What is the Sign that We Have Come to Know Jesus?
And Jesus looks at him and responds with a gentle yet chiding question. I can imagine him shaking his head, smiling but with a hint of sadness embedded into the smile. The kind that creeps into the corners of the eyes. Like the face of a patient friend who keeps showing up for you after you made a mess of things again. Like that of a parent whose stressed-out teenager just shouted, “You don’t know what I’m going through!” because they have a big assignment due the next day. Like that of the Savior who knows that tomorrow he will do the blood-spilling work of his saving.
“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?” (v. 9)
You see, this is why Jesus came: so that we may know him. Do you know him?
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Why Reformed Christians Are Vulnerable to Social JusticeBy Samuel Sey — 12 months ago
Reformed theology is diametrically opposed to social justice ideology. But many Reformed people today are mostly just 5 point Calvinists who do not embrace our confessions or the implications of the solas.
Many young Christians didn’t learn how to understand justice from Scripture. So in college, they learned how to understand justice from culture.
And now, they think injustice is justice. And they interpret Scripture through culture, not culture through Scripture.
That’s why many professing Christians are more committed to Black Lives Matter than Biblical theology.
But our culture’s understanding of justice—or social justice ideology—hasn’t only infiltrated colleges, it’s also infiltrated churches. Professors are influencing Christians to adopt an unbiblical view of justice, and pastors are encouraging them to embrace it—especially Reformed pastors.
I’ve received hundreds of emails from people over the last couple months. And they’re almost entirely from people who feel pressured to adopt social justice ideology or critical theory from their Reformed pastors.
Social justice has become so widely accepted in mainstream Reformed circles it might be considered their sixth point of Calvinism. Some influential leaders and organizations look like they identify with social justice just as much as they identify with the five points of Calvinism and the five solas.
At this rate, social justice is probably going to be one of the major legacies and pitfalls of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement—and it’s precisely what John MacArthur warned us about that almost a decade ago.
In 2011, John MacArthur said:
“The [Young, Restless, and Reformed] movement as it is shaping up also needs to face up to some fairly serious problems and potential pitfalls.
As the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement has taken shape, some of the best-selling books and leading figures in the movement have been completely uncritical (and in some cases openly supportive) of seeker-sensitive-style pragmatism.
And one cannot be genuinely “Reformed” and deliberately worldly at the same time. The two things are inconsistent and incompatible. To embrace the world’s fashions and values—even under the guise of being “missional”—is to make oneself God’s enemy (James 4:4). Many supposed reformations have faltered on that rock.”
John MacArthur was severely criticized for those words, but he was right.
The Young, Restless, and Reformed movement—or New Calvinism—was born as an alternative to the seeker-sensitive movement, but it’ll die as its own version of the seeker-sensitive movement.
Like the seeker-sensitive movement, the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement embraced a celebrity culture and naturally, an elitist model that sometimes prioritizes tribalism over truth, compromise over courage.
How Do We Rebuild Trust Again?By Reformation Scotland Hugh Binning — 1 year ago
Clearly trust must be built on truth, truthfulness, accountability and openness. Truth is not merely an abstract principle that we defend at all costs with all the arguments at our disposal, it also means a shared understanding rather than misunderstanding and misrepresentation. Loving our neighbour as ourselves requires us to avoid this and therefore is a key element of loving the truth. It means helping them to come to a right understanding rather than seeing them as opponents.
All too often we think more about what others must do to earn our trust than what we must do to earn theirs. What do we need to be trustworthy? Love in all its dimensions.
This is what we learn from 1 Corinthians 13 where in comparison with other graces we are told “the greatest of these is charity.” Hugh Binning comments that we can easily be self-satisfied and think we have attained much in the life of Christianity without seeking “to be acquainted with this in which the life of Christianity consists, without which faith is dead, our profession vain, our other duties and endeavours for the truth unacceptable to God and men.” Paul shows “a more excellent way,” (1 Corinthians 12:31) – this love is more excellent than gifts, speaking with tongues, prophesying etc.
And is it not more excellent than the knowledge and acknowledgment of some present questionable matters, about governments, treaties, and such like, and far more than every punctilio of them? But he goes higher. Suppose a man could spend all his substance upon the maintenance of such an opinion, and give his life for the defence of it, though in itself it be commendable, yet if he want [lack] charity and love to his brethren, if he overstretch that point of conscience to the breach of Christian affection, and duties flowing from it, it profits him nothing.
As Binning shows, this love must have the governing influence over all our actions and gifts and in giving vent to all our opinions. Whatever knowledge and abilities we have, it must be charity and love that make use of them.
