Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fast Forward to Easter: Our Tears Are Being Undone

Tony Reinke (via the Desiring God blog) writes an encouraging, uplifting and Christ-exalting devotional titled: Our Tears Are Being Undone. Here is an excerpt from the piece, actually his conclusion:
Tears Undone
Isaiah saw the feast coming, and it's a feast that we see even more clearly on this side of side of the Easter Sunday. Death has been defeated, and it now serves the purposes of the church (1 Corinthians 3:22). The new creation has dawned. And through the gospel, the elect are being invited from every nation to participate in the feast (Revelation 19:9).
It does not mean all the tears have been dried, but it does mean the tears have been defeated. Sorrow will continue to be part of our daily lives in this fallen world. And weeping continues to play a valuable role in our gospel ministry to the world and to one another (Acts 20:19, 31; Romans 12:15).
But when we cry, we cry through eyes that have seen a glimpse of the age to come. Just as surely as Christ has wiped away every one of our sins, so will he one day wipe away every one of our tears (Acts 3:19, Colossians 2:14).
Death has been defeated. Death will be swallowed. The old things are passing away. Easter reminds us that Christ lives, and because Christ lives, our tears of sorrow — every one of them — are being undone.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Koinonia Winner!

Wow, praise God! I just won a copy of Robert Gundry's A Survey of the New Testament! from Zondervan's Koinonia Blog (Koinonia: And the winner is...?). This looks like an awesome, awesome resource.

For what seemed like most of my adult life, I can't remember actually winning a single giveaway contest. But now, over the last two or three years, I've been overwhelmingly blessed with so many giveaways! I've won some amazing resources from Challies.com, Kregel Publications, and Koinonia Blog, and have received many more freebies as a blogger and frequent reader of sites like Considerablegrace.com -- and many others. Praise God that He has given the gift of such a giving heart to so many of His servants. I love, love, love to give to others. And receiving is turning out to be a great joy as well!

Just a small point about receiving. The willingness to receive good gifts can easily become an overlooked attribute of the Christian life. We should be taught to cultivate a heart that is receptive of the good gifts that the Lord provides - spiritually and physically - through the fellowship of the body. Oftentimes, I find that it takes a great deal of humility to ask others to help or to share or to give in order to help meet our own needs. But this is what the body of Christ is all about! I'm learning more and more not to go it alone and to always be my own provider. The Lord, by the power of His Holy Spirit, has been so faithful in teaching me and training me to trust in Him alone -- through the body of Christ.
Thank you, Jesus. -- And Zondervan, too.

Psalm 131
1 My heart is not proud, O Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;...
3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Behind Every Theological Crusader There’s Usually a Story

Trevin Wax has a great piece on TGC Blog called Behind Every Theological Crusader There’s Usually a Story. Here is an excerpt:

"How to Help: Return to Grace
Sometimes the crusader just wants to be heard. So let them tell their story. That said, debating the finer points of theology is not the way to go. Debating the strengths and weaknesses of the charismatic worship movement or the man-centered or God-centered nature of Calvinism or church growth isn’t the point. When someone’s been burned, they need a bandage, not an explanation of how the burning takes place.

Instead, it’s best to point them away from the bad examples of leadership they’ve seen to what’s good in the movement they crusade against. There is always a mixture of good and bad in every cycle that comes through church history. Every revival has its excesses. Every leader has shortcomings. Lower the level of idealism a bit. And then bring the conversation back around to grace......
Don’t try to persuade them to give up the crusade. It’s probably not going to work. And theological crusades can distract us from the mission God has called us to.

Instead, offer to pray with them. Listen to them. Learn from them. Give them guidance if they ask for it. And then challenge the crusader to channel that passion back toward the Great Commission.

Encourage them to not let their back story keep them from moving forward."

