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Driscoll Video on Predestination

January 30, 2008 1 comment

A friend of mine who had been riding the Armenian/Calvinist fence recently watched this message and sent me a text message that read, “I am a total calvvy now!” Funny stuff. This is a great presentation on the doctrine of predestination. It is about an hour long.

If you have ever wondered exactly what most Calvinist’s believe about how people are saved you should watch this. It is especially convincing when Driscoll talks about the state humans are in because of sin and our inability to choose God because our sinfulness.

Watch the video
or down below.

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Religions Saves series at Mars Hill Church

January 21, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m really enjoying Mark Driscoll’s current preaching series “Religions Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions.” Mars Hill Church did a a great idea. A few months ago they set up a website where people could ask questions that they wanted Driscoll to preach about. Then other people could vote on which questions they liked best. In December they closed the voting and choose the 9 most popular questions. You can check out the questions here.

Mars Hill is using technology in some neat ways. Besides posting sermons on MySpace and YouTube they are now allowing people to text message question during the late Sunday service. Then, after the service, Driscoll spends about 20 minutes answering the questions off the cuff. This is a great way to involve the people in the congregation to interact with the content of the sermon.

Categories: Driscoll, Theology

The Righteousness of Noah

January 8, 2008 Leave a comment

I heard something about Noah the other day that has had me thinking for quite awhile. Most preachers, when they talk about Noah, like to bring up the fact that the Bible says Noah was a righteous man. They then talk about how, because Noah was righteous, he found favor with God and was used to build the ark and keep the human race in existence. Here’s the problem: the Bible says Noah was a righteous man after it says he found favor with God, not before.

In fact, in Genesis 6:6 we learn that God saw ‘that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ This includes Noah! Noah was wicked and the intention of his heart was as evil as anyone else’s. It WAS NOT because of Noah’s righteousness that God choose him to preserve humanity. It was because of God’s undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor that Noah was considered righteous.

You and I are desperately in need of God’s favor, and we were given that favor through the gift of his Son Jesus Christ and the gift of his Holy Spirit indwelling our souls. The intention of my heart (and yours) apart from the work of Jesus is just as intent on evil as the hearts of the men in Noah’s day. Praise be to God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.

Categories: Holy Spirit, Theology

Is Hell the Absence of God

January 4, 2008 Leave a comment

It is an inescapable fact of life that the people we interact with, the books we read, the things we listen to, and the places we go have dramatic influence in shaping us to be and think one way or another. It is an interesting exercise to chart the development of a person’s beliefs, convictions, and questions up against the major people and things that have exerted force, in whatever fashion, on them.

It has always been a challenge for me to learn from others, but not become others, to develop and sort through my own convictions without simply taking on the convictions of others. My own non-exhaustive chronology of outside influences in Christian ministry and thought includes men such as: my parents, my Youth Pastor, Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, John Piper, Greg Boyd, Brian McLaren, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Rick McKinley, Brian Tome, Ed Young, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler.

Here’s an example:

I grew up believing and fearing the existence of hell as a literal state of being. Where exactly it was I didn’t know and I didn’t care as long as I didn’t end up there. Then, as I was moving through my college years, I started talking and reading about the use of hell in the Bible as a more metaphoric way of describing an existence completely absent from God (Youth Pastor; McLaren). I was buying what others were selling and I started slanging it myself. But I’m not so sure I didn’t stray too far from my roots. In fact, I am in the process of rethinking my rethinking (Driscoll; Piper; Chandler).

Today I came across this quote about hell being the absence of God in an old blog post I had earmarked a few months ago.

R.C. Sproul gives a masterful response to this common explanation:

It is common to say that hell is the absence of God. Such statements are motivated in large part by the dread of even contemplating what hell is like. We try often to soften that blow and find a euphimism to skirt around it.

We need to realize that those who are in hell desire nothing more than the absence of God. They didn’t want to be in God’s presence during their earthly lives, and they certainly don’t want Him near when they’re in hell. The worst thing about hell is the presence of God there.

