Friday, April 29, 2011

Greatest Pro-Life Commercial...

Readers,

This has to be one of the most powerful, not to mention the cutest, commercial I've ever seen.  Newborns are truly a gift from God.  Amen, Pampers!

much love,
Reed

Thursday, April 28, 2011

APU and 'Worship'

Hello,

Rarely do I pick up school newspapers, and even more rarely do I actually read an article.  They are so often filled with liberal opinions, mediocre writing, and rarely bring God or sound Biblical doctrine into the jargon.

However, this bit did catch my eye and started to change my opinion of The Clause, APU's version.  But then I saw the title "guest author", which explained the quality of the piece.

Here is a section reproduced below, yet I'd encourage you to read the whole thing.


As far as I’m concerned, APU (and the modern, American, young adult Christian movement as a whole) has contented itself with spiritual milk for so long that we’ve grown accustomed to it, and the thought of meaty theology entering into our emotionally uplifting, catchy-tuned worship sets makes us uneasy. We want our emotional catharsis in chapel, and we can handle our theological thinking elsewhere, if we have to do it at all.

I say “we” because I like nice, sing-song chapel worship songs too. They sound good, they make me feel nice about the world and about God and most importantly, about myself. They are catchy and easy to sing in the shower. It seems that the appeal of modern worship music is “I like the way it sounds” or “it makes me feel good.” I agree. The music of morning chapels does just that. It makes me feel good. I think that statement contains the two points I’m trying to make.

I have walked out of chapel with a tune stuck in my head hundreds of times before. I’ve walked out feeling emotionally uplifted, or even emotionally challenged. I’ve walked out feeling like the worship did something for me. But I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of chapel thinking, “what is the correlation between trust and suffering?” or “how could one express the extent of the love of God?” Modern music makes me feel good—it doesn’t make me think.

And I think thinking is something we, as Christ followers, need to do more of. We need to analyze the theology being presented to us, from between the lines of catchy worship songs to the mouths of our chapel speakers to the teachings of our professors. We need to test everything and hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and in order to do that we need to be aware of our Christian doctrine.

Much love!
Reed

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pastor: Christ, has risen!

From us at Rantifestos, we would like to wish you a very happy Easter!  Here's a  prayer, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Jesus, your death is the death of death, and your resurrection is the resurrection of all things. O the wonder, the glory, the grace of it all! By your compelling love, free us from the emptiness of living for ourselves. Bring your resurrection power to bear in our homes, churches and communities. Capture our children early and re-capture our hearts when they drift. May the rest of our days be spent for your glory and financed by your gospel. (2 Cor. 5:14-15). So very Amen, we pray, shout and dance, in your most glorious and worthy name!

-Scotty Smith

God bless,
Mark and Reed

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Missions and the Souls at Stake...


Readers of Rantifestos,



I'm writing this on my way to Mexicali as a part of APU's spring Mexico Outreach ministry. This will be Rantifestos' first field report, if you will. Sadly there are no soldiers to my left or right, no bombs bursting, and I'm not in some embattled country. The short term missions trip I'm about to embark on is much 'safer' than a mission in say Iraq or another country would be. But, as I think about it, when going on a missions trip there are still lives at stake. Souls, whose destiny I cannot know, hang in the balance. 


Every person we will meet down in Mexicali, every time we talk with someone or provide medical aid, will each be an opportunity to testify to the love of Christ working within and for us as well as chance to share the Gospel. 

Considering those realities, missions trips, short term and long term, are just as 'dangerous' as any. Our goal, the most important, the one with the greatest, longest lasting effect. The end all. To share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Pray for us as we minister.
We're about to cross the border and I'll enter the expensive cell phone data zone ;)


In Christ,


Mark

Friday, April 15, 2011

THIS is real religion...

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven.
Matthew 7:21 (ESV)

A couple bits from one of the best lectures I have heard this semester (year?).  In my limited experience, the best professors have to first master the pastorship.  The expository, Biblical preaching then comes as a beautiful supplement to true Christian academia.  Taken from Dr. Bruce Baloian:

"You have to love someone in the currency in which they wish to be loved."

In dating, in marriage, in life, when you love someone, you do it through showing them the love they desire.  This could be through buying nice candies, physical touch, communication, deeds, etc.  Similarly, God wants us to obey and love Him the way he wants us to.  We don't say, "here God, I want to love you on this day (sunday?) for this long."  But rather, we are called to always obey.  We are called to always love the One who created us.  Going to church every sunday isn't half the deal.

"Real religion, real Christianity is loving and obeying God."

...Not just on that sunday.  Not just during chapel, but ALWAYS "doing the will of my father who is in heaven."

much love,
Reed

A post in the draught!

Readers of Rantifestos!
Found this to be informative. Read it! I also want to apologize for the lack of posts, it's been a rough week. More to come tomorrow night :)

grace and peace,

mark

original post here


Can Pietism and Confessionalism Be Friends? (Part 1 of 3)

Those outside Presbyterian circles may not be aware (and may not care), but there has been a lot of discussion over the past few years about the dangers of pietism and how it differs radically from the older (read: better) model of confessionalism. Pietism, it is said, emphasizes dramatic conversions, tends toward individualism, pushes for unity based on shared experience, and pays little attention to careful doctrinal formulation. Confessionalism, on the other hand, is a more churchly tradition, with creeds and catechisms and liturgy. It emphasizes the ordinary means of word and sacrament and prizes church order and the offices. It is pro-ritual, pro-clergy, and pro-doctrine, where pietism, it is said, stands against all these things.
I am sympathetic with much of this critique of evangelical pietism. I agree with Darryl Hart’s contention in The Lost Soul of American Protestantism that American evangelicalism has tried too hard to be relevant, has largely ignored organic church growth by catechesis, has too often elevated experience at the expense of doctrine, has minimized the role of the institutional church, and has worn out a good number of Christians by assuming that every churchgoer is an activist and crusader more than a pilgrim. Confessionalism would be good tonic for much of what ails the evangelical world.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The World of the Internet

I saw this the other day and really liked it.  It somewhat serves as a reminder of what I'm doing with my time and information on the internet.  And really begs the question, am I glorifying God?  Does my life on the internet serve the one who created it all?  Does yours?

“The Internet world we live in today is awash in narcissism and vanity, with some people taking their clothes off literally, because exposure gives them a rush, and others doing it spiritually—because the addicting power of talking about yourself, where anyone in the world can read it, is overpowering.”


-John Piper

God bless,
Reed

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dora the Doormat! Musings from Mary Kassian on Complimentarianism

Readers of Rantifestos!
I found this on Tim Challies' blog the other day and thought it was a great presentation by Mary Kassian of several humorous stereotypes of complimentarianism as well as an informative and well-balanced presentation of biblical manhood and womanhood. In light of past comments, I thought it interesting to note the striking similarity in the claims of the "straw women" to arguments made by those who've tried to malign us in the past (AKA here). Enjoy, read comment, discuss! :)

Grace and peace,

Mark




“Dora the Doormat” and other Scary Straw Women of Complementarity

Mary Kassian | April 7, 2011 | Comments (14)

Recently, someone in the twitter world called me an “uber-complementarian.” They threw out the term “complementarian” derogatorily, like an ugly handful of mud – akin to calling someone a “racist,” “fascist,” “sexist,” or something scary like that. I had to smile, since I remember sitting around a table with John Piper and Wayne Grudem and others, wracking our brains to come up with an apt label to describe the historic Christian teaching on gender. Oh how quickly labels turn into stereotypes!

The Historic Christian Position on Gender

Since New Testament times, Christians believed that the Bible taught that God created male and female with complementary differences and roles. There was no word to describe this position, since no one had ever questioned it. But about 50 years ago, feminism changed all that. And by the mid-eighties, when Egalitarians and Evangelical Feminists eagerly jumped on the feminist ideological bandwagon, it was necessary to come up with a label to identify this traditional, orthodox, historic belief. That’s when we came up with the term “complementarian.” It simply means someone who believes that the Bible teaches that God created men and women with equal, yet distinct roles. We are equal, but different.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Persecution


Readers of Rantifestos,
I hope this post finds you well. Have you ever been persecuted? If not, you might want to consider why not. 
Grace and peace,

Mark




KEVIN DEYOUNG|5:45 AM CT

A Double Danger

I don’t really cherish the promise of 2 Timothy 3:12. On the one hand, I don’t want it to happen. That seems bad. On the other hand, if it doesn’t happen, I wonder if I’m bad. The verse is sobering: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” This is one of those Bible promises that doesn’t make it into the flower-covered book for graduates.
Granted, there is a danger that some Christians do all they can to invite “persecution.” Thy refuse to accommodate–ever. They live to find hills to die on. They lead with their chins. They wear every bit of opposition as a badge of honor. The world hates them and they love it.
But for most Christians, there is another danger, the danger of thinking that if we clean up our image, smooth out the edges of our faith, change a few songs, do a few good deeds, then we can get people to think well of us. Sometimes we act like God has promised that if we do the right thing, with the right heart, and say things with the right attitude, then the world will stop choking on the church.
But God makes no such promise.

