Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Insanity is in Their Hearts

Ecclesiastes 12:14: ...God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
 

On the day of God’s judgment, all human vanity and evil will be exposed by the sovereign Lord, from Whom no one can hide. Thus every act of mankind, both evil and good, will be exposed on that final day. Despite the gross imperfections of our modern legal system, we can know with certainty that nothing will pass by the Holy Judge in His courtroom of eternal justice.

This conclusion of the book of Ecclesiastes is indeed an important one. It is the final conclusion of a series of premises which expose mankind’s depravity and this world’s repeated vanity. One such premise of human depravity occurs in Ecclesiastes 9:3, where we are given a rather grim picture concerning the very nature of man itself:

Ecclesiastes 9:3: 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead.

The two Hebrew words that are employed to speak of the human heart are 1) evil (ra’) and 2) insanity (holehut). The first word speaks of man’s innate propensity towards wickedness, whereas the latter word speaks of a madness which dwells perpetually in the very affections and minds of men. As the TWOT puts it: holehut (from halal) “...stresses the irrational aspect of insanity...[rather than] the behavioral aspect.” In other words, Ecclesiastes 9:3 is essentially providing us with a spiritual X-Ray of the human heart and mind. 

Thus, according to Ecclesiastes 9:3, mankind’s heart and mind is a cesspool of evil and insanity.

Stop and meditate on that one for a while when you have a moment. The hucksters of modern psychology would have us to buy into the idea that there is a way to obtain mental health through the philosophies of men; but if they were to deal honestly with Ecclesiastes 9:3, they would have to conclude that true mental health is impossible apart from God’s regenerative grace. In fact, perfect mental health will only be realized by the children of God when they are in glory. Until then, all the members of the human race will have to deal with some measure of madness in their lives. Even as the redeemed of God, we still need our hearts and minds to be sanctified by God’s truth (John 17:17, Romans 12:1), lest we degrade to the madness and folly of our own human wisdom!

Texts such as these have been a central point of meditation for myself during this whole John Mark Karr media fiasco. I believe that events like these should offer a warning both to the lost and to the believer as well. For example, consider the following:

First of all, we need to be careful to avoid the very media insanity which we see so often in the present day. In this particular case, there was a very quick rush to judgment. Before the matter was confirmed the media had its own legal “experts” pontificating about what would happen to this man whom many presumed to be guilty in the first place. In a world that is void of madmen and liars, one could accept an admission of guilt without a single doubt; however in a world where evil and insanity prevails, we need to allow the facts of a case to prevail rather than the confessions and rumors of sinful people (Deut. 19:15-17).

Secondly, we need to avoid the hypocrisy of our present culture. I find it to be interesting that our secular society was eager to catch this child killer, and yet many of these same people were praising the passage of the morning after pill for over the counter use, just this last week. What happened to little JonBenet is utterly repulsive and disgusting, but we must not let this truth lead us to forget that anyone who murders a child (of any age) is full of evil and insanity.

Thirdly, we must remember that all men are at enmity with God, and are the very objects of His judgment (John 3:36). The children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) are not only child killers, but they are also adulterers, homosexuals, effeminate, thieves, fornicators, idolaters, covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, haters of good, gossips, slanderers, inventors of evil, boastful, arrogant, insolent, being full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and rebellion against authority (1 Cor. 6:9-10, Romans1:28-32). You see, while many people may be convinced that a child killer deserves the judgment of God, they may not agree that these other categories of sin are deserving of the same judgment. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Fourthly, the reality of universal sin does not nullify the truth concerning the degrees of sin and judgment (Matthew 11:20-24, Matthew 18:5-6). All sinners are condemned universally, but not all will be judged equally in view of their sins in this life. This point becomes an important warning to the impenitent, as it reminds them that though they may escape the justice of men in this life, nothing will be overlooked in hell; for in that place of perpetual judgment, men will be tormented according to the deeds of wickedness that they committed in this life, for the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever (Revelation 14:11).

Finally, as Christians we must avoid the error that our world makes by taking a man like this and parading his wickedness in the public eye as an act of arrogance and self-righteousness. I have to say that even though Mr. Karr did not commit the crime of murdering little JonBenet Ramsey, I still find myself disgusted with the wickedness of a man whose fantasy life had become so vile that he wanted to believe that he himself brutalized a six year old child. Any believer should be disgusted by such a thing, however we must not forget that all of Adam’s descendents need God’s grace in order to be kept from the countless forms of evil and insanity that are found among men.

