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Archive for May, 2011

If God is power hungry and out to get certain things in the world, his followers will do likewise.  They will try to gain converts.

If our evangelism is driven by the need to “gain converts” it’s a sure sign that we’re serving a greedy god.

But if our God is a Fountain of sending love (as Donald Bloesch once put it) then mission will have nothing to do with “gaining” anything.  Instead we will be offering Christ.

 

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Here’s a faster edit of my video from a couple of years ago.   Same content, done in 4 minutes rather than 6 and a half.

When I first made the video it was prompted by some TF Torrance stuff I was reading.  It’s all about the vicarious humanity of Christ!

But Luther said it long before him.  And recently Mike put me onto his Brief Instruction on What to Look For and Expect in the Gospels (part one, part two – Dave K also blogged on it recently).  It’s glorious stuff.  Christ is not fundamentally our Example.  At base He is our Substitute:

Gospel is and should be nothing else than a discourse or story about Christ, just as happens among men when one writes a book about a king or a prince, telling what he did, said, and suffered in his day. Such a story can be told in various ways; one spins it out, and the other is brief. Thus the gospel is and should be nothing else than a chronicle, a story, a narrative about Christ, telling who he is, what he did, said, and suffered—a subject which one describes briefly, another more fully, one this way, another that way. For at its briefest, the gospel is a discourse about Christ, that he is the Son of God and became man for us, that he died and was raised, that he has been established as a Lord over all things…

…Be sure, moreover, that you do not make Christ into a Moses, as if Christ did nothing more than teach and provide examples as the other saints do, as if the gospel were simply a textbook of teachings or laws…

…The chief article and foundation of the gospel is that before you take Christ as an example, you accept and recognize him as a gift, as a present that God has given you and that is your own. This means that when you see or hear of Christ doing or suffering something, you do not doubt that Christ himself, with his deeds and suffering, belongs to you. On this you may depend as surely as if you had done it yourself; indeed as if you were Christ himself. See, this is what it means to have a proper grasp of the gospel, that is, of the overwhelming goodness of God, which neither prophet, nor apostle, nor angel was ever able fully to express, and which no heart could adequately fathom or marvel at. This is the great fire of the love of God for us, whereby the heart and conscience become happy, secure, and content. This is what preaching the Christian faith means. This is why such preaching is called gospel, which in German means a joyful, good, and comforting “message”; and this is why the apostles are called the “twelve messengers.”

Concerning this Isaiah 9[:6] says, “To us a child is born, to us a son is given.” If he is given to us, then he must be ours; and so we must also receive him as belonging to us. And Romans 8[:32], “How should [God] not give us all things with his Son?” See, when you lay hold of Christ as a gift which is given you for your very own and have no doubt about it, you are a Christian. Faith redeems you from sin, death, and hell and enables you to overcome all things. O no one can speak enough about this. It is a pity that this kind of preaching has been silenced in the world, and yet boast is made daily of the gospel.
Now when you have Christ as the foundation and chief blessing of your salvation, then the other part follows: that you take him as your example, giving yourself in service to your neighbor just as you see that Christ has given himself for you. See, there faith and love move forward, God’s commandment is fulfilled, and a person is happy and fearless to do and to suffer all things. Therefore make note of this, that Christ as a gift nourishes your faith and makes you a Christian. But Christ as an example exercises your works. These do not make you a Christian. Actually they come forth from you because you have already been made a Christian. As widely as a gift differs from an example, so widely does faith differ from works, for faith possesses nothing of its own, only the deeds and life of Christ. Works have something of your own in them, yet they should not belong to you but to your neighbor.

So you see that the gospel is really not a book of laws and commandments which requires deeds of us, but a book of divine promises in which God promises, offers, and gives us all his possessions and benefits in Christ….

…When you open the book containing the gospels and read or hear how Christ comes here or there, or how someone is brought to him, you should therein perceive the sermon or the gospel through which he is coming to you, or you are being brought to him. For the preaching of the gospel is nothing else than Christ coming to us, or we being brought to him. When you see how he works, however, and how he helps everyone to whom he comes or who is brought to him, then rest assured that faith is accomplishing this in you and that he is offering your soul exactly the same sort of help and favor through the gospel. If you pause here and let him do you good, that is, if you believe that he benefits and helps you, then you really have it. Then Christ is yours, presented to you as a gift…

Read the whole thing (part one, part two).  Well worth the 5 minutes!

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Luke 15 sermon

Audio Download

Sermon Text

 

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So Kurt Wise has said (and Dawkins quotes it in the God Delusion also)

“if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.”

Well obviously!  If that is “what the Word of God seems to indicate” and the Word of God is, well, the Word of God, what other position could Wise take?

Dawkins would love it if the debate were about differing interpretations of the same agreed sources of evidence.  But that would be a debate that assumed the very issues at stake!  If Dawkins wants to debate people who agree that the scientific method is Lord, let him do so.  But that would be an in-house debate within the scientific community and it wouldn’t make him anywhere near as much money.

The real debate does not concern differing interpretations of the same data.  It’s about what counts as evidence, who says and how can it be verified.

Wise says Jesus is Lord and science is great.  And if there’s ever a conflict, Jesus wins.  Well naturally!  If he didn’t say that he wouldn’t be a Christian.  And if Dawkins can’t grasp that, he hasn’t understood his opponent, nor the nature of the debate in which he’s engaged.

For Dawkins, Science is Lord, end of story.  And in the God Delusion he seeks to prove how very broad minded he is (as opposed to Wise – that disgrace to the human race).  He says that if “all the evidence in the universe” points towards creationism he’d switch sides.

But of course that would be no switch at all.  Even if he believed in six hour creation, it’s the basis on which he formed such beliefs that is decisive.  Dawkins might come to believe in a 6000 year old universe and not have budged an inch on the issue that really matters.  Is Jesus Lord or is the scientific method Lord?

The debate is not a simple weighing of already-agreed evidence.  And if Dawkins can’t understand that he only proves that he’s unqualified to discuss the matter.

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It’s next Saturday.  I’m hoping to be there.  How about you?  Should be a great day of teaching and encouragement.

More info here, facebook page here.

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Happy Friday

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Two wonderful posts at Christocentrism:

The Fatal Wound

…What is the great problem within evangelicalism today?  A lack of convincing action in the world that would back-up our faith?  Increasing laxity on doctrines such as hell and the atonement?  The decline in church attendance, giving, and sending?  Perhaps these are serious problems.  But they’re just irritating shards of shrapnel compared to the seriousness of the mortal wound: evangelicalism is Christless.  Not everywhere, and not everyone– but evangelicalism is walking wounded with a limping Christless gospel, biblical hermeneutic, and discipleship….

…Even Christians need Christ.  And so long as Christ is not the context, content, and control on all we think, say, and do, then we are a dying–if not already dead–evangelicalism.

Christ in the Temple

When Christ was taken to the Temple to be circumcised eight days after he was born of Mary, it was by no means his first visit.  Christ had dwelt in the Holy of Holies enthroned on the ark of the covenant in glory from the time the Tabernacle was built by Moses.  The pre-incarnate Christ was the LORD, the God of Israel, and the Tabernacle/Temple was a living sermon on the subject of his Person and work….

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Go and visit Christocentrism which promises more of the same.

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