The Gospel Coalition takes a look at Evangelical Spirituality, this time with an article titled Why Holiness Must Be Personal. It, and the whole series, are must-reads, the kind of series which makes TGC a must-read blog as a whole.
'So Christians are not those who shadow box with sin. But through prayer, Bible reading, the power of the Spirit, hearing the gospel preached, and believing in the gospel we land a punch. “Any idea,” Packer puts it, “of getting beyond conflict, outward or inward, in our pursuit of holiness in this world is an escapist dream.” We are a people not enslaved to sin, but we labor to overcome it. And if we are not laboring to overcome sin, we will be consumed by it. If we are not laboring to find joy in Christ, we will be grasping for joy in goods that only deplete us of joy.'
'Traditionally denominations have funded church plants. They do this by providing a.) a full time salary plus benefits for three years, and b.) start-up funds for equipment, building rental etc. to a well-assessed church planter (read entrepreneur). The goal is a self-sustaining church in three years paying its own pastor’s salary and assorted sundry costs of running the church’s services. The costs are astounding, perhaps 300-400,000 dollars or more to get a church plant going. Today, in the changing environments of N American post Christendom, this approach to church planting is insane.'
'Today the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) announces that it is now available on iTunes U, a dedicated area of the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) that offers free audio and video content from leading educational institutions. The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has always been committed to helping others understand the reliability of our New Testaments, the history of translations, the study of the text, and significant figures who have made this possible.'
'As a creed recited in many churches every Sunday, many Christians are very familiar with its contents. While significant as an historical document, the Nicene Creed encapsulates the entire good news of the gospel into a short and rich summary. It describes the Triune God, who turns toward humanity in the person of Jesus, the God-man who suffered, died, rose again, and ascended. Additonally, the Creed goes on to express our future hope, which is a motivating factor in the Christian life.'
'Though we are paralyzed in sin', says Seattle Pastor Mark Driscoll, 'Jesus drafts us just the way we are'. It's a good devotional read about how God loves us enough to choose sinners to be part of His team.
'The Bible also teaches us that despite the fact that we are spiritually paralyzed and unable to contribute anything to God’s team, and in fact are opponents of God, he still loves us and wants us on his team. So, he “drafts” us. Biblically, words like “choose,” “predestine,” “elect,” and the like refer to this loving and gracious act of God to make sinners saints. Subsequently, the latest MLB draft included an echo of how God’s team, called the church, has been put together.'