Worship Seminar

30 06 2008

To carry on from my post about worshiping in spirit and in truth, I attended a worship seminar last Saturday. It was hosted by Donna Dinsmore of Regent University in America. The same seminary that has such professors such as J.I. Packer, Gordon Fee and Eugene Peterson.
To be honest I think it was more of a forum than a seminar, either way I enjoyed it immensely.
It made me think really hard about a lot of ways I had been approaching Worship. I’m not doubting my own or other peoples sincerity in worshiping God, but I think sometimes we approach worship in ways that are not helpful for us, nor edifying for the body.

I’ll give you a quick breakdown of what happened on the day. It started off with Donna introducing herself and giving us a quick breakdown of her story. Her first day of leading worship at Chapel in Regent would have been very scary to say the least. Then she asked us to get out our handouts we had been given when we arrived. It was a liturgy, and if you’re anything like me that word has a lot of bad connetations. However I was quickly reassured by Donna that in fact every church has a “liturgy” and that it refers to the way your church does things. (E.g. The order of service, style of music, confessions, call and response etc). We started out by reading a confession, and different bits were read out by different people in the audience. It was not a confession in the sense that we had to confess how bad we had been that week, but rather we confessed things from scripture over our lives. She had written the confession in a way that made it very personal, as if we were the person writing the scripture crying out to God, expressing the Joy of His love, telling others of His Character and so forth.

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A system is what a system does

27 06 2008

For me a lot of stuff changed in 2007. I was sitting in a Church service with my then girlfriend (and now wife) and listening to a guest speaker. This wasn’t my usual church I was just visiting.
The speaker was David Peters. His wife was a quadriplegic, and they toured the country together sharing their experiences and how it had impacted their faith. It was a powerful testimony to everyone who attended. The power I believe came in the fact that they were so open and honest with the struggles they had. They asked the same questions everyone else asked, yet somehow they did not waiver in their faith in God. I was amazed. But there was another element that I had overlooked. David Peters claimed to have a prophetic gift.

In the middle of his sermon he stopped and pointed directly at me (it was a small service of around 100 people) and said something I will never forget. “You will become radicalised for God and it will start with His word” – I was a bit shocked. I had never really been singled out in a service like that.
I’d had prophecies over my life before but nothing like this. The words may seem simple but they have echoed in my mind everytime I pick up the Bible or a theology book.

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Objections…(continued)

24 06 2008

Yesterday someone from a forum on another website posted a comment on my post entitled “OBJECTIONS”. They were such good questions that I thought I should answer them in a post for the benefit of everyone. While I have called this post Objections…(continued)  it isnt an objection in the negative sense as you will see from the second question.

Q. “1st, do you make a distinction between our pre-salvation situation as dead in sin and thereby unable to even accept the gift we are freely given without God graciously doing even that in us on the one hand, and “free will” in day to day life on the other hand? In other words, does Calvinist soteriology also require some sort of Christian fatalism/determinalism? If so isnt that very hard to fit into the Biblical narritive?”

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Objections

23 06 2008

That debate I had on Saturday motivated me to form more cohesive arguements for position among other things. My wife suggested I follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to to talking. Listen 80% of the time and talk 20%. I’m not gonna get into that too much now because I want to talk about some objections raised by my position on the atonement and eternal security. I’m very well aware that I have not posted the final point in the five points of Calvinism (or Doctrines of Grace as they should be called)  “Perseverance of the saints”. Please be assured I will get to this in due time. I want to spend a bit more time revising my posts of the previous 4 points before attempting the fifth one. My heart tells me I havent given full credit to the other positions in the arguement and this needs to be addressed. I feel that I will not win anyone over the Calvinist side if we engage in “I am right and you are wrong” debates. I think the postmodern generation does not respond to well to that kind of discussion. However I do feel that certain objections should be met as best as possible, and if you are going to hold to either side of the arguement you should be able to give cohesive biblical reasons for your position.

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Debating

20 06 2008

Last night my wife and I went to Wildfire Churascaria. It was for a friends 21st. We had a great time and as the night wore on we started a good ol Christian discussion. Lucky for us this was not the kind of debate where someone gets so dogmatic about their position that they end up attacking the opposing sides character in a last ditch effort to beef up their position. It was a lot more civilised. If anything I could say the only thing I was really dissappointed in was that I didn’t listen enough and spent too much time talking rather than trying to understand their position.

Such is the case for many people, and this was certainly true of how I had come to learn theology. But a few things became crystal clear for me last night. One is that we need each other even if we hold opposing views. The reason is that inspite of how well you might know your position you cannot possibly know everything. Hearing arguements from someone on the otherside of your position will always challenge you to go deeper and explore more. We need each othe because doing theology in community is the only way we truly learn. Let me give you an illustratrion I came accross in my theology course (thanks Michael Patton). The bank has a particular way of trying to find forged notes. In training their employees to find them they spend countless hours studying the original and never look at any forgeries. That way when the forgery comes along they can spot it a mile away. Whats the problem with that? Well first off banks certainly don’t do that and very regularly look at the latest forgeries and forgery techniques. Secondly it implies that someone can know something perfectly.

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Ouch – My Brain Hurts !

20 06 2008

Learning theology is dangerous. One thing you’re learning something new, and the next thing the truth is transforming your life, and in ways you’ve never expected.

Over the past few months i have been doing a lot of theological work. I have been reading “New Testament and the People of God” by N T Wright (a dense academic work on 1st Century Judaism), Spurgeons Sermons Metropolitan Tabernacle Vol 36, Systematic Theology by Berkhof, Living Free in Christ by Neil T AndersonSymphony of Scripture by Mark Strom.  I’ve also committed to reading the Bible in a year, and doing an online theology programme equivalent to a semminary level courses. There are a lot of additional articles to read alongside these lectures. I’ve also started reading Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, and just bought Mark Stroms Reframing Paul and Gorden Fee’s How to read the Bible for all its worth. While I’ve been doing this I’ve been listening to lectures by Wayne Grudem on Christian Essentials,  Covenenant Semminary’s Ancient Church History, and Marks Strom’s Symphony of Scripture Wineskin lectures. I’ve also been engaged in writing a blog about my experiences in theology and trying to articulate what I’ve learnt. While maintaining my own blog I have been hard at work posing questions to others and debating with fellow lay theologians on the a series of Forums. I’ve also been leading a home group bible study on Tuesday nights, although luckily this has been shared with one other guy. I dont even want to mention the amount of internet reviews and critical essays written on certain positions.

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Reformed Theology – Irresistible Grace (Part 5 of 6)

16 06 2008

I have a friend at my church who told me about a recent trip he took to America. The most interesting thing of the trip for him was not the places and attractions but the people. He told me of one experience of which I will never forget. He met a man who was car fanatic. He drove a big old gas guzler, the kind with Whaleskin Hubcabs and Seal skin steering wheel, and when he was asked about the fiel consumption he responded “This car gets 4 miles to the gallon but thats the price of freedom, God bless America.”

We have a strange concept of what real freedom is in this world. But one thing is for sure is that we all love the idea of being free, and being the ones in control of our own destiny. We don’t like people telling us what to do, think or how to act. For that very reason I think we detest the idea that God’s grace can be irresistable. It is foolishness to most people, and some consider it an offense to reason.
But in reality if we hold to the doctrine of Total Inability then this doctrine is not an offense but one of the most wonderful doctrines of the Bible.

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