Homeschooling in China

While a number of expatriates in China home school their children, Chinese law forbids Chinese citizens from opting their children out of public education. However, this video shows that a home school movement is growing in China despite legal obstacles.

Free Monthly Magazine

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) publishes a free monthly magazine called Acts and Facts. Each issue is full-color and contains scholarly yet accessible articles about science and the Bible.

ICR has been a long-time advocate for taking the Genesis 1-2 creation account to mean that God created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days and the Genesis 6-8 narrative as referring to a worldwide flood.

Free Christian Audiobook

ChristianAudio is offering Eric Liddell’s The Disciplines of the Christian Life for free this month. Liddell was a Scottish athlete, rugby union international player, and missionary to China. He is perhaps most well known as the subject of the 1981 Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, which depicted his experiences training and racing in the Olympics and the religious convictions that influenced him. In his book about spiritual disciplines, he outlines his own pattern for living which has as its foundation a daily Bible reading plan.

Missio Ecclesiae

When discussing missions and pastoral theology, missio dei (the “mission of God”) is becoming a near-constant theme. Christians are challenged to look at what God is doing in the world and seek to join God in His mission. Missions expands from proclamation ministries of evangelism, church planting, and pastoral training to include activist goals like climate control, social justice, and poverty/disaster relief.

If we must select a Latin phrase as our battle cry for missions, missio dei should not be it. Christians (and especially Christian leaders) have an unfortunate tendency to forget that they are not God. If our mission statement is to find and enact God’s plans for the world, we will inevitably pursue our own designs for the world because we are utterly unqualified, unable, and unwilling to pursue the missio dei in its entirety. We might think ourselves capable “to grant relief to you who are afflicted” (2 Thess 1:7), but the very next verse informs us that the missio dei includes God “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (1:8).

Our inability to join God’s mission in its entirety neither excludes us from participating in the missio dei nor grants us license to engage in whatever divine activities we please. Our part in the missio dei put simply is to do what God has told us to do. If we must select a Latin moniker for our part, it would have to be missio ecclesiae, “mission of the church.”

Our mission is the Great Commission. We make disciples, baptize them into the local church (planting new churches if we must), and teach them to observe all things that Christ has commanded. Individual Christians should be generous to the poor and good stewards of God’s gifts. Churches are free to engage in mercy ministries. However, the church’s center resides not in social activism but in proclamation of the gospel. Before we try to help God with His mission in the world, let’s make sure we’re accomplishing the missio ecclesiae, the mission God gave us.

Inability and the Means of Salvation

The English Puritan Thomas Boston (1676-1732) provides a helpful insight into the relationship between human inability and responsibility in his Human Nature in Its Fourfold State (reprinted by Banner of Truth Trust, 1964).

Objection 3: But all this [repentance/faith/etc] is needless seeing we are utterly unable to help ourselves out of the state of sin and wrath. Answer: Give not place to that delusion, which puts asunder what God has joined, namely, the use of means and a sense of our own impotency. If ever the Spirit of God graciously influence your souls, you will become thoroughly sensible of your absolute inability, and yet enter upon a vigorous use of means. You will do for yourselves, as if you were to do all, and yet overlook all you do, as if you had done nothing. Will you do nothing for yourselves because you cannot do all? Lay down no such impious conclusion against your own souls. Do what you can; and, it may be, while you are doing what you can for yourselves, God will do for you what you cannot (196-197).

God has promised that anyone who believes in Christ will be saved. Our unregenerate state is so desperate that we need God’s blessing to even turn to Him in faith. However, this fact should never encourage inaction. When the gospel is presented, the lost must simply repent and believe. God will help their unbelief.

The Crown that Perishes

In case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, Michael Phelps is now the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. His athletic accomplishments are truly amazing … and ultimately forgettable.

Phelps accomplishments were even more stunning in Beijing, but until this year’s Olympics rolled around, I hadn’t thought about him at all for four years (apparently I missed the news coverage of several of his indiscretions). After the close of this year’s Olympics, I’m fairly sure his feats won’t cross my mind until NBC airs a flashback during their Olympic coverage four years from now. These reminders will eventually cease as swimmer after swimmer slowly erase Phelps record times and some new prodigy wins just a few more metals. Who remembered Larisa Latynina before Phelps unseated her as the most decorated athlete of all time? Records are made to be broken and forgotten.

Let’s all applaud Michael Phelps for his incredible accomplishments in the water. However, we should also remember that everyone will soon forget the amazing Michael Phelps. As we each seek our much smaller bits of acclaim, remember that we too will be forgotten. Only the applause of God can echo for eternity.