Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

   I’m bored far too easily. I really am. It’s something I’ve tried diligently to repair within myself, but have thus far found no success. It causes my concentration to easily wane and unfortunately it either leaves many projects I start unfinished or it finds me begging for death’s icy embrace the longer it takes to see said projects through to completion.

   For as much as I hate it, boredom does at the very least have one redemptive quality. It ranks one easily bored with some of the world’s greatest minds. Bearing in mind of course, that they too hated being bored.

“Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore.” -Jean Beaudrillard

“I fell asleep reading a dull book and dreamed I kept on reading, so I awoke from sheer boredom.” -Heinrich Heine

“Sooner barbarity than boredom.” -Theophile Gautier

“I am terrified of being bored.” -Marie Antoinette

   One could even make a case that boredom itself killed the great Winston Churchill:

“I’m bored with it all. (Last words)” -Winston Churchill

 

   … just kidding. Churchill actually died shortly following a severe stroke. Also, he was old.

   All that to say this: Seminary is a hard place to be when one gets bored easily. People tend to think that the boredom comes from the subject matter of Scripture and that by being bored with it one is most likely on a slimy snot-soaked slippery slope straight to Hell. Well, let me be clear… Scripture doesn’t bore me. Evangelism doesn’t bore me. Practical application doesn’t bore me. It’s actually all quite enjoyable.

   So, what bores me? Subject matter I will rarely, if ever put into practical application. The mathematics and sciences of the world. Also, research papers. Especially research papers with extensive citations and bibliographies and blah, blah, blah…

   Okay, so sure, if I were to pursue a doctorate (which I shan’t) then I would indeed need all of the knowledge of rigorous research for my impending dissertation. But what about the rest of us..? I feel much the same way about this as I feel about calculus and the Periodic Table of Elements. In my nearly 36 years there has yet to come a day when I was in a real pickle, needing to know the elemental symbol for Potassium (it’s “K” by the way, which makes no sense). 

   As a result of the fact that I guess the school needs to remain accredited or something and therefore require that I take (and pay for) courses that really have no lifelong impact, I’m forced to make the best of it. Unfortunately, some things are just beyond help. Calculus? Yeah. I could be doing it in a sequined leotard while yodeling and waving pinwheels all around as Parliament Funkadelic blasts from the speakers of a mint green 1976 Ford LTD and you know what? It’s still boring.

   Research papers though… If you’re fortunate enough to have an instructor willing to step outside the box with you, then there’s hope! I lucked (I don’t actually believe in luck, just go with me here.) into such an instructor this semester. So, I will not be doing “Jerome’s View of Baptism” or “The Typology of Jonah”. No, no no… I will be contrasting Doctor Who and Jesus! The working title is, “Physician, heal thy self. – How the Savior From Galilee Is Superior To the Savior From Gallifrey”.

   I know, I know… it sounds irreverent, but I assure you, it’s not. There are characters all throughout the history of fictional literature that are in some small way a Christian allegory, even if unintentionally. Some are obvious like Aslan and Superman, while others you really have to think about. I happen to think that’s the case with The Doctor. Clearly he’s a type of messiah. He defeats his own death. He preaches a radical message of peace. His hand is present in all of history. He has willingly sacrificed himself on a number of occasions. The possibilities are vast and plentiful! The best part? I can forgo the drudgery of boring library research for additional study of the Gospels (which I genuinely enjoy) and the watching of copious amounts of Doctor Who episodes (which I’d watch anyway!)

At least just this once, boredom is thwarted! Also… I bet I get an “A”.

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   As an aside, yes I will be acknowledging that Christ is indeed real and that The Doctor is indeed a fictitious character, although if that were my only argument for why Jesus is better, this paper too would be boring!

   Anyway, apart from those mentioned in this blog, where have you found a case for Christian allegory of types of Christ in fiction? Let me know in the comments!

   Let’s be careful out there!

 

 

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   As a seminary student and eventual church planter/pastor/etc., I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the men who most inluence[ed] my thinking, my theology, and my standard for preaching. Below is my Top 10 living, breathing, and mostly functional preachers in order of the influence they’ve had on my Christian life.

1. Paul Washer

   Washer is the Founder/Director & Missions Coordinator of HeartCry Missionary Society and also a Southern Baptist itinerant preacher/evangelist.

