Ordering Finances Wisely Part 8: Work and "Using the World Without Abusing It"

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Key Verses

Luke 11:11-13, “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

1 Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (KJV).  (“Infidel” is ἄπιστος, “without faith;” in ESV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, “an unbeliever.”)

1 Corinthians 7:29-31, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away Read more about Ordering Finances Wisely Part 8: Work and "Using the World Without Abusing It"

Theology Thursday - Second Helvetic Confession on the Law

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. Some are orthodox, but decidedly outside the Baptist orbit. Others are completely heretical. Regardless of heresy or orthodoxy, we hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” (Jude 3).

From the Second Helvetic Confession

The Will of God is Explained for Us in the Law of God

We teach that the will of God is explained for us in the law of God, what he wills or does not will us to do, what is good and just, or what is evil and unjust. Therefore, we confess that the law is good and holy.

The Law of Nature

And this law was at one time written in the hearts of men by the finger of God (Rom. 2:15), and is called the law of nature (the law of Moses is in two Tables), and at another it was inscribed by his finger on the two Tables of Moses, and eloquently expounded in the books of Moses (Ex. 20:1 ff.; Deut. 5:6 ff.). For the sake of clarity we distinguish the moral law which is contained in the Decalogue or two Tables and expounded in the books of Moses, the ceremonial law which determines the ceremonies and worship of God, and the judicial law which is concerned with political and domestic matters. Read more about Theology Thursday - Second Helvetic Confession on the Law

Making a Covenant with Abraham (Part 4)

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Covenants & Promises

Two Abrahamic Covenants?

To make things a little more tricky, some scholars claim to see not one but two covenants made with Abraham by the Lord. This is the position of Paul Williamson as set out in his fine book Sealed with an Oath. Williamson believes that the thirteen year time lapse between Genesis 15 and 17, plus what he calls “significant differences … in terms of their covenantal framework and their promissory emphases” argue for two covenants.1

But the time gap is not in itself a problem for a divine covenant. Clearly it would take many generations for the descendants to appear. The issue is really over the repetition of covenantal language and what receives emphasis. What it boils down to for the two-covenant view is that Genesis 15 is said to be temporal and unilateral, whereas Genesis 17 is eternal and bilateral.2 Williamson sees the two covenants with Abraham as stemming from “the two separate strands set out in the programmatic agenda of Genesis 12:1-3.”3 Read more about Making a Covenant with Abraham (Part 4)

Humility & Anxiety in Christian Service

Philippians 2 is often called the Kenosis passage because it describes Jesus as emptying Himself. He “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” The word kenosis means empty or nothing, and the idea is key to understanding and solving the issues of humility and anxiety in Christian ministry (See the recent How to Insult Your Pastor Creatively).

Near the beginning of this passage (Philippians 2:3), Paul says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” The word “rivalry” is “found before NT times only in Aristotle, where it denotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means” (BDAG). In this passage, Paul is considering the improper seeking of church office. The word “conceit,” better translated “vainglory” (KJV), is κενοδοξίαfrom κενός (nothing) and δόξα (glory). It is nothing-glory. Paul is concerned here with people seeking church office on the basis of nothing-glory.

We’ll look at the whole chapter to understand the difference between nothing-glory and real-glory. And in doing so, we’ll see humility and anxiety and how to deal with them in our ministries. Read more about Humility & Anxiety in Christian Service

Messiah's Baptism & the Trinity

"Baptism of Christ" by Pietro Perugino (c. 1482)

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Jesus’ baptism has nothing to do with the Trinity. It is a lie. At least, this is what the United Pentecostal Church International believes and teaches. No, what really happened was that God, being omnipresent, spoke from heaven to His incarnate self, about Himself, while sending another manifestation of Himself in the form of the Spirit to descend upon the other manifestation of His incarnate self as He came up out of the Jordan River.1 He can do this, because He’s God. Simple.

Not.

Jesus’ baptism is a watershed passage for the doctrine of the Trinity. It is a mountain peak which undergirds and supports the less explicit points of Trinitarian theology this series has made so far. As one commentator noted, “An implicit divine Christology runs throughout this gospel.”2 Indeed; but here John Mark was led by the Spirit to drop the implicit hints and speak plainly. This is a marvelous passage, a glittering diamond in an already packed jewelry box, and you will be blessed by studying it. Read more about Messiah's Baptism & the Trinity

Mere Christianity: An Examination of the Concept in Richard Baxter & C. S. Lewis (Part 3)

From Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ), with permission. This section continues to examine Baxer’s concept of mere Christianity. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

C. S. Lewis and Mere Christianity

N. H. Keeble, speaking about the connection between Baxter and Lewis, wrote, “[There is] a pervasive coincidence of idea and emphasis between the work of the most popular and influential Christian evangelist and apologist of the seventeenth century and that of his counterpart in the twentieth.”1 Indeed, a similarity of thought should be expected, since Lewis borrowed a central phrase from Baxter’s thought. But we will also find that there are some striking differences. This section will develop Lewis’s conception of MC. The reader is encouraged to look for the subtle differences in thought between the two great Christian thinkers. The next section will make the differences as well as the commonalities explicit, allowing us to examine how the Christian apologist should incorporate MC into his defense of the faith. Read more about Mere Christianity: An Examination of the Concept in Richard Baxter & C. S. Lewis (Part 3)

Theology Thursday - Dispensationalists on the Law & the Christian

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. Some are orthodox, but decidedly outside the Baptist orbit. Others are completely heretical. Regardless of heresy or orthodoxy, we hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

Myron Houghton

“Those who believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone recognize that the role of the law is to show sinners that they are, in fact, sinful and that they need a Savior. Once the law has accomplished this purpose, it ceases to function as a part of salvation: ‘Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes’ (Rom 10:4).

This use of the law in showing the lost their need of a Savior becomes a hermeneutical principle. Any passage that makes demands by causing the reader to be afraid of God, whether in the Old or New Testament, is to be considered law. By the same token, any passage that offers God’s free forgiveness apart from demands, whether in the Old or New Testament, is to be considered gospel.”1 Read more about Theology Thursday - Dispensationalists on the Law & the Christian

Purpose & Principles of a Local Church, Part 2

Introduced by Pastor Ed Vasicek. Read Part 1.

In the first installment of our “Purpose and Principles of Highland Park Church” document, I explained how the elders (1996) unanimously embraced the views expressed in it, and that this document still represents my viewpoint.

When I tell folks, “I don’t want our church to be like other churches,” they almost always say, “I don’t either.” But we often mean different things by that statement. This document goes a long way toward explaining what I mean.

Last time, we saw that involving a lot of people in our gatherings (body life) was key to our view of a successful church. We look at edification as the template and rubric for our services. This is one of the major, intentional distinctives between our church and most others in our area. While many other churches are putting their “best” in the limelight, we want to develop our people via participation and body life (as we understand the Bible to mandate). We also want people to be attracted to HPC because they see God at work in our people (not just a few), and we want to showcase that reality as much as we can. Read more about Purpose & Principles of a Local Church, Part 2