Monday, September 24, 2012

Why Thinking Matters

**Note - The following is the beginning of a series I will be working on surrounding the importance of thinking and why we need Christian thinkers, authors, pastors, and scholars.**

Doctrine can seem archaic and mind-numbing.

In today’s world, pragmatism is emphasized (i.e., loving people, caring for the widow and orphan, etc.). And although we must love people; although we must care for the widow and orphan; my contention is that pragmatism ought to be an effect of our theological training (rather than what affects our theology).

Theology means the study of God. We would be hard pressed to find another subject matter so worthy of our attention and study. In fact, we are all theologians; and yet, our charge is to structure our theology around skilled biblical exegesis, rather than emotive pragmatism. We need to let our theology shape how we live, rather than let how we live shape our theology.

Formulating doctrine is a subset of studying theology. As we think through various theological topics we begin to form positions on certain aspects of theology. However, despite this massive opportunity and responsibility to study God, our culture has succumbed to banality.

[I]t doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that our entire culture is in trouble. We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and we can no longer afford to act like it’s loaded with blanks…Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for a well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality.[1]

This quote from J.P. Moreland was written 15 years ago! How much more has our culture shifted into complacent triviality?

And to make matters worse, Christians have, within recent history, conceded the intellectual world to secular society. Most notably, this has been demonstrated through Fundamentalism.[2] What a tragedy! In fact, “[t]he average Christian does not realize that there is an intellectual struggle going on…”[3]

So, rather than Evangelical Christians leading the way in philosophy, business, politics, art, and science, we have, in general terms, surrendered those fields of study to secular society (e.g., Austin Dacey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jimi Hendrix, and Stephen Hawking).

To be sure, this is not simply a battle to be fought by scholars and pastoral professionals, “but also laypeople who need to be intellectually engaged if our culture is to be effectively reformed. Our churches are unfortunately overly-populated with people whose minds, as Christians, are going to waste.”[4]

Our responsibility as Evangelical Christians is to use our brains to glorify God; to not only toil at being a means of spiritual conversion, but intellectually as well. We ought to spend less time watching sports and more time reading apologetics. We ought to spend less time on Facebook and more time reading philosophy. We ought to spend less time watching reality TV and more time reading biblical theology.

This doesn’t mean that we will not act pragmatically on our knowledge, but my desire is that we would acquire knowledge that helps us to better interact with our families, friends, and co-workers for the glory of God and the joy of His people.

[1] James Porter Moreland and Dallas Willard, Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997), 21.
[2] Merriam-Webster defines Fundamentalism as “a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching.”
[3] James Porter Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003), 1.
[4] Ibid., 5.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Personal Support Letter For Our Church Plant

Friends and Family,
Greetings and salutations from Farmington, Michigan! Some of you who are receiving this letter have not heard from us in a while, and we pray that God is working in the lives of you and your families. The last few years have been exciting as I (Daniel) have finished seminary and we continue to watch Isla, our daughter, grow. The latest and most exciting development in our lives has been our involvement with a church plant in our local area; a church that has been named Redeemer Community Church (lovingly referred to as RCC by the core launch team).
RCC exists to develop disciples of Jesus Christ by the power of His Gospel through the work of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God and the joy of His people. Our motto is something that each of us knows with certainty to be true – that Jesus changes everything! I (Daniel) will be serving as a co-planter and the Pastor of Christian Education, and Jeremy Roth (the other co-planter) will be the ordained Pastor of Preaching and Vision. Jeremy and I are excited to be surrounded by a dedicated group of servants of Christ. A primary focus will be targeting the lives of men – especially young men – as they are often the least represented in the church and the most in need of Godly character and a relationship with Jesus Christ in order to assume the roles of leadership that God desires for them. RCC will also be focused on overall outreach in the community and missions worldwide. 
Exciting things are happening! The church’s web page is ; a full site will be available by mid-November 2012. Dearborn Heights’s First Assembly of God has graciously agreed to rent their facility during off-hours, and RCC will be holding Sunday evening services there starting in the spring of 2013. We are seeking affiliation with local churches, church networks, and church planting organizations, but will not be associated with a specific religious denomination. Because of this, the challenge of raising support – both prayer and financial – is paramount. We ask anyone who reads this letter to please prayerfully consider joining us in support of RCC.
Foremost, we ask for diligent prayer that we fulfill God’s will; for a specific list of requests, please see the second page. We are also in need of items that are necessary to church operation; again, see the second page.  Monetary donations are needed in order to realize the goals that RCC has in place. If you are feeling led to support me (Daniel) personally or the Church generally, we would be most humbled and honored for the financial sacrifice you are willing to make. If you feel led to support me (Daniel) personally, whether in a one-time gift or on a monthly basis (we are not yet paid employees of RCC, but, rather volunteers), please indicate on the check that the donated monies should go into the Administration Fund, otherwise the donated monies will go into a General Fund. Checks can be made out to Redeemer Community Church and sent to the address listed below. Last, and by no means least, we need individuals and families to help us build a church community. If you know of anyone who is looking for a solid church home or would otherwise like to participate, let them know about what God is doing at RCC!
Thank you in advance for your prayer and support. If you have questions about anything related to the church or us personally, please ask. We would love to share more about what God is doing in this endeavor.
In Christ,

Daniel, Heather, and Isla Fick

Redeemer Community Church needs:
-  Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes (2 Thess 3:1)
-  Pray for God’s guidance and His will to be done
-  Pray for us to seek to honor and glorify God instead of pursuing our own selfish desires
-  Pray for ministry leaders to rise up (we specifically need a children’s director and a male administrator)
-  Pray for funds and for wise stewardship of those funds
-  Pray that the people we minister to will have soft hearts
-  Pray for strength, endurance, and motivation for the core group
-  Money
-  Office supplies (paper, envelopes, writing instruments, labels, stapler and staples, folders, file cabinet, binders, scissors, tape dispenser and tape, jump drive, etc)
-  Computer and/or laptop
-  Nursery items (toys, books, diapers, wipes, blankets, crafts, etc)
-  Sunday school curriculum
-  Sound equipment
-  Projector and screen
-  Books for church resource library
-  Miscellaneous church items (collection and communion plates, pulpit, etc)

Please make checks payable to Redeemer Community Church.
Donations can be sent to:

Redeemer Community Church
501 Kings Way
Canton, MI 48188

We will be sure that the church receives all donations. You will receive a receipt, so you can deduct your charitable gift on your tax return.

Thank you again for your loving support!