Monday, March 31, 2008

Eagerly Desire to Serve in Love (I Corinthians 12:27-13:8)

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. (I Cor. 12:27-31)

Notice that? Paul's talking about the different Spirit-empowered gifts, services and activities that individual members of the church exercise. Paul gives eight kinds of gifts then rhetorically asks seven times if "all" in any given church exercise said gifts. Two of those rhetorical queries (tongues and interpret) branch out from one listed gift, that of "various kinds of tongues." Left out of these series of rhetoricals are "helping" and "administrating."

Why might that be? It's clear Paul means that not everyone has the gift of tongues or healing or teaching or prophecy. But helps and administration seem to be different. They seem to be gifts and acts of service to the church that are broadly based.

After all, on some level, albeit in different offices and complementary functions, every member of the church is to minister in helps and administration. Relatively few publicly exercise apostolic, prophetic, or teaching authority in the administration of the church, yet all Christians have a role in the administration of the work of the body of Christ on earth.

But I can think of another and perhaps more important reason, given the context of Paul's instructions to the church at Corinth. Regardless of what gifts we have or haven't, our exercise of all of them should be characterized by the love of Jesus Christ for His church flowing through us.

Love is what Paul calls "a still more excellent way" in the closing verse of chapter 12 and is to be characteristic of our use of any spiritual gift:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, [1] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [2] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. [I Cor. 13:1-8]

Our service to the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ should be patient, kind, content, humble, gracious, yielding to authority, thick-skinned, centered on God's loving kindness, and joyous in the truth of the Gospel.

Walking in Christ's love we should:

  • bear with diverse personalities within the church
  • tolerate a diversity of opinion on secondary theological issues
  • bear with the sinful shortcomings and disappointments we're bound to experience in an assembly of sinners being saved by the grace of God from the wrath to come

We will become quite familiar with these challenges to our pride and our self-importance when we humble ourselves and engage in practical, self-sacrificial service, especially when that service is not noticed and praised by men.

It's a tall order, but we're called to not only walk in love but to pursue it, to seek out our growth in it (I. Cor. 14:1). This requires frequent self-examination of the motives of our hearts that is brutally honest before a holy God.

Let's examine our hearts and see what drives us. Where we've sinned, let's repent, and move on, continuing to do good to all, "especially to those who are of the household of faith," knowing that in due season, we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:1-10).

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sermon Notes: Resurrection of the Dead

The following are some sermon notes from Easter Sunday (March 23, 2008) at Solid Rock Church in Riverdale, Md. The sermon was delivered by senior pastor John Loftness.

[If the sermon is added to the Web site I'll update with a link to the audio here.]

The text was I Corinthians 15:1-8;12-28

Three Major Points (my paraphrase in italics):

  1. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is the heart of the Gospel, of first importance (vv. 1-8), preceding all else. Christ's death in place of sinners and resurrection from the dead is the Gospel. If we preach Christ merely as moral example, we deny the message of the Gospel: Christ died for sinners and He calls sinners to repent and believe in Him and His sacrifice for their sins.
  2. If you deny the resurrection, you deny the whole Gospel (vv. 12-19).
    1. Preaching is in vain if there's no Resurrection (v.14)
    2. The apostles would be lying about the nature of God if there's no resurrection (v.15)
    3. We're still in our sins w/o resurrection of Christ (v. 17)
    4. Those who died in the faith are lost forever (v.18)
  3. The Resurrection of Christ resolves every human problem, including and ultimately the final enemy, death (vv.20-28).
Closing Thoughts (vv. 54-58):
  1. We have victory over death in the resurrection as given us "through our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 57)
  2. Because of this hope we are to be "steadfast, immovable" and "always abounding in the work of the Lord" as we know our "labor is not in vain." (v.58)

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Out of the Mouth of Babes...

