Friday, December 10, 2010

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (animated)

The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come” is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print.

Watch Parts 1 to 8

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 1

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 2

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 3

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 4

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 5

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 6

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 7

The Pilgrim’s Progress- Part 8

(Note: This review/summary is from Wikipedia)

Plot (First Part)

Christian, an everyman character, is the protagonist of the allegory, which centres itself in his journey from his hometown, the “City of Destruction” (“this world”), to the "Celestial City" (“that which is to come”: Heaven) atop Mt. Zion. Christian finds himself weighed down by a great burden, the knowledge of his sin, which he believed came from his reading “the book in his hand,” (the Bible). This burden, which would cause him to sink into Tophet (hell), is Christian’s acute, immediate concern that impels him to the crisis of what to do for deliverance. Evangelist meets Christian as he is walking out in the fields and directs him to the “Wicket Gate” for deliverance. Since Christian cannot see the “Wicket Gate” in the distance, Evangelist directs him to go to a “shining light,” which Christian thinks he sees. Christian leaves his home, his wife, and children to save himself when his attempt to persuade them to go with him fails. Two men of Destruction City, Obstinate and Pliable, follow Christian to persuade him to return and are unsuccessful. Pliable then decides to accompany Christian on the path, until the two land in the Slough Of Despond—whereupon Pliable extricates himself and goes back to the City; Christian is rescued from the slough by Help, who throws him a rope.

On his way to the Wicket Gate, Christian is diverted by Mr. Worldly Wiseman into seeking deliverance from his burden through the Law, supposedly with the help of a Mr. Legality and his son Civility in the village of Morality, rather than through Christ, allegorically by way of the Wicket Gate. Evangelist meets the wayward Christian where he has stopped before a life-threatening mountain, Mount Sinai, on the way to Legality’s home. Evangelist shows Christian that he had sinned by turning out of his way, but he assures him that he will be welcomed at the Wicket Gate if he should turn around and go there, which Christian does.

At the Wicket Gate begins the “straight and narrow” King’s Highway, and Christian is directed onto it by the gatekeeper Good Will. In the Second Part, Good-will is shown to be Jesus himself. To Christian's query about relief from his burden, Good Will directs him forward to “the place of deliverance.”

Christian makes his way from there to the House of the Interpreter, where he is shown pictures and tableaux that portray or dramatize aspects of the Christian faith and life. Roger Sharrock denotes them “emblems.”

From the House of the Interpreter, Christian finally reaches the “place of deliverance” (allegorically, the cross of Calvary and the open sepulchre of Christ), where the “straps” that bound Christian’s burden to him break, and it rolls away into the open sepulchre. This event happens relatively early in the narrative: the immediate need of Christian at the beginning of the story being quickly remedied. After Christian is relieved of his burden, he is greeted by three shining ones, who give him the greeting of peace, new garments, and a scroll as a passport into the Celestial City — these are allegorical figures indicative of Christian Baptism.

Atop the Hill of Difficulty, Christian makes his first stop for the night at the House Beautiful, which is an allegory of the local Christian congregation. Christian spends three days here, and leaves clothed with armour (Eph. 6:11-18), which stands him in good stead in his battle against Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation. This battle lasts “over half a day” until Christian manages to wound Apollyon with his two-edged sword (a reference to the Bible, Heb. 4:12). “And with that Apollyon spread his dragon wings and sped away.”

As night falls Christian enters the Valley of the Shadow of Death. When he is in the middle of the valley amidst the gloom and terror he hears the words of the Twenty-third Psalm, spoken possibly by his friend Faithful:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4.)

As he leaves this valley the sun rises on a new day.

Just outside the Valley of the Shadow of Death he meets Faithful, also a former resident of the City of Destruction, who accompanies him to Vanity Fair, where both are arrested and detained because of their disdain for the wares and business of the fair. Faithful is put on trial, and executed as a martyr. Hopeful, a resident of Vanity, takes Faithful’s place to be Christian’s companion for the rest of the way.

Along a rough stretch of road, Christian and Hopeful leave the highway to travel on the easier By-Path Meadow, where a rainstorm forces them to spend the night. In the morning they are captured by Giant Despair, who takes them to his Doubting Castle, where they are imprisoned, beaten and starved. The giant wants them to commit suicide, but they endure the ordeal until Christian realizes that a key he has, called Promise, will open all the doors and gates of Doubting Castle. Using the key, they escape.

The Delectable Mountains form the next stage of Christian and Hopeful’s journey, where the shepherds show them some of the wonders of the place also known as “Immanuel’s Land”.
On the way, Christian and Hopeful meet a lad named Ignorance, who has the vain hope of entering the Celestial City even though he believes in work’s righteousness. A ferryman named Vain Hope ferries Ignorance across the River of Death, only for Ignorance to be turned away from the gates of Celestial City and cast into hell.

