Let the Church Bells Ring

From Christian Lander, a prophet for our troubled times,

An interesting fact about white people is that they firmly believe that all of the world’s problems can be solved through “awareness.” Meaning the process of making other people aware of problems, and then magically someone else like the government will fix it.

As a call to action on global warming, churches throughout our fair planet will ring their bells on December 13, which just happens to be the date of the Copenhagen climate change summit.

“Church bells to ring out warning on climate change”

What’s next a synod against the sun for its role in global warmingt?

What all this hand-wringing bell-ringing is going to actually accomplish, I can’t really surmise. Perhaps the World Council of Churches was influenced by Christopher Walken’s Bruce Dickinson on SNL (below),

More Cowbell

“Guess what? The planet has a fevah, and the only prescription is more church bell”

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What is the Church?

Christ Anglican Church, Stellarton, Nova Scotia

Quite possibly, there will be as many answers to this question as there are people. Click here for Webster’s definition.

Most importantly (not to mention accurately), God has said that the Church is the Bride of Christ.

While one could glean what this all entails from God’s communique to mankind, I believe Dr. Packer’s has done this rather well in his magnus opus, Knowing God):

What is the church? It is the true seed of Abraham, Jew and non-Jew together, chosen by God, justified through faith, and freed from sin for a new life of personal righteousness and mutual ministry.

It is the family of a loving heavenly Father, living in hope of inheriting his entire fortune. It is the community of the resurrection, in which the powers of Christ’s historic death and present heavenly life are already at work.

When a Church is in Peril of Death

From John MacArthur’s teaching on the Church in Sardis,

Any church is in danger of death when it begins to worship its own past, when it is more concerned with forms, when it is more concerned with liturgy than life, when it is more concerned about social ills than salvation, when it is more concerned about systems than it is Jesus Christ, when it is more concerned about material issues than spiritual things, when it is more committed to building up its own theology than accepting the Word of God.

Back from CIY, Thank God…

“I stab you in the face…” — Lewis the Unicorn

For the uninitiated, CIY is an acronym for Christ in Youth, our non-denomination’s (Restoration Movement) yearly summer youth conference. Starting this year the high school conference is now known as Move.

This year, our youth group went to the one held in Bolivar, Missouri on the campus of Southwest Baptist University.

This makes the second time I go to CIY, the first was in ’05 at Lee College in Cleveland, Tennessee. Like last time, the conference featured some outstanding speakers and moving (no pun intended) worship sessions.

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Minister goes Undercover in the UK

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgemental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road

Jesus payed much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ. — From “If We are the Body” by Casting Crowns

According to this story, “Priest disguises himself as a tramp to teach his own churchgoers a lesson.”

A Methodist minister in the UK dressed up as a homeless person (he “bought some scruffy clothes at a charity shop, ripped the trousers, and put on a straggly wig and thick, broken glasses” and “splashed lager” all over himself”) and stepped into his church and perhaps to no one’s surprise (given the comments at the bottom of the piece), none of his congregants recognized him, judgmental and condescending people that Christians are, especially the lot that attends church services.

At the risk of sounding like noted Christian toxicologists, there is much work to be done within the Church as to how we perceive people who look and smell differently. Given our penchant for the theology of “our Sunday best”, this flock’s reaction might be replayed in many an American (most definitely Mexican) church service (perhaps this drove the Casting Crowns lyric).

The perhaps pathological focus on dress and outward appearance is surprising to me, especially when the average churchgoer (who might or might not be a genuine Christian, remember attendance, even perfect attendance does not a Christian make) is completely oblivious to any serious understanding of doctrine and thus its application.
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The Invisible Church

The Church is not a building. She is a people. People who regularly attend church services go to church but may or may not be part of the Church.

This from J.I. Packer’s brief but treasure-packed Concise Theology,

There is a distinction to be drawn between the church as we humans see it and as God alone can see it. This is the historic distinction between the “visible church” and the “invisible church.”

Invisible means, not that we can see no sign of its presence, but that we cannot know (as God, the heart-reader, knows, 2 Timothy 2:19) which of those baptized, professing members of the church as an organized institution are inwardly regenerate and thus belong to the church as a spiritual fellowship of sinners loving their Savior.

Jesus taught that in the organized church there would always be people who thought they were Christians and passed as Christians, some indeed becoming ministers, but who were not renewed in heart and would therefore be exposed and rejected at the Judgment (Matthew 7:15-27; 13:24-30, 35-43, 47-50; 25:1-46)

Mohler on Jesusanity

Often the call is heard within Christian circles that we need to be “red-letter Christians”. What is probably meant by this is we need to primarily focus on Jesus’ actual words in the Gospels. That is, the things He taught during his 3-year ministry in Palestine.

Focus on these words more than the words in the rest of the New Testament. Words written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (who by the way Jesus sent). What is conveniently forgotten is that the “red-letters” were also written under the inspiration of the same Spirit.

What this call translates to in our modern world after it gets sifted through a couple of political filters is that we need to focus on issues such as helping the poor (with nary a regard for prudence) and/or rescuing the environment from our predations (regardless of other considerations).

Other topics which are deemed more personal like abortion and homosexuality are left by the wayside since allegedly Jesus didn’t address them in those infamous red-letters. Again what is forgotten is that the Spirit whom Jesus sent inspired Paul to reiterate the fact that homosexuality is abomination in God’s sight, so in effect Jesus did address this “issue”.

As for abortion (the murder of one’s own child), it doesn’t take a seminary degree to realize where Jesus stands on murder, much less infanticide.

Dr. Mohler posted on the conflict between this brand of spirituality as it stands in contrast with biblical Christianity.

“Christianity vs. Jesusanity — The Postmodern Temptation”