Archive for the ‘Current Issues’ Category

Here’s a snippet:

” The same question arising in verse 1 surfaces here again: Does “all people” (πάντας ἀνθρώπους; v. 4) refer to every person without exception or to every person without distinction? The Reformed have traditionally defended the latter option.5 Sometimes this exegesis is dismissed as special pleading and attributed to Reformed biases. Such a response is too simplistic, for there are good contextual reasons for such a reading. A focus on all people without distinction is supported by verse 7, where Paul emphasizes his apostleship and his ministry to the Gentiles: “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” Hence, there are grounds in the context for concluding that “all people” zeros in on people groups, so that Paul is reflecting on his Gentile mission. In Acts 22:15 (NIV), when Paul speaks of being a witness “to all people” (πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους), he clearly does not mean all people without exception; “all” refers to the inclusion of the Gentiles in his mission (Acts 22:21).”

Read the rest at link below :
http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/problematictexts.html

And in another letter to Jerome (#82), Augustine writes:

“Of all the books of the world, I believe that only the authors of Holy Scripture were totally free from error, and if I am puzzled by anything in them that seems to me to go against the truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either 1) the manuscript is faulty or 2) the translator has not caught sense of what was said or 3) I have failed to understand it for myself.”

Augustine is pretty clear here on his doctrine of Scripture. He understands Scripture as inerrant, but he also recognizes that humans err in 1) manuscript transmission, 2) in translating, or 3) in simply not understanding a passage. I think the way Augustine approaches this is a helpful example for us today. How many times do we counsel people or even find in ourselves a struggle with the difficult things of Scripture and unfortunately rely on human, fallible understanding, and Scripture then loses out. Going all the way back to Augustine’s era, this has clearly been a struggle for centuries.

Read the rest at link below

http://butintheselastdays.com/2013/11/18/inerrancy-the-early-church/

From the 9 marks blog:

But how often have you heard a seventeen-year-old say, “I’m considering this college because there is a great church nearby”? Or, “It’s a good university, but I’m not going to apply because I asked around and couldn’t discover any good churches in that town.”

A godly brother looking at various graduate programs said the latter to me a few days ago. For him it meant he was rejecting a school where some of the top scholars in his field teach.

Do you think my friend is being foolish? After all, college is only for a few years. Should the presence of a nearby healthy church really make or break what school you decide to attend?

Oh, please, yes. Follow my friend’s example. I dare say, determining whether there is a nearby healthy church may not be the most important criteria for a Christian in the college-selection process, but it should be a non-negotiable. If there is no healthy church nearby, Christian, there’s another college for you, somewhere.  

EIGHT REASONS WHY A HEALTHY CHURCH IS A NON-NEGOTIABLE

Read the rest at link below:

http://feedly.com/k/17S9baU

Unity

Posted: November 16, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Anglican Communion, Christianity, Current Issues, The Christian Life

A good article by Jason Helopoulos  over at Kevin DeYoung’s blog about Ecclesiastical disunity. This part was interesting as it describes , in my opinion, a “root”  problem with the majority of  leadership of  TEC & a majority of churches in our Diocese. The bigger problem is one of core theological views of Jesus, the Bible, Authority of Scripture, the Resurrection, etc…

 

Unity is not just something we like. It is something our Lord desires and loves. It was the central theme of His high priestly prayer in John 17, so it is no small thing when we begin talking about disunity in the church.

As I think about ecclesiastical unity, there are two different types of unity we must acknowledge. And this is often missed. The first type is institutional unity. When converts to Roman Catholicism critique their former Protestant heritage for beginning with disunity and continuing to evidence it by the spawning of new denominations–they are speaking of institutional disunity. When theological liberals argue that conservative churches choosing to leave the denomination are disrupting unity–it is institutional unity they have in mind.

And yet, institutional unity can only be maintained if there is the second and more foundational kind of unity–theological. Theological unity is the ground for all institutional unity. No Theological unity, no institutional unity.

