Am I in the right "business"?

I re-read this old illustration and quoted it to my students – it is not one I “like” but it did make me think.

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a little life-saving station. The building was primitive, and there was just one boat, but the members of the life-saving station were committed and kept a constant watch over the sea. When a ship went down, they unselfishly went out day or night to save the lost. Because so many lives were saved by that station, it became famous. Consequently, many people wanted to be associated with the station to give their time, talent, and money to support its important work. New boats were bought, new crews were recruited, a formal training session was offered. As the membership in the life-saving station grew, some of the members became unhappy that the building was so primitive and that the equipment was so outdated. They wanted a better place to welcome the survivors pulled from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged and newly decorated building.

Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They met regularly and when they did, it was apparent how they loved one another. They greeted each other, hugged each other, and shared with one another the events that had been going on in their lives. But fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions; so they hired lifeboat crews to do this for them. About this time, a large ship was wrecked off of the coast, and the hired crews brought into the life-saving station boatloads of cold, wet, dirty, sick, and half-drowned people. Some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin. Some could speak English well, and some could hardly speak it at all. Some were first-class cabin passengers of the ship, and some were the deck hands. The beautiful meeting place became a place of chaos. The plush carpets got dirty. Some of the exquisite furniture got scratched. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the house where the victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting there was rift in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities, for they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal fellowship of the members. Other members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all those various kinds of people who would be shipwrecked, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. And do you know what? That is what they did.

As the years passed, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a place to meet regularly for fellowship, for committee meetings, and for special training sessions about their mission, but few went out to the drowning people. The drowning people were no longer welcomed in that new life-saving station. So another life-saving station was founded further down the coast. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of adequate meeting places with ample parking and plush carpeting. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

Thomas Wedel, Ecumenical Review, October, 1953, paraphrased in Heaven Bound Living, Knofel Stanton, Standard, 1989, p. 99-101.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

I believe in a baptism of the Holy Spirit that is subsequent to conversion. Fortunately for me great thinkers agree, this is how Martin Lloyd Jones expresses some of his argument for it,

“What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Now there are some, as we have seen, who say that there is really no difficulty about this at all. . They say that it is simply a reference to regeneration and nothing else. It is what happens to people when they are regenerated and incorporated into Christ, as Paul teaches in 1 Cor 12:13. But for myself, I simply cannot accept that explanation, and this is where we come to grips with the difficulty. I cannot accept that because if we were to believe that the disciples and the apostles were not regenerate until the Day of Pentecost – a supposition which seems to me to be quite untenable.”

And again…

Another set of questions to help you examine your walk with the Lord. These come from Mark Marshall’s blog.

1. Where is God making the most significant change in your life today? (note the assumption is that God is always pressing for change at some place in His children’s lives)
2. What is the greatest thing you are believing God for?
3. What is your single greatest challenge to spiritual growth right now?
4. Tell me about your most recent answer to prayer.
5. What did God teach you from His Word this morning?

God is doing something

The question is do you recognise it?

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The Bible and Christian history seems to be littered with people, groups, movements who did not recognise the time of God and what he was doing. Recent comments debating the experience millions of believers have had simply draw attention to the fact that Pentecostals and charismatics are experiencing phenomenal growth around the world whilst traditional evangelical Christianity, which holds much money, power and clout from hardened theological voices, is in many cases losing ground or barely holding their own.

“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

 

703 Introduction to Christian Philosophy (ICP): Session 2

It is a good (obvious) question to ask, “Why should a Christian study philosophy?” Actually much theological thought and reasoning has philosophical roots, if you have questions about your faith, are looking for reasons or understanding, then philosophy is often a place you will end up at (like it or not). Anyhow, if you are not sure about christians and philosophy here are a few suggested reasons to guide you on your way.

703 Introduction to Christian Philosophy (ICP): Session 2

Are you a narrow minded bigot?

I originally looked at the images below because of its title, How to suck at your religion. I strongly disagree with much of what is propounded – yet I still enjoyed reading it and thinking about the issues raised.

I cannot honestly say that I believe the writer has correctly understood or represented Christian views (I cannot speak for other religions that are to a lesser extent attacked) – but I do think he raises some interesting challenges for those Christians who do not want to appear as narrow minded bigots (an image the author seems to have in mind).

I shall be using this in my apologetics class and asking my students to devise a compassionate, balanced response to the arguments raised.

Could you do that? If not, maybe you are the narrow minded bigot that the author was actually thinking of when he wrote it.

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