I found this article to be interesting. I have had a couple of discussion on the issue below and I would like to thank the ladies who commented on my earlier post along similar topic lines. I have found that the issue of women "complimenting men" has become more and more of a discussion now and it isn't shut down as quickly as it was during my Bible college days. I still don't have a problem with women in ministry (I hate the fact this sounds like such a knee jerk reaction) but I also find that a part of me agrees with this blog post from reformation21.org. I think a lot of guys may think along the same lines but are afraid to admit it because they (we) don't want to remain single. It's hard to recover when your labeled chauvinist, especially (and you know its true) given how quickly ladies can spread the word. The take away question is, are men/women "coming out" of the egalitarian closet and if they are, does this necessarily lead to barefoot and pregnant? Read and let me know what you think!
"Among them were two young couples (early to mid 20's), who fit a mold that I increasingly observe. First, they are very theologically motivated and speak with great doctrinal intensity. Second, feeling welcomed and accepted is enormously important to them. Third, they all evidence a very strong, biblical, and beautiful commitment to gender complementarity. In separate interviews, two young wives said, "I completely agree with my husband. But I also trust his judgment and want to following his spiritual leadership."
I point this out because I think there is a misconception on the gender issue, namely, that if we want to be considered relevant by the young then we cannot afford to be openly complementarian. The great majority of my experience (and admittedly, this is among people who are attracted to a church like ours) shows exactly the opposite. The young people I meet are fed up with the egalitarianism of their upbringing and yearn for counter-cultural biblical authenticity. I would suggest that the examples of younger preachers like Josh Harris and Mark Driscoll, both of whom are in-your-face complementarians and draw in flocks of young people argues in the same direction. Based on these examples, I suspect that the gender debate is much more of a baby-boomer issue. Of course, the ultimate standard is the clear teaching of God's Word. But if we are going to talk sociology, I want to put my two cents in.
P.S. The young people joining our church also say that they are blown away by classic, historically-rooted (i.e. traditional) worship. This, too, is now counter-culturally Christian."
Friday, June 27, 2008
Posted by Brother Bell at 12:13 AM
They pulled up next to me in their really ancient Chevy, the typical “old-couple”(OC). You know the ones. They look like any moment they are about to die and probably it would be just as romantic as those movies where the OC always die in each others arms. That kind of couple.
So I don’t know why this idea struck me. I’m not normally like this. I just decided it would be awesome to hit the gas at the light and take off, leaving them in my dust. The light hit green and before I could catch how stupid I was I hit the gas and shifted into second gear within 2 seconds. Leaving them far behind. Probably fulfilling the stereotype that OC have about my generation.
Well I got to the next light and lo-and-behold the OC pulled up right next to me. They probably were laughing. Here they were, obeying the laws, not speeding, not being cocky, and they ended up at the exact same place I was. This is what was racing through my head and the more I imagined what they were thinking the more I wanted to make sure they didn’t and just then the light turned green… I hit the gas again, leaving them in my dust. Then I hit the next light…red…and here comes the Chevy, slogging along till it parks right next to me. At this point the realization of how dumb I was being kicked in and I gracefully pulled away from this light. The OC turned right.
I find it interesting in John 14:6 (My favorite Bible verse) that Jesus said that He is the Way. If Jesus is the way then the road to Him is a journey. A journey implies that there are distances we have to travel and since the Bible was written to more people then just me, that means that there are others who are traveling the same road as me. Why is it that even though all of our destinations on this road are the same, we get bothered by those who seem to start out fast? Especially given that we arrive at the same place?
They say that you preach what you are going through and perhaps I am now. I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone is ever past this faze but I know I feel like the OC and seem to be the one who was left in the dust at the light. For me, it always seems that I’m in the beat up Chevy, watching as everyone else speeds ahead into the future while I’m stuck idling at the light.
As the OC pulled off to the right, the conviction for acting like a crazy person came over me and then this insight I just shared. If Jesus is the Way then that means that all of us have the same destination. My job isn’t to worry about those who are leagues in front of me but to focus on my own journey, staying on the road, etc. Funny and obviously rather simple but for me it was profound.
Posted by Brother Bell at 12:10 AM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Politics. I haven't written on them for a while because frankly I'm convinced that no one makes logical arguments anymore. Many people shout things really loud but they have no idea what they mean and it's pointless to try and argue with them. Either way, this cartoon is an example of the kind of hatred that to me is despicable. If this came out on the "right" (which I have never seen) then I would rebuke it just as hard. This kind of stuff though is horrendous and shows how much contempt people can have for a person like Rush Limbaugh. Just because you don't agree with someone, vehemently admittedly, doesn't make it right for you to wish them dead! Yet, people pray for President Bush to die and others like that. This to me shows a break down in intellectual prowess. It's easier to wish someone dead then to try to argue their point. Sad and why I'm just done with politics.
