Monthly Archives: July 2009

Judge Sotomayor: A Look Beyond the Partisan Questions

President-barack-obama-with-judge-sonia-sotomayor By now we know that Judge Sonia Sotomayor has faced a Senate committee's inquiry and passed the process without any serious hitch. Isn't the goal that she escape a slip and get confirmed? Since the term "borking" came into our legal experience it seems this is almost always the case in these high profile nominations. Sotomayor will be confirmed by the U. S. Senate and soon will serve on the Supreme Court, replacing Justice David Souter. For most people the issue of her confirmation was primarily about partisanship. Where does she stand on certain issues that routinely come before the Supreme Court? What is her judicial approach to interpreting law? Can we get her approved and make sure the court reflects our partisan views? Is she pro-life or pro-choice? Where does she stand on guns?

The wild card in all these proceedings is that once a judge is appointed we never know how they will really vote or respond once

By |July 31st, 2009|Categories: Current Affairs|

The Simple, Godly Wisdom of Ian Thomas

I mentioned last week my visit with Stuart and Jill Briscoe. One of the subjects we discussed was the Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers, begun by the late Ian Thomas.
I first met Major Ian Thomas through his book, The Saving Life of Christ. I later read several more of his books on the “deeper life.” I seem to recall reading all four of his books at some point. I went through a time when this emphasis seemed too mystical to my analytical mind. The older I have become the more I prize the “Christ life” in me by faith in the risen life of the Savior.

Ianthomas The late Ian Thomas was born in London on September 13, 1914 and died at 92 years of age on August 1, 2007. He is probably best known as the founder of both Torchbearers International and the Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers, both begun in the United Kingdom. Today there are Capernwray Fellowships in twenty-three locations around

By |July 30th, 2009|Categories: Spirituality|

Is the Body Sinful? Living in Hope of Resurrection

In Romans chapter six the Apostle Paul says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (verses 6–7).

The reference here to the body has created a number of serious errors over the centuries. These errors remain with us to this day demonstrating that there truly is “nothing new under the sun.”

Question: If our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit in what sense can we rightly speak of them as “sinful” or “ruled by sin?”

Some early Christian heresies said that the body of human flesh was sinful. This is not what Paul is saying here at all. He refers to the body as “ruled by sin” not just the body period. The simple, and obviously correct, way to read this text is to see that Paul is saying that the whole person

By |July 29th, 2009|Categories: The Future|

An American Gospel: On Family, History, and the Kingdom of God (Part Two)

Reece In his religious memoir, An American Gospel, author Erik Reece relates the heart-breaking story of his father’s suicide. His dad, a second generation Baptist minister, took his own life at thirty-three, when Erik was only three years old. Erik describes his father as having too much “self awareness." He was controlled by a system of Christianity that felt like a penal system. Erik eventually came to his father’s dim view of Christianity and saw it as “a set of rules meant to inflict self-loathing.” This led him to look for an "American gospel."

Reece writes: “Eighteen years of compulsory churchgoing, followed by eighteen more years of trying to extract myself from the church, has convinced me that Tolstoy was right: the more Christian fundamentalism emphasizes that the kingdom of God awaits us as a reward in the afterlife, the more it ignores the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. That is to say, the

By |July 28th, 2009|Categories: American Evangelicalism|

An American Gospel: On Family, History, and the Kingdom of God

One of the most famous authors of the late nineteenth century, Leo Tolstoy, once read the New Testament Gospels and then wrote a book titled: The Kingdom of God Is Within You. In his book Tolstoy argued that one cannot believe in the Sermon on the Mount and the Nicene Creed.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus told his followers to love their enemies, turn the other cheek, to give to those who beg and to avoid all hypocritical judgments. By contrast the Nicene Creed is an assertion of the divinity of Jesus as “the only son of God.” He was born of a virgin, crucified as a bloody sacrifice for the sins of humankind and rose from the dead on the third day. Tolstoy argued that one either has to accept the Sermon’s rigorous demands for how we must act in this world or choose the Creed as a way of escaping from this world to another. He concluded, “The man who believes in a god, in a Christ coming again in glory to judge and

