Monday, December 22, 2008

Kingdom of Men or Kingdom of God: How Your View of Diversity Defines Your Kindgodm

I remember my pro black days. Back when I was reading books like "From Niggas to Gods" or "Message to the Black Man", and even books like "Psychic Trauma". All of these books expressed one idea. The idea of ethnocentricity. It was a social awakening. Coming from a drug infested family, in a drug infested community, even myself being involved heavily in dealing crack cocain and heroine this books gave me a purpose of "self" a purpose of "identity" and even helped me view "black" people as an important part of not only America but the black conscience throughout the world. Especially with the history of Egypt and its contritubtions to the world.

I remember feeling proud of my African heritage, I even felt most races to be inferior to my own race. The white man was the devil. Had perpertrated all types of evil while the black man, before slavery that is, had brought knowledge, peace and the beauty of blackness to the entire eastern hemisphere.

Its funny where life takes you. I give you a short background that leads up to this quote by Dr. Greg Boyd:

As we learn to think, feel and act under God's rule, we learn how to get our
worth, significance, and security from Christ alone. We learn how to be freed
from our addiction to futilely trying to acquire worth, significance, and
security for ourselves. We learn how to walk in freedom from violence,
self-centeredness, materialism, nationalism, racism
and all other false ways of getting life
As I read this quote my mind ran back over all the reasons for slavery, wars, segregation, Jim Crow and Civil Wars. I find a common thread through them all. They all have to do with ethnocentricity, which is a direct result of having a Kingdom of the World mentality versus the Kingdom of God. What makes one superior to the other is my own value and worth in something I really have no control over.

You see we say "my birthright makes me superior to you, and since I am superior my view of God and culture are correct". However, Jesus says this "because I created all cultures distinct and unique and placed infinite value and the Imago Dei in each of them EVERY culture has value to bring to the table". Not only that as Christians we understand the central point, of all history is Jesus the Christ and He is the substance of all things, and as Paul says in Colossians "all things were created by Him and for Him". Thus the only thing that is superior is the Gospel and the only race that counts is Christian and God in His goodness has allowed for us to keep our distinct cultures as long as they do not intrude upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You see as Dr. Boyd so eloquently put it this is a Kingdom Issue.

So when somone says this is the right way to worship God and it is influenced heavily by one's culture and not the Gospel what they do in essence is reduce God to an idol! They take the infinite God and mold an image of Him, but clothe Him in theological jargon. Our value doesn't come from God, regardless of how well our seminaries and theological books tell us, our value comes from our cultural view of God and we say "you must come through our paticular culture if you want to have a REAL relationship with God". This is exactly what those who refuse to filter culture through the cross say.

I close with this, those who refuse to accept diversity and even pursue say to God "we don't care that you created these other cultures because ours is correct". Many will shake their head at such a statement while simultaneously only inviting their paticular culture and way of doing church to the table. Others must submit to this culture or find themselves as univited guest to the theological banquet. Others may think they are getting a voice there because they use a little slang or may have a different complexion to their skin; however, they sound like, talk like, and read the same books that the superior culture tells them to read. To read anything else is to read inferior works, to think differently about Jesus and the Church is woefully inadequate and to say we too have a right view of God is to invite a theological rebuke.

The reason why diversity does not exist is because the Kingdom of God has been redefined and replaced with the Kingdom of Men, yes the bible is used, and yes many would disagree but at the end of the day when we tell others our view of God and the Church is correct while yours is wrong by filtering the Church through ones on culture we only perpetuate a problem that plagues the Body of Christ!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Phase Out

Over the next month I would like to phase this site out. The blogs posted here will be moved to

Tyris Blog is here:

Lionels Blog is here:

Please check them out. Thanks for your understanding and patience!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism. Piper sets the Record Straight

There is a current movement that is attempting to bridge the gap between Islam and Christianity. We have to understand that there is not a shred of compatability. We are not brothers and we don't serve the same God.

Christians have to be bold to stand on the truth of the Gospel.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Premature Judging

My sister in Christ Jenn has done us Christians a great favor by writing her latest post. It is simply outrageous and gut wrenching convicting. I literally had to stop and repent after reading it and really check my heart and theology. As I thought about the beautiful and liberating doctrine of "Justification by Grace through Faith" I literally shuttered as I thought over the last few weeks and how judgemental I had become. I would say they can't be of the faith because they: listened to that, or watched this, or wore that, or talked like that or did this, or acted like that. I so easily forgot that we are not moralist and our salvation nor righteousness can, will, or ever has rested in ourselves. Our righteousness is found in another man. His name is Jesus Christ and He lived the life, died the death, and beared the sin, that I could not and maybe would not even if I could. God became a man and took on the wrath that was stored up for us.

I forget sometimes that my salvation is in a person. As long as He stands I stand and since it is impossible for Him to fall, then my standing is secure and so is the person stuggling with lying, stealing, sexual immorality, lust, impatience, rudeness, self-righteousness, selfishness and other such sins. We are all guilty ourselves and as Jennifer says "what about the tree in my eye". I would add the tree that I am busy hitting people over the head with trying to help them get the splinter out of their eyes.

Please read her post here. Please contribute to conversation as we grow in this critical area of our relationship with Christ. .

