May 16, 2014

Friday in the wild: May 16, 2014

Another Friday means another great opportunity to share all sorts of goodness from the Web and blogosphere. Out there, they do FridayFollow; here, we do Friday in the Wild. This week, three articles caught my attention.

Yesterday, May 15, was the 30th anniversary of the death of my personal favourite Christian apologist, Francis A. Schaeffer. (As I write this, I have two of his books, The God Who Is There and The Church at the End of the 20th Century, on loan from the library.) I first read Schaeffer in my university years; he was the first step toward my trying to adopt a comprehensive Christian worldview. Over the years I've adopted a certain number of his frequent catchphrases, including "true truth" and "brute fact." Ray Ortlund at The Gospel Coalition expressed his gratitude for Schaeffer's ministry:

All my life I’d been exposed to conventional people using conventional methods, and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I had the privilege of knowing men of true greatness, like my dad. But Schaeffer was just different. He located the gospel within a total Christian worldview. He talked about modern art and films and books. He spoke with prophetic insight about cultural trends. He worked out fresh ways to articulate old truths, even coining new expressions like "true truth." He had a beard and long hair and dressed like a European. He had Christian radicalism all over him, called for by those radical times. I found him non-ignorable. To this day, I dislike conventionality, partly because I saw in Francis Schaeffer a man who made an impact not by conforming and fitting in but by standing out as the man God made him to be, the man the world needed him to be.

[Read Gratitude for Francis Schaeffer]

At First Things, Owen Strachan and Andrew Taylor take on Matthew Vines, Rachel Held Evans, and the other revisionists of the Christian church's long-held stance toward homosexuality:

One cannot mistake the arrogance of the new hermeneutic championed by Vines and cheered by Rachel Held Evans. It renders Jesus behind the times on human sexuality, the apostle Paul retrograde on gender roles, and the biblical witness substandard in light of queer theory. Indeed, Vines's most radical proposal is his approval of transgender identity. . . .

We do not judge a Christian teacher only by his age or experience, to be sure. But the new progressives have an authority problem. Whether their own family members or martyred apostles, they show no hesitation in correcting those who would—and should—teach them. They do so, furthermore, with precious little confessional and congregational accountability. Ecclesial accountability—though no fail-safe—is given us for our good. Beware Greeks bearing bonds, you might say, and bloggers without churches.

[Read The Church Is Wrong]

Apropos to that, this past Wednesday Albert Mohler lamented a major cause of which the above is one of the unfortunate results:

"It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out." That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity: an impatience with the Word of God. . . .

The fixation on our own sense of need and interest looms as the most significant factor in this marginalization and silencing of the Word. Individually, each human being in the room is an amalgam of wants, needs, intuitions, interests, and distractions. Corporately, the congregation is a mass of expectations, desperate hopes, consuming fears, and impatient urges. All of this adds up, unless countered by the authentic reading and preaching of the Word of God, to a form of group therapy, entertainment, and wasted time if not worse.

[Read Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible]

That's it again for this week. Share and Enjoy!