Archives For Evangelicalism

In Little Rock ArkansasHow many times have I read or watched a news report about the devastation, caused by a tornado in some part of the country? Dozens maybe. I might have paused for a while, to think about the unimaginable power of the violent winds, or pondered what it would be like to lose everything I own in a storm, or I might have remarked how sad it was that a number of people lost their lives… over there.

This time it was different. This time a friend of mine–and two of his children–died.   Continue Reading…

Here are ten reminders for those who preach and teach the Word of God … as confirmed by some of history’s greatest preachers.

1. Effective ministry consists not of fads or gimicks, but of faithfully preaching the truth.

Charles Spurgeon: Ah, my dear friends, we want nothing in these times for revival in the world but the simple preaching of the gospel. This is the great battering ram that shall dash down the bulwarks of iniquity. This is the great light that shall scatter the darkness. We need not that men should be adopting new schemes and new plans. We are glad of the agencies and assistances which are continually arising; but after all, the true Jerusalem blade, the sword that can cut to the piercing asunder of the joints and marrow, is preaching the Word of God. We must never neglect it, never despise it. The age in which the pulpit it despised, will be an age in which gospel truth will cease to be honored. . . . God forbid that we should begin to depreciate preaching. Let us still honor it; let us look to it as God’s ordained instrumentality, and we shall yet see in the world a repetition of great wonders wrought by the preaching in the name of Jesus Christ.

Source: Charles Spurgeon, “Preaching! Man’s Privilege and God’s Power,” Sermon (Nov. 25, 1860).

2. Preaching is a far more serious task than most preachers realize.

Richard Baxter: And for myself, as I am ashamed of my dull and careless heart, and of my slow and unprofitable course of life, so, the Lord knows, I am ashamed of every sermon I preach; when I think what I have been speaking of, and who sent me, and that men’s salvation or damnation is so much concerned in it, I am ready to tremble lest God should judge me as a slighter of His truths and the souls of men, and lest in the best sermon I should be guilty of their blood. Me thinks we should not speak a word to men in matters of such consequence without tears, or the greatest earnestness that possibly we can; were not we too much guilty of the sin which we reprove, it would be so.

Source: Richard Baxter, “The Need for Personal Revival.” Cited from Historical Collections Relating to Remarkable Periods of the Success of the Gospel, ed. John Gillies (Kelso: John Rutherfurd, 1845), 147.

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In case you haven’t heard. . . next year’s Shepherds’ Conference promises to be one of the most memorable and impactful yet.

If you’re thinking about coming, you should plan to register sooner than later. (The conference is already more than half full.)

You can check out the promo video here.

inerrancy

 

Jamie Pierre, 250 Foot Cliff Jump, Grand Targhee Backcountry, WYFor many who live in high alpine terrain, mountain sports like skiing are a way of life. As with any such sport, carnage comes with the territory. On one particular occasion, I watched a friend missile himself off a 60 foot cliff on a day which skiers would label the snow conditions as “boiler-plate” (referring to the penetrability of the snow). When he finally landed, the boiler-plate-like snow gave 4 inches (though he stopped, his skis continued airborne without him for another quarter of a mile). By the numbers, he was going about 40mph, landed, came to a complete stop in a fraction of a second, with only 4 inches of snow-cushion. That’s probably less forgiveness than landing on hot asphalt. Needless to say, he compacted a few vertebrae and was laid up for a month. And once it was clear he was still alive, the stunt provided for a powerfully learning experience as one might imagine: among other things, don’t imitate Eddy the Eagle on boiler-plate snow conditions.

unforgivingThe falls and mishaps of others are never occasion for juicy gloating though they must be for humbly learning. At our local resort, you’re the mountain chump if you chuckle at a big fall. But you’re also the mountain fool if you fail to learn from them.

As normal for any era between Genesis 3 and Revelation 20, these past few months have seen a far share of ministry falls, scandals, apology-kind-of-things, disqualifications, and hard-to-name-types-of-things. As the church, this provides opportune learning occaions for us to understand the times and know what to do.

This is by no means exhaustive, but here are 7 suggestions in light of recent events:

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The Noah movie was released, and by all accounts (or by all discerning accounts) was a complete mash-up of gnosticism, mysticism, kabbalah, with an unhealthy dash of environmentalism. It has certainly brought out the worst in the quasi-evangelical community, who produced all sorts of reviews showing their earnestness to engage with popular culture (“it may have promoted devil worship, but the CGI was awesome!!!), whereas others seemed to try really hard to justify all those buses they rented to take their congregations to Christian screenings.

Anyway, Trevin Wax helpfully put many of the best (and worst) reviews in one place. Some of the highlights:

This review shows how the movie is essentially warmed up gnosticism.  Al Mohler’s makes the same point. If you might actually want to see the movie, then Denny Burk gives you a review without spoilers. Meanwhile, Ken Ham does what Ken Ham does.

Today on Cripplegate, Tom Patton (a pastor at Grace Church in Los Angeles, and also a literal acting coach!) gives his meticulous review as well.

As for me, I strongly recommend you read Lyndon’s review. If you don’t know why people care about this movie, then read Lyndon’s review. If you think the movie was fun to watch, then read Lyndon’s review. If you are sick and tired of reading people who say things like “blah blah, at least it will help you talk about God more, blah blah” then read Lyndon’s review. Lyndon does not mix words, tells you all you need to know about the movie, and writes exceptionally well. Plus you will get a picture of Eddie VanHalen eating a McMuffin. If it doesn’t instantly become one of your favorite movie reviews, then let me know, and I will gladly refund your money.

This review is written by Tom Patton, Pastor of Congregational Care at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles.

Last Friday movie theaters all around the nation opened their doors to invite the viewing public in to watch Russell Crowe take on his newest role; the epic character of Noah. Isn’t it interesting how just the mention of one of the Scripture’s most well-known characters in the same sentence as one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors can create an odd blend of curiosity and dread in most Bible-believing Christians? The two just don’t seem to go together. I remember the first time I saw the massive publicity poster hanging from the walls of my local cinema before the film’s release. There right before me hung a larger-than-life portrait of a grizzly bear of a man with a full beard, drenched with water, sporting what seemed to be a biker crew cut and wrapped in a battle worn leather garment more reminiscent of Harley-Davidson performance gear than Antediluvian dress. It was Noah meets Gladiator; Maximus meets Genesis; Hollywood meets the Ark.

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