Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dropping The Old Testament Over a Cliff

Greek Exegesis Class was about to begin. I'm one of the old guys there. Less sophisticated and a little less 'with it'. But one of the young and experienced seminary students was talking with his buddy. He knows the system. He says to his buddy, "You don't really need to study the Old Testament, just study the New." He went on to explain that this is where you need to preach from. It is contains our theology and so just concentrate on that.

In a sense we do have to set priorities, we can't be experts on all aspects of Scripture. We do have to concentrate on the passages with foundational significance. But I would argue this is exactly why our churches need more than ever the Old Testament. Our people do not start out with an understanding of how God works in his sovereignty. We don't know how he works in covenant relationships with his people. We don't understand about suffering. We can tell someone how to say the sinners prayer but we don't know who we are saying it.

Stephen in preaching to the Jews at his defense trial just before he was stoned answered his accusers with the Old Testament. (Acts 7) His accusers leveled charges that he was against the customs of Moses and the Temple. He developed his defense from the Old Testament narratives about Abraham, Joseph, Moses and the building of the Temple. Some of his points was that neither Abraham nor Moses worshiped in the Temple, and besides the Temple can not contain God who made heaven and earth. Moses was actually rejected by the people. He pointed to another one who was to come and the Jewish leaders of the day rejected him too.

If the early church developed their message from Abraham, Joseph, and Moses, can we better them?

If we don't understand how Jesus was foretold by Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament, how can we really know the one whom we testify about?

In our American middle class churches we need to understand that Abraham lived a very different lifestyle. If are to be children of Abraham with faith, we have to understand what that means. He wondered in the desert. He left his home. He never possessed the promise land. That was left to his children. He was a man of faith, not of success.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Taking a Stand

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:6-10

I'm reading through Galatians in my class. Something that impresses me is Paul's strong opposition to those who would change the gospel. This would never go over in today's modern-let's-play-nice-to-the-point-of-ridiculousness environment. I heard a little bit of a story on NPR about how the Columbia University President Lee Bollinger denounced, insulted and challenged the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad directly, especially opposing his position that the Holocaust did not happen. While I would not expect this from Columbia University, I find it refreshing that he would take such a stand. He may or may not have been able to use more civil tones to get his point across. The real point in civil discourse is can I take some hard indictments from my opponents and not get off the real issue. Can I stand for the truth and not get offended, discouraged, or reactionary? These are hard things. It is easy to pretend to play nice. It is easy to isolate myself and take potshots from afar. It is quite different to address the issues.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Living With Brothers and Sisters

In my spiritual walk things have been changing but I'm a little confused. It is my desire to be transparent with people. With my wife and children, I think I share both my hopes, desires and some honest self-assessment. I understand my weaknesses and seek to find grace in them. One of my entirely overwhelming weaknesses is that I have a different sense of what would be appropriate. I don't recognize this as sin but as simply being different how I step in social and organizational circles. As the old saying goes, if everyone thinks you have a problem, then you probably do. So I probably do have a problem. However, my experience though is that when I try to discuss the issue with a brother in the Lord they immediately start to distance themselves from me. Then sometimes I even have those same people want me to confess my sins to them. I wonder, if they can't stomach my weaknesses, how much more will they reject me along with my sin. I do believe in confessing our sins to God and to other Christians. While this is not what I desire, my mode of operation is to not trust my brothers in Christ with my weakness or sin. This is not where I want to be in my spiritual walk. In a sense it is not what the books on Christian discipleship say should be going on. I'm at a loss to know how to talk with my brothers in Christ. If I'm feeling this and I believe in transparent witness and walk, how much harder is it for those who really don't know if they believe it or not.
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16 ESV

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Trunk Monkey Compilation

My friend Don told me about these over the top funny videos. I think they actual commercials but with an extraordinary sense of humor. I want to know which of the videos you think are the funniest.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where is the PCA?

I wondered where presbytery boundaries were for the Presbyterian Church in America and I found this map. It shows where the churches are, sadly not the presbyteries. So if anyone has a boundary map, I would like to see it. But this map is really good though I did not find what I was looking for.
Hat Tip: Sean Michael Lucas

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

God Tube

For you fans of Internet video, there is now a site with Christian videos called God Tube. I'm still wondering if this is a Christian Ghetto thing or if it is genuinely good thing. I'm sure there are strengths and weaknesses but I'm still evaluating. I would like to hear what others think about it. Checking out God Tube in Technorati there is only discussion of or pointing to particular videos on God Tube.