Catching Moondrops

December 25, 2010 - Leave a Response

Catching Moondrops is a sweet and engaging story by Jennifer Erin
Valent. It is all-around well written, with believable characters who
make you laugh, smile, sigh and cringe as you sympathize with their
escapades. Although this is the third book Ms. Valent has written
about these characters, Catching Moondrops easily stands on it’s own -I had not read the previous books and never felt like I was missing out on inside jokes between the characters and the author as often happens with book series. In fact, I didn’t even realize that this was a book series until I was about halfway through and I decided to read the author’s bio on the back cover. I recommend this book whole-heartedly, and am looking forward to reading more from Jennifer Erin Valent.

(Angela)

George Strait Chords

August 17, 2010 - Leave a Response
She Told Me So by George Strait
Capo 6 for original key (Capo 1 alt in parenthesis)

Somewhat random, I know, but I felt like I should publish these chords since I felt like figuring them out for myself and I couldn’t find them anywhere online. If you’re just here for the chords, feel free to check out the rest of my blog. God bless!

G (C)                                  C (F)                              G (C)
I’m her world and she revolves around me
G (C)        D (G)                                                               G (C)
Just being close to me makes her love grow
G (C)                                                  C (F)                         G (C)
Each night she thanks God for the day she found me
G (C)                     A (D)                                                              D (G)
Why, when she came home this morning, she told me so

D (G)                   G (C)                         C (F)                   G (C)
And there’s roses blooming in the Arctic Circle
G (C)                       A (D)                D (G)
Icebergs in the Gulf of Mexico
D (G)                   G (C)                        C (F)
And there’s not one star in Heaven
C (F)       G (C)                     C (F)
Or a sunrise every morning
G (C)                 D (G)                       G (C)
I’d believe it if she told me so

I know people say she has a lover
Referring to this guy she’s come to know
Well, they’re just friends, she loves him like a brother
And she’s never even kissed him, she told me so

And there’s roses blooming in the Arctic Circle
Icebergs in the Gulf of Mexico
And there’s not one star in Heaven
And 8 don’t follow 7
I’d believe it if she told me so

Feel free to post these chords on any website, but please post a link back to this page (http://davenporter.wordpress.com)

Fatal Convictions Review

July 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

Fatal Convictions by Randy Singer
Review by Benjamin and Angela Davenport

Fatal Convictions was a decent read and kept me on my toes until the very end. The “scenes” are very short, more like a modern television show or movie than a classical novel or play. It surprised me to be finishing chapters in only a few pages, but I imagine the short chapters were meant to set a quick pace and should be well received by a young, modern audience who is accustomed to the short scenes and used to obtaining information from quick moments.

The author also wrote from the vantage point of just about every character in the story. At times the perspective-changing felt a little tedious. It was not because they were poorly written, but because it often took a long time for these characters and their actions to connect and make sense in context of the larger plot. Nevertheless, nearing the end of the story there were several moments with huge payoffs and plot twists as pieces came together and I vividly remember squirming in my seat.

The main character, Alex Madison, is likeable but seems like the author is writing about his dream self rather than a real person. Although he is created as a well-rounded character, with multiple interests like a real human being, at times this doesn’t work towards his advantage. While it is believable that a person could balance the interests of surfing, law, and pastoring a church (and I‘m guessing that the author does so), for a literary character it doesn’t always come across as believable.

At the beginning I had a very hard time believing in Alex’s vocation as a pastor. It seemed like it was just tacked on for irony. Later the explanation about why he was a pastor helped only a little. The ending/epilogue felt very abrupt, and I didn’t feel that the reader was given enough reason throughout the book or the ending itself to believe it.

Perhaps my issues with Alex come from the fact that he acts sinfully and the author doesn’t seem to address any concern over Alex’s actions to the reader. Alex’s noncommittal, unequally-yoked relationship is something that I’ve seen friends struggle with and the author failed to Biblically address the problem. In fact, Alex was a pretty terrible excuse for a pastor with his lack of concern for sharing the gospel with the lost, and yet the author didn’t even seem to realize that there was a problem, let alone convey that message to his readers.

Aside from the watered-down Christianity this book portrays, it’s not a bad read and the nature of its content is appropriate for a Christian audience.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their blog review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

July 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

The first book I read this summer was a title by John Maxwell called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. In this book, Maxwell set out to explain how it is possible to connect with people. Unfortunately, I must say that he did a poor job of connecting with his audience.

In terms of being a professionally done book, this title didn’t disappoint. It had all of the anecdotes that you’re looking for that teach you how to apply a concept to real life. It was fairly well written (though it seems clear to me that Maxwell is a better speaker than writer). So what was wrong with it? Maxwell didn’t connect with me. I don’t know how much you can connect with a person through writing, but other authors seem to captivate me, so I don’t understand why a book about connecting failed to connect with me.

The principles in the book are good, and that’s why I’d give this book a 3/5 rating. I would recommend it to people who are familiar with Maxwell and like his writing, but if you’re not familiar with him, I don’t think that this would be a good introduction, and I don’t think it’s near the potential that he’s got. I’ll have to read another one of his books before passing judgment.

Jesus Manifesto: Review

May 31, 2010 - Leave a Response

Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have thoughtfully written their newest book, Jesus Manifesto, in an “ancient devotional tone,” seeking to “show the difference between invoking the name of Jesus in vain and using His name in a way that reveals His beauty and honors His person” (introduction, p. xx). They explained that the purpose of the book is to immerse Christians in the idea that “[we] are meant to be living epistles—that is, ‘Jesus Manifestos’—in our world. Cities set on a hill. Salt and light” (introduction, p. xxi). I will review the book based on these quotes because they represent the authors’ purpose in writing it.

First, as a Reformed believer, I consider the gospel and theology to be very important, and I can understand why many of my brothers with a more Calvinistic or even just “gospel-centered” viewpoint may have trouble with the way Jesus Manifesto seems to diminish the importance of doctrine. For example, on page 18 Sweet and Viola ask, “What is it that will change the course of Christianity, putting it back on course?” and on page 19 answer, “It’s not the doctrine of the person of Jesus. It’s an inward revelation of Christ to our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Well, it’s certainly true the Christology alone does not constitute the fullness of what it means “to know Christ” (John 17:3), but can anyone really deny that Christianity needs a reformation of doctrine? Can anyone deny that better understanding the doctrine of Christ will greatly benefit the church? The idea that we should throw aside everything else to focus on Christ is prevalent throughout the book, but Leonard and Sweet don’t make it clear what we should do instead of focusing on doctrine.

In fact, I think that what Sweet and Viola are trying to do is to call the church back to a Christian understanding of Christ. In their concluding chapter, on page 171, they say that “Only a recovery of the greatness, supremacy, sovereignty, brilliance, and “allness” of Christ will lead us to restoration and even revival. The wonder of Jesus as “all in all” is the only hope for igniting the flame of a new reformation and resuscitating a church that’s presently on life support.” That sounds like doctrine to me! That sounds like Christology! It seems kind of sad to me that Sweet and Viola themselves seem to divorce Christ and Christ’s gospel when they say, “The apostles’ message throughout Acts is not the plan of salvation… It is a person—Christ” (p. 12).

Still, while some people didn’t appreciate the exclusion of important themes like Christ as Judge and Christ as Savior from Hell and the gospel (which were mentioned but not thoroughly), I think that the book accomplished the purpose of its authors. Their insight has brought me to more deeply desire to glorify Christ, and to be a “living epistle” of Christ. The church is deeply in need of this insight—and more importantly, to become completely sold out for Jesus Christ in every way—most importantly, in the preaching of the risen Christ to the world through His gospel to the praise of His glory!

I will end this review with an admonition to be careful as you read this book. There is no need to get bitter against doctrine simply because many Christians mishandle it and thump people around with their Bibles, just as there is no need to get bitter against the Holy Spirit even though many Christians misunderstand His gifts! Remember Paul’s words to the Galatians: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7) If you hold to the one true gospel of the cross and the empty tomb, you will find this book more helpful than not. This book is best read with a Bible right next to it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jesus Manifesto: Introduction

May 31, 2010 - Leave a Response

I’ve been working my way through Leonard Sweet and Paul Viola’s book Jesus Manifesto. So far, I’ve read a lot of great insight calling the church back to seeing and savoring the sovereignty and supremacy of Jesus Christ. I’ll be posting some of my favorite quotes as I continue.

