Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Compelling Quote

"Those standing in the stream of historic Christianity have been especially slow to understand the relationships between various areas of thought. When the apostle warned us to "keep [ourselves] unspotted from the world," he was not talking of some abstraction. If the Christian is to apply this injunction to himself he must understand what confronts him antagonistically in his own moment of history. Otherwise he simply becomes a useless museum piece and not a living warrior for Jesus Christ."

Francis Schaeffer in The God Who Is There.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thought Provoking Quote...

"Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions, yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him. Satan is proof of this."
- John Wesley from The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Erica's Baptism

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

This past Sunday I had the joy of baptizing one of our college students here in Brenham. I met Erica last year when I was leading a college Bible study in one of our students apartments. She was sweet and seemed to be interested in spiritual things. The more Stephanie and I got to know her, the more we fell in love with this little sister in Christ.

Erica came to live in our garage apartment this school year and has been such a blessing to have around. Steph, Braelyn, and I have shared wonderful times with her and have been able to watch first-hand as the Lord continues to mature her. Steph and Erica have been in a discipleship relationship that has been beneficial I'm sure for both of them.

We love you, Erica and are SO proud of you!

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Testament in a Month

Now that I am done with seminary, I have the freedom to read WHATEVER I want to. I cannot begin to express how excited I am about this! However, one of the first things I want to do is get back into the Word more intentionally and more deeply. Not that I was not encouraged to study the Scriptures in seminary, but now I can read them with the sole purpose of enjoying God and preparing my heart and mind for ministry. Should be the same, but in my mind and heart it is different. If I'm off on this, please pray for me.

Early in my seminary experience I had the privilege of taking several classes with Dr. Rodney Woo (Pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church). This man is the epitome of a perfect combination of scholarship and a pastoral heart. There is much I have learned from him, both in content and by his example that I am eternally grateful for.

I still remember the day in class when he was sitting on the edge of the table with his intense stare and he said, "Gentlemen, if you are going to preach the Bible, you had better know it!" This statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean, on one hand this statement seems to be obvious, but as this pastor-scholar sat there with the fire of God in his eyes, I realized that he was not talking about 'knowing' it, but to KNOW it.

One thing I loved about being in his classes was that when he brought correction or exhortation, he always provided a way forward. On this occasion he told us how he stays sharp in the Word. He shared with us that He read through the New Testament each month for 9 months out of the year and then took 3 months to read through the Old Testament. At first, I thought this was impossible, that it would take too much time. However, Dr. Woo shared that it only took about 30 minutes-a-day and that he would just read. No note taking, no word studies, he would just read it and enjoy it as it was. He then challenged us to try it.

By God's grace, I was able to do this several times. This experience helped me to see the grand picture of God's redemptive story through the entirety of the Scriptures. Unfortunately, it has been quite a while since I have enjoyed this discipline and am now resolved to re-institute this life-giving exercise.

If any of you out there would like to give it a try, here's the schedule:

1. Mt. 1-10
2. Mt. 11-20
3. Mt. 21-28
4. Mk. 1-8
5. Mk. 9-16
6. Lk. 1-8
7. Lk. 9-16
8. Lk. 17-24
9. Jn. 1-7
10. Jn. 8-14
11. Jn. 15-21
12. Acts 1-10
13. Acts 11-20
14. Acts 21-28
15. Romans 1-8
16. Romans 9-16
17. 1 Cor. 1-8
18. 1 Cor. 9-16
19. 2 Cor.
20. Galatians – Ephesians
21. Philippians – Colossians
22. 1 & 2 Thess.
23. 1 & 2 Tim.
24. Titus – Philemon – Heb. 1-3
25. Heb. 4-13
26. James
27. 1 & 2 Peter
28. 1-2-3 John / Jude
29. Rev. 1-11
30. Rev. 12-22

Let me know if you're going to give it a shot. I'd love to hear about your experience!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

As Promised - I am Commenting... Pt. 1

“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”
(Proverbs 20:5 ESV)

A few months ago I blogged briefly about an article in Christianity Today™ that discussed an accusation against SWBTS (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) accusing them of a ploy to fire Calvinists from their staff. I posted a link to this interesting article, which you can read here.

To be honest, I would not be surprised either way. Not to dishonor the president of SWBTS, nor to dishonor the other parties involved, but I have been involved in church-life long enough to not really get surprised about much. As far as I know, Dr. Patterson is an Arminian, and if there is a competitive thing going on with Southern, then I could see a possible motivation. But, I don't know. However, I must be careful to not quickly judge the situation with limited knowledge about what all is going on.

However, I do have this to say. Christians have got to stop making sweeping generalizations about people who are identified as 'Arminian' or 'Calvinist'. This is a dangerous and un-loving habit. One of my good friends and mentors was once asked how to best deal with a certain group of believers in his church and he responded, "It's not how we deal with this group or that, the question we should be asking is how we serve one another in love." Amen.

For instance, I know people who would call themselves "Reformed", but they are more Lutheran Reformed soteriologically (salvation), but Dispensationalist in their hermeneutic (bible study method) and eschatology (belief about the end times). This seems inconsistent with our little labels doesn't it? The same is true for the terms 'Emergent' vs. 'Emerging'. They are both different in meaning and what they stand for. However, if one is identified as 'Emergent', this doesn't automatically mean that they deny the Virgin birth of Jesus, etc.

All this to say, I think IF there was a hunt out to get the Calvinists professors at SWBTS out of the faculty I would be very sad. I would be equally sad if the same was happening towards Arminian professors. IF this were the case, then I would be concerned for the seminary. In my time at the Houston campus of SWBTS I was blessed to have Arminian, Calvinist, and Calminian™ (I made it up) professors. It helped to balance me out. To be honest, I entered into seminary with some pretty firm theological convictions that have remained, but have been refined by these awesome, Godly men. I give thanks to God for my time at SWBTS and pray that they will continue to provide a broad-scope of theological views that are within the bounds of orthodoxy and baptistic theology.

My prayer is that this whole thing at the seminary was a huge exaggeration or misunderstanding. However, there is a chance that this is not the case, and if so, I pray that the Lord would offer correction in His kindness.

Lord, help us to be a people who are known by the way that we love one another. (John 13:35)