Spineless Tadpoles...

"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions"
2 Timothy 2-3

Readers of this blog,

Being a theology major, I'm exposed to...well...a lot! Even though I have gained incredible insight, it's not the Biblical insight I was looking for. Rather, through roughly two semesters of "theology" classes I have literally sat through every type of argument on everything. It's quite entertaining.

APU plays a key role in the development of so many views, opinions, and beliefs in the Theology Department. However, very few of these are Gospel-centric. The professors are encouraged to teach through "exploration, not proposition." Thusly, there are as many views on Scripture as there are people in the classroom, and sometimes more! After all, we are just seeing the Word through different lenses right? Yours are green or blue, mine are orange. Some are new, some are old, most are in the middle.

Rubbish!! Your lenses are broken, and many fail to realize this and are still attempting to see through them. Scripture is not about bringing our experiences, opinions, believes, or these "lenses" to it, but rather what can we take from Scripture? This, accordingly should then shape our beliefs, experiences, etc. Scripture informs and conforms us, instead of us trying to inform and conform Scripture. 

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God many be competent, equipped for every good work."

Many professors no longer teach through sound doctrine but provide what the students itching ears want to hear. Yes, todays churches often cover those hard to swallow, convicting passages in Scripture. Sin and repentance are almost non-existant. And pastors continue preaching about love. But this fundamental issue arises earlier, in the classroom. Students pay thousands for their B.A., M.Div., Th.M, D.Min, etc. They graduate having it all! Yet lacking one thing: their spine.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An ANTHEM for Fighting Lust

Readers of Rantifestos,
I found this several weeks ago and a friend recently emailed it to me, reminding me of it. While there is no 'formula', per se, for fighting lust, this acronym is helpful in remind us what we should focus on when we encounter the temptation. In our society, we face lust just like every generation before us has. But it seems to me that standards have fallen further in recent history, so this is a pressing issue, especially for us guys. Fight on! (boo USC though) :)

Fighting,

Mark





ANTHEM: Strategies for Fighting Lust



I have in mind men and women. For men it's obvious. The need for warfare against the bombardment of visual temptation to fixate on sexual images is urgent. For women it is less obvious, but just as great if we broaden the scope of temptation to food or figure or relational fantasies. When I say "lust" I mean the realm of thought, imagination, and desire that leads to sexual misconduct. So here is one set of strategies in the war against wrong desires. I put it in the form of an acronym, A N T H E M.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rudy

Readers of Rantifestos,
I'm not sure how many of you have heard of the Westboro Baptist Church before, but if you haven't go to this page for more information than I have time to share. You would benefit from an awful example and perhaps realize how depravity sometimes presents itself as a wolf in sheep's clothing.

 I had heard the name briefly mentioned on a news program several years ago, but hadn't paid much attention to it or looked into exactly what they believed. I only knew that they were an extremist, hyper legalistic 'church' who created the website godhatesfags.com. That in of itself was shocking, but seemed self explanatory enough to not warrant further inquiry. Recently, however, several friends of mine shared stories with me that brought them to the forefront of my attention.

In looking into and thinking about this story, it's implications, and the doctrinal/theological aspects to it, the Lord has worked in my life. It is my prayer that He would do the same in yours through what I write. Please be praying for Rudy's family and those that knew him. Pray that God would continue to work through his example and that He might open new hearts and minds to the Gospel.


Love Wins...;)

Readers of Rantifestos!
Found this today. Gave me a good laugh, but I think it raised some reasonable objections to Bell despite it's parody style. Enjoy!


grace and peace,
Mark 



Robbed Hell - C.A.S.T. Pearls Presents from Canon Wired on Vimeo.




Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Gospel in Five Minutes!

This is great, basically everything you need to know about the basic message of the GOSPEL!
Amen

-Reed


G.O.S.P.E.L. from Humble Beast Records on Vimeo.