...has God ordained praise (Matt. 21:16)

From Mark Driscoll's latest note on Facebook re: Easter and Good Friday services at Mars Hill Church (emphasis mine):

Something broke this weekend, spiritually. I’m not sure how to explain it, but God’s favor was evident everywhere. We had 8,070 people attend on Sunday, plus however many could not make it into the Eastside Campus or stand up outside the building to listen on speakers because there was no room in the parking lot or on the sidewalk. We had 3,648 for Good Friday services plus however many hundreds got turned away from the 7 p.m. service at Ballard. We had at least 11,718 people altogether this weekend, somewhere near 200 baptisms yesterday alone, and are still trying to figure out how many people got saved. My children loved seeing all the new converts and baptisms yesterday and my two-year-old son Gideon cracked us all up by calling them bath-tisms and asking if he could take a bath in the church too. We told him he can have a bath-tism in a few years when he gets a bit older.

[...]

Yesterday while singing with the congregation at each of the five services I preach live, I could not stop weeping. People were singing loudly with their hands in the air. They cheered all day as people came forward to give their lives to Jesus and be baptized. The pastors were up front laying hands on people, praying over them, and leading them to Christ by the dozens at every service. I stood off to the side during the singing to watch what God was doing and multiple people walked up to me weeping and asked me to pray with them to become a Christian. I met people who had flown in from out of state and out of country to celebrate Easter with us. I even met a couple who had organized their honeymoon to spend Easter with us before flying home to South Carolina. And I only got to see a fraction of what God was doing.

On Good Friday we had eight services on six campuses and for Easter Sunday we had seventeen services on six campuses. I am so glad we have gone multi-site and so glad for the trust we have in the campus pastors and their teams of elders, deacons, and church members. Most of all I am glad for God’
Sounds pretty sweet.

Soli Deo gloria.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday Tenebrae at Fourth Presbyterian

My girlfriend and I thought it would be good to find a Good Friday service to attend last night so we checked out the Tenebrae at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda.

The service was wonderful and awe-inspiringly worshipful, albeit a bit staid compared to what I'm used to in the Reformed charismatic tradition. The sermon was drawn from Isaiah 53. I'll post a link to the MP3 of the sermon when it's added online, but you can check out their Web site here.

Aside from prayers, hymns, and the sermon, there was a series of Bible readings after each of which a candle was extinguished to represent Christ's passion, death, and burial. As the bulletin explained, the practice is "taken from an early Christian service called Tenebrae," Latin for "darkness" or "shadows.":

The Shadow of Betrayal Matt. 26:20-25
The Shadow of Desertion Matt. 26:30-35
The Shadow of Unshared Vigil Luke 22:39-46
The Shadow of Accusation Mark 14:43-65
The Shadow of Crucifixion Matt. 27:27-38
The Shadow of Death Luke 23:44-49
The Shadow of the Tomb John 19:38-42

Those readings were then followed by a choral response but no benediction "as it is a service of anticipation, awaiting Easter Morning and the Resurrection of our crucified Christ."

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Monday, March 17, 2008

It's Good Friday Because It Was Bad News for the 'Ruler of This World'

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. [John 12:27-33]

The final judgment is yet to come. It shall happen with Christ's return. But in one sense the day of judgment has already happened, and that's why Good Friday is so good, for it was judgment day against the ruler of this world, Satan. (John 12:31; John 16:11; Col. 2:6-15)

In John 12 we see Jesus expressing how troubled his soul was due to the impending hour: his imminent execution at the hands of wicked men and His bearing the wrath of God against sin to bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10).

At that point an audible voice comes from heaven for Jesus says to his disciples "your sake, not mine," for, "Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

John makes clear in verse 33 to us that "lifted up" refers to "what kind of death he was going to die," the crucifixion.

Jesus tells us the judgment of the world: damnation of the wicked, salvation for those who trust in Christ, and the vanquishing of Satan (the ruler of this world), are all tied to and made possible by His suffering and death on the cross. That is why he could cry "It is finished." (John 19:30)

What's more, Christ's death on the cross is to "draw all people to" Him. This is why the church must preach Christ and Him crucified (I Cor. 2:2), it's how Jesus himself tells us that he draws people to Himself from every race and tribe and tongue to himself (see also Rev. 5:5-10 below).

Death on a cross is gruesome, hideous, horrifying, enough to make you weep, as well we should, over our sin and rebellion against God putting Christ there.

