Karl Barth was the greatest theologian of the 20th century. He was also steadfastly unfaithful to his wife, Nelly.
Barth had his theological justifications for the affair. Something about the dialectical nature of truth. Proving it's possible to be smart and stupid at the same time.
For Barth, the Word of God is veiled in the fallible human words of Scripture. The Bible becomes the Word of God only through the subjective revelation of the Spirit.
If you’re smart enough and recognize no higher authority than yourself, you can justify anything. This is the great danger of moving away from radical obedience to the teachings of Jesus and the whole of Scripture. This is the folly of placing ourselves above the authority of God's Word. It's as old as Adam and as current as postmodernism.
Who am I to condemn Karl Barth? The words of Jesus do. He warned of the perils sexual sin. Pluck out your eye! Cut off your hand! Anything is better than facing God's judgment (Matt 5:27-30). If you're living a double life, put it right now.
Sin is serious stuff. It’s the reason he went to the Cross. That’s why the heart of discipleship is learning together to obey what Jesus taught (Matt 28:18-20). There's a price to pay and it's worth it.
Michelle and I are training in Launceston, Tasmania on the weekend. It's our first training since returning to Australia.
We'll be at the Tailrace Community Church where we first trained five years ago. Over one hundred people are registered from around the city and the state.
It's months since I last did a formal training, so I'm rusty. Here's how I've been preparing with a little help from a friend.
1. The 411
My first priority was to watch Troy Cooper's 411 video. I didn't just watch it, I stopped the video and practiced each of the exercises.
2. Pre-training Practice
We have a practice planned with the local team the day before. We're equipping them as trainers. So I went over the video on preparing the training team.
3. Luke 10 House of Peace
We're planning to go out into the community over lunch so I went over the House of Peace study.
4. Then there's the video on how to debrief the house of peace search.
5. 3-Thirds Discipleship
Once they're sharing the gospel, people need to know how to do Discovery Bible study with someone who wants to learn more (7-Stories of Hope), or with a new believer (Commands of Christ).
6. 3-Touches of Training
We'll finish with a challenge to commit to 3-Touches of Training.
If you were getting baptized two thousand years ago you'd probably have wanted Jesus to do it. And he probably would have refused.
Early on in his ministry Jesus was making and baptizing even more disciples than his cousin, John the Baptist. As a result opposition in Judea grew, so Jesus headed north to Galilee. In an aside the writer tells us that Jesus didn't baptize, he gave that responsibility to his disciples (John 4:1-3).
He probably baptized his first few disciples but quickly got them baptizing others. Why? Here's one reason according to John Calvin,
He calls Christ's Baptism that which He administered by the hands of others, to teach us that Baptism is not to be valued from the person or the minister, but that its whole force depends on its author, in whose name and by whose command it is administered ... our Baptism has no less efficacy to cleanse and renew us than if it had been given directly by the Son of God
John Calvin quoted in Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, 252.
Jesus was making the point that it doesn't matter who baptizes you. Any follower of Christ can baptize. What matters is that it's in his name. Baptism doesn't depend on the person who baptizes, but on Christ.
That's why in the New Testament, every disciple is called to make disciples, to baptize them and teach them to obey Christ's commands (Matt 28:18-20).
Pew Research has marked Billy Graham's death by publishing 5 Facts on US Evangelicalism.
- About a quarter (25.4%) of U.S. adults identify with evangelical Protestantism
- The evangelical Protestant share of the population has dipped slightly in recent years (from 26.3% in 2007 to 25.4% in 2014), but more slowly than the mainline Protestant and Catholic populations.
- Three-quarters (76%) of evangelical Protestants in the U.S. are white, but the share of evangelicals who are not white is growing.
- On average, evangelical Protestants have somewhat lower levels of educational attainment, compared with the U.S. public as a whole.
- Half (49%) of evangelical Protestant adults reside in the South, which is home to 37% of the overall U.S. adult population.