Big Brothers


I haven’t figured out if this is automatically generated or not but check out this link and see who’ve I’ve been lumped with: http://hil001.blogspot.com/2010/05/total-depravity.html. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thrilled in my life; I mean Luther, Calvin, Knox, Hodge, Spurgeon… Mbewe… Penrith. Spurgeon!

I don’t know whether to be flattered by virtue of association or slighted at what might be a cruel practical joke; picking the dullest tool to deprecate the credibility of the rest of the group.

Interestingly, the only person which stands opposed to this illustrious collection of personal heroes is Deborah from Discerning the World.

:)

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New Additions


For the last few months (maybe years… who’s counting) I’ve been keeping track of about 100+ South African Christian Bloggers on My Blogroll. I follow their posts and comments via RSS and although I don’t interact on every blog I pretty much know what’s going on in their space. I’ve often decried how inactive Baptists seem to be (I’m a Baptist) and how completely key’d in Methodists are online.

Well I’m happy to say that for the first time the Baptists are starting to catch up with the Methodists in numbers (10 vs 12, yet I have noticed that I’m linked to by more Arminians than Calvinists and that continues to baffle me). I’d like to highlight 4 new additions to the list: Cregenda, The Regatta, Vertical Vision and Fingerprints of God. Welcome, doubly so because you look kinda like me and let’s face it, nobody likes being alone at a party.

There are other sites I’ve yet to add to the list. I’m holding out because either I’ve not yet nailed down their Theology or I’m not comfortable with where I think they’re nailed down.

Go and check out the list and drop me a comment. Anyone I’m missing?

The King’s Message


Warren Wiersbe Harold Vivian special disarmament conference New York radio cable broke 250 volts

Here’s my thinking on why we blog, it’s all about introspection, interaction and impact. Click image to link to source.

One of my favourite authors, Warren Wiersbe, wrote this illustration in his newsletter, Prokope. It goes something like this, “Britain’s King George V was to give the opening address at a special disarmament conference, with the speech relayed by radio to the U.S. As the broadcast was about to begin, a cable broke in the New York radio station, and more than a million listeners were left without sound. A junior mechanic in the station, Harold Vivien, solved the problem by picking up both ends of the cable and allowing 250 volts of electricity to pass through him. He was the living link that allowed the king’s message to get through.”

Wow! What unbelievable dedication and commitment of this man. I almost couldn’t believe it so I went and did a bit more digging on Saturday night and came across this news article from The Huntsville Daily Times, January 21st 1930. The journalist writes, “His arms twitching with shocks from electric current, Harold Vivian, a young radio engineer, literally spliced with his body a broken link in the vast hookup and made it possible to listeners in on 59 North American radio stations to hear King George’s speech today…”

“…Vivian, chief control operator, grasped the wires together in his hands to restore the circuit. Leakage of current through his body to the floor shook his arms with spasms, but he held on without a break for 20 minutes until new wires could be connected.”

The king’s message got through; whatever it took! That’s how we get to impact the world

The Early Church was characterised by zeal for the message, “Christ died, Christ rose again and repent for the forgiveness of sins.” Nothing could hold them back, not persecution, not suffering, not even death.

Because of this constant bold proclamation of the Gospel to a world that stands in wilful opposition to it they faced hardships and persecution but they were unperturbed. They pressed on still harder because they knew they were the link between the king and the people, the chosen conduit by which our glorious Lord and Saviour chooses to make the message of the Kingdom known. They literally stood in the gap and picked up the cable.

Not so much us today. We’re apathetic with the proclamation of Gospel. We’re negligent in the study of the Word. We’re like uncommitted bystanders who expect others to do the heavy lifting. We’re no longer bold with the king’s message. Our impact is negated by our lethargy, our witness repressed by our slough.

