What I Read Online – 07/02/2013 (a.m.)

02 Jul
    • At least part of the reason that the cultural mandate has given rise to such differing opinions is the relative scarcity of biblical material. For a verse that has played such a significant theological role in our understanding of ourselves, it is hardly mentioned in the rest of the Bible.
    • Somewhat remarkably for a set of verses that have been used to explain the
       whole history of human technological progress, they are not used anywhere in the New Testament with reference to us. In fact, the dominion language of Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 aren’t applied anywhere in the New Testament apart from the one true man, Jesus Christ.
    • God wasn’t intending to subdue the creation under our hands. That was a work that was always meant for Jesus.
    • But the Bible also says that the works of our hands are not the way in which God will restore the world. In Romans 8, where we learn that the whole of creation is groaning as if in labour, we also learn that the release of the creation from its groaning is a ‘last day’ event. The creation is not released from its groaning by the sons of God doing a fantastic job, but rather by their revelation in Christ at his return (Rom 8:18-22).
    • There is a very real ambivalence about the significance of human labour in the Scriptures. Work is what God has given us to do in this world and through it God will glorify himself. But at the same time, the Bible is adamant that our work won’t fix the creation. We are to view all of our works as the life of obedience, just as Adam and Eve were to work for God’s rule in the garden at the beginning. But we must be equally convinced that we cannot bring about the new creation by our labours.
    • Our works and actions can’t be evaluated apart from the motives of our hearts and the nature of God’s creation
    • In fact, the Scriptures have very little to say about jobs in general and, as far as I can work out, almost nothing to say about careers at all.
    • As far as I can work out, the only career paths clearly rejected by the Bible are thievery and prostitution (and the second of those only by inference).
    • Rather than speaking about our jobs, the New Testament speaks to us about the whole of our lives, and calls on us to do every work as someone who is committed to the lordship of Jesus. This of course covers the whole of our ‘working’ life. But the modern obsession with our ‘jobs’ is not a biblical invention. What we do when we are paid, just as what we do when we aren’t paid, is all to be for the glory of God.
    • If this means anything at all, then it must mean that Christians need to stop evaluating their work by worldly standards
    • Further, God does not say to us, “Whatever your job is, work as hard at it as you can, for your excellence will glorify me”. Instead he says, “Do good works in every part of your life”. What that means is that we need to move on and ask questions like: what place does our paid job have in a life of good works? And are some works more valuable than others, or should we just do whatever our hand finds to do?
    • I think it is misleading to say that hell is giving people what they most want
    • I’m saying that the way Lewis deals with hell and the way Jesus deals with it are very different. And we would do well to follow Jesus.
    • The misery of hell will be so great that no one will want to be there
    • When there are only two choices, and you choose against one, it does not mean that you want the other, if you are ignorant of the outcome of both. Unbelieving people know neither God nor hell.
    • What sinners want is not hell but sin. That hell is the inevitable consequence of unforgiven sin does not make the consequence desirable.
    • Beneath this misleading emphasis on hell being what people “most want” is the notion that God does not “send” people to hell. But this is simply unbiblical. God certainly does send people to hell. He does pass sentence, and he executes it. Indeed, worse than that. God does not just “send,” he “throws.” “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown (Greek eblethe) into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15; cf. Mark 9:47; Matthew 13:42; 25:30).
    • When someone says that no one is in hell who doesn’t want to be there, they give the false impression that hell is within the limits of what humans can tolerate. It inevitably gives the impression that hell is less horrible than Jesus says it is.
    • However, it also includes at least 100 contemporary “praise choruses” and 50-plus hymns from around the world, with texts translated from 30 different languages. Every hymn in the book is annotated with guitar chords.


      “There is no period of time in church history — ever — in which there have been this many waves of change shaping Christian worship at the same time,” said Witvliet. “A generation ago, we assumed that the hymnal in the pew WAS a church’s musical repertoire. No one assumes that now.”


      But no matter how rapid the changes, he added, hymnals are symbols that the “church needs a common body of music to help keep it united. There must be some ties that bind.”

    • After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.


      Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism. Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference. My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference.


      My enthusiasm for this conference is undiminished and I believe it will continue to be a powerful context for encouraging and equipping pastors in their efforts to serve their churches and proclaim the gospel. I am immensely grateful for the undeserved privilege to have been involved in previous conferences, and, most importantly, my ongoing friendship with these men I love and respect.


       C.J. Mahaney
       Sovereign Grace Church | Louisville, KY

    • Each year during STAND conference, there is at usually at least one evangelism-related session to encourage and equip folks to fulfil God’s Great Commisiion. At this year’s STAND conference, we’ll have the privilege of having Gareth teach a seminar on “Community Evangelism”.
    • Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.
    • “If the leader is not leading in the digital world, his leadership is, by definition, limited to those who also ignore or neglect that world, and that population is shrinking every minute. The clock is ticking…, if you are not present on the Internet, you simply do not exist, as far as anyone under 30 is concerned.” So writes Al Mohler, confirming the importance of social media for pastors.
    • “Why is it that you call people to repent? Why do you call them to believe the Gospel? You cannot deal properly with repentance without dealing with the doctrine of man, the doctrine of the Fall, the doctrine of sin and the wrath of God against sin. Then when you call men to come to Christ and to give themselves to Him, how can you do so without knowing who He is, and on what grounds you invite them to come to Him, and so on. In other words it is all highly theological. Evangelism which is not theological is not evangelism at all in any true sense. It may be a calling for decisions, it may be a calling on people to come to religion, or to live a better life, or the offering of some psychological benefits; but it cannot by any definition be regarded as Christian evangelism, because there is no true reason for what you are doing apart from these great theological principles. I assert therefore that every type of preaching must be theological, including evangelistic preaching.”
    • The innovation and its acceptance combine two of the most troubling bioethical issues related to IVF. The creation of three-parent embryos and “designer babies” are each troubling. But to combine them is a significant leap forward into dehumanizing eugenics
    • During the month of July, Reformation Trust is giving away the eBook edition of Richard Phillips’ What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace. This book shows that “the doctrines of grace” or “the five points of Calvinism” are comforting, faith-strengthening, and humbling teachings. He demonstrates from Scripture that this view of salvation exalts God and makes plain His great love for man, which drove Him to do all that was necessary to redeem a people for Himself.


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

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Posted by on 02/07/2013 in Current Issues


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