Seeing the World through a Biblical Lens

Yesterday, my friend Amber asked a great question:

What has led you (or others) to believe that biblical illiteracy is such a widespread problem? What has led you to believe that it’s any worse now compared to other times?

I gave a lengthy answer in response (because I’m a bit long-winded, I suppose); but I as I was writing, I remembered a great point from a recent sermon by Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor of The Village Church in his October 10 message, Ultimate Authority 3: Government and Institutions. I pray you’ll find it helpful as we all continue to pursue a deeper knowledge of Christ.

Audio (excerpt starts around 38:20): : Matt Chandler: Ultimate Authority 3

Here’s the transcript if you’d rather not listen to a six minute rant:

You and I, as believers in Jesus Christ, should be looking at the world through a biblical/gospel lens.

Now this creates two huge frustrations in me. Because of what God has done here, I get invited to speak at pastors’ conferences all over the world. So I’ve been to those pastors’ conferences where the men sitting in the seats are pastors. They are preachers like I am. I will see a guy stand up in front of pastors and they’ll open up the Bible and they’ll teach something contrary to the Bible. And because they can do it in a way that’s entertaining and their church has grown, the pastors will applaud them. So that, like Paul in Athens, provokes me, and so I get up and say they’re not saved, they don’t know their Bibles, they should never preach again and that their churches aren’t actually churches. And then they applaud me.

It’s like they can’t tell the difference.

One guy actually got up and said that the gospel can’t be defined outside of your individual communities in front of twelve thousand pastors. He’s saying that the gospel is for you whatever you want it to be.

This is heresy. And nobody said anything. They took notes. God help us.

How in the world are we supposed to see through a gospel/biblical lens when our pastors can’t do it?

So if you’re a pastor reading this, know your Bible.  What are you shovelling to your people if you don’t know the Bible? What are you talking about? I don’t care if your church is growing. Might does not make right. God simply moving in a place always happens despite men. [Read more…]

It Makes Me Laugh: The Emergent T-Shirt

A pastor friend of mine, AJ Thomas, sent me this a few days ago. I got a kick out of it and thought you would too:

emergent-tshirt

The shirt reads:

God Said it.

I interpreted it
as best I could in light of all the filters imposed by my upbringing and culture which I try to control for but you can never do a perfect job.

That doesn’t exactly settle it
but it does give me enough of a platform to base my values and decisions on.

Thanks for the laugh, AJ!

Be Intolerant of the Right Things

intolerant

The other day, I posted “The Intolerance of Tolerance,” wherein D.A. Carson discusses the development and ramifications of the postmodern understanding of tolerance. Listening to his thoughtful and careful exposition set my mind to work, and I found with a number of questions.

Do we, particularly those of us who have been raised with a postmodern mindset, have a right understanding of what it means to be tolerant? And how is our understanding of tolerance affecting us spiritually?

Take the bookstore for example. When I go to Chapters, it’s always interesting to look at the titles in the Religion/Christianity section. There’s a very diverse selection of titles  by a number of authors offering a variety of perspectives and positions. Naturally, some of these are very helpful and generally biblical, and others are anything but. (It’s fun to see Tim Keller and Bart Ehrman next to each on a bookshelf.) They run the full gamut. And, truthfully, I wouldn’t expect the mass market bookstore to have anything but this kind of mix, simply because they’re not catering to a specialty market.

Then there’s the specialty market—the Christian bookstores. What’s funny is I notice a lot of crossover between the mass market and the specialty. A lot of works that are really good and helpful, and others that are downright unbiblical. [Read more…]

D.A. Carson: The Intolerance of Tolerance

Thoughtful insights from D.A. Carson on the development and ramifications of the postmodern understanding of tolerance. After listening to this clip, I began thinking a great deal about the content, the fruit of which I’ll post later this week. For now, enjoy the audio and the transcript:

The intolerance of tolerance… And it’s important to understand that the notion of tolerance within this framework has a certain intellectual heritage that has been transmuted by postmodernism.

Under the modernist paradigm, tolerance looked something like this: I may disagree with you, but I insist on your right to articulate your opinion, however stupid and ignorant I think it is.

That’s tolerance.

In other words, this means there is tolerance for the individual to say things with which I disagree. The tolerance is directed toward individuals. But, there is robust debate at the level of content and substance.

So, I may disagree profoundly with Marxist historiography; but, if I’m a tolerant person under a modernist regime, I insist on the right of the Marxist historiographer to articulate their views. But, likewise, under the Western vision of tolerance and under a modernist camp, I insist on the right of Capitalists to articulate their views, or Theists to articulate their views, or whatever—however right or wrong I think they are. So that unless there is something deeply, deeply damaging to public well-being, as for someone coming along and vociferously advocating pedophilia… then the notion of tolerance allows you to defend almost anybody teaching almost anything. [Read more…]