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The Offensiveness of Truth and the Truth about Offense

Seeker-friendly. That title alone is enough to induce a bitter taste in the mouths of a lot of Bible-believing Christians. While no one will argue against increasing accessibility for those who want to be saved, that goal has been pursued in a lot of unhelpful ways. Too often, churches have compromised or abandoned their message in order to avoid accidentally offending someone. Too many preachers have focused so hard on making their hearers feel comfortable that they neglect to actually say anything of substance.

In reality, there is an inherently offensive dimension to the Gospel. Self-righteous, independent humans don’t like being told they’re lost sinners who must cast themselves on the mercy of a God they’ve never seen, and thereafter obey Him. People overly concerned with being nice and inclusive chafe at the idea that there is only one Way to the Father. Naturalistic intellectuals will scoff at the idea that some God-Man will come in the sky and set up a thousand-year kingdom. God Himself, speaking of the first coming of His Son, said, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense…” (Rom 9:33). He knew that many pride-blinded sinners would not be willing to receive Him.

Thus, it is more than fair to say that the Gospel — undiluted and straightforward — is offensive to the unredeemed human heart. It may even be fair to say that a presentation of the Gospel that does not strike that chord of, “Wait… what?!” very well may have missed the way Scripture speaks of it.

Truth is often offensive. Messengers and leaders in the Body of Christ ought not to shrink back from being truthful for fear of bothering someone.

However, and equally importantly, not all that offends is truth. Messengers and leaders in the Body of Christ (especially the younger ones) do well to take this seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in My Two Cents, Theology

 

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The Great Equalizer, Illustrated

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “equality” lately. You can’t do even a cursory study of the gender debate without running across this word a lot. There are so many arguments about it — what groups are actually equal with each other; what groups need to be; what groups claim to not have equality, but really do; and, “well, what is your group to tell me that my group doesn’t need it anymore?” etc. etc. There are tons of ideas of how to achieve equality, countless articles searching for the cause of its absence, and lots and lots of finger-pointing and/or self-pity regarding those who get the short end of the stick. It is such a dicey subject.

On one hand, I definitely agree with the overall concept of equality. We in the church are supposed to love, honor, and submit to one another in Christ, so we really should not be seeing vast swaths of people who are being systematically oppressed. We need to treat even unbelievers with kindness. Defending the oppressed is biblical, and it’s a great thing.

But on the other hand, it’s hard to justify by the Sermon on the Mount how it’s okay for any of us to stand up and demand our fair and equal rights. Although it’s right for us to be treated well, it’s not our job to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure that happens. The Bible actually seems to assume that we’ll be mistreated (Matt 24:9; John 16:33; 2Cor 4:8-11; 2Tim 3:12; 1Pet 4:12…just to list a few)! And then it tells us to do ridiculous things like turn the other cheek! But shouldn’t we stand up for what’s right?

Holy ideological minefield, Batman! What do we do now?

As I was mulling over this topic the other day, it struck me how I was coming at it from completely the wrong angle. The Bible actually gives us a really clear picture of what Christ-centered equality looks like. And it looks something like this:  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Theology, Women in Ministry

 

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Hermeneutics pt. III – Application

Welcome to the third and final installation in this series in the series on hermeneutics. Over the past two posts, we’ve looked at the process of exegesis — in other words, exploring a Biblical passage to draw out its true meaning. This is foundational to the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics, the system of Biblical interpretation regarding the Bible to be the real, accurate, inspired Word of God.

Just catching up with us now? You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2010 in Bible, Theology

 

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1 Corinthians 14 – “Let Your Women Keep Silent”

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.

This is one of the passages that is used as a deal-clincher in the debate about women in ministry. As we see, Paul clearly is saying that women should not be the speakers in church.

Or at least, that’s what he is “clearly saying” if we only read one verse and stop. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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See you at Bartle Hall

The onething conference begins today… plan on this blog being relatively silent for the next few days. Although, of course, saying that, who knows but that I’ll suddenly be prolifically inspired? We shall see.

At any rate, if you are in Kansas City, swing by the Welcome Center and say hi. If you are not in Kansas City, webstream the conference. It’s free.

 

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The Post You’ve All Been Waiting For

Okay, maybe not all of you… but The Post Some of You Might Be Kind of Interested In, Assuming You Remembered It’s Coming is a much less compelling title. Anyway. This is the post where I intend to unveil the “mystery study subject” that I’ve been kind of cagey about lately. Drumroll please… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2008 in Bible, Theology

 

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Corey Russell Tells It Like It Is

It has been far too long since I’ve heard Corey Russell preach. Well, not any more. He spoke at FCF tonight and it was brilliant. Go listen to it. It’s actually a lot along the lines of what I posted yesterday, but because it’s a full sermon and not a short blog post, it’s a lot more thorough. Plus it was delivered by the one and only Corey Russell. It definitely deserves a listen.

A couple of noteworthy quotes that made me really happy:

[On the subject of fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit] “We’ve got a billion dollars in our belly… and we’re living on twenty cents a day.”

[On the subject of struggling for righteousness in our own strength] “We’re trying to wield a William Wallace sword with a Minnie Mouse spirit.”

Go download it from the IHOP MP3 store… it will probably be a day or two until it’s up, but it’s worth waiting for.

 
 

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