Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Future of Protestantism

A valuable discussion between Carl Trueman, Peter Leithart, and Fred Sanders.

David Wells on MOS

The latest Mortification of Spin is up and running.
Back in their secret underground bunker, the spin team phone up David Wells to discuss his body of work and his huge contributions to modern Christianity. As a turncoat, a self-described "African-American," David has a unique experience and insight into American Christianity. David's voice has carried a lot of weight for much of evangelicalism, and he discusses issues related to this movement. Does evangelicalism have a center, a true coherence, anymore? Is it possible to have one again? David's Wells' input on this timely conversation is beneficial both for those who profess to be evangelical, and for those who don't.

Essential reading from David Wells:
No Place for Truth  
The Courage to be Protestant  
God in the Whirlwind  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

Over at Ref21 Paul Levy and I have been having a bit of back and forth about how to measure ministry. Should a minister be judged strictly on the basis of faithfulness? Or, should a minister be judged on the basis of the fruitfulness of his ministry? You can check it out HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

What do you think?

Sunday's Sermon

On Sunday I preached part 10 of our series through Acts. It is entitled "How to Pray Under Persecution" and is taken from Acts 4:23-31. You can listen to it HERE.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jesus is Better...

Beat Porn By Enjoying Jesus More from Desiring God on Vimeo.

A preoccupation with homosexuality?

Perhaps you have noticed the near tidal wave of articles, books, and blog posts reaffirming what the Bible says about sexual ethics, particularly homosexuality. "What is this pre-occupation with homosexuality?" you may be wondering.

What is with all these responses is that they are just that: responses. The ever-expanding big tent called evangelicalism is producing an increasing number of voices advocating for the normalization of homosexuality generally and same-sex marriage specifically. There are others who don't go quite that far but express a sort of agnosticism suggesting that the Bible is not at all clear concerning homosexuality.

So, Christians who believe the Bible (rather redundant isn't it?) do what they have always done: contend for the authority and clarity of God's Word. And God's Word is exceedingly clear concerning homosexuality. It is sin. It is, like all sin, damning. But it is also the sort of sin that does profound damage emotionally, relationally, and physically as well.

The following is a sampling of particularly helpful articles on the subject:
Kevin DeYoung - HERE, HERE, and HERE
Al Mohler - HERE and HERE
Jonathan Parnell (Desiring God) - HERE
Eric Teetsel (Patheos) - HERE

Of course, part of the declaration of clear Biblical truth must also be the invitation for sinners to repent and receive the mercy of Christ. That mercy is available to all who repent and believe.

In this post I link to some excellent resources focused on bringing hope and healing to those who struggle with same-sex attraction.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Heaven Is For Real (the movie on the other hand...)

The latest edition of Mortification of Spin: Bully Pulpit is up and running. In this episode we discuss the Heaven Is For Real phenomenon.
If you are looking to be inspired the Mortification of Spin team is on task to speak to your mind.  In light of the release of “Heaven is For Real” last week, the team asks important questions about how the church should do evangelism.  While Americans tend to be drawn toward the sensational and the inspiring, the Bible sufficiently teaches that the gospel is to be communicated by ordinary means. Think cross, not glitter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sermon Audio

You can find audio of my brief message on Good Friday and Easter sermon ("The Tomb is Empty") HERE.

A Theology of the Body for teens (and the rest of us)

David Murray has written a great little post entitled "Body Theology for Teens." Parents, this would
be a helpful discussion starter with your children.

Here is a sample:
5. Protect: As the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), you should care for it better than you would your own home or even the White House. Defend your body by avoiding substances that damage it and experiences that can deface, injure, or even kill.

6. Submit: Although we should do #1-5, we must also accept that our fallen bodies are never going to be ideal or perfect. We must therefore submit to the unique and wise way God has designed us and accept our limitations, weaknesses, sicknesses, aging, etc.

7. Cover: God did not only make your body, he also made clothes to cover it for your own protection and also that of others (Gen. 3:21). And remember there are no prizes for covering in such a way that more is revealed than concealed. But neither is there a prize for covering with the ugliest fabrics, colors and designs.
Read the whole thing HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pastors and Suicide

Sad news from North Carolina. Robert McKeehan, Senior Pastor of Community Bible Church in High Point committed suicide last week. The 42-year-old pastor leaves behind a wife and two young children. Some are noticing what may be a frightening trend of pastors taking their own lives.

Marty Duren has posted some helpful thoughts on ways that churches can contribute to the emotional and spiritual health of their pastors.

