Archive for March, 2009

Added “Popular Posts” page

About a year ago, I wrote an entry on bad worship songs and what made them bad. My blog was relatively new then, and hardly any of my friends knew about my blog. Many of them have since joined the blogosphere and keep updated on my posts frequently, so I’d like to point them to this older post which has found many readers across the Internet and has stimulated some discussion over the past year. In case other posts become popular in the future, I created a “Popular Posts” page to keep all of them in one place.

If you think any of my posts should be added to the page, feel free to suggest them to me.

Complementarianism

Complementarianism | TheResurgence

Pastor Mark Driscoll has been posting on TheResurgence about the New Calvinism and some of the big names and ideas that have carried over from the “Old” to the “New.” The last post rounding out the brief article series is not on a dead guy, but on the Bible’s view of gender roles, which has been on my mind since last year, since reading parts of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and listening to Driscoll’s sermon series through Song of Songs. I agree with Driscoll, who agrees with his friend Bruce Ware, that what people believe about gender roles reveals much about their theology and how they view the Word of God. I am glad to see that egalitarianism has no foothold in KCM, although I don’t think too many people know what the word even means. But they’ll probably know something about egalitarian Christians’ attempts to change the pronoun referring to God as Mother and She or to encourage women to become pastors. And most obviously, the rage over homosexuality.

I am glad that Driscoll put up egalitarianism, complementarianism, and male chauvinism, to show that complementarianism, contrary to misconceptions, is not about keeping women out of leadership and consigning them to household chores. No, the complementarian view understands that God considers man and woman equal in His sight but has assigned distinct, complementary roles for each of them.

The Bible’s views on gender roles is important not just in the Church, but outside of it. At hand are implications for evangelism. Many opposers of the faith will point to the passages in the New Testaments that deal with head coverings and women being silent in church. It raises the issue of what instructions belong only to the culture of the New Testament and how do we apply such exhortations to today? Will we argue merely from the New Testament or will we take the argument back to creation? The complementarian view starts from creation and only after it firmly establishes that gender roles were established before culture even existed does it grapple with these difficult passages and how they relate to today. And I am convinced that this interpretation is true and that it will profit the Church and each individual Christian (especially in relationships, marriage, and raising families) to live in accordance with such truth.

Taking so long

It was spring break this week. Since I was home most of the week, my parents checked in on me in my room every now and then. One of the things they’ve been telling me is to not spend so much time preparing for church. Let me explain. I told my dad a few weeks ago that the sermons were taking so long to prepare and that I had no time to do anything else on the weekends. He told me not to write too much and keep the message short, to 15, 20 minutes. But as I sat down to prepare for Acts 7 this week, I found the message again taking a long time to write. I wish it could finish itself faster, I really do.  I wish my school papers would finish themselves faster, too. But I’m not going to turn in crap to my professors. I’m going to spend the time it takes to produce something of quality. It’s easy to BS a paper when you know it’s the last thing you turn in for your class and your professor won’t talk to you about it in-person after he grades it, but when you’re standing in front of the congregation, delivering the Word of God, BSing is just not an option. I do have time to prepare something of value, but if I really devoted the time that I needed to make something I thought was “good,” I would spend all week doing research, looking up verses, coming up with an outline, coming up with examples and quotes, deciding what words to emphasize and what kind of tone to say them in. And even then I would probably think I would have to put more time into it. School is easy enough where I can do that if I wanted to. I really don’t mind the time I spend doing what I need to do, namely, take care of my responsibilities for church.

The problem is, I also need to study for the LSAT (which has its own problems at the moment…it would take too long to explain). I also need to look for a job. I also need to do my class work (because GPA matters a lot for law school). I also need to spend time with people and enjoy my last few months of college. When I realize I’ve spent probably close to 10 hours a week preparing for praise (I thank God that my brother and I can practice just 30 minutes and still be more or less prepared), preparing for Bible study (reading the chapter, taking notes, anticipating questions, writing down my answers to the discussion questions so I can keep things going if no one participates), and preparing for the message (listening to sermons, taking notes, reading and re-reading the passage, underlining key verses, coming up with an outline with key points and transitions and examples, writing out what I will say [because I will fail miserably with only a bare outline], and finding cross-references), I wonder how I can fit everything else in there.

