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What I Read Online – 04/02/2013 (a.m.)

02 Apr
    • The need for church development, so acute in China, exists wherever the gospel is bearing fruit.  Indeed, the proper goal of the church’s mission is not just to announce the good news to those who have not heard or to call unbelievers to faith and repentance; the church’s mission has always included establishing a well-ordered church in every land for the welfare of Godís people and perpetuation of the ministry.
    • The point here is this: the institutional form of the church outlined in Scripture and tersely described above is presbyterian. Particular Presbyterian and Reformed churches have developed highly refined polities which apply the basic principles of presbyterianism to the circumstances of their respective bodies and cultural contexts. No doubt, in time, Chinese Presbyterian or Reformed churches will do likewise; in fact, they already are. Just how presbyterianism will be expressed within the quickly-evolving circumstances of mainland China is not clear, and is for our Chinese brothers to determine “by the light of nature, and Christian prudence.” (38)  
    • The consequences are numerous. Defining the mission of the church without reference to the church’s role in God’s redemptive program, evangelicals have at times operated with a missiology focused almost exclusively on evangelistic activism – a kind of counting coup approach to missions. Though many evangelical groups have come to see the need for what they term “follow-up” or “discipleship,” they have not always focused on developing the church to this end. 
    • Some commercials get better with age.

       

      And then there are those that must have seemed dated the first time they aired.

    • “In an astonishingly brief period of time, this country has experienced a seismic shift in opinion — a profound social and political revolution — when it comes to gay and lesbian people.”
    • This is not to say that those who now defend the natural and venerable definition of marriage deny the existence of a moral argument, nor to imply that they are anything less than fully in agreement with the historic and scriptural assessment of the Christian church that homosexual acts and relationships are sinful. We must, however, note that the current intellectual environment has forced them to leave the moral issue behind — far behind.
    • Patiently Listen
    • Personally Repent
    • Gently Instruct
    • Mercifully Pursue and Then Engage the Heart
    • Edith Schaeffer, co-founder of L’Abri Fellowship and widow of theologian-philosopher Francis Schaeffer, died on Friday at age 98.
    • 1 God and Humans as Creative Artists
       2 Imitation, the Heart of the Christian’s Approach to Creativity
       3 Building a Christian Understanding of the Artist’s Calling
       4 How Do We Judge the Arts?
       5 Echoes of Eden: God’s Testimony to the Truth
       6 The Conversion of C. S. Lewis and Echoes of Eden in His Life
       7 Echoes of Eden in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
       8 Harry Potter and the Triumph of Self-Sacrificing Love
       9 Shakespeare and a Christian Worldview
       10 Jane Austen, Novelist of the Human Heart
       Appendix: The “Outing” of Dumbledore
    • Does he really think 19 hand-picked “spiritual leaders” are in a position to do such a thing?  Really?  Moreover, Taussig is even bold enough to call this a “council.”  No doubt, the use of this term is an intentional effort invoke memories of prior church councils that discussed the canon (e.g., Hippo and Carthage).
    • The necessity for such elusive language is obvious.  If he just came out and told the reader that all  these “new” books are later productions, not written by apostles, then the reader would see little need to add these books to the canon.
    • The Shepherd of Hermas was widely popular in early Christianity, certainly more than some canonical books, but it never had any real chance of making it into the canon, and was expressly rejected by the Muratorian fragment.  Third, and most importantly, it is patently false to say that Thomas was as popular as John’s gospel.  Since I have already dealt with this issue elsewhere, I point you to my article here.
    • But, left out of such usage is the fact that there was a “core” canon of New Testament books in place even during the second century.  When one considers just Irenaeus and the Muratorian fragment, it is clear that the four gospels, Paul’s letters, and a handful of other books were widely received as “Scripture.”  For more on this point, see here.
    • Sanctification Is Our Work of Gratitude for God’s Work of Justification, Right?
    • Wrong. In fact a model of sanctification defined primarily as (or solely as) gratitude-for-justification, becomes very problematic.
    • In honor of the beginning of the baseball season, it’s worth revisting the best baseball sketch–and the best comedy sketch–of all time. This is the 75th anniversary of Abbott and Costello first performing their famous routine for a national radio audience.

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

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Posted by on 02/04/2013 in Current Issues

 

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