Without this, duties and graces make a noise, but they are shallow and empty within. Now he shows the sweet properties of it, and good effects of it, how universal an influence it hath on all things, but especially how necessary it is to keep the unity of the church.
If trust has degenerated within society and the church it is everyone’s duty and responsibility to rebuild it. How can we do that? The more trustworthy we are and the more we display trust for others the more it can be rebuilt within our sphere of responsibility and activity. And the way that we do this is governed by love as shown in 1 Corinthians 13 as helpfully expounded by Hugh Binning in the following updated extract. It tells us much about always hoping, believing This is the way to display trust and to be trustworthy.
1. Be Longsuffering
Charity “is kind” and longsuffering. There is indeed no great, truly great, mind except that which is patient and long suffering. It is a great weakness to be soon angry. Such a spirit does not have the rule over itself but is in bondage to its own lust (Proverbs 16:32). Much of this affection of love overrules passion. There is a greatness and height in it, to love them that do not deserve good from us, to be kind to the unfaithful, not to be easily provoked, and not soon troubled. A fool’s wrath is soon known. It is a folly and weakness of spirit, which love, much love cures and amends. It suffers much unkindness, and long suffers it, and yet can be kind.
2. Be Content
Love does not envy. Envy is the seed of all contention, and self-love brings it forth. When everyone desires to be esteemed chief, and would have pre-eminence among others, their ways must interfere with one another. It is this that makes discord. Every man would decrease the estimation others enjoy so that he may add to his own. None lives content with his own lot or station, and it is aspiring beyond that which puts all the wheels out of course. I believe this is the root of many contentions among Christians—the perception of slighting, disrespect, and such like, kindles the flame of difference, and heightens the least offence to an unpardonable injury. But charity does not envy where it may lie quietly low. Though it is under the feet of others, and beneath its own due place, yet it does not envy but is contented to be there. Suppose it is slighted and despised, yet it does not make much of that because it is lowly in mind.
3. Be Humble
“Charity is not puffed up.” If charity has gifts and graces beyond others, it restrains itself, with the bridle of modesty and humility, from vaunting or boasting, or anything in its conduct that may savour of conceit. Pride is a self-admirer, and despises others, and to please itself it does not care how it displeases others. There is nothing so unsuitable in human or Christian society, so apt to alienate the affections of others. The more we take our own affection to ourselves, the less we will have from others. Romans 12:10, 16 contains golden rules of Christian walking! O if only there was a seemly strife among Christians, each seeking to go beyond another in unfeigned love, and in lowliness of mind, each to esteem another better than himself! (Philippians 2:3). Knowledge puffs up but charity edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1). Knowledge is a mere swelling and tumour of the mind, but love is solid piety and real religion.
4 Thoughts on Spiritual FatherhoodBy Jared C. Wilson — 8 months ago
Written by Jared C. Wilson |
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
Spiritual fathers speaking into the lives of young men realize that accountability comes with access, that authority comes with availability, that ambition must come with authenticity — and that lasting, formative influence comes from closeness. You cannot be a spiritual father simply by monitoring someone’s intellectual progress. You have to get up in someone’s business. Spiritual fatherhood is local.
For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.—1 Corinthians 4:15
As I get older, I think more and more about this claim from Paul — and the concept of “spiritual fatherhood” generally — and it seems a pressing issue to me, not just “culturally,” but personally. I won’t say I’ve done a great job of being a spiritual father, but by God’s grace, I want to be. And I’ve certainly benefited from spiritual fatherhood. These are some thoughts on what this practice looks like that I’ve been kicking around for some time and thought might be worth sharing.
1. Spiritual fatherhood is fatherhood, not guru-dom.
In other words, it does not consist in handing down spiritual proverbs from on high like some kind of authoritative oracle, but rather leads from alongside, encourages through relationship, coaches as one invested. By “guides,” I take Paul to mean theological and moral influences — both good and bad, perhaps — and these kinds of voices are of course many, especially in our day of talking head religious media and Internet know-it-alls. There is of course wisdom and positive influence to be found in these arenas. But nothing beats the wisdom of one who knows you and speaks into your growth and can even tailor and customize guidance according to one’s personality, giftedness, experience, and calling. Just as a father may speak to his own children in different ways according to their capacities, a spiritual father, unlike so many of our self-appointed gurus, knows how to relate to different believers in different ways. And while a guru only knows how to dispense all the right information, the spiritual father is honest about his own sin and struggles, transparent about his own mistakes and misunderstandings, and doesn’t claim to have all the answers. He just keeps pointing you to the One who does.