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Joe Fleener

Joe Fleener's Public Library

  • Our Quarterly, however, is strictly resource-driven. Each issue will contain all our Exegetical Tools’ posts for the last three months. This includes our categories of book reviews, featured resources, new books, research resources, and will also include our posts on current issues. The result for this volume is 95 pages of reviews and write-ups on all the latest resources that will equip you for exegesis, languages, theology, ministry, and more.

  • ChinaSource is, in my estimation, the premier resource for anyone interested in Chinese Christianity. The dedicated crew observes closely, researches thoroughly, documents meticulously, and consistently publishes high-quality reports and essays written by Chinese church leaders and others with years of experience living and working in this ancient, complicated, and rapidly changing culture.

  • The Christian church on earth is always, in a sense, in exile.
  • First, we need to understand that the gay marriage issue is not simply about the legitimate bounds of sexual activity. Many Christians respond to accusations of singling homosexuals out for excoriation by pointing to the fact that we also object to sex between unmarried heterosexuals. That is a good argument, but it misses the full significance of the gay issue. To object to heterosexuals having sex outside of marriage is to object to an illegitimate expression of a legitimate identity. To object to gay sex, or gay marriage, is to deny the legitimacy of an identity.
  • Attitudes to gay marriage are different. The way in which society has developed on this matter has made the traditional view not simply something that looks silly to the world, but something that looks positively evil. To many, opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage is not akin to belief in the resurrection; it is akin to belief in white supremacy — a moral stance that speaks of hatred and a basically antisocial, if not criminal, mind-set.

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  • First of all, make no mistake: you should talk to your children about this
  • The issues at stake are more important than that. Marriage isn’t ultimately about living arrangements or political structures, but about the gospel. When your children ask about the Supreme Court, be loving and winsome and honest and convictional and kind.

  • At the risk of sounding simplistic, the more I think about it the more I am persuaded that many of the world’s philosophical errors and its failures in practical solutions and resolutions are primarily because of a faulty understanding of the awful thing the Bible calls “sin”.
  • I am very concerned that much of modern evangelicalism has lost this clear biblical teaching. We seem to see the source of sin purely in terms of the devil and the world. We see ourselves as good people who are victims of outside forces. We fail to see that we are born fallen.

  • My main reason for writing is not to mount a political counter-assault. I don’t think that is the calling of the church as such. My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.

  • First of all, the church should not panic. The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is still calling the universe toward his kingdom.
  • The church will need in the years ahead to articulate what we believe about marriage; we cannot assume that people agree with us, or even understand us. Let’s not simply talk about marriage in terms of values or culture or human flourishing. Let’s talk about marriage the way Jesus and the apostles taught us to — as bound up with the gospel itself, a picture of the union of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:32).
  • As we do so, we must not just articulate our views of marriage, we must embody a gospel marriage culture. We have done a poor job of that in the past. Too many of our marriages have been ravaged by divorce.

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  • Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that gay marriage is legal and required in all 50 states—the decision in explained here—the question now becomes what to do with those individuals, associations, or businesses who disagree.

  • Four years ago, our current President said he personally opposed same-sex marriage. Today, the Supreme Court has found a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage, contra all recorded sociopolitical, religious, and human history.

  • From a legal standpoint, it represents five unelected justices imposing on the nation a new definition of marriage. The judgment is not rooted in sound legal principle but in the opinions of five lawyers arrogating to themselves the right to enact social policy. The Supreme Court has no right to redefine marriage for all 50 states, but that is exactly what it did today.

  • The Bible says the Lord alone is God and we should have no other gods before him (Ex. 20:2-3). Not the state, not the Supreme Court, not our families, not our friends, not our favorite authors, not our cultural cache. No gods but God.

  • Whatever else we feel and learn in the wake of the fall, we should see that the consequences of sin in leaders seep into the church, leading people astray — away from God and against him.
  • When a leader falls, all are punished.
  • People are not punished for their pastor’s sin. But when a leader — a preacher, a teacher, a writer, a coach, a parent, a role model — lives and leads under the sway of unrepentant sin, inevitably some followers will follow him into sin.

