For your reading pleasure

Justin Taylor5 Quotes that Luther Didn’t Say  # 1 = “If I believed the world were to end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today.” I’ve heard this many times.

Kevin DeYoung asks “Who Can Baptize?” – He opts for only ordained pastors.

Tim Gombis has an interesting post on “Meals in Luke’s Gospel.” Did you know Luke records 19 meals? 13 are unique to Luke.  Not to be missed is his other post on “The Impossibility of the Ideal Church” with an outstanding passage from Bonheoffer.

Craig Blomberg offers some refreshing thoughts in answer to “Why Go to Church?” He writes, “Hear me, too, please, when I say that “church” as the New Testament defines it can be a house-church, it can be independent of all denominational affiliation, and it can take many creative forms and gather at many different times. I’m not saying all believers have to gather on Sunday morning, in a distinctive church building, with one prescribed liturgy or order of service. Not by a long shot. But consider the implied hubris (a fancy Greek word for “arrogance”) implied by the person who claims to be a Christian, claims to be in submission in Scripture, and yet also claims that no existing expressions of Christianity anywhere close to them are sufficiently God-pleasing for them to favor those gatherings with their presence!” (HT: Paul Adams)

Blomberg’s post is all the more important in light of Donald Miller’s post on why he rarely goes to church. Bottom line is that he doesn’t connect with God by singing and doesn’t learn by hearing (hence, no need for a sermon). See here for a follow-up post from Miller on the reactions he received. See also his post on “Church Anywhere and Everywhere.”  There he writes, “Still the motives are pure. Letting just anybody perform the sacrements (sic) could create chaos. And yet I see an awful lot of organized chaos in the book of Acts. I wonder if we’ve not lost the stomach for that kind of adventure?”

In the Blomberg post he responds to one of his commenters with the following:  “But when we put the whole range of things Scripture says believers should do when they congregate, a discussion group with fellow students about theology doesn’t qualify.  From Acts 2:42 we learn that there needs to be prayer, instruction, fellowship (which is subsequently defined as including the sharing of material possessions with the needy, and the Lord’s Supper.  From Eph. 5:18-20 we add in worship, including through singing.  From Matt. 18:15-18 we know there need to be mechanisms for accountability and discipline, when needed.  From 28:18-20 and numerous other texts we learn of our need for mission and for baptism.  From 1 Timothy 3:1-13 come the need for elders and deacons in a leadership structure (or their functional equivalent).  Get a group of your friends together and implement all of that and you have a church, whether you call it that or not.  Do anything short of that and you’re not fulfilling all of the God-designed desires for this people as a gathered community.”

Jeff from the Scripture Zealot has some good thoughts on the appreciation of good commentaries and other scholarly materials. See “My, Myself and the Holy Spirit.” “It’s very arrogant (as Spurgeon says) and dangerous for people to think that they can interpret and apply Scripture just by themselves and with the Holy Spirit.”

With all this discussion about going/not going to church watch for the forthcoming book How To be A Christian Without Going to Church by Kelly Bean. (July 2014, Baker Books)