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Martin LutherOn All Hallow’s Eve (October 31), us Protestants recognize and remember this day in church history: The pivotal night a 16th century manic monk turned fiery reformer named Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis on a lone church door in 1517.   Luther is a man I continually relate to on so many levels—even if he did live several centuries before me.  He’s a man who understood the necessity of the gospel narrative and grasped a sliver of its wonder and beauty, he also possessed an uncanny ability to put those thoughts into words.  And so, I have assembled hundreds of favorite quotes by the man. 
 
Here’s one for the ages: 
 
There are some who have no understanding to hear the truth of freedom and insist upon their goodness as means for salvation. These people you must resist, do the very opposite, and offend them boldly lest by their impious views they drag many with them into error. For the sake of liberty of the faith do other things which they regarded as the greatest of sins… use your freedom constantly and consistently in the sight of and despite the tyrants and stubborn so that they may learn that they are impious, that their law and works are of no avail for righteousness, and that they had no right to set them up.
 
It’s no secret I love Luther… this small sampling might kind of help explain why.
 
Thoughts?

The post earlier today brought this to mind. Haven’t had the privilege of attending any of the Gospel Coalition Conferences, but was able to recently catch this message by Tim Keller on sharing the gospel and consequently confronting idolatry.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thoughts?

broken breadUpdate: Don’t do much updating to my posts but I was just listening to Michael Spencer’s weekly podcast #162 (aka imonk) and something he said kind of summed up in a sense the following post I wrote earlier this afternoon.  He was speaking about meeting an educated young man this past week and discussing evolution and how refreshing the conversation was and then stated, “…not going to change the minds of people, don’t even want to try. Because the cost would be too high to my ability to share the gospel, and the gospel is what puts all of these things into perspective. You’ll never know why we can have a different attitude about science than fundamentalists have if you don’t understand that the gospel is what adds the value to everything we do or takes away the value from what is not valuable.”  Bingo bango, Spencer is right on.   

Much of what I encounter in the “Christian” blogosphere seems to suggest that we can almost argue, reason, or push people into the Kingdom with a barrage of the most impressive explanations and the right combination of the slickest words and terms in the English language.  It’s as if the particular kind of bloggers I have in mind assume that in our interacting and conversing with unbelievers—if our theological acumen and scientific knowledge is only weighty and persuasive enough—we will render the unbeliever/skeptic speechless and bring him to his intellectual knees (and subsequently, to the place of genuine faith).    

Well, I beg to differ.

Some are quick to point to Paul conversing with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Acts 17.  But even there “Paul’s evangelism again follows the pattern of ‘reasoning’ about Jesus and the resurrection (IVP New Testament Commentaries).”  When Peter writes “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”, I get the feeling that he isn’t saying anything close to “Be ready to list 15 irrefutable reasons you believe in intelligent design”, Read the rest of this entry »

calvinEven though I no longer identify with the term “Calvinist” and haven’t for a few years now I still can appreciate many of the contributions he made to modern day Christianity—all his faults aside.  I consider myself a “hopeful Protestant” (as my bio says).  More than that, I identify with the following label over any other bar none—“Jesus-follower by the grace of God”.  That being said, I’d still pick John Calvin for my team if I were a captain and he was somehow available when I got to pick.
     
Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God. But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free. It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe. 
      
~John Calvin, from the preface of Pierre Robert Olivétan’s French translation of the New Testament in 1534
                  
Thoughts?
 

 

…a Driscoll favorite out of my video archives, worth your time.

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Thoughts?

There’s no story within the entire bible that is more gospel rich if you ask me, and this story is personal for me, as it should be for all of us who know Christ.   I posted this a couple months back on another blog I do.  If you didn’t see it grab some Kleenex…

It’s for those of us who find ourselves wandering away from our loving heavenly Father in our every day lives from time to time.