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  • If you are a pastor, cultivate a culture where your elders are comfortable speaking frankly to you, where they feel part of a team of equals and not a subordinate part of a rigid hierarchy.  And if you are an elder and you do not have the backbone to confront your pastor, then for his sake and for the sake of the church you need to resign and find another role in the church.   I am privileged to have such men in my church.  If you do not, pray that the Lord will raise them up for you.  You need them.

  • Originally released on VHS in 1989, this series on suffering by Elisabeth Elliot is now available to stream for free here.
  • Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) was a Christian author and speaker. She, having lived through great loss, taught on God’s grace in the midst of hardship, as well as teaching wives and mothers to fulfill the high calling of Titus 2.

  • Similar to the euthanasia deaths of Godelieva De Troyer (64), a healthy Belgian woman who was living with depression or Ann G (44) who asked for euthanasia for psychological pain after being sexually exploited by her psychiatrist, who was treating her for Anorexia, Laura has been approved for lethal injection, even though she is physically healthy and only 24-years-old.

     

    In March, the chairman of the federal euthanasia commission in Belgium admitted that 50 to 60 euthanasia deaths are done on psychiatric patients each year.

  • Under the rubric of Calvin’s “twofold kingdom” Christians do have a place to “engage the culture” and to speak to broader issues but they must be willing to do so in their capacity as private persons, as members of society and not as representatives of the church. In other words, whatever social agenda a Christian pursues is one thing but leave the visible, institutional church out of it. The church, as a visible institution, as the embassy of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, has no social agenda for the wider civil and cultural world.

  • Many have pointed out the similarities between Dolezal’s case and that of Bruce Jenner and his declarations that he is now a woman.  And the comparison has been (rightly) used to expose how intellectually vacuous the transgender cause really is.  One cannot determine their own gender any more than a person can determine their own race.
  • So, who can blame her for just living consistently with what she was taught?  Well, it turns out, just about everyone. The very culture that taught her that truth is relative has now turned on her. What it gave to her with one hand, it has taken away with the other.
  • And it is here that the Rachel Dolezal story exposes the silliness and the absurdity of postmodernity, and its accompanying commitment to relativism.  It shows–perhaps more clearly than any other recent example–that postmodernity simply doesn’t work. It shows that we can’t create our own realities after all.  We can’t make something true just because we want it to be.  Any person with common sense simply knows that saying you are black doesn’t make you black.

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  • BioLogos, a foundation that exists to promote theistic evolution, regularly runs articles from various scholars on how to reinterpret these issues and how to reconcile them with evolutionary teachings. The latest series discusses the doctrine of the atonement. BioLogos wants Christians to believe there is a rich history of differing opinions on the atonement. In fact, they want you to believe that there is no one accepted position:
  • How you interpret Genesis 1-3 is about more than just the length of the creation days. What you believe about how the world began has ripple effects throughout Scripture. If Genesis 1 and 2 are metaphorical or allegorical and not meant to be understood literally, then that affects many other parts of Scripture.
  • The work of Christ must be understood as a response to the reality and universal extent of sin among human beings. And, of course, our understanding of the nature of sin is affected by different models of human origins. Many theologians think that the substitutionary model of atonement requires something like the Augustinian view of the Fall. But there are other models of atonement, and other models of the Fall. Substitutionary atonement is questioned these days on grounds other than evolutionary understandings of human origins, but many evolutionary creationists have added their voices to those concerns.

     

    The atonement is one of the easiest examples to give for there being considerable theological diversity in the church over these 2000 years. From christus victor and fishhook theories, to penal substitution and moral exemplar theories, we can’t say there is one doctrine of the atonement that has stood the test of time.

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  • Not having Facebook or Instagram doesn't have a huge impact on my social life. It does mean, however, that my friends really are just that - friends.

    I don't interact with anyone unless I'm comfortable with inviting them over for a swim or going out to the movies.

  • Now on my birthdays, I pretty much only get called by my grandparents - and although waiting on the line while my grandpa hums a tuning note for his annual operatic version of Happy Birthday can be somewhat awkward, it sure is nicer than getting a "hve a gr8 bday" message from some distant friend who only sent it because Facebook reminded them to.
  • And I'm not a "teenager" either. I'm 15 years old and a perfectly capable human being. 
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