Great Words, Trevin! Wisdom, Grace and Truth -- to the Glory of God!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

@DG: When People Look Like Satan

When People Look Like Satan

"Adam was the first human idolator who became something he was not supposed to become, looking more like the snake than he did his Creator. Dr. G.K. Beale explains how:
"Idol worship" should be defined as revering anything other than God. At the least, Adam's allegiance had shifted from God to himself and probably to Satan, since he came to resemble the serpent's character in some ways.
[He Lied]
[He Didn't Trust God's Word]
. .
[He Exalted Himself]
 Read the entire post here> When People Look Like Satan
(from: G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011), 359f.)

A Culpable Case of Amnesia - Reformation21 Blog

A Culpable Case of Amnesia - Reformation21 Blog
Scott Oliphant has written an excellent piece here, delving deep into the topics of truth, apologetics, logic and ultimately, the Word of God.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Understanding Complementarianism

The Gospel Coalition has posted links to a recent conference on the topic of Complementarianism, with lectures and panels featuring Bob Yarbrough, professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, and D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

The plenary recordings are available at the following links:
The Cultural and Ecclesiological Landscape  (Yarbrough)
Hermeneutics: A Biblical Framework (Yarbrough)
Creation and Re-Creation: Male and Female in the Image of God, the Fall, and Redemption (Carson)
Family: Husbands and Wives, Love and Submission, Christ and the Church (Carson)
Church: Teaching/Authority in Context of 1 Timothy 2 (Carson) [Q&A transcript excerpt]
Leadership in the Local Church and a Theology of Pastoral Care (Yarbrough)
Panel Discussion: Equal in Essence and Dignity, Distinction in Roles: The Home
Panel Discussion: Full Use of Gifts within God's Ordained Structure: The Church
Concluding Comments [PDF] (Carson and Yarbrough)

It seems that both of these speakers are addressing some key concerns that I've had for some time regarding the defense and advocacy for complementarianism (at least in the blogosphere). For instance, Yarborough offers five theses concerning the climate in which we believers now live and minister:
  1. We're hurting.
  2. The "complementarian" term needs a redo.
  3. Redo would mean blessed repentance and the good works and better practices that the gospel received would bring.
  4. We live in a time of dizzying and sometimes intimidating negative change.
  5. The crises and evils of our time can be overstated.
He follows up on numbers 2 and 3 by elaborating the following points, which need to be better communicated within our own circles:
1. 'Complementarian' has too often meant 'You can't.'
"[God] assigns us to serve him best in the sweet spot of the personhood he saw fit to confer on us. It's not about 'You can't,' but about where and how Scripture says we all best will. We're not so much talking about restrictions as how God designed his grace and love proclaimed in the gospel to flourish. . . . There's a difference between well-advised limits and odious restrictions."
2. 'Complementarian' has too often meant catering primarily to men.
"Women generally read more than men, tend to be more linguistically apt than men, and a lot of preaching frankly undershoots women's literary, intellectual, and even theological levels."
3. 'Complementarian' has been a cover for oppression of women.
"Men have escaped confrontation and church discipline while women are left vulnerable and exposed."
4. 'Complementarian' has been wed with Americanism. (think Ozzie and Harriet)
5. 'Complementarian' has not always been robustly biblical enough to repel licentiousness. (focusing on one or two verses, rather than building out from all of scripture)
6. 'Complementarian' has been used to justify juvenile and boorish behavior.  
"[True] complementarianism encourages a delightful synergy of cooperation, of mutual respect, of . . . promotion of women and their God-given interests and skills and responsibilities." Too often, however, the term "produces suspicion, defensiveness, exclusion, or indifference."
7. 'Complementarian' has been used to justify male aggression, laziness, and refusal to love and serve in marriages.
"A feature of our cultural and ecclesial landscape is warped, bastard expressions of male malfeasance garbed as complementarian. These expressions are smug and an accessory to evil. . . . Women must deeply feel that male leaders are on their side, making decisions with their concerns on the table.