Moving to a New Blog Home

3 03 2009

Just wanted to let anyone who reads this know that we are incorporating my blog into the new site for The Village Church.  From now on, I will be blogging there (hopefully with more frequency than I have here).

The link is: http://hv.thevillagechurch.net/blog/theology/





driving and discipline: too scared to sleep

27 02 2009

paris-037

Matthew 26:40 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.

I could have died. It was a few years back and I was driving back to Dallas from a friend’s wedding in College Station. Wanting to enjoy time with my college friends for as long as I could, I decided to start my return trek when they turned in which unfortunately turned out to be a little after midnight. For those unfamiliar with that particular drive through the Lone Star State, that would put me back home sometime around 4:00 a.m. This was not particularly wise for a guy with some moderate sleep difficulties.

For the first hour or so I was still feeling the euphoria of wedding and old acquaintances. I enjoyed most of that first hour in silence, appreciating the moon, stars, and uncluttered highway. I reflected on the past, considered the present, and hoped for the future.

The adrenaline tapered off about an hour and a half into the expedition and I suddenly realized that I was exhausted. Two hours away from home and my body was trying to shut down on me. I was absolutely worn out. Not the temporary waves of tiredness that might wash over you and quickly pass away; I was about to pass out.

I turned on the radio and tried to sing along at the top of my lungs. (BTW, I do that even when I am wide awake…I have this weird disease.) I rolled down the window and literally drove Ace Ventura-style for a few minutes to feel the wind in my face. Nothing helped. I actually slapped and pinched myself a few times just to wake up. I stopped to get some gas station coffee. I tried talking to myself, yelling, holding my eyes open with my fingers. I stayed awake, but the exhaustion was in no way abated. I swerved my way to my desired destination and collapsed into bed.

If you have been driving for any significant period of time you have probably had similar experiences. Hopefully you do not make a habit of sleep-deprived driving, but I would imagine that most of us have crossed that bridge a time or two. We all have our own ritual of coping and staying awake. Some crank up the air conditioning to freeze themselves awake, some call friends to talk to, some follow my preference of the self inflicted face slap. A friend of mine tries to invoke a sugar rush by downing Dr. Pepper and little chocolate donuts. We all have a way to try to beat back the exhaustion.

Rewind two thousand years to a dark night outside of Jerusalem. The moon and stars shining down in a garden on a hill. Three men sit and wait as their friend has disappeared into the olive trees. The long journey to Jerusalem has taken its toll on their bodies. Conversation tapers off until the silence is deafening. One of them yawns and then another. The darkness is heavy in the air. Eyes slowly begin to close and heads sway. Suddenly a voice calls out “So, you could not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” They are snapped out of their short lived slumber in a sudden rush of short-lived shame. Their friend disappears again into the trees. But the darkness is so strong and the flesh so weak. One of them yawns and then another. Eyes slowly begin to close and heads sway…

Fast forward to today. Each of us is driving home, but the road is long (some longer than others) and the night is exceedingly dark. Our eyes grow tired, our mind struggles for oxygen and we groan for breath. We swerve and struggle to capture control.
It is here that we must fight to stay alive. How do we ward off the sluggishness of sin, and awaken the Spirit? Slapping our faces will not help, the radio is no remedy for our condition and Dr. Pepper offers no cure for what ails us.

God has given us means of grace for the mortification of the flesh and vivification of the Spirit. Not caffeine, nor air conditioning, but prayer and Scripture and fasting and meditation. These are a few of those remedies known as the disciplines. They are not magic, but they help.

Consider the fervency of your fight against fatigue to keep from driving off the road. Apply that same degree of discipline to your spiritual life. Think about how desperately you desire to guard your body, how every thought and movement is directed to one end – the preservation of consciousness for the sake of your life. Multiply that passion in pursuing the good of your soul.
I do not know exactly what refreshes your soul from the fatigue of the flesh, but I know that we must do something. We must watch and pray lest we be overcome.

