What I Read Online – 09/13/2011 (a.m.)

    • But is this a healthy way for Christians to watch sport? Of course on one level it’s harmless and is all part of the fun. But on another level, I sometimes wonder whether it shows that we haven’t fully grasped how deeply and radically our identity is altered by being followers of Jesus.
    • For the Christian, everything that matters about our personal identity is now bound up with Jesus Christ.
    • I believe every Christian needs to develop a deeper understanding of this great truth: everything that matters about us and about our identity is found in Jesus. If you’re a Christian, your relationship with Jesus – nothing else, and no one else – defines you.
    • More importantly, this is an enormously liberating truth in every area of life. It frees us from the tyranny of worrying about what other people think of us (while also making us pay a lot more attention to what God thinks of us!). It frees us from trying to prove ourselves to God to win his approval, or to others. It frees us from the potentially crushing burdens of our past, and it redefines our futures. It drives us to obedience to God, and away from conformity to the world.
    • I gotta be honest, I still scratch my head when I read that statement. I don’t want to accuse Keller of being dishonest, but I have a hard time believing that he doesn’t know the answer to that question. For one thing, this statement from his church, though it doesn’t address this specific question, seems out of sync with this rather agnostic response. In fact, if given another opportunity, I tend to think that Keller would answer differently.
    • Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers by Reb Bradley
    • Having Self-Centered Dreams
    • Raising Family as an Idol
    • Emphasizing Outward Form
    • Tending to Judge
    • Depending on Formulas
    • Over-Dependence on Authority and Control.
    • Over-Reliance Upon Sheltering
    • Not Passing On a Pure Faith
    • Not Cultivating a Loving Relationship With Our Children
    • I am convinced that the most contagious parenting is living a heartfelt faith before your children.
    • During the first few months of the school year, I found myself passionately wanting the oddest things (and talking about them passionately to my husband, who will confirm that I became just a tad neurotic). It seems I want my daughter to:
    • These desires lead to all kinds of strange behaviour. Like constant, nagging reminders about homework and music practice. Like asking my daughter if she needs more fashionable clothes (gulp!) and exploring the trendy teen stores a week before she goes to camp. Like frequent, irritating questions about her friendships. Like talking a lot, in front of her, about whether our church serves her needs.
    • But without me noticing, these goals grow bigger than God. I worry and nag. I spend more than I should (and teach my daughter to do the same). I get angry and impatient. I talk about things that don’t matter. I try to shape my daughter to my desires. Our relationship, predictably enough, suffers; and her godliness suffers too.
    • In other words, the ears of faith are free to hear a commandment without a condition because the Christian conscience listens not to the condition and curse of the Law, but to the Christ in whom there is no condemnation (Rom 8.1).
    • This does not mean that Luther didn’t think those portions of scripture that we think of as Law should be preached to Christians; he emphatically did (as his disputations against the Antinomians and his expositions of the Ten Commandments in the Catechisms demonstrate). But it does mean that “Law” is a slightly misleading term in this context because Law, for Luther, is defined by its “chief and proper use” which is “to reveal sin” and function as a “Hercules to attack and subdue the monster” of self-righteousness (Galatians 1535). Defined this way, Law only applies to the Christian insofar as they are still sinful. (For Luther, a third use of the Law – a phrase his younger colleague Melanchthon coined in 1534 and which Luther never adopted – can only mean that the first two uses still apply to the Christian because while they are righteous they are simultaneously sinful).  Insofar as the Christian is justified by faith, however, the Law has ended – and precisely because the Law has ended as a voice of condemnation, because it has been divested of its saving significance, a commandment can be heard by the ears of faith without a condition. Passive and receptive before God, the justified person is free to be active and giving toward the neighbor.
    • In other words, there will always be a temptation to preach or teach what could or should be – that is, a context in which a command is not a condition – without attending to the way such a command is still heard as Law – as an “if” and thus as judgment – by the sinful, doubting human.
    • However, we’ve known for quite some time that at least some antibiotic resistance did not evolve after the production of antibiotics. Instead, it existed before antibiotics were developed.
