FBC Liberty City is hosting the Christos 2014 conference on October 6-7. This is a conference for pastors, church and ministry staff, elders, and lay leaders of various sorts. Our theme this year is "Theology, Proclamation, and the Supremacy of God's Word." We have an amazing group of national speakers lined up to encourage and challenge us to become more articulate in the great biblical and theological truths of the Christian faith. Register early HERE for discounts and free resources. Check out the video and links below.
Is using "X-mas" as a shorthand for "Christmas" taking
Christ out the holiday? Many people have answered yes to this question and are quite worried.
In fact, I discovered a Facebook page entirely devoted to this very concern: Its
CHRISTmas.. Not Xmas... Why would u take Christ out of His holiday!?!?!
am in no place to speak to anyone’s intentions. It is possible that we have
people running around and randomly replacing "Christ" with the letter "X," though
this seems like a strange and somewhat underused letter in the English alphabet
to select. Nevertheless, though such dastardly motives are possible, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for
this common designation dating back to the middle ages. "X" is actually a shorthand
for Christ. Let me explain: the Greek letter Chi looks very much like our English letter X. And, the Greek word
for Christ is Χριστός. Notice
that the first letter in this word is a Chi. It looks like an X, does
it not? Mystery solved, Merry X-mas.
Are you still not convinced? Very well, below I have provided a copy of a letter originally penned in 1804 by the English Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller. Notice how he spells Christmas:
I want to thank Dr. Keith Jones, from the International Baptist Theological Seminary, for his review of my book Fullerism as Opposed to Calvinism in the Journal of European Baptist Studies. His candid remarks are greatly appreciated. The review can be read here or here.
12 I want you to know, brothers,that
what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so
that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guardand to
all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of
the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much
more bold to speak the wordwithout fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and
rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of
love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The
former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to
afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every
way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I
rejoice. Philippians 1:12-18 ESV
I recently preached a sermon (a video of this sermon can be viewed here) over the above text. In it, I discussed how the Apostle Paul was
in prison when he wrote these words. What, then, is the reason for his great
optimism? Paul was convinced that God was sovereign and had a plan of
redemption that transcended any trial or circumstance. Moreover, Paul, though
his situation was bleak, actively embraced the theological truth of God’s
sovereignty and sought to be a willing participant in God’s plan of redemption.
What does sovereignty mean? The dictionary defines it as
follows: “having supreme rank, power, or authority.” This seems to be correct
with respect to God. Certainly, the Bible (and reason for that matter) teaches
that God—the creator of all things, infinite in knowledge and power, eternal in
being—is sovereign. God has supreme rank, power and authority. We can also
conclude from this truth that this great God is intentional and has a plan.
The passage listed above is a fine example of this. Paul
clearly recognized this truth. This is why he was able to rejoice even though
his circumstances were poor by earthly standards. As one writer notes: “Paul
had been bound but the word of God could not be bound.” Yet, these poor
circumstances were the means by which God furthered His redemptive plan. God is
sovereign over all, God was sovereign in Paul’s circumstances, and God is
sovereign in your life.
We want to be careful when we discuss God’s sovereignty.
Some, unfortunately, speak of God’s sovereignty as though it were sheer power
or omnipotence. We must always remember that God’s sovereignty can never be
separate from His moral goodness. Theologians very often organize God’s various
attributes into two categories: natural and moral. Natural attributes are
things such as omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, etc. God’s moral
attributes are things such as his faithfulness, goodness, holiness, etc. Andrew
Fuller once said that God’s natural attributes are those that evoke respect and
the moral attributes are those that evoke love. In the end, however, we must
never compartmentalize God and his attributes. People sometimes think of God as
an all-powerful ruler, or, perhaps, only as a loving but impotent deity.
Whenever we compartmentalize God in this way, we misunderstand Him altogether.
God is a unity and all of His attributes work together in harmony. Everything
that God does as the sovereign king of the universe is done from the
perspective of perfect moral goodness. If all of this is true, then be a willing participant in
God’s sovereign plan of redemption.
Thank you to Dr. Thomas Nettles--professor of Historical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary--for his review of my book on Fuller and Calvin (here and here). Dr. Nettles' honest and constructive review may be viewed on page 88 here.
This is a flyer that is being distributed at my church; however, anyone interested is welcome. I hope to see some folks starting September 8th. Our web-site is www.fbclclibertycity.com or call 903.984.4494.
An appreciation for one’s denomination is not as prevalent
today as it once was. Nevertheless, concerned members of the body of Christ
should have an understanding and an appreciation for the heritage and
contribution of their denomination. What are our distinctive beliefs? What have
we contributed to the Christian community and society generally? These are
important questions. Since I am a Baptist, I would like to recommend that you
read a great article (here), written by Kenneth Keathley, regarding the
Baptists key involvement in the adoption of our great nation’s Bill of Rights.