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Work and Wealth: A Biblical Paradigm

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Hard at Work
© 2014, solafivereformed.com, this image cannot be used without express written consent

I was at a home Bible study a few days ago and the topic of socialism, capitalism, and consumption came up. The person who mentioned the subject was sincerely expressing his viewpoint which was the idea that socialism is more in line with Christian living. Being my usual self, I responded like a bull in a china closet and was completely dismissive in my attitude and with my words. Thankfully the leader wisely moved us back to the topic at hand. After I repented, I decided that it would be appropriate to find resources that I could share with my brother which would effectively communicate a biblical perspective of work and wealth. one of the better resources that I found was an article written by Darrow Miller of World Evangelical Alliance. The article is titled Great Commission Utilitarianism. The article is intended to provide a biblical critique  of Christian utilitarianism and in so doing, also does an excellent job of comparing and contrasting four economic philosophies from a biblical perspective:

1. Okonomia: Stewardship of Creation

2. Idealistic Socialism

3. Chrematistics or Predatory Capitalism

4. Classic Communism

In the article, Miller concludes “…[this] dualistic paradigm has caused the Church to separate work from worship and wealth from the building of communities and nations. We need to return to the richness of the biblical paradigm and leave behind the anemic vision of Great Commission Utilitarianism…”

I believe that this article is a must read for Christians who wish to develop a Biblical worldview of economics, wealth, and work. Read the entire article here.

A Sound Analysis of Mark Driscoll’s Boorish Behavior and the Problem with Celebrity Pastors

Earthworm

Photo courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

I know that I’m about 4 months late in commenting on Driscoll’s plagiarism, but hey, I was sick most of the winter.  If Driscoll can use sickness as an excuse during an interview, I can use it as an excuse for being a little behind the times.  What’s more interesting is that the the follow up documents after the interview proved unequivocally that Mark Driscoll committed overt plagiarism of D. A. Carson.  If a pastor/elder is to be above reproach, and blatant lying, or in this case, plagiarism, would disqualify that pastor/elder, shouldn’t Mark step down?  D. A. Carson has said as much about pastors who plagiarize ([5 Pt. Salt: Pulpit Plagiarism...] as noted by the folks at The Wartburg Watch).  Well, Mark?  I think it’s telling that half of Driscoll’s time seems to be performing damage control because of his actions and yet, as in this case, no appropriate action is ever taken to solve this embarrassment to Reformed theology and the church as a whole.  I never knew that “worm” theology referred to the spineless nature of many of my fellow Calvinists when one of their own needs discipline.

Carl Trueman get’s it right in the article published in Reformation 21:

If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions?

POSTED BY CARL TRUEMAN

The controversy surrounding Janet Mefferd’s interview of Mark Driscoll is interesting for a variety of reasons.  There is one aspect of it which has yet to attract comment as far as I can tell.  That is the way it brings out another aspect of the celebrity culture which has so corrupted the young, restless and reformed movement.

My interest here is not who was right and who was wrong.  That will no doubt be fairly easy to establish as the claims which Janet Mefferd made should be empirically verifiable.    I would only comment that, in my own interactions with Janet Mefferd, I have always found her forthright but fair.  I am concerned in this post only with what the reactions to the interview tell us about the culture of celebrity in the subculture that is evangelicalism.

I have tried a number of times to make the point that being a celebrity is not the same as being a public figure.   Anyone who acts in public is, to a greater or lesser degree, a public figure.  Celebrity brings with it such matters as a culture of false intimacy with complete strangers and a charismatic authority rooted in the person not in an institution.  Thus, influence is often predicated on personality, not on the intrinsic merits of arguments etc.

The Mefferd-Driscoll controversy points to another aspect of celebrity culture: celebrities are routinely allowed to behave in ways which would not be tolerated in ordinary mortals. (read the rest of this post here)

The Sisters Said it Well: Lost People Will Act Like Lost People, Our Job is Salt & Light!

When trying to determine the right course of action in response to blatantly, anti-Biblical cultural swings, the tendency for many Christians (me included) is to respond with shock & to take offense, as if we’re here to promote political agendas rather than eternal truth.  We then swing into what I call the “Don Wildmon” mode with the knee-jerk calls to boycott, protest or both.  Is that the reason God has us here on this earth?  To boycott the world when the world acts like the world?

To Starbucks or Not to Starbucks, That Is The Questionstarbucks

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was recently challenged by a shareholder in the company who questioned the company’s endorsement of a state bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Schultz reportedly told the shareholder that he was free to sell his Starbucks shares…

Should we as Christians expect lost people to act in any other way than lost people generally do? (continue reading)

A Culture of Death: Planned Parenthood in Florida Openly Endorses Infanticide

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, pro-life activists argued that this was just the beginning of the slippery slope to worldwide  infanticide and genocide.  Their arguments were dismissed as ridiculous overreaction and nothing more that sensationalism and fear mongering.  When Dr. Kevorkian was assisting suicide in Michigan in the 90′s and pro-life activists pointed to euthanasia as evidence of how we had slipped down the slope, they were again dismissed as sensationalists.  After all, how could anyone with compassion force a person to continue to suffer in the midst of a terminal illness?

