There are two things I’ve read and heard that have really struck a chord with me this past quarter. I meant to write and share these things earlier and I finally am before these thoughts escape my mind forever.
- Porn and Paper Pastors_Pyromaniacs
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/04/porn-and-paper-pastors.html This is one of the best blog entries I have ever read and was incredibly rebuking for myself. Please read it for yourself for your own good (and to understand a little of what I’m writing). This article immediately reminded me of the time when I was applying for college applications. I knew I wanted to go to UCLA. Why? It wasn’t for the academics, social life, or sporting events – it was because I wanted John MacArthur to be my pastor. I had been recently exposed to the resource of itune podcasts, which provides you with a seemingly endless supply of sound doctrine from pastors like jMac and John Piper. To not beat around the bush, I realize now that I began to idolize these men and favor their teaching over my own pastor. I had neglected what God had given to me out of an overflow of His grace and made something good into an idol.
Reflecting on those dreams now, I am very glad I did not get into UCLA, and thus, did not go to Grace Community Church. Coming to UCI and going to Berean made me appreciate my pastor beyond just the teaching, but as a man who strives to conform to the image of Christ yet is prone to wander; he is a real man to me. John MacArthur would never have the time to meet up with me, would never give me a high five, maybe wouldn’t even know my name. Is jMac a good preacher? I will give a resounding ‘yes’. Will I ever have a personal relationship with jMac? In all liklihood no.
While obviously reading and listening to other pastors is not in itself, bad, it is the neglect of the reality in front of you that makes this mentality very dangerous. Pornography sets unreal expectations for real women and in the same way, media establishes the same for your home pastor every Sunday. Women you see in pornography will never bother you about taking out the trash, doing your homework, or with homework help while media pastors will never pray for you, keep you accountable, much less know your name. So as John says in 1 John 5:21 to bring a conclusion to his book,
“Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”
- Gospel According to Caiaphas, the Gospel of Substitution_Matt Haney
To help with my response, I’ll post the main passage Matt Haney uses in his message which comes from John 11:47-53
47Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48“If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all,
50nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.”
51Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
52and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
53So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.
Some quick context is needed to demonstrate how mind-boggling this is. Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead and the pharisees, feeling threatened, wanted to eliminate the threat. In many bibles, this passage comes from a portion titled “Conspiracy to Kill Jesus”.
If you notice the bold, who really knows nothing at all? One man die for the people so that a nation can be saved? This is indeed, expedient for each and every one of us. Wow, the irony! I listened to this sermon in between early morning and normal service on Easter and it helped me prepare my heart for the Gospel message I would later hear.
Here we have Caiaphas, the great high priest, the most powerful spiritual leader. Yet in God’s sovereignty, he utters the very Gospel while plotting to kill Christ. I found this incredibly ironic and this shows that God’s plan for man’s redemption as seen in His word, involved all sorts of people whether the blind beggar or the most powerful religious figure at the time. Though Caiaphas certainly did not intend to bring God glory with his words, readers today can be confident that God is active and moving in and among men.
The bible is amazing. The end.