Frankly, the whole John Mark Karr dialogue should be viewed as an opportunity to share Christ with others. A water-cooler discussion such as this ought to be an immediate opportunity to herald the saving grace of Christ to others who need to understand that while they too may feel repulsed over Mr. Karr’s deed, they must also answer to God for the evil and insanity that is in their own hearts.

Christian - what would you or I be doing had we not been saved by the grace of God? Frankly, I don’t want to know.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Who’s In Charge Here?

Cleaning out my garage this week has been nothing short of a walk down memory lane. Going through old files, reviewing old letters, articles and mementoes from the past drew me once again into a world of memories. In particular, I was reminded of many of my earliest experiences as a pastor. When I first left seminary, I found myself having to deal with several doctrinal controversies - the greatest of which was the Lordship debate (as many called it then). In fact, it was during my first few years of pastoral ministry where I first experienced the intense heat that is often generated over this subject. The book The Gospel According to Jesus, by pastor John MacArthur, had been out for a few years already and had the approximate effect of spraying a wasp’s nest with a water hose - it got a lot of people buzzing mad and ready to sting anyone seen with it in their hand. I came to discover this very hostility right away, especially since I was confronted by scores of people who felt that I was personally obligated to answer for every noun, verb and preposition found in this book by MacArthur. For many, my credibility was deeply suspect because of my association with The Master’s Seminary, and they had the published books of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow to prove it. Frankly, you’ve not really lived until you’ve had the experience of returning from a trip with your family, only to find that a group of zealots have successfully passed around a petition seeking your removal as a pastor simply because they’ve come to realize that you’re a part of that ancient “cult” that is Reformed theology.

This long battle was one that was governed too much by this matter of guilt by association (GBA), and orthodoxy by association (OBA). I found that behind all the sparks and smoke there was a more fundamental challenge concerning authority. You see, these controversies were not so much about the specific doctrines themselves, but were about this matter of heralding Christ and His Word above all else - above John MacArthur, Zane Hodges or any other individual that might be used in a battle of pastoral personalities. By this I mean that I came to realize that the real challenge would be to call people into a dialogue over Scripture - rather than into a dialogue over their scruples over some books written by men. In fact, it doesn’t really matter what the doctrinal controversy is - if you can’t resolve the principle of Solus Christus or Sola Scriptura then you won’t be able to resolve anything at all. As a pastor, I found that this was the chief end of my ministry - that in dealing with any controversy, it had to be my goal to call others to herald Christ above all other servants in the church, and with that to embrace the nobility of the Bereans by searching out the Scriptures as the sole rule of faith. I came to realize that the real question for any individual or any church is this: Who’s in charge here? If the answer to such a question isn’t Christ, who is the head of His church, then you have a most serious problem. Above all, if a pastor isn’t committed to communicating the absolute supremacy of Christ above all else (no matter what pressure there may be to do otherwise), then you have an exceptionally serious problem on your hands. I don’t care what controversy may ever raise its ugly head within the local church - if the principality of Christ and His word are not affirmed in the church, then all is lost. He is the Chief Shepherd. It is His church that was purchased with His own blood, and it is to be ruled by no other authority than His alone. Well those years have come and gone. The important lessons of those trials have deepened my love for Christ in so many ways and I frequently reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness through it all.

Now before the garage cleaning project was to be complete, I came across an item that comes from a more recent event - one that didn’t involve me personally, but in many ways it serves as an illustration of those same important lessons drawn from my earliest years in the ministry. I came across this standard letter which was sent out by the Bible Broadcasting Network (BBN), on behalf of Lowell Davey, explaining why it is that the Grace to You program had been taken off the air. BBN is very popular here in the South, and when they made this decision, many were bewildered by it. Here are the three reasons supplied in their mass letter:

1. Election/ Hyper-Calvinism- This has brought much confusion to our listeners. There is no human answer to the Sovereignty of God and the free will of man. Both are clearly Biblical teachings but beyond our human comprehension. For every verse dealing with "God chose" there is one that says, "Whosoever will may come". To over emphasize either will cause confusion. As someone has written, "this doctrine God established outside of our world. It was designed before creation and we must leave it there". The best illustration I know is you look at a door and over the door it is written, "Whosoever will may enter". As you pass through the door and look back it is written above the door, "Predestinated from he foundation of the world".

