Are you a Christian hedonist?

Should you be?  The short answer, according to John Piper, is yes.  In Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, Piper makes his case for why he believes the Bible teaches that we should all be Christian hedonists.  This is a book that I can highly recommend.  It was originally written about 25 years ago (1986)  and a revised edition has been released this year.  The book will be helpful for Christians of any maturity level but I think it will be most helpful for younger or newer believers.  It will drive them to Scriptures to see whether Piper’s claims and explanations are true.  It will also serve to get rid of some of the stereotypes placed on Christians.

Piper lives by the motto “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”.  Starting with this he lays out the biblical case that all Christians should be Christian hedonists.  Christian hedonism is defined as a philosophy of life in which Christians seek to maximize their joy with the understanding that the only true way to accomplish this is to seek it in Christ.  As our joy in Christ grows He receives more glory.

This book is saturated with Scripture.  Piper backs up everything he says by proving it from the word of God.  He also quotes other sources extensively such as Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, an many, many more.  He deals with many areas Christians can exercise their Christian hedonism such as worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and sufferings.  Christian hedonism should touch every aspect of the believers life and draw him/her closer to God.

Do yourself a favor and read this book……

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Why Is Looking For A Church So Difficult?

My family and I have recently begun to look for a new church home.  I won’t go into the reasons we left our previous church except to say that we just did not “fit” there.  So now we have to find a church where we do “fit”.  It is proving to be more difficult that you might expect.  There are a few reasons for this.

First, unless you have a change of life circumstance (such as moving for a new job) you are probably leaving as a result of some problem.  The problem may be with you or with the church.  As a result, there are probably some frustrations or hurt feelings to overcome.  If not dealt with these will hinder most of us, at least for a while, in the search for a new church home.

Second, many churches are structured and function very similarly to every other church in your area.  This similarity can be a strength but it can also be a weakness.  So when you visit a new church, especially within the same denomination, you are likely to be very familiar with what is going on there.  What are you to do if one of the reasons you are leaving is the “traditional” structure?  For example, lets assume that one of the reasons you are leaving your current church is the emphasis on a person’s decision (decisional regeneration) in the way the altar call is done.  If every other church you can choose to attend does it the same way then you really have no options.  This would contribute to the frustration you have.

Third, everybody has personal preferences in some things.  For example, some prefer a certain style of music in the worship service.  Some prefer a certain style of preaching or a particular Bible translation.  It is common to hear someone say something like “I won’t go to a church that does contemporary music” or “I won’t go to a church that does not use the King James version of the Bible”.  So, in the search for a new church you want to find one that fits most of your preferences.  These preferences are important but should not be the sole cause for rejecting a church.  Placing these types of limitations on the search for a suitable church may cause God’s will to be missed.

Fourth, sometimes there are other factors in the search for a new church.  For example, some have children so they are looking for a church with a biblically sound and vibrant youth and children’s program.   There are many good and healthy churches that may have a small number of kids.  They do a good job with the kids they have but there are just not many of them.  Bigger is not always better but bigger does usually mean more opportunities / activities.

All of these factors apply in my personal situation.  There may be other factors that would apply to you.  None of these should outweigh God’s will in our decision.  The problem comes when we look at these factors and try to filter God’s will through them.  This should never be the case.  I see nothing wrong with keeping these factors in mind while looking for where God wants you to end up but they must be put in their proper place.

Are you currently or have you been looking for a new church home?  If so, what factors are you considering that I have not mentioned here.  Leave a comment and let me know what they are…chances are other will have the same or similar ones.

Great Moments in Liberal History

This was too good not to share.  Enjoy

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.

Ever Wonder Why Christians Have Hope In Christ?

Then listen to this sermon and find out.  This sermon clearly explains the condition of the sinner before salvation and then explains what Christ has done for His people.  Listen to it and let me know what you think.

My Daughter’s Blog

My oldest daughter has started her own blog (click here).   If you are inclined and have a few minutes, check it out.

Marching Orders for Christians…..

If you are content with the state of Christianity in the United States today then this book (Radical:  Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream) is not for you.  David Platt examines the implementation of the American Dream into our churches that has occurred over the last couple decades and compares it to biblical Christianity.

Platt begins by giving a biblical picture of who Jesus is.  He follows this up with a biblical explanation of what the true Gospel is.  This is as it should be because this is the foundation of all that we are and do as Christians.  He then identifies and challenges many of the aspects that have come to define what a successful church and Christian are in our current society.  Movements such as the prosperity gospel and the seeker-sensitive church model are not mentioned by name but are taken to task and their reliance in their own abilities is proven to be non-biblical.  Waste and opulence in the church and the individual Christian’s life is contrasted with the want of the poor around the world.  Christians are challenged to change the way they think and they way they live out their faith.  Platt shows the biblical model of evangelism and discipleship.  God’s word is spread God’s people meeting the needs of those around then and teaching them all that they have been taught.  It involves God’s people going into the places where the poor are.  Our modern methods often involve trying to get the poor to come to us.  Platt finishes the book by challenging the readers to take up his radical challenge for one year.  He promises that if the challenge is accepted and completed it will change the life of the person taking it.  The challenge consists of five parts:  pray for the whole world for one year, read the Bible completely in one year, sacrifice your money for a specific purpose, spend time in another context, and commit to multiplying the community of believers.

This book was definitely a convicting read.  It should make every Christian examine how he currently lives out his faith and when not in agreement with the Bible to make appropriate changes.  This process should also drive people back to God and a dependence on Him for all that He has given us to do.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Some Points to Consider When Examining Limited Atonement

I think I prefer the term Particular Redemption over Limited Atonement but the concept is the same.  In this article, Robertson lists several points in favor of limited atonement Roger Nicole made from chapter 5 of his book Our Sovereign Savior.  One of the best points is

The real issue is the design or intent of the Father when he sent his Son to die on the cross and purchase redemption for sinners.  Since all sinners do not get saved then there is either a limit in the effectiveness of the atonement or a limit in its intent.  Was God doing something to save all sinners and failed?  Or was God purchasing the salvation of the elect and succeeded?

I have heard this before.  I have used this myself.  I have yet to hear a reasonable response to this.  That does not mean that one does not exist but I have yet to encounter it.  Please read the list and leave a comment with your response to any one or all of them.

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.

Moore’s Response to Reformed Red Flags

Jared Moore has responded to the document that was recently being distributed among West Tennessee churches in order to help them determine if their pastor is a “dirty Calvinist”.  It contained 16 things that churches should look for.  Moore responds to each of the 16 things with some much needed sanity.

There does not have to be a division in the SBC over this issue.  It is my hope that at some point those who are so vocal about their opposition to Reformed Theology in the SBC will realize this.