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Archive for the ‘The Public Square’ Category

sj&g

Many of us in the church have heard, or read,  a lot about “social justice” recently. Words such as “intersectionality,” “identity politics,” “white privilege,” and racism have been thrown around quite liberally.

This Leftist ideology (which some call Cultural Marxism) has made its way into the evangelical church through several popular websites, authors, pastors, and thinkers. In my opinion, it’s deadly and could have a devastating effect. In fact, we’ve already seen a few fractures which may take awhile to heal – if ever.

A document has been written and published to bring clarity to these issues. The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel was written by John MacArthur, Voddie Bauchum, Phil Johnson, and James White among others. It’s well-written, well-thought out and, most importantly, thoroughly biblical.

Part of the introduction says,

“Specifically, we are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice.” If the doctrines of God’s Word are not uncompromisingly reasserted and defended at these points, there is every reason to anticipate that these dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles.”

Please read it. You can also sign it if you’re so inclined (I did). This is an important time for the church in the United States.

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open-Bible

How do we know what’s right and wrong? How do we know that abortion is wrong? How do we know that all human beings have dignity, value, and worth? How do we know that there are two sexes – male and female – which are assigned to us by God at our conception? How do we know the true spiritual condition of mankind (lost, sinful, and fallen)? How do we know how we can be right with God?

There are a number of answers, and almost all of them are wrong. Human reason and logic can’t give us the answers. Neither can intuition, personal experience, or tradition. As Christians, we rely on revelation. God has revealed Himself to us and He has spoken to us in His Word. The reason we know anything, and can know anything, is because God has revealed it to us.

When we think about any issue or question, whether inside the church or not, our first question needs to be “What does the Scripture say?” In other words, we need to ask what God thinks about it. This ought to be our first instinct, not our last. God’s Word – what He has to say – is authoritative in every area of life. That instinct, however, is in short supply in today’s church. We seem to take our cues from just about any other source than God and His Word.

It ought not be so, as illustrated by the following two passages. The apostle Paul has been arguing in the early chapters of the book of Romans that everyone is sinful and, therefore, deserving of God’s wrath (1:18-3:20). He then proclaims that justification by faith alone is the answer to the question of how sinful man can be right with a holy God (3:21-31). In 4:1, he says, in effect, “What about Abraham? How was he justified?” In order to give his answer, he appeals to Scripture, when he says, “What does the Scripture say?” (4:3). A quotation from Genesis 15:6 follows: “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Paul cites Scripture to make his case and bring the discussion to an end – the matter is settled.

The second passage is Matthew 19:3-9. Some Pharisees challenged Jesus about whether or not a man could divorce his wife. Instead of quoting an influential rabbi or two, Jesus went straight to the Scripture to give the authoritative answer. He said, “Have you not read?” in verse 4. In other words, “What does the Scripture say?” The Lord Jesus asked this question many times during His ministry. He continually appealed to God’s Word as the final authority in all matters.

The church needs to remember and recover this crucial principle. We know what’s right and wrong, what’s true and false, because we read it in God’s Word – because God says so. There’s nothing wrong with believing and saying that. In fact, if we’re going to be faithful Christians, that’s exactly what we’ll do.

 

 

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nashvillestatement

Having read the Nashville Statement carefully and with prayer, I gladly signed it. The statement represents the biblical teaching on human sexuality which the Christian church as held for two thousand years. In other words, there’s nothing new in it. It’s a reminder of God’s Law and a proclamation of His gospel.

Human identity and sexuality is widely misunderstood in our day. Homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism are only the start – there’s more to come. Because of that, a number of Christian scholars and leaders met in Nashville, Tennessee to write a statement that clearly presented the Christian position.

The need for a statement like this became apparent immediately as reactions began to roll in. The statement was panned, and even vilified, by many on the Left (and even some who consider themselves evangelical Christians), and praised by many on the Right. As the church, we need to think clearly on these issues, and the Nashville Statement is a good step in the right direction.

I use you to read the Nashville Statement here.

I would also suggest that you read a piece by Rosaria Butterfield on why she signed the Statement. You can read it here.

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sinis

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Romans 1:18-32 (as part of a short series on gender and sexuality from God’s perspective). Here is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: God’s design for mankind and marriage, along with everything else, has been corrupted by man’s sin.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 21:24-25. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The Gospel of John, as well as the entire Bible, is authentic, authoritative, and sufficient.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on John 17:13-16. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are in the world but not of the world, joyfully.

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The death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia is a serious blow not only to the Supreme Court, but also to the nation. He was a brilliant, strong, and well-spoken defender of the Constitution in its original authorial intent as opposed to it as a “living document” that can mean whatever a judge says it means.

He was also a man grounded in the Judeo-Christian worldview. He said, “God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

May we be in prayer regarding his replacement and our nation.

charles-ryrie

Charles Ryrie, retired theology professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, died this week. He was 90. Ryrie is best known for The Ryrie Study Bible – his magnum opus. Ryrie had a gift (and I believe it is a gift) of making complex ideas simple. His writings are user-friendly as we call them today.

The Ryrie Study Bible was the first study Bible I owned. The notes, introductions, and outlines were extremely helpful to me as I grew in my new faith in Christ. I no longer hold all of Ryrie’s dispensational  teaching, but that doesn’t minimize it in any way. I recommend his systematic theology, Basic Theology, but think it should be studied in comparison and contrast with other works.

Charles Ryrie was a gift to the church.

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Bernie Sanders is upset that even though he’s won both a caucus and a primary, his opponent Hillary Clinton has more delegates than he does.

Uh, Bernie, that’s socialism: Something (in this case delegates) that you legitimately earned has been given to someone who didn’t. Hopefully you and you’re supporters will connect the dots.

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