Sin is real and as long as we inhabit this age, it will seek any foothold which it can gain. It lulls you with the sweet lullaby of slumber, all the while seeking to cast you into the dark precipice which surrounds us. How will we watch and pray? Will we watch and pray? Or will we simply let sin roll over us?





How Old is the Earth?

16 09 2008

 

I don’t know and that is not what this blog is really about anyway.  Instead, I would like to address the issue of evolution.  I should have entitled this entry “What do I believe about evolution?” but thought this more catchy.  Maybe a few people will wonder over as they search google for the answers to life’s questions…

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  So begins the truthful Scriptures which God inspired as an authoritative guide to the orthodox faith.  In accordance with God’s word, we believe that God created the world and all of its creatures.  This is made clear in many other passages:

 

·         Job 38:4-7 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding. 5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?  6On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

·         Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

·         Isaiah 42:5 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out,
   who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it
   and spirit to those who walk in it…

·         Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other…”

·         John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

·         Acts 17:24-25 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

·         Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

·         Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

·         Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

 

 

One of the unfortunate consequences of the 20th century fight with liberalism[1] was the tendency of many fundamentalists to cling too tightly to non-fundamentals, such that essential truths became diluted.  For example, creationism as a belief became associated only with “new earth” proponents who taught a literal 24-hour day creation account.  Therefore, faithful brothers and sisters who loved the Lord and His Scriptures, but held to an interpretation of the “days” of Genesis 1 as being possibly longer than 24 hours, were deemed to be liberals and thus opposed at all costs.  In addition, any interpretations which included recognition of literary devices such as poetry in the creation account were judged to be outside the boundaries of orthodox Christian thought.

For the sake of simplicity, below are the tenets of the creation/evolution debate which we find to be most representative of a faithful interpretation of the Scriptures.  Each of these is based upon the underlying assumption (which we do not have adequate space to here explain) that the Scriptures are true.  This is the case even if one views Genesis 1-3 as poetic, as poetry is not antithetical to truth or accuracy.  For example, roses truly are red and sugar really is sweet.

 

1.      God created the world.

 

What is essential here is that the triune Creator created all creation.  Historic orthodoxy has stated that creation was ex nihilo which is Latin for “out of nothing” meaning that God did not use that which previously existed in His creation of the world, but rather that all creation came into being through His word.

 

What is peripheral to this belief is the issue of 24-hour days and the consequent age of the earth.  The Hebrew yom which is translated as “day” in most English versions of the Bible often refers to a distinct 24-hour day, but also frequently applies to any certain period of time.  What is therefore critical is not that we teach that God created the earth in 6 (the 7th being a day of rest) distinct 24 hour periods, but rather that He created the earth in 6 yoms. 


 

2.      God created one man and from that one man created one woman.  All humanity is therefore descended from this man and woman.

 

This belief closes the door on macroevolution, which teaches that all life forms, including humans, share a common ancestor.  The Scriptures are clear in the teaching of the unique creation of “Adam” and “Eve” (Genesis 2) and that all humanity is descended from them.  Acts 17:26 says, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…”  This belief is critical within the Christian account of the fall and subsequent doctrine of original sin[2] and has great soteriological (the study of salvation) connotations as the universal relationship of all humanity under Adam is pictured along with the specific relationship of the Church under Christ in such passages as Romans 5:12-21.[3] In addition, this understanding of the historicity of Adam and Eve is crucial to a proper understanding of the uniqueness of humanity as distinct image bearers of the Creator (Genesis 1:27, 9:6, etc.).

 

While macroevolution is outside of the boundaries of the Scriptures, there is much room for microevolution which is evolution within a certain species.  For example, many species have grown larger or smaller in relationship to their changing environments.  Such adaptation within a distinct species is in no way antithetical to the Christian faith and its Scriptures.  For this reason, when someone asks a Christian whether or not he or she believes in “evolution,” the ambiguity of such a term should lead one to seek clarification as to what type is being referenced.

 

 

 

 

 

For a really good resource on answering culture’s questions about the relationship between the Scriptures and science, see the relevant chapter in Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. 

