Archive for September, 2009

An Uninspired Article (at least not by God!).

Since my post on the KJVO nonsense in the Landmark publication seemed to catch the interest of more than a few people, here’s something that actually came across my desk prior to that one. I started to write something up, but got caught up in the some other things and left it undone. It still isn’t really done, but I am on the road again and it is easy post, so I’ll just share some “gems” that were tucked away in one of the articles.

A recent edition of Northwest News: A Quarterly Publication of Northwest Bible Baptist Church in Elgin, Illinois included an article entitled, “Is the AV 1611 King James Bible Inspired?” by Wendell Runion. Mr. Runion’s answer is “Yeah, verily.” Here are some choice quotes:

• “English word studies will put a lot more light on the Scripture than Greek word studies ever will” (p. 7).

• “The 50 (or so) men who met with King James I at Hampton court were more than likely ‘led by the Spirit,’ and I would seriously believe that they ‘walked in the Spirit’ because they were indwelled by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, I think I could genuinely say that the Holy Ghost performed the act of ‘spiring’ them from within from the original meeting to the finality of the work which produced a Holy Ghost-inspired book that rolled off the press in 1611. ‘Nuff said!’” (p. 7).

• “So the Holy Ghost stopped the corruption of the Word of God when He continued His inspiration in the AV 1611 King James Bible” (p. 7)

As I said (or at least implied—can’t recall right now) in the earlier post, my concern isn’t with those who merely prefer the KJV. It is when people begin to claim for it (or any translation) what may only be claimed for the original writings. This man is claiming that the KJV is God-breathed. That kind of heresy should not be tolerated or ignored by those who care about the Faith once delivered to the saints. I would hope that most folks who love the KJV as a translation would agree with that. It is really past time for them to speak up about it too.

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Strategic Missions

Sorry for the blog silence for the past week or so. I’ve been on the road again and the schedule just hasn’t been conducive to blogging.

Most of last week I was down in Lynchburg, VA preaching in a missions conference for the Timberlake Baptist Church. I enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship with the pastors there and with the missionaries and congregation that were part of the conference. A special treat was being able to spend some time with Don and Becky Bowman (along with two of their married children and spouses). Don and Becky served on staff at IC for years before moving down to Lynchburg. I first met “Mr. Bowman” when he was my teacher in 7th grade and also served in the Jr Hi Sunday School department. He was also my varsity baseball coach. After I finished college, we served on staff here together and I was even his assistant baseball coach. When I returned as pastor, he was the school administrator. Becky was teaching sixth grade, then became our elemenatary principal. Great folks and a very encouraging time with them.

The focus of the conference was on the Great Commission mandate to engage in discipleship that produces changed lives and new congregations for the sake of His name. As I told the folks at the conference, about the only thing I miss Sundays at IC for are vacation with my family, trips to the mission field, and a missions conference every now and then. One of the real burdens on my heart is to do what I can to focus attention on the fact that planting churches that will plant churches is an essential component of fulfilling the Great Commission. It seems, at least to me, that for too long missions has been: (1) driven by parachurch organizations; (2) far too individualistic (i.e., designed around individuals and aimed almost exclusively at individuals); and (3) defined by location rather than purpose (i.e., missions is doing just about anything in another part of the world).

Biblical missions, I would contend, springs from the local church and primarily aims to start church planting movements in unreached areas. Technically, the Great Commission can’t be fulfilled by an individual acting as such–the inclusion of baptism means that it must be done in connection with the local church. Everything else being done on the mission field should serve this primary purpose in some clear, intentional way.

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Old School vs. New School

This is sad and good at the same time. It is another evidence of what I’ve thought for a long time—the difference between the Hyles and Hybels crowds is most often just the bait they use. It’s just Old Fashioned Sunday vs. Cutting Edge Sunday. Overalls vs. flip flops. Buses vs. bands. Bible-less speech that tells you what a loser you are vs. Bible-less speech that tells you how much potential you have. I better stop. You get the point.

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20 years ago today

Although I started my current service here at Inter-City Baptist Church on the first Sunday of February in 1989, my formal installation as the senior pastor was held on September 17th of that year. I was called by the congregation to serve as the co-pastor with Dr. William R. Rice until his retirement and to serve as pastor following it. We held the retirement service for Dr. Rice on September 10th and my installation the next week. Dr. Rice served here for 40 years and now I have for 20 years. I hope you’ll indulge some brief reminisces, then I would like to share something that I shared with our congregation back in February.