   At a time where I was really needing to develop a passion for Christ and His gospel after years of spinning my wheels as a casual church-goer, it was this man’s emotional, raw, fire and brimstone preaching that painted such a vivid picture of Christ to me that I could no longer ignore Him.

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2. John Piper

   Piper is the founder of Desiring God Ministries as well as having served as Pastor for Preaching and Vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota for 33 years.

   Around the same time I discovered Paul Washer, I also discovered a number of Reformed preachers, including John Piper. Through his bizarre quirkiness and passionate delivery, I found Piper almost impossible to pass-up on my weeknight walks with my preaching podcasts.

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3. Greg Laurie

   Once hailed as the “next Billy Graham”, Laurie serves as Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California. He also heads-up several large-scale evangelical gatherings each years known as Harvest Crusades.

   Greg Laurie just appeals to me. It’s as simple as that. He speaks in a simple, relatable way that people from every walk of life can easily understand. He’s also a former hippie and illustrator.

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4. Todd Friel

   Friel is the host of both WRETCHED Radio and WRETCHED TV, as well as the former host of Way of the Master Radio.

   Through these programs Todd Friel helped to refine my theology. He’s also super amusing as both a former stand-up comedian and massive germaphobe.

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5. Mark Driscoll

   Driscoll is the founder and current preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, co-founder of Churches Helping Churches and the Acts 29 Network.

   Often viewed as controversial, Driscoll is far from perfect. But darn it, his preaching is really good! Maybe I’m a jerk, but I relate to the guy. We need some macho men.

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6. Matt Chandler

   Chandler is the lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and the President of the Acts 29 Network.

   What’s not to love about Matt Chandler? He’s sound, he’s witty, and he’s completely ADHD. If he could harness the energy in his hands he could power the entire Dallas/Ft. Worth are weeks.

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7. John MacArthur

   MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, the founder of the radio ministry Grace To You, and president of The Master’s College in Newhall, California and The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, California.

   Odds are, Johnny Mac makes everybody’s list. In recent times he’s appealed slightly less to me, but no one can argue his influence and accomplishments in evangelicalism.

   On a side note, I was a little disappointed to find out how short he is. I always assumed he was massive for some reason. Probably because he’s the Evangelical Pope.

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8. Ray Comfort

   Comfort is the founder of Living Waters Publications and The Way of the Master. He is also known to be one of today’s boldest street evangelists.

   Ray has guts. That’s why I like Ray Comfort. He’s got a cool accent, nerves of steel, and knows his Bible. He also hangs out with Kirk Cameron.

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9. Billy Graham

   C’mon… really? I’m pretty sure you know who Billy Graham is. Whether you or I agree with his theology, one thing is certain. God used him throughout his ministry in a powerful way!

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10. Pancho Juarez

   Juarez is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Montebello in California and the founder of On the Level Media.

   You’ve never heard of him, I know. But the guy call peel apart layers of scripture like few can. Not bad for a man who for a former God-hating, schizophrenic tattoo artist.

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   What about you? Amongst living preachers/pastors/evangelists, who has most help shape your theology? Comment and let me know!

   Goodbye, goodbye, good friends, goodbye, ’cause now it’s time to go. But, hey, I say, well, that’s okay, ’cause we’ll see you very soon, I know.

   As I mentioned in my last post, I’m just not a very good Southern Baptist. Or, more accurately, I’m not a very good Southern Baptist according to SBC tradition.

   One of what could potentially be many examples of this is my view on consuming alcohol. You know… booze, the hooch, firewater, the sauce, aqua vitae, the hard stuff. Frankly, I see no proof that the Bible condemns drinking such adult beverages.

   Sure, people have their arguments about wine in the Bible having a lower alcohol content or people diluting it with water. Sure. Maybe. Honestly I have my doubts, but that’s not the point. The fact is, I cannot find enough evidence to take the same hardline stance against alcohol consumption that the SBC historically has.

   To clarify, I am not talking about getting poo-faced or drinking until your armpits smell like gin. I’m talking about a drink after work with friends, a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer (or two) at the ballpark (although you may need to take out a loan to purchase said beers). Naturally these scenarios do not apply to lightweights that start seeing flying pink elephants and singing Cher karaoke after one PBR. We’re referring to grown-ups here.

   So what’s with the SBC’s stance then? Well, the fact is there wasn’t always such a stance. For that matter, alcohol consumption was nothing less that common amongst Christians for most of Christian history. Some of the iconic figures of alcohol innovation were indeed Christians, including clergy. So, what changed?

