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Archive for December 4th, 2008

Over the course of blogging I have figured out some things. Mostly this is for myself so as you read it I want you to see this. I want to start out with the words of Jesus:

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

This is to define my life and regardless of how well my ecclesiology, discipleship, evangelism, doctrine and morality are, they are worthless apart from Jesus’ commands. So my question to myself is this: Is my learning and wrestling and fighting and blogging and reading and churching and evangelism leading me towards obeying these commands?

The nature of God is found in Christ and the nature of Christ is found in these verses. He pointed to Himself on the road to Emmaus which was the fact that all scripture was pointing to Him both in Moses and the prophets. He then says in the verses above that “all the law and prophets depend on loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself”.

Here is where I want to go. I believe there are many ways to do church, I think most doctrines are parts of the sum of truth. In other words the way we meet and some of the things we believe may be less relevant than we make it. Should these things be debated? Sure! However, if these things don’t cause us to love God and love others the way Jesus commands us what we do and what we believe is of no benefit to the Kingdom whatsoever.

Let me try this. Rather you go to a traditional church or an organic church, rather you meet in a house or a building, rather you believe in Elder Ruled or a more Participatory governance structure, rather you believe in Covenant Theology or New Covenant Theology, rather you belive Homeschooling or Public schooling is the best way to educate your children rather you believe in the Rapture or like me an Amill fella. Rather you are egalitarian or complemetarian, rather you are a Calvinist or Arminian or avoid labels altogether, rather you like the one man pulpit preaching style or an all church inclusive, rather you believe in infant or credo baptisms, rather you like theological terms or despise them, rather you do street preaching or have your neighbors over for dinner as an evangelism tool, rather you are Reformed Baptist or Anglican, rather you feel being missional is sending missionaries or cutting someone’s grass, rather you think Senior Pastors is part of the fall or a lack of identifiable church government is sin and finally rather write books, blog, or both, let me say this. If vertical and horizontal love isn’t your undying passion what you are doing amounts to nothing in relation to Kingdom Value, regardless of the perceived success or failure that come by doing things or believing things.

I have come to the conclusion that most people that I know or at least most people that comment on this blog and I comment on theirs, or we have talked on the phone, or have met them for coffee, or have debated them online, or I have visited their church or read their books or listened to their sermons, have Christ as their up-most prize. Do I agree with them? Not most. But in the short time of doing what I do, I believe there motives to be of the purest. Rather that is fighting for theological truth, exposing error, wrestling with the “right” way to do ecclesiology, rather that is fighting for or against women in the pulpit, rather that is throwing a jab at Calvinist or Arminians, rather that is trying to institute church discipline, having people sign covenants, building mega churches or renting out buildings. Rather that is being on stage with people that a lot of Christians like or dislike and even if that is writing books that could be perceived as too soft or too hard. Most of these individuals are doing their best to love God and love (wo)man!

I have theological distincitives and ecclesiological distinctives and eschatological distinictives and a certain system of theology, and I read my bible a certain way (http://www.beginningwithmoses.org/) . I believe we should only baptize disciples, I am wrestling through how we should meet. I believe in Election/Predestination, I also am wrestling through 1 Timothy 2 (I like Gordan Fee’s and Jon Zens argument), I like both teaching styles, and some of my favorite preachers are Presbyterians of the PCUSA persuasion for some reason (especially Dale Ralph Davis) though I uphold New Covenant Theology. I am sort of a Complemetarian in practice (again I like Zen’s and Fee’s argument) though I really like Kathy Escobar’s blog and spirit . I happen to be a member of a church called Lifeline Bible Church  which is a Dispensational Church (which I am radically opposed to) funded by a Church where one of the greatest men I have ever met preaches expositorily week after week! I am mixed bag to be short!

At the end of the day though. I love Jesus. I mess up sometimes. I flip flop a lot. My hearts desire is to see people come to know the freedom that comes in Christ. Sometimes I live a self-preserved life, when I know I should give more of myself. Sometimes I engage in arguments that I wished I never even touched, sometimes I say things that hurt people, sometimes I care more about ideology and abstract ideas than I do individuals, sometimes I sin, sometimes I read my bible and serve people and work hard and give a bunch and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I read the bible and wonder if I am really picking up my cross. Sometimes I look and see am I storing up treasure that I don’t want to part with. Sometimes I write posts for the sake of getting people feathers a bit roughed up and sometimes to express my heart. Sometimes I am selfless husband and sometimes I am not. Some days I do real good as a parent and sometimes I don’t, sometimes I am selfish, self-centered and other days I am sacrificial, somedays I wish I can go and be with the Lord and other days I don’t want Jesus to come back for a million years, somedays I read Philippians 3 and I nod with eager and vigorous agreement and other times I don’t!

At the end of the day what I can say with full assurance is that Jesus born of a virgin, living a sinless life, went to the cross for me and paid the penalty that I should have paid and would have been 100 gazillion dollars short! I have tasted the grace of the Lord Jesus and know it to be real. I have experienced a full work of the Spirit in my life and understand the joy of being seated with Him at the right hand of the Father. I can say I do desire to love God and my neighbor and a lot of times I fall far short so I am thankful for a Savior who not only saves me but intercedes for me, who not only justified me but who is seeing my sanctification through.

I close with this. I desire to know the truth about all the things I mentioned above. I really do! I spent countless hours praying about them and searching for them in the bible while trying not to lose the purpose of the Scriptures which is Jesus in the details or missing the forest due to the trees. I want to be obedient and believe all the right stuff, I want to make sure that Jesus is satisfied with me! But at the end of the day I know that is nothing but the grace of God by the blood of the Lamb that reconciles me to God and at the end of the day I want to love a God who loves me and love my neighbor because God loves me. I know I deserve only His wrath, but now I can call Him Dad, and all of this rests on a Savior who died for me. I pray that at the end of all of your wrestling you don’t miss the Savior! Our lives are hidden in His if you have trusted Him, don’t stop wrestling but never forget the one all of this is about!

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This is not about race but about a comment and some emails and looking at what people searched and landed them here. Originally when we started this blog it was to point people to good African American Reformed resources. Though this blog has evolved over the last year or so I want to also help people who was where I was, coming out of unhealthy churches and looking for what has helped me along my journey as an African American believer. Thus here is a list for those looking for such preachers. I may end up making this a page due to the name of the blog (or URL) being black and reformed ministries. So this list is not exhaustive, just wanted to use that “look no further” in the title! Please note this is in no paticular order.

1. Voddie Bauchum

2. Lance Lewis who also blogs at www.blaquetulip.blogspot.com

3. Anthony Carter

4. Reddit Andrews

5. Eric Redmond

6. Ken Jones who also is a speaker at the White Horse Inn

7. Thabiti Anyabwile blogs at Pure Church

8. Eric Mason

9.  John E. Coleman

10. Michael Leach

11. Roger Skepple

12. Louis Love

13. Conrad Mbewe blogs at A Letter from Kabwata

I think this should be a start and through searching these gentleman others should arise. I can not forget to add Elder D.J Ward who recently passed but will be missed greatly by us young bucks.

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