I first came in contact with Inter-City Baptist Church forty years ago, in the fall of 1969. I was an eight year old boy in the third grade. My unsaved parents were concerned about the turmoil happening in our local school district, particularly for my oldest sister who was headed into Junior High. Someone told them about a private school over in Allen Park and they checked into Inter-City Christian School. They decided to enroll my sister, then three days after school started, I started up too (my other sister had to wait for an opening in the sixth grade class). More importantly, my parents decided to visit Inter-City Baptist Church. I don’t ever recall attending church with my parents up to that point, but we all went to ICBC and the Lord graciously worked in each of our hearts, resulting in the whole family coming to Christ for salvation. We were all baptized and added to the church that fall.

My first recollection of Dr. Rice comes from that fall in 1969. My third grade class was having lunch in the gym and he walked in to talk with someone. The kids at my table showed a strange awe and began to whisper to one another about that man being Dr. Rice. I didn’t know who he was, but he was obviously someone important. Here’s why this childhood memory is significant to me right now—40 years ago I was 8 and Dr. Rice would have been either 48 or 49 (depending on when during the Fall that scene transpired). As I write this, I am now 48 and he is one week short of his 89th birthday. Back then, he had been the pastor of IC for 20 years. Twenty years after that lunchroom scene, he would be retiring and I would be installed as the pastor. Reflecting on all of this makes me wonder about two things: (1) what impression I am leaving on the children around here when our paths cross? And (2) which one of them, if the Lord tarries, might be the pastor in 20 years?

So much for the journey down memory lane. Back in February my family put on a surprise fellowship for our church family to say thank you for allowing us to serve here for these past twenty years. We kept it a secret from just about everybody (including my parents and in-laws), flew my college age sons home to be here, cut the Sunday evening service short,  supplied some of my wife’s famous pepperoni rolls and just had a great time talking with the wonderful folks who are ICBC. I gave a short message from Hebrews 13:17 about how pastors should serve with joy, then I used a powerpoint presentation to offer thanks to God for what He has done. I’d like to share that with you as a way to again thank the Lord and this congregation for the privilege of serving here.

On the 20th anniversary of serving as pastor of ICBC, I would like to thank God publicly for:

  • The mercy He has bestowed on me in my salvation (Titus 3:5) and in putting me in the ministry (2 Cor 4:1)—I am undeserving of either and overwhelmed with gratitude for both.
  • The incredible favor He showed me in giving me Claudia as my wife (Pro 18:22)—words cannot express what a wonderful “helper suitable” to me she has been and how much ministry has been made possible because she has so willingly sacrificed for me and our church.
  • The wonderful blessing it has been to have our sons grow up in this church among people that have cared for them, encouraged them, and demonstrated the love of Christ to them in countless ways.
  • The gift of having our extended family as part of the church and our lives—our parents, especially, have constantly been a source of help to us and blessing to our families. The burdens that many parents carry have been made much lighter for us and that has freed us to do more in ministry than we could without their help.
  • The amazing men and women who serve on the staff of our church and its ministries. We have a great crew of dedicated servants who use their gifts to the advantage of the Lord’s work here and we all benefit from them, but I especially have benefited from having such godly and gifted co-workers.
  • The gracious response by those in our congregation who are old enough to be my parents and, in fact, have been here long enough to have watched me grow up in this church—you loved the Lord and this church enough to follow the leadership of a very young man and have been a source of constant encouragement to me.
  • The gracious response of those in our congregation with whom I grew up and who, therefore, know from personal observation that I was not always obedient to the Lord and very often was not a positive influence for Christ in my youth. In spite of this personal knowledge, you have made room for the grace of God to change people and have followed the leadership of someone who grew up alongside of you.
  • The godly men who have served as deacons through these 20 years—I’ve had heard far too many horror stories of bad relationships between pastors and deacons to not rejoice at the wonderful relationship that I have enjoyed with these men for two decades. The word deacon means servant and God has given us men who embody and display that meaning continually.
  • The power of the Gospel and how it has worked to bring life to dozens over these past twenty years.
  • The transforming work of God’s Word that has changed lives, transformed marriages, rescued people from bondage to sin, and propelled our congregation toward maturity and ministry for God’s glory.
  • The continued growth of our congregation even as we have faced a generational transition—76% of our current membership has joined since 1989. Rather than let the church fade away as the congregation gets older, God has enabled us to grow younger and keep moving forward for His glory.
  • The grace of God that has been displayed through the generosity of His people here at IC—He has used our church as a channel for millions of dollars to flow out into His work around the world. There are churches, schools, camps, orphanages that exist today, humanly speaking, because of how God has worked through the gifts of His people here.
  • The joy of seeing our commitment to missions grow from a few families to almost 40 serving all over the world for the sake of God’s name. I am thrilled to watch our church’s commitment to missions-minded prayer and participation in missions grow stronger year by year.
  • The opportunity we have had to help, in one way or another, over two dozen church plants in the US and Canada.
  • The privilege of seeing God raise up a missions mobilization movement like Student Global Impact (and now Missions Mandate) through our church. God has done great things in these past ten years!
  • The opportunity to have served thousands of pastors through our pastors’ conferences, mainly here, but also across the country (and world). I thank God that He has opened your hearts to minister to God’s servants so graciously.
  • The faithful commitment to and support of our congregation in the task of educating young people and training men for the Gospel ministry. These sacrificial ministries are bearing much fruit for God’s glory.
  • That our congregation has been an oasis of refreshment for me at those times in my ministry when I’ve found myself in theological battles outside of our church—words cannot express what a joy it always is to gather with our congregation to worship and dig into God’s Word after returning from preaching and teaching away from here.
  • “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5)
  • Thank you for making it a joy to serve as the pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church!

