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Archive for May, 2009

Five Marks (or “Vitamins”) of a Renewed, Vital, Revived, and Dynamic Church

From the sermon:

Blueprint for Revival; Introduction 2
From the series: Revival
by Dr. Timothy J. Keller
August 5, 1990
Acts 2:37-47
Duration: 41:01

5 things:

1.  Vibrant Worship

2.  Intimate, Exciting, Loving Fellowship and Community

3.  Teaching With Theological Depth

4.  Effective Communication of the Gospel (Aggressive Evangelism)

5.  Compassionate Social Concern

Keller lists these things at the 10 and 19 minute marks in the sermon.

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I hope to supplement this post in the near future.

     

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From The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard:

Two Harmful Myths

Unfortunately, a number of myths associated with this part of disciple training on behalf of Jesus are now dominant. One is the idea that questions about God as creator have recently been conclusively settled in the negative by the progress of “scientific knowledge,” and that nothing of significance can be known of God from examining the order of nature — or anything else there may be.

One hundred years ago, by contrast, the general assumption was that those questions had been settled in the positive: God was regarded as manifestly present in nature. These positive answers were routinely taught as knowledge in schools at all levels, and the few dissenters were heard. No doubt the dissenters often were not treated with dignity.

Now the pattern is almost exactly reversed. But just as the positive answers in earlier times were sometimes based more on readiness to believe then on accurate thinking — though there was really no need for that — so the negative “answers” that now dominate our culture are mainly based on a socially enforced readiness to disbelieve. And those negative answers, which find no God in nature, really do need help from social conditioning.

As I said earlier in a similar connection (chapter 3), absolutely nothing of substance has changed in the last century or more with regard to the basic issues about God, the world, and the human self. [Footnote 11*] In this type of book we can only state that the reasons for believing God is the creator, which were good reasons in other years still are good reasons, and in training the apprentices of Jesus we should present them thoroughly and carefully, updating them in any way appropriate.

To understand why the negative prejudice is so strong now, just reflect on how the entire system of human expertise, as represented by our many-tiered structure of certification and accreditation, has a tremendous vested interest in ruling God out of consideration. For, if it cannot do that, it is simply wrong about what it presents as knowledge and reality — of which God is no part. As we noted earlier, God currently forms no part of recognized human competence in any field of knowledge or practice.

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*Chapter 9, Footnote 11: The technical discussion of “Intelligent Design” in nature is currently at a very exciting and intellectually profitable boil. See Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: The Free Press, 1996).

Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, pp. 330-1.

In footnote 8 in Chapter 9, Willard directs readers to his essay “Language, Being, God, and the Three Stages of Theistic Evidence,” in Does God Exist, edd. J. P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990, pp. 196-217.  This is now online, and I have provided the link.

   

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This is part 2 of my notes and comments on Tim Keller’s talk on The Sufficiency of the Gospel in a Postmodern World.

Part 1 is here.

20:00

Six point approach to communicating the gospel in a post-modern society.

The first 3: 1. Gospel theologizing 2. Gospel realizing 3. Gospel urbanizing.

1. Gospel Theologizing

Jonah 1:1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, “Go to Nineveh and preach.” Keller used to think that the gospel was the basics, and theology was the advanced stuff. Now he sees that all theology has to be an exposition of the gospel.

Clear and Present WordMark Thompson has a book called Clear and Present Word about the clarity of the Word in a postmodern setting. He comes up with a view of human language that is gospel-based. It is based on the trinity. The goal of God speaking is divine saving action. Human language is an imperfectly utilized gift from God. The whole purpose of language is gospel.

Every part of our theology has to be an exposition of the gospel.

 

26:45

We also have to bring theology to bear on the gospel. Keller has not seen a gospel presentation that really addresses postmodern people.

The older ones (four spiritual laws) were: God, sin, Christ, faith. They got across grace not works, but there was no story arc. Systematic theology but no biblical theology. As a result, they were individualistic and almost consumeristic. The idea of the Kingdom of God was not there. The lordship of Christ over all of life is not part of them. It does not follow on from them.

28:20

When you go to the emerging church, the post-liberal church, it is all about the kingdom. The redemption story is there. We had a world that we wanted, lost it, Christ has created a people, brought the kingdom. Now you need to be part of God’s kingdom program which is going to heal the world of injustice. Emphasis on corporate, not individual, but you lose the emphasis on grace v. works and substitutionary atonement. In the end it is kind of a liberal legalism.

29:45

We need to develop user-friendly gospel presentations that merge both so that people can grasp it rather quickly and easily. But there has to be a process.

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Comments to follow.

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I am meditating on 1 John 4:7-21 this week.

Perfect loves casts out fear.  The following is the NASB with links to the Greek Lexicon at Crosswalk.com.

 

1Jo 4:16
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1Jo 4:17
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
1Jo 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  

 

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My thoughts on “good fear” and “bad fear” will follow in another post.

The full lectionary for this day is here.

         

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With the demise of Zhubert.com for copyright reasons, we desparately need a reliable version of the Greek New Testament that is available to all online with no unreasonable copyright restrictions.

Leave a comment here if you are interested in helping or are aware of efforts to create one already.

     

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Part 3 from The Voyage of the Dawntreader:

“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.  You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place.  It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.

“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”

 

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Previous posts are here and here.

    

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Geographers from Kansas State University have used certain statistical measurements to quantify the nation’s sins and come up with a national map claiming to show various degrees of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

The article that sets forth the statistics that were used is here:

By culling statistics from nationwide databanks of things like sexually transmitted disease infection rates (lust) or killings per capita (wrath), the researchers came up with a sin index. This is a precision party trick — rigorous mapping of ridiculous data.

Some of the logic behind the mapping seems rather dubious.  For example, “gluttony” was calculated by counting the number of fast food restaurants per capita.  How about mapping the per capita number of five star restaurants?

 

Hat tip: Alan Jacobs and Andrew Sullivan.

    

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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Acts 2:42, NIV.

The early believers “devoted” themselves to several things.  What kind of devotion is involved here?  Here is the lexical entry for “proskartereo,” which will give you an idea of the semantic field (range of meaning) of the Greek word:

  • to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one
  • to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing
  • to continue all the time in a place
  • to persevere and not to faint
  • to show one’s self courageous for
  • to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly
  • It is worth meditating on what this means for each of the things to which they devoted themselves.

    Does devotion to the apostles’ teaching mean simply listening to a sermon once a week?  How do we apply this today?  Could it include reading, study, meditation, memorization, discussion, dialogue, pondering, self-examination and application?  Does it mean going deep or staying shallow?

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