Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Apology About My Presentation Of The Gospel

The Gospel that saves is found in 1 Cor 15. For the longest time I've quoted it as 1 Cor 15:1-10 but the founder of the ministry God has allowed me to work with (The Cross Current) quoted 1 Cor 15:1-11 to me this week. I thought he had just made a typo... little did I know!

Verse 11 is very important. Because it removes any possibility that there is more or less to the message of Salvation.

1 Cor 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Paul starts by declaring this is the message that saves. 1 Cor 15:1-2 and finishes his presentation with the CLOSED and CLOSING statement of 1 Cor 15:11 It can't be dismissed because Paul says it's the message that saves. And it can't be added to - or taken away from - because this is what we believed when we believed in Jesus Christ.

Fabulous! I love God's battle plans! If I would rely on Him more any attempt to minister would be that much more effective.

I've got enough material for two posts on Humility... but I don't have the humility required to actually post them tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I've been LOL'd!

OK to destroy any idea that anyone might have that I'm "spiritual", I laugh my head off at LOLCat humor. Dear Brother Robb offered a link that is an LOL spoof of this blog, or any other you'd like to see in LOL format.

It's worth a little giggle anyway so check it out at the LOLinator.

New article on humilitee iz in wurkz.

wit current buzz bout grace evangelical societee reductionist "crossless" gospel i haven't been able 2 complete next article bout humilitee.

if u been readin... or u realli sought 2 study n seek humilitee urself maybe u can identify wit thiz question - iz i onli 1 who iz scared half 2 death by wtf humilitee actualli iz!!??!!??!!!??!!

it grace so needed... so powerful... but so all encompassin at same tiem. i keep tryin 2 dip my toe in lake 2 see how it feelz...

Friday, January 18, 2008

New article on humility is in the works.

With the current buzz about the Grace Evangelical Society's reductionist "Crossless" Gospel I haven't been able to complete the next article about humility.

If you've been reading, or you've really sought to study and seek humility yourself maybe you can identify with this question - am I the only one who is scared half to death by what humility actually is!?!

It's a grace so needed, so powerful, but so all encompassing at the same time. I keep trying to dip my toe in the lake to see how it feels...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chafer was a proponent of the Crossless Gospel?

UPDATE: Brother Lou is also discussing this at his blog - In Defense Of The Gospel.

OK so they would like it to be called the "refined" or "consistent" Gospel, but they take the Cross out of the Gospel that the Apostle Paul declared in 1 Cor 15:1-10 So I will continue to call it what it is, a false, Crossless gospel. The current claim of the Grace Evangelical Society is that a sinner can be saved without knowing they are a sinner (and so with no repentance), without knowing what Jesus Christ has done or Who He Is, and even while denying that Jesus is God. The Unashamed of Grace Blog has a new article quoting Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer as though he would have supported such a gospel.

Here is the quote they use to show his support.

Thus salvation can be accomplished, even by the infinite God, only through Jesus Christ. Hence it is that a simple trust in the Savior opens the way into the infinite power and grace of God. It is "unto every one that believeth," "For there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." This one word "believe" represents all a sinner can do and all a sinner must do to be saved... [Jesus] is a living Savior to all who put their trust in Him. It is quite possible for any intelligent person to know whether he has placed such confidence in the Savior. Saving faith is a matter of personal consciousness. "I know whom I have believed." To have deposited one's eternal welfare in the hands of another is a decision so definite that it can hardly be confused with anything else. On this deposit of oneself into His saving grace depends one's eternal destiny. To add, or subtract, anything from this sole condition of salvation is most perilous.

Here is my reply, including any errors. A simple cut and paste.
Who is this Savior? Who is this Jesus? Who is this Christ?

Dr Chafer says "I know Whom I've believed" Who is He?

Early God identifies Himself with the attributes of Himself, His promises, or the things He has done. He never simply claims a name. In Ex 6 we see that God had never before shared His Name, and we see that He reveals His attributes in His Name there.

In Ex 20 we see that God commands that they honor Him alone, the God who had taken them out of Egypt.

And we see the same thing in Acts, quoted by Dr. Chafer that the Name Jesus is associated with what He had done. His name is qualified by what He had done. They don't believe in Jesus. They believe in The Christ, named Jesus who died and rose again.

In 1 Cor 15:1-10 Paul declares the Gospel to the Corinthians again, because they had been led astray on the Resurrection. He claims this is the Gospel that saves. He doesn't use the name "Jesus" instead He uses the Title Messiah or Christ. And Names Him by saying what He did.

No where in Scripture is someone told to believe in some guy named Jesus. Jesus is always associated with the Gospel.

