Archive for the ‘Theology’ category

Doctor of Ministry

April 6, 2009

I’ve passed my doctoral defense and have sent my thesis-project to the South Hamilton campus. Praise God! I plan to graduate on May 9, 2009. 

When I entered the D.Min program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I did so to study with a legend, Dr. Haddon W. Robinson. Haddon is the dean of preaching. He taught homiletics at Dallas Theological Seminary for a long time. He was president of Denver Seminary for a few years also. Haddon Robinson taught many preachers the ins and outs of preaching. One of his most famous students was the greatest preacher in America (in my opinion) Dr. Tony Evans, Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Haddon Robinson is one of the architects of Radio Bible Class. Haddon has made an impact on the field of preaching that few will ever make. It was a blue-collar professor, Dr. Dan McClallen at Southwestern that first turned me onto Haddon, who is a blue-collar man himself. He appeals to the average person, not just the big names. 

As I have interacted with Haddon Robinson, my life has become richer. My ministry philosophy, especially preaching, has been shaped deeply. What did I learn from Haddon Robinson? And his teaching team: Duane Litfin, Don Sunukjian, and Sid Buzzell

1. Character is an indispensable preaching quality that is mostly unseen, but is greatly seen if compromised. 

2. Expository preaching is still the best way to communicate God’s word to people. 

3. Literary form is important. If God shaped His word, my messages should follow His form.

4. Boring people with preaching is a sin. 

5. Doctoral work is far better than masters work. 

6. Preaching in front of Haddon Robinson is not fun. I got busted out in the second residency. Then I went to lunch with Haddon. Haddon is friendly, but brutally honest when something “doesn’t work.” 

7. Duane Litfin is right on Ps. 127 no matter what. It’s a two point outline (look at the form of the passage). I still feel sorry for the two students who were told by Litfin to use the form of the text, yet they had to FORCE a three point outline on the text.

8. Haddon is still the dean of preaching. 

So much more can be written, but this is enough. I’m trying to get back into blogging some now that I’m finished with my D.Min Thesis.  I highly recommend Gordon-Conwell. It’s a great seminary.

The Cross Our Only Message

November 27, 2008


cross
In the past few years I’ve heard some adults and preachers point our how many songs in today’s worship culture do not focus on the cross, the blood of Christ, heaven or hell. I don’t know if I agree them or not. But I get their point. I’ve notice religion has changed in America. The melting pot is melding together. Many biblical issues have been marginalized, such as abortion and homosexuality. They have been relegated to the graveyard of political ethical issues so other issues can be up front. If anything, abortion and homosexuality are up front for those who would have abortion on demand and homosexual identity the norm. But if you are not for those things, you are now a leper, even among Christians. 

The next doctrine that will be challenged will be the doctrine of Christ. Soon, if you believe the Jesus of scripture, you will be a leper. You will be marginalized. The universal atmosphere in our country is ripe for denying that there is only one way to God through his Son Jesus Christ. In our culture’s quest to make all behavior accepted, it will try to level the playing field. Many big players on the Christian scene in the last 15 years have for some reason or another opened the way to heaven wider than God intended. I even have a letter to an organization seeking explanation of its commitment to the exclusivity of Christ.

The Bible is clear about the exclusivity of Christ. He is the only way. There are reasons for this. It’s not just so Christians can say they are right. Really, that’s not a huge reason. God takes care of that issue. 

Jesus Christ is THE ONLY WAY to Relationship with God and Eternal Life

  • Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
  • Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
  • Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:37)
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-19)
  • And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

There are a lot of other passages that make the exclusivity of Christ clear. The apostles believed he was the only way. The church fathers believed he was the only way. The church has been founded and continued on the fact that Jesus Christ was incarnate (John 1:14) and is the only way to God. Who else would give their lives for something that is not the real thing? 

If Jesus is not the only way, those who believe in him are living in a false reality. If Jesus is not the only way, then hell does not matter. If he is not exclusive, there is no truth.  

There is a desire I’m sure by every culture since Christ to make it possible for everyone to go to heaven. And hey, I’m all for it. The problem is that in changing God’s word I also have to change a few other things like payment for sin, evil in the world, and most of all the very integrity of God himself. Not everyone gets to go to heaven. It’s not about me saying that. I have no idea why God allowed me to live in one of the cultures he has graced throughout the history of humanity.  But the truth, and I believe there is an absolute truth, the truth is…

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matt. 7:13-14)

The cross means salvation–we can be saved or rescued from our sin nature 

The cross means separation–we can live for God’s purposes in our lifetimes

The cross means suffering–we must know that the Christian life is not easy

The wonder of the cross is what we need as we think of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 2009. When you hold people to the cross, it will challenge those who don’t believe. They don’t want the cross because they know it’s exclusive. No other message on the world stage can do what the cross does. It brings total forgiveness of the sin nature. It saves believers from hell. Is that not enough? 

Focus on the cross. Keep the wonder. Keep the faith.