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Dropping Anchor on the S.S. Heresy

I am not sure how it has happened that I am on the mailing list for wide variety of theological and ministerial goofballs, but I am. Better judgment would probably just toss the assorted nonsense I get in the mail into the trash can and move on, but there is some sick part of me that can’t resist doing a quick scan of the lunacy. Well, today I received a copy of The Landmark Anchor which serves as “The Voice of Landmark Baptist College” in Haines City, Florida. This was the first time that I can recall receiving this particular publication, at least in this format, but I am a little familiar with Landmark and its pastor, Mickey Carter, because of their staunch KJVO position. Carter’s book, Things Which Are Different Are Not the Same, ranks among the most pathetic attempts to defend the King James Only position that I’ve read (and, sadly, I’ve read many).

So, I should have known better, but like a bug drawn to the bright light, I opened the magazine to see what was inside. Apparently the tension among the Hyles crowd is not cooling. Carter opens the magazine with a very strong attack on the folks at Hyles-Anderson College (HAC) about some kind of summit that was held in July (I wonder why I wasn’t invited?). The only interesting part of his article was the revelation that the folks at HAC apparently now have the good sense to not consider Gail Riplinger as a trustworthy source. As Carter notes, though, this indicates that Jack the Clone has departed from Jack the Original on this point.

Since the HAC crowd seems to have besmirched Mrs. Riplinger’s character (no surprise there), Carter includes a testimonial to her virtue and soulwinning zeal by her daughter. Frankly, that she was a good mother and witnesses constantly is irrelevant. The fact that she is dishonest with facts and is deceiving people about the Scriptures does though. If you’re interested in a critique of her New Age Versions, you can find one here.

All this was strangely interesting, but then I found something truly amazing. An article entitled “The Miniature Bible: More Proof that the King James Bible is Inspired” by David O’Steen (I imagine that both Joel and David are thankful for that apostrophe!), I learned that the book of Isaiah, with its 66 chapters is a divine testimony to the inspiration of the KJV. To quote O’Steen, “About 2,300 years before the King James Bible was first printed, the exact order of its 66 books was revealed in the book of Isaiah. This went unnoticed until God lead men to insert chapter and verse divisions in the Scripture and the KJB was printed.”

Amazing—even before chapter divisions, God planned it so that when the chapters were placed they would fall perfectly so as to create a perfect miniature of the entire Bible. 66 chapters and 66 books. 39 chapters/books in the first half, 27 chapters/books in the second half. Each successive chapter corresponding to the successive book of the Bible—chapter 1 and Genesis, chapter 2 and Exodus, etc. O’Steen’s concludes, based on this amazing evidence, “That the layout of the KJB was revealed in the book of Isaiah is more solid proof that the KJB is INSPIRED Scripture.” Later he adds, “The bottom line is that the KJB (italicized words and all) is Holy Scripture given by inspiration of God.”

