Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gospel witness in light of pluralism

Just got through reading an excellent synopsis of the current state of the evangelical world and the understanding of the exclusivity of the Gospel of Christ.

Al Mohler shares with such keen insight that if you are not regularly checking his blog I think you would find it helpful. In light of the Gospel of Christ and your own daily intake.

Enjoy the read.

Your boasting friend,


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gospel vs Legalism

How many times have you heard this?
"The Bible says - 'abstain from every form of evil", speaking of some type of action that one, was doing, or hasn't done, which they will not now, or ever will do, which needs to become known to all who are within their earshot or email shot...:) "Legalism" is the exact opposite of the Gospel of Christ, it depends on the outward, works of the flesh, to commend itself to God. They look at themselves and see some sort of purity that is commendable because, "we don't do this or that". It is every bit of Pharisaical, you know white washed toomish, dead mans bonesish...that sort of commendation. It is what God doesn't accept and will not accept in place of His Son.

[Just a note, regarding the exegesis of this text, "The verse is banning the practice of sin/evil in whatever form it occurs—whether lying, stealing, murdering, etc." from the Apologetics Press. So you see that it is banning the "practice" of such things. Now, I can see that someone would say, "well that is what I'm doing, I'm abstaining because I don't want to practice those things." I would say to that, more power to you, BUT don't let it become an excuse for casting stones. This calls us to "reflection" and not "reaction". So the spirit of the letter, to those in Thessaloniki, is where I'm coming from.]

Now like some, I do not think that we should forget this portion of the Bible just because some want to use it in a fashion that is contrary to the original meaning.We need to define the parameters by "what is said" vs "what is not said".

What is said is that we need to be aware;
  1. There is evil and it is not distant from us but in us. Jesus said, to his disciples, "if you then who are evil", there were no exceptions, no standard of righteousness, outside of his, that got a pass. Jesus didn't then go on to say, "well let's not be harsh or overbearing, I know you do good and I don't want to dismiss that." No, Jesus like Jeremiah in the OT knew the heart of man, it was/is "desperately wicked".
  2. Evil is not evil according to our understanding of evil in the world. Evil is that we don't acknowledge God every second of our lives, that we would defame him in a heartbeat or leave Him for any number of reasons. I cannot become the objective bearer when it comes to evil. This is where many Christians, especially those in denominations who would rather beat you than correct or affirm in love. My formative years were spent in a denomonation that did nither, in fact the very opposite is what they did. The logic of their views astounds me now and I have come to embrace a fundamentalism that is God centered and more faithful to the Scriptures. Why? Just as I pointed out above and I don't think it is a 'straw man' argument, there is an outward appearance that is applauded by the people of your own sect. Within your lofty grandeur, you sweep away the detractors as penance for persecution suffered. I have one sentence you can concentrate on to overcome that, are you ready? GET OVER YOURSELF, God certainly has and so have I...:)

What it is not saying; as I stated above is that, "we" define the parameters of evil. God does. So just because someone drinks wine they aren't evil, just because someone smokes a cigar they aren't evil. This is where it gets so muddled because people define it in nefarious terms. Yes, evil is evil and nefarious but when I am the one defining it I can be a detractor from the original intent of evil. Yes, the intention of God to ordain that evil exists is so that he could be seen more gloriously. As I've heard just recently in a John Piper sermon, "we are not duelists". What does that mean? It means that we don't believe that there is, God on one side, and Satan on the other and they are going, back and forth, tit for tat. That inculcates a weak view of God. God controls all things and sustains all things for His own glory, including Satan and his minions. He (Satan) is nothing but a lackey on a leash. So more important than what I "practice" it is at the very heart of the question that legalism cannot answer. Paul did answer. So it is not saying that the evil that is "out there" is what we should be concerned about it is the evil within our own hearts.

