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Great Quotes from “Centered & Sent”

Posted by Pastor J.D. on October 20, 2016
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Yesterday was the end of our Centered & Sent Conference. The conference was designed to help the church navigate the tension between being culturally relevant and radically distinct—a combination that will only become more important as our society grows increasingly post-Christian.

If you were at the conference, you know it was phenomenal. If you missed it, you’ll want to check back and download the videos as soon as they are available. Our guest speakers—Tim Keller, Bryan Loritts, Ed Stetzer, and Joby Martin—brought incredible passion and insight. I’m thankful to each one of them for the wisdom they offer the church.

The full lectures will be available soon, but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights from their talks:

Tim Keller

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“Evangelicalism is breaking up. But why? Because culture has changed, and evangelicals are divided on how to respond to it.”

“We are the first culture that says the meaning of life is to free yourself from the sacred order and become a person who can choose all things yourself. Our culture is the first one in history that thinks the essence of character is not self-control, but self-assertion.””

“There’s a great hunger for a new kind of Christianity that lets people feel that they are connected to God—but a Christianity that is completely re-engineered in light of culture, where you still get to decide what is right or wrong for you.”

“Most Christians have never had to do evangelism in a culture like this, a culture in which we are the villains. Well, we had better learn.”

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One of the most common objections against Christianity is violence in the Old Testament. Richard Dawkins, our generation’s most famous atheist, sums up the attitude of many when he says,

The God of the Old Testament is … a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

The question of violence in the Old Testament is a troubling one for many people, Christians as well as non-Christians. Read through the book of Joshua, for instance, and it appears that God commands genocide. So what are we to make of this large-scale, divinely-ordered violence in the OT? The answer revolves around three key words—authority, judgment, race.

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Earlier this week, we’ve been considering the question of whether the Jesus depicted in Mark’s Gospel contradicts the Jesus in John’s Gospel. For a review of that argument, click here. For Part 1 of our rebuttal, click here.

The purpose of this post is to question whether Mark’s depiction is actually all that different from John’s. Spoiler: we believe it’s not.

To recap, the argument goes something like this: Mark’s “Jesus” is shy, coy, and human. He doesn’t claim to be God and doesn’t want other people thinking he is. But John’s “Jesus” is overt in his claims to divinity.

It is often said that error is truth out of proportion. That certainly applies here. The grain of truth in this is that Mark’s depiction of Jesus is more indirect and more secretive than John’s. For the modern reader especially, it’s easier to understand Jesus’ claims to divinity in the book of John than in the book of Mark. They are legitimately distinct portraits, emphasizing different aspects of Jesus’ ministry.

But recognizing differing emphases doesn’t mean we’re talking about two contradictory people. Let’s take each side of the argument and look at the Gospels themselves.

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