Yet that weeping is for but a while. Christ is risen from the dead(Luke 24:5-7), interceding for His church (Heb. 7:25), and returning again in glory (I Thess. 4:16). His death and resurrection prove that He alone is worthy, as the Lord of all history, to open the scroll of God's will, as John testifies in his account from Revelation chapter 5. Because of this, all of heaven rejoices.:

5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

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Salt of the Earth: Mars Hill Preserving a Decaying City

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:13-16)


Sounds like Mars Hill Church of Seattle, Washington, which yesterday opened its newest campus in a former, shall we say, den of iniquity:

Mars Hill Church opens in ex-Tabella nightclub

By BRAD WONG
P-I REPORTER

[...]

The 400 or so people who attended the first service at Mars Hill Church's new downtown campus Sunday were witnesses to a startling transformation: They heard a sermon while seated on the former dance floor of one of Seattle's most notorious nightclubs.

At Tabella Restaurant and Lounge, the music was loud, the crowds rowdy.

Seattle police often raced to the club to break up brawls.

[...]

In October, Mars Hill bought the two-story, 15,000- square-foot building on Western Avenue for nearly $4 million, making the Belltown venue its sixth campus.

The church sank about $370,000 into the renovation, with volunteers spending months ripping up carpet and painting walls, Gaydos said.

When a worker was installing wiring, a black bag dropped from the ceiling. Inside was a crack pipe and cocaine. Police had to be called -- one more time.

[...]

The remaining go-go dancer's cage has been converted into a coat hanger.

The condom dispenser is now a diaper-changing station.

"It's amazing how God can change things," said Sarah Rosenberger, a 29-year-old Lynnwood mother who attended Sunday's service with her infant son.

[...]

Down the street at Elbasha Cafe, manager Sam Alramahi recalled how often police cruisers used to pull up to the club to quell late-night fights.

"We're very glad we have a church there," said Alramahi, who lives in the neighborhood. "It saves us hassles."

Wow. Good stuff, Mars Hill. May God richly bless you all and may you turn all that blessing around to the praise and glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Wall Street Woes? Try Habakkuk on for Size

Back away from the ledge. Close the window.

Sit down and read Habakkuk 3:17-19. Heck, read the whole book too, but the song of praise at the end reminds us to put our joy in the Lord and in "the God of my salvation."

Course, if the "god" of your salvation is anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ, you need to repent and seek salvation from the One who truly offers it, from the One who truly conquered death, Hell, and the grave by taking our sin and the wrath of God in our place.

That need being met, we can truly say that though our "flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls," we take our strength from the Lord:

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eliot Spitzer and Slavery to Sin

The whole Eliot Spitzer matter might have many of you thinking, How could a guy who prosecuted prostitution rings and knew the high risk of being caught NOT keep himself from engaging in the same thing he very well knew to be morally and legally wrong time and time again? How could he do something so foolish, so stupid, so thoughtless, all to attempt to sate this lust?

Scripture has a simple answer, not just in Spitzer's case but to explain the whole of sin and human addiction to it, no matter the form (smoking addiction, foul language, lust, greed, envy, rage, lying, worry, pride, etc.).

As Jesus told us, he who sins is a slave to sin (John 34:31-36):

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave [2] to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
We as Americans love to think of ourselves as free, and we certainly are, politically and culturally speaking. But spiritually, we are slaves, as is the rest of humanity, to sin. Sin rules us, guides us, governs us, suffocates us in its oppressive rule over us.

Only in Christ do we find freedom from the bondage of sin and death and loving adoption into the family of God. What Gov. Spitzer needs is not mere moralizing on his failures as a public official and a husband, but to be told of the penalty he faces as a sinner estranged from God by his sinful rebellion and of the pardon he can receive in Christ's blood.

Spitzer, like all of us, needs the Gospel message proclaimed to him, for how can he repent and believe unless he hears the good news? (Rom. 10:12-17):

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? [3] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

I, Not Eliot Spitzer, Am the Chief of Sinners

My title is a good reminder for myself. I struggle with a self-righteous desire to make light of the demise of politicians, particularly those like Gov. Spitzer with whom I rarely agree politically.