2. One Naturism--Man only has one nature. We believe the Bible teaches man has two natures. The Old Man or old nature and the New Man, Christ Jesus.

3. His strong associations and identification with Reformed Theology. This has many implications for us. We hold to the dispensational positions in "rightly dividing the word of truth".

The second point hardly seems like a solid reason at all - except to say, this is probably a veiled reference to Davey’s opposition to the doctrine of perseverance, or what he might term as lordship salvation. Points one and three bring us to the dreaded subject of Reformed doctrine. Particularly in point one, I found myself having to eyeball it two or three times - again:

As someone has written, "this doctrine God established outside of our world. It was designed before creation and we must leave it there". The best illustration I know is you look at a door and over the door it is written, "Whosoever will may enter". As you pass through the door and look back it is written above the door, "Predestinated from [t]he foundation of the world".

When I read this once again, I did a double take. I had to reconsider the implications of what he said; consider the following:

1. “Election/Hyper-Calvinism” - It is always amazing to me that many will automatically link the doctrine of election to Hyper-Calvinism. I am only amazed in view of the absence of common sense and graciousness that this represents, but I am not ignorant of what this is all about; it is attempting to establish a guilt by association relationship. Hypercalvinism is a very deadly spiritual disease, which smacks of an absence of Gospel proclamation. Before flinging such terms around, people ought to tread more carefully - the charge of hyper-calvinism is a serious charge which has nothing to do with historic Calvinism.

2. Davey says: “The best illustration I know is you look at a door and over the door it is written, ‘Whosoever will may enter.’ As you pass through the door and look back it is written above the door, ‘predestinated from the foundation of the world.’” I have heard this used before, and it is fine so far as it speaks of the progression of learning experienced by the newly born believer. He enters into the realm of salvation through the Gospel call; but then he learns further about how that event took place by the sovereign election and drawing of God in Christ. That isn’t problematic per se, however he also cited this...

3. “This doctrine God established outside of our world. it was designed before creation and we must leave it there.”

I could not, for the life of me, wrap my mind around this idea of taking the God-glorifying doctrine of sovereign election and putting it back where it presumably belongs. Why would anyone dare advocate such a thing? Did God fail somehow by revealing this great truth of His in His word, such that the only way to fix this supposed failure is to take what he gave us and to give it back? All of this makes Mr. Davey’s notion of passing through the “door” of salvation rather disingenuous. By applying his own gag order on election, his “door” motif is revised as follows:

“...you look at a door and over the door it is written, ‘Whosoever will may enter.’ As you pass through the door just keep walking and don’t ask any questions. Should any of you look back upon what is written above the door, be reminded that no one is to talk about it - if they do, we’ll quickly censure them.”

Of course, some will suppose that I am making these points out of personal loyalty to one person, or out of personal angst for another. Nothing could be further from the truth. By God’s grace I can assure you that my grievance is over this derogation of Holy Writ. You see, hiding ourselves from the doctrine of God’s sovereignty will not make it go away. Denying this doctrine does nothing to change it whatsoever. The church has been ravaged with Arminian doctrine for centuries, and while men may believe it to be a victory to exalt creaturely freedom over God’s sovereignty, such a belief is nothing but a sham. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is crucial for many reasons:

  • It gives the believer great hope amidst the trials of life (Romans 8:28-39).
  • It is a truth which magnifies God’s glory and removes all human boasting (Ephesians 2:1-10).
  • It is a truth which undergirds our perseverance, peace and joy as the disciples of Christ (Phil. 2:12-13; 4:9, John 15:1-11)
  • It is a truth which heralds the matchless power and wisdom of God above all else (John 6:37-45).
  • It is this very doctrine which gives us confidence that in Heaven there will be no repeat of the fall (Gen. 3), for the Lord will sovereignly keep His people in glory, forever without end (None will be so “free” as to fall in sin - Rev. 21:1-7).

