When Liberal Theology Invades

church-of-scotland-authorizes-same-sex-marriage-days-of-lot-933x445The Episcopal Church released its 2016 denominational statistics recently.  In it researchers found decline of 34,179 in membership. This was an improvement from the decline of 37,669 in 2015.  To see the hard data click the 2016 Parochial Report.

Why the hard decline in the US Episcopal Church? I am sure there are a variety of reasons, as it is a complicated issue.  But one contributing factor, in my opinion, is their shift toward a liberal interpretation of marriage and sexuality.  In 2003 the Episcopal church ordained their first openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson.  It is a dangerous gamble for any church to redefine what God has established in regarding to sexuality which Christianity has been unanimous on for thousands of years.  If the things of this world creep into an individual’s, or an institution’s, priorities, you might find yourself at odds with God.

1 John2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

To be fair, Southern Baptists have their own issues. I admit they too have declined. But the data suggests mainline denominations are declining at a higher rate. (2016: Episcopal – lost 35,000 of 1 million membership = approximately 2%, SBC – lost 77,000 of 15 million membership = approximately .5%)  In the article “FactChecker: Are All Christian Denominations in Decline?” the author shows a clear distinction between theologically liberal and conservative denominations.  He says, “While conservative churches aren’t growing as quickly as they once were, mainline churches are on a path toward extinction. The mainline churches are finding that as they move further away from Biblical Christianity, the closer they get to their inevitable demise.”

Powerful words.

And a powerful reminder that faithfulness to sound doctrine is a key ingredient in the health and mission of the church.  Let this be an encouragement for biblically faithful doctrine personally, as well as in the leadership of the church you attended.  I did not say “your church” because it is not yours, it is the Bride of Christ, bought with His blood, and His alone.

Free Resources from Southern Seminary

Southern Seminary has made some of it’s best content available for free download.

Go to the SBTS Press for access to these seven free pdf e-books, or just click the links provided here.

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God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines 

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Edited by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Christians and homosexuality is a hotly debated topic in today’s evangelical world, and Southern Seminary continues that conversation in this publication. Matthew Vines’s new book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, argues that homosexual orientation and committed same-sex relationships are consistent with a “high view” of the Bible and evangelical Christianity. Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. and four other seminary faculty members refute this claim in the new SBTS Press e-book, God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines.

Each chapter refutes Vines’s claims from six specific Scriptural references to homosexuality. Mohler’s chapter provides an overview critique of Vines’s book. James M. Hamilton Jr., professor of biblical theology, addresses the Old Testament claims; Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies, addresses New Testament claims; Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology looks at the church history assertions; and Heath Lambert, assistant professor of biblical counseling, answers whether there is such a thing as a “gay Christian.”

Download the free e-book or PDF

 


The Call to Ministry

by R. Albert Mohler Jr., Donald S. Whitney and Daniel S. Dumas

This is a different sort of book. Or workbook. Or journal. Whatever it is, this resource from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is meant to help you discern whether or not God has called you to ministry. And it’s meant for you to use and devour. You’ll notice pages with blank space; those pages are for you to respond to questions, react to the quotations and reflect on the Scripture references you’ll find throughout. So, open your Bible, get out your pen and discover whether God has called you to this most noble and weighty task. Watch the promotional video by Dan Dumas here. 

                                                   Order Now:

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A Guide to Evangelism

 

by Dan DeWitt

A Guide to Evangelism, edited by Dan DeWitt, will equip Christians and churches with the tools they need for more faithful evangelism. With chapters focusing on the role that a church’s preaching and polity can play in the task of evangelism, as well as chapters with practical advice for Christians engaging different groups, such as Muslims, skeptics and nominal Christians, this book will help Christians fulfill their role inspreading the gospel so that grace extends to more people to the glory of God.

 

                                                 Order Now:

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A Guide to Expository Ministry

 

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by Dan Dumas, Ed.
Expository preaching is a call to deliver from the pulpit what has already been delivered in the Scriptures. A Guide to Expository Ministry, edited by Dan Dumas, calls for the recovery of this kind of preaching in local churches. The book also encourages faithful, qualified pastors to apply the demands of expository preaching to their lives and to their preparation. Lastly, the book provides practical help for all of God’s people to become more effective sermon listeners, Bible readers and church members.

