Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Church Covenant Series: Part 9 of 11

The ninth paragraph in the JPBC membership covenant reads:

We will raise our children so that they will know how to live righteously and will be able to recognize God when he makes himself known to them personally.

This part of the covenant lays down a distinct challenge to Christian parents. We are the primary teachers and models before our children of what a Biblical lifestyle looks like. We are to raise our children in Christian homes and teach them diligently the things of God. This is a Biblical mandate. Consider the words of Moses to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This theme continues in the New Testament, as Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4: "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Christian parents must place a priority on the discipleship of their children. We need to make sure that our children are present each Lord’s Day for Sunday School and Worship. We also need to cultivate the custom of regular family devotions in our homes when the Bible is read and family prayer is practiced.

As a church we make a commitment not just to the raising of our own children and grandchildren in the faith but also to all the youth in our congregation. Some will not come from Christian homes, and we will need to be spiritual parents to them. It is important that all our mature members be careful of the example we set before the children. Consider the words of Jesus in Mark 9:42: "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea." Do the younger ones in our church see our infrequent attendance and half-hearted participation in the ministry of the church? Or do they see our zeal for serving the Lord and loving the brotherhood of believers? We should always be mindful of the example we are setting. As the covenant states, our goal in setting a godly example is that these little ones will be drawn to saving faith in Jesus.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Thursday, May 25, 2006

So Much More: Radical Feminism

If you want to read a truly radical work on Biblical feminism check out So Much More, written by the Botkin sisters, homeschooled teenagers (see my review). This book comes from Vision Forum so it represents the thinking of the new Patriarchy movement. See my previous posting on those who are accusing this movement of being a new legalism. See also the "Tenets of Patriarchy" posted in response to criticism. I am still pondering it.

The texts of my Mother’s day sermons from the last two years (on Psalm 127 in 2005 and Psalm 128 in 2006) are also posted online, as is the audio version of this year’s message.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Church Covenant Series: Part 8 of 11

At JPBC we try to take seriously the church membership covenant by reading and affirming it when we gather for church conferences and when new members join our body. Paragraph eight reads:

We will pray for the salvation of our unsaved relatives, friends, and acquaintances, and of all who are lost.

In an earlier part of this covenant we committed ourselves to "pray to God both privately and together" (part four). In this new part we commit ourselves to evangelistic prayer in particular. More generally we commit ourselves to the work of evangelism, sharing the good news of the gospel.

The covenant reminds us that our evangelism is dependent on the work of God Himself. This is why prayer to God precedes effective evangelism. In John 6:44 Jesus said: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." In 1 Corinthians 2:14 Paul wrote: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul notes that the truth of the gospel is "veiled to those who are perishing" (v. 3), because their "minds the god of this age has blinded" (v. 4). Our eyes are opened to the truth only as God commands "light to shine out of darkness" (v. 6). The Biblical story of the conversion of Lydia in Acts 16 is exemplary of Biblical evangelism: "The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul" (v. 14).

Some years back it was not uncommon for Christians to keep lists of unsaved relatives and friends and to pray constantly for them. Many times these names were written on the pages of a believer’s personal Bible as a constant reminder. Tears would fall over the names on those pages. Too often today, our prayer life focuses on our personal needs and illnesses and not on the salvation of those who are lost for eternity apart from Christ.

If salvation is God’s work alone, the skeptic might ask, why do we need to pray or evangelize at all? We have at least three answers to this. First, we evangelize because Jesus told us to do so and we want to obey him. In the Great Commission he told us to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach (Matthew 28:19-20). Second, we are not God, and we do not know who will respond to the gospel, so we make it our aim to boldly preach to all men. We are to be faithful in ministry and trust God for the results. Third, Scripture tells us that God is pleased when his people pray for the evangelization of the lost. Mark well the account of Jesus in Matthew 9:36-38:

36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
38 "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

Let us obey his word as a church body and pray to the Lord of the harvest for the saving of many.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Contested SBC Presidential Election in Greensboro

Last Friday the news broke that Dr. Frank S. Page of Taylors First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina will apparently be presented as a candidate for President of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro June 12-13. This will be the first contested SBC presidential election since 1994 and is an indicator of healthy discontent in the convention.

Page will be the alternative to the conservative-resurgence anointed candidate Ronny Floyd of Springdale, Arkansas who will be nominated by Johnny Hunt, the man originally tapped to carry the banner. Floyd has come under criticism for at least two things: (1) his church’s children’s ministry apparently has a Disney-designed baptistery that looks like a fire truck (I kid you not! See Tom Ascol’s May 7, 2006 blog entry "Of Fire Engine Baptistries (sic) and Blasphemy"); and (2) his church’s anemic giving to the SBC cooperative program (reportedly a mere 0.27% of the church’s total budget, though some SBC causes are supported directly).

