Archive for the ‘ Theology ’ Category

Act Like Men LIVE

I am live blogging from the Act Like Men conference from Veritas Community Church.  Check out the live feed.

It is kicking off with awesome worship 300 men singing unto the Lord. (no prom love songs here)

Pastor Brad is welcoming the crowd, today is going to be a day of speaking to men as men.

I love Joe Byler’s Worship we hit the old hymns and sing song that are perfect for men, they sing of the power and love of God in a way that doesn’t make me feel  like I am Jesus’ Boyfriend.

No Guilt of life

no fear in death

This is the powe of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny.

The call from scriptures is not to get in touch with your feminine side, we don’t have one.  It is a call to true manhood that we are called to.  Our idea of man hood has been shattered by sin.

Life working against you is an opportunity to see God’s grace because you now understand how you are working against him when he tries to work in your life. — Dan Montgomery

Dan Montgomery makes a good point that without proper church discipline you will never challenge men properly to rise up.  You will build a culture of passivity or sin because as long as you aren’t doing anything obviously sinful you are OK.

You must start to think differently about how you use your time.

@nicknye made the point that you can not confuse efforts with results and that he sometimes make the mistake of confusing business to commitment.

Now hitting the Q&A for the first time.  We are hearing from some awesome men on how to practically live as men.

How can you be masculine without offending women, because when you are a Godly man you are easy to follow.

Too many men are preoccupied with find a wife and not thinking about becoming a man — Dan Montgomery

All right not on to how to act like men in your family.

Many men have selfish reasons for getting married and having children.

See @jasonrfisher for all other updates.  Or see my witter round up tomorrow.

The End of the Beginning

Closing out Genesis is always bitter sweet when I read the Bible.  I know that I have made a big step but I also know the rest of the Pentateuch isn’t nearly as interesting.

There are several interesting stories at the end of Genesis.  And I wanted to talk about Joseph and his trials.  Who was responsible for the things that happened to Joseph?  Were his brothers solely responsible?  Was God in charge the whole time and caused or allowed Joseph to be treated the way he was.  If so will his brothers be held responsible for their actions, after all they were simply doing God’s will right?

I don’t know if I am qualified to answer these questions but they are things that come to my mind as I read these passages.

Particularly Genesis 50

Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

The Bible clearly states that God intended this, now as always when quoting a quote you can make the argument that Joseph said it and the Bible records it accurately but it may not be ultimately true.

But God, being sovereign, us in ultimate control of even human sin isn’t he?  After all he didn’t just hope that Jesus would be crucified but planned it from the foundations of the world.  The greatest sin ever committed, the murder of the holy Son of God, was ordained by the sovereign God of the universe right?

So it all boils down to how much control God has over the universe.  We call him sovereign but then say he can or will not work against human free will, which makes man sovereign doesn’t it?  I hope to someday work out my thoughts on the sovereignty of God but this isn’t the day.

Any thoughts?

Authority, Government and God

I have been invited to join a top secret group (oops) of men who will be meeting for several weeks while wrestling, and growing in our grip of theology.  We are working though several theological topics and the practical implications of them.

This isn’t a debate club; our hope is to grow closer to one another while growing closer to God’s word.  We are to study some of the topics ahead of time and work though them before we arrive at our undisclosed location so I thought I would work through them a little bit here.  So, I warn you this may be a little more like stream of consciousness writing than a well thought article, if you want one of those I suggest you try the discovery that change my life, and biblical church leadership.

This week we are talking about Government, Authority and God.  A topic I get particularly fired up about because my first exposure to it was a class in Bible College where we read “Spiritual Authority” by Watchman Nee, who all but said you must obey your authority even into sin because the sin would be your leaders and not yours.  The class was very extreme but I had never heard any thing on the topic before so I was interested, although being a fairly rebellious person by nature I was very turned off at the same time.

What does God say about authority explicitly?

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.  — Rom 13

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,  whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.- 1 Pet 2:13-17

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.– Titus  3:1-2

A verse many evangelical Christians would be well served to mediate on considering most thing our current President or any with a ‘D’ after his name are Satan’s right hand man.

Does that mean that God has appointed President Obama to be our President at this time?  Yes, but why?  The notes in my ESV bible express it very well:

It is true that those governing authorities that exist have been instituted by God, but sometimes God gives good authorities as a blessing, and sometimes he institutes evil rulers as a means of trial or judgment (2 Chron. 25:20; 32:24-25). On God’s rule over earthly authorities, see Ps. 75:7 and Dan. 2:21. These earthly “authorities” will ultimately be superseded by the rule of Christ (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 22:1-5).

I am not about to try to decide which our current President is, he is my president and I respect that office.  (In the interest of full disclosure; I am more Libertarian than Republican or Democrat so I think both of our major parties stink on ice and both running our country head long into a brick wall, although one may be doing it faster than the other I am not sure)

So what does the mean for a citizen of a country that is born of rebellion?  Were our Founding Fathers in sin for rebelling against the crown?  Can our president whom ever he is even be considered an authority when we are simply rebelling against the rule of Great Brittan?  Should we repent and be subjects of the crown?

