acting like teenage kids

never forget that the crowd running the show in Washington truly deeply believes that they are smarter than you and care more than you do about things.

from Drudge here is exhibit A in the condescension lalapalooza:

SecChu_art_257_20090921154709.jpg

Energy Secretary Chu: A teaching moment (AP)
When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons.
Speaking on the sidelines of a smart grid conference in Washington, Dr. Chu said he didn’t think average folks had the know-how or will to to change their behavior enough to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” Dr. Chu said. “The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.” (In that case, the Energy Department has a few renegade teens of its own.)

aren’t you glad that your betters are willing to teach you?

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the Ministry of Meekness

Continuing to read Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we arrive on pages 95-97 at his description of the ministry of meekness that Christians owe to one another:

Only he who lives by the forgiveness of his sin in Jesus Christ will rightly think little of himself. He will know that his own wisdom reached the end of its tether when Jesus forgave him. He remembers the ambition of the first man who wanted to know what is good and evil and perished in his wisdom……Because the Christian can no longer fancy that he is wise he will also have no high opinion of his own schemes and plans. He will know that it is good for his own will to be broken in the encounter with his neighbor. He will be ready to consider his neighbor’s will more important and urgent than his own.
……
Finally, one extreme thing must be said. To forego self-conceit and to associate with the lowly means, in all soberness and without mincing the matter, to consider oneself the greatest of sinners. This arouses all the resistance of the natural man, but also that of the self-confident Christian…..There can be no genuine acknowledgment of sin that does not lead to this extremity. If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. My sin is of necessity the worst, the most grievous, the most reprehensible. Brotherly love will find any number of extenuations for the sins of others; only for my sin is there no apology whatsoever. Therefore my sin is the worst. He who would serve his brother in the fellowship must sink all the way down to these depths of humility.

emphasis added

compare this to Jesus speaking to his disciples in Mark 10:

42 q And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles r lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But s it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [4] 44 and whoever would be first among you must be t slave [5]of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but u to serve, and v to give his life as a ransom for w many.”

spiritual leadership

John Piper’s article on spiritual leadership is a treasure trove of extremely valuable information.

I found this bit on marks of a good teacher especially interesting since I have spent a lot of time teaching.

9. Able to Teach

It is not surprising to me that some of the great leaders at Bethlehem Baptist Church have been men who are also significant teachers. According to 1 Timothy 3:2 anyone who aspires to the office of overseer in the church should be able to teach. What is a good teacher? I think a good teacher has at least the following characteristics.

  • A good teacher asks himself the hardest questions, works through to answers, and then frames provocative questions for his learners to stimulate their thinking.
  • A good teacher analyzes his subject matter into parts and sees relationships and discovers the unity of the whole.
  • A good teacher knows the problems learners will have with his subject matter and encourages them and gets them over the humps of discouragement.
  • A good teacher foresees objections and thinks them through so that he can
    answer them intelligently.
  • A good teacher can put himself in the place of a variety of learners and therefore explain hard things in terms that are clear from their standpoint.
  • A good teacher is concrete, not abstract, specific, not general, precise, not vague, vulnerable, not evasive.
  • A good teacher always asks, “So what?” and tries to see how discoveries shape our whole system of thought. He tries to relate discoveries to life and tries to avoid compartmentalizing.
  • The goal of a good teacher is the transformation of all of life and thought into a Christ-honoring unity.

But the whole thing is well worth a read and a reread. His bits on a leader needing to be Restless, Intense, Articulate and a Hard Thinker were also quite good. :->.

HT to Justin Taylor.

Teaching

Mark Driscoll has a post on the spiritual gift of teaching.

The Spiritual Gift of Teaching Defined

The gift of teaching is the God-given ability to understand and communicate biblical truth in a clear and relevant manner so that there is understanding and application.

People with the Gift of Teaching

Learning, researching, communicating, and illustrating truth are qualities that an individual will manifest when exercising the gift of teaching. These people enjoy studying and learning new information, and find great joy in sharing it with others. The format of teaching varies from one-on-one discipleship to formal classes, informal Bible studies, large groups, and preaching, which is a form of teaching.

…..
Do You Have This Gift?

Do you enjoy studying and researching?
Do you enjoy imparting biblical truth to others?
Do others come to you for insight into Scripture?
When you teach, do people “get it”?
When you see someone confused in their understanding of the Bible do you feel a responsibility to speak to them about it?
Do you enjoy speaking to various sizes of groups about biblical issues you have strong convictions about?

so what do you think? is this your gift?

truth in love

Paul reminded the Ephesian church that only with truth would there be mature Christian unity and only if truth was spoken in love.

