19 February 2015

Better Be Hypocrites Than Profane: John Cotton, Puritan New England the Christian Right

In the mid 17th century there were Baptists remaining in Massachusetts that had not ventured to the newly founded safe-haven of Rhode Island. Rejecting many aspects of Puritan theology they met in homes on Sunday morning. They refused participation in the official state-sanctioned Church.

This was abhorrent to the Puritan authorities, an unacceptable manifestation of Pluralism, and as a result some of these Baptists were arrested, fined and for those who refused to pay... whipped.

Better Be Hypocrites Than Profane (Part 2 of 2)

By using the law (the threat of violence) to force people to become Christians and act in Christian manner means that instead of making disciples or converts and baptizing them we are instead threatening them with judicial action, imprisonment and death. And that's largely the story of Christendom... a false Church which perverts the Gospel and makes godliness into gain or a means of attaining power. And this church when resisted persecutes the faithful.

This Puritan view is essentially the project of the Christian Right. From Peter Marshall to David Barton, to Francis Schaeffer and Jerry Falwell, from Pat Robertson to Albert Mohler, the basic goal is the same. They believe that by Christianizing society we can somehow bring the blessings of God on America. Somehow America will please Him... as if America were the apple of His eye, the nation which somehow bears the 'blessing' which was in truth applied to Israel because it pictured Christ's Kingdom. To expect this blessing for America is to establish another messiah... a false god with a false gospel.

18 January 2015

The State of the American Church in 2015

Though many churches elevate Scripture as God's Word and many profess to follow Scripture Alone, the reality is far different. We are surrounded by Churches that have elevated tradition and cultural norms placing them on par with God's Word or in some cases above it. Others have simply given in to the world and embraced its methods to build and sustain God's Church. While we don't doubt their motives, the result has proven disastrous and instead of strengthening the Church, they've created a counterfeit.

17 January 2015

Times of Transition and Spiritual Warfare: EW Hengstenberg (1802-69)

For those of you who haven't heard of Hengstenberg he was a German theologian and professor who in the midst of the Higher Critical movement of the 19th century stood firm in his conviction that the Biblical Text was divinely inspired and worthy of our trust. I can't agree with all of his views or actions but at his core and regarding this most essential of issues, Hengstenberg stands tall.

12 January 2015

What about Bible Translations?

The issue of Bible translations has proven to be a very confusing one. Christians are rightly concerned for the text of Scripture and there are legitimate reasons to be wary of most modern Bible translations.

10 January 2015

What about claiming Tax-exempt 501c3 status?

Taking on this status allows organizations to collect money and yet be exempt from many of the normal tax requirements. The monies are used in a non-profit capacity. They service the administrative costs of the organization and fund the social interests the organization wishes to promote. Obviously there are restrictions and guidelines as far as what types of activities fall within this spectrum. In the United States religious organizations, churches and ministries are granted this status if they apply.

08 January 2015

Dominionism in Dallas and the New Ecumenical Movement


Recently I've been listening to some podcasts put out by Dallas Theological Seminary which if you don't know it already is usually viewed as one of the primary vehicles of Dispensationalism in the United States.

Most of the big names in the Dispensational movement have at one time or another been associated with that school.


05 January 2015

Are you opposed to Church buildings?

It depends on what you mean by a 'Church' building. If you mean are we opposed to a body of believers meeting under a roof, then the answer is clearly no.

If you mean, do we believe that bodies of believers should have special set-aside even consecrated buildings with their own special architecture etc....? Then, the answer is no.

04 January 2015

The Alternative to Dispensationalism

One of the oldest and perhaps greatest of theological questions is how do the Old and New Testaments relate to one another? Is there total discontinuity, continuity or some combination of the two?

03 January 2015

Church Government, Regular and Provisional

These essays are providing quick summaries of our position. They're not exegetical papers. We're not trying to make the Scriptural case here, rather just explaining where we're coming from for those who are interested in figuring out what we're about.

02 January 2015

Does identifying as a Bible Church or Fellowship mean you are Fundamentalists?

The term fundamentalist has unfortunately been abused and largely hijacked. While we share the concerns of the early Fundamentalists in combating Modernism and Theological Liberalism, sadly the term has come to be associated with legalistic rigidity and often reactionary Conservative politics.

01 January 2015

What about Historic Creeds?

Creeds are helpful as guides both to the past and to the issues which we must wrestle with when approaching Scripture. We cannot divorce ourselves from history and those that try to do so prove not only their ignorance but their pride.

On a practical level, what's different about your meeting? What would a visitor expect to find?

Following the pattern of the Early Church when it largely met in homes our meetings our informal and yet not casual. We seek simplicity and reverence. Everything we do is centered on the Scripture and we are careful to neither add to nor take away from it.

31 December 2014

Are We Calvinists?