Christian and Hopeful make it through the dangerous Enchanted Ground into the Land of Beulah, where they ready themselves to cross the River of Death on foot to Mount Zion and the Celestial City. Christian has a rough time of it, but Hopeful helps him over; and they are welcomed into the Celestial City.

Characters (First Part)

Note: Names of main characters are in capital letters.

• CHRISTIAN, whose name was Graceless at some time before, the protagonist in the First Part, whose journey to the Celestial City is the plot of the story.

• EVANGELIST, the religious man who puts Christian on the path to the Celestial City. He also shows Christian a book, which readers assume to be the Bible.

• Obstinate, one of the two residents of the City of Destruction, who run after Christian when he first sets out, in order to bring him back.

• Pliable, the other of the two, who goes with Christian until both of them fall into the Slough of Despond. Pliable escapes from the slough and returns home.

• Help, Christian’s rescuer from the Slough of Despond.

• MR. WORLDLY WISEMAN, a resident of a place called Carnal Policy, who persuades Christian go out of his way to be helped by a Mr. Legality and then move to the City of Morality.

• GOODWILL, the keeper of the Wicket Gate through which one enters the “straight and narrow way” (also referred to as “the King's Highway”) to the Celestial City. In the Second Part we find that this character is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.

• Beelzebub, literally “Lord of the Flies”, is one of the devil’s companion archdevils who has erected a fort near the Wicket Gate from which he and his companions can shoot arrows at those who are about to enter the Wicket Gate. He is also the Lord of Vanity Fair. Christian calls him “captain” of the fiend Apollyon.

• THE INTERPRETER, the one who has his House along the way as a rest stop for travellers to check in to see pictures and dioramas to teach them the right way to live the Christian life. He has been identified as the Holy Spirit. He also appears in the Second Part.

• Shining Ones, the messengers and servants of “the Lord of the Hill”, God. They are obviously the holy angels.

• Formalist, one of two travellers on the King’s Highway, who do not come in by the Wicket Gate, but climb over the wall that encloses it, at least from the hill and sepulcre up to the Hill Difficulty. He and his companion Hypocrisy come from the land of Vainglory. He takes one of the two bypaths that avoid the Hill Difficulty, but is lost.

• Hypocrisy, the companion of Formalist. He takes the other of the two bypaths and is also lost.

• Timorous, one of two who try to persuade Christian to go back for fear of the chained lions near the House Beautiful. He is a relative of Mrs. Timorous of the Second Part. His companion is

• Mistrust.

• Watchful, the porter of the House Beautiful. He also appears in the Second Part and receives “a gold angel” coin from Christiana for his kindness and service to her and her companions. “Watchful” is also the name of one of the Delectable Mountains’ shepherds.

• Discretion, one of the maids of the House Beautiful, who decides to allow Christian to stay there.

• Prudence, another of the House Beautiful maidens. She appears in the Second Part.

• Piety, another of the House Beautiful maidens. She appears in the Second Part.

• Charity, another of the House Beautiful maidens. She appears in the Second Part.

• APOLLYON, literally “Destroyer”; the lord of the City of Destruction and one of the devil’s companion archdevils, who tries to force Christian to return to his domain and service. His battle with Christian takes place in the Valley of Humiliation, just below the House Beautiful. He appears as a dragon-like creature with scales and bats’ wings. He takes darts from his body to throw at his opponents.

• Giants “Pope” and “Pagan”, allegories of Roman Catholicism and paganism as persecutors of Protestant Christians. “Pagan” is dead, indicating the end of pagan persecution with Antiquity, and “Pope” is alive but decrepit, indicating the then diminished power and influence of the Roman Catholic pope.

• FAITHFUL, Christian’s friend from the City of Destruction, who is also going on pilgrimage. Christian meets him just after getting through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

• Wanton, a temptress who tries to get Faithful to leave his journey to the Celestial City. She may be the popular resident of the City of Destruction, Madam Wanton, who hosted a house party for friends of Mrs. Timorous.

• Adam the First, “the old man” (representing carnality) who tries to persuade Faithful to leave his journey and come live with his 3 daughters: the Lust of the flesh, the Lust of the eyes, and the Pride of life.

• Moses, the severe, violent avenger (representing the Law, which knows no mercy) who tries to kill Faithful for his momentary weakness in wanting to go with Adam the First out of the way.

• Talkative, a hypocrite known to Christian from the City of Destruction, who lived on Prating Row. He talks fervently of religion, but has no evident works as a result of true salvation.

• Lord Hate-good, the judge who tries Faithful in Vanity Fair.

• Envy, the first witness against Faithful.

• Superstition, the second witness against Faithful.

• Pick-Thank, the third witness against Faithful.

