A Penrith Update ∙ July/November 2011


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Mark, Liezl, Kaitlyn, Kathryn, Penrith, Crystal Park Baptist Church, Newsletter

A Penrith Update ∙ July/November 2011. Click image to link to PDF. Click here to check out previous newsletters.

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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.

:)

Of Lewis and Scripture and OCPD


This gives an ongoing online discussion a platform (started on My Blogroll if you want some background). It’s between Dr Lance Heath and myself. I guess in many ways we’re similar yet there are Theological distinctives which separate us. I’ll leave it to the reader and contributors to discern what the differences are.

Lance Heath

Hi Mark

Just as I finally managed to rid myself of my tendency to box, label and categorise everything (in psych we call it obsessive-compulsive personality disorder) I stumble across your table!
Seriously though I think it is interesting and potentially useful – but also potentially harmful – depending on how it is used (as with any tool).
So… I could (kinda) label myself a Cessasionist Covenantal(?) Mystic Liberal Arminian [and quote chapter and verse on why I believe each of those are correct] and I certainly wouldn’t want words like “literalistic” or “legalistic” associated with me (not sure whether you’ve accommodated those comfortably) BUT…
I wonder (1) if it isn’t more important to focus on what we ALL share in common?
and (2) if it isn’t useful to be able to have an “I don’t know for sure” category … which says certain things aren’t THAT important after all is said and done anyway?
ALSO… MOST IMPORTANTLY: DO WE EVER EXPLORE THE REASONS WHY WE BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE? (e.g. why do we choose to believe in God? why do we choose to be a Dispensationalist? why do we choose to believe that marriage can only ever be for two people of different genders? etc I think this would be the really interesting and bonding exercise … cos a lot of intellectualizing, rationalizing and academicizing tends to be a defence which prevents us from really exploring our depths … where God resides in us.
(PS – where do you fit in soteriological inclusivism??? ala-C.S.Lewis)

Mark Penrith

Hey Lance,

Re OCPD: I know; and this is the least of my short comings:).

Re the usefulness or harmfulness of this Blogroll: That lies in the hands of the user rather than the creator. That’s my official disclaimer:).

Re: I could (kinda) label myself: I’m indecisive as to whether to add you to my list. Obviously I follow you but your content is often of a nature that I’d not want to propagate (I’m not talking about the Theological stuff).

Re 1): Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s all that we needed to focus on.

Re 2): There are? for the “I don’t know for sure” folk.

Re the reasons why: This is where I spend my time. I love the study of hermeneutical outcomes. It’s kinda my pet hobby.

Re defence mechanisms: I think I agree with you. There’s a need to both pursue truth and to exemplify it.

Re Lewis: Are we talking about the last few chapters of Mere Christianity? I thought he went off the rails there.

Thanks for the interaction,

Me

Lance Heath

loved your answer (especialloy its succinctness) … but feel you have ducked and dived and avoided (or misunderstood) one part:

to help you get it and to move along / go a little deeper: “why do you think you love the study of hermeneutical outcomes?” and “why do you interpret these in the way that you do? or agree with those that you do?”

(no probs not including my blog on your list … i fully understand your current scruples with doing so … and did not expect anything else … yet … but I also have every confidence you’ll outgrow these!

…and “WHY do you choose to think that CS Lewis went off the rails there?”

[deep calls to deep, mate] :)

Mark Penrith

Hey there,

Had to dig out a quote. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 176-177,

“There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position.”

There’s more but maybe that’s enough?

Lewis is a legend but he was certainly fallible (like Augustine and that whole allegorical nonsense :) ). It’s not only on this point that I would diverge with him; his understanding of Substitutionary Atonement was wonky to say the least.

Lance Heath

Okay. But maybe you’re missing the point… WHY do you personally find yourself disagreeing with CS Lewis above?

Personally I find myself agreeing with him… and I can give my reasons why … although may have to dig even deeper to get to the deepest reasons…:

[Maybe I need to express my creed at some point (which would start the exploring deeper motivations point)…]

I can’t believe that a loving God would allow humans to burn in hell for all eternity just because they didnt know His name, or understand the intricacies of Christianity. We know of many people who are definitely in heaven who never knew “Jesus” or understood what we do today about Christianity and the Church. (e.g. those cited in Heb 11). Personally I believe that ALL who trust in God for their salvation will be saved. Jesus is the means to this happening. But people don’t need to know His wonderful Name to trust Father God to save their sorry asses. Trust in God to save them (His “saving grace”) should suffice whether they realize that or not. I can’t handle the idea that the 4 billion people on the planet today who have never been exposed to the gospel + stillborn and other children who die too young to understand + mentally retarded and ill people will be doomed to hell simply because they don’t (and can’t) profess what we do. I think too many of us live in isolated, privileged bubbles or cocoons and try to understand reality from within our little safety “worlds” instead of trying to see the bigger picture. (Something God must surely see clearest?) True Christianity is the only religion which is not works based … for us God came down (in all other religions people have to try to climb the ladder – to work their way up) … but people in the darkest Amazon and in the middle of Pakistan who never hear the gospel can still hear Father God (surely God can reach them) and offer them His grace?