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Una Guia Para El Ministerio Expositivo

 

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEDan Dumas, Ed.
La predicación expositiva es una llamado a entregar desde el púlpito lo que ya ha sido entregado en las Escrituras. Una guía para el ministerio expositivo, editado por Dan Dumas, hace un llamado a recobrar este tipo de predicación en las iglesias locales. Este libro también exhorta a los pastores fieles y calificados a que apliquen las demandas de la predicación expositiva en sus vidas y su preparación. Por último, este libro provee ayuda práctica para que aquellos que componen el pueblo de Dios sean más efectivos como oidores de sermones, lectores de sus Biblias y como miembros de sus iglesias.

Ordene Ahora:

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A Guide to Adoption and Orphan Care

 

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by Russell D. Moore, Ed.

The current adoption culture among Christians is a necessary and welcomed movement. Many people, however, don’t understand how the Bible directs and informs adoption. A Guide to Adoption and Orphan Care, edited by Russell D. Moore, seeks to help adoptive parents and churches better think about and practice adoption.

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A Guide to Biblical Manhood

 

altBy Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas
How to serve your wife, how to mold men through baseball, how to make men in the church and more practical theology for cultivating men of God who are doers of the Word for the sake of the Gospel.

 

You are NOT a Student First

For a few brief years you may hear this phrase by well meaning adults, “Remember… You are a student first”.

While the intention may be noble, the message is flawed.

Yes, students need to focus on their studies while in high school or college. They do not need to get the balance of social life, work, school and many other activities so out of whack that academic discipline takes a backseat.

But are you really a student “First”? Is there not a more important mission and goal of life even during the years in which you are a student? Is there a broader perspective that allows your identity to remain intact even beyond school and career decisions?

The answer is a resounding “YES”. Paul says to the Corinthian believers, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)

Let this dominate our identity in all stages of our life, from student to career to family, to everything! This clip says it beautifully in 1:48 of your day, that will be well spent.  Watch it and be encouraged.

Carl F. H. Henry – An Evangelical Giant

You may have not heard his name, but Carl F. H. Henry has dramatically and directly impacted YOU.Carl F. H. Henry  He may be one of the least known Christian thinker in modern Christianity, yet he wielded huge cultural influence in his time.  I would like to do my part to remedy this short-sightedness.

I am increasingly loving what I learn about this man.  He lived from 1913-2003 and was on the cutting edge of defining what it meant to be an Evangelical, in a time when you were either a Liberal or a Fundamentalist.

As Liberals were rejecting the Bible and Fundamentalists were retreating from society, Henry stood tall and proclaimed there is a way to be Biblically faithful and culturally relevant! Thus the birth of the Evangelical movement.

What Billy Graham was in the pubic eye, Carl Henry was in the Academic eye.  Henry put biblical Christianity back on the map of scholarly thinking.

At the urging of his friend Billy Graham, Henry was the founding editor of Christianity Today.  He was on the founding faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary.  He signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy along with James Montgomery Boice, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer and R.C. Sproul, to mention a few.

Henry wrote some impactful books that shaped our understanding of church and life.  The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalismand his magnum opus, God, Revelation, and Authority are two major titles.

Today you can learn more about Carl F. H. Henry through several means:

It is my goal to get to know this great leader within the Evangelical heritage, and I encourage you to do the same!

 

Reformation Trust Publishing – A Treasure Trove of Free Resources

Fill your Kindle or iPad  with great theology for FREE. I stumbled upon this site after a recommendation from my pastor of a book that was being offered free. As I started clicking around I found many great topics that real people have real questions about. These are answered in free downloadable books.

Thank you Reformation Trust Publishing (click for the link) for not being all about the money, but caring more about the dissemination of Truth.

My pastor noted that, John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology is currently free. I don’t believe this is always free, but it is now so grab it. 