• HOPEFUL, the resident of Vanity Fair, who takes Faithful’s place as Christian’s fellow traveller. The character HOPEFUL poses an inconsistency in that there is a necessity imposed on the pilgrims that they enter the “King’s Highway” by the Wicket Gate. HOPEFUL did not; however, of him we read: “... one died to bear testimony to the truth, and another rises out of his ashes to be a companion with Christian in his pilgrimage”. HOPEFUL assumes FAITHFUL’S place by God’s design. Theologically and allegorically it would follow in that “faith” is trust in God as far as things present are concerned, and “hope”, biblically the same as “faith”, is trust in God as far as things of the future are concerned. HOPEFUL would follow FAITHFUL. The other factor is Vanity Fair's location right on the straight and narrow way. IGNORANCE, in contrast to HOPEFUL, came from the Country of Conceit, that connected to the “King's Highway” by means of a crooked lane. IGNORANCE was told by CHRISTIAN and HOPEFUL that he should have entered the highway through the Wicket Gate.

• Mr. By-Ends, a hypocritical pilgrim who perishes in the Hill Lucre silver mine with three of his friends. A “by-end” is a pursuit that is achieved indirectly. In the case of By-Ends and his companions, it is pursuing financial gain through religion.

• Demas, a deceiver, who beckons to pilgrims at the Hill Lucre to come and join in the supposed silver mining going on in it.

• GIANT DESPAIR, the owner of Doubting Castle, where Christians are imprisoned and murdered. He is slain by GREAT-HEART in the Second Part.

• Giantess Diffidence, Despair's wife. She is slain by OLD HONEST in the Second Part.

• Knowledge, one of the shepherds of the Delectable Mountains.

• Experience, another of the Delectable Mountains shepherds.

• Watchful, another of the Delectable Mountains shepherds.

• Sincere, another of the Delectable Mountains shepherds.

• IGNORANCE, “a brisk young lad”, who joins the “King's Highway” by way of the “crooked lane” that comes from his native country, called “Conceit.” He follows Christian and Hopeful and on two occasions talks with them. He believes that he will be received into the Celestial City because of his doing good works in accordance with God's will. Jesus Christ is for him only an example not a Savior. Christian and Hopeful try to set him right, but they fail. He gets a ferryman, Vain-Hope, to ferry him across the River of Death rather than cross it on foot as one is supposed to do. When he gets to the gates of the Celestial City, he is asked for a “certificate” needed for entry, which he does not have. The King, then, orders that he be bound and cast into hell.

• The Flatterer, a deceiver who leads Christian and Hopeful out of their way, when they fail to look at the roadmap given them by the Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains.

• Atheist, a mocker of CHRISTIAN and HOPEFUL, who goes the opposite way on the “King’s Highway” because he boasts that he knows that God and the Celestial City do not exist.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Heartlight: free resources like pictures, e-cards, Powerpoint templates and backgrounds, etc.

Heartlight Magazine offers numerous free resources for churches and ministries:

[1] Heart Gallery (thousands of scriptural artwork images available for viewing; select from the most recent, past favorites, or search to find exactly what you're looking for)

[2] HeartCards (a free electronic Christian greeting card service for friends and loved ones world wide with topics such as Salvation, Friendship, Love, Thanks, Comfort, Encouragement, Praise, Inspiration; you can customize the e-card as to style, sound and date.)

[3] PowerPoint resources (collection of templates, images, and slide show presentations to help assist you in your particular ministry; Templates - with various themes; Backgrounds - images for presentations; Seminars - presentations done by Heartlight staff

From Heartlight’s Rules of Use

We are truly pleased to provide these resources for you to use in your ministry. Our mission is to provide resources for victorious Christian living in today’s world.

You are free to use and share this copyrighted material for personal, church, and ministry use for both public and private presentations as long as this notice, the materials themselves, and any of the associated images are not changed and it is not distributed, bundled, or reproduced in any form and sold, or requires shipping or handling charges. These materials are intended for free distribution for Christians to be used to the glory of the Lord Jesus.

Unless otherwise indicated, all PowerPoint resources are Copyright HEARTLIGHT®, Inc., 2001.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Free MP3 and PDF materials in Homiletics

Note: Please read also The Power and Authority of Preaching.

[1] Homiletics: The Art of Preaching and Teaching, by Ptr. Vincent Sawyer, Faith Baptist Church, New York

Lesson 1 - The Aim Of Preaching (download mp3)

Lesson 2 - Study Before You Preach (download mp3)

Lesson 3 - Basic Rules Of Hermeneutics (Bible Interpretation) (download mp3)

Lesson 4 - Pulling Principles Out Of The Text (download mp3)

Lesson 5 - Determining The Main Principle (download mp3)

Lesson 6 - Forming Your Proposition (download mp3)

Lesson 7 - The Main Points Of Your Outline (download mp3)

Lesson 8 - The Minor Points Of Your Outline (download mp3)

Lesson 9 - Adding ‘Meat’ to Your Message (download mp3)

Lesson 10 - Preparing Your Introduction, Conclusion, & Title (download mp3)

Lesson 11 - Outlining A Passage. Expository Textual & Topical Types (download mp3)

