Friday, May 25, 2012

As a Chaplain, Must I Always Publicly Pray in Jesus’ Name? —Russell Moore


As a Chaplain, Must I Always Publicly Pray in Jesus’ Name?

— MONDAY, MAY 21ST, 2012 —
Questions and Ethics
"Dear Dr. Moore,
I’m a committed evangelical Christian, and also a chaplain with responsibility for people from all sorts of religious backgrounds. I am called on to pray at many functions, with mixed audiences. Some over me are pressuring me not to end my prayers “in Jesus’ name” but to instead pray more inclusively to God, generally. I can pray “in Your name” and that seems to solve the problem. I mean Jesus, of course, but it wouldn’t be as patently offensive and it would enable me to minister here longer and more effectively. Is that ethical?
A Confused Chaplain
Dear Chaplain,

You’re assuming this quandary is about language. It’s not. Praying in Jesus’ name isn’t simply a cultural addendum at the end of a request, something evangelicals do in the same way we repeat phrases like “just” and “lead, guide, and direct us.” We pray in Jesus’ name because Jesus commanded us to do so (Jn. 14:13). We pray in Jesus’ name because we believe that “there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). Thus, we have no access to God apart from our being hidden in Christ.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Morning and Evening, May 22—Morning


Morning, May 22 Go To Evening Reading

“He led them forth by the right way.” 
— Psalm 107:7

Changeful experience often leads the anxious believer to enquire “Why is it thus with me?” I looked for light, but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved. Lord, thou dost hide thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; to-day my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the landscape o’er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; to-day, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. Is this part of God’s plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God’s method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith—they are waves that wash you further upon the rock—they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven. According to David’s words, so it might be said of you, “so he bringeth them to their desired haven.” By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom.” Learn, then, even to “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” 

“O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait thy wise, thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by thee.”


1 Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening : Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

J.I. Packer On The Freedom of Inerrancy


J.I. Packer
Any degree of skepticism about the portrait of Christ, the promises of God, the principles of godliness, and the power of the Holy Spirit, as biblically presented, has the effect of enslaving us to our own alternative ideas about these things, and thus we miss something of the freedom, joy, and vitality that the real Christ bestows. God is very patient and merciful, and I do not suggest that those who fall short here thereby forfeit all knowledge of Christ, though I recognize that when one sits loose to Scripture this may indeed happen. But I do maintain most emphatically that one cannot doubt the Bible without far-reaching loss, both in fullness of truth and of fullness of life. If therefore we have at heart spiritual renewal for society, for churches and for our own lives, we shall make much of the entire trustworthiness–that is, the inerrancy–of Holy Scripture as the inspired and liberating Word of God. (Truth and Power, 55)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Otherworldly Culture: Understanding Our Cultural Context So That Christ Might Be Made Known


The Otherworldly Culture: Understanding Cultural Context

by Haley Oram and Mark Thomas



You’ve probably seen it at the parking lot in church, maybe on the freeway or in your hometown, and you’ve definitely seen it if you go to a Christian college: NOTW. One of the most well known Christian mantras or sayings, NOTW stands for “Not of This world.” It is the name of a Christian clothing company, but more importantly it is a phrase commonly used by Christians. It is used in prayer and in teaching, one used especially when discussing the posture of a Christian in this fallen world. It is a phrase widely known and used within the Christian circle; it is how we are called to live. It is a concept that is fundamentally a part of the Christian faith.
But where does it come from?
This phrase originates from John 18:36, where Jesus discusses where His kingdom lies: “One of the most well known Christian mantras or sayings is “Not of This world.” Not only  does this saying come from the name of a Christian clothing company, but it also is a phrase commonly used by Christians, in prayer or teaching, when discussing the posture of a Christian in this fallen world we live in. It is a phrase widely known and used by the the Christian circle; it is how we are called to live. 
This phrase originates from John 18:36 where Jesus discusses where His kingdom truly lies and comes from: “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Jesus Himself says His kingdom is “Not of this World.” He is right,of course. Christians are heavenly citizens, foreigners here on earth. This discourse. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world and does not come from this world.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day, or Whatever—Kevin DeYoung

Found this from Kevin DeYoung (I know—'once again', you say). Enjoy!
-Mark




Happy Mother’s Day, or Whatever.

This country loves Mother’s Day. We love to honor moms and get flowers. We love to take her out for dinner and make her stand up in church. Americans are the people of motherhood and apple pie.
Just so long as motherhood has no meaning. Happy Mother’s Day. Or father’s. Or parents. Or gender neutral guardians. Or whatever.
We know who mom is, but do we know what a mom is? Are the two persons (or three? or thirty? or pets?) in a marriage interchangeable? Is there anything beyond biology (and affirming biology is a start!) that makes a mom a mom? When your little girl asks, “What does it mean to be a mommy?” what will you say to her?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Is Bibliolatry the Real Danger? (Kevin DeYoung)

Found this fantastic piece from Kevin DeYoung. Enjoy.

Mark


Is Bibliolatry the Real Danger?

Which poses the bigger risk of idolatry–a high view of the Bible that sees Jesus submitting to the Scriptures or a low view of Scripture that sees Jesus standing apart from the Scriptures? Some Christians fear that if they have a high view of the Bible they will end up denigrating Jesus and being guilty of bibliolatry. But what if the danger of idolatry is much more likely when you try to place Jesus above the Bible?
J.I. Packer explains:
Others tell us the final authority for Christians is not Scripture, but Christ, whom we must regard as standing apart from Scripture and above it. He is its Judge; and we, as His disciples, must judge Scripture by Him, receiving only what is in harmony with His life and teaching and rejecting all that is not.