Friday, July 25, 2008 DWELL - Should YOU be a Church Plant Leader? (20 Questions) DWELL - Should YOU be a Church Plant Leader? (20 Questions)

This is an excellent self-assessment list. Thanks Adrian and Scott Thomas.

Series on Old Testament Messages Not Embraced by American Evangelicals

I am reading Nehemiah right now. A big theme is God's sovereign protection. Some of the ways this theme is portrayed in the book:

o - When Nehemiah is sad before the king, instead of getting punished he is rewarded. I heard in a Bible study years ago that being sad before the king at that time could be a capital crime.

o - When Nehemiah is traveling with much wealth, he and his party are protected without the king's guard.

o - When enemies came against Nehemiah to stop the work of rebuilding the wall, God gave the success to continue.

o - When the wall was complete the various people groups around them recognized the hand of God in helping the people of Jerusalem in rebuilding the wall.

I would say the American Evangelical church does not preach these themes. I have a couple of reasons why I think that is. One would be that we don't have much threat against us. Another would be that God's divine protection implies much more connection with a world that is not natural and mechanistic.

Any one agree or disagree? Does anyone think there may be other reasons for this theme to not be preached?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lee Irons at The Upper Register Blog has some interesting comments on those who claim to be Reformed but not Evangelical.

(2) The current disdain for “evangelicalism” in Reformed circles is also wrong because it places the accent on the distinctives of Reformed theology and practice instead of on what we have in common with evangelicalism. But what we have in common with evangelicals (being Christ-centered, cross-centered, and gospel-centered) is far, far more important than our distinctives (our Calvinistic soteriology, our covenant theology, our view of the church and the means of grace, etc.). The distinctives of Reformed theology and practice are useful only to the degree that they undergird and clarify the gospel, the evangel.

I'm not sure I get how Reformed distinctives are only useful in the way that he says. If they are true, they are true regardless if it helps to clarify the gospel or not. There are many truths that do not do that and are useful. Fortunately, the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith does this, but there is value to other doctrines say for instance the doctrine that there are angels. Perhaps you could think of a way that ties into the gospel, but I think you would have to stretch it to say that the doctrine of the existence of angels "undergirds and clarifies the gospel in a compelling way.

Having said that, I do agree with the premise that there is no need to reject Evangelical as a name for myself, though I also embrace many others such as Reformed, Protestant, World-Christian, and Christ Follower. I even go so far as to call myself a fundamentalist, but I don't mean 'narrow' nor do I mean that I want to establish a state based on religious law.

Old Testament Theology We Do Not Beleive

I finished reading the two books of Chronicles in the Bible. A major theme in the books is that God wants his people to seek his guidance and protection. In the Evangelical circles that I run in, this is not something we embrace since it has a subjective element of truth to it. But reading the books of Chronicles has me convinced that we should be seeking guidance and protection. I don't think I hear anyone talking about God's sovereign protection anymore. I believe that to be because it requires interpreting events in terms of what God intends to communicate through them. Another theme in these two books is the need for faithfulness in worshiping the one true God. These are basic ideas that the New Testament is built on. If you pull these ideas out, the New Testament faith is not cohesive as a system of thought.

Friday, July 18, 2008

How Applicable Is Internet Education to the World Church

I just finished my course on Future Church and Missions Trends. I did my research project on the use of Moodle for pastor training in the majority world church (formerly called the third world church). As I approach the subject I'm conflicted. I really don't know how people in other countries have access to the Internet. I have read about it but I don't know if it is a practical thing to think that a significant number of pastors or missionaries could get regular access to the Internet.

The following site shows where Moodle is currently being used, but this is without regard for wither the school has any religious affiliation or not. Some are, and some are not.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Losing Faith

So I finally began to read last month's Mission Frontiers magazine. I did not want to since it was about people walking away from Christianity, walking away from faith. It is not an article or two, but this is the second issue on the subject, there are multiple articles about it. To say the least, I did not want to hear it. But as I read the articles, they were more engaging than discouraging. It was not that the authors were presenting solutions. An article by Ruth Tucker called "Great is Thy Faithfulness: Some Reflections on the Loss of Faith" was particularly good. I think some people who walk away from the faith are simply those with more courage to state what they believe than those who simply want to fit in though they have adopted a secular world view. What do I mean by a secular world view? My informal definition would be that there is nothing supernatural. No miracles. No angels. No devil. No life in eternity. Simply what you see in the here and now. In a sense I think in some circles Evangelicalism has actually adopted a secular world view. No miracles in the present. No angelic visions today. No devil. In some circles, Christianity is about morality and association with others of the same Evangelical group. This is more acceptable in the secular workplace and secular education. It puts Christianity in terms that is palatable, but it lacks salt.