Archive for the ‘Contemporary Issues’ Category

“Biblical” Models of Marriage

2nd_century_hebrew_decalogueAccording to Newsweek’s Lisa Miller, the Scripture is not a good source for supporting traditional marriage.  For example, here is the introduction to the article published Monday:

“Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?” Continue reading

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Heather Hills Looking for Associate Pastor

now hiringHeather Hills Baptist Church, on the east side of Indianapolis, is seeking to add a male, full-time, associate pastor to begin as early as April 2009.  Interested parties should contact the senior pastor Brian McCrorie at    317-894-7474    or can send resumes to bmccrorie (at) gmail (dot) com.

Heather Hills is an independent Baptist church in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches and the Crossroads Fellowship of Indiana.  We are dispensational in our interpretation of Scripture, historically fundamentalist in our view of Scripture, and baptistic in our practice of Scripture within the local church.  We have a strong desire to make an impact for the cause of Christ both locally and globally.  We value expository preaching.  We practice a blended style of worship, recognizing the importance of heritage while embracing contemporary expression, all of which is subject to the truth of Scripture and focused on the person and work of Christ.  We believe that every member of Heather Hills is to be a minister, using his spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ.

Applicants should possess a strong desire for an equipping ministry, primarily in discipleship/spiritual development.  A graduate degree is preferable along with some previous pastoral experience.  Applicants must be willing to work as a part of a team and dedicated to the study of God’s Word and prayer.  Those who make matters of opinion (Bible translations, musical style, etc.) a basis for fellowship need not apply.

The Creative Spectrum

This is an excerpt from Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts by Harold M. Best, pp. 180-181.

Artistic culture is a vast expanse.  Deep within its workings, it is also seamless, even in the face of vivid differences between, say, grunge rock and Renaissance motets or street rap and Milton’s poetry.  It is especially important for Christians to see it this way, because this is surely the way God sees it.  Just as he is no respecter of persons, so he is no respecter of styles.  He does not love the Baroque artifactual signature any more than that of the South Pacific Rim.  Nor would he prefer, if he were a dancer, the polka over the hora.  He is Lord of diversity, Creator of the human imagination and Master of every one of its artistic ways.  His lines of demarcation are based on faith or its absence, authentic worship or inauthentic worship.  His call to excellence is based on how we are becoming better than we were yesterday more than how we place in a static aesthetic hierarchy.  A Bach cantata is no more a musical password into his favor than a Zulu harvest song or an Indian raga.  When the Scriptures call out to the nations to rejoice, they do not call for an artistic Esperanto, a colorless and hypothetical language, a test-tube Pentecost.  Nor do they call out to a panel of artistic experts to determine what might please the King of kings.  They call out to the many cultures to use their instruments, their tongues, their shapes, textures and gestures, their vivid twists and turns.  God is happy with the plethora.  He loves its faith-driven clamor and hilarious tintinnabulation.  It comes to him from everywhere and from all times, translated into eternal speech by the blessed Paraclete, in whom groans, mutterings, silence, singing, dancing, shaping, masterpieces and pastiches make up a transfigured jubilee.

It is only a secular or paganized culture that chooses to divide people on the basis of their artistic preferences and choices.  It is a spiritually connected culture that takes cultural differences, works through the tensions that they may create and comes to the blessed condition of mixing and reconciling them and of stewarding their increase and growth.  It is therefore not amusing to hear about how we are to embrace the poor, eat and drink with sinners and cross racial and ethnic lines, only to find out that leadership, back home in the safety of the local fortress, is afraid to do the analogous kind of embracing when it comes to the arts and to the commingling of their styles.  “Not in my style” may really and truly mean “Not my kind of people,” except when it comes time for the yearly youth group trip to Mexico or the occasional spade turnings for another habitat.  Why do we go outside the church to diversify when we fail to do so within it?

If this resonates in your spirit as it does mine, buy the book.  There is much, much more to glean.

A Shout to the Lord…on American Idol???

