Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Gospel Changes EVERYTHING

This is a recent post from blogsite Keller Quotes ~ The words of Dr. Timothy Keller.  It's too good not to pass on:

The Gospel And Other Relationships
To Other Races And Cultures.
The liberal (hedonist) approach is to relativize all cultures. (‘We can all get along because there is no truth.’) The conservatives (moralists) believe there is truth for evaluation of cultures, and so they choose some culture as superior and then they idolize it, feeling superior to others in the impulse of self-justifying pride. The gospel leads us to be, on the one hand, somewhat critical of all cultures, including our own (since there is truth), but on the other hand, we are morally superior to no one. After all, we are saved by grace alone. Christians will exhibit both moral conviction yet humility and cultural flexibility.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Follow-Up on Authority of the Scriptures

This Sunday, as part of a series based on the EPC statement of the "Essentials of our Faith," I preached from the Scriptures on the topic of the Authority of the Bible.  Then Monday I cam across two outstanding articles on the Gospel Coalition website that expanded my message.

From "An Interview with Craig Blomberg on Jesus and the Reliability of the Gospels":
Can you tell us a bit about your own personal experience in coming to embrace the historical reliability of the gospels? Was there a period of time in your life when you seriously doubted the historical integrity of the gospel accounts?  Click Here to read the entire article.

From "Making Sense of Scripture's 'Inconsistency'" by Tim Keller
I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because "they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey." Most often I hear, "Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts---about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren't you just picking and choosing what you want to believe from the Bible?"

I don't expect everyone to understand that the whole Bible is about Jesus and God's plan to redeem his people, but I vainly hope that one day someone will access their common sense (or at least talk to an informed theological adviser) before leveling the charge of inconsistency.  Click Here to read the entire article.

 And for Monday morning bonus points, here's the video I used in this Sunday's sermon.  It's Tim Keller (again) - "Jesus: The True and Better"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Good Doctrine and the Gospel of Grace

I look back and am thankful to have been discipled by people who took doctrine seriously.  All of the pastors, professors, InterVarsity staff workers and others who shaped my faith were intent on having their faith and mine be well grounded biblically, clear, comprehensive in scope and with historical roots. 

From those beginnings, it was my conviction that there was a great divide between those (I confess: “of us”) with Good or “True” Doctrine and those with Bad or “False” Doctrine.  Forget where we draw that line between good and bad.  The point is that there was a line, and one should be concerned to be on the right side of it.

Now though, the Gospel has pointed me in a different direction, and given me a new challenge.  I have come to see that whatever line there might be is not between people, and less about Good Doctrine or Bad.  Instead, the gulf exists between those whose heart is being shaped by the Gospel of Grace through means of Good Doctrine and everyone else, regardless of doctrinal conviction.  Even closer to the truth is that the line runs through my own heart.  Is Good Doctrine shaping my own motivations to conform with the Gospel of Grace?  Or is my heart using Good Doctrine to pursue a self-salvation project of my own effort?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What Do My Friends and Family Hear From Me?

I was deeply moved this morning by Scotty Smith's prayer for the day from his blog Heavenward.  Click Here for the entire prayer post.
This is our defining and delighting identity as your church—your called-out, beloved people.
     Our organization and flow charts don’t define us.  Our ecclesiastical heritage and theological nuancing don’t define us. Our worship style and pulpit don’t define us. Our mission statement and ministries don’t define us. Your unbreakable commitment to us and inexhaustible love for us are what make us who we are, and thrill us beyond all imagining, Lord Jesus.
     We are the people upon whom you have set your heart, for whom you gave your life, and to whom you are returning as a great Bridegroom. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! There’s no other relationship that comes close to offering the peace, joy and hope as your relationship with us.
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