The individuals and churches that eventually became the Protestant churches of the Reformation were not sowing disunity. Conservative churches leaving denominations which have become theologically liberal are not sowing disunity. Is there division? Yes. Has institutional unity been disrupted? Yes. But the house could not stand, because the foundation had disappeared.

conservative churches that choose to depart from a denomination that has wandered away from its confessions or historical theological tenants are not causing disunity. The hen house has been disrupted, but the hens leaving the house are not the cause. It is the foreign fox that was let in, has been entertained, and has taken up residence in a place it did not belong. Disunity is not caused by leaving. Rather, it was precipitated by those who accepted an aberrant theology within its bounds.

 

you can read the whole article here

Here’s a good definition, in six parts:

1. No single religious community enjoys primacy or a monopoly with respect to government endorsement, support, or privilege.

2. Religious actors [i.e. people acting according to religious tenets and beliefs] within a state (some or all) enjoy the freedom to carry out their most distinctive activities–worship and other rituals, education, and public expression, the building of places to worship, missionary work, artistic expression, cultural expression and distinctive dress, and the conduct of civil society activities, including running hospitals, orphanages, services for the poor, and care for elders.

3. Religious actors enjoy the autonomy to create their offices and appoint their leadership.

4. Religious actors lack any standing prerogatives over the appoint of state officials or the making of public policy.

5. Religious actors enjoy autonomy in raising, governing, and spending finances.

6. Religious actors enjoy a transnational structure that strengthens their power vis-a-vis the state.

These six points are taken from Monica Duffy Toft, Daniel Philpott, Timothy Samuel Shah, God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics . I’m only partway through the book, but it seems well-researched, persuasive, and increasingly relevant.

Moving Photo Essay on Modern Day Slavery

Posted: August 28, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Current Issues

For the past two years, photographer Lisa Kristine has traveled the world, documenting the unbearably harsh realities of modern-day slavery. She shares hauntingly beautiful images — miners in the Congo, brick layers in Nepal — illuminating the plight of the 27 million souls enslaved worldwide. (Filmed at TEDxMaui)

see the video here

 

HT:ThabitiAnyabwile

“Many men think of the call to give themselves for a woman solely in terms of her protection. They say, “I would defend her if there was trouble. If someone attacked her I would step up for her protection.” But they fail to realize that when a woman enters a dating relationship, she mainly needs to be protected from the sins of the very man to whom she is offering her he…art. The enemy that men need to stand up to is the one who lives within themselves: the one who is selfish, insensitive, and uncommitted. It is when that man is put to death that the woman will be safe and will be blessed in the relationship.”

– Richard D. Phillips and Sharon L. Phillips,

Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 72.

Complementarianism “for Dummies”

Posted: July 13, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Current Issues, Discipleship

A crash course in the meaning of Complementarianism by Mary Kassian written in the emulation of the “for Dummies” series of instructional books. Here’s a part:

Men are not superior to women–women are not the “second sex.” Though men have a responsibility to exercise headship in their homes, and in the church family, Christ revolutionized the definition of what that means. Authority is not the right to rule—it’s the responsibility to serve.

….

A complementarian is a person who believes that God created male and female to reflect complementary truths about Jesus.

read the whole piece here

from a good short blog post by Stephen Altrogge, shoot over and read the whole thing. Here’s a snippet.

“But why do I have these desires?” she might ask.

“Well sweetie,” I’d say. “Sin has distorted every person’s sexuality. Every time I’m tempted to lust after a woman, that’s a distortion of my sexuality. Every time you’re tempted to lust after a person of the same sex, that’s also distortion. See, you and I are the same. It just works itself out a little bit differently. We both desperately need Jesus. But the wonderful thing is, Jesus is in the process of repairing the distortions. He gives me power to not give in to lust, even though it feels really strong at times. He can give you that same power. And someday, when he comes back, everything sad and broken will finally be undone.”

read the whole piece here

from an article by Dr. Tim Keller of Redeemer Church:

I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.” What I hear most often is “Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what they want to believe from the Bible?”

Most Christians don’t know what to say when confronted about this. Here’s a short course on the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament:

….

The entire book of Hebrews explains that the Old Testament ceremonial laws were not so much abolished as fulfilled by Christ. Whenever we pray ‘in Jesus name’, we ‘have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus’ (Hebrews 10:19). It would, therefore, be deeply inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible as a whole if we were to continue to follow the ceremonial laws.