Also all of the “Crucial Questions Series” books are available totally free. There are many topics addresses that you may be interested in. Here is the tip of the iceberg of series titles:

  • Who is Jesus?
  • Does Prayer Change Things?
  • Can I Trust the Bible?
  • Does God Control Everything?
  • Can I be Sure I am Saved?
  • What is the Church, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper? (3 separate books)
  • What is the Trinity?
  • and many more…

Here is an Amazon Books link that shows, in order of price, downloads offered by this publisher. Also you can simply search for Reformation Trust in the Amazon search field and you will find these. Note: Amazon has a lot of their offerings, but not all of them. You will find more on their website and can download them (still free) there with a free account. I prefer amazon personally…

While all the books on this site are not free, (they still have to pay the bills too) I’m very happy to see many that are. So I wanted to make you aware of this resource if you have any of these questions rolling around in your mind. Allow these readings to push you not to knowing more theology, but to a relationship with the author of Truth himself, Jesus Christ.

 

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Your Pain is not Meaningless

Whether secretly or publicly, some of you may be going through some of the hardest days of your life at this very moment. I know friends and family that are hurting. Life if full of pain. But Take Heart! Be encouraged! If you believe the Bible like I do, then it is not for nothing!

“Not only is all your affliction momentary. Not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful.” -John Piper

This is the opening phrase in the audio insert of Piper in the below video. If you are in the middle of difficult circumstances this song and clip is for you. Really, this is for all of us, because hard times are no respecter of persons. The song is powerful but don’t miss the audio clip of Piper at 3:23 which is a selection for his 2013 sermon “Do Not Lose Heart”.

2 Cor. 4:16-18  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

“Though You Slay Me” – Shane and Shane

I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still all that I need
You’re enough for me
You’re enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

Can you be “Too Theological” for Teens?

–   NO!  –  You can be too boring. You can be a bad communicator. You can refuse to speak their language. But you cannot waste Truth. Theology is how we understand God. If you think someone is “too theological” you probably are reacting against individual characteristics of that person rather the desire to understand and know God.

Sometimes we think that teenagers don’t care about the things of God or they wont understand theology if they were taught it. Shame on us if we believe or propagate this lie. Teenagers today care deeply about spiritual things, they just have had little exposure to Truth! This generation is seeking something real. Why else is there the hunger for social justice we see in young adults if there was no understanding of right and wrong? Why is this generation so driven for purpose and meaning if there is no fulfillment for that desire in something bigger than ourselves?

I believe this generation is starving for good theology. They are hungry for real convictions. And, by the grace of God, when given the opportunity they will soak it up like a sponge. Yet, they can sniff out insincerity like a shark smells a drop of blood in the water. They refuse to play a game when it comes to matters of faith. They are looking: What will you offer them? What will you live out in front of them?

Don’t sell your teenagers short when it comes to theology. If they can do physics and calculus in their school settings, we know they can handle complicated issues when they put their minds to it. Why should it be any different in church? Teenagers will rise to the level of expectation you place on them. If you expect them to only appreciate pizza parties and 3 minute devotionals, that is probably what you will get. If you challenge them to dive into the richness of scripture you may just see a new side of your teenagers.

supremacy

Last night at our student worship service I tested the limits of theology with teenagers. On the verge of summer break I taught on the “Supremacy of Christ over Your Summer”. We read over Colossians 1 and discussed who Christ truly is and how that applies to us right now. The kicker was this video I showed.

John Piper does a 18:53 minute talk on the doctrine of the Supremacy of Christ posted with a symphonic background by Brent Fischer. It planted new thoughts to grow in their mind. It painted a grand picture of Christ, one larger than we can fully comprehend. If you have not seen this video it will be 18 minutes and 53 seconds of well spent time. It will challenge you and give you perspective on the person of Christ.

Did Piper preach this for teens? Of course not. Can it inform and light a fire for teenagers? Yes! Because good theology provides the foundation for a passionate Christian life at any age.

Need Real Life Peace? Focus on Sound Theology.

These days we are flooded with the experiential and relational aspects of our faith. While we need to experience God and have an emotional connection as He moves, where is the bedrock for understanding how to relate to God?

The foundation is not rooted in emotional response. It is not rooted in ourselves at all.