I need to manage my time well. Only now, it’s not to get school work done. It’s to get life work done. In the past, getting school work done was a non-negotiable. If I had a paper to finish, I would stay up to do it (and I would hate it). Now, the non-negotiable is church work. If it’s midnight and I still need to work on my message, I will do it. Sometimes I will give in and leave the last minute on Sunday morning to force me to finish. But if it’s midnight and I didn’t write a cover letter or work on my personal statement, then I will go to sleep because I will listen to my body when it tells me I’m tired. Something needs to give. I really wish the sermon preparation wouldn’t take so long. Pray for me. I feel like such a sinner when I don’t get things done. You don’t need to tell me that it’s not a sin to let some things stay undone. I know when the Spirit is showing me my laziness. Just pray for me.

Wisdom from a sister in Christ

I stumbled across a blog post by Dwayna Litz titled “A Godly Relationship: Only When A Man Leads.” It is good to read about godly relationships from a woman’s perspective. The reason I’m writing about it is because of an observation she makes:

I am reminded of years ago when I lived in LA. Men there would say, “Call me sometime.” I would say, “I don’t call men. But, you can call me. Here is my number.” This forces the man to “lead”—what a concept!

Here in NYC even the lost men know how to pursue a woman. The men here culturally are different from the men in CA apparently. The men here don’t have any problem walking up to a woman and saying, “You are beautiful. Would you like to meet out for lunch? May I have your number?” This is nice—they know how to communicate with a woman like a lady, realizing that women have needs to be cherished and are EXTREMELY different from men.

I just find her observation so insightful. There’s a stereotype of Asian men being passive, and though I’ve found many of my white Christian friends at school to be more assertive in their relationships with girls, it’s interesting how she, being white and neither from LA or NYC originally, has experienced that men in LA are more reluctant to lead.

I think when I finished reading the post the first time, I was hesitant to accept her opinions of how Christian men and women should act toward one another. Some of it had biblical basis, but there were no verses quoted or references to Christ’s relationship to the Church (which should be the thing driving Christians’ views of marriage and relationships). Then I began to browse through her other blog entries. I realized that the blog was actually a blog for updating about things this organization called Lighting The Way was doing. And geez, there are a TON of posts. The most recent one (when I checked it) said “West Hollywood” and briefly mentioned that a few of the staff members had worked until 1 am. I realized that this ministry did evangelism work in Southern California, including Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. They mention evangelistic efforts to New Agers, homosexuals, Oneness Pentecostals, Mormons, and homeless people. I visited the main website for Lighting The Way and became overwhelmed by all the work they are doing, the spiritual battles they are fighting. I realized that Dwayna Litz was the founder of this ministry.

There was a link on the side called “About Dwayna,” and I began to read about her story. My heart began to soften as I read about her childhood in the South, about her career in the music industry, about her passion for God and evangelism, about how she came to Grace Community Church to learn from John MacArthur, and about how she started Lighting The Way as an extension of the church’s ministries in 2002. How large it has grown since then! There were portions in the story about how she would feel alone but how her love for God and hunger for the Word sustained her. Reading that in light of her thoughts on relationships (and eventually, I also read “How Can I Be Single and Happy?”), I felt a deep admiration for her. What a steadfast laborer for Christ! Such passion and devotion. She is so beautiful and precious in the sight of God. When I read random blog posts by Christian girls who say that Jesus is their love, it’s hard for it to register with me, mostly because I wrote a paper for a history of American religion class on Christian romance novels and how for the women that read them, God and Jesus become these great romancers. It all seemed a bit cheesy to me, a product of mushy evangelical theology. But when I read Dwayna write, “I do not have the gift of celibacy” and “I became fulfilled in Jesus when I stopped looking for anyone else,” I know she is being honest and real, not merely giving up out of frustration but really giving it all up to God. Here is a woman so lost in God that a man must seek Him in order to find her.

Dwayna Litz is a Christian, no better than the next, but serious about her walk with God through obedience to His Word and evangelism. She never went to college, much less seminary, but she is indebted to tell people about Jesus for all that she has been forgiven, and she is hungry to know Him more through the study of His Word. And the longer she serves Him, the more she loves Him and appreciates His unmerited favor toward her in calling her His own and making her a Christian. She wakes up everyday with excitement for what God has planned and all that God has in store. This work is as natural as breathing in and out for her, different than the hopes and dreams she once held dear, but oh, so much better.

