Monday, July 28, 2008

This is the funniest thing you will ever read on the internet.

Here's the Sharper Iron comment thread, "You might be a fundamentalist if . . ."

Here's my contribution (I will send a special gift to anyone who can identify which 10 are personally true of me):
. . . you've ever thought throwing a stick in a fire would help you "get right with God"

1). . . you thought Ace Virtueson was cool

2). . . you never forget which side of your head you're supposed to part your hair on

3). . . you think Crusaders are something to be proud of

4). . . you've ever amused your neo-evangelical friends by showing them a youtube video of a radio hall meeting

5). . . you've researched whether there really is a chemical that explodes into flame upon contact with water

6). . . you still tell the joke about Omega after the Rapture 15 years after you graduated from college

7). . . you have a Hollywood Video card in your wallet but think "not supporting Hollywood" is a good reason not to go to the theater

8). . . you ever used extra hair gel because your non-boje hall leader warned you about hair check

9). . . you've ever been excited because you got a "I" rating in a preaching competition

10). . . you ever stood in a "DC" line for 45 minutes because you were late to class or didn't make your bed

11). . . you've ever had an argument about what year they dropped the women's hats on Sunday rule or when family style lunch was no longer required

12). . . you've ever snuck off campus to toss a football

13). . . you've ever been expelled from college for stealing an umbrella

14). . . you were ever impressed by an evangelist who "led 6 people to Christ" in 90 minutes

15). . . you use the term "slippery slope" in conversation at least once a week

16). . . you've ever been concerned about the direction of a church that meets in home groups for the evening service whenever there's a month with 5 Sundays

17). . . you've ever heard a person say about Jack Hyles, "I know it's in the Bible about Jesus, but 'never a man spake as this man!' "

18). . . you think CCM is a big deal but repentance isn't
And two special bonuses NOT appearing on Sharper Iron:

19). . . you've ever heard a full sermon on why leviathan and behemoth are dinosaurs*

20). . . you've ever seen a college promo video in which a "professor" claims the Apostle Paul used the KJV


*Call me crazy, but I think they are.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"When did evangelicals become liberals?": A Question for the Historians?

From Michael Lawrence's sermon on Mark 4-10 today at Capitol Hill Baptist Church:
I fear that a hundred years from now, church historians are going to have to answer the question, "When did evangelicals become liberals?" And the answer's going to be, "When they became so concerned with worldly respectability that they redefined kingdom work as cultural engagement rather than good old fashioned evangelism. When they became more concerned about Christians in the arts and the marketplace, than Christians that knew how to explain the gospel. When they became more concerned with redeeming culture than they were to see men and women who are the creators of culture redeemed by the gospel. Oh Christian, let it not be said that that happened on our watch. To paraphrase Jesus, what good is it if we gain the world, only to lose its souls?
The broader context begins about 15 minutes in.

I assume that this is one more in a long line of statements that will lead some fundamentalists to re-define their definition of neo-evangelicalism in order to maintain their convenient categories from the past 50 years. In so doing, they avoid the embarrassment of admitting that some churches outside fundamentalist circles better demonstrate faithfulness to Scripture and the gospel than a vast array of "fundamentalist" churches that run roughshod over Scripture and the theology it reveals.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Building Healthy Churches: A 9Marks Workshop in Minneapolis

Eden Baptist Church in Savage, Minnesota is set to host a 9Marks Workshop October 27-28. Registration and schedule info here.

If your church thinks it might be ready to host a 9Marks workshop, follow this link for more info.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Want to Grow in Prayer?: Read The Valley of Vision

I don't know what took me more than three decades of life to hear about The Valley of Vision. Worse yet, I don't know what took me more than a year after I heard about it to buy it.

I can't remember ever meeting a Christian who felt satisfied with his prayer life. I'm surely no different. This collection of thematically-arranged prayers recorded by Puritans is an ideal tool for thinking more deeply and praying more honestly and introspectively. And of course it's dripping with God-centered theology.

Here's a part I read recently as part of my quiet time that smacked me right between the eyes:
There is in all wrongs and crosses a double cross—that which crosses me and that which crosses thee.;
In all good things there is somewhat that pleases me, somewhat that pleases thee;
My sin is that my heart is pleased or troubled as things please or trouble me, without my having a regard to Christ.
It's even formatted, in more detail than I've replicated here, to help the reader follow the intricacies and parallelisms of Puritan thought and language. Buy it here for under $10.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Two Reasons Not to Infuse Your Sunday Services with American Patriotism

Mike McKinley writes at the 9Marks blog . . .
First, I don't want to have an American church. I want to pastor a church in America. We have members from 20 different countries. More than one in three of our members were not born in America. I don't presume that they consider the American military "our" military. I don't even presume that they think of America as "our" country. I want them to come to church and experience great unity with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Scripture makes it clear that our unity is not to be based on nationality or culture.

Second, I think in our culture the evangelical church (especially the Southern Baptists with our God and Country celebrations) is often synonymous with right-wing patriotism. So I think it doesn't serve the gospel well to make a big show of patriotism in our worship gatherings. My fear is that it will hurt the Christians ("I must be a good Christian, I am a patriot and have a yellow ribbon sticker on my car") and the non-Christians ("Being a Christian means being a good American").
For a related conversation, check out yesterday's Al Mohler Radio Program, guest hosted by Russell Moore.

And now, after clicking "publish post," I'm heading out to put my full patriotism on display at the festivities here in DC.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cal Thomas: How Religious Organizations Exchange Their Message for a Bowl of Lentils

I like Cal Thomas because he makes his point concisely and clearly and because he so often injects profound biblical wisdom into his commentary, couched in simple common sense. And, well, I agree with him almost all the time too.

In his WTOP radio commentary today [MP3], he addressed Barak Obama's commitment to continuing and perhaps even expanding George Bush's funding initiatives that seek to engage faith communities, saying that he thought the idea was bad from the start and will only get worse under Obama.

Here's the core of his argument:
When government gets involve in religious organizations, it requires that the very power which changes lives be muted. And when religious organizations take government money, they eventually compromise their message in order to keep the money coming in. They come to rely more on government than on God.


This faith-based business will ask that people put their trust in Caesar, not in God. It was a bad idea before, and it remains so now.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Southern Baptist on Racial Discrimination and Institutional Apologies

In the early 60s, Eugene Florence received a diploma from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In 2004, Southwestern's faculty and trustees determined that Florence should have received a master's degree, but was awarded a diploma instead.

Because he is black.

That year, SWBTS president Paige Patterson invited him back to the campus to receive his master's degree.

Last month's Baptist Press article on that commencement ceremony includes this report of Patterson's words:
When the Southern Baptist Convention began in 1845, Patterson said, its founders had many things right. "But they made one tragic mistake. With regard to race, our convention took a very sad position that was unbiblical, ungodly and un-Christian in every way," Patterson said during the commencement. "It is one thing to make a bad mistake. It's another thing to never come to the point where you say, 'We were wrong.'" [emphasis mine]