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Who is the Good Samaritan?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2010 in Featured Articles

Who is the Good Samaritan?

Introduction

When we approach the Scripture we must always keep context in mind. Untold harm is routinely done to the saints by those who wrangle impossible meanings from Scripture through their subjective fancies and mental imaginations, perceived as “God speaking to them.” The de-contextualized presentation of Scripture is an epidemic problem in Charismatic and prophetic circles where any notion that pops into someone’s head is given the same status as the disciplined presentation of the Scripture. It is one thing to have liberty and personal edification in our private devotional application of Scripture. It is another matter to teach others from our subjective musings, ignoring the explicit context of Scripture.[...] read more

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Anti-Gospel of Spiritual Maturity

Posted by on Jul 2, 2010 in Featured Articles

This post article is an excerpt from Healing: Hope or Hype? Eloquent Books Copyright 2007.  Dr. Stephen Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org.

Maturity—is there a more dangerous Christian concept? The preaching of a Christian maturity message is the #1 opening for legalism in the life of a believer. The tendency is particularly strong in what might be called deeper-life, high-calling, high-commitment, pursuit of God, sonship, or discipleship environments. The underlying thinking in these settings is the erroneous concept of “getting more of God.” This is defined as the acquisition of virtues and the elimination of sins resulting from our effort in various spiritual disciplines:  out with the bad, in with the good. Allegedly, if we’re sincere, obedient, and embrace the latest “word,” we will experience some sort of spiritual return on investment blessing. If we fail, or do not perform to standard, then spiritual jeopardy supposedly results as the fruit of our disobedience. This performance and reward paradigm is sadly normative of much Western Christianity.[...] read more

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The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Falsehood

Posted by on Apr 13, 2010 in Featured Articles

The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Falsehood Parts of this article are excerpted from: Healing, Hope or Hype?

The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Falsehood

Parts of this article are excerpted from: Healing, Hope or Hype?

A little Bible knowledge is like a little nitroglycerin: dangerous when mishandled.

There’s a subtle deceit and conceit inherent in all fundamental Christianity, Evangelicalism, or whatever one chooses to call it. It’s the belief that mastery of the Scripture is the same as the knowledge of God. The Scriptures may be perfect,[1] but our understanding never will be: not yours and not mine. We can have a biblically accurate understanding of grace, and know nothing of its power in our lives. We can win an argument, splitting hairs over Paul’s doctrine, and know absolutely nothing of Paul’s life. We can know the chronology of Passion Week, and possess nothing of His resurrection life.[...] read more

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The Sword and Trowel

Posted by on Mar 17, 2010 in Featured Articles

Realized Christian life expression is often far below
its potential. While we’re not saved by our behavior,
our behavior has kingdom impact. Few things
hinder Christ’s interests in the lives of unbelievers
more effectively than the gap between what Christians
profess with their words and express with their
lives. Our evangelistic efforts can be near impossible
because of the flotsam of bad testimony left by the
Christian who may have gone before us. This doesn’t
excuse the unbeliever, but it sure doesn’t make our
task easier!
Effective Christian life is not a matter of living
some idealistic, perfect, or fault free existence so we
might “qualify” as a bona fide Christian witnesses.
Nor is it mastery of the Scripture, understanding the
mysteries of God, or being able to work signs and
wonders. Rather, what the world is longing to see is
genuineness in relationships: with God, humanity,
and one another.
When I worked in various industries, I found that
my most effective Christian “witness” (which earned
me the most respect in the eyes of unbelieving coworkers)
was not my mastery of the Bible, nor my
perfections, but rather my willingness to repent and
ask forgiveness of unbelievers when my behavior betrayed
my Lord. Unbelievers are used to know-it-all
Christians telling them they are going to hell and why
their belief system is wrong. Expressed humility can
be a breath of evangelistic fresh air for all parties involved.
Perplexed leaders throughout history have attempted
to address the profession-expression gap by
preaching and teaching various forms of “discipleship.”
However, the press for discipleship is often
counterproductive. In the US, 80% of young people
raised in the church will leave by the age of 21 and
never come back. I would suggest that indicates
something is wrong in our thinking and methods.
It’s no accident that Jesus preached and taught in a
pre-industrial society. The images and metaphors He
used are agricultural. Too often in a post-industrial
society, we inadvertently bring our unconscious industrial,
managerial, and production mindset to the
matter of discipleship. Jesus’ kingdom does not operate
by management and production. It operates from
life, not manufacturing. The model of Christian discipleship
that we attempt to implement must be one
based on abiding and fruit bearing, not behavior
modification and production.
If a seed is good, planted in good soil, provided
with the necessities of sunlight, food (fertilizer) and
water, kept from disease and animal abuse, it will, in
its time and season, yield fruit that is consistent with
its nature. A faithful gardener will care for the tree,
but understands that no amount of exhortation, anxiety,
or pressure can produce the fruit he/she desires.
The potential of fruit is in the life of the seed. There
is nothing the gardener can add. He must rest in
hope and in trust of the nature of the seed. It is no different
in Christianity . . . or at least it should be no
different.
It is a mistake for Christian leaders to put uniform
pressure on groups of people expecting them to produce
discipleship. It is absurd to demand of an apple
tree, fruit, just because it is the peach tree’s season to
bear. The problem with one-size-fits all demands of
production discipleship is that it is undignifying and
dehumanizing. It pays no attention to the individual.
It values behavioral results over realized personhood,
in Christ.[...] read more

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If Only…

Posted by on Dec 23, 2009 in Featured Articles

If Only…by Steven Crosby

– Many Christians are careful to observe certain times, places, and rituals of worship, but when the church service is over, they’re like those who profess no regard for Christ. In their manner of life, in the way they spend their time and money, in their cares and worries, fears and pleasures, indulgences and diversions, it is often impossible to distinguish professing Christians from the rankest unbelievers, until they once again gather to sing of their love and devotion to Jesus. Little wonder that the skeptic makes such false standard-bearers the object of his scorn and jest, because he sees that their devotion goes no deeper than the words they use in song and prayer. How can this be called Christianity, when such a manner of life finds its proper condemnation in every page of the New Testament?[...] read more

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The Jealous Love of God

Posted by on Dec 18, 2009 in Featured Articles

UNDERSTANDING THE JEALOUS LOVE OF GOD

– Have you ever wondered about the apparent contradiction between the “vengeful” God of the Old Testament and the gracious, loving Lord of the New Testament? Have you struggled to reconcile God’s holy anger with His boundless love?

These are issues that many have wrestled with for ages. God’s “judgments” have often been misunderstood and viewed as being contrary to His sacrificial, loving character revealed through Christ.[...] read more

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A Father to the Fatherless

Posted by on Dec 18, 2009 in Featured Articles

In 1995, before leaving on a ministry trip to Australia, I read a true story about a seminary student who struck up a conversation with a teenager who had been living on the streets of Melbourne. As the student tried to share the Gospel, the teenager asked pointedly, “What is God like?”

What a loaded question. The seminary student had one chance to share the Good News with this teenager and felt pressured to come up with just the right answer. His mind raced. Reflecting on what he had learned in his recent studies, the young man replied, “God is like a father.”[...] read more

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