Posted by Brother Bell at 10:37 PM
The atmosphere was electric. The people glued to the stage. Music was blaring as loud as you can possibly handle and goosebumps/gooseflesh (which one is it actually) could be seen on any participant down the aisle. I sat there in awe, tears flowing from my eyes. Never had I experienced such joy, such elation, such beauty. All around people were crying out, screaming at the top of their lungs, singing the praises! My friends came and greeted me with a hug, we shared thoughts of joy, thoughts of praise. Then I looked up at the TV and there was the ceremony for the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. What a beautiful night!
So, if you are a Christian you probably were thinking I was referring to some type of amazing worship experience. In fact many of the emotions that I had that night were awfully familiar as the "best times in worship" I've ever had. Some people would make you feel guilty for this. I remember a "brother" in Christ coming up to me during worship and "rebuking" me for not expressing myself like I did when the Sox won it all. I turned to this "brother" and stated that when he became Jesus then he could talk. He didn't like that to much and honestly I wasn't being to much like Jesus myself. But there was something in both of our stupid comments.
The tendency in worship is to gauge "success" (think about that for a second) on the amount of "feelings" that are stirred and the natural outworking of those feelings in some type of spontaneous bodily reaction. While there should be no doubt that outward expressions of worship are a natural outworking they should not be the identification mark of worship. They should not be the gauge of success!
We view worship as successful if we stir up "emotions" that others can observe but shouldn't worship be successful every time because it is God who is being praised not us. Undoubtedly there are times when it is harder but I wonder how many times the reason it is harder is because we are addicted to the FEELINGS of worship and not the God we are worshiping? Do we then make worship more about how I feel? Is that what it is about?
Finally, I find it interesting that God states that if we don't worship Him then the stones will. Stones don't have a personality and they do not have the latest Christian "rock" band (pun intended) leading worship but just by being stones they worship. Maybe then those feelings when the Sox won it all were not so as unholy as I was made to feel? God was the one who created the emotions and God is the one who gave me the ability to feel joy, excitement, etc. If by utilizing those feelings...if by me just being me...are expressions of what God made me then maybe it was a form of worship. Maybe there are a lot of things that are worship and I'm just to hard headed to realize it? Funny, the stones gets it! We don't? Irony?
Posted by Brother Bell at 3:17 PM
Monday, June 16, 2008
Interesting thoughts from the Boundless.org website. A young lady (I assume) sent a question about what men should look for in a woman of God because boundless had covered what woman should look for in a man. The first answers to the question are your normal: "be a Christian, love God, etc." answers but here is where it gets interesting. Disclaimer: I didn't say this,
"While both husband and wife must be open to the blessing of children, and teach their children to fear, love and obey God (Malachi 2:15, Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Ephesians 6:1-4), wives must be willing to bear the babies and take primary responsibility for their physical care in the early years (Titus 2:3-5, Proverbs 31:10-31)."
I don't see what exactly is wrong with this statement but there still is something which stings when reading it. I know I can't bear children (no matter what Oprah tells us) and I know that my responsibility will be kids as well. But the primary responsibility is the ladies? Why does this seem like it shouldn't be said? The list continues:
"Where men should be striving to have the qualifications of a spiritual leader, women should be developing the qualities that will make her a help to her husband. (Genesis 2:18) They include being self-controlled, pure and kind, as well as effective home managers."
I find my hesitation to these comments does not come from Scripture but comes from my own perceptions about how and what women think. I have no problem admitting that I look for this, even if that means people perceive me as wanting barefoot/pregnant, but I also think hidden in this viewpoint is that men are actually men! I find it interesting that even I had a hesitation towards admitting that this is what I'm looking for and this article was written by a woman? Maybe we men have been so beat up over what to look for that we no longer know what to actually look for? If there is no difference between the sexes, which is the main thesis of today's world, then there is no way for any man to have things to look for in a woman. Ladies, wonder why guys don't pursue? This would be one reason!
Posted by Brother Bell at 11:59 AM
Friday, June 13, 2008
What is a revival? When is it legitimate? Are we allowed to question anyone who claims to be participating in a revival and if we do question it could we be actually “quenching the Spirit”.
There are two extremes for Christian reaction to any type of revival.