None of us are entitled to monkey around with God’s Word. There will always be doctrines that are difficult and challenging to our thinking; but instead of responding to doctrine by rejecting it, we must bow in humility and prayerfully labor all the more in our study and meditation. What we will never have is the authority to leave anything behind. If a man has a ministry at all, then he must herald Christ and His Word - no matter how loud the donors or members may be. After all, if we’re to have a Christian ministry then Christ alone must be in charge - period.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Am of Cephas: Orthodoxy By Association

In my last post (This is an Emergency) I concluded by bringing up yet another problem concerning the Emergent Conversation. There, I referenced Pastor Phil Johnson’s important article entitled Why The Emerging Conservation is Going Nowhere, and then said the following:


“In that post, the discussion moved from a theology-centered discussion, to a debate that centered on just one man, which I don’t believe was the original intent of the post. All in all, such a transformation of dialogue serves as an illustration; It is this very dynamic of redirecting discussions of doctrine to debates about pastoral personalities that I will have in mind next time.”

The dialogue over at Teampyro was quite interesting. Pastor Johnson made one brief reference to Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle WA) and, well, the rest was history. Ultimately, Phil’s comment was, if anything, complementary - though cautious. But apparently, it wasn’t enough. Immediately, a number of Driscoll advocates came out of the woodworks rendering their defense. Now of course, I am not making light of the important matter of the fair and right representation of another person; that is certainly a very important thing. However, I find that the interesting dynamic of personal loyalty often gets in the way of important discussions about truth, so much so that people will fight tooth and nail in a personality battle. This is a weakness that we all have, and we need to guard ourselves against it when we are tempted to place people above the truth.


I should know, I’ve done this myself a number of times.


Take for example the time when I invited a guest to join me at a Master’s Seminary Chapel service. The speaker was a very popular person whom I admire and respect greatly (no - I won’t mention the name here). This man preached a sermon that raised a great deal of controversy. He said some things that had many seminary students buzzing with controversy for weeks afterwards. When I heard the sermon, along with my invited guest, I remember feeling a sense of reservation about what he had said - and yet, this man was a spiritual hero of mine. After chapel I had lunch with my guest who complained about some of the points made by the speaker. I, as a devoted fan of this preacher, proceeded to defend what he said even though I too had doubts and concerns in my own heart. I was later rebuked for my hypocrisy and realized that I had placed my love and devotion to one of my favorite theologians over the Word of God itself.


We all have to recognize that we have this inherent weakness within us. There is this great temptation for us to say, as did the Corinthians - “...‘I am of Paul,’ and ‘I of Apollos,’ and ‘I of Cephas,’ and ‘I of Christ’” (1 Corinthians 1:12). Knowing this, we must be on guard concerning such man-centered tendencies by looking to men like Paul, who did not seek the favor of men (Gal. 1:10) but was willing to stand up to and lovingly confront Cephas when he stood condemned before the brethren (Gal. 2:11-21).


You see - Christ and His truth are more important than our heroes and buddies.


In today’s generation many suffer from this problem. They try to establish the legitimacy of a theological movement by means of defending its supporters. In fact, just after posting This is an Emergency, I received the following e-mail message where I was rebuked for questioning the theology of Brian Mclaren and especially N.T. Wright:


“...and then...you go on to take a cheap shot on n.t. wright. are you kidding me? there's not a more admirable theologian on the planet. the man has been studying justification before you could even spell the word.”

Lovely. This is a fine test for sound doctrine - popularity and old age. This is a clear case of a person who has side-stepped a discussion over Scripture by rendering a defense of a man - who’s aged and popular. In the case of Mr. Driscoll, I have seen some rather interesting battles along a similar pretense of popularity. For some, the Emerging Conversation is utterly legitimized by this man’s association with it. For others, they will point to theological heroes of their own who are publicly endorsing Mr. Driscoll with the formula of: MD + PPP (popular pastoral-personality) = GOOD. It is almost as if people feel compelled to treat popular movements like a light switch - they’re either entirely ON or OFF based upon who’s supporting them.


THE ON SWITCH MODE: This is the view of OBA (orthodoxy by association). A person’s hero, whoever it may be, can legitimize a movement with even the slightest association to it - at least in the mind of those who rely entirely on a blind OBA form of thinking. As in the case of the Promise Keepers and ECT movements, there was a great deal of emphasis placed on whose names were on the rosters of these movements. PK & ECT were both given a great deal of public credibility by this faulty OBA reasoning, thus they were not to be critiqued or called into question in view of the perceived merit of their most popular supporters. Such highly visible pastors, along with their books, their popularity, and their personal endorsements by other PPP’s, made these movements immune to criticism (in the minds of the supporters of these movements) - no matter how careful or gracious the criticism may have been.


