Archives For Evangelicalism

TrinityAs the debate over eternal functional subordination continues in the various corners of the blogosphere, Jesse entered the fray yesterday, responding to Goligher’s (one, two) and Trueman’s original posts. He argued for a functional subordination in eternity past primarily on the basis that the divine plan of salvation takes place before the incarnation. And the Son, in agreeing to come as mankind’s Mediator, necessarily places Himself in subjection to the Father’s will. As I was interacting with Jesse’s post, I began writing a comment in response. Before too long, that comment was blog-post length, so I thought I’d just give it its own post. He graciously agreed.

I still think it’s premature for me to take a hard stance in either direction yet, because I think good questions still need to be answered by both sides, and especially by Grudem and Ware, but also by the non-EFSers as well. (My M.O. has just been to argue with whomever I’m talking to at the moment, no matter which position they take, until somebody satisfies my questions and objections.) Really excellent posts from Darren SumnerMark Jones, and Matthew Barrett have moved the discussion forward in what I think are helpful ways. If we keep pushing one another, respectfully and graciously, as brothers, I think the potential is there for some sort of agreement. As it stands now, I think I’m leaning toward the non-EFS side, while it seems Jesse may be leaning in the other direction. But, for reasons I hope this post will explain, I think what non-EFSers are most concerned to safeguard isn’t so much that we don’t call the Son’s decision to undertake His saving mission “submission” or “obedience,” but rather that we don’t say that there is authority and submission within the inner life (ad intra) of the Trinity. At the very least, those are where my concerns lie.

In this post, Jesse’s words from yesterday are in italics, while my responses follow. It does read less like a regular blog post and more like a long blog comment, because, well, that’s what it is. I hope it’s helpful to you anyway.

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Church advertisements can be interesting. I’ve seen things like, “Business healing services,” one that advertised a concealed weapons class, and “You have a friend request from Jesus: Accept? Ignore?” But one that confused me the first time I saw it was “Spirit-filled.” What does that mean? And are only some churches Spirit-filled? Or all of them? Or partially filled? What’s the difference between a Spirit-filled and non-Spirit-filled church?

Generally, the advertisement intends to mean that the Holy Spirit’s power and presence are observable in that local church. Praise God if that’s true. But, assuming accurate advertising, what ought we expect from such a church? What will that look like?

Here are 11 evidences of the Spirit’s power and presence in a local church:

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Imagine a video game. In this video game, the graphics are so advanced that they are indistinguishable from reality. In fact, the game is so realistic that the characters in the game believe that they are actually living human beings. Impossible, right?

Not so, according to Elon Musk.

HECw8AzKElon Musk is one of the brightest minds in the world. In fact, several rocket scientists believe that Elon Musk might be the smartest human to ever live. He was one of the founders of Paypal. After selling that company, he founded Tesla, a company that produces cars that run on electricity. He also started Solar City, a company that produces solar panels. Last but not least, he runs SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company hoping to colonize Mars one day. (He is pretty confident that he will be able to do so before the end of his life.)

Elon Musk was recently the keynote speaker at a big conference. During the Q & A section, he was asked a question that everyone thought was pretty comical.

He was asked if he’d ever heard of the simulation question. That if he’d ever considered whether we were in a simulation.

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“Everyone has it, why can’t I have it!” “They’re leaving me out of everything!”… cue the tears, bring up the music, and now the dramatic finish…”you’re ruining my life, I’ll never make real friends!”

This year’s winner of best actress in a pho-drama goes to a middle schooler for her role in Deprived: the tragedy of a young lady traumatized by social media prohibition.

Sound familiar? This discussion is ricocheting around our home right now. Apparently “every kid” at school has (1) an iPhone, (2) unlimited texting and (3) every social media stream possible. Oh, and did I mention “those” kids also watch all the latest movies, have pet unicorns and probably have a new car waiting in the garage, just in case they turn 16 before the end of 7th grade.

Like it or not, our kids live in a world of increasing digital communication. Social media streams, texting, email, and chat features in video games are only a few ways they may engage others. Ignoring the subject is dereliction of duty and unfiltered access to digital content is insanity.

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342491561_640One of the greater areas of confusion at large today among God’s people is an understanding of the church. Ecclesiological error abounds, perhaps more than any other issue in contemporary Christianity. What is the church, exactly? Why does it exist? What should the church do? Who are, and are not, God’s kind of church leaders? What are they for? How should congregations relate to their leaders? Anyone in church ministry can tell you that they interact with error surrounding these, and related issues, on almost a daily basis. And the consequences are not insignificant.

For this reason, and more, the leadership team at Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida created the Ekklesia Conference seven years ago. Ekklesia has as its mission, “to instruct Christians in the inseparable truths of Christ’s church and His gospel. Our desire is that believers would passionately serve and commit to the advancement of those realities with lifelong conviction.” Each year, a theme is chosen which relates to the local church (check out past messages). This year’s conference, entitled, “Sheep and Shepherds,” will bring much-needed clarity to the issue of recognizing spiritual influence. Over the weekend of September 16-18, speakers will answer questions such as, “What is God’s kind of spiritual influence?” “How do I recognize what kind of influence I should be seeking?” “How do we navigate the onslaught of supposed influence out there today?”

