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Moved Sites (again) to A Better Covenant hope to dialogue with you there.

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My good brother CJ at Christ My Rightouesness is doing a series called “Race Relations and Unity. So far there are three posts up.

The Cross and Racial Reconciliation : Jews and Gentiles in Christ  by Kehpa

Kingdom of Men or Kingdom of God: How Your View of Diversity Defines Your Kingdom by Lionel Woods (AKA Hot Chocolate)

Love is Beyond Diversity by Bradley Cochran

There are a few more coming, but if you have a heart for racial reconcilation and diversity within the Body of Christ, I think these would be good reads. Coming from the Reformed persuasion I belive this to be a critical issue, as the Reformed faith is highly Eurocentric and has a superiority complex!

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Please change or update your blogs to www.gospelin3d.com this is where  I will be writing going forward. Thanks a bunch. Thanks Alan for all of your help in developing what I envisioned!

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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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Here is a quote from Paul:

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich…………13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

In Paul’s second epistle (or third or fourth depending on what you mean) he is encouraging the saints in Corinth to fulfill a promise they had made over a year ago. The Jerusalem Church was suffering (yes Agabus’ prophecy came true). Paul must have taught or talked about it during his missionary journeys. Well this motivated the Corinths to take up an offering to meet this need, somehow this information got to the Phillipi/Macedonia Church and in their great poverty they gave before the Corinths. By the time Paul writes this epistle (again a year later) they still had not given what they promised.

I say that to say this is not an attempt at manipulating the scriptures. I do want to focus in on something Paul says. He says “your abundance at this present time should supply their need……”. Why do I say that? Because today must of us live in abundance, most of us are thinking of nice gifts to give to our families. Power Wheels, jewelry, clothes, trips, movies and the like. Nothing is wrong with that at all. I think God has so blessed us so that we can provide for our families and even give them good gifts. However, that isn’t the only reason. As believers we recognize that we have a higher responsibility than just giving good gifts. We also have the same responsibility that our elder brothers and sisters had. That is to meet the needs of those who lack while we bask in utter wealth (yes we are much wealthier than those who live on $90 a year).

Paul goes on to use an Old Testament reference in the gathering of the “manna”. Why does he do that? Because he was showing us and the Corinths that all that they have comes from God. Just as God had provided for Israel so He provides for us. Not for us to store up and have our “manna” spoil as the Israelites did. But to ensure that no one in the camp lacked! All who gathered had enough for it was God who provided. So God has povided us with much manna so that the rest of the redeem will not lack (How wse is or God?).

The Need!

Second, as you know we are starting this clinic in Burji.  To date, comparing designated gifts for the clinic with costs of the clinic, we are about $10,000 in the red.  The great bulk of this is because the cost of purchasing the solar power stuff (panels, invertors, wire, etc) was more than we had expected, plus we went ahead & are installing the loudspeaker for the chaplain’s communication of the Gospel while people are waiting (now it will be heard in all the area surrounding the clinic as well as under the waiting shelter), plus we had to pay about $5500 to ship the supplies, plus we had to pay about $5000 for Customs fee, storage, loading, etc., and we’ve bought alot of start-up medical equipment (the clinic didn’t even have a blood pressure cuff!)   God’s people have been very generous in helping with these expenses, but we’re still $10,000 off as of today.  Stewardship requires us to monitor this, so we don’t want to get further behind.  Perhaps people reading your website will be appointed by Him to help these people with a “Christmas present” that lasts & lasts, perhaps even to eternity!  All checks can be payable to BeckyLynn Black (non-tax-deductible), or Bethel Hill Baptist Church (tax-deductible, but a minimum of $500).  Either way, the checks should be sent to us at 2691 White House Rd., Nelson, VA 24580.  My son Nathan will be checking our mail daily, so nothing will be lost.

Lets help the Blacksfulfill the Great Commission and not only that lets support a modern Priscilla and Aquilla meet the needs of the Saints of God. These are our brothers and sisters and they don’t have much. EVERYTHING that you give will go to building the clinic and getting wells and meeting the other needs of our Ethiopian sisters and brothers. 100%. Above there is a tax-deductible ($500 minimum) or a (no min..) non tax deductible way to give. Please as you give this Christmas and as you provide gifts for your family please consider giving here! I have met the Blacks personally and they are much lovelier than you would every imagine! If your finances have been effected due to our current economic crisis please, please, please pray then pass this need on by posting the information or letting your church know! God bless and thank you Blacks tell the team we love them and are praying for them.

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Real quickly. If you look at the links on the side. I have updated the links by making a new category for New Covenant Theology. If you are interested in knowing more about New Covenant Theology and its distinctives please visit those sites, I promise you that you will not be disappointed. God bless and let me know if you have any questions about NCT.

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As you may know, I am not of the conviction that the Charismatic (still haven’t found this distinction in the Scriptures yet) Gifts ceased. I believe that they are in full operation today for the Church and until Christ returns for His bride when the Church will no longer need to be built. I believe the case against them isn’t that strong hermeneutically or practically. Alan makes a good case for that in this post here . Here is a paragraph from that post:

Similarly, in Against Heresies, Book II, Chapter 32, Paragraph 4, Irenaeus writes:

If, however, they maintain that the Lord, too, performed such works simply in appearance, we shall refer them to the prophetical writings, and prove from these both that all things were thus predicted regarding Him, and did take place undoubtedly, and that He is the only Son of God. Wherefore, also, those who are in truth His disciples, receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from Him. For some do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe [in Christ], and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day for the benefit of the Gentiles, neither practising deception upon any, nor taking any reward (Acts 8:9, 18) from them [on account of such miraculous interpositions]. For as she has received freely (Matthew 10:8) from God, freely also does she minister [to others].

Once again, Irenaeus using living examples. He points to brothers and sisters in Christ who cast out demons, see visions, prophesy, heal the sick, and raise the dead. In fact, in this passage, Irenaeus uses current examples (in his day) of miracles as evidence that Christ actually performed miracles. This would not have been a very good argument if the miracles were not obvious to his readers.

What do you think?

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