Why I Signed the Nashville Statement.

The Nashville Statement is a creed that was developed by the people who lead the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The Nashville Statement was really just a more modern restatement of the historic orthodox position on the authority of the Bible and of the Biblical view of sexual ethics.

There was a lot of disagreement and anger from the Progressive Evangelicals over this statement.  In a recent blog post as to why she signed the Nashville Statment Rosaria Butterfield goes after the progressive wing of modern evangelicalism. Progressives who ultimately value their experience above the explicit truth within the word of God. They twist the Scriptures out of their conception of what it means to be loving but with out regard to what the Bible defines as Love.

There was also some dissent from people I find really biblically solid. This group is those who take issue with a couple of the more nuanced points about the statement, for instance, calling only single people to live a life of chastity rather than celibacy. Chastity should be practiced by all not just singles. For married people, chastity is fidelity for singles it’s celibacy. They don’t like some of the wording of the Nashville Statement. To me that isn’t enough to be against it, in the world we live in. The real argument is that the progressives see the Bible as historic and flawed those who drafted and signed statement this see the Bible as authoritative, flawless and sufficient. For me, if lines are going to be drawn I will always stand on the side of Scripture even when Scripture offends me. Because I believe deeply that when Scripture offends me the problem is always me and never the Bible. That is why I support the Nashville Statement. If you, as a Christian, are offended by the sexual ethics of the Bible the problem is always you and not the Bible.

What does this mean for our kids and the teams we lead? The way I see it the stakes are high. We can and must teach the Bible purely and consistently. We must teach our kids how to value and apply the Bible to their own lives. There is always need for creativity and innovation in the church but if we don’t get this right if we don’t ground our kids in the authority of scripture we are no longer taking creative ideas from Disney we are ideologically no different than Disney. The reformation that needs to take place is the church and in Christian homes is once again the battle cry of Sola Scriptura. Our kids need to be primarily grounded in the gospel secondly they need to be aware and emersed in the history of our faith. In the faith and the traditions as Paul says “that have been handed to us and taught to us.” Let us as teachers and educators prepare our kids for the world that will be rather than the world that is. May we never sway from the Scriptures as the primary authority in our lives.

How Do We Teach Our Kids to Love?

The challenge from my last post was to help our kids to properly love. The question that creates is how. How do we properly love?  We know we are supposed to love God first and love Him most but how can we be sure that we are doing that?

John Locke clarified the philosophical principle of primary and secondary things that Plato first proposed. Locke says primary things are physical secondary things are more metaphysical. For us, as Christians, the distinction between primary things and secondary things is an important one. Not is the same sense that Locke proposed but in the sense, Christ proposed when he was asked the question what is the most important commandment. In trying to trick Jesus the religious leaders do us a great service they allowed us to see how to order our love and how to properly interact with secondary things.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The most important command isn’t to love people. It’s to love God primarily. How our love for God is seen is in how we love secondary things, people. Jesus was saying our love for Christ is primary and our love for everything else is secondary. He was also telling us how to measure our love for God. We can say we love God and there is no way for us to know for sure if we truly love God or if others truly love God. That is what makes secondary things so significant. It is in how we love secondary things in their proper way and to the appropriate degree. When we love secondary things too much we demonstrate that we don’t love God first. Loving things such as family, friends, money, and influence too much reveals the idol factory of our heart. Loving things too little produces anger, envy, and pride. When we don’t love secondary things they way that God does it reveals that we don’t know God or trust him in his love for us.

The problem in teaching kids to love we stop short and only teach them to be loving. The problem is being loving deals with secondary things. To teach kids to truly love it means teaching them to order their love by loving Christ primarily then because you know Christ who is love you will from that love appropriately love secondary things. Being a loving person is a very different thing than being known by Him who is true love. The confidence and assurance that comes from the loves in our life being rightly ordered free us to appropriate love secondary things. It is in how we love secondary things that show that we primarily love Christ.

Questions to ask ourselves about ourselves and our kids:

  1. What is one thing in your life that you feel defines who you are?
  2. What if removed from your life would cause you the most pain?
  3. Where do spend your time and money?
  4. Do you struggle with an excess of love which is greed, lust or gluttony?
  5. Do you struggle with a deficiency of love which is anger, envy or pride?
  6. Where do you turn or to what do you turn when life gets difficult?
  7. Do you preach the gospel to yourself every day?

The One Thing Your Kids Need to Know About Race

In light of the current event over the past several weeks I have been thinking, and talking a lot about the state of our country and the issue of race in particular. There are so many people with opinions from both sides and hot takes all over the web. In my conversations on race, the thing I keep coming back to is the idea of the nature of love.

