Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome to Christian Carnival ii

Welcome to the June 22, 2011 edition of Christian Carnival ii!

Rodney Olsen presents Nicky Gumbel talks Alpha posted at Beyond Belief.

loswl presents Evolutionary Tales Exposed – The Origin of Life posted at INSPIKS, saying, "What is life? Is it just having the right combinations of proteins in just the right order? Is a man nothing more than a collection of substances and chemicals that happened to somehow `become alive`?"

Deb at All Things New presents Nothing New Under the Sun: Theistic Evolution and the Early Church posted at All Things New.

Joe Plemon presents 5 Success Traits We Inherit From Our Heavenly Father posted at Personal Finance By The Book, saying, "God's desire is that his children be like him. This post shares some success traits we inherit from our heavenly father."

Calling Her Blessed presents Bible Lesson Activities: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:17-40 posted at Calling Her Blessed, saying, "Here are some great activities for Bible class teachers when studying Elijah and the prophets of Baal!"

Maryann Spikes presents ANNOYING LIGHT written by Thea Nelson posted at A Passion to Speak His Truth.

Cowboy Bob presents Slick and Worldly posted at A Soldier for Jesus, saying, "Many Christians use the phrase "worldly" as a catch-all, not really understanding it. What is "worldly" — really? Also, how does it affect 1 Cor. 9.22, about being all things to all men? I have some thoughts on this..."

Alexandra Hobbs presents ?Who have you Served today? posted at win souls for christ.

Ridge Burns presents The God of the Unexpected posted at Ridge’s Blog.

michelle presents he saw Jesus in me? posted at going into all the earth....

Diane R presents More Great Ideas from Machen posted at Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet, saying, "Gresham Machen's book, "Christianity & Liberalism" reads like it was written for today. It's truly amazing how history really doesn't change much."

Chris Price presents Whigs--One Philosophic Approach to History posted at American Church History, saying, "In looking at the topic of church history, does one's underlying philosophy impact the way that he/she interprets the facts? This post points out one school of thought with problems, while referring to the work of historian Herbert Butterfield, himself a Christian scholar."

Joseph Tlhong presents Product Review Blog posted at Product Review Blog.

That concludes this edition.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of christian carnival iiusing our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Nothing New Under the Sun: Theistic Evolution & the Early Church

Nothing New Under the Sun:
Theistic Evolution, the Early Church, and the Return of Gnosticism, Part 1
Below is the Chapter One Introduction to God and Evolution, a compilation of writings on one of today's great debates in our contemporary churches. But is there anything really new in all of this debate? Below you will see, there is truly Nothing New Under the Sun. Been there done that.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.
—Isaac Watts (1715)

From the words of English hymnist Isaac Watts to the music of Hadyn‟s Creation, from the ceiling of Michelangelo‟s Sistine Chapel to the pages of C.S. Lewis‟s novels Perelandra and The Magician’s Nephew, the Christian doctrine of creationi has inspired countless poets, composers, authors, and artists to celebrate the beauty and artistry of God as Creator. Yet in his recent book Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (2008), theistic evolutionist Karl Giberson writes dismissively of the Christian doctrine of creation, insisting that it is but “a secondary doctrine for Christians. The central idea in Christianity concerns Jesus Christ and the claim that he was the Son of God.”ii Giberson‟s point seems to be that so long as people accept the divinity of Jesus, their view of God as Creator is unimportant.

Early Christian thinkers would have disagreed vigorously. For example, when Irenaeus (c. 130-200) began his refutation of Gnosticism in Book II of Against Heresies, he started not with the doctrine of Christ, but with what he called “the first and most important head,” namely, the doctrine of “God the Creator, who made the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein.”iii Similarly, the Nicene Creed, which reaches back nearly 1700 years and is accepted by all the major branches of Christianity as authoritative, begins by affirming “one God, the Father Almighty” who created “all things visible and invisible.”iv Many other affirmations of God as the Creator can be found in the early centuries of the church.v Thus, far from regarding the doctrine of creation as secondary, early Christians took it as the indispensable starting point for their theology.

Why were early Christians so insistent about the doctrine of creation? One obvious reason is that without God as Creator, the rest of the Christian story makes very little sense. Church historian Philip Schaff rightly observed that “without a correct doctrine of creation there can be no true doctrine of redemption.”vi According to the traditional Christian narrative, redemption is understood in light of the fall, and the fall is understood in light of a prior good creation. Thus, efforts to disassociate the doctrine of creation from the doctrines of redemption and the fall are likely to result in theological incoherence.

