The Purpose-Driven Life: An Evaluation – Part 1

(October 2003 – Volume 9, Issue 10)  In our last paper I identified three relatively recent areas of concern in relationship to the Scriptures. First, there are the new hermeneutical approaches that either emphasize the subjective over the objective interpretation of Scripture, or allow for preunderstanding to be brought to the Word. The result is that the reader sits in judgment over the meaning of the text rather than allowing the Word to speak for itself. Next, I discussed some modern translations that have moved away from a literal philosophy to a dynamic-equivalent approach. I argued that the freer the translation the more interpretation is taking place by the translators, and this often takes place at the expense of the objective meaning of the passage. These two concerns lead naturally to the third. If the reader is free to alter the meaning of the objective biblical text due to his...

The Lord Told Me – I Think!

(September 2005 – Volume 11, Issue 9)  In a newsletter published by a conservative Baptist denomination, a story is presented concerning one of its members. Deployed in Iraq , this middle aged soldier revealed that often, as he wrestles with problems of various types, “God just reveals the answer to me.” A leader from his church back home also claims to have heard from the Lord. “The Lord told me,” he says, “That this young man is going to be known as a builder, not a destroyer in Iraq .” So far his prophecy seems to have come true for, although the soldier has been involved in combat, his “day job” is to rebuild schools and water treatment plants. Just this week I received an e-mail from a gentleman who wrote, “Jesus has commanded me through the Holy Spirit to teach people how to pray, teach them the truth about...

The Law and the Christian – Part 2

(June/July 1998 – Volume 4, Issue 6)  If you are like me, occasionally you are unable to fall asleep. When I lose sleep it is usually because my mind is in gear over some matter of concern. It might be family or financial issues, church problems, burdens for people, or deadlines I am facing. I have seldom lost sleep because I was mulling over theological issues — although that would be a more productive use of my time. I mean, which is more important, my understanding of God and Scripture, or how I am going to save for retirement? We know the right answer to a question like that, but as has been said, the urgent often takes precedent over the important. In this vein, how much time have you given to thinking about the place of the Mosaic Law in the life of the believer. While few Christians are...

The Law and the Christian – Part 1

(May 1998 – Volume 4, Issue 5) A Tale From Long Ago Once upon a time, in a remote and strange country, lived a young couple. From all outward appearances theirs was a happy marriage. The husband, whose name was Nomos (or Law), was good and righteous — and even holy (Romans 7:12). While his demands were many (613 of them according to his wife) and strict, he could never be accused of acting selfishly or sinfully. In all of his dealings he was perfect. Nomos’s wife, on the other hand, was a different piece of work. Her sole obligation in life was to be obedient to her husband. Her life was simple and straight forward. If she would follow her husband’s demands, her life would be blessed and happy; if on the other hand she rebelled, she would be cursed and miserable (Deuteronomy 11:26ff). With such a choice, any...

The History of Think on These Things

(June 2005 – Volume 11, Issue 6)  This past winter Think on These Things Ministries quietly celebrated its 10-year anniversary. As we take time to reflect back over this past decade, we marvel at the many dear and like-minded friends who have partnered with us to ring loud the timeless and uncompromising truths of the precious Word of God. In this month’s edition of Think on These Things we thought it might be enjoyable to share with you the many exciting ways God has used this humble, yet vital outreach ministry of Southern View Chapel for His glory. Front (L to R): Kris Cole, Linda Kestner, Bev Byerline, Esther Rader(Office Staff); Marsha Gilley, Proof ReaderBack (L to R): Doug Kestner, Multimedia; Dave Cunningham,Director of Operations; Don Rader, Editor; Doug Cantrall, Editor;Gary Gilley, General Editor & AuthorNot Pictured: Angie Hodel, Proof Reader   Many of you are aware that Think on...

The Gospel According to Warren

(July 2005 – Volume 11, Issue 7)  No one has exemplified the market-driven approach better than Rick Warren, pastor of the huge Saddleback Church in southern California and author of The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life. While Warren is open and up-front about his philosophy, strategy and methods, nevertheless things are not always as they appear. For example, “purpose-driven” sounds better than “market-driven” but it is basically the same thing. In his book The Purpose-Driven Life, his opening statement is, “It is not about you,” then turns around and writes a whole book about “you.” He belittles pop-psychology then repeatedly promotes it by simply calling it something else. He publicly cuts ties with Robert Schuller, then regurgitates some of the most odious things that Schuller has been teaching for thirty years. He claims commitment to the Scriptures then undermines them at almost every turn. He will tell his followers...

The Enjoyment of Life, a Gift from God – Part 2

(February 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 2) Introduction Scripture never implies that life is easy. Living with sinful people in a sin-infested world, the actual domain of the father of sin (the devil), should serve as a clue that our journey through this life was not meant to be smooth. As God’s children we will never be at home on the earth; we will never settle down or become too comfortable. But that does not mean that our journey here has to be miserable. The Scriptures often speak of joy and even happiness in this life. The path, however, from the misery that may be ours, to the joy that should be ours, is littered with obstacles. We examined some of those obstacles in our last paper. They included the busyness of life, a herd-mentality, distorted values, the desire to be entertained, people, sin, and wrong attitudes. In this...

The Enjoyment of Life, a Gift from God – Part 1

(January 1999 – Volume 5, Issue 1) A Glimpse into the Book of Ecclesiastes No book in the Bible goes deeper in exploring the meaning and purpose of everyday life than the book of Ecclesiastes. There you will find no pious cliches about the ease and simplicity of living. Nor will those who are struggling with questions and perplexities be told that they are living in sin. Rather, Ecclesiastes, like Psalms, encourages careful and honest evaluation of our existence “under the sun.” That kind of evaluation may very well cause us to feel frustrated and disappointed with many things but will ultimately lead us to the only Source of true life. One of the great questions of all time is, “What is life all about?” Does life really have a purpose, or must we be content to just live out our days the best we know how? Os Guiness,...

Sports and the Christian

(July 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 7)  It is amazing to think that perhaps the most popular song in America today is “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Think about it. During the seventh-inning stretch at nearly every ballpark in the country, millions and millions of fans sing this silly but addictively catchy little song. We all know it. We can all sing it (“for it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the ol’ ballgame!”). Why would such a silly song about a ballgame be so popular? Why does my six-year old daughter know most of the words to that song? Why do grown men and women fumble around with the words to “The Star Spangled Banner” but know every word to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? The answer to all of these questions is no less than obvious—it is because we live in a global culture that...

Selling Faith – Values and Ethics

(February 2008 – Volume 14, Issue 2)  In a recent edition of the Reader’s Digest Melinda Henneberger, in an article entitled “Selling Faith,” writes about a rising trend in the mass marketing of “Christian oriented” products. The term “Christian oriented” is defined as anything associated in any way with the Bible or Christian worldview. Christian oriented products include diet books and plans, nutritional supplements, clothing, consumer electronics, and music, all of which purport to be, at least in some way, associated with the God of the Bible. A quick search of the Internet confirms Mrs. Hennberger’s article. Christians can buy Christian video games, hire Christian private investigators, and purchase Christian skin care products. According to an article by Lynn Harris, writing for Salon.com, Christians can even buy goats from a Christian goat breeder, if they should happen to find themselves in the market (Harris, 2005). The plethora of Christian products...