Dr. Page also has the endorsement of IMB outcast trustee Wade Burleson (see ABP article), who was also touted as a presidential candidate before Page’s announcement. Page is the author of "The Trouble With Tulip" in which he apparently outlines problems with doctrinaire Calvinism. The book was not available at Amazon.com, so I emailed his administrative assistant to see how I could get a copy. She told me it is out of print but you can get a copy by sending a check for $11.25 made out to "Dr. Frank S. Page" to:

Renee Morton, Administrative Assistant
Taylors First Baptist Church
200 West Main Street
Taylors, SC 29687

My check is in the mail, and I look forward to reading the book and posting a review, hopefully before the SBC meets.

Oddly enough Al Mohler has apparently joined Paige Patterson (SWBTS’s President) and Danny Akin (SEBTS’s President) in endorsing Floyd (see the Mohler endorsement letter posted at Floyd’s blog). Can Al Mohler really be supportive of fire engine evangelism? Was this one of the techniques promoted at T4G?

Though I likely do not agree with Page’s views on Calvinism, he is likely to get my vote for president if he and Floyd are my only two options. We’ll see.

JTR

The Prayer of Asa

A few years back Bruce Wilkinson had a best-selling book based on 1 Chronicles 4:9-10’s "The Prayer of Jabez" (with bad theology; see Greg Gilbert’s review).

As I was reading through the Chronicles, I came across "The Prayer of Asa" in 2 Chronicles 14:11:

And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, "LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!"

This God-centered prayer might be a fitting subject for a devotional book, but its sales would likely lag behind Jabez. The Lord can help with many or with few (those with no power). He is sovereign, and man cannot prevail against Him.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Upgrade" Book Review

Art Toalston at Baptist Press makes use of my review of Kevin Swanson's new book Upgrade in a Baptist Press article yesterday. The review is posted at JPBC's website and also appears below:
Book Review
Kevin Swanson, Upgrade: 10 Secrets to the Best Education for Your Child (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2006): 211 pp.

Kevin Swanson is a husband and the father of five children, the Pastor of Reformation Church (an Orthodox Presbyterian Church congregation) in Castle Rock, Colorado, the Executive Director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado, a past candidate for governor of the state of Colorado, and the host of the "Generations" radio/internet program (see www.kevinswanson.com). Swanson is also the author of Upgrade, a 2006 release from Lifeway’s Broadman & Holman publishers in which he shares his passion for parent-driven Christian education.

The author begins by acknowledging "the growing dissatisfaction with the condition of education in many industrialized countries today" (1). He writes as a passionate advocate for homeschooling as the best alternative for Christian families fleeing failing public schools. Indeed, Swanson is among the first generation of home-schoolers. His parents educated him at home while serving as missionaries in Japan. Swanson boldly calls for Christian parents to take on the God-given responsibility of overseeing the education of their children. Upgrade demonstrates a newfound interest by Southern Baptists in addressing homeschooling issues and audiences.

The author broadly defines education as "the preparation of a child intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically for life and for eternity" (10). A successful education, therefore, is not just measured in academic achievement but in how well a child is prepared for his life and calling: "A successful education is when a child is prepared to make maximal use of his God-given talents and abilities in the accomplishment of the child’s calling" (17).

The heart of Upgrade is the presentation of ten "time tested secrets for a successful education." These include:

1. The preeminence of character.
2. Quality one-on-one instruction.
3. The principle of protection.
4. The principle of individuality.
5. The rooting in relationships.
6. The principle of doing basics well.
7. The principle of life integration.
8. Maintaining the honor and mystique of learning.
9. Build on the right foundation.
10. The principle of wise, sequential progression.

Homeschooling parents, in particular, will be encouraged by reading and considering Swanson’s ten suggestions. One of the themes woven throughout these suggestions is that parents should not overly obsess about achieving academic standards in the mode of conventional classroom education. In secret six (the principle of doing the basics well), for example, Swanson suggests that teaching children the fundamental basics of reading and writing will go a long way in preparing them for life (again, the real goal of education). He also gives strong emphasis to the principle of life-integration. Swanson shares autobiographically, for example, about his own decision to take personal direction of the education of his thirteen year old son by including his son in his day to day work activities (see especially pp. 133-35).

