Archives For Evangelicalism

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You’ve probably heard it many times. “We just need to get back to the days of the early church.” “You know, things would be so much better in contemporary Christianity if we were more like the early church.”

While there were some great things happening then, I’m not so sure that I am eager to get back to the early church days. They, too, had their problems. Here are a few reasons why we might put the brakes on the glamorization of the early church.

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It happened again. Another pastor has fallen. From Mark Driscoll, to Darrin Patrick, Bob Coy, Tullian Tchividjian, and now Perry Noble; the past few years have witnessed more pastoral disqualifications than any of us would like to see.

As a young man with eight mere years of senior pastor experience, I have been attempting to learn and re-learn a few basic-but-essential lessons from these tragedies. A few thoughts for some of us young men in positions of church leadership:

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SB_1146

This post is an update to an earlier article published on The Master’s Seminary blog, An Imminent Attack on Religious Liberty.

On June 30, a piece of proposed state legislation made its way to the California State Assembly Committee on Judiciary. The bill (SB 1146) has already passed in the state senate by a vote of 26–13.

The next stop for the bill, at this point, is the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, before it goes to the floor for a vote. Because the bill is continually being amended, an analysis of the bill as it currently stands can be read here. Or, for a more readable interpretation of the bill, see here.

The goal of this post is to answer some basic questions about this proposed piece of legislation. 

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Pro-abortion protesters at the Texas Capitol, opposing a law that would hold abortuaries to the medical standards of surgical centers.

Pro-abortion protesters at the Texas Capitol, opposing a law that would hold abortuaries to the medical standards of surgical centers.

This week the US Supreme Court struck down Texas’ attempts to regulate abortions by ensuring that the “surgical centers” that preformed them met the same regulations as every other surgery center in the state. The court said that this would be an “undo burden” on women, because “common sense” says that most abortion clinics fail to meet medical standards.

The ruling was shocking for a number of reasons. First, this case was completely backwards from the court’s previous abortion cases. In this case, it was the pro-life side that was advocating for women’s protections. In previous attempts to regulate abortion, the pro-abortion side of the argument made appeals to “back-alley abortions” and showed how eliminating abortion facilities would drive women to the “back alley” where they would be harmed.

Then came Kermit Gosnell, the serial killer who operated an abortion clinic as his cover. He killed not only babies in the womb, but also babies that were accidentally delivered alive, as well as a mother. Despite his “house of horrors” (the DA’s phrase), he was allowed to continue murdering people because there were no laws against having an abortuary soaked with cat urine, stained with blood, and filled with disease. In fact, while he was convicted of murder, Gosnell was actually first arrested for giving bogus prescriptions for pain killers.

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A while back, I wrote an article on truths we’re keeping from our youth groups. While the response was positive, some people wrote back desiring an article directed towards parents.

Parenting is one of the most difficult things God has tasked us with in this life, but it can also be one of the most fulfilling. Parents desire much for their kids: happiness, success, friendship, marriage, and many children. Perhaps the greatest struggle parents have is to balance physical needs and spiritual needs. We all want our kids to be saved, but few want their children to be missionaries, or even worse, martyrs.

The youth leaders also have a difficult responsibility; they want to influence students while also respecting parents and their leadership. Sometimes he or she must tell the children to do things or think things that are different than what their parents believe, and this causes great stress and difficulty for the leaders. Here are some things that most youth leaders wished parents knew and believed before ever dropping their children off for youth group.

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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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