What I Read Online – 12/04/2012 (a.m.)

    • The richness of those experiences can tempt leaders to think our ultimate goal is helping people experience the presence of God. Well, yes and no. If “helping people” means doing everything I can to exalt the glory of Jesus in their minds, hearts, and wills through biblically informed words and actions, then yes. But if my goal is to have people “feel something,” and if the measure of my success is the degree of emotional fervor in the room,  I’ll tend to use what ever means I can to produce that emotional response. I may start to believe my song, my leadership, my voice, my set list, or my playing will bring God’s presence. And it’s possible I’ll begin to view every experience, regardless of its source, as the result of an encounter with God.
    • no man can guarantee the active presence of God. And we shouldn’t try to manufacture it.
    • I recently received a promo for a Christian artist who said his ministry goal is to “take people into the presence of Jesus Christ where there, they are forever changed by His amazing love!” Actually, I can’t take people into the presence of Christ. But I can proclaim the gospel that assures us we have been brought near to the Father through the finished atoning work of Christ (Heb. 10:19-22). I leave it to the Holy Spirit to apply that to people’s hearts.
    • Often overlooked in this passage is that Paul understands a covenant to be something that you read; i.e., covenants are written documents. 
    • The likelihood that Paul views the new covenant as having written documents increases when we make the simple observation that Paul is claiming for himself this distinctive covenantal authority within a written letter to the Corinthians. And scholars have observed how this very letter functions as a “covenant lawsuit”against the Corinthians.[2] Thus, one could hardly fault the Corinthians if they regarded the letter itself as bearing some sort of covenantal authority.

       

      All in all, 2 Cor 3:14 provides a number of curious clues about the origins of a new canon of Scripture.

       

       
    • We reflect less frequently on the depravity which still infects those who have been saved by grace and reborn of the Spirit. This is a serious omission, for misunderstanding or underestimating the continuing corruption in the believer leaves the Christian unprepared for the warfare of sanctification and leads to a variety of spiritual problems…Depravity is still part of the believer’s reality. We not only fall victim to the depravity of others in this life, we continue to see the fruits of depravity in our own character and conduct. As the Westminster Confession puts it: “The corruption of nature remains in the regenerate during this life, and although it has been pardoned and mortified through Christ, yet both itself and all its tendencies are truly and properly sin” (WCF 6.5).
    • No where in my post did I deny the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit or the good works that necessarily flow from saving faith. To insinuate that I did is, again, a misunderstanding at best or a misrepresentation at worst. How Rick concludes that a blog post on remaining sin in Christians leads to “a virtual denial of the transforming effects of regeneration” is baffling. No where in my post did I downplay (or even address) the new nature that marks a Christian and the vitally important ways that Christian’s differ from non-Christians by virtue of their union with Christ–the fact that the Holy Spirit creates a love for the things God loves and a hatred for things God hates; the fact that the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit sets us free from sin and death and sets us free to love God and neighbor. That simply wasn’t the point of my short post.

       

      If Rick takes issue with something else I’ve said or written, well, I’m happy to engage with him privately. But as it concerns the particular post I wrote, I’m scratching my head wondering how he (as a Reformed pastor) could disagree with my clear thesis that even after God saves us there is no part of us that is sin free.

    • First, true preaching must come “from His word” because God speaks most specifically and regularly in His word
    • Second, true preaching must come “from His word” because man knows nothing
    • Third, true preaching must come “from His word” because that’s where God bears witness to His Son
    • First, a preacher without a Bible has no authority
    • Second, the preacher’s task is to explain and apply what God said
    • Third, the preacher should not go beyond what is written
    • Fourth, the preacher must never preach himself
    • There are differing versions of kenotic theories, depending on differing views of just what, exactly, Christ emptied. Whatever the version or view, however, kenoticism holds that Christ gave up some aspects, or perhaps all, of his essential deity. He ceased, in some way, or altogether, to be God. But Christians who want to maintain the label of “orthodox” or “evangelical” should recognize that no version of kenotic Christology can merge with such labels. Just as J. Gresham Machen chided liberalism for its dishonesty, so also here. One is free to hold such an aberrant view as kenoticism, but one is not free to pretend that such views are orthodox. Like liberalism, kenotic Christology cannot be transplanted into orthodox Christianity; it would be rightly rejected as a foreign substance in an otherwise healthy and growing body. The reasons for this are as basic as orthodoxy itself
    • At the end of this blog post you’ll find links to a booklet containing approximately 70 teaching outlines covering the whole Westminster Shorter Catechism. There are a number of good commentaries on this historic document. However, I could find little to help me move from these commentaries to simple and memorable teaching titles and outlines, or “skeletons” as they used to be called. My attempt to remedy this is found in these pages.

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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