modern missions

the following is a prime example of modern missions that fits well within the biblical paradigm:

As an example, a missionary family I recently met, who live in an undisclosed location, the father is a specialist in agricultural development so they are utlizing that skill where they are as relief workers.  In their first term, they served the people by helping them build and develop a chicken farm and two fish farms.  In effect, in meeting their physical needs it opened up the door for them to meet the people’s spiritual needs as well. 

This is modern missions.   It meets both the physical and spiritual needs of the people involved – and is a wholistic approach to fulfillment of the Great Commission.  This needs to be practiced more widely and is why I recently advised a young person interested in missions not to go to Bible School – but to a University to get practical training such as what we see above.

Additionally, this is not to say the missionary family can’t be involved in evangelistic efforts or later on start up a Bible School/Ministry center to the benefit of the local Christians – but his expertise in acgricultural development will only that much more be of immense benefit to the people and his efforts to share the story of Jesus with them.

What is “Biblical” Archeology?

In this whole deal of the supposed find of Noah’s ark, the question arises “what is biblical archeology” really?  What do biblical archeologist do that makes their work scientifically valid and not fraudulent as is the work of Noah’s Ark Ministries? 

Dr. Robert Cargill answers these questions and more in his interview on Jason Boyett’s blog “O me of little faith.”   It’s a pretty informative interview that helps one get right to the issues at hand. 

Here are some excerpts:

It is important to remember, however, that real archaeologists don’t go ‘looking for something.’  We dig.  We dig and we find what we find.  Wherever the evidence leads us, we go.  Whatever the evidence says, we report.  We don’t go looking to ‘prove the Bible.’  This is flawed methodology, because you begin seeing what you want to see or hope to see, and not what’s really there.

One person in the comments asks, “what do you mean you don’t go looking for something?  Then how do you find it?”  To which Dr. Cargill answers:

it is important to distinguish between early ‘archaeology’ and the modern science of archaeology.  early archaeology was little more than treasure hunting, and people did, in fact, go out and look for specific things.  they even called them quests.  others stumbled upon items, and they proceeded to dig the place apart until they found the ‘treasure.’ they then looted the ‘treasure’ to other countries, and this explains why there are egyptian obelisks in france, the greek parthenon marbles in england, and italian statues in the usa.

modern archaeology is much different.  many excavations do, in fact, begin because a tractor was plowing in a field or a bulldozer was clearing the way for a highway or hotel.  archaeologists then come in and establish a systematic excavation.  whatever they find, they publish.  however, these guys began a ministry (not an archaeological group, but a ministry) with the purpose of questing after noah’s ark. this is not good [not real] archaeology (even 100 years ago).

 So there you have it – real biblical archeology doesn’t involve “quests” to prove the Bible.

three “hinges” of Philippians

I had a thought today as I was thinking about the book of Philippians – not going to say it is absolute but given that the book is about how to maintian unity in the body in the midst of hardship, suffering and persecution – I have a thought about what I want to call the three “hinges” of Philippians.  Like many doors have three hinges to hold them up – I think Philippians has three hinges that help us understand what is needed to have unity in the body despite hardships. 

They are:  Humility, Obedience, and Service.  

Like a door needs all three “hinges” to function well, so too, all three “hinges” highlighted in the book of Philippians are needed to maintain unity (the door) in the body of Christ – if any of the hinges are missing, it’s not going to work right, no matter how hard we try to make it work. 

We see these three hinges worked out primarily in the life of Christ, or what is called the Christ hymn.  In this hymn we see Jesus model life for us as a humble, obedient, servant.   This life is modeled as one he wants us to follow. 

Without humilty we find ourselves too proud and doing too much “posturing” as Gordon Fee likes to call it – too much trying to put ourselves ahead of others or using them to our advantage.  Without humility we also tend find ourselves skirting hardship and grumbling when it happens.  This is not what God has called us to. 

Instead, God has called us humble ourselves and become obedient (a willing submissivness) to the cause of the gospel and to his calling to be unified with one another, for the sake of the gospel.   This is accomplished primairly through being servants of one another and servants to the cause of the gospel in whatever context we live in. 

It is only when each one of us individually and as congregations of faith learn to live in humility, obedience and service , will true unity in the body of Christ be acheived. 

So, as the Bible exhorts us to spur one another on toward love and good deeds, let us learn to walk in humility, obedience and service, that we might be unified as a body, for God’s glory, for the sake of the gospel.

comment of the day

Over at Robert Cargill’s blog post about Noah’s Ark someone named Amelia Wong commented:

I don’t know how my colleagues will react when they see my comments on this blog. But mostly likely they won’t read it.

I saw the news conference on TV in Hong Kong. But before that my colleague had already told me to watch for some spectacular news on Sunday, just keep your ears open for the news. It so happens that the husband of this colleague of mine works with haha Noah’s Ark Ministries. He told all of us teachers on Saturday that they’ve found Noah’s Ark… all the stuff written on that site. Well I kind of walked out on their conversation because they were saying things like the enemy is not going to like this, they’ll be attacked on all sides so pray…
The way I see it is, no matter what you tell them, it’s not going to make a difference because by telling them the truth you’ve just sided with the devil, attacking them.
What’s more they’ve already brainwashed the people to believe only what they say by spreading “attacks from the evil one” before the news conference. Now the people are truth-proofed. Over here in Hong Kong, Christians are so well taught that no truth can penetrate their thoughts. And these religious leaders like it that way, keep their religious congregation stupid.

What’s the moral of the comment?  Don’t let yourself become “truth proofed”!

HT: Jim West