 

In addition, here are some helpful resources on the topic of “Science” as recommended by Desiring God Ministries:

  • Darwin’s Black Box (Behe)
  • Intelligent Design (Dembski)
  • The Soul of Science (Percy)
  • Darwin on Trial (Johnson)
  • Life is a Miracle (Berry)
  • A History of Nearly Everything (Bryson)
  • Redeeming Science (Poythress)

[1] Liberalism was a movement birthed out of the Renaissance and subsequent Enlightenment which viewed the supernatural as contrary to reason and therefore the product of mere myth or legend.  Consequentially, all of the miraculous accounts in the Scriptures were reinterpreted through a closed system of nature.

[2] What is meant here is that only shared ancestry properly accounts for the universality of sin.  All humans (Christ excluded) are plagued with sin because all humans are the progeny of the first “sinners.”

[3] This passage argues that just as it is humanity’s relationship with Adam which explains our sinfulness, it is the Church’s relationship with Christ which explains our salvation.





Reviewing “The Shack”

8 07 2008

 

Occasionally in evangelicalism there appears a book which somehow sweeps the American church off of its feet in a flutter of word of mouth and praise.  Think “Prayer of Jabez” or “The Purpose Driven Life.”  Sometimes such books are good, more often than not they leave something to be desired.  This is undoubtedly a result of a dilution of the importance of God’s revelation in the life of the modern American church.  As God’s word concerning Himself is devalued, man’s thoughts become elevated to the detriment of the body.  Man therefore begins to reconfigure and reconceive God according to his own whims.

 

“The Shack” is a relatively new work which is becoming quite popular in the world of American evangelicalism.  It has recently moved to the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback trade fiction.  In addition, at least one church has taken to pass out the book to all of her members.  I have heard a number of reports about the book with very contrasting analyses.

 

 

  • Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, says it “has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim Progress did for his.”
  • Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says, “This book includes undiluted heresy.”
  • Singer and songwriter Michael W. Smith says “The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God.”
  • Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, says, “Regarding the Trinity, it’s actually heretical.”

 

 

As we have had a few inquiries about the work, I spent the last week reading it.  I found the story to be quite engaging, but the theological content was very concerning.  While the work does not claim to be a theological treatise, the subject matter is inherently theological in that it deals specifically with those grandest of Christian doctrines (the nature of God, the nature of revelation, the nature of salvation, the relationship of suffering to God’s sovereignty, etc.).

 

Due to the numerous theological inaccuracies which the book contains, I urge readers to be very cautious and critical (in the sense of active interaction) if they choose to read it.

 

Below is an in-depth review of the book with which I would generally agree:

 

http://www.challies.com/media/The_Shack.pdf

 

 





Where Did We Get the Bible?

2 07 2008

 

I received the following questions from an e-mailer regarding the origin of Scripture and thought that an overview might be helpful to anyone who may occasionally read my blog.  This is a very concise summary of these issues and should only serve as a primer for the study of bibliology.  I am painting with very broad strokes here.

 

Here is a helpful site for further study of technical issues regarding the Scripture:

 

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/category/theology/bibliology/

 

  1. Why are the books that are in the Bible in it?
  2. Why are some books not included?
  3. Who decided all of this?
  4. Why does the Catholic Bible have extra books?
  5. Where do the Dead Sea Scrolls fit into everything, did we find anything NEW with them?

 

Why are the books that are in the Bible in it?  

The theological answer to this involves some degree of circular reasoning.  Why are the particular books which are found in the Bible included in the Scriptures?  Because they are inspired by God and profitable for teaching, correction, etc. (2 Timothy 3:16).  How do we know that these particular books are inspired by God?  Because they are in the Bible. 

