Saturday, May 21, 2011

Around the Web: Links for Your Weekend - 5/21/11

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - The End is Here?  The False Teaching of Herold Camping | Well, today is May 21, 2011 and at 6:00 pm Jesus will return.  Today I am watching the first Left Behind movie with a friend to jokingly celebrate.  In response, Dr. Mohler offers his response.  Like most sane persons around the world, Mohler finds all of this crazy.  Oh well, there's always December 21, 2012.

Harold Camping is now warning the world that the Day of Judgment will begin at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011. The 89-year-old founder of Family Radio has made such pronouncements before, most recently in 1994. He now says that he simply miscalculated then, but he is absolutely certain that he has the right calculation now. You have been warned.

Actually, millions of people in America have been warned through Camping’s radio program and by means of the more than 1,200 billboards his ministry has put up across the nation. According to press reports, Family Radio has put up 2,000 billboards in other nations, as well.

Kevin DeYoung - It's Probably Not the Worship Style | DeYoung provides us with some important questions we should ask if we are seeing decline in our numbers at our local church.  What I love about this is that it goes beyond the false diagnoses (like music, tradition, dress, etc.) and gets to the heart of the matter.  If the gospel is transcendent then music has nothing to do with it in the end.

Is the gospel faithful preached?
Is the Bible taught with clarity and passion?
Are the sermons manifestly rooted in a text of Scripture?
Do the elders/pastors and deacons meet the qualifications for church office laid out in the New Testament?
Are the sacraments faithfully administered and protected?
Is church discipline practiced?
Do the elders exercise personal care over the flock?
Are there good relationships among the staff and other leaders?
Is the worship service put together thoughtfully and carried out with undistracting excellence (as much as possible).
Do the people in the congregation sing the songs with gusto or are they going through the motions?
Is a high bar set for church membership?
Are the people of the church engaged in personal ministry?
Is the congregation marked by increasing prayer and evangelism?
Do the pastors believe in the complete trustworthiness of all of Scripture?
Do they take adequate time for study and preparation?
Do they truly believe and eagerly rejoice in their church’s/denomination’s statement of faith, creeds, and confessions?
Are their lives examples of personal holiness?

Charles Colson - Hell and Human Dignity | On Monday, Charles Colson takes on the Rob Bell hell controversy.  He concludes:

It may make us feel better to believe that everyone goes to heaven. But what happens to the concept of justice? Is not God a God of justice?

Like Douthat, I understand Bell’s objection to the presumptuousness of some Christians. Instead of making declarations about the eternal destiny of people we’ve never met, we ought to be working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

Folks, beware. This book is high on the New York Times bestseller list. Books like this are obviously appealing. But that doesn’t make them true.

Justin Taylor (Between Two Worlds) - New Testament Metaphors for the Church | I found this resource helpful.  Taylor provides us with a list of metaphors the New Testament uses to describe the church followed by the appropriate quotations.  Here are the metaphors without the verses:

The church is made up of many different members that comprise the one body of Christ.
The church is the bride of Christ
The church is the family of God
The church is God's house
The church is the temple of God, built with living stones, with Christ as the foundation and cornerstone, and the Holy Spirit indwelling it.

Breitbart - Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking | It never ceases to amaze me how often world renown scientist claim that science determines everything but are left making metaphysical arguments apart from any scientific evidence.  Hawking knows better, but then again atheism is as much a religion that demands proselytizing as anything else.  To not have proof of something does not mean it doesn't exist.

British scientist Stephen Hawking has branded heaven a "fairy story" for people afraid of the dark, in his latest dismissal of the concepts underpinning the world's religions.. . .

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first," he told the newspaper. 

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." 

Dr. Russell Moore - Can Romance Novels Hurt Your Heart? | Dr. Moore takes on an issue that Christians need to take more seriously and I am grateful that he has raised it.  Though there is a clear difference between pornography and romance novels, the lust and idol behind them remains the same.  Consider Moore's argument.

While I don’t share all the presuppositions of these scholars, I think they’re on to something about the allure of the commercialized romance story. Pornography and romance novels aren’t (or at least aren’t always) morally equivalent, but they “work” the same way.

Both are based on an illusion. Pornography is based on the illusion of a perfectly willing, always aroused partner without the “work” of relational intimacy. Often romance novels or their film equivalents do the same thing for the emotional needs of women that pornography offers for the erotic urges of men.

And in both cases, what the “market” wants is sameness. Men want the illusion of women who look just like women but are, in terms of sexual response, just like men. Women want the illusion of men who are “real” men, but, in terms of a concept of romance, are just like women. In both artificial eros and artificial romance, there is the love of the self, not the mystery of the other.

Thankfully, we do not yet have a market for “Christian” pornography (but just wait, someone will find a way). But we do have a market for “Christian” romance novels. Now some of those classified as such aren’t really “romance novels” at all. They’re complicated looks at the human condition, especially male/female relationships, from a Christian vantage point.

Ross Douthat - The Nomination Nobody Wants | For those interested in predicting who will be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012, conservative collumnist Douthat writes on what Huckabee not running means for 2012.  Here is his first point:

1) As pretty much everybody has argued, the obvious winner from Huckabee’s departure is Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty’s great strength is his ability to play both sides of the populist-establishment divide, but this “all things to all people” quality can be a weakness as well: When you’re everybody’s second choice, it’s easy to get squeezed out in the early going, because everybody’s too busy voting for their first choice to hand to you any victories. (This is part of what happened to Fred Thompson in the Romney-Huckabee-McCain brawl of 2008, and it’s also what happened to Lamar Alexander — like Pawlenty, a guy who seemed like an obvious unity candidate — in the Pat Buchanan-Bob Dole battle of 1996.) In a Huckabee-Romney rematch, or a Huckabee-Romney-Daniels struggle, Pawlenty would have been in constant danger of being outflanked from both sides at once — on social issues one week, and then on the good-government-moderate flank the next. But now he has an excellent shot at a clean victory in Iowa, he’s well-positioned to pick up a lot of Huckabee’s supporters across the south (where his main competition will be Newt Gingrich), and at the end of the day, he’ll still be moderate and safe and competent-seeming enough to woo voters in the Northeast and his native Midwest. Throw in the fact that both Romney and Gingrich infuriated conservative activists this weekend by defending the idea of an individual mandate in health care, and suddenly Pawlenty has perhaps the clearest path to the Republican nomination of any major contender. Unless

Some good advice here:

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