Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Altar Call

The online version of Christian History has an interesting article about the "altar call." I was raised in churches in which the public invitation was the main aspect of each service. In fact, the number of those who "walked the aisle" became an indicator of God's blessing. I don't deny that many people have come to Christ through this method - I am one of them. However, amongst many evangelicals and most fundamentalists in particular, it is a sign of orthodoxy.

As is true with everything, there is a theology behind the practice. Sadly, many are not aware of the theological implications, or, due to the wholesale capitulation to the spirit of pragmatism, do not care. 1 Cor. 1:21 tells us that it is the preaching of the Cross that God has chosen to use to save them that believe. Perhaps the reliance on the "new methods" indicates a failure to adequately and powerfully preach the Cross.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Day After Election Day

Last week I shared these thoughts at our morning staff devotions. Since we are less than 2 weeks from a historical election, I thought they might be helpful, so here they are:

On the day after election day….

  1. If your candidate wins, it doesn’t mean that God is on the side of your party.
  2. If your candidate doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean that God is against your party.
  3. Whoever wins, he wins by the permission and control of God. Remember that He is sovereign in all things; He establishes rulers and governments.
  4. Whoever wins, it shows that the process still works and we are still a blessed nation.
  5. Nowhere in Scripture does God promise Christians happiness, peace and prosperity. He is not committed to our happiness; He is committed to our holiness.
  6. Whoever wins, it should have no bearing on how we live out our faith. Remember, the most dynamic days of Christian history were during the reign of the Roman Emperors’ who demanded to be worshipped as gods, in a society where slavery was the norm and where human life was so cheap that death was part of the entertainment of the masses.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

You've Got to be Kidding!

Unfortunatley, Al Mohler is not kidding. When some in this counrty look longingly to Europe as a template for social justice, look where the path leads. This gives a new meaning to every mother's admonition to "Finish your vegetables!"

Theological Growth

This is for pastors and anyone else interested in theological growth. OK... it's good for everyone. Justin Taylor ("Between Two Worlds") posted this article from Michael Lawrence.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Economic Crisis

I know just enough about economics to get myself into serious trouble. Notwithstanding, it doesn't take a Harvard MBA to see that our economy is in trouble. It is unfortunate that some Christians are despairing over the losses in their retirement accounts (John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life comes to mind). At Reformation 21, Carl Trueman offers insight into this crisis from the perspective of a theologian and historian. Read this here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Will of God

How often do we hear the admonition to be "in the center of God's will?" Being a firm believer in God's sovereign purposes, I question this idea. What happens if we are a bit left or right of center? If we cannot hit the center mark, how close is close enough? Sometimes we hear the distinction between the "perfect" will of God and the "permissive" will of God." However, since we can only know His revealed will in His Word, why bother with anything else? Dr. Ray Pritchard provides further insight here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Movies to the Glory of God

I recall all too well my early Christian adult life steeped in fundamentalist legalism. Back then, good and godly Christians abstained from alcohol, avoided movies (although it was OK to rent them when the VCR made its debut), eschewed "rock and roll," and by all means, they did not dance.

The movie issue was really important to me. As long as I can remember, I have been a science fiction fan. I loved the old black and white sci-fi movies as a teenager (they were all b/w because that was the only TV we had at the time). So, when I began ministry in a fundamentalist church, it was understood that attendance at the movies was out of the question. However, when Star Wars came out in 1977, I was conflicted. Should I succumb to my baser self and see the movie, or should I maintain a conviction that I pretended to have? I conveniently resolved the issue by taking my wife out of town to see Star Wars.

All this to say that times have changed. Some fundamentalists still bemoan the lack of "standards" in evangelical churches (they would consider the title of this post to be heresy) but, for the most part, Christians do not adhere to the former restrictions. This all came to mind upon reading this excellent article by Adam Parker called Watching Movies to the Glory of God. He gives helpful advice on how to do this. I appreciate the fact that he admits that not all movies can be viewed to God's glory. If you are a recovering fundamentalist like me, you will profit from this piece.