Archives For Jesse Johnson

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It is easy for believers to lose sight of how privileged we are to participate in the New Covenant. Giants of the faith such as Abraham, Moses, and David only looked forward to the spiritual blessings that every single Christian receives. For this reason, the New Covenant is fundamentally better than the Old Covenant.

The clearest section of scripture that describes this superiority is 2 Corinthians 3. There Paul lists nine ways the New Covenant is superior to the Old:   Continue Reading…

Last week I reviewed The Kingdom of Speech, by Tom Wolfe. Wolfe is not religious (the New York Times calls him an atheist, for whatever that’s worth), but he delivers a stunning critique of modern evolutionary theory as being entirely devoid of substantial evidence.

Which in turn reminded me of David Berlinski’s book The Devils Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions. Berlinski, despite himself being an atheist, cannot tolerate the intellectual arrogance demonstrated by today’s atheistic evolutionists. While I don’t want to review the whole book, I will pass on its main point: a scientific theory should only claim what it can prove. The problem with evolution is that it claims to explain everything, while it actually is able to prove nothing.   Continue Reading…

The Kingdom of Speech, by Tom Wolfe, is a fun tour of the folly of evolution. While Wolf himself is an atheist, he is a vocal critic of the atheistic materialism that grips the Western world. He traces much of this materialistic swagger to the arrogance of modern evolutionary science, which he critiques in The Kingdom of Speech.

The problem with evolution, Wolfe notes, is that it overplays its hand. It tries to be too much. It tries to explain everything, and in so doing it ends up explaining nothing. Wolfe writes, “Darwin had fallen into the trap of cosmogonism, the compulsion to find the ever-elusive Theory of Everything, an idea or narrative that reveals everything in the world to be part of a single and suddenly clear pattern.”

Because no evidence for such a theory exists, evolutionists grasp at straws for the faintest semblance of corroborative affirmation, as seen by Darwin often employing his dog as a stand-in for actual research (as in, “If my dog were left on an island…” or “even my dog has figured out how to…”). All of evolutionary theory is ripe for the mocking, and Wolfe is up to the task.

There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis, and evolution can hardly meet the easiest (observation) much less any of the others, such as recording or replicating. Despite this, evolutionary theory bred Nazism, and soon led to something Wolfe calls “worse than the great wars: the total eclipse of all values.”   Continue Reading…

February 23, 2017

For Lent, give up Lent

by Jesse Johnson

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A friend of mine was recently asked by a local youth pastor, “What’d you give up for Lent?” My friend quipped, “Lent.”

I can’t help but notice a growth in evangelicals who want to celebrate Lent by “giving something up.” I’ve heard of Christians giving up sugar, soda, Angry Birds, and Netflix (ok, I made up the last one—I’ve never heard of anyone giving up Netflix). For some evangelicals, apparently Lent is the new New Year’s. Those old resolutions were dropped by Feb 10, so time to dust them off and start over on March 1.

That is a bad idea. Here are a three reasons you should give up Lent for Lent:  Continue Reading…

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Last week I listed seven components of worship that should take place when the church is gathered: fellowship, ordinances, Scripture reading, giving, corporate prayer, preaching, and singing. By itself, this list demonstrates the necessity of being part of a church. If a Christian is not part of a church, he separates himself from not only the means of grace, but the means of worship as well.

This week I want to answer this question: should all seven of them be present in every service? Or, to ask it another way, are any of these seven prioritized over the others? Is every form of corporate worship equal, or are some more equal than others?  Continue Reading…

Were believers under the Old Covenant permanently indwelt with the Holy Spirit? Was Spirit baptism an Old Testament reality?

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No. While the Holy Spirit regenerated sinners in the Old Testament, the indwelling of the Spirit in the hearts/lives of believers began at Pentecost. I am a dispensationalist, and I see the church as beginning in Acts 2. I am a progressive, leaky, modified dispensationalist, but even in my compromised form, I cannot imagine any understanding of the uniqueness of the church that simultaneously rejects the uniqueness of Spirit baptism and indwelling. Continue Reading…

Should Christians be friends with non-believers?

Well there are two biblical concepts at play in this question—the first is the principle of purity and the second is the mandate for evangelism.  Continue Reading…

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Pastoral prayer—the part of the worship service where a pastor stands before the congregation and leads them in prayer as part of the worship service—seems to have fallen on hard times.

By pastoral prayer, I mean a pastor (someone whom has been ordained, and is being paid by the congregation for pastoral ministry; 1 Tim 5:17) praying a deep prayer over/for/with the congregation on the Lord’s Day.

Terry Johnson—who wrote When Grace Comes Alive and When Grace Comes Home (two books about theological prayers), points out that through church history, pastoral prayers have been a mark of healthy churches, but particularly during the Reformation. They are common today because they remain embodied (if neglected) in most liturgical churches.   Continue Reading…

 

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Recently I heard someone say that they love to worship, but they don’t love the church. They don’t see why a worshiper needs the church at all. After all, can’t we just worship as individuals? Here is my response:   Continue Reading…

Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep– with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever (Hebrews 13:21).

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Worship is a heart-felt attitude of thankfulness, love, holy fear, and submission to Scripture that magnifies the glory of God by rejoicing in who God is and what he has done for us through Jesus Christ. Worship takes God’s attributes (which can seem distant and are marked by the otherness of God—his holiness) and not only makes them personal, but magnifies them by the attitude of the worshiper towards them.

For an example, consider God’s sovereignty—which can certainly seem his most otherly attribute: when one who loves God understands how God’s sovereignty affects his own personal life, and he responds with thankfulness, fear, and submission (as well as joy, gratitude, etc.) then God is worshiped in the heart. Worship then is the result of a heart that has right information about who God is and what God has done, and then has the right response to that information. True worshipers respond in a way in keeping with God’s character and actions, as a response to his character and actions, and this has the effect of glorifying his character and actions.

True worship intersects with local church for a few reasons:    Continue Reading…