November 22, 2005

Is "Balance" Biblical?

I feel that as of late I have been blogging off of my 'soap box.' However, I must continue. I have many more stones to throw from atop my perch. Today's topic is balance. I must say the idea isn't all mine as far as originality of topic.

A professor of mine said, and I quote, "Truth can often be found in the middle of two extremes." Quotes like that make my ears perk up as I fasten my ever-critical (denotatively) 'thinking cap.' So I thought, "Is there 'truth' in that statement. Is 'truth' found in the middle?"

This statement immediately caused me to remember a conversation I had with a certain person. We were discussing some controversial phrases in a song about God's choosing and knowing (relationship, not mental knowledge) us as His elect before the world was framed. The comment was made: "Yeh, we changed a few words to make the text more balanced, even though the words [we changed] were straight from Bible text." Immediately, I made a mental note to come back to this the next time I was alone and would have time to think about it in light of Scripture.

Because of our post-modern society (I realize we may be beginning a new era), we must firmly establish and unflaggingly affirm what the source of 'truth' is. Without question, we acknowledge mentally that God's Word is the exclusive source of truth. With this being said, what then is balance within a doctrinal view? Now, I must say that I realize where Scripture is not crystal clear we must not be exactly dogmatic. However, if being balanced is taking two extreme views, finding their mean and declaring that as 'truth,' I must waive a red flag for caution's sake. In history, you do not find reformers who bisected the circle of a doctrinal controversy, carefully avoiding both extremes, and calling that 'truth.' We cannot be afraid that someone within a movement will 'separate' from us if we hold a certain Biblical view.

The issue of the process of salvation quickly comes to mind. Two 'fightin'-fundies' would not dare mention that they might be somewhat 'calvinistic' because that's not who they are. I concede that choosing the ultimate extreme may not be the answer. But we cannot just avoid a 'position' because of the ramifications of being labeled a "_____." Be biblical, not balanced. Where Scripture is clear (i know that is a hard one!) be dogmatic. But if Scripture SEEMS to go both ways some times, do not fall into the "balanced" trap. An infinite God has 'secrets' beyond our understanding.

After much rambling, search the Scriptures! Do not hold a view because you are a _____. Do not 'believe' something because someone else does. It behooves us to have our theology firmly established in Scripture, and not simply believing what another in the past believed. God's Word is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. What God wants us to know is found therein. Do not create a hodgepodge of doctrine by choosing the 'middle.'

November 17, 2005

What do I do with THIS?

Recently there was an excellent message preached in chapel at a 'certain' Bible college regarding the virgin birth of Christ. After carefully expositing Matthew 1 (the latter portion of the chapter) implications were given as to what that had to do with salvation. In the next days, I was discussing the sermon with some friends, and one of them said: "I thought it was a great message, but I just thought it lacked application."

I was amazed at the statement. Yet I think it represents a problem that is rampant. We have a major problem when our preaching is application-centered and not God-centered. To the above statement by my friend I would reply, "Your application is 'Praise God for what He has done to provide salvation for you.'" I don't think a sermon has to include a 'get out of your chair and perform this certain action' to be applicational.

If all we seek out of Scripture is rules for life, we are simply missing the point. We must preach God, His character and our response to it. But the key is His character. We must center our attention on Him, not us. OK, back to the aforementioned message. What a great privilege to worship God and praise His name because of His provision of our salvation. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised!

November 15, 2005

Du(k)e Return to the Top

After conceding a year to the nemesis down the road a few miles, the best has risen to the top of the charts again. And no, I am not talking about the controversy between the local Fundamentalist and 'New Evangelical' churches in the area. What I am referring to is the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team. (You may quit reading if you have a conviction about the morality of the mascots of sports teams.) After a disappointing, yet understandable Sweet 16 loss to Michigan St. in last year's NCAA tourney, Duke is again ranked pre-season #1 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. This is almost undebatable (sorry Big X fans) considering the return of National Player of the Year and 1st Team ACC guard J.J. Redick and the Defensive Player of the Year Shelden Williams, aptly nicknamed "the Landlord."

On top of two preseason All-Americas (Redick, Williams), Duke boasts the #1 recruiting class for 2005. Three of the six incorming freshmen were McDonald's All-Americas of 2004. They are Josh McRoberts, Greg Paulus, and Eric Boateng. They should provide much depth and energy to an already star-studded line-up. Although McRoberts may only be a one-year player, the others should have lasting impact.

To have had an "off-season," according to critics, and to still win the ACC tournament, have the National Player and Defensive Player of the Year, and make it to the Sweet 16, they didn't do too badly. With the best active NCAA coach and arguably the best starting 5 in the nation, Duke is well on their way to Coach K's 11th final four, and (cross my fingers) his 4th National Championship.