To answer simply we would have to say both Yes and No. Of course there is also the problem of the many definitions of this term. Not everyone is using the term the same way.

Do we believe in Predestination and Election? We believe what the Bible teaches and we believe the Bible does in fact present this doctrine. But at the same time we will freely admit that many Calvinists have distorted this doctrine and have failed to do full justice to the full picture of what Scripture teaches. The issue is actually more complicated than then simple Calvinist and Arminian understandings of this issue. We believe the Scripture teaches us its own understanding of logic and how to hold to beliefs that sometimes seem to be in contradiction. The problem isn't the Scripture but in how we understand it.

This age old question cannot be answered in a way that will please everyone but it must emphasized that as Christians our duty is to submit to God's Word even if we cannot fully reconcile in our minds the tension between God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility.

 

Why does this small town need yet another church?

Certainly a valid question, and the issues are complex but we can address them in brief.

The main issue the every Christian and congregation must wrestle with is that of Authority. On what basis do you decide and what criteria do you employ to determine Christian doctrine and life? What do we believe and how do we apply it?

25 December 2014

Questions for Christmas Keepers and Celebrants

On what basis do we approach God? On what basis do we petition and praise Him? How do we enter the Throne Room so to speak? What gives us the right to do that?

24 December 2014

Dissecting the News and Christian Anti-Intellectualism

I find it interesting that some conservatives are unable to grasp the issues behind the recent racial upheaval. I've seen some are posting stories of white teenagers being killed by black men and then criticising the media for not covering these stories.


19 December 2014

Inbox: What about John MacArthur and his theology?

How does he fit into the spectrum of Reformed Theology and the ideas you are presenting?

I've actually written about MacArthur before but I can revisit him again.

Inbox: Acts 19 and Cultural Transformation

The Burning of the Books in Ephesus

Is this an example of cultural transformation?
It points to transformation but it's not the same as what is being pushed on the Church in our own day.

Sometimes the Two Kingdom position is caricatured suggesting that Christians in old India wouldn't be challenged to abandon suttee, or that Christians in China wouldn't be encouraged to do away with foot binding.

This is just that, a caricature.

06 December 2014

Inbox: What about Erastus the City Chamberlain?

Isn't this an example of a Christian holding public office?

Yes it is. Paul mentions Erastus the oikonomos of the city at the end of the Epistle to the Romans.

04 December 2014

Inbox: Can We Speak of Christian Anarchism? Was Petr Chelcicky a Christian Anarchist?

Can Christians embrace a form of Anarchism? Jacques Ellul thought so, and he's by no means alone. There's a spectrum to Anarchism. Historically it would be placed on the Left emphasizing the freedom of the individual and a principle of voluntarism as the basis for society. But there's also a manifestation that is usually placed on the Right due to its commitment to laissez faire capitalism. This type of Anarchism, or Anarcho-Capitalism is usually labeled Libertarianism and it is experiencing a massive upsurge in Christian circles. In fact it has created a schism within conservative politics.

26 November 2014

Law, Systemic Violence and Societal Institutions

A lawsuit is a petition to the court, calling on the court to address your grievance. You're saying that someone has violated a law, or in some cases that a law has violated other laws.

Ultimately you want the court to force the party that has grieved you to change and correct the wrong. The court if it rules in your favour is effectively 'threatening' the other party to make it right. They're telling someone to pay the money owed or in some cases they're telling an entity...a business, a city government or department to change their policy or face the wrath of the court.


24 November 2014

Lamech and the Evangelical Culture of Death

I own a few guns but I haven't fired them in many years and have seriously considered getting rid of them. I'm not sure how. For different moral reasons, I don't want to sell them nor would I want to hand them over to the government.


22 November 2014

Stewardship and Parable Inversion- Concluding Thoughts

When the Church shifted and was transformed by Constantinianism, many old values and ways of thinking had to be abandoned in order to create the new Christendom, which ended up being anything but Christian. Power and money are always wedded and in order for the Church to embrace a political order it had to change the way it thought about itself in the world.

Stewardship and Parable Inversion

Speaking of terms and terminology it is worthy to note how the term 'stewardship' is used in such radically different ways.

Everyone more or less acknowledges that in a Christian framework our possessions and assets do not actually belong to us but to God Himself.

And at that point all agreement ends.


10 November 2014

Pietism, Higher Criticism and the Prussian Union of 1817

Over the years I have encountered numerous Missouri Synod Lutherans who continually rail against Pietism. I mean they really have very strong feelings about it. I was reminded of this recently when I listened to podcast dealing with the Prussian Union of 1817.


03 November 2014

Technology Tangles: Ethics, Politics, Euthanasia and the Avoidance of the Real Questions at Stake (Part 2 of 2)

The technology has brought us to a point where we have to ask these difficult and sometimes impossible questions about how far do we dare to go? What is basic to humanity?