November 1, 2014

A Christian Theology Survey

Below is a survey that I have reproduced from Lifeway (the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention). The survey was an attempt to gauge the theological knowledge of people in America. I am reproducing this survey in an attempt to gauge that same knowledge within and around my sphere of influence. If you would please take this survey, I would very much appreciate it.  Also, if you wouldn't mind sharing this with your family, friends, contacts, or whatever, I would appreciate it.


David S. Dittmer

September 5, 2014

The Osteens and the Purpose of Life

Okay, I know that I am a little late on the party to criticize Victoria Osteen, but after reading her response today, I wanted to respond – if for no other reason, than to clarify my own thoughts.

The original message that Mrs. Osteen gave was as follows:
“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God we’re not doing it for God — I mean that’s one way to look at it,” she said from the pulpit. “We’re doing it for yourself, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives him the greatest joy this morning … just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy.”

She added, “When you come to church when you worship him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.”

After much criticism from the evangelical community this week, she clarified her statements :
“While I admit that I could have been more articulate in my remarks, I stand by my point that when we worship God and are obedient to Him we will be better for it,” she said. “I did not mean to imply that we don’t worship God; that’s ridiculous, and only the critics and cynics are interpreting my remarks that way.”
Frankly, I think that she just does not get why people were criticizing her.  In some sense, she was so close to stating something good and true - that our obedience to God does benefit us.  However, the way that she said this made it sound as though that is the ultimate reason for our worship, which is an abominable lie.

The bible states that in whatever we do, we are to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31).  In other words, God's glory is to be our highest aim and ultimate goal - our primary purpose in life.  When we act in obedience to God, we should be doing it because we love Him and wish to bring glory to Him.  The fact that it does ultimately benefit us, is just a sort of happy accident and to do it for this reason, as Mrs. Osteen suggests, puts us in the place of God.  She is encouraging the people that her and her husband lead to commit idolatry.

All Christians are sinners saved by the grace of God.  As long as we are in this life we are not going to be perfect, but the purpose of this life is to grow in sanctification - to grow ever more Christ-like.  We should be turning from an attitude of self-centeredness and moving toward Christ-centeredness.  Remember, our primary purpose is to glorify God, not ourselves.

Soli Deo Gloria

March 8, 2012

Book Review - The Expository Genius of John Calvin

NOTE: I received a complementary copy of this book, The Expository Genius of JohnCalvin, from the Publisher, Reformation Trust, in exchange for a review.

This is the first volume in the “A Long Line of Godly Men Profile” series put out by Reformation Trust, but it is the second volume that I have read.  Both of these were both informative and challenging.  So, whether you are a pastor who needs to be challenged in the preaching of the Word, or you are a lay person who hungers to hear something more from the pulpit than the typical moralistic fare common in evangelicalism today, I highly recommend this book.
This volume, as the title implies, is about John Calvin and his preaching ministry in Geneva.  After a brief biographical chapter, Lawson moves to a discussion of the 32 distinctives that marked John Calvin’s preaching.  In each chapter he goes through these distinctives, explaining them, showing how they appeared in his life, ministry, and preaching; and then challenging modern preachers to following his example.
What I Liked
One thing that I liked about this book is the fact that it is small.  I am a slow reader (painfully slow at time), yet I was still able to make it through this book in the course of a few days worth of reading.  So, if I could do this, so could the busy Pastor or fellow lay person.
Another thing that I loved about this book was that it was in many ways a homiletics text.  In showing the things that marked Calvin’s preaching, it lays out for the modern preacher how he should in turn prepare for his duty to expound the Word of God.
What I Didn’t Like
Nothing to report here.
My Rating
5 out of 5 stars