Still later, in 1910, five fundamentals were identified to distinguish evangelicals from the liberalism that threatened the church: 1) the miracles of Christ; 2) the virgin birth of Christ; 3) the satisfaction view of the atonement; 4) the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures; and 5) the bodily resurrection of Christ.As you can see fundamentalism began as a commitment to orthodox Christianity. Today it is regarded as a more fanatical movement. By these five criteria, most practicing Christians in the world are old school fundamentalists.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Last month, throughout the greater New York area, our campaigners handed out 1,872,800 broadside tracts. We received contact information from 11,718 people who want to hear more from us including 3,689 Jewish seekers and 2,712 Gentile seekers. We knocked on 9,430 doors and connected with 2,170 people in their homes. We also connected by telephone with 8,711 of the 25,790 people that we called. We sent 3,396 copies of the “Jesus for Jews“ testimony book free to seekers who requested them through our evangelistic ads and mailings, and prayed with 241 Jewish people and 261 Gentiles to receive Jesus as Messiah and Lord.On another note, here's a great article by Jews for Jesus Executive Director David Brickner about the Great Tribulation, which outlines their end-times position, which happens to be pretrib premillenialism.
I'm so encouraged by the ministry of this group.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
When I pulled into my house my little 1.5-year-old daughter was looking out the window, waiting for me. She got excited when she saw me pull in the drive. It was so good to hold her after just speaking with Frank Arbogast who was standing beside the coffin of his beautiful dead 16-year-old daughter at the wake. I can only imagine the pain.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
- Henry David Thoreau
Thursday, August 24, 2006
"As for our pains on earth, blessed be God, they are not eternal. There are some intervals to relieve and there is some period to finish them. When we ask a friend that is sick, how he does; 'I am in pain now,' says he, 'but I hope to be easy soon.' This is a sweet mitigation of the present uneasiness. But how dreadful would his case be if he should answer, 'I am all over pain, and I shall never be eased of it. I lie under exquisite torment of body, and horror of soul; and I shall feel it for ever!' Such is the case of the damned sinners in hell. Suffer any pain, then, rather than come into that place of torment!"
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
You shall beat him with a rod,
And deliver his soul from hell.
- Proverbs 23:13-14 NKJV
I wonder if this principle applies to everyone and not just our children. If it does, we may have found the new form of evangelism that the mainline churches have been looking for: Beat them with a rod to bring their souls to God!
Wesley would have been 83 or 84 at the time which these were written, which may be the reason for the mellowing of the "rules" to merely advice.
Advice to Preachers, August 1, 1786
1. Always to conclude the service in about an hour.
2. Never scream.
3. Never lean upon or beat the Bible.
4. Wherever you preach, meet the Society.
5. Do not, without the utmost necessity, go home at night.
6. Never take part against the Assistant (the earliest form of District Superintendent).
7. Never preach a funeral but for an eminently holy person; nor then, without consulting the Assistant. Preach none for hire. Beware of panegyric, particularly in London.
8. Have love-feasts in more places.
9. Introduce no new tunes. See that none sing to slow, and the women sing their parts. Exhort all to sing, and all to stand at singing, as well to kneel at prayers.
10. Let none repeat the last line, unless the Preacher does.
11. Inform the Leaders, that every Assistant is to change both the Stewards and Leaders when he sees good. And that no Leader has power to put any person either in or out of the Society.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
My own experience has been talking with people at my seminary (Perkins) who are actually planning to lie to their BOM - b/c they come from conferences that are "too conservative." It is beyond me how one can begin one's work as a minister of the Lord (presumably the one from the Bible), by speaking lies, and taking an oath (in the ordination vows) before God and his church to uphold doctrines and discipline that one believes to be wrong and has no intention to uphold. I mean would these same people plan to lie when they take their wedding vows?? (maybe so according to statistics on clergy divorce rates) No wonder so much of our ministry seems devoid of divine blessing. I am also entirely baffled that such people do not join the Unitarians, since they seem so conscientious on other issues of (what they see as) justice.
Monday, August 21, 2006
On my ministry and balance post, the Holy Pirate brought up an important work by Andy Stanley that deals with this very issue. Choosing to Cheat is a great little book that every Christian husband or wife who works outside the home should read. Stanley explains that the job we do at work could likely be done many different people in the world, but the job we do at home can only be done by us. You owe it to your family to read this excellent and very short book. Check it out online.
PERSONAL NOTE: Stanley describes in this book how when his kids were young, the time of day his wife needed his help the most was between 4-6pm. He decided that he would leave the office everyday by 4:15pm, and had his staff hold him accountable to this. After reading this, I changed my own hours. I decided to go in early so I could be home by 4:00pm and help my wife with my kids after they got up from their naps. As a result, almost every night I get to spend 3 hours with them before their bedtime, even if I have to be back at the church for meetings from 7-9pm.
I passed a couple of kids holding hands, who probably started dating in the summer, surrounded by some strange looking friends. I was hoping that the weird looking kids would continue to have the joy that they seemed to have from being a part of a group. In the summer, when you're away from school, its easy to forget that the rest of your peers see you as strange, ugly, and freakish.
