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Posts tagged ‘christ’

Social Gospel

Probably one of the largest evangelical movements right now is the resurgence of the Social Gospel. It’s a huge movement gaining momentum and promoted by the likes of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and other emergent thinkers. The basic idea behind Social Gospel is that God cannot return until the world has been rid of evils. It’s an idea that puts humanity at the center of ushering in the Kingdom of God. The focus is less on individual conversion and more so on reforming social structures. In other words, it’s a “Christian” version of Social Justice politics. Obviously there are several problems with this theology; however, the biggest problem with is the emphasis on humanism.

Walter Rauschenbusch, the man who is largely responsible for the systemizing of the social gospel, said the following about the Social Gospel:

“The Social Gospel is concerned with the eradication of sin and the fulfillment of the mission of redemption.”

The Social Gospel moves the fulfillment of redemption and the eradication of sin, onto man’s actions and social constructs. If there is one thing that scripture teaches us it is this, the act of redemption, regeneration, the eradication of sin, and the fulfillment of that mission rests only on Christ and the Holy Spirit. According to the Social Gospel, man is responsible for ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven and creating a heaven on earth, or utopia. If this is man’s responsibility and he is capable of fulling it, than there is no need for God.

That being said, there is something that evangelicals, especially we reformed evangelicals, can learn from the Social Gospel. While the Social Gospel is very poisonous and detrimental to the Gospel,what is equally poisonous and detrimental is complacency. While social constructs and man cannot solve all the issues in this world, God still calls Christians to serve others. Christians must avoid reacting to the Social Gospel, and focus on living the life that Christ calls and allows us to live.

What are your thoughts on the Social Gospel?


 

Spiritual Leaders vs. Natural Leaders

#Leadership. When writing this blog post, I searched for #Leadership in twitter and got the following results:

“Leadership is not about income. Its about impact.”

“If you don’t sculpt who you want to be, you will be at the mercy of the carvings of others.”

“Be friendly with your former peers. Do not focus on creating new friends”

And of course, no leadership post would be compelte without a quote from Seth Godin:

“…if you stopped actively sabotaging your own work.
We must be talented, powerful and resilient creatures indeed given how much we manage to produce despite the constant undercutting, ridicule and needless censorship we aim at ourselves.”

I’m not really sure what any of these quotes mean and I’m not sure what they are supposed to tell me. What I can gather from these quotes, is that these people seem to be what J. Oswald Sanders calls “Natural Leaders” as opposed to Spiritual Leaders. Sanders defines the difference between the natural leader and the spirutal leader as follows:

Natural Leader:

  • Self Confident
  • Knows Men
  • Makes own decisions
  • Ambitious
  • Created methods
  • Enjoys command
  • Seeks personal reward
  • independent.

Spiritual Leader:

  • Confident in God
  • Knows God
  • Seeks’s God’s Will
  • Humble
  • Follows God’s example
  • Delights in obedience to God
  • Loves God and others
  • Depends on God

The main difference between the natural leader and the spiritual leader is this: The spiritual leader finds everything in God and his word. As christian we should seek to be a Spiritual Leader and we should seek to follow spiritual leaders. As Christians, we are to be fully relient on Christ and his word. What the world needs (and the church even more so) is not more “Natural Leaders” who are self relient, but more Spiritual Leaders who are completely relient.

“A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position by the inward leading of the Holy Spirit and the press of circumstances…There was hardly a great leader from Paul to the present day but was drafted by the Holy Spirit for the tas, and commissioned by the Lord to fill a position he had little heart for…The man whois ambitious to lead is disqualified…the true leader will have no desire to lord it over God’s heritage, but will be humble, gente, self-sacrificing and altogether ready to follow when the Spirit chooses another to lead.” A.W. Tozer

Servant: The Master Principle

The Artios Outpost blog series.

The chapter I read today was chapter 3, The Master’s Master Principle. In this chapter Sanders tells us that the word leader is rarely found in scripture. In fact, when God calls “leaders” he refers to them as servants. When God called Moses he said, “Moses my servant”. When we consider who our “teacher” is, Jesus, we see that he does not call himself a leader, but rather a servant.

“… I am among you as the one who serves.” -Luke 22:27

Before we can lead, we must acknowledge that as a leader, we are leading to serve. To illustrate this point, Sanders looks to Christ and his “attitudes and inner-motivations” in Isaiah 42:1-4.

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.”

There are six attitudes that Sanders draws from this passage about Christ and how they relate to being a servant leader.