Warren W. Wiersbe

Warren Wendel Wiersbe is an American pastor, Bible teacher, conference speaker and a prolific writer of Christian literature and theological works. Born on May 16, 1929 in East Chicago, Indiana, Wiersbe is perhaps best known for his series of 50 books in the “BE” series: Be Real, Be Rich, Be Obedient, Be Mature, Be Joyful, etc. and other theological works.

Why blog: Impact (Part 3)


<— Click here for Part 2
Why blog introspection interaction impact christian blogging

Here’s my thinking on why we blog, it’s all about introspection, interaction and impact. Click image to link to source.

Why do I blog? Why do you blog? What motivates us? Why spend hours thinking, writing, editing, commenting and networking. Is it all not just a waste of time?

I’m reading through the book of Acts. It’s a marvelous book, a real page turner. The history of the early church is tumultuous to say the least. Luke manages to package the flow picking out those stories which highlight the explosion of God’s people moving through God’s world in God’s power to God’s glory.

Jesus’ words, just before He ascends into heaven, sum the book up,

9 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Want to hear the verse in context? Acts 1
What is this about?

We’re mandated, commissioned with the same task, be His witnesses. We’re to push out the borders, take the message to the uttermost end of the earth, even unto the blogosphere. If blogging starts with introspection and grows into a channel for interaction then it’s zenith must be impact.

Impact means different things to different ppl. What did Luke see in the embryonic church? The Gospel! The book of Acts is saturated in it as believers died for it, God’s glorified through it and we’re exhorted to propagate it.

Us South African Christian Bloggers fall far short of this picture don’t we? Our time is largely spent on social issues, financial issues, petty denominational issues, a couple of interpretational issues and a whole lot of interpersonal issues. Too often we’re missing the big issue, “Jesus died, Jesus rose, repent for the forgiveness of sins.”

If we’re going to make an impact in our world and in this space we’re going to have to up our game and focus on the message that saves rather than the message which massages.

Here’s a list of the South African blogs I monitor. Are we going to explode? Only when we collectively get the message right and start to boldly proclaim it:

<— Click here for Part 2

Why blog: Interaction (Part 2)


<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>

The blogosphere is just another communication channel for bloggers. That sounds obvious doesn’t it but let me explain why I think it’s a relevant observation. Introverts tend to propagate introverted blogs; they battle to form alliances, attract readership and build a community. Extroverts tend proliferate extroverted blogs; they just connect easily, their readership flourishes and they end up belonging. *

Normative Christianity is characterised by social and communal behaviour. We call it Christian fellowship, brotherly love and practising the one another’s. ** Right from the start Christians were identifiably as connected to one another. Consider Acts 2:41 – 47,

41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Want to hear the verse in context? Acts 2
What is this about?

I guess my point is that many Christian bloggers see the blogosphere as a wider platform for interaction. This is good. They do this for a number of differing reasons: Some seek fellowship (Blogroll Guy), some seek diversity (Comment-all-over-the-place Guy), some seek uniformity (Denomination-Upfront Guy) and some just seek a platform (although Bullhorn Guy might not be a form of interaction as it’s not two way communication).

The platform can be a useful tool to facilitate interaction and I believe this is a natural progression from the blogger who writes out of a motivation of Introspection (see https://markpenrith.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/why-blog-introspection-part-1/).

* Does anyone know if there’s any research to support this?

** Do I need to point out that fellowship stands with worship, teaching and evangelism as pillars of the New Testament Church?

South Christian African Bloggers who I believe really get this right:

Angus Kelly

Angus Kelly and I spend a lot more time disagreeing on things than agreeing (oh Lord bring more Calvinistic, Pre-trib, Pre-Rapture, Dispensationalist, Fundementalists across my path ;) ) but I appreciate his openess to debate. John van de Laar from Sacredise is top of this category too.

