Sunday, February 26, 2006

Theological Diversity in the SBC (and everywhere)

Disclaimer: I am no longer a Southern Baptist, but grew up in that denomination and still follow its current condition with interest.

In Dr. Ascol's latest blog over at The Founders Blog he discusses what he sees as the different visions that are represented today in the Southern Baptist Convention. Among them he mentions the Theonomic and the Theonomic light visions. Aspects of these visions include ""taking back America for Christ"", "recovering our great Christian nation for Jesus", and getting "prayers back in our public schools and the Ten Commandments posted in our courtrooms and classrooms again." Finally about the latter vision he says, "By issuing boycotts and economic threats these folks believe that they are heavily involved in cultural engagement and combatting worldliness on major fronts. Neither Disney nor Hollywood should expect to be ignored if this vision carries the future in the SBC."

Now, let me say I highly respect Dr. Ascol and his views, and agree with him 99% of the time. But my comments will reveal, I believe, a disagreement over his implied disparagement of those who participate in the above activities. In the comments section of this blog post by Dr. Ascol, number 23 I believe, a commenter named "Rod" asks this: "What's wrong with a "theonomic" and a "Tom's View" blend? Can a serious Calvinist who cares about church reform, also care about America's reform?"

This is my question exactly. What is inherently wrong with fighting for the right for prayer in public schools or to display the 10 commandments in public venues around America? Now, if Dr. Ascol is speaking of Christians who ONLY boycott, and whose only Christian duty is to get the 10 commandments placed in public places, then I have to agree that these activities in and of themselves are not enough for the Christian. But I have to continually ask myself and others, why do we think people who do this do not also love the church and seek Biblical fidelity for the church? Why can't we fight for the right to have the 10 commandments displayed, and at the same time proclaim to the lost that they are under God's wrath because they continue to defy these 10 commandments? For some, this may be their only introduction to God's law. Why can't we be upset when corporations want to deny us the right the call Christmas Christmas, and at the same time explain to these same people that they are currently under the condemnation of the God they want to try and supress. What is inherently wrong with trying to work within our culture to make it a better place for all people, and at the same time being faithful to our churches and communities and living out our lives as servants of Christ? Isn't that what part of loving our neighbor is all about? Do we just share the gospel with our culture and if they reject it tell them fine, go ahead and continue killing your babies, that is of no eternal significance to me? I am continually amazed and the false dichotomy that is forced on this issue. Either you are a cultural warrior, or you are a cultural wimp.

Rather, lets let the gospel saturate our entire lives, from family decisions, to church decisions, to work decisions, to political decisions, to every decision we make. That is about $.03 worth.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Emma Catherine

For anyone that did not know, my wife gave birth on Feb 15, 2006 @ 12:20 PM to a beautiful baby girl, Emma Catherine, weighing in at 7 lbs 5 oz and 19 inches long. And when I say beautiful, I mean beautiful. I think The Lord is revealing much to my wife and I about unconditional love. Stay tuned for possible further updates on the life of a new father.

12 May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace;
13 may our granaries be full,
providing all kinds of produce;
may our sheep bring forth thousands
and ten thousands in our fields;
14 may our cattle be heavy with young,
suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; [2]
may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord! - David, King of Israel

Friday, February 10, 2006

Beth Moore discusses the 5 points?

Update/Disclaimer: My intent with this post is to discuss and gather opinions, not condemn, Beth Moore's teaching material and whether Ms. Moore's material are consistent with a reformed/conservative understanding of scripture. I do not deny at all that The Lord has used Ms. Moore's materials to bless many people, or that her heart is to sincerely serve the Lord. If you read this and have an opinion, please let me know. Thanks! ya didn't I. No, Ms. Moore is not discussing Calvinism, but instead in the latest edition of Modern Reformation Magazine, Susan Disston from the PCA reviews Moore's book Believing God and also her teaching system. About Moore's 5 points, Ms. Disston writes,
"Moore offers her readers the ticket to the Promised Land that will turn passive faith into “action verb” faith. It is five-point pledge of faith that is memorized and spoken out loud daily: God is who he says he is; God can do what he says he can do; I am who God says I am; I can do all things through Christ; God’s Word is alive and active in me. The pledge is designed to overcome doubts about God’s power and goodness, to bolster faith in miracles, to claim one’s adoption into God’s family through Christ, and to open the Christian to receiving personalized messages from God both through the Bible and through daily interventions."

Ms. Disston also makes these observations about Beth Moore's teaching characteristics,

"Moore is a pragmatist. When she reads the Bible she expects it to speak to her about her life in practical ways. She uses the people and stories in the Bible as allegories of the Christian life to explain how Christians can be defeated or victorious. Their destiny depends on how they respond to God. The equation is simple, according to Moore; the more faith they exercise, the better their reward in this life. Her books, Bible studies, videos, and speaking ministry follow a similar pattern of self-disclosure, plucky faith that is determined to overcome, and confirmation from the Bible that Christians can and do experience victory over sin, deliverance from bondage, and successful Christianity."

Is anyone else somewhat uneasy about this description. On first read it doesn't sound so bad, but then I became more uncomfortable with the phrase "the more faith they exercise".

More from the article,

Although she wants to be theological and Christ-centered, too much of Moore’s material is about her take on her experience with God. Her writing tends to be undisciplined and shallow. She is far too willing to gloss over uncomfortable theological implications in favor of feel-good stories and quick explanations. Knowing God comes through experience; most sin is the result of failing to believe and be delivered; repentance is rarely mentioned. Her bent toward mysticism permits her to circumvent traditional theological interpretations and indulge in explanations of her own design that are more reasonable and satisfying to her sensibilities... Basically she says, don’t let theology and doctrine confuse you when you can figure it out with God for yourself in a way that works for you. Unfortunately, people who use her materials can’t help but absorb some of that reasoning. Even more troubling is that they think they’re doing Bible study when they are really getting a heavy dose of mysticism, storytelling, psychology, and prosperity gospel. In the introduction to Believing God, Moore shows her true, but mistaken, agenda when she says, “I know I’m going to make it to heaven because I’ve trusted Christ as my Savior, but I want to make it to my Canaan on the way. I want to finish my race in the Promised Land, not in the wilderness. You too? Then we have to cash in our fear and complacency and spend all we have on the only ticket out: BELIEF.”

In conclusion Ms. Disston comes to the following opinion,

There are many worthy goals of Bible study, but securing heaven on earth is not one of them, at least for Reformed Christians. And the surest way to get off track is to add human effort to what God has already done in the cross of Christ, even when it’s called believing God or faith. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation. Everything else is of grace in the Christian experience, too, thanks be to God.

Well, I can unreservedly give that a hearty AMEN. My question is, what do you think of this review? Should Beth Moore be avoided by Reformed Christians, or can we pick and choose with a discerning eye from her studies? Enquiring minds want to know.


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