Friday, January 15, 2010

Mistaken Identity

The Toronto Sun published an article today detailing the murder of a local drug dealer named Shawn James. That information was correct.
Only they mistakenly used a photo of another Shawn James, the one that works for Urban Promise out of Thistletown Baptist Church. Shawn James the UP worker is neither a drug dealer nor dead. He is a very alive follower of Jesus.

Simeon Trust Preaching Workshop Coming to Toronto

TORONTO 2010 Workshop Information

Friends of mine like Darryl Dash and Henning Hill and Ian Hugh Clary have all attended and really profited from the Simeon Trust Preaching workshop in the past. This year the event is being held at Bayview Glen Alliance Church pastored by my other friend, Steve Irvin.

For complete info and pricing and speakers click on the link above.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Does God Hate Haiti?

Does God Hate Haiti? -

After Pat Robertson's strange interpretation of events in Haiti, it is a joy to read Al Mohler's explanation of the "why" of this tragedy. Read the whole article, but don't miss this...

"Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God's perfect righteousness. God does hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts -- there would be no hope.

The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that the creation it groaning under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point in the globe. The entire cosmos is awaiting the revelation of the glory of the coming Lord. Creation cries out the hope of New Creation.

In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti -- and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation in his name alone.

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ's people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving. If Christ's people are called to do this, how can we say that God hates Haiti?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Gospel as it Relates of InterVarsity

What's Happening to InterVarsity? - 9Marks January/February 2010 eJournal:

J. Mack Stiles has written an insightful piece on the doctrinal slide taking place with InterVarsity. In it, he identifies a danger every Christian organization and church face - Gospel erosion.

" don't need much more than a cursory scan of history to see that solid Christian organizations can easily lose the gospel if they are not attentive. Losing the gospel doesn't happen all at once; it's more like a four-generation process.[2]

The gospel is accepted
The gospel is assumed
The gospel is confused
The gospel is lost

It is tragic for any generation to lose the gospel. But, as Philip Jensen says, the generation that assumes the gospel is the generation most responsible for the loss of the gospel.

When the gospel is assumed, a gospel commitment no longer determines who is or is not put in a leadership positions: from an IV student leadership team on a college campus to senior management at IV headquarters. When the gospel is assumed, Christian leadership begins to depend on skills, personality, or sheer longevity, not gospel focus.

When Intervarsity's leadership is no longer gospel-focused the organization as a whole eventually loses its gospel focus and begins to confuse the gospel. I'm worried that IV is well down that worn path: the gospel has been assumed, and it is now being confused.

Here's one way the gospel becomes confused. The gospel message is the crystallized key components of the way of salvation, compressed into one statement as one might compress carbon into a diamond. It is only when we are able to clearly and concisely define the gospel that we can protect and faithfully proclaim the gospel. It follows the outline of God, Man, Christ, Response (for more on this, see Will Metzger's great IVP book Tell the Truth).[3]

Is there more that can be said about the gospel? Of course: volumes, and even entire libraries have been written concerning the gospel or the implications of the gospel. But too often people confuse the implications of living out the gospel with the gospel itself. This is happening today in much the same way that the word 'Christian' has come to mean any number of things.

In IV circles, for instance, it is common to say that the 'gospel is the whole Bible.' Though this may be a powerful way to preach about any number of themes from the Scripture, it's an unfortunate confusion used to justify particular (admittedly biblical) concerns by claiming that they are 'the gospel.' So is it any wonder, then, there is so much confusion?

Specifically, the gospel is not moral behavior; the gospel is not social action, or any of a number of important things. It is a summary message that offers and secures salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.

Understand that I have given much of my life for social action: from the slums of Nairobi to the war ravaged hills of Guatemala. The implication of the gospel for social action was worth putting my life, my family's lives, and the lives of faithful IV staff and students on the line. But as important as social action is, we still must not confuse the gospel with an implication of gospel living. If we do, the gospel message is lost in a sea of confusion.

It's unfortunate that during the discussions with the leadership of InterVarsity the students in the Christianity Today article thought that IV's leadership was confused on the gospel and social action.

All to say that I fear that IV has moved from assuming the gospel to confusing the gospel."