a few posts worth reading

In my scanning of various blogs, I come across a few articles I’d like to pass along. No one has enough time, but perhaps some of these are worth your time.

From Lighthouse Trails

Why We Say Beth Moore is a Contemplative Advocate
  • Advocate: one that defends or maintains a cause (Webster’s Dictionary) In our recent article, “Rick Warren Points Network Followers to the Contemplative ‘Sabbath'”, we state that Beth Moore is a “contemplative advocate.” Some people have a hard time with this statement. Why do we say she is advocating contemplative spirituality?
Should Christians Expose Error?
  • “Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?” By Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951) Objection is often raised even by some sound in the faith-regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the …
  • a key quote:

Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls “caught in the snare of the fowler”-how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.

“Servant Leadership” … A Christian Idea … Not Exactly
  • LTRP Note: Today, there is much talk about teaching people to become good leaders. In reality, what is happening is people are being taught to be good followers. The term (and the concept) Servant Leadership, used by many of the most prolific Christian authors and teachers today, did not originate …
The Mid-America Conference on Preaching

A review/summation by Scott Aniol:

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Dave Doran’s First General Session
Part 3 – Horn and Conley’s General Sessions
Part 4 – Dawson on Culture
Part 5 – Snoeberger on Culture
Part 6 – Doran’s Second General Session
Part 7 – McCune on Mars Hill
Part 8 – Snoeberger on Carson

From Brian Collins:

AP Definition of Fundamentalism
Neuhaus on the new New Evangelicals
ICC Commentaries for Free Download

Just a few things that interest me, in case you don’t follow the same blogs I do.

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more on culture

See Scott Aniol’s review of a presentation [pdf only] by Sam Dawson for more on culture and the Christian perspective towards it. This is excellent. We need to get a better grasp of what culture is and how Christians should relate to it.

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an old timer on social action

Jon Trainer and Champ Thornton are talking about social action and whether there is a mandate for the church to engage in such activities. You can read some of their articles here, here, and here.

I am not sure where Jon and Champ will end up on this question, but for myself I see  no mandate at all for social action as a ministry of the church (except perhaps direct help for church members in crisis). As a Christian individual, I believe I should be kind and helpful to all as I come in contact with needs, but this really isn’t the mission of the church.

While I was working away on Romans today, I ran across a little essay in one of my commentaries on the social gospel. It is by William R. Newell, one-time assistant superintendent of Moody Bible Institute (under R. A. Torrey) and a fine Bible teacher and evangelist in his own right.

Newell left Moody in 1910 to take a Presbyterian pastorate in Florida. He published his commentary on Romans in 1938. He died in 1956.

This essay is from the Romans commentary.

William R. Newell, Romans verse by verse, pp. 46-51

TO THE PREACHERS OF “THE SOCIAL GOSPEL”

This is the doctrine that Jesus Christ came to reform society (whatever “society” may be!); that He came to abate the evils of selfishness, give a larger “vision” to mankind; and, through His example and precepts, bring about such a change in human affairs, social, political, economic and domestic, as would realize all man’s deep longings for a peaceful, happy existence upon earth, ushering in what these teachers are pleased to call, “the Kingdom of God.”

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speaking of culture

The late Dr. Walter Fremont of Bob Jones University, well-beloved by his students and those who knew him, had a few good things to say from time to time. An article from a BJU publication, Balance, is available on the BJU Press web-site: Genuine Christians Can Make a Difference.

Dr. Fremont lists five important influences in a declining culture:

  1. A redefinition of sin. …
  2. The breakdown of the home and family. …
  3. Communication media. …
  4. Rock music. …
  5. Materialism. …

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uh oh . . . blogging kills

Some of us may need to ease off a bit….

They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.

This from the New York Times. It must be true, then. Here’s the link: In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop.

PC World is also reporting on this. Blogging to an Early Grave?

Be warned!

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more excellent stuff on culture

By Kent Brandenburg … check it out here: Culture Decay—But Who Cares? part one.

Since this is part one, I assume there is more to follow. A key paragraph:

Like I said, we knew self dominates the world, but what’s different is that now Christians are also about self. A lot of terrain on the Christian blogosphere is dedicated to defense of selfish pursuits. They have staked out their love of booze, the movie theater, dance, rock music, dating touching, and a casual dress philosophy. These are all activities, which have historically been rejected by Christians, but not anymore.

Lest anyone misunderstand the emphasis, be sure to note this paragraph also, commenting on critiquing worldly externals:

So yes, the insides matter the most, but his outsides are also wrong. They conform to the world. His externals haven’t been transformed by the renewing of his mind. His body isn’t a living sacrifice and isn’t acceptable to God. In addition to his spiritual feebleness, he’s also not fashioning himself in a godly manner.

Good stuff, Kent, keep it coming.

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conflict is not the same as chaos

So says Walter Russell Mead in a column today found at ChristianityToday.com. Entitled “Why Culture War May Never End“, the article argues that there is liberty and safety in humanity when there is freedom for conflict. Here is the concluding paragraph:

Conflict is not the same as chaos. It may be that in a fallen world, we need the excesses of each party to be held in check by the other parties. The idea that the imposition of a single perfect program on the state and on government, on the country, is the way to perfect happiness for mankind is an old and constant dream in the world. Given that human beings are fallen and that our reasoning processes can be skewed, our understandings of justice distorted, it may be that this kind of open society, which is one of competition and contestation, may over time be the best way for human beings.

Conflict isn’t easy. For those not directly involved in the conflict, it is often seen as unnecessary. Those most stridently involved are often seen as the culprits in the exchange, even if they are reacting to real error.

Mead is making his point about the benefits of conflict in an open society especially for the cause of individual liberty and freedom. I would like to make an application to the world of Christendom.

Consider, for example, the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversies of the 1920s.

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Ezra and the world

The Jews were exiled to Babylon between 605 and 586 BC. The first deportation should have served as a warning to the nation, but their continued rebellion to God resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and final exile of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar in 586.

Seventy years after the first deportation, in keeping with Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Jews began to return. This return and the subsequent rebuilding of the temple occupy Ezra 1-6. In rebuilding the temple, the Jews were enticed to cooperate with the Samaritans, descendants of the remnants of Israel and intermixed with other nations who worshipped the true God and many false gods as well. The leaders of the Jews in the first return strongly rejected this entanglement, though it cost them years in rebuilding the temple:

Ezra 4:3 But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ households of Israel said to them, “You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us.”

After 20 years, the temple finally was rebuilt. Another fifty-seven years passed. Now Ezra led a second return to the land. Did he find a holy people, separate from the world?

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