Why am I not surprised that the lunacy in defense of the KJVO position has gone this far? They have totally invested themselves in the defense of the KJV against all other English translations, so they really have only two options—admit that they are wrong or double down on their position. Because they have pursued their defense of the KJVO position with cultic fervency, if they admit that they are wrong (or even that they’ve used invalid arguments), war breaks out. Don’t believe me? Ask the folks at HAC about it.

Since they can’t back down (and I don’t think they want to), they just keep ratcheting it up. In one sense, it is probably good for people like Carter and O’Steen to speak their minds publicly on these matters because it rips away the façade from the hardcore KJVO movement. What façade? The one that claims that you can embrace that position without doing damage to the biblical doctrine of inspiration. If you doubt my contention, here’s O’Steen to help make my case, “The KJB is the product of the Holy Spirit, not the ability of men. He used men to translate it, but it is a Divine Book. If you doubt that God REGIVES His word after the originals perish please study Jeremiah 36.” Amazing.

It’s been over a decade since Dell Johnson and the power structure at Pensacola branded me as part of the leaven in fundamentalism, so for the most part my path doesn’t cross a lot with KJVO folks. But the fact of the matter is that this heresy is treated much too kindly by those who call themselves separatists. I readily concede that it can be quite difficult at times to discern the difference between those who possess merely a strong affinity for the KJV and those who have strayed into heterodox waters. That said, here’s my basic stance on this: (1) our church and ministry will not have fellowship with any who claim for an English translation what can only be properly claimed for the autographs; and (2) we will not have fellowship with those who refuse to break fellowship from those who hold such false doctrine. We don’t keep extending the breaking point past that (i.e., for those who won’t break fellowship from those who won’t break fellowship with KJVO people) because it is neither biblically warranted or practically workable—where do you draw the line on the chain reaction?

I would suggest that this approach needs to be applied across the range of separation issues and many fundamentalists have damaged their credibility as separatists because they don’t apply what they believe about separation to the KJVO issue.

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It Is Well

This should be read as a striking illustration of what is going wrong with our country. The specific issue at hand, the perversion of justice, is bad enough, but toss in the hypocrisy of the media regarding such things and it is mindboggling. Can anybody really imagine this flying under the radar if President Bush were still in office? The collusion between liberal politicians and liberal media members is a terrible sign of what lies ahead in our nation.

I love my country, but I sure am glad that my hope is not rooted in politics. I was reminded of my real hope again this morning as our congregation sang “And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, ‘Even so’— it is well with my soul.”

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Come to the Cool Church

I was driving down I-75 this afternoon on my way home from Wisconsin and saw two billboards for churches. Both were disheartening.

Billboard #1: “Your kind of church.”

Billboard #2: “An Exciting Church. P.S. Flip flops welcome”

Maybe I am just grumpy from a lot of time on the road, but I believe that this typifies the man-centeredness of the church growth movement that plagues our day. Seriously, if a church really is the kind of church that folks driving down I 75 want, can it be even close to being God’s kind of church? This is the fatal flaw in this kind of marketing approach—whenever the “consumer is king” the “product” must be tailored to his desires. The gospel and the church are not, though, products to be marketed (cf. 2 Cor 2:17)!

I’ll admit that I am not a big flip flop fan, but my complaint against this billboard isn’t so much about what one wears to worship  as much as it is how one views worship and how the leaders of the church call people to worship. Obviously, the point of the billboard is to emphasize the casualness and comfortableness of worship—wear what you wear when you want to chill out. Again, it is the fact that the leaders of the church are appealing to this is what matters to me. I am not interested in a debate about whether it is right or wrong to wear flip flops to church. The more important question, in my mind, is whether those who lead God’s people in worship should deliberately appeal for people to come into the presence of God casually, like they are going on a picnic or just hanging out with friends?

