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What I Read Online – 03/07/2013 (a.m.)

07 Mar
    • Re-watching Q & A is a fascinating case study. John Dickson offers a wonderful example of how to winsomely yet clearly confront the challenge of atheistic naturalism, while pointing clearly to the truth of Jesus. But watching Dr Krauss drown in a sea of nothingness while blindly importing non-scientific ideas into his supposedly scientific worldview reminded me of the old adage: I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist
    • Framing the question of marijuana in the broader context of drugs and their role within our world, though, would make pastors and churches more attentive to the “respectable drugs” that we depend on without reflection or concern. Cannabis may be used to provide a certain sort of mild euphoria, for relaxation, for amusement, or to alleviate pain. Whether these sorts of goods should be induced with external stimulation, rather than by pursuing them in the context of forming a virtuous character and cultivating a restful, social life, is the pressing question. But when we examine first the question of drug use more generically, the issue comes closer to home for many of us. Should we seek the energy to get through our day from a Monster or Five-Hour Energy (or chronic coffee intake)? Or do we use these drinks to compensate for our vices or sub-biblical commitments to rest and sabbath?
    • I don’t mean to suggest that recreational marijuana use is licit and that caffeine and alcohol are not (or vice versa). Instead, I want to highlight the place of drugs within our lives more broadly. For in providing moral guidance from the pulpit and elsewhere, pastors should go beyond telling people what they can and cannot do. They must go to the heart of the life from which the question arises, in order to discern whether and how it fails to conform with the gospel.
    • Drug use of various kinds highlights our culture’s fundamental commitments and raises questions about how we interact with those commitments as Christians. Just how far does the therapeutic mentality infiltrate our churches? The fastest-growing segment of drug use seems to be painkillers and prescription medicines. Such “white collar” abuses reveal the same sort of escapist mentality that marijuana may foster in different social contexts. 

       

    • But our answer points in a different direction. We say we want to develop a culture of discipling, and a culture of evangelism, and a culture of hospitality. And so we offer tools, not programs.
    • The local church, in short, is the embassy where we show up for work, where we learn to be ambassadors who evangelize and disciple, and where we display an otherworldly culture that shines like stars in the dark night sky (Phil. 2:15).

       

    • Train and equip one another for being Christians
    • Christians gather on the Lord’s Day to be trained to disciple and evangelize on Monday to Saturday
    • Center the church’s weekly gathering around the gospel
    • Every text should be preached with a view to the canonical and Christocentric horizon. Songs should point to the gospel. Sins should be confessed in corporate prayer, and thanks given for forgiveness
    • Preach all of Scripture
    • Apply sermons and small group lessons corporately
    • Bible teachers instinctively apply biblical texts to individuals. But most of us could get better at applying texts corporately
    • Encourage church members to build their lives into one another’s
    • De-clutter the church calendar
    • Cancelling some of those programs might give the saints more time for discipling and evangelism
    • Provide tools for evangelism and discipleship
    • Pray together about evangelism and good works
    • Churches do well, I believe, to look for ways to share kingdom concerns with the whole body and then pray about them. Our church does this in a highly regulated Sunday night prayer meeting. About two-thirds of the members come.
    • Highlight the saints by practicing church membership and fencing the table
    • Practice church discipline
    • Live near the church
    • Commit for the long-term
    • The greatest need which a man ever has of the spiritual doctrine of our Lord is when His hand visits him with afflictions, whether of disease or other evils, and especially at the hour of death, for then he feels more strongly than ever in his life before pressed in conscience, both by the judgment of God, to which he sees himself born to be called, and the assaults of the devil, who then uses all his efforts to beat down the poor person, and overwhelm him in confusion.

       

      • People need the gospel more than ever when they are ill.
      • Remind the sick from the word of God that God is sovereign over their illness and has sent it for their good.
      • If the illness is severe, comfort the sick with the sure knowledge that those who die in the Lord have nothing to fear.
      • If the sick consider their sins to be light and trivial, teach them of the justice of God and call them to embrace the mercy of Christ.
      • If the sick are afflicted in their consciences, help them find rest in Christ.
      • Don’t be afraid to bring some small token of physical relief—books, flowers, balloons, games, movies, a homemade card.
    • According to Answers in Genesis, an icon of the modern young-earth creationist movement has passed into Glory. Dr. Duane T. Gish was a popular author among creationists, especially in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. I read many of his books over the years, including Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record, Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics, and Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! While I did not agree with everything he wrote, I found his books incredibly helpful.

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

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Posted by on 07/03/2013 in Current Issues

 

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