Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Teacher's Guide

Dan Phillips writes:
We've been handed the Teacher's Guide, so to speak. What this means is that Christianity isn't the conclusion of a series of deductions leading to open conclusions, per se. It isn't the conclusion of a syllogism. It is revelation, and the Christian starts his thinking with that revelation.

That means that, if I'm working on a dandy, shiny, impressive, lovely theory or hypothesis, and then get T-boned by the clear teaching of Scripture, I bail on my theory. No matter how much I loved it, what admiration it would earn me, what applause and kudo's — I bail on it. No matter how much the world would prefer it to the old Christian answer — I bail on it. No matter how much better-feeling sense it made to me that the Biblical position — I bail on it.

What's so bemusing is when a man or woman professes to be a Christian — which is to say, someone who agrees with Jesus that the Bible is the Teacher's Guide — approaches issues like a non-Christian.


Confronted with a Biblical phenomenon that doesn't match our theory, the Christian response should be, "Evidently not." That is, in this case — as I pointed out in that post and many other times — clearly God the Holy Spirit has no problem whatever moving apostles to issue commands to Christians, and calling Christians to obey. That's in the Teacher's Guide.

So if a Christian sees that phenomenon, and sees it clashes with his theories of Christian living, he should say, "Evidently I did the math wrong. Start over!" And he should re-work it until his answer matches the Teacher's Guide.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Healthy Pulpits = Healthy Congregations

Let us beware of despising preaching. In every age of the Church, it has been God’s principal instrument for the awakening of sinners and the edifying of saints. The days when there has been little or no preaching have been days when there has been little or no good done in the Church. Let us hear sermons in a prayerful and reverent frame of mind, and remember that they are the principal engines which Christ Himself employed when He was upon earth. Not least, let us pray daily for a continual supply of faithful preachers or God’s Word. According to the state of the pulpit will always be the state of a congregation and of a Church.

~ From J.C. Ryle Quotes (emphasis mine)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It’s Time For Us to be Conscientious--Even Relentless

Chris gives his two cents on a zero-tolerance policy on preaching:
I urge those who have the privilege and responsibility of choosing guest preachers to choose those who preach the text, every time. God has promised to bless His Word, not funny stories. Insist that those you put in the sacred desk have a reputation for preaching the Bible, verse by verse, preferably expositionally. That’s not to say that I’m opposed to topical messages. I’m not, as long as they’re exegetically sound. I’m simply arguing against messages that arise from the preacher’s creative juices rather than the Scriptures. And preachers generally have reputations for one or the other. It’s time for us to be conscientious—even relentless—about this.

This shouldn’t be controversial. Paul urged Timothy to “preach the Word” in 2 Timothy 4:2. Not stories. Not red meat. Not jokes. Why? Because the Word is the only thing that is able to save (3:15), that is inspired and therefore profitable (3:16), that is life-changing and equipping (3:17). Clever stories can’t do any of that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Especially to The Household of Faith

“So then, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to everyone,
and especially to those who are
of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

James MacDonald has just launched a new ministry, Churches Helping Churches, to support and rebuild the church in Haiti. He writes:
BUT the primary focus of the church gathered, the priority calling of the body of Christ, the first response of all biblically-informed believers must be to help the church. Locating local communities of brothers and sisters in Christ, assessing the needs of local churches in hardest hit areas, rallying the church in North America to rescue and restore the church, wherever it is ravaged by natural disaster or human tragedy . . . This is the most important step of obedience we can offer to Christ and His kingdom.

Who will help the church? By God’s grace we will, together we can.
If you're into Twitter, you can follow James MacDonald. He's in Haiti and sending back sobering images of the tribulation that is there now.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Cross May Be Heavy

The least and lowest of believers will find that he is counted among Christ’s servants, and that his labor has not been in vain in the Lord. He will discover to his amazement, that his Master’s eye saw more beauty in his efforts to please Him, than he ever saw himself. He will find that every hour spent in Christ’s service, and every word spoken on Christ’s behalf, has been written in a book of remembrance. Let believers remember these things and take courage. The cross may be heavy now, but the glorious reward shall make amends for all.

~ J.C. Ryle via J.C. Ryle Quotes

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The More

Tim Challies recently shared the following quote from Jonathan Edwards on his blog:
The more a true saint loves God with a gracious love,
the more he desires to love Him,
and the more uneasy is he at his want of love to Him;

the more he hates sin,
the more he desires to hate it,
and laments that he has so much remaining love to it;

the more he mourns for sin, the more he longs to mourn for sin;

the more his heart is broke, the more he desires it should be broke;

the more he thirsts and longs after God and holiness, the more he longs to long, and breathe out his very soul in longings after God;

the kindling and raising of gracious affections is like kindling a flame--
the higher it is raised, the more ardent it is;
and the more it burns, the more vehemently does it tend and seek to burn.