The historical answer (which is subject to the theological) is based upon the initial criteria for the canon (the word “canon” is derived from the Greek word meaning “measure” or “rule”) which were as follows (taken from a final exam that I wrote for a class on the history of doctrine):

“The criteria for inclusion of books within the canon were primarily four.  First, books must have had some manner of apostolic heritage.  In order to be considered, only those books which were attributed directly to an apostle, or a person closely associated with or mentored by an apostle were included.  Matthew was a disciple/apostle and thus his writings were included; Paul was an apostle and thus his writings were included; Luke was a close associate of Paul; James was the brother of Jesus and a bishop in the Jerusalem church; etc.   Second, working from the included base of the Old Testament since Christianity arose from the seedbed of Judaism, only those books which complemented and expounded upon the Old Testament shadows were considered.  If a book contradicted the Old Testament it was excluded from consideration.  Third, books must be universally recognized, not merely being useful in certain demographical or geographical contexts.  Finally, the gospels in particular must be centered upon the bloody and gory crucifixion of Christ Jesus.  Books which did not meet each of these criteria were therefore not included in the conversation, which really was a series of monologues during most of the early church period.

Why are some books not included?

Again, first reason is circular.  Theologically, some books were not included because they were not inspired.

Historically they were not included because they do not meet listed criteria above.  This was no conspiracy like Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code would have us believe.  Rather, all of the “Gnostic gospels” (the “gospel” of Thomas, the “gospel” of Judas, etc.) clearly contradicted the very gospel which was proclaimed by all the apostles (and Galatians 1:6-9 speaks very candidly about the danger of promoting that which was/is contrary to that which was proclaimed by the apostles).  BTW, “gnosticism” was a sect which perverted the picture of Christ by introducing a number of dualisms.  They taught that the material world was evil while the immaterial or spiritual world was good.  Such a disdain for the physical world led to a denial of the incarnation and subsequent denial of the atonement.

Furthermore, these Gnostic texts were all written in the 2nd century whereas our Scriptures (New Testament) were all written in the 1st century.  The Gnostic gospels were therefore written a generation or two after the death of the last apostle (John) and thus we can confidently say that they were not authored by the supposed authors (Thomas and Judas were both dead well before either supposed “gospel” was written).  In addition, these text do not center on the cross of Christ (remember that the atonement is neglected because it was foolishness to the gnostic mind to conceive of a God incarnate suffering in the flesh) as most of them present Jesus as a spirit being who merely possessed a human body, but was not truly human and did not truly die for our sins.  Obviously, since this is an attack on the heart of the gospel, church fathers easily recognized that these books were not the product of men inspired by God.  (By the way, you can see John writing against early forms of Gnosticism in 1 John – showing that the apostles were clearly opposed to what was themes which were developing in parts of the church as perversions of Orthodoxy).

Who decided all of this?

There was rather general consensus throughout the early Church on most books of the Bible.  There was some debate as far as the authorship of Hebrews and a couple of other issues like that, but we have fairly consistent consensus.  No ecumenical council met specifically in order to decide the canon (until the Reformation – though various councils which were called for other purposes did comment on the issue of canonicity).  Rather, as the individual letters moved throughout the empire, more people accepted them as authentic.  We have to remember that each letter was written individually and therefore it is highly unlikely that anyone would have possessed each and every book of the Bible until well into the 2nd century.  Once again, this is no conspiracy, just the nature of writing in those days.  They didn’t have printing presses so the task was laborious, not to mention quite expensive.  Plus, the average person could not write and maybe had some elementary ability to read, but certainly not much.  It was very much an oral culture.  BTW, we have quotations and allusions to most if not all of the books of the Bible by church fathers by the early 3rd century.

Why does the Catholic Bible have extra books?

They have the exact same New Testament.  Nothing is different there.  The issue is the apocryphal books of the Old Testament.  The Roman Catholic Church includes those books which were written during the intertestamental period.  Early church fathers recognized that these books were “helpful” but not “inspired” and always included this distinction when listing them.  However, some Catholic doctrines (like purgatory) receive some level of support within the apocryphal books and therefore the Reformation-age Catholic church in particular officially declared the books to be in the canon in order to protect certain doctrines.

