By Sin Depraved, By Grace Restored: The Regeneration of the Heart


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One of the most amazing saving benefits of the cross is the regeneration of sinners. Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit in which he gives life to dead hearts (Eph. 2:1). Regeneration is the theological terminology for the new birth (John 3:3). From birth (Ps. 51:5), all of Adam’s children have hearts disposed to sin against God. This is one major aspect of the curse of the Fall. When Adam sinned, the image of God was broken. Only in Christ is the image of God restored. For our hearts to be re-disposed and for the image of God to be restored in us, the Spirit of God must regenerate our hearts and unite our hearts to Christ. This doctrine is defined quite nicely by Yahweh himself: “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19).
The fact that the Spirit regenerates unworthy sinners as part of God’s redemptive plan is unfathomable and miraculous. May we never grow tired of hearing the good news of the Spirit’s regenerating grace.

It would do you well to meditate on this doctrine from time to time. There are two reasons meditation on the Spirit’s regeneration of broken and dead hearts is important for the Christian.

Firstly, meditating on the doctrine of regeneration leaves you in awe of God’s grace. Spiritual rebirth is the result of God’s sovereign grace alone. Thinking about this doctrine will heighten your worship of the God who changes sinners from the inside out into the image of Christ.

Secondly, meditating on the doctrine of regeneration leaves you with a humbled view of yourself. The moment you begin to exalt yourself in anything that you are doing, think about the state you have been regenerated from. You were dead in your sins (Eph. 2:1). You were disposed in your heart to hate God, for you could not please him (Rom. 8:8). The only thing we have to legitimately boast in is the cross of Christ. Boasting in anything else is grievous to the Holy Spirit.

Meditate on regeneration to rejoice in the glory of God’s grace. Meditate on regeneration for the humbling of your soul.

Worship and humility are by-products of meditation on the doctrine of regeneration.

I recently came across a heart-wrenching meditation on the doctrine of regeneration that served my soul well. It is from the Puritan pastor and writer John Flavel. J.I. Packer writes of Flavel, “Flavel is clear-headed and eloquent in the plain Puritan style, orthodox, Christ-focused and life-centered in his subject-matter, with his mind always set on advancing true godliness, with peace and joy in the Lord.” This compliment is well grounded as evidenced even in the following short excerpt. I pray your worship and humility are affected by Flavel’s meditation on the regeneration of the Holy Spirit:

Man, by his apostacy, is become a most disordered and rebellious creature, opposing his Maker, as the First Cause, by self-dependence; as the Chief Good, by self-love; as the Highest Lord, by self-will; and as the Last End, by self-seeking. Thus he is quite disordered, and all his actions are irregular. But by regeneration the disordered soul is set right; this great change being, as the Scripture expresses it, the renovation of the soul after the image of God, in which self-dependence is removed by faith; self-love, by subjection and obedience to the will of God; and self-seeking by self-denial. The darkened understanding is illuminated, the refractory will sweetly subdued, the rebellious appetite gradually conquered. Thus the soul which sin had universally depraved, is by grace restored (John Flavel, Keeping the Heart: How to Maintain Your Love for God, pp. 17-18).

What Is the Church Without the Holy Spirit?


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At Together for the Gospel this past week, David Platt shook every soul in the KFC Yum! Center in his sermon entitled, “Relentless Wrath: The Role of Desperate Prayer in the Mystery of Divine Providence.” It was a chilling message that stirred every heart to conviction over the degree of prayer in their lives, churches, and ministries. The point Platt drove home convincingly from Exodus 32 was this: “Right doctrine of providence results in relentless prayer. Platt emphasized the truth that God’s eternal plan unfolds through our prayers, so in a real sense, the prayers of the saints can change the world. I was personally broken under the conviction of God on my own prayer life.

I gladly affirm God’s providence over all things, but this is not evident in the way I pray and how often I pray. I am so guilty of emphasizing God’s sovereignty in my writing, preaching, and teaching, but I do not practice what I proclaim. My lack of prayer has demonstrated not only a deficient love for people, but a poor understanding of God’s absolute sovereignty. Some would say that because I hold to such a high view of God’s sovereignty, it only makes sense that I would not pray, since desperate prayer cannot coincide with divine sovereignty. This would be correct if Scripture did not so overwhelmingly disagree with that notion. Prime example: Moses’ prayer in Exodus 32. Moses greatly realized the sovereignty of God and it was the basis of his desperate prayers for God’s mercy on and presence among his people. My prayers have already since become much more desperate and relentless. I pray that they would continue.

