Feeding Sheep, or Amusing Goats?

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An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most short-sighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven, until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony–then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

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[Fire Away! Podcast] Episode 036 – 90 Day Tithing Challenge

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Summary

  • On today’s show Landon reaches into the mailbag again and discusses tithing and leaving a mega church. Then, he discusses a video from the Pride festival at Duke University before playing a portion of the iconic sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

(Click “Read More” for detailed show notes.)

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The Daily Discovery (July 3, 2015)

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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My Open Letter of Apology to the Gay Community (From A Christian) – “I’m seeing quite a few open letters of apology from Christians to the gay community in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. At first, I was angry. ‘What are we apologizing for again?!?,’ I thought. As a conservative Christian, I was annoyed. It seemed – at first – to be capitulation on a very important issue. After reading more than a few of these open letters of apology, however, my heart has softened on the issue. I realize that conservative Christians like myself are in the clear minority. The Supreme Court has ruled. Other churches, like the Episcopalians just yesterday, have found it in their heart to soften from their historic, traditional opinions. And as much as religious people love the past, I’ve had to come to grips with the reality that this – gay marriage – is our present and no doubt, our future.

Abusing Freedom – “Our culture is changing fast. Things that would have seemed absurd to most people’s moral intuitions are now championed. Even some things that still seem odd are accepted because our culture accepted a definition of freedom some time ago that is playing out.”

America Is Not Great – “Happy Fourth of July. America is not great. Not anymore. America is a land where babies are murdered, the family is disintegrating, marriage is perverted, and every institution is dominated by nihilists and self-worshiping liberals. That’s America. It has betrayed God, and any true patriot should feel a deep and profound anger, not false confidence in our alleged greatness.”

Matthew Vines’ Precommitments in His Case for Gay Christians Part 1: Humanistic Consequentialist Ethics – “Matthew Vines has written a book titled God and the Gay Christian in which he argues that ‘Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationship’ (Page 3).   Al Mohler and the faculty at Southern Seminary has published a book-length response titled God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines, which they have made available as a free e-book.  In their responses Al Mohler, James Hamilton, Denny Burk, Owen Strachan, and Heath Lambert addressed the biblical, theological, historical, and pastoral issues raised by Vines’s best-selling book.”

Gurnall on the “heroic impulse,” and how it is not a good thing – “It is an erratic spirit, that usually carries men out of their place and calling. I confess there is an heroicus impetus, an impulse which some of the servants of God have had from heaven, to do things extraordinary, as we read in Scripture of Moses, Gideon, Phineas, and others.”

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The Daily Discovery (July 2, 2015)

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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Rainbow White House – “I write this post not as a partisan, but as an American. The White House should not ever be used as an icon or celebration for any particular political or even social cause or purpose, regardless of our personal belief on the rightness of that cause. It just shouldn’t.  There are many reasons.”

Love Didn’t Win– It Was Redefined – “‘Love wins’ is the hashtag of choice for those in support of the newest Supreme Court decision that passed that legislative body by a 5-4 vote. If you’re not content with that, you’re just an evil bigot who needs to shut up and support this new legislation. Forget the fact that you have very rational reasons for keeping marriage between a man and a woman. For example, genderless marriage changes the cultural understanding of marriage from the well being of children to merely the romantic desires of adults. Mothering and fathering certainly isn’t genderless. For kids who all deserve a mom and a dad and need a culture to support that, love hasn’t won.

Driscoll Publicly Repents…For Criticizing Osteen – “Driscoll used the opportunity to publicly apologize for having ever criticized Osteen, and claimed to have asked Osteen permission to send him a private letter of apology. Houston, of course agrees, and says ‘…at the end of the day, we’re all on the same side.'”

Something Dreadful – “‘Hypochondriasis’ was first diagnosed as we understand it today in the 19th century. This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical condition. An individual suffering from hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. “

Socialism Isn’t A “Right-Wing” Issue – “What happens when the government can’t fund coverage for the sick, the disabled and the elderly? Will our government now be in the business of selecting who lives and who dies?”

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The Daily Discovery (July 1, 2015)

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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You Don’t Really Know Who You Friends Are Until… – “You don’t really know who your friends are until their relationship with you becomes a liability instead of a benefit. Many celebrities, and even Christian celebrities, have learned this lesson the hard way. In the blink of an eye, or the release of a news story, they went from fêted to ignored, from celebrated to invisible. They learned quickly that many of their so-called friends had actually not been friends at all, but people thriving on a kind of symbiotic relationship where each benefited the other. When the relationship become a liability, their friends were suddenly nowhere to be found.”