Where do the Dead Sea Scrolls fit into everything, did we find anything NEW with them?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were a very important find for critical analysis of the text, but didn’t really offer anything novel.  Rather, before the discovery of the scrolls, our earliest authentic copies of the Old Testament were from the 9th century.  Some of the scrolls found at Qumran were from the 2nd century B.C.  Given that the text was almost exactly the same as our later copies, we can have great confidence in the scribal copying process of the past.  Therefore, the Dead Sea Scrolls are very important for biblical studies as a witness to our previously held beliefs regarding the validity of the extant texts.

 





Be Harrison Ford

27 06 2008

I really like the movie “The Fugitive.”  I know what you are thinking: “What’s not to like?”

 

It has a unusually unkempt Harrison Ford, tough man Tommy Lee Jones, evil pharmaceutical companies (all apologies to my brother who works for a major pharmaceutical company) in bed with evil heart surgeons, it has guns, ambulances, trains, fake id’s, a one-armed man, prosthetics, and lines such as the following:

 

Deputy Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones): “Alright, listen up, people. Our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 4 miles-per-hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive’s name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him.”

 

You are right.  What’s not to like?

 

Quick plot summary for those who have not seen the movie or need a brief refresher.  Dr. Richard Kimble’s wife was killed by a one-armed man.  Kimble was framed and then convicted of the murder.  While being transported to prison, Kimble’s bus is involved in an accident with a train thus allowing him to escape.  From that point on, he tries to solve his wife’s murder and clear his name while being pursued by the relentless U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard.

 

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Kimble (Harrison Ford, not to be confused with Detective John Kimble from another classic, Kindergarten Cop) heads into the tunnel of the dam thus prompting Gerard to say “We got a gopher”.  Classic.

 

Anyway, Kimble has managed to steal an ambulance, but Gerard is hot on his trail.  As he enters the tunnel, he realizes that both the entrance and exit are cut off by pursuing authorities.  His only option is to ditch the ambulance and climb down into the drainage tunnel.

 

Kimble manages to wander through the tunnel and evade the marshals until he ends up at the place where the water flows out from the tunnel.  The only problem is that it is a few hundred feet drop into the icy river below.  About that time Gerard catches up and levels his gun at Kimble.  What to do.  If he returns with Gerard then he will be taken captive.  Therefore, for the sake of his name, for the sake of his freedom, for love of his wife, Kimble turns and does a “Peter Pan right off this dam.”  (That means that he jumped).

 

I thought of this scene while I was recently reading 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 in which Paul admonishes the Corinthians to “flee sexual immorality.”  The Greek word (the language in which the Scriptures were originally written) for “flee” is feugete which is a source for our English word “fugitive.”  The Lord is telling the readers of the text not merely to abstain from immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5), but also to flee, escape, run away, take flight from it. 

 

Sexual immorality is a sin and no sin is to be taken lightly.  It desires to master us (Genesis 4:7), to enslave us, to dominate and own us.  How stupid would we think Kimble was if he would have started each day by grabbing a cup of coffee and then heading off to the U.S. Marshals’ office in Chicago and engaging in a stealthy game of “ding dong ditch” or “hot or cold” with Gerard.  What if instead of discreetly burrowing down into his jacket when a police car cruised by, he would have jumped in front, banged on the hood and yelled, “I’m Dr. Richard Kimble, a convicted felon on the lam, just try to catch me!”

 

But don’t we have a tendency to do that very thing all the time when it comes to sin.  We hang around and give opportunity to the very thing which has the potential and desire to captivate and enslave us.  We convince ourselves that we will only check the sports scores when we get on our computer at midnight; we tell ourselves that a second glance is acceptable; we justify spending the night; we rationalize physical intimacy as long as it isn’t “going all the way”; we watch certain movies; and on and on.

 

Are we really willing to take the dive off the dam instead of facing incarceration?  Are we so opposed to the prospect of sinning against a Holy God that we would rather face the icy waters below than the risk of being handcuffed and let back to prison?  Are we clever and dedicated like Kimble or are we the caricatured version who thinks it is fun to taunt and trivialize the authorities?

 

The Bible says to “flee sexual immorality.”  Be Harrison Ford.

