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Archive for July 11th, 2012

Bill Nikides (Modern Reformation) discusses in  a whole new approach to mission work, one that encourages Christian converts to continue as members of their old religion!  (Yes, you read that right–and it is not a good approach):

The most explosive issue in global missions within the evangelical church today is something called “Insider Movements.” . . .

It has become a go-to option for all sorts of traditional evangelicals working with ostensibly reputable missions organizations such as Navigators, Frontiers, Summer Institute of Linguistics (a branch of Wycliffe), Global Partners for Development, and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Some embrace the Insider Movement label and identity; others prefer to remain low key. In many cases entire organizations—while in others, only some individual members—are committed to its core principles. Even worse, it appears that some missionaries and agencies are guilty of dissembling so as to maintain plausible deniability. . . .

Here are a couple of stock definitions to get us on our way. Insider Movements (IM) are variously defined as “popular movements to Christ that bypass both formal and explicit expressions of Christian religion” (Kevin Higgins, “The Key to Insider Movements,” Internal Journal of Frontier Missiology, Winter 2004). Another definition Higgins offers is that they are “movements to Jesus that remain to varying degrees inside the social fabric of Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, or other people groups.” In other words, as John Ridgeway of the Navigators relates, Insider Movements advocate “becoming faithful disciples of Jesus within the culture of their people group, including religious culture.”

Fundamentally, Insiders are those who profess faith in Christ but remain members of their original religious communities; Muslims remain Muslims, Hindus remain Hindus, and Buddhists remain Buddhists. In the Muslim world that means they must acknowledge one exclusive God, Allah, and that Mohammed is his final and greatest messenger. They remain members of the mosque, practice the five pillars of Islam, live openly in their cultures as Muslims, participate in Muslim sacrifices and feasts, and identify themselves as Muslims. In many cases, I’m familiar with baptized Christians who are persuaded to re-enter the mosque after renouncing their Christian identities. . . .

There are, of course, major problems with such an approach to missions and evangelism. First, Insiders make the unbiblical assumption that such biblical passages teach that true believers can have a purely inward faith that can be manifested inside any faith system, including that of other non-Christian religions.

Second, practitioners and Insider missiologists (or scholars of the theology of missions) ignore the fact that the Bible is loaded with texts, even entire books, devoted to distinguishing truth from error and true religion from false religion. In other words, doctrine matters and has to be central in our theology of missions. Unfortunately, doctrine is surprisingly absent from much Insider literature, and rarely do their proponents address the twin topics of idolatry and false religion. Instead, Insiders suppose that religions are relatively harmless cultural creations, that they are man-made and therefore disposable. Even Christian articles of faith, such as the church and the sacraments, can be said to be cultural creations that can simply be replaced with other things in Muslim cultures.

via Modern Reformation – Articles [subscription required].

HT: Gene Veith who also points to a Wikipedia article that lines up with what the MR article is saying.

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Persist or die!

Lee Dodd:

Brothers and sisters, with every bit of intensity and persistence that Satan invests in the hindering of our prayers, we must persistently, even violently fight to maintain this vital necessity in the Christian life. Prayer is one of God’s chief means to communicate grace, comfort, assurance, strength, and peace to His children. A Christian without prayer is like a vine, without water, withering away under the onslaught of the sun. When we do not pray we behave like the atheist, we proclaim God to be a liar, and we concede defeat to the enemy of our souls.

Has not God said…

  • “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” Romans 16:20
  • “I will make them to lie down safely” Hosea 2:18
  • “I will strengthen thee” Isaiah 41:10
  • “Blessed are the are pure in heart: for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8
  • “He that waters shall be watered also himself” Proverbs 11:25
  • “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
  • “He will keep the feet of His saints” 1 Samuel 2:9
  • “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” Revelation 21:4
  • “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20

Are these promises and the hundreds of others God has provided not ample motivation? Let us awake from our sleepiness in prayer!

Will we wage war against the hater of our souls? Will we cut off the time wasting “additions” to our lives, that add little or nothing or even do great harm? Will we subdue and disciple our bodies (which would rather rest than wrestle) as the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 9:27)? Will we persist in prayer? God is not slack, nor is he sleeping. His ears remain open to the prayers of the righteous. His faithfulness knows no end. Christ prays for His own without ceasing. The Holy Spirit longs for the spirit of prayer to rise up in His people. Let us no longer deny or cripple such an essential part of our new nature. Let us walk like pilgrims and pray like pilgrims. Persist or die!

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Rick Thomas, biblical counselor, offers a basic plan for financial stewardship:

Last week I had the privilege to work with a couple on the financial issues in their marriage. They were a normal couple, meaning, they made money and spent money, but did not see their responsibility of stewarding money for the glory of God.

As we talked, they noted how no one had ever carefully walked beside them, to envision them in practical ways of stewarding the Father’s money. The following is a Mind Map, which I created to give them a basic plan for financial responsibility.

Note I said “a” way as opposed to “the” way. Many of you financial gurus will look at this and say, “What about this?” or “You left out that.” You’re probably right. This is not an exhaustive look at fiscal responsibility. The reason for that is because there is not a one-size-fits-all financial plan for everybody.

This is “a” way, not “the” way. The article ”a” is important. My hope is to give a vision and a roadmap you can tweak and implement according to your season of life, size of family, monetary situation, and your age.

Though your plan may not be exactly like this plan, the big ideas in this Mind Map are universal. Let’s take a look.

Lots of counsel to mull over so read the whole article “Mind Mapping a financial strategy. .  .”

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“If  we want to defeat pride the easy way, then we must act in ways which will [help] yourself to experience the smallness of ourselves and meditate on the greatness of God.

If we do not choose to defeat pride by acting in ways that acknowledge the greatness of God, then we can count on the fact that God will provide experiences which teach humility.”

Chris Braun elaborates here from the lives of Nebuchadnezzar and Herod.

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On Sunday I preached from 1 Peter 2:2 which contains one word picture of the Word of God that portrays it as life-giving and life-nourishing.  Along with that passage I recounted several other passages that show us the value of God’s Word for our lives.  Here’s a brief compilation:

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—” (1 Peter 2:2, ESV)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3)

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

“More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10)

“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” (Psalm 119:50)

“I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.” (Psalm 119:93)

“Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.” (Psalm 119:140)
“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,” (Proverbs 6:23)

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Proverbs 30:5)

“But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”” (Luke 11:28)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

““For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11)

What a great gift the Lord has given to us!

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Keep going!

We must run with patience, or we shall never obtain. There may be many things we cannot understand, much that the flesh could perhaps wish otherwise, but let us endure unto the end, then all shall be made clear, and God’s arrangements shall be proved best. Think not to have your reward on earth, do not draw back because your good things are all yet to come. Today is the cross, but tomorrow is the crown. Today is the labor, but tomorrow are the wages. Today is the sowing, but tomorrow is the harvest. Today is the battle, but tomorrow is the rest. Today is the weeping, but tomorrow is the joy. And what is today compared to tomorrow? Today is but seventy years, but tomorrow is eternity. Be patient and hope unto the end.

~ J.C. Ryle

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