My friend Jason Coyle reminded me in a recent comment of what he called ‘Dr. Rod Rosenbladt’s…brilliant address, “The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church”’.
In this superb talk, Dr. Rosenbladt explains why so many people end up leaving our churches not just disillusioned, but angry. He goes on to present the undiluted Gospel as the antidote.
You can listen to (or watch) this address for free on Dr. Rosenbladt’s New Reformation Press website:
C. Michael Patton of Credo House Ministries makes a thought-provoking case for why so many Christians appreciate C.S. Lewis – despite his decidedly questionable theology – but nevertheless castigate Rob Bell for superficially similar failings.
Patton makes a good argument: that Lewis set out to defend orthodoxy and the person and work of Jesus Christ, whereas Bell seems to delight in challenging them. And, no doubt, this provides a substantive part of the answer to Patton’s question. Much of what Lewis writes is helpful, and the broad appeal of his apologetic work undeniable. But I am not sure that Patton has quite explained the entirety of Lewis’ attraction.
Now, I am far from an expert on Lewis. I read the Narnia series as a child, along with The Screwtape Letters, and then some of his other works in my early twenties. Much more recently, I read and enjoyed his fictional Cosmic Trilogy. I very much appreciated Lewis’ essay, On the Reading of Old Books, which he wrote as the introduction to a translation of Athanasius’ work On the Incarnation. Everyone should read that essay. Nevertheless, there is very much of Lewis’ work that I have (yet) to assimilate, though his general theological perspective is apparent in what I have read.
Lewis was certainly not orthodox in a great deal of his theology, as Patton observes. Even in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for example, it is decidedly odd that Aslan pays a ransom to the Snow Queen. Lewis’ view of Scripture was rather lower than many of us would think proper. He believed in a form of purgatory. And he had inclusivist tendencies – the belief that a person could ‘belong to Christ without knowing it’ (Mere Christianity). Lewis’ views on evolution, though – particularly in later life – are perhaps not as straightforward as Patton seems to suggest.
Why, then, given his questionable-at-points doctrine, is Lewis as popular as he his among those who would – notionally, at least – subscribe to sounder doctrine?
Continue reading Why do so many Christians love C.S. Lewis?
There’s a superb post by Ben Mordeci, over at Founder and Perfecter. Ben deftly covers these oft misused passages:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Where there is no vision the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)
My friend Mike Ratliff presents a superb article by Bob DeWaay that gets to the heart of the problems inherent in spiritual formation and spiritual disciplines. As usual, Pastor DeWaay is Scriptural, clear, insightful and convincing. What more could you want?
If you have read my article Spiritual growth? There’s an app for that, you’ll be aware that there is currently a big push within the Church to adopt these dangerous practices. Mike and Bob show you why this is a Bad Thing.
Still here? Quick, go read the article now – but don’t forget to come right back:
For those who don’t know him, Bob DeWaay is pastor at Twin City Fellowship in Minnesota and the founder of Critical Issues Commentary. He is also the author of two superb books, both of which I highly recommend:
If you don’t have a copy of these books, go buy them now!
Which of these two statements is true?
- We are never permitted to sin.
- We cannot avoid sinning.
Both of these assertions appear in an excellent article by Todd Wilken (of the Issues, Etc radio programme). Todd writes:
They seem so different. One person lives his life striving for moral perfection. The other person doesn’t try that hard. The first is convinced that he can avoid sinning, if he tries hard enough. The second is equally convinced that he can’t avoid sinning, so why try at all? After all, He says, ‘I like to sin; God likes to forgive; that’s a pretty good deal.’ The first is all about keeping the rules; the second is all about breaking them.
The first is a legalist. The second is licentious. They seem very different, don’t they?
Which are you? A legalist? Or licentious? Either way, you won’t regret reading the full article:
Thank you to my friend Paula Coyle of Purpose Drivel (please visit!) for bringing this article to my attention, and for the opening question to this post.
Most of the preachers were dynamic, engaging, interesting and even entertaining. Most of their sermons were terrible.
I’ve just come across this magnificent article, written by Pastor Todd Wilken of the Issues, Etc. radio program. It clearly shows the difference between a good and bad sermon.
Everyone who preaches, or listens to preachers, would benefit from reading this. Why not print a few copies and share them with friends?
I was asked to talk on this topic for a carol service at the local sheltered housing complex just before Christmas. What a great subject! But, how to do it justice in ‘about 5 minutes’? Give me an hour, and no problem. But a mere 300 seconds? That’s hard!
And how in that short time do I weave in not just the good news of Christ crucified for sinners and raised from the dead, but also the reason for that gospel — our failure to keep God’s law? After all, there’s no sense in talking about the Saviour unless you first explain what we all need to be saved from — the just wrath of a holy and righteous God that we each have earned by our sin.
I consider Fighting for the Faith to be essential listening. Chris Rosebrough, the show’s host, examines the trends and fads of today’s church, comparing what people say in God’s name with what is taught by Scripture.
Although entertainingly polemical, Chris doesn’t just poke holes. Rather, he equips his listeners to defend against error. He gives clear correction from the Bible and always directs us towards the true Gospel of Christ crucified for sinners. He faithfully handles the Word of God, properly understanding and explaining the critical distinction between Law and Gospel. He uses the law to crush us, and calls us to repentance, but never neglects to offer the forgiveness of sin through trusting in Christ’s death on the cross.
A highlight of most programmes is the sermon review — after listening to Fighting for the Faith for a few weeks, you’ll perhaps never listen to a sermon in the same way again.
As with Issues, Etc (mentioned in my previous post), Chris is coming from a Confessional Lutheran background. Don’t let that put you off, even if you (like me) are from a different tradition. There is gold here.
If you find yourself listening to Fighting for the Faith regularly, don’t forget to support the work by joining the Pirate Christian Radio crew or making a donation!
I’d like to share with you another gem on iTunes U from the Reformed Theological Seminary. Dr Frank A. James III gives a refreshing, and perhaps unexpected, perspective on John Calvin. If you have iTunes installed, you can find the seminars here. Give them a try — you’ll be captivated.