 

 





What Does Missional Mean?

16 05 2008

harvest

 

The word “missional” is used by many people in many different ways.  Like several terms in the world of “religion,” perception often biases the actual meaning.  One of the drawbacks of a fluid language is that words are often highjacked so that they no longer carry the intended message or they are made so ambiguous that significance is sacrificed.

The mission of The Village Church is the overarching purpose and desire which founds everything which we do.  We exist “to bring glory to God through lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”  Therefore our goal is ultimately the glorification of God.  Although God is glorified through various means, one of the primary ways is worship.  Since not all people are worshippers of the true God, we pursue this mission through the means of the great commission.[1]  In other words, discipleship is the instrument through which we work to bring glory to God.  As John Piper has said “missions exist because worship doesn’t.”[2]

One of the core values of The Village Church is missional living.  By this we mean that God has appointed the particular times and places of people such that they should minister within that distinct environment.  Life should be intentional.  This theme runs throughout the Biblical text, but is particularly evident in Acts 17 which states that God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”  We, The Village Church, live and minister primarily within the greater DFW area because God has appointed that we live and minister here.

In addition to designating particular times and places, God has also created His people with distinct skills and gifted them with various gifts which are to be utilized to His glory.  Being a teacher, doctor, cook, janitor or lumberjack is not contrary to the call for radical God-centeredness in your vocation.  Like Oholiab and Bezalel from Exodus 36, each of us has been gifted in certain ways to contribute to the purposes of the Lord.

In order to be missional, we must engage culture through its individual domains.  Practically, that means that doctors are to be doctors to the glory of God and use that position in ways which serve the kingdom.  Artists are to be artists to the glory of God and use that position in ways which serve the kingdom.  We are all ministers within the unique contexts of our time, place, talents, abilities, etc.

This understanding of mission is a radical call to purpose and intentionality.  It means that our lives are not lived for the sake of self, but rather for the good of others to the glory of God.  This might mean that we go to the same Starbucks, workout without an Ipod so that we can engage those around us, play in the front yard rather than the back in order to be available for the neighbors.

There have historically been two major problems in the landscape of modern evangelicalism in particular which make the idea of missional living difficult to embrace.  The first of these is the elevation of vocational ministers and the consequent devaluation of the “lay person.”  However, there is no biblical segregation of classes of Christians.  In reality, the Scriptures portray all believers as “priests” and “ministers” who are called by God to do the work of ministry.  The role of pastors within a local church is not to assume all ministerial duties, but rather to equip the saints so that they themselves may do the work of ministry.[4]

Therefore, all who have been called to belief in the gospel have also been called to ministry.  We are all partakers in the mission which is the glory of God accomplished through the means the gospel.

The second problem which we must recognize and fight against is the elevation of the spiritual over the material.  While social gospel promoters of the late 19th century erred in promoting social reform to the exclusion of personal conversion, modern evangelicalism has swung the pendulum too far in rejecting the social gospel.  Now, we tend to focus all evangelistic efforts on the spiritual needs of society, as though people are disembodied spirits.  We must learn to integrate and engage both the spiritual and physical needs of the communities of this world.

Here at the church we have a number of examples of how this value is played out.  We have a few businessmen who work downtown and frequently throw a few bucks together and buy cheeseburgers and toiletries for the homeless and disadvantaged in the downtown area.  We have doctors and dentists who travel to Kenya or Romania each year to donate their time and particular expertise in order to push back the darkness in those areas.  Whether within the DFW area or elsewhere, whether using our distinct job or merely the opportunities that it affords, we are all called to this mission, the glory of God through lives changed by the gospel of Jesus.

The glory of God should transcend all that we do.  Our hope and passion is for Him to receive worship by those who have been drastically and eternally affected by the gospel of His Son.  In order for this to happen, we must live with the mission in heart, head and hand. 


[1] Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

[2] Piper, John.  Let the Nations Be Glad!. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003, page 1.

[3] There are times when Scriptures speaks of different levels of maturity, but not “classes.”

[4] Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…

 








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