First are those who reject the complete thing and label any event that does not fit into their spiritual experience as heresy or as not of God. They do not go to Scripture to test the Spirit but instead rely on hearsay and there own emotions. (Ironically the same thing they condemn in others) This is not something which Scripture would allow a Christian to partake in because notice the following passage: “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone (emphasis mine), able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:23-24)
Second are the people who take everything and every word of an experience at a revival as truth (even though they would state they are not) and whenever someone questions them they quickly retort: “You’re quenching the Spirit.” This convenient spiritual trump card stands little chance of rebuttal because usually the person who is following the passage listed above is not trying to disavow a person (this is key) but trying to question as they are biblically commanded to do. All throughout Scripture believers are continuously warned to inspect any move of God. “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said (emphasis mine).” (1 Corinthians 14:29) Paul continues to remind those who would state that no one should question them: “Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” (1 Corinthians 14:35) Whenever someone then rejects biblical criticism Paul states emphatically that the person be ignored. Period
What isn’t a Revival
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel.” 2 Timothy 2:8
Before getting into what a revival actually is, it’s necessary to weed out the things which should not lead us to conclude that a revival is legitimate.
Miracles and revival seem to go hand in hand. In conversation a revival is always justified because someone was healed or some other miraculous event has taken place. Scripture clearly states: “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4a) This passage is used and rebutted in any discussion as something Jesus was stating to the Pharisees. Yet, this misses the larger picture in that there is the second part to that verse which mentions the sign of Jonah. He was in the fish for three days; Jesus was in the ground for three days. The point of the matter for Jesus was not to negate miracles but to make everyone realize that miracles happen because of the greatest miracle; the resurrection of Christ! This will lead directly into what a revival is but let’s stay on this subject of miracles.
“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect-if that were possible.” Mark 13:22
This verse makes it very clear that the “elect” cannot be deceived but notice also that it states that the false prophets/Christs will be able to perform signs and miracles. Throughout the Scriptures then there are continuous examples of men and women who are given supernatural power but do not get that power from God even though they claim to. A believer then should never let a miracle be the starting point for defending any type of revival as legitimate from God. Period.
“I just don’t put God in a box”. The second trump card. Many times revivals, at least in today’s day and age, are synonymous with very peculiar human reactions and manifestations. I won’t get into specific one’s here because the list would be to long but given the foundation we have already laid the question is what does Scripture state? “Therefore my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should (emphasis mine) be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1 Corinthians 14:40) This verse very clearly sets out a limit for what God does in any type of revival and notice it isn’t us who puts God in a box. He gave us the map for how He is going to move! Any legitimate move of God does not defraud or diminish the image of God in us. We have a fallen nature, yes, but God does not magnify that nature or make it some other earth bound nature; He wants to destroy it.
(c) Rebuking “doctrine”
Doctrine does not get a lot of credit these days. In fact, it is almost looked at as the enemy. Doctrine is associated with a rigid, by-the-book type of mentality and many tend to state that doctrine is the reason that we do not have revivals. People would rather live by books then get into the waves of the Spirit. Again, what does Scripture state? “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine (emphasis mine). Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside myths.” (2 Timothy 3:3-4) Paul does not stop there: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Paul, Jesus, and many others loved doctrine and they believed that studying it, living it, and walking it made for a stronger Christian life. As we saw earlier, Jesus even said it would save us in the end!
What is a Revival
Now that we have spent some type stating what a revival isn’t, we must now ask what a revival is.
(a) Return of the Prodigal
Perhaps the greatest example of a revival that I have ever found in Scripture is that of the prodigal son. Yeah, exactly, we don’t necessarily think of it like that! When the son came home, realized his mistake, and repented to the Father, a great feast with music and dancing was rolled out. (Luke 15) The story ends like this: “But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (vs. 32) Any type of revival centers on the return of the prodigals home.
The prodigal analogy I believe works so well because throughout both history and Scripture, the most lasting revivals have been those which led to reformation of a persons character. One thinks of Josiah and his discovery of the book of the law or the Wesleyan revival which is credited with saving much of Britain. Revivals are not “new things” but instead “old things revisited”. We see this throughout Paul’s writings: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3) Paul also stated: “But as for your, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15) A revival then does not focus on accepting some “new revelation” but instead focuses on a return to the path of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Keeping close to what was handed down from the past is the job of the Christian; this is why people who state that by questioning the newest revival you are quenching the Spirit are wrong. Are job as a believer is to hold fast to that old, old story. Period.
Perhaps the most important sign that a revival is legitimate is something which does not become apparent right away. Time actually is the teller. Does the person experience a dramatic shift in their character? Do they love? As Paul said: “If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) Paul then goes and gives the list of all the things which love are. A person cannot have experienced a revival if they do not dramatically shift their thoughts and make the fruit of the Spirit their mission in life. The best sign of revival is to see how a person comes back from one. Many times this tells us all we need to know!