My friend Bob Kauflin and his pastor Josh Harris discuss the recent use of Shout to the Lord on the television program American Idol. Here are a couple of excerpts:

First from Bob–

In the positive column, someone watching ”Shout to the Lord” on American Idol might be led by God’s Spirit to download the song, or even to start going to church again. They might hear the Gospel and be gloriously converted, all due to hearing “Shout to the Lord” in one of the most unlikely places. For that potential, I praise and thank God.

But there’s a dark side. There’s something paradoxical about worship songs being sung on prime time TV by people who don’t know why Jesus came. Does the world see any difference between what’s taking place on American Idol and what we do on Sunday mornings? Has worship become part of the entertainment culture? It’s unsettling when Christian songs or worship leaders are acclaimed by the masses. Jesus said in Luke 6:26, “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” He also said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mt. 15:8). Both verses temper my unbridled enthusiasm.

So I had two more thoughts. First, we need to do everything we can to sing and promote songs in the church that clearly, biblically, passionately, and faithfully proclaim the one and only Savior – his work, his words, and his worthiness. Along with songs that express our love for the Savior, we need to sing songs that “teach and admonish” (Col. 3:16), that celebrate and rehearse the foundations of our faith and fill out our vague conceptions of God with clear, theologically informed biblical truths.

Second, we we need to live in such a way that it’s clear being a Christian is more than giving money to worthy causes and being emotionally moved as we sing songs of every genre together. We want to do all we can to ensure that those who walk into our meetings see clearly that we’re not a local version of American Idol.

From Josh–

As I’ve read various comments people seem to fall into two different camps. Some Christians are upset—because they left out Jesus, because non-Christians were singing a song of “praise”, because it was all about money, because it’s another example of Christianity being “censored.” Other Christians are elated—because they put Jesus back in, because a praise song was heard by millions of people, because they see this as incredible evangelistic platform.

I guess I’m not really at home with either group. With all due respect, I don’t think that having a song like Shout to the Lord sung (even though I like it) is going to usher in revival. This reminds me of the fervor before the movie The Passion of the Christ was released. People spoke about this movie as if it was the ultimate opportunity for the gospel to advance. I don’t think it was. Was I glad that it was released? Sure. But I think that it’s too easy for Christians to think that any moment in the media spotlight on TV or in film is a bigger deal than it really is. We should welcome any opportunity for media to help spread the good news about Jesus, but I don’t think we should put too much stock in that vehicle. The gospel is going to advance as it always has—steadily as it is clearly proclaimed by believers in their words and modeled by their lives and actions. The gospel advances as local congregations receive and live God’s word for their neighbors to see.

What do you think?

I Support CCM!

That’s right!  You read correctly.  After thinking through things for many years now, I have come to the conclusion that CCM is a movement that I not only want to support but also promote.  So many of the narrow-minded arguments that people have used against movements like CCM just do not hold any water and I refuse to tolerate them anymore.  I plan to work actively to support CCM and its leaders, not just here in Denver but also around the country.  Movements like CCM can wield enormous influence and it’s time we come together for a common cause, despite our differences. Continue reading

One Matthew; Many Timothys

matthewmurray.jpgFive years ago, things were very different.

At that time Matthew Murray was enrolled in the Youth With a Mission training center in Arvada, Colorado, preparing to go overseas with a ministry team.

How different was Matthew from the best Christian young people you know? 

  • Came from a “very, very” religious family
  • Home-schooled
  • Had an Uncle who is a pastor.
  • Participated in Youth Missions training.

Fast-forward to Sunday, December 9th, 2007. Continue reading

Rise Up, O Men of God!

seniorman.gifRise up, O men of God.
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind
And soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.

 I recently heard someone say that, in twenty-five years, one in five people will be over the age of 65.  One in ten will be 80 years or older.   As I look around my community and even within my church, I see this reality looming on the horizon.

I was always taught to value the aged.  The hoary heads, as the Old Testament puts it, have wisdom.  They have been where I have not been and seen what I have not seen.  And yet, something bothers me. Continue reading