From the introduction, pages xix-xx, Sweet and Viola lay out their purpose for the book:

In the following pages, we hope to bring your vision and understanding of Jesus Christ into sharper focus. We hope to present our Lord to you in such a way that you cannot help but love Him, that you cannot help but fall at His feet and give Him your undying devotion–not out of guilt, duty, obligation, or fear, but because your heart has been captured by a glimpse of the greatest person this world has ever known, Jesus the Christ. Out of such love flows everything else.

In contrast, we do not echo or condone the cheap, happy-clappy “Jesus talk” that so often creeps into religious conversations today. We believe that there are many ways to take Jesus’ name “in vain,” and one of them is by invoking the name of Jesus without really knowing Him. How embarrassed our Lord must be in hearing His name used as a sort of amulet, magic spell, or religious slogan.

We have purposely written this book in an ancient devotional tone–one we feel is lacking in the church today. By it, we wish to show the difference between invoking the name of Jesus in vain and using His name in a way that reveals His beauty and honors His person. In short, we believe that Jesus has gotten shortchanged today, and we would like to see that trend reversed.

I really admire what Sweet and Viola are trying to do with this book. It is so true that Christianity today needs a reformed, renewed, revitalized understanding and “knowing” of Jesus. This book has really been convicting me personally to pursue Christ more fervently, that I may live in His life, which is of infinite worth.

On page xxi of the introduction, Sweet and Viola sum up their reason for writing this book:

You and I are meant to be living epistles–that is, “Jesus Manifestos”–in our world. Cities set on a hill. Salt and light. That’s why we wrote this book.

Amen — may we all continue to grow together in magnifying the name of our Lord, the Mighty God Jesus Christ!

LOST in the Gospel

May 24, 2010 - Leave a Response

Fair warning: SPOILERS!

The finale of LOST is clearly a big topic of interest to the millions of faithful fans who have been following it since 2004, or who have picked it up sometime along the way. The show has always represented the concept of a journey by faith into an unknown world, and many people have seen clear ties between LOST, spirituality and faith. Church planter Chris Seay wrote a book published in 2009 called The Gospel According to Lost. I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure whether or not it’s a good book or not, or whether it’s got a good or inadequate presentation of the gospel, or if it was simply written to make a pretty penny off of Christians who also happen to be LOST fans, but there is no question as to whether ideas about faith can be drawn from LOST if you can write an over 200-page book relating the two.

If spirituality is what you’re looking for in LOST, the finale didn’t disappoint. Michael Sheridan of the NY Daily News reported:

In a season that was replete with iconic religious and spiritual references, the show’s main character, Jack Shephard, found himself at the center of the finale. His “hero’s journey” clearly took on a Jesus Christ-like arc as he accepted his destiny and ultimately sacrificed himself.

In his final moment with Hurley, Jack takes water and shares it with him, in a fashion similar to the Holy Communion. Shephard is also wounded in the side of his torso, with a wound not dissimilar to the one Christ suffered while on the cross. (Michael Sheridan)

True that. The LOST finale did try to make a “Jesus-figure” out of Jack. And I suppose it worked. The idea of “loving your neighbor” through self-sacrifice is a popular one in our age where those who practice radical social justice– or even better, social mercy are to be praised. And I think that we as Christians should think that’s great if LOST’s analogy somehow encourages someone to either glorify Christ more or point someone to the gospel, but in all honesty I think that Jack is a horrible representation of Jesus in many ways, and I think that any Christian would agree with me. No, I don’t think an analogy has to be perfect to be valid, but I think that LOST’s attempt to sum up Jesus’ work in Jack falls far short. I mean, what did Jack have to do? Cover up a hole from which hell was coming into the island? Jesus Christ conquered sin and death. I think that what He has done is so much more glorious than what Jack did in saving the island. I mean, who really cares about an island, anyway, even if it’s got all sorts of mystical significance? Regardless, LOST’s definitely wasn’t trying to be John Bunyan-esque. They were writing for American pluralism. And Christians can use LOST as a conversation starter for the gospel just as they can use almost any other pagan show as an example.

Jack and Christian Shephard in front of an interesting stained-glass window. LOST suggests a pluralistic, universalistic, Americanized worldview of unquestioning tolerance and the ultimate goodness of mankind.

I suppose I see a lot of dangers in trying to align LOST so closely with the gospel. For one thing, at the end it appears that everyone was saved — except for he who was the epitome of evil. The problem with this is that there was no justice or judgment. No one paid for anyones’ sins. No one had to put faith in anything. They just had to get through “purgatory” (aka flash-sideways) and “remember”. It seemed that LOST suggested that deep down in their hearts, everyone is good–or at least will be made good and will make it to the afterlife. That’s clearly not the case. To be made good, you must be born again and clothed in Christ’s righteousness, and there is nothing good in our human nature.

I suppose that some of the things that happened in the “flash-sideways” could be loosely tied to what Christians do. Those who were responsible for making the rest “remember” could be loosely tied to the sharing of the gospel, and when they “remembered” that could be considered them being brought to faith. But I find that a bit of a stretch. God tells us that in order to be saved, we need to repent and believe in Jesus for salvation. Jesus gave us Christians a mandate to make disciples. We are to, in essence, preach to the dead and trust God to make people alive.

Maybe someone else will draw something else that’s relevant to the Christian faith from that concept, but I can’t imagine what it is (unless you’re Catholic). If you have any good theological thoughts, though, feel free to comment or link me to your writing.

I suppose that I’ll end with some remarks from Gary Susman:

As for where the souls were going next, into the golden light behind the door Christian opened, was that heaven? Maybe, but ‘Lost’ wasn’t interested in any particular religion’s cosmology. That was evident from the ecumenical nature of the stained-glass window, which included emblems from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. There’s an afterlife waiting for everyone, as long as they have faith and are willing to let go. (Gary Susman)

In summary, I think that LOST spirituality would be very relevant to liberal and emergent theologians, or to proponents of relativism, but has little value (aside from great entertainment, of course!) to the serious Christian. You’d better stick with your Bible — the narrative of the gospel is SO much more epic than LOST! I did enjoy the show and the finale apparently so much that I actually took the time to blog on it! I’d love to hear other thoughts on it, however, because I’m sure that some people disagree with me and I’m hoping that they’ve got some great things to share — especially on the question of what was the point of the conclusion? What is the ultimate idea that LOST is supposed to get across to us? Let me know if you have any thoughts. The end.

For further reading:

Michael Sheridan, NY Daily News Article.
Gary Susman, TV Squad
The Gospel According to Lost

What is a conversation?

May 20, 2010 - Leave a Response

Recently I have been thinking a lot about what it means to have an ongoing conversation. I am not talking about someone giving a monologue and shoving a philosophy or a theology down your throat, but I am talking about where people willingly engage each other honestly. Let me be quick to say that I am still trying to figure this out myself. I do not presume to have all the answers.

This post is mostly spurred by a recent theology class that was hosted by a campus ministry that I was involved in at my university. The purpose of the class was to encourage everyone to support an egalitarian understanding of mens’ and womens’ roles within the church. It was not designed to elicit conversation, but rather was designed that the egalitarian view be ballasted partially by presenting the egalitarian view, and partially by inaccurately representing the so-called “restrictive” view of complementarianism as chauvinism. In addition to being presented a gross distortion of their own view, the many people involved in this campus ministry who hold a complementarian view were told that they need to read “both sides” of the issue before coming to any conclusions.

Unfortunately, the ministry demonstrated that they absolutely have no clear understanding of Biblical complementarianism, and my response is that while I will read some of the materials they recommended because I want to fairly represent them, they should also study until they can accurately articulate the position of people such as Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Kevin DeYoung, Mark Driscoll, as well as complementarian pastors within the churches of the area such as Pete Williamson with whom they could have had a personal dialogue. I am convinced that if any of the theologians I mentioned heard the terrible misrepresentation of their position, they would be angry with this campus ministry–and rightfully so.

