Randy Alcorn: Are Young Pro-Life Evangelicals Inconsistent?

Randy Alcorn addresses the question of consistency among younger pro-life evangelicals when it comes to their stance on the sanctity of life. Very thought provoking stuff here.

Check it the video and share your thoughts in the comments:

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HT: The Resurgence

Around the Interweb (07/11)

Matt Chandler on Realigning Your Church to the Gospel

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HT: The Resurgence

In Other News

My friend Matt Svoboda made an exciting announcement this week: He’s replanting a church in Kearney, Nebraska! I’m very excited about this opportunity for him; I hope you’ll join in prayer for much fruit in this ministry.

Tim Smith at the Resurgence offers some practical ideas for family worship.

Meet the Rizers: Got kids? Want to give them something that’s actually pretty decent to listen to? Try Meet the Rizers; check out the sample or buy the whole record:

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Meet the Rizers, posted with vodpod

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Who are the real heroes of social justice?

Book review: Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian

Preaching is not Speeching

John Calvin: Self-Ignorance Deceives, but Knowledge Humbles

David Platt on the South & Young Pastors

Dustin Neeley sat down with David Platt, Pastor of the Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL and author of Radical, at the Advance the Church 2010 Conference. In this video, he shares his thoughts about the Spiritual Landscape of the South, his counsel for younger leaders, and his “one thing” for pastors.

HT: The Resurgence

Truth and Lies: Mark Driscoll – Pastoral Care and One-ism

Mark Driscoll’s final session focused on how One-ism and idolatry’s effect on pastoral care. In this session, Driscoll offered five steps to pastoral care.

1. Uncover the Enslaving Idol

“Traditional counseling starts and stops at the level of behavior. [It’s] behavior modification instead of transformation,” says Driscoll.

Under all sin is idolatry, according to 2 Pet. 2:19. There is no freedom in sin. “Sin is simply choosing you master, but it’s not freedom.”

Addiction is the secular language for the biblical language of slavery. Those who commit adultery worship and are slaves to sex. Sluggards worship and are enslaved to comfort. Those who are proud worship and are enslaved to themselves. Gamblers worship and are enslaved to luck, which is the name of an ancient Greek god…

“We worship our way into idolatry and must worship our way out,” says Driscoll. “Martin Luther said, ‘If your heart cleaves to anything else… you have another God.’ You can have ‘a state of God’ rather than a real God. And when you face adversity, it’s where you go.”

2. Find the Demonic Lie

Jesus says that Satan is a liar and he is the father of lies. “Idols promise good, but they deceive,” says Driscoll.

[Your job says] ‘If you worship me, I’ll make you successful.’ So you worship your job. [Your hobbies and shopping say] ‘If you worship me I’ll make you happy.’ So you pour yourself into the recreational activity, buy the shoes, buy the car.

The lie says it will bring you closer to God. “If you sing these songs; go to this school; go to this church; read these books…  All these can become false saviors.”

Another is, “You need to be true to yourself.”  Driscoll comments, “While we should be authentic, sometimes we need to repent of being true to ourselves and be true to Jesus.”

You need to love yourself is another lie. But this, says Driscoll, is simply the cult of self-esteem. [Read more…]

Truth and Lies: Mark Driscoll – One-ism in Culture

In his first lecture, Mark Driscoll addressed how we are created to reflect, mirror and image God, but through our sin, we have a proclivity to, rather than reflect God, fall into one of two idolatrous options.

The first is that we worship ourselves. “This is, perhaps best evidenced by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In his hierarchy, Maslow says that our greatest need is self-actualization,” says Driscoll.

Our second option is to we worship other people. This accounts for rise of celebrity culture.

Radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky has come across this condition that people are suffering from the effects of mirroring other people. We no longer have role models, we have celebrities.

What we need, Driscoll argues, are role models. People would live an exemplary life, a model life, and we would imitate them (cf. Hebrews 13). You don’t worship them, but you learn from them how to be a better mirror. (As an aside, Driscoll is impressed that in God’s common grace and general revelation, the non-Christian radio host can identify the same problem that Scripture reveals, even if his solutions are different.)

“Today we have celebrities. They’re not role models. They’re infamous for bad behavior. But they haven’t done anything,” says Driscoll. “‘The only way to become a celebrity is to do something extreme,’ says Dr. Drew in The Mirror Effect. There’s a cultural appetite for more extreme examples.” [Read more…]

Truth and Lies: Dr. Peter Jones – the Truth and the Lie in Worship

In his first session, Dr. Peter Jones focused on giving us a foundation for everything we would hear about the effects of one-ist and two-ist worldviews.

Romans 1:25 tells us that “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Jones (and all the speakers) reminds us that it is essential to keep this text top of mind as it explains what we’ve done in creating for ourselves our own worldview in our sin.

We live in a culture of spirituality. “Elements of Eastern faiths and New Age thinking have been adopted by 65% of American adults.”And, according to USA Today, 70% of Americans surveyed believe many religions can lead to God.

