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Sometime last week I saw an article on my Facebook feed titled “5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials” by someone name ADDIE ZIERMAN.

5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials

The article should have been titled “5  or more Millennial spiritual criticisms that are scary and Biblically off-base.”  David Murray who blogs at “Head, Heart Hands” has written a balance and gracious response, that’s worth reading.  What follows is my additional thought of the original Washington Times piece, with the majority of my points focusing on the incoherence within Zierman’s essay:

1.) It is astounding that the article by Addie fail to address whether the phrases he complain about is Biblical or not; it’s like what the Bible has to say escapes his radar.  This is already a red flag concerning the epistemology behind his criticism.

2.) Readers familiar with Church history will find historical theology to be important here: you always have people pulling the alarm all the time of how the Church has scared off their generation, and yet the church has continued to grow and survived.  Think of Modernism.  Think of Harry Emerson Fosdick.  If you have to say Harry who, this proves the point:  These guys come and go but the Church somehow manage to outlive its naysayers.  Of course, this is not because of some kind of self-righteousness of the Church but it is by the grace and power of God  that people are still being saved through Christ Jesus and added to the Church.

3.) I’m also a Millennial his age (also born in 1983) and I think I’m done with all the readings over the years on Millennials.  The opening few paragraphs strike me as a bad example of millennials, with his preoccupation of, well, himself.  Go ahead, read the first five paragraphs again.  It’s time to go beyond talking about ourselves and focus on loving and caring for God’s people within and outside the church with the Truth of the Gospel regardless their age group.

4.) This Washington Post piece lacks the rigor of journalism since his five phrases ended up coming from that of his followers.  Note his own words: “Recently, I asked my followers online for the five church clichés that they tend to hate the most.”  It is definitely a telling phrase: “my followers.”  Very telling.  Still, the point is that the method behind how he arrive at his list of five phrases does not reflect an actual scientific statistical survey; it’s not good enough for a statistics class in a community college, let alone a piece in the Washington Times.  Again, I expect a better standard for something written for a newspaper!

5.) Since he arrived at his conclusion from asking his “followers,” doesn’t he see the danger that this ends up reinforcing his agenda than actually reflecting the true thoughts of Millennials?  To use his own words, this is “maddening and alienating.”

6.) He rags at the church at large for giving simplistic cliches instead of answer, yet by his own admission he’s left it and came back to the church looking for “community” and not answers per se.  It seems those who drink from the well of Postmodern spirituality often use the cliche that it’s about “community” and “conversation” that ends up avoiding the subject at hand.  This red herring fallacy can be rather frustrating!  It’s as if his Postmodernish buzz words in the essay don’t fall prey to the same criticism he has of church phrases!

7.) He ought to consider his own words that “things are almost always more complicated than that,” than just an appeal to a sense of “community,” “to be seen,” etc, as that which will not scare off Millennials.  The essay fail to account that the Bible teaches how people can suppress the truth (Romans 1:18ff) and can love the World and their sins more than “going to church” or coming to trust in Jesus Christ.

8.)  Our writer complains,

“We want to hear our pastors approach these words with humility and reverence. Saying, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust than The Bible clearly says…

One should be more concern of the guy’s understanding of the perspicuity of Scripture.  There are times where the Bible is clear on something and one has to say ” The Bible clearly says…

9.) Zierman also doesn’t like “Black and white quantifiers of faith, such as “Believer, Unbeliever, Backsliding,” adding that “Millennials are sick of rhetoric that centers around who’s in and who’s out.”  Zierman perhaps might not like the following quotation, because it’s not very accepting and strongly black and white:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

Since Zierman and his fellow Millennials “have at our fingertips hundreds of commentaries, sermons, ideas, and books,” a quick internet search will reveal that the above are the Word of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-33.

10.) It’s incredibly ironic that Zierman, who doesn’t like “black and white quanitifers of faith,” would three sentence later do the same thing when he writes, “Those of us who follow the Christian faith know that world around us feels truer than the invisible God who holds it together.”  Those of us who follow the Christian faith?  You mean not all of us are followers of the Christian faith according to his paradigm?  Isn’t ironic that Zierman is sick of “who’s in and who’s out” but the whole time in his essay he assumes that there are those who are in the church and those who left it, or are scared off away from it, etc?

Maddening.  In the end his essay becomes the very thing it’s suppose to rail against: simplistic, not well thought out articulation of issues regarding faith.  Much of this madness could have been avoided if the author is driven by Scripture first, the Wisdom of God.

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This is a fascinating article by LGBT activist Shane Windmeyer who wrote of his new friendship with Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A. Shane is a gay activist and leader of Campus Pride who rallied against the chicken sandwich chain. He recently wrote a piece of praise to the man he previously called bigot, divisive and racist. Read HERE.

Read Ed Welch, “Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love” or read a sample of the booklet HERE.

Cathy and Shane

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It mirrors John Piper’s message, “Don’t Waste Your Life,” especially the illustration on collecting sea shells.

