Saturday, 26 February 2011

Rob Bell comes out?

Bruce Ware said of Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christianity that 'the wolf has taken his sheep's clothing off.' It seems Rob Bell may be about to follow suit if his soon to be published 'Love Wins' is in any way consistent with the publishers promotional video:

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

Justin Taylor responds here: Rob Bell: Universalist?

Kevin DeYoung here: To Hell with Hell (including 8 reasons why we need God's wrath)

Best quote: "We should be thankful for the clarity, but saddened by the content." ~ Kevin DeYoung. I agree. I'm not disappointed as such, for those of us who have been able to read through Bell's deliberate theological ambiguity, it has long been clear that he does not believe in hell. I'm pleased that -it seems likely- Bell is now going to be up-front about where he stands.  Now people have a fairly simple choice to make- accept Scripture or reject it. Hiding in abstruse ambiguity is no longer an option.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Potential Preachers Workshop

In the early days of discovering and developing a preaching gift? Or are you in church leadership and aware of your responsibility in equipping younger preachers?

This workshop, run by the 2 Timothy 4 Trust and hosted by Airdrie Baptist Church may be of help:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

How do you see your afflictions?

Are men really guilty of exaggerating their symptoms when suffering from a humble cold? I'm not so sure (not that I can pretend to be entirely neutral in this debate.) However we are all, irrespective of gender, prone to losing our perspective and magnifying our troubles in our own minds.

Paul (a man) seems to me to be a notable exception. He certainly sees his suffering, he's not in denial. In 2 Corinthians he writes:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 
Later in the same letter he writes:
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
 2 Corinthians 11:25-29
How would you sum that kind of life up in a few words?

'Intense, relentless, suffering'? Paul went for 'light momentary troubles' (2 Cor 4:17)

Not because he was in denial, he saw his suffering. Not because he was tough and impervious, he speaks often in the same letter of his own weakness and fragility. It was his perspective that made the difference.
He saw his suffering, but his eyes were fixed elsewhere.

His eyes were fixed on the eternal: 'we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.' (2 Cor 4:17)

Calvin says:

‘This comparison, makes that light which previously seemed heavy, and makes that brief and momentary which seemed of boundless duration... when we have once raised our minds heavenwards a thousand years begin to look to us to be like a moment.'

Oh Lord, let us see our lives through that lens!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Spurgeon on what trials achieve

Why Do I Face Trials?

Perhaps, weary soul, the Lord is doing this to develop your graces. There are some of your graces that would never be discovered if it were not for your trials. Do you not know that your faith never looks as good in summer as it does in winter? Love is too often like a glowworm, showing but little light unless it is surrounded by darkness. Hope itself is like a star--not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.

Afflictions are often the black foils in which God sets the jewels of His children's graces, to make them shine brighter. It was only a little while ago that on your knees you were saying, "Lord, I fear I have no faith. Let me know that I have faith." Were you not really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials? For how can you know that you have faith until your faith is exercised? Depend upon it--God often sends us trials so that our graces may be discovered and that we may be convinced of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery; real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.

God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and subjecting them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many long miles with heavy backpacks of sorrow. Well, Christian, may this not account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is the Lord bringing out your graces and making them grow? Is it for this reason He contends with you?

Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there. 

 (From Truth for Life Daily Devotionals Taken from CH Spurgeon 'Morning and Evening' and revised and updated by Alastair Begg.)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Ajith Fernando in Cape Town on Ephesians 1

Woke up. Felt tired. Needed encouragement. Thought 'Ephesians 1.' Found this:

Dr Ajith Fernando in South Africa walking through Ephesians 1. 

ps check out the great African pulpit design!..

Monday, 14 February 2011

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Godly girls

Blogging seems a very male pursuit for some reason, maybe the lack of immediacy appeals to men? There are however some notable exceptions, here are a couple of good biblical blogs by (and largely for) women: