Sunday, August 24, 2008

Plop goes the church

So there's this church that some refer to as the "6th most influential church in America." It's located in Grainger, Indiana. It's part of the Willow Creek Association. Recently, the WCA sent out surveys to all of their churches, and those churches had to publish their results. Here are some highlights from Grainger Community.
  • 47% of the congregation doesn't believe in salvation by grace
  • 57% don't believe in the authority of the Bible
  • Only 41% love God more than anything else
  • 56% don't believe Jesus is the only way to heaven

Now, this is a "seeker sensitive" church, so maybe this is normal? According to the results, most of the respondents have attended the church for 1-5 years. Only 12% had been there less than a year. If you're still "seeking" after over a year (and up to five years!!!) of attending a church, something isn't going right.

The pastor, Tim Stevens, has written a book called Pop Goes the Church where he tries to get across that the way to reach people is to embrace pop culture and apply it to the church. I'm guessing he thinks he has some credibility on the issue since his church is huge. Well, I think these results show what you're getting in a church that has this kind of approach. You have a bunch of people sitting in the comfy chairs who don't believe in the essentials of the Christian faith. They do not have a Biblical worldview.

We need to be learning the BIBLE!!! The pastor is responsible for teaching the Bible and encouraging his congregation to study their Bibles. This modern approach is failing. I think this is obvious and don't understand why others can't see this. If we are preaching sermons based on "spandex," there's a problem. As Todd Friel says, "these are boys playing at church."

You can find the survey results here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pastor...a business owner?

Just from my experience in churches up till now (I've been going since I was conceived) it seems to me when the reigns of the entire church are handed over to a pastor, he either gets big headed or overwhelmed. The pastor is supposed to be the spiritual leader and also a person the lay-people can go to for guidance and biblical teaching. If the pastor is busy with 15 projects the church is working on at once, he could either become a control freak or just burn himself out. When pastors get hard-headed, people in the congregation get hurt, when he is overwhelmed, the pastor gets hurt. I have witnessed both instances personally.

The most effective pastors I have met are the ones who let the elders and others take care of peripheral ministries in the church. They, in turn, were more prepared to teach and council people.

So should pastors just preach and council? No. As I said, he is the spiritual leader in the church. His managerial position is to make sure people are growing spiritually.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Modern Day Revelation

Frankly, not only has it not happened, it is not happening, and we don't need it! God has revealed Himself to humanity through the Word, Jesus Christ "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men," (Philippians 2:6-7) and also through His written word; the Bible.

I could go on and on...and on about the reliability of the Biblical texts (which I did in a previous post). But I'll just post what Jesus said, "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished," (Matthew 5:18) and, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away" (Matthew 24:35), not done yet, "Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:17-18).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Saint Telemachus

St. Telemachus was a monk. Telemachus was a diminutive man who enjoyed living in reclusive settings full of the wonders of God's creation. He was quite content and had no reason to want to do anything else. But one day, he felt that God was telling him to go to Rome. He hated Rome. He enjoyed his monastic lifestyle, absent of the hustle and bustle of city life. But God needed him in Rome. So Telemachus left his reclusive lifestyle to obey God.

He entered the streets of Rome on January 1, 404 AD. Immediately, he was overwhelmed by the artwork and monumental architecture, and was also disgusted by the way man worshipped himself in that city.

He got caught up in a crowd of people and was almost involuntarily led into the Colosseum. As he sat in the bleachers, he was shocked by the spectacle of bloodletting and sadism that was meant to entertain the masses. Humans massacring and butchering one another. He was aghast. As soon as the violence started, he stood up and screamed out, "In the name of Christ, stop this!" His voice carried well in the acoustic masterpiece. Everybody heard him. He ran down the stairs and into the center of the arena, all along repeating his plea, "In the name of Christ, stop this!" People laughed. Someone yelled from the stands, "Kill him! Run him through!" A gladiator threw him out of his way and then sent a spear right through Telemachus. The stadium fell silent. Telemachus, doubled over with the spear in his gut, blood spilling on the ground, dying, said one last time, "In the name of Christ, stop this!"

Silence. Then one man stood and walked out. Then another, and another, until the thousands and thousands of people in the Colosseum had left. But this was not the end. Although there were other factors, the death of Telemachus solidified the opposition to the gladiatorial battles. Emperor Honorius was so moved by Telemachus' actions, he issued an edict, banning the gruesome gladiatorial battles.

One man nobody knew obeyed God, and single-handedly brought about the end of a gruesome custom that had killed so many.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The reason for this blog

Here, I'm going to lay out the purpose of my blog and what you can expect to see. I will also give a quick overview of what I believe.

As you have seen, I will talk about passages of the Bible that I have been reading that catch my attention (as if any of them don't, lol). I try my best to write out what is going on and then try to make sense of how to apply the Biblical principles taught to people's lives. Keep in mind, I am not trained as a theologian or minister. Therefore, I won't ever try to exegete something that is beyond my capability. I will also research the passage and read what well respected Christian leaders have to say. If anybody sees something they think I should re-think, comment and I'll look into it.

I also will talk about things I see happening in the Church universal that are potentially harmful. This includes aberrant teachings and teachers. It is important for the body of Christ to always keep vigilant about what is being taught. The Bible makes it clear that false teachers will enter the church, and therefore we are to be discerning.

I will speak frequently on the Calvinist/Arminian debate. I take the Arminian side.

Less frequently, I will discuss the political spectrum.

What I believe:
  • I affirm the five "solas" of the reformation
  • The Bible, in its original autographs, is inerrant and infallible
  • My theological stance Classical, Reformation Arminian
  • Politically: I am conservative. I believe in a small government, I believe in a strict constructionist view of the Constitution, I believe abortion is evil and should be illegal, I believe society should help provide for those who cannot help themselves (i.e. physically or mentally disabled).

I may elaborate on specifics later, but if you keep reading this blog, you'll see what I believe.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gauge it!

So, I heard amazing news on our super reliable and fair media outlets. All we have to do is start using these things all the time to solve our energy problems.

It's true because Obama (the messiah) said so.