Friday, 27 January 2017

Jesus Untangled - A book review

I am a long time admirer of Keith Giles and his work, from every book and blog of his I have read I honestly can’t think of another person whose views across the board are as similar to my own as his are. So I was very excited to receive a review copy of his latest and greatest work thus far entitled Jesus Untangled: Crucifying our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.

This book is very well written and convincingly argued. What Keith has brilliantly done here is take the plain teachings of Jesus and placed them alongside the commonly held views of many American Evangelicals and revealed the vast contrast between the two. In his own words:-

"What if you cannot serve both Caesar and Jesus? What if you were actually called to live here as "a stranger and an alien" in this country? What if you were an ambassador here who was forbidden to pledge allegiance to another flag or nation? What if you were told not to become involved with the affairs of this world but to devote yourself completely to Christ and his kingdom?"

Keith makes a strong case from Scripture that we cannot serve two masters. Honestly I was surprised at just how much the New Testament had to say on this topic. He has also documented how the early church distanced itself from earthly politics up until the time of Constantine, even to the point of separating from those who were trying to live in both camps. He also documents how things went downhill once the church put down its cross and picked up the sword with the power of the state behind it. Historically speaking, every time we have tried to use the state to further the Christian cause we have ended up tarnishing the name of God. The two are at their core, are directly opposed to one another.

This book will challenge you to impact peoples lives from the inside out rather than through the power of politics, not for 'country and flag' but for the sake of Gods kingdom here on earth. It will challenge you to trust in the words of Jesus, particularly those found in the Sermon on the Mount, rather than in the power of your local authorities. A word of warning, Jesus Untangled will challenge you to lay all pride, including that of nationalism at the foot of the cross, it is deeply unpatriotic while simultaneously full of love for America and the people who live there. If that sentence doesn't make sense to you, you might just be a little entangled as well and should read the book.

You can learn more about Jesus Untangled or purchase a copy by clicking over here and you can connect with the author on Twitter by clicking here.

I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Monday, 16 January 2017

John MacArthur versus the emergent church

I recently read the transcript of an old interview Phil Johnson did with John MacArthur, the interview was entitled ‘What’s So Dangerous About the Emerging Church?’ The discussion itself could be summarized in MacArthur’s concern that post-modernism denies the truthfulness of scripture or at least that it can be understood with any degree of certainty. Despite the arrogance that oozed off of the pages much, though certainly not all, of what was said I would probably have to agree with.

However I am not overly concerned as to the actual topic of discussion that was had on the show, I am neither a Calvinist nor part of the emergent tribe. I will provide a link at the bottom of this article for those who want to go and read the particulars of that discussion for themselves. But the reason I have drawn attention to the interview is because it sort of confirmed some things about the NeoReformed crowd that I have long feared. That is that they often sound more like Bible-worshipers than Christ-followers. Yes, I do believe that one can actually make an idol out of the Bible.

Before reading the article, I decided to do a little experiment and jot down how often some key-words were mentioned. The word ‘Bible’ for example came up 47 times, ‘scripture’ 54 times, the ‘word of God’ 22 times, ‘New Testament’ was mentioned 4 times and ‘Old Testament’ 11. In total, 138 times Phil and John referred to the Bible, how much they love it, how it is the foundation of our faith, how it is central to our faith, how it is the truth, how committed too and anchored in it they were and how supreme it is over everything else.

Now I love reading scripture as well, it is the testimony of the prophets and apostles pointing to our Lord Jesus Christ. And we can and should be encouraging Christians to read it, to study it and to test what they have being told about it. It is good to do so, provided that we are using it as a tool to move people toward Jesus. This however is not what I see from the New Calvinists, in this lengthy interview Jesus was only mentioned 10 times and none of those occurrences had anything to do with His supremacy and centrality in all things. He was mentioned from a book title and in a quote from the book which they were condemning. He was mentioned in a couple of scriptural references to belittle two other men and the rest of the time He was mentioned only to validate their point regarding the supremacy and centrality of the Bible.

While I do believe that both Phil and John's  intentions are good and that they mean to lead others to God. I fear that the message they are sharing is unhealthy. The Bible is NOT central to our faith, Jesus is. The Bible is NOT the foundation on which we build, Jesus is (1 Corinthians 3:11). The Bible is not even the Word of God; I know that because the Bible tells me that Jesus is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13). Using Jesus to elevate the written word is like lifting a horse on your back and taking it for a ride, it’s all backwards.

“You search the scriptures because in them you think that you have eternal life but these are they which testify of me” – John 5:39.

If Jesus is only getting 5% the amount of attention as ANYTHING else does in your messages then something is wrong. And I do believe that this same experiment done over again with their writings as well as with like-minded preachers and teachers would yield similar results. When I read the New Testament, I see a bunch of guys who were constantly quoting from scripture with the intention of seeing Christ in it and pointing others to Him, what a man speaks most of is probably a fair reflection of what is dearest to him. Regardless of your tribe, I would encourage you to take the words below to heart.

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. – Hebrews 12:2.

Post referred to - , October 19, 2006 GTY107

Monday, 2 January 2017

Book Update #2

Hi all and happy new year to each and everyone of you! For the last 4 years I have being working on a book but due to the business of life and other commitments progress was extremely slow. Eventually, I had to stop blogging as I was not getting anywhere trying to do both. I am happy to say though that the end is nigh, the book is in the editing and proof reading phase now and even the cover design is done! My goal is to release it in time for Easter since it is a book about the cross after all. There will be a limited print run (at least initially) to go with my limited budget but ebook versions will be available as well. I am looking into the possibility of making the ebook version available in a ‘Pay what you want’ format from my own blog space as well meaning that you will hopefully be able to get it for free!

Below I have posted some sneak-peak images as well which were taken from one of the earlier drafts to give you an idea about the content. In addition to more book updates there should be more and more regular blog articles popping up here again now as I am once again able to put some focus into other writings. Thanks for sticking around!

Grace and peace to you.