Charles Finney on Praying Together

Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together.  Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.  —Charles Finney

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Our Tithes and Offerings: Where are they going?

plater_02Believe it or not, but 97% of our tithes and offerings are going to maintenance–buildings and church staffs.

Only about 3% are going to missions and outreach.

If these numbers are correct, we have some repenting to do.

Our priorities are clearly twisted.

Posted in Tithing | Tagged | 19 Comments

Tim Keller on Preaching: Wonderful Author but Poor Practitioner

kellerTimothy “Tim” Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NY, has a new book out on preaching.

Those who have read Keller’s works know that he is a very insightful author.  His works are not rushed. They are very thoughtful and well-researched, in my opinion.

But as a preacher, a practitioner, I find Keller wanting.  He has substance.  But he lacks that fire.

At best he is monotone.

While I have no problem reading Keller, I can’t say the same for listening to Keller.  Even D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones had that fire about him.

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How Jesus is Portrayed by the Gospels

Jesus is portrayed by the gospels as a one-man apocalypse, the place where heaven and earth meet, the place where and the means by which people come and find themselves renewed and restored as the people of the one God, the place where power is redefined, turned upside down or perhaps the right way up.”  –N.T. Wright, How God Became King

Posted in Miscellanies | Tagged | 5 Comments

Another Update for the New Living Translation in 2015

The New Living Translation is at it again.  Another update. On my post Minor Changes to the New Living Translation in 2013, one Joshua H. has left the following comment:

Tyndale has released a 2015 update to the NLT! They have posted a list of changes here: http://newlivingtranslation.com/2015NLTUpdateList.html. From looking at the NT changes, it seems they are being less colloquial. One change I can see is in Luke 2:5. Previous NLTs and the Living Bible have “obviously pregnant”; the NLT 2015 changes this to “expecting a child”. Personally I like this as I like the Word to be readable, but not too chatty. The only 2015 NLT I know of is the Kindle edition, which is were I saw the updated date a few months ago.

Perhaps “less colloguial,” except in the Pastoral Letters, where “an/a elder/s” is/are changed to “church leader/s.”

The New Living Translation (NLT) has never been my primary Bible translation for either preaching or studying.  But for those whom the NLT is their primary Bible translation, good luck in trying to keep up with all these changes.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 200132015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

To the updating of the NLT, there seems to be no end in sight.  2016 and 2017 are just around the corner.

At any rate, the NLT remains a top seller among Bible translations.

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“Today I Quit Being a Christian”

Anne-Rice_Author-Photo_Credit-Matthias-Scheer_sm“For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else…

“As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen….

“My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become. –emphasis added

The above was posted by Anne Rice, author of Interview with a Vampire, on her Facebook page back in 2010.

What Miss Rice expressed back in 2010 was really nothing new.  Others have made similar distinctions.

Posted in Anne Rice | Tagged | 5 Comments

And Don’t forget to Preach Theology

photo-1430747562296-5556d17a15a5This is a response to Nick Norelli’s Preach the Word, in which he says, “The average believer that I’ve encountered just wants to know what the Bible says and find ways to apply it to life.”  This comes after Nick says that Bible study shouldn’t be turned into miniature seminary lectures and “People who want seminary lectures should by all means attend seminary.”

Nick’s own position:

Preach the text and let all the theology flow from it. Don’t spend too much time speculating.”

But what does Nick mean by “Preach the text and let all the theology flow from it?”  Is he advocating a run-on commentary and then highlight theological truths as you go?

My own position: the preacher should first establish the theology of the text, support it with the surrounding material, and then apply it to the listeners.

And it is worth keeping in mind that every text of Scripture, to which we turn for our sermons, is first shaped by its own theology.  It is our task as students of the Word to first discover what that theology is.

However, I do agree with Nick that we should not be spending too much time speculating.

Posted in Miscellanies | 7 Comments