It is not enough for the Church to be engaged with the State in healing social ills, though this is important at times. But when the world can turn around and see a group of God's people exhibiting substantial healing in the area of human relationships in their present life, then the world will take notice. Each group of Christians is, as it were, a pilot plant, showing that something can be done in the present situation, if only we begin in the right way.
There needs to be an order of office, but in every single office that is presented in the Scriptures there is the personal emphasis within that legal concept. In the Church the elder is an office-bearer. But both the preaching elders and the ruling elders are "ministers," and the word "minister" is a personal relationship, it does not speak of dominance. There is to be order in the Church, but the preaching elder or the ruling elder is to be a minister, with a loving personal relationship with those who are before him, even when they are wrong and need... Read more »
Christianity is not just involved with "salvation", but with the total man in the total world. The Christian message begins with the existence of God forever, and then with creation. It does not begin with salvation. We must be thankful for salvation, but the Christian message is more than that. Man has a value because he is made in the image of God.
As Christians, we must see that just because an artist-even a great artist-portrays a worldview in writing or on canvas, it does not mean that we should automatically accept that worldview. Good art heightens the impact of that worldview, but it does not make it true.
Today the separation of church and state in America is used to silence the church. When Christians speak out on issues, the hue and cry from the humanist state and media is that Christians, an all religions, are prohibited from speaking since there is a separation of church and state.
The command is to love him, not just to think about him, or do things for him. We are not to stop with a proper legal relationship - for example, to think of a man as legally lost, which he is, in the sight of a holy God - without thinking of him as a person. Saying this, we can suddenly see that much evangelism is not only sub-Christian, but subhuman - legalistic and impersonal.
We should not view men with a cynical eye, seeing them only as meaningless products of chance, but, on the other hand, we should not go to the opposite extreme of seeing them romantically. To do either is to fail to understand who men really are--creatures made in the image of God but fallen.
With the Fall all became abnormal. It is not just that the individual is separated from God by his true moral guilt, but each of us is not what God made us to be. Beyond each of us as individuals, human relationships are not what God meant them to be. And beyond that, nature is abnormal - the whole cause-and-effect significant history is now abnormal. To say it another way: there is much in history now which should not be.
As evangelical Christians, we have tended to relegate art to the very fringe of life. The rest of human life we feel is more important. Despite our constant talk about the Lordship of Christ, we have narrowed its scope to a very small area of reality. We have misunderstood the concept of the Lordship of Christ over the whole of man and the whole of the universe and have not taken to us the riches that the Bible gives us for ourselves, for our lives, and for our culture.
Here we are told that Christ really lives in me, if I have accepted Christ as my Savior. In other words, we have the words of Jesus to the thief of the cross, 'Today thou wilt be with me in paradise.' Christ can say, 'Today thou wilt be with me in paradise,' and mean it. To die is to be with the Lord. It is not just an idea, it is a reality. But at the same time, Christ, the same Christ who gives the promise just as definitely, that when I have accepted Christ as my savior, he lives... Read more »
God's Word will never pass away, but looking back to the Old Testament and since the time of Christ, with tears we must say that because of lack of fortitude and faithfulness on the part of God's people, God's Word has many times been allowed to be bent, to conform to the surrounding, passing, changing culture of that moment rather than to stand as the inerrant Word of God judging the form of the world spirit and the surrounding culture of that moment. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, may our children and grandchildren not say that such... Read more »
They are equal reality. They are two streams of present reality, both equally promised. The Christian dead are already with Christ now, and Christ really lives in the Christian. Christ lives in me. The Christ who was crucified, the Christ whose work is finished, the Christ who is glorified now, has promised (John 15) to bring forth fruit in the Christian, just as the sap of the vine brings forth the fruit in the branch.
The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
Man is indeed lost, but that does not mean that he is nothing. We must resist humanism, but to make a man a zero is not the right way to resist it ... [The] Christian position is that man is made in the image of God and even though he is now a sinner, he can do things that are tremendous - he can influence history for this life and the life to come, for himself and for others...From the biblical viewpoint, man is lost, but great.
Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society, the way that a child catches the measles. But people with understanding realize that their presuppositions should be *chosen* after a careful consideration of which worldview is true.