Saturday, February 25, 2006

Walter on Why You Should Go to Church

Click here for the full article

Here is a sample...

"Now that takes me right in to my final thought. Going to church is like joining a gym. If you just show up from time to time your belly won’t shrink and your abs won’t grow. To tell the truth, I don’t even know what abs are, but two infomercials later and the word is stuck in my noggin. My point is that your heart has to be in it. I have never understood this notion of “adherent.” Do you have those at Grace? I think you should get rid of them if you do. As best I understand that big word, it means something like: “not willing to fully commit.” Now, I know I just stepped on a few tender feet, but hear me out. I think (and Mrs. Walter agrees) that you need to do all you can to join whatever church you are attending. Make a promise to be at the meetings and do your best to love the saints. Why would you not? For the life of me I cannot figure it out. All these great blessings would be yours in abundance.

Now some folks have opened their mouths with all kinds of sophistries about being a member of Christ’s church and that being good enough. If I’ve heard that line once I’ve heard it 37 times. Friend, since I barely know you, let me just write, I think your real problem is with pride. I think the thing that keeps most folks from joining a church is a desire to stay unaccountable and to keep their attendance and service and giving to a minimum.

All I can say to that is that you are robbing yourself. Jesus said it was more blessed to give than to receive and I think you ought to join whatever group of believers you are with to do just that very thing. I realize there may be some doctrinal and other tricky issues to overcome... but a room of full of people that love one another ought to be able to find a creative way to do just that – overcome the obstacles."

James White Email Exchange with Falwell's Ergun Caner

Alpha and Omega Ministries, The Christian Apologetics Ministry of James R. White: "The Intellectual Pit Bull of the Evangelical Church? Correspondence Between James White and Ergun Caner"

If you have the time to read it, this is a remarkable display of the usual "logic" of Arminian thinkers. Caner demonstrates a complete lack of understanding in history, theology, logic, and credible debate. He refuses to discuss the issues and resorts to continual "playground defenses" like "I won't play with you because you're just going to win anyway!" In that sense, he openly admits defeat.
I think it is helpful to read something like this for several reasons:
1. It shows how easy it is to think through issues emotionally, not Biblically.
2. It demonstrates the absolute need of the grace of God in giving eyes to see and ears to hear... and the results of that not happening.
3. It exposes the pathetically shallow level of scholarship of some "big name" schools like Liberty University.
4. It prompts us to pray for the opposite of all three!

HT: Steve Camp

A Haykin on Beddome / A Hymn by Beddome

Michael Haykin had several interesting posts on Benjamin Beddome this past week. Reading them reminded me of a hymn we like to sing at GFC , the first two verses of which were penned by Beddome:

God, in the Gospel of His Son

God, in the Gospel of His Son,
Makes His eternal counsels known;
Where love in all its glory shines,
And truth is drawn in fairest lines.

Here sinners of a humble frame
May taste His grace, and learn His Name;
May read, in characters of blood,
The wisdom, power, and grace of God.

The prisoner here may break his chains;
The weary rest from all his pains;
The captive feel his bondage cease;
The mourner find the way of peace.

Here faith reveals to mortal eyes
A brighter world beyond the skies;
Here shines the light which guides our way
From earth to realms of endless day.

O grant us grace, Almighty Lord,
To read and mark Thy holy Word;
Its truths with meekness to receive,
And by Its holy precepts live.

Words: Verses 1 & 2, Ben­ja­min Bed­dome, 1787, alt.; verses 3-5, Thomas Cotterill, 1819. Music: “Germany,” Will­iam Gardiner’s Sac­red Mel­o­dies, 1815

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

One Year, 205 Posts Later

Today marks the one year anniversary of kerux noematathoughts of the preacher... this blog. I determined one year ago to blog for 12 months then to evaluate. So, you get to view my evaluation! What has blogging taught me?

1. Check your Greek before you post.
When I started blogging I had no idea how many people would actually read this thing. Had I known, I would have checked my English to Greek work before going public! In my consultations with the cowboy, I have realized that “thoughts of the preacher” in Greek should really look more like “noemata tou kerukos” or “noemata kerukos.” I thought about changing, but that would be like getting a tattoo removed – too painful, and who really looks at the thing anymore anyway! Besides, even kerux is misleading... but if you spell it “correctly” as keryx, people pronounce it all whacky. Just for the record, I am a “kay-rukes,” not a “kee-rux” or “care-ux” or “kie-rix.” Please pronounce it correctly in your head.

2. If you want attention, dare to say what you think is wrong or weird.

3. If you want a lot of attention, offer a critical evaluation of youth pastors or Bono.

4. The best part of blogging is the people it has introduced to me. Many of these “cyber-introductions” have led to real flesh and blood meetings – the scariest of which was with the challster. I mean, you have to figure that anybody who blogs as much as this guy must weigh in at 600 lbs and have an office like this! Suffice it to say that he was not half as odd as one might expect.

5. Blogging has also taught me to think more clearly. This is by far the most personally beneficial thing. Having to write out thoughts and communicate ideas forces me to think through matters more fully (I know, it is not that evident!). I have also tried to keep my posts small. (If you are like me you just don’t have a lot of time to read long essays.) So, unlike this post, most of my writing has been only a few paragraphs. This also has the advantage of stirring up lots of comments since I have to leave so many ideas undefended!

6. Another great advantage of blogging has been the comments I receive from “viewers like you.” I would say that 80% of these comments are pure cream – refining and challenging my own views and teaching me much. There is always that 20% of drivel, but I have yet to see a blog that doesn’t have that! Besides, the drivel is enigmatic of popular evangelicalism and thus instructive on another level. (Did I just say your comments are poppycock?)

So, is blogging worth the effort? Have 205 posts and 537 comments in one year accomplished anything of substance? Anything that promotes the work of God on the earth? In many ways that is an unanswerable question. So, I am forced to consider... will these noemata continue?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

SiGaPuF (more on the Artist Formerly Known as FRiPS)

We had a great meeting yesterday with a paper entitled, “Helping the Backslider” presented by Roger Fellows.

I love Roger’s writing as he is always concise, logical and he illustrates wonderfully. Three things I don’t have the foggiest idea how to do! Anyway, Rog read through the paper, we loaded up on coffee and doughnuts and the question period began. There were many engaging portions of this discussion, but my favorite part was when many men gave practical ideas on how they had accomplished systematic pastoral visitations over the years. This is where FRiPS or SiGaPuF or whatever it is called really shines! You get nothing but cream... except for that Davis fellow talking off in the corner... but otherwise they are all great suggestions.

Two of my students were there (where were the rest of you laddy’s?) and a strong showing from churches all over southern Ontario.

I won’t tell you the best thing that I learned – that would make for way too much public accountability! But, if you had been there you would know what it is – since I asked the question.

I am so thankful the Lord has blessed me with a fine group of godly men to fellowship with and learn from. If we are too far away for you to join us, why not start your own group... and start with a name that works well as an acronym!

REAL – reformed, energetic and loving?
TEP – Thoughtful, evangelical pastors?
CAPS – Calvinistic and pastoral studies?

I guess there is a reason no one lets me name things...