Lesson 12 - Tips For Effective Message Delivery (download mp3)

Ptr. Sawyers original materials in text format are still available from a different website:
(1) What is a Preacher? (2) What is so important about preaching? (3) What is the key to being a successful and effective Preacher? (4) What is Biblical Preaching? (5) What is the aim of preaching? (6) How do I prepare a message? (7) What format should I follow to outline? (8) What are the different types of sermons? (9) What are some tips for effective delivery of a message?
[2] Expository preaching from “Preparing to Preach” workshops led by Rev. John D. Brand, Harper Memorial Baptist Church, Glasgow

Session 1 Expository Preaching: What? (mp3, pdf, ppt)

Session 2 Expository Preaching: Why? (mp3, pdf, ppt)

Session 3 Expository Preaching: How? (mp3, pdf, ppt)

Session 4 Feeling the Flesh (mp3, pdf, ppt)

Session 5 Them Bones (mp3, pdf, ppt)

Session 6 Every Text has a Heart (mp3, pdf, ppt)

Session 7 The Brain and Heart of the Sermon (mp3, pdf, ppt)

Session 8 Setting the Bones (mp3, pdf)

Rev. Dominic Smart: God uses preaching like nothing else (mp3, pdf); Acts 8vv26-40 (mp3, pdf)

Rev. Edward Lobb: Sharpening up your preaching (mp3); Titus 2 (mp3)

Rev. Dr Sandy Roger: Paul’s Preaching Experience and Technique (mp3, pdf); Preaching that gets through to people (mp3, pdf)

Rev. Dr Geoffrey Grogan: Expository Preaching: Some important principles (mp3, pdf); Ephesians 1vv3-14 (mp3)

Rev. Peter Grainger: Preaching on Luke 20vv20-40 (mp3, pdf ); Luke 20vv20-40 (mp3); Preparing to preach (mp3)

Rev. Derek Prime: Preaching the cross (mp3); Handling the text (mp3); Handling the text (pdf)

Rev. Willie Philip: Genesis 19vv1-29 (mp3); Preaching ‘nasty narrative’ (mp3, pdf)

Rev. Dr Geoffrey Grogan: Preaching from the Psalms mp3, pdf); Psalm 77( mp3); Errors in handling Scripture 1 (pdf); Errors in handling Scripture 2 (pdf)

Rev. Dr Colin Dow: Preaching from Old Testament Narrative (mp3, ppt); Genesis 44 (mp3)

Rev. Colin Adams: Preaching from the Prophets (mp3); Jeremiah 44 (mp3)

[3] “Preaching Christ” series by Dr. David P. Murray, Stornoway Free Church of Scotland

Preparing to preach (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to select a text (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to examine a text (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to vary your sermons (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to introduce a sermon (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to organise a sermon 1 (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to organise a sermon 2 (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to apply a sermon 1 (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to apply a sermon 2 (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

How to deliver a sermon (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

[4] Preaching Clinic for Elders, by Dr. Dennis Prutow, Biblical Preaching Institute (Reformed Presbyterian)

#1 - A Definition of Preaching (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#2 - The Point of the Text (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#3 - The Point of the Sermon (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#4 Developing Your Outline (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#5 Dealing With the Details (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#6 Conclusions & Introductions (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

[5] Christ-Centered Preaching: Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, by Dr. Bryan Chapell. Notes: (1) Dr. Chappel is a Reformed Presbyterian and covenant theologian; his materials on homiletics however can benefit dispensational Baptists; (2) Registration (free) is required before you can download Dr. Chapell’s PDF and MP3 files.

Lesson 1 Word and Witness; Lesson 2 What’s the Big Idea; Lesson 3 Text Selection and Interpretation; Lesson 4 The Road From Text to Sermon; Lesson 5 Outlining and Arrangement; Lesson 6 Propositions and Main Points; Lesson 7 Introductions; Lesson 8 Exposition; Lesson 9 Sermon Divisions and Development; Lesson 10 Conclusions; Lesson 11 Classification of Messages; Lesson 12 Explanation; Lesson 13 Why to Illustrate; Lesson 14 How to Illustrate Part 1 and 2; Lesson 15A Application Part 1 and 2; Lesson 16 Transitions and Dialogical Method; Lesson 17 Methods of Sermon Presentation; Lesson 18 Voice and Gesture; Lesson 19 Dress and Style; Lesson 20 Old Friends in New Clothes; Lesson 21 Word and Spirit; Lesson 22 A Redemptive Approach to Preaching; Lesson 23 Developing Redemptive Messages; Lesson 24 Preaching Christ-Centered Application Sanctification; Lesson 25 Hearing the Application of Redemptive Principles

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The 21st Fundamental Bible Conference, October 26-29, 2010

Dr. Jose-Roberto Livioco, conference organizer; Dr. David Shoaf (Independent Baptist Church, Bolingbrook, Illinois, USA), keynote speaker

