Thursday, October 29, 2009

I preached on this same subject on Sunday

In my sermon on Tradition, I hit upon what Piper calls an abomination in the clip above.  I called it a heresy, but the effect is the same.  Those who misuse the Gospel to feather their own nest are contradicting Scripture.  And at is basic core, the Prosperity Gospel is spiritually destructive. If God wants you to be rich and healthy, and you get sick and go broke, what does that mean?

Does God lie?
Is there something wrong with you?
Are you not good enough?

How do you explain that to a broke 35 year old dying of cancer?  It is an abominable heresy that is so destructive.  Please, avoid any of the Prosperity Gospel folks on television and radio.  They preach a false gospel, and one that you should avoid.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Words of Affirmation

That comic speaks a stark truth that doesn't apply to men only.  When I read it the first time I chuckled, then cringed, realizing the truth behind the statement.  A sad commentary on our society is that many men do go outside looking for affirmation.  Some do it in their work, where their success provides the positive feedback they desire.  Others do it in sports or other activities.  Some do it in the arms of other women (and men).
But men are not alone.  Women who do not feel affirmed will bury themselves in other activities looking for the positive reinforcement they crave.  Some find that in their children, their vocation, groups and clubs.  And sadly, some find it in the arms of another.
Children are the same way.  If a child does not feel affirmed by his or her parents, they will seek out some way receiving that affirmation.  The ways that they choose are often not the means their parents and family would choose for them.
The human need to be loved is universal.  We know that God loves us, but sometimes we just want someone with "skin" to love us and affirm that we have value. We in the church know this, and the Apostle Paul made a special note of it: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29.

As we look forward to Advent and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, let's make a special effort to affirm and encourage each other.  The world does enough to tear us down.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mr. Wesley's quadrilateral

We are in the midst of a four-week sermon series on the Wesleyan Quadrilateral - a method of doing theology that John Wesley gave to the followers of Methodism.  The quadrilateral is often thought of as a 4-legged stool, though one of the legs must be considerably larger and stronger than the others.  The legs are Scripture, reason, experience and tradition.  It is the interrelatedness of each of these legs that allow us to better understand and interpret scripture.

Scripture is the dominant leg, and is the only one that possesses a "trump" card.  If scripture deals with an issue, we should closely follow it's lead.  If it does not, or if we need to interpret the scripture, the others come into play.  Reason is our God-given capacity for thinking and asking the question "Does this make sense?" When we are interpreting scripture we have to ask if what we think it means makes sense and passes what my Trigonometry teacher called "the plausibility test."  Is the answer plausible?

Experience is the Holy Spirit's interaction with the individual believer and the church as a corporate body.  How has the Spirit illumined us on this particular issue?  How has our life experience helped us understand what the scripture might be saying?

What does Christian tradition teach us about the scripture?  Where have the ancient commentators fallen on the issue?  How has the Church of Jesus Christ treated the issue in the past?  Those are all good questions to ask as we look at difficult passages and issues.

This article offers us a fascinating look at the quadrilateral through the lens of one of my favorite foods - biscuits.  I encourage you to take a look at the quadrilateral with fresh eyes and see how it can provide a balanced way for interpreting scripture and providing guidance in life situations.

I'll be preaching on experience this Sunday if you want to come hear my thoughts.