The book closes with Swanson’s call for parents to construct a vision for their family and to nurture their children toward attainment of the goals outlines in that vision. Swanson’s views on education are refreshingly parent-centered. He encourages Christian parents not to abandon their Biblical responsibility for the education of their children. This burden cannot be passed on to the state or even to the church, but it is to be shouldered by godly parents. Christian parents will profit from a thoughtful reading of Upgrade.

Jeffrey T. Riddle, Pastor, Jefferson Park Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

Word to Graduates: Fear God and Keep His Commandments

UVA has another graduation this Sunday morning (May 21). It has always bothered me that this has to take place on the Lord’s Day, and we are never able to attend to wish our JPBC graduates well. Anyhow, several of our members and faithful attendees will be receiving diplomas. They include those receiving graduate degrees: Jason Brege (Law); Vanessa Kwong (Law); Melia Hatfield (Education); Emily Newman (Education); and Crystal Olson (Chemistry); and undergraduate degrees: Nathan Vassar and Ashley Bristow. I fear I might be leaving out someone, so my apologies ahead of time if I forgot you! Some of these will be moving on to new places after graduation. Others we will get to keep in our fellowship as they stick around Charlottesville.

The book of Ecclesiastes closes with these fitting words from the Philosopher-King:

12:11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.
12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Gnostic Writings: A Parable

I shared the following parable in my teaching on The Gospel of Judas/Da Vinci Code. It's also in the booklet we put together on this subject:
Imagine a thousand years from now, if a team of archaeologists should uncover a rusted safe buried deep in snow and earth in the mountains of Utah. Inside the safe, they discover a cache of documents written by a long-defunct white supremacy group. The documents challenge the conventional interpretation of the constitution of the United States government, offer quirky interpretations of the lives of the founding fathers, and bizarre observations of American history.

A team of scholars studies these documents. Most rightly identify them as what they are, the work of an obscurantist group whose views were not taken seriously by mainstream, twenty-first century Americans and whose interpretation of historical fact is deeply flawed. One of the scholars on the team that studies the documents, however, offers a very different interpretation. She says that these documents, in fact, represent a valid interpretation of American history that was suppressed by the political power brokers of the day (the so-called Republican and Democratic parties). When challenged with the fact that there are thousands of pieces of data arguing for the conventional understanding of American history and that this interpretation has held sway for centuries, while there are only one or two copies of these Utah documents, she counters that this only stands as evidence of how vigilantly the keepers of the status quo were able to suppress this legitimate interpretation of the development of the United States.

The above analogy, of course, illustrates what has happened in recent days with regard to the re-discovery of "Gnostic" scriptures. A handful of bizarre documents, wildly out of step with normative, orthodox Christianity, are being proclaimed as a legitimate expression of truth, unjustly suppressed by the ecclesiastical powers-that-be. It is clear that one is skating on extremely thin ice to give any historical credence to the Gnostic scriptures.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Church Covenant Series: Part 7 of 11

We continue our exposition of the eleven paragraphs of the JPBC Church Covenant. Paragraph seven reads:

As members of the family of God, we will watch over each other in brotherly love. We will pray for each other, because we are all in need. We will aid each other in times of trouble, bearing each others’ burdens. We will humbly warn a brother who is in danger of falling into disobedience or error. We will speak the truth in love, be slow to take offense, and be eager to seek swift and lasting reconciliation.

This section reminds us that the church is to operate like a close family. We are to be like brothers and sisters who are constantly looking out for each other, encouraging one another, and—when we wander off course—gently admonishing one another.

This includes looking out for each other’s material needs. In Galatians 6:2 Paul wrote: "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Just a few verses later, however, he added: "For each one shall bear his own load" (v. 5). We are to help each other in times of real need without fostering unhealthy patterns of dependence.

It also involves looking out for each other’s spiritual needs. When we see a brother doing right we ought to praise and encourage him to continue. By the same token—and this is usually more difficult—when we see a brother "falling into disobedience or error" we ought to warn him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Paul wrote: "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all."

We are to engage in this family care with much patience, love, and humility. Our covenant paraphrases several key passages of Scripture. In Ephesians 4:15 Paul says we are to be "speaking the truth in love." This points to two key attitudes. First, we should not be afraid to speak the truth. Second, we should do so with a loving spirit. To speak truth without love is in error. To be loving without being truthful is equally in error.

In James 1:19 we read: "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." As one put it, we are to have big ears and small mouths. We are to examine ourselves before we judge others (Matthew 7:1; 1 Corinthians 11:31).