Some of the most popular religions in America (among celebrities) include Kabbalah (adherents include Demi Moore, Britney Spears, Madonna, & Courtney Love); Scientology (Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, & Tom Cruise); and Buddhism (Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Tiger Woods and others).

“All these share a one-ist worldview—that we are one together and God is one with us,” says Jones. “One-ism is a faith presupposition since we cannot know by research if everything is one, [and] it leads to worship.”

One-ism Affects Everything

One-ism affects everything; it frames the issues that we face every day: [Read more…]

Truth and Lies: Mark Driscoll – One-ism vs Two-ism

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church is borderline infamous. His blunt and sometimes brash style of expository preaching has made his sermon feeds one of the top of the iTunes charts—and made him the internet’s piñata.

As the co-host of The Exchange, Driscoll covered the topic of one-ism vs. two-ism, primarily focusing on the realm of popular culture over two sessions, with his third session devoted how one-ism affects pastoral care. This post relates the big ideas of the first session (although I unfortunately missed the first half of session one due to a meeting).

Driscoll focused primarily on what it means to be a worshipper, and simply that we are all worshippers all the time. It’s what we’re created for—and also what we were created as.

We were created to reflect, mirror, image God in creation, says Driscoll. However, through sin, we have a proclivity to worship created things rather than our Creator God.

This is most apparent today in our “sacred culture,” the marks of which are:

  1. The myths that define life
  2. Community
  3. Sacred ritual

These aspects show up in most every area of our lives.

Music. We follow our favorite bands; we sing their songs, we buy all their records. When they make a bad one, we’re in music hell. Concerts are worship events.

Sports. We worship teams, dress up like our favorite athletes by wearing the same jersey and number. Our worship activities start up a few blocks away as we walk to the stadium and talk about what’s going to happen. “People won’t even drive to your church, but they’ll walk to the ball park,” says Driscoll. There are sacred spaces, such as “the hallowed ground of old Yankee Stadium.” If your team is winning, you’re in heaven. If it’s losing, you’re in hell. [Read more…]

Around the Interweb (06/20)

Burning Down ‘The Shack”

Tim Challies posted a terrific review of a new book examining the issues around the controversial bestseller, The Shack:

James De Young writes from an interesting perspective—that of a former friend, or acquaintance at least, of Paul Young. He begins his book by providing some important but little-known background to The Shack. In April of 2004 De Young attended a Christian think tank and there Young presented a 103-page paper which presented a defense of universal reconciliation, a Christian form of universalism—the view that at some point every person will come to a right relationship with God. If they do not do this before they die, God will use the fires of hell to purge away (not punish, mind you) any unbelief. Eventually even Satan and his fallen angels will be purged of sin and all of creation will be fully and finally restored. This is to say that after death there is a second chance, and more than that, a complete inevitability, that all people will eventually repent and come to full relationship with God. De Young believes that Young’s belief in universal reconciliation is absolutely crucial to anyone who would truly wish to understand The Shack. It is the key that makes sense of the book and the theology it contains. Though far from the only theological problem with the book, it is the one that makes sense of the others.

Read the rest at Challies.com

In Other News

The Toronto Pastors’ 2010 Conference audio is now available. Download and enjoy.

Kevin DeYoung reviews Richard Stearns’ The Hole in Our Gospel

Mark Driscoll interviews Wayne & Margaret Grudem. Here’s the video:
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more about “Pastor Mark Interviews Wayne and Marg…“, posted with vodpod

In Case You Missed It

A review of Stephen Mansfield’s new book, ReChurch

Notes from the Exchange: Peter Jones – Speaking the Gospel in a One-ist World

Notes from the Exchange: Kevin DeYoung – The Truth and the Lie in the Contemporary Church

John Piper: Does God Get More Glory if Man Has Free Will?

Around the Interweb (06/06)

Exchange: The Truth & The Lie

The Resurgence’s 2010 conference featuring Mark Driscoll, Francis Chan, Kevin DeYoung, Peter Jones and many others is coming to San Diego on June 17-18.

Are you going? If so, let me know in the comments or contact me. Maybe we can grab a Starbucks while we’re there.


A New Update from Matt Chandler

In Other News

North Korean Christians are a great example (HT: Matt Svoboda)

Desiring God announces the public beta their new website. Go over and check it out.

Ray Ortlund: A Note to the “Truly Reformed”

Kevin DeYoung asks Andy Naselli why “let go and let God” is a bad idea

In Case You Missed It

The audio & manuscript from May 30th’s sermon from Poplar Hill Christian Church, Obedience: The Fruitful Life

A review of The Journey to Truth by George Garlick

Do we educate ourselves into slavery?