But such delight, such glee is sinful. It's based on pride and a sense of self-righteousness, and it runs counter to God's Word (Prov. 24:17-20):

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from him.
19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
and be not envious of the wicked,
20 for the evil man has no future;
the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

So should I not rejoice so that God's anger will continue to abide on my enemies, real or imagined? Heaven forbid! I too was once God's enemy. I too was once subject to wrath. My lamp was subject to being snuffed out by a God righteously indignant with my sin. None of my morality or self-righteousness amounts to anything before God. My salvation, my hope, my joy is in Christ and His mercy towards me, a sinner.

The cry of my heart should be for Gov. Spitzer to repent of his sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! There but for the grace of God go I. There but for His mercy towards me in Christ Jesus, I'd be where Eliot Spitzer is, or worse!

I know this in my head and yet I must study this afresh to make the truth richly dwell in my heart.

The Apostle Paul put, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, put it well (emphasis mine; I Timothy 1:15-16):

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

For more on that text, see my blog post from January 28 (excerpt below):

Three Major Points for Application:

  1. Remember the Gospel ["Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"]
  2. Remember your own sinfulness ["to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost"] --Apply this mindset to our lives. We are the worst sinners we know, we are most intimately aware of our hidden sins, our sinful thoughts, attitudes, lusts, etc. Being aware of our sinfulness makes all all the more aware of God's grace to us and keeps us humble in our relationships with others
  3. Remember your life is to be a display of God's patience ["Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life"] --My walk with Christ is not so much about my performance as it is about God's patience towards me, a sinner saved by His grace and being conformed to the image of Christ in spite of my sinful flesh which is at war with the Spirit.

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Seven New Sins, Same Saving Grace

Heard about this yet?:

The Vatican has outlined seven new deadly sins for our times, designed to make worshippers consider the increased impact their lives have on other people in light of globalisation.

The new lists condemns genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs.

Pretty much all of the above fall under the rubric of falling short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), except perhaps being "obscenely wealthy," since trust in riches and love of money, not possession of riches and wealth in and of themselves, is what's at issue with financial sin.

Of course, I highly doubt anyone needs a new-fangled list of official sins to guard against. After all, we aren't sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Probably a good 90 percent of our sins escape our immediate notice because they involve the heart, mind, and will, not necessary the mouth or other members set among our body.

It's out of the heart that all sin originates (Gen. 8:21; Psa. 14; Matt. 15:18-20; Mark 7:20-23; James 1:14-15) and only God can change the heart, replacing a hardened heart of stone with a heart of flesh which desires to honor and glorify God (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:29).

What then must we do? We are to throw ourselves at God's mercy, trusting in Christ's death in our place, accepting salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and then living our lives in accord with the Gospel, worthy of the calling, bearing fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. It's then that we can bring the Gospel to bear on modern day twists on age-old sins.

Rather than fixating on all the evils plaguing modern day life, we must remain transfixed by the surpassing glory of Christ Jesus: triumphant over sin and death in the cross, risen again by the power of God from the dead, seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for His Bride the Church, and coming again in glory for the same (Col. 2:6-15; Phil. 2:9-11; I Tim. 3:14-16; Heb. 7:25; I Thess. 4:16-18).

This message, this deposit of faith "once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) always has and always will be the witness of the church, the message of salvation that contains the "power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16).

Soli Deo gloria!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Doctrine of the Trinity Explained In Rap

Okay, so I'm not a big fan of rap and I usually make fun of artists who don't capitalize their names, but shai linne has got some phenomenal work. I might have to buy his stuff! Check him out his music here and his blog here. (h/t Sovereign Grace blog)

"Were You There" is pretty good ( lyrics found here), although my favorite thus far is "Triune Praise,"(lyrics here) wherein linne weaves an awesome rap that explains the doctrine of the Trinity, including the work of the three Persons in the Trinity in the salvation of the elect. For example, here's how linne raps about irresistible grace (effectual calling) and the perseverance of the saints:

Praise God the Holy Spirit, 3rd person of the Trinity (Mat. 28:19)*
Distinct from Father and Son, yet share in Their divinity (Acts 5:3-4, 2 Cor. 3:17)
Holy Spirit we praise You, You don't like the spotlight
You'd rather point away from yourself and give props to Christ (John 15:26, John 16:13-14)
And yet because You're God, You deserve veneration (Mark 3:29)
And You're the One responsible for our regeneration (John 3:5-6)
You apply the finished work of Christ to all the elect (John 6:37, 1 Peter 1:1-2)
Your call is effectual- You haven't lost one yet (Romans 8:30, 2 Thess. 2:13-14)

*Scripture references added by linne and available on his MySpace page.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

'Salt' of the Earth on VH1?

(Religion News Service via CT)

When Cheryl James abruptly abandoned her red-hot career as "Salt" of the hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa and became a Christian, she also shattered her relationship with partner Sandra "Pepa" Denton. Ten years after drifting away from the band, James, 43, is trying to be true to both faith and friendship by reconciling with Denton in the VH1 reality show The Salt-N-Pepa Show (Mondays at 10 PM EST). "Kids look at (fame) and all they see is the glamour," James said in an interview from New York recently, "but there's a dark side.

[...]

Some might be taken aback by James's decision to team up with Denton, an unreformed party girl, but James sees the struggle of finding common ground and rebuilding friendship as compatible with, even necessary to Christian faith. "There are different kinds of people in the word," she said. "Christians often want to hide behind the walls of the church, where we are comfortable, but sometimes we have to come out of the box."

I wouldn't say I'm taken aback but I am sure Ms. James is somewhat aware of the danger of slipping back into choices characteristic of her life before Christ. Her work with VH1 is an issue of conscience and something I pray she's doing with a good deal of input and accountability from brothers and sisters in Christ. It can be done in a wholesome and God-honoring way, but it may be a bit of a struggle with the temptations she's opening herself, not to mention that reality shows often aren't great vehicles for evangelism.

So, Salt, I'm praying that you might be salt 'n' light to Pepa and everyone at VH1, and grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus:
But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. (I Peter 3:14-17)

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Spong to Christians: Drop Dead

Resurrection-denier and all-around heretic extraordinaire John Shelby Spong once again jabs two middle fingers skyward as he revels in the wisdom of this world and holds in low regard the wisdom of God [for relevant Scripture see I Cor. 1:18-2:16] (emphasis mine):

The traditional church always fights every new intellectual insight, making it difficult for educated people not to stray. Recall the fate of Galileo in the 17th Century. Observe how the church still fights Darwin with such silly things as intelligent design. Look at the present debate in the church over homosexuality in which people use a definition of homosexuality that is no longer saluted anywhere in scientific or medical circles upon which to justify their prejudice. When knowledge collides with traditional faith change is inevitable. I welcome it and if the church cannot engage this intellectually driven change, then it probably should die.
What height of arrogance and humanistic idolatry! And yet, it's understandable why Spong would be so bitter. After all, if Christ is not resurrected, neither shall we be, and we are above all men to be pitied (I Cor. 15:19). If Christ is not resurrected, He is not God, and any and all worship of Him is vain idolatry, a projection of our worship onto a mere dead human being.

But praise be to God that Christ is risen and is coming again in glory!

Spong's problem is not that he is too intellectual for "traditional" Christianity or that Christians are too unintellectual for a changing world, but that Spong is spiteful of Christ himself.

Spong is ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ: filled with disdain at the foolishness of His cross, blinded to the reality of His divinity, willfully seditious against Christ's lordship, leading open rebellion against Him from his ecclesial perch.

In short, Spong is grievously in error and leading others astray, preaching a damnable "gospel" (Gal. 1:6-8) that has an appearance of godliness but denies the power thereof. (II Timothy 3:1-9)

Let us pray that the Lord will grant former Bishop Spong repentance unto a knowledge of the truth, and that Episcopals and Anglicans specifically, and orthodox Christians generally, will not so much as bid him God speed until such time as he does (II John 8-11).

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