But this is the beginning of the Gospel that before time began God predestined many to become his children, because of His own determination, for His own glory. You are made to display his glory, no matter who you are. No matter what color, creed, or socio-economic status that you come from, you were made for Christ and until you settle that matter in your heart you may end up like the religious people above trying to compare yourself with everyone and in the end, I would fear, feeling comfortable about where you are. We definitely were made for treasuring and adoring Him but that isn't what people choose, in fact the opposite is what we choose, we choose sin because it feels good. See John 3:19. It is our natural bent and we will fall prey to deception, to the point that we will call good evil and evil good, it happens all the time. But God is on a rescue mission to those who know that they are drowning and they aren't looking for an appendage, you know Jesus is good as long as I get the car, house, etc... They are wanting what only God can give, and if it be that I lose everything, so be it, I want Him - don't give me anything but Him.

The evil that we abstain from isn't our recommendation to God for our lives, I'm sure that there are evils that are currently holding firm in my life, but for the grace of God, as displayed through Christ, I'm not destroyed. If you can say yes to that then you can come with me. Look to the cross, He is mighty to save.

Your boasting friend,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gospel (un)praying

"You don't realize -- and I'm not the religious type -- how many times you say, 'Please, God," he said. "When I saw that boat, I said, 'Thank you God. Thank you God.'

"I still can't believe it. Lucky. Lucky." - quoted by Nick Schulyer, sole survivor of the boat accident that killed 2 other NFL players and his friend who was a player for UCF.

This has to be the most incredible quote that I've read but I think it says much about those who aren't really affected by the gospel of Christ. God was calling and he felt it, he said as much, "Please, God", don't get me wrong I'm sure those were earnest pleas before God. As much as a dead man understands or knows God but this is the kicker and I don't think many reading the article will notice - "Lucky. Lucky."


I'm not at all coming down hard on this guy, we are all found in the same condition by God, dead and without life. But this is the life that is unaffected by the gospel, many prayers have been said like this in situations that could be life threatening but then once you get to the other side of the storm, "man was I lucky". I'm not saying that he should say, "I was 'blessed'", what an overused and obtuse term today that has everything to do with a 'positive mind' syndrome that is plaguing the church. What he should say is, "I can't believe that God heard my cry and rescued me, He is amazing and because of this my mind has changed about who He is and what He can and cannot do and I believe in Him, more specifically I believe in Jesus Christ."

Please don't get me wrong on this either, I wouldn't want it for the TV cameras or the publicity but that God would be rightly related to, that His mercies would be seen afresh and loved; not just seen as 'luck of the draw'. One day Nick will bow before God and I hope by then he will have acknowledged his mercies on this side of the storm.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gospel Grace

"The human will does not obtain grace by freedom, but obtains freedom by grace."- Calvin's Institutes II.III quoting Augustine

Online with what I just posted this comment imbibes the same feel after reading the 'Confession' part of the Pray the Bible site. Reminds me of the great song that gives me the impetus to gladly proclaim, "Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be..." Why? "Prone to wander Lord I feel it prone to leave the God I love."

Calvin's pen seems to cut to the heart of the matter.

Boasting in His grace,


Gospel praying

Just found a website that is worth a visit. Matthew Henry's - Pray the Bible . It has been edited by Ligon Duncan, great stuff.

This feeble soul has found refreshment in praying and gaining a new heart of repentance. It has assisted me in veiwing God rightly and myself rightly as well.

I would encourage you to visit and meditate.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Opportunities abound - proclaim the gospel, start with yourself

"9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." (I Cor. 15:9-10)

Notice how Paul will readily admit his own past but immediately turn it into an opportunity for boasting in the grace of God..."But by the grace of God I am what I am"...that is the gospel, preaching it to yourself. when those opportunities come to boast in the gospel, am I boasting in that grace that snatched me from the pit or am I wollowing in the pity and shame of my past?

What is instructive in this for us:
  1. boast in the gospel which comes by his grace.
  2. boast in what you know only as much as it will allow the grace of God to be shown more beautifully in your life.
  3. hard work involves mind work, using the "law of my mind", as Paul spoke of in Romans to overcome the self indulgent and provacative nature of the flesh.
Remember, the past is also the moment that just past, don't let another one go to waste w/o "boasting in the Lord" and his sovereign, electing, loving grace.

" you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 1:7b-8)

Your boasting friend.