Today's blog is a combination of several short answers to questions I've responded to lately. Some are questions I've received on my Facebook page. Though I can't possibly respond to every question that comes in, I do read each and every comment and question with interest and appreciation. I just wish I could reply to more of them. Maybe on the New Earth! (If you're interested in reading other questions and answers, the EPM website has many more Q & As, articles, and resources.)
I’m a pastor of a fairly new church and would like to connect our church to some other quality mission organizations. Do you have a favorite mission organization you would recommend?
Perhaps my favorite is one that flies under the radar because they devote so little to fundraising, and focus all on hands-on ministry: Action International, based in the Seattle area. They have something like 250 missionaries in 28 countries. They are faithful, Bible-based, missionaries with a school of thought exemplified in their founder Doug Nichols, who I know personally, and very well. Have been in his home, seen how he lives and it is refreshing to see a founder of a large mission who lives so modestly. He is sold out to Jesus, and so are the other Action missionaries we’ve met. They do special stuff around the world: everything from evangelizing and discipling street children, to their pastors book share projects, where they get quality resource books to pastors in poor countries. Time at their website will show you their heart: http://actioninternational.org/
What is your take on Deep Church by Jim Belcher, the book dealing with the emergent church movement?
I liked Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional and I liked Kevin DeYoung’s review of it. I also really liked that Jim Belcher stepped in and expressed his appreciation for the review, and clarified some things. This is a great example of people who are orthodox being civil and open in dialogue.
What is a quality prolife online ministry geared toward youth you would recommend?
Spend half an hour poking around www.Abort73.com, and I think you’ll be amazed at how thoughtfully done and effective their website is. They target high school and college age, and reach young people in ways most prolife websites won’t. I can vouch for founder Michael Spielman and others I’ve met from their group. The organization behind Abort73 is called Loxafamosity Ministries. You can find specific info about them and their beliefs at http://www.abort73.com/about_us/. I even like the way they state their beliefs, in a youth-friendly way.
What do you think about the modern movement in Christianity that says in order to reach our culture, we must downplay God’s holiness and wrath, and speak only of his love?
It's not a matter of choosing the fear of God OR the love of God. Scripture emphatically and repeatedly states both that He is a holy God who hates and judges sin AND that He loved us so much He paid the ultimate price for us on the cross. We should fear God and love Him. Jesus came full of grace and truth. We should never choose between grace and truth, but hold onto both. Those who only fear God need to embrace His love. Those who only love God need to properly fear Him. We are fully God's children and nothing can separate us from his love, but we are told that He disciplines those He loves for the purposes of holiness. This is why when we sin we should rightly fear Him and be quick to repent and embrace the forgiveness he lovingly offers. You can't properly fear God without loving Him or love God without fearing Him.
Do you think C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle is a decent portrayal of what Heaven will be like?
I believe that Lewis's The Last Battle is one of the finest portrayals of what life could be like as we enter the New Earth. It is imaginative, of course, and not all can be proven biblically, but this much can—we will live as embodied human beings on a physical earth, eating and drinking and serving and laughing and loving and worshipping God forever. Not as disembodied spirits, but as resurrected people, not floating on clouds but walking a real and redeemed earth in real and redeemed bodies, in community with our Savior, King of Kings, and each other.
For those who like to listen to audio, here's a couple of questions I've answered:
Hope you enjoyed this miscellaneous blog. Today may you grow deeper in your love for Jesus, honoring Him in your choices, and being quick to call upon His grace.