Drawing Near

A Pastoral Perspective on Biblical, Theological, & Cultural Issues | The Personal Website of James B. Law, Ph.D.

Yearly Archive: 2013

Monday

26

August 2013

0

COMMENTS

“Who Are You To Judge?”

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images-2One of the crushing criticisms leveled against Christianity has been where professing believers have been cruel, harsh, and condemning in their action toward others. From the atrocities of the Crusades to the cruelty expressed to Hester Prynne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fictitious character in “The Scarlett Letter,” Bible believing Christians have been labeled as judgmental, rigid and hypocritical.

Many of these accounts are true.  Instead of showing compassion and understanding, believers have gone on record with their actions and words as anything but redemptive. Even among our own, Church life has been the scene of friendly fire and drive-by shootings where the pain inflicted has gone to the bone. This behavior is sinful and is in direct contradiction to the commands of our Savior who taught, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) (more…)

Wednesday

3

July 2013

1

COMMENTS

Killing Rats and the Kingdom of God

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images-1Charles Spurgeon in his autobiography tells a story from his youth years that speaks to the priorities in a believer’s life. On one occasion his grandmother promised him a penny for every hymn of Isaac Watts that he could perfectly repeat to her. Possessing a photographic memory, he began to quickly learn the hymns at such a pace that she reduced the price to a half-penny. However, Spurgeon recalled that even with the reduction in price there was still risk “that she might be ruined by the calls on her purse.”

In time Spurgeon faced a lucrative distraction. His grandfather, finding his home place overrun with rats, promised Spurgeon a shilling a dozen for all the rats that he could kill. With such an offer, his priorities shifted as he gave up hymn-learning for rat-killing. In later years, Spurgeon confessed that memorizing the hymns paid the best, for they fed his young life with God’s truth and in his ministry was able to use them in his sermons. (more…)

Tuesday

21

May 2013

0

COMMENTS

How Dallas Willard Helped Me Create a Climate Within Our Church for Scripture Memory

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Dallas-Willard-1With Dallas Willard’s death two weeks ago, I was reminded with gratitude of his classic text, The Spirit of the Disciplines. There was one sentence in that book that arrested me when I read it a number of years ago, and it has led to a strong commitment to promote Scripture memory in my pastoral ministry. In his chapter outlining spiritual disciplines, Willard wrote about the believer’s intake of Scripture:

“I would never undertake to pastor a church or guide a program of Christian education that did not involve a continuous program of memorization of the choicest passages of Scripture for people of all ages.” (more…)

Monday

29

April 2013

3

COMMENTS

Doing the Math on the Louisiana College Debacle

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Two months ago I expressed my deep concerns on the Louisiana College situation and how it threatened to derail us off mission as a convention (Here) .  It has been my prayer to have a tone and attitude that is measured, irenic, and hopeful in accord with the counsel of Proverbs 18:13 which instructs that, “He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him.”

However, as I write today on the eve of the Louisiana College Trustee meeting much has transpired and been reported to the public regarding the turmoil at Louisiana College.  With the collateral damage that has occurred in the last two months, it is hard not to conclude that the present situation is an “epic fail” in leadership on a number of levels.

(more…)

Thursday

28

March 2013

0

COMMENTS

Jesus Christ: The True Hope Giver

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susan-boyle-filmThere was strong reason why Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent in April of 2009 received 100 million views in the first nine days online.  It was absolutely astonishing to watch a 47 year old woman, frumpy by any standards, stand before an audience of doubters and scoffers and bring them to cheers and tears by the sound of her voice. We love to watch the underdog climb to the top, and Susan Boyle certainly did that with her singing voice.

However, there was another reason for her viral popularity around the world, and it is found in the emotional pull of the song she sang, “I Dreamed a Dream” from the Les Miserables. The English lyrics were written by Herbert Kretzmer which were based on the original French libretto by Alain Boublil.  The song resonates with the human experience as it speaks of dreams that are dashed and hope that is extinguished. Listen to a few excerpts: (more…)

Wednesday

27

March 2013

2

COMMENTS

“Same Sex Marriage and the Prophetic Role of the Church”

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I was putting my final thoughts together on this article when Pastor Charles L. Worley’s rant against gays and lesbians went viral on the Internet.  Collective outrage and censure rightly followed his merciless rhetoric.

Worley’s words have aggravated a conversation that was already shrill between gay activists and those who oppose them.  Pastor Worley’s comments have not been helpful in lifting the hate-filled stereotypes leveled against evangelicals by gay activism. (more…)

Friday

1

March 2013

7

COMMENTS

“There is No Time for That!” ~ Thoughts on the present Calvinism Conversation at Louisiana College and the Louisiana Baptist Convention

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I am writing this article days after the Louisiana College Board of Trustees called an emergency meeting to deal with a number of critical issues facing the college. I have full trust and confidence that the Lord will guide the trustees in the matters before them.  We should pray fervently for our trustees and the administration as they walk through this difficult time.

One of the issues that has emerged from this crisis is another conversation about Calvinism. I have written on this subject among the Louisiana Baptist family here.

Let me hasten to say that with regard to our cooperative work, I would join my non-Calvinist friends against any agenda being pushed on students or the churches. However, it is totally appropriate for conversations about John Calvin, predestination, election, etc. to take place at a Christian college and/or a divinity school.   My point is that because these issues are discussed it doesn’t mean an agenda is in place. (more…)

Friday

22

February 2013

0

COMMENTS

“Adultery: Alas How Easily Things Go Wrong”

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God’s protection and love are on display powerfully in the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

The seventh commandment forbids adultery which is viewed biblically as the shattering of the marriage covenant between a husband and a wife through sexual relations with another outside the marriage. This commandment became the basis for the prohibition of a whole range of sexual sins expanded upon elsewhere in Leviticus and the New Testament: fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.

The warning against adultery is second only to idolatry in the Old Testament, and second to none in the New Testament. It was considered to be a treacherous sin, not only against another person, but against God, as expressed by King David’s cry, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.” (Psalm 51:4)

We are commanded to honor marriage (Hebrews 13:4), and adultery is an offense to the sacredness of that union. The fallout of unbridled adultery is everywhere. Someone has quipped that in America every hour is “Sex O’Clock.” A perusal of the magazine racks at the check-out register of most grocery stores reveal relationships birthed or ended because of adultery. (more…)