I saw a couple of boys dressed in black. A shorter one with long brown hair under his backward-turned baseball cap. A taller one with short hair had black eyeliner on. I remembered a time in my life when I had long hair and wore black T-shirts. There was even a short stint of time when I wore yellow sunglasses indoors and outdoors, and painted my fingernails.
Finally, I saw two girls who I know are Christians. I'm hoping that they will stand firm in their faith, and let their light shine brightly among the other kids. i hope that they break through the clique mentality and let the outcasts know that Jesus was an outcast too and that he loves them deeply.
Pray for the students who are beginning school today. Pray that those walking in darkness will see the light through Christian teachers and Christian students.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
But the church's growth also took a professional and personal toll on Hybels, who had married his longtime sweetheart in 1974 and quickly had children.It seems that megachurches are usually created by a certain superdriven personality type, which can drive staff to the point of exhaustion and make family members feel neglected. I wrestle with evaulating balance and motives. What kind of balance does God call us to have between priorities of ministry and family?
By 1990 he felt he had to recharge. Piloting a borrowed sailboat, he renewed a lifelong love of the water and spent more of his summers reconnecting with his family and with God.
In 1994 about a quarter of the church's staff and a third of the lay leadership left, saying they were burned out by the church's fast pace and lack of personal touch. The exodus inspired Hybels to further examine his management style and his expectations.
John Wesley did not find marriage as a worthy preoccuation. When he got married, he made this statement:
"I cannot understand how a Methodist preacher can answer it to God to preach one sermon or travel one day less in married than in a single state."
And what about motives? Are most superdriven pastors trying to build the kingdom of God or their own empire? This is easy to think about since the church I pastor is not experiencing any kind of explosive growth. It may be that God uses all of our mixed bag of messed up motives and balance for his glory, even though it is often less than 100% pure.
I question if megachurches would even exist if these superdriven pastors were actually living balanced Christ-centered lifestyles. And I in no way deny the amazing amount of good that they have done.
1747 Rules for Preaching
1. Be sure to begin and end precisely at the time appointed.
2. Sing no hymns of your own composing.
3. Endeavour to be serious, weighty, and solemn in your whole deportment before the congregation.
4. Choose the plainest texts you can.
5. Take care not to ramble from your text, but to keep close to it, and make out what you undertake.
6. Always suit your subject to your audience.
7. Beware of allegorizing or spiritualizing too much.
8. Take care of anything awkward or affected, either in your gesture or pronunciation.
9. Tell each other, if you observe anything of this kind.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Here's a sample of what happened in NYC:
Stephen Katz reported, "I was on the phone with a modern Orthodox [Jewish] guy who had called the 'ymos' number [a dedicated number used for the campaign]. We talked for an hour and I wondered for the first half if he could possibly as open as he sounded. In the end, I believed that he was sincere, and he prayed to receive the Lord!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
8. Have you studied the doctrines of The United Methodist Church?
9. After full examination, do you believe that our docrines are in harmony with the Scriptures?
10. Will you preach and maintain them?
What are "the doctrines of The United Methodist Church?"
They are clearly stated in plain English in Our Doctrinal Standards (Paragraph 103 in The Book of Discipline), which include
The Articles of Religion
The Confession of Faith
Wesley's Standard Sermons
Wesley's Notes on the New Testament
As I examine these doctrines, it seems that it would not be possible for an honest unorthodox, nonevangelical to be ordained as a United Methodist pastor.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Let's consider this bit of testimony from pastor Jason Woolever, who along with Emergent theologian Leonard Sweet, happens to be with the very liberal United Methodist Church.With all due respect to Apprising Ministries, this is a great example of a couple of things:
1) How The United Methodist Church is misperceived by those on the outside
2) How Christians are too quick to label other Christians as "lesser" without getting all the facts
First, let's consider how anyone would consider The United Methodist Church very liberal. The only legitimate reason they could possibly have from my point of view is the bad press that we have received over the debates concerning homosexuality. What outsiders fail to realize is that the pro-homosexuality Methodists are in the minority. This is why we continually reaffirm our historic stance that "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." Sure there are dissenters. But they are not the majority. And they have not effectively changed policy.
The only other reasons I could see why we are considered very liberal would be our acceptance of:
1) Infant baptism
2) Women in ministry
3) Inclusive language Bible translations
4) Non-autonomous local churches
As far as infant baptism goes, if folks don't support this practice, they should take it up with people like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, J.I.Packer, R.C.Sproul, John Ortberg, none of whom could be considered very liberal.
If folks don't support women in ministry, they could take it up with Bill Hybels, Jack Hayford (member of the Foursquare Pentecostal denomination, founded by Aimie Semple McPherson), or any number of Pentecostals or evangelicals.
If folks call anyone who uses inclusive language Bible translations liberal, they could take that up with Ted Haggard, Erwin McManus, John Stott, Stuart Briscoe, or any number of other evangelicals listed at the TNIV website as endorsers.
