Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pilgrim's Ties to a Historic US Church

This is an interesting article that is worth the read on Thanksgiving.

Click here for history of an American church branch to the Pilgrims of Plymouth.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

First Things magazine article

First Things magazine serves as a kind of cultural engagement piece for pastors around the USA and even in the Western world.  Many Christian thinkers and teachers read it to know what is going on, what current discussions are, and other insights.

An editor named RR Reno of First Things, recently published a shocking type tone article/piece for such a major US cultural engagement magazine (click here for this).

In it he argues for a sort of fall back to the lines approach, where we look out for those in and coming to churches rather than the whole US culture's well-being.  This is more a 'defensive' Christian teaching/praxis posture as the coverage uses that word.

For more generalist coverage of it, see (here).  The thinking behind such an article seems to have really fully taken over some large evangelical denominations, such as the SBC with Russell Moore, head of its division the ERLC, where seeing Christian values in laws or society has taken a backseat to more of a defensive position strategy while still claiming to be doing offensive mission on ethics.  One might wonder if First Things too would want to still be considered changing the cultures of the US, but is leaning to a defensive position where they have to grapple with that tension.

However, the main article is written for a very broad gospel believing audience, of many denominational affiliations and backgrounds.

The main article from First Things magazine has Reno arguing a so-called Benedictine option, and this is a protect our Christian families and churches approach, instead of a broad cultural assistance approach.

The reason I'm posting this is to more or less post something that remains a BIG point of debate right now in pastoral circles and Christian colleges.

I do not necessarily agree with everything in it, but there is a sense in which we have to admit as Bible-affirming believers around the US that the culture is way, way off of Christian moorings. They argue (probably correctly in the article) that whatever the US does cannot be labeled 'Christian' as it contradicts historic Christian teachings (unless one defines Christian in a non biblical sense as just an American who should be a 'nice' person which is -not- the way Scripture does).  So pastors should refuse to be functional enablers of 'state' theology on moral questions.

Regardless of what one thinks of that article, it is worth being aware of if you are any type of Christian leader, because media you listen to and read is influenced by that magazine in our circles.

Indeed this cultural collapse around us is not news to any American, but as the historic faith seems to be at best neglected and at worst legally prosecuted in much of the US we may need to have these church discussions.  Holding to historic Christian positions can get a person fired from private or public employment, reprimanded at others times there, de-friended in more ways than just Facebook such as in clubs or community, and doors slammed in one's face.  What then do we have in common with American culture when the gospel of Jesus Christ looks so different?

Since this odd state of affairs is where we are at as Americans, we should be cognizant as churches that God's will is not always the State's will.  Certainly God's will is rarely even given a glimpse, so our way of talking at least should change to admitting that how one group/government/institution defines something moral, like "marriage," should not be seen as how we as Bible based Christians define things, like "marriage."

In the end, this is a hot discussion that you'll at least want to know about out there.

God bless!

Billy Graham...

From a work by Rev. Franklin Graham on his evangelist dad's sayings, maybe this will help someone out there:

"What is the authority of your life?  Is it your selfishness?  Your lust?  Your greed?  Or have you turned it all over to God and said, "Lord, You are going to be my authority"?  When you are under authority, you are then able to assume authority."