Some things the New Testament has to say about our relationships outside the church (revolving around the word "outside"):
"I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside..." (1 Corinthians 5:9-13a).
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:5-6).
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody" (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
And one more that speaks primarily to pastors/elders:
"He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap" (1 Timothy 3:7).
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Justin Taylor summarizes David Dorsey's article, “The Law of Moses and the Christian: A Compromise,” JETS 34 (1991): 321-34. What is Dorsey's "compromise view"?
Simply stated it holds that, legally, none of the 613 stipulations of the Sinaitic covenant are binding upon NT Christians, including the so-called moral laws, while in a revelatory and pedagogical sense all 613 laws are binding upon us, including all the ceremonial and civil laws.This is how he proposes we apply the OT laws:
I would suggest the following theocentric hermeneutical procedure for applying any of the OT laws, whether the law be deemed ceremonial, judicial, or moral:
- Remind yourself that this law is not my law, that I am not legally bound by it, that it is one of the laws God issued to ancient Israel as part of his covenant with them.
- Determine the original meaning, significance and purpose of the law.
- Determine the theological significance of the law.
- Determine the practical implications of the theological insights gained from this law for your own NT circumstances.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I appreciate what Kirk Wellum has to say on The Bigger Picture of consistently living out one's Christianity in every sphere of life. First he refers to something his brother Jonathan Wellum said at a Work Research Foundation meeting:
The freedom to work hard and produce wealth that benefits everyone is not something we should take for granted, but is rather, a gift of God. Living of the moment with no regard for the future, or without regard for other people, brings its own judgment, whereas living to glorify God in all that we do not only brings many blessings in this life but even greater ones in the life to come.Kirk Wellum goes on to write about Christian work:
I believe that God wants them to think and work as Christians in their specific spheres of endeavor. They are to present themselves, and all that they are and do, as living sacrifices to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2). Share the faith they must, but share it as those who understand and model a consistent Christian worldview and not as those who give the impression they are only concerned to 'save souls.' This larger view of things will encourage more Christians to be involved in life as Christians and to feel that they have something important to contribute as they demonstrate the grace and power of God's grace in their lives. For the Christian 'short-termism' is always inadequate because in the end we believe that God is sovereign over all of life and when his plan of salvation comes to fruition he will redeem for himself a new humanity, which, will forever bear his re-created image in all its glory and complexity.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Roger Thoman asks, Who's In Your House Church? He references a book by J. D. Payne in which "Payne identifies four types of people who are typically involved in house churches."
1. Anti-Establishment Christians
Payne describes this type of believer as having separatist attitudes whose primary identity comes from being “not” like the others....
Payne predicts that the number of anti-established church believers (those whose primary identity comes from this) will continue to grow. He questions whether this group will have any actual positive impact on the kingdom of God.
2. New-Experience Christians
This group is typical of the consumerism that pervades our culture as they are simply seeking out “the latest and greatest spiritual experience.” Of course, when the next promise of spiritual experience comes along, they will move along to the next better thing....
3. Hurting Christians
“Many believers who have had significant involvement in traditional church life have been wounded psychologically, sexually, emotionally, spiritually, or physically, and many times a combination of these areas. Many have been hurt by other Christians and have ‘given up’ on the established church. Some see house churches as the answer to their problems, and many house churches see themselves primarily as a place for such hurting believers. As many believers turn to house churches for therapeutic reasons, house churches will continue to increase.”
4. Missional Christians and New Believers
Payne’s final category fits into the purpose of his book: to encourage house churches to be missional. His hope is that house churches will tap into their incredible potential to be salt and light throughout the world....
Payne envisions these types of churches reaching new believers who follow the same pattern, paving the way for movements of reproducing Christians and house churches.