What I Read Online – 02/29/2012 (a.m.)

    • Firstly, when you make announcements, please remember that outsiders might be present.
    • Secondly, remember that personal invitations are always more effective than a blanket invitation from the front
    • Thirdly, if possible, get people doing notices to prepare beforehand
    • Fourthly, at the same time, don’t make announcement time too ‘slick’. Personally, I’m big on our public gatherings running smoothly and cohesively. But this becomes unhelpful and alienating if we push it too far. To some extent this depends on the size and demographics of your congregation, but don’t create an environment where only the gifted public speakers feel like their notices are up to scratch.
    • Lastly, don’t do your notices a certain way “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
    • What if we approached our notices as not just a way to pass on information, but as a way of encouraging each other and spurring one another on to love and good deeds?
    • For starters, announcements should be a call to prayer.
    • Coming out in 2012 is the documentary Half Devil Half Child which follows missionaries in Bangladesh who are preaching in secret to the Muslim world. They are facing opposition from other Western Missionaries who are allowing Muslim “Christians” to continue to live and act like Muslims. This teaser clip speaks to the issue we brought up last week concerning the removal of offensive words in Bible translations being produced for Muslims.
    • The human kind is actually one family, with one set of ancestors for us all. God acted specially (or “supernaturally”) to form our first parents, Adam and Eve. Our first ancestors, at the headwaters of the human race, brought sin and dysfunction into the world of human life.
    • But even a word of warning is obligated to represent accurately and fairly the person warned against; and Professor Belcher has not met that obligation. For example, he says of me, “he actually says that the Bible should be understood as non-literal, pictorial, and symbolic (pp. 17, 20, 31).” I say no such thing, as any reader who checks his page references and reads them in context will discover. I do say — and I know of no evangelical who disagrees with this — that biblical writers can make use of pictorial and symbolic language to communicate historical truth. And I also say — and here there is debate among evangelicals — that this is the case in Gen 1-11 (which I address in great detail in the book). My emphasis throughout, however, is that the use of such language does not take away from the historicity of the events described (see especially my discussion on pages 16-19).
    • Often, even when depression or anxiety is rooted in non-physiological reasons, the person is so far gone that medication is necessary to start working on the root issues. But, remember, for most people, there is no drug that will bring about psychic flourishing. What the drug is meant to do is to “numb” the person to the pain of depression and anxiety.
    • Don’t just medicalize that anxiety. Rehearse the gospel you’ve embraced, and pray, alone and with others, and seek the kind of counsel that can bring about the necessary life-change to cope with whatever seems so hopeless right now.
    • The “normal” human life isn’t what is marketed to us by the pharmaceutical industry or by the lives we see projected on movie screens, or, frankly, by a lot of Christian sermons and praise songs. The normal human life is the life of Jesus of Nazareth, who sums up in himself everything it means to be human (Eph. 1:10). And the life of Christ presented to us in the Gospels is a life of joy, of fellowship, of celebration, but also of loneliness, of profound sadness, of lament, of grief, of anger, of suffering, all without sin.
    • There are some Christians who believe any psychiatric drug is a spiritual rejection of the Bible’s authority. I’m not one of them. But there are other Christians who seem to think, with the culture around us, that everything is material and can be solved by material means. I don’t think that’s right either.
    • What Packer contributes to the debate is the observation that the apostle John already faced this ambiguity when he wrote his Gospel. And he points out that the way John dealt with it was not by rejecting the terms Father and Son, but by making clear in the context what they mean. My conviction is that we should take the risks John did, and let the New Testament context do its work the way he intended.
    • In addition to context, there are teachers. The ascended Christ gave teachers to his church to explain things (Ephesians 4:11). And he sent us to the nations to proclaim and to teach (Matthew 28:20). And if we are to teach like Paul (five hours a day in the hall of Tyrannus in pagan Ephesus for two years, Acts 19:9–10) we will need a solid, accurate, reliable text that can bear rigorous scrutiny.

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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