Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Allergies and the Glory of God

Have you ever wondered what the point of allergies is? They drag a lot of people into a fog in Texas during the Fall. Allergies would seem to fit into the category of Genesis 3:17-19. What do you think, are allergens part of the Genesis three curse? The affliction of allergies then would be a sign of God's glory in that His absence from keeping things smoothly running as well as they could because the Fall has effects in the present. However, the thorns and thistles idea in Genesis is very much tied to work. This is an interesting concept, since allergies affect more than those working. Perhaps then they are not involved with hardship in work as much as they are situated in the fallenness of the world, not working as it should, before the restoration of all things later in history.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Culture and Theology in Church Starting

Ed Stetzer has an article challenging the focus on relevance to the exclusion of gospel theology. This is probably a good warning for many on the edge of planting. However, on the other hand, there are many who are not very relevant to the culture. In fact, if I had to guess most churches, and church starts, probably are far from relevant in either music style, music language, language of the sermons, and presentation (of gospel, order of service, etc). Still because the enemy works cleverly to deceive all of us, we must stick with the gospel's whole content (such as Jesus' substitionary death, in our place on the cross for our sins) in every planting effort around the country. We must as planters not forget to challenge persons to believe the gospel in a personal decision. Thank you for the good warning for all of us Stetzer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Church Planting

In a major book on church planting in evangelical life, there is this objection to forming churches in an area in the US: 'another church ... will impede the growth of our church.' This is simply false the authors say, as "when Jesus said "I will build my church," he was not referring to the numerical growth of a particular congregation." In other words, reproduction of congregations following Jesus is the way that the church universal leads more -individuals- "to spiritual maturation." In addition, new churches are not competition but rather instruments to extend the "rule and reign of God" among a people group or city. It is nearly impossible for one church or even several really good churches to reach a whole city, let alone a corridor (several cities). Simply put: people are not doing the same things, they are not in the same place at the same time. This means new churches have an opportunity to branch out into those arenas.

Another objection some raise to church planting is that it "costs too much." The authors of this work counter that there are many ways to finance a new church. It doesn't have to be one church giving all of the effort. Several possible connecting methods of churches are available to help new churches and thus to join up with Matthew 28:19-20 in individual's lives for their joy and God's glory.

One more objection that is heard among pastors at times: it will be more important to "keep daddy healthy." You should protect the status quo, so that the daddy church in an area has plenty of resources. Home churches do not have to look at it this way though. If they are a church with "reproductive DNA" there will be benefits of that which overflow into the home churches. They will have members more zealous about witnessing, it will bring about a kingdom focus rather than something else being the focus, and most church starting help does not "require an excessive expenditure" of resources, but a minor contribution from time to time from the overall blessings of God. One might add, God will also send along more workers to a group that has a heart to start new churches for His glory. This is along the same principle as trusting God with your finances, so that you honor Him and He blesses the obedience even more greatly. There are a hundred principles that could be drawn from this, but that's enough for now.

In short, church planting is not a burden to churches that work together to reach their society better. Especially when one considers the sheer size of suburbs and cities in the USA, there will need to be more than a few churches reaching each corridor for Christ.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

1st Timothy 4:16

Scripture tells followers of Jesus: Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (NIV).

I have heard more and more about the debate over Christianity and Yoga via Albert Mohler's comments, which were engaged with by the Associated Press.

One of Mohler's comments stands out above even the debate among people on Christian faith and Yoga's spiritual background. It is this: "Not one–not a single one–has addressed the theological and biblical issues. There is not even a single protest communication offering a theological argument." (Mohler, Oct. 7th) This is a clear indicator about the type of responses he got (now at 100 respones per hour via his email), no one offered a theological argument. People say "oh it's no big deal." I can think of years and years of being in various churches and hearing little response to engaging with things Christians dabble in. Most of the time in an evangelical type church you will hear persons talk about Jehovah's Witnesses or some such group. You rarely have people critically think through their own activities though. It is that personal watching of one's own doctrine that Mohler is to be commended for, and his detractors need to reevaluate what it means to be an informed follower of Jesus. If what we say is just correct, merely because we are saved, is that not arrogant? Mohler is correct in challenging Christians to think through things with a broad view of Scripture's teachings, rather than "I feel" or "It seems good to me." One always wants to ask in the back of the mind: "how does it seem to God?" Christianity is not merely a religion, just a great religion for suburban or inner ring suburban peoples in the US. It is a system of thought that helps us to serve God in a pure and worthwhile way. Thank you for the challenge to the status quo "religion" with a challenge by faith Dr. Mohler.

More about the debate if it interests you:
Here.
Here.
Here.