Archive for the ‘Seven Churches’ Category

Rob Bell Briefing « Provocations & Pantings.


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The above quote by Erwin McManus was tweeted by lisa008967. Now clearly we should not accept tweets as authoritative for quotes, but Erwin himself retweeted the quote from Lisa which confirms that the quote was in fact actually his and affirmed by him. Why is that important? Because the quote confirms that McManus either does not understand the unifying principle of the Bible or he is lying and deceiving people to believe something that is not found in the Bible, nor taught Jesus, the apostles or those who followed after them.

The truth of the matter is that the unifying principle of the Bible is not about me, you or anyone else. The unifying principle of the Bible is Christ and Christ alone. This is what Christ taught, listen to his own words:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (Joh 5:39-40 ESV)

Jesus taught the same truth to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. Here’s how the Scriptures put it:

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luk 24:44 ESV)

Later in that same chapter Jesus teaches the rest of the apostles the same truth:

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luk 24:25-27 ESV)

So then the unifying principle of the Bible is not that my relationship with God has a direct correlation to how I treat people, but it is about Christ and Him crucified that we might have our sins forgiven and receive the righteousness of Christ.

There’s a second problem here. Erwin is saying that my relationship with God depends on how I treat people. That’s the law. That’s works righteousness. That’s saying that my obedience is the basis for God loving me or blessing me or even having fellowship with me. The problem is that no one can live up to that standard. No one can fulfill the demands of the law. No one can appease God with their own righteousness. And those who think you have done so only fool yourself and are deceived by your own self-righteousness. Look at what Paul teaches to those who try to rely on the law for their own justification and righteousness:

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Gal 3:10-11 ESV)

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (Gal 5:4 ESV)

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Rom 3:20 ESV)

You see our relationship with God is not based upon us, but on what Christ has done for us. Christ provided for us His righteousness through His death and resurrection and it is through that righteousness that God views us as His children (that is those who have responded to Him in repentance, received His forgiveness, and are born again). Therefore, when we are disobedient we are treated as children who need discipline (Heb. 13), but God does not love us less, or bless us less, or treat us in a lesser way. He gives us the grace He promised through Christ. A grace that is given to us freely, that comes from God, not a grace that is earned by our own works.

Beware of Erwin McManus because he is leading his people into a system of works righteousness that will send people to hell. Pray that he would repent and teach the true grace of God, the true gospel, and the true unifying principle of the Bible.


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Tim Keller has put out another book. I have yet to order or read it, but if you’re looking for a review consider this one by Michael Johnson over at Desiring God.

Tim Keller’s King’s Cross: A Review – Desiring God.

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Here’s another great post from Pastor Tullian Tchividjian:

This past week during a panel discussion at The Resurgence conference in Orlando, I was asked to articulate the distinctive roles of God’s law and God’s gospel in the life of the Christian. I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about this over the last year or so and have come to believe that this is one of the most important theological issues in the church today. Failure to understand the distinct roles of the law and the gospel inevitably leads to moralism. While both law and gospel are good (after all, both come from God), both play different roles.

I found this hymn on the law and the gospel from Ralph Erskine to be both poetic and helpful:

The law supposing I have all,

Does ever for perfection call;

The gospel suits my total want,

And all the law can seek does grant.

The law could promise life to me,

If my obedience perfect be;

But grace does promise life upon

My Lord’s obedience alone.

The law says, Do, and life you’ll win;

But grace says, Live, for all is done;

The former cannot ease my grief,

The latter yields me full relief.

The law will not abate a mite,

The gospel all the sum will quit;

There God in thret’nings is array’d

But here in promises display’d.

The law excludes not boasting vain,

But rather feeds it to my bane;

But gospel grace allows no boasts,

Save in the King, the Lord of Hosts.

Lo! in the law Jehovah dwells,

But Jesus is conceal’d;

Whereas the gospel’s nothing else

But Jesus Christ reveal’d.

via Erskine On The Law And The Gospel – Tullian Tchividjian.

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“One cannot cite any part of the OT as binding for people today (like circumcision, food laws, tithing, or Sabbath laws) without considering where such commands are in the entire story. The OT as a whole must not be thought of as a gigantic book of Proverbs but must be read and interpreted in light of the unfolding story of redemption.”

– Tom Schreiner, Galatians

via An Infant in a Cradle: The OT is not a gigantic book of Proverbs.

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From Joshua Harris’ blog


Last fall at Covenant Life we did a sermon series called “Desperate: Living Aware of our Need for Jesus.” It was all about living with a daily sense of dependence on God. I taught on the work of the Holy Spirit, a lot on prayer and our need to stay close to and abide in Christ. The following are the nine messages from that series including an excellent sermon by my friend Tim Kerr. You can click on the titles to listen to the audio. Many of the messages also have outlines that you can download. I hope these messages encourage you.

Psalm 63 | “Earnestly I Seek You” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Joshua Harris
The gospel answers once and for all our desperate need for forgiveness. Nevertheless, Christians continue to need God so much that we must earnestly seek him, both personally and with other believers.

Luke 11:1-13 | “Ask, Seek, Knock” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Joshua Harris
Desperate people ask, seek, and knock in their pursuit of more of the Holy Spirit. They know that the Spirit is God’s greatest gift and is absolutely necessary to do God’s work.

John 15:1-11 | “Apart from Me You Can Do Nothing” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Joshua Harris
Only when we abide in Christ, the true vine, can we have a fruitful spiritual life.

Colossians 4:2 | “Continue Steadfastly in Prayer” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Joshua Harris
Prayer is not another Christian to-do item. Prayer is an invitation to a relationship with God in which we see how much he has done for us and how he much he is doing around us.

1 Peter 4:7 | “For the Sake of Your Prayers” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Joshua Harris
To grow in our prayer lives, we must have the self-control to limit the time we spend on activities that distract us from God, and we must seek to remove the things that dull our thoughts of God.

John 14:12-14 | “The Prayer for Power” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Tim Kerr
Jesus continues his powerful work through us when we pray.

Acts 3-4 | “Filled with the Holy Spirit” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Joshua Harris
Christians should never be content without God’s power. When the Holy Spirit fills us, we will constantly ask for more boldness to preach the gospel.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 | “By His Power” (Audio) | Outline (PDF) |  Joshua Harris
Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians is based on the grace of God, asks for God to work according to his power, and aims for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 55:1-13 | Come, Everyone Who Thirsts |  Joshua Harris

Grace drives us to despair in ourselves so that we can find everlasting hope in Jesus Christ.

RT:  Desperate: The Sermon Series – Joshua Harris.

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By way of Mike Porter of Team Apologian (The AOMin.org blog) comes a great article form Pastor Mary Fields on the church growth movement.

The first crack in the church growth edifice came a couple of years ago when church growth advocate George Barna expressed frustration that – since the full-blown implementation of church growth principles 20 years ago – there has been no net growth in the Christian church to speak of; in fact it has declined in America. He found that mega-churches have both a big front door and an equally large back door.

All mega-churches seemed to have accomplished is to kill off smaller churches that resisted the temptation to compromise Biblical Christianity.

The final nail came when Willow Creek Community Church – the “Mecca” of the church growth ideology – recently released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, on staff at Willow Creek, conducted the study. The conclusion? Senior Pastor Bill Hybels said, to his credit, “We made a mistake.” They didn’t make disciples – they made dunces.

Follow the link for more:

Church Growth is Dead?.

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