Saturday Sampler: September 4 — September 10

bible-sampler

Responding to Andy Stanley’s recent suggestion that evangelical pastors should “take the spotlight off the Bible and back on the resurrection,” Josh Buice of Delivered By Grace argues, Andy Stanley — We Can’t Arrive at the Empty Tomb without a Bible. Buice demonstrates why Scripture provides the foundation for proclaiming the Gospel.

John turned 67 this past week, and I’ll turn 63 at the end of the month. Because we’re growing older, Donald Whitney’s article, Spiritual Disciplines and the Sinkhole Syndrome (on the Ligonier blog), cautions me against supposing that my “spiritual maturity” entitles me to ease up on personal prayer and Bible Study. Young people can also learn from this post.

Diane Bucknell, writing for Out of the Ordinary, explains why Contending for Old School Hermeneutics is essential in understanding and interpreting the Bible. Present-day evangelicals, who all too often approach God’s Word subjectively, would do well to consider her points.

Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason actually shows how to apply hermeneutics in his Soundbite of the Week: Does Jeremiah 29:11 Apply to Us Today? Praise the Lord for people like him who refuse to  force interpretations on Scripture that the Holy Spirit never intended.

Although Erik Raymond writes A Couple Phrases I Wish Preachers Would Stop Saying So Often specifically for pastors and Bible Study leaders, his piece in The Gospel Coalition Blog actually applies to all Christians. Subjectively is such a major problem among evangelicals today; let’s not exacerbate this problem by using popular, but careless, phraseology when we talk about the Lord.

How can I resist mentioning Elizabeth Prata’s convicting essay, Etiquette of meeting a monarch in The End Time? Evangelicals don’t often think of the Lord as King of kings and Lord of lords. Our first taste of heaven may be quite humbling!

Out of the Ordinary also features Kim Shay’s post, The whole sentence matters, which examines 1 Peter 5:7 in its context. Her blog post gives us a different, more accurate, perspective on this well-known Bible memory verse.

Continuing my unplanned (by me) theme of proper Bible interpretation, 4 Practical Guidelines for Reading Old Testament Stories by George H. Guthrie reminds us that overall context unlocks Scripture’s meaning.

Denny Burk’s post, They’ll never come after the church…until they do reminds me of my reasons for starting The Outspoken TULIP  14 months ago. Ladies, we live in a time of growing hostility to the Lord and His Word, and we must do all we can not to compromise with the world’s values. Knowing Scripture, and knowing it accurately, is essential as this spiritual warfare escalates. I beg you, read the Bible in context and apply it obediently, regardless of the cost. These perilous times call us to live for His honor.
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Discernment Or Tabloid Journalism?

Twisting ScriptureI haven’t blogged about any celebrity false teachers lately. Goodness knows, Andy Stanley has definitely provided plenty of opportunity with his now famous comment that “pastors should take the spotlight off the Bible and put it back on the resurrection.” As you might imagine, I have problems with Stanley’s remark, and would find it very easy to join the chorus of discernment bloggers who properly call Stanley to task on this latest gaffe.

I choose not to do so. At least not today. In the first place, so many other people have written about the incident that I don’t really have anything new or  noteworthy to contribute to the conversation. So Andy Stanley is once again promoting a seeker-sensitive philosophy in opposition to Biblical Christianity. Yawn. That’s hardly something new, ladies. If I wrote about all his antics in the past five years, I’d merely be rehashing things that more articulate bloggers have already told us. What would be the point?

More importantly, regurgitating all the evidence that indicts Andy Stanley just wouldn’t edify anyone right now. If, on the other hand, I wrote a post explaining why his statement flies in the face of  Biblical thought, I’d have legitimate reason to add my   voice to the discussion. Such an article will, as a matter of fact, appear in this week’s Saturday Sampler. But the fact that Andy Stanley needs public correction doesn’t necessarily mean that every discernment blogger has a moral responsibility to write about his faulty theology.

Having said all that, I most assuredly believe we need bloggers who will boldly call out false teachers and erroneous doctrines that infect the Church.

This past year,various bloggers have pulled back from engaging in discernment ministry, some from an honest conviction that they had participated in sensationalism and gossip when they should have been exalting the Lord Jesus Christ.  I respect their integrity, but I’ve noticed that they’ve inadvertently migrated to the camp that views discernment blogging with an attitude  of disdain. Consequently,  I fear that the pendulum may swing too far in the other direction.

Scripture makes it clear that, even though it’s shameful to speak of the works of darkness, Christians mustn’t shy away from that responsibility.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. ~~Ephesians 5:6-12 (ESV)

Walking in the light obligates Christians to shine lights on false teachers like Andy Stanley, who mistakenly assert that we can celebrate Christ’s resurrection without the foundation of God’s Word. While we certainly must take pains to avoid a tabloid mentality simply to boost the number of people who read our posts, we must also bear in mind that even the best of churches are filled  with people who lack discernment.

This lack of discernment troubles me, and it should trouble you! If we fail to address it, we only add to the pollution that has crippled the church in various ways for 2,000 years. Perhaps our warnings against false teachers and false doctrines will fail to convince people who follow them, but that potential failure should not dissuade us from being obedient to speak the truth. Again, discernment bloggers should not gossip or rehash stories that have already been told by more reputable writers, but we must not go to the other extreme of saying nothing. Andy Stanley’s latest shenanigans warrant exposure. It’s only a matter of exposing him in a way that honors Christ.

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