Combating Theological Indifference

I remember one particular Sunday morning at a church I no longer attend.  I was asked to fill in as the teacher in a senior adult class whose teacher was not able to be there that day.  There was 12-15 people in the class and I knew them all.  Most had been faithful member of the church for many years (some as long as 30 or 40 years).  I don’t remember what the text was that day but I do remember that the subject of the passage was spiritual gifts.  About 1/2 through the lesson I noticed that the people seemed lost.  When that happens the cause is usually either that I have done a very poor job of teaching that day or it was a topic the people were not familiar with.  At one point I stopped the lesson and asked how many of them had heard of spiritual gifts or knew what they were.  The answer:  blank stares.  The response still stuns me.  I don’t say that to disparage or condemn anyone present in the class that day.  It is however an indictment of the church (in general).  Many churches are guilty of not teaching theology or worse, teaching that theology doesn’t matter.  My point here is not limited to the topic of spiritual gifts.  I think there are many theological topics which would have elicited the same response by a large portion of the church going population.  It was an indication of the theological indifference we see among believers today.

This theological indifference is a result of many complex issues all working together.  My purpose today is to offer one suggestion that will help to alleviate this problem.  My suggestion is not a quick fix or an immediate answer.  It is however very likely to work…given enough time.  So what is my suggestion?  I suggest that churches begin to teach systematic theology, in age appropriate ways, to children at the earliest possible opportunity.  There are curriculums available to help with this or the church can develop its own way of doing it.  How (method, material) it is done is less important than why it is done.  The purpose of teaching theology to kids is 1) to glorify God, 2) help them to develop a biblical worldview, and 3) help God be real to them as they learn more about Him.  A side benefit to this is that as the kids learn theology so will the adults.

So, basically I am saying that the children are our future (I could not resist that) and we should follow the biblical teaching to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  I have not suggested anything new or profound here.  I am only getting back to the biblical model.  Do you agree of disagree?  Have I left something out that you think should be added?  Leave a comment and we will discuss it.

 

 

What will be said about you at your funeral?

Last night my wife and I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a dear lady we had known for nearly 20 years.  We had not seen her in several years though.  I must admit that I don’t like funerals.  I go because it is the proper thing to do but I just like to.  I am sure I am not alone in that way.  Having said that, last nights funeral was different.  My wife and I agreed afterwards that it was probably the best funeral we had ever attended.  We spoke to others who shared our opinion on the matter.  So, what was different about this funeral?  Good question.   Nothing about the service itself stood out as noteworthy.  The funeral home did a fine job directing the event but there was nothing out of the ordinary.  The music was good but it also was nothing that isn’t usually heard at funerals.  The pastor preached a very nice sermon.  The content was biblical based and he spoke from the heart but it was not his ability to speak or the content of his message that stood out.  In the end, what really made this service different was life of the person we were there to pay our final respects to.  She lived a life in which God was glorified.  She was not a great missionary to some foreign country or someone others would consider important to the community (in a leadership capacity).  She was a woman who lived out what the bible teaches us and people recognized that about her.  The pastor shared with us how she showed her love to others in prayer and concern for them and how she was an example of a persistent woman like the woman wanting justice from the corrupt judge.  In effect, she preached her own funeral by the way she lived her life.  What a testimony she has left for those who knew her.

In pondering all of this last night a question occurred to me.  What will be said about me at my funeral?  Have you considered what will be said about you at your funeral?  Most of us, me included, don’t like to consider such things because we don’t really want to think about the fact that we will all die one day.  But think about it for a moment.  What will others say about you?  What testimony will we leave behind?  Now, I am not suggesting that our motive for living a certain way should be so that nice things are said about us when we are gone.  No, I am saying that we should live out what we believe God has taught us in his word so that when we die our loved ones will have the peace of mind of knowing that we are in Heaven and that God was glorified through the life we lived.  Think on this question today.  Are there changes we need to make to our lives?  If so, today is the day to start.  Eternity will be here before we know it and it will be too late then.  Glorify God and he will take of the rest.  He has promised us that he would.  Now, believe it and live each day accordingly.

God’s Sovereignty Is The Basis Of Evangelism

Have you ever considered on what basis Christians can evangelize the lost?  Now think about it a moment before you blurt out something like “because God tells us to”.  That is a true, God does indeed command us to evangelize but that does not address the basis for the evangelism.  So, what is the basis?

Alan Kurschner answers this question in this post over at Alpha & Omega Ministries.  He starts this way

God’s sovereign election is the only basis by which any believer has confidence to evangelize the lost. We do not know who the elect are in this lifetime, but what we do know with certainty is that there are elect out there.

All Christians, if they believe the Bible, must agree with this.  Read the rest of Alan’s post to see how he further explains this.  Let me know what you think.

2 Peter 3:9 – Who does “all” refer to?

2 Peter 3:9   The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Does 2 Peter 3:9 mean that God wants everyone to be saved?  Does all mean all all the time?  Can all ever mean something else?  Does this verse disprove the Doctrine of Election?  Lets see……..

This brief article, written by John Samson, seeks to explain this verse in context.  His explanation of this verse is the way I understand it too.  His conclusion is:

Rather than denying election, the verse, understood in its biblical context, is one of the strongest verses in favor of it.

