Across Christendom


I’ve decided to introduce a new category here at A Peculiar Pilgrim on a whim, similar in vein to my ‘Random Ramblings’.  While RR is a stream of consciousness about various goings-on in the world and in my personal life,  ‘Across Christendom’ will simply be a collection of links to interesting and relevant articles, posts and quotes from across  the Christian sphere  that have captivated my ADD mind for more than the few milliseconds I usually spend on any given web page. Here are this week’s offerings:

Tim Challies invites you to take a quiz to determine if selected quotes come from Joel Osteen or a fortune cookie.  Me?  I scored 7 out of 12.  I actually thought Joel said them all at one time or another…

A great quote from Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the commonly used practice of altar calls.

From the same blog, Lorraine Boettner explains the Gospel.

My good friend and theological cohort over at Spice Mines of Kessel has published the Revised Common Version of the bible. As the title suggests, it is a revised edition of Noah Webster’s 1833 Common Version, with updated words and phrases for easy readability.  A free electronic version is available here. He’s worked hard on this project for the past couple of years, going through FIVE revisions!  Check it out.

Albert Mohler examines a recent column by Washington Post journalist Kathleen Parker and her obvious disdain of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation.

I’ll try and do one of these late every week, but I know better than to make any promises.  I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me if I did anyway…

Until next time.

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One Month to Live


Note: Don’t be alarmed.  The post title refers to a book, not my current state of health.

Last month I put out a post asking for book recommendations for a summer reading program one of our church deacons is starting up this summer to encourage reading in our congregation.  Of course, we visualize taking up sound biblical materials.  My leanings are towards theological works that have been well established – Christian classics.  I submitted a fine list of books that aren’t heavy, dry or technical, written by a wide variety of well respected (and theologically orthodox) writers. Well, in a nutshell, my picks were shot down before they could take flight.  My deacon friend doesn’t believe most  people (that is, believing Christians in the church) will be interested in theology!  This boggles my mind, frankly.  I consider myself an ordinary fellow of average intellect.  Yet, I have an unquenchable yearning for the knowledge of God.  This comes from God’s call upon me to become his own possession, a beloved child in his vast, ever-expanding family.  As such, I desire to know this God who has rescued me and washed me clean of all my sins. The doctrine of the bible is for the simple and unlearned as well as for the towering intellectual.  Theology is not at heart a purely academic pursuit.  It is the pursuit of God Almighty.   I have a hard time grasping the concept that true believers don’t desire the same things.  My yearning may be at a high level because of the calling on my life to teach eternal truths, but surely every believer wants to intimately know the God who saved them to some degree.  Every Christian most certainly needs this knowledge to grow in the grace whereby they are saved.

Of course, I know where the deacon’s line of thinking stems from.  It has flooded modern evangelicalism for decades now.  The church growth\seeker-sensitive movement thrives on a non-doctrinal paradigm of Christian pragmatism. Don’t give church-goers what they need, give them what they want – in liberal doses.  This pragmatic approach may attract multitudes of church-goers but does little to produce true disciples of Christ.  So the wants of a typical church filled with ‘seekers’ (those who haven’t made any kind of commitment to Christ but are interested) do not match those in the church who are truly Christians.  The focus of seeker-sensitive churches sits squarely upon the seeker and his carnal wants instead of the classic doctrines of the bible: teachings such as man’s sinfulness, God’s wrathful judgment against sin, the means of salvation and sanctification he has provided through Christ’s atoning work on the cross and the heart-changing ministry of the Holy Spirit.  I suppose congregants who have no zest for doctrine and theology are considered ‘babes in Christ’ who need to be nurtured in a pastel colored nursery by coochie-coochie-coo care-takers that speak condescendingly about moral platitudes from the life of King David. Unfortunately, seeker-sensitive churches often have no plans to move toddlers out of the nursery.  They keep them content with toys and entertainment. Continue reading

Works-Righteousness by Joel Osteen


better-you.jpgJoel Osteen’s much anticipated new book has just recently hit store shelves, promising seven keys to improving yourself. Those who may still be unfamiliar with Osteen may glance at his book on display in the mall and think, “Oh, another self-help book by one of those slick motivational speakers.” It might surprise them to find out he actually is the Pastor/Shepherd of the nation’s largest flock of professing Christian believers at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Don’t worry, many discerning Christians who have listened to or read any of his works are equally surprised that he calls himself a Pastor. Joel Osteen has never attended seminary nor has he studied theology. He doesn’t truly teach or preach. By his own admission, these traits are not his gifting! He spends his time behind the podium exhorting and encouraging. So, what’s wrong with that? I’ll let Dr. Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary California and host of the White Horse Inn radio broadcast explain in this excellent article reviewing Become a Better You. Here is an excerpt:

It is indeed true that there are appeals to the Bible scattered throughout this book. However, in nearly every case a verse is either torn from its context and turned into a “fortune-cookie” kind of promise that one can name-and-claim for oneself or it is actually misquoted to serve Osteen’s point. For example, we read that when God confronted Adam and Eve after their sin, “He said, ‘Adam, who told you that you were naked?’ In other words, ‘Who told you that something was wrong with you?’ God immediately knew the enemy had been talking to them. God is saying to you today, ‘Who told you that you don’t have what it takes to succeed?'”3 Where, in the passage he refers to (Genesis 3:11), God asks Adam this question in order to convict him of his sin, Osteen makes it sound as if it were Satan who told Adam that he had failed the test. As in his earlier book, Osteen here never speaks of sin as falling short of God’s glory, but of falling short of God’s best for your life. In fact, Osteen’s attachment to the prosperity gospel is even more explicit in Become a Better You. Just as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and other “faith teachers” speak of believers as “little gods” who share God’s nature, Osteen has an entire chapter devoted to “The Power of Your Bloodline.” “You have the DNA of Almighty God.”4 It’s “what’s in you” that is divine seed, he says.5 It is not that God has imputed Christ’s righteousness to us and adopted us as his children. We are not saved by an external and alien righteousness, but by an internal and essential righteousness that belongs to us simply by virtue of our being created in his image. Therefore, throughout the book Osteen can address all of his readers as semi-divine without any reference to faith in Christ.

Read the rest of the article here.

HT: Monergism