Our covenant reminds us that if ever our feelings get hurt because of an inter-personal conflict in the church that we are "to seek swift and lasting reconciliation." Jesus taught that "if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24). Paul warned that we are not to let the sun set on our wrath and so give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-27). Too many times I have seen Christians respond to conflict by running away from the church rather than running toward reconciliation. This is not Biblical or right. It robs us of an opportunity to grow stronger in the faith and in the fellowship.

I recently read a history of the Lyells Baptist Church of Fluvanna County, Virginia (established 1774). In the early days the church practiced meaningful church discipline. One of the examples cited from the church record involved a dispute between two brothers who were neighbors. It seems that the hogs of one kept getting into the cornfield of the other. In distress the offended brother asked the church what he should do about it. The record reads that "The dispute ended by the two men agreeing to ‘bare with each other: and extending the right hand of fellowship.’"

May this spirit of family care and concern govern our lives as a church body.
JTR

Reflections on the passing of the Rev. William Sloane Coffin

Rev. William Sloane Coffin, an icon of Protestant liberalism died on April 12, 2006 at the age of 81 years at his home in Strafford, Vermont. The New York Times' obituary article that appeared the next day traced the flamboyant and controversial career of Coffin. It noted that the Presbyterian minister "embraced a philosophy of social activism at the heart of his clerical duties." He came from a family of great wealth and privilege. His forebears had been on the Mayflower. His father, also named William Sloane Coffin, was a vice-president of W. & J. Sloane, the furniture manufacturer, and the president of the board of trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His uncle, the Rev. Henry Sloane Coffin, was president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

As a young man Coffin studied music in Paris in hopes of becoming a concert pianist. His undergraduate studies at Yale were interrupted by his service in Europe in World War II as an infantry officer. He returned to complete his college studies at Yale and then move on to the Yale Divinity School where he was influenced by the ideas of Reinhold Niebuhr. He took the post as Chaplain at his alma mater in 1958 and served there until the late 1970s.

While Chaplain at Yale his radical social gospel ideas developed as he engaged first in the civil right movement and then in the ant-Vietnam war movement. In 1965 he formed a group called Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam, and by 1967 he was arrested for encouraging students to burn their draft cards. In 1978 he became the pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City, a bastion of liberal Christianity. After leaving Riverside in the late 1980s he became the leader of Sane/Freeze, a group that lobbied for nuclear disarmament and a freeze on nuclear testing. In 1999 he suffered a debilitating stroke, and this year the Rev. Sloane Coffin went the way of all flesh.

Why did I take note of the passing of this very liberal, northern minister of privilege who so eagerly embraced a na├»ve social gospel? I took note because I recalled that when I was a seminary student in the late 1980s at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, that Dr. Sloane Coffin had been a guest on campus. I had attended one of his presentations at which he had given one of his diatribes against nuclear armament and preached whole-heartedly the social gospel. At the time I was an impressionable seminarian at the then moderate school, but even then I recall being bothered by Rev. Coffin’s presentation. "Where is the gospel in this?" I kept thinking.

As I recall, Dr. Coffin was the guest of one of the ethics professors at Southern at that time. When I talk with someone today still wanting to argue that our SBC seminaries really were not all that liberal before the conservative resurgence, I always try to point out to them the fact that when I was in seminary there were no professors in the ethics department who were clearly and vocally pro-life. Imagine that! No pro-life ethics professors in an SBC seminary! If they do not believe me, I pull off my shelf the text that was used in the Christian ethics class I took at the old SBTS under Dr. Paul Simmons and read them a few selected passage from his book, Birth and Death: Bioethical Decision-Making (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983): pp. 105-06:

The Bible gives a great deal of guidance on the abortion issue. This is not in the form of a rule or commandment prohibiting abortion, nor even casuistic details regarding circumstances under which it may be permitted or prohibited….

In terms of the current debate, the claim that the Bible teaches that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception has been tested and found wanting. The notion comes from natural law theory, not from the Bible….

Further, the Bible gives no support for those efforts to prohibit abortion at law. It is clearly not "antiabortion" in the sense that contemporary groups would have us believe….

The silence of the Bible on the subject of elective abortion is an eloquent testimony to the sacredness of this choice for women and their families and then privacy in which it is to be considered….

One is free to abort or not to abort, as God leads. This is the freedom of grace.

Yes, that’s right. This was the worldview being advocated while I was at Southern. On one hand, they were encouraging the students to be anti-war social activists like Coffin. On the other hand, they were saying that it is OK to abort babies. Inconsistency.

