Friday, March 21, 2008

Nothng but the Cross!

For I decided to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Apostle Paul, 1 Cor 2:2

To many, even in the church today, the cross has become an offence. Sure, they claim that they do believe in the work of the cross. But, my question is what place does the cross take up in the preaching of these churches. Is the cross the central point of their existence, the way that the Bible portrays it? The cross is the culmination of all of salvation history. It is the focal point of all that the Old Testament era was pointing to.

Just as an example of a church that claims that the cross is central in its message. This church is having an Easter weekend celebration starting today (21 March 2008). Apart from the morning and evening services today, they are also having workshops during the day from Friday to Sunday. Workshops on marriage, our past (healing emotions), our future, our friends, etc.

From the list of workshops available, not one deals with the cross and its implications. Not one! And, there are 13 workshops. This omission says way more than the list of workshops do.

If it weren't for the cross, we would all be still in our sin. I would say that makes the cross, and the death that Christ died for the elect a very serious and central matter in Christianity!

However, what we preach about the cross is just as essential as the cross itself. Sure, many are preaching the cross, but they have removed the essentials of the message of the cross. They have removed the offense of the cross (Gal 5:11). Once we remove the offense of the cross, we are no longer preaching the cross.

Without rehashing what I have said before, I would like to point you once again to my article, "What is the Gospel? What is the foundation to the gospel?"

Please, think about the cross, and make it central to your life and message. Yet, not a cross without the cruelty that Christ suffered, or without the horror of sin, that took Him to the cross!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Come What May - Movie

The Advent Film Group, a fully Christian based film group is releasing a new movie, "Come What May," in Spring 2008. That will be Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This movie handles the issue of abortion.

Watch the trailer below to see what it is all about!

Which day the Sabbath?

According to Joe Kovacs at WorldNetDaily, Christians are still at war over when the Sabbath should be commemorated. Here are a couple of paragraphs from his article:
"Two thousand years after Jesus walked the Earth, Christians are at war with each other concerning – as strange as it may sound – a day of the week mentioned in the Ten Commandments.

"The issue boils down to: 'When is God's Sabbath?' In other words, what is His holy day of rest?

"Most Christians today think it's Sunday, when the majority of churches hold services.

But others confidently say it's Saturday, calling Sunday worship 'the most flagrant error of mainstream Christianity,' believing Sunday-keepers are victims of clever deception."

In September of 2006 I wrote a post on the issue myself. You can read it here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gospel Lite

That is what Phil Johnson is calling his blog post. "Gospel Lite."

Here is a sample:
"Soon evangelicals weren't mentioning sin at all anymore. It was as if they suddenly forgot that the human dilemma is all about eternal and spiritual matters. Instead, by the mid 1980s, the issues that dominated evangelical pulpits were temporal and psychological: low self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, a sense of purpose in life, a feeling of belonging, and (of course) how to be happy, healthy, wealthy, successful, and full of self-esteem. Evangelicals portrayed "the gospel" as a quick 'n' easy answer to those questions, and little else."

I think it fits in nicely with my post earlier today. I actually read Phil's post after I wrote my post.

Reading on Preaching

For those preachers out there who know that their preaching is not what it should be (and even those who think they're doing a great job), C.J. Mahaney wrote a post in which several preachers recommend certain chapters in several books on Biblical preaching.

Pay for Worship

When we think of worship these days, what comes to mind? Mention the word among Christians and chances are their could be a wide variety of ideas about worship.

Much of it will be personal choice.The sound of the band. The style of music. How the music makes us feel. The worship leader, and many other personal choices.

In my opinion, none of these things tells us what worship is (I am not going to give a theological exposition on what worship is here. That is not the point of this post). What troubles me about the above scenario is that in the modern era, worship has become more about the worshipper than the one we worship.

Since when do we define worship from our personal point of view? This has become so bad that these days, if a "big name" comes to lead worship at a church, you have to book tickets to get in!

Far fetched? Not so! I was driving to work the other day when I heard this ad on a Christian radio station here. I wasn't too sure that I heard right. So, as soon as I got to work I went online just to listen to the radio again. I did not hear wrong! "Israel & New Breed" was coming to Centurion Christian Church, and they were advertising that the band was going to be here only one night and that we must order our tickets for 9 March 2008 at 6pm.

Can you imagine? Here is a high profile worship leader (or so I have read), visiting a church on a Sunday night, and people must pay for him to lead them in worship! That is simply disgusting!

This just once again shows that worship in our modern church has next to nothing to do with God, but everything with us! The church has made man the center of worship, just like it has made man the center of salvation!

The church these days is more concerned with the right worship leader, the right style of music, the right sound, the right lighting, the right acoustics, while in the midst of this all, it has forgotten that it has the right God! But, that is not important! We have to get the people to feel right and get into the groove. Forget the fact that they are supposed to be worshipping God.

To them, worship does not have an object. It only has a subject. It says, "I worship!" It is worship with only themselves in mind. Worship is equated with feelings. Not that worship should not have passion. The point is that their worship encourages and builds up the subject and the subject alone. "Me!"

Because of this utter selfishness, the church has created worship superstars that have created this image of what worship should be like, and if worship does not fit in with this image, then it is not considered worship. How self-obsessed!

When churches charge people to watch superstars lead them in "worship," then they have completely lost the plot! Then again, many will pay for such an event, since they are not seeking God at all! They are seeking their next "spiritual fix!"

But, then again, if we believe that we must draw the world through all kinds of shenanigans, then our worship will become just as self-centered.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

John Piper on the prosperity gospel

John Piper vilifies the prosperity gospel, and rightly so, in this video.

HT: Justin Taylor

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

March 9Marks eJournal

The March/April 2008 9Marks eJournal is available. You can read it online here or download the PDF version here.

These are some of the articles that are available in this issue:

Fellow Workers for the Truth
By Andy Johnson

Together for What?
By Mark Dever

A Senior Saint on Unity
By Iain Murray

Theological Triage
By R. Albert Mohler

When, Why & Where To Draw Boundaries
By Wayne Grudem

The Gospel
By David Doran

A Christian Fundamentalist Travel Guide
By Matthew C. Hoskinson

An Evangelical-Fundamentalist Convergence?
By Ben Wright

Book Review: Promise Unfulfilled
By Roland McCune
Reviewed by Andy Naselli

Video Review: NOOMA
By Rob Bell
Reviewed by Greg Gilbert

There is more to read so stop wasting time here and go visit 9Marks.
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