Monthly Archives: June 2011

25 Things that Shouldn’t Scare Progressive Christians

Blogger Rachel Held Evans recently came up with a list of 25 things that shouldn’t scare Christians. The list is insightful, but has a definite progressive tilt.  So I humbly offer 25 things that shouldn’t scare (progressive) Christians.

1) Intelligent design

2) Gas powered vehicles

3) Families with a mom and a dad

4) Conservative female leaders

5) A high view of scripture

6) Teetotalers

7) A balanced budget

8) Homeschooling

9) Praying before meals

10) Crisis pregnancy centers

11) Showing an ID to vote

12) Substitutionary atonement

13) Proselytizing

14) Thinking about heaven

15) censorship of pornography

16) Happy Meals

17) The word “Evangelical”

18) The national anthem

19) The second amendment

20) Shopping at Wal-mart

21) Requiring a down payment to buy a house

22) Right to work states

23) Posting something religious on Facebook

24) Miracles

25) Thomas Kinkade paintings

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My Favorite Calvinists

Here are some of my favorite Calvinists, and what I admire most about them.

John Newton:   Newton loved people and was passionate about sharing the gospel. He is probably best known for penning the words to “Amazing Grace”.  Newton formerly worked in the slave trade, and eventually joined the abolitionist movement.  I admire Newton’s love for the gospel, his humble spirit, and his dedication to ending the slave trade.  “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am. “

Charles Spurgeon: Spurgeon was known as “the prince of preachers”.  He preached to thousands of people, averaging 10 sermons a week. He was passionate about preaching to the lost.  He was decidedly Calvinistic, but valued  Christian love and charity above doctrinal convictions. I admire Spurgeon’s love of preaching, his dedication, and his efforts to promote Christian unity. “If “Christ is all” to you, you are Christians; and I, for one, am ready to give you the right hand of brotherhood. I do not mind what place of worship you attend, or by what distinctive name you may call yourselves, we are brethren; and I think, therefore, that we should love one another.”

William Carey:  Carey’s enthusiasm for missions was in large part the catalyst for the missionary movement in England, and he was a pioneering missionary to India. I admire Carey’s heart for the lost, and how he helped changed church culture to a more missional focus.  Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.

Corrie ten Boom: Corrie loved to share the message of God’s love and his forgiveness.  She and her family helped hide Dutch Jews from the Nazis.  They were arrested, and she and her sister were sent to a concentration camp (where her sister died). I admire her perseverance in hardship, her strong preaching, and her focus on God’s love for all. “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.

Francis Schaeffer: Schaeffer was a pastor, theologian and author.  He founded the L’abri community in Switzerland. I admire Schaeffer’s efforts to minister to the “hippie” generation, and his work in the pro-life movement.  I also appreciate that his writings are not overtly Calvinist in nature. “Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.”

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N.T. Wright on How to Read the Bible

N.T. Wright shares some thoughts on how to read the Bible.  Video Clip: The Whole Sweep of Scripture

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Arminian Audio: Symposium at Andrews University

Andrews University recently held a conference on Arminian theology, and the audio from the conference is available online.  Link here: 2010 Arminianism Symposium – Andrews University, MI.  Andrew’s is Adventist, so some of the material is related to concerns specific to the Adventist movement (which I do not necessarily agree with).

Here are some of the presentations that sound interesting:

  • Hans LaRondelle: Divine Election and Predestination: A Biblical Perspective (link)
  • Roger Olson: Arminianism as God-centered Theology (link)
  • Jacques B. Doukhan: Fate or Destiny: The Issue of Predestination and Free Will in Hebrew (OT) and Jewish Thought (link)
  • Kenley Hall: The Great Awakening—Calvinism, Arminianism and Revivalistic Preaching—Homiletical Lessons for Today (link)
  • Skip MacCarty: The Heart of Him Who Hardens Hearts (link)
  • John C. Peckham: The Conditionality and Unconditionality of Divine Love: A Brief Consideration of the Relationship between Love and Election in the Old Testament (link)
  • Barry Callen: Soteriological Synergism and Its Surrounding Seductions (link)
  • Hans LaRondelle: Paul’s Hope For All Israel: Romans 9-11 (link)
  • Jiří Moskala: Calvin’s Teaching on Double Predestination in Light of the Biblical Message (link)
  • Roger Olson: Arminian Theology as Evangelical Theology (link)
  • Keith Stanglin: Assurance of Salvation: An Arminian Account (link)

(HT: Steve Noel)

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Cleveland Fans and Corporate Election

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Eph 1:4 – bold mine)

There is much rejoicing in Cleveland today.   Cav fans provide us with a great example of corporate election(1).

Cleveland fans love the Cavs.  As a result of loving the Cavs, they also love players who are on that team.  Players come and go.  The fans’ fondness of a particular player is typically based on whether or not that player is a member of the Cavs.

Cleveland fans were FORMERLY quite enthusiastic about LeBron James.  However, when Lebron left the team for Miami, the fans were not quite as pleased with him as they once had been (to put it nicely).  Their enthusiasm for LeBron was conditional on his association with the Cavs.

Corporate election is quite similar.  Corporate election focuses on our association with Christ.  God chooses individual corporately in Christ, rather than choosing particular individuals because of hidden reasons.  If someone believes in Christ, God accepts that person as a consequence of his identification with Christ.  If someone rejects Christ, God rejects that person, because the individual’s election is conditioned on being “in Christ”.

This view of election  fits nicely with Ephesians 1:1-14. Notice how many times the phrases “in him” or “in Christ” are repeated in the passage.  Election is corporate and Christ centered.

Corporate election is not about God choosing certain individuals, but rather about him choosing the group of individuals who trust in Christ.

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(1)I’m borrowing this analogy from a similar one used by Brian Abasciano.  See his article: Clearing Up Misconceptions About Corporate Election

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Yard Sale Find – MacArthur Commentaries

I went yard saling today and snagged 17 volumes of John MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary series.  Total price: $10.  These bad boys are about $15 each on Amazon.  That kind of deal is almost enough to make me a Calvinist.  Almost. :)  I passed them on to a family member who will appreciate them more.

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Filed under General Interest, John MacArthur

Are Methodists Becoming More Conservative?

Here’s an article on how United Methodists are becoming more theologically conservative.  This is in contrast to some of their  mainline brethren: Methodists Behaving Conservatively.

From the article:

 By some measures, the United Methodist Church is becoming more theologically conservative. The denomination’s Book of Discipline affirms that homosexual practice is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” At their 2004 General Conference, United Methodists endorsed “laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” It wasn’t close; the motion passed with 70 percent of the vote. The Methodists’ generally pro-choice position on abortion has been revised in a more pro-life direction.

This conservative trend of the UMC contrasts with the liberalizing trend of other American mainline denominations (Presbyterians, Episcopals, etc).  The reason is that Methodists outside the USA have full voting rights in the general convention.  One third of UMC delegates now come from Africa.  African Methodists are  more orthodox than their American counterparts.  Because of this African movement, conservative Americans are also more likely to stick around (in other mainline denominations these sorts of people have already left).

It’s an interesting read, and also encouraging.

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