Church Gimmicks

The new Credo is online and man, is it good. Check it out HERE.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Trouble with Andy's Sermon

Andy Stanley has a problem with religion. The pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta (one the nation's largest) has been preaching against religion. Over at Juicy Ecumenism, Alexander Griswold offers some helpful responses to a recent sermon by Stanley entitled "Putting Religion in its Place."

In the sermon, Stanley makes the following statements:
  • “When religion takes first place, it begins flexing its muscles at the expense of mercy…. [W]hen religion is in the top shelf, when religion is most important, when religion moves into first place, mercy always, always, always, always loses.”
  • “Jesus consistently prioritized people over his own religion, and he’s the Son of God!”
  •  “Great parents set rules, and when they feel it’s in the best interest of their children, they break their rules… Great parents decide that their children are more important than the laws that the parents set. And the parent who doesn’t do that creates an orderly home that everyone can’t wait to leave. And God is a perfect, heavenly Father.”
  • “Jesus’ conscience was informed by compassion, rather than consistency…”
  • “Love demands inconsistency. Every parent knows this!”
  • You are more important to me than my view.
  • “Where will that lead? How far do you go? What extreme does this take us? I don’t know.”
Let's face it, religion is an easy target. Who says, "I love religion"? Since I was a kid I have heard people say, "I'm about Jesus not religion." It sounds so sincere and loving; so right. Religion is mean and all about "the rules." Of course, the problem with all of this is that no one seems to be able to define religion.

Is religion Pharisaical self-righteousness? Is religion tithing mint, dill, and cumin while neglecting mercy? Is religion the doctrines and ethics prescribed in Scripture? Is religion the biblically prescribed elements of our corporate worship? Is religion loving knowledge and hating people?

And this is part of, though certainly all, the trouble with Andy's sermon. The sermon is full of false antitheses that the Bible never makes. He polarizes things that are friends, not enemies. He tears asunder what God has joined together.

Griswold observes:
Really, the problem permeating throughout Stanley’s sermon is a false dichotomy between ‘love’ and ‘people’ vs. ‘religion’ and ‘views.’ Put simply, there should never be a conflict between practicing the Christian religion and loving someone. If there is, either you aren’t practicing the faith or you aren’t actually loving someone.

Likewise, he creates a false dichotomy between ‘you’ and the Christian ‘view.’ ‘You’ are not more important than the Christian ‘view,’ because there is no conflict between the Christian view and the importance of every individual. If the Christian ‘view’ keeps you from loving someone, again, you’ve misunderstood the situation.
Read the entire post HERE.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Constant Reader

I recently posted at Ref21 a list of excellent reading options for Holy Week (or any week). Check it out HERE.

Easter Is Just Alright With Me

The latest Mortification of Spin is up and running.
After taking care of the official business of making Aimee "one of the guys," the hosts get into a discussion of Easter and its celebration in churches. Is Easter a pagan holiday? It is necessary for pastors to preach the resurrection, so its focus on Easter shouldn't be abnormal, but it should certainly be emphasized. Listen in to hear the gang's thoughts on Easter, chocolate bunnies, lent, and government-regulated nutritional guidelines.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday's Sermon

On Palm Sunday I preached a message from Matthew 21:1-17. It is entitled "The King We Need" and can be listened to HERE.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Together for the Gospel

Unfortunately I was not able to attend this year's Together for the Gospel conference. I hated to miss out. Each year has been a blessing. After hearing a few of the messages now it is clear that this year's T4G was no exception. The messages are available  HERE.

I can tell you this much: You simply must listen to the messages by Ligon Duncan and Kevin DeYoung. Also, John Piper's message from Romans 9 and God's sovereign election as the fuel for evangelistic fervor is remarkable.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sunday's Sermon

On Sunday I preached part 9 of our current series through Acts. It is entitled "Bold Discipleship" (4:1-22) and can be listened to HERE.

Platt on the "I Went to Heaven" books...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Don't forget the Gosnell case

Kermit Gosnell was not an aberration. He is the product of the culture of death that abortion and its supporters have created.

Watch part one of the powerful and important documentary 3801 Lancaster:

The following is a trailer for part two:
3801 Part II: Trailer #1 from 3801Lancaster on Vimeo.

Consider supporting this important effort to document the Gosnell case. We must not forget.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dressing up the trivial with transcendence

I truly wish THIS was an April Fools joke but I fear they are actually serious.

I know I just completely lost all hope of ever becoming an urban-gospel-hipster with this post. Alas...