Tuesday, May 21, 2019

SUMMER SEMINARY - Study Spirit Hermeneutics With Me


Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost by [Keener, Craig S.]

An invitation to Study Biblical Interpretation 
with me this summer.

WHEN: June-July- August 2019

CLASS: Spirit Hermeneutics

A discussion of New Testament scholar Craig Keener's Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost.

HOW:

June - purchase and read the book.

July/August - meet with me 5-6 times to discuss. Dates and location TBA.

Long-Distance - for any interested pastors: If you are a pastor or church leader and would like to study with me this summer, please contact me. We can schedule some conference calls in July and August to discuss.

TEACHER:

John Piippo, PhD, Northwestern University
Visiting Professor, Faith Bible Seminary, New York City
Adjunct Professor, Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio

Former professor at...
Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min. programs)
Palmer Theological Seminary (D. Min. program)
Asia Theological College (Singapore)
Ecumenical Theological Seminary (Detroit)
Monroe County Community College (Adjunct Professor of Philosophy)
Pastor, Redeemer Fellowship Church, Monroe, MI

CONTACT ME at: johnpiippo@msn.com

Why I Am Against Abortion

Image result for john piippo kids


The abortion issue is heating up. I think that's good.

I hope and pray aborting babies ends.

The reason I and others like me are against abortion is this: I/we believe the inborn conceptus/embryo/fetus is a person. No person is more defenseless and innocent than an inborn person.

I and others like me believe it is morally wrong to kill innocent, defenseless persons. I believe if you saw the inborn entity as an innocent, defenseless person, you would feel the same as I and others do.

You would then see abortion as person-killing. This would make you feel angry. This should make you feel angry.

I do not believe I, or you, have a moral right to kill an innocent, defenseless person, no matter how they were conceived, no matter how inconvenient their existence is to us, no matter how unprepared we are to nurture them.

I see the following reasoning as irrational and immoral.

1. I am not prepared to care for you.
2. Therefore, I must kill you.

1. You do not fit into my life plans.
2. Therefore, I must kill you.

1. You are a product of rape.
2. Therefore, I must kill you.

1. I have the right to do what I want with my body.
2. You were part of my body. (This premise is false.)
3. I did not want you.
4. Therefore, I killed you.


Here's one I heard this week.

1. People who are against abortion should care for unwanted babies.
2. They are not caring for unwanted babies.
3. Thus, people who are against killing babies are hypocrites.

Which leads to,

1. No one was there to care for you.
2. Therefore, we killed you.

If you are angry that not enough is being done to care for unwanted persons, perhaps God is calling you to do something about this, and not use it as some justification for killing persons. Thankfully, in Southeast Michigan, some people have taken this on. Several in our church family have responded to the call and are doing something for these unwanted babies.

***
See also...

Against Abortion: A Logical Argument




SUMMER SEMINARY - Study Spirit Hermeneutics With Me


Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost by [Keener, Craig S.]

An invitation to Study Biblical Interpretation 
with me this summer.

WHEN: June-July- August 2019

CLASS: Spirit Hermeneutics

A discussion of New Testament scholar Craig Keener's Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost.

HOW:

June - purchase and read the book.

July/August - meet with me 5-6 times to discuss. Dates and location TBA.

Long-Distance - for any interested pastors: If you are a pastor or church leader and would like to study with me this summer, please contact me. We can schedule some conference calls in July and August to discuss.

TEACHER:

John Piippo, PhD, Northwestern University
Visiting Professor, Faith Bible Seminary, New York City
Adjunct Professor, Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio

Former professor at...
Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min. programs)
Palmer Theological Seminary (D. Min. program)
Asia Theological College (Singapore)
Ecumenical Theological Seminary (Detroit)
Monroe County Community College (Adjunct Professor of Philosophy)
Pastor, Redeemer Fellowship Church, Monroe, MI

CONTACT ME at: johnpiippo@msn.com




Monday, May 20, 2019

REMEMBER

(I wrote these reminders to myself many years ago. I put them on an email, and sent the email to myself, periodically. I called it "REMEMBER." Because I can forget. I'm posting this, mostly for myself.)