  • Dependence: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights”.
  • Approval: “whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights”
  • Modesty:He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street”
  • Empathy: a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice”
  • Optimism: He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.”
  • Anointing: “I have put my Spirit upon him”

As I said in an earlier post, Sanders uses scripture to target the hearts, motivations, and attitudes of the leader. We must acknowledge that the call to be a leader is really a call to become a servant. Only through acknowledging that we are servants can we begin to model ourselves after Christ’s example.

What are your thoughts on this passage? Do you find it hard to lead to serve?

What About Truth and Freedom?

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

This verse begs several questions. “What is truth?” “Freedom from what?” “How can one know what Truth is?”, and probably the most important and amazing question, “What is freedom?”. These are age old questions that philosophers, theologians, kings, and lay people have asked since the beginning of time, and the answers to these questions have been distorted since the Garden of Eden. So, how does one go about answering these questions? Let me answer the first three questions really quickly, and then will focus on the last one for a while.

  • What is Truth?
    • Truth is reality, natural and supernatural, as God sees it. (Christ came to testify to the truth. The truth that He is God, Man is fallen, and man needs a redeemer.)
  • How can one know what truth is?
    • One can know truth only through Christ as told accurately through nature and scripture. (John 8:31, 2 John: 9, Psalm 19)
  • Freedom from what?
    • Freedom from sin. (John 8:34)

The last question, “What is freedom?” is, to me, probably the hardest of these four questions. Its a question we cannot yet answer and know completely, so et me try to answer it as best I can. I just watched a sermon by John Piper and this is how he defines Freedom.

“You are fully free when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will leave you no regrets forever.” – John Piper

I think this is a great definition of what freedom is, however, I think I would change one thing about it; which does not contradict what Piper says, but rather says it a different way.

I would say:”You are fully free when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to ultimately and completely fulfill your purpose.”

I just watched a video with Ravi Zacharias in which he tells the story of a man who asked him the question “What is evil?”. To this question Ravi Zacharias answers; “Evil is a violation of purpose.” Evil is when man, or creation for that matter, does not have the freedom to fulfill what he was created to do. Our purpose is to Glorify God and enjoy him forever. Now, we cannot yet enjoy and glorify God to our fullest extent until we are able to walk in the fullness of God. That is why I don’t think we can fully understand and grasp what freedom is until we are in heaven. That is when we will be completely free from sin, and when we will be able to ultimately and completely fulfill our purpose. I don’t pretend to have this all figured out, so please comment below and tell me your thoughts.

What do you think freedom is?

What do you think truth is?

 

Almost Saved

I stumbled upon this video while doing research on a new project I’m working on. Its a video by poet Ezekiel Azonwu called Almost Saved. I Love spoken word poetry and this is a great example. To me this poem has so much doctrine in it and the style of this poem drives the point home in a way that is very convicting. Watch it below and tell me your thoughts.

Why the Resurrection Matters!

With today being Easter, I feel its appropriate to focus on the Resurrection. Many in the church today, just as in Corrinth, do not hold steadfast to the truth that is the resurrection. They ask, “Why is the Resurrection necessary for the Gospel, what’s important is that a perfect sacrifice was given.” The reason the resurrection is so important and central to the Christian faith is this:

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins.” 1st Corinthians 15:17.

Christ sacrifice does nothing to save men without him rising from the grave. If Christ had not risen, then he did not triumph over sin, he did not triumph over death, he died and became dust like the rest of Adam’s kin. Thankfully, in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, we have hope in the fact that we serve a LIVING God! Because of the resurrection, we Wesley can write:

“No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

So, why does the resurrection matter? Because without it, we are still in Sin, but with it, we’re alive in him.

Spurgeon and a brief poem on Christ’s sacrifice

I stumbled upon this quote by Charles Spurgeon yesterday and I was blown away by it. Spurgeon has a way of communicating biblical truth in brief poetic stanzas that can immediately pierce the heart of a sinful and complacent man.

“At one tremendous draught of love
He drank damnation dry,”

The poetry in these ten words is quite beautiful! Spurgeon is speaking of the cup of damnation that belonged to us, and how Christ drank it dry without passing it from him! Read Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:39-42.)

“My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will,
but as you will…My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done”

Part of what is great about the arts, in this case poetry, is that they can help our hearts to see what actually happened when Christ said; “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done”. Christ, seeing that it was God’s will, and that there was no other way for man to be redeemed, Christ, in one “tremendous draught of love, he drank damnation dry!” As I reflect upon this brief poem during Easter weekend, I pray that I remember that moment recorded in Matthew 26, and what actually happened when Christ said, “your will be done”.