Sunday, March 20, 2011

There are many criticisms of Rob Bell's new book, "Love Wins."  One of the major ones is that it endorses Univseralism:  That everybody will be saved in the end and that nobody will go to Hell.  Many of these criticisms you will find below in the links I have provided.

I had my own thought which I wanted to throw out there.   Rob Bell is quoted in his book as saying when talking about Jesus death on the cross,  "Those are powerful metaphors. But we don’t live any longer in a culture in which people offer animal sacrifices to the gods.  People did live that way for thousands of years, and there are pockets of primitive cultures around the world that do continue to understand sin, guilt, and atonement in those ways, but most of us don’t. What the first Christians did was look around them and put the Jesus story in language their listeners would understand.”

This reminds me of a certain passage in scripture:  1 Corithians 1:23:  "but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles."

When we change the gospel message so it is no longer foolishness to our contemporary world, we have just destroyed the gospel which God has said would be seemingly foolish.  We should not try to tone down what is unpalatable, but we should boldly proclaim it.

Rob Bell's Original Promotional video for his new book, "Love Wins."

Here is an Interview with Rob Bell by Martin Bashir from MSNBC.  Rob Bell, I think is caught off guard by some pretty tough criticisms.

An interview with Martin Bashir about his interview with Rob Bell by Denny Burk.

Todd Friel from Wretched Radio makes some great observations in his video concerning the dangers of Rob Bell's potential Universalism views.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Phone and the App


I must apologize for not blogging for so long but I've been really busy. Then I got out of the habit when I did get more time.

These are not excuses-- well yes they are, but they are very good ones.  It's not like I get paid to do this so you are all at my mercy. 

Anyway, I still don't have all the time in the world but one thing has changed.  I have a new phone and I just installed the official Blogger app.  There is no stopping me now.  When I am waiting for my wife at the grocery store, I can blog. When I am waiting for drywall to dry between coats, I can blog.  When I sit on my kingly throne in my 5'x 5' throne room, I can blog.

The blogs will be shorter but they will be more often-- you try young a long document on your phone.

Anyway, here is to my first post of 2011, and hopefully not my last.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Being Special: A Children's Story


I have a truck.  It is a very special truck.  My truck is almost 20 years old!  My truck is special because it is very old.

I have a very old truck.  It is a very special truck.  My truck has rust holes all over it, including in the floor!  My truck is special because it is covered in rust.

I have a very old, rusty truck.  It is a very special truck.  My truck has a left turn signal which won't turn off by itself.  My truck is special because I have to turn the left turn signal off myself.

I have a very old, rusty truck with a broken turn signal.  It is a very special truck.  My truck has a radio which you have to push really hard in order for the buttons to work.  My truck is special because the radio is very hard to use.

I have a very old, rusty truck, with a broken turn signal and a radio that is hard to use.  It is a very special truck.  My truck has a pin in the door that sometimes falls out in the winter and needs to be slammed really hard for the door to shut all the way.  My truck is special because the door sometimes falls off and is hard to close.

I have a very old, rusty truck, with a broken turn signal, a radio that is hard to use and a door that sometimes falls off and is hard to shut.  It is a very special truck.  My truck has windshield wiper fluid, but it is broken so I can't clean my windshield anymore.  My truck is special because my windshield is always dirty.

I have a very old, rusty truck, with a broken turn signal, a radio that is hard to use, a door that sometimes falls off and is hard to shut, and a windshield that is always dirty.  It is a very special truck.  My truck has a tailgate that has a latch that is broken.  My truck is special because sometimes I can't close my tailgate.

I have a very old, rusty truck, with a broken turn signal, a radio that is hard to use, a door that sometimes falls off and is hard to shut, a windshield that is always dirty and sometimes I can't close my tailgate.  It is a very special truck.  My truck leaks oil on the ground so I can't park in peoples driveways.  My truck is special because it leaves oily messes everywhere I go.

I have a very old, rusty truck, with a broken turn signal, a radio that is hard to use, a door that sometimes falls off and is hard to shut, a windshield that is always dirty, sometimes I can't close my tailgate and I leave oily messes everywhere I go. My truck is very special.

Sometimes, being special really sucks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review of Village Inn South

28640 M-40  Paw Paw, MI 49079

My daughter and I were driving home on a slow winding country road (M-40) somewhere between Holland, MI and Kalamazoo.  In a little place called Paw Paw, we came upon this small roadside restaurant-- a family restaurant:  Village Inn South. 

