What I Read Online – 01/31/2012 (a.m.)

    • Today feminists are grasping for straws, insisting that equality means that we cannot accept differences between the sexes. Certainly as a mother I’m concerned with providing my children — our daughters and our son — with balance; but I don’t want to deny any of them those instincts or interests that come naturally — whether it’s princesses or trucks. In the end, men and women — boys and girls — are different, and they have different preferences, aptitudes, and interests.
    • Perhaps the most pernicious part of the modern feminist movement is the idea that girls shouldn’t be girls. But conflating equality with uniformity isn’t the answer. Because, in the end, to be different is what sets us apart.
    • Don’t rest on past reading. Read your Bible more and more every year. Read it whether you feel like reading it or not. And pray without ceasing that the joy return and pleasures increase.
    • Do not think you are getting no good from the Bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day. The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise, and are most easily observed. The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced.

       

      Think of the influence of the moon upon the earth, and of the air upon the human lungs. Remember how silently the dew falls, and how imperceptibly the grass grows. There may be far more doing than you think in your soul by your Bible-reading. (J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 136)

    • Not that the boys weren’t a delight: but a delight like surf-bathing which leaves one breathless and aching. The energy, the tempo, is what kills.
    • I have now perceived (what I always suspected from memories of our childhood) that the way to a child’s heart is quite simple: treat them with seriousness and ordinary civility — they ask no more. What they can’t stand (quite rightly) is the common adult assumption that everything they say should be twisted into a kind of jocularity.
    • It however went swimmingly, though it was very exhausting; the energy of the American small boy is astonishing.
    • Without being in the least priggish, they stuck us as being amazingly adult by our standards and one could talk to them as one would to ‘grown-ups’ — though the next moment they would be wrestling like puppies on the sitting room floor. The highlights of England for them are open coal fires, especially if they can get hold of the billows and blow it up…
    • Whew! Lovely creatures — couldn’t meet nicer children — but the pace! I realize have never respected young married people enough and never dreamed of the Sabbath calm which descends on the house when the little cyclones have gone to bed and all the grown-ups fling themselves into chairs and the silence of exhaustion.
    • T.D. Jakes has a history of holding to, teaching, and associating with modalism, and ER2 was a forum wherein he would be assumed to be a “brother”.
    • The “Word of Faith” gospel he preaches is heterodox and harmful. 
    • Jakes’s influence in the Dallas Metroplex has been negative, at best. 
    • Bishop Jakes is an example of the worst the black church has to offer. 
    • If he were mistreated, he had the race card; if he was accepted, he had entree into a new audience.  It was a win-win for Jakes, and a lose-lose for evangelicalism.
    • Moreover, I rejected the invitation because I did not want to give even the appearance of tokenism.  The participants in the Elephant Room (and ER2), though they disagree methodologically on how we “get there,” are all virtually identical in their general profile.  They are all successful mega-church pastors who have leveraged innovative and/or controversial methodologies to grow their churches, media empires, and/or pare-church ministries.  I, on the other hand, am a pastor serving at a church with less than five hundred members; I’m not on television or radio; and my books aren’t best sellers.  I don’t fit the profile!  Whether MacDonald meant to or not, he was painting a picture of tokenism.  If he meant it, I didn’t want to be used, and if he didn’t mean it, I didn’t want to be the source of misunderstanding
    • This did not go over well with James MacDonald.  Upon my arrival at the church the next day, he and I sat down (along with my assistant and several members of his staff) and had a candid conversation about my decision to answer questions in a public forum.  Ultimately, we agreed that it was not a good idea for me to speak at the conference.  MacDonald had already made arrangements for a replacement speaker.  My assistant and I were escorted to a waiting car and taken back to the airport.
    • First, I believe T.D. Jakes is wrong on the doctrine of the Trinity, and wrong on the gospel.  I am also involved directly in a matter (the ER2 controversy) that has brought discussion of those facts to light.  Consequently, my mandate to “hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9) obligates me to be on record in the matter. 
    • Second, the racial overtones of this matter have gotten out of hand (see here, for example), and must be addressed.  The ER2 controversy is now pitting black evangelicals against white evangelicals, and against each other with T.D. Jakes as the centerpiece.  This is an opportunity to pull back the curtain on the awkward racial dynamic in evangelical circles.  Race is a convenient ‘dodge’ for those with weak arguments, and an inconvenient truth for those who harbor prejudice.  Beyond that, it is an absolutely confusing subject for myriad evangelicals who simply love Christ, love his church, and want desperately not to offend their brothers and sisters in the Lord by using “black” when they should have used “African American,” or vice versa! 
    • I’m not angry with James MacDonald.  He’s my brother, and I love him.  We disagree.  We both understand that.  Ironically, that’s what The Elephant Room is supposedly all about.  Brothers should be able to disagree with one another and still be brothers.  There’s just one problem:  Embracing Jakes while rejecting others because we question his history of modalism and Word of Faith teaching… that’s the real “Elephant in the Room”?
    • It has led to a marginalizing of apologetics, such that its subject matter is reserved only for the specially-trained; apologetics is the domain of the egghead. It has also led to an over-intellectualizing such that the focus has been almost exclusively on the mind; it has little to do with matters of the heart, with the whole person.
    • So, clearly, setting up base camp in the rarified air of philosophy will not do for apologetics; it must be able to address challenges from all comers and every quarter, and to respond in a way that both truthfully addresses the challenge and also offers the truth of the gospel. And this requires biblical revelation.
    • So, the common ground between the Christian and non-Christian is not, foundationally, what we agree together to affirm, nor is it some assumed common source like the “deliverances of reason” or “laws of thinking” (though on the surface these may look the same). The common ground that we all have is that all that we have, are and know comes from the same Triune God, and we know that it does
    • 100 years ago today, Francis Schaeffer was born. Here are some blog posts and articles that celebrate his contribution to evangelicalism

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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