There’s some good reading in the Daily Evangel section, Evangelical News & Views, today about the passing of the Father of Christian Rock, Larry Norman. There is also some great reading about it by Steve Camp at his blog, where he shares a few memories from the days when he spent time with this music ministry mentor of his. But you gotta read, “Larry Norman, Coffee Shop Evangelist” by one of Larry’s more fruitful converts–she went on from her coffee shop conversation with Larry about Jesus to found Jews for Jesus (Wikipedia on J4J)
You know, they always say that you never know what will become of the people with whom you share Christ, the message may go on and on and on. And apparently it did in her case.
I’m not old enough to remember Larry’s music and impact back in the day, but, his legacy in contemporary Christian music played a role in my growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, as I laid on my floor in front of my stereo, listening to Christian rock and reading the lyrics sheets and looking up the Scripture references that were often printed along with the words. I wonder if they still do that on lyrics sheets nowadays . . .
Here’s a nice song that seemed appropriate to feature in light of the passing of the effectively evangelistic Father of Christian Rock, Larry Norman. I’ll post another in the sidebar VODPOD.
Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D. C., the successor to Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, founder of 9Marks Ministries, and speaker at bi-annual “Together for the Gospel” conferences, has written a great post on “The Bondage of Guidance,” in which he bursts the bubble of those who don’t realize that waiting for God’s “still, small voice” to direct all of your decision making, is really a form of mysticism which can undermine the sufficiency of Scripture. Many have heard this practice prescribed from pulpits for so long, that even those who confess faith inthe sufficiency of Scripture are among its chief proponents and practitioners.
Subjectivism reigns among modern American Christians. Otherwise orthodox believers who grew up being taught the memory verse, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105, KJV), even having grown up singing these words with Amy Grant, yea, and even the generations prior to ours, regularly turn from the objective divine guidance recorded for them in the Bible, praying for wisdom and acting on their “sanctified common sense,” and wait with Elijah to mystically hear God speak directly to them in the “still, small voice” to guide them in their daily decision-making process.
Nothing will do our systems better than to give them a good flushing out with some Bible-based objectivism. Read Dever’s post (linked above), and then go over to the blog of my buddy, Gage Browning’s church, Grace Community Presbyterian Church and read the helpful discussion of this same post in their post, “What To Do, What To Do . . . “
But first, here’s an excerpt from Dever’s sage counsel on seeking guidance from God’s will:
I do believe that God’s Spirit will sometimes lead us subjectively. So, for instance, I am choosing to spend my life here on Capitol Hill because my wife & I sensed in 1993 that that is what God wanted us to do. However, I realized then (and now) that I could be wrong about that supposition. Scripture is NEVER wrong.
There is also some interesting and relevant discussion about the general tendency of American Christianity toward gnostic-like mysticism in yesterday’s episode of the White Horse Inn to which I have linked in the sidebar. About twenty-one minutes into the program, host Michael Horton quotes the provocative words of a critic of American Christianity which we discount to our own discredit:
‘Whatever the stated doctrinal positions that stated American Evangelicalism shares with historic Christianity, Mormons and Southern Baptists call themselves Christians, but, like most Americans, they’re closer to ancient gnostics than to early Christians.
That’s right: The Daily Evangel. I thought this would not only be a clever imitation of Clark Kent’s newspaper, but that it would also be a daily reminder to those of you who believe in Christ-Centered Preaching, and Living the Cross-Centered Life, to “preach the gospel to yourself.”
I know that a few days ago, I set up RSS feeds to Reformation Theology and Out of Ur, to direct you to more solid Reformed reading and to keep your finger on the pulse of “The State of Evangelicalism.” Well, the idea took root in that condition, but now it is bearing fruit in a different form.
Just under the list of pages in the sidebar, you’ll notice the Daily Planet-like logo of the Daily Evangel, under which will follow the ESV Daily Bible Verse, “Reformed News & Views,” featuring the RSS feed from Reformation21, and “Evangelical News & Views,” featuring that of Christianity Today Magazine. I’m toying with politics and sports (don’t get excited, guys, sports to me is arguing theology–hint-hint!), but those sections haven’t gelled just yet, so, to mix my metaphors, “stay tuned.” In the meantime, I hope you benefit from the daily short Scripture reading and from keeping up with current events and “commentary” on the Reformed and Evangelical fronts in the headlines of the Daily Evangel–and most of all, don’t forget to preach the gospel to yourself everyday to strengthen your faith and sanctification!
