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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
The year 2012 was interesting and frustrating. This year I will not feature the 10 most popular posts like I did in 2011. However I will give you a running commentary and “warm your little Calvinist hearts” with some grace and hope you won’t end up swimming back to Rome in the end.
The year started with high expectations and has ended on a high note – well unless you are a Mayan apocalypse enthusiast then you might be just a tard deflated. But hey cheer up we have extra time now, don’t we?
In 2012 it was interesting to see that many people were interested in reading how Veggie Tales ended up being a failed experiment. Well to be honest it was a fad that went too far into teaching kids how to be “Christian” without knowing Christ. Ironic but frankly I have come to expect this from most Evangelical fads that it doesn’t surprise me any more. Speaking of fads the year kicked off with a fad…oops thud when Steven Furtick (yup the celebrity pastor who spontaneously baptised 2,000 people in two weeks) invited Matt Chandler into a room full of orange flood lights, orange walls and orange carpets. When Matt began to preach about celebrities and supposed pastors using church as a platform for personal ambition, you could hear a pin drop. The barn burning sermon was a good fire starter for the year it and it ended with a clear gospel presentation too. But nothing prepared us for pastor Jim Murphy’s stance when he decided to root out religious junk from his lukewarm church bookstore. Murphy lamented the disintegration of Christianity and its falling away from the truth of the gospel and into more and more error – he traced the roots of today’s error to the subtle attacks on the authority of Scripture. When he finally asked “How did we get where we are?” Many expected him to point the finger else where but the wise old pastor pointed to him self and said said he was responsible for allowing his church to become lukewarm and hence forth there would be changes. Talk about the perspicuity of scripture.
Don’t blink yet, that was just the beginning!
We have all heard that excuse before haven’t we? During one of Phil Johnson’s trips to India (God rest his pen – I still can’t believe he stopped blogging!) met an interesting young man. The story goes that this college student came for advice believing he was suffering an intense Satanic attack and wanted special methods of tactical spiritual warfare to help him rid his home and family of Satanic influences. He said he was finding it impossible to get along with his mother. He said the two of them hardly ever spoke a civil word to one another, and it was destroying the peace of their household. He said he found it hard to study the Bible or grow spiritually as long as these tensions ruled the household. And he had come to the meeting that night, specifically hoping to get Satan out of his household. So…
[Phil continues] I first asked him what made him think this problem was uniquely Satanic. As he described it to me, it sounded much more like raw carnal pride on both his part and his mother’s. They were constantly saying unkind and unloving things to one another. He admitted that he purposely did things he knew would annoy her. He spoke disrespectfully to her. He said he just couldn’t stand her and didn’t like being around her.
It sounded like youthful rebellion on his part, more than a satanic attack. So I said, “It sounds to me like you’re just behaving in a fleshly way. I think you need to look into your own heart for the culprit, rather than blaming the devil and outside influences.”
But he insisted that I just didn’t understand the issue. It must be Satanic, he said, because the nature of his conflict with his mother was so powerful—and living with her was like living with the devil.
Do you remember that sermon by Phil Johnson? I still hear it in my sleep.
In my judgment, the typical evangelical church of this generation has become weak and womanly. Churchgoers demand that preachers be soft and dainty—especially when they are dealing with hard-edged truths. If you don’t sufficiently tone down every severe text or hard-to-receive doctrine in the Bible, the tone police will write you up for an infraction before you can get from the pulpit to the front door. All the rough edges of every truth must be carefully sanded smooth and painted in pastel tones. We’ve traded up to cushy seats instead of hard-bench pews and we expect our preachers to fashion their message accordingly. None of this sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-God stuff.
Instead, today’s evangelicals favor feminine themes: Let’s talk about our emotional hurts, our personal relationships, our felt, needs. We’re hurting. The church has begun to look weak, effeminate, frightened, sissified—like a society of fops and milksops instead of soldiers. But There’s More
In the heat of the battle the dirty sweat drenched and blood furrowed brow of the commander perks up as he peers at his scanty remnant. He has seen his men put up a fierce resistance. The devastating onslaught has been from all fronts. Menacingly sustained at times. The reserves are running low. The platoon is now surrounded. There is no time to reminisce or sleep. Fatigue and final consumption never felt so close. His muddied badge barely sticks to his bosom while a few pips are clearly missing from his right shoulder. Despite the haggard silhouette there is no mistaking the undiminished authority he still wields. It will be at least a day or two until the 1st Calvary Division would arrive in the eastern skies –if only they would hold on for that long. However if all failed-the platoon had gone through this worst case scenario over and over; the last resort would be to die fighting than be taken in. Read More
By Phil Johnson Full Article Here.
n the book Tony Campolo co-authored with Brian McLaren (Adventures In Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel) Campolo seems to suggest that seminarians ought to pay more attention to marketing techniques and less attention to theology, exegesis, original languages, and other traditional seminary curricula. After all, those are academic subjects with limited practical significance, and pastors these days hardly ever use such stuff after seminary. In Campolo’s own words:
What if the credits eaten up by subjects seminarians seldom if ever use after graduation were instead devoted to more subjects they will actually need in churches—like business and marketing courses? It is not true that with a gifted preacher, a church will inevitably grow. Good sermons may get visitors to stay once they come, but getting folks to come in the first place may take some marketing expertise. Read More