Emerging Concerns Part 1 – Introduction

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When some friends of mine started reading some books by leaders in what is now termed the “Emergent Church” several years ago I was curious and started to read some of the books, listened to interviews and read some blogs. Over the past four years I have watched several conferences on the subject and considered what was being said. I have decided that it is time for me to throw my hat into the ring. In a few previous articles I touched on some talking points but I feel that now is the time to address the topic more formally and more thoroughly. The underlying principles of the Emergent movement find their roots in post-modern philosophy. Read more of this post

The World is Coming to an End …

End of the World BillBoardOk, I admit its a sensational headline but if you are reading this then it must have caught your attention. I have heard many comment about the billboards announcing the end of the world on May 21st 2011. If you have been watching the news lately you are aware of this prediction as it has gotten much press. The prediction and billboards have been featured on CNN, FOX and the Washington Post just to name a few. There are many scoffers and some believers who are very worried and some who could care less. With all the recent earth quake activity, severe weather, economic trouble and wars and unrest around the world many are worried. Read more of this post

How Should Christians Respond to Bin Laden’s Death

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I personally will not be going out into the street and celebrate but I am not going to judge those that do either. There are many imprecatory psalms that call for justice against the wicked and celebrate their judgement. The bible doesn’t call for us to be stoic but acknowledges our feelings and at times calls for us to express them while at other times calls for reservation. Read more of this post

What is Faith? One Question to Get Right

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My eight year old son, Nolan, had to complete some optional activities for cub scouts.  One that we picked was Faith and Religion.  The book asked him to name some great people of faith.  Nolan asked me, “What do they mean by faith?”  I paused and thought to myself about the best way to explain it to an eight year old.  Here is the definition I came up with.

Faith is what you believe to be right and true and you are willing to stand up for it

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Bell Fails to Grasp the Weight of Infinity

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The recent release of Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins” has spawned a maelstrom of reactions in both the Christian community and the news media as well.  I have been studying the emergent church movement for the past four years and so I feel it is time to throw my hat into the ring.  There is much that can be said, so much that can be said but I wanted to focus on a specific statement rather then write a novel.  One day I would like to write a book, but not today and not necessarily on the Emergent Church either.  The title of this article is a bit ironic because no one really grasps infinity.  But that is not to say that we can’t have perspectives on infinity which do it more justice than other perspectives.  One sticking point with hell that Emergent church leaders have grappled with is the eternity and finality of hell.  Lets review some quotes.

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Supporting Abortion is a Sin

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Abortion is the equivalent of slavery and the Holocaust.  When I made this comment I received a scathing rebuke.  To which I make the following statements.

Do you know when life begins? Do you know when a baby is imbued with the Imago Dei? Do you know when a baby becomes a person? Can you say for sure? I’m sure there are those that would say, “Yes I know” but there is not much I can say to such a delusion. For the rest of us we can certainly forward a guess but wouldn’t want to be held to it. If we can’t say for certain then why is the practice to err on the side of convenience rather than on the side of caution? Further God says that children are a gift from Him. Isn’t it audaciously insulting at best to return such a gift and at worst… I can’t even fathom it? Psalm 139 speaks of God knowing us before we were born further establishing the baby in the womb as a person. All persons are endowed by their creator with the right to life.

I was also rebuked for not providing alternatives and for comparing abortion to the holocaust and slavery because no one is forcing women to get abortions.  They failed to see that the baby has no choice in the matter.  During the Holocaust the Jews were the minority and apart from someone standing up for them there was no hope.  As far as alternatives; if Hitler had died after 2 years he would be known as Hitler the Great for how he had miraculously pulled Germany out of the depression. And the services continued and helped the poor into the holocaust but when good is used as a platform for evil an end must be put to it.  Just as an end must be put to Planned Parenthood.  The other Planned Parenthood services are available through other organizations and through the family which is frequently left out.

