Clarification Of My Last Post About John Piper From the Resurgence Conference

The last post I wrote with my mind being in a daze and spilling over with ideas and thoughts. Not to mention spotty internet access and a tight schedule.

I had mentioned that what often irritates people about Piper is his sureness. That when he preaches or teaches he does so with confidence and boldness. This bugs people and even if they cannot quite put their finger on it, it seems to emotively not sit well with them. This has left many to label him “extreme” “dogmatic” or other words like that. I think this speaks to a larger issue we currently face in our churches, and even more so in our seminaries.

We have made the grave mistake to think that confidence must automatically be arrogance, and that uncertainty is humility. The last one I have seen over and over again in my time in seminary. Rarely does someone speak confidently about their beliefs, this can even include the professors. Usually they will couch their convictions in the form of a question or use some luke-warm qualifier. It is as if they do actually speak confidently of what they believe, they are are worried they will be seen as narrow-minded, and the last thing you want to be in an academic setting is narrow-minded and or dogmatic. Ironically, I think that it is often this false humility masquerading in uncertainty that can be the most arrogant, just in more implicit and tacit ways.

I am not advocating that any of us be confident in ourselves nor am I suggesting that any of us act as if we have it all figured out all the time, but what I am promoting is that we have confidence in our Bible and Jesus. There must be some things that we are rock solid sure of and ready to die for. There must be convictions that fuel our lives and ministry, and sustain us in times of sorrow and suffering. If not Christianity can drift into the realm of philosophical speculation, that has not tangible, life changing bearing on our lives and cities. It may be trendy to loom in the questions, but the realities of life need people with passion and a deep abiding love for Jesus and what the Church can be…

ryan

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John Piper Wrecking My World

John Piper is a blessing to the church, period.  I hear from people all the time that he is angry, a jerk, or just brutish.  Usually when I ask a person to support this claim they stammer and are unable to, they then come to some kind of statement like, “well my friend said that…” fill in the blank.  Truth be told John Piper has and does offend many, but not for the reasons he is often accused of, but because he is sure.  Sure is a dirty word in the church and seminaries nowadays.  People cringe when they encounter it and then label that person with some type of nasty name.

But I have had the blessing of sitting under this man for the last two days and just being wrecked by him.  He has devastated my understanding of church, and forced me to wrestle with the weightness of being a pastor.  Please, Please, Please listen to the sessions that he has given when they are up on Theresurgence.com they will bless you immensely…

I will write more tomorrow when I get back to Colorado.

ryan

National Resurgence Conference 2008: Text & Context

Well I am packing right now to head on out to Seattle for the National Resurgence Conference. Here is a video of what the conference is all about.

The topic is quite timely and one I am interested to learn more about. Truth be told though, with many ministries now putting all the audio and video content from their conferences online for free, the most valuable part of attending is one of immersion and withdrawing. You are given a chance to withdraw from all the obligations and responsibilities of your daily life, and immerse yourself in new ideas and relationships. In addition, I am going with some great guys who I am sure will provide great opportunities to discuss and process what we are hearing. This is ideal for me, as I am often a verbal processor, and enjoy learning in community.

So I will try and update from time to time what is going on in Seattle if I get a chance, maybe I will see pastor Steve there!

ryan

Deceiving Needy Kids

So you know how the NFL already has championship gear for the teams ready after big games.  What do they do with the losing team’s apparel? Well, apparently they donate it to World Vision.

Note: if any of you readers support a World Vision child. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not, in your correspondence with them, reveal to them that the Patriots did not in fact win the Super Bowl.  Allow them to live the dream since Tom Brady cannot.

     

    

    

You can’t make this stuff up.

Book Review of Vintage Jesus

Driscoll’s new book “Vintage Jesus” is sure to be controversial and helpful to many. Just like any book that is written, Driscoll has an intended targeted audience in mind as he writes this book, and since it is those outside the tent of Christianity, this book will offend some more conservative folk. It might be my west coast upbringing but none of the language was really all that offensive to me, maybe if I was a southerner who thought pro-wrestling was real, girls who chewed tobacco were sexy, and ate a lot of Hot Pockets with my uncle-daddy, I would feel differently (Vintage Jesus, p.1). Yet when I hear things like this I only have flashes of comedians like Daniel Tosh and Jim Gaffigan, especially the whole line about the Hot Pockets. I might have posted this here before in the past but watch this Hot Pocket bit by Jim Gaffigan, its genius.

Vintage Jesus is largely constructed off a sermon series Mark Driscoll did by the same title a few years back. Which you can watch here. Not to mention in each sermon he goes to Hemp Fest and interviews stoners about what the think of Jesus, classic. Aside from all the shenanigans the book carves out the perfect niche by popularly addressing such timely questions as: Is Jesus the only God? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Why did Jesus’ mom need to be a virgin? Where is Jesus today? And does Jesus think it is okay for men and women to swim together? Yeah I made that last one up as a shout out to Pastor Steve. Each chapter is rigorously researched with both biblical evidence and cultural engagement. And just like in any good sermon, Driscoll anticipates the questions that the reader may have and addresses them at the end of each chapter. For most Christians who will never read Christology from people like Erickson, Grudem, and Grenz, Mark Driscoll’s treatment of the topic is an excellent book to help fill in the critical gaps of understanding the person and work of Jesus Christ.

For those who get hung up on the language I would just ask you to realize that this book is not intended for those who are against women wearing pants and churn their own butter. Mark Driscoll has been pretty clear that he would like to see this book make it to the some of the bestsellers lists and reach a broad audience. You know that un-churched guy down the street playing Wii and wondering if Ramen is a food group. So language police put aside your preferences and realize that as Christians we have the liberty to contextualize our message without changing the message for the audience we are communicating to. It is an obsession of so many to major on the minors. We are so busy playing language police that we are willing to nullify the amazing impact that Mark is having for the Kingdom.

ryan

Why Do We Believe In God?

Well Oxford is ready to find out.

Oxford University is going to spend four million dollars to try and figure out why humans believe in God. They seem to think it is innate in our nature (except for western Europeans). They plan to convene sociologists, anthropologists, biologists, philosophers, and theologians to talk about why humans seem to be so obsessed with believing in God.

Things like this are always hilarious to me, as I would be willing to answer the question for half the cost they are putting into this. And I might just advise that belief in God is not like an annoying piece of corn you cannot get out of your teeth, but could be reasonable and rational given the overwhelming evidence in nature and our universe. This of course is an outrageous idea for many scholars because it escapes the hard scientism, and naturalism through which they unequivocally view the world.

I have recently finished reading J.P. Moreland’s excellent book “Kingdom Triangle” for the second time which deals with these issues, and would recommend that everyone should read it. But if you do not have time for this, just read Romans 1.

Oh yeah I love that new banner Matt has up on our blog.

ryan

Craig Sager, a true professional

Sorry to go all “Jake Keck” on you faithful readers lately (you know short catch-up blogs and videos), but this one was too great not to post.

Even you didn’t love Steve Nash before, well…

Now do you think he lost a bet, or were some guys trying to mess with Sager. Either way, he handled it like a pro.

matt