Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Offensive Words from Mark Driscoll

I know that [the biblical insistence on qualified male elders] is, in many ways, the dividing line between various kinds of evangelical Christians. I believe that male eldership is like a border between two nations. If you live on the other side of the line, you're in a different country. You may still speak the same language, and you may still operate in love and collegiality. But the truth is, the way you see God, family, Bible, is different. That line has to be drawn, and it has to be kept. That doesn't mean that there can't be women who are deacons and leading and using their gifts in the church, but that complementarian issue is incredibly important.
This quote is taken from Driscoll's talk at a recent conference hosted by Mars Hill Church. Justin Taylor blogged about the relationship between Driscoll, C.J Mahaney, and John Piper (both of whom also spoke at the conference) here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Soul Winning Made Easy"

Here's a classic from the chapter, "How to Press for the Decision," in C.S. Lovett's book, Soul Winning Made Easy, pages 78-79.
You have just said to your prospect . . . "Jesus is waiting to come into your heart. Will you open the door? Will you let Him come in?" He makes no reply. Great forces are at work inside him. His soul is a battlefield. The Holy Spirit and Satan want his decision. You wish you could jump into his heart and help him, but you can't. So you do the one thing you can do . . . press him to make a decision . . . one way or the other.

CAUTION: You can't leave him in "no-man's land." The Longer you wait, Satan's advantage increases. So silently start your countdown . . . 5-4-3-2-1. That's it. You wait no longer. Lay your hand on his shoulder (or arm if a man is dealing with a woman) . . . and with a semi-commanding voice say . . . "Bow your head with me."

Note: Do not look at him when you say this. He won't act if you do. Instead, bow your head first. The sight of your bowed head, the authority in your voice, the touch of your hand on his shoulder and the witness of the Spirit combine to exert terrific pressure. Out of the corner of your eye you will see him look at you with wonder. Then, as his resistance crumbles, his head will come down in jerks. When your hand feels the relaxation of his shoulder, you'll know his heart has yielded.

Note: If your man is going to say, "NO," he has to do it now. You've brought him to the place of decision under terrific psychological pressure. If he can't bring himself to receive Christ, he'll say to you . . . "I can't do it." Then deal with him as you would the person who says, "NO."
Sound familiar at all?

[Emphasis and punctuation are original.]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Audio Summary of the Modernist-Fundamentalist Controversy

If you're interested in the topic but have never made time to read up on it, Dave Doran has a really helpful audio summary here. He actually has a series going on the broad topic. I've only listened to part of it and can't remember how to differentiate between the different talks, but it's worth checking out.

While we're at it, Al Mohler's conversation with Phil Johnson on the contemporary state of evangelicalism is pretty interesting.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Elon College Fightin' Christians

Funny story here. North Carolina seems to be a hotbed for odd religious-themed mascots. Demon Deacons, Blue Devils, and who knew about this one? I've heard Elon students break out retro mascot t-shirts for their occasional home games against Liberty.

Just wondering, though--is "Fightin' Christians" more or less offensive than "Crusaders"?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Read this if you're considering a pastorate. Otherwise, . . .

. . . I'm just posting this so I can find it later—when I really need it.

Matt Schmucker's suggested questions to ask when you're considering a pastorate.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dave Doran in the 9Marks E-Journal: Why I Think He's Dead Right

When I learned that Dave Doran was writing "Potential and Pitfalls of Together For The Gospel," I was thrilled. I would have been thrilled even if I had disagreed with him, for two reasons. First, Doran is a well-reasoned articulator of his convictions, which are well within the mainstream of theological fundamentalism. Second, I believe evangelicals would benefit from hearing the fundamentalist arguments for separation, even on those occasions when fundamentalist arguments overreach the biblical text and are inappropriately applied.

But I don't disagree with Doran. Not at all. Not one word.

Like Doran, I was a bit disappointed with the absence of an article about separation from false teaching in the 2006 T4G affirmations and denials, and I said so at the time. I suspect that both Doran's and my expectations were raised when we heard John MacArthur talk at the 2006 Shepherds' Conference about T4G and how "there ought to be a price to pay" for an unwillingness to get inside the box of orthodoxy.

I simply cannot think of any way to improve on Doran's proposed addition to the affirmations and denials. I believe it would be an excellent addition, and I hope it's incorporated in 2008. Here it is:
We affirm that all genuine fellowship is in the gospel and that true gospel ministers and congregations must not grant Christian recognition or assistance to those who have denied the faith or turned away from the biblical gospel. We further affirm the biblical responsibility of elders and congregations to be vigilant in watching out for those who teach false doctrine and to turn away from and have no fellowship with them.

We deny that the biblical calls for unity and separation are contrary to one another, and that refusing Christian fellowship to false teachers and false congregations is schismatic. We further deny that confessional subscription necessarily contradicts soul liberty. We also deny that the glory of God and good of the church are properly advanced through theological and ecclesiastical union with those who have denied the gospel.
Now, before I make my main point, I should clarify one thing. Doran calls for conservative evangelicals to repudiate "the 'official' strategy [to] work cooperatively with theological liberals from outside evangelicalism." If that is the official strategy, that is. Now, I think Doran is making a valid rhetorical point, but I suspect he actually knows there is no "official" strategy that is universal to evangelicalism at this time, any more than there is an "official" fundamentalist list of who we're to separate from and what we're to separate over (as he frequently points out in online discussions).

But here's the real point. Read Doran's proposal. Read it twice. Read his whole article ten times. There's something you will find several times: a call for separation from false doctrines and false gospels. There's also something you won't find once: anything remotely resembling a call for secondary separation. Doran's call to conservative evangelicals is to take a clear stand for cooperation around the gospel that excludes all who are unwilling to get inside that box of a biblical, historic, orthodox gospel.

This isn't a new concept. It's historic fundamentalism. It's Gresham Machen's argument in Christianity and Liberalism--that a false gospel is no gospel, that a church with a false gospel is no church, and that a religion without the biblical gospel is a false religion, not Christianity. And it must not be called Christianity.

Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals should find fellowship on these grounds, as Doran has delineated them in the direct opportunity he accepted to define what could make T4G a success. If this is the test of fellowship and biblical faithfulness as fundamentalists now understand it, my hopes that confessional fundamentalists and evangelicals can come together for the gospel are as high as my confidence that the T4G organizers already affirm Doran's proposal.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

But Duke Also Produces Some Stellar Theologians (or, This Is What I've Been Trying to Say About Social Ministries)

The 9Marks blog has been batting around the issues of social/mercy/justice ministries. You may want to catch up on the whole series, but Michael Lawrence's post hits the nail on the head. This paragraph is the essence of it:
It seems to me, anyway, that Reformed evangelicals' talk about social engagment is largely motivated by the correct sense that the Kingdom of God should be felt and seen wherever Christians are: in the workplace, at school, in the neighborhood, etc. But being creatures of modernity, we immediately think in terms of programs and strucutres, which leads us to the church, and wondering why the "organization" we're a part of isn't more engaged. The initial impulse is correct, but where it leads us is confused. It's not the church's responsibility to address the problem of homelessness in society at large (though it better make sure that it's own members aren't homeless!) It's Christians' responsibility, as servants of the King, individually and together, to address that issue, as we seek to display the saving reign of God in every sphere of life.

As If We Needed More Reasons to Hate Duke

I was in Duke's apparel store recently. Apologies for the low picture quality, but here's a snapshot of Duke's old logo:

I'm told the Latin phrase at the bottom means "study and religion."

And here's a picture of the new one:

So drop the study, and swap in a new religion, maybe?

Easy, I'm just kidding. Or not.