But there was another, more pressing reason why early Christians emphasized the doctrine of creation: They faced sharp opposition to the idea of God as Creator from the intellectual elites of their day. In many ways, that opposition foreshadowed debates over God and evolution in our own time. Perhaps there is no better way of gaining clarity about what is at stake theologically in today‟s debates over evolution than by understanding what was at stake in the conflicts over creation in the early church.

Read Chapter One in which John West refutes first century arguments such as: The Epicurean Materialists, The Gnostic Heresy, Natural Selection as the New Demiurge, God as the Cosmic Trickster, and Denying the Fall. We could learn much from his apologetic approach.
Is Theistic Evolution A New Theology? Or is it just the same old heresy wrapped in today’s garb?
ht: World Magazine

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Quiet Mind

Mary Kassian at Girls Gone Wise writes about desiring a quiet mind, 1 Peter 3, Proverbs 7 and how it applies to daily life.

She ends with this Amy Carmichael poem:


When winds are blowing, waves are rising, falling
And all the air is full of dust and spray;
When voices, like to sea birds’ plaintive calling,
Confuse my day;

Then, then I know Thee, Lord of highest heaven
In newborn need discover Thee, and find
Nought can discomfort him to whom is given
A quiet mind.

When hopes have failed, and heavy sadness crusheth,
And doubt and fear would weave their deadly spell,
Then thought of Thee my troubled spirit husheth;
And all is well.

In midnight hours when weariness ignoreth
Heaven’s starry host, and battle wounds are mine,
Then Thy right hand uplifteth and outpoureth
Love’s oil and wine.

O Blessed Lord, beyond the moment’s sorrow
I see above, beaneath, before, behind–
Eternal Love. Give me today, tomorrow,
A quiet mind.

(From the collected poems of Amy Carmichael)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thou Lovely Source of True Delight

We sang this hymn Sunday night at church and I recognized it right away -- from album Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay. Love it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Let the Nations Be Glad!

"Disciple-making is not a call for others to come to us to hear the gospel but a command for us to go to others to share the gospel." - from Let the Nations Be Glad website, quoting David Platt.

Missions exists because worship doesn’tby John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.
Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps 97:1). “Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Ps 67:3-4).
But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. Missionaries will never call out, “Let the nations be glad!” who cannot say from the heart, “I rejoice in the Lord…I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High” (Ps 104:34, 9:2). Missions begins and ends in worship.”
–John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions, 2nd Ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993/2003), 17.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Church Mission & Baptism

First thing needs to be said: I'm not a fan of church growth gurus, so the source of this quote comes from someone I normally wouldn't read. I found the quote while doing some research and couldn't help but shout a hardy 'Amen!' to his point about baptism. I've notice quite a few articles floating around the blogosphere discussing the pros and cons of paedo vs. credo baptism. And I admit being strongly attracted to the Reformed Baptist church down the street from where I live (although, I'm a PCAer and plan to stick with my denom). Yet there is something to be said for link between the genuine mission of the church and this quote on adult baptism that I felt compelled to share:

"Here’s the bottom line and THE key mark of an effective congregation. Adult baptisms. This is not a slam against those of you who are Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, etc. who do infant baptism. Infant baptism typically represents biological church growth. However, adult baptisms represent something altogether different. Adult baptisms represent conversion growth. In the West, one of the fastest growing populations is the “never churched” population. We’re in the third generation of a largely unchurched population: the Boomers quit church; Gen-X only went to church when grandma took them; and the Pre-Millennials have never been to church (of course this is a broad generalization, but the fact is, it’s generally true). And so, effective churches are engaged in real evangelism that is touching real lives and that results in adult baptisms."
From Five Marks of an Effective Congregation by Bill Tenny-Brittian, Net Results Magazine.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Korea Has Talent: (aka move over Susan Boyle)

What an incredibly touching story from a young man in Korea who was an orphan from the age of three and lived on the streets since five.

These stories always make me cry.
BTW, the song is supposedly from the movie The Mission (fyi).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Rest Story

Since I'm recovering from pneumonia and have been prescribed a week of rest as part of the cure, I really enjoyed reading this article in the current issue of TableTalk Magazine by R.C. Sproul, Jr. The title is 'The Rest of the Story' and here is an excerpt:
"the key question is ultimately the gospel question: Are we resting in the finished work of Christ? The most faithful Sabbath keeper will in the end be the most joyful Sabbath keeper. Sabbath, in the end, isn’t something to be observed but something to be celebrated. And we celebrate not merely a day off from work. We celebrate the victory of our King."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Session Notes

Dr. Harry L. Reeder gave the message at the GA tonight. I was listening online to the beginning and started taking notes about 3 or 4 minutes into his sermon. Here they are.

