Christ Is Sovereign Over All

The title for this post is drawn from a famous statement by the Dutch statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920). The full statement reads: “There is not a square inch in a whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” Where did Kuyper get this idea? I suspect, at least in part, from the Great Commission text of Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” What Jesus has authority over belongs to Him. What belongs to Him He rightly claims as “Mine!” All of creation is Christ’s. As we advance the gospel across North America and to the nations we reclaim souls and territory that belong to King Jesus. This world belongs to the Son of God, not Satan.

C.S. Lewis certainly understood this to be the nature of our assignment. He said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” Lewis was right. We are indeed locked in a cosmic conflict for the souls of human persons. Eternal destinies hang in the balance. We are also locked in a cultural conflict that will determine in many ways how we think and work, how we live and die.

I am in complete agreement with Francis Schaeffer, whose letters and papers are archived in our library at SEBTS. This wonderful Christian thinker, whose writings have had a profound influence on my life, put it like this: “Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life.” Did you catch the key word? The “whole” of life. In other words, our Christian faith is to translate into a Christian life, a way of thinking, acting, playing and living. No area is off limits. No discipline is out of bounds. Our surrender to Christ’s Lordship will impact the totality of our lives. It will shape and determine what we call our “worldview.”

Southeastern Seminary houses “The Center for Faith and Culture.” It is named after my former teacher and colleague L. Rush Bush, who served as the Dean of SEBTS for right at 20 years. The Center reflects well the heart and perspective of its founding director who believed all of life should be permeated by a Christian worldview. Bush said, “A worldview is that basic set of assumptions that gives meaning to ones thoughts. A worldview is that set of assumptions that someone has about the way things are, about what things are, about why things are.” Complementing this excellent statement, I often say a worldview is a comprehensive and all-encompassing view of life by which we think, understand, judge and act. It guides and determines our approach to life and how we will live.

Because the seminary I serve is committed to cultivating a comprehensive Christian worldview, we allow these ideas– axioms if you like–to inform how we teach in the classroom. It is also why we hold conferences that address issues like creation, abortion, sexual identity, adoption, marriage and family, government, economics, politics, law, philosophy, ethics, the environment, poverty and more. Faith and culture meet at the intersection of real life, and SEBTS is committed to being in the center of all of it!

Schaeffer says, “Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched.” I believe that. And Kuyper adds, “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at any price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” We at Southeastern believe this too, and we indeed accept the call to battle, laying our convictions bare for friend and foe alike!

This post originally appeared on Sep. 22, 2014. online gameonline game mobile

One Effort To Prevent Failure In Ministry

Every fall and spring I have the joy and responsibility of addressing new students as they enter the College of Southeastern and Southeastern Seminary. I am always excited to do this, but I also have a real sense of burden. Why? Because I know some will never see graduation and some will not last in ministry. Almost all begin with great hopes, dreams and aspirations. “I am going to change the world for Christ.” “My life in vocational ministry is going to make an impact for eternity.” Tragically along the way they get sidelined, fall by the wayside, drop out of the race. The older I get the more acutely aware I am of the fact: it is one thing to start well, but it is another thing to finish well. So, each fall and spring I share the following with our new students. I hope you will be encouraged. I hope together, we finish our race well for the glory of God and the good of His Church.

Being Faithful To The High Calling Of Christ

(“How to Survive Seminary and Make it in the Ministry”)

 Philippians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 10:31

1. Maintain your quiet time, and be active in a local church. Southeastern is not a substitute for community life in the Body of Christ.

Psalm 46:10; Mark 1:35

2. Guard your marriage/family. This is one of Satan’s favorite areas to launch an attack.

Psalm 127; 128; Song of Solomon 2:15; Ephesians 5:21-6:4

3. Pursue holiness by a) protecting your thought life, b) maintaining your integrity, and c) avoiding the places of temptation and evil.

Proverbs 23:7; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Philippians 2:5; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:22

4. Remember we are a covenant community that takes seriously our covenant commitments.   Honor your word and keep your promises.

Matthew 5:33-37; 1 John 2:5

5. Watch your finances and always act responsibly and with integrity. This is the number one killer of most students who have to drop out of school.