In the course of his sermon, Platt challenged every pastor in attendance by asserting that many churches could carry on business as usual without the Holy Spirit. This was an alarming claim. But a true claim, nonetheless. So many of our ministries depend solely on us. When that is the case, we have a real problem. When the ministries of the church, from feeding souls to feeding mouths, become dependent on human agents outside of the power of the Holy Spirit, the church becomes a simple gathering place of self-glorifying sinners. This is usually the result of churches and ministries that are not soaking in the Scripture and supplication. Dependency on the Spirit is realized when their is saturation in the Word and prayer. Oh, and when the church captures this glimpse and vision of dependence on the Spirit of God to empower all ministries and save whom the Father wills, the gathering becomes that of men and women sold out to Christ and his cause for the glory of God in peoples from every tribe and nation. May all of our ministries be products of the work of the Spirit in us. Without the Spirit, there would be no people of God. Without him, salvation is not accomplished, and neither is gospel-centered, God-honoring ministry. For this to be, for the Spirit to be infused in all of our ministries, let us run to our Bibles and fall to our knees in prayer. May we be such a people.

Charles Spurgeon in his work The Greatest Fight in the World: The Final Manifesto writes, “In the pulpit do we really and truly rest upon the aid of the Spirit?” (107). What a challenging question! He further carries this concern for the lack of dependency of ministers and churches on the Holy Spirit in the question, “What is the Church of God without the Holy Ghost?” (109). The short answer is, “nothing.” If you are in the place where you feel your church could continue without the Holy Spirit, I want to point you to what Spurgeon believes the church of God is like without the Spirit. I pray his comparisons lead you to consider just how dependent your church, ministry, and life are on the Holy Spirit:

What is the Church of God without the Holy Ghost? Ask what would the Hermon be without its dew, or Egypt without its Nile? Behold the land of Canaan when the curse of Elias feel upon it, and for three years it felt neither dew nor rain: such would Christendom become without the Spirit. What the valleys would be without their brooks, or the cities without their wells; what the corn-fields would be without the sun, or the vintage without the summer–that would our churches be without the Spirit. As well think of day without light, or life without breath, or heaven without God, as of Christian service without the Holy Spirit. Nothing can supply His place if He be absent: the pastures are a desert, the fruitful fields are a wilderness, Sharon languishes, and Carmel is burned with fire (109-110).

I leave you with this prayer from Spurgeon on the matter and I hope you make it yours:

Blessed Spirit of the Lord, forgive us that we have done Thee such despite, by our forgetfulness of Thee, by our proud self-sufficiency, by resisting Thine influences, and quenching Thy fire! Henceforth work in us according to Thine own excellence. Make our hearts tenderly impressible, and then turn us as wax to the seal, and stamp upon us the image of the Son of God (110).

From Whence Does Evangelism Flow? Motivation for Gospel Proclamation


EvangelismFrom whence does evangelism flow? The origin is clearly in the eternal prerogative of God to redeem a people for himself by the blood of his Son. Evangelism has eternal roots. The moment in eternity past that the God of the universe decides to save future sinners is the birth of the gospel. Good news is found in the fact that based on nothing neither good nor bad foreseen in his creatures, God chose to save some of them.

But from whence does evangelism flow? Sure, we see God’s self-glorifying agenda in the self-sacrifice of the Lamb set even before the sun shone its first ray of light. But the origin of the gospel or evangel gives us an idea of surety in the truth of the gospel and hope of the gospel. But what about the proclamation of the gospel? Where does this grand act of grace and mercy find motivation and power? Taking the good news that you have received to others is an overtly frightening act. Although in one sense we should fear nothing that accompanies evangelism, telling a person he or she is a guilty sinner before a holy God and his or her only hope is to repent of their sins, is a massive and bold task.

The motivation for such a task would have to be immeasurably grand in order for us to risk relationships, jobs, and even our lives. In order for me to call someone a sinner and point them to a Savior who they may reject and me along with him, I must have a crazy awesome reason to do so. Why do we evangelize? From whence does evangelism flow? Here are five biblical reasons that I believe should not only give us an idea of the motivation for evangelism, but should ground all of our evangelistic efforts and push us on toward diligence in the proclamation of the greatest news the world has ever heard.

