It is at this fascinating moment that the most comprehensive, thorough and lengthy production ever created about the Church is going to air on PBS. In two hours each on Monday and Tuesday night, April 30, and May 1, The Mormons, will air as an unprecedented collaboration between two PBS news series, “Frontline” and “American Experience.” As the documentary unfolds, will Latter-day Saints cringe in dismay or nod in recognition? Will we feel misrepresented or see ourselves in a way that feels familiar and accurate, saying, “Yes, that’s me. We have been defined with a sure brush stroke.” Word from those who have had advance screenings is that there will be moments of both.
To all the bloggers out there who are using the SnapShots link preview feature on their blogs. We hate it. It makes looking through your blog less enjoyable. No, it’s worse than that - it annoys us. In fact, 10 out of 10 blog readers surveyed say the SnapShot feature discourages them from returning to a blog (I made that up). Don’t believe that most people find it annoying? If you use it, take a poll on your blog and ask. Or you can just do the right thing and disable the feature.
Labels: Other Resources
Chapter 1: Supplementary Excursus--Supersessionism and Replacement Theology
Chapter 2: All Calvinists Should Be What?!!!
Chapter 3: MacArthur Versus Church History!
I am going to try something new over the next couple of weeks in this blog. I have just now named it “blog a book.” I am responding to MacArthur’s recent introductory sermon at the 2007 Shepherds’ Conference. You can help me write this response by your comments and input. So here goes with Chapter 1.
In their 180-year history, Mormons have evolved from a reviled and persecuted people in exile to a religious group that produces top leaders in business and politics.
New films, books and the presidential campaign of Mormon Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, are bringing Mormonism into sharper focus on the national scene. The question: Will closer examination hasten society's embrace of this group or reinforce longstanding fears?
"We tend to use elections as a way to hold national seminars on religion," says Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion & American Public Life at Boston College. The candidacies of John F. Kennedy and Sen. Joe Lieberman triggered "seminars" on Catholicism and Orthodox Judaism.
"This is our seminar moment for Mormonism," Wolfe says.
Each Homecoming weekend at the end of September, our church holds our Annual Missions Conference. This year, the conference will take place on Saturday, September 22, 2007. The theme will be “From Our Neighborhoods to the Nations” and will have one representative from our Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth. Last year was a tremendous success with Jim Smith (DOM, Boone’s Creek Association), Randy Foster (Kentucky Baptist Convention), J. D Payne (Missions School Professor, Southern Seminary), and David Sills (former missionary to Ecuador, missions professor at Southern). Our people left with a tremendous burden to reach Eastern Canada for Christ.
This year, the line-up looks just as promising because I know the Lord is at work in these men:
- Matthew Perry (yes, that’s me — I’ll give an overview);
- John Ferguson, Lexington Rescue Mission, Lexington, KY (Jerusalem)
- Dr. Hershael York, Professor, Southern Seminary; Pastor, Buck Run Baptist Church, Frankfort, KY; former KBC President (2004-2005)(Judea);
- Bill Barker, Appalachian Regional Ministry (http://www.arministry.org/), NAMB (Samaria);
- John Divito, Centers for Apologetics Research, Missionary-to-Be in Uganda, Editor of “The Reformed Baptist Thinker” (Ends of the Earth)
Please be in prayer over this — and if you can, plan on attending. It takes place from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Labels: Personal Ministry
The Allelon Netcast What is Missional Church? series continues with this video - a conversation between Fuller Associate Professor Ryan Bolger and Alan Roxburgh. Ryan talks about the emerging church in light of the missional conversation - citing the research done by he and fellow Fuller Prof, Eddie Gibbs in their book Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures. He also shares his own spiritual journey in this engaging conversation.
The second half of this Allelon Netcast interview will be released in May, with Ryan and Al discussing the Allelon Missional Schools Project. In light of that conversation, we would also recommend you read Ryan and Mark Lau Branson's paper: Missional Theology For Evangelical Seminaries - A Discussion Paper, which we mentioned in our last update.
Here are the participation rules:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).
I decided to choose five blogs that are not well known but worth reading:
1) Steve Cowan. Cowan's a busy man and only posts occasionally, but I always enjoy reading what he has to say. After all, he edited the Zondervan Counterpoints book on Apologetics!
