Whenever someone raises a question about the truthfulness of the Bible, ask yourself first whether or not the same question would bother any other scholar about any other figure in history. How many biographies are there of George Washington, for example? Is this in itself a concern about the historicity of the life of a pivotal figure during the American Revolution or actual evidence of his greatness and importance?Read the rest of his points here.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Greg Thornbury at the BibleMesh blog talks about why four Gospel accounts of Jesus' life do not pose a problem to the historical accuracy of the Gospels. He makes three points in defense of the truthfulness of the Gospels; the first one is this:
Friday, January 20, 2012
Bobby Jamieson has been writing about the The Post-Program Church. The series includes some practical thoughts on Which Programs to Cut? and Strategies for Becoming a Post-Program Church.
What then does it mean to be a post-program church? For now I’ll simply make one vision-level suggestion: instead of running programs, cultivate a culture. Specifically, nurture a culture of evangelism and discipleship.
Culture is a notoriously slippery concept to define because it’s so pervasive and all-encompassing. Culture is to humans what water is to a fish. We hardly notice it because it’s all around us. In this way, culture defines what’s normal. And my point here is simply that pastors should preach and teach and lead in such a way that evangelism and discipleship become normal parts of every single church member’s life. That’s the goal to aim at, anyway.
The New Testament instructs every Christian to make disciples (Matt. 28:19). It teaches that the church grows as every single member contributes to the body’s development (Eph. 4:11-16).
Although it doesn’t have to be this way, one of the dangers of programs is that they can make it seem like evangelism or discipleship only occurs within the program. But evangelism and discipleship are things that, in one way or another, all of us should be doing on a regular basis. So make that your plumb line for evaluating programs—and everything else in the corporate life of your church.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Bob Lupton offers some warnings about How Charity Can Be Toxic.
There is a difference between crisis intervention and chronic poverty. The Good Samaritan is a story about crisis intervention. Gleaning is about how to share our assets and protect the world's poor. Don't reap to the competitive edges of your field; leave room for the poor to work so they can harvest where they haven't planted. In your grace don't strip the vines; leave some for the poor so that everybody can work at harvest.
The point is, let's examine the outcome of care. When I talk about the progression of one-way giving, first you elicit appreciation. You do it twice, you elicit anticipation. What's more, you do it three times and it becomes expectation that he's going to do it again. Four times and it's an entitlement. By the fifth time it's dependency. They've done it every year and we count on it. If anybody has been doing this kind of work, they begin to see that pattern. There is a chronic poverty issue and it calls for a chronic intervention, which is enabling people.