THE OFF SWITCH MODE: Others will swing the pendulum in the very opposite direction by accepting any miniscule defection in a movement as justification to believe that everything about the movement is to be rejected - as in, turned OFF. One glitch in the past; some minor weakness in their doctrine and all is lost forever - ichabod. Thus, any associate within a movement with the slightest defections renders that movement as being without any merit! (This is the GBA [guilt by association] approach and Teampyro has recently posted on this method of making a critical analysis of other theologians - I recommend it to you: Regarding Guilt by Association).


As to the OBA methodology, let’s face it - we live in a marketing culture which thrives on a reputation-by-endorsements mentality. And why not? Like good little consumers, many are drawn to products because of the high-profile personalities who endorse them. Consequently, the consumer approach also prevails in the church such that many treat doctrine and theological movements like a cheap soda - they’ll drink it if their hero does too. By this sad standard, theology is no longer a matter of what “saith the Lord” but who’s who in the world of pastoral personalities. Clearly, both light-switch approaches are unbiblical extremes and are therefore unhealthy.


The biblical middle, between these extremes, lies in the realm of both biblical discernment and a spirit of grace - that is, being wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We have a great need to reject error, uncompromisingly, while passionately clinging to what is good. We need to measure movements and individual men with care and wisdom, while heralding Christ and His word above all; but along with thus, it must be remembered that those who serve in the ministry must be willing to have their doctrine and their conduct examined if they are to serve in the Lord’s church at all:



Galatians 1:8: But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.


1 Thessalonians 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.


Both forms of evaluation are important - a man’s words and his actions must be considered carefully - even in the case of an Apostle - like the Apostle Paul above. But we must avoid the light switch-GBA/OBA extremes by resisting the temptation to treat others with a mindless polarity. I often wonder how such extreme approaches would have been applied to a man like Martin Luther, after his conversion but before his departure from the Catholic Church. The OBA crowd would have been tempted to affirm Catholic doctrine in view of Luther’s association with Rome - but this would have been disastrous. The GBA crowd would have prematurely written Luther off as a compromising heretic. Clearly, both extremes would be unprofitable. Time always tells, for we will ultimately know men, not only by their words, but by their fruit. Eventually, Luther departed from the apostate Roman Catholic Church. Ultimately, his love for the truth was evidenced by his willingness to stand against the opposition and even risk his life in doing so. You see, it is not enough to talk about sound doctrine, a man in the ministry must be willing to stand up and fight for it for the glory of our precious Savior - above all else.

P.S. I wouldn’t drink Sprite even if John Calvin would. As well, I apologize for associating the fair image of Mr. Calvin with the likes of a cheap beverage - here - this should be better:

calvinsb

That's much better...


Thursday, August 10, 2006

This is an Emergency


Though I feel that I am borrowing time in order to make this post, I believe that it is important enough to do so. I feel as though I can at least squeak out a few minutes of time in order to write out some thoughts about the recent verbal wrestling that has been going on concerning the EC movement.


Or should I call it the emerging ex-emergent movement of the post-emergent generation?


For myself, I look at it all as a spiritually dangerous emergency.


Sadly, at the center of the Emergent Church movement are some rather disturbing doctrines that are being swirled about. For many within the EC movement, the doctrines of justification by faith, the atonement of Christ, the virgin birth and eternal hell are now open for discussion, debate and even denial. The unofficial leaders of the movement are doing precious little to stem this tide of doctrinal error, and why should they? After all, Brian McLaren cannot deny universalism nor is he sure that homosexuality is a sin; and N.T. Wright offers a version of justification that comports more with the Roman Catholic doctrine of infused righteousness, rather than the Biblical teaching of imputed righteousness. The leaders of the EC movement are not neophites - many of them are well read and highly educated men who have a higher accountability in view of their training and ministry responsibilities.


But then there is, of course, this added factor of those who have become disenchanted with the EC movement’s doctrinal corruptions, and are therefore advocating a different strain of the EC movement - enter the Emerging Movement. Yes, there’s the Emergent Church movement, as well as the Emerging Church movement. Those who are within the Emerging Movement consider themselves as being a part of the larger “Emergent Conversation” (theological fellowship and dialogue of the Emergent Church movement), but who wish to redirect this “conversation” back to a Scriptural platform. I guess that you could say that the Emerging movement wishes to maintain a bridge of dialogue with the broader Emergent movement...


But as some say, the problem with a bridge is that it facilitates two-way traffic.