2) Jeff Downs. Jeff is a great apologetics and cult resource man. Unfortunately, he also is a Presbyterian and thinks that sprinkling babies is biblical. I guess I'll forgive him!
3) Kevin Larson. A great friend and a person who always holds my feet to the fire, challenging me to think through how we as Christians should engage our culture.
4) Jonathan Moorhead. I enjoy Jonathan's blog, but wish he'd finally abandon dispensationalism! Regardless, he has a good mix of humor and solid theological insight.
5) Matt Perry. Matt is a friend who graduated from seminary and is now pastoring a church. He's also another "Weird Al" fan--a rare breed for us evangelicals!
What exactly is a worldview? James Sire provides a classic definition: “A worldview is a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic makeup of our world.” Ronald Nash summarizes: “A worldview, then, is a conceptual scheme that contains our fundamental beliefs; it is also the means by which we interpret and judge reality.” As thinking beings, every individual has a worldview. Even if a person is unconscious of it, he or she has certain assumptions and beliefs which provide the necessary framework for one to think, reason, and evaluate.
Worldviews vary from person to person. However, their common core has been somewhat elusive to determine. Different philosophers, theologians, and apologists construct the basic elements of a worldview in various ways. Sire maintains that a worldview comes from answers to seven questions: 1) What is prime reality—the really real? 2) What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us? 3) What is a human being? 4) What happens to a person at death? 5) Why is it possible to know anything at all? 6) How do we know what is right and wrong? and 7) What is the meaning of human history? Nash claims that worldviews contain at least five clusters of beliefs, what one believes about: 1) God, 2) metaphysics or ultimate reality, 3) epistemology or knowledge, 4) ethics, and 5) human nature.
As valuable as these kinds of schemes are, Christians will more properly conceptualize a worldview by turning to God’s revelation in Scripture. In the Bible, God reveals himself and his truth through history. The Bible reveals an overarching story of redemption. Encapsulating all of reality, this story establishes the core of the Christian worldview. Therefore, a worldview is essentially a metanarrative, an all-encompassing story about all of reality. With this in mind, Pearcey includes three basic elements in a worldview: 1) creation, 2) fall, and 3) redemption. These fundamentals bring us closer to a clear understanding of the components of a worldview, but Reformed theologians often include four elements in the biblical history of redemption: 1) creation, 2) fall, 3) redemption, and 4) restoration. While admitting her background in studying Dutch Reformed thinkers, Pearcey seems to collapse redemption and restoration into one category. I believe this is unnecessary and potentially problematic. Given the eschatological tension with which we currently live in through this age, it remains important to distinguish between redemption and restoration, the “already” and the “not yet” of God’s redemptive plan.
Therefore, a worldview consists of four fundamental characteristics: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. This understanding is not opposed to other worldview systems—it can actually complement them well. For example, Sire’s questions all fall within these four areas (sometimes in multiple categories): Creation includes questions 1-3 and 5-6; the Fall includes questions 3 and 6; redemption includes questions 4 and 6; and restoration includes questions 4, 6, and 7. Nash’s four clusters can also be reconfigured within this biblical framework. In any case, Scripture provides us with the structure we need to understand the composition of worldviews.
How do Christians apply these insights when engaging our culture? Lord willing, I'll answer this practical question tomorrow.
Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 23. Emphasis in original.
James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 16.
Ronald H. Nash, Life’s Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), 14.
DTS Dialogue is an informal, quick release, pre-recorded discussion among Dallas Seminary faculty and staff about relevant topics on Christian ministry. We believe that thoughtful, cultural engagement is imperative in today’s world. Loving our neighbor means we must know what is going on in the neighborhood.
Their latest series is on the Emerging Church Movement. Check out the first discussion with Mark L. Bailey, Mark H. Heinemann, Glenn R. Kreider, and Andrew B. Seidel.
In May, Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, will give the commencement address at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. What better opportunity for Mr. Romney to discuss the issue of his Mormon faith before an audience of evangelicals?
One thing that should become clear to readers of this book is that the Emergent Church is not, nor is it seeking to be, a monolithic movement. Voices in this book range in their views of theology and the role of the Bible in their ministries- some calling the church to fulfill its biblical mandates and some others straying from biblical teaching.