Time: 6 to 9:30 PM; Venue: Integrated Bar of the Philippines auditorium, No. 15 Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

One time registration fee 160 pesos

Contact numbers: 636-5535, 829-4474, 425-6249, 514-8340, 0922-898-2565

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Free world missions Powerpoints from Joshua Project

[1] Let the Nations be Glad (download Powerpoint, 16.2 MB; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

A challenging PowerPoint about the unfinished task of the Great Commission from people and language perspectives. Gives an overview of some of the things God is doing around the world as well as some of the challenges remaining to finishing the task.
[2] Signs of the Times (download Powerpoint, 21.6 MB; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

This PowerPoint looks at some of the Biblical signs that will characterize the end times. In addition, this PowerPoint provides an overview of some of the major positive and negative trends in global missions.

[3] Status of World Evangelization (download Powerpoint 7.1 MB; download handout in Word or PDF; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

This PowerPoint provides a snapshot of the overall status of world evangelization with a particular focus on the unfinished task of the Great Commission. A visionary tool for small groups, churches, mission conferences, denominations and mission agencies.

[4] Least Reached of Southeast Asia (download Powerpoint, 3.1 MB; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

A PowerPoint detailing the status of the Great Commission and least-reached peoples in eleven countries of Southeast Asia.

[5] Thirty Unreached Peoples (download Powerpoint, 8.2 MB; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

Thirty of the most unreached people groups in the world. Great for introducing a prayer gathering, Great Commission sermon or mission conference and creating vision for unreached peoples.

[6] “Where Are We” by Stan Parks (download Powerpoint, 554.2 KB; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

A PowerPoint created by Stan Parks and presented at the Ethne '06 Conference. Where Are We looks at our changing world and church and how those changes impact unreached people group ministry.

[7] State of the Gospel from Operation World (download Powerpoint, 10.7 MB; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

This PowerPoint was created by Jason Mandryk using Operation World information. It provides an excellent overview of missions and global evangelization.

[8] Joshua Project Overview (download Powerpoint, 1.8 MB; view the Powerpoint in your browser: click on the slide, not the arrows to advance.)

An overview of Joshua Project outlining the vision, activities and audience of this initiative.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Free PDF on marriage issues for missionaries (also for pastors and other persons in ministry)

This free PDF entitled “Missionary Marriage Issues” was written by Ronald L. Koteskey, Member Care Consultant for GO InterNational (an interdenominational world-wide Christian mission organization involved in organizing short-term missions, among other projects). While Ron wrote this material specifically for missionaries, his insights, comments, and suggestions are valuable for pastors and their wives, persons involved in ministry, and for any married couple. Ron and his wife (former teachers with 35 years experience in Bible colleges, public and Christian schools) maintain two websites and which provide free resources like brochures and e-books for two culture-kids, marriage issues, and reentry for missionaries.

Ron’s terms of use for his e-book: “Permission is granted to copy and distribute this book in its entirety without charge. Send it to anyone you believe may benefit from reading it. Please do NOT post this book anywhere else on the Internet.”

Topics discussed

Missionary Marriage Issues” (62 pages, 338 k) is divided into nineteen chapters: (1) What about Dorothy? (2) I Don’t Want to Go! (3) Not Called, but Willing (4) I’m Marrying a National! (5) This Is No Honeymoon (6) I’m Just a Trailing Spouse (7) Relationship Time (8) Ministry Separation (9) Marriage or Ministry (10) Sexual Stress (11) Computer Sex or me? (12) Maintaining Sexual Purity (13) Digital Distractions (14) You Spent It on WHAT? (15) FUNd Raising Isn’t FUN! (16) Wounds, Scabs, and Scars (17) How Will We Discipline Them? (18) I Wish Your Parents Would Leave Us Alone! (19) What about Charlotte?

Missionaries, pastors and people in ministry are not exempt from deep marital troubles and are more susceptible to sexual sin

In the preface, Ron states the reason why he wrote this e-book:

Why write a book about issues in missionary marriages when so many books about marriage are available? The reason is because married couples living in cultures other than their passport one face some issues that make marriage more difficult than it is for people remaining at “home.”

During one year two divorces occurred in missionary families our church supported. The next year another divorce occurred. All three divorces involved people 40-60 years of age, one with empty-nesters and two in families with three children at home in each. A single-mom in her thirties with two children registered for one of Ron’s courses, and it turned out that while in language school her husband had left her for a national woman. We received a call to help a couple in their twenties because the wife was considering divorce to marry a national man. As you read this book, you will see that these issues go clear back to the beginning of the modern protestant missionary movement in the eighteenth century.
If you think you are invulnerable to sexual sin, you are actually the most vulnerable.

In Chapter 8, Ron warns missionaries, pastors and others in ministry about sexual or emotional attraction for someone other than their spouse.
He says: If you feel vulnerable in this area, you are. If you do not feel vulnerable, you may be even more vulnerable than those who do feel it. Such attraction must not be tolerated in any way.