All this is simply to say that if you want to have a conversation or a debate about something, you need to know something about the beliefs of those who disagree with you. It is an honorable practice to represent the best of your opponents. It only serves to show the weakness of your argument if you have to defame those holding a different view, giving a distorted representation of what they believe in order to convince others of your position.

One of the most telling statements about whether this group is actually interested in having a conversation was when the presenter responded to a question about what someone should do if they don’t agree with this ministry on this issue. The response? “Don’t be a thorn in our side”. We can see that this ministry has come to a conclusion on this matter while either being unwilling to accurately represent the other perspective or while being ignorant of the other perspective. Because I know and love many people who are part of this ministry, I will assume it is the latter.

I was very pleased to hear that some who at this point actually intend to remain as leaders in this ministry will continue to speak openly against what they believe is an unbiblical practice so long as the ministry doesn’t remove them, and it is to them, who I believe are willing to have a genuine conversation, that I address this final paragraph:

In having a conversation, we must not dismiss a philosophy simply because its proponents are unwilling to engage in fairly representing the other side. We must not make their same error. We must study the best of both sides, prayerfully examining the Scriptures, and let the Holy Spirit bring us to a conclusion. May He guide you into all truth, as He has promised to do. (John 16:13)

The Problem with Telling People that God Loves Them

April 19, 2010 - One Response

As I was listening to The Narrow Mind today, pastor Gene played a video that pertains to the issue of God’s love. Since it fit so well with this series that I proposed a couple weeks ago (and have apparently had some trouble following through with), I thought I would post and comment on it. My comments will only cover the first minute of the video.

“Hi. I’m God. I’m the one that’s loved you all along, and my love is unconditional.”

Is God’s love unconditional? Let’s try and figure this out.

In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus says

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

This verse shows not only that God loves the unrighteous just as He loves the righteous, but it also explains the specific way that He loves the unrighteous exactly as He loves the righteous. God permits the evil to live on alongside the good, reaping the benefits of light and natural irrigation. This is God’s common grace (and love) to everyone, both the Christian who is made righteous by the atonement of Christ by grace through faith as well as the sinner who will remain in his rebellion against God to Judgment Day. God shows all His creation this common grace which comes from his unconditional love for all. (cf. Matt 13:24-30)

In Romans 5, Paul explains that

while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

As Jesus did, Paul also presents a case of God loving unconditionally. God chose to love certain sinners by sending Christ to atone for their sins by dying on a cross. These sinners had nothing going for them–they were ungodly, rebellious, refusing to seek God; fully depraved, just as Paul explained in Romans 3. And so every Christian who no longer has to suffer the just penalty for rebelling against God has experienced God’s unconditional love expressed to him.

But this is a special form of unconditional love. This is special grace, not common grace. It’s not for the unbeliever, but only for the believer. It’s not conditional on the belief of the believer, for God loved the believer in this way before the believer believed–while he was still a sinner. As Paul explains in Ephesians 2:4-5, it’s for the elect, those whom God chose to regenerate, the ones who while dead in their trespasses God chose to make alive because of His great love for them.

Finally, just to confuse you more (or to open your mind to the idea that God’s love is beyond our comprehension), God also seems to love believers in a conditional way.

Jesus explains in John 15 that He is the true vine, and we are to remain in His love.

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Jesus’ command to remain in His love implies that we can stray from it. This doesn’t mean that we can lose our salvation, but rather that when we don’t abide (remain) in Him we’re not living for the glory of God as we ought to. We simply fall short of producing the amount of fruit that we should produce, and we fail to keep Jesus’ commandments during a period of weakness. David exemplified this in his period of rebellion against God with Bathsheba. While God still loved David, David had removed himself from God’s love, and so God loved David by discipling him.

Hebrews 12:5-6 quotes from the Old Testament,

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

In spite of God’s unconditional, special love for David, at this point in David’s life, God expressed His love to David in a disciplinary way rather than an approving way.

So, we have seen that God loves unconditionally in some ways (via common grace and special grace), and the form God’s love takes is conditional in other ways (via discipline as opposed to approving affirmation).

