The Opposite of Fighting the Culture War

Sturgis The other day we looked at what happens when Christians choose to fight the culture war. Be careful, the culture may fight back. I saw this story and thought “That’s exactly the opposite of fighting the culture war.” See what you think.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place each August near the small town (pop. < 7,000) of Sturgis, South Dakota. The very first “Black Hills Classic” held in 1938 featured 9 racers and a small audience. Today it one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world and provides a significant source of income to the town. I ride a motorcycle but would stop short of calling myself a biker. On the one hand I’d like to go at least once, and of course ride the whole trip up (as opposed to driving a rig with my bike in a trailer, setting up camp somewhere and riding the last few miles). On the other hand, once you get to Sturgis there is really nothing going on but sin and debauchery. It is also known as the Devil’s Playground.

So the way to fight the culture war would be to set up booths, tents and signs on the major routes just outside of town and shout names, wave Bibles, tell bikers they were riding two wheels to Hell, and hope they pull over, find Jesus, then turn around and ride back home. But what if we saw the Devil’s Playground as a mission field? What if we offered the chance to win a new Harley Davidson motorcycle in exchange for listening to a 3 minute testimony? And what if the result was 513 people making professions of faith?

Enter the Dakota Baptist Convention. Please read this full story via Baptist Press. We can fight the culture war or we can share the Gospel and lead people to Jesus. The choice is ours.. the choice is yours to make.

This is What Happens When You Fight the Culture War

Way back when in 2008 I posted Should Christians Fight the Culture War? Perhaps that’s a good place to start. This is an example of what happens when we do try to wrestle with flesh and blood rather than powers and principalities.

Video via CNN, no explicit language or images

In Warsaw, Ohio a strip club owner staged a protest outside of a local church during service on Sunday morning, complete with topless protesters carrying signs. Apparently New Beginnings Ministries has been protesting outside of the local strip club for years, taking pictures of customers license plates and calling the girls that work there things like tramps and whores. Church Pastor Bill Dunfee says it is the responsibility of the church to spread the Gospel, uplift the name of Jesus and confront evil. The confrontation of evil has resulted in a small crowd of strippers, employees and friends of the Foxhole Club to assembling a protest of their own. Be careful when you fight the culture war, the culture may just fight back. Continue reading

Who Were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

bible, scrollAs books were chosen to represent a New Testament of the Bible, conveying the biography of Jesus and the formation of the Christian Church, a few were chosen and many others passed over. The writings that were chosen by the early church leaders become Bible canon, but there are many gnostic Gospels and falsely ascribed (pseudepigraphal) epistles that still exist today. There is even some disagreement between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians about what is considered scripture.

Michael Patton, author of the Parchment & Pen Blog published by Creedo House, finds it interesting that while some Gospels with recognizable names, i.e. Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary, were passed over we have four Gospels included in the Bible that are essentially anonymous. Each book is named for the person believed to be the author – namely Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – but none of the writers identify themselves as such. Patton further believes this anonymity adds to rather than detracts from the works credibility.

Please read 4 Gospels or 4 Forgeries and see for yourself. I found the post engaging and his reasoning sound but you’re entitled to agree or disagree.

The Law as a Gift of God

Israel at SinaiThe Hebrew people were brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand in the Book of Exodus. God was calling them to himself; they would be his people and he would be their God. It was a covenant relationship not offered to any other people on the face of the earth. He made a dwelling place for himself among them and gave them his law. As people of faith living in the age of grace, we may think of the Law as a burden that is too great to bear. At the time it was gift, given only to God’s chosen people. Continue reading

More Alike Than Different

apostles_creedIf your neighborhood is anything like mine, there is a church on every corner. The population of the county I live in is a little less than 56,000 and I would not be surprised if there were 150 churches. Without getting into church splits and all the baggage that entails, let’s ask this question instead: Are there really that many theological and doctrinal issues that divide us? While there are some real distinctives, such as between Protestants and Catholics, the truth is most Christians are more alike than we are different. To define the differences between Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians we really have to get kind of nit-picky. The basic tenants of the Christian faith – in other words the things that really matter – are shared by all Christians everywhere.

Please read this post from the original Internet Monk. The discussions and debates can be a distraction to those of us inside the church and a stumbling block to those on the outside, but at the end of the day we are more alike than we are different.

What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:12-13

Not Exactly Right

bear

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” That’s actually a quote of Friedrich Nietzsche. I guess the bear thing is funny, but… the statement is unnecessary. The original quote creates two categories, things that kill you and things that don’t. Since bears will kill you there is no exception. There are plenty of things that will kill you but the encouragement for survivors is what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Continue reading

Broken and Poured Out

anointed And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and wheneveryou want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Mark 14:3-9

So to summarize: A costly vessel was broken, a precious substance poured out, something valuable was given away but not wasted.  Continue reading

A Defense of The Apostle Paul

PaulSaul of Tarsus developed quite a reputation in the world of the early Christian church, zealously hunting down those who taught and preached in the name of Christ. He was on his way to Damascus, with arrest letters from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin in hand, when he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul he became one of the most prolific church planters and writers of the first century; 14 of the 26 New Testament books are his letters (epistles) to various individuals and churches.

But here’s the rub: Do we today make too much of Paul? Does our attention become Paul-centered rather than Christ centered? Just because he wrote many epistles that become a major component of the New Testament, is everything Paul wrote the Word of God? Which is why I propose a defense of Paul to consider and respond to these criticisms. Continue reading

Discussion: The Altar

altar prayerDoes you church have an altar (or more than one altar) in the sanctuary? Does each service end with an altar call style invitation? What are we being invited to do at the altar if/when we get there? I would like to put aside personal feelings, experiences and what any particular local church does or doesn’t do and look into the Bible as we analyze the purpose of the altar. Ultimately I would like us to answer this question: what is the place of the altar in the New Testament church? Continue reading

Book Review: Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me by Renee Fisher

Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” -Corrie ten Boom

Renee Fisher began journaling in 1997 as part of her healing process. Prayers and scriptures filled her journal; God answered in a big was and the writing never stopped. Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me: Finding Freedom in the Journey from Pain to Purpose is her third book. Continue reading