Be myself. Be who God made me to be, with all my strengths and infirmities.    
Overcome denial.
Overcome fear & intimidation.
Overcome addiction
Do not compare...
Stimulate the mind with intellectually challenging reading. 
Physically exercise
Get outside and ponder God's creation
Listen to excellent music
Write beautiful worship songs
Remember blessings
Enjoy Linda, Dan, Josh 
God works all things together for good!
Live in gratitude
Remember - you're not alone
Eat well
Pray about struggles
Enter deeply into God's presence
Know the Father's love
Play the guitar
Lead worship with passion
Preach with passion and excellence
Teach brilliantly
Laugh
Don't lose your joy
Lead with confidence
Mentor with great discernment...
Counsel others

Write the books

Take beautiful photographs
Love others deeply

Our Thought-Life Determines Our Emotional Well-Being

Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
(South Haven, Michigan)
What we ruminate on colors how we feel, how we see, how we experience. Our thought-life affects our emotional well-being.

This is a biblical idea, seen in verses like the following.


For as he thinks within himself, so he is. 
Proverbs 23:7

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 
Romans 12:2 

 We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8 

 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

We can turn these verses into declarations, carry them with us, repeat them often.


What I think about myself is important.

I am not conforming to this world's values.

My mind is being renewed and transformed. 

I capture my thoughts and screen them 
before they capture me.

I think about myself as Christ thinks about me.

I meditate on true things.

I meditate on noble things.

I think about morally right things.

I ponder purity.

I am captivated by what is lovely.

I focus on admirable actions.

I desire excellence.

I praise God for what he is doing in me and others.

I set my mind on the things of God that 
transcend mere earthly existence.

J. P. Moreland writes:

"Without question, these and many other texts establish the importance to our overall well-being of how we train our minds and of what our minds habitually dwell on. As psychologists Edmund Bourne and Lorna Garano remind us: “The truth is that it’s what we say to ourselves [the self-talk of our thought life] in response to any particular situation that mainly determines our mood and feelings.”" 
Moreland, Finding Quiet, pp. 68-69

***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...


Encounters with the Holy Spirit (I am co-editing this with Janice Trigg.)

Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Abide, Saturate, Listen, Obey


My role as a pastor is this:

1. I am to abide in Christ.
2. I am to saturate myself in Scripture.
3. I am to listen for the voice of God.
4. When God directs, I am to obey.

As I live these things my life will be fruit-bearing. This is a conditional statement. If I abide in Christ, then I will bear much lasting fruit. On the condition of my Christ-abiding, fruit-bearing shall result.

This is the strategy of Jesus. I am to pass this on to my people, who will be edified. Their lives will bear much fruit for God and his Kingdom.

Pastors: teach your people to:
  • ABIDE
  • SATURATE
  • LISTEN
  • OBEY

A.S.L.O.

Here are some of the implications. 
  • Personal "striving" will be gone. This is not about "working harder" for God. It is about the Spirit of God working in you, and in us.
  • Programmatic activity gets replaced by Presence-of-God reality. Here is where "church" starts to get exciting!
  • Personal transformation into Christikeness (Gal. 4:19) becomes ongoing. We grow into Christ, like a little boy or little girl grows into their parents' clothing.  
  • Live connected to God; show your people how to connect with God. This is the best you can give them. What you and your people need is God. You are dispensable. As you abide in Christ you will be broken of the illusion of your indispensability. This is a necessary prerequisite for God to be the Builder. God will not only help you get out of the way, you will end up thanking him for it.
  • Become the abiding pastor, the "unbusy" and "unnecessary pastor" (as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Pastor: A Memoir, and The Unnecessary Pastor).
  • When your church (= people who love and follow Jesus) deeply abides in Christ, they will be spoken to by Christ. This will be the end of all those meetings and committees and "brainstorming" get-togethers and the beginning of the days of fruit-bearing and redemptively storming the gates of hell.
  • This is "Church" as a Revolutionary Movement. Abide, Saturate, Listen (Discern), Follow. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Letter to My Redeemer Family - May 18, 2019

Image result for john piippo redeemer

Hello Redeemer Family!

Here are some things I want to share with you.

ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN, JUNE 23-27: Join Linda and me, our worship team, and others for six days together at the beautiful Green Lake Conference Center. Our speakers include Mike Hutchings of Global Awakening, and Larry Sparks who is editor of Destiny Image Publishing and was our main speaker at our Women's Conference. Mike is especially called to healing of PTSD. Plus, I will be one of the speakers (Thursday evening), and Tim Curry and I will present workshops as well. For more information and conference registration go HERE.

KELLIE ROBINSON TEACHES ON "THE HEART AND PRACTICE OF PROPHECY": Thursday, June 6th + Thursday, June 13th, 6:30 PM. “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” -1 Cor. 14:1 ESV.  What is prophecy? Why do we desire it? And how do we do it? We’ll cover these questions, expose the needless fear surrounding prophecy and explore some easy ways to practice. Bring your questions and a notebook and a pen for exercises.

