Friday, May 26, 2006

Two "Serious" Questions

I love the ministry of Doug Phillips and Vision Forum ( and Repeatedly he asks two questions that relate to the question of "Serious Faith."

1. "Does a fish know he's wet?"

If a fish could communicate, would he have a clue about the concept of "dry?" Obviously the answer is, "no." The fish is completely immersed in its environment and doesn't recognize that there is another out there that is completely opposite to its own. This is an extremely important concept when it comes to us and our culture. We are thoroughly immersed in our culture and thus have a very difficult time understanding that God calls us to be different in a manner that is very, very foreign to us. We don't comprehend "dry" in our natural state. We find out about "dry" by studying our Bibles and then actually putting into practice what God says. We must come out of the culture. We must be different. It is that very difference that shows the Gospel.

2. "If you were plopped down on a deserted island with no cultural baggage and only the Bible, how would you organize, orient, and live your life?"

This is a challenge that assumes the Bible actually does have everything necessary to live a life the way God wants it lived. Would the life that you set up on that island look different than then one you are living now? If so, then the one you are living now has some serious problems.

So, introspection is necessary. We must find out about "dry." We must consider our lives in light of the truth of God's word. We must be willing to change as necessary, regardless of what the culture has to say. That is sanctification and that is the path that leads to salvation.

To God be the glory!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Dog's Life

I don't usually watch much TV, but I happened to click through (yeah...a guy thing!) and catch a portion of "The Glenn Beck Show" on CNN. He was doing a short piece on the latest and greatest for man's best friend. All I could do was shake my head in wonder at the lengths to which people will go to supposedly find contentment. The latest appears to be to buy expensive little pure-breds and the dress them up in the finest clothing available, give them spa treatments, and basically treat them like little people! This segment introduced us to two stores in New a basic Ralph Lauren shop that had a whole section devoted to clothing for your dog! How about an alligator leash for a mere $500? A little poochie shirt with Ralph's logo on the collar for only $45? The other had whole lines of clothing, but specialized in "Day Care" to include hot oil massage in their spa!

My family owns a dog, and he spends his share of the takehome dollar, but not in the attempt to treat him like a person!

OK...I shouldn't be surprised at the length people will go to make themselves feel good. A small dog always loves you, and he never talks back (well...ours is a large dog, and he DOES talk back!). So what's wrong with spending big $$ to make little Fifi spiffy?

I can see the argument now...but you spend money on things that aren't absolutely necessary as well, don't you? I suppose I do. But at least I'm aware of it, and understand that the money has been provided by God, and I AM accountable for what I have done with it. And hopefully in that portion of the sanctification process, I am becoming more mature and seeing money as a tool to be used to God's glory.

Maybe I am blind, but I just can't see how God is glorified with designer clothing for a dog....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Augustine's Wisdom

As I was perusing the posts over at Together for the Gospel (see my links on the left), I came across a wonderful quote by Augustine as posted by Ligon Duncan. It pretty much sums it all up!

"If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself." (Augustine)

Really? Seriously?

Are you serious? About what? About your faith, that's what! Many people are now of the belief that "Evangelical" can no longer be defined, and what amounts to American Evangelical Culture is woefully shallow and weak. Any honest evaluation of most people who call themselves "Evangelicals" would note that most look an awful lot like the culture around them, except that they've "spiritualized" it by adding church and all its attendant activities to an already harried lifestyle. On top of that, they have added the great, honored American tradition of the rugged individual to the mix..."my faith is mine and no one else has a right to critique it."

So why is it that the churches that are growing are doing so with mass marketing techniques? Why is it that these churches have very few "deep" Christians? Why is it that most Christians within these churches cannot argue the case for good doctrine? Why is it that so many Christians determine their direction based upon "feeling?"

I think the bottom line is that we have lost any and all respect for the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. God makes it clear through Paul in his letter to Timothy that all Scripture is profitable for all aspects of life. Sometimes determining how it applies to a given situation requires some study and work, but there is nothing under the sun that cannot be put in subjection to what God has told us in His Word.

The subset of Sola Scriptura is actual obedience to what the Word tells us. Jesus Himself tells us in the Gospels that obedience is tied to evidence that a believer loves Him. Paul writes in Romans that his goal is the "obedience of the Gentiles." James and John both dwell considerably on the topic of obedience. This is the doctrine of "Lordship." How often we use the title, "Lord," without actually comprehending what that implies. If Jesus is truly our Lord as well as our Savior, then we owe him the allegiance and obedience that a slave owes his master. Granted, Jesus loves us, and therefore serving Him should be a joy. But He is a master nevertheless. Our lives are not our own. We must set ourselves on the path to discerning what God has to say through Scripture and then actually doing it! It is through obedience that we show our love for our God. It is through obedience that we will be very different from our pagan neighbors. It is through obedience that we will show them the Gospel, rather than just telling them about it. It is through obedience that the love of God will shine through us to our family, our friends, our neighbors, and our world.

Does this obedience save? No. We are saved by grace, through faith. But Scripture also says that sanctification is required for salvation. And sanctification involves obeying the commands of Scripture in the power of the Holy Spirit so as to become more and more like Jesus.

So...are you serious? Are you ready to be different that then average evangelical Christian? Are you ready to see God's power in your life? Then do His will...which means living your life according to the commands, precepts, principles, and patterns of His inspired Word. We spend so much time trying to discern God's will for our lives or for a particular situation, and then often rely on feelings or circumstance to determine a direction. That is woefully inadequate. Any feeling or circumstance must be checked with Scripture. If it doesn't square, then it isn't a sufficient ground upon which to base a decision or a direction. If you want God's will, then do things His way...and you will be in His will!