You have taken Dr. Chafer's words out of context. He is not saying that one should not identify Who Christ is, or that one does not need to know Who He is. Dr. Chafer is saying to add to simple faith in this God Man who Died for our Sins and rose again for our life is to add to the Gospel.

For example. Imagine a furniture salesman explaining a chair to some deep jungle native who had never seen one. He tells the native that the chair will hold him up, and that it's very important for the native to believe this. The native assures the salesman that yes he does in fact that the chair is guaranteed to hold him up. That he'd love to have the chair.

The salesman is greatly encouraged! He's won yet another customer. He can't wait to tell his wife.

The salesman says, "right then you go pick the one you like and we'll send you on your way!" The native rushes over picks up what he fancies and brings it back to the salesman. Turns out the native walked past the chair and picked up a bucket. He turns it up side down and stands on it and gleefully says "You were right!! You were right!!"

The native, having never been introduced to the Chair didn't even know he had the wrong item. Such is the problem with any so called "gospel" that doesn't identify the Christ with what He has done.

There are many Jesus' There are many gods. There are many religions. There is only one Christ Jesus who died on a cross for my sins, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later. Just one. No problem of confusion. It's not all that hard to understand, but it sure separates the difference between professing faith and having it.
I will be watching to see how this is responded to, hopefully some of the Brethren who read my blog but who may be unfamiliar with the Crossless Gospel movement will join in the defense of the Gospel of Christ.

Monday, January 14, 2008

An ‘Inconvenient’ Galaxy

Do galaxies dance? Well it seems they don't form the way we've been taught they do. As it turns out astronomers are puzzled once again. This time it's because they've found a galaxy that has arms trailing off in the direction of spin, and against it! Oops! So much for the idea that galaxies gradually form from spinning disks and that stars and planets slowly form and dust trails off... and... it was such a nice story too wasn't it? :)

Here's what Answers In Genesis had to say about it.

An entire galaxy stands in the way of the general understanding of galactic spiral arms, according to research presented this week to the American Astronomical Society at a meeting in Austin, Texas.

Scientists from the University of Alabama, Bevill Community College, and (formerly) the U.S. Naval Observatory presented a “puzzling” conclusion from their astronomical observations: a spiral galaxy whose arms wind in the opposite direction from most galaxies—something the University of Alabama’s Gene Byrd calls “an inconvenient truth to many . . . [but] nonetheless, a reality.” The conclusion is based on observations of two components within the galaxy, NGC4622, which is some 200 million light-years from earth in the constellation Centaurus.

Byrd explained, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, with both an inner counter-clockwise pair and an outer clockwise pair of spiral arms, NGC4622 must have a pair of leading arms.” Since the galaxy must rotate one way, one of the pairs of arms—either the inner counter-clockwise pair or the outer clockwise pair—must be in the same direction as the galaxy’s rotation.

The team’s results will be published in Astronomical Journal.

This finding reminds us that “well-established science,” even when intuitive, is frequently contradicted by unexpected observations and data-crunching. Theories that were lauded as undeniably true by yesterday’s scientists often turn up in the dustbin of science history as observations expand and new hypotheses accumulate. Knowing this, which would you rather put your faith in: current science theories that change from decade to decade or the inerrant, unchanging Word of the Creator God?

Humility - A definition

What are your thoughts about Humility and how do you define it? My thoughts are it's the beginning of true growth in the Lord and I define it this way.

Humility - The emptying of self to the point that there is no other option but to depend on God, and actually depending on Him. I am nothing, He is all in all.

Humility - A Picture Of The Christ

So this study on Humility is affecting every aspect of my walk. I'm not saying "oh I'm so humble now"... hardly... I'm saying that it's becoming painfully clear that humility is the root of all fruitfulness. I have been praying, for some time, that God would show me how to "live out" all the things I've learned. That He'd strengthen me to be able to walk the walk I know I should. I guess I thought He would make me "Super Christian!" but instead He's shown me, yet again, that the way up is down.

I have often found myself in "alarm" about the mess I've made of my life. That alarm is such a good descriptor of my Pride. I never thought of it like that before, but it is. Think of it this way "I've messed my life up." means I've somehow taken control over God's ability, purpose and will. It means that I'm dependent on me. That's Pride, because a the heart Humility is dependence on God. The Psalmist, King David, shares this understanding with me in Ps 31:22 When we panic, when we think we are "cut off" from the Lord it is because we have not yet seen the Humble King for Who He is. The One who stepped down out of Heaven fully God but not demanding honor for that. Instead He humbled Himself to obedience even to the point of death on the Cross. Phil 2:6-8 Now that passage used to be amazing to me, but now even more so. I've started to see that true Humility is an emptying of self, a counting myself nothing and God all in all. It is the covering one's self in Christ Himself.