Thoughts?

preacherNot sure how serious or accurate my friend and blogging mentor Michael Spencer (aka imonk) was when he said recently that “About 98% of the Christian blogosphere is written by preachers about preaching,” …but I do know that I don’t weigh in on the matter all that much (which I surely have my opinions about).  It could be that its been almost 15 years since I stepped into a pulpit.  Or simply—although Spencer is exagerating—there is some truth to what he says and I figure there’s no need to add my 3 cents worth since I don’t preach anymore (from the pulpit at least, but would surely consider). 

So I’m not turning a new leaf over just yet—just gonna pass on some wise advice that showed up in my inbox today.

A man may be called to preach the gospel in the same place for years, and he may, at times, feel burdened by the thought of having to address the same audience, on the same theme, week after week, month after month, year after year.  He may feel at times at a loss for something new, something fresh, some variety. …It will greatly help such to remember that the one grand theme of the preacher is Christ.  The power to handle that theme is the Holy Ghost; and the one to whom that theme is to be unfolded is the poor lost sinner.  Now Christ is ever new; the power of the Spirit is ever fresh; the soul’s condition and destiny ever intensely interesting. Furthermore, it is well for the preacher to bear in mind, on every fresh occasion to rising to preach, that those to whom he preaches are really ignorant of the gospel, and hence he should preach as though it were the very first time his audience had ever heard the message, and the first time he had ever delivered it. …To preach the gospel is really to unfold the heart of God, the person and work of Christ; and all this by the present energy of the Holy Ghost, from the exhaustless treasury of holy Scripture.  ~C.H. McIntosh, Notes on Numbers, 1869

I couldn’t have said it that well if I had tried.

Thoughts?

HT: Tom Wood

…this is a little dated I know (older than a year—ancient).  Mark Driscoll clearly and powerfully lays out a case against religion that deserves your consideration.  

Thoughts?

nunsTim Brister has been blogging about the lost habit of repentance the last several days and I have benefited from his doing so.  A couple weeks ago I ran across the following clip from Spurgeon (although I can’t seem to reference it) and the words came back to mind this evening thanks to Tim’s reminders. 

His compassions are new every morning, because every morning I commit fresh sins.  Strange creature that I am, I can scarcely open my eyes to the light ere my complex nature begins to display the darkness that still lingers within me.  Miserable mass of humanity that I am by nature, I can hardly breathe without offending in the thoughts and imaginations of my heart; and even though I may watch my eyes, and guard my tongue, and keep the members of my body pure, yet my heart still goes wandering, and my tongue before long speaks idle words.  Yet the mercy is that, with the new sin, there always comes new pardon, for ‘His compassions are new every morning’… We have been washed in the precious blood of Jesus, and we are clean in the sight of God, but we need to be daily cleansed from our daily defilements, and every morning brings us grace.  ~C.H. Spurgeon

Thoughts?

One of the issues I go to lengths to address in the book I have been laboring away on is self-righteousness.  I call it old fashioned religion (and have titled a chapter as such).  Oddly, while writing, I have become increasingly aware of the Pharisee within myself, and not just how I “used to be” one, but how I continue to struggle to date.  When I began to write about the topic I was pretty much unaware of how often I fall into the role (and I will go as far as to say that I personally think it is the most unidentified sin).  Coming to grips with my tendency to play the Pharisee while feeling spiritually superior to others (as Tim Keller explains)—say a child molester or even my brother in Christ who does something “I’d never do”—has been eye opening as well as painful, and surprisingly freeing at the same time. 

It’s imperative if we would follow Jesus that we identify self-righteousness and assess the damage we do others—as well as ourselves—when we fall into the familiar trap. 

Tim Keller makes some great points on the subject here.

Thoughts?

HT: Tim Brister

a blog about radical discipleship, the gospel of grace, a theology of the cross, Christian spirituality, the mission of the church in this world and whatever else on the same wave length that may be running around the brain of a hopeful Protestant.

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