SPAGHETTI DINNER FUNDRAISER at REDEEMER, SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 1 PM: Francesca Ansel writes: "Hi Everybody! I am doing a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to raise money for my year at Bethel! I am asking for a donation of $5 or higher in exchange for a dinner ticket. During the dinner I will be selling my art and sharing more information about my trip. I can’t wait to hangout with everyone and share what God has been doing in my life. So come enjoy some food and bring a friend!! 

INVEST IN YOUR MARRIAGE! Linda and I invite Redeemer marital couples to invest in their marriages this spring and summer. Read the book Vertical Marriage: The One Secret That Will Change Your Marriage together. Discuss it. Then, in mid-summer, Linda and I invite our marital couples to a picnic at our home (date TBA), followed by book discussion and praying together. We'd love to have you join us!

SUMMER READING RECOMMENDATIONS: Linda and I offer a list of books we like - go HERE

DO YOU HAVE A PRIVATE PRAYER REQUEST YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH LINDA AND ME? Please send us any private prayer requests - we will carry them with us and pray. On Tuesday I'll be taking the afternoon to pray, and bring your requests with me. You can send requests to johnpiippomsn.com. 

ONLINE GIVING TO REDEEMER can be accessed HERE - thank you!

STEVE AND WENDY BACKLUND come to Redeemer - Sept. 21-23.

Tim, Josh, and I continue to preach revival themes this summer. God has called us to prepare the hearts of our people for coming revival and awakening.

Blessings!


PJ

Against Abortion: A Logical Argument


Backgammon, in Jerusalem

(I am re-posting this because the heat is rising and I want to keep this in play.)

Here is Baylor University philosopher and jurisprudential scholar Francis Beckwith’s logical (not religious) argument against abortion. (See Beckwith, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice.)

Beckwith’s argument does not depend on religious beliefs. I think it’s a good argument to use in my logic classes because logical arguments are to be non-emotive. The abortion argument can get very emotional! 


In logic, the idea is - attack the argument, not the argument-maker. To do the latter is to commit the informal logical fallacy called ad hominem abusive. Attacking a person rather than the argument is ineffective in getting at truth.


FRANCIS BECKWITH’S LOGICAL ARGUMENT AGAINST ABORTION[1]


1. The unborn entity, from the moment of conception, is a full-fledged member of the human community.

2. It is prima facie[2] morally wrong to kill any member of that community.


3. Every successful abortion kills an unborn entity, a full-fledged member of the human community.


4. Therefore, every successful abortion is prima facie morally wrong.


By “full-fledged member of the human community” is meant that the conceptus[3] is as much a bearer of rights as any human being whose rights-bearing status is uncontroversial, like you or me. As Beckwith says, “the unborn entity is entitled to all the rights to which free and equal persons are entitled by virtue of being free and equal persons.” “Full-fledged member of the human community” cannot mean something like “viability,” since then we have two problems:

1) the arbitrariness of deciding who’s a full-fledged member and who’s not; and

2) the odd philosophical idea that there is suddenly a “moment” (call it time ‘t’) when the conceptus/fetus/inborn child becomes a person, which means at time ‘t-minus-1 second’ it was not. “Abortion advocates argue that the unborn entity is not a person and hence not a subject of moral rights until some decisive moment in fetal or postnatal development.” (Beckwith, 130) Such a position is incoherent and fraught with philosophical problems.

“Virtually no one disputes – including leading defenders of abortion-choice – that every mature human being was once an adolescent, a child, an infant, a baby, a newborn, a fetus, and an embryo.” (131) But the abortion advocate argues that it is morally permissible to end a human being’s life at the embryo stage of human life. How is this possible? Beckwith says they argue that not all human beings are equally intrinsically valuable because some do not have the present capacity to exhibit certain properties or functions that would make them intrinsically valuable. (130) The judgment is made that the fetal self is not “intrinsically valuable.”


Beckwith holds to a “substance view of persons.” This means that a human being “is intrinsically valuable because of the sort of thing it is and the human being remains that sort of thing as long as it exists”. That is, an individual “maintains absolute identity through time while it grows, develops, and undergoes numerous changes”. To use another example, the term “universe” refers to one entity that goes through various stages. The universe at t + 1 second, though much smaller and far more inchoate then the universe now, was still at that time as much “the universe” as it is now. So, the term “universe does not suffer from vagueness. It is in precisely that sense that “person” does not suffer from vagueness as well.


Various functions and capacities, whether fully realized or utilized do not constitute a person. Thus a human being is never a potential person, but is always a person at different stages of development, whether potential properties and capacities are actualized or not.


