Archive for April 20th, 2013

Seems like a good question to ask in light of national events this week in TX and Boston.

Carl Trueman:

Perhaps . . . [the Western church] has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries and regards them as little short of embarrassing.

A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party—a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals.

Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is—or at least should be—all about health, wealth, and happiness corrupted the content of our worship?

. . . In the psalms, God has given the church a language which allows it to express even the deepest agonies of the human soul in the context of worship.

Does our contemporary language of worship reflect the horizon of the expectation regarding the believer’s experience which the psalter proposes as normative?

If not, why not?

Is it because the comfortable values of Western middle-class consumerism have silently infiltrated the church and made us consider such cries irrelevant, embarrassing, and signs of abject failure?

—Carl R. Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” in The Wages Of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism (Christian Focus, 2005), 159-160.


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Erik Raymond wants us to think about this question:

Are Gay and Lesbians the only ones who undermine God’s plan for marriage?

The answer is, “Of course not!” Just because you are hetero-sexual does not mean that you are reflecting God’s plan for marriage. You don’t get a pass just on marriage because you are not Gay. The basis of a marriage reflecting God’s plan is how it reflects the gospel. In other words a marriage is reflective of God’s plan in so far as it reflects the marriage between Jesus the husband and the church the bride. . .

In so far as we do not love one another, blur roles, or deal unbiblically with sin—then we are undermining God’s plan for marriage. Far too many Christians are sharpshooters, adeptly able to pick off the various cultural perversions upon marriage without taking inventory of their own house. This does not mean that we should be silent until we have the perfect marriage, it just means that we should not act like we are all about God’s plan for marriage when we ourselves, are not. Because it vividly promotes the gospel, Christians are to passionately promote God’s plan for marriage, starting with our own.

Erik argues his premise well in his article Straight, Bible-Believing Christians Can Undermine God’s Plan for Marriage Too.

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Have you marked your calendar for Ascension Day on May 9? How many of us have even heard of Ascension Day? Or perhaps just a sermon about Jesus’s ascension into heaven? It is impossible to overstate the importance of Good Friday, when Jesus died for our sins, and Easter Sunday, when he was raised from the dead — but Jesus’s earthly ministry did not stop there.

After the resurrection, Jesus taught his disciples about God’s kingdom for forty days (Acts 1:3) and then he was “taken up” to heaven (Acts 1:211). The cross and empty tomb are at the very heart of the gospel message proclaimed by Jesus’s followers throughout history (see 1 Corinthians 15:1–4). However, for many evangelical Christians and churches, Jesus’s ascension is simply an afterthought to Easter and Good Friday.

Brian Tabb  highlights six aspects of Jesus’s ascension or exaltation, in hopes that this significant and climactic event in Jesus’s life will no longer be an afterthought for us.  Here’s a summary of the whole article!

1. Jesus continues to work after the ascension.

2. The ascended Lord Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to his people.

3. Jesus’s ascension is his heavenly enthronement as King.

4. Jesus’s ascension is his return to his Father.

5. The ascended Lord Jesus is our heavenly mediator and high priest.

6. The ascended Lord Jesus will return as King and Judge.

He concludes but reminding us of four implications of Christ’s ascension in our lives:

  1. Remember that Jesus is presently reigning as king and remains active and engaged in our world and our lives.
  2. Therefore live boldly, confidently, and strategically as servants of the exalted king of heaven. Know that your labors in the Lord Jesus are not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
  3. Sufferers, take heart that Jesus is not indifferent to your struggle. He has endured great suffering and is thus the most merciful and sympathetic counselor and mediator. Take your cares to your ascended Lord who hears your prayers and can respond with all heaven’s authority.
  4. Finally hope in a glorious future. The ascended Lord will return as judge and king. He will abolish injustice, end suffering, and destroy death and set up his kingdom of truth, righteousness and love. Best of all, we will be with our king forever.

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Looks like a promising series that may be helpful in talking about the Bible with others. One book in the series you can download for free!

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So if you are a high schooler, read this book carefully and thoughtfully, and then loan it to your parents. Chances are pretty good that they’ll benefit from it as much as you will. If you are a parent of high schoolers, or concerned for the welfare of high schoolers you know who are not your own children, put a copy of this book into their hands and encourage them to read it. Better yet, work through it with them, or at very least read it before you give it away. They won’t mind, especially if you tell them that the reason you are giving this book to them is because you have found it so helpful yourself.–D. A. Carson

You can read some of on Nielson’s new book, Bible Study: A Student’s Guide (P&R, 2013) online here.

Here is the table of contents:

  1. The Bible Is God Speaking
  2. The Bible Is Powerful
  3. The Bible Is Understandable
  4. The Bible Is a Literary Work
  5. Exploring Biblical Genres
  6. The Bible Is One Story
  7. Studying the Bible as One Story
  8. So . . . What Is Bible Study?
  9. Barriers to Bible Study for Young People
  10. Aids and Approaches to Bible Study
  11. Leading Together
  12. A Call to Young People

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