The New Testament gives us further guidance about how to read the Old Testament. Paul makes it clear in places like Romans 13:8ff that the apostles understood the Old Testament moral law to still be binding on us. In short, the coming of Christ changed how we worship but not how we live. The moral law is an outline of God’s own character—his integrity, love, and faithfulness. And so all the Old Testament says about loving our neighbor, caring for the poor, generosity with our possessions, social relationships, and commitment to our family is still in force. The New Testament continues to forbid killing or committing adultery, and all the sex ethic of the Old Testament is re-stated throughout the New Testament (Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Timothy 1:8-11.) If the New Testament has reaffirmed a commandment, then it is still in force for us today.

….

Once you grant the main premise of the Bible—about the surpassing significance of Christ and his salvation—then all the various parts of the Bible make sense. Because of Christ, the ceremonial law is repealed. Because of Christ the church is no longer a nation-state imposing civil penalties. It all falls into place. However, if you reject the idea of Christ as Son of God and Savior, then, of course, the Bible is at best a mish-mash containing some inspiration and wisdom, but most of it would have to be rejected as foolish or erroneous.

So where does this leave us? There are only two possibilities. If Christ is God, then this way of reading the Bible makes sense and is perfectly consistent with its premise. The other possibility is that you reject Christianity’s basic thesis—you don’t believe Jesus was the resurrected Son of God—and then the Bible is no sure guide for you about much of anything. But the one thing you can’t really say in fairness is that Christians are being inconsistent with their beliefs to accept the moral statements in the Old Testament while not practicing other ones.

One way to respond to the charge of inconsistency may be to ask a counter-question—“Are you asking me to deny the very heart of my Christian beliefs?” If you are asked, “Why do you say that?” you could respond, “If I believe Jesus is the the resurrected Son of God, I can’t follow all the ‘clean laws’ of diet and practice, and I can’t offer animal sacrifices. All that would be to deny the power of Christ’s death on the cross. And so those who really believe in Christ must follow some Old Testament texts and not others.”

read the whole article here

Hypocrites in religion

Posted: June 5, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Current Issues, Discipleship

I do not deny that there are many hypocrites in religion. There always were, and there always will be, as long as the world stands. As long as there is good gold and silver coin in the realm, so long there will be forging, coining, and counterfeit money. The very existence of bad coins is an indirect proof that there is something which it is worth while to imitate, and that there is such a thing as good current money in circulation. It is just the same with Christianity! The very fact that there are many false professors in the churches is an indirect proof that there are such people as true-hearted and sound believers. It is one of Satan’s favorite devices, in order to bring discredit on Christianity, to persuade some unhappy people to profess what they do not really believe. He tries to damage the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world by sending out wolves in sheep’s clothing, and by raising up men and women who talk the language of Canaan, and wear the coat of God’s children, while they are inwardly rotten at heart.

~ J.C. Ryle

Tract: Our Profession

Are Mormons Christians, a Re-blog

Posted: April 25, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Current Issues

 

“Are Mormons Christian?” Since the 1820s, when Joseph Smith founded the religious movement, evangelicals and other orthodox Christians have answered with a resounding “no.” Over the past decade, though, many Americans have begun to provide a different response. In an interview with CNN, megachurch pastor Joel Osteen said that while the Mormon faith is “not traditional Christianity” he still views them as “brothers in Christ.”

And earlier this month, the widely read evangelical blogger David French wrote,

I’d argue that our view of salvation — whether Arminian or Reformed — is of enormous consequence, going directly not only to the nature of God but also how we understand each moment of our lives, yet I rarely hear anyone seriously ask, “Are Methodists Christian?” Perhaps that’s not so much because the theological differences aren’t real and profound but because we’ve made our historical peace through shared understanding of our faith in Christ. Perhaps its time that we make that same peace with Mormons.

Are Mormons our fellow “brothers in Christ?” Are the theological distinctions between Mormonism and evangelicalism similar to the differences between Presbyterians and Methodists?

 

 

read the whole article here.

 

and a  good selection of articles from a ministry that started out actively witnessing to Mormons.

Mormonism 101: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=5065

An interesting piece looking at the evangelical church in  America from a 2001 article written by RC Sproul

The Pelagian Captivity of the Church

(HT:Effectual Grace)