Here is an excerpt:

Yesterday, during a conversation with a sister in Christ, I was checked on
something that has been on my mind for the past few days. In the past, up til
now, I have been too quick to use snapshots to determine the authenticity of a
person’s relationship with Jesus Christ. This sister and I were discussing a
coworker who has a penchant for filthy language.
Her - You know, he cusses a
lot. I don’t like that.Me - I KNEW there was something that made me think he
wasn’t a Christian.Her - That doesn’t mean he isn’t a Christian. There ARE
Christians who cuss.
It made me think - Yes, all believers are in different
levels of their sanctification, and while we are called to be perfect and holy, we’re not, and we very much so fall
. And what if someone were to look at snapshots of MY life ? There are
many moments where my behaviors don’t reflect the Lord Jesus. I am in no way
proud of it, but it’s true. I have had moments of anger and various other sinful
behaviors, where if someone were to see me in those moments, they’d probably
assume I was one who didn’t know the Lord! In this, I’m convicted, especially in
light of the Matthew 7 Scripture I referenced above.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some Great Posts I read this morning.

Church Membership
Check out why Chruch Membership is not only beneficial but biblical. Pastor Thabati gives one of the clearest and biblically centered approaches here!

Vision for your Family
Check out my man Quicy at Truth in the Innermost as he discusses a biblical vision for your children. This is simply amazing. You have to also read Tony Carter's response as he adds a point of making that vision rest on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read it here

The Primary Purpose of the Church
Check out John MacArthur over at Pulpit Magazine as he discusses what people look for in a church and what the primary goal of the church is here.

I think you will be edified by each of these. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just help it roll faster?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Holistic Outreach: Is it bringing people into a sinking ship?

I had a very good conversation with someone today and wanted to share some afterthoughts on this. Amongst Urban Evangelicals the conviction for community outreach, has become a growing concern. As young Christians move from the ministry philosophy of many of their parents which they feel was the “if you want to know Jesus come to my church” philosophy to the “church without walls” philosophy I wonder if some things have been lost in the transition.

We first have to understand that the human race is always and I do mean always in danger of going from one extreme to the other. For example a person who thinks that reaching the lost is critical, will employ any and all methods to reach the lost or the unchurched thus the birth of the “Seeker Sensitive” model. Or the person who may have a Calvinistic evangelistic mindset may never do any type of invitation and thus miss opportunities to “biblically” evangelize. Another example is the fact of holiness and how legalism becomes the compass of “true Christianity” while on the other hand liberty takes the form of a lack of biblical church discipline. I can think of many instances in my life from everything from cessasionism to other positions that I took as I left the Charismatic arena in which my pendulum swung so far that I almost couldn’t identify the Holy Spirit if He sat next to me at lunch. So once again extremes lurksin the shadows for many of us.

I want to focus on the perspective of outreach in this short exhortation. I am not a pastor, nor do I understand (practically, not theoretically) the life of a Shepherd. So I am not throwing stones just engaging. As we wrestle with reaching the community that we worship in Corporately what should be the health of the church before such an exploration takes place. If marriages are crumbling, congregants are involved in all types of sin, the majority of the congregation has a low view of God and a high view of man, and if the church doesn’t understand the high calling of biblical church membership (which some people disagree with) should we be attempting to “reach out” without first reaching in? Is God displeased if we took a year or two off to help build the local fellowship and invest in families and biblical faithfulness and then go out to try to help others?

A picture came to my mind as I was talking with the individual. It would be like you pulling people into a ship that is sinking. Is our witness before the community and the world primarily how we live out the Gospel in our lives or reaching out to the community abroad with programs? What is funny is that as I read through Acts and the Epistles and even the Gospels, Jesus, nor the Apostles main focus was not holistic outreach but holistic in-reach. I think we are challenged to provide for the widow and orphan, but I think the primary widow and orphan are those within the Body of Christ. We can see that as Paul addresses widow care in his epistle to Timothy. I think we can do more harm than damage to the body if we focus our energy, time and resources in building the community abroad without first using the resources to build the community within.

That may seem “four wallish” but I think I can make a biblical case for it. As Paul is raising funds for the poor in Jerusalem it was for the poor believers, as people sold their goods in Acts it wasn’t so that the community abroad could have “all things in common” but that the believers could have “all things in common”. The Apostle Paul did not exhort the Churches he wrote to to reach out, but to love each other within. I think we can easily lose focus on what and for whom Christ died. It wasn’t for holistic ministry but for reconciliation. I am not saying churches should not reach out and if the resources are available, especially for mega-churches, then go for it. But I don’t think that the local body should get the scraps from the table while we invest in schools and community outreach programs. I don’t think we should charge those who give frequently for a marriage conference when we take those same dollars to help buy books for the community. That is only my opinion but I think there is some validity there.

If we spend our time rebuilding the city while simultaneously ignoring those within our local fellowship, I think we will continue the trend of nominal Christianity. People aren’t being properly discipled because they are busy painting houses and not being ministered to. Many pastors and leaders aren’t even equipped to deal with the major problems many Christians face within their congregtions Christ has granted them charge over, so we substitute keeping busy for biblical ministry. Many of our brothers are struggling with pornography, don’t have a clue how to disciple their families (I wrestle with this in my own life greatly) and have no clue about biblical manhood, but they are busy working within the body. Many of our women don’t understand their roles as women in a Christian marriage, can’t really reproduce other Godly women and are struggling relating to their teenage daughters, but they are busy organizing outreach events.

This isn’t the case for all churches but I know what I have seen across many ethnic and socioeconomic ministries. We are failing at succeeding at what God calls us to do, in the name of reaching the community, which I can’t find biblical where God spends a bunch of time discussing in the scriptures. I think if we want holistic ministries they must start from within. As the brother I talked to said “Get the families inside healthy, then they can aid in getting those outside healthy”. God bless.