 

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This is a debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Eric Smaw on “Same-Sex Marriage: Should it be legal in America?” at the University of Central Florida. Don’t forget to check out Dr. Brown’s massive book, “A Queer Thing Happened To America.”

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Continue to Part 2-10

Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love by Edward Welch

Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan

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Reflect on these list and make amendments.

How to Waste Your Theological Education

1. Cultivate pride by writing only to impress your professors instead of writing to better understand and more clearly communicate truth.

2. Perfect the fine art of corner-cutting by not really researching for a paper but instead writing your uneducated and unsubstantiated opinions and filling them in with strategically placed footnotes.

3. Mistake the amount of education you receive with the actual knowledge you obtain. Keep telling yourself, “I’ll really start learning this stuff when I do my Th.M or my Ph.D.”

4. Nurture an attitude of superiority, competition, and condescension toward fellow seminary students. Secretly speak ill of them with friends and with your spouse.

5. Regularly question the wisdom and competency of your professors. Find ways to disrespect your professors by questioning them publicly in class and by trying to make them look foolish.

6. Neglect personal worship, Bible reading and prayer.

7. Don’t evangelize your neighbors.

8. Practice misquoting and misrepresenting positions and ideas you don’t agree with. Be lazy and don’t attempt to understand opposing views; instead, nurse your prejudices and exalt your opinions by superficial reading and listening.

9. Give your opinion as often as possible – especially in class. Ask questions that show off your knowledge instead of questions that demonstrate a genuine inquiry.

10. Speak of heretical movements, teachers, and doctrine with an air of disdain and levity.

11. Find better things to do than serve in your local church.

12. Fill your life with questionable movies, television, internet, and music.

13. Set aside fellowship and accountability with fellow brothers in Christ.

14. Let your study of divine things become dull, boring, lifeless, and mundane.

15. Chip away at your integrity by signing your school’s covenant and then breaking it under the delusion that, “Those rules are legalistic anyway.”

16. Don’t read to learn; read only to refute what you believe is wrong.

17. Convince yourself that you already know all this stuff.

18. Just study. Don’t exercise, spend time with your family, or work.

19. Save major papers for the last possible moment so that you can ensure that you don’t really learn anything by writing them.

20. Don’t waste your time forming friendships with your professors and those older and wiser than you.

21. Make the mistake of thinking that your education guarantees your success in ministry.

22. Don’t study devotionally. You’ll never make it as a big time scholar if you do that. Scholars need to be cool, detached, and unbiased – certainly not Jesus freaks.

23. Day dream about future opportunities to the point that you get nothing out of your current opportunity to learn God’s Word.

24. Do other things while in class instead of listening – like homework, scheduling, letter-writing, and email.

25. Spend more time blogging than studying.

26. Avoid chapel and other opportunities for corporate worship.

27. Argue angrily with those who don’t see things your way. Whatever you do, don’t read and meditate on II Timothy 2:24-26 and James 3:13-18 as you prepare for ministry.

28. Set your hopes on an easy, cushy pastorate for when you graduate. Determine now not to obey God when he calls you to serve in a difficult church.

29. Look forward to the day when you won’t have to concern yourself with all this theology and when you will be able to just “preach Jesus.”

30. Forget that your primary responsibility is care for your family through provision, shepherding, and leadership.

31. Master Calvin, Owen, and Edwards, but not the Law, Prophets, and Apostles.

32. Gain knowledge in order to merely teach others. Don’t expend the effort it takes to deal with your own heart.

33. Pick apart your pastor’s sermons every week. Only point out his mistakes and his poor theological reasoning so you don’t have to be convicted by anything he says.

34. Protect yourself from real fellowship by only talking about theology and never about your personal spiritual issues, sin, and struggles.

35. Comfort yourself with the delusion that you will start seriously dealing with sin as soon as you become a pastor; right now it’s not really that big a deal.

36. Don’t serve the poor, visit the sick, or care for widows and orphans – save that stuff for the uneducated, non-seminary trained, lay Christians.

37. Keep telling yourself that you want to preach, but don’t ever seek opportunities to preach, especially at local rescue missions and nursing homes. Wait until your church candidacy to preach your first sermon.

38. Let envy keep you from profiting from sermons preached by fellow students.

39. Resent behind-the-scenes, unrecognized service. Only serve in areas where you are sure you will receive praise and accolades.

40. Appear spiritual and knowledgeable at all costs. Don’t let others see your imperfections and ignorance, even if it means you have to lie.

41. Love books and theology and ministry more than the Lord Jesus Christ.

42. Let your passion for the gospel be replaced by passion for complex doctrinal speculation.

43. Become angry, resentful and devastated when you receive something less than an A.

44. Let your excitement for ministry increase or decrease in direct proportion to the accolades or criticisms you receive from your professors.

45. Don’t really try to learn the languages – let Bible Works do all the work for you.

(HT: From the Study)

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Westminster Bookstore is offering Thriving at College by Alex Chediak with a promotion of 50% off for the first copy of this book, 40% off for additional copies. Sale ends April 5.