To explain: a human being may never realize the ability to reason logically. It would then lack this ability. In contrast, a frog is not said to lack something if it can’t study logic, because by nature it is not the sort of being that can have the ability to do logic. But a human being who lacks the ability to think logically is still a human being because of her nature. A human being’s “lack” makes sense if and only if she is an actual human person. (E.g., a rock does not “lack” the ability to see.) Most pro-abortionists argue that personhood is not inherent or intrinsic, but based on certain capacities and functions, be it consciousness, sentience, self-awareness, the ability to reason, and so on.

WHAT ABOUT THE FOLLOWING POPULAR ARGUMENTS FOR ABORTION CHOICE? Beckwith says many of them commit the informal logical fallacies of “appeal to pity” and “begging the question.”


An argument from pity is an attempt to show the plausibility of one’s point of view by trying to move others emotionally, although the reasonableness of the position stands or falls on the basis of other important factors. Here are some arguments from pity:


Argument from the dangers of illegal abortions


If abortion is made illegal then women will perform illegal abortions.If women perform illegal abortions then women will be harmed.Therefore if abortion is made illegal then women will be harmed.

This argument “begs the question.” Only by assuming that the unborn are not fully human does the argument work. “But if the unborn are fully human, this abortion-choice argument is tantamount to saying that because people die or are harmed while killing other people (i.e., unborn people), the state should make it safe for them to do so.” (94) Therefore, the argument begs the question.

Argument from financial burden


We can’t minimize the fact that there are tragic circumstances, like a poor woman with four small children who becomes pregnant by her alcoholic husband.“But once again we must ask whether the unborn entity is fully human, for hardship does not justify homicide.” (98)For example, if I knew that killing you would relieve me of future hardship, that’s not sufficient justification for me to kill you.


Argument from the unwanted child


This argument, again, begs the question.Because only if we assume that the unborn re not fully human does this argument work.It is extremely difficult to argue that the value of a human being depends on whether someone wants or cares for that human being.


Argument from the deformed and handicapped child


First, if this argument succeeds in showing that abortion is justified if a woman is pregnant with a deformed or handicapped fetus, it only establishes the right to abort in those kind of situations.But this argument again begs the question. “For if the unborn are fully human, then to promote the aborting of the handicapped unborn is tantamount to promoting the execution of handicapped people whoa re already born.”[4]Of course having a handicapped child can be a terrible burden. “But it is important to realize that if the unborn entity is fully human, homicide cannot be justified simply because it relieves one of a terrible burden.” (102)


Argument from interference in career


Again… this begs the question. “For what would we think of a parent who kills his two-year-old because the child interfered with the parent’s ability to advance in his occupation?” (104)


Argument from rape and incest


This is a horrible thing, of course.Note: this argument is not relevant to the case for abortion on demand.Note also this: “the unborn entity is not an aggressor when its presence does not endanger it’s mother’s life (as in the case of a tubal pregnancy). It is the rapist who is the aggressor. The unborn entity is just as much an innocent victim as its mother.” (105-106) Again… this argument begs the questions by assuming that the unborn is not fully human.


Another popular argument is the Argument from Imposing Morality.

This argument says: It’s wrong for anyone to “force” his view of morality on someone else. Pro-lifers, by attempting to stop women from having abortions, are trying to force their morality on others.
But this argument cannot be right. Because it’s not always wrong for the community to institute laws that require people to behave in certain moral ways. E.g., it’s not wrong to institute a law against child molestation. If the unborn entity is fully human, forbidding abortions would be perfectly just. Any law prohibiting abortion would unjustly impose one’s morality on others only if the act of abortion is good, morally benign, or does not unjustly limit the free agency of another. The real issue is: what counts as a “person,” a full-fledged member of the human community.

[1] All quotes from Francis Beckwith, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice


[2] Prima facie is a Latin expression meaning “on its first appearance”, or “by first instance”. It is used in modern legal English to signify that on first examination, a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts. In common law jurisdictions, prima facie denotes evidence that (unless rebutted) would be sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact.


[3] The fertilized egg


[4] See Peter Singer, who admits that “pro-life groups are right about one thing: the location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make such a crucial moral difference… The solution, however, is not to accept the pro-life view that the fetus is a human being with the same moral status as yours or mine. The solution is the very opposite: to abandon the idea that all human life is of equal worth.” (In Beckwith, 101)



***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...


Encounters with the Holy Spirit (I am co-editing this with Janice Trigg.)

Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.