By |July 27th, 2009|Categories: American Evangelicalism|

Love Believes All Things

S.
Michael Craven is the president of the Center for Christ in Culture in
Dallas, Texas. He is the author of a very important new book Uncompromised Faith
(NavPress, 2009). Michael is my dear friend and currently serves as the
chairman of the ACT 3 board of directors. We shared some time together
in Dallas two weeks ago and I was refreshed again by the friendship of
this dear brother. Michael writes a weekly article much the way I do
with the ACT 3 Weekly. His article last Monday was so good that I want
to share it with those of you who read my blog. I encourage you to sign
up for Michael's Truth in Culture Weekly and to get a copy of his fine book too. You will not regret adding this thoughtful man's insights to your own mind and heart.

NewsletterTop Love Believes All Things

S. Michael Craven

Last
week I wrote of marriage and its

By |July 26th, 2009|Categories: Love|

Obamacare and Ending the Bush Tax Cuts, Part Two

22obama-600 President Obama has made the rich a popular target in his rhetoric ever since he began his campaign for the presidency in 2008. He plays on the desires of the poor and the middle class for fairness and argues that they already pay enough. It is the rich who should carry more of the burden for the rest of us. So, how will the proposed federal health care program be paid for? We need to know. The president tells us we can have great health care and pay absolutely nothing.

Basic Armstrong Premise: Anyone who tells me that I can have something great and pay nothing, at least if they represent the government, is not telling me the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There is more here than meets the eye. The rich 1.2% will pay for the rest of us! In Obama's own words, “I think the best way to fund (health care) is for people like myself who have been very lucky,

By |July 25th, 2009|Categories: Politics|

Obamacare and Ending the Bush Tax Cuts, Part One

Congress The full court push is now on to pass sweeping health care legislation. The goal is to provide care for (almost) all Americans. The last time we endured this debate was in the early days of the first term of Bill Clinton. The plan then, doomed from the beginning, went down in flames. This time there is a much better chance that Congress will pass a plan of some sort. Like every American I am very interested in this issue. But like almost every American I think the devil is really in the details. This is precisely what makes me so nervous. (I'm not losing any sleep over this, however, so take my words in their context!) We are all being asked to trust the federal government to create a program that involves hundreds of thousands of administrators and more red tape than we know what to do with. In my lifetime I have learned one thing about the federal government—it does a poor job of running large

By |July 24th, 2009|Categories: Politics|

The Summer Crunch and the Ministry of ACT 3

I stay in touch with a number of other ministries like ACT 3. Several are led by my closest friends. As a result of this fellowship I know that all of us are undergoing challenging times this summer. Ministry for us has never been stronger and opportunities beckon on many fronts. I have been granted amazing freedom to speak, teach, counsel, write and encourage. A DVD will come out in August that tells our story powerfully. The future for ACT 3 looks bright beyond words. Yet these summer months, with the economy in recession, have been more than a test for us in terms of meeting our small budget. We have cut our budget several times. We cut salaries 25% last September and have made other cuts since then. We operate in a responsible manner and our board takes oversight of the mission seriously.

I write this because I need you help right now. Today!

We will not make our payroll unless we get about $2,000 by early next week. This is not a huge sum

By |July 23rd, 2009|Categories: ACT 3|

A Lovely Day With Stuart & Jill Briscoe

Most of us have role models. Children learn best from role models and the very best role model is a good parent. Sometimes our role models even become our heroes. If we actually get to know our heroes they will eventually disappoint us. But if we learn to rightly understand our role models they will become powerful guides and bring great blessing to our lives.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 the apostle tells believers to “follow our example” (by which he means the example of the apostles). In 2 Thessalonians 3:9 he says that the work of the apostles is to “offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.” That is a great encouragement to all of us who influence others in Christian ministry.

It has been rightly said that “precepts may lead, but examples draw.” The Puritan Thomas Brooks concluded that “example is the most powerful rhetoric.” and Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing.” I do agree.

I

By |July 23rd, 2009|Categories: Personal|
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