If you’ve watched this video, did you notice Joel’s opinion of Mormons?
Joel believes Mormons (in general) are true Christians. Yes, you read that correctly. You have to see it to believe it. Watch the video. He accepts Mitt Romney as a “true Christian” because Romney says “Jesus is my Savior.” Joel may want his primary work to be motivating people to live better lives, but he must not focus on his moralistic message at the expense of evangelism and defense of the faith. To accept Mormons as true Christians just because he doesn’t want to be the one saying negative stuff about others is utter unfaithfulness to God.
When will modern evangelical Protestants regain their discernment? Turn this guy’s tv show off, brethren!
For a little more biblical bloviating on this issue, see Steve Camp’s post, “How wide is the narrow road at Lakewood Church?“on the subject which was written on the heels of Osteen’s FoxNews interview itself.
Love needed in my service
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Affirmations and Denials on Love
Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
It is not irritable or resentful;
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Permanence of Love
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
As for prophecies, they will pass away;
As for tongues, they will cease;
As for knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
Maturity of Love
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
Then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Relative Value of Love
So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Read the following story of the birth of Jesus and see how many Christmas carols you can circle. Those were the instructions for our Sunday School Class yesterday, but I’m sharing it with you for your listening and reading pleasure. The carols are highligthed and linked to MIDI files from various sources. You’ll find we may miss the mark in a couple of instances, but, hey, we’re amateurs!
THE FAITHFUL OF ISRAEL
O come, O come, Emmanuel! We have been waiting for you for thousands of years! Since God promised our first parents, Adam and Eve, that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. Come, thou long-expected Jesus!
All our prophets have spoken of you. We have been watching for you to be among the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through the tribe of Judah and the family line of King David. As for his birthplace, the prophets wrote that this honor goes to you, O little town of Bethlehem.
Mary was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. One day, an angel appeared to her and told her that she had been blessed and would have a baby that would be God’s Son and he would be named Jesus. Joseph was very upset about this until an angel visited him. Then he understood how special this baby would be. He realized that Mary would soon bear the Child that they had all been waiting for. The baby Jesus is the Messiah for which his people, the Israelites, had been waiting for a very, very long time.
ROYAL ROAD TRIP
Before the baby was born, Caesar made a law that everyone had to return to the city of his family’s birth to be counted so he could pay taxes. Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David. It was time for her son to be born. But the baby wasn’t a normal child. This baby, whose name would be Jesus, was the Son of God, not the son of Joseph, or any other man. He was God in the flesh. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem. There was no room for them because so many people had come to Bethlehem to be registered. A kind Inn keeper let them stay in his stable. It was a silent night, holy night and a very special night to remember. O holy night! Tonight, the Savior would be born!When Jesus was born, there was not a comfortable cradle in which to lay him. The baby Jesus rested in a manger, a feeding trough for cattle! It was right there, away in a manger, where Jesus spent his first night in the world which he created.
In a nearby field, while shepherds watched their flocks by night, angels from the realms of glory, came down to speak to them. The angel told the shepherds about a Savior that was born in the City of David. They wondered, “What child is this?” How could one small child bring such joy to the world? They finally understood that it was the birthday of a king! God had sent his Son to deliver Israel! “Hark!” The herald angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth, good will to men!” The shepherds thought, “How Great Our Joy!” to be visited by angels with this most wonderful news.
THE SHEPHERDS WORSHIP
The shepherds rushed to Bethlehem to find Jesus. They were so excited when they found Mary, Joseph and Jesus. They fell down and worshiped. They were so very joyful, joyful! “We adore thee!” the shepherds told the baby Jesus. The shepherds told Mary and Joseph about their visit from the angels. One of the shepherds explained. “Angels we have heard on high told us about your holy child!” The shepherds told Joseph and Mary how they had wondered, “What can I give him?” They also told them how they hurried to find the place where he was born, to find the Savior where the angels said he would be.
THE SHEPHERDS SPREAD THE WORD
They left the stable and spread out to tell everyone about the birth of the Messiah. They went in many directions. Some went to go tell it on the mountain, some went to the desert. As they found others that believed God’s promises, they told them, “O come, all ye faithful, and worship the Savior!”
THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD
But God wasn’t going to keep the Good News of the birth of the King of the Jews from the rest of the world. On the night when Jesus was born, in a land faraway to the east, a Wise Man was studying the stars, when he suddenly asked one of his friends, “Do you see what I see?” The Wise Men saw a star that they somehow knew was a sign that the King of the Jews had just been born. This was the way God got the Good News to the Gentiles on the night of Jesus’ birth. These men showed they were truly wise by selecting valuable gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to present to the King of the Jews after they follow the star to worship him. Today, wise men all over the world still seek to worship the King of the Jews. Are you one of them? What gifts would you give him? He deserves your whole life!
I just got home from the barber shop, where I perused the December 24 issue of U. S. News & World Report, which featured as its “holiday” cover story, not some new theory that threatens to change everything we’ve ever thought about Christianity, like we’ve been treated to for the last several years in a row, but an article on how Catholics, Protestants and Jews are all alike seeing a return to ritual and liturgy among the younger generation which is so underwhelmed by the boomer generation’s attempts to relevantize (is that a word? I’ll look it up later.) their respective religious expressions. We evangelicals will certainly think instantly of the seeker-sensitive model of worship. This trend seems to be reflected in Bill Hybels’ recent change of heart about how his church has been weak on discipleship (or “self-feeding”); at least he’s publicly acknowledging a little self-critical reevaluation. Or is it just vying for some of the consumers to be had among the aforementioned younger generation that’s “seeking” more tradition-sensitive models of worship?
Here’s one interesting excerpt featuring the Evangelical version of this phenomenon:
Talk to Carl Anderson, the senior pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church, and you get an idea. “Seven or eight years ago, there was a sense of disconnectedness and loneliness in our church life,” he says. The entrepreneurial model adopted by so many evangelical churches, with its emphasis on seeker-friendly nontraditional services and programs, had been successful in helping Trinity build its congregation, Anderson explains. But it was less successful in holding on to church members and deepening their faith or their ties with fellow congregants. Searching for more rootedness, Anderson sought to reconnect with the historical church.
Connections. Not surprisingly, that move was threatening to church members who strongly identify with the Reformation and the Protestant rejection of Catholic practices, including most liturgy. But Anderson and others tried to emphasize the power of liturgy to direct worship toward God and “not be all about me,” he says. Anderson also stressed how liturgy “is about us—and not just this church but the connection with other Christians.” Adopting the weekly Eucharist, saying the Nicene Creed every two or three weeks, following the church calendar, Trinity reshaped its worship practices in ways that drove some congregants away. But Anderson remains committed, arguing that traditional practices will help evangelical churches grow beyond the dependence on “celebrity-status pastors.” (emphasis added)
Having looked over Trinity’s website, the only critique I have is in their fear of being divisive with a “detailed confession of faith,” favoring instead as their confession a combination of the Nicene Creed and the ankle-deep NAE Statement of Faith. A little too bare-bones for my taste, but the rest, I really like. But then, I’m part of that younger generation that isn’t into commercialized worship. Would that more “traditional” churches would seriously examine a more historical, liturgical worship that centers on the regulative principle of worship and actively encourages an appreciation of “the communion of saints,” our “connection” with the entire church in all times and places, as we worship God in the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22-24). Speaking of which, the current episode of The White Horse Inn which is featured in my sidebar, deals with this very kind of topic. I highly recommend your listening to it. It will expand your understanding of what’s going on spiritually in Sunday morning worship, and help you have an idea of where I’m coming from on all of this stuff.
Be that as it may, I was relieved that it so far seems to be a slow holiday season for debunkers of the historically orthodox understanding of Christianity in general, and Jesus in particular. As I was flipping through the pages of the magazine, the only thing of that kind of “historical Jesus” hand-wringing was a timely recycling of all the recent junk that had been polluting our airwaves for the past few years.
I was just thinking a couple of weeks ago that a movie about the life of St. Nicholas of Myra, source of the Santa Claus legend, ought to be made. I just learned today that someone is working on it. I, for one, will be counting the days, weeks and months until its release next year! Read and view more about it at http://www.nicholasofmyra-movie.com/.
My thanks to the Puritan Lad at his blog, Christianity in History, for bringing this to my attention. He includes a summary of the possible events in the ancient Bishop’s life which have survived to this day.