Judges: The Canaanization of Israel

From Jason Hood (via Dane Ortlund): This morning I’m teaching Judges and Ruth in an OT Intro course. Those are perhaps two of the easiest books to teach in the OT (which is why I’ve heard multiple sermon/talk series on both, a rarity for OT!): strong, central, themes that are easily seen, especially once we make the connection to our world and the life of the Christian today: [T]he central theme of the Book of Judges is the Canaanization of Israel.  Herein lies the key to the relevance of this ancient composition for North American Christianity, for like the Israelites of the settlement period, we have largely forgotten the covenant Lord . . . . Like the ancient Israelites we too are being squeezed into the mold of the pagan world around us. Evidence of the “Canaanization” of the church are everywhere: our preoccupation with material prosperity, which turns Christianity into a fertility religion; our syncretistic and aberrant forms of worship;

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Hell Hesitant – Changing Attitudes in the UK

From Colin Adams: In light of the late discussion about Rob Bell’s new book, it is interesting to observe changing views among confessing Christians in the UK.  The Evangelical Alliance surveyed 17,000 people at various Christian festivals in the UK. They compiled the results in a report called 21st century Evangelicals. Some of the results? Only 54% of those consulted believe that the Bible, in its original manuscript, is without error. Only 59% believe that homosexual actions are always wrong. 51% think that women should be eligible for all roles within the church. And only 37% still believe that hell is a place where those condemned will suffer eternally. This last topic was the issue on which, the report said, ‘there is the greatest uncertainty’. The shift away from Scripture is, to say the least, concerning. It seems that any doctrines we 21st century folk are uncomfortable with can be jettisoned from our statements of faith at a moment’s notice. The

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On Jesuslessness

I love this from Jared Wilson: There is a pastor whose Twitter feed I occasionally read, but I shouldn’t, because it absolutely drives me nuts. A large portion of my reaction is tied to my own issues, I’m sure, but I see in his broadcasts an almost pathological intention not to mention Jesus. And as I thirst for Jesus, I notice this withholding lots and lots of places in the Bible Belt. I have been and always will be doggedly suspicious of pastors who rarely (or never) mention Jesus. John Piper says, “What we desperately need is help to enlarge our capacities to be moved by the immeasurable glories of Christ.” We ministers of the gospel — and Christians at large — can fumble this commission in three main ways: 1. We speak in vague spiritual generalities. Love. Hope. Peace. Joy. Harmony. Blessings. All disembodied from the specific atoning work of the incarnate Jesus and exalted Lord. It all sounds nice. It’s

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3 questions with Tim Keller

By Garrett E. Wishall Tim Keller serves as senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, N.Y. Question: What do pastors need to be doing to lead their flock out of idolatry and into Christlikeness? Tim Keller: The subject of idolatry is a lot more nuanced and complex than I could possibly get across in my talk at the Gospel Coalition conference. I made an allusion to the fact that idolatry sometimes is talked about in the Bible under the heading of spiritual adultery. It is also sometimes talked about under the heading of spiritual mastery and slavery. When Paul talks about those who are slaves to sin: all of those categories are actually talking about idolatry. Most preachers feel like “If I’m going to preach about idols, I have to tell people what an idol is.” What they don’t have in mind is: idolatry is at the root of all of our psychological problems, moral problems, cultural issues, our

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Great Error!

“God does not allow any man to be the absoluite sovereign judge of himself, which would usurp his divine prerogative and put the sinner in the place of God himself.” —John Owen (1616-1683) “A great sickness has developed in contemporary evangelical Christianity that is built around self. The emphasis on self image, self esteem, and self worth is nothing more than humanistic worldliness. Selfism has twisted evangelicalism from a God-centered to a man-centered perspective. Salvation is now seen from the viewpoint of what can it do for us? That is a horrifying error.” —John MacArthur (HT: The Boroean)

Spurgeon on Revivalism

Adrian Warnock says: it is interesting in the context of today that some argue against emotionalism in preaching, while others try and by human effort create an atmosphere. Spurgeon would disagree with both approaches: “Nor is it soul-winning, dear friends, merely to create excitement. Excitement will accompany every great movement. We might justly question whether the movement was earnest and powerful if it was quite as serene as a drawing-room Bible-reading. You cannot very well blast great rocks without the sound of explosions, nor fight a battle and keep everybody as quiet as a mouse. On a dry day, a carriage is not moving much along the road unless there is some noise and dust; friction and stir are the natural result of force in motion. So, when the Spirit of God is abroad, and men’s minds are stirred, there must and will be certain visible signs of the movement, although these must never be confounded with the movement itself.

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Quietness vs. entertainment

“People today are afraid to be alone. This fear is a dominant mark of our society. Many now ceaselessly sit in the cinema or read novels about other people’s lives or watch dramas. Why? Simply to avoid having to face their own existence. . . . No one seems to want (and no one can find) a place of quiet — because, when you are quiet, you have to face reality. But many in the present generation dare not do this because on their own basis reality leads them to meaninglessness; so they fill their lives with entertainment, even if it is only noise. . . . The Christian is supposed to be very opposite: There is a place for proper entertainment, but we are not to be caught up in ceaseless motion which prevents us from ever being quiet. Rather we are to put everything second so we can be alive to the voice of God and allow it

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Test Revival with Doctrine

John Piper posts on Lee Grady’s excellent article in Charisma Magazine. I recommend you read the whole piece linked below. Piper: Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma, one of the main charismatic magazines, has written a lament and critique of the Lakeland “revival” which is now in a tailspin over the leader’s announced separation from his wife. Grady’s summons to pray for the church and our nation is right, and among his commendable questions and observations are these: “Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It’s way past time for us to grow up.” “True revival will be accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype that often was on display

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LORD TEBBIT: If the head of our church can’t uphold the standards that shaped us, what hope is there?

Some good sense here from Lord Tebbit in The Daily Mail: Who am I to criticise the Archbishop of Canterbury on the matters of theology, doctrine or what the scriptures mean? After all, I am not a fully paid-up member of the Church of England. I am, however, a ‘fellow traveller’ and it is fellow travellers, whether of political parties or churches, whose opinions should be listened to most carefully by the powers that be. If the politicians or bishops offer confident, reasonable leadership, we follow them. If they look lost, confused and out of touch, we leave in droves. Dr Rowan Williams is a decent, likeable and intelligent man. But over homosexuality, he seems to be in a terrible muddle, saying different things to different people. Just days after the Anglican Church agreed to call a halt to ordaining gay bishops, a debate in which he sided with the conservative majority, earlier private letters have emerged in which he

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