1. The Bible is True

The Word of God from Genesis to Revelation is unalterably and undeniably true and without error. The Bible is true and trustworthy because the God who inspired it is true and trustworthy. God spoke and the result is the Bible. God revealed himself to sinful man and the result is the Bible. God chose to save sinners in eternity past and the result is the communication of this gospel in the Bible. Without the truth of the Bible, there is no hope of the gospel. If the Bible is not true, then every claim from the sinfulness of man and the atonement of Christ are rubbish. Evangelism is a fool’s game if the Bible is not true. But because the Bible is true, we know that all men are born in sin and all men are dead in sin (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:1). We know that God is infinitely holy and man is devastatingly sinful.

Oh, but because God’s Word is true, we know that Jesus Christ, the spotless Son of God has come to be the perfect and only mediator between man and God. We know that in his life he fulfilled all righteousness in our place and in his death he bore the wrath of God in our place. He was raised from the dead three days later as an affirmation of the Father’s pleasure in his Son’s work; and we know this because God tells us so in his Word! Because the Bible is true, we can confidently proclaim the gospel to everyone without exception. Our authority and our ground for sharing the good news of Jesus is bound up in the perfect character of the God who speaks! We can confidently approach our neighbors and go to the nations because the gospel finds its truth in the fact that it has been spoken by God.

2. Death is Imminent

This is the most sobering reality. Every single human being is on a collision course with death. Death is a vicious enemy that seeks and finds all—other than the one that death could not hold, the Lord Jesus Christ in whom our gospel boasts! Oh, but death is coming for you and for me…and for your neighbors and coworkers. That person that you have resisted sharing the gospel with is going to die. And after death there will be judgment. Every deed and word will be judged and all who are not found in the Christ who lived and died for all who believe will be exposed as truly guilty and will be eternally condemned. Because death is imminent, we must take the glory of God’s grace in the gospel to everyone everywhere. Because everyone will die, every single conversation we have should be viewed in light of the gospel—the only hope in the face of death.

3. The Worship of God

The most ultimate motivation for evangelism is the glory of God. God has redeemed a people from every tribe and tongue to worship and praise his name (Rev. 5:9; 7:9). God’s desire to glorify himself is our motivation in evangelism because he has chosen to glorify himself primarily through the salvation of sinners by the blood of Christ. We proclaim the gospel in order for more worshipers of the one true God to be made. Yes, in evangelism we are making disciples, but ultimately we are making worshipers. An even more glorious thought is that God is making worshipers of himself through the means of the call of the gospel in his people. Because God is worthy of worship and resolved in glorifying his name, we must evangelize in every corner of this earth until the earth is filled with the glory of the Lord.

From whence does evangelism flow? Out of the truth of the Bible and with it the character of God. Out of the reality of death’s imminence. Out of the glory of God.

Evangelize because the Bible is true.

Evangelize because death is imminent.

Evangelize because God is worthy of worship.

 

Take the gospel to someone you know who needs Jesus for the purpose of the praise of the God who saves.

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” –Ephesians 1:3-7

 

 

Does Doctrine Impact Evangelism?


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How important is doctrine in the church and for the church in an increasingly hostile, post-Christian culture? Obviously it is important enough for the major stalwarts in evangelicalism to found and foster a conference dedicated to the end of doctrinally sound and theologically informed churches. For three days, pastors and future pastors gather to think through some vital issues in the church and culture, as well as be encouraged to return to their respective fields of ministry to tend the flock and gather the sheep. We are a company of shepherds singing praises to and receiving grace from our chief Shepherd, who is also the spotless Lamb who died for us.

The theme this week at Together for the Gospel is evangelism, and the conference title is “The Unashamed Gospel.” We are being encouraged to be unashamed in our proclamation of the good news of God’s saving grace in Jesus. We are also being convicted of the shame we appear to have toward the gospel in our ignorance of the lost in the world. I have been reflecting some on the impact of sound doctrine on evangelism and the answer to our lackluster evangelistic efforts. Here are a few of those musings sparked by the messages at T4G 2014 by Mark Dever, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Al Mohler.