40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags – “For evangelicals who lament last Friday’s Supreme Court decision, it’s been a hard few days. We aren’t asking for emotional pity, nor do I suspect many people are eager to give us any. Our pain is not sacred. Making legal and theological decisions based on what makes people feel better is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. Nevertheless, it still hurts.”

4 Perfections of God’s Transforming Word – “What are the particular traits or characteristics of God’s Word that render it so useful a tool and so powerful a weapon in the hand of the Holy Spirit? Hebrews 4:12 and Psalm 19:7–9 address this question directly. From Hebrews 4:12, we learn that God’s Word is quick and powerful. From Psalm 19:7–9, we learn that God’s Word is perfect and sure; right, pure, and clean; true and righteous altogether.”

The Christian’s Response to the World Doing What the World Does – “Now that we Christians have had a few days to cool our jets a bit, we can reposition and recalibrate ourselves. Events like those transpiring last Friday provide opportune times of reminder for God’s people of our mission. When some of the more powerful human courts in the world express their fallenness, and the grandstands of culture erupt in praise, Christians are handed an occasion to be reminded of what we’re doing here on earth.”

Can Evangelicals See Themselves in the LGBT Movement? – “Rod Dreher recently posted a letter from one of his readers. The letter recounts the experience of a Millennial for whom a change of heart on the issue of same-sex marriage led to his departure from evangelicalism. Responding to Dreher’s contention that the arguments of same-sex marriage advocates are founded upon emotion, the letter writer counters that many Christian opponents of same-sex marriage “have traded in nothing but emotion for the last 30 years.” He suggests that, having grounded their opposition to same-sex marriage solely in an unexamined disgust, the moment young evangelicals have humanizing engagements with gay persons they are left without any argument against same-sex marriage, and their Christian convictions are thrown into confusion.”

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The Daily Discovery (June 27-28, 2015)

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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Why I Stopped Singing Hillsong – “Hillsong Church is a Pentecostal megachurch affiliated with Australian Christian Churches (the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God). It is one of the world’s fastest-growing ministries with a 100,000-plus strong congregation throughout campuses in Australia, London, New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow, Kiev, Barcelona, Germany, South Africa and Copenhagen.”

So-Called Same-Sex Marriage – “Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.”

Same-Sex Marriage and the Future – “The Bible tells us that the king of Israel once wanted to hear from the prophets, as to whether he would be victorious over his enemies. All the court prophets told him exactly what he wanted to hear. Yet the king of Judah, wisely, asked whether there might be another voice to hear from, and Israel’s king said that, yes, there was, but that he hated this prophet ‘because he never prophesies good concerning me’ (1 Kings 22:8).”

Newspaper no longer accepting opinion pieces opposing gay marriage – “A Pennsylvania newspaper has just announced that it will no longer accept op-eds and letters to the editor that are critical of gay marriage. Here’s what the editors say in their statement…”

A prophetic word from eleven years ago about today – “Eleven years ago, John Piper delivered a message about ‘Discerning the Will of God Concerning Homosexuality and Marriage.’ The message made an impression on me, and for many years now I’ve been reading a portion of this sermon every semester to my undergraduate hermeneutics students.”

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The Daily Discovery (June 26, 2015)

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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The Multi-Dimensional Love of Christ – “Quite a few researchers have tried to find out how many love songs there are in the world. They have all concluded that it’s an impossible task. Just too many to count.”

Choking ourselves to death – “During Jesus’ incarnation, the religious elite of His day, the scribes and Pharisees, would follow Him around and seek to trap Him, discredit Him and have Him arrested and killed.  The Pharisees honestly get a bad rap sometimes.”

Protestants All – “In a seminal 2001 essay, Fenggang Yank and Helen Rose Ebaugh studied 13 Houston-area religious institutions to discover how the religious lives of new immigrants are changed by their move to America. They discovered three processes: The congregations adopt ‘in organizational structure and ritual'; they return to ‘theological foundations'; and they make an effort to reach ‘beyond traditional boundaries to include other peoples’.”

Guilt Is Not Just a Feeling – “Guilt is not just a feeling. It is not just a psychological condition, although it can become one. It is a legal standing.  When the foreman of the jury in a trial speaks the word Guilty, he is not commenting on the feelings of the accused.”

Madness, The Gospel, and Giving – “When Paul preached the gospel to the imperial elites, he called his message “truthful and rational,” yet to many listeners he seemed out of his mind. Today again, what Christians think is true and reasonable now appears to be sheer madness to increasing numbers of the population.”

