November 18, 2007
What I am about to say right how is very familiar to most of you…
We are travelling over very familiar territory right now….
And here is a sad fact of human nature. this is absolutely an effect of the fall…
“we get familiar with things”
In fact we get “overly familiar with things”
so we get “used to things”
And as we get “overly used to things“ they lose their “effect on us”
Read the rest of this entry »
October 31, 2007
The EA blog team want to pass on a very happy Reformation Day greeting to you. We are very grateful for the reformers of the past and those of our day. There is a special Reformation Day service at St. Andrew’s Church, 7:30pm in Launceston this evening if you are in the area. It’s hosted by a group, coincidentally named Evangelical Action. I might do a short reflection on the service when I get home tonight.
If you would like to send an email greeting to a friend, you are welcome to use any of these. Georgie made them for us fresh today:
Also, if the Reformation is a new idea to you and you want to know more there is a lot of stuff on the web. Reforming my mind had a good post you might like to check out.
October 28, 2007
Angela and I are both very excited and chuffed about Reformation Day coming up this Wednesday. We never though such a thing would be celebrated till we saw a special notice in our Church bulletin informing us of a Reformation Day service this Wednesday night. It has really hit our funny bones – in a good way. If you have never heard of the reformation or reformation day, here is an extract from wikipedia that might help:
On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg’s main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. When Luther and his supporters were excommunicated in 1520, the Lutheran tradition was born.
October 27, 2007
I have recently come across the Westminster catechisms, it is the best orthodox Confession ever produced and is a “must read” for every Christian.However, today we are going to take a walk through the “Westminster shorter catechism” as it was written to be shared with lay people and young children, to give people a handle on huge parts of Christian theology, all while being spread over 107 small questions and answers.
The first 12 questions concern God as Creator.
Questions 13-20 deal with original sin and the fallen state of man’s nature.
Questions 21-38 concern Christ the Redeemer and the benefits that flow from redemption.
Questions, 39-84, discuss the ten commandments.
Questions 85-97 teach concerning the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. The final set of questions
98-107 teach and explain the Lord’s prayer.
So lets explore WSC for a clear, accurate, deep yet simple telling of the gospel spread over 22 of the questions
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Read the rest of this entry »
October 22, 2007
Can we afford to rope-off sections of the bible as being “non-essential” and declare those areas as being not-relevant to evangelism? Find out to what degree this may or may not be true in the following video from Cross TV:
October 20, 2007
I think it is safe to say that the ministry of WOTM TV/Radio has sparked new action in personal evangelism and street evangelism in many places in the world. Reproducing what you see and learn on the TV series is a great way to start out in evangelism. I still use the ‘good test’ and many principles of evangelism I have learnt from Ray and Kirk. As I have continued to practise personal evangelism I have discovered that there is definitely a need for God’s gifting and wisdom. Everyone has a different set of understandings, circumstances and concepts and there is much good that can be done for the lost by discovering where they are coming from. Here is an extract from an article from The Third Millennium:
When it comes to specific gospel methods, Reformed theologians affirm many different approaches. Basically, any method that tells the truth about Jesus and man’s plight, and that freely offers the gospel to all who repent, is a biblical method, and may be used. In fact, many times we have to invent new methods to reach new kinds of people. Read the rest of this entry »
October 13, 2007
Talked to a guy today, he told me that his dad had died of pneumococcal infection in his early 40s. His dad had faith when he passed away but the son didn’t. I talked to a woman earlier in the week whom I had bought my family car from a few months ago. She informed me that her healthy 56 year old husband had died from complications in a routine operation just two weeks ago. I was reassured to hear that this woman’s husband had recently professed faith and started attending church. Death has been in my radar through these and many other experiences in recent days and months. Death is real. Death is certain. Timing is the only variable. You are going to die. I am going to die. When?
As I was pondering this fact I wanted to remind myself of the only comfort that really matters when you die. It’s the answer to this question: where will I spend eternity?Hell and Heaven are both equally impossible to really comprehend. Eternal joy and peace or eternal pain and torment. These are ultimate realities but often a long way from our daily experience. We often get a mingled taste of pleasant and unpleasant experiences and occasionally (in our middle class – western society) make forays into the extreme highs and extreme lows. Jesus was very certain about these realities. Read the rest of this entry »
October 6, 2007
My current goodnight book is What is Reformed Theology? by RC Sproul. Its very enjoyable and constantly challenges my dodginess. RC has shown me how RT puts God at the centre, is based on God’s Word alone, is committed to faith alone, devoted to Jesus Christ and structured by three covenants. I am currently reading RC’s first point regarding the tulip and I am yet again blown away. Here is a taste of how I am being refined in theological position:
Romans 3:9-18 “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin …There is none righteous, no, not one. …There is none who does good, no not one.”
…To be under sin is to be controlled by our sin nature. Sin is a weight or burden that presses downward on the soul. In bringing the whole human race before the tribunal of God, Scripture indicts us all without exception, save for Jesus.
…How are we to understand this? Is it not our daily experience that many good deeds are performed by pagan people? The reformers wrestled with this problem and acknowledged that sinners in their fallen condition are still capable of performing what the Reformers called works of “civil virtue.” Civil virtue refers to deeds that conform outwardly to the law of God. Fallen sinners can refrain from stealing and perform acts of charity, but these deeds are not deemed good in an ultimate sense. When God evaluates the actions of people, he considers not only the outward deeds in and of themselves, but also the motives behind these acts. The supreme motive required of everything we do is the love of God. A deed that outwardly conforms to God’s law but proceeds from a heart alienated from God is not deemed by God a good deed. The whole action, including the inclinations of the doer’s heart, is brought under the scrutiny of God and found wanting.
(p. 119, 120)
September 21, 2007
If you have not checked it out, we have been working hard on our gospel tracts. We now have 4 Evangelism Action tracts for you to download and freely distribute.
This week I have been watching Amazing Grace by Erik Holmburg. It got me thinking, “What do Jesus’ sheep need to hear in a gospel tract?” We have been working hard to eliminate unnecessary Christian jargon in our tracts, because there are certain words that need a lot of explaining. It is often easier to just remove certain words and change it to say the same thing in a more accessible way. I have heard sin referred to as ‘our rebellion’ against God. I think that is a fair euphemism to use and quite solid. But I have also heard it referred to as ‘muck'(a recent sermon), ‘all our filth'(a sermon a long time ago), ‘ignoring God’ and ‘not living the way God wants us to'(JAAL p53.)
Is it possible when we get ‘jazzy’ with our relabelling of sin we often forget to explain that it is transgression against the God’s standard of righteousness – the 10 commandments. It is possible that we could be moving into the dangerous error of Semi-Pelagianism: denying original sin and affirming the ability of humans to be righteous. If its just muck, we can bathe ourselves; if it’s just ignorance we can become informed; if its just a lifestyle, we can change lifestyles. No -we are dead in our transgressions and unable to do anything to save ourselves. Let’s be clear and accessible in our gospel presentation but also be careful that we are not giving sinners the wrong idea about what God has done and what he commands them to do.