Please take a moment to read the article to see how he comes to this conclusion.  Let me know what you think.

Keeping Things In Proper Perspective The Day After The Election

Tom Ascol of Founders Ministries posted on his blog this True / False test that was sent to him by Dr. Wyman Richardson who is pastor of FBC of Dawson, GA.  It really helps to put things in perspective.  Take the test and see if I am not right.  Have confidence in our God and His plans and purposes.  All things ultimately are for His glory.  GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL!!

Here is the test:

  1. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King.
  2. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.
  3. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.
  4. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order – (1) the Kingdom of God, (2) America, not vice-versa.
  5. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.
  6. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.
  7. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our children will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.
  8. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)
  9. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see abortion ultimately overturned will still be winning men and women to a high view of life through the gospel of Christ.
  10. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see gay marriage ultimately defeated will still be winning men and women to a biblical view of marriage through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  11. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.
  12. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.
  13. True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

John Calvin On The Sufficiency Of God

To conclude, in one word; as often as we call God the Creator of heaven and earth, let us remember that the distribution of all the things which he created are in his hand and power, but that we are his sons, whom he has undertaken to nourish and bring up in allegiance to him, that we may expect the substance of all good from him alone, and have full hope that he will never suffer us to be in want of things necessary to salvation, so as to leave us dependent on some other source; that in everything we desire we may address our prayers to him, and, in every benefit we receive, acknowledge his hand, and give him thanks; that thus allured by his great goodness and beneficence, we may study with our whole heart to love and serve him.  [Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin translated by Henry Beveridge; Book One, Chapter 14, Section 22]

Joy Derived From Watching My Daughter Play Softball

I was an athlete when I was a kid. No matter what sport I was playing I really, really enjoyed playing. I know now that it was the competition. I enjoyed the challenge of competing. I hated to lose. I still hate to lose but I deal with it much better now than I did when I was younger.

My daughters have reached ages where they are now beginning to play sports. My 11 year old has not been into sports much but has decided she now wants to play basketball and softball. My 7 year old (turns 8 next month) has played T-ball for a couple years and has moved up to the “minors” this year. Instead of the tee, she will now hit off the pitching machine. Just in case you are curious the machine is set at 35 miles per hour. I am not coaching her this year. I don’t have time to be the head coach but I usually volunteer to be an assistant. I did so again this year but there were already enough assistant coaches. It is killing me not to be able to coach especially since my daughter wants me to but it may be better for her if I don’t this year.

Yesterday I was watching the team practice and a huge wave of joy and pride suddenly hit me. It actually caught me off guard. I have always been proud of my kids but it was something more (for lack of a better description) yesterday. My daughter will not be the best player on her team but nobody will give more effort that she does. I can see how much she enjoys playing.  I also noticed how coachable she has become (she is not that way when I try to work with her). I can’t describe the feelings of joy I had as I was watching her learning how to field grounders (it looks like she is going to be playing third base) and what to do with the ball in the different situations she will encounter in a game. I can see the competitiveness growing in her almost daily.

I know that sports are unimportant in the grand scheme of things but kids can, and do, learn many valuable life lessons from playing sports. There are so many teaching opportunities for parents that arise as a result of kids playing sports that it is well worth the time and money it costs (usually). I try hard to take advantage of those opportunities and it gives me a chance to spend some time with my kids doing some we all enjoy.

My joy is also greatly increased by the fact that I know God is dealing with this same daughter.  It appears it will only be a matter of time before the Lord calls her and she becomes His child.  That is much more important than anything else.  I don’t think I will be able to contain my joy when that happens.   I was unable to contain it when my 11 year old became His child and she loves to tell people about how I cried.

This has reminded me of the fact that children are a gift from God.  The joy and blessings we receive from them far out weighs any hurt or problems we might have from them (check back with me when they hit the teenage years…I might think differently then).   We are to be stewards of the children God gives us by  raising our children in His ways and preparing them for the tasks He is going to give them later in life.  Keep an eternal perspective and you can’t go wrong.

Mark Dever On How We Reflect The Image Of Our God

Your life, you see, is like one of those old Polaroid snapshots. It is slowly but surely developing into a picture of the God you worship. Before your very eyes you see in yourself the image of your god, the picture of the person or the thing you worship, coming into focus as its character is replicated in your life.

This quote is from p. 117. It is in the chapter in which Dever discusses a biblical understanding of conversion. It gives us a powerful picture of what happens in our lives. He is saying that we become what we worship. If we worship the God of the universe we will become like Him. If we worship some other god, then we will become like it.

This is very plain language telling us that we can tell the attributes of our God by looking at our lives. More importantly, others can see what god we worship by looking at our lives. What does your life tell people about the god you worship? Is it the God of the Bible? Some other god?

I was teaching this same principle to my junior youth class last night. I wish I had seen this quote before the class because I would have read it to them. I may go back and read it to them next week. I asked them to think about the kind of person they would like to be. I had them to give some characteristics of that person. Then I talked to them about the choices they make and how those choices move them toward being that person or move them away from being that person.

Do you agree with Dever’s quote? If not, why?

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