Saturday, February 11, 2012

Miscellaneous Thoughts from Think '11

Think '11 is the annual theology conference at College Park.  The speaker this year was D.A. Carson, and the topic was some selected Biblical texts, which make up his book Scandalous.

* A quote from his dad: "A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text."  Scripture must be taken in context.

* "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."  -Matt. 16:24.  "Taking up our cross" is not fully understood today.  It is not just something tough that goes on (e.g. the loss of a family member).  The cross was absolutely shameful in that day.  It meant you were literally about to die.  Do I really want to be His disciple?  If so, I must daily die to myself and my needs, and follow Him so radically to the point of shame and ridicule.

* Servant leadership.  The "servant" of Jesus' servant leadership is often highlighted.  It's important to remember that He was still the disciples' leader and He demanded high levels of obedience while still serving them.  Also, if I ever get to a "high position" in a church, ministry or work, it will be critical to not do some service for others while actually getting pretty comfy in my position and subconsciously expecting to be served the rest of the time.

* We must not confuse the gospel with the entailments of the gospel.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength" is of utmost importance.  Loving our neighbors as ourselves is as well.  But these are not the gospel.  Becoming more focused in our lives, being more productive and being joyful are not the gospel.  There are "Christian" movements where this is becoming the gospel and it will not be long before those movements will degrade into a strictly moralistic institution where God can't be found.  We are all sinners (Ro. 1:18 - Ro. 3:20) and the gospel is that God the Father sent Jesus the Son down to this earth as fully man and fully God.  He lived a sinless life, and died a substitutionary death for us.

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