Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What we can learn from Jonathan Edwards

I have almost finished the "Lover of God" volume of the the Essential Edwards Collection by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney. This excerpt is from page 129.

The way in which Edwards responded to his firing is a model for all Christians who find themselves in grievous circumstances. Terrible things can happen to faithful Christians, including the loss of a job, the onset of a disease, and difficult family situations. In such circumstances, we should embrace Edward's model, and make the best of our situation. In his case, Jonathan used his firing as an opportunity to evangelize an unreached people and write an important theological texts. All this after the most embarrassing moment of his life! If Edwards can make the most of his awkward situation, so can we. When we find ourselves in such moments, then, we must rededicate ourselves to prayer and to the will of God and seek a place of service to the Lord. It may be that, like Edwards, the Lord desires us to do significant work for His kingdom that we would not otherwise have discovered on our prior path. How important it is not to consider only our difficulties, but to consider the will of God that is moving through our difficulties and that ultimately will bring good to us and glory to Him (Romans 8:28; 31-39).

Friday, April 09, 2010

Righteous vs. Unrighteous Judgement

Yesterday my 6-year old daughter was accosted by 3 Mennonite girls on the playground at McDonald's. They bullied her and held her by her pants not allowing her to go down the slide, and told her that she was immodestly dressed, which was a sin. My daughter is the "toughest" of my three children and it takes a lot to upset her. This did the trick, and scared her to the point of tears. To be fair, the mother of at least two of the girls apologized and had the girls apologize to my daughter.

As a Christian of much conviction myself, I understand teaching your children what you believe, though I disagree with their legalism. I also understand that children say and do things you don't want them to do, and children being mean to each other is just more evidence of our fallen nature. The interesting aspect is the realization that other people (non-Christians and probably some Christians) view me and my family the way I looked at the Mennonite family. They lump all conservative Christians into a category of "fundamentalists". Whether that word actually applies depends on the context and the meaning of the word, but that is another topic.

I think the point is to be aware that people are watching, and when we or our children make unrighteous moral judgments, it hurts more than just our reputation. The distinction should be made between righteous and unrighteous judgment, where Christians are called to judge righteously within the church, but not to judge the world. Distinction should be made between convictions in the non-essentials and behavior that is essential to the biblical definition of a follower of Christ. Matthew 7:1 (Judge not,lest you be judged) has been hijacked by our society to mean that you can't make any moral judgments on anyone. That is not the meaning of the text in context, and the irony is that anyone telling another person not to judge, citing that verse, is judging in the very act. It can be compared to liberals who won't "tolerate" "intolerance". It is almost comical how the obvious is overlooked.

Regardless of what the world does or thinks, Christians should be guarded to exhibit Christ like behavior, preaching the truth of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, as the good news in answer to the bad news that because of sin, we will all someday face judgment from the One who will righteously judge all creation.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Why John Piper invited Rick Warren to DG Conference

John Piper invites Rick Warren

The buzz online this week is about John Piper inviting Rick Warren to speak at his Desiring God Conference this fall. Certainly shocked me. I listened to his explanation here
I'm sure most of the reformed Piper followers will be upset with this, no matter the reasoning, and the Rick Warren followers won't know the difference. I wouldn't fly to Minneapolis to hear Warren defend his pragmatism, but Piper is certainly getting a lot of publicity out of this. I don't think it should be taken as sign that Piper is "going pragmatic" in his old age, though that does happen some times. We should keep in mind that no man has a complete grasp on truth, and even if this turns out to be a poor decision on by Piper, we never should have expected perfection from him in the first place. Our loyalty should be to the infallible word of God, and not to a man or denomination.