Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"What is the Church doing wrong"?

The following article is adopted from Dr. Albert Mohler. Dr. Mohler is the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"Churches in many ways have actually added to the problem. They promote the idea of the Church as a full-service entertainment and activity center, where you take children away from their parents and put them in a different peer culture. Now it's a Church peer culture. What happens when they grow out of that? What steps can the Church take to do better"

  • Focus on expository preaching, and teach how to think biblically. The puplit has to take the responsibility. In far too many Churches there is just no expository preaching (teaching that expounds on a particular text of Scripture). There isn't the robust biblical preaching that sets forth the Word of God and then explains how the people of God must think differently in order to be faithful to that Word.

  • Show the seriousness of Church, including personal accountability. The local Church must be a robust gospel people. It must be a warm fellowship of believers...who are really living out holiness and faithfulness to Christ, and being mutually accountable for that.

  • Give answers about current issues. We're not giving kids adequate information on some very crucial issues. Look at the questions that the average teenager is facing, "Why aren't you physically intimate with your girlfriend?" "Why don't you believe in evoloution?" "Why don't you accept this worldview?" "Why don't you accept this lifestyle?" If we aren't giving them intellectual material, intellectual knowledge, substance, and confidence, we shouldn't be suprised when they go with the flow.

  • Explain how the gospel in unfolding through real history. The Christian faith, the Christian claim, the gospel, is first of all a master narrative-a true story-about life, about God's purpose to bring glory to Himself. It has four major movements: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation. The only was to understand the great story of the gospel is to begin with the fact that God is the Creator and He is the Lord of all. If we don't anchor our children in that story, if they think that Christianity is merely a bunch of stuff to believe, if they don't find their identity in that-in which they say-"Yes, that's my story. This is where I am"-then they are going to fall away.

What are parents doing wrong?

We've got to start treating young people as a mission field, not just assuming that mere nuture will lead them into Christian discipleship and into Christian faith.

Parents need to take the responsibility here. The one thing we know from the entirety of the Scripture is that parents have the non-negotiable responsibility to train, educate, to confront them with the biblical truth, to ground them in Scripture.

We also have, on the part of many Christian parents, a buy-in to a new secualar understanding of parenthood. We are letting our children make big decisions far too early. A teenager making a decision about whether he or she is going to participate in Church activities or be at Church...is making a decision that should be made for him or her".

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The "Black and White" Scriptures?

There is a sweeping notion permeating the Church at warp speed. A notion that most Bible believing Christians would say does not exist in their form of Doctrine. Oh yes, they believe the Bible and they believe its fundemental doctrines; but when the truths of Scripture begin to hit a little close to home they back off a little. Why? Because they really do not like truth that is absolute.

The Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines "Absolute" and being, "outright, unmitigated", (that word probably does not help much, so let me say that unmitigated means to be so definite in what one says that it leaves little chance for change or relief). It also uses the word "fundemental" and "ultimate". Many people will sit in Church and listen to good sermons being preached, but the minute that preacher comes out with one of those absolute statments, you can see their facial expressions change; particularly if that absolute statement is a negative statement and has to do with them or a person that they care a lot about. It is even more damaging when the preacher can show from Scripture that his absolute statements are, in fact, biblical. Then they have no where to go. Their argument then goes from being with the preacher to being with the Lord God of the Scriptures.

I have many things to thank God for in my life. One of the things that I am immensley thankful for is for my home pastor, Jeff Clark. He taught me two fundemental lessons about preaching and teaching. Always, always, always (did I mention "always"), have the Scripture back up what you say; and, people will only learn to the degree of the depth that you take them, (so if people do not like my in-depth approach to the Scriptures, they can thank Jeff Clark for that). That lesson is very important because I realize that there are a lot of preachers out there that spend a lot of time preaching and making absolute statements based on their own opinion. I, too, have to back up sometimes in my study and say "ok, Huffman (I like to think that is the Holy Spirit), where is your Bible for that statement", and sometimes I have to retract. So, I am very aware that the tendency is there for that. Because preachers are humans with real emotions; emotions that sometimes get the better of them.

The Bible is a book of absolutes. There are no grey areas in Scripture, none; it is black and white. But there are some who do not appreciate absolute, black and white statements. And when they hear a preacher make to many of them (especially if it makes them uncomfortable), they will discontinue going to that Church or going when or where that man is preaching. If you hear me make one of those absolute statements, whether live in our Church or over the internet, I, by the Grace of God, will have Scripture that validates the point.

For example, if I where to say, (and I have said from the pulpit), "If there is no consistent Church attendance coupled with your "faith" then your faith is vain". Is there biblical evidence for such an absolute statement? Yes! Hebrews 10:25, James 2:14-26; John 14:15, Matthew 7:21, just to name a few. But you know what, people hate that absolute statment. And I understand from a human perspective. We all have people that we want very desperately to believe are saved, but do not meet the requirement of the above mentioned verses. And the emotion and the flesh hate to hear that. Another example, my dad who, (for those of you reading this that are not a member of our Church), is also a pastor makes this absolute statement, "You cannot be saved without a changed life". Is there biblical evidence for that absolute statement? Yes! 2 Corinthians 5:17 is very clear on that.

Just remember, the Scriptures are a book of absolutes. If you have a problem with biblical absolutes, then your problem is with the God of the Absolute Bible.