Fast forward to 2013 and read the headlines:

Belgium Euthanizes Deaf Twins Going Blind

deaftwins

Euthanized Twins

Kermit Gosnell Drugged Women…Left Them for Hours

Defense blames patient for her own death

DrKermitGosnell

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, abortionist, murdered babies & mothers

If the two headlines above aren’t enough, last week, while being interviewed by the Civil Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives, Alisa Lapolt Snow, a lobbyist representing Planned Parenthood, clearly endorsed the practice of infanticide.  When Florida Representative Jim Boyd asked Mrs. Snow

 “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

Her answer:

“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician…”

I’m sad to say that the pro-lifers were prophetic.  Still say we’re sensationalistic?

Sad Irony

I researched Mrs. Snow and found the website of her company, Snow Strategies.  How ironic that the most prominent link on her company’s website was this:

CDSI

“The Child Development Screening Initiative is a three-year endeavor by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) to convene stakeholders and develop a comprehensive statewide system of developmental screenings for children ages birth to five [emphasis added]. FDDC has contracted with Snow Strategies Inc. to carry out the goals as we enter Year 2 of the project.”

Here’s the question I have for Mrs Snow: does that include screenings for the birth of children as a result of botched abortions as they are lying on the table, waiting for the doctor and the parents to determine if they are going to kill that child?

From The Gospel Coalition: Songs From the Book of Luke

A great new album from the Gospel Coalition called Songs from the Book of Luke.

bookoflukeABOUT THE PROJECT

For as long as God’s people have gathered, they have written poems and songs about the glory of God and the wonder of redemption. As the church, we sing to celebrate. We sing to remember. We sing to give voice to hope, even in the midst of life’s greatest trials.

Songs for the Book of Luke is an album by the church, for the church. The songwriters and musicians on this album all serve in congregations across the country, from New York to St. Louis to Seattle, to Dallas and many places in between. These songs have roots in the Scriptures (all of these songs are inspired by the Book of Luke) and seek, above all else, to glorify God and serve his people.

It’s been amazing to work on this project and see how much creativity is thriving in local congregations. More than 200 songs were submitted…(read more)

Listen to the album here.

Lenten Song (to the tune of My Favorite Things)

favorite thingsLENTEN SONG

(to the tune of
My Favorite Things)

Sackcloth and ashes, and
days without eating,
Mortification and wailing
and weeping,
A hair shirt that scratches,
a nettle that stings,
These are a few of my favorite
things.

Penitence, flagellants, memento
mori,
Spending nights sleeping on
rocks in a quarry,
The sound of a cloak’d solemn
cantor who sings,
These are still more of my
favorite things.

Tossing and turning and
yearning I’m spurning,
Passions aflame like an
ember-day burning,
Corpus and carnis and
wild drunken flings,
Forsaken are they for
my favorite things!

When it’s Christmas,
When the tree’s lit,
When the cards are sent,
I simply remember my
favorite things,
And then I can’t wa-a-a-a-it
till Lent.

Author Anonymous

Rosario Champagne Butterfield’s Testimony: “My Train Wreck Conversion”

I clicked over to Facebook today, just to quickly peruse the latest trivia of the various postings, most of which make me ask questions like this one: “Why do you think I’m interested in knowing how long the line was at Starbucks in the Philadelphia airport?”  I’m usually hoping for something truly profound, but am usually disappointed.  Of course, I think anything that I post on Facebook is important and is usually quite profound, but I suspect that others look at my postings with a yawn and the same questions that I ask of their trivia.  Occasionally, I’m pleasantly surprised as I was today, when my old friend and Arminian brother in Christ, Eric Hulet, posted the article below about Rosario Champagne Butterfield and her conversion.  I was stunned after reading this wonderful testimony and of the gentle witness of a gentle pastor and his wife, going to “dine with sinners”, just as our Lord.  Dear Father, thank you for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, and that you saved me from my depravity and forgive me for how often I have a sense of disdain for other sinners, rather than a heart centered on the Gospel and filled with the irresistible, gentle, kind love that you used to draw me to the flame.  Thank you for that forgiveness!

From Christianity Today:

My Train Wreck Conversion

As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians. Then I somehow became one.

rbutterfieldThe word Jesus stuck in my throat like an elephant tusk; no matter how hard I choked, I couldn’t hack it out. Those who professed the name commanded my pity and wrath. As a university professor, I tired of students who seemed to believe that “knowing Jesus” meant knowing little else. Christians in particular were bad readers, always seizing opportunities to insert a Bible verse into a conversation with the same point as a punctuation mark: to end it rather than deepen it.

Stupid. Pointless. Menacing. That’s what I thought of Christians and their god Jesus…(read more)

I Gave Up Ammo Hording for the Last Week of Lent

Dr_EvilAmmoAs we approach Easter during the last week of Lent, or as some would say, Holy Week, I was seriously pondering what I could give up in order to deny myself worldly pleasures so that I can be more in tune spiritually and be able to hear God more acutely in order to be a much more holy, spiritual Christian who is much closer to God than you, has much more wisdom than you, have my prayers heard more readily than yours, understand the scripture better than you and be much more mature in my faith than you.  You see, unlike most Christians, I’m quite serious about my spirituality and I am making sure that I achieve the highest level of maturity and sanctification that I can possibly achieve in order to make sure that I am the best witness that I can be so that others will see Jesus in me.  Because of this, I take Lent quite seriously and am always looking for new ways to deny my flesh in order to profit my soul.

As I was going through this exercise of analyzing my life to look for stuff I really like that I could give up for Holy Week, I was also multitasking by scouring the internet looking for ammunition.  You see, I take my responsibility to be prepared for the coming collapse of our Christian nation almost as seriously as denying my flesh for my continued growth and sanctification.  After all, we are told clearly in James that pure religion is looking out for widows and orphans in their distress and, we all would agree, that the most vulnerable people on the planet after the collapse of the U.S. of A. will be, who else, widows and orphans!  How would I be able to protect the widows & orphans (or my own family for that matter) if I didn’t have 30 or 40 thousand rounds of ammo to fight off the atheist-commie-Muslim-Democrat-leftist-fascists-post modern-new age-”R” rated movie going- HBO watching-medical marijuana smoking, food stamp using, unemployed, dread locked, tattooed hordes who will try to break into my house in order to eat all my food, wear my clothes and (worst of all) use my fishing gear?

Of course, we all know that the reason for the coming collapse is all the fault of the Democrat controlled Senate &  none other than President Obama! (it hurts, but I must use his proper title out of respect for our leaders)  Where’s that good Mormon, Mitt Romney, when you need him? We all know that President Obama is a closet Muslim, hell-bent on forcing trips to Mecca, redistributing the wealth, blowing up evangelical churches with drone strikes, taxing our swimming pools AND our pickup trucks, forcing us to recycle, banning hair spray in Texas, Tennessee and Georgia to prevent global warming (if he would just ban Rick Perry from using hair spray it might have the desired effect), taking away ALL our guns & ammo, making us listen to NPR and watch Celtic Women on PBS, making Ebonics the official language of the U.S. of A…….but I digress.

Yes, I’m giving up hording ammo for Lent, even though it’s a righteous, pleasurable and necessary pursuit (just like food) so that I can have my ammo-deprived senses more acute in order to more effectively hear from God during my 4 A.M. daily quiet time & devotional (with at least 30 minutes a week dedicated to memorizing the book of Numbers).  Amen & Hallelujah!  I think I’ll raise my hands & maybe even do a little jig in the aisle at church this week because of my heightened spirituality!

PS: somebody please remind me to post this on Facebook and send it out in a tweet, not so that I can call attention to myself, but so that I can be a good and righteous example to new Christians who might be wondering about the observance of Lent.

Matthew 6:1, 16-18, Galatians 4:10-11, Colossians 2:16-22, Romans 14:5-8, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Tim Challies on Modern Idolatry

wireless_heroWhat a great article that addresses what we tend to hold dear.  Oh Lord Jesus, please forgive me for setting my sights so low and for clinging to things that are so temporary!

I Bought Some Joy (But Dropped It Down the Stairs)

From Challies.com

It must have been six months or a year ago that I watched my iPhone—my brand new iPhone—sliding, then flipping, down a flight of stairs. I had just pulled it from my pocket and somehow lost my grip on it. It clattered down one step, then the next, then the next, all the way to bottom.

Idolatry has been much on my mind lately, idolatry ancient and modern. In the Old Testament there must be a hundred stories of the Israelites raising idols and then cutting them down again. The story repeats itself all through their history. Time and again they abandon God in favor of idols of wood and stone, violating the terms of the covenant they have made with him. The Lord is patient and through priests and judges and prophets calls his people to repent, to return. Eventually they do, and as a sign of their repentance they cut down those idols.

Have you ever considered what it would have been like to actually cut down an idol? (read more here)

D.A. Carson on the Intolerance of Tolerance

D.A. Carson has provided three clear and, frankly, eye opening illustrations of the new “tolerance” as it is practiced by those who would seek to redefine societal norms that are/were based on clear, biblical teaching.

VOLUME 37 ISSUE 3
Nov 2012

More Examples of Intolerant Tolerance

D. A. Carson
D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Since The Intolerance of Tolerance was published,1 readers have been sending me new examples they have spotted-examples of egregious intolerance masquerading in the name of tolerance. Sometimes these examples have been accompanied with a plea to incorporate them in any revised edition that might be called for. Of course, I too have spotted a handful of examples myself. In this editorial I’d like to comment briefly on three of them, probing a little to uncover what we should learn from them. Although the book drew on examples in both Europe and America, the follow three have surfaced in the United States. (read more here)

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