Archive for May, 2010

Rated Holy – Movies and Games fit for Christians

Monday, May 31st, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

What movies do you like to watch? Do you like a particular genre? What’s your favorite movie? And what kind of movie would you never watch?

If asked those questions, answers will vary. But most likely, few people would answer based on the audience rating of the movie. Have you ever heard someone say, “I just love PG movies” or “I only go to see what’s Rated R”? If anything, the R-rating is a boost for sales.

What games do you play? Do you like a particular kind of game? What’s you favorite game? And what kind of game would you never play?

If asked those questions, answers will vary. But most likely …. Well, you get the point. If anything, favorite games are rated “M” – for mature.

I would be surprised to find that Christian households differ. In fact, most Christians do not care how a movie is rated if they really want to see it.

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Creepy Miracles

Saturday, May 29th, 2010 by Jason Wermuth

In the interest in full disclosure, Dr. Clark [mentioned below] recently had some sharp words for our own Dr. Dale Coulter. While this post was initiated by reading Dr. Clark’s blog as a result of his prior comments about Dr. Coulter’s earlier blog, this post is in no way a response to or attack of Dr. Clark for his previous comments.

Recently I read a blog article written by Westminster Seminary California Church Historian Dr. R. Scott Clark entitled “Rome, Pentecostals, and Credulity” and was very surprised to read that he thinks that the one thing “Romanists and Pentecostals” share is our creepy miracles. On this topic Clark writes “I use the pejorative adjective intentionally because, at bottom, despite the formal differences between them, both are peddling magic and superstition and that’s creepy.”

Are “Pentecostal/Charismatic” miracles really creepy?

I could argue against this sort of simplistic perception using exegetical arguments or by lowering myself to the same sort of rhetoric that Dr. Clark resorts to, but I am sure that this approach would just send us around the merry-go-round again and again, so instead I want to approach this by providing a testimonial. I know, the appeal to personal experience is so anti-intellectual, but let’s leave the enlightenment need to rationalize everything here for a minute and deal with the existential realities of human experience, however subjective this form of argument may be. This does not mean, as many Pentecostals and Charismatics are accused of, that we leave our minds behind, but I am asking that we set aside the old way of using our minds for just a few minutes. I do not intend to address all of Dr. Clark’s statements in this post, but I intend only to offer a story about how the love of Christ has manifested itself in my life with the hopes of opening a dialog whereby ones lack of analogous experience does not serve as justification for immolation.
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Old Princeton and the Puritans

Friday, May 28th, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

I just recently started going through William B. Evans Imputation and Impartation: Union with Christ in American Reformed Theology. The book is a provocative exploration of the kind of Reformed theology called Federalism that was developed at Old Princeton, especially Charles Hodge. Federalism derives from the Latin term for covenant (foedus), and thus Evans traces the emergence of a particular stream of Reformed thought that used the idea of covenant to separate justification and sanctification and to overemphasize legal metaphors in salvation. Thus the kind of union that became important in this scheme was a legal union that existed completely outside of the believer and this union was completely separate from the spiritual union occurring in sanctification.

In his attack of both Puritan revivalism and the Mercersburg theology of John Nevin and the famous church historian, Philip Schaff, Charles Hodge was to push Federalism to the point that forensic justification and legal union became the dominant ways to describe the Reformed position. Evans thinks, and I agree, that this would have disastrous effects on Reformed theology in America. It is in contrast to the Puritan vision of an experimental piety grounded upon and flowing from a spiritual union with Christ. Once again, we see that Old Princeton, and its successor Westminster, through the continuing influence of their writings would redefine Reformed theology in such a way that it could not be compatible with the revivalist stream of evangelicalism. Read the rest of this entry »

An Urban Cry For Help

Thursday, May 27th, 2010 by Antipas Harris

The urban communities need more than a hand out or a hand up. The old approach of giving money and food to change conditions are just not the appropriate approach for lasting renewal. Urban communities need holistic treatment that includes support, relief, and education (tools) to help urban subjects to lift themselves up from the depravity encumbered upon them. Research shows that the problems are daisy-chained, resulting the proliferated debauchery.

The American Psychological Association reports that “The deepening economic crisis is profoundly impacting children, youth, and families. Its effects are rippling through the multiple contexts in which children and youth are situated. Within the nuclear family stressors such as job loss, home foreclosure, or loss in family savings place strain on parental relationships and on the family as a whole.” The APA indicates that families with extremely low incomes are going without necessities such as shelter, food, and healthcare. The APA anticipates that there will be a decline in higher education among youth, due to the need to secure employment to assist their families. Read the rest of this entry »

Spirituality and Leadership (Part 3)

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 by Diane Chandler

Over the past few weeks, I’ve focused on spirituality and leadership by looking at David’s relationship with God.  Last week’s blog zeroed in on David’s automatic default in times of leadership crises, which was to throw himself on the hesed (love, loving kindness, mercy) of God. 

David’s spiritual rhythms of seeking God, worship, and prayer were released through his poetry and song writing.  How could someone with that amount of leadership stress and crises find time to write poetry?  Read 1 Samuel 19-22 for a snapshot of a few days in the life of God’s anointed on-the-run.  Then read 2 Samuel 8 for an overview of some of David’s military exploits after Saul’s death.  It’s difficult to imagine how someone so action-oriented could also be so reflective, as evidenced by the 150 Psalms in Scripture that are testimonials of David’s spiritual life in God. 

But what about contemporary Christian leaders?  How do we navigate the rigors of leadership, all the while growing in our spiritual communion with God? Read the rest of this entry »

When in Rome…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 by James Flynn

The Western world is in a time of cultural change so dynamic that our time could be compared to the Renaissance or the Reformation. Just as with the shifts in culture that occurred more than five hundred years ago, technology is once again driving this change. Will the church react as it has in times past, retreating from change to take cover or ignoring change so as not to become stained by the world? If so, then the church is retreating from one of the greatest opportunities to reach people with the gospel that has ever existed.

Huge cultural shifts can be scary things for people. Culture is the way we know, experience, and understand our world. Culture’s written and unwritten rules help us to construct reality, and when culture’s fabric changes, the result is a cultural earthquake that upsets our very basis for understanding life. When the old rules of culture change, people become insecure and look for answers. Again I ask, will the church retreat to try to keep itself pure and safe, or will it earn its right to answer some of the world’s questions by conversing with culture and speaking the new language? As J. Randall Nichols once observed, “. . . people do not have a burning desire to hear about the Jebusites.” That is, unless the Jebusites can help us live life better today. Read the rest of this entry »