So why do I go with CS Lewis here … because in my experience of love so far it would not exclude people without giving them a fair chance, I guess. I would not feel comfortable with that and so I don’t believe God would either. And I trust Him to teach me different, through the experiences of my life, if He needs to :)

Your reasons???

Mark Penrith

Hey Lance,

My reasons.

Because I believe the Bible.

I believe in a holy God. I believe in a just God. I believe in a sovereign God. I believe that God hates sin. I believe God is wrathful. I believe God hates sinners. I believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell and I believe that God decides who goes where.

I believe it is not paradoxical, although it may well be quite incomprehensible, that God is loving. That He is merciful. That He is graceful. Even to me who certainly does not deserve it.

I believe that God holds each of these traits in perfect harmony without impinging in any way on any one of them.

I’m less concerned with what I feel comfortable with and more awed by what God says about Himself.

Lance Heath

Quite a few tangents I’d like to run off on right now [e.g. (1) Satan also believes in a holy God…

And (2) “I believe God hates sinners.” REALLY?!?!?!…

And (3) don’t you think C.S.Lewis also believed the Bible?!?…

And (4) maybe you need to heed the words of the person above who advised you to check out discourse analysis and post-liberalism…

And (5) also be careful not to knock things that you don’t understand i.e. remain humble…)

BUT …

I will limit myself to once again asking: WHY do you believe as you do? You seem to have some contrasting views of God which you are determined are not paradoxical. Why? Why not believe that God is actually paradoxical (yet incomprehensible)?

Why are you less concerned with what you feel comfortable with and more awed by what God says about Himself (or more accurately what YOU currently understand – with all your human limitations – God to say about Himself in Scripture as you understand it)?

Surely you are aware that different people understand and interpret Scripture differently? Why do you choose the particular interpretations you believe in as opposed to those of other Christians? And are you really so sure that your interpretations are the right ones? …are better than those of others? (And again, why?)

Mark Penrith

Hey Lance,

(1) If he can grasp the basics why do you think so many people have such a hard time?

And (2) Psalm 5:5 for starters. I have a list if it’d be helpful?

And (3) Lewis believed a lot of things. Are we not to put them to the test?

And (4) OK.

And (5) Are you suggesting that I should have capitulated already?

BUT…

Why.

You are right. I can’t hide behind a dusty book and pretend that I just think and don’t believe. As if I just have a list of witty answers to difficult questions that can be whipped forth and parroted out. I’m such a stickler, such an irritant, such a thorn because I don’t have any other option but to say it as I read it. I am not an academic, self-driven by a desire to be right; I’m a believer, faith-driven by a desire to bring glory to my creator.

So the answer is faith. You can’t smell it, you can’t taste it, see it or touch it but it’s part of who I am. It’s been rooted within my core, the new creation that God has wrought. I value Scripture because I believe God values it. That is why I believe what I believe.

Thank you for the sharpening.

Lance Heath

I’m not going down the tangents route (though I’d love to…including your list … just to see how many NT verses there are on it!)

I agree that the answer is faith.

This is my real concern:

Are you putting your FAITH in your own understanding (of God) (or of Scripture)? rather than in Father God Himself?

Do you see what I’m really getting at?

Mark Penrith

Yes I do, and the point’s well made.

My faith is in Jesus Christ alone.

My understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what that faith looks like is based on Scripture alone.

The two are so intricately tied that to forego the one is to lose the other.

This comment train is a bit long. Could I move it into it’s own post?

Spirit and Truth


Last Sunday’s sermon, based on Psalm 119, was that our response to the Word of God should be exultation and praise. You can listen to it by clicking here or using the control below:

http://www.box.net/shared/odilyhtq0b (Inline audio player not working? Download the file here.)
169 Tav. Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
170 Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
171 Let my lips utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
172 Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
173 Let Your hand be ready to help me,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
174 I long for Your salvation,
O LORD, And Your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live that it may praise You,
And let Your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.

