Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What does the Bible say about itself?

I periodically teach on what God's Word says about itself. Does it contain a record of man's experience with God as Karl Barth claimed? Or does it contain God's Word down to every word choice: singular or plural, masculine or feminine pronouns?

Rather than approaching the Bible based on our own constructed theories, it is good to consider what the Bible claims about itself, what Jesus claims about the Bible and what the Apostles claim about the Bible.
You might disagree with them, but we have to say this is the Bible's testimony about itself.
So what does the Bible say about itself?
Even within all these different prophets of the Old Testament who have different writing styles, they say "Thus says the Lord."
Or look at the New Testament writers:
The testimony of the Apostle Paul: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 1 Timothy 3:16-17
The testimony of Apostle Peter: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21
And the Apostle Peter also testified that Paul's writings were Scripture: "... just as our dear brother Paul also wrote with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable men distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16
Paul's writings are treated as equivalent to the other Scriptures.
Now how do Jesus and Paul treat the Scripture? They make their argument based on every single word, even whether the word choice was singular or plural. Jesus states "and the Scripture cannot be broken."
That means that although the Holy Spirit used individual men to write Scripture and they wrote in their own styles, that every single word in the Bible is inspired by God even to whether the word is singular or plural.
There is no half-way point. If you want to except anything in the Bible, you have to accept it all. Otherwise, it is just a collection of opinions of man and can be thrown away.

All Scripture quotes are taken from the NIV1984 translation.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December Update

Invitation flier to the 500'th Anniversary Lecture on How the Reformation in Europe Affected Taiwan's history and culture





Invitation flier to the Christmas outreach lecture on the meaning behind different Christmas customs in America and on who Jesus is



Invitation flier to the Introduction to the Bible class series in January 2018

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall 2017


Giving Taiwan History Tour lecture to students at the Tsunah Foundation Democracy Movement Museum
A Gospel tract Joel wrote on "What is Love?"

The children love handing out Gospel tracts

Telling about the Gospel on Taiwan "Valentine's Day" 

Helpers

Community Outreach Lecture


Romans 8:38-39 explains the hope of Christians that would make them be willing to die for their faith.



How the Reformation impacted future missionary labors

How the Reformation directly resulted in a world-wide Bible translation movement. And how the Bible-translation movement led to not just the spread of the church, but also the preservation of local cultures, languages and identities.

How the movement to abolish the slave trade was led by Protestants.


QandA
Ruling Elder Mark Kuo, of New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church sharing the Gospel using a tract he wrote.

Joel's former pastoral intern now planting a church in southeast Taiwan.

The widow, Mrs. Lai, sat was seated next to Joel on the train and then accepted his invitation to come to the church worship service. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sam-gia̍p Church Plant (Grace Hill Church) Community Outreach (Apple-Pie Evangelism)

Fellow missionary, Rev. Eric Pilson, and his family, along with Taiwanese coworker, Michael Liu, are planting a church (http://reformed.tw) in a mountainside community of Sam-gia̍p ("Three Gorges"), a more distant suburb of Taipei City. This town is home to National Taipei University and has been developed with tall apartment buildings and broad avenues, somewhat reminiscent of parts of Manhattan in New York City, but surrounded by mountains.  I had identified this area for church planting several years ago, but did not have anyone to move into the community. Eric and Annie Pilson moved there last year. Michael Liu moved soon after. He had been serving in an evangelistic ministry in Indonesia but had moved to Taiwan to finish his seminary degree at China Reformed Theological Seminary.

The location of the new ministry center of Grace Hill Church

On Saturday, the church plant hosted a community outreach. My daughters, Faith and Ashlyn, volunteered to teach how to make apple pie. While the pies were in the oven and people were eating two pies that Ashlyn had made on Friday, Eric gave the guests a brief introduction to the church and a warm invitation for them to visit the ministry center. They also invited them to a children's summer camp to be held in August. The church core group has been meeting in a weekly Bible study, but are planning to start Lord's Day worship in September, after a lot of outreach events in August.

The community event flier 
Ashlyn giving the introduction. Faith stood on hand to help 

Rolling out the crust

Apples

Teaching how to make the sauce

Adding the sauce

Others tried their hand

Ashlyn made two apple pies the previous day so people could enjoy while the ones they made were in the oven

While people are eating pie and ice cream, Rev. Eric Pilson introduces their church plant

While the pies are baking, Ashlyn shows how to make the crust from scratch



The finished pies

The window-front of the ministry center. They do not yet have a sign installed. It is a little narrow, but in a good location.  
An interior designer from New Hope Taipei volunteered to help the church plant with its interiors.
First floor being readied

Worship space on the second floor. When the church grows, they will need to find a new facility, but this one is what they can afford in their budget

Summer camp to be held at the ministry center

Please click on the following link to find out how to support this church plant. Unlike starting churches in America, there are not many churches to create a support network for church planting. Taiwanese church planters often have little salary while the spaces to rent for worship services are very expensive. http://www.reformed.tw/en/give


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Busy Busy Summer

Summer 2017
"Science and the Bible" lecture at Taiwan National Political University's Campus Christian Fellowship

Ren-Ai Reformed Church Retreat Lecture on Evangelism
Lecture on Taiwan Church History


Ren Ai Reformed Church retreat (Dr. Diane Poythress joined them)


Hosting New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church retreat

New Hope has evening meal in our unfinished 1F ministry center

New Hope's hiking trip to Taiping Mountain
Seeing the glory of God's creation on Taiping Mountain


Two tour buses to our home in two days


Visiting families in the rural district



Faith and Judy's low-weight baby nutrition project 
Faith and Judy's infant nutrition project

Hosting relatives and friends from the adjacent rural township of Sam-seng (Three Star)