Why Some Missionaries Don't Plant Churches

Little ChurchAndrew Walls states that “one of the few things that are predictable about third-millennium Christianity is that it will be more culturally diverse than Christianity has ever been before” (Walls, p. 68). If Walls’ assessment is correct, then greater attention must be given to preparing cross-cultural workers for the complex challenges they face in effectively crossing cultural boundaries with the gospel. The divine dimension of missionary preparation can never be objectively studied and measured. The human dimensions can and must be examined in order to ensure that churches do not enter into the Great Commission task haphazardly.
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Who Is Our "Intelligent Designer"? Part 1

SpaceAt the end of the twentieth century, the academic world was hearing more and more about IDM—the Intelligent Design Movement. It was the proposition that the biological world could not have come into existence by mere undirected time and chance. Upon closer inspection, under the lenses of powerful microscopes hitherto unimaginable and irreducible, specified complexity came to light within the cells of living things.

Thus, Charles Darwin and his followers were in total error when they assumed that living cells were simple blobs of protoplasm that could easily “evolve” from lifeless chemicals floating in the earth’s ancient oceans. As one writer expressed it, the actual, incomprehensible, incomparable complexity of the cell was therefore a “black box” to Darwin! The Intelligent Design Movement claims many outstanding scientists and philosophers. They have discovered new ways of detecting signs of intelligence, just like detectives looking for clues or archaeologists searching for undeniably human artifacts. In fact, the federal government has even sponsored an expensive program—SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)—with the expectation that they can determine whether someone—rather than merely something—is really out there! Read more about Who Is Our "Intelligent Designer"? Part 1

Book Review: The Book: A History of the Bible

Note: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

The Book: A History of the Bible by Christopher de Hamel. London: Phaidon Press Ltd., 2001. 352 pp, paperback. $29.95
history_of_bible.jpgPerhaps a more precise subhead for this oversized book (9.5” x 8.25”) would be, “A selected study of the transmission of the Bible, from the production of the Vulgate to present day, with particular attention given to the Vulgate in medieval times, the translation of Luther, and the Bible in English.” Only regarding the transmission of the Vulgate is the presentation anything like comprehensive.
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Getting to Know You, Part 4

Adam Blumer, Managing Editor

Confessions of a Classic Performer

I grew up on a farm without animals—domesticated animals, that is. Wild cats came and went like vagrants seeking shelter for a few months before setting off in search of something better. Those cats especially liked our classic circa 1900 red barn. As a boy, I remember sitting in the barn’s hayloft while dust motes danced in shafts of sunlight at my feet. Peering up at the cavernous ceiling, I imagined that I was inside a massive cathedral until the flutter of wings drew my attention to a four-paned window inset into the peak. Birds that had been trapped inside the barn fluttered against the glass panes in search of a way out. (Photo, clockwise: Adam, Kim, Laura, and Julia)

In many ways, aren’t we all like those birds before we meet Christ—trapped in the “barn” of self? No, I’ve never been trapped in a physical sense. In fact, I experienced a Christian background many might envy: godly parents and siblings; fundamental, Bible-preaching churches; and a quality Christian school education. But like everyone at birth, I was trapped in my sin as much as any drug addict. Though God spared me from the more obvious pitfalls of a life without Christ, He gave me just as much saving grace as He extends to anyone who calls upon Him. For that I am indeed thankful.
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What Next?

In The Nick of Time
The election is over. The candidate who was favored by most Christian conservatives did not win. So what comes next?

In one way, the election of Barack Obama is very good news for biblical Christians. It gives us the opportunity to demonstrate how our Christianity affects real life. We simply have to live what we say we believe.

For example, we say that we believe in the providence of God. Without ever negating genuine human freedom, God superintends and governs all that occurs. His will is sovereign, not only within the world of nature but also within the world of human events. Nothing ever happens without His knowledge and permission, and He permits nothing that does not advance His plan, display His glory, and (at least eventually) produce great good for His people.

Specifically, God is sovereign in setting up nations and appointing their rulers. He raised up Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of discipline for Judah. He humbled Nebuchadnezzar when that most powerful of kings became arrogant. Then God raised him up again and established him on his throne. God appoints people like Cyrus, Alexander, and even Nero. He exalts them for a moment and then topples them at His pleasure. We should never fall into the conceit of thinking that we simply choose our own leaders.
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The Priority of the Gospel

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s newsletter “Cogitation.”
CrossThe human author of God’s epistle to the Hebrews first summarized the superiority of the Son to the prophets of the nation (1:1-3) and then stressed how strongly God had announced ahead of time the superiority of His Messiah to the angels (1:4-14). In the second chapter, he proclaimed the importance of the word revelation God had given (2:1-4) and the importance of God’s exalted plan for humanity (2:5-9). Since this Messiah is superior to human prophets and to angelic messengers, His message deserves supreme consideration by all who hear it.

Therefore, it is crucial that we give careful attention to this gospel so we do not gradually lose sight of the importance of it and drift away from it (2:1). Earlier revelation from God was honored in the nation such that transgressions were punished (2:2). Old Testament revelations were mediated by angels. The authority of their message was recognized by courts of the land. Humans decided the severity and justness of penalties. Submission to the gospel message clearly is of far greater importance.
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