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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Prayer Request

This week I started training for my upcoming job as part-time Secretary at the church. One day I happened to be in the office alone [reading equipment manuals :( ] and answered the phone when it rang. The gentleman was seeking a Pastor to help him.

Now I have been laboring along with the Pulpit Committee since January in our search for a new Pastor. We have an interim Pastor, but he is only available for Sunday preaching, and we have a single non-Staff Elder who also has a full time job, a family and a higher education commitment, yet who also has been trying to do all he can to shepherd the flock in this interim between full time Pastors.

But being the new secretary gave me greater insight into the magnitude of our not having a full time Pastor. There are people outside of our congregation who call desperately seeking pastoral help - but we have none. I find myself automatically wanting to respond in my "biblical counseling mode", only to be caught up short when I remember that I am in the position of being a Secretary - they want a Pastor. You have no idea how much it hurts me to have to tell them we don't currently have a Pastor available and then refer them elsewhere.

So now I have an even greater sense of urgency in my prayer for a new Pastor. Please join me in earnestly praying that God would send us the man of His choosing.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Simple Math




Injuries: some bruising & two small cuts.
Car Loss: $1,000,000
Mileage: 9 miles
Waiting List for New One: 2 years
Still Alive: Priceless
When can I drive Dad's car again?: Nuclear Half Life

Another "Christianism" Discovered

In the course of my Christian walk I have become increasingly aware of what I call "Christianisms". A "Christianism" is a saying or way of thinking that is prevalent among believers, but which has no biblical basis. Sometimes it may even be antithetical to biblical teaching! We often pick up these sayings/ideas from our culture and then pass them on to one another without even realizing what we're doing. One of the reasons I am so dedicated to studying the Bible is that as I am exposed to God's Truth, I find areas where I need to change not only my own thinking, but also how I communicate God's Truth to others.

I am also thankful to the authors I read. They often point out "Christianisms" I had not previously thought about. Right now I'm reading Graeme Goldsworthy's "Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture". I don't necessarily agree with all of his views, particularly concerning prophecy, but he does an excellent job breaking down many conclusions I do share.

In explaining how Existential Philosophy has had an impact upon Christian thought, he writes about how the issue of the historicity of the biblical account became secondary to the question of how the "story" aided SELF-understanding. Rudolph Bultman typified this when he wrote, "the meaning of history lies always in the present, and when the present is conceived as the eschatalogical present by Christian faith the meaning in history is realized." It doesn't matter whether the Bible is Truth or Myth, what matters is how it helps me understand ME.

Goldsworthy goes on to write, "Thus, 'Jesus in my heart' theology not only distorts the Trinitarian perspective of the New Testament, it comes very close to the internalized gospel of medieval Catholicism [i.e. grace redefined as a spiritual influence in the heart of the individual believer]. The doctrine of the new birth is often thought of as an evangelical distinctive, but when 'you must be born again' is made to be the gospel, the real objective and historical nature of the biblical gospel is compromised."

Wow! Is 'Jesus in my heart' a true representation of biblical truth? In looking at what the Bible has to say about salvation I find it involving things like repentance of sin/rebellion against God, turning from idols to the living God, that salvation results in a believer no longer serving sin, but serving God, that an individual becomes united with Christ and becomes a member of a corporate body serving as His ministers on earth. I don't see 'inviting Jesus into my heart' anywhere. While it's true that the believer is sealed with the HS until the day of his ultimate redemption, it's equally true that the Trinity embodies BOTH unity AND distinction. Members of the Trinity are not interchangeable!

Let's not be sloppy with our terminology. Let's not get our theology from songs and "Christianisms". Let's keep reading and studying the Truth and let's be careful how we represent it to others. Let's make God's Truth our blueprint for reality.