If folks think autonomous local churches are a sign of orthodoxy, they should consider that democracy is an American ideal, not a biblical one by any means. What's autonomous about Paul's instructions to Titus (1:5), "I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you." What part of "you should appoint elders as I directed you" sounds autonomous? It's 100% top down.
The second thing that this introduction of me emphasized was how Christians are too quick to label other Christians as "lesser" without getting all the facts. As a solid orthodox evangelical, I am so confused when all mainline churches get lumped into the apostate church category. How are sweeping generalizations biblical? What part of our Confession of Faith is in any way liberal?
My plea is for all of us to quit adding anything to the gospel which causes us to judge or separate from one another. Sure, if someone denies the tenets of faith as spelled out in Apostle's Creed, he's a heretic. But it doesn't mean that everyone who grew up in the same block as him is a heretic!
Click here for a sneak preview of The Rapture. Thanks to John the Methodist for the link.
Monday, August 14, 2006
"Let all preaching-houses be built plain and decent; but not more expensive than is absolutely unavoidable: Otherwise the necessity of raising money will make rich men necessary to us. But if so, we must be dependent upon them, yea, and governed by them. And then farewell to the Methodist discipline, if not doctrine too."
1) Overcommitment and physical exhaustion
2) Excessive credit and conflict over how money will be spent
4) Unhealthy relationships with in-laws
5) Unrealistic expectations
6) Personal space invaders
7) Sexual frustration and its partner, the greener grass of infidelity
8) Business collapse
9) Business success
10) Getting married too young
11) Alcohol and substance abuse
12) Pornography, gambling, and other addictions
Often described as “the most religious people on earth,” most Americans “feel accepted by God” (88%), see themselves as “deeply spiritual” (62%) and believe they can be accurately described as “a fulltime servant of God” (59%).
Americans describe their personal faith in various ways. While more than eight out of ten (84%) view themselves as Christian, a lesser but significant majority label themselves as a “committed Christian” (60%). Within that framework, people’s self-identity includes 45% who call themselves a “born again Christian,” 42% who claim to be an “evangelical Christian” and one out of four who adopt the label “charismatic or Pentecostal Christian” (26%).
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Praise Jesus for changing the Big Doo's life and for the ministry He gave him. Pray that God would continue to use him.
Friday, August 11, 2006
There are some very thoughtful reflections from the maturing Graham. Here are a couple.
On the Middle East:
"I've been watching the news from the Middle East full time," Graham says. "I think that history began there, and it is going to end there. The whole Bible is centered in the Middle East and so many of the events that are taking place in some ways already have taken place many times, and my heart goes out to all those people who are suffering on all sides ... I pray for those people constantly—they're on my mind, they're on my heart. I pray that somehow they will find a solution. I'm not sure they will ever find a permanent solution. Christ, who I believe is going to come back, will settle all of those things in a great period of righteousness."(From the last line, it appears that he is a premillenialist. Does anybody know what Billy Graham's end-times perspective is? If you do, I'd love to know.)
On the salvation of non-Christians:
When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: "Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won't ... I don't want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have." Such an ecumenical spirit may upset some Christian hard-liners, but in Graham's view, only God knows who is going to be saved: "As an evangelist for more than six decades, Mr. Graham has faithfully proclaimed the Bible's Gospel message that Jesus is the only way to Heaven," says Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross. "However, salvation is the work of Almighty God, and only he knows what is in each human heart."
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Cute girls, huh? These girls were born stuck together. Doctors are going to perform a separation operation. The girls share a liver, kidney, and legs. One of the girls is going to get a kidney from the mother. They'll each get one leg. Pray all goes well. And thank God that you're as healthy as you are! By the way, if you know anyone who is pregnant, pray for the health of the child who is to come! To read more about these girls, click here.
UPDATE: My wife saw on the news that this has already occurred, and that things are going well. Keep praying for these two.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
"We roundly condemn the processes of war even while accepting the awful alternative, not of our making, forced upon us by the selfishness and perversity of men. From a measure of the guilt of this, none of us is free."Interesting, huh?
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
43. As to the Antichrist we teach that the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the Antichrist, 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18, have been fulfilled in the Pope of Rome and his dominion. All the features of the Antichrist as drawn in these prophecies, including the most abominable and horrible ones, for example, that the Antichrist "as God sitteth in the temple of God," 2 Thess. 2:4; that he anathematizes the very heart of the Gospel of Christ, that is, the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, for Christ's sake alone, through faith alone, without any merit or worthiness in man (Rom. 3:20-28; Gal. 2:16); that he recognizes only those as members of the Christian Church who bow to his authority; and that, like a deluge, he had inundated the whole Church with his antichristian doctrines till God revealed him through the Reformation -- these very features are the outstanding characteristics of the Papacy. (Cf. Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 515, Paragraphs 39-41; p. 401, Paragraph 45; M. pp. 336, 258.) Hence we subscribe to the statement of our Confessions that the Pope is "the very Antichrist." (Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 475, Paragraph 10; M., p. 308.)
I don't know what to think of this, but I do appreciate their clear statement of their position.