Two of my former students, Brandon Price and his bride, Katie, are missionaries in Mariupol, Ukraine. They are just getting their feet on the ground there but God is already blessing their ministry. Their mission in Mariupol is to make disciples.
If you are seeking and saving the lost, you must seek the seekers. Sometimes, however, God just brings them to you. If you are interested in evangelism I encourage you to check out their blog (click on Brandon and Katie Price on blogroll on sidebar) and Read “Cell Phone Ministry.” It’s a great story illustrating what evangelism is all about and why it can be done anywhere in the world.
Inflammatory language is a spark that ignites hatred, disdain and, when the volatile fuel of anger is present, violence. It would be wonderful, in this pluralistic culture, if we could just be considerate as we debate. Christians don’t really have any choice in the matter. While we must be ready to explain why we have hope, we are instructed to be gentle, respectful and to use the seasoned language of grace in the process.
To call another person an idiot, bigot or (fill in the blank) accomplishes nothing but violence at worst and polarization at best. I love a good debate but when we become brutal with each other debate ends and hostility begins. In the atmosphere of hostility, Satan gleefully pursues his goals. Several times now, I have heard about church “business meetings” where threats and even punches were exchanged by enraged brethren. How shameful and embarrassing!
Lately, I have been locked in debate with a few atheists. They have been courteous. As I looked at other atheistic blogs and websites, however, I have seen the opposite attitude. Theists (both past and present) are portrayed as ignorant, deluded, irrational and stupid. It was difficult not to be angered.
I have lived long enough to learn that arrogance and an attitude of intellectual superiority is counterproductive to persuasion. But humility (or growth in that grace) must be real! My life is a history lesson about assuming that one has all the answers. How wrong I have been too often! Humble pie is always bitter. Would I care for another slice? No, thank you very much. Now I assume that I have something to learn in every exchange. Too soon old and too late smart!
As a follow-up to my previous blog, “The Missing Link,” I am posting an article by John Clayton, my favorite apologist. You can find his website with much more information by clicking here or on Does God Exist? in my blogroll.
One mistake that many people make is to assume that thinking, logic, problem solving, and reasoning are unique to man. When the Bible describes man’s uniqueness, it always is centered around spiritual characteristics and creativity–not around intelligence, thinking, tool use, and logic. It is important to understand that seeing an animal do something that is intelligent or requires logic does not mean that the animal is a human or is equal to a human in any way. On February 23, 2007 a report was released about researchers in Senegal who have observed chimpanzees making weapons for hunting. In the April 2007 issue of Scientific American (page 64) there is a detailed article on ravens using logic to solve problems, and the article says that the raven’s “abilities approach or even surpass those of the great apes.” If you read the material and look at the evidence there is little doubt that animals think, solve problems, make tools, use logic, and have a social structure. These are not the things that make humans unique. Man’s spiritual characteristics are what make man special, and these are a reflection of our unique creation in the image of God.
Does it ever bother you that, as non-scientists, we are deemed too ignorant to disagree with scientists? Well it does me. Some scientists, it seems, can easily shift into philosophical musings launched from their observations and their subsequent suppositions. They don’t seem to allow us “mere mortals” the same freedom. Well, it may be poorly stated on my part, but I reserve the right to shift to the philosophical from just plain observation. Continue reading
Just A Little More on Assembly
Much thanks to my brother in Christ Duane Morgan for his response to my article. (See his comment on “The Worship Myth.”) There is no one I respect and admire more than this brother whose whole heart is given to God and whose only desire is to serve Him. He has endured much hardship to follow in the steps of Jesus. It makes no difference where he goes: Indonesia, Europe, Africa…seeking and saving the lost is his mission. His first priority is to learn the language of those he seeks. He is in the process of becoming fluent in Arabic and conversant in French. He knows that only by speaking the language of a culture can one effectively enter that culture. He is a great writer and a careful student of the Word. Therefore, when he speaks (or writes), I listen carefully.[i]
It is obvious the two terms I used in the previous article are more general than the way I used them. Continue reading
The Worship Myth
As we proposed last time, too many pin their hopes for reversing the decline in church membership on getting people to “come to church.” This usually means we want them to “come worship with us.” If they have a good experience, we reason, they may want to come back. This hope is cherished not just for non-Christians who have the incredible bravery to walk into a building filled with strangers, but also for folks from other churches who might like our “services” better and decide to “place membership” with us.
In addition to being part of the discredited attractional model, there are several problems with this.
Misuse of the word, “worship.” As we should know, worship can take place any time and any place. So, to refer to the assembly of saints (ekklesia) as “the worship” leaves an impression that worship takes place on a certain day at a certain hour. Is “the worship” on Sundays the only time you pray, sing, read the Word and give? Surely not! Continue reading
The Attraction Distraction
What was once a murmur has become a roar! What is now a roar is becoming a revolution! The stats are in and the truth is graphically clear: Christian churches are in decline. Attendance is shrinking. The numbers look bad.
Now the frenzy of analysis begins. Why are we declining? Continue reading