I suppose someone could argue that having flip flops on makes it easier to remove them once you’re on holy ground, but I wonder if the people writing the billboard have any sense that the gathering of God’s people in God’s presence to exalt Him even includes that possibility. I doubt that the “flip flops welcome” crowd really has a clue about worshipping God “with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:28).

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New Evangelicalism and Catholicism

I have been surprised from time to time to find that some think that the official plank of the New Evangelicalism included a desire for rapprochement with Catholicism. The first time I heard that was close to twenty years ago and it was stated as one of the reasons that the softer fundamentalism that was emerging would not become the new New Evangelicalism. I remember thinking to myself, hasn’t this guy ever read anything about the original New Evangelicalism?

To charge those early men with having a desire for rapprochement with Catholicism is to slander them and create confusion about what the real differences between Fundamentalism and New Evangelism were. For instance, with regard to Catholicism, in 1947 one of the New Evangelical founders, Carl Henry, wrote, “It is a sober realism, rather than undue alarm, that prompts the fear that, unless we experience a rebirth of apostolic passion, Fundamentalism in two generations will be reduced either to a tolerated cult status or, in the event of Roman Catholic domination in the United States, become once again a despised and oppressed sect” (The Uneasy Conscience of Fundamentalism [Grand Rapids: Erdmans, 1947], p. 9).

Additionally, George Marsden clearly has demonstrated that the early New Evangelicals were very anti-Catholic. In commenting on the spirit at Fuller Seminary, Marsden illustrates his point with content from a book by Harold Lindsell, A Christian Philosophy of Missions, which was the substance of a course he taught at Fuller. Marsden notes that Lindsell, articulated with logic and clarity the conventional evangelical views of the day.

In line with the themes set by his colleagues, Lindsell placed the missions question in the context of the world crisis. As others would have agreed, Lindsell saw three massive world forces threatening Christianity: secularism-modernism, communism, and Catholicism. At the early Fuller, no one would have dissented from Lindsell’s remark that Catholicism was among the “arch enemies of America and our way of life and true faith.” [Harold J.] Ockenga was renowned in Boston for his opposition to Catholic power, and [Wilbur] Smith routinely listed Catholicism along with communism as a major threat. Anti-Catholicism was simply an unquestioned part of the fundamentalist-evangelicalism of the day (Reforming Fundamentalism, p. 84).

This hardly sounds like a desire for rapprochement! New Evangelicalism was anything but intent on heading back to Rome—even Edward J. Carnell, one of the progressives at Fuller, did not hesitate to do battle against Catholicism. While I am not in agreement with his basic ethical approach, his critique of Catholicism in A Philosophy of the Christian Religion (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1952), is stinging:

the Catholic church is consciously seeking the religious control of America. By overseeing education, marriage, politics, the press, movies, and social-economic centers, the church has already worked herself into a position of advance prestige in the country. The Catholic goal is a final, religious totalitarianism where the state employs its power and finances to support and defend “the true religion.” If the Catholic hierarchy should gain the powers it is aiming for—and it assures all that it will, either tomorrow or a century from tomorrow—a dictatorial system will so overlord our life that wholesome fellowship in Jesus Christ would be as difficult to enjoy as it would be if communism gained the hegemony…one would be very deluded if he supposed that fellowship under Catholic domination would be easier than under a secular dictatorship. The aim of the Vatican is to bring every national government under its control, until in the end Catholicism is the only tolerated religion in the world (pp. 432-433)

Carnell held sentiments very close to those of most Fundamentalists on the issue of Catholic people over against the Catholic church.

Although the heart quickly restores a feeling of love and sympathy toward the persons of those already won to the Catholic Church, it cannot but feel toward the system of Catholicism as Christ did toward the system of Pharisaism: By a tradition of men the law of God has been made void. Because the Catholic Church is exploiting the sinner’s best friend to increase her own power, the heart is estranged from fellowship with such an institution (p. 443).

Lest one miss the point, note Carnell’s final words on this matter:

Regardless how vast the Catholic Church may become, how immense her coverage of the earth, let no true believer in Jesus Christ tremble before institutional prestige. If Christ is an authoritative revelation of the Father’s will, Catholicism is anti-Christ. That much is lucidly clear. The gospel according to Christ and the gospel according to Rome cannot, in a rational universe, simultaneously be true. Romanism will fail (p. 448).