These are all arguments for an opinion and are of course helpful but I have more than an opinion to work from. God has spoken to me, the Holy Spirit has mourned in my soul over the murder of God’s children. Hear the word of the Lord! Abortion is a sin and supporting abortion is a sin, Repent, Repent, Repent and flee the wrath that is to come…

Inclusivity May end up being Exclusive

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The church practices and supports the work of evangelism to reconcile people to God through Jesus.  In the past several decades growth movements have done much to focus the church on evangelism.  Many churches have restructured their weekly services to focus on those that have not accepted Christ.  Many organizations have also put effort into reviewing language, presentations and their image to find ways to avoid placing stumbling blocks in front of those that haven’t accepted Christ.  It is a good idea to identify what might constitute a stumbling block and remove them (1 Cor 14:16) because the Church is not to be of the World but it is still in the world and is called to communicate to those in the World.  This scope has been extended by many to include looking for ways to build bridges to various groups.  Many times these methods attempt to identify doctrines and understandings of the bible that may be thought of as non-essential and that are objectionable to the world and then either down play, repackage, obscure, or list as one of several alternatives interpretations.  All this to hopefully bring the world to the realization that “God gave us salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ”.  But, what does it mean “God gave us salvation through his Son”.   I believe this entails a submission or yielding to Christ as Lord not just an acceptance of Him as savior.

Romans 10:9-10
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Keeping this in mind; as we attempt to build bridges how do we decide what is essential and what isn’t?  This goes beyond the question of what we present as being essential but within the church itself what we believe and teach as truth.   Scripture tells us to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)  but how sure are we if we keep questioning what scripture says or keep saying its unclear?  This is why I feel the church has to take a stronger stance on biblical creationism along with other issues and not back down for fear that it might turn some people off.  If the creation story were merely a story of beginnings and men’s rejection of God occurred later then it wouldn’t be of such concern.  But the fall which is pivotal to the need for the Cross takes place in the story of creation.  Coming to unbelievers while we have the fall of man now placed on the shaky uncertain ground of the allegorical leaves us with a calling which becomes shaky.   If faith is our certainty but we say we are uncertain about how it all began and yes God has a story but we think God’s version of the beginning might be inaccurate then what else in scripture is inaccurate?  Are we yielded to Christ if we keep looking for ways to deal with what we find objectionable in scripture?

The other aspect of accepting Christ as Lord and making our election sure is that we shouldn’t just assume that a confession of faith means a person is saved.  The growth movements focuses on getting people in and believes that once we get their signature, their buy in we don’t have much to worry about, if they are in they are in, once saved always saved.  But what is interesting is that Matthew 7 it says “Enter through the narrow gate; for the way is wide that leads to destruction..”  Many assume that Jesus is talking to the world but in the context v21 it says “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord Lord” will enter the kingdom..”  So this passages is talking to the church.  Of those who accept Christ and are part of the Church few of those will enter the kingdom.  Our evangelism and methods in the church of just getting people in is too small and eventually may leave many out because we didn’t want to ruffle feathers by standing upon the Word and having faith inexorably in the Word and what the Word says and holding those in the church to believing the Word.  The church should consider this as it structures itself or it will risk too much.

Hiking/Camping Part 7 – Power Up

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Since the industrial revolution we now live in an age of innovation.  Electronic devices and gadgets exist to help with any problem or difficulty you can think of.  Not even the great outdoors and nature can escape this.  Tools for navigation, weather, surveying, monitoring, photographing, and generally making life in the great out doors easier exist in many shapes and sizes.  If you are going to go backpacking or camping there are some electronic devices which one might consider indispensable as well as some electronic which might just be nice to have.  I will try to list these tools requiring a power source in order of importance for appropriate consideration. Read more of this post

Hiking/Camping Part 6 – Food, Fire & Water

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When you are camping or hiking it goes without saying, you’re going to get hungry and thirsty.  We have talked about clothing, shelter and hygiene in past articles; all of which are necessary to maintain our external physical viability, to keep our outsides healthy.  But it really is of little use unless you also fuel the body.  All the activities of camping, hiking, setting up camp, cooking, foraging, fishing, etc require energy.  The human body is one of the most efficient machines on earth.  Converting human energy consumption to that of an automobile it would be like getting 900 miles to the gallon.  But at some point we all need sustenance and hydration; we need food and water.  Hiking and camping have their own sets and degrees of difficulty when it comes to food and water.  In both cases the question of weight and space are an issue and even more so when hiking.  You are not going to be able to bring Martha Stewart’s or Tyler Florence’s kitchen and sub-zero freezer with you. Read more of this post

Hiking/Camping Part 5 – Packs and Tools

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If you are going to have an adventure in the great outdoors its not all about leisure or playtime, there will be some work but it should be fun work if you enjoy nature. To go hiking or camping you are going to need something to hold your stuff and you are going to need some tools to setup camp. I’ve given some thoughts on clothing, hygiene and shelter now lets talk about packs and common camp tools as well as some fun though non-essential gear to have while camping. (Note: I will cover tools for making a camp fire and compasses in the next article)

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