by Mike Plewniak
— A definition of courage from Webster’s 1828 dictionary: COURAGE, n. [L., the heart.] Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.
— An example of courage by Dr. Al Mohler. For those who follow his blog, or are familiar with his history, this is his recounting of the events that took place after he became President of Southern Seminary. He was persecuted by faculty, students, and the media. He was mocked and hated. And he had a resolute boldness to trust in God, His Word, and to do the right thing even though it wasn’t popular.
Men, we need courage like this. Courage to stand with boldness in the face of suffering and persecution. We need courage that God’s Word is true and will prove itself true throughout history. We need courage to do the right thing. Let’s pray and ask God for this kind of courage!
Filed under: Evangelism
by Mike Plewniak
Here is a great post by Irish Calvinist called “Trying to Listen and Communicate Better in Evangelism”. I like it so much I decided to put it here in it’s entirety for your benefit. I think he is making a great point and believe this is something we need to keep our pulse on in our evangelism.
There are a lot of challenges facing believers as we labor to communicate the gospel to those around us. We are increasingly presented with a community that is less biblically informed then we saw in past years. Many people do not think and operate within a framework to process such things as sin, redemption, a sufficient savior, and dependence.
Furthermore, I have found that the fundamental questions that people are asking are coming from the wrong angle and aiming at the wrong goal. For instance, many people operate under the unbiblical notion that asserts something like, “How can God be just and not forgive me?” Whereas, the question the Bible asks and answers is “How can God be just and forgive me?”
The prevalent thought is that we are all of such a value and our good so eclipses our bad that we are deserving of a break from God rather than the wrath of God. Too many think of God’s forgiveness like a tax break that is given to folks just for showing up. This is not so. We are not deserving of anything from God, much less forgiveness and full pardon from an angry, offended Judge!
As faithful heralds of the truth we need to make sure that the wrong question is not the one that is being asked but instead the biblical question. The cross is foolishness in any other framework. Why would he die if you and I were good? Why would he endure such hostility and rejection if we are so docile and acceptable? Why would he die if we never would?
So we must follow our great evangelistic model in the Apostle Paul who labored to demonstrate the awful wickedness of the human heart. Paul beat the drum of radical human depravity through the first two and a half chapters of Romans. His point is to get everyone backed into the corner agreeing with our own utter sinfulness and God’s unflinching justice and resolve to promote his holiness. Until we are “silent” and “accountable to God” (Rom. 3.19) we are not able to even begin to process what it means to see the righteousness of God manifested (3.21-26) and ultimately vindicated (3.27) through the cross. Paul’s whole point here is that God has always been demonstrating his righteousness, previously through the law and now through the cross. It has always been accented by our radical depravity but now it has been punctuated with holy clarity through the cost of satisfying the infinite justice of God, namely the infinitely glorious and valuable Son of God.
We need to listen better and communicate better in our gospel proclamation. Many people are asking questions, but too often both the questions and the answers are the wrong ones. Show the depravity of the human heart in such a way that people are asking, “What must I do to be saved?!” rather than “Why would I need to be saved?” Portray Jesus’ crosswork as the glorious demonstration and vindication of righteousness.
by Mike Plewniak
Full name: Linus Van Pelt
As I watch this video below, it made me wonder what Linus would have been if the characters on Charlie Brown ever grew up. I think this dude could be a preacher. I mean, he would have to do away with the “security blanket” and stop the thumb-sucking. But, he does boldly proclaim the true meaning of Christmas in the spotlight.
Filed under: Culture
I may be the only one who notices this (or thinks he notices it), but we live in an extremely ungrateful culture. I could make tons of references to indicators of unthankfulness around us, but let us look no further than the marginalizing of a whole holiday centered around giving thanks: Thanksgiving. I went to several stores on the day after Halloween, and what did I see and here? Thanksgiving festivities? Nope, Christmas music, decorations and advertizements. Why are we so quick to blow by Thanksgiving? Is is because it doesn’t make money? Maybe. Is it because we think we deserve much more than we have? Probably. Is it because we are proud?
Check out this article by John Piper.
Filed under: Uncategorized
by Mike Plewniak
by: T Maples
I dug this up over at The Shepherds Scrapbook. I thought it was in keeping with today’s theme of tolerance and pluralism.
A recently instituted policy at Georgetown University:
“While zeal for spreading the good news of the Gospel is a most worthy Christian virtue, there is increasing agreement among Christians today that proselytism, defined as any effort to influence people in ways that depersonalizes or deprives them of their inherent value as persons or the use of any coercive techniques or manipulative appeals which bypass a person’s critical faculties or play on psychological weakness, is unworthy of Christian life. Physical coercion, moral constraint, or psychological pressure and inducements for conversion which exploit other people’s needs, weaknesses, and lack of education are not to be practiced by representatives of affiliated ministries.”
Related: “In a relatively free and open society, the best forms of tolerance are those that are open to and tolerant of people, even when there are strong disagreements with their ideas. This robust toleration for people, if not always for their ideas, engenders a measure of civility in public discourse while still fostering spirited debate over the relative merits of this or that idea. Today, however, tolerance in many Western societies increasingly focuses on ideas, not on people. The result of adopting this new brand of tolerance is less discussion of the merits of competing ideas — and less civility. There is less discussion because toleration of diverse ideas demands that we avoid criticizing the opinions of others… Exclusiveness is the one religious idea that cannot be tolerated. Correspondingly, proselytism is a dirty word. One cannot fail to observe a crushing irony: the gospel of relativistic tolerance is perhaps the most ‘evangelistic’ movement in Western culture at the moment, demanding assent and brooking no rivals.”
– D.A. Carson in The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Zondervan: 1996) pp. 32, 33.
HT(The Shepherds Scrapbook)
New Thought Knoxville describes itself as,
“a diverse group of people from varied cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds … drawn to find something outside the box of experience to explore the possibility that a spiritual community would dare to encourage us to be people of imagination on a path of unfailing and unconditional optimism.” The community has no formal doctrine, but honors “the wisdom taught by all spiritual teachers.”
First, I have a couple of questions. Do you think New Thought would honor the wisdom taught by Jesus? Do you think they would tolerate the exclusivity of Jesus’ message?
Now let’s consider the ancient words of Solomon regarding mans ability to improvise and come up with new things:
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has been already in the ages before us.” Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
Please remember no matter how “new & out of the box” an ideology claims to be, the only thing that will give this world what it’s looking for is the old gospel message of Jesus coming to earth to ransom a helpless people for his glory. There is one truth for all ages, it is unaffected by us, it exists outside of us, it is transcendent, and no matter how we respond to it, it will always be what it has always been, rock solid truth.