The question “What is the plain reading of scripture?” seems like a crutch for evangelicals lately.

Adopting the coin phrase “What is the plain reading of scripture?” as a rule of thumb for interpretation can lead professing Christ followers to appear more like followers of Epicurus, Zeno and even Moses rather than Christ. The phrase sounds nice but what does it even mean? Please understand that I consider myself an evangelical deeply committed to the Gospel and the authority of scripture so please interpret any criticism that I may have in light of that.

Our culture today has new influences, leaders, philosophers, etc. Christ’s followers need to engage in not against their cultural context. A plain reading of scripture is in many ways apposed to our culture today. Why are we not talking about this more? Is it bibliscism? Come on, we need to grow up. 2000 years has passed and I am tired of superfluous questions like “What is the plain reading of scripture?” being used as the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong… there is a time and place for a phrase like “the plain reading of scripture” however, it seems like a crutch lately regarding certain topics.

It takes time, study, prayer, community, hard work, cultural immersion, discussion and many mistakes to take a 2000 year old text written in the context of a 2000 year old culture and plant it’s many messages and themes in our world today. Some of our doctrinal transplants are obviously not thriving (many are dying). Are we content with blaming this present evil age (Gal 1:4) for a crisis of doctrinal atrophy? The apostle Paul wasn’t content with that. It’s hard work planting seeds and seeing them to fruition in a new and foreign environment. Please don’t take the easy-way out and say “I go by the plain reading of scripture.”

1. Have you heard this phrase used lately in an unhelpful way?
2. What ways or ideas have you used to bridge the biblical text from then to now?
3. Can our churches remain committed to Sola-Scriptura and do away with phrases like “plain reading of scripture”?

More Sunday Morning Response… “Our wants grow in step with our egos.”

Check this blog response from Sunday morning… Created or Creators? You will be blessed.

“The created value Him; creators value chattel.

The created suffer; creators make others suffer.

The created love others genuinely; creator’s love because they should for their own good.

The created admit weakness; the creators shield it with bravado.

The created seek His authority; the creators think they are authority.”

 

An article I wrote for a blog called Think Theology.

A friend Luke Geraty asked me to write about “why it is important for pastors to spend time with their people because if they don’t they’ll preach sermons that don’t reach people and they’ll miss out on a ton of missional opportunities along the way.”  This is what I came up with. He is a great person, pastor and I really enjoy his blog check it out if you get the chance.

Here is the link to my article… “Pastors, plant Jesus seeds in the garden that God has called you to.”

“A chicken sandwich, a chicken sandwich! The Kingdom for a chicken sandwich!”

This is what the whole “Chick-Fil-A Stand” looks like to me. 😦

Sunday Morning Response…

On Sunday I gave a message out of Mark 1:9-13.
The point or Goal of the sermon was to show that “God’s beloved Son comes to us as suffering servant. At the end I posed four questions for the congregation to ask themselves during the week…

  1. Why should God identify with us broken sinners.
  2. How do you identify with Him?
  3. How does God want us to respond to a king who serves and suffers?
  4. Have you identified with Jesus? (John 3:16-18)

Here is a blog  from a person in our congregation where he ties this idea of a “savior servant” within the context of politics . I appreciate his contrast as seen in the following quotes…

“To be run BY God is to immerse oneself in the Saviour Servant and try to follow His path. It is a life that involves tough questions of yourself and even tougher answers. It is a blessing to love God not a talking point and needs to be treated with humbleness and reverence.”

“To be running ON God is to use God to appease a base. It is to try to balance the needs of the public and the religious, and in doing so meeting the needs of neither. It is disingenuous, it is false, and it divides a country.”

Poetic Journeys

To believe in God is a choice of life and not a political platform. Politics and faith are best left separate. Politics and faith invariably leads to using the latter to accomplish the former. We have politicians who are taking every opportunity to try to convince the populous that they are everything we want them to be. They are even taking pictures hunting, when they don’t hunt? We want them to represent a lifestyle over honesty. We take time in the debates to talk faith and definitions of marriage but ignore talking about crushing poverty and starving people living on the streets. Furthermore, we are flooded with campaign ads that cost tens of millions each month, ads that are divisive, fear driven tripe thats goal is to make you dislike one candidate more than you dislike the other (I can think of better use of this money, clothing and food…

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What is the Christian claim?

In John Stott’s popular little book Basic Christianity he says  “The Christian claim is that we can find God in Jesus Christ.” I love this statement. Based on my experience however, this wonderful statement is not as simple as it seems.

Here are the top five things from my Christian experience that seem to make this “claim”  somewhat obscure.

  1. Christian Subculture (for many this is simply called church where the word “Jesus” can mean many things based on whether or not you are a conservative, liberal, Calvinist, fundamentalist, redneck, white collar, blue collar, Etc. )

    • Is the Christian claim… that we can find God in Christian subculture?
  2. Christless Judgement (judging others like Christ as if you have not been, are not being and will not be judged by Christ)

    • Is the Christian claim… that we can find God through our highly perfected form of  “fruit checking”, “sin policing”, and “meddling”? {I remember the nickname given to me  by a couple of the locals in one of the communities I pastored  was “The Sin Buster”}
  3. Standards (they seem to give a false sense of purpose after your relationship with Christ dies. After our love for Christ has been replace with the love of standards we begin to impose our love for standards on as many unsuspecting victims as possible)

    • Is the Christian claim…  that we can find God through standards?
  4. Leadership (You need leadership to tell you what to think and believe)

    • Is the Christian claim…  that we can find God through our perfect Christian leadership?
  5. Programs and Systems (Having a problem? We have a solution.)

    • Is the Christian claim…  that we can find God through our programs and systems?

None of these things are bad in and of themselves in my opinion. Subculture, Judgement, Standards, Leadership, Programs and Systems all have their place of course. Wherever God’s image bearers are you can expect to find these nesting things. They are just things that I have found being prescribed by us to broken people as a means to redemption long before they encounter the real Jesus.

Lets work on that.

If we can let the truth that Jesus  is a person and not an “idea up for grabs” we should be able to find comfort in “The Christian claim… that we can find God in Jesus Christ”. Lets allow the lost to find and be found by the real Jesus first then what grows out of that will be of much better use for His kingdom.