Why do we fear evangelism? Surely it is fear that keeps us finding issue after issue to concern ourselves with to avoid the urgency of a lost, dying, and guilty world. Our lack of evangelism is evidence of a heart that is ashamed of Jesus. We care what our friends think. We care what our communities think. We care what our culture thinks. We want to be relevant. We do not want to be silenced. We do not want to be shut out of the public square. We want a voice that is respected, heard, and counted.

The easy answer to this dilemma is to simply forsake sound biblical doctrine in our evangelism. Let us toss out the Bible and invite sinners to a “Jesus” who takes no issue with sin. If we want droves of people to flock to our churches, the best thing we could do is abandon the gospel and develop evangelistic strategies that are doctrinally empty. Many of us are already halfway there. The personal evangelism of many pastors and Christians is lackluster at best. We fear if we stick to sound biblical doctrine we will be shut out of our friends’ homes, shunned by our communities, and silenced by our culture.

The Bible is a force that either finds friend or foe.

It is so powerful in fact, that Christians fear the worst when they consider the implications of sharing its truth with their lost friends and communities. We do not evangelize partly because we ignore God’s Word, and partly because we know what God’s Word says. We ignore the clear commands to extend the grace of God in Jesus to all people everywhere (basic biblical evangelism). However, at the same time we know that God in his Word has a tendency to say things like this, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). It would be strange for us to not approach the task of biblical evangelism with some measure of trembling. It is no light and passing thing to tell someone they are truly dead and under the wrath of God! And it is incredibly foolish, detrimental, and hateful to do such a thing if there was no Savior. Oh, but Christian there is a Savior! His name is Jesus. He is the object of our praise and the reason for our evangelism. Because he has come to ransom us from our plight, the task of evangelism is not only mandatory, but it is the only thing that makes sense.

Our evangelism must not only be a pressing and urgent mission of the church, but it should be carried out in a God-honoring way. Sharing the gospel is in vain when it is not doctrinal. The notion that doctrine is only for mature Christians or for those in academia is an incredibly naïve attempt to understanding evangelism in the church and culture. The notion that doctrine is a killjoy doesn’t understand biblical doctrine. There is no sweeter joy than the reality of biblical doctrine, because it is an articulation of the most glorious reality in the world, namely that there is a God who wants to be known and glorified. He reveals himself in absolute truth to sinners whom he redeems by the blood of his Son. What grace! What love! What joy!

The voices that ring out from our churches must resound in love and truth. We bring good news! Christ has come to save us from our sins—and save us he has! But what has he saved us from? He has died for sin and sinners. He died for our broken thoughts. He died for the mountain of pride we have built up in our hearts. He died for our sexual perversions. He died for our misplaced desires, our lies, our gluttony, and our greed. The innocent was counted guilty, that the guilty may be counted innocent, and go free.

And so, when we evangelize our friends, communities, and culture, we are preaching a Savior who died for all of the sinful things they hold dear to their hearts. We bring a powerfully offensive message of bad news, namely, if they remain in their sins they will eternally bear the wrath of God in an actual place called hell. A doctrinally uninformed evangelism is no evangelism at all. Evangelism at its core is doctrinal. We share a gospel of truth—absolute truth. We share a gospel with one Savior—total exclusivity. We share a gospel that confronts sin and conquers sin—loving offense. In the same way that it is offensive to tell a speeder that he or she will wreck and be seriously injured if he or she doesn’t slow down, gospel-centered exposal of sin is painful; but saying nothing will be far more painful.

For the sake of Christ and the truth of his Word, the gospel must go forth. But in order for the gospel to go forth, it must go forth in doctrinal truth. Without doctrinally informed evangelism, the face of Christianity in America will continue to shift into liberalism and the need for an actual Savior will be seen as unnecessary. Love your friends and neighbors and engage your culture by bringing the gospel in all its truth, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Rom. 1:16).

Morning Mashup 03/11


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Idealogical Moralism and Gospel Grace - Derek Rishmawy: “Moralism—secular or “religious”—can only lead to demonizing the enemy. And only the gospel of grace can lead us to the true benevolence that moralism fumblingly strives toward.”

Four Kinds of Churches Worth Leaving - John Knight is incredibly poignant in this sobering blog post on the characteristics of churches that need to be avoided.

What is the Proper Response to God’s Grace? - An excerpt from Derek Thomas’ helpful book “How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home.”

North Korea to Execute 33 Christians - “Reports coming out of North Korea reveal that 33 Christians have been sentenced to death for working with Kim Jung Wook, a Baptist missionary from South Korea who was arrested in North Korea last year.” Learn more about this heart-breaking situation and how to pray for these Christians.