The one thing your kids need to know about race is that our hatred towards others races or obsession with race our or another comes primarily from an excess or deficiency of love. Augustine in his Confessions explains to us that restlessness in his heart and in the heart of every human is a result of disordered loves that we love the right things in the wrong order. We love self or others above Christ. In doing this we are incapable of loving our selves or our brother. Augustine believed that when we rightly love God primarily every other secondary love would be loved apporpraitely because we love God primarily.

Several hundred years later Dante picks up where Augustine left off and he says that there is a right order to love but there is also a proper force of love. We sin when our love is misdirected, deficient or excessive. Dantes most famous poem The Divine Comedy is most well known for its graphic depiction of hell. What people miss in the gore of hell is that the whole force and purpose of the poem is about right ordered and rightly applied love.

A Family Ministry Manifesto.

Why ministry to families matters now more than ever

Serving as a family pastor for the past 6 years and having been a children’s pastor for 14 years and now I have come to see ministry to the families of a church is not a luxury but a necessity. I believe family ministry matters more than anything else the church can do and here is why.

1. A society is as strong as the families that comprise it. Aristotle wrote that the family is nature’s established association for the supply of mankind’s everyday wants. John Paul II further develops this idea.

John Paul II said the following of the link between family and society.

“The family has vital and organic links with society, since it is its foundation and nourishes it continually through its role of service to life: it is from the family that citizens come to birth and it is within the family that they find the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself”

Aristotle saw the value of family without being able to see the purpose of family. The purpose of families is to show a watching world the covenant keeping love of Christ through the sacrificial love of husbands and wives for one another. It also through families that the world sees our need for a perfect father through imperfect ones.

Late Summer Reads

Summer is coming to a close most people do book lists before summer starts I thought I would blog about the best books I’ve read this summer. Summer for me means no seminary so I can read more books that accumulating on my nightstand. For me, my Favorite book of the summer is a three-way tie between “The Devine Comedy, Silence, and “A Practical Guide to Culture ”

Here is what I’ve read so far this summer. 

Handbook for young men
J.C. Ryle’s handbook for young men, replete with warnings, exhortations, and instruction about this life’s many trials, temptations, and common pitfalls. This book is a treasure.

– Short practical and like everything Ryle does it is gospel saturated.

Silence
Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to a country hostile to their religion, where feudal lords force the faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs. Shusaku Endo is one of the most celebrated and well-known Japanese fiction writers of the twentieth century, and Silence is widely considered to be his great masterpiece.

– This book is a must read for every High Schooler – Such a powerful story of faith and how faith is destroyed by a post modern world. 

Parenting
Sometimes parents wish there was a guaranteed formula for raising good kids–a certain list of rules to follow to ensure they’d have obedient children. But if moms and dads view their role through the lens of God’s grace, they will see that the gospel must first shape how they parent before they can effectively shape their children. In this highly practical book, Paul David Tripp unfolds a more biblical perspective on parenting than merely adhering to a list of rules. He lays out fourteen gospel-centered principles that will radically change the way parents think about what it means to raise up a child, informing everything they do as a parent.

– Parenting is one of the most convicting yet helpful books on parenting I have read in a while.

Gilead
Nearly 25 years after Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations, from the Civil War to the 20th century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. In the words of Kirkus, it is a novel “as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering.” GILEAD tells the story of America and will break your heart.

– Gilead is a non-fiction story of faith and forgiveness. It was on a ton of lists so I read it. I thought it was good but not great. 

Inferno
This vigorous translation of Inferno preserves Dante’s simple, natural style, and captures the swift movement of the original Italian verse. Mark Musa’s blank verse rendition of the poet’s journey through the circles of Hell re-creates for the modern reader the rich meanings that Dante’s poem had for his contemporaries. Musa’s introduction and commentaries on each of the cantos brilliantly illuminate the text.

– Dante’s vision of hell was mesmerizing. Of all the classics I have read of late the Divine Comedy is near the top. Easy to read with much application to your life today. 

Live Like a Narnian
In “Live Like a Narnian” Joe Rigney shows that Owen Barfield was right–What C.S. Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything. From apologetics to his thoughts on education, from his view of science to the role of government, from Natural Law to true manhood and womanhood–the breadth of Lewis’s bright vision of life shines through in his beloved Chronicles. Come, learn to breathe Narnian air.

– This book was excellent great look at the great themes in Lewis’ Narnia. Really enjoyed this book.