For those of you that think the most decided person against the Gospel could ever come to Christ. Flew was an avowed atheist – he wrote on the subject and debated those who believed in God. Thank God that he shames the wise and exalts the foolish.
Anthony Flew’s Testimony
HT: Primetime Jesus
Many are familiar with the story of Hosea. A prophet of God is told to marry a woman of ill repute. They have a few kids and then she runs off and sleeps with another man. Hosea’s life is an incarnate parable of of God’s relationship with Israel. He had redeemed her out of pagan lands (Abraham was a star-worshipper, Neh 9.7) and had broken her chains of slavery to the Egyptians. Once things seemed to be secure, Israel begins to commit adultery with the neighboring people’s religion. She began to sleep with Ba’al.
Many would have us believe that when God redeems people from their slavery and whoredom with sin that he woos (or lovingly encourages us) to come to him. This is not the story of Hosea – and by extension, the story of Christian redemption.
Hosea goes to his adulterous wife and does not woo her. He goes and buys her back (Hos 3.2). He tells her, “You must dwell with me…You must not play the whore” (v.3). Hosea does not have a conference with her. He does not ask her to write down the positives and negatives of such a decision as to whether she will return with him. His commands to her stem from his having purchased her. Because he effectively owns her, he is then able to make demands on her.
So it is with the purchasing done for us on the Cross. Jesus does not woo us. He purchased us – not with silver or gold, but with his infinite blood (1 Peter 1.18-19). And so, those sheep who belong to him must dwell with him.
Friend, Dr. Michael Haykin, responded to the question “What can we learn from Christian Fundamentalists” in the most recent 9Marks e-journal. I found his answer balanced and very helpful. For so many of us that value truth, it is easy to think that right doctrine will lead to a Third Great Awakening. However, the truth is that our doctrine must be lit on fire by the Holy Spirit. Only then will people see that which we preach as being true objectively and subjectively.
After saying that we can learn how to be resolute in our convictions of truth and in our desire to be holy, Haykin finished with this:
Yet, as Fundamentalism pursued these passions, all too frequently it found itself getting sidelined in debates about tertiary issues and becoming a movement that fostered schism rather than reformation. At times it seemed to forget that theological orthodoxy in and by itself cannot revitalize Christian communities: the coals of orthodoxy are vital, but there must be the life-giving flame of the Spirit as well.
“Boaz is the type of the bridegroom who marries Ruth in order to raise up a seed for the old and widowed Naomi. James Jordan says Ruth is a substitute bride, because the firstborn seed is her seed, and leads to the redeemer that comes into the world. Typologically: The Bridegroom marries the Moabitess, the Gentile widow, but he does it in order to give a seed to the Israelite widow. All Israel is saved through the marriage of Gentiles with the redeemer.” Peter Leithart
“Paradigm Shift, Not Program Shift: An Interview with Voddie Baucham”
Gary Shavey inteviews Baucham, who discusses his book Family Driven Faith.
In his book Baucham calls families to recapture the vision Scripture presents for the family. So much of evangelicalism has bought into the notion that programs are the primary means by which disciples of Christ are made. God has instituted the family to be the primary means by which discipleship happens and sticks.
In this interview, Baucham sees three things wrong with typical youth minstries:
1) It’s not scriptural. It is not biblical to separate people based upon age. It is based on the government education system.
2) Actually works against biblical model of family discipleship.
3) It doesn’t work. Since the advent (late 60’s, early 70’s). Our youth baptism and retention rate has steadily declined.
“Youth ministry is one of the symptoms of the problem.” That problem is that we have left ministry in the hands of the paid ministers and forgotten our call as soul care-takers of our children.
The role we have adopted has actually usurped the role of families; it has crippled the role of families. Baucham says that we have created a “spiritual welfare system” where the parents are told to stay out. Thus, when a youth worker tries to “do their job,” they find that they can’t because the parents have not been training their children at home.
What are your thoughts about youth ministry? I have friends who are youth ministers, how should this inform the way they/you do ministry to youths?
The church is then not simply the bearer of the message of reconciliation, in the way a newspaper or a telephone company can bear any message with which it is entrusted. Nor is the church simply the result of a message, as an alumni association is the product of a school or the crowd in the theater is the product of the reputation of the film. That men are called together to a new social wholeness is itself the work of God which gives meaning to history, from which both personal conversion (whereby individuals are called into this meaning) and missionary instrumentalities are derived (John Howard Yoder, “A People in the World: Theological Interpretation,” in James L. Garrett, Jr., The Concept of the Believers’ Church (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1969) 258.
Sometimes I get asked why I haven’t posted in a while…I am flattered that people are actually reading the verbiage I’m putting out.
Here’s my typical answers (depending on the day and the mood):
1) I am overworked in school and work and hadn’t time to write
2) I don’t have anything percolating in my brain that would be noteworthy to write about (equivalent to dry bed syndrome in the stream of consciousness…possibly related to #1)
3) There is way too much stuff to write about. Sometimes it is like eating a basketball. I want to write things that are helpful and I want to write clearly. Sometimes this clarity and topic are not readily available in the sorting process.
4) I am responding to “Comments“. I started a blog to share my thoughts, but also to have my thoughts sharpened and begin and sustain dialogue with those who agree and disagree with my positions. So I try to spend a considerable amount of thought with Comments that ask questions and seek clarity in my positions.
Thus, I want to encourage my readers to scroll through my last posts and read some of the Comments [particularly this one, and this one , and this one
I have loved the interaction I have received and would like to encourage people to comment at will. I am contemplating taking the function off that requires you to get a Blogger account (although you don’t have to have a blog). I put that function on there because I was getting acne and impotence advertisements. In any case, I might be willing to take that risk if my readers know they will be on there as well as if it fosters more dialogue…