   In the early half of the 1800’s there was a little thing called the Temperance Movement that basically tried to rid society of booze as a whole. It was actually quite effective, at least in limiting the sale and transport of alcohol. From this came Teetotalism, which was a full abstinence from any and all alcoholic beverages. It was this mindset that infiltrated several denominations, although many soon lost their gusto for it. But not the good ol’ Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC officially denounced strong drink in 1896 (with the order to excommunicate anyone known to imbibe or sell any form of libation) and have largely held onto the stance ever since.

   What’s my angle? I really don’t have one from a personal perspective. I’ve never been much of a drinker. I’ve historically been a fan of a shot of tequila (no salt or lime, please and thank you) or whiskey here and there, but that’s about it. I suppose if I have an angle, it’s this: We in the SBC have, for far too long, used the Bible to support a stance that the Bible simply does not support, and that needs to change.

FACT: The Bible does not condemn the responsible, moderate consumption of alcohol.

FACT: The Bible does strongly condemn drunkenness. Numerous times.

   That, in my opinion should be our stance, otherwise we’re sort of just being legalistic jerk-bags who people just roll their eyes at. What about you? What do you think? Comment and let me know.

   Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.Image

 

 

  

It’s a peculiar thing, one’s theology. It’s the means by which we know and understand the God of the universe. Yet, even though He is NEVER changing, my theology seems to be EVER changing.

So, here is a short and far from exhaustive list of the things I’ve learned since the Spring semester of 2012 that have helped to mold my theology. When you hear the chime, turn the page…

  1. Though having spent the majority of my life as a Southern Baptist and currently attending a Southern Baptist seminary, I am very likely the worst Southern Baptist in the history of the convention. When referencing the term in your thesaurus, you will find my name under “antonyms”. It’s not even that I’m opposed to SBC polity and standards. I simply just stink at being Southern Baptist. Don’t even get me started on the Teetotalism thing… (look it up kids).
  2. I’ve played on both teams, but now who’s jersey do I wear? I was raised in a very Arminian church and in recent years have waved the flag of a 5-point Calvinist, but now I’m neither. Or I’m a lesser degree of both. I’m not sure. There’s a good chance I’m a Molinist… (look it up kids).
  3. Contrary to what I’ve always been taught, I don’t believe Southern Baptists have an exclusive stake on Heavenly real estate. Though not explicitly taught it, I would now gladly stand with any member of any denomination with a right understanding of Christian essentials. These would essentially be summed-up in the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation… (look it up kids).
  4. It’s okay to be a little charismatic, even if John MacArthur disagrees. Within reason. Nothing too weird.
  5. The Authorized King James Bible was not handed down by angels on a golden thread to be the only reliable source of God’s communication to us. Mind you, I like the KJV. I really do. However, let it be said that any pastor preaching from a biblical translation (not paraphrase) in modern language is not necessarily apostate.
  6. Women can be deacons. It turns out it was in the Bible the whole time. Who knew? Although it should be stated that a clear understanding of the intended definition of the office of deacon should be applied here.
  7. We cannot expect the lost to come to us. We must go to them. Kinda makes sense. Why would a lost person with no interest in religion casually stroll into a church on Sunday morning apart from a potluck?
  8. Hyper-Calvinists are mean and Hyper-Arminians really know nothing about the God they serve. Let me explain here before I get stoned by the masses. Hyper-Calvinists tend to show little concern for the lost by leaving salvation firmly in the sovereignty of God. Therefore they’re mean because they never personally show the love of Christ to anyone through evangelism. On the flip-side, Hyper-Arminians don’t know the true nature of God because they view salvation as a choice man makes with God merely waiting on the sidelines hoping they choose Him (like the fat kid in P.E. who really wants to play dodge ball).
  9. I have zero interest in a doctorate. At first I thought it would be cool to be Doctor Benjamin. However, after seeing the toll it takes on these poor men and women who commit years to earning the title of “Doctor”, I think I’ll pass.
  10. The “social gospel”, which I spent years bemoaning… is actually a part of THE Gospel! Ain’t that something? It turns out that while evangelism is our number one priority, we have a direct, irrefutable command to also feed the hungry, clothe the poor, care for the destitute, and love those who we so desperately want to hate. More on that it future posts.

So, that’s it for now. There’s so much more I could include, but then what would I have to write about later?

Sleep well planet Earth.