Frozen My Way - “To what extent should the individual enjoy the freedom to live as the ‘master of my fate and captain of my soul’; not just in the stoic acceptance of suffering but as the motto of life’s action. To what extent is life doing it “My Way”, or as the new Academy Award song would have it “let it go… no right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free”?”

“O let thy blessed sacrifice be mine/And sanctify this altar to be thine.” — George Herbert

Morning Mashup 02/07


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10 Reasons to Know a Little Bit of Church History - This will serve as a refresher to all my fellow Church History II students, as well as any and every Christian.

Why John Piper Strives for Ethnic Unity - His answer is theologically, biblically, historically, and practically grounded. We would all do well to learn from his example and join him in the fight.

Leaving the Church Means Leaving Christ - It is an argument like this that nails the coffin shut on Donald Miller’s view of the church. Absolutely excellent piece from Denny Burk. “We are not playing games here. Leaving the church means leaving Christ. And that is true no matter who you are or what your learning style is.”

Olympics: Engage Sochi Ready to Launch - Will Baptists have an impact on the winter Olympics in Sochi? Co-director of the ‘Engage Sochi” initiative has some answers.

Nobody Gets the Church They Want - “You may not bring a checklist and clipboard when you show up at church, but we all bring a want-list. Maybe you want a certain kind of music, a certain experience in worship. Maybe you want a preacher who can dive a mile deep into two verses in Romans. Maybe you want charismatic, extroverted leaders who can connect with anyone and always know what to say. Whatever might be on your list, I can guarantee this: not everything on your list is on God’s.”

Don’t Pray Like a Pagan - An excellent lesson on prayer from R.C. Sproul.

When Distractions Keep Us From Our Kids - Here’s one for the moms (and dads) out there. Christina Fox writes, “No doubt, technology provides many benefits to our lives. But we can’t be naïve to the consequences, including primarily its impact on our in-person relationships. It entices us away from face-to-face contact and real authentic connections.”

$5 Friday - More books and resources from Ligonier Ministries on sale today. Be sure to check them out.

When a Christian lives with eternity in mind, shaping life in view of it, death truly does lose its sting. –Owen Strachan

Throwback Thursday: Balthasar Hubmaier on Baptism


otb_throwback_thursday_featuredWhat is baptism of water? This is a question that has sparked debate among faithful, biblically sound Christians for centuries. Should infants be baptized? Should believers only be baptized? Is baptism a work or merit of salvation? Is it a sign? Is it necessary? How necessary?

As you can see, questions over baptism are innumerable, and they come with varying answers that have led to a plethora of denominations within Christianity. Even with these questions and the many answers that have been given, the importance of giving an answer is not diminished. As a Christian, this is an incredibly important doctrine to be able to articulate an answer.

What is baptism, really?

Your answer to this question should determine which denomination you belong to, how you approach universal/local church membership, the Lord’s Supper, etc.

I find it very helpful to not only search the Scriptures and theological works to develop a biblically and theologically sound answer, but to also search the halls of church history. What have Christians throughout the history of the church said and believed about baptism? It is through standing on the shoulders of these stalwarts of the faith that we can more clearly see doctrinal truth.

As a Southern Baptist, the view I hold on baptism found tremendous resurgence in the 16th century with the Anabaptist movement. The theological juggernaut in this movement was a man by the name of Balthasar Hubmaier (1480-1528). He was a Catholic priest who converted to Zwinglian theology in 1523. By 1525, he joined the Anabaptist movement as a result of his conviction that believer’s baptism is the only appropriate understanding of baptism. He was burned at the stake in 1528 by Catholic authorities for his beliefs.

