As a political person, I often (especially lately) struggle with the relationship between politics and the gospel. In the context of that struggle, just yesterday I read the following words by John Piper. I thought I would post them here for discussion.
Because the gospel of Jesus is not an ideology or a philosophy or a methodology or a therapy but a supernatural in-breaking of God into our lives, I am concerned at how many Christians do not bring it to bear personally, critically, and explosively on the political right and left. It seems to me that too many Christians gravitate to right-wing Republican politics or left-wing Democratic politics because they see some parallel between a political plank and a part of the gospel. It’s like saying that the party that uses candles must be the true one because they’re shaped so much like sticks of gospel dynamite. The meant to explode with saving power in the lives of politicians and social activists, not help them decorate their social agenda.
Jesus did not come into the world to endorse anybody’s platform. He doesn’t fit in. He created the world. He holds it in being by his powerful word. He will return someday to judge the living and the dead. And he came the first time to die so that left-wing activists and right-wing talk-show hosts would be broken in pieces for their sin and put back together by the power of grace. He came so that from that day on Jesus himself would be the supreme treasure and authority in our lives. He came so that we would become radically devoted to the glory of God… The gospel is not a political adviser standing to the side waiting to be asked for guidance. It is the arrival of God saving people from their sin and from the everlasting wrath of God, giving them the Holy Spirit, and bringing their lives progressively into conformity to Jesus.
- John Piper, Bloodlines, pages 84-85
Resources for Reformation Day - This Sunday (October 31) is Reformation Day, commemorating and celebrating the Reformation. It takes place each year on the anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door on October 31, 1517. For pastors (and others) who might want some resources in preparation, here are a few recommendations… – Justin Taylor
Michelle Bachmann Shares Testimony in Iowa Church – “Even though I was doing nothing wrong — I wasn’t drinking, smoking or chasing boys — I still had a wicked heart,” Bachmann says of her 1972 teenage self before she and a group of three friends entered an abandoned and unlocked Minnesota church and stood before the alter confessing their sins. “We got up. I walked home to our little apartment, and I bowed before my bed. I said to God, ‘All I know is that I’m a different person. … I will radically abandon my life to you, Lord,’ – Michelle Bachmann
Free Download: The Barber Who Wanted to Pray – In honor of Reformation Day, we are making the audiobook, narrated by R.C. Sproul, available as a free download through Reformation Day (Oct. 31). You can also pre-order the CD version of this story or buy the hardcover illustrated children’s book published by our friends at Crossway. May you and your family benefit from this helpful resource on prayer.
Does Joel Osteen Not Know, or Does He Not Care? – Evangelical Christians are going to face many questions in this season, and the question of Mormonism is now front and center. It will call upon all of us to do what Joel Osteen proudly has not done — to study and think about these issues. In this political moment, we will have to think carefully and act judiciously without confusing the theological questions. We will need the full wealth of Christian conviction. – Dr. Albert Mohler
Seven Reasons Halloween Judgment Houses Often Miss the Mark – 1. They’re not scary enough. To speak of hell, Jesus used the imagery of a garbage dump overun with worms, a place where babies were once sacrified to demons (Mark 9:43-48). Teenagers in plastic red devil masks and styrofoam pitchforks usually don’t convey what it means to “fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). The answer isn’t better technology, though, since nothing we could conjure up can convey the anguish of the damned walled off from relationship with God. – Russell Moore
ESV is apparently being revised? – All I know comes from this 4 min. video from the BBC which filmed a study session of the ESV committee at work at Tyndale House in London “last year” (not sure if that means 2010 or earlier 2011?). The discussion that was filmed revolves around the use of δοῦλος in 1 Cor 7. Interestingly, they voted (9-3) to change it to “bondservant”—a word that I don’t think I’ve ever heard used in contemporary English outside of some Bible translations. ESV currently has “slave” in the text and “Gk bondservant” in the footnote. I grant this is not an easy word to handle in contemporary culture (esp. the US where there seems to be a collective social guilt regarding our past history of slavery), but I’m not sure that “bondservant” is helpful. Nor do I see it accurate for the current edition to say that the Greek has “bondservant” in contrast to “slave” in the text. – Rod Decker
7 Types of Preacher’s Block (and what to do about them) – Sermon preparation involves creativity. No, the preacher is not creating truth. God did that. But the preacher is creating sentences, phrases, and even structures that will best communicate the truth. And like all creatives – artists, authors, architects, etc. – preachers encounter creative blocks. They just don’t know where the next thought or sentence is going to come from. Mark McGuinness has provided a helpful list of 7 types of creative block (summarized below) and also proposes some solutions (visit his blog for those). – David Murray