Wednesday, March 05, 2008

THINK BIBLICALLY - NOT CULTURALLY
...the solution to emerging, pomo, pragmatic, grunge, seeker-sensible, compromised, homogenized ministry


Think biblically / not culturally
Think biblically / not culturally
Think biblically / not culturally
Think biblically / not culturally
Think biblically / not culturally
Think biblically / not culturally
Think biblically / not culturally


The missional strategery of the Apostle Paul in whatever culture he was in:
Romans 1:14-17

“I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."

1 Corinthians 2:2
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

2 Corinthians 4:1-6
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 1:6-10
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Ephesians 1:3-14
“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 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. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

Philippians 1:20-21
“as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Colossians 1:6-15
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

1 Thessalonians 2:2-8
“But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

1 Timothy 1:12-19a
“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.”

2 Timothy 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 4:1-5
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound [1] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Titus 3:1-8
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”

Philemon 1:4-6
“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.”

6 comments:

bluewoad said...

John MacArthur's opening talk at the Shepherds' Conference was excellent.

Actually, I only caught the last 20 minutes or so while being distracted at work, but the bits I heard were great, and the notes posted at http://www.sfpulpit.com/2008/03/05/opening-session-%e2%80%93-wednesday-morning/
reveal a wonderful talk.

I found the following bit particularly good:

* * *
What characteristics mark the church that Christ builds?



1. It is marked by a transcendent message.

This is so obvious that it may actually embarrass some of you who have abandoned it. The agency that produces salvation, through the power of the Spirit, is the Word of God. Salvation comes by means of the Holy Spirit using the message – it is a singular message. Any other message or gospel is damning.

* * *

To which I can only say, 'Amen.'

SJ Camp said...

BINGO!

Thank you for sharing this Blue. Now that is how to preach the Word!

Warren said...

Maybe I need to read more of your blog to understand this post...I don't understand your point. Could you point me to a post you've already written that talks about this topic or write one soon? Thanks. :)

SJ Camp said...

Warren
I apologize that is has taken me some time to address your question.

This post is a simple reply against the emerging/emergent postmodern view of faith which really says that cultural appeal and mandate determines or shapes biblical ministry. Where just the opposite would be true; the Scriptures determine biblical ministry which then in turn can impact people in any culture for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So thus the phrase: think biblically not culturally was born.

Hope this helps a bit more to explain.

The verses I listed below that slogan go to demonstrate that in any culture that Paul found himself in, the message never changed.

Grace and peace to you and thank you again for your patience.

Steve

litchpastorman said...

Steve,

I am not sure what point you are trying to make. Is thinking biblically opposite of thinking culturally? Worldly and Godly are opposite, but culturally is not necessarily worldly. In fact, most of the passages you quote are Pauline, and he was a very astute student of the cultures where he preached.

Some things within a culture may be sinful, but not everything. Furthermore, some of the things that Paul was reacting against in his epistles were not just pagan cultural practices, but also Jewish religious legalism (the different gospel of Galatians for instance).

You seem to warn a lot about the bad culture around us, but many conservative Christians who are listening to you probably struggle as much with legalism that masquerades as true Christlikeness, but with none of the joy of truly knowing spending time in His presence to be transformed.

SJ Camp said...

litchpastorman
Is thinking biblically opposite of thinking culturally?
It is when its given preeminence in ministry. Today the new hermeneutic for many (especially within the emerging/emergent pragmatic communities) is to interpret Scripture through the lens of culture - making culture sovereign over God's truth. Instead of using Scripture to interpret culture as Paul did.

In fact, most of the passages you quote are Pauline, and he was a very astute student of the cultures where he preached.

But Paul's astuteness led him to confront the very culture he was ministering in; not embrace it, use it as a ministry paradigm, or as a point of reference to simply have a "conversation of faith" with those in that culture. He didn't spend long on their distinctives but moved quickly to proclaiming the gospel (i.e. Acts 17).

Some things within a culture may be sinful, but not everything. Furthermore, some of the things that Paul was reacting against in his epistles were not just pagan cultural practices, but also Jewish religious legalism (the different gospel of Galatians for instance).

No argument there--agreed.

You seem to warn a lot about the bad culture around us, but many conservative Christians who are listening to you probably struggle as much with legalism that masquerades as true Christlikeness, but with none of the joy of truly knowing spending time in His presence to be transformed.

I hate legalism with a passion. And I try not to spend much time at all warning people of the "bad culture" around us. We live in a fallen world. In fact I have written specifically against evangelical leaders who fault nonbelievers for living like nonbelievers; OR, who fault the world for acting like the world. So my apologies if anything I have written here seem to communicate something different than that.

However, I do try and warn Christians of when the world enters the church and replaces biblical worship with a seeker-sensitive, pomo, ecumenism that is more about attracting nonbelievers than the proclamation of the gospel to them. When there is a dumbing-down of doctrine for the purpose of fitting in the culture (something Paul never did) - then it is time to sound the alarm as it were and contend for the "once for all delivered to the saints faith."

Hope that helps clarify a bit more. I appreciate your thoughts greatly.

Grace and peace,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7