In 1526, he wrote A Christian Catechism to serve as a teaching tool, which propagated his Anabaptist ideas. In the catechism, he addressed the doctrine of baptism. The question is asked: “What is the baptism of water?” This is the answer Hubmaier gives:

It is an external and evident sign of the internal baptism of the Spirit which man gives with the reception of water, whereby he confesses his sins before all men. He shows also thereby that he believes that these are forgiven through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. By this he also lets himself be externally registered, enlisted, and thus, by the baptism of water, incorporated into the community of the church, according to the institution of Christ; before the church the person also openly and verbally makes a vow to God and promises in the power of God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that he will from now on believe and live according to his divine Word. And where he trespasses in this regard, he will submit to brotherly punishment according to the ordinance of Christ (Matt. 18:15)… (cited in A Reformation Reader: Primary Texts with Introductions, ed. Denis Janz, pp. 202-204)

 

Morning Mashup 02/06


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God Threw A Stone - Tullian Tchividijian: “Though no one on earth can throw the first stone, God can. And he did. The wonder of all wonders is that the rock of condemnation that we justly deserved was hurled by the Father onto the Son. The law-maker became the law-keeper and died for us, the law-breakers.”

John Piper: The Infographic - If you are interested in some basic information about John Piper, this is a creative method for you to get to know this theological juggernaut a little more. So far in my Christian life, no single figure has had more influence on my faith, theology, and ministry concepts than Piper.

How Churches Can Evangelize Their Neighbors - Many helpful thoughts on an important concern of many churches. “[M]ake sure your members understand that, while it’s always good to love our neighbors and build relationships with them for a number of reasons, we love them best by sharing the good news with them. And when gospel conversations do happen, engage the whole church in praying that they would bear fruit and that the Lord would use them to save your neighbors.”

The Merciful Gift of Desperation - Jon Bloom: “Heavenly Father, do whatever it takes to keep us desperate for you so that the deceitfulness of sin does not harden our hearts (Hebrews 3:13). And grant to our suffering brothers and sisters the mercy of sustaining grace. Keep us all faithful by strengthening our faith. And help us to keep praying for each other. In Jesus’s name, amen.”

In Christ, Our Suffering Is Not In Vain - “Jesus suffered for us. Yet we are called to participate in His suffering. Though He was uniquely the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, there is still an application of this vocation for us. We are given both the duty and the privilege to participate in the suffering of Christ.”

Dear Donald Miller - Many have responded to Donald Miller’s post in which he says he doesn’t go to church, but worships God in other forms. This response from Jonathan Leeman may be the best. You will enjoy reading this winsome correction.

We Christians press on because we know that there is laid up for us in God’s presence an inheritance beyond anything we could ever imagine. –Greg Gilbert

Richard Sherman ’30 for 30′ Parody by Frank Caliendo


In this “mockumentary,” comedian Frank Caliendo stars as Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Bill Belichick, Ron Jaworski, and others to highlight the rising fame of the self-proclaimed “best cornerback in the NFL,” Richard Sherman.

Caliendo nails every single ESPN analyst perfectly. I was rolling in laughter. Sports fans, you must watch this! Enjoy!

Morning Mashup 02/05


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The Central Worldview Clash of the Ham-Nye Debate - Al Mohler provides excellent insight as he comments on the debate between Christian creationist, Ken Ham and atheistic evolutionist, Bill Nye. Mohler writes: “They shared the stage, but they do not live in the same intellectual world. Nye is truly committed to a materialistic and naturalistic worldview. Ham is an evangelical Christian committed to the authority of the Bible. The clash of ultimate worldview questions was vividly displayed for all to see.”

Do We Really Need More Worship Songs? - Stuart Townend: “do we really need more worship songs? Is this latest batch of material actually adding depth and breadth to the current canon of resources? Or is it just causing the genre to become unmanageably bloated, and (perhaps more worryingly) encouraging us to adopt the kind of chew-it-and-spit-it-out attitude towards songs that we have towards so many other ‘products’ in our throwaway, consumerist culture?”

The New American Religion: The Rise of Sports and the Decline of the Church - My pastor and I were talking about this very thing one evening at a middle school basketball game. The idol of sports has millions of worshipers flocking to its “temples.” Mohler laments the correlation between the dramatic increase in sports fandom and the dramatic decline in religious affiliation.

It All Began With Young People: Edwards and Youth Ministry - Spiritual revival in the day of Jonathan Edwards began with young people. This is highly due to Edwards’ pursuit of the youth. Are we pursuing our youth with similar vigor? Or are we content to send them on trips to appease their appetite for fun, all the while ignoring their most basic need?

Review of ‘The Gospel at Work’ - Tim Challies reviews this newly released book written by Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger. The book includes a brief theology of work and it is chock-full of practical applications.

We must fight worldliness because it dulls our affections for Christ and distracts our attention from Christ. Worldliness is so serious because Christ is so glorious. –C.J. Mahaney