A picture of this can be found in John 21, which I've written of before. In Peter's restoration we see a picture of the Humble King and get to know Him and how to approach Him just a bit better. Much is said about the guilt and shame Peter felt about his denial of the Lord before He was crucified. Luke 22:54-61 but I'm sure if we asked Peter today he too would agree with King David's thought in Ps 31:22 about how in his alarm he thought he had been cut off from the Humble Lamb of God but that in reality He had never left him.

Peter had boasted that he'd be willing to die for the Lord because he loved Him so much. Luke 22:33 But when the time of testing came Peter denied even knowing Him. What Peter forgot, and what is often missed is the Lord's promise to Peter (and likewise us) before our boasting, before we get ahead of ourselves the Lord says "...Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But, I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail and when you return to Me strengthen my sheep." Luke 22:31-32 So before we ever get ourselves in a mess He has long since prayed for us and made sure the result. He knew how far Peter would run from Him, but prayed for his return.

And we see the Humility in the restoration of Peter. I'll quote from my previous writing about John 21:15-19 and then complete my comments.
In verse 15 Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. The word for love is the Greek agapao which is linked to God's perfect love Agape which is a selfless complete love. Peter responds with "yes Lord, You know that I love You" But the word he uses for love is the Greek phileo which is much more of a friendly love. Peter is admitting that while he loves the Lord, he obviously doesn't love Him the way he should.

The second time they both repeat the same words in the same question and answer.

Now the third time the Lord asked him if he loved Him. The Lord uses the same word that Peter has been using, phileo. And Peter wept because the third time He asked "Do you phileo me?"

The Lord stepped down to where Peter was. He went to get Peter. Just like He does for those who will trust Him today.
What I didn't see as I wrote this before is Peter stopped faking. He humbled himself to say, this is all I have God. This is who I really am. You know I don't love you the way I should. And our Humble King once again lowered Himself down to meet Peter just exactly where he was. And because Peter had humbled himself, the Lord exalted him up to a powerful ministry including authoring parts of the Bible it's self. In Peter's alarm he thought that he had been cut off from the Lord. But the truth was that the Lord had this covered from the beginning.

That's a picture of the Christ. The Perfect One from Heaven who stepped down out of Heaven to do what we never could. And to show us what Humility really is.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

KDE 4.0.0 released and it does matter.

I've spoken about my growing love for Linux here before. Some of the things I love about it are the security, the availability of tons of high quality software for free, and the openness of the OS. If there's something you'd like to change.. you can. From the color of your desktop to the shape of your cursor to how the system works deep under the hood. It's all open for you to play with.

Well today KDE 4.0.0 is released and it matters to people in Christian ministry because it's not only beautiful, it's free. That means you can have a top quality product without having to spend money on it that could be used in other areas. Often we are tempted to save money on important things like computers so we can put the cash "where it's needed." But if our systems get compromised, or don't work very well, or at all... then our ministries take the hit. Linux really is a viable answer to this problem. Currently some 85-95% of production at The Cross Current is done on linux. The old problem of not being able to work in the "real world" with Linux just doesn't exist anymore. And while my installation of KDE 3.5.8 is tweaked out to look really good, KDE4 looks that much better and is way faster. So, I get to enjoy an incredible desktop while I work.

I encourage you all to check it out. I use the distribution called Kubuntu.

Humility - the pursuit

This is an intro to a series I hope to be able to complete. I've set out on a journey and I'm convinced I shouldn't be alone on it. What is humility and what does it mean to "humble yourself before the Lord"? Further what is the result of it or really why should we do it?

Most Christians either do, or wish they could pursue greater holiness. This gets out of control in some of christendom making it a requirement for Salvation or security... or any number of theological buzz words. But without abuse, without bondage, holiness is something we need to be pursuing. And I'm learning that just maybe I've been going about it the wrong way.

Here's a quote from author Andrew Murray from his book "Humility" page 92
Brethren, have we not here the reason that our consecration and our faith have availed so little in the pursuit of holiness? It was by self and it's strength that the work was done under the name of faith. It was for self and its happiness that God was called in. It was, unconsciously, but still truly, in self and its holiness that the soul rejoiced. We never knew that humility - absolute, abiding, Christ-like humility, pervading and marking our whole life with God and man - was the most essential element of the life of the holiness we sought.
So I ask, where are you in your walk? Are you progressing in faith? What about holiness? I'm not asking about sinless perfection or am I looking for ammo to question your salvation. I mean are you progressing? The measuring stick is only seen by you and God my eyes are too full of planks to be looking for your spec anyway. :) I wonder if answering some questions about humility and pursuit of that instead would help us in our pursuit of greater faith and holiness.