Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, Chapter 46

The Power of the Church. 

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

Does the local church have influence to change a community, or is it weak and ineffective?  

The power of the church could be defined as: its God given authority to carry on spiritual warfare, proclaim the gospel, and exercise church discipline. 

A church has the power of the gospel to break through sin and hardened opposition and awaken faith in the hearts of unbelievers.   

...Also, to stand against those outside and inside the church who oppose the gospel.   Paul was clear in the need for church discipline in various New Testament churches. 

Jesus says to Peter in Matthew 16 that he will get the keys of the kingdom of heaven; i.e. an authority to preach the gospel of Christ and allow people to enter into God's kingdom.  Together with this goes the job of regulating and caring for the people within the church, known as church discipline. 

The church cannot make up new laws to follow nor do they have the power in themselves to forgive sin, only God can do those things. 

The church should not raise up a sword to try to force people to follow or live under Christianity, although God does give to civil governments that right.   The authority of the church and of the state belong in distinct spheres. 

There is nothing wrong with Christians attempting to bring positive moral influence on governments;  i.e. for the protection of family, private property, value of life, and things consistent with Biblical standards.   Where many religions are allowed to exist freely together, Christianity thrives. 

In terms of church discipline, the goal is restoration (of the offender to right behavior) and reconciliation (between believers, and with God).   Church discipline, just as our Father does to us, is acting in love for the best of its flock.

Secondly, church discipline is important to keep sin from spreading to others.   If one man is allowed to continue in a sin unstopped and uncared for, perhaps others in the church would also look at that sin and think that it must not be so bad, and partake in the sin.   It also helps to set a precedent for similar actions in the future, to say that the church does not tolerate this or that.

Thirdly, church discipline is there to help protect the purity of the church and the honor of Christ.   None of us are perfect, but we need always strive for holiness for ourselves and together.

The pattern in the New Testament was that the sin was outwardly known or evident, and had been continuing for some time, and thus bringing reproach on Christ’s church.

Grudems speaks of how the process should be contained within a small group.  The fewer the better, because then repentance is easier for a smaller group (compared to repenting before the whole assembly).
Matthew 18 speaks clearly on the step by step increase in action towards response, ending with a public appeal before the whole church.   It should always be done with gentleness and humility, and a true appreciation for our own weakness and fear that we might fall into similar sins.

Forgiveness and reconciliation should be from the heart, loving, and truly embracing.

Next week, church government. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Cleaning house and kitchen creativity

My mom handed me a book called "Cleaning House."  It was not at all what I expected!
The basic thought is how most kids think that they deserve to be served and waited upon, and are actually missing out on many opportunities to grow in character by being involved. 

Task two in the book was to give each child "dinner duty," where they would help buy the dinner ingredients, prepare dinner, set the table, play the host, and do the dishes.  

I have done this about 4 or 5 times now with my 6 year old and 3.5 year old, 
and they keep asking for more.  

Ok, sure, the first time was our kids dream meal, (a happy meal at home), i.e. chicken nuggets, fries, apple slices, ketchup.  It was more or less "open the bag and put on a tray" kind of work but they loved it.  

Tonight we took a big step forward, and my daughter dreamed up and made 
Shrimp tagliatelle alfredo.  She called it shrimp pasta. :)
Learning how to safely work around a stove top. 
 Since we are in the learning to read stage, I summarized and typed up the ingredients, measurements, and actions, and this time she literally read her way through and did it all!
 Notice the flowers, candle, two types of drinks (because pappa doesnt like sweet drinks).

 She has learned how to handle a knife much better too.

Comments from our daughter, "this is like a party!"  "Mmm, my food tastes so good."
 "I will serve your food first, because this is MY dinner making night."

Interestingly enough, this practice gets the bonus of someone setting the table with zero whining or complaining, and these dinners are often done with thought towards others in the family and their tastes.  Lydia made corn on the side, even though she doesn't like it, because she knows others do.  She offered water in addition to a sweet drink because of thoughtfulness to others.

*Cleaning House, by Kay Wyma can be found here: http://www.themoatblog.com/cleaning-house-a-moms-12-month-experiment-to-rid-her-home-of-youth-entitlement/

Min mamma gav mig en bok som heter "hus städning," och det var inte alls vad jag hade förvantat. Det pratar en del om hur barnen är van vid att de ska få allt serverad till de, men då kan de faktiskt missa ut  på en del lärorik mjöligheter att växa!

Andra kapitel i boken pratar om hur barnen ska ha var sin natt att fixa kvälls mat från början till slut. Va med o köpa mat, fixa maten, duka bordet, bjuda på maten, och städa efteråt. 

Nu har vi gjort detta 4-5 gånger med mina barn.  Och de vill gör mer!

Ok, första gången var deras dröm måltid, (som en happy meal från McDonalds), med chicken nuggets, pommes frites, äppel, o ketchup.  Mer eller mindre att oppna påsen och sätta i ugnen.  men de tyckde om detta. 

