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What I Read Online – 12/09/2011 (a.m.)

09 Dec
    • Some say that Bunyan’s famous allegory about Pilgrim’s journey to the Celestial City is second only to the Bible itself in the number of copies sold worldwide. Sadly, much of what Bunyan wrote has been forgotten. Included here are all Bunyan’s Works as edited by George Offor in 1862.
    • Although Bunyan describes a gradual external change towards religion, it was his radical encounter with God’s grace that led to his regeneration and conversion.
    • It is significant to note that while Bunyan is remembered mostly for his novels, he was first and foremost a preacher of the Word of God.
    • After twelve years in prison Bunyan was released and immediately began pastoring a congregation in Bedfordshire, which grew upwards to 4,000 members. Five years later Bunyan would be imprisoned again for preaching. Yet whether he was in jail or out of jail, Bunyan staunchly proclaimed the truth of God through preaching and writing.
    • If we honestly look at the scientific data we have, it is clear that the earth has been designed with a lot of forethought. As a result, rather than flying off the handle as soon as we see the earth undergoing a systematic change, we should think about the negative feedback mechanisms that exist in any well designed system. If we do that, we will lose the hysteria and will be able to concentrate on serious scientific analysis.
    • Jaroslav Pelikan:

       

      The oldest surviving sermon of the Christian church after the New Testament opened with the words: “Brethren, we ought so to think of Jesus Christ as of God, as the judge of living and dead. And we ought not to belittle our salvation; for when we belittle him, we expect also to receive little.”

       

      The oldest surviving account of the death of a Christian martyr contained the declaration: “It will be impossible for us to forsake Christ . . . or to worship any other. For him, being the Son of God, we adore, but the martyrs . . . we cherish.”

       

      The oldest surviving pagan report about the church described Christians as gathering before sunrise and “singing a hymn to Christ as to [a] god.”

       

      The oldest surviving liturgical prayer of the church was a prayer addressed to Christ: “Our Lord, come!”

       

      Clearly it was the message of what the church believed and taught that “God” was an appropriate name for Jesus Christ.

       

      —Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), p. 173; emphasis added.

    • We love to attack celebrity pastors for the same reason we love to attack celebrities generally: it makes us feel superior and self-righteous.
    • Instead of slander, we should thank God for the ways we can learn from them, while being discerning about the ways we might disagree with them philosophically or theologically. We should also recognize that jealousy is an ugly beast, and it inevitably (and tragically) colors our view of others’ success. Instead of giving that jealousy roots in a critical spirit, we should pray for these leaders, that God would protect them from inevitable attacks and from sin that would bring shame on the church.
    • This is where reflection upon the church’s creedal formulations can be helpful, given the fact that they summarise in brief compass biblical teaching.  They also serve a particularly important function in establishing boundaries beyond which one cannot pass without compromising biblical orthodoxy.   
    • The Creeds are there to help us.  They represent the collective wisdom of the church, tried and tested over the generations.  As we prepare to preach on the Incarnation this year, it would be foolish and indeed ungrateful of us not to use them to make our preaching better.
    • A Satisfied Christmas
    • One danger with this new movement, then, is that if the gospel occupies the “essential” category (and it should!), then everything else will be consigned to the “unimportant” bin.
    • So now my warning: don’t let your gospel-centrality become gospel essentialism, which leads to gospel reductionism. Yes, make the gospel the center of your life, and your church’s life. But don’t make it sound as if the gospel is the only thing that matters.
    • This article is Part 4 of a series covering the content of my out-of-print book “God. science and evolution” first published in 1980. Although inevitably out of date in some respects, its message is, I believe, just as important today as it was 31 years ago. In this chapter (chapter three of the original book) I examined the importance and feasibility of constructing a biblical ‘theology of science’, a theme that continues in the following chapter which I will post here in due course as Part 5. Added comments and updates are enclosed in [square brackets] in the text. References to my book Who made God? are abbreviated to ‘WMG’.
    • So if Jesus is worthy of praise because he died for us and saved us, how clear is that fact in the songs we’re singing at church this Christmas season? Are we choosing songs, hymns, and carols that help people celebrate the one who came as the “Savior who died for sinners” or songs, hymns, and carols that help people celebrate the Christmas season?
    • Starting at 9:00AM Eastern on Friday, November 25th, all ebooks at Shepherd Press will be on sale for just 99 cents each! The sale lasts through the end of December.

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

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Posted by on 09/12/2011 in Current Issues

 

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