In Chapter 9, Ron cautions missionaries that they are “more susceptible to sexual sin than someone back home. You may be because of some of the facts of missionary life.Ron enumerates these factors as high stress, lack of privacy, cultural taboos, more separation, pornography through the Internet, and need for affection and touch. He warns: If you think you are invulnerable to sexual sin, you are actually the most vulnerable.

A personal note

In my ministry with (free legal information on matters affecting the Filipino family), I have counseled via e-mail more than six thousand people, mostly women, since the website became online in December 2005. Among those I have counseled are:

a Protestant minister whose wife abandoned him and their children for an adulterous relationship with an Asian national she met while working abroad, and

a wife whose pastor-husband has been sexually abusing her and videotaping their lovemaking; she has endured years of abuse thinking that it was part of her submission and to avoid embarrassment for herself, her children and the congregation.

I counseled the minister to at least file a petition for legal separation, termination of the wife’s parental authority and for award of full custody of the children to him. With the pastor’s wife, I counseled her to confide in a few trusted friends and her church leaders, temporarily separate from her husband and to consider filing civil and criminal cases for violation of RA 9262 “Ant-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004”.

As a precaution, I generally do not agree when the troubled persons who e-mail me for legal information want to talk to me in person. On several occasions, I have agreed to meet them but only in church, after the worship service and when there are a lot of people around. I have told church members to see me together with their pastor. I also never reply to missed calls on my mobile phone if I don't know the person who called.

(I once counseled a young pastor, one of my students in Bible school, who was having problems in his marriage. His wife had been crying and saying that he didn’t love her anymore. I told this young pastor to turn off his mobile phone and disconnect his land line whenever he was having breakfast, lunch or dinner with his wife and daughter. I assured him that with the proper explanation, his congregation will understand his need to spend some uninterrupted precious time with his family. For more articles on relationships, marriage and the family, please read the articles from my Salt and Light blog.)

William Carey (father of modern missions) and his failed marriage

Throughout the book, Ron cites the virtually unknown story of pioneer missionary William Carey’s tragic marriage with his emotionally troubled wife Dorothy (she was later confined for mental illness). In page 6 of Chapter 1, Ron described William and Dorothy in their early married life as “two Christian young people who grew up in Christian families, attended the same church, married, and set out to serve Christ in business in their village.” In pages 9 and 10 of Chapter 1, Ron summarizes the travails of William and Dorothy’s life together:
During their years in India the family moved from one site to another. They had little or no contact with other Europeans during that time. They had no Indian converts in the first seven years, though some expatriates from other countries were converted. They were often in danger from flooding rivers, tigers, jackals and other things. They repeatedly had many diseases including dysentery, malaria, and other parasites. Several times they actually thought they were going to die.

On December 12, 1807, William wrote a colleague that “…it pleased God to remove my wife by death. She had been in a state of the most distressing derangement for these last twelve years…” Dorothy, the woman who had expected the life of a wife of a shoemaker in England, died at the age of 51 after 14 miserable years in India.

Dorothy was the wife of William Carey, widely acclaimed to be the “father of modern missions.” No one can question the commitment, dedication, effectiveness, and discipline of William Carey—but what about Dorothy? What about their marriage relationship? How did this marriage of the “father of modern missions” influence those of missionaries that followed? Did William learn anything from this sad ending? Did mission agencies learn anything from it?
In pages 11 and 12 of Chapter 2, Ron cites an example of the troubled relationship between William and Dorothy:
Another missionary couple was present during some of their disagreements, and the visiting husband wrote, “She has uttered the most blasphemous and bitter imprecations against him,…seizing him by the hair of his head, and one time at the breakfast table held up a knife and said, ‘Curse you. I could cut your throat…you rascal…God almighty damn you.’” Before she was confined, she followed William through the streets raving and railing against him.
Excerpts from the book

I have posted below some excerpts from this very valuable book. As I said, the
book and its insights, comments and suggestions apply not only to missionaries but to pastors, people in ministry and married couples:
Chapter 3. Not Called, but Willing

Why is the “call” a marriage issue?

It is not an issue if no one is called or if everyone is called because everyone is the same. However, if or when one spouse feels called to leave the passport country to spread the Good News and the other sees no reason to leave home, this becomes an issue. If they stay at home, the first spouse is frustrated because he or she may feel guilty for not obeying God. If they go to another culture, the second spouse may resent it when he or she gets beyond “vacation mode” to the time when culture shock and the stress of living in another culture set in.

Chapter 5. This Is No Honeymoon

During the early days or months of living in another culture, while still in “vacation mode,” a person experiences interest, fascination, joy, and enthusiasm living in another culture. This may last for days, weeks, or even months.

However, when the inevitable difficulties with language, people, housing, and food arise, people may become critical, frustrated, resentful, and angry. Simple tasks become daunting challenges, and disillusionment sets in. This post-honeymoon time is very hard on marriage relationships, resulting in lower satisfaction in marriages.