Threefold DNA of the Church:
  • Spirit-filled (do we grieve Him by saying I can do it by myself in self-reliance? Have we waited for Him? via His Word, in prayer?)
  • Christ-centered (this is how we know the church is Spirit-filled. The Spirit leads us to Christ. He is what we are bringing to the world. All our blessings are from Christ, that we might point people to Christ alone. He is the center, the sum, the substance, and circumference of everything)
  • Gospel-driven (when the holy Spirit comes upon ppl, we turn the world upside down-which is really right side up. The Gospel is the foundation.
The good news is the Christ came for each of us wretched sinners.We are delivered from our sins. The gospel. Legalism is not the only sin. Jude, 1 John, those books are in the Bible for a reason.There is the trap of antinomianism. Gospel blessings are accompanied by gospel imperatives. It's not what we do to be saved, but it is an imperative for those who are saved. Now walk in a way worthy of your calling. Utterly devoted life. Because you live to pour yourself out for Him.

Romans Ch. 11 Doxology is followed by Romans 12, In light of God's mercies - in view of God's mercy - present yourselves ...... There is strength in Christ. Be strong in Grace. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Follow me. - imperative. When we come to Christ, we come to follow Him. Jesus went to the cross to save us from what? Our sins. The power of our sin. He has saved me from my sins to bring me to Himself. He has redeemed me.

Then His promise to take us home to be with Him. Ransomed, Redeemed, Reconciled and Resurrected. I love the Virgin Birth, the ascension, yes I love the promise He is coming back, but Paul takes us to the cross. This where people saw Him face to face, incarnate and we crucified Him. Not the Jews or the Romans only. We did this. This is the heart you and I were born with. Jesus Christ went to that cross, he gives us a new life, new record, new family, new home. Ever wonder why it's the new believers in the church who are winning people to Christ? It's new and it means something. They're not asking are we singing all the verses to Amaing Grace. We who have been Christians for a while have 'gotten used to it.' They don't know EE or bridge to Christ yet, but they are winning folks to Christ. Why? Because the Gospel is fresh to them. It has changed them.

So, we take this Gospel, this Christ to the world, shaking the world. It's not cosmetic. Not where the pastor buys his clothes. It's not about Blue jeans or khakis.. The last shaking we had here preachers were running around the countryside with black robes. They probably scared a lot of widows, but they were Spirit-filled and poured out their life for the sake of the Gospel. The Gospel changes lives. The world laughs at it, but all we have to do is lift up the hood (used a story about a 57 Ford....)

The greatest contextualization is people love people for the sake of Christ, with the love of Christ.
When we have churches that are spirit filled, hospitals for sinners, but death traps for sin.

Who drank the cup of wrath to the bottom, so we could have overflowing eternal life? Jesus Christ
Who held back the angels to endure all that our sin deserved? Jesus Christ
Who sat down at the right hand of the Father? Jesus Christ
Who prepared a place for us, that we might be with Him forever? Jesus Christ
He is the center, the sum, the substance, and circumference of everything
Oh that we are so Christ-centered and Gospel-driven in all we do.
(Prayer that we would surrender to Him.. that the Holy Spirit would move powerfully, that the Gospel is both seen and heard from us...)

I missed a lot of what he said, because I type way too slowly. But I'm sure these sessions will be available later. Don't miss Dr. Reeder's sermon!! Powerful.

Prayer this Week - GA

This week I have been flat on my back with pneumonia, an ear infection, and sinusitis.
I've tried to keep up with emails while resting as much as I can, but mostly I'm finding lots of time for reading and prayer.
In fact, one of the big things a lot of us are praying for this week is the General Assembly of our denomination.
Plus, I just learned that some of the sessions are being broadcast via the web starting tonight.
They're singing Crown Him with Many Crowns from one of last year's sessions right now! Awesome.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Theology of Work

I received a complimentary copy of this sermon from Grace To You, John MacArthur's online ministry, about two months ago. The CD is titled, "A Christian Perspective on Work." It is really awesome, and I've listened to it on my way to work several times since receiving it.

Today, as I was searching for something else, I came across the same recording online here. The GTY website calls the sermon "A Theology of Work, but the content is exactly the same. You can read the entire transcript or download the sermon and listen to it for yourself if you'd like.

Hands down, this is the absolute best treatment of the topic I have listened to. It really is a treasure. Check it out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Ascension Day!

From the Apostle's Creed:

"He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty."

And from today's RZIM devotional email:
"On the day Jesus was taken into heaven, the work God sent him to accomplish was finally completed. The ascension was a living and public declaration of his dying words on the Cross: It is finished. Ascending to heaven, Jesus furthered the victory of Easter—the victory of a physical body in whom God had conquered death. Because of the ascension, the incarnation is not a past event. Because of the ascension, we know that the incarnate Christ who was raised from the dead is sharing in our humanity even now." READ MORE HERE>>