Monthly Archives: November 2014

This Little Church Went To Market

“In order to market a church to the unsaved consumer, he must be given what he wants.  Since unsaved consumers do not desire God, or the things of God, they have to be enticed by something else.  Thus the temptation arises for a church to change, or at least hide, who they are so that they appeal to unchurched Harry.  Additionally, the church is tempted to alter its message to correspond with what Harry wants to hear and thinks he needs.  The end result is a felt-needs gospel that appeals to Harry’s fallen nature in an effort to entice him to come to Christ, the ultimate felt-need supplier, so that he is fulfilled and feels better about himself” (This Little Church Went To Market by Gary Gilley p. 44).

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The State of Theology h/t Ligonier and LifeWay

TheStateOfTheology-Infographic

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Thank God for the New Atheism!

Such a snazzy title. How can one not read it? I recently came across this article from Alister McGrath (Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford) that was pretty insightful. He writes,

So let me begin by thanking Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens for causing this new cultural interest in God and religion. Their high-profile campaigns against faith have reopened both interest in and discussion of the big questions of life. I’m delighted that they have done so.

The “Four Horsemen” are given credit for opening the theistic debate once again and peaking the interest of the masses. This is an interesting case of man meaning it for evil and God meaning it for good. What is even more interesting is the criticism that the “Four Horsemen” have received from their own atheistic counter parts as being uninformed and lacking thoughtfulness. An example of this can be seen here.

If you remember our discussion on the Trinity back in June I discussed Hitchens’ book God Is Not Great. Aside from my critique of his book I also expressed that I could not figure out how it was that this book was a best seller. McGrath explains that their overly simplified approach to the debate and “sloganeering” was the catalyst that opened the conversation once again. And now as McGrath has stated “The conversation has now moved past the sloganeering stage. The froth has disappeared, leaving us free to look critically at arguments and evidence. And that’s when things have started to get interesting all over again.”

Now as the result of the work of the “Four Horseman” we can come to the table once again and talk seriously about the Theistic debate. You can read the whole article here.

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Class Christmas Party

Mark your calendar. December 5th will be our class Christmas party. This year we will have a white elephant gift exchange. As for food you can bring what ever finger food or dessert you like. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.

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New Poll By Life Way Finds Gaps In Christian Ed

Bad news in the area of Christian Education. Apparently a survey was conducted by Life Way for Ligonier that showed many “evangelicals” are confused about the beliefs of the Christian faith. While there was some good findings like belief in the resurrection, salvation in Christ alone, there were other areas mostly pertaining to Christ’s nature, the order of salvation, and the Holy Spirit that received low scores. One of the quotes I found interesting explaining this phenomenon was by John Stackhouse:

John Stackhouse, professor of theology and culture at Regent College in Vancouver, agrees. “We continue to hold adult Christian education in low regard,” he said. “A sermon on Sunday morning and a conversational Bible study during the week won’t get the job done of informing and transforming people’s minds along the lines of orthodox Christian belief.”

I think Stackhouse has a point with one caveat. The challenge isn’t with the quantity of meeting opportunities but more with the quality. He mentions for example “conversational Bible study”. A conversational approach isn’t necessarily the problem. I have seen conversational approaches done well and I’ve seen them done very poorly. The purpose of the conversational approach is to help people internalize the answers. However, it should not be used as an opportunity for “stream of consciousness” or subjectivist Bible study where everyone has a thought and they’re all correct (This reminds me of Paul’s criticism of the Corinthians).

At any rate you can read about the survey conducted by Life Way here. Feel free to leave any comments.

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Bible Reading Plans

All, my apologies for posting this so late. A few Sundays back we talked about the view of Scripture as it is articulated in the BFM (Baptist Faith and Message). During that discussion we talked about having a Bible reading plan to follow. I recommended the one I use located at https://www.bible.com/. Mark Mathews also shared a method that he uses. Below he has outlined different Bible reading plans that you can use in your daily Bible reading. Thanks Mark.

Method 1 – Through the Bible in a Year

The One Year Bible – Bibles that are broken up into daily readings. By far the easiest.

Method 2 – Through the Bible in a Year

Old Testament Reading

Read through the OT in a year.
A. 3 chapters a day – about 20 minutes in the morning or evening
B. Include 1 chapter of Proverbs a day – 31 days – 12 times a year.
C. Keep a journal of things you read for further study – at this point you are just
reading the text.

New Testament Reading

Read through the NT in a year.
A.    Read 1 chapter a day – about 5-10 minutes
B.    Include 1 chapter of Proverbs a day – 31 days – 12 times a year.
C.    Keep a journal of things you read for further study – at this point you are just reading the text.

Method 3 – Through the OT in a year. Through the NT 3 times in a year. (45 min)

Old Testament Reading Program:

Same as Method 2 above
.
New Testament Reading Program:

Read through the NT 3 times in a year.
A.    Read 3 chapters a day – about 20 minutes in the morning or evening
B.    Include 1 chapter of Proverbs a day – 31 days – 12 times a year.
Keep a journal of things you read for further study – at this point you are just reading the text

Method 4 – Through the OT in a year. Through the NT once a month. (60-90 min.)

Old Testament Reading Program:

Same as Methods 2 & 3

New Testament Reading Program:

Read through the NT once a month.
A.    Read 9 chapters a day – about 45 minutes in the morning or evening
B.    Keep a journal of things you read for further study – at this point you are just reading the text

Method 5 – Through the OT in a year. NT 30 times in about 2 years.
(This method is by far the most difficult but reaps the biggest rewards)

Old Testament Reading Program:

Same as Methods 2, 3 & 4

New Testament Reading Program:

Read 5-7 chapters a day in the NT for continuity

Read the same book every day for 30 days.

Start with smaller book (Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians) then move to longer books and break them up into small sections (Matt. 1-7, Matt. 8–14, Matt. 15–21, Matt. 22-28)
One Chapter books (Philemon, II & III John & Jude) can be read 30 times in just a few days. Three Chapter books (II Tim, Titus, II Thess) can be read 30 times in about 15 days.

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