A few years ago, Walkers crisps released Walkers Lite. They’re half the fat, half the salt, but inevitably half the taste.
My friend uses a phrase Evangelicals Lite to describe Christians who are the same. Let me explain it to you:
A Less Satisfying Crisp
Walkers Lite crisps claim to be Salt and Vinegar flavoured, and in some ways they are right. Yet they don’t quite have the full flavour of the regular Salt and Vinegar crisps. They feel a bit watered down.
A Less Satisfying Christianity
Evangelicals Lite are just the same. They claim to be Evangelical, and in some ways they are. If you asked them what they believed about God their views would be largely orthodox:
- They believe Jesus is God’s Son
- They believe his death on the cross is the only way to God.
- They believe that justification comes by grace alone through faith.
But they seem to lack a little of the flavour of “Regular” evangelicals.
- They preach the Bible as a self help-manual not the truth of salvation.
- They sing songs about giving our lives to God, not Jesus giving his life for us.
- Their prayers are shopping lists of material blessings, not requests for growth in godliness.
Walkers Lite are better for you, but Evangelicals Lite certainly aren’t. Jesus should be full flavour in our lives. He should saturate every sermon, every song, every prayer and every life.
Full Fat Christianity
I used to be an Evangelical Lite. I wouldn’t have told you that. I would’ve said I was “Sold out for God” or some other cliché. But the truth is my faith was more a my hobbies than a trust in Jesus.
Then I began to see that what Jesus did on the cross is central to the Bible. If Jesus death is central to the Bible shouldn’t it be central to my life and my doctrine?
Are you an Evanelical Lite? It’s time for you to change too. Commit yourself to putting Jesus at the centre of everything you do.
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(Picture by Dan Talyor under the Creative Commons Licence)
At the weekend I visited a used bookstore and came away with:
- Richard Sibbes: Complete Works (vol 1)
- Charles Spurgeon: New Park Street Pulpit (vol 4)
- Augustine of Hippo: Confessions
- Sinclair Ferguson: Man Overboard
- Sinclair Feguson: Christian Life
- Louis Berkhof: Systematic Theology
Guess how much it cost me?
Book Aid in the UK
“Where is this shop?” you ask. The one I visited was in Barnard Castle (County Durham), but there are also shops in London, Ranskill (Nottinghamshire) and Templepatrick (County Antrim).
On the ground floor of the Barnard Castle store there were a couple of Bibles and Banner of Truth books and then the rest was a find it yourself A-Z by Author’s Name treasure trove. Not all the books were of as good stock as the ones I bought, but you can find many gems (many out of print). My friend found a signed copy of an Elisabeth Eliot book strangely enough!
When I went they were selling all the Banner of Truth volumes they had half price at Barnard Castle, so well worth a day trip.
Book Aid across the world
Whilst I was basking in the amazing deals I was getting, the lady who ran the bookstall informed me it was a charity. Christians in this country donate their used books to Book Aid and the large percentage are sent to areas across to areas where Christian literature is hard to come by (i.e India, Cameroon, Ghana) and are sold at affordable prices to pastors, laymen or seminaries.
The profits taken from sales in the UK go to help fund shipping etc. of these books overseas.
What an incredible ministry! It gives poor students like me quality Christian books and helps support ministries abroad. Pray for the ministry and support them by either giving your used Christian books or going and buying some more for your collection.
What are you suffering?
In Amos 4:6-13 we see the many disasters Israel went through. Famine, drought, plagues and wars tore the land apart.
The same is true today. From hurricanes to divorces, wars to unemployment. Individually, nationally and even globally suffering is an ever-present evil.
Suffering for Israel
Israel had no right to ask that question. They had been told clearly in Deuteronomy 28 disasters would come as punishment for their sin.
The presence of these disasters should have had them running back to God. Yet in spite of all these trials, they did not repent.
Suffering for Us
Suffering reminds us of the effects of sin. Every stillbirth, drought and family feud reminds us there is something not quite right. They show us we are far away from God’s intended plan for our world.
They show us we need to repent.
Israel didn’t listen to the warnings. Will you? Will you let suffering pass you? Or will you cling to Christ and be freed from the world of sin we are in?
There is suffering so that you will repent. Don’t waste this opportunity for salvation.
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(Picture by kaschmirkaschmir under the Creative Commons Licence)
The Christian Blogosphere
The Christian blogosphere has posts on anything you could possibly wish for:
- Want to know who’s books to read? Look no further.
- Want to know who’s doctrines are false? Debates galore.
- Want to know who’s in error? Just a google away.
From Barak Obama to John Owen, you can find anyone out there.
Anyone except Jesus.
Warning: Needless Debates
Speaking to students at his church, my girlfriend’s pastor warned them not to blog. He said everyone he knew who blogged was more worried about minor debates than proclaiming Christ crucified.
He has a point. Think about it, how many posts have you read evaluating the Emerging church and how many proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers?
There is a certainly a place for discerning evaluation of doctrinal positions (even Jesus had debates) but that place is not above the Gospel.
Do you distract or minister?
I’ve realised in starting this blog that it is essential that I constantly re-evaluate my motivations in blogging. If what I am doing is not for Jesus it is not worth my effort.
Take this time to evaluate yourself and your blog.
Is your blog a distraction, to you and to others? Are you more involved in debates than glorifying Jesus Christ? Or is your blog an essential part of your ministry, proclaiming Christ to the Church and to others?
Let’s change our ways. Let’s preach the Gospel of Christ from our blogs again.
Do you struggle to motivate yourself to read the Bible? Do you wonder how to use it in real life? Do you discuss it constantly but fail to obey it?
If so, get your hands on the talks from New Attitude ’08.
New Attitude was set up to help 20s-30s embrace a “Humble Orthodoxy”, holding to biblical truths in a Godly and humble manner. The theme for their 2008 conference was the Bible. These are my favourite talks so far:
- Ripping, Burning, Eating: A Right Response to God’s Word by Joshua Harris: Harris presents us with three people’s attitudes towards God’s Word, two good and one bad. He challenges us to repent when we see our sin revealed in Scripture and to fight for love of Scripture even in suffering.
- The Authority of Scripture by Mark Dever: Dever spends half his talk talking to non-Christians and half to Christians. He strongly emphasises the need to give the Bible the respect it deserves.
- The Troubled Soul: God’s Word and Our Feelings by CJ Mahaney: CJ walks us through the Psalmist’s method of preaching to himself, saying we should all follow suit and exhort our soul to follow God’s Word and not our feelings.
- Fighting for Faith in God’s Word by John Piper: The last two points of this message are worth the whole thing. Piper exemplifies how to use the Bible to overcome sinful tendencies in our lives.
Also look at the great resources including interviews, application advice and other sermons.
If your struggling to wield the word well, why not invest some time in listening to these talks and applying them? You won’t regret it.
P.S. Apologies for the infrequency of my posts. I have an important file due in on Tuesday. I’ll be back soon!
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(Picture “JapanSMP_0179” by openg under the Creative Commons Licence)