March 16, 2008
It is a hard thing to shift from enjoying the prosperity gospel, living it out and feeling that it works because you are well off – to changing your mind about it and discovering what the gospel is truly about. Why is it so difficult to see? Because its connected to a unique world view and an approach to understanding scripture that blocks the prosperity gospel adherent from seeing error.
Perhaps a starting point if you think you might be into prosperity is for you to listen to your favorite preacher and ask yourself the question: “Is this message fundamentally about me or is it about God?” Prosperity teaching will be man centred but biblically faithful preaching will be about God. The bible is God’s revelation about himself to us. Good teaching nd preaching will extend this and help us access biblical truth about God. Sure we learn stuff about ourselves along the way (eg, that we are wretched sinners) or how to walk the Christian walk, but at its essence – what is the preacher about?
November 9, 2007
Would you ever think that a quote from John Calvin could be turned in to a song? What about Mark Driscoll talking about Idolatry worked in to a techno thumping sound track?
“No!” you say?
Well then keep reading!
Would you like to have the best parts of sermons preached by the likes of:
And then have the Gospel and reformed/Calvinistic theology worked in to modern smooth techno rhythms?
If so, then welcome to…
Read the rest of this entry »
November 9, 2007
I was reflecting on a recent conversation with my wife. She had been a part of a talk we had with someone and and I was shocked when she told me that I had not made explaining Jesus a big focus. I also came to think about the categories that we give posts on this blog – we don’t have a Jesus category. Well that has to change. When I think about it, it is often easier for me to explain what Jesus has done, instead of who Jesus is.
…the prism through which all light concerning God is reflected is Jesus Christ. This means that Christology is the beginning and the end, better, the starting point and summary, of all Christian thought. Christology is Paul’s theme when he writes, “For it is the very God who said. ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)… Christology is the subject of theology. More precisely put, Jesus Christ is the subject of theology. Read the rest of this entry »
October 30, 2007
The love of God and our love for God has been a recurring theme that has occupied my thoughts from time to time this year. Erik @ Irish Calvinist recently posted an article that urged me to think some more about it. I wrote a short comment which I want to repeat on EA because it fits in with some thinking that is taking place here.
Josh heard an excellent sermon about the love of God that we will be uploading here soon. As with everything that goes on this blog, we are concerned about the implications for evangelism. I think its a no-brainer; It gets to the motive of the evangelist and the motive of the person hearing and responding to the gospel. Here is the comment:
I found the sermon I was thinking of. Its the first in a series.
Here are some quick notes :::The love of God, 3 things it does not mean:
1.It does not mean meeting God’s needs. (Acts 17v35) Love for God is very different than love for others.
The ESSENCE of love for God is RECEIVING from God
2. It is not love for His gifts – eg. forgiveness of sin, escape from hell, resurrection from a pain free life.
3. It is not the things that love prompts you to do. The essence of love for God is not in the fruit.
If you LOVE ME you will do this.
Love for God is the heart’s esteem for/delight in God before it produces anything else. It is life that produces love for God. Deeds of love IS NOT love, these deeds can be imitated. Its not DO DO DO DO and God will approve. Instead start with loving.
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 15, 2007
The Five Points of Calvinism are easily remembered by the acrostic TULIP
Total Depravity (Total Inability)
Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as “totally depraved,” they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality — his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.
The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called “Total Inability.” The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God’s making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5). Read the rest of this entry »
October 12, 2007
I think it’s important (and helpful for evangelism) to think about a correct understanding of sin. While we can refer to breaking the commandments of God as sin (murder, idolatry, etc.), it is probably more correct to consider these active manifestations of our rebellion against God as “sins”. Where “Sin” is the condition or state in which the human race is in since the fall of Adam and Eve, “sins” are the various manifestations of this condition that naturally flow from our fallen condition. Paul talks about the two states or conditions in which people are before God in Romans 5:12-21: We are either “in Adam” and thus condemned by the Law and under God’s judgement and wrath; or we are “in Christ” and free from the condemnation that the Law brings and we receive Christ’s righteousness as a free gift accepted by faith. The Law of God, as this website correctly asserts, was introduced by God to expose the state of Sin. The Law does this by showing us our various and many “sins”. We need to have the right distinction in our minds when explaining the gospel. There is Sin (our sinful condition) and there is sin (the various manifestations of our sinful condition). 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)