At what point did the Constitution become a binding authority of God?  Was it after the 14th amendment was ratified officially recognizing “all other citizens as 3/5th of a person?  Was it while Slavery still existed in a non biblical form?

How are we to handle our disagreements with the government in a republic where the government is to be of the people, for the people and, by the people.  Paul was working in the context of a sovereigjn ruler not a republic, does that change things?

Was Martin Luther King in sin with his civil disobedience?  Was he rebelling against the God ordained authority? (I cringe to ever write that).

Should we use the government to regulate human morality?  Should we out law “Victimless” crimes because we see a biblical mandate to not do it personally?  Drinking isn’t a sin although the bible warns against drunkenness so do we make a crime to be drunk?  Not drink and drive just sitting home alone getting drunk, should that be a crime?

Should we try to change people though the law or through the Gospel or both?  Should we just legislate that everyone should be a Christian?

How does the affect the Gospel?  I know I fear making my political opinions more important than the Gospel.  I get very fired up about politcs but not as much about the gospel?  Have I made politics into an idol?

That is all I have time for and you probably haven’t read the whole things anyway.  If you did, tell me what you think but I would prefer not to simply have an opinion, but I would like to know what the Bible has to say on the matter and how we are to live that out.

Speaks for itself

Silly Myths

I am really starting to love Matt Chandler

Between Two Worlds

I have been in the middle of two worlds recently and it has been a very strange experience. While exploring the positive attributes of the house churches and the new less institutional models of Christianity I have found some great authors who have points I agree with even if I am not able to fully reconcile them with my current beliefs. Men like Frank Viola and Alan Knox have helped me to shake off some of the man made traditions that have seeped into my personal ethos that may or may not have had their root in the Scriptures.

I have also been influenced by a group I call the neo-reformed, which I have heard is the second fasting growing sect of Christianity second only to the Emerging church. These men are rooted steadfastly in the historic orthodox faith of the reformed tradition. Men like John Piper, Mark Driscoll and R.C Sproul, have helped me greatly get back to the historic truths of our faith.

My quandary stems from the fact that these two factions that are influencing me are in many ways diametrically opposed and my critical thinking skills are a little rusty. I believe that members of both factions love the Lord and desire to serve him, and for the most part the issues where I struggle are tertiary issues at best so it of great importance but I have been puzzling over it too long.

This is a long way of saying I may begin to do some deeper theological writing where I develop an argument and come to a conclusion, so if you enjoy that type of writing great! If you don’t enjoy it then you have been warned.

One of the first places this becomes an issue is in the area of ecclesiology (study of how the church should be governed). The house and organic groups for the most part seem to be under the impression that there was no leadership structure of any kind in the early church.

We wanted to know if it was possible for Jesus Christ to lead His church in our day just as he did in Century One – without a human head (pastor, minister, priest, etc.) – Frank Viola (Interview with Alan Knox)

Now I have already done some research into this area and it is clear to me, and the historical church that there is some form of human leadership within the church. It began with the apostles who then called for the ordination (election or appointment) of elders for each local congregation. These men were not mere the ones that fulfill the role as some people have asserted, i.e., if you do the job of an elder then you are an elder, but they were officially recognized by the local congregation, and the Bible points out certain responsibilities for these men.

The view that all people are gifted for the works of ministry in the church is one of the founding thoughts of the reformation and is one that most if not all of protestant churches hold to. The organic churches seem to go too far in the view that there are no Christians that are specially positioned in the church, like pastors and elders. Their main cry is that “He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” which means that all of us as Christians are to minister to one another but there. And there is no real need for Pastors to do these things.

The priesthood of the believer has been so reduced to ministries like childcare and ushering that many pastors end up doing most of the ministry in the church community all alone. If someone is in the hospital, we call the pastor; is someone is in need of prayer, we call the pastor (After all he is the only one qualified to pray). Each believer has the responsibility to minister to the body in the ways they are gifted and beyond. Ministry isn’t just the Pastor’s job.

On the other end of the spectrum, Paul tell the Ephesians elders (read Pastors) to shepherd over the flock, in fact pastor means shepherd. Pastors are to watch over the flock and guard and guide them. Hebrews 13:17 assumes that Christians have leaders; “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Not only does it assume some form of leadership it assumes authority of those leaders. It would be very difficult of not impossible to have any real authority if that authority was vested in a person simply because they met the qualifications but were not appointed. You could simply decide that a person is not your leader, therefore not worthy of your obedience.

I suppose the idea here is that there is a balance in this conversation that needs to be found by both sides of the discussion. It is far too easy to only see one side of a discussion when the truth if closer to the middle than on either end of the spectrum.

Happy Reformation Day!!