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Joe Fleener

Joe Fleener's Public Library

  • I did plan, as the new lead pastor, to assume final responsibility for the whole service. I even planned to choose the music.
  • I believe that some elder should exercise oversight over picking the music and all the other details of the worship service. Prudentially, I think it’s good for the lead preaching pastor to be that individual.
  • SINGING IS TEACHING

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  • Secrecy rightly practiced enables us to place our public relations department entirely in the hands of God, who lit our candles so we could be the light of the world, not so we could hide under a bushel (Matt. 5:14-16). We allow him to decide when our deeds will be known and when our light will be noticed.

  • Baptists do recognize, however, that by God’s grace, these children are born into homes in which the light of the gospel has dispelled the darkness of this present evil age and the knowledge of Christ informs the actions and attitudes of each day. They thus have great privilege and great responsibility. But everyone should see, with all candor, that none of these benefits is either commenced or augmented by infant Baptism.

  • Could we consider it a sign of health and growth in the New Calvinism if we had the same level of excitement to learn a book of the Bible from a no-name authority on that book, or to learn about a topic of great theological importance from a no-name authority on that topic? Wouldn’t it be interesting if the situation was reversed? “I don’t know who is speaking, but I am excited to learn about this book or this theme!” This would show that our foremost desire is not to see and hear celebrity preachers, but to have the best opportunity to see and hear God speak to us through his Word.

  • No amount of winsomeness will exempt us from the reproach that comes when we speak plainly about what the Bible teaches. If you speak plainly about sin, there will always be some who will vilify you as angry, bigoted, hateful or worse. Jesus told us that it would be this way (John 15:18-21).
  • Because ambiguity is not a long-term possibility anyway

    • Below is the opening talk from Steve Nichols’s series of Reformation Profiles, where he looks at the solas of the Reformation through the various Reformers:

       
         
      • Sola Scriptura: Martin Luther and the Rediscovery of the Authority of Scripture
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      • Sola Gratia: Ulrich Zwingli and the Rediscovery of Grace
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      • Sola Fide: Lady Jane Grey and the Rediscovery of Justification by Faith
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      • Sola Christus: John Calvin and the Blessing of Christ Alone
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      • Soli Deo Gloria: Glorifying God in Everything
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      • Q&A

  • It concluded: "Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment."

  • One of the greatest crimes committed by this present Christian generation is its neglect of the gospel, and it is from this neglect that all our other maladies spring forth. The lost world is not so much gospel hardened as it is gospel ignorant because many of those who proclaim the gospel are also ignorant of its most basic truths. The essential themes that make up the very core of the gospel—the justice of God, the radical depravity of man, the blood atonement, the nature of true conversion, and the biblical basis of assurance—are absent from too many pulpits. Churches reduce the gospel message to a few creedal statements, teach that conversion is a mere human decision, and pronounce assurance of salvation over anyone who prays the sinner’s prayer.

  • Evangelical Christians tend to be either too excited or too exercised about Hollywood. There is a periodic swing between giddy excitement that Hollywood has decided to make a movie about the Bible or a Christian theme and, on the other hand, barely restrained outrage that Hollywood has brought forth some new atrocity. Actually, most celebrations and consternations about Hollywood are overblown. The film industry is all about telling a story and selling movie tickets. There are artistic elements, worldview considerations, and moral dimensions to be sure, but Hollywood is, after all, an industry.
  • More than anything else, the controversy over Noah should lead Christians to understand something that should be our natural instinct. We must recognize that the Bible tells its own story infinitely better than anyone else can tell it – Hollywood included. The Bible has suffered cinematic violence at the hands of its friends as well as its enemies. This is not to argue that the Bible is off-limits to Hollywood or that Christians, among others, should not make films and movies on biblical themes and narratives. It is to state, however, that no movie, book, story, song, or other narrative device can do what the Bible does on its own terms.

  • Most of us (myself included) need to be willing to take a lot more risks and state the truth with a cutting edge.

  • Pastor, let me be frank: this book is excellent. I think you should buy 30 copies and pass them out like lemonade on a summer day. Folks in your congregation are thirsting to worship God in a way that pleases him; surely, many people think they already doing this. But thoroughly working through Scripture, Roberts draws heart-checking implications like this: “there is such a thing as false worship that does not please God” (Loc. 46).

  • This is not because we care nothing for the body of Christ as a whole but because we are aware of the church's limited resources, and of the fact that most people in the churches where we worship have no deep interest in such movements.  They are too busy being Christians in their daily lives.molesworth_reasonably_small.jpg They work hard for the local church; they witness to their neighbours; they support the denomination with their tithes; they pray for the denomination and her missionaries in particular and for the extension of the kingdom in general; and they trust others do the same for their respective churches.  And that's about it.  More than enough to keep us all busy, as they say.

  • In speaking of Old Calvinism, I admit that I am using the expression loosely for the community of Calvinists generally connected with Old School Presbyterianism and their conservative Reformed Baptist counterparts.  One thinks of Martyn Lloyd-Jones and the Banner of Truth, and James Montgomery Boice and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
  • A rising tide raises all ships, they say, and the influx of people to the New Calvinism can only strengthen the Old Calvinism as fresh resources are provided by God's grace.  In this respect, the New Calvinism is being used by the Lord to strengthen the Old Calvinism, making it unnecessary for those of more classically Reformed convictions to change or conform.
  •  The chief problem is a much more noxious "celebrity" phenomenon, where celebrity is not merely an unavoidable byproduct, but where the chief aim of the "ministry" is to promote the celebrity status of its public figure.

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  • I am truly not shocked by the recent announcement by Rich Stearns that World Vision will now employ homosexuals so long as they are "married." Anyone paying attention to World Vision in recent years has noticed a gradual movement away from certain distinctives that once made evangelicalism evangelical.
  • Stearns says that World Vision is united around the Apostle's Creed. But what profit is there in affirming belief in God while denying that which He has made so clear?

  • At stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it. If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and as the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing a call to repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish.
  • World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see.

  • They talk about Derek’s life, conversion, and perspective on gospel ministry

  • By early 2014, the Bible App had been installed on almost 125 million devices, with 49 million of those happening in 2013 alone. The app now offers 739 Bible versions that together represent more than 460 languages. Many of these versions are available in audio formats, and in 2013 users of the app listened to 595 million chapters of the Bible. The most-read chapter that year was Romans 8 and it was read, on average, four times every second through the entire year. The app has been used to complete an astonishing 15 million reading plans and, all together, its users have spent more than 84 billion minutes reading God’s Word.

  • The most gospel-zealous leaders of the Old Calvinism longed to see the doctrines of God's sovereign grace spread far into the broader Baptist and Charismatic world of evangelicalism.  Now that this has happened, how can Old Calvinism fail to rejoice in it?
  • Instead of a theological shift, the New Calvinism represents a major sociological and ecclesiastical extension of Calvinism in general.

  • But in the midst of this we must hold to the unchanging proclamation of the gospel message: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. It will always be the case that many will reject it. But the church will always gather as God’s holy people, centred first on him, and unstoppable in our desire to proclaim his Christ to our world.
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