Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Hardest Working Man in Show Business

Ray Ortland calls this the greatest YouTube video of all time. He knows culture when he sees it. By the way, who would have thought that James Brown would have pre-dated some of the healimg crusades and had his own "catchers?"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Wells

Scripture cannot function authoritatively if the church is not willing to put itself under its authority and learn from it as God's sole authoritative guide for its belief and practice... And today we cannot claim we believe in the Bible's authority if we set it aside to build the church in our own way.

For evangelicals, this has taken the form of using polling, marketing, and business know-how to adapt Christian faith to generational niches. It has also involved recasting Christian faith in therapeutic terms for those who have left a moral world and now inhabit a psychological world.

David Wells, The Courage to be Protestant

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Stimulus Plan

David Wells in The Courage to be Protestant:

The central and simple message of the New Testament is that the promised age to come has dawned, the promised victory over what has emptied life of meaning and filled it with confusion and dismay has been won... Were it not for the resurrection, Paul suggests, abandoning ourselves to a life of empty party making and a fatalistic sense of doom would be quite logical. There is no hope in "this age." It lies under the judgement of God. It is all, despite its brilliance, now dying. It has no future. It can offer many pleasurable experiences, many momentary distractions, but it is doomed. It has no long term future and can offer no meaning besides what it manufactures for the moment, which is as fleeting as the morning mist. (p. 203).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good Stuff

Ray Ortland provides these insights from the recent Acts29 boot camp. Read the original here.

1. A church should have a masculine ethos. 1 Corinthians 16:13 commands a whole church, "Act like men." There is cowardice, even effeminacy, in American churches today.
2. When you're doing the right thing, compromise is not leadership. It is capitulation.
3. All our problems arise from not connecting with the gospel. All our remedies are found in rediscovering and applying the gospel.
4. If you are not growing, you cannot lead others into growth. If you are growing and changing, you will be a force for renewal.
5. People in whom the Holy Spirit is at work love challenge; people in whom the Holy Spirit is not at work resent challenge.
6. We do not yet appear to be in the Third Great Awakening. If we were, the conversations at Harvard and CNN and the White House would be about Jesus. But renewal does seem to be growing in impact. I rejoice to see this in the Acts 29 Network and feel honored to be involved. If we will stay low before the Lord, I expect the blessing to grow and increase.

While you're at it, read this further word on#1 above.

The Shack, et. al.

A few weeks ago, our Pastor off-handedly mentioned The Shack in his morning sermon. If you are at all familiar with this book, you know that it has caused quite a stir in the evangelical world. Frankly, I am surprised by how many people I know who have read it have commented positively on it. The readers’ comments I have read range from, “It is pure heresy,” to “It taught me things about God I didn’t know.”

I have not read this book – yet. I probably need to so I can know what it is about first hand. I have, however, read reviews from evangelicals whose perspectives I respect, and their comments make me wonder why Christians are so taken with it.

So, with this in mind, I offer a few observations:

Remember that The Shack is a work of fiction. I recall Frank Peretti’s popular novel, This Present Darkness. Some people were holding “Bible studies” using this book claiming that it opened new venues of prayer. To his credit, Peretti himself discouraged this by reminding readers that it was just fiction. Some have done similar things with the Left Behind series. These books (rather than Scripture) have become the source for some people’s eschatology.

Remember that everything that God wants us to know about Himself has been given to us in Scripture. We are on dangerous ground if we rely upon the insight of others to provide new information about God. The penchant for “new revelation” is disturbing.

So, I return to a well-worn theme: the absolute necessity for Biblical literacy. It appears that with evangelicalism gaining popularity, Biblical precision has not necessarily been part of it.