Want to hear the verse in context? Psalms 107 – 121
What is this about?

If you’ve never listened to them before or haven’t heard of them there’re two preachers I’d like to introduce you to who’ve preached on this topic, John Piper and John MacArthur. If you’re into great exegesis and very cerebral type sermons then John MacArthur is for you. You can download his sermons from http://www.gty.org.

John Piper is actually a bit different from me Theologically but he has a great delivery style and is very acurate on what matters, The Gospel! You can download his sermons from http://www.desiringgod.org.

Try these sermons for a start:

John Macarthur
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 1 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 2 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 3 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 4 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 5 (Selected Scriptures)

John Piper
All of Life as Worship (Romans 12:1 – 2)

John Fullerton MacArthur

John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. (born June 19, 1939 in Los Angeles, California) is a United States evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You. MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker, and has served as the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969, and as the President of The Master’s College (and the related The Master’s Seminary) in Santa Clarita, California.

Theologically, MacArthur is a conservative Baptist, a strong proponent of expository preaching, a dispensationalist and a self-described Calvinist. He has been acknowledged by Christianity Today as one of the most influential preachers of his time, and is a frequent guest on Larry King Live as representative of an evangelical Christian perspective.

MacArthur has authored or edited more than 150 books, most notably the MacArthur Study Bible, which has sold more than 1 million copies and received a Gold Medallion Book Award. Other best-selling books include his MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series (more than 1 million copies), Twelve Ordinary Men, (more than 500,000 copies), and the children’s book A Faith to Grow On, which garnered an ECPA Christian Book Award.

REZOLUTION Weekend Conference John Piper Pretoria South Africa Antioch Bible Church Grace Fellowship

John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, where he first sensed God’s call to enter the ministry. He went on to earn degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.) and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and an increasing number of grandchildren.

The Truth Project (Notice for the Chapel Bible Studies)


Focus on the Family The Truth Project Midrand Chapel Bible Study Johannesburg South Africa

Four of the Chapel’s Bible Studies will be kicking off the year going through Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project. Click image to enlarge.

A worldview is, “the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing natural philosophy, fundamental existential and normative postulates or themes, values, emotions, and ethics.” Basically it’s how you assess the world around you and your place in it.

The shaping of this perception has been happening from the time you were born. Your parents, your culture, your religion, your schooling, the books you’ve read, the movies you’ve watched, the people you’ve befriended. It’s almost like our worldview is the equivalent of psychological potluck.

Paul says in his epistle to the Romans that we’re not to,

“…be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Want to hear the verse in context? Romans 12
What is this about?

Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project “is a DVD-based small group curriculum comprised of 12 one-hour lessons taught by Dr. Del Tackett. This home study is the starting point for looking at life from a biblical perspective. Each lesson discusses in great detail the relevance and importance of living the Christian worldview in daily life.”

The following four Bible Studies will kick off their year’s programs with this material. If you’d like any more information please contact me.

Focus on the Family The Truth Project Midrand Chapel Bible Study Johannesburg South Africa

pistis with Mark @ Trevor’s

pistis with Mark @ Trevor’s

When: Tuesday

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

Where: 2374 Irene Farm, Irene Pretoria

Who: Mark Penrith or Trevor Muller

What: The Truth Project

Focus on the Family The Truth Project Midrand Chapel Bible Study Johannesburg South Africa

eirēnē with Pierre @ Jonathan’s

eirēnē with Pierre @ Jonathan’s

When: Wednesday

Time: 19:00 – Whenever

Where: 15 Pitzer Road, Glen Austin AH, Midrand, 1685

Who: Pierre Maré or Jonathan Russell

What: The Truth Project

Focus on the Family The Truth Project Midrand Chapel Bible Study Johannesburg South Africa

agapē with Mike @ Mike’s

agapē with Mike @ Mike’s

When: Thursday

Time: 19:00 – late

Where: Blue Hills Estate

Who: Mike de Villiers or Michael Felton

What: The Truth Project

Focus on the Family The Truth Project Midrand Chapel Bible Study Johannesburg South Africa

praotēs with Chris @ Midrand Chapel

praotēs with Chris @ Midrand Chapel

When: Friday

Time: 18:30 – 20:30

Where: Midrand Chapel, 151 Pitzer Road, Glen Austin, 1685

Who: Chris Woolley or David Brown

What: The Truth Project

Wanna find us?

So, if you’re a member, a regular visitor or just interested to find out what a Bible Study at Midrand Chapel is like please come and join us.