    • suggests that of all people Calvinists should be the most humble and gentle
    • Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles to the exercise of gentleness and moderation
    • It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers. If ever such defences were seasonable and expedient, they appear to be so in our day, when errors abound on all sides, and every truth of the Gospel is either directly denied, or grossly misrepresented.
    • And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which at most are but of a secondary value.
    • This shews, that, if the service is honourable, it is dangerous.
    • Be on your guard against admitting any thing personal into the debate
    • The wisdom that is from above is not only pure, but peaceable and gentle
    • If you can be content with shewing your wit, and gaining the laugh on your side, you have an easy task; but I hope you have a far nobler aim, and that, sensible of the solemn importance of Gospel truths, and the compassion due to the souls of men, you would rather be a mean of removing prejudices in a single instance, than obtain the empty applause of thousands
    • As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord’s teaching and blessing
    • f you account him a believer, though greatly mistaken in the subject of debate between you, the words of David to Joab, concerning Absalom, are very applicable: “Deal gently with him for my sake.”
    • But if you look upon him as an unconverted person, in a state of enmity against God and his grace, (a supposition which, without good evidence, you should be very unwilling to admit,) he is a more proper object of your compassion than your anger.
    • So, praise the Lord! Seriously! I’m not being flip. It’s actually quite difficult to take two self-centered people and move them toward making a lifetime commitment to each other. Marriage is an act of grace in action.
    • My first answer is that of course God is still good if we pray and remain single. Marriage is a gift for this life alone. If we have received forgiveness for our sins and life eternal, we have already received the biggest and best gift and one that is for all eternity. We didn’t miss out on God’s very best.
    • Secondly, if we are still alive, the story of God’s grace in our lives is still being written.
    • This passage makes it very easy for us to understand that all we can do is pray, be thankful, and avoid anxiousness, which leads to bitterness. We’re not in charge of the answers. We’re in charge of the petitions. So, petition away!
    • But be thankful in those petitions.
    • First, what biblical principles are important to keep in mind?
    • Second, what institutional policies make sense?
    • Third, what cultural dynamics are in play?
    • A healthy gospel-centered local church will wholeheartedly embrace the stewardship of nurturing a healthy pastor and pastoral staff.
    • As a pastor, I learned the hard way that my ministry was either propelled by hope-motivating rest in God’s sovereignty or fear-inducing belief that success would be the result of me controlling everything
    • To begin with, my wife and I brought children into this world who thought they didn’t need us! Each of them at some point fell into believing they were far more knowledgeable and capable than they really were. They all assumed that their intentions were noble and their plans sound. They all thought they were capable of determining what was best, even when they lacked important information and experience. They simply felt they were in possession of a better way.
    • And he knows that real rest cannot be found in understanding. Real rest is found in trust.
    • The key question, however, is whether Webb is right about corporal punishment. The answer is no.
    • That leads to a second objection. Finding the same words for the punishment of slaves, criminals, fools, and children does not justify lumping the texts together in an indiscriminate manner
    • Despite Webb’s protests, he fails to perceive the genre differences between regulations in the Torah and proverbial statements.
    • Proverbial statements are of a different nature than legal material, requiring insight and reflection in terms of application. They shouldn’t be equated with punishments in legal contexts, for it seems rather heavy-handed and hermeneutically lead-footed to conclude that since physical punishments are mentioned in the same texts they must have been understood in the same way.
    • I would argue that such a principle means that wisdom and prudence should be applied in understanding Proverbs, which means corporal punishment for children is not administered in the same way it is applied to law-breakers and adults. Nor is it evident, just because both fools and children are flogged, that the punishments would be of the same nature and to the same extent. Again, such readings are mechanical and forced, failing to see what anyone with wisdom in ancient Israel would see: There is massive difference between adult fools and children. Using the same word for children and fools does not mean they are in the same category! It seems to me that the wise application of what we find in Proverbs is well represented by those Webb criticizes: Dobson, Mohler, Wegner, Grudem, and Köstenberger.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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