We were hungry and I've always had a thing for small restaurants along the highway in the middle of nowhere.  It's a food adventure.  You never know what you are going to get.  Unlike going to McDonald's or Wendy's, there are surprises in small restaurants which you've never heard of in the middle of nowhere.

Sometimes you'll enjoy the best food you've ever had and be willing to drive a hundred miles to savor one single onion ring.  At other times?  Well, lets just say most nightmares have their basis in some traumatic events in real life.

So,  looking forward to a great adventure, we pulled into the parking lot of this small establishment in the middle of nowhere in the middle of southwest Michigan.

The building had a dark brown exterior.  Dark brown brick and dark brown vertical siding with a sign that while clean and well taken care of, clearly proclaimed the marketing ideals of the early 1980's.  As we opened the front door, we discovered that our experience of the past was not limited to the exterior of the restaurant.  In fact, the inside seemed to be a scene from the mid-1970's.   Dark brown faux-leather bench seats, dark copper ceiling tiles, a wall covered with newspaper articles and pictures honoring former President John F. Kennedy.  

A hostess very quickly directed us to sit wherever we wanted to and and soon our waitress came over to us with a big friendly smile and quick service asking for our drink order and handing us our menus.  Quickly she returned with glasses of water with a slice of lemon in the drink.  I love the lemon slice.  Every restaurant that wants a tip from me better keep my water full and a slice of lemon in the water.  The lemon is powerful.  As anyone knows, restaurant tap water sometimes has a very disturbing flavor.  But add a squeeze of lemon, and one can drink any water no matter how much it might be lacking.  We were off to a good start.

Next we ordered our food.  When comparing restaurants, it's important to get a baseline by which one can judge the quality of the food.  In order to do this, it's important to order a meal common to all restaurants.  A simple dish, yet a dish which tells you so much about everything else on their menu.  That dish for me?  The 1/2 pound bacon cheeseburger with fries.  If a restaurant can not do a simple cheeseburger right, they are not worth the gas spent to accelerate out of the parking lot. 

As an aside, I'm particular to gravy on my french fries.  This is also a good test of a quality establishment.  If they don't carry gravy, I'll probably never come back.  Of course, it's not just having gravy that counts, its having good gravy.  Did Village Inn South have good gravy?  Yes it did.  And it was clear that it was fresh out of whatever container they pulled it out of.  There was no gross skin of hardened gravy on the top.  Whoever scooped the gravy out, made sure it was hot and took care to make sure that if their had been any skin on the top, none of it was in my cup of gravy. 

Now, I should be careful not to get out of order here.  The gravy came with the burger and fries.  What came first was the coleslaw.  Coleslaw is a strange beast.  So many places really mess this up.  How hard is it to make coleslaw?   It's cabbage, carrots and mayonnaise.  What's to screw up?  Yet so many places do.  I can proudly report that this was some of the best coleslaw around (I assume, not eating anywhere else in Paw Paw.)  The coleslaw was cold, crisp, and crunchy.  It was creamy but not soupy.  Most importantly?  It wasn't too mayonnaise-y.  You know what I mean by that. 

Within a minute of our coleslaw being completed, the main course arrived.  A delicious bacon burger with swiss cheese.  The burger had two large slices of thick bacon perfectly cooked.  Not so crisp that it disintegrated to the touch and yet not so soggy and undercooked that you had to fear food poisoning.  If you like pickles, you'll love this burger.  It had about a dozen slices of pickle.  I actually picked off all but 4 slices but I do not consider this a negative.  I'd rather have too many than not enough and my daughter was more than happy to have my extra pickles.  The onions were large and crisp but were nice and dry.  Nothing is worse than a soggy bun on a burger.  The lettuce was equally crisp and made for a nice addition.  Mustard, mayonaisse, and Heinz ketchup were on the side.

The meat is an important part of any good burger.  This is where I would say that I had a slight complaint.  The beef was slightly on the dry side.   Not horrible and I don't want anyone to avoid this restaurant because of this.  I only point out it wasn't a 5 out of 5 stars burger.  Would I give it 4 stars?  You betcha!  I would go back again to this restaurant and I would get the same burger again.  It was that good.

