The Gospel

The Gospel

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Do You Believe In Jesus?

Justin Taylor, who writes frequently for the Gospel Coalition, posted an astounding quote. What is so interesting about this quote is not necessarily who said it but what it says about those who claim to be Christians. I will leave you the quote below.

“I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”

Who said this? It wasn't a pastor. It wasn't a leader in the church. In fact, it wasn't even a Christian. The quote is by Christopher Hitchens in response to a Unitarian Minister. You can read the entire quote here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Facebook Confrontation

The Bible commands us to lovingly and graciously confront those who have sinned or sinned against us with the purpose of forgiveness and restoration. Yet recently, I have seen a trend of many people, and an alarming number of Christians, using facebook and other internet forums to confront, attack, and hurt members of the body of Christ.

I am not sure if followers of Christ think that status reports meet the limited criteria of such a mandate in Matthew 18, but let me challenge you that it does not. Confronting, or worse still attacking, people through online mediums is not only foolish and counterproductive but it is a serious sin that needs confronting itself.

I have tried to encourage others to follow the Biblical pattern even online. What is the Biblical pattern? For starters, gossip is wrong. Gossip can be both false information that spread from person to person but also it can be true information that does not promote the best in a person's character. So I tend to remind people, that if you are saying anything about anyone else that does not make that person appear BETTER than you, don't say it. No little jabs, no tongue and cheek comments, nada...

That is hard. But in addition to that, most of use facebook to say things to people that we would NEVER say to them in person. Perhaps that is because we are too cowardly or we simply know what we are saying is not right, noble or completely true. What ever the case, face to face confrontation is the scriptural pattern and Face to Facebook simply falls short. I have tried no longer to have "conversations" with people on facebook about any matter, but especially those things that are sensitive or serious. Conversion is verbal, but it is even more so non-verbal. Facial expressions, tone, and even emotion can not be heard through emails and face book and therefore your conversation will only be partially heard.

Last, we must recognize that some of the things we post on a wall is read by a vast number of people. Some flippant word about a fellow student or friend could be ready by thousands and could greatly hurt their character, even if the statement has a context that other readers simply don't know.

In a world where we are becoming increasingly isolated and alone, let's spend more of our time talking in person. Understand, I don't think that facebook is evil. I think it is very helpful to reconnect with people and stay connected on some levels; and I am on quite frequently. But just like any other technology we have at our disposal, Facebook can be used for evil and we must guard ourselves (and each other) from such sin.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reformation Starts At Home

Revival was a popular word in the church a few years ago. Even today many people are very interested in revival in their churches. Richard Baxter, a pastor many years ago, sought significant change in his church as well. He called it "reformation" but I think it is basically the same.

Baxter wanted his church to grasp the gospel in a more significant way and to pursue the kind of holiness that the scriptures demand from those who know Christ. Baxter, however, did not pursue revival or reformation by bringing in some passionate preacher and his traveling band of followers. No, Baxter was much more simple than that. He believed the reformation in a church started in two places.

First it began with the pastor. The pastor must not only be serious about the word of God but consistent in his own life, pursuing holiness in all matters. Baxter had seen his share of poor excuse for pastors and he challenged those around him not to fall into similar traps.

But the most important place that reformation can be found is in the home. A passion for the things of Christ begins not from the pulpit but from the couch. As Godly fathers and mothers teach their children about the gospel, live out the implications and changes that the gospel brings, and share the gospel with those around them the church will change.

In our culture I think Baxter is especially poignant. We live in a time in which the family is being destroyed and the home is being redefined. It is vital for the sake of our churches that fathers, the spiritual leaders of the home, begin to take seriously their roles and to show our sons what Biblical manhood is really all about. It is crucial for mothers to start teaching their daughters what it is to be a modest, Christ like woman, rather than letting their influence be Miley and Paris.

If you want to see reformation in your church don't just tell the pastor to invite a guest speaker. Tell you family that things are changing in your home. Christ will no longer be an un-invited guest but the center of our homes.

The Outpost - Bible Preaching (Brooke Taylor)