The Church has made a critical error it that it has gleefully chosen to cross pollinate itself with the world. And, in doing so it has not passed along its best traits to the world but it has been tainted by the traits of the world. As a result, the Church no longer stands pure but displays characteristics and attitudes that are not natural to it. At the same time this cross pollinated Church isn’t aware of the effects of its cross pollinated condition. What it considers normal and natural is strange and destructive to those who experienced and remember a more pure Church before the cross pollination. The “flower doesn’t look like it did before. It responds to a new kind of environment. Its beauty has been altered. Continue reading
Ed Steele, Associate Professor of Music
Leavell College, New Orleans, LA
[On this Lord’s Day, we are republishing this post from May 6, 2011. It traces the significance of worship throughout the Scriptures.]
Worship is central to the Scriptures from the beginning to the end. Worship is central to understanding the Old Testament. Man and woman were created by God for fellowship with each other and with Him. Since we live in a post-Eden world, we cannot know what it must have been like to walk and talk with God without any hindrances. But for those who have a saving faith and knowledge of the Lord Christ, such an unhindered walk will be part of what heaven is like. Whatever such a walk was, it must have been unhindered worship as well. There are a number of wonderful texts that trace worship in detail, but our purposes here allow me to just highlight a few.
Consider the first sacrifices offered to God: those of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. One was accepted and one was not. Since this predates any of the Jewish sacrificial system, one must look deeper than the fact that one of the offerings was with blood and the other wasn’t. Timothy Pierce (Enthroned on Our Praise: An Old Testament Theology of Worship. Broadman and Holman Academic: Nashville, 2008, 36) observes that Abel gave the first born, while Cain just gave of the land’s produce, implying a lack of intentionality. Worship had not been commanded but grew out of the relationship with God in the garden. Wrong worship led to tragic outcomes. Worship continues to be central to the message. Continue reading
In 2007, Reformed pastor Mark Dever wrote a ten part blog titled, Where’d all these Calvinists come from?(1) He wrote from a historical perspective detailing 10 influences, which have caused Calvinism to surge since the 1950’s. His thesis was that certain people, publishers, and events have caused a Calvinistic revival. The purpose of this article is not to answer the question from a historical perspective, but rather from a personal perspective by observing the theological background of current Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention. Recently on a Reformed Facebook page, a survey asked Calvinists to provide their religious denominational background. (2) The options included Baptist (Non-Reformed), Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist (Reformed), and a few others. Close to 1000 people responded to the survey, and the number one response was Baptist (Non-Reformed). Over 1/3 of all those who were surveyed had a background in a Traditionalist Baptist church. So, where’d all these Calvinists come from? Many of them come from Traditional Baptist churches. Continue reading