Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Thoughts on 'Missional' ... [in case you were wondering]

Here are excerpts from a paper I wrote recently regarding the 'missional' movement:

The movement seems to be a deliberate attempt to repent of failures in one particular area: evangelism - led by those whose personal gifts and passions are more outreach-oriented. Who can deny that American evangelicals aren’t guilty of this? I’m all for Christian repentance. I want to encourage it wherever it may be found. The questions arise when we consider the overall balance that maybe lacking when our entire church life is arranged around an emphasis on one thing before we establish that this one thing is, in fact, the central tenet of the faith. ...

If the movement is built upon repentance in one necessary area [failure to be faithful in evangelism], what about the other pressing areas in which the Church generally needs to repent [God-centered worship, Personal Holiness, Biblical Literacy, Biblically-regulated Church and Personal Standards, etc.]? I don’t sense as much earnest focus on these other failures, for whatever reasons, and suspect that where they are not addressed with equal fervor, an imbalance is inevitable. ...

I still have major reservations about an approach that turns the chief business of the assembly of God’s people on the Lord’s Day into outreach and seeks to order the details [forms] of that day toward that end. [Tradition is out of the question, and your preferences don’t count, unless you’re an unbeliever – then we’ll bend over backward to design our assembly to suit your preferences.] ...

I agree with the historic confessions and John Piper’s often quoted saying, Missions exists because worship does not; worship, not missions, is the highest priority of the Church.’ It concerns me when folks seem to be dismissing a lofty view of worship in order to focus on missions. To me, this diminishes the faith into some form of spiritual multi-level marketing. Certainly, I'm concerned with only those ‘missional’ churches where real deficiencies are present ...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What does this passage mean to you? Hermeneutics out there ...

The 'Living Constitution' judge is a happy fellow. He comes home at night and his wife says, “Dear, did you have a good day on the bench?” “Oh, yes. We had a constitutional case today. And you know what? The Constitution meant exactly what I thought it ought to mean!” Well of course it does, because that’s your only criterion. That’s a very seductive philosophy. So it’s no surprise that it should take the society by storm. And it is the same thing for the man or woman in the street: to know that everything you care passionately about, whether it’s abortion or suicide, or whatever you care passionately about, it’s there in the Constitution. What a happy feeling. That’s what causes it. And that’s what makes it hard to call the society back from it. It’s tough medicine.

- Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia,
commenting on the view that the US Constitution is a living [read: evolving] document

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gospel Honesty #1: Worship

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name ... unless they have standards and you'll be called to account for your sin.
It seems that our churches are making every effort to conjur an atmosphere in our corporate gathering so that any unbelievers present will think to themselves 'I like it here. I could see myself hanging around.'
This is quite different from a worship that will produce conviction and repentence with the thought ‘Truly, God is in this place’.
(1 Cor 14.25) ... think about it ...

Today's Gospel

Today’s gospel is for the unhappy, not for the guilty and condemned.

…Any idea that you can change your mind about Christ without changing your mind about sin is soul-destroying heresy.

- Pastor Robert P Martin, Lecture on The Acts

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shrinking Orthodoxy

"Don't major on minors." We think that we're very sophisticated and spiritually-mature because we don't "major on minors". But what has actually happened is this: for the last century and a half - from the mid nineteenth century to the present - the Church has been in full-scale retreat. And those doctrines which we like to call 'majors' are simply those doctrines that are light enough to carry while we're running away. Everything else that impedes our flight, we just throw to either side of the road.

-Doug Wilson, The Rise of Fundamentalism

Friday, March 20, 2009

Doctrine and Dereliction

Tonight 40% of American children will go to bed without a father. Don't think that has nothing to do with theology.

-Pastor Brent Brewer

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Avoiding Strange Fires

The coals of orthodoxy are necessary to the fire of piety.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Less Than Conquerors

In the hands of men like Finney and Taylor, 19th century Christianity lost a good deal of its bite. Finney’s reasonable god was closer to the deity of Thomas Paine than to that of Jonathan Edwards’ and his god became that of many evangelicals. Richard Lovelace calls this an ‘increasingly kindly, fatherly, thoroughly-comprehensible god who was, in effect, the projection of grandmotherly kindness mixed with the gentleness and winsomeness of a Jesus who hardly had to die for our sins’. Many American congregations would begin to pay their ministers to protect them from the real God.

- Douglas Frank, Less Than Conquerors

Monday, March 16, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Somebody's Paying Attention

The guys at have come up with a whole series of satirical 'Po-motivators' in the 'Emergent-see' series. Now, these are not 'gently' satirical - they're actually hot-enough-to-burn-if-touched satirical. You know, the kind of stuff Martin Luther said. Here's a sampling, you can see the whole collection at .

Friday, March 13, 2009

Only Little Boys #46

The greatest challenge any culture faces is the civilizing of its young males.

-Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Right and Wrong: Basic Readings in Ethics; Who Stole Feminism; The War Against Boys; Vice & Virtue in Everyday life; and One Nation Under Therapy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Poet Creator

The whole [resurrection] miracle, far from denying what we already know of reality, writes the comment which makes that crabbed text plain: or rather, proves itself to be the text on which Nature was only the commentary. In science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself.

-C S Lewis, Miracles

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Well Said ...

Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit: the spirit, that is, that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for only small thoughts of God.

- J. I. Packer, Knowing God

Mining Diamonds or Digging Sod: Expository Preaching Defined

Expositional preaching is not simply producing a verbal commentary on some passage of Scripture. Rather, expositional preaching is that preaching which takes for the main point of a sermon the point of a particular passage of Scripture.

-Mark Dever

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Safest Road to Hell

But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy [God]. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one, the gentle slope underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

The Demon Screwtape
by C.S. Lewis

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beware of the Fashionably Radical ...

… because it’s not the latter, and in a year or two, it won’t be the former either.