For some great examples of interaction check out http://gruntleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/profile-for-my-churchs-website.html?showComment=1273571802959#c8415165032976866184 and http://sacredise.blogspot.com/2010/03/consistency.html?showComment=1267764591216#c8180813531555402382

Angus Kelly

Sharkbait was the fish I wrote to when I decided I wanted to blog. He steered me through setting up. He’s Anglican and worships with my family down in the Eastern Cape. He has a surprisingly large following of woman (I follow his comments RSS and am frequently struck by how popular he is).

Others I believe are in this category are: Dion’s random ramblings, Khanya, Ryan Peter Blogs and stuff and .

<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>

Why blog: Introspection (Part 1)


Click here for Part 2 —>

The task of putting pen to paper is of great value to any human mind. Our thoughts tend to flutter about in our psyches until such time as they find resonance in word or writ. The fruit of studying, contemplating and meditating upon Scripture is sometimes crystallised during the process of recording our understanding in black and white. It’s as if the intangible becomes tangible, the amorphous takes shape.

When one starts out blogging one’s likely to get about 5 hits a day (you, your wife, your mom and two strangers who’s only intention is to spam… 感叹词). I’d suggest that introspection needs to be a motivation lest the beginner falter and become discouraged.

South Christian African Bloggers who I believe really get this right:

Jenny Hillebrand

Jenny Hillebrand, a student minister in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and based at the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary in Pietermaritzburg. She writes a post a day and keeps it personal, challenging and sometimes catches me completely off gaurd.

Steven Jones

Steven Jones is a bit off the wall. He’s witty, dynamic and has enough of a rouge streak in him to keep any conversation going. I like him. He’ll make a practical minister one day. Unfortunately, he too is Methodist. *Sigh*.

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, the Methodists are far ahead of the rest of the pack in the South African blogsphere. They’re creating the conversations and interactions while the rest of us sit back and watch.

Others I believe are in this category are: Along “The Way”, Matthew 6:25 – 34, Ryan Peter Blogs and stuff and Reformed and Renewed

Click here for Part 2 —>

My WatchList


My Watchlist
Blog Name
(click on a blog to link to it)
Calvinism Arminianism Universalism Dispensationalism New Covenantal Theology Conenantalism Conservatism Liberalism
Anglican
Shark Bait’s Reef  RSS  Link Love   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Chris Ebden  RSS Calvinism           Covenantalism   ?  
Contact Online Weblog  RSS Calvinism           Covenantalism Conservatism    
davidsshortstories’ photostream  RSS   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
St John’s Anglican Church  RSS   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Baptist
Called. Convicted. Converted.  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    
Conservative Christianity  RSS Calvinism       Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
Congregational
Urban Ministry Live…  RSS   almost Arminianism         Covenantalism Conservatism    
Dutch Reformed Church
my contemplations  RSS  Twitter   ?         Covenantalism   ?  
Methodist
Carpenter’s Shoes  RSS  Twitter  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
gruntleblog…  RSS  Twitter  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Keeping Up…with the Joneses  RSS  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Matthew 6 : 25 – 34  RSS  Link Love     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Along “The Way”  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
An uncommon path  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism     Liberalism
Living In Grace  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Rock in the Grass  RSS     Arminianism       Covenantalism     Liberalism
Sacredise  RSS  Twitter     Arminianism       Covenantalism     Liberalism
Tongue In Cheek Stew  RSS     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Wessel’s place  RSS     Arminianism       Covenantalism   almost Conservatism  
Non-Denominational
Because He Lives  RSS  Twitter  Link Love Calvinism       Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
Christian Diary  RSS  Link Love   ?     Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
Reformed and Renewed  RSS  Link Love Calvinism       Dispensationalism     Conservatism    
…daylight  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology     almost Conservatism  
Non-Institutional
Ryan Peter Blogs and stuff  RSS   ?       ?     ?  
Watch and Pray  RSS   almost Arminianism       New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    
Orthodox
Khanya  RSS  Link Love   ?         Covenantalism   ?  
Unknown
fresh expressions…  RSS                    
a piece of my mind….  RSS                    
BiblioPolit  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    
Just thinking…  RSS Calvinism         New Covenantal Theology   Conservatism    

