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What I Read Online – 03/16/2012 (a.m.)

16 Mar
    • Nineteenth-century Baptist Francis Wayland suggests that there are basically two ways to fill a church (Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches, 43-47). One is to preach in a way that is agreeable and inoffensive to both believers and unbelievers. The other is to preach in a way that highlights the difference between true religion and mere profession, and thus creates a sharp contrast between the church and the world.
    • Anticipating the natural objection, Wayland writes, “But it will be said, Are we then to drive away all but the children of God?”

       

        His response compresses volumes of biblical wisdom into a mere five words: “I reply, Is there any Holy Ghost?”

       

        Wayland’s point is that this whole line of thinking assumes that it’s finally up to us to convert people. It’s up to us to get them into the church building. It’s up to us to stir up their interest in the sermon. And it’s up to us to change their hearts and get them to repent and believe the gospel.

       

        Wayland cuts through all of that by asking just whose power we’re depending on for the success of our ministry—ours, or the Holy Spirit’s?

    • It looks like preaching to dead people and praying that the Holy Spirit would give life as only he can (Eph. 2:1-3). It looks like shining the light of the gospel as brightly as you can, and praying that the Spirit would give people eyes to see it (2 Cor. 4:6). It looks like aiming for things only the Holy Spirit can give to people: new loves, new hearts, new lives, new selves.
    • There is little time in life for frivolous activity.  A busy schedule of teaching, preaching, speaking, researching, writing, and mentoring means that one has to plan carefully each day’s itinerary, including time for physical exercise.  Spouses and children, when present, can expect to have to make sacrifices for the scholar in their midst.  Witherington regularly thanks his wife for her sacrifices but never discloses what toll his work did or did not take on his family.  Although Witherington’s academic advice applies to all kinds of biblical scholars, not just Evangelical Christian ones, it is clear he cannot fully fathom why anyone would want to engage in the discipline from any other perspective.

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

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Posted by on 16/03/2012 in Current Issues

 

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