It simply isn’t true that New Evangelicalism was initially soft on Catholicism. There is no doubt that the tent was pitched in a direction that would eventually tone down its rhetoric and soften its resistance, but I doubt that Ockenga, Henry, & Co. would ever have positively anticipated things like Evangelicals and Catholics Together, full participation by Catholics in Graham crusades, or the many highly publicized migrations of “evangelical” scholars back to Rome. Ideas have consequences. The New Evangelical idea had many bad consequences, and among the worst of them was the softening of evangelicalism’s stance regarding the false doctrines of Rome.

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Politicians and the Pope

Terry Mattingly uses the death of Ted Kennedy to opine on the issue of the relationship between liberal Catholic politicians and the Catholic Church. The central point of tension, as it was with Kennedy, is the abortion issue. The current pope, shortly before he assumed that position, wrote very strongly to the American archbishop about not allowing pro-abortion politicians access to the Eucharist. I wrote something last week about Kennedy’s errant thoughts on atonement, but this Mattingly article throws the window wide open to look into his, and the Catholic Church’s, faulty views.

Apparently Kennedy wrote to the pope to ask for an apostolic blessing. Here’s what Mattingly reports that he wrote:

“I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path,” wrote Kennedy. “I want you to know, Your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office, I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I’ve worked to welcome the immigrant, fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. …

“I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings.”

So many things could be said here, but let’s just focus on a couple. It seems clear that Kennedy’s belief that atonement is a process undergirds this appeal for a blessing—both his argument for it and his belief that it would be of some value. Kennedy thinks that he should be given this gift because he “tried to right [his] path.” IOW, he’s done his part, but he still could use a little help. And Kennedy thinks that the pope has the help that he needs. Rather than trust in the finished work of God’s Son, here we find a man trusting in his own efforts and hoping for the help of the pope.

What kind of help did he get? Apparently he received a blessing from the Vatican. Mattingly reports that these words were read at Kennedy’s graveside service, “Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord.” For those who claim that Catholicism has changed, anecdotes like this should slap them hard enough to wake them from their dream. Here is the pope pointing the hopes of a congregant to the intercession of Mary and usurping the title and privileges of God. Heresy and blasphemy tightly packaged in a single sentence.

How is it even possible that well-known, well-respected evangelicals can overlook such Christ-dishonoring and soul-condemning teachings in order to affirm what we share in common? 

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Labor Day

In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23)

Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it (Genesis 2:15)

On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation that pronounced the first Monday of September as a national holiday known as Labor Day. By the time Congress sent that legislation to the President, there were 23 states that had already recognized that day as an official holiday. There is debate about who should receive credit for the idea of an official holiday, but most recognize that the first Labor Day was held on September 5, 1882 in New York City. 

The U. S. Department of Labor website informs us that “The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday—a street parade to exhibit to the public ‘the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations’ of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.” However, most people have to confess that very few people treat the day as a holiday that celebrates the accomplishments of organized labor and the working man. The average person treats Labor Day simply as a vacation day that marks the end of summer.

I find that somewhat ironic. A day set apart to honor work is viewed merely as an escape from work! Such ironies should not, however, surprise us. When work is cut off from a God-centered view of the world, it becomes regarded as a necessary evil rather than an act of obedience and worship. God created mankind to work. Granted, sin has caused work to be filled with problems, but work is still a means by which we serve the Lord Christ (Col. 3:24). Without an eternal, biblically informed perspective of work, it is reduced to a practical necessity—something that must be done in order to have the resources to do everything (or anything) else. We work only so that we can do something other than work!

For those who know the Lord and see life from His perspective, it is impossible to write off a large portion of your life (work) as a necessary evil. God wants your life to reflect His glory all the time, not just when you are off the job. The mindset of our day that hates work and lives for recreation is a subtle, yet sinister, form of worldliness. God’s children cannot let the world squeeze us into its mold!

Please don’t get me wrong—I am planning to enjoy the “day off” today! I also plan to enjoy the “day on” that follows Monday. Since I know that God has created work and that I am doing the work God wants me to do, I don’t have to limit my joy to “days off.” My (and your) work must always maintain its Godward focus. The crowning achievement of our work is not accumulation and recreation. The crowning achievement of a believer’s work is the glory given to God and the reward received from God. Enjoy Monday and the rest of the week!

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