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What keeps you from sharing the Gospel? For many the main answer to that question comes down to awkwardness.

Awkwardness is defined as causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.

And while with most things it is probably helpful to have a keen sense of when awkwardness is on the horizon, we must remember what is at stake when we think about the eternal destiny of those around us.

I’d like to encourage you to rethink the common thought that it is better not to share the Gospel than to do it awkwardly. So here are five reasons why it’s ok to share the Gospel awkwardly.

Everyone is awkward at first

The first time I held a baby you should have seen me. I was so uncomfortable. I was so stiff. I was afraid to breathe. I was only concentrating on one thing and couldn’t think about anything else at the same time. It’s a miracle I didn’t drop the baby. I’ve been out sharing the Gospel with many people who came along side me. It’s fascinating to watch others preach the Gospel. Not only is it super encouraging, it’s an opportunity to hear the Gospel preached and to watch an unbelieving heart come into full-contact with the only truth that can save them. I’ve watched many people go out “their first time ever” and let me tell you, they usually feel uncomfortable. They stumble on their words, they mis-speak, and usually they feel like a failure. And let me tell you, I am always so proud of them. Sharing the Gospel is probably the hardest thing in the world.

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Recently a young lady came up to me with a question, “What does it mean to honor your parents?” Although I pointed her to a few Scriptures that came to mind, I don’t think I had a great answer to her question. It got me thinking, how can adult children obey and honor their parents? Ephesians 6:1-3 says,

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Honoring our parents has lifelong ramifications. Although there are circumstances where obeying this verse becomes impossible (parents die, they are abusive, they abandon their children etc.) we are called to honor them. So here are some ways we can apply this verse as adult children.

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Imagine a door. A door that only opens once or maybe twice in a lifetime. The door has incredible powers. It has the ability to cleanse you. It has the ability to pardon and cast your sin as far as the east is from the west. In fact there isn’t just one of them, there are four, and they are opened only once every 25 years in the city of Rome. Since you were a kid you were told that these doors had the ability to cleanse you from every sin you have ever committed, as long as you walked through them.

I wish this were a fairytale.

Millions of Roman Catholics around the world will be heading to Rome this year, thinking that there they will be able to be absolved of all their sins. By getting on a plane and saying a few prayers, they assume that their actions will assuage the wrath of God.

Have you ever seen a desperate person lost in false religion? Desperately trying to earn their way to heaven?

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bury

shtfplan.com

Every movement and organization has their sayings. They can be helpful when they are accurate and memorable. But they can also be destructive when they are inaccurate and memorable. Such sayings float around a bit in Christendom.

Thus, it behooves us to evaluate things we say against Scripture so that we accurately represent the faith. Oftentimes newer or mis-shepherded Christians will latch onto sayings, get swept down the stream of error, and cause others to do the same.

Here are a few such Christian sayings that ought to be buried.

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I recently had the privilege of sitting down with the brothers of the Glory Books ministry and talking with Pastor Will Costello about my book, Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness. It was a pleasure to be a guest on their Inner Revolution podcast and to talk about the foundational truths concerning the believer’s growth in Christlikeness. I hope our conversation will be edifying to you as well.

3:23 – Could you tell us a bit about the sanctification debate that has been going on in the last four or five years?

10:13 – You’ve contributed to this discussion in your book, Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness. What did you want people to take away after reading your book?

13:15 – You describe sanctification as an internal and supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, which He accomplishes through means. A key thought in your book is that the foundational means of sanctification is beholding the glory of Christ. Can you unpack what it means to behold the glory of Christ?

22:05 – Comments on looking at Christ as the example of our holiness, as well as beholding Christ as the fuel of our holiness.

24:11 – Is it right to say it’s our responsibility to actively behold Christ, but that we are passively transformed by the agency of the Holy Spirit?

28:04 – So is it right to say that sanctification is both a gift and a reward? A reward because we have to work for it, and a gift because we can never achieve it ourselves?

31:06 – Understanding God’s role and man’s role in sanctification.

32:42 – I like that you say in the book that sanctification is glorious because it is through sanctification that God gets what He is worthy of in us.

34:33 – Sometimes people speak of sanctification negatively. They’re having a hard day and they say something like, “Yeah, well I guess this is supposed to work for my sanctification.” It’s not very joyful. And yet Scripture wants us, on the front end, to consider it pure joy when we enter various trials, because that suffering is designed to conform you to Christ. What do we need to keep in mind so that we can embrace sanctification as a wonderful thing?

39:30 – A quote from John Owen on sanctification, one of the greatest paragraphs Mike has read outside of the Bible.