Thoughts on Offerings (in Church)

From Douglas Wilson: A Box in the Back

When it comes to godly fund-raising, there are two basic methods employed in the Bible. When Paul puts the godly squeeze on the saints, it is for the sake of distributing practical relief to others (2 Cor. 9:2-4). Even there, there is a point made of having accountability (2 Cor. 8:18-20), but Paul does lean on the saints to dig deep and give . . . to the poor.

This is worth thinking about….

Sermons Are Not For Liking | Challies Dot Com

Sermons are not for liking

Here’s the lesson: Sermons are not for liking. Sermons are for listening, they are for discerning, they are for applying, but they are not for liking. You don’t get to like or dislike a sermon. We tend to ask questions like, “So how did you enjoy the sermon today?” It is just the wrong question to ask.

Actually, the author’s conclusion, “Far better is, “What did you learn from the sermon?” or “How did the Holy Spirit speak to you through the sermon?”” is presumptuous because too often, too many preachers fall into all of the pitfalls he discussed in the post. Perhaps a better pair of questions would be, Did you learn something from the sermon?” and “Did the Holy Spirit speak to you through the sermon?”

Faithful Thinkers: Unrecognized Agreement and Unity

Posted by Luke Nix at 2:21 PM

Last week Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis (AiG) posted an article explaining why he believes that Reasons to Believe (RTB) and Stand to Reason (STR) have compromised scripture. Last week I responded by pointing out areas of agreement between those ministries and Answers In Genesis. I also explained some simple errors that Ham had made and showed how more areas of agreement could exist when those errors are understood and corrected. I concluded the post by linking to a few other responses by other bloggers.

Ken Ham offered a general response to the critiques of his original post and a specific one regarding the idea of “reformation”. Ham did not name any specific blogs or provide links to which ones we was specifically addressing, so it makes it quite difficult to provide feedback on the soundness of that part of his response. Continue reading

Faithful Thinkers: Compromising the Kingdom

Posted by Luke Nix at 3:21 PM

A Quick Review

As many of my readers and friends are aware, I am a big proponent of unity within the Church. I like to see interaction among ministries that specialize in certain areas of knowledge and evangelism for the cause of expanding the Kingdom. At the same time, though, I rarely shy aware from difficult theological discussions and differences. I hold certain views that I will accept and address the most difficult challenges against. I’ve always said that if one has the truth, they should not be afraid to be challenged. Yet we also need to understand and recognize challenges when our views cannot overcome them and adjust or abandon our views as necessary.

Having said that, I believe that when ministries or individuals engage in debates or discussions concerning doctrines on which they disagree, it is of highest importance that they recognize the points of agreement between them. They can then clearly articulate the disagreement and the reasons, then engage those reasons with the highest level of gentleness, respect, and academic prowess.

Unfortunately, this week I read an article by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis (AiG) that meets none of these standards. Now, before you continue reading this post, please read Ham’s article here; the rest of this post assumes you have read it. Continue reading

Issues with Answers in Genesis | Christian Apologetics Alliance

Posted on September 3, 2012 by Chad Miller

When I say I have issues with Answers in Genesis (AiG), I’m not referring to their Young Earth Creation (YEC) interpretation of Genesis 1-11. My issues are with the considerable amount of time and effort they spend leveling false accusations against those who believe in Old Earth Creationism (OEC). AiG is the most widely followed YEC ministry, and unfortunately their divisive tactics have a significant impact on the Christian community, thus my focus on their ministry specifically. I’m not making the case for OEC or refuting YEC arguments on this post. Those arguments are handled elsewhere and there are plenty of good resources available.

*OEC and YEC throughout this post refer to Creation-ism and Creation-ist interchangeably*

I (like many OEC’s) have YEC friends. The vast majority of my friends are YEC. Fortunately this is not a point of division or conflict and we’re able to lock arms together to serve the Lord in ministry. We all understand we’re not differing on our interpretation of passages related to the deity of Christ, the resurrection, or other first tier issues, but rather a third tier issue. Most importantly we understand this is an issue of interpretation; not inerrancy. That’s a very important distinction worth repeating:

This is an issue of interpretation; not inerrancy. Continue reading

Repentance versus Defensiveness

Repentance versus Defensiveness:

Our default mode – in and out of the church – seems to be defensiveness. I know mine is. Nothing is more natural when we feel threatened by a criticism than to divert, distract, and downplay. Its as instinctive as flinching when a punch is coming. In my experience, a heart of repentance is something I have to work at. I have to say things like, “wait a minute. Think this through. Why does this criticism hurt you the way it does? Remember your identity is in Christ. Remember you’re identity is not at stake. Relax! Is there something you can learn here?” Its a counter-intuitive feeling, like learning to use a muscle we didn’t know we had for the first time. Or better: learning to relax a muscle for the first time that we’ve always kept tight. Its a kind of paradox: an effort at relaxing, a striving to cease striving, a struggle to give up.


[UPDATE] Kindle version of Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

[UPDATE 28.mar.2013 1:48 p.m.] Apparently, this Kindle title is no longer free. Bummer.

Thanks to Eternity Matters for letting me know that  Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels for Kindle is available for free today!  “Even if you don’t have a Kindle you can read it on your PC or tablet.  Whether you are a skeptic or a believer you should study this topic.”

Written by an L. A. County homicide detective and former atheist, Cold-Case Christianity examines the claims of the New Testament using the skills and strategies of a hard-to-convince criminal investigator.

Christianity could be defined as a “cold case”: it makes a claim about an event from the distant past for which there is little forensic evidence. In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity. Continue reading

Top Ten Things I Love About the Emergent Church

  1. If you disagree with them, they cuss at you
  2. If you question them, they cuss at you
  3. If you challenge their teachings, they cuss at you
  4. If you ask how they get to orthopraxy (right acting) without orthodoxy (right belief), they cuss at you
  5. If you ask about their tattoos, they cuss at you Continue reading

Eight Issues That Do NOT Make or Break Christianity – Apologetics 315

Apologetics 315 posted a piece by Michael Patton of Credo House Ministries this morning, “Eight Issues That Do NOT Make or Break Christianity.”

  1. Young Earth Creationism
  2. The authorship of the Pastoral Epistles
  3. The inerrancy of Scripture Continue reading

Thoughts on Preparing for Worship

Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon The Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America. I browsed through the table of contents, and went directly to Chapter 49, “The Order of Public Worship.” What I found there was humbling and encouraging. 49-3 resonated with be because I am particularly prone to getting wrapped up in visiting and joking around. 49-4 resonated with me because this is something I have become more and more convicted about over the last … well, since our first child was born.

CHAPTER 49 The Ordering of Public Worship

  • 49-1. When the congregation is to meet for public worship, the people (having before prepared their hearts thereunto) ought all to come and join therein; not absenting themselves from the public ordinances through negligence, or upon pretence of private meetings.

    Continue reading