As I read the rest of William Sloane Coffin’s obituary, I was struck by the inconsistencies of his life. A man born into wealth and privilege made his mark by becoming an activist for the poor, but he did so on one of the most elite campuses in America. He preached about social justice to a tony Riverside Church congregation. As the Times noted: "So if Dr. Coffin preached on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, he did so to the most prominent and talented parishioners." I am reminded of the wag who observed, "the liberals opted for the poor, but the poor opted for the evangelicals."

More striking than the inconsistencies of Coffin’s professional life were those of his personal life. The obituary noted that he had been married three times and divorced twice. His marriage to Eva Anna Rubinstein, which had produced three children, ended in divorce in 1969. That same year he married Harriet Gibney from whom he divorced in 1976. His third wife, Virginia Randolph Wilson, survived him. It seems that the peace for which Coffin was such a vocal advocate among nations was not a state that he could maintain in his own household. Yale alumnus and cartoonist Gary Trudeau of "Doonesbury" lampooned Coffin with a character known as "Rev. Scott Sloan" a "thoroughly modern minister/enabler."

So when I read of the passing of Rev. William Sloane Coffin I thought of those days at Southern when I heard him speak, and I remembered how thankful I am that ministers in the coming generation being trained at SBTS will have a much different set of ministry icons put before them to emulate.

JTR

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Controvery over Elders in Memphis Church

Germantown Baptist Church (a large SBC congregation outside Memphis, TN) is engaged in a nasty internal battle over church government (see the Memphis Commercial Appeal article ). It seems the Pastor and staff have recommended a constitutional change that would implement the formation of an elder body and a sizeable contingency has offered firm resistance. The opposition even has their own website, and the former pastor has issued a blistering attack on the church's current leadership with some (to be plain honest) ignorant charges like adopting an elder body in a Baptist church makes it a Presbyterian one (an audio file is posted on the GBC website!).
A showdown church conference vote is set for tomorrow, Sunday May 7. Pray for this church as it struggles through this.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Church Covenant Series: Part 6 of 11

We continue our exposition of the eleven paragraphs of the JPBC membership covenant. Paragraph six reads:

We will be good stewards of our bodies, because they are temples of the Holy Spirit; we will not abuse ourselves through addiction or excess.

This part of our church covenant addresses the issue of the personal management of our lives, including our physical bodies. Stewardship is not just a matter of giving our money to the church. It also means that we are good stewards of our bodies and our physical health. Paul wrote in Romans 12:1 that we are to present our "bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, to God which is your reasonable service."

Unlike some religions, Biblical Christianity does not see the body or the physical realm as inherently evil. When God made the earth, he declared it to be good (Genesis 1:31). Though sin has corrupted, the physical world is still a very good thing. The Bible also teaches that one day God will redeem our bodies by raising them from the dead, as he did Jesus the first fruits of the resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15:20-49).

The covenant points out in the most practical terms that we are not to "abuse ourselves through addiction or excess." One of the fruit of the spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The Bible repeatedly warns of the dangers of over-consumption of alcoholic beverages. Proverbs 20:1 says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (KJV). For a devastating description of the suffering brought by alcohol abuse, read Proverbs 23:29-35. In Ephesians 5:18 Paul admonishes: "and do not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (KJV). These warnings against alcohol use can also be applied to any addictive drug.

The believer is also to avoid the sin of gluttony. Proverbs 23:20 reads: "Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat." Esau stands in Scripture as a "profane" man, because he was mastered by his physical appetite and sacrificed his birthright (see Genesis 25:29-34; Hebrews 12:16). The Christian is not to be appetite driven.

There are two things we need to avoid, however, as we consider this part of the covenant. First, we should not come to a place where we over-value care for our physical bodies. Some, for example, are tempted to make an idol of sport and exercise. We need to hear Paul’s caution: "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:8).

Second, we should avoid legalism in prohibition of the reasonable use of food and drink. Paul also spells this out in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 when he condemns some false teachers who were preaching legalistic self-denial. Paul says, "their own conscience is seared with a hot iron" as they command believers "to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth" (vv. 2-3). Excessive denial is as wicked as excessive over-consumption.

May God lead us to be good stewards of our lives, so that we can serve Him to the fullest!

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Monday, May 01, 2006

April 2006 Evangelical Forum Newsletter Out

The April 2006 issue of the Evangelical Forum Newsletter (vol. 3, no. 2) is now posted online and the print version is in the mail.
Thanks to Bonnie Beach for her work in getting it together again this quarter!
JTR