The Navigator: 7.1.2021

THIS SUNDAY, 7/4

  • Sammy continues his summer series in the Psalms.
  • One Sunday School hour at 9:15; one combined worship service at 10:45.
  • FYI – room assignments are changing for some:  Beginning July 11th, Special Friends (9:15) will meet in Rm. 109.  Open Door (10:45) will meet in Rm. 109.  The Ladies’ Class (10:45) will meet in Rm. 110.
  • This Sunday, 7/4, due to the schedule-change, Open Door will meet in the Worship Center.
  • Also, continue to pray for our Youth Pastor Search Team.

 

The question is not only, “Was there strong Bible teaching?”, but also, “Was there strong Bible learning?”

Since I’ve been out a couple of weeks, this week’s Teaching/Learning Tip of the Week is a ‘Triple Dose’:  ‘Shallow Theology’, ‘Systematic Theology’, and ‘A Warning’.

First, a word I posted recently on my Facebook Page:

  • To my fellow pastors (this includes teachers. The biblical word ‘pastor’ means ‘shepherd’ i.e. anyone who leads God’s sheep.)
  • Quote below is by Dustin Benge:

Shallow theology inevitably produces:

    • shallow preaching/teaching,
    • shallow worship,
    • shallow counseling,
    • shallow ministry,
    • shallow lives.
  • Study hard. Pray fervently. Preach and teach boldly and with love.

Second, What is the Value of Systematic Theology?

  • Don’t let a big theological term like Systematic Theology scare you off.  As I’ve blogged before, every Christian is a theologian.  It’s just that some make a career out of it.
  • Paul was a systematic theologian.  In a message sent to the believers in Ephesus, Paul wrote, For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God.”
  • The “whole purpose/plan/counsel” – not just cherry-picked passages. In simpler terms, it’s “interpreting scripture in light of scripture.”  It’s precisely why I always provide parallel/affirming biblical passages when preaching/teaching a particular primary text.  In short, it’s allowing God to be the primary commentator on his Word.
  • Linked here for you is a solid article on this topic by author, Randy Alcorn.  Please do me a favor and read it when you have time.  It’s my desire that our teaching faculty be the best trained, most responsible teacher/shepherds around.  From the article:
    • Systematic theology is “what God has to say about [a particular] subject in His Word.” It requires that we examine the whole counsel of God, the larger picture, lest we leave out something vital that is not recorded in Titus or Hebrews or Joshua or Proverbs (or whatever book may partially address a given issue). Ours shouldn’t be just a view based on a single passage or book of Scripture, but based on the whole counsel of God, which offers us checks and balances that we would not be aware of from a single book or chapter or paragraph of Scripture.

  • You can read the entire article here.

Third, a warning for those who shepherd God’s sheep.

I am presently in Jeremiah in my daily devotionals/quiet times.  The southern kingdom, Judah, is conquered and taken to Babylon during the time of Jeremiah’s ministry.  A primary cause of Judah’s abhorrent sin was the corrupt leadership of their “pastors/shepherds of the day.”  Many of the Old Testament prophets announce judgment on corrupt religious leadership.

Here’s one pericope from Jeremiah 23:1-4,

“What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the Lord.  Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them… Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Wow.  Think God takes pastoring/shepherding seriously?

Linked here is the remainder of the passage cited above.  Reading these passages and hiding them in our heart will continue to remind us all what James, the half brother of Jesus, would write some 6 centuries later:

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Stay humble.  Pastor responsibly, and by example.

 

WORLD NEWS:  IRAN

It’s these types of headlines that fly under the North American cultural radar that should be noted by us all.  Read the article from the Jerusalem Post here.

 

OBJECTIVE MORALITY

I recently saw this quote on social media:

“If the Bible calls it a sin, our opinion doesn’t really matter.”

Can you imagine if every individual on planet earth was given the right to decide what is right and what is wrong? (That’s sorta going on right now, right? It always has.)

Those who hold a “everyone should have their own opinion of what’s right and wrong/what’s true for you doesn’t mean it’s true for me” have never thought this through to its logical end.

Based on that logic – Mother Teresa was right, but so was Hitler.  Gandhi was right, but so was Pol Pot. Your morals are right, but so is Boko Haram’s. And so on. There is either one standard for right and wrong, or there are many.  You can’t have it both ways.

Everyone’s got a subjective standard which is relative to their particular worldview, which is why God has given us objective morality based on his standards, not ours.

NOTE: For an in-depth consideration for objective morality – and its argument for the existence of God – I strongly recommend C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Abolition of Man.’  If interested, further insight into Lewis’ work is tackled by one of my former professors, Oxford’s Michael WardAfter Humanity: A Guide to C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man.

 

STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Whale of a Tale

Just in case you missed it, linked here is the real-life story of Cape Cod diver, Michael Packard’s, harrowing adventure inside a whale a couple of weeks ago off the coast of Massachusetts. Read the story here.

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

The penalty which Christ endured was not a mitigated penalty for sin, but the whole weight of God’s wrath fell on him. He was treated as a thing accursed, for he was made a curse for us; made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – Spurgeon

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

You know you’re in a country church if over half your congregation thinks a cantata is an entree at Taco Bell.
SOUL FOOD:  The Hardest Prayers to Pray
So, as I was writing the other day I thought to myself, “What was the very first blog I ever wrote?” Written in 2007, here it is.  Read the blog here.

 

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick