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Archive for February, 2014

Stott the Prophet

This is why I, as well as John Stott, believe in preaching and the absolute necessity of the church. This quote comes from Justin Taylor at his blog Between Two Worlds. 

John Stott, writing over 30 years ago (in 1982):

It is difficult to imagine the world in the year A.D. 2000, by which time versatile micro-processors are likely to be as common as simple calculators are today.

We should certainly welcome the fact that the silicon chip will transcend human brain-power, as the machine has transcended human muscle-power.

Much less welcome will be the probable reduction of human contact as the new electronic network renders personal relationships ever less necessary.

In such a dehumanized society the fellowship of the local church will become increasingly important, whose members meet one another, and talk and listen to one another in person rather than on screen.

In this human context of mutual love the speaking and hearing of the Word of God is also likely to become more necessary for the preservation of our humanness, not less.

—John R.W. Stott, I Believe in Preaching (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1982), p. 69.

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Life Imitates Art

World Magazine reported this story:

A would-be bank robber’s bad handwriting cost him the chance to make a score when a bank teller was unable to read his stickup note. Police say suspect Jamal Garrett entered an Antioch, California Wells Fargo bank on January 6th with intentions to rob the bank. Unable to read the scratch marks, the teller took the stickup note to a bank manager for help. But police say Garrett got cold feet during the delay and fled the scene. Only later did bank employees realize the note had been part of a robbery attempt. Officers later caught up with Garrett and charged him with the attempted robbery.

That sounded a lot like Woody Allen in the movie “Take the Money and Run.” The only difference was that Allen’s character stayed around and argued with the employees giving the police time to get there and arrest him. The scene is below.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/224555/Take-the-Money-and-Run-Movie-Clip-Gub.html

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Arnold Dallimore is the author of a two-volume biography of 18th century evangelist George Whitefield. He explains one of the reasons he wrote the book.

Nevertheless, the book goes forth with a mission. It is written with the profound conviction that the paramount need of the twentieth century is a mighty evangelical revival such as that which was experienced two hundred years ago. Thus, I have sought to show what were the doctrines used of God in the eighteenth-century Revival, and to display the extraordinary  fervor which characterized the men whom God raised up in the blessed work. Yea, this book is written in the desire – perhaps in a measure of inner certainty – that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more bring into being His special instruments of revival, that He will again raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by the sense of greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labor and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.

Indeed, this book goes forth with the earnest prayer that, amidst the rampant iniquity and glaring apostasy of the twentieth century God will use it toward the raising up of such men and toward the granting of a mighty revival such as was witnessed two hundred years ago.

All I can add is that everything Dallimore said about the twentieth century applies to the twenty-first, too.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Peter 2:11-12. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The life of a pilgrim involves internal and external vigilance.

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Here’s something we don’t need: Due to the investigative journalism of a television station in North Carolina, we know how Elevation Church, and its pastor Stephen Furtick, produces their “spontaneous baptisms.”

The church has enough problems with skeptics and critics. Giving them ammunition is not only not helpful, it’s unconscionable. My two cents. Watch and read the report and decide for yourself.

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Maybe you’ve heard a question like this: “You believe that Bible is inerrant, don’t you?” You reply honestly with, “Yes, I do.” “Well, then,” they say, “what about Mark 1:4-5? It says, ‘John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.’ The Bible says in plain language that all the people in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to see him. Everybody went, according to the Bible. That means that every single person without exception who lived in Judea and Jerusalem was there. That can’t possibly be true, therefore this is an error, which means the Bible isn’t inerrant.”

The argument of our imaginary opponent sounds reasonable, but there’s a problem with it. It isn’t true. C. Michael Patton has written an article that explains why it isn’t. In “Six Factors That Do Not Affect Inerrancy”, he lists and explains each of these. Those factors are:

  1. Use of Hyperbole and Exaggeration
  2. Speaking according to Cultural Convenience
  3. Bad Grammar
  4. Round Numbers
  5. Summaries of Events
  6. Recording Wrong Theology

If you read Patton’s article, you’ll be able to better answer questions surrounding the inerrancy of the Bible the next time you hear them.

The point is simple: we can trust the Bible because it’s the Word of God.

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I was privileged to preach on 1 Peter 2:9-10 this morning. Here is a summer of my sermon in one sentence: The church is called out from the world by God; to proclaim God’s person and work; and is based on the mercy of God.

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