My point is this — while history reveals that Christians in good conscience have held to a variety of convictions, it also reveals that they held their convictions dearly — would argue for them with humility, would not step down from them, and would rather die than deny them. I can learn humility from the varied persons of history. It is humbling to me to realize I disagree with Jonathan Edwards on key points– or I disagree with John MacArthur on others. These are men I respect. But while it should humble me, it should not lead me to indifference and inclusivism in my own conscience.
I must answer questions — does the Bible teach gender roles in marriage or not? does it teach them in the church or not? Does the Bible say God chooses some for faith with no apparent reason — or does he choose them based on foreseen faith? Do certain gifts of the Spirit cease or do they remain? Shall the church be governed by presbyters or by the congregation? what is the mode and time of baptism? etc.
I must determine where the lines of church membership lie . . . and I must do so in a way that humbly acknowledges the godliness of those with whom I differ and simultaneously upholds my own convictions.
I must also determine where the line of orthodoxy lies — who is in the faith and who is not — for at some point I have to decide with whom I can fellowship. This is so against the grain of our times — so against the agenda that “as long as they are sincere, isn’t it interesting how many conclusions can be reached?” But it is the pattern of our forbears.
I do not think this is easy work — history reveals that we have more often misplaced those lines — but that does not mean we should not draw them. refusing to draw lines communicates something about truth doesn’t it?
It would be unfaithful to God to refuse to reach a clear conclusion on teachings from Scripture — all because I do not want to draw lines. What is needed to represent the Gospel well in these times is humble orthodoxy. Clear conviction, willingness to draw lines, all done with awareness of my own ignorance and the grace that has given me any light.
How does this tie into the Gospel? The Gospel is rooted in propositions about God and His Savior Jesus — they are defined and and clear and cannot be compromised without losing the Gospel itself.
Last night we watched Akeelah and the Bee. It’s a great little movie, and Keke Palmer, who plays Akeelah, turns in an excellent (and adorable) performance alongside Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett.
This may seem random, but – hey – it’s Friday: I really liked the soundtrack to this movie. And mainly for one reason: it includes Rubberband Man by the Spinners. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget how groundbreaking that Motown sound was.
Hand me down my walkin’ cane
Hand me down my hat
Hurry now and don’t be late
‘Cause we ain’t got time to chat
You and me were goin’ out
To catch the latest sound
Guaranteed to blow your mind
so high you won’t come down
Hey y’all prepare yourself for the rubberband man
You’ve never heard a sound
Like the rubberband man
You’re bound to lose control
When the rubberband starts to jam
Also, the movie contains this quote (which is attributed to Marianne Williamson):
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Phil asks an excellent question over at Thinklings:
Can The Devil Read Minds?
…or insert thoughts into your brain?
Any Scriptural suggestions are much appreciated…
Good question, and there are already some good answers in the comments thread.
This brings me to another long-standing conviction I’ve had about how we often talk about our enemy: Have you ever heard someone say the following (or something like it)?
“Satan has really been attacking me lately.”
I fully believe that fallen angels, what we call demons, are active in our world and are actively opposing God’s Kingdom. And I believe their chief is a demon we call Satan.
However, I do not believe Satan, as a created being, is omnipresent (everywhere at once). Or omniscient (all-knowing). Those are traits that only God possesses.
“The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” – Job 1:7 (ESV)
See. Not everywhere at once.
So I think we give the enemy way more credit than he deserves when we say “Satan has really been attacking me/tempting me/troubling me/etc., lately”.
I don’t think Satan knows who I am, most likely. He’s way too busy and way not like God to have knowledge of every Christian on earth. He has bigger fish to fry.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that some lesser demonic beings might from time to time cause me grief. I don’t know – my own flesh is the source of most of my failings, I believe.
Demonic influence is real. But don’t give God’s enemy too much credit. He’s not like God, at all, and doesn’t have near the power.
” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7 (ESV)
Robin, from the excellent Write Thinking:
I was born-again on a Saturday morning after reading several books, The Hiding Place, Woman to Woman, and Prison to Praise. When I finished that last book around 6 a.m., I gave my heart to Jesus. I didn’t have a church or a mentor or a Bible study (although I’d been reading The Living Bible New Testament for a number of months). It was just me and Jesus that morning. I found a church and great studies and sound teaching in very short order, but right then it was just the two of us.
A week later, full of the joy of the Lord, I walked into a friend’s home one morning and saw that she’d been crying. I told her what had happened to me and that Jesus loved her. When I returned to her home after I got off work, she’d been born again, too.
Now if that doesn’t prove the Lord can use anybody, I don’t know what will. Sometimes it isn’t how much you know but how excited you are for God that He uses.
I’ve never felt so effective for God as I did in those clumsy, joyful days after I became a Christian (of course, I didn’t know it then – I was just living!)
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
– Hebrews 2:10-13
If you are a child of God, Jesus is not ashamed of you. He is not ashamed to call you his brother, his sister.
Are you forgiven, redeemed, cleansed, and yet prone to terrible shame? Go to the One who knows you better than you know yourself. He lives to heal you, and he is not ashamed of you.
It doesn’t mean God isn’t grieved by the sins we commit. Sin is a terrible thing; it’s far worse than we know. But – trust me on this – Jesus death on the cross holds more power than you can imagine. It was the final crushing of sin and of the devil’s greatest power, the power of death. “It is finished!” Jesus cried, and he meant it. Over. Done with. I write this as one who knows the darkness in the heart of man; in every one of my thoughts are entwined evils for which I should be destroyed.
But I’ve been rescued and cleansed by One who is powerful to save and unashamed to call me his brother.
Michelle Malkin has posted some heart-shattering minute-by-minute recaps of the events of five years ago:
“It’s getting bad, Dad-A stewardess was stabbed-They seem to have knives and Mace-They said they have a bomb-It’s getting very bad on the plane-Passengers are throwing up and getting sick-The plane is making jerky movements-I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane-I think we are going down-I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building-Don’t worry, Dad- If it happens, it’ll be very fast-My God, my God.”
(saw this on the LJ of someone I don’t know . . .)
Because everyone needs a theme song . . .
1. If you could pick your own theme song, what would it be? – Just because it has a cool feel: Smoothie Song by Nickle Creek. Either that or Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good To Me So Far
2. Now be honest…if others had to pick a song that described you, what would they choose? – I’m Just A Bill by Schoolhouse Rock
3. What song would be/was the first dance at your wedding? – Well, we got married in ’88, so probably either something by Chicago or [Cheese Alert!] Precious And Few by Climax
4. What song gets stuck in your head most often? – Here With Me by MercyMe (but the version I hear is the 249 North band version)
5. What song would you want played at your funeral? That’s easy: You Alone by Passion. The lyrics are below:
You are the only one I need
I bow all of me at Your feet
I worship You alone
You have gven me more than
I could ever have wanted
And I want to give You my heart and my soul
You alone are Father
And You alone are good
You are alone are Savior
And You alone are God
I’m alive, I’m alive
I’m alive, I’m alive
I’m going to tag five of my three readers (wait, wrap your mind around that!) to do this meme. They are:
1. “Philip” of The Thinklings (Expect five Metallica songs from our resident heavy-metal Southern Baptist pastor)
4. Scot McKnight (who doesn’t know this blog exists. But what the hay, I can dream, right?)
As a parent of multiple children, you should never promise your kids that you’ll always be fair. It’s impossible.
You will be unfair. It’s just like grace – grace is unfair too. Just do your best to spread the unfairness around equally.
After I got cleaned up and went into the bedroom where he was already in bed, he smiled at me and said I was beautiful. I love that man and our baby is in for a treat with such a great guy as a dad.