Thursday, October 25, 2007

Finally Settling In

I know my posting here has been fairly infrequent here for awhile. I have tried to post once a week or so, but things have been hectic for quite awhile, especially through the summer months. There are too many things that needed to be done around the house. And over the previous two summers, I have had to spend too much time with schoolwork and not had much time to spend with my family. So now that I have finished with school, I have been able to spend more time with my wife and kids.

This certainly has been a rough year with everything that had gone on with church and searching for a new church can take some time. And I have not enjoyed being disconnected from a local church body. But I can say that I am glad to be free from the mess that our previous church degenerated into. It seemed like a long battle and we tried to hang in there, hoping things would change, attempting to reason with the leadership. What was sad was that we helped establish this church, and to watch things go steadily downhill was heart wrenching. I certainly felt like it was a drawn out battle that lasted several years. I could sense that the church was beginning to drift away from biblical principles within the first couple of years. But I don’t believe in just cutting ties and running at the first signs of trouble. There is something to be said for battling for the truth. How else is there going to be any chance for correction if everyone cuts and runs? After all, that is the reason why believers are commanded to gather together, to provide encouragement and instruction for one another, providing an environment of mutual accountability. (Hebrew 10:25; Ephesians 4:11-26)

But unfortunately, there often comes a time where it becomes clearly evident that things are not going to change, and are in fact getting even worse and it is time to leave. That is where we were at. For years I watched as some of the emerging church philosophy began creeping in at an increasing rate. It was not so much that absolute rank heresy was always being taught, although there were some very wrong views creeping in at an increasing rate. The greatest error was in what wasn’t being taught and was certainly creating an environment ripe for heresy to take root. And with books and materials being utilized by such authors as Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and Donald Miller, the door was swinging wide open for heresy to enter the congregation. What was alarming was that the leadership was utilizing this material. The leadership was moving further and further away from a biblical model of ministry and church leadership. False teaching is corruptive and cannot edify, and it leads people way from God, and leaves them more susceptible to their flesh. Tragically, the senior pastor was found to be in moral failure after it was discovered that he was having an adulterous affair with another woman. He was dismissed last December and we thought that maybe this would be a wake-up call. It seemed initially that there was the realization that there was an unhealthy model for leadership and that they wanted things to change. But by late April, it became clear that the remaining leadership really were not serious about changing things and adopting a more biblical model for leadership and church ministry. Sin just seemed to have permeated the church and my wife and I decided that we needed leave.

Glad to say that I think we have found a new church home and are finally settling in. We finally settled on a church that we visited several weeks ago. The pastor and the staff have a solid, biblical view of church ministry. And the preaching is expositional. I found out about this church last fall when I was using the church search page at the 9Marks ministry website. There are not many solid churches in our immediate area, so I am grateful to have discovered a church with a solid view of the ministry. And it is comforting to know that the pastor has had solid biblical training having graduated from the Master’s Seminary. That is not to say that a pastor needs to have a seminary degree to be a pastor; what is most important is that he has a love for God’s Word and constantly educates himself. His ongoing study of Scripture is most important, not his degree. There are plenty of pastors who are dedicated to God’s Word who have never been to seminary. In fact, some may be more solid, especially given the state of some schools out there. But if he has been to a solid seminary, it can certainly give you some idea of where he is coming from.

Well now that the weather is starting to get colder and the days shorter, I may have a little more time to post here. But it may take a little while to gear up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Basis for Christian Music

I appreciate Steve Camp’s approach to Christian music, especially in a day and age when the CCM has given itself to wholesale compromise. He has made a stand against the worldly compromise within the Christian music industry. In this video explaining the objective of Audience One, he makes a case for more biblically based music. And he points out how much of Christian music has been turned into an industry instead of a ministry. Christian music should be centered on bringing glory to God and richly steeped in biblical truth. It is a shame that much of so-called Christian music today is theologically void and not able to cause people to think deeply about their God.

Audience One identifies 5 key pillars it bases its philosophy on:
1. Glory of God
2. Authority of Scripture
3. Local Church Accountability
4. Partner with Believers
5. Ministry not Industry

I believe that those are sound guiding principles.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This Should be Cause for Concern

Not sure why this has not caused more of a stir than it has. Arab owned Borse Dubai has made a deal to purchase 20 percent of the Nasdaq Stock Market. In exchange, Nasdaq would receive control of OMX, Sweden’s leading stock market. If this deal goes through, this would allow the Nasdaq to achieve its goal of establishing an overseas presence like the New York Stock Exchange did with its purchase of Euronext.

But this deal raised security concerns with U.S. politicians, and rightly so. This would be the first time a Middle Eastern government would own a sizable portion of an American Stock Exchange.

This is, to me, a fairly dubious transaction that should make Americans a little more uneasy than it does. Our shallowness and obsession with greed is going to get the better of us. I guess too many Americans are more concerned with what is going on with Britney Spears than what is going on with their country from an economic and security standpoint. Just further evidence of how far our culture is degenerating, as we become more preoccupied with pleasure and entertainment, than issues related to national security, not to mention our declining moral condition. We have become a nation that has drifted far from God, and is continuing to walk in rebellion. All from a nation that claims in some way to be a Christian nation, or at least a nation where an overwhelming number of people profess to be Christians. Sadly, the churches in America are not helping much in turning the tide of rebellion, and are in fact assisting people to travel further down the path away from God.

On thing appears sure; we have not learned from the example in Scripture of how Israel fell under the judgment of God for her rebellion and compromise. Often God allowed Israel to be overcome by her enemies in judgment. (Isaiah 63:10; Jeremiah 21:3-7; Ezekiel 23:28-30) Could it be that God will allow the same fate to befall America? Don’t think that it could not happen. And just like the false prophets in Israel, many leaders in American churches are proclaiming “peace and safety”, rather than emphasizing repentance and proclaiming the truth of God’s Word. (Jeremiah 6:13-15; 8:11-12; 14:13-14; 23:16-17)