Jul 25, 2009

The Flock, The whole Flock and Nothing but The Flock

As I have mentioned before, I think that our self-centered, individualistic tendencies are at the root of many of the problems facing today's Church. We too often think of 'Christianity' in terms of "my personal relationship with Jesus" and fail to understand that this 'relationship' does not exist apart from the body of Christ -- The Church.

Ordinarily, the relationship we have with our triune God can only exist within the context of His covenanted body of believers, -- NOT apart from it in our personal prayer closets during our personal quiet times. Don't get me wrong, I'm not speaking against personal devotion. I'm simply trying to put it in perspective.

Our 'Christian' bookstores are full of books on how to strengthen your personal this and personal that. Pastors have come to see their roles as assisting people on their "personal spiritual journeys". Instead of shepherding the flock as a flock (1 Pet. 5:2), pastors have been convinced (by modern philosophies/ methodologies/ seminaries) that their main function is to be 'personal spiritual guides' for individual sheep .......... baaaah.

Have you ever heard, seen or experienced anything like this? Have you ever thought this way yourself? ............. What say you?


Jul 20, 2009

I Think We Can Fix It!

This pretty much sums up the modern approach to 'doing' Church.

Jul 15, 2009

WHAT is 'The Gospel'?

What is the Gospel?

Seems like an easy enough question, right? Ask this question of most Christians and you will probably get an answer that goes something like this:
"It is the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. - And, by grace through faith, if you believe in Him (Jesus), God will credit Jesus' righteousness to you and your sin to Him so that you will have had your sins atoned for on the cross and you will be justified in the sight of God." --(At this point some may add that this is what qualifies you for heaven when you die.)

All things being equal, I don't think that statements like this are all together wrong or unbiblical. What I do think is that this statement (or some variation of it) doesn't answer the question that was asked. Statements like this are better suited for questions of HOW God has achieved His gospel purposes (IMO). The how of the gospel and the what of the gospel, while inextricably linked, are simply not the same thing.

If my premise is correct, this still leaves the original question unanswered. So I'll ask it again. WHAT is the Gospel?

Wade B.

Jul 7, 2009

Marks Of The Modern "Evanjellyfish"

The following is taken from an article by Mike Scruggs which you can find here. These are the "five points of Evanjellyfish Christianity". Remember that you don't have to embrace all five points to be an Evanjellyfish. By affirming any one of these points you may be well on your way down the road to modern Evanjellyfishism.

He modifies the TULIP acronym that commonly denotes the popular "five points of Calvinism".

T = TOLERANCE. The underlying principle here is that all moral or theological truths are relative and equal no matter what their source.

U = UNTHINKING CONFORMITY to majority or popular opinion, especially if supported by the mainstream media, publishing, and educational institutions. Again, for the evanjellyfish Christian, acceptance and respectability are more important than truth.

L = LIBERTY of conscience in ALL things. Contrary to traditional and especially Reformed Christianity in which there is a place for liberty of conscience on questions not addressed or given any ethical preference in Scripture, the evanjellyfish Christian has a remarkable tendency to apply this liberty to everything that they choose.

I = the notion that INEQUALITY IS EVIL. There are, of course, many areas where some sorts of equality are preferable, such as equal justice under the law, etc. However, the evanjellyfish Christian expands the concept to areas that make no common sense and cannot be justified by Scripture or a study of nature. It is particularly repugnant to them that any differences in intellect, personality, and aptitudes exist among mankind.

P = The principle is PERSONAL PEACE and PROSPERITY at any PRICE. There is hardly any truth they will not ignore to achieve this. They will go along with the silliest and most inane proposals by demagogues, charlatans, and crackpots, so long as their acceptance, respectability, personal peace, and prosperity can remain intact.

So, where do you stand? Are you an "Evanjellyfish"?

Jul 6, 2009


How do we know what God has created us to be? -- By looking at Him. When we are informed in Genesis that we were created "in His own image"(Gen 1:26), we are given great insight into where we should look to figure out 'who' we are and 'what' we have been created for.

One thing that strikes me about the nature of God is that He is both one and many. He has revealed to us that He has eternally existed as a Trinity or as a community. Specifically, God exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect unity, a community of self-giving love. Thus, as His people, we have been recreated in Christ to live as a community and to be a reflection of God's self-giving love.

This community is the new creation. This community is the new humanity. This community is the Church.

Jul 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. ..."

So what should we say to those who claim that "God should be kept out of government"?

Jul 3, 2009


"Religion is private: This is the heresy of Christianity in a nutshell." -- Peter J. Leithart


Some Evangelicals fail to see The Church's rituals as vital to the life of the Church because they have convinced themselves (or have been convinced by their pastors) that rituals, while vital to the 'Old Testament System', have been done away with by Christ under the 'New Testament System'. Thus they see any type of 'ritual' by the Church to be a reversion back to the "old" ways.

To 'modern' people (like us) rituals that involve a sacrifice and blood seem like some sort of throw-back to less civilized times. After all, didn't Jesus do away with the need for bloody sacrifice and performing of rituals? ..... An honest look at the scriptures must conclude that the answer to this is NO! We still offer to God a bloody sacrifice for the remission of our sins and through the ritual of the Lord's Supper remind YHWH and ourselves of the "blood of the New Covenant which is poured out for many" (Mark 14:24).

What we too often fail to realize is that Jesus didn't do away with sacrifice or ritual. What He did was take sacrifice and ritual up into Himself and transform them ............. make them "new". I guess you could say that under the New Covenant, sacrifice and ritual have been 'born again'.

Our rituals have been transformed from rituals of exclusion to rituals of inclusion. They have been instituted to teach us that "the Gospel" is not about you or me individually, but about the "New community" that has been created in Christ. This is what the common bath "One Baptism" and the common meal "One Cup and One Loaf" are all about. They teach us that we must die to self. They teach us that we must become like Jesus.

Jesus' ushering in the New Covenant did not mark a movement from a time of ritual to a time of non-ritual. It marked a time of change in the rituals we have been commanded to perform as God's people.