Correct relation to God is based in a sound biblical theology. We allow God to tell us through His Word how we connect with Him. Therefore, when resting in a sound theology of God’s love and interaction with His creation we can find peace for real life. We are not stranded, fighting for ourselves. We have one who fights for us. Sound theology directly influences our real lives. Check out the Peanuts comic strip that sees this connection when many people go though life and miss it.

Sound theology is believing correct things about God. Bad theology is believing incorrect things about God. The way we know the difference between the two is knowing the Bible. Dive in and find the truth of the Scriptures and see how it speaks to real life today.                                                                  -Adam

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5 Reasons I Write My Own D-Now Curriculum

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The Band has been rockin’, the speaker has been bringing the Word. Disciple-Now is in full swing this weekend for my ministry. The students just finished up a video scavenger hunt and have gone to a few hours of free time before our next session. In this moment to breathe I have decided to type up a quick blog on some of my methods. It was on my mind last night when I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking of all the details for the next day. If you work with teenagers, I hope this encourages you to take your next event to the next level.

Here are 5 reasons why I write my own material for event weekends like Disciple Now.

  1. It’s Free– When paying for a band and a speaker, hotel rooms, small group leaders, travel expenses, and the list goes on, here is an area I can save money. If you preach every Wednesday anyway, this is not very different study-wise, other than I just give the material to someone else to teach. By writing my own material I can maximize the funds toward keeping the cost low for the students. This year I charged $10. Bam. Success. There are lots of students who don’t participate in camps and retreats because it costs 100s of dollars. This is an event I want any and every teen to be able to come to. A little more work on my end helps keep it that way.
  2. Be Theologically Rich– Even though it is free, that doesn’t mean when you write your own material it will be lame! I make sure we tackle deep subjects and dive into the theological deep end! When you purchase a pre-packaged curriculum you do not know the theological leanings of the writer or the depth to which they will challenge your students. I want my students to have the best, so why would I leave that up to an unknown author? This weekend we are looking at Ephesians 3 – a theological treasure trove! Oh yeah!
  3. The Exegetical Approach–  On the heels of #2, I really believe every verse in scripture is important for believers. If that is true I want to instill that into my teenagers. When we take a whole weekend to unpack a single chapter of the bible, that is one message that is communicated. Also when you systematically approach a text, it makes it easier to see the bigger picture the author intended to communicate. I believe this also provides cohesiveness to the weekend. Each time we gather the students know where to turn in their bibles. I have not found any national chain producing exegetical material for events like this, possibly with the exception of Global Youth Ministry, but then again, refer to point #1.
  4. I know my group– When you write your own material you can tailor it for your specific group. While God can use anything and anyone to speak through, I doubt that same d-now material being used by 43 other churches this weekend can intentionally speak to the subtleties of a specific group better than a prayerful pastor who spends every week with them. So why not use a weekend to address what you want to see happen! It helps when another voice comes in and says the same things you have been saying all along.
  5. Graphics don’t have to be intimidating– “I cant make great looking flyers and promo material!?!” For real, don’t be scared, you can. Here are two things that make life super easy when it comes to promoting your event. Cool Fonts and Stock Photos. Combining these make great stuff.  My d-now was themed “The Mystery”, below is a cool stock photo and a cool font to title it. Bam, easy promotion. Sites I uses for photos are istockphoto.com and Bigstockphoto.com. Make an account and spend a few buck on a high res picture with no copy right issues for your next event. Then go to dafont.com or just google “free fonts” and get some fonts that really add depth to your flyer.  It’s not that hard and for a couple bucks you can have a professional looking flyer/promo that corresponds to your personalized material.

I hope these thoughts help as you plan your next d-now or retreat weekend! Pray for me as we wrap up ours! May God be glorified by your efforts!

-Adam

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John Piper Reflects on the Awesomeness of Jeremiah 32:40

In this inspiring 3 minute clip, John Piper exudes with passion as he highlights the ramifications of Jeremiah 32:40. At one point he says, “I can’t imagine any greater verse in the Bible”.

Wow. The infinite heart of God is engaged in doing us infinite good. Mind blown. Watch it and see.