Truth cannot be ducked or minimized in any way, but it must be softened with compassion. It is not compassionate to downplay or minimize or disregard truth.

Dr. Mohler wrote about this the other day in the context of homosexuality.

first the truth:

The homosexual rights movement understands that the evangelical church is one of the last resistance movements committed to a biblical morality. Because of this, the movement has adopted a strategy of isolating Christian opposition, and forcing change by political action and cultural pressure. Can we count on evangelicals to remain steadfastly biblical on this issue?

Not hardly. Scientific surveys and informal observation reveal that we have experienced a significant loss of conviction among youth and young adults. No moral revolution can succeed without shaping and changing the minds of young people and children. Inevitably, the schools have become crucial battlegrounds for the culture war. The Christian worldview has been undermined by pervasive curricula that teach moral relativism, reduce moral commandments to personal values, and promote homosexuality as a legitimate and attractive lifestyle option.

Our churches must teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Bible prescribes a model for sexual relationships. Young people must be told the truth about homosexuality–and taught to esteem marriage as God’s intention for human sexual relatedness.

The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender–what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God’s gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.

but with compassion:

And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well–compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin.

Liberal churches have redefined compassion to mean that the church changes its message to meet modern demands. They argue that to tell a homosexual he is a sinner is uncompassionate and intolerant. This is like arguing that a physician is intolerant because he tells a patient she has cancer. But, in the culture of political correctness, this argument holds a powerful attraction.

Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception. True compassion demands speaking the truth in love–and there is the problem. Far too often, our courage is more evident than our compassion.

Go read the rest. Great stuff.

why doctrine?

via challies, here is John MacArthur talking about the importance of a sound doctrinal foundation prior to learning specific applications of scripture.

Of course, practical application is vital. I don’t want to minimize its importance. But if there is a deficiency in preaching today, it is that there’s too much relational, pseudopsychological, and thinly life-related content, and not enough emphasis on sound doctrine.

The distinction between doctrinal and practical truth is artificial; doctrine is practical! In fact, nothing is more practical than sound doctrine.

Practical insights, gimmicks, and illustrations mean little if they’re not attached to divine principle. There’s no basis for godly behavior apart from the truth of God’s Word. Before the preacher asks anyone to perform a certain duty, he must first deal with doctrine. He must develop his message around theological themes and draw out the principles of the texts. Then the truth can be applied.

James 3:1

James 3:1 says that not many of us should be teachers because we who teach will be judged more strictly. Teaching the word of God to the people of God is a huge responsibility and should be approached with an intense awareness of this responsibility and the constant need for assistance from the Holy Spirit to rightly divide the word.

The activity of theologians and priests described by Anne Hendershott in this article is chilling in light of James 3:1. check this out.

In some cases, church leaders actually started providing “cover” for Catholic pro-choice politicians who wanted to vote in favor of abortion rights. At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., on a hot summer day in 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians and Catholic college professors on how to accept and promote abortion with a “clear conscience.”

The former Jesuit priest Albert Jonsen, emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, recalls the meeting in his book “The Birth of Bioethics” (Oxford, 2003). He writes about how he joined with the Rev. Joseph Fuchs, a Catholic moral theologian; the Rev. Robert Drinan, then dean of Boston College Law School; and three academic theologians, the Revs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran, to enable the Kennedy family to redefine support for abortion.

Mr. Jonsen writes that the Hyannisport colloquium was influenced by the position of another Jesuit, the Rev. John Courtney Murray, a position that “distinguished between the moral aspects of an issue and the feasibility of enacting legislation about that issue.” It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians “might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order.”

Father Milhaven later recalled the Hyannisport meeting during a 1984 breakfast briefing of Catholics for a Free Choice: “The theologians worked for a day and a half among ourselves at a nearby hotel. In the evening we answered questions from the Kennedys and the Shrivers. Though the theologians disagreed on many a point, they all concurred on certain basics . . . and that was that a Catholic politician could in good conscience vote in favor of abortion.”

hat tip to Al Mohler who has similar thoughts about this event. Dr. Mohler concludes:

There are important lessons here, to be sure. One lesson must be this: There will be theologians who seem ever ready to find a way to subvert the teachings of their church, even as they seek to remain in its employ and trust. The second lesson is like unto the first: There will ever be politicians who are looking for political cover, and will gladly receive this cover from those willing to subvert their church’s teaching. These lessons are by no means limited to the Roman Catholic Church.