Here’s a new free online resource: Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library. It is sponsored by the Nazarene church. There are resources in multiple languages.
Some of the free resources include:
HT: Dr Wayman
Thought I’d have a little fun. These are in reference to the Calvinist Children’s book: Help, Mom! There are Arminians Under My Bed! Apologies to Bill Watterson. :)
Calvinist bedtime reading? Or just a paranoid Turk with poor spelling?
John Piper is at it again. Shortly after the OKC tornado, he made the following tweet (which was later deleted):
Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead. -Job 1:19
Just as night follows day, Rachel Evans promptly called him on it.
First, some thoughts on Piper.
This is not the first time he has done something like this. He’s developing a pattern. I really wish he would think ahead of time before speaking when people are hurting. It damages the witness of all believers. Pat Robertson does this thing too often as well. They remind me a tiny bit of those folks from Westboro Baptist who hold out their “God hates gays” signs any time someone dies. I do think Piper and Robertson are genuine believers, I’m not so sure the Westboro folks are (no one knows but God). However, they have similar attitudes towards suffering and their understanding of the wrath of God. I bet the Westboro crew is on their way down to Oklahoma right now.
As Christians, our job is to mourn with those who mourn. We are to help and comfort those in need, even when we don’t think they deserve it. It is not for us to assign blame.
Now on to Rachel Evans.
She takes things things too far. Although her post made some good points, she too damaged her Christian witness, placing her criticism of Piper in front of the fact that he’s a fellow believer.
Piper’s god is like an abusive father, filled with unpredictable rage. His family must walk on eggshells, afraid of suddenly enraging him. Should he be provoked, this god will lash out with deadly, earthquakes, tsunamis, violence and war.
Two things here:
First, this is not a quote Piper would agree with. Evans should not attribute a belief to Piper that he would reject, or to which he would at the very least give a nuanced explanation of. The most that can be fairly said is that from Evan’s view, Piper’s theology inadvertently leads to a misunderstanding of God’s character, and this misunderstanding leads to an inaccurate picture of God who is abusive, full of rage, etc.
The second thing is that she refers to Piper’s “god” in the lower case. She does this throughout the post. This implies that Piper worships a false god. Despite our differences, all Christians worship the same God.
Just like Piper, Evans needs to think ahead of time before speaking.
And I suppose I do too.
A Godly man, he will be missed.
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matt 6:33
Simplicity is to focus on the few things that are most important, and to place less emphasis on the many other competing things that are unimportant.
Simplicity is an inward focus that also results in a different outward way of living. Both the inward and outward are important. If we claim inward simplicity but live complicated lives, we fool ourselves. If we live outwardly simple lives without the inward reality, we become legalistic. Inward simplicity is liberating. Life becomes less anxious and less complicated. It is freeing to let go of things and to be willing to share what we have with others. It is nice to not have the need to show off.
Our culture is materialistic. It encourages us to value ourselves based on what others think. We are made to feel ashamed if we don’t have the latest TV, phone, car, or clothes. Dave Ramsey rightfully observes that: “We buy things we don’t want with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” A life focused on acquiring things is deadly to the Christian walk. Jesus says you cant serve both God and money. He says that blessed are the poor, and that where your treasure is is where your heart will also be. The problem is that it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom first if we spend all of our time seeking more material things.
At the same time, God intends for us to have adequate material possessions, and he intends for us to have joy in life. Extreme asceticism (forced poverty and denying all pleasure) is itself the wrong focus. It is not simplicity. Simplicity is to put possessions in their proper perspective. It is to be content with what we have, to thank God for those things, and to be willing to share them with others.
Since simplicity is so visible, it is vulnerable to legalism and corruption. “It is easy to mistake our particular expression of the teaching for the teaching itself.” Simplicity is not comparing what we do to what others do. Rather, it’s making Jesus our focus. Seek God and his kingdom FIRST. Then everything else will fall into its proper perspective.
Simplicity frees us from anxiety. God has given us what we have, it’s his job to care for it, and he wants us to share with others. What makes us anxious is believing that we have earned all we have, that we must hold onto it, and that it is for us, not others.
Foster gives ten examples of outward simplicity. These are not “rules” (which lead to legalism), but general principles we can apply. The outward is accompanied with the inward.
1) Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status. Utility and durability are important. Prestige is not.
2) Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. An addiction is a compulsion you can’t control. Refuse to be a slave to anything but God.
3) Develop a habit of giving things away. De-accumulate. Consider giving away something that you’re especially attached to.
4) Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry. Advertisers tell us that we need the latest and greatest. What we already have usually works just fine.
5) Learn to enjoy things without owning them. Go to the park or the library. Enjoy the beach without feeling like you need beach property.
6) Develop a deeper appreciation for creation. Go for a walk. Listen to the birds. Smell the flowers.
7) Be skeptical of buy now pay later plans. Use extreme caution before going into debt.
8) Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain and honest speech. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Avoid flattery and speculative matters.
9) Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others. This could mean not buying something made by slaves. It could also mean doing something menial that you expect someone else to do.
10) Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God. It’s easy to become distracted, even by good things. Don’t let it happen.
[This blog post is part 5 in a series about the Christian disciplines, based on Richard Foster's book Celebration of Discipline. All quotes in this post (other than the Bible references) are from the book. The series introduction is here.]