Hello,

There has been a slight venue change for The Humanitas Forum‘s lectures on C.S. Lewis’ Life, Conversion, and Work which we posted about previously.

Tonight’s session (4/24) is being moved from the TN Tech Nursing Building to the S.T.E.M. Center.  Updated details are below:

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We have a last minute change in venue for this Friday’s Humanitas Forum.  The auditorium in the Nursing and Health Science build was double booked for this Friday evening.

We will be meeting in the Millard Oakley S.T.E.M. Center, 155 W. 7th Street.  The STEM Center is two blocks west of the nursing building on 7th Street—going west toward Willow Avenue.  For a map, click here.

The Saturday morning talk will be at Peachtree Learning Center as previously scheduled.

Please join us as Dr. Hal Poe discusses the life and work of one of the most able defenders of Christianity in the 20th century.

The Humanitas Forum

on Christianity and Culture

  1. S. Lewis: His Life and Work

From Ardent Atheist to Mere Christian

Dr. Hal Poe

Friday, April 24, 2015 (7 p.m.) – Tennessee Tech Nursing Building Auditorium

Saturday, April 25, 2015 (9 a.m.) – Peachtree Learning Center

  1. S. Lewis, Apologist

Life’s Big Questions – Pain, Evil and Suffering

Dr. Hal Poe holds the Charles Colson Chair of Faith and Culture at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. The author of many books and articles on how the gospel intersects culture, Dr. Poe has written numerous articles on C. S. Lewis and co-edited C. S. Lewis Remembered.

 

 

Admission:  Free
Co-sponsors: Campus Outreach at Tennessee Tech; Ratio Christi at Tennessee Tech
Place/Time: Millard Oakley S.T.E.M. Center, Auditorium, 155 West 7th Street

Friday, April 24 ~ 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

 

Peachtree Learning Center, 402 North Walnut Avenue

Saturday, April 25 ~ 9:00 a.m. (doors open at 8:40 am)

Contact:  Michael Poore, Director, The Humanitas Forum, (931) 239-8735,[email protected]
Website/Blog: www.humanitas.org

 

The Humanitas Forum on Christianity and Culture

Dr. Hal Poe
Union University’s Charles Colson Professor of Faith & Culture

HPC.S. Lewis: His Early Life From Ardent Atheist to Mere Christian

Friday, April 24, 2015 (7 p.m.) – Tennessee Tech Nursing Building Auditorium

C.S. Lewis, Apologist on Life’s Big Questions – Pain, Evil and Suffering

Saturday, April 25, 2015 (9 a.m.) – Peachtree Learning Center

 

 

Admission:  Free
Co-sponsors: Campus Outreach at Tennessee Tech; Ratio Christi at Tennessee Tech
Place/Time: TTU Nursing and Health Science Building Auditorium, 10 West 7th Street

Friday, April 24 ~ 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

 

Peachtree Learning Center, 402 North Walnut Avenue

Saturday, April 25 ~ 9:00 a.m. (doors open at 8:40 am)

Contact:  Michael Poore, Director, The Humanitas Forum,(931) 239-8735, [email protected]
Website/Blog: www.humanitas.org

 

 

Sing

Every Sunday at Midway begins pretty much the same: Bro. Jeff or, occasionally, someone else begins the service with points of emphasis for the coming time of Corporate Worship.  One of those points is the need to sing well, to sing out, and to sing together in light of what Scripure says about Christian singing.

In the same vein – and much more powerfully – Keith Getty, noted hymn writer (“In Christ Alone” and “Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed” are two of his well known hymns) and worship leader, communicates further the need for believers gathered in Corporate Worship to pay attention to what and how they sing in the following blog post from FaithStreet.

Why You Need to Sing Loudly in Church
Five reasons you have no choice but to sing in church on Sunday.

Each week, upwards of 100 million people in America attend church, listen responsively to the sermons, and pray sincerely. But when it comes time to sing the hymns, the level of engagement drops dramatically.

There are many proposed reasons for this fall off, all of which hold validity. It could be the wider culture’s waning interest in community singing, the diminishing levels of music education in the West, the role of choirs in schools, the unstable and increasingly narcissistic elements in church music, or even the spiritual state of our nation as a whole.

For millennia, music has been an integral part of corporate worship. The first hymns are as old as the early books of the Bible. The disciples and early church leaders sang those songs and added some of their own.

Notable thinkers throughout history (and into the current era) — everyone from Luther to Bach to John Newton — have so believed in the importance of corporate worship that they, too, contributed to the grand canon of hymns we know today.

As a contemporary hymn writer who travels to cities worldwide, I love to meet pastors and worship leaders and encourage them to lead their congregations in deeper, more passionate singing. Here are just five of the many reasons we should all sing passionately in church this Sunday:

1. We are commanded to sing.

We are called to sing — indeed, the Scriptures command us more than 250 times to sing. It’s hardly one of those “controversial” issues that is hard to ascertain precisely what scripture is saying. It’s not a choice. It’s not dependent on “feeling like it.” It’s not our prerogative.

Throughout biblical history, in every place and circumstance — in victory and defeat, in celebrations and festivals, in death and mourning — singing was second nature for people of faith. Indeed, the largest book of the Bible — Psalms — is itself a songbook that explores the range of human experience and interaction with God through singing.

In the New Testament, Paul tells the early churches to get together and sing. In Ephesians 5, he reiterates the call of old to engage with each other in the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, making music from the heart.

2. Singing together completes our joy.

Celebrating with each other is as natural as breathing. At our kid’s soccer game or when we watch football or March Madness, it’s not enough for our team to win. We want to revel in the moment and share it with others. Marking a birthday, winning a prize, or getting a raise are all incomplete until we get to share