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What I Read Online – 09/17/2010 (p.m.)

17 Sep
    • Not to exaggerate, but reading Andrée Seu’s latest article felt a bit like a punch in the gut.
    • But now she is saying that she is convinced Glenn Beck is “a new creation in Christ,” even though he is a practicing and believing Mormon.
    • First, we should recognize that Andrée Seu’s conclusion is a temptation that is common to all (1 Cor. 10:13a). It is easy to hear passion and mistake it for true spiritual zeal. It is easy to be moved by talk of having faith in Jesus, without asking who the person understands Jesus to be.
    • Secondly, more than ever we need to be clear that Mormonism is fundamentally incompatible with biblical Christianity—starting with the most basic building block that Christians are Trinitarian monotheists (one God in three persons) and Mormons are polytheists (more than one god). It is a religion founded by a false prophet.
    • Third, we simply cannot assume the gospel. Several pastors and theologians have been beating this drum for a while now, but it needs to get louder. Is there any better demonstration of this than Ms. Seu’s line, “I can say without hesitation that I have not heard the essentials of the gospel more clearly and boldly in any church than on his program.” Despite what mainline evangelicalism has taught for years, the gospel is not “I trusted in Jesus and he changed my life.” Two things (at minimum) on this topic: (1) Listen to D.A. Carson’s talk, “What Is the Gospel?“, then (2) Read Greg Gilbert’s What Is the Gospel?
    • Finally, we have to have a grid for thinking through degrees of error, damnable beliefs, essential beliefs, etc.
    • But any thinking convert will inquire further about this Jesus. While he may not know much more at the point of conversion than Jesus is the Lord who has saved him, he will quickly learn about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, deity and humanity, and relation to the other two members of the Trinity. Anyone who rejects these core doctrines should fear for their soul.
    • If Glenn Beck is a Mormon, he knowingly denies beliefs that one must believe in order to be saved. Let us pray that he leaves this religion in order to embrace the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, and his atoning cross-work so that he has fellowship by grace alone through faith alone with the Triune God.
    • Let’s face it.  Apologetics is out of favour with the church today in many quarters.  The situation is no different here in Australia.  But churches are nonetheless participating in apologetics without intending to, tacitly responding to reasonable concerns with a subtle message that they do not matter.  In this dismissive climate, any attempt to allay sceptical questions is undermined and rendered feeble.  The whole enterprise is arguably doing harm to the cause of the gospel.
    • So at the risk of awkwardness, we must talk about the facts of life. It is true that marriage is, in part, an emotional union, and it is also true that spouses often take care of each other and thereby reduce the caregiving burden on other people. But neither of these truths is the fundamental reason for marriage. The reason marriage exists is that the sexual intercourse of men and women regularly produces children. If it did not produce children, neither society nor the government would have much reason, let alone a valid reason, to regulate people’s emotional unions. (The government does not regulate non-marital friendships, no matter how intense they are.) If mutual caregiving were the purpose of marriage, there would be no reason to exclude adult incestuous unions from marriage. What the institution and policy of marriage aims to regulate is sex, not love or commitment. These days, marriage regulates sex (to the extent it does regulate it) in a wholly non-coercive manner, sex outside of marriage no longer being a crime.
    • Marriage exists, in other words, to solve a problem that arises from sex between men and women but not from sex between partners of the same gender: what to do about its generativity. It has always been the union of a man and a woman (even in polygamous marriages in which a spouse has a marriage with each of two or more persons of the opposite sex) for the same reason that there are two sexes: It takes one of each type in our species to perform the act that produces children. That does not mean that marriage is worthwhile only insofar as it yields children. (The law has never taken that view.) But the institution is oriented toward child-rearing. (The law has taken exactly that view.) What a healthy marriage culture does is encourage adults to arrange their lives so that as many children as possible are raised and nurtured by their biological parents in a common household.
    • In addition, it was the culture of revivalism that I finger as the main culprit in the majority of Christian teens who walked away from God in my high school years. They found their crisis decisions lasted fewer and fewer days and hours over time, like the diminishing returns of drugs or pornography. Unless something harder and more extreme was sought, eventually no emotion could be stirred by that kind of preaching and hearts grew cold. Kids stopped going to camp because they knew it would cost too much money to buy new cassettes of their favorite rock music a week after they broke them upon returning from camp. Other teens accepted the challenge to just try harder and attended more extreme schools such as Hyles-Anderson and Fairhaven and either drank the Kool-Aid (the equivalent of a spiritual lobotomy) or disappeared entirely from the spiritual radar once they were completely burned out. Few exceptions to these generalizations exist.
    • As you can see from the trailer, the genius of this video is that it’s not just Keller teaching on apologetics, but rather he models it by sitting down before the cameras with a number of doubters and skeptics as they seek to have an intelligent and civil conversation on the things that matter most. I haven’t seen the DVD yet, but it looks very winsome and helpful.
    • “Parents, if you love your children, do all that lies within your power to train them to have a habit of prayer. Show them how to begin. Tell them what to say. Encourage them to persevere. Remind them that if they become careless and slack about it. Let it not be your fault, if they never call on the name of the Lord.

      “Remember, that this is the first step in religion which a child is able to take. Long before he can read, you can teach him to kneel by his mother’s side, and repeat the simple words of prayer and praise which she puts in his mouth. And as the first steps in any undertaking are always the most important, so is the manner in which your children’s prayers are prayed, a point which deserves your closest attention. Few seem to know how much depends on this. You must be careful that they don’t say their prayers in a hasty, careless, and irreverent manner.

      “Oh, dear friend, if you love your children, I charge you, do not let the early impression of a habit of prayer slip by. If you train your children to do anything, train them, at least, to have a habit of prayer.”

      ~ J.C. Ryle

      The Upper Room, “The Duties of Parents”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1970], 294, 295.

    • This is the aspect that many students don’t realize they need just as critically as they need theological training or skills in biblical languages. But the truth is, more men wash out of ministry because of character issues than doctrinal deviation.
    • This personal relationship had a profound impact on Gregory. “Through Origen’s friendship with him, Gregory learned to love Christ, the Word, but he also began to love Origen, ‘the friend and interpreter of the Word’” (p. 269). Only when this relationship became personal, was Gregory finally persuaded to give up those objects that stood in the way of Christian maturity. The master had to first know and love his students before he could cultivate their souls, and like a skilled husbandman, bring forth fruit from an uncultivated field. “To correct, reprove, exhort, and encourage his students, the master had to know their habits, attitudes, and desires. Origen’s love for his disciples was part of the process of formation” (p. 270).
    • Obviously, it may be that a marriage is impossible. She might, of course, refuse to marry you. But, so far as it is possible with you, I think you ought to make peace out of this situation. The shalom God shows to us from the beginning includes the nurturing of children in a stable, intact family. Repent of your sin, receive the forgiveness of Christ, and move forward with your responsibilities. You’re a father now.
    • R.C. Sproul A Man Called By God

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

 
 

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