When we use the imagery of the Old Testament in an attempt to understand the forsakenness of the lost, we are not speaking of the idea of the departure of God or the absence of God in the sense that He ceases to be omnipresent. Rather, it’s a way of describing the withdrawal of God in terms of His redemptive blessing. It is the absence of the light of His countenance. It is the presence of the frown of His countenance. It is the absence of the blessedness of His unveiled glory that is a delight to the souls of those who love Him, but it is the presence of the darkness of judgment. Hell reflects the presence of God in His mode of judgment, in His exercise of wrath, and that’s what everyone would like to escape.

I think that’s why we get confused. There is withdrawal in terms of the blessing of the radical nearness of God. His benefits can be removed far from us, and that’s what this language is calling attention to.

R. C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2007), pp. 157-158.

Very well articulated; makes me start to think I need to land somewhere on this one and plant myself for awhile.

Categories: Quotes, Theology

Day Off Thoughts

October 31, 2007 1 comment

Today is the first day I have had off in 9 days. I’ve enjoyed laying around, wrestling with the kids, drinking coffee, doing some reading, and napping a bit. Stephanie is harassing me because it is 3 pm and I’m still wearing my sleeping clothes, but you know what, I think I deserve a slob day. Anyway, this piece of Scripture has gotten me thinking today,

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

As many of you know I have gone trough a theological shifting of sorts in the last 18 months. Part of this change is my understanding of the condition of man and the role of God in the saving of individuals. I am definitely not ‘arrived’ (and I hope I never think I completely have because people who are too sure usually end up being jerks) but I am spending more time wondering how someone who is sinful and anti-God from the womb, could in anyway on their own, make a choice to follow Jesus.

This verse from Corinthians seems to imply a similar conclusion. A person who is far from God cannot even understand their own sinfulness and need for a Saviour without some illumination of the mind and soul done by the Spirit of God. In my experience my free will choice will always be a selfish one, moving me further from God not closer to him.

Thoughts?

Chasing Bubbles

October 1, 2007 Leave a comment

Yesterday I sat in the driveway blowing bubbles for an extended period of time while my son Jacob chased them down and tried to catch them. It was entertaining at first, and then became very routine as I kept on blowing and as he kept on, unsuccessfully, trying to catch them.

It got me thinking…

There are a lot of things in life that people chase after: career, money, fame, approval, love, material goods, and the list goes on. You could think of these things as bubbles. People spend all their lives chasing after bubbles that pop as soon as people think they have caught them, and when the bubble bursts the routine of chasing starts all over again; it is really a childish game that we play.

The Apostle Paul wrote that he had found the formula for being content in all circumstances. Paul was a dude who came to a point in his life where he was done chasing bubbles. And his formula was this: to know Jesus and him crucified. May this be yours and my goal each and every day as well.

Categories: Life, Theology, Thoughts

What the Bridge Collaspe can Teach Us About the Image of God

August 13, 2007 Leave a comment

In the wake of the bridge collapse many people have been retelling the heroic stories of ordinary men and women who helped with the relieve and recovery from the accident. I thank God that people didn’t hesitate to help others in their time of need. In some cases, people have attempted to unite these acts of heroism with the idea that Minnesotans are ‘such wonderful people.’ You have likely heard the phrase “Minnesota Nice.” I like how the preacher today re-ordered such an idea.

His thought (a paraphrase of something another pastor said) is that rather than looking at acts of heroism as some kind of character description of Minnesotans, we should look at it as people stripping away the layers of selfishness and brokenness and acting as God intended humanity to act. As people made in the image of God, horrific situations like the bridge collapse, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina, create the space for people to step outside of their self-centeredness and to function like we were made to.

Doesn’t that paint a wonderful picture of what Jesus is coming to restore? A life where people are ready at the droop of the hat to sacrifice it all for the good of another – even someone that don’t know.

Categories: Bridge Collapse, news, Theology