness and precision_is near to being a cultic heresy in its own right and need not detain us further now, however much we may regret the fact that some in all our traditions are bogged down in it.

As if true evangelicals only believed in intellectual assent. James, you would criticize the Apostle Paul for being contentious. You would say to him: "Now Paul, let's not get carried away. Can't we just reason with the Judaizers, and find common ground with them? After all, we and they stand against this brutal Roman Empire, so why not stand together and thus be stronger. Let's put aside our domestic differences."

James, what were you thinking?? Why do you call it domestic differences? Haven't you read what Paul said, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Cor 6:14).

Thank you, Richard Bennett and your website, Berean Beacon (sermon entitled, Apostasy of New Evangelicals), for your faithful witness for the truth.