Romans 13:8

6. Remember you are here primarily to learn, not to teach. However, at SEBTS, we all believe we can learn from one another.

II Timothy 2:1-2

  • Few things are more valuable than a teachable spirit.
  • Study now what you will find difficult to study later.
  • Commit now to continue to study what you are studying now. (Greek, Hebrew, Theology, Philosophy, History, Apologetics)

7. Learn to work with, and get along with, people (develop your “people skills”). In other words, seek to balance both what you believe and how you live.

Ephesians 4:1-6

8. Be responsible and wise in your ministry service for the Lord, following the biblical model of a “shepherd” or “servant” leader.

Mark 8:31-38; 10:32-45; 1 Peter 5:1-4

9. Put no limitations on how and where our King might use you. Ask the Lord to give you the ability to truly pray, “Lord, why should I stay?”

Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20

10. Find a passion for the Great Commission. This is, after all, the final marching orders of King Jesus.

Matthew 28:16-20

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Biblical Marriage In A Broken World, Part 5

[Editor’s Note: This summer we at BtT are running some older but good posts. Look out for all new content in August. This post originally appeared on November 3, 2008.]

Portrait Of A Redeemed Husband

Having called a man to love his wife in Ephesians 5, God also instructs a man to “know” or “understand” his wife in 1 Peter 3:7. Moving into the area of practical theology, I want to raise and attempt to answer the question, “what does a marriage look like when a man has come to know his wife as God made her?” How can he love and bless her as he comes to more fully know and understand her? I believe a husband can be a blessing to his wife by loving her as Christ loved the Church and giving her specific gifts of love that speak to her heart as a woman. What do these gifts look like? I suggest seven.

1.Be a spiritual leader.

Be a godly man of courage, conviction, commitment, compassion, and character. Take the initiative in cultivating a spiritual environment for the family. Become a capable and competent student of God’s Word and live out before all a life founded on the Word of God. Lead your wife in becoming a woman of God, and take the lead in training the children in the things of the Lord (Psalm 1; Ephesians 5:23-27; 6:1-4).

2.Give her personal affirmation/appreciation.

Praise her for personal attributes and qualities. Praise her virtues as a wife, mother, and homemaker. Openly commend her, in the presence of others, as a marvelous mate, friend, lover, and companion. Help her feel that, to you, no one is more important in this world other than King Jesus. (Proverbs 31:28-29; Song of Solomon 4:1-7, 6:4-9, 7:1-9).

3.Show personal affection (romance).

Shower her with timely and generous displays of affection. Romance her in a language she understands! Tell her and show her how much you care for her with a steady flow of words, cards, flowers, gifts and common courtesies. Remember, affection is the environment in which sexual union is enjoyed and a wonderful marriage developed (Song of Solomon 6:10, 13; Ephesians 5:28-29, 33).

4.Initiate intimate conversation.

Talk with her at the feeling level (heart to heart). Listen to her thoughts (i.e., her heart) about the events of her day with sensitivity, interest, and concern. Such conversations with her convey a desire to understand her not change her (Song of Solomon 2:8-14, 8:13-14; 1 Peter 3:7).

5.Always be honest and open.

Look into her eyes and, in love, always be truthful (Ephesians 4:15). Explain your plans and actions clearly and completely because you are responsible for her and the children. Lead her to trust you and feel secure with you (Proverbs 15:22-23).

6.Provide home support and stability.

Take hold of the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe the family. Provide and protect, and do not feel sorry for yourself when things get tough. Look for concrete ways to improve home life. Raise the marriage and family to a safe and more fulfilling level. Remember, the husband/father is the security hub of the family (2 Timothy 5:8).

7.Demonstrate family commitment.

After the Lord Jesus, put your wife and family first. Commit time and energy to spiritual, moral and intellectual development of the children. For example, pray with them (especially at night by the bedside), read to them, engage in sports with them and take them on other outings. Do not play the fools’ game of working long hours, trying to get ahead, while your children and spouse languish in neglect (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:19-20).

Marriage and family are good gifts from a great God. They must be treated with tender care. Our Lord has provided a blueprint for us to follow. When we do, we will find the joys and blessings he intended from the beginning when he put a man and woman together in this holy covenant.

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