Saturday Sampler: November 25 — December 1

Pointilized Heart Sampler

Maybe Mike Ratliff doesn’t say anything remarkably novel in his blog post, Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? for Possessing the Treasure, but his point really can’t be overstated. Current trends in evangelicalism must never eclipse the authority of the Bible.

Be honest: reading the Bible every day can get tiring. Thankfully, Ryan Higginbottom of  Knowable Word thinks of several ways that Reading the Bible for the Ten Thousandth Time can regain its freshness.

In response to the latest ridiculous Twitter pronouncement by Rachel Held Evans, Nick Batzig posts Jesus and Racial Bias in Reformation 21. I like the way Nick appeals to normative hermeneutics in order to demonstrate proper understanding of a Scriptural text.

A friend whom I highly respect has raised legitimate questions about the methods John Chau used in his evangelistic efforts to minister to an unreached tribe off the coast of India. Although I don’t wish to dismiss her concerns, Jordan Standridge’s 10 Lessons From The Death of John Chau makes extremely important points that all Christians absolutely must consider. You’ll find his article in The Cripplegate.

Check out Parking Space 23 for John Chester’s Reprise: So You Think You Are a Red Letter Christian? Even those of us who claim to believe the entire Bible has uniform authority might find his article to be a little convicting.

I appreciate the thoughtfully written John Allen Chau’s death stuns, angers, and perplexes the world, which Elizabeth Prata posts on The End Time. She evaluates the situation honestly, doing her best to cover all angles of the story. I especially love the hope she expresses as she closes this essay.

Leslie A insists that There’s More to Christianity Than Doing Good Works in an article for Growing 4 Life. Beginning with her brother’s interesting observation on the inoffensive nature of social justice, she discusses the mission we have as Christians — including the ramifications of carrying out that mission.

Think Catholicism has more in common with Protestant denominations than differences? Pope Francis would have you think so! Leonardo De Chirico of The Vatican Files chronicles the pope’s life-long devotion to Mary in 156. She is My Mamá — Pope Francis and Mary to show that the pontiff refuses to separate Christ from Mary.

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Saturday Sampler: September 9 — September 15

Cinderella Sampler

In a guest post for Pyromaniacs, Darrell B. Harrison insists that God Has Spoken regarding how Christians must implement justice. Scripture speaks clearly to how we can live justly in this fallen world.

Do you remember how excited you were about Jesus when you first became a Christian? Elizabeth Prata invites us to think back to those days by Remembering our earliest grace in The End Time. She definitely provides wise counsel in this essay.

When the Holy Spirit helps us understand Scriptural principles, we naturally want to pass  those insights along. And that’s generally a good thing. But, as Leslie A of Growing 4 Life shows us, sometimes we need His wisdom on When to Stop Talking.

With compassion and fidelity to God’s Word, Michael Coughlin writes Do People Who Commit Suicide Go To Hell? as his contribution to the Things Above Us blog. You might appreciate his thought-provoking perspectives.

Look at Pilgrim Theology Versus Ethnic Theology by R. Scott Clark on The Heidelblog for a helpful understanding of why we must avoid classifying Christians by ethnicities.

It pleases me to recommend a second Elizabeth Prata post this week. The Truest Poverty Social Justice Can Never Cure brings us to the heart of the conversation. Isn’t it amazing how Scripture gives such clarity to a controversy?

John Ellis reviews Aimee Byrd’s controversial book on friendships between men and women for his personal blog, adayinhiscourt. Aimee Byrd Asks About Men and Women ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ candidly examines the book’s strengths and weaknesses from a male perspective that few women really understand. We desperately need to consider the points Ellis makes.

Against the backdrop of suffering for Christ, Mike Ratliff studies 2 Timothy in Possessing the Treasure to remind us why we must Rekindle the Gift of God. He even uses the text to show us how to rekindle our spiritual gifts. As persecution increases against American Christians, Ratliff’s teaching is much needed.

Take a look at Colin L. Eakin’s article, When the Sunday Sermon Is Really Demon Doctrine, in Pyromaniacs. Dr. Eakin highlights the desperate need for Biblical discernment in evangelical churches today.

Speaking of discernment, Michelle Lesley takes us back to the fundamentals of it with Basic Training: Being Berean — 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture. Even if you excel at discernment, her principles might serve as a helpful refresher.

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Why I Have Problems With The The Social Justice Movement

First LoveIn one respect, its great that Christians care about taking care of weaker members of society. I applaud genuine efforts to address unfair treatment of women, and I praise God when Christians call racism out as a sin. Please, as you read this article, understand that I wholeheartedly support the idea of Christians serving others.

