Archive for the ‘ Random Stuff ’ Category
Outside of reading this, there’ s been a whole lot of Greeking & Hebrewing. I’ve been preaching once a month at the Columbia Bible Presbyterian Church in Scappoose, OR for the past two months (sermons here).
Break time is over, though, so I’ll get back to blogging. You’re welcome (I kid, I kid).
Was God giving Abraham a command to sin when he told him to sacrifice Isaac, his son?
This was asked on twitter.
In Genesis 22 we read:
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Abraham follows God’s command and prepares to sacrifice his son only to be prevented by an angel sent from the Lord. God tells Abraham in Genesis 22:12 “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
So was Abraham’s act a sin? It seems sinful. To kill your own son. Is there a higher form of child abuse than actually killing your own child? But we read: in James 1:13 – “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”
So the answer would be no. We’re aware that it’s impossible for God to tempt Abraham to sin, therefore Abraham wasn’t going to sin. Let’s assume that this is because God was going to prevent Abraham from completing the act (already knowing the end from the beginning, but wishing to show Abraham and us a picture of the sort of sacrifice necessary for the remission of sins).
But would things be different if the sacrifice actually happened? What if God really did demand the sacrifice of a Son? God, you may be aware, has a Son named Jesus Christ and he really was sacrificed.
“Cosmic Child Abuse” is the term many opponents of the Gospel bring up. So did God sin by sacrificing His own Son? Again the answer is no. While Isaac was bound, which suggests that he was given no choice in the matter, Jesus died as a sacrifice willingly (John 10:17).
I can’t know what was running through Abraham & Isaac’s minds during their time on the mountain before God revealed His true purpose for them. I can imagine it wasn’t pleasant. That God allowed for a sacrifice of His Son, and that Christ allowed himself to be sacrificed speaks volumes about the deep, penetrating stain of sin in our lives and the requirements of cleansing it (forever).
Here we have a straightforward & unique post on planting churches. Rather than espousing the “planting is a hard grind, you’ve got to tough it out no matter how long” approach, it takes a look at the possibility that the non-responsive plant isn’t meant to happen (think Paul in Athens).
The logic was simple: if God has called, God will provide. If God is not providing, perhaps you’re misreading his call.
Unfortunately, no one is giving church planters a similar litmus test. We tell them that it’s going to be hard and difficult and they’d better be ready for a beating. As a result, many naïve young men assume that the harder and more difficult the work is, the more they’re in the center of God’s will. Sometimes, that’s true. But not always.
So let me propose a litmus test for church planters: if you’ve been at it for a year and haven’t gathered 30 adults around your vision, you might need to hang it up. At the very least, you need to ask some hard questions that you might not want to ask.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. The problem is: every church planter thinks he’s the exception to the rule. So I’m going to do the unpopular work of telling you that you’re probably not. I’ll trust the Spirit and wise mentors to tell you otherwise if they need to.
If you can’t gather 30 people in a year, maybe you’re working in hard soil and God is calling you to be faithful for another year. But maybe you just don’t have the visionizing and entrepreneurial aptitude to start a church from scratch. If that’s the case, you need to have the humility to admit it. It’s wisdom – not failure! – to acknowledge your gifting and find a role in ministry that fits it.
I know there are some current/former/prospective church planters that read. What do you think? Did/do you have a “breaking point” where you’ll cease & desist with the planting?