Is it really just ‘Emotional “Penty” Hogwash?’

There has long been a (hopefully friendly) rivalry between Pentecostal/charismatic and more conservative/traditional Christian churches.

The former get accused of being too emotionally and experientially driven and not grounded in the Scriptures, while the latter get accused of being too straight-laced, dogmatic and lacking in the Spirit.

While you will always find negative extremes, both sides need to be careful that their judgment is not clouded by prejudice or ignorance of what the Bible actually says.

This really hit home to me some time back as I was listening to a song by Matt Redman, entitled Undignified (I will dance).i10030

Some of the lyrics are as follows:

I will dance, I will sing
To be mad for my King...

And I’ll become even more undigni-fied than this.

My natural, default bias would ordinarily have written this song off as ‘emotional “penty” hogwash,’ (I mean, undignified dancing!!) but this time was different. Only days before I heard the song, I was reading a fascinating passage of Scripture in 2 Samuel 6:16-23 in which King David was bringing the Ark into Jerusalem, so I immediately recognized the song as being directly from Scripture. (You can read the passage here)

It was a good reminder to me that before we write anything off as ‘emotional “penty” hogwash’ or ‘legalistic conservative dogma’ it would be wise to go to the Scriptures first, and, above all, to remember that Jesus greatly desires the unity of His Church.

Being the Heroine of my Own Life

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Several years ago I read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. The opening line struck me as somewhat profound, and has stayed with me since: “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

I remember thinking in the months that followed, ‘Gosh, I certainly want to make sure I’m the heroine of my own life!’

This is a very naturally egotistical mindset. Even beyond being my own leading lady, I have often found myself desiring to be someone great in the eyes of others. God has had to ask me on several occasions, ‘Are you willing to play a small part if I am glorified?’

Small part or not, I was, at least, planning to be the heroine of my own life!

The other day as I was listening to a sermon by Paul Tripp I was struck by some comments he made. So often, as we read the Bible, we make people out to be the heroes of the stories. I was impacted by the resounding truth that I am not the hero of my life story. Jesus is.

No matter how great I may become, or what I may achieve, left to myself I would be destined for an eternity of judgement, wrath and depravity. I could not, and would not save myself from myself.

The role of the hero in my life’s story, must always belong to Jesus.

Why is the message of Christianity offensive?

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The message of Christianity is offensive because it’s exclusive.

One of the foundational premises of Christianity is that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. He claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life and that ‘no one comes to the Father except through me.’ Acts also states that ‘…there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menby which we must be saved.

Christianity claims to be the one true religion, reconciling people with the One True God. You can accept it or reject it, but you can’t mix it with other faiths or worldviews.

I’m sick of people ranting about how Christianity is all about tolerance and acceptance. I wonder if these people have ever read a Bible. While Christianity welcomes all people, irrespective of their sinfulness or their past, it demands total allegiance; the renouncing of all other paths and the acceptance of salvation through Jesus alone.

This can be hard to swallow, but there is one massive payoff: It’s the truth! As Paul said ‘… the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’

The Gospel message saves people! It offers hope, it transforms lives and it restores fellowship with God. It is the greatest miracle to have ever touched humanity.

It’s exclusive because it has to be; because it IS the only way. It’s a Jesus plus nothing message, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel

Photo Credit: Book depository

Having completed a self-imposed challenge to read 52 books last year, I’ve slowed down a lot this year and hardly read any. I have, however, finally got around to reading this one.

As a high school teacher in a Christian school I often get teenagers asking me questions about faith – and they’re not stupid either. Some of the deepest questions I ever hear come from students amidst the flurry of essays, lessons and lunch-breaks.

While I may ‘know whom I have believed,’ these kids have genuine questions that need genuine answers. And I believe that this book gives them. From the historical and scientific accuracy of the Bible, to the legitimacy of the claims of Christ, to the medical, historic and circumstantial evidence of the resurrection, legal journalist Lee Strobel takes us on the journey that he took as an atheist attempting to discover if there was any legitimacy to this man who has changed the world.

It’s easy to read, academically and scientifically thorough, and builds an indisputable case that not only did the man Jesus live, but that He was exactly who He claimed to be, and that He still lives today.

Definitely worth a read, no matter what your faith-stance is.

Among other places, this book can be purchased at http://www.bookdepository.com

What is the meaning of life?

 

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One of my year 12 students asked me if we could talk about something deep. ‘Like “What is the meaning of life?”’ he said.

‘Oh, well that’s an easy one,’ I said (yes slightly, but not entirely facetiously), and then borrowed, as good Christians do, from the Westminster Catechism: ‘The meaning of life is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.’ (Or for the John Piper fans out there, to ‘glorify God by enjoying Him forever.’)

‘No! That’s not what I meant!’ responded my student. And of course it’s not what he meant. He meant let’s have a deep and complex academic debate about how life has any meaning apart from God.

It is no longer acceptable to have a simple answer to a question that has been overcomplicated by the desire to remove God.

It reminded me of a quote I found on a scrap of paper in my Bible: ‘Christianity is the easiest Religion because all you have to do is believe. And Christianity is the hardest Religion because all you have to do is believe.’

How easy it is to answer this question with a simple truth, and how difficult it is to live it.