Having said that, I also believe that the Social Justice Movement (or Woke Movement) has created  a serious distraction from our primary mission as Christians.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~~Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)

At the risk of stating the obvious, our first priority is Continue reading

Let’s Keep Jesus As Our Gospel Focus

Glory Of The CrossFew people seriously believe that either misogyny or racism have any place in the Christian church. While God established different roles for men and women (as I’ve discussed numerous times on this blog), He never gives us reason to consider one gender to be superior to the other. Similarly, He doesn’t advocate that His people make racial or ethnic distinctions among ourselves.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. ~~Galatians 3:23-29 (ESV)

In Christ, Christians of both genders and all ethnic backgrounds find unity. And our unity in Him demands Continue reading

Now I Understand Why Reading Sojourner’s Magazine Made Me Feel Slimy

Snail

Not long after I graduated from  college in 1977, one of my pastors started teaching Adult Sunday School classes on world hunger and social justice. Several of us fell under his influence, equating socialist politics with Christianity. We justified this equation by pointing to Acts 2:44-45  as a proof-text  supporting our “radical discipleship.”

Like all good radicals, we protested nuclear power plants, boycotted subsidiaries of corporate conglomerates and mourned profusely when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter. We firmly believed our liberal politics reflected Biblical values.

And we faithfully read Sojourner’s Magazine. I grabbed each issue the moment it hit my mailbox, eagerly flipping to the editorials by Jim Wallis. His writing always assured me that Jesus championed the poor and disenfranchised.

And yet, I always felt a certain discomfort with my so-called Christian socialism. Continue reading

“Woke” Or A Nightmare?

Three Little Angels

Who doesn’t want a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect regardless of ethnic background or gender?

And who denies that the United States of America has a track record of treating black people horribly and sexually abusing women? In some respects, the proponents of the “woke” movement address real issues that most white evangelicals pretty much ignore. On one level, we need reminders that real people have endured real suffering simply because of being black or female. Racism and misogyny exist.

So do reverse racism and male bashing. I’ve personally experienced one and practiced the other. These attitudes, just like racism and misogyny, offend the Lord as they wrongly elevate some people over others rather than emphasizing our common bond as believers in Jesus Christ.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, interestingly, addresses the racial divisions between Jews and gentiles, teaches husbands and wives to embrace their gender roles and promotes attitudes of love, compassion and forgiveness among Christians. Paul’s first letter to Timothy, the pastor of the Ephesians, instructs us to observe gender distinctions in ministry, but makes no mention of ethnic differences between Jews and gentiles. Look at his plea to this beloved church:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ~~Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)

Where is that humility in the “woke” movement? Frankly, all I’ve seen are demands that white evangelicals perform perpetual acts of repentance for the sins of our ancestors and a determination to jettison gender roles in both marriage and church life? I see anger and unforgiveness that threatens the very unity it purposes to advance.

Again, I agree that both racism and misogyny have polluted the visible church. But so have reverse racism and male bashing. All parties involved have their share of repentance to do. But the “woke” movement, by pointing fingers and denying that the Lord calls them to the same humility and repentance that they expect from others, only makes unity that much harder.

I don’t believe this animosity honors Christ.

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Moving Beyond Beth Moore To The Real Problem

Big Woman

Before you label me a hypocrite for having a blog that men obviously read, please look at the Mission Statement on my sidebar and/or If You’re A Man, Please Read This Page, which is prominently posted on my Menu. Throughout this blog you’ll find subtle, and also blatant, reminders that men should absolutely not be reading my blog. Unlike Beth Moore, I cannot comfortably violate Scripture.

I remember reading that Beth Moore began her teaching career by leading a women’s Sunday School class. Over time, men began sitting in on her class, eventually causing the class to develop into a teaching program open to men as well as women. Since then, while insisting that her passion is women’s ministry, she’s been quite comfortable teaching mixed audiences and even preaching at Passion City Church.

Perhaps, I told myself,  Moore really didn’t mean to teach men any more than I do. My willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt never was all that strong, but it completely flew out the window when her post, A Letter to my Brothers, appeared this past May.

This letter betrays her desire to minister exactly as men do. To her, gender roles signify misogyny. In essence, she’s stomping her high heels in a temper tantrum, demanding to play with the boys.

Egalitarianism is an element of the recent “woke” movement coursing throughout evangelicalism (including the Southern Baptist Convention and Reformed churches). Beth Moore has been “woke” lately, giving her liberty to roar against “injustices” women apparently endure.

For decades, Beth Moore has assured her followers that God speaks directly to her. She hasn’t yet claimed to hear from Him on this particular issue. Yet. But even if she never makes such a claim, her reputation for receiving extrabiblical revelation from God lends enormous credibility to her cries for social justice.

I began this series examining the problems with Beth Moore’s ministry firstly because I’d seldom offered a good demonstration that I understand why she poses a danger to Christian women. Now that I have established my working knowledge of her errors, I feel better equipped to critique her support of the “woke” movement. And, based on her history of disobedience to Scripture’s prohibition regarding women teaching and/or preaching to men, I strongly suspect that she will have a devastating influence that leads women to embrace this movement.

Beth Moore has inserted herself into something that distracts people from the Gospel. We must mourn that someone so popular would help lead people into a theology that divides the Body of Christ under the guise of unifying it.

So from here, I want to move on from discussing her in favor of addressing the egalitarian aspect of the “woke” movement that she espouses. Hopefully we’ll learn how proper gender roles adorn the Gospel.

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