There was no comment function enabled on the blog post, so I wrote her an email, thanking her for her encouragement and telling her about how small I feel at times when I see and think about all the lost people in Los Angeles and as I serve at church. I hope she gets around to reading it. God’s plan is so much bigger than anything we can imagine.

Edit (3/22/09 7:48 pm): I received a response today from Dwayna. Here is the part where she says a few more things about this issue. I will take it to heart. I trust that her observations about how women feel are not a result of cultural conditioning but of the gender-specific personality characteristics God has purposefully created in us. To the gals that read this…do you also feel the same way?

Yes, it is VERY appealing to a woman when a man leads. It is worth the vulnerability required on the man’s part to lead well. It must feel “safer” in some ways to let the women make the first moves and initiate things, but it is much more appealing when the men do it and when the women let them. A woman loves to feel safe, like she is with a man who is decisive enough to lead. Some guys are so passive, it is as if no opinion or attraction is worth the risk of rejection or “failure.”  That approach does NOT make the woman feel like the “prize” God intends for her to be to a man. Real men pursue, and real women let them. Especially in the Lord. :-)

God bless you, and thank you so much again for the kind note.

For God’s glory,

Dwayna

May the new Calvinism not be a fad

Mark Driscoll pointed out on his blog that Time Magazine has a list of the 10 biggest ideas changing the world now. The “new Calvinism” is the 3rd biggest. That’s pretty shocking. The author is really spot-on when he points to the changing lyrical content of popular hymns and songs throughout the centuries as indicators of shifting trends in the Christian landscape.

I’m really excited that Reformed/Calvinist doctrines have been so popular. I’m thankful for Piper and Driscoll, who are able to make such timeless truths relevant and captivating. I think many Christians are tired of the mushy, theologically light Christianity being preached in many evangelical churches today. We crave substance and depth. It’s unfortunate that the label Calvinism has to put on this “brand” of Christianity, because people start getting the idea that Calvinism is a different denomination. I agree with Spurgeon when I say, “Calvinism is the gospel.” May I never call myself a Calvinist out of pride, as if displaying a badge of holiness.

I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.

I don’t want this to be a fad. I don’t want people buying ESV study Bibles just because it’s the “in” thing to do or start wearing Monergism.com shirts just like people who put NOTW stickers on the rear windows of their white pickup trucks.

More reminders of mortality

Gunman killed 10 in Alabama before killing himself

17-year-old German student killed 15 people

3 dead, 1 wounded in Texas apparent murder-suicide

And, a little closer to home…

Suspect shot by police near USC at 8:30 pm

All 4 suspects now in custody at midnight

Reminders of mortality

Suspect charged in pastor’s shooting

Son is arrested in Torrance father’s stabbing

Son is arrested in Torrance father’s stabbing

From staff and news services

A Torrance man was stabbed to death in the unincorporated area near Carson, and his 25-year-old son was arrested early Thursday in connection with the crime.

Eun Kim was arrested just after midnight, accused of attacking his father, Yeun Kim, 52, around 10 p.m. Wednesday at a home in the 800 block of West 232nd Street, said Sheriff’s Deputy Aura Sierra.

Deputies responded to the location regarding a family disturbance call and found Yeun Kim lying unresponsive on the couch, Sierra said.

Detectives believe the victim and his son “had been involved in a physical altercation in the home prior to the deputies’ arrival,” Sierra said.

Yeun Kim was pronounced dead at the scene.

A knife believed to be used during the fight was recovered inside the home and son Eun Kim was subsequently arrested, she said.

Eun Kim was booked for murder and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

The first story has been on the national news. The second, I don’t think too many people know about, but I know about it from my dad. Though the article does not mention it, the man who was stabbed to death by his son was a pastor. In fact, my dad had met, talked, and laughed with him the day before he died. He pastored a small church in Torrance, and his son had had a history of mental problems and instability since high school. An argument turned violent, and now he is gone.

You just never know when you will be called to leave this earth.