The publisher’s description:

Going to college can be exciting, anxiety inducing, and expensive! You want your child to get the most out of their college experience—what advice do you give? Thriving at College by Alex Chediak is the perfect gift for a college student or a soon-to-be college student.

Filled with wisdom and practical advice from a seasoned college professor and student mentor, Thriving at College covers the ten most common mistakes that college students make—and how to avoid them! Alex leaves no stone unturned—he discusses everything from choosing a major and discerning one’s vocation to balancing academics and fun, from cultivating relationships with peers and professors to helping students figure out what to do with their summers. Most importantly, this book will help students not only keep their faith but build a vibrant faith and become the person God created them to be.

From the book,

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These Christians were arrested in Iran.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elam Ministries reported that the Governor of Tehran has vowed to arrest more evangelical Christians. Armed, plain-clothes, special security officers forcefully entered the homes of Christians while they were asleep, and verbally and physically abused them. They were handcuffed and taken for interrogation. Among those arrested were five married couples. One couple was separated from their two-year old baby. Another couple was also forced to leave their baby that the mother was breastfeeding. A number of single young women were also among those taken.

The security forces broke into at least five such homes, ransacking them, taking personal possessions, changing the locks and placing a government seal on the door. Family members of these Christians have been called by the authorities and threatened and harassed. They were instructed to tell the Christians to surrender themselves. None of them have been granted any legal representation. No charges have been made, though it is clear that they were arrested for their active Christian faith. There has been a gross lack of due process. The government authorities have not provided any written documents as to the reason for the arrests, any record of the items confiscated, and family members are not allowed to visit the detained.

The recent speech made byAyatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic republic of Iran, for the first time, warned his followers of the dangers of the rapid growth and expansion of home-based churches as the threat to the Islamic regime.

There is a great need for Christians to pray for these Christians who were arrested in Iran.

More news,

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hoehner The Lord called Dr. Hoehner home.

Dallas Theological Seminary gave a tribute to him.

Interestingly, Dr. Hoehner believe that Matthew had written his Gospel first, that Mark used Matthew in composing his gospel, and that Luke relied on both Matthew and Mark in writing his gospel – according to a former student of his.

I believe his contribution to the Gospels (in the above area) would make it more interesting especially with the other New Testament faculty members. But he never did write on it.

I have benefitted from his Ephesians commentary, a must have.

ephesians

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Most cool people have Facebook now. You could be spending more time on interacting with your friends on Facebook than in real life or you may know more about what your old high school friends did over the weekend more than your own family and church family . You know you have spent too much time on Facebook when you spend more time thinking of a witty comment to put on your status than you did on your school’s essay title or your holiday shopping consists of virtual gifts.

Justin Buzzard gives 9 reasons not to use Facebook,

1. Don’t use status updates to complain. For many, complaining has become a trend on Facebook. With their status updates, many people broadcast consistent grumbles, like: “Joe is bored,” “Joe can’t wait to leave his stupid job,” or “Joe is exhausted.” By all means, be real, be honest and authentic, but beware of the culture of complaint.

2. Don’t measure your worth/identity by the number of your Facebook friends and interactions. Facebook measurements are the opposite of gospel measurements. Facebook tells you that the more Facebook friends and interactions you have, the more important, loved, and accepted you are. The gospel tells sinners an opposite message: no matter how lonely, unpopular, or unnoticed you might feel, in Jesus you are more loved, accepted, and noticed than you can imagine.

3. Don’t value forming Facebook (virtual) friendships more than real world friendships.

4. Don’t diminish your face-to-face time with people to check what’s going on in your Facebook world. If you’ve ever been out to dinner with friends and found yourself anxious to pull away and check out what’s happening on Facebook, you know what I’m talking about.

5. Don’t be someone online you’d never be in person. Let Facebook reflect the real you, not some pseudo-personality that emerges when you’re alone with your computer.

6. Don’t hurt and exclude others (intentionally or unintentionally) through use of applications such as “Top Friends.” Likewise, don’t become jealous of others having conversations without you. Be patient and gracious with potential misunderstandings that inevitably happen in cyberspace. When you spot something on Facebook that causes feelings of hurt or jealousy, assume the best.

7. Don’t allow Facebook and online life in general to make you a more distracted person. If you’ve noticed that use of Facebook and online life—constant change, updates, movement, and hyperlinks—has made it more difficult for you to sit down and read a book for one hour, you’d benefit from stepping back and evaluating how this technology is affecting you.

8. Don’t allow Facebook to tempt you away from your calling and work. Don’t let Facebook’s little status updates (“Lisa is chewing gum”) and Wall writings take your focus off the great and big things that your heart should be engaged in, namely the work that God has put you on earth to do.

9. Don’t let Facebook cause you to think about yourself more than you already do. You were created to look outside yourself toward God, other people, and the wonder-filled world he has made for you to enjoy and cultivate.

And he also gives 6 ways to use Facebook to love God and others, and care for your own soul,

read further

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