Look at the bottom of my sidebar. I’ve added a couple of RSS Feed widgets. One links to the blog, “Reformation Theology,” where you can find some pretty good reading on Reformed theology, by folks more experienced at expounding it to you than I am. With this feed I’m attempting to, as they say, “light a light.”
The other feed, conversely, is where I, if you will, “curse the darkness.” It’s a link to “Out of Ur,” the blog of “Christian Leadership” Magazine, a subsidiary of “Christianity Today”. It may help us keep our finger on the pulse of the spiralling state of evangelicalism. What I want you to see specifically are the links to “Pagan Christianity” and “Is the Pastorate Pagan?” These deal with a new book called Pagan Christianity?, that has recently been published, co-written by Frank Viola and George Barna, author of Revolution. If you look for them after today, it probably won’t be in my sidebar anymore, but you’ll have to search the archives at “Out of Ur” for these articles.
Since the release of Barna’s book, I’ve been concerned with how addicted most churches seem to be on Barna’s polling of Christianity. Knowing what we now know from his book, Revolution, about his belief that the institutional church is irrelevant, and individuals need to rather “be the church” individually (which is an oxymoron), I fear that his statistical research is actually used to promote this ideal. I submit, either evangelicals who are faithful to God’s Word and historic orthodoxy ought to find other sources for such statistical information, or give up entirely the need to tell us from the pulpit what the latest statistics are that relate to whatever it is that is being preached about on any given Sunday.
So the rolling snowball of Barna’s “Revolution” is growing; with the help of Frank Viola, not only is church irrelevant, traditional forms of church ministry are pagan! Or, so they would have you believe.
Evangelicals are living in perilous times (2 Timothy 3:1-17).
The following is an excerpt of the concluding remarks of the White Horse Inn from yesterday’s program, “What Would Moses Do?” dated, Sunday, February 17, 2008 (see sidebar for link to program). About the modern evangelical tendency to do anything and everything but the one simple thing Jesus asked the church to do–feed his sheep the Word of God, which Peter would go on to write, “the Word of God is the Gospel which we preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25b)
Horton: Now, the Bible is God’s instruction book. And that’s how a lot of people talk about it. Or it’s the owner’s manual. Well, what is an owner’s manual? An owner’s manual is a guide you go to that tells you how to fix your car. Folks, that’s the wrong category. The Bible is not primarily God’s instruction book. It has instructions, and they need to be preached, but it is not primarily that. In fact, the Bible is silent about half of the things that preachers want to talk about on Sunday morning when it comes to the practical. I can get a lot more help from Susie Armand about my finances than Bill Hybels.
Jones: Or diets, or things of that nature.
Horton: Yeah! I don’t need a Christian diet—I need a Christian gospel if you’ve got that. Tell me something I can’t get from Oprah or Dr. Phil.
Jones: Preaching is feeding time for the whole family.
Horton: Boy, isn’t that the case?
Riddlebarger: It should be!
Horton: But according to the latest study by Willow Creek Community Church, they concluded because their most active members said they were dissatisfied with their church—they concluded, “We gotta wean people off of the church. What this tells us is, as you mature, you need the church less.” They didn’t take away from that, they actually were not providing the nutrients that those people needed, even though they actually said in their surveys, “Not deep enough Bible teaching or worship.” Willow Creek concluded from that, “Yep. We’ve gotta make people ‘self-feeders.’” We’ve got to make it where they don’t have to depend on the church, whereas, Jesus said, “Peter, before I go—I know it’s you—I know you can’t handle a lot—I’m asking you to do one thing and do it well. Feed my sheep.”
The one thing Jesus asked the church to do. And Willow Creek says we need to teach people to become self-feeders. That is, at the end of the day, what moralistic therapeutic deism does. When you preach the law as gospel, people can find their own good advice on the internet.