The Gospel is Transcultural

The Gospel is transcultural and in a sense, hyper-cultural, or above all cultural interpretations, judging them all. The Gospel is identical in every culture into which it comes and has no cultus as a referent which is not subordinate. As such there is no “Chinese Gospel” and a “European Gospel” an American Gospel and an African Gospel. There is exactly one Bible, one Gospel, one Christ and one Church, and these have no shift nor can they be, contextualized. These rather, are the context for every other thing that claims to be, Christianity.

In this, the ordained practice of the Church, prayer and praise, sacraments and worship, preaching and teaching, singing and believing, are identical in every true church. For them to differ does not mean that a church has a different cultural context, it implies that some church has a misunderstanding. Difference in the carpet color and the style of the architecture are the effects of applied human reason; it is hard for them to be “wrong” in the significant sense.

But differences in theology raise the necessity of someone being wrong. In the laws of God, the Gospel and the signs of a true church (the right preaching, right administration of the sacraments and the exercise of church discipline) these are either in accord with the divine mandate, or not. It matters not upon which continent they occur.

Taken from Christopher Neiswonger’s Facebook post, which can be found here.

On the Meaning of the Passage

In other words, on interpreting Scripture:

Is it proper/appropriate to interpret according to our own wishes or standards? No, arbitrary interpretation does not generally extract the meaning of a passage, it merely reflects the reader’s biases, not the author’s intentions. The notion that we are free to interpret a text by our arbitrary wishes is self-contradictory; anyone espousing such a view would have to assume that his statement would itself not be subject to arbitrary interpretation. The “correct interpretation” is defined to be the one that matches the meaning of a passage — the author’s intentions. The one-meaning principle is the fact that a given proposition generally has exactly one primary meaning, and thus exactly one correct interpretation.

Dr. Jason Lisle Understanding Genesis: How to Analyze, Interpret and Defend Scripture

Gender Apartheid?

On the face of it, the claim that there is “gender apartheid” in NAPARC is not only implausible but even offensive. First, those who make the claim did so on their own, public podcast. Under apartheid black South Africans were not freely, without government interference, doing the equivalent of podcasts. Our podcasters were in no danger of authorities breaking down the door of their studio. Indeed, our podcasters have the ability to control with whom they will talk—they block on social media even the mildest critics and potential dialogue partners. Further, our female podcasters were theologically educated or had other advanced academic degrees. Again, for prosperous females in North America, who have earned masters and doctoral degrees, to complain of apartheid is just silly. It is offensive because it demeans the very real oppression that black South Africans suffered under apartheid. It is the equivalent of comparing standing in line at Starbucks to standing in a chow line in prison. It is not a thoughtful way to argue.

R. Scott Clark, “Gender Apartheid” And “Toxic Masculinity” In NAPARC?

The Covenant of Grace Has No “Ifs” and “Buts”

From Charles Spurgeon’s sermon The Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, preached October 2nd, 1859. 

Nothing which man has made is everlasting, because he cannot ensure it against decay. But as for the covenant of grace, well did David say of it, ‘It is ordered in all things and sure.’

…There is not an ‘if’ or a ‘but’ in the whole of it from beginning to end. Freewill hates God’s ‘shalls’ and ‘wills,’ and like man’s ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ but there are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in the covenant of grace.

…Almighty grace rides victoriously over the neck of freewill, and leads it captive in glorious captivity to the all-conquering power of irresistible grace and love. It is a sure covenant, and therefore deserves the title of everlasting.

Furthermore, it is not only sure, but it is immutable. If it were not immutable it could not be everlasting. That which changes passes away. We may be quite sure that anything that has the word ‘change’ on it, will sooner or later die, and be put away as a thing of nought. But in the covenant (of grace) everything is immutable. Whatever God has established must come to pass, and not word, or line, or letter can be altered.

J.C. Ryle on Three Rules for Marriage

J.C. Ryle offers some excellent thoughts on good marriages in his commentary on Mark. He gives three rules that will help in marriage:

The first is to marry only in the LORD, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing. The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it” (Eph. V. 25, 26).

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Unity in the Church

Taken from The Church and the Last Things:

Now here, surely, certain things can be said without any fear of contradiction. If we are to be guided by the scriptural teaching, then we must agree at once that the unity that the Scripture is interested in is spiritual unity. How often John 17 is misquoted! People just tear a phrase right out of its context. ‘That they all may be one,’ they say quoting verse 12, and they leave it at that. They insist also that division in the Church is the greatest sin of all. Now, of course, we all agree that division is regrettable; schism is certainly sin. Yes, but when that is interpreted as meaning that anybody who calls himself a Christian, no matter what the shape or form, is someone with whom we would be in absolute unity in every respect, then that is a contradiction of what John 17 teaches.

John 17 surely makes the character of this unity quite plain and clear. Our Lord’s terms are these: ‘As thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us… And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one’ (vv. 21-22). That is all spiritual. Our Lord is talking of the relationship between the Father and the Son, and those who are in Christ, who are in the Father and the Son, and He has already told us certain things about these people. He says, ‘For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out of thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me’ (v.8).  So our Lord’s words about unity are only applicable to people who believe that particular doctrine, and if people tell me that they are Christians but say that Jesus was only a man, then I have no unity with them. I do not belong to them. They may call themselves Christians, but if they have not believed and accepted this, there is no basis for unity. It is spiritual unity.

It always helps to look as Scripture in context.

 

A Nice Quote From Luther

The Pulpit & Pen has an excellent article entitled The Crass, Intolerant Polemicist Who Loved Jesus & The Gospel, which helps us see just how much division Christ brought to earth. He did not come to bring unity, peace, love, puppy dog stories from the pulpit, but the gospel. And He even raised up men like Martin Luther, who would not be allowed to preach in many of the pulpits across America, because of his blunt attacks on the opponents of the gospel. In fact, as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of his nailing of the 95 Thesis on the Wittenberg door, I wonder how many churches that make a big to-do over the anniversary, would ever tolerate a man like Luther in their midst. Better yet, he would probably not tolerate many of them.

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