Now the french fries.  What can be said about the fries.  Well, for starters, they were lightly seasoned but not too seasoned.  They were crispy but not over-fried.  They were thin but not shoestring.  They were the perfect french fry.  And with the gravy lightly pour over them?  Can we say french fry heaven?  I think we can!

The price was very reasonable for 2 meals and with tip only came to $15.00.   A very reasonable price for a date out with ones 10 year old daughter.  

As we exited the restaurant and entered the 21st century again, I wondered if we would ever travel back in time to this fine food establishment.  To answer that, all I can say is that I can not foresee the future, but I do have a longing to return to the 1980's.  So perhaps I will.   If any of you are in the Paw Paw area, I would highly recommend this trip through time and allow your taste buds a special treat served at the hands of some very friendly staff.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Candidate Files Criminal Complaint Over Handshake

I truly wonder what this woman is thinking?  Does she really think that filing assault and battery charges against her opponent for giving too firm a handshake will win her the election?  I guess maybe if her opponent is in jail and unable to do his job.  Personally, I would lose all respect for a candidate being so childish and petty.  Even if someone did physically hurt me over a handshake, I'd be too embarrassed to mention it. 

Anyway, if you have an opinion feel free to comment.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Christian Homosexuality is Heresy?

Today, I read an interesting interview which Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle had in 2008 with J.I. Packer.  The topic of discussion was homosexuality.   J.I. Packer came out and said that it was a form of heresy.  That's a pretty bold statement and requires explanation.  Basically, he has defined heresy as any teaching which contradicts the Gospel.   While most conservative Christians will agree that homosexuality is a sin, I wonder if some of you might ask the question, "but how is that heretical?"

It's simple.  One of the core things we do when we come to faith in Christ is we see that we are sinners who deserve death.  We acknowledge our sins and we repent of them.  Those who claim to be Christians and yet refuse to call homosexuality a sin and and turn from homosexual practice have refused to acknowledge their sins and repent.  They have taken what God has called evil and pronounced it as good.  Their unwillingness to turn from that sin places them clearly outside of the gospel and in a lost state.  By claiming otherwise, they have been deceived and are on a heretical path.

 The article is very good and I recommend it.  It is not very long and won't take any longer to read than my blog here has already taken you.

I wonder though if we can stop at this point in calling professing Christians heretics if they condone homosexuality?  I know of a woman who believes that it's not sinful to be living with her boyfriend because she prayed about it and God gave her a sense of peace.  As a professing Christian, has she become a heretic?  What about Christians who think that "white" lies are okay?  

I am not answering the question here-- I'm only raising it-- but what about blind spots in our own lives?   What about those areas of our lives where we think that we are fine before God and yet we are violating a teaching in his Word?  Do blind areas in our lives make us heretics?   What about differences of doctrine which have practical applications such as the Regulative Principle of Worship vs Normative Principle or Sabbath keeping?   What if we are wrong when we think it's okay to have a skit in the worship service and then eat out for lunch after the service?   If we are right we are okay but if we are wrong, are we suddenly in heresy?  Should we always err on the side of caution?  What about liberty?

I don't disagree with J.I. Packer at all and believe he is right.  I do wonder how far down the line we apply this though.  I hope this turns into a healthy discussion below in the comments.  Lets hash this out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rejoicing in Hope

Today I was reading through Hebrews 11 which I came to in my consecutive reading through the Bible.  Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  I am also working to memorize Romans 12:9-21.  In verse 12, it says, "Rejoice in hope...."

I started to think of how "rejoicing" is connected to faith.  In thinking about it, it made me realize that rejoicing is an integral part of faith.  I just recently memorized Titus 3:3-7 in which vs 7 says, "so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

Do we truly believe in the hope of eternal life which we have? Do we really believe in the gift we have through Christ and all that he did for us?  If we truly understand that we are now right before God, we will rejoice.  If we are not rejoicing, how can we really have faith? A full understanding of these things in your very heart and soul leads you to respond with rejoicing.

When I consider these three passages.  I get this:   Faith is having the assurance that I am a heir to eternal life and I will rejoice in this hope.

There are other things that are an important part of faith as well but this idea of "rejoicing in hope" and "the assurance of things hoped for" really jumped out at me.  It always excites me when I see the dots connect like this from multiple different places.  It makes me wonder what it is God is trying to teach me.  In this case, I think it is clear.  I need to rejoice more in all that God is doing.