(d) Spiritual Gifts
I know it seems a little contradictory to state that spiritual gifts can be a sign of a revival, especially since miracles and signs are considered spiritual gifts, but this is a tension I am willing to live with because Paul obviously did. I believe that after salvation there is a secondary experience that God bestows on all His people that prepares them to go out and do great works for Him. Acts 2:39 states: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Peter was referring here to the events which took place earlier in the chapter where believers were baptized in tongues of fire. This gifting made rather cowardly men strong preachers of the Gospel. This gift also is so powerful that it can be a way to see that person has had a dramatic shift. “The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they had heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” (Acts 10:45-46)
Paul placed love in between the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians because he saw what destructive forces inappropriate revivals can have on a church. When people fight and bicker and things get out of control, no fruit can possibly grow and the body of Christ as a whole suffers because of it! You cannot have spiritual gifts without love and love always proceeds the gifts. I would also argue that fruits proceed gift and just like we prophesy in part so do we “fruit in part” except the former is fertilized by the latter. Whenever revivals start with four and ignore three, we get Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. A mistake we do not need to make again!
In closing I have laid out what I believe to be a biblical examination for looking at how God moves in our world today. As someone who has been on the receiving side of both extremes I know how hard it can be for a Christian to wade through the passions on both sides. Being a Pentecostal also means dealing with spiritual fascists who very quickly toss you under the bus if they feel like you are weighing the Spirit down. I have experienced though that being thrown under the bus is better then crashing and being tossed out a window of the bus. The wisest words I’ve ever heard for treading these discerning waters was from a preacher quoting Scripture. “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39) Time will be the teller and we know the ending if we stick to that which has been passed down to us. Amen!
Posted by Brother Bell at 12:47 PM
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
"We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the "Rapture" of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system." $40 dollar subscription!
I only have the following questions:
Posted by Brother Bell at 5:45 PM
Sunday, June 8, 2008
ChristianityToday.com has a review of Sex and the City that was almost more outrageous then it was a good review of the movie. I understand that the website is going to have someone watch it (noticeably a woman) but that such statements as:
"And, like the TV series, the film offers much that will resonate with singles—and yes, even Christians—who see themselves not just as a demographic in a Barna poll but as sexual beings who wrestle with balancing loneliness and a desire for romantic love with a commitment to purity and platitudes like "true love waits." (And waits. And waits.)"and
"They, unlike many Christians, don't insult my intelligence. Instead they speak to the complexities of relationships in a postmodern age—addressing baby lust, the mommy wars, sexual temptation, dating outside your "class," commitment-phobia, the reluctant desire to be rescued by a man, and the simultaneous fear that you'll lose your own hard-won identity in the process. Yes, materialism and hedonism abound. But so does a messy wrestling with complex new realities of life that I wish I saw more of in Christian circles."
pass as "ok" is really depressing for me as a single guy who doesn't believe "TRUE LOVE WAITS" is a platitude. I have to admit I was shocked reading the review because I was apparently dumb enough to believe that a Christian girl would find no interest in seeing this movie! I am just really dumb founded? I understand girls aren't turned on the same way a guy is but the movie is entitled SEX AND THE CITY. You are watching other people, from my understanding of the review, having premarital sex, committing adultery, threesomes and every other sexual abomination besides lesbianism! What shocks me even more is that Christian girls would believe that these four women in the TV show/movie are ROLE MODELS for singleness struggles? I would have no problem with stating that these women are the Harlot in Proverbs who entice men from the pursuit of Lady Wisdom! Yeah, those harlots may have some understanding, but last time I checked they weren't exactly role models for how to pursue a pure relationship with either a man or God for that matter!
So, I haven't seen the movie, and undoubtedly some will bring that up in an objection. I understand. I just can't believe we even need to really bring this up? And the same goes across the board! What are we accepting people!
Posted by Brother Bell at 4:24 PM
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
As if it isn't hard enough already, this new "news article" states that all women are really turned on by a guy who is "green" with his car selection. The title of the article is "EcoGeeks get all the girls". Here are some of the highlights.
* Nearly 9 in 10 women (88 percent) say they'd rather chat up someone who owns the latest fuel-efficient car versus the latest sports car.
* Eighty percent of American car buyers would find someone with the latest fuel-efficient car more interesting to talk to at a party than someone with the latest sports car.
* More than 4 out of 10 (45 percent) 18- to 43-year-olds say it's a fashion faux pas nowadays to have a car that's not green or environmentally friendly.
The irony of this whole entire article is that if we lived in different times this would be called something different. Like, being frugal! Any guy who a woman will be attracted to is going to have to show that he cares more about her then he does about material possessions. (At least from my limited experience anyway) As Shania Twain once said: "That Don't Impress Me Much". This article then serves as a great example of how something like wisdom can be bent to propaganda. We all do it but I just thought this was a funny example. Women want the Hulk! Who would have thought?
Posted by Brother Bell at 12:00 PM