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The Debate Between Scripture and Homosexuality

For quite some time I’ve wanting to dig in a little deeper and really study the issue of homosexuality and Scripture.  Does the Bible give any leeway or wiggle room for the acceptance of monogamous, homosexual Christians?  Just what does Scripture say, apart from political agendas or twisted interpretations?   Two books have recently been released which would aide in this study.

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships – this is the much anticipated book from young Youtube sensation Matthew Vines. Vines claims to be a homosexual who affirms the orthodox teachings of Scripture.  In the book he shares his story of how he navigated these difficult waters.

God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines - this is response to Vine’s book by men I hold much respect for – Al Mohler, Denny Burk, Owen Strachan and Heath Lambert – all of whom are associated with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  This is an e-book (pdf) that is a free download simply by clicking on the link.

I have determined not read the SBTS response until I have first read the Vines book.  I have placed the book on my Amazon wishlist if you are really wanting to hear my thoughts on both books.  Until then, has any of my faithful blog readers (either of you) read or ordered the Vines book?  I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have.
 

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A Quick Post on Divine Revelation

There is an old tale about some blind men who stumble upon an elephant. Of course, being blind, they do not realize just what they have stumbled upon. One, feeling the tale, believes this to be a rope. Another, feeling the enormous sides, believes this to be a wall of some sort. Yet, another feeling the trunk, believes this to be a snake. All of them are quite confident in their belief even though they are feeling the same creature. Some use this illustration to prove that we all worship the same god, our particular religions just happen to be feeling different parts of the same deity. However, this illustration would break down if one thing were to happen. What if the elephant spoke? What if he told us just what he was? Thus we see the importance of revelation. (1)

We know God only because he has revealed himself to us. God has revealed himself to us in many ways. First, God reveals himself through creation. Psalm 19:1 tells us the heavens above declare the glory of God in a language that all can see and understand. However, this in and of itself is not sufficient to know God on an intimate, saving basis. This can be interpreted subjectively and the fallen world we live in is incapable of giving us a full picture of God.

So, God spoke. II Timothy 3:16 and I Peter 1:21 tell us that God spoke to his people through his prophets to make himself and his will known. When the prophets of old spoke, they did so based upon the authority of God. “Thus says the Lord” is declaration of not only authority but of revelation. These prophets believed they spoke what God was telling them to speak. Since the time of Moses, God chose to speak through select men informing us of that which we would not know otherwise. This is how God revealed himself. Without this revelation man would be left to himself to figure out God which has only led to idol worship and paganism. God had to speak. Not only did God speak, but this speech was written down and recorded for all future generations in the Bible.

However, God’s greatest word to us is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1). Hebrews 1:1-4 states, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” We know the Father through the Son (John 14:6-11).

(1) Adapted from a sermon entitled, “Never Spoke a Man Like This Before: Inerrancy, Evangelism and Christ’s Unbreakable Bible” by Kevin DeYoung.

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This and That 04-05-14

Camping With Fundamentalists – Expositional preaching leaves no room for preachers who spin elaborate homilies from interesting phrases without regard to context or the Holy Spirit’s purpose for inspiring them. There’s no room for bouncing around the canon to bolster the preacher’s chosen topic. There’s no time to fill the sermon with entertaining and emotionally manipulative stories that often serve the preacher’s interests more than the congregation’s. There’s no place for the preacher ever to say, “Close your Bibles and look up here.” There’s no occasion to preach law to the exclusion of grace. – Aaron Carpenter

The Fault Lines Before the Evangelical Earthquake – What can evangelicals do to show that our belief in the sanctity of true marriage is just as uncompromising and unwavering as our love for gay and lesbian people created in the image of God? How can we be simultaneously committed to upholding biblical marriage and loving our gay and lesbian neighbors? – Trevin Wax

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Resolve to Follow God

A chapel message from back in January.

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Election and Evangelism

The concepts of election and evangelism are not contradictory concepts.  The fact that God has chosen a people for Himself before the foundation of the world ought not to hinder our outreach.  The doctrine of election only hinders evangelism if we assume this elect is a small, insignificant number that is difficult to find in a big world like ours.  However, this is not the picture we ought to have.  I was reminded of this as I came across these words from Charles Spurgeon:

“Blessed be God, His elect on the earth are to be counted by millions, I believe, and the days are coming, brighter day than these, when there shall be multitudes upon multitudes brought to know the Savior and rejoice in Him.  The Father’s love is not for a few only, but for an exceedingly great company.  A great multitude that no man can number will be found in heaven.”

The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon, page 62.

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Convicting Thoughts on Mental Preparedness in Ministry

February 11, 2014 Leave a comment

For my seminary class, I am writing a paper on the topic of how Calvinism impacted the evangelistic drive of Charles Spurgeon. While pouring through some of the works of Spurgeon tonight, I came across this convicting section. In chapter 15 of his Lectures to My Students, the “Prince of Preachers” has this to say under the heading of “we must go forward in our mental acquirements.”

“’Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart’ is, perhaps, more easy to comply with, than to love him with all our mind; yet we must give him our mind as well as our affections, and that mind should be well furnished, that we may not offer him an empty casket. Our ministry demands mind.”

He goes on to say…

“Dear brethren, we must cultivate ourselves to the highest possible point, and we should do this, first by gathering in knowledge that we may fill the barn, then by acquiring discrimination that we may winnow the heap, and lastly by a firm retentiveness of mind, by which we may lay up the winnowed grain in the storehouse. These three points may not be equally important, but they are all necessary to a complete man.”