What is most unsettling to me is this presumption of influence, along with an apparent denial that there is a doctrinal emergency at hand (emergency, as in 911). A great deal of doctrinal heresy is readily brewing at the center of the Emergent Movement, and there are those who want to engage in ...a conversation over this?


A conversation????


Consider this thought for a moment. When the core doctrines of Christianity are under attack it is necessary that we refrain from a genteelism which belies the seriousness of the occasion, thus a quaint conversation isn’t exactly what is called for. For example, the errorists in the church at Philippi probably didn't like Paul's "conversation" when he declared to the whole church that "many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction." These errorists, along with their denial of the doctrine of justification by faith (Phil 3:1-16), were met with a weighty response - a response that matched the value of the doctrine in question. Such a confrontation was necessary for the sake of those in error, as well as for those who were inclined to follow them in their error. As well, the Savior Himself delivered stern rebukes for those who had placed themselves in positions of spiritual authority over the people, therefore, to the Scribes and Pharisees who had the law, and should have known better, the Lord publicly identified them (John 10:19) as strangers, thieves, robbers and wolves (John 10:1-14). These were the very religious leaders whom the Lord rebuked in public with a series of prophetic woes in Matthew 23. This is a far cry from the popular views of Christ's shepherding ministry that many tout today. Sadly, many in the EC movement flounder in the absence of godly rebukes.


The precedent of Christ and the apostles is crucial. Their corrections of error were not fainthearted, nor were they sarcastic and recreational. These were serious minded confrontations of some very serious error. They didn’t gather for chit-chats (or “conversations”) with the false religious leaders of their day. Oh there was dialogue to be sure, but it was that form of dialogue that was entirely couched in proclamation, exhortation, and some very firm rebukes.


You see, when the core tenants of the Gospel are at sake - this is how you have a “conversation.”


Consider the following as an illustration: If I were walking along the street and I saw a family member of mine being beaten mercilessly by someone, I can assure you that I wouldn’t just carry on without a single care. Nor would I want to come up to the person and try to enter into a dialogue. No, I would approach the assailant in order to stop him immediately - we can talk later, if he’s willing to talk. If this seems obvious to you, then why is it that so many today are willing to witness the core doctrines of Christianity being ravaged in public, while these supposed “defenders of the faith” are only interested in having a dialogue. The best that I could hope for is that the absence of reproof for many of the false teachings within the EC movement are the product of spiritual or doctrinal immaturity. At worst, the absence of holy reproof may even be an implicit denial of the very doctrines in question.


As a pastor, I have a great concern for the influence of those who lie at the core of the Emergent “Conversation”, as well as for those who are willing to still be identified with the movement, if even remotely. Now some people would have us to believe that McLaren's and Wright’s advocacy of error is an opportunity for a "conversation" - I guess I could agree, if by "conversation" one means a godly, public rebuke.


But there is another problem that concerns me as it relates to this discussion, and I’ve not gotten to it yet. This is only a preliminary post that will be followed up by another, where I will speak of the great problem of man-centered loyalty over Christ-centered loyalty. It will be based, in part, on the recent dialogue over at TeamPyro - Why The Emerging Conservation is Going Nowhere.* In that post, the discussion moved from a theology-centered discussion, to a debate that centered on just one man, which I don’t believe was the original intent of the post. All in all, such a transformation of dialogue serves as an illustration; It is this very dynamic of redirecting discussions of doctrine to debates about pastoral personalities that I will have in mind next time. But for now, I leave you with the uncompromising thoughts of Martin Luther:


"For not to delight in assertions, is not the character of the Christian mind: nay, he must delight in assertions, or he is not a Christian..." Luther to Erasmus in "The Bondage of the Will"

mjb


*Note: Rarely do I make comments on other blogs - I have to be fairly driven to do so. This particular discussion concerned me enough to throw in a few thoughts - and some of those sentiments are repeated here as well in this post.


**Emergency Village - as in Emergent Village.

Friday, August 04, 2006

In My Rear View Mirror

Over the course of the next few weeks, The Armoury will be in my rear view mirror and will therefore be somewhat barren - relative to my normal writing patterns. I have been trying to secure time in order to complete my editorial labors on The First Institution - a work that is long overdue now. Every now and then I might throw in a tumbleweed here and there, but for the most part - I’ll be using up every second that the Lord gives me in order to complete this work and submit it for distribution.


In His precious, sovereign grace.



In the meantime, I leave you with Lydia and Wally the Warthog.