Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Foundation of Philosophy

There are so many ideas and philosophies around us - some very deep and impressive. Whatever philosophical approach may interest us one biblical truth must control our pursuit of understanding - without God we can ultimately know nothing. John Calvin summed up the biblical understanding of the pursuit of knowledge:
"Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. .... man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself."
Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 1.
That is the starting point for all knowledge and understanding - God himself. Without an infinite all-knowing all-powerful all-Sovereign being there is no true knowing for nothing is fixed and therefore nothing can be truly known. By definition God must possess these expansive qualities or there is something greater than he in the universe and that greater thing would be greater than God and thus truly God. But God must be God and therefore is the source of all truth and only from Him can we know truth definitively.

As one great philosopher said (much more simply):
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."

Solomon,Proverbs 9:10, ~950 B.C
(~600 years before Plato and all those guys that followed !)

Want Wisdom? Fear God.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spiritual Formation

I am preparing for a Retreat in June with my buddy Bauer Evans. We will spend time praying and planning as pastors and find some time for fellowship and fun as well (I believe I beat Bauer last year in our annual 9-hole golf outing.)

One of the things I am doing on this retreat and before is reading through Kenneth Boa's book on Spiritual Formation entitled, "Conformed to His Image". He builds the book on the idea that there are many facets of Christian Spiritual Formation and each one has a place in our walk with God. Here are the 12 facets:
Facet 1–Relational Spirituality: Loving God Completely, Ourselves Correctly, and Others Compassionately
Facet 2–Paradigm Spirituality: Cultivating an Eternal versus a Temporal Perspective
Facet 3–Disciplined Spirituality: Engaging in Historical Disciplines
Facet 4–Exchanged Life Spirituality: Grasping Our True Identity in Christ
Facet 5–Motivated Spirituality: A Set of Biblical Incentives
Facet 6–Devotional Spirituality: Falling in Love with God
Facet 7–Holistic Spirituality: Every Component of Life Under the Lordship of Christ
Facet 8–Process Spirituality: Process versus Product, Being versus Doing
Facet 9–Spirit-Filled Spirituality: Walking in the Power of the Spirit
Facet 10–Warfare Spirituality: The World, the Flesh, the Devil
Facet 11–Nurturing Spirituality: A Lifestyle of Evangelism and Discipleship
Facet 12–Corporate Spirituality: Encouragement, Accountability, and Worship
I look forward to learning from this book so I can grow as a Christian and a pastor in wisely and fruitfully walking with God for a lifetime and beyond.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Ray Ortlund has an excellent post on the sin of gossip. This is a serious sin we all dabble in. I think we need to take it more seriously for the sake of Christ's reputation and the good of our churches and friends. Check out these excerpts and read the whole article here.
The Bible itself is so clear against gossip, probably because we are so inclined toward gossip:

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who does not take up a reproach against his friend. Psalm 15:1, 3

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him: . . .
one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16, 19

Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people. Leviticus 19:16, AV

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. James 4:11

Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
and do not reveal another’s secret. Proverbs 25:9

God gave them up to a debased mind . . . . They are gossips. Romans 1:28-29

There are many biblical passages confronting gossip. The witness of God against this sin is overwhelming.

Gossip is our dark moral fervor eagerly seeking gratification. Gossip makes us feel important and needed as we declare our judgments. It makes us feel included to know the inside scoop. It makes us feel powerful to cut someone else down to size, especially someone we are jealous of. It makes us feel righteous, even responsible, to pronounce someone else guilty. Gossip can feel good in multiple ways. But it is of the flesh, not of the Spirit.

Adultery too is a serious sin, and one likely to be disciplined in a church. But I have never seen a church split over the sin of adultery. Gossip is a sin rarely disciplined but often more socially destructive than the sensational sins.

Gossip leaves a wide trail of devastation wherever and however it goes – word of mouth, email, blogging, YouTube. It erodes trust and destroys morale. It creates a social environment of suspicion where everyone must wonder what is being said behind their backs and whether appearances of friendship are sincere. It ruins hard-won reputations with cowardly but effective weapons of misrepresentation. It manipulates people into taking sides when no such action is necessary or beneficial. It unleashes the dark powers of psychological transference, doing violence to the gossiper, to the one receiving the gossip and to the person being spoken against. It makes the Body of Christ look like the Body of Antichrist – destroyers rather than healers. It exhausts the energies we would otherwise devote to positive witness. It robs our Lord of the Church he deserves. It exposes the hostility in our hearts and discredits the gospel in the eyes of the world. Then we wonder why we don’t see more conversions, why “the ground is so hard.”

King of Grace Church has developed an understanding on how to navigate this issue biblically in the church. You can check it out here (p. 95). May God grant us repentance from the sin of gossip! May the power of the gospel transform how we speak in every way!

God Bless, Paul

HT: Justin Taylor

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Justin Taylor at "Between Two Worlds" recently posted this preview of "Collision" (based on the book). This looks excellent! I would recommend you check it out and perhaps invite your friends.

COLLISION - 13 min VIMEO Exclusive Sneak Peak from Collision Movie on Vimeo.