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My Thoughts on the Ken Ham Bill Nye Debate

February 8, 2014 2 comments

Many have been asking for my thoughts on the big debate, but I’ve been a little hesitant to speak my mind on this.  Part of that is because I feel like before I could give my opinion I needed to actually watch the entire debate.  The other reason for my hesitance is the fact that I’m still thinking through just where I stand in this debate.  But, now that I have seen the debate in its entirety I have just a few thoughts to share.

1.  Its seems to me that most creationists believe Bill Nye won this debate and most creationists believe Ken Ham won the debate.  There was nothing said in the debate that I found particularly convincing, either way.  In that sense, it seems to be draw.  It terms of style and clarity, I would say Bill Nye walks away as the winner.  While that may seem quite superficial – this is a debate. The purpose of a debate is to clearly articulate your view, defend it against another’s view in a way that is persuasive.  Style matters.  However, it must be noted that it seems to me that Ken Ham knows more about evolution than Bill Nye knows about the Bible or creationism.  Bill Nye didn’t seem to know much about Scripture or what Evangelicals actually teach about the Bible.  A smart debater does his homework.  Opposition research and the ability to present the other side of the argument in a fair and accurate way is crucially important.  In that sense, Ken Ham came out on top.  Like I said, it’s a draw.

2.  As I have grown in my faith, I see presentations like that of Ken Ham to be a bit annoying.  Ham and others seem to reduce my faith to literal 6-day creationism.  Everything goes back to Genesis.  It’s too reductionist.   It’s not Christ-centered and is in danger of taking focus off of the gospel and our ministry toward others.  I understand Ham would teach that Genesis is a foundation for everything else, but  the “everything else” is certainly not what his ministry if known for.  It also marginalizes believers who do not accept young earth, 6-day creationism.   Presentations such as the type promoted by Ham in this debate do not take into account great men of the faith such as Augustine, Spurgeon and, in our own times, Tim Keller – none of whom would fit into a young earth perspective.  My fear is that too many people walk away from such events equating Christianity with 6-day, young earth creationism as if you can’t have one without the other.*

3.  Unlike many others, I do not see this debate as a waste of time.  I believe it is always valuable when two men of opposite views are able to come together and talk about their differences in an intelligent and civil way.  In this age we ought to rejoice whenever this happens!

*This paragraph has been changed and updated.  See comments for further details.

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Better Late Than Never… Gospel Points Podcast Season Two Episode 3 – Is the Charismatic My Brother?

February 2, 2014 Leave a comment

pointslog

My Apologizes, this should have been uploaded on Friday…

Download the mp3 recording here or listen to the streaming audio here.

Welcome back to another season of the Gospel Points podcast!  As we jump into season two, we look back at the controversy stirred up by John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference.  The conference took aim at the Charismatic movement and their distortions of the true message of Christianity replacing it with a prosperity gospel punctuated with silliness and sacrilegious lunacy.  But, is this a fair characterization of the movement as a whole?  Some have suggested the false teachers mentioned at this conference are not typical of Charismatics in general.

This week we will ask the question, is the Charismatic my brother?  Are  the preachers in this movement all false teachers or do we serve Christ together in full gospel unity?  To discuss this topic I invited my friend, Pastor Michael Carl.  Mike is the pastor of the Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church in Wakefield, MA.

In this final installment of our interview, Pastor Carl and I discuss whether or not if these gifts actually take us away from the sufficiency of the Word God, if they are indeed still used of God.

You can also check out Michael Carl’s news website at www.powerlinenewsnetwork.com or follow his articles on WorldNetDaily at www.wnd.com/author/mcarl.

For more information, I would recommend the following two books:

       

Categories: Uncategorized

RIP Pete Seeger

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Pete Seeger, the man considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary folk music who inspired legions of activist singer-songwriters, died Monday.  He was 94.  Seeger’s best known songs include “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” and “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song).”  But his influence extended far beyond individual hits.  His grandson Kitama Cahill Jackson told CNN that the singer died of natural causes at New York Presbyterian Hospital on Monday evening.

Read the whole article from CNN here.

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Gospel Points Podcast Season Two Episode 1 – Is the Charismatic My Brother?

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

pointslogDownload the mp3 recording here or listen to the streaming audio here.

Welcome back to another season of the Gospel Points podcast!  As we jump into season two, we look back at the controversy stirred up by John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference.  The conference took aim at the Charismatic movement and their distortions of the true message of Christianity replacing it with a prosperity gospel punctuated with silliness and sacrilegious lunacy.  But, is this a fair characterization of the movement as a whole?  Some have suggested the false teachers mentioned at this conference are not typical of Charismatics in general.

This week we will ask the question, is the Charismatic my brother?  Are  the preachers in this movement all false teachers or do we serve Christ together in full gospel unity?  To discuss this topic I invited my friend, Pastor Michael Carl.  Mike is the pastor of the Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church in Wakefield, MA.

In this first installment of our interview, Pastor Carl defines just what the gospel is all about and following that I’ll ask him that in his view is there any sort of “second blessing” or some additional post-salvation gift (i.e. speaking in tongues, baptism of the Holy Spirit) needed to confirm one’s salvation or lift the convert into some higher relationship with God.

You can also check out Michael Carl’s news website at www.powerlinenewsnetwork.com or follow his articles on WorldNetDaily at www.wnd.com/author/mcarl.

For more information, I would recommend the following two books:

       

Categories: Uncategorized
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