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The Daily Discovery (June 24, 2015)

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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This Crimson Carnage – “I begin by saying that I think of the American flag with affection, respect and sorrow. I think of what it used to represent, what it ought to represent, and what it periodically still represents. The sorrow has to do with what our ruling elites are insisting that it must come to represent, and the grief is over their many successes in that endeavor. Despite this, I do not yet believe the American flag is a lost cause. Take that as the starting point.”

Ten Lessons from the Tullian Tchividjian Confession – “Any time a pastor falls my heart sinks. It is gut wrenching. Especially when it is someone that is loved by many people I admire. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent listening to people write on, write on, or preach on the new-antinomianism debate. While I bet the temptation is strong for some people to say I told you so, (and I think it might be helpful for us to go back and listen to their warnings) whenever things like these happen, it is always a huge reminder about my own sinfulness and my need to re-examine my own qualifications for ministry.”

The Summer Reading List – “Fifty years ago, prior to my freshman year at Baltimore’s St. Paul Latin High School, the late Father W. Vincent Bechtel introduced me to The Summer Reading List, upper-case. Father Bechtel didn’t fool around: he tossed his teenage charges into the deep end of the English and American literature pool and told us, in effect, “Start swimming.” And while I first thought of him as a holy terror, I now remember him as one of the best teachers I ever had – a guide to and through books that have remained my literary friends for life.”

When Leaders Fall, All Are Punished – “The stories are as sad as any, and tragically too common. An effective, fruitful leader in the faith falls into some moral failure, disqualifying himself from leadership and devastating those who had followed them.”

Sam Storms on Spiritual (Charismatic) Gifts – “I’ve not read many books about spiritual gifts from a charismatic perspective. Therefore, I recently worked through Sam Storm’s book, The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts, to learn more about charismatic theology/practice. As a Reformed Christian, I’m not charismatic, but I do want a proper understanding of this movement. Below is a brief review of this book.”

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The Daily Discovery (June 23, 2015)

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
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Sources of Moral Confusion – “I listened to a torturous discussion last week in which Terry Gross and Northwestern’s Laura Kipnis discussed Kipnis’s Chronicle of Higher Education article challenging university prohibitions of romance between faculty members and students.”

May Grace and Peace Be Multiplied to You – “The apostle Paul starts all of his letters with the prayer that ‘grace and peace’ will come to the reader. But he never uses a verb. He never says, ‘Grace and peace be to you,’ or, ‘Grace and peace come to you.’ He assumes the verb.”

Paul’s Rules for Social Media Interactions – “There are certain Bible verses or passages that can trip you up as you read them. You’re humming along through a passage when suddenly you’re stopped cold. In that moment, you may have the thought, ‘Really? Is this really here? How have I missed this before?’  Last week, I had this experience with Titus 3.”

Tullian Tchividjian’s Sin and Resignation Attracts Prayers and Piranhas – “You’ve most likely already heard about Tullian Tchividjian’s wife’s affair, and his reciprocal affair that required his resignation as Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1 Tim 3:1-7). This announcement has stirred a media and social media frenzy; attracting both prayers and piranhas.”

How to Read More Books – “‘How can I read more books?’ I’ve gotten this question a number of times since I’ve started posting more book reviews here on the blog. Here are some of my thoughts to this question.”

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Foolish, Ignorant Controversies

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2 Timothy 2:22-26  “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

The meteoric rise in social media has enabled folks from around the globe to exchange information and converse, both audibly and visually, with great ease.  As the platform has continued to grow and mature, developers have simplified its usage to the point where even those with the most basic of personal computing knowledge and/or extreme time limits, may quickly and easily engage their not so geographically close peers.  Of course, it is likely that none of this information is new to anyone reading this article.  Rather than crafting yet another piece lamenting the many reasons why social media is destroying our culture, faith communities, families, etc., I want to instead focus on a Biblical issue to which the widespread adoption of social media has contributed.

To be clear, my goal in this article is not to engender unfruitful controversy, rather, to speak against that very issue.  Based on some of my past writings, that may sound to some like a highly hypocritical statement to make; and if it were devoid of genuine repentance, I would agree with those of you having those thoughts.  Thankfully, we serve a mighty and powerful and grace-filled God who grants forgiveness.  We serve a God who sent his son to be slaughtered on a Roman tree on behalf of hypocritical sinners like you and me.  Our God is great!

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