Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Religion of Man

For those that followed the Steelers/Bills game, you may have caught this tragic moment:



That night, Steve Johnson posted this on his Twitter account:

I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…
The same mouth that supposedly praised God now curses and blasphemes Him.  Johnson is a symptom of a much larger disease, as we are living in a period where Evangelical Christianity has morphed into little more than a man-centered self-help counseling program--a religion that caters to the sinful selfishness of man.  In this religion, God is good insofar as we are enjoying some blessing from Him, yet He ceases to be good when we don't get what we want.

A few lessons:

1. We may be Christians, but we are still human.  We still have limitations, and (despite what Johnson may believe about himself) he is not all-powerful.  He has flaws, and always will. Even in Heaven we will be limited and finite. Like Eve, Johnson is angry that he is not like God.

2. It is not about us...it never has been.  Johnson wanted to catch that football for his glory, not God's.  It is easy to thank God for a successful moment, and when crowds of people praise us it is easy to throw God a little positive comment.  But it is much more difficult to praise him in our failures--but it is in such moments that our faith (or lack thereof) is truly seen.

3. We are to praise God for who He is, not what we want from Him.  If God is not enough for us, no amount of successfully caught footballs will ever fill that void.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Richard Baxter on concern for the lost

The seventeenth-century English Puritan Richard Baxter wrote,
  Oh, if you have the hearts of Christians or of men in you, let them yearn towards your poor ignorant, ungodly neighbours. Alas, there is but a step betwixt them and death and hell; many hundred diseases are waiting ready to seize on them, and if they die unregenerate, they are lost forever. Have you hearts of rock, that cannot pity men in such a case as this? If you believe not the Word of God, and the danger of sinners, why are you Christians yourselves? If you do believe it, why do you not bestir yourself to the helping of others? Do you not care who is damned, so you be saved? If so, you have sufficient cause to pity yourselves, for it is a frame of spirit utterly inconsistent with grace … Dost thou live close by them, or meet them in the streets, or labour with them, or travel with them, or sit and talk with them, and say nothing to them of their souls, or the life to come? If their houses were on fire, thou wouldst run and help them; and wilt thou not help them when their souls are almost at the fire of hell? 

Cited in I.D.E. Thomas, ed., A Puritan Golden Treasury [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977], 92–93 (Quote taken from: John F. MacArthur, Jr., Alone With God (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1995), 135).

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Church Perish

Here is a little poem I stumbled across, which I will use during family worship later this evening:

A Church Perish
There is a pastor, himself he cherished,
Who loved his position not his parish
So the more he preached
The less he reached
And this is why his parish perished.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Puritan poem on Judgement

The following poem was written by Thomas Taylor (we presume) and printed in 1792.  It contains a message of the certainty of judgment, but also the certainty of the eternal pardon which Christ offers.


ON JUDGEMENT

When rising from the bed of death;
O'erwhelm'd with guilt and fear;
I view my Maker face to face
Oh how shall I appear?

If yet while pardon may be found,
And mercy may be sought;
My soul with inward horror shrinks,
And trembles at the thought.

When thou, Oh Lord, shalt stand disclos'd,
In majesty severe,
And sit in judgement on my soul,
Oh how shall I appear?

Oh may my broken contrite heart,
Timely my sins lament;
And early with repentant tears,
Eternal woes prevent.

See then the sorrows of my heart,
Ere yet it be too late;
And hear my Savior's dying groans,
To give those sorrows weight.

For never shall my soul despair,
Her pardon to procure;
Who knows they only Son hath died,
To make that pardon sure.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Pray for Obama

To my (fellow) politically conservative Christian brothers and sisters, remember to honor and pray for President Obama.  He has been placed in leadership by our sovereign Lord, and will not serve one day less or more than God has decreed.

Pray specifically:

...that his eyes will be open to the plight of the murdered unborn.
...that he will recognize the foundational importance of the traditional family.
...that he will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
...that he will protect our country with dignity and courage.
...that he will heed the counsel of (biblically) wise advisors.
...that he will be faithful to his wife and devoted to his children amidst the pressures of office.

And (to be fully transparent with my wishes) perhaps we will have someone different to pray for in 2012!
2012: Could Huckabee beat Obama?
2012: Romney could give Obama a scare
2012: Obama leads Palin

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TNIV 2.0 (a.k.a. "NIV-2011")

The NIV-2011 is certainly going to be a big deal.  For the record, I like the New International Version (henceforth NIV-1984).  I know my language 'purist' friends may be offended by that, but I've found the NIV-1984 to be a wonderful mid-point on the literal/paraphrase translation scale.  It is readable, understandable, and lends itself to memorization.  If it were not for the ESV I would most certainly be using the NIV-1984 on a daily basis.
That is, of course, before they came out with the atrocious TNIV.  While I am sympathetic to elements of that translation philosophy, it was (to be frank) an experiment in unbridled feminism. It was rightly dumped (but only after major public outcry).
After hearing that Zondervan was re-translating the NIV, many of us feared it would merely be TNIV 2.0.  Like the Democrats who still insist on making Pelosi the new Minority Leader, the executives at Zondervan simply have not learned their lesson.
Follow this link for a chart that compares the NIV-2011 to the NIV-1984 and the TNIV.  If the chart is accurate, you can see that the translators consistently followed the TNIV text.

NIV-2011?  No, more like TNIV 2.0.

HT: Jeff Peterson