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Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Why Downgrade is a Problem with the Pastorate

Polemics Report

People have asked many times, ‘What is Downgrade?’ I started using the word incessantly and intentionally a little over a year ago in the hopes that the term would catch on (which it wildly has) and begin to frame our understanding of the modern evangelical slide in historic terms.

The Downgrade, as a descriptor for the not-altogether-new phenomena we are experiencing in evangelicalism, is a throw-back to a similar environment among the Baptists and other Nonconformists in the life and times of CH Spurgeon. Two articles published in Spurgeon’s Sword and Trowel monthly magazine leveled charges against his fellow evangelicals, chiefly the Presbyterians, Baptists and Independents. Written by Spurgeon’s friend, Schindler, the first two articles indict their fellow churchmen for – in the lack of persecution from the Church of England – neglected doctrinal matters and reverence for excitement, fun and frivolity. This was causing, in Schindler’s estimation, a “Down…

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Book Review: HOLDING COMMUNION TOGETHER: The Reformed Baptists, The First Fifty Years – Divided & United (Paperback) Tom Chantry David Dykstra

The historians who attempt to collect the primary sources and first-hand recollections of contemporary events have a thankless task; that is until future generations attempt to uncover reliable records of our time – then the collators will finally be appreciated. I think “Holding Communion Together” will prove to be such an exquisitely excellent record. It blends a transparent historiography, a tough-love honesty and a timely helpfulness that will benefit readers across a wide theological spectrum. This is how contemporary theology must be examined and evaluated. Not every reader will agree with the tone or the technique but every reader will benefit from the painstaking research and the theoretical conclusions drawn. Read this book quickly and then read this book carefully. The authors have given us a superb book that spotlights the nerve center of a specific historical theology in a very specific time frame. I give this book my highest recommendation.

The historians who attempt to collect the primary sources and first-hand recollections of contemporary events have a thankless task; that is until future generations attempt to uncover reliable records of our time – then the collators will finally be appreciated. I think “Holding Communion Together” will prove to be such an exquisitely excellent record. It blends a transparent historiography, a tough-love honesty and a timely helpfulness that will benefit readers across a wide theological spectrum. This is how contemporary theology must be examined and evaluated. Not every reader will agree with the tone or the technique but every reader will benefit from the painstaking research and the theoretical conclusions drawn. Read this book quickly and then read this book carefully. The authors have given us a superb book that spotlights the nerve center of a specific historical theology in a very specific time frame. I give this book my highest recommendation.

Spotlight Ministry

Live Life! God's way

The Holy Spirit did not come to glorify Himself but to glorify the Son of God, Jesus, who is called the Christ. He has, as one author describes it, a “spotlight” ministry–that is He keeps the focus on Jesus Christ.

If you drive by a large house lit up by well positioned floodlights, or view a great exhibit or painting in a museum, you seldom pay attention to the lighting. I know the ‘lighting’ guys pay great attention, but if the spotlight is positioned properly it draws attention to the object it illuminates. The same is true of the Spirit of God. Jesus himself stated in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

In Redemption…

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How The Meek Inherit The Earth

Horizons of the Possible

Image St Francis in Mom’s Garden
Photo by Russell Smith

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Yeah, right. 

In what way could that possibly be true? 

It’s easy to say, “Oh that’s a future promise.”  In other words, “Suck it up now, and you’ll get a nice shiny reward in heaven.”   While we certainly hope in the life eternal, isn’t there a present manifestation of Christ’s rule?  Isn’t there hope for the meek right now?

I think so.

First of all, meekness is not the same thing as powerlessness.  Meekness is akin to gentleness, which is about wise use of strength.   We all, no matter how lowly, have some strength, some capacity, some giftedness, some power.  This comes along with the dignity of bearing the image of God.   You have power and strength.  It may be diminished or depleted, it may be corralled and kept in check…

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The Pharisee Card

Polemics Report

You’re here because someone (maybe you) played the Pharisee card. Consider the following, and let’s all remember that if you’re going to play the Pharisee card, you should play it fairly.

OK, so I stole the idea from an article posted at Issues Etc. But the next time someone plays the Pharisee card, consider the following…

The Pharisees weren’t rebuked because they were”legalistic”….

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23 ESV)

Here, Jesus does not rebuke them for tithing from their spice rack. He rebukes them for not being legalistic enough. They ought to have been tithing from their mint, dill and cumin – but they were following only part of God’s law and not…

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Is Holding Communion Together an Attack on Al Martin?

Should Holding Communion Together Have Been a Collaborative Effort from Various Camps?

Does Holding Communion Together needlessly resurrect old controversies?

Is Holding Communion Together a Hopelessly Biased Book?

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