Key
Symbol Description
RSS Not using RSS to follow your favourite blogs is like trying to dig a garden pond equipped with a spoon. Want more information about RSS? Click here.
Twitter Everyone’s on Twitter… or should be. Click the Twitter image to go to the persons Twitter page.
Link Love Thanks for linking to me from your blogroll. I really appreciate it. This is my way of giving you cred.
Um, you’ve been boxed. Check the column. How close am I?
? I’m not sure where you stand. Maybe you could drop me a note and correct me?

A blogroll is really just a “blogger’s list of hyperlinks to other blogs”. More often than not it quickly degenerates into a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours rewards mechanism. I decided to drop it from my sidebar because I was concerned that by linking without prudence I’d give unfettered consent to views disparate from my own and I had a deep sense of discomfort with that thought.

Enter My Watchlist. These are the South African blogs monitored by my RSS feed. These are not blogs I necessarily always (or even ever) agree with, these are blogs purporting to be Christian which I subscribe to. To emphasize discernment I’ve categorised each of them according to criteria which I deem to be important. Of course the categorization is subjective and my perception may well be incorrect. If you become a casualty of my zealous endeavour I apologise, it is done without malice. Please correct me in the comments section below.

As always I’d encourage you to excise discernment, amongst those listed are savage wolves seeking to draw away disciples after themselves.

It was my blogging friend Jenny Hillebrand who pointed out the need for me to lay down some of the guidelines to how the categorisation was done. The tables below are an attempt to make clear the thinking above. Most of the silly, dusty, Theological words are hyperlinks that you could press on to link to wikipedia articles giving you more information.

Salvation
Calvinism Arminianism Universalism
Total depravity Humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation. No works of human effort can cause or contribute to salvation. Salvation is possible only by God’s grace, which cannot be merited. God plans to redeem, restore, and transform all people through Christ. This is in conflict with the clear teachings of Scripture and is an apostate belief system.
Unconditional election God’s election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Limited atonement Christ’s atonement was made on behalf of all people.
Irresistible grace God allows his grace to be resisted by those who freely reject Christ.
Perseverance of the saints Believers are able to resist sin but are not beyond the possibility of falling from grace through persistent, unrepented-of sin.
It is my observation that Calvinists will view “To the Glory of God” as the preeminent theme running through Scripture. I’d imagine that Arminianists would view “The scarlet-colored blood-red thread of God’s redemptive plan and purpose” as the chief end and purpose of the Biblical account?
The Big Picture
Dispensationalism New Covanent Theology Covenantalism
Dispensationalism is a Protestant evangelical tradition and theology based on a biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive “dispensations” or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants. A middle-ground between a Reformed and Dispensationalist view of how the Old Testament, and in particular the Mosaic Covenant, apply to the Christian today. Covenant theology (also known as Covenantalism or Federal theology or Federalism) is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible. It uses the theological concept of covenant as an organizing principle for Christian theology.
Some Important Nitty Gritties
Conservatism * Liberalism
The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
The virgin birth of Christ.
The belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin. Ransom view or the moral influence view
The bodily resurrection of Christ.
The historical reality of Christ’s miracles.
Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”).
Sola fide (“by faith alone”).
Sola gratia (“by grace alone”).
Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”).
Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”).
Creationism. Evolution, Ruin-Restoration Creationism or Progressive Creationism.
Cessationism Spiritualism (not to be confused with Spirituality) or Mysticism

* Conservatism: I’ve chosen to adopt this word because in fairness Fundamentalism, the word I used originally, is too narrow in scope for what I wish to describe.

Anyone I’m missing?

Much to my own amusement I’ve just realized that neither Wayne Grudem nor John Piper would make it into the conservative column because they’re not Cessationists ?. I’m a bit double handed. Sorry.