Around the Interweb (05/16)

The Poison of Quaint Moralism

Tyler Jones/Acts 29 (via The Resurgence):

The South has been poisoned, and the poison is “quaint moralism.” This poison has systematically infected tens of millions in the South and we are now in the midst of a moralistic pandemic. Who has dispensed this quaint moralistic poison? The blame lies with Christianity! We have blared from pulpits, on radio waves, even in movie theaters that “it’s good to be good.” We have taught that when you do what the Bible says, your wife will obey, your dog will obey, and your kids will obey. For decades now we have filled churches by declaring that those among us who are ethical churchgoers will be accepted by God and those of us who don’t go to church will burn, burn, burn.

Read the rest.

In Other News

Joel Osteen or Fortune Cookie?

Tim Challies compares the Kindle and the iPad (video)

The problem with “give in order to get”

Seth Godin: Consumer Debt is not Your Friend

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Eric Metaxas’ excellent new book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

How can you encourage young parents to join small groups? Look to your youth group

Statler and Waldorf go to Church

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes the peculiar task of the Church

How to Build a God

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Remember these things, O Jacob,
     and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
     O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
     and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.

— Isaiah 44:9-22

HT: The Resurgence

Around the Interweb (02/14)

Centered on One or the Other

Via Ray Ortlund:

A gospel-centered church holds together two things. One, a gospel-centered church preaches a bold message of grace — so bold that it becomes the end of the law for all who believe. Not our performance but Christ’s performance for us. Not our sacrifices but his sacrifice for us. Not our superiority but only his worth and prestige. The good news of substitution. The good news that our okayness is not in us but exterior to us in Christ alone. Climbing down from the high moral ground, because only Christ belongs up there.  That message, that awareness, that clarity. Every Sunday.

Two, a gospel-centered church translates that theology into its sociology. The good news of God’s grace beautifies how we treat one another. In fact, the horizontal reveals the vertical. How we treat one another reveals what we really believe as opposed to what we think we believe. It is possible to say, “We are a gospel-centered church,” and sincerely mean it, while we make our church into a law-centered social environment. We see God above lowering his gun, and we breathe a sigh of relief.  But if we are trigger-happy toward one another, we don’t really get it yet.

…A gospel-centered church is a variegated collection of sinners. They come together and stick together because they have nothing to fear from their message or their culture. The theology creates the sociology, and the sociology incarnates the theology.

The one deal-breaker in a gospel-centered church: anyone for any reason turning it into a culture of legal demandingness and negative scrutiny.  Few would do that in the theology, of course.  But still, a church with a message of grace can stop being gospel-centered in real terms.

A major part of pastoral ministry is preaching the doctrines of grace and managing an environment of grace. The latter is harder to accomplish than the former. It is more intuitive. It requires more humility and self-awareness.

May the Friend of sinners grant beautiful gospel-centricity in all our churches.

Reading this reminded me how much I appreciate our pastor at Harvest. If it does the same for you and yours, maybe take a minute today and give him a bit of encouragement.

In Other News

Mike Wittmer (author of Don’t Stop Believing and Heaven is a Place on Earth) is reviewing Brian McLaren’s new book, A New Kind of Christianityintro, question 1, question 2, interlude and question 3. Darryl Dash also has a very helpful review up on his site.

A critique of Pagan Christianity. This is incredibly insightful and well worth reading.

John Hiscox is the winner of the Crave book giveaway. Congratulations, John! Look for another giveaway this week.

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Crave: Wanting So Much More of God by Chris Tomlinson and a Q&A with the author

A review of Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Spurgeon: “If you desire shame, desire pride.”

Matt Chandler: Gravity-The Weight of Pastoring and the Knowledge of Christ

This was the first message I’d ever heard from Matt Chandler and remains one of the most profound. Delivered in 2006, Chandler shares the weight of pastoring, his own struggles as a pastor at the time and how the knowledge of Christ—experiencing the person of Christ—is essential to surviving.

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more about “Matt Chandler – Gravity: The Weight o…“, posted with vodpod

Download Audio or see more messages from this series at The Resurgence.

HT: Adrian Warnock

Around the Interweb (12/06)

Elliot Grudem: Learning to Advent Together

Elliot Grudem completed a three-part series on why it’s actually helpful to celebrate Advent. Grudem readily admits that Scripture doesn’t require us to do anything different around Advent and celebrating it doesn’t make us more spiritual, but it does have some benefits:

Celebrating Advent helps us cut through all the distractions of the Christmas season and focus our attention on Jesus Christ’s birth and ministry as well as his promised return. Since we can’t anticipate the day or the hour of Christ’s return, we are filled with both a sense of joyful expectation and humble reverence, with our spiritual focus being on lives of prayer and preparation.

Throughout the season we are constantly reminded that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah and Savior of the World.

The series is available at The Resurgence.


In Other News…

Kevin DeYoung asks the question, “Why did they kill Jesus?” and examines “The Gospel Old and New.”

Russell Moore says, “Jesus has AIDS.”

World Magazine interviews Evangelical scholar J.I. Packer who says he’s considering writing a systematic theology.


In Case You Missed It…

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Millard Erickson’s Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions

The final part of George Whitefield’s The Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent

A couple of ideas for something to do instead of boycotting a business for Christmas