If you went into the average gospel-teaching, evangelical church would you get the impression that it is predominately feminine? Is there a lack of manhood in the church? According to Pastor Mark Driscoll there is and frankly, I’m inclined to agree…
Archive for April 30, 2010
John Newton is one of the most unappreciated persons in the history of evangelical Christianity. Yes he authored Amazing Grace, the most beloved hymn in the history of hymnody, but he also was a consummate pastor and practical theologian. Over his 24 years of ministry, Newton pastored two churches; Olney in Buckhinghamshire, and St. Mary Woolnoth in London.
Newton was not without a sense of humor. A few anecdotes still exist of how he would make light of lifes circumstances. One such anecdote concerns a time when he was taken by a great sneeze and sneezed on a fly that had landed on his sundial Newton wrote:
“…Now if this fly keeps a diary, he’ll write Today a terrible earthquake.”
On another occasion, Newton was asked how he slept to which he replied:
“I’m like a beef-steak—once turned, and I am done.”
Newton also gave a humorous but revealing warning to the young man who was to replace him when he relocated from Olney to London. The old pastor said:
“Methinks I see you sitting in my old corner in the study. I will warn you of one thing. That room—(do not start)—used to be haunted. I cannot say I ever saw or heard anything with my bodily organs, but I have been sure there were evil spirits in it and very near me—a spirit of folly, a spirit of indolence, a spirit of unbelief, and many others—indeed their name is legion. But why should I say they are in your study when they followed me to London, and still pester me here?”
Newton’s practical approach to theology and teaching can be observed in his admonition to fathers to lead their families in worship. He didn’t set the bar unduly high but gave such realistic expectations as the following:
“I think, with you, that it is very expedient and proper that reading a portion of the word of God should be ordinarily a part of our family worship; so likewise to sing a hymn or psalm, or part of one, at discretion; provided there are some people in the family who have enough of a musical ear and voice to conduct the singing in a tolerable manner: otherwise, perhaps, it may be better omitted … If you read and sing, as well as pray, care should be taken that the combined services do not run into an inconvenient length.”
It would do well to remember Newton and his life long legacy of faithfulness to the gospel. His wisdom and encouragements inspired some of the greatest men of his day including the great poet and hymnist William Cowper, and the abolitionist and gospel champion William Wilberforce. What mighty work of grace might be done by your faithful adherence to the gospel and service to those whom God has placed in your life? Play the part of Newton today and act on God’s grace to be a light of the gospel in your community. If you are concerned about your many failures disqualifying your from serving, don’t. Newton didn’t:
“We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule even our mistakes to His glory and our own advantage”
I need your help to reduce abortions. I am giving you a short window of opportunity to help reduce abortions in a needy area of North Carolina. According to one study by Focus on the Family, 84% of women decide against an abortion after seeing an ultrasound of their baby. Ultrasounds save lives and we need more of them in crisis pregnancy centers.
I am participating in an event for the Pregnancy Support Services Center of Wake Forest, North Carolina. It is called the Walk For Life 2010. I will be walking to raise money for a mobile ultrasound unit. This unit will travel to remote areas of eastern and north eastern North Carolina, helping less fortunate women make informed decisions and helping to prevent them from having abortions.
If you have ever wanted to help but were unsure what you could do, here is your chance. All you have to do is click here: Sponsor Me, and donate as much or as little as you can. The website is secure and you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you have invested in the life of a child that might otherwise be aborted. Time is of the essence. I only have until this evening to raise funds. Please don’t wait.
Our founding fathers invariably were theists. They all believed in the Judeo-Christian God even if many of them never professed faith in Jesus Christ. To say that this country was not founded in the respect of and desire to pray to God is to be woefully misinformed. Time does not permit me to lay before you the multitudinous quotes of the founding fathers extolling the virtues of prayer and the danger of its neglect.
The ruling of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison, Wisconsin that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional strikes me as very odd. She cites the basis for her decision resting on her interpretation of the First Amendment that states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
I am confident that the good judge knows more of and understands the Constitution much better than I, but I don’t understand how having a national day of prayer establishes a religion. Her ruling seems faulty for a number of reasons two of which I will share. First, reading the notes of the founders and in particular Thomas Jefferson’s explanation of the first amendment in a letter sent to the Danbury Baptists clearly shows that this prohibition is against congress establishing a state church. The concern was about sectarianism something that this national day of prayer stays away from altogether. Second, almost every recognized form of religion believes in some kind of prayer. Prayer is just as common to the Muslim as it is to the Christian as it is to the Zoroastrian. Prayer in and of itself is in no way sectarian and doesn’t establish one religion over another.
Judge Crabb’s ruling gives fodder to those who would argue that she is in fact respecting the establishment of the religion of secularism. The religiosity of secularism can be easily documented according to the activities, writings, and attitudes of its adherents. Whereas prayer is not unique to any religion, avoidance of prayer is unique to secularism. So by ruling against the national day of prayer is she violating the wisdom and the very Constitution that she is attempting to uphold?
In the end, Christians should not look to government to sanction or censure prayer. We don’t get our rights from the government. Our rights come from God. The founders knew this and they built this thinking into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Its sad to see that some justices like Justice Crabb seem to think of nationally sponsored prayer as unconstitutional but that in no way should hinder the fervency and frequency of our prayers. It should in fact increase it.