The video went on to say, “What? You don’t love me back? Then burn in hell forever.”

Pastor Gene (in his response to this video) pointed out that God’s reason for sending people to hell is not because people don’t love God back, but rather because people are sinners. They reject the authority of God in their lives. They reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior and Treasure. They deserve hell. Both God’s love and God’s justice demands that there be atonement for sins, and since a sin against God is infinitely wicked, the right punishment for sin against God is eternal death in an eternal hell. And contrary to what the man in the video said, the Bible very clearly teaches hell. We can go into that at a later time if anyone is interested.

Let’s take this back to the topic of God’s love. In addition to the fact that our human idea of love is distorted by sin (especially the fact that we hide from our sin and pretend we’re good people) and sees a loving God in stark opposition to a hell of eternal punishment, a serious problem we have in talking about God’s “love” is that the English word “love” is a very unspecific word. We can’t just tell people that Jesus loves them and present that as the Gospel, because they’ll misunderstand. They’ll think, “If God loves me and God is infinite, then He must love me in an infinite way. Why then should I worry about how He sees my sins? Surely He’ll waive any punishment of them for me, since He loves me with an infinite love.” True, God does love all people in that He makes His sun shine on the wicked and the righteous and in that He is patient with them, desiring that they should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

But we must notice that God also says, “As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:13). This clearly shows that while God loved both of these men (as we demonstrated earlier), He loved them in very different ways, and He hated Esau in a sense. It’s much better to tell someone the Gospel (that Jesus died and rose from the dead to save all the sinners who repent and believe in Him to be to the praise of His glory) rather than to get all sentimental with someone and tell them, “God loves you. So please, oh, please, won’t you love Him back?” That’s not the Gospel, and serves better than to confuse people than save them, and it undermines the concept of God’s glory — that He’s a holy God, and He deserves a lot better than the crap that we give Him with the idea that, “We’re not that bad!” Rubbish. Our sin becomes that much more sinful in light of a perfect God.

Recommended Reading: The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God

Piper Video on inviting Rick Warren to DG Conference

March 31, 2010 - 2 Responses

Maybe some commentary later, but here’s a link to Piper’s words:

Feel free to comment, but please avoid being a jerk. This includes typing in all caps.

Ad: The PROVERBS-Driven Life (Westminster Bookstore)

Here are some blog posts that I respect. If you want me to review yours and possibly link to it, email me (I have gmail) at davenporter:

Approving of Piper’s Invitation to Warren:
Trevin Wax

Opposing Piper’s Invitation to Warren:
Chris Anderson
Michael Horton
Tim Challies
Phil Johnson

In case you're curious about my position, I am cautiously approving of Piper's decision. It was a real shocker to me, but I am hopeful (and will be prayerful) about the whole situation. I think it could be a good thing, and regardless, God is sovereign and ultimately whatever happens will work to give Him the most glory, right? I am, however, very glad that there are a significant number of people simply opposing Piper's decision, because this is an important and edgy issue, and Piper is close to crossing some lines that were drawn for very good reasons.

I think it’s very frustrating how anyone who has qualms about Piper’s decision to invite Warren is being labeled as an “angry Calvinist”, as if that should make their discernment or concerns count for nothing. Yes, there are angy Calvinists who distort the Gospel just as badly as Rick Warren, just as there are angry members of the GOP whose opposition to the health care bill is expressed in an angry and sinful way. But just as the Democrats shouldn’t dismiss the criticism of the health care bill like they are doing, neither should anyone dismiss the criticism aimed at Piper’s decision without serious consideration. I think that a lot of people have put their loyalty to Piper above their loyalty to Jesus and the Gospel and that because of that they refuse to even consider that Piper could do something wrong. Now, don’t get ME wrong, I think Piper is great, and I don’t think this devalues most of the work that he’s done, but it concerns me when we choose to blindly follow a man rather than questioning whether what he is doing is in accordance with God’s Word. So take a step back, evaluate the situation, considering God’s word prayerfully, and decide. We all know that Rick Warren distorts the Gospel (but so do all of us to a certain extent), so let’s pray that he repents of it while repenting of it ourselves.

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