An Emergent Manifesto of Hope is valuable in that it presents a variety of Emergent practices and theologies in the words of its promoters. Those who are looking to participate or to better understand the movement will benefit from reading the volume.
While checking it out, don't miss today's post by James Renihan: "Success is Simple." He writes about his visit to Lifechurch.tv. His conclusion?
In musing over this, the conclusion is really very easy to draw: success is simple. All you really need is a product that appeals to the contemporary culture, and this one really does. Lifechurch.tv has obviously hired the best available musicians, presents a contemporary message ‘relevant’ to the culture, makes its facilities accessible and familiar, and the result is a huge and growing movement. Anyone can do this. It takes money and talent, but the formula is uncomplicated. I admire the zeal of people like this, but question their wisdom.
But is success our goal? To be honest, I am shocked at how often outward success works its way into our minds—whether consciously or unconsciously. We evaluate ourselves and even others by criteria that belong in the board room rather than the prayer closet. While we may not seek after the kind of success evident at Lifechurch.tv, still we judge ourselves and one another similarly. I need to repent of this.
I must bring to mind the reality that the Lord does not call me to anything but faithfulness. My task is to follow His Word carefully and leave the results to Him. I know that many will say that this is simply an excuse and justifies my lack of ‘success.’ But I don’t think that is the case. Sadly, I have to leave the reasons for next time. May God give us light. Amen.
4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which that he might discharge he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us; enduring most grievous sorrows in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption: on the third day he arose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which he also ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.
5. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.
6. Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated to the elect in all ages, successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed which should bruise the serpent's head; and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, being the same yesterday, and to-day and for ever.
7. Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.
8. To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit, revealing unto them, in and by his Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.
Evangelicals have served within Christendom as prophets calling those with other commitments to give their lives fully to God. They emphasized conversion, activism, the Bible, and the Cross. Now, in post-Christendom, the evangelical challenge is multiplied – the culture no longer understands nor reinforces these practices. Church leaders must express these tenets in new ways to be understood within the culture. Theological resources, such as recent reflections on the Trinity, on the Life of Jesus, on the eschatological people of God, serve the church well in this transition.
Real Questions. Straight Answers. Stronger Faith. The Apologetics Study Bible will help today’s Christians better understand, defend, and proclaim their beliefs in this age of increasing moral and spiritual relativism. More than one-hundred key questions and articles placed throughout the volume about faith and science prompt a rewarding study experience at every reading. Highlights of this new thinking person’s edition of God’s Word include the full text of the popular Holman Christian Standard Bible® translation, two-color page layout, an introduction to each Bible book focusing on its inherent elements of apologetics, and profiles of historic Christian apologists from Justin Martyr to C. S. Lewis. Also featured are valuable contributions from a who’s-who of modern apologists such as Chuck Colson, Norm Geisler, Hank Hanegraaff, Josh McDowell, Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias, J. P. Moreland, and Phil Johnson.
In any case, the following is an excerpt from the LDS newswroom:
A few scholars, including some who appear in the documentary, have seen substantial parts of the program.
Their initial reaction: Church leaders and members are extraordinarily eloquent in explaining the tenets of their faith. The film is not superficial, which is often a criticism leveled at television coverage.
However, some raised concern about what they feel is a disproportionate amount of time given to topics that are not central to the Church’s faith. For instance, polygamy comes in for extensive treatment in the first program, including substantial attention to present-day polygamous groups that have nothing to do with today’s Church. The time devoted to portrayals of modern fundamentalist polygamy seems inconsistent with the filmmaker's stated purposes of getting inside the LDS experience, and of exploding, rather than reinforcing, stereotypes.
Other scholars criticize what they say is an imbalance in the treatment of some topics, particularly the events at Mountain Meadows in 1857. One said the film provides a distorted and highly unbalanced account of Brigham Young and the Mountain Meadows Massacre alike.
Michael Purdy of the Church’s Public Affairs Department has followed the Whitney documentary closely for the past three years.
“The big question that members of the Church are asking is whether these programs will come close to capturing the essence of how Latter-day Saints define and see themselves,” he said.
“Will members look at these films and say, ‘yes, that’s me.’ Or will they look at it and say, ‘even after four hours, they missed the point.’ It comes down to both content and context and it is important that those closest to the faith see themselves in the portrayal.”
Labels: Christianity and Culture