Ikväll blev det en stor framsteg, och min dotter drömde och lagade räkor tagliatelle alfredo.  Hon kollar det för räkor pasta.  Eftersom hon lära sig att läsa, så skrev jag opp ingredienser enkelt och hon läste och gjorde allt själv.  Ser du blommor, ljus, två drickar (för att pappa gillar inte saft)!

Hon har lärt sig att anvanda kniv bättre och spis också. 

Lydia sa så har ikväll:  Det är som en fest!  Mmm, min mat är så gott.  Jag ska servera er först, för att jag bjudar ikväll. 

Interessant, de gnäller inte när de ska duka bordet eller sätta i diskmaskinen när det är deras natt. Och Lydia är även omtänksam till andra familjmedlemmer.  (Hon gjorde majs trots att hon gillar inte detta själv). 

*Cleaning House, av Kay Wyma kan du hitta har: http://www.themoatblog.com/cleaning-house-a-moms-12-month-experiment-to-rid-her-home-of-youth-entitlement/   

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, Chapter 45

The purity and unity of the church

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

What makes a church more or less pleasing to God, and who should we cooperate with and/or join?

We can see the New Testaments example of both big moral and doctrinal problems in Galatia and Corinth.   It is right for us to pray and work for greater purity of the church, but the Bible also focuses on unity of true Christians. 

Grudem gives 12 points that make a church "more pure," 
Biblical doctrine (or right preaching of the word)
proper use of sacraments
right use of church discipline
genuine worship
Effective prayer, witness, and fellowship
Biblical church government
spiritual power in ministry
personal holiness of life among the members
care for the poor
love for Christ. 

Christ's goal is to sanctify the church, so she might be holy and without blemish. 

Paul teaches that elders should be able to instruct in sound doctrine and confute those who contradict it and that false teachers must be silenced. 

Any church will be impure in various areas, we are NOT perfect!   We should strive to help each other towards more purity, yet some churches will respond well and some will not.  Some will drift to become cults, die out, or swing towards liberal Protestantism (primarily man centered).   

The New Testament is clear that we both have to separate from primary doctrinal differences, but have unity with secondary questions.  There is also an emphasis on not having a worldwide church government but rather local elders over their local churches.  There have been both right and wrong reasons for separation from unity. 

Doctrinal reasons for separating from a church. Instead of saying, "leave your church," the New Testament example is to admonish the church, work for repentance within the church, and pray for them. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology, chapter 44

The Church: Its nature, its marks, and its purposes.

*Just a reminder that this study of Wayne Grudem's book, Systematic Theology, is not by any means me teaching, but rather a simple summary chapter by chapter of his book for my own enrichment.*

By definition, the church is the community of all true believers for all time. 

Christ says in Matt 16, "I will build my church," that it is the Lord who draws people to himself.   And indeed, the church includes many from the Old Testament who were God's people. 

1.  The church is invisible, yet visible. We cannot see the spiritual condition of people's hearts, those who attend "church." So Paul says, "the Lord knows those who are his." 

Paul wrote many letters to "the church," in different areas, and yet he was aware that not all that were there were believers.  So the visible church is the group of people who come together weekly to worship and profess faith in Christ. 

Calvin says that we must make a charitable judgement whereby we recognize as members of the church all who confess their faith and partake in the sacraments and thereby rofess the same God and Christ with us. 

The church is local and universal.  It can refer to a little house gathering, a city, or even all the believers worldwide. 

Metaphors for the church: 

  • family (Father God and others as brothers and sisters). 
  • Bride of Christ.  As Christ gave himself for his church
  • The body of Christ (i.e. ears, feet, etc)
  • Branches on a vine, a building, a harvest, a new temple, a new priesthood, etc. 
The church and Israel.  The church (believers in Christ) are now God's covenant people.  The dwelling place of God is no longer the Jerusalem temple, for Christians are the new "temple" of God. 

The church and the Kingdom of God.  The church is a group of believers who await to come into the kingdom of God. They are witnesses for the kingdom, used for the glory of the kingdom, and await the kingdom.  There is a start or taste of the kingdom within the church, but also an longing for glory when it will be full. 

Marks of a true church. 
According to Luther: the congregation of saints in which the gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments rightly administered. 
Calvin said: Wherever we see the word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christs institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists.

How do we know how much wrong doctrine can be tolerated before a church can no longer be considered a true church?   Jehovahs witnesses, mormons, do not teach saving faith, and thus are easily marked as false churches. 
A protestant church based on works righteousness or unbelief in scripture is not much better than those two aforementioned groups. Also a church who offers the sacraments to anyone who walks through the doors can give false assurance to unregenerate sinners.  People who do not believe in the gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone are another example. 

Purpose of the church: (all churches should have a good balance of all three of these). 
1. Ministry to God, worship. both with song and lifestyle. 

2. Ministry to believers, Nurture.  build believers up in maturity.  Paul did not just try to bring people to faith but to present every man mature in Christ. 

3. Ministry to the world, evangelism and mercy, These are both key aspects of a church.  (Ministries of Mercy should never become substitutes for genuine evangelism). 

familj liv....family life

Våra familj är inte perfekt, men vems är?  Man letar efter den perfekta bild av en perfekt familj, men detta bild är mycket mer real...