If a couple marries and leaves very soon to serve in another culture, the early days may be wonderful. Then if the two “honeymoons” end simultaneously, the following days may be dreadful. The couple may confuse cultural adjustments and marriage adjustments. The resulting disillusionment may cause them to leave the field, perhaps even the marriage. Even if they do not leave the marriage, their marriage may be damaged.

Chapter 8. Ministry Separation

I can’t believe I’m attracted to ____.

Although being attracted to someone other than your spouse takes many people by surprise the first time it happens, it is very common. This attraction may be either sexual or emotional. As one song put it, “When I’m not near the girl (guy) I love, I love the girl (guy) I’m near.” Typically we come to like the people we interact with most, which is usually our spouse. If you feel vulnerable in this area, you are. If you do not feel vulnerable, you may be even more vulnerable than those who do feel it. Such attraction must not be tolerated in any way.

Chapter 9. Marriage or Ministry

Could you, a missionary, get pulled into immorality or adultery? Of course you could, and the “slide” into it usually begins in harmless, innocent ways. For example, you are field director, so it is your responsibility to show the attractive new single missionary around. Or, you feel sorry for the new missionaries who have no place to stay, and you invite them to live with you temporarily. Or, while talking with a long-term missionary friend, Chris, you find out that Chris feels neglected at home, so you try to give Chris some extra attention. Before you realize it, the two of you are sharing deep things, and this intimacy leads to increasing time together, and finally adultery.

It happens not only with other missionaries, but with nationals as well. It happens to both men and women. It happens with young and old. If you think you are invulnerable to sexual sin, you are actually the most vulnerable.

Homosexual activity?

Could two missionaries begin a homosexual relationship? Yes, they can, and it can happen with either men or women, married or single, young or old. As a result of isolation and loneliness, people living together with same-sex partners may form emotionally dependent relationships. These rather exclusive relationships may become possessive and lead to physical activity with sexual elements. An embrace may become more than just comforting.

This may progress into homosexual activity, so that the people involved have progressed into a sinful relationship. But even if it is stopped before reaching this level, confusion, guilt feelings, and the relationship itself need to be carefully examined.

Chapter 13. Digital Distractions

Lose real contact. A person enmeshed with digital distractions may not recognize problems with family and spouse, not know that anything is wrong until too late.

Drain on time. When one spends hours keeping up with “friends” on Facebook, viewing DVDs, or playing electronic games, it may mean less time for the physically present spouse.

A February 2009 article in Newsweek is titled, “Will the Blackberry sink the Presidency?” Stopping to spend 15 minutes with your Blackberry may not sink your marriage, but it may cause your spouse to question your relationship to him or her.

Chapter 14. You Spent It on WHAT?

Husband and wife should agree on a limit as to how much money each can spend without discussing it with the other. This is to prevent problems, such as, “You spent it on WHAT?” If both of them have similar views of money, setting a limit may be easy.

Conflicts about money are often over other issues, and it helps to uncover these deeper issues. Here are some examples.

“Spender vs saver:” “Let’s do… vs. No, that costs too much”
“Now vs later” “We need a new…vs. Why, our old one is OK for a while”

Note: You might be interested in my Salt and Light blog articles on relationships, marriage and the family.
Notes: [1] Related post: Are you single and in ministry?; [2] This blog does not necessarily endorse the opinions or beliefs of the resources cited here.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Separation of church and State: Should Baptists be involved in politics, civil disobedience, the debate on Reproductive Health bill, or avail of benefits from the PCSO?

Several Baptist pastors and preachers, in recent elections, have run for political office (some have won, some have lost). One pastor I’ve known since childhood asked me to come along with him and other pastors in their meeting with a candidate for the May 2010 presidential elections. When I asked what the meeting was for, he refused to say why. My childhood church in the 1960’s used to invite candidates for local elections to speak to the congregation after the morning or evening service. A group of Baptist pastors goes on regular courtesy calls with Congressional leaders. Some pastors have registered with and carry around IDs issued by the Corruption Prevention Unit of the Office of the Ombudsman.

In recent days, newspaper and television reports have highlighted the conflicts between the Roman Catholic Church and the national government on the issues of the Reproductive Health bill and the legalization of jueteng. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has threatened to resort to civil disobedience if the RH bill is passed. In contrast, Baptist churches in general have not spoken up on the RH bill issue.

One question of practical value is this: Should members of Baptist churches avail of government benefits like free medicines which come from the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) or from the PAGCOR (the office which regulates casinos)?

The relevant provision of our 1987 Constitution is Article III, Section 5 which states: “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.”

Our Supreme Court has fully discussed the issue of freedom of religion in the landmark case of Estrada vs. Escritor involving a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I discussed the issues of this decision in my Legal Updates blog post “The Estrada vs. Escritor case: Did the Supreme Court legitimize live-in relationships?” Baptist pastors, preachers, church officers and Bible students should take time to read this 100 plus pages decision.

Romans chapter 13, verses 1 to 7 are the controlling Scriptures in this issue of the churchs relationship with the State. Posted below are resources that can help Baptist pastors and churches decide how to act and what to say on these contentious issues:

[1] Messages on Romans 13:1-7 by John Piper, Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Subjection to God and Subjection to the State, Part 1 (Audio: Listen, Download; Video: Watch, Download; Print sermon)

Now we all know that there are some very difficult questions to be answered here. When it says again in verse 1 that “there is no authority except from God,” does it include evil rulers? When it says in verse 1 that we should submit to civil authority, does it mean always and no matter what? When it says in verse 3 that the civil authorities are “not a terror to good conduct, but to bad,” is that always true, or do some governments terrorize good conduct? What are we to make of Paul's seemingly absolute statements?
Subjection to God and Subjection to the State, Part 2 (Audio: Listen, Download, Video: Watch, Download; Print sermon)

There are at least four reasons given for submission.

1) So the first reason for this submission is that all authority is instituted by the God who governs all things, and so the civil authorities are God’s servants and ministers.

2) The second reason for submission to civil authority is that they are there for our good. It is good for us that there is government rather than anarchy.

3) The third reason for the submission is that the civil authorities bear the sword (or the gun and Billy club), and if you don’t submit, they will punish you, even with capital punishment (implied in the sword, Romans 8:35-36).

4) The fourth reason for submission is that beneath and above the civil authority is a greater reality, namely, the moral law of God expressed in the words “right” and “wrong.”

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Subjection to God and Subjection to the State, Part 3 Subjection to God and Subjection to the State, Part 3 (Audio: Listen, Download; Print sermon)
1) What is the evidence from the Bible that God sometimes approves of his people not submitting to the very authority he had put in place? That is, what is the evidence for God-approved civil disobedience?

And 2) when is such civil disobedience right, and what should it look like?
Subjection to God and Subjection to the State, Part 4 (Audio: Listen, Download; Video: Watch, Download; Print sermon)
We are first citizens of heaven with a mandate to magnify King Jesus on the earth. And part of his mission for us is to enter all the spheres of society and culture with the light and taste and aroma and truth of Christ, including government.
[2] Articles from “In the Nick of Time” by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, Central Baptist Theological Seminary

[3] The Indigenous Pilgrim Principle: A Theological Consideration of the Christian, the Church, and Politics, by Jeffrey Volkmer (Assistant Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies, Biola University)
Indigenous Principle (Adaptation to the World)
  • The Gospel must incarnate, or be made manifest, in every culture and people of the world (the Great Commission).
  • The Gospel and Christians ought to be a complementary part of culture and society.
The Pilgrim Principle (Confrontation and Separation) Christians pull away and out of culture.
  • Christians live in a manner contrary to culture.
  • We are aliens and exiles in our own cultures, societies, and families.

May I suggest some guidelines that may help us to know when to act upon each influence.

1. How do we know when to be Pilgrims (i.e., separate ourselves)?

a. Is there a sin issue involved?

i. There is never a good time to do something wrong. We are always Christians and that Christianity must work itself into every nook and cranny of our lives.

b. Does our separation or coming out make God look good or further the Gospel?

i. We ought to stand for Biblical Truth.

ii. Does the act of separation create opportunities to share the Gospel?

c. Is the Holy Spirit convicting our spirit?

i. Do you feel God’s leading about a certain situation or feel uncomfortable about something?

2. How do we know when to be Indigenous (i.e., be complementary w/culture)?

a. When it furthers the Gospel (1 Cor 9:22).

b. We must ‘win’ the right to another conversation (1 Cor 8:9, 2 Cor 6:3).

i. This was a favorite saying of a missions professor of mine at Dallas Seminary. We must always be cognizant of how we ‘come off’ and must be sure that our actions do not close off opportunities for us to love our neighbor and have meaningful relationships.

c. Know your ‘cultural scripts’ (1 Cor 10:23-30).

i. Linguists and anthropologists have developed this phrase to describe the social and cultural significance lying behind various cultural forms. Cultural scripts are those unspoken assumptions that are attached to many, many things. (Read the complete article)

[3] “Separation of Church and State” and blog by Jerald Finney, a Baptist and a lawyer. Finney’s blog contains a lot more articles of interest for pastors considering whether or not to incorporate their churches or ministries. Biblical Law Center, a ministry of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple under Dr. Greg Dixon, also provides a lot of articles on the issue of non-registration of churches.

[4] “Why Last Saturday’s Political Conclave of Evangelical Leaders Was Dangerous” by David Neff
I believe that Christians have an urgent duty to engage the social, economic, and moral threats to a healthy society. That requires a wide variety of political action. However, one thing it doesn’t call for is playing kingmaker and powerbroker.