Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Going fire-balling

Just a little encouragement in your evangelistic zeal from the Prince of Preachers.

Charles Spurgeon

What earnestness our theme deserves! We have to tell of an earnest Saviour, an earnest heaven, and an earnest hell. How earnest we ought to be when we remember that in our work we have to deal with souls that are immortal, with sin that is eternal in its effects, with pardon that is infinite, and with terrors and joys that are to last for ever and ever! A man who is not in earnest when he has such a theme as this,—can he possess a heart at all?

On preaching in light of this principle, Spurgeon has the following to say:

That is what you must do with your sermons, make them red-hot; never mind if men do say you are too enthusiastic, or even too fanatical, give them red-hot shot, there is nothing else half as good for the purpose you have in view. We do not go out snow-balling on Sundays, we go fire-balling; we ought to hurl grenades into the enemy's ranks.

The "red-hot shot" this preacher hurled on Sundays has survived to this day and is still being used by God to sink ships of unbelief.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"I don't want to grow up, I'm a postmodern kid..."

Much has been written and spoken of late on the topic growing up. More particularly, discerning Christians have been giving attention to the cultural phenomenon known as adolescence. For an excellent definition and introduction to this topic, I commend you to Sean Higgin's excellent blog. It is encouraging to see men and women of God calling the next generation to maturity and sober-mindedness.

It is surprising to notice, however, that even unbelievers are starting to recognize the harmful implications of systemic adolescence within our culture. An article in an online magazine (note: I have only read the article quoted in this entry, I cannot vouch for the appropriateness of any other content from this source) recently addressed the problem of "Man-child Syndrome" and a perceived "Big [older] Girl Epidemic." I found the following paragraph to be uniquely insightful and pointed.

As Twenge points out, arrested development goes hand in hand with self-absorption: Narcissism "is a very adolescent personality trait. Obviously it means you focus on yourself and what's good for you." It used to be that men had the ego market cornered, but now, Twenge says, "there's virtually no difference between the sexes with regard to narcissism. Most of the change has taken place in girls and women." Basically, women have caught up to men by sinking to comparable levels of adolescent self-absorption.

The focus of this article was primarily on the current tendency for women to behave like girls - whether through their use of slang, dress, or pop culture associations. I found it particularly interesting that the author observes the tendency as an overcorrection in a "postfeminist" generation.

What an opportunity for the youth of the church to heed the well-known words of 1 Timothy 4:12.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Do you, you know, like, mean what you say?

After the centerless and circling rhetoric highlighted in my last blog post, I found this video to be almost uncannily ironic. I have heard it said that of all the classes of society, it is the artist who most accurately observes and identifies the condition of society. This is often true because those with an artistic bent are often on the fringes of that society and the closest to a third party observer. Naturally such an advantage is dramatically inferior to the revealed truth of God's word which perfectly describes the condition of man and the world in which he lives.

It is tragic that in a world in which the church is become increasingly apathetic towards the value of Scripture, and the world is becoming increasingly disenchanted with its own postmodernism, there are times when spokesmen from the world sound a rousing call that should awaken the sleeping saint and motivate him to action.

In typical fashion, the church is following along behind the philosophical trends of this world, a few years behind the times, to be sure, but making steady progress. It is popular among certain church movements, the Emergent Church in particular, to eschew propositional truth, doctrinal certitudes, biblical mandates, and a firm conviction on anything other than the conviction that one cannot have a conviction. I suggest that the following video clip might be played in some churches today - as an interesting "cultural artifact" to provoke a "helpful dialog" and encourage the "community of faith" in its corporate "God experience."

Like the fool in Shakespeare, the comedian in this clip has wrapped a jab in a jest. Hopefully that spoon full of sugar will help our culture, and our churches, collectively get its medicine down.

In a generation starting to tire of endless feelings, personal truth quests, and thoughtless tolerance, the church is entering a period of great opportunity for the proclamation of the authoritative and certain gospel of Jesus Christ. In an ocean of indecision, windswept by the gusts of a fickle culture, let those who have a sure salvation point to the erect tower of truth upon which we stand and to which we call the world to come for refuge - for His glory.