by Greg Gibson
Does Being Christ-Centered Lead to Imbalanced Trinitarianism?
“Does ‘Christocentrism’ betray an asymetrical trinitarianism that neglects the Father and the Spirit?…Christocentrism can happily co-exist ith orthodox trinitarianism because (1) it is only through Christ that we kow of the Trinity, and (2) the Trinity itself is Christ-centered.” Christ-centered hermeneutics, salvation-history, preaching, evangelism, and sanctification. Christocentrism: An Asymmetrical Trinitarianism? by Dane C. Ortlund
Christ-Centered Preaching: Every Message or Every Ministry?
“Here Hood points out that the NT sees the OT stories as both pointing to Christ and given as moral encouragement, warning, in sum as examples. The book of James references four OT characters and the prophets all of whom are used as examples for the guidance of NT believers (Jas. 2:14-26; 5:10-28). The author of Hebrews appears to challenge Chapell’s disavowal of вЂ?be like’ interpretation; he repeatedly mentions believers as models of active faith in the face of difficulty. Parables also routinely call hearers to imitate the character in the story. The вЂ?be like’ emphasis seems entirely appropriate in the parable of the wise builder (Matt. 7:24-27), the wise virgins and investors (Matt 25:1-30) and the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-27). Jesus even concludes some of the parables with the words, ‘Go and do likewise.’вЂќ Christ-Centered Interpretation Only? by Patrick Schreiner (HT:TW)
“Hood’s major concern is that the positive push to interpret Christ in all the Scripture has led pastors and scholars to sometimes overlook and even belittle moral instruction. In response, Hood cites several New Testament examples to make the case for moral instruction. Writing in Romans 15:4, the apostle Paul says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Similarly, he writes in 1 Corinthians 10:6, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” According to Hood, these passages show that Christians don’t just see Jesus in the Old Testament. They also see themselves. Paul says the Old Testament offers believers encouragement and warning. Surveying the New Testament, Hood finds several examples of the exhortation some Christ-centered interpreters denigrate. Chastising the selfish Corinthians, Paul shows them Christ’s way of self-sacrifice (1 Cor. 2:2). The “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11:2-12:4 showcases Old Testament believers worthy of imitation. And who can forget Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), which he concludes, “Go and do likewise.” After amassing this evidence, Hood writes, “Claims that we only teach and preach Christ and that every sermon must be focused squarely on Christ are misguided. Hood acknowledges that a compelling apology for the Christ-centered interpretation comes from the road to Emmaus: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Still, Hood wants interpreters to proceed with caution. Luke notes only that many passages testify to Christ, not that every passage leads to Christ.” (GG: John Frame is correct: Every ministry, not every message, should be Christ-centered.) Christ-Centered Cautions by Colin Hansen
Sanctification by Anti-Idolatry: Is All Sin Really Idolatry?
“I have noticed that couching sin in terms of idolatry seems increasingly to mark some recent attempts to communicate the gospel to a new generation. Judging from common counseling approaches, best-selling books and blogosphere endorsements that extol this idolatry model, I doubt mine is an isolated observation. Which leads me to ask: In the increasingly fashionable world of Reformed Christianity, is idolatry becoming the new sin?…This take on idolatry speaks of sin not so much as “doing bad things” as it does “making good things into ultimate things.” In this model, sinners do not so much commit a crime as elevate good things of life beyond their proper place…idolatry-oriented approach to the sin problem…defining sin in these terms of idolatry harbors at least two defects: first, it misreads the biblical examples of genuine idolatry; and second, and even more importantly, it diminishes both the essence and the effects of sin…This reality is reflected in part in the Scriptural correlation that “greed” (or “covetousness”) is “idolatry” (Col 3:5; cf. Eph 5:6). That statement literally does not say that it is the thing (the supposedly overly-valued “good” thing) that is the idol. That statement literally says it is the wanting, the craving condition of man’s heart, not so much the thing that is craved, that is idolatrous.”
(GG: Six Concerns About “Hyper-Anti-Idolatry”:
1. God’s law is summarized by love (not idolatry).
2. The NT spiritualizes idolatry only twice [Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5]. Beware of emphasizing it more than the NT.
3. Greed is both idolatry and false lordship (Mt. 6:24). But we don’t use lordship as the organizing key to sin or sanctification.
4. The Prophets called idolatry (spiritual) “adultery.” But we don’t use adultery as the organizing key to sin or sanctification.
5. Sanctification is multi-faceted, with no reductionistic, simplistic key.
6. Over-emphasis on spiritual idolatry leads to introspectionism, instead of Christ-centeredness. Not every sin has hidden motives.
In summary, be conscious of spiritual idolatry, but beware of hyper-anti-idolatry. Balance, balance, balance!) Is Idolatry the New Sin? by Carlton Wynne
N.T. Wright Converting Protestants to Rome
(Francis) “Beckwith told Christianity Today, ‘I have met several former evangelical Protestants who have told me that Wright’s work in particular helped them to better appreciate the Catholic view of grace.’ Also, Taylor Marshall, director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., said he speaks with new Catholic converts every month, about half of whom have been ‘deeply influenced’ by Wright. Isn’t that interesting? N.T. Wright and Rome by Blake White
Prayerlessness Is Unbelief
“Almost all of us want to pray more frequently, and yet our lives seem too disordered. But in God’s mind our messy, chaotic lives are an impetus to prayer instead of an obstacle to prayer…If you know you are needy and believe that God helps the needy, you will pray. Conversely, if we seldom pray, the problem goes much deeper than a lack of organization and follow through. The heart that never talks to God is the heart that trusts in itself and not in the power of God. Prayerlessness is unbelief.” Prayerlessness Is Unbelief by Kevin DeYoung
Six Things for Which Paul Gave Thanks
“1. He was thankful for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, 1, 2 Thessalonians, Philemon).
2. He was thankful for their love for all the saints (Ephesians, Colossians, 1, 2 Thessalonians, Philemon).
3. He was thankful for their steadfastness, especially in trial (1, 2 Thessalonians).
4. He was thankful for their spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians).
5. He was thankful for their partnership in the gospel (Philippians).
6. He was thankful for their history and mutual affection (2 Timothy).” How Did Paul Give Thanks? by Kevin DeYoung
Pastor-Author Donates 90% of His Income
“According to one comment he made in a sermon, Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income (though his church administrator preferred the phrase “most of his income”). Chan doesn’t take a salary from his church, and his book royalties, which total about $500,000, mostly go to organizations like International Justice Mission, which rescues sex slaves in foreign countries. The Chans often open their home to families who need a place to stay. One of Cornerstone’s community pastors, Bill Lucas, lived with Chan for nine months, and says he “lives out what he says.” Francis Chan by Blake White
Christian Rap Sounds Like Speaking in Tongues
This is my first (and last?) time to listen to Christian rap. If the lyrics weren’t printed, I couldn’t understand them. “Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?” (1 Cor. 14:9). And I found the music rather irritating. “The fruit of the Spirit is…peace” (Gal. 5:22). Nevertheless, praise God for the beautiful gospel lyrics. “The important thing is that in every way…Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Phil. 1:28). I have to wonder if the Lord would use this brother’s ministry even more if the lyrics were wrapped in a more beautiful package? The Greatest Story Ever Told by Shai Linne
Free, Church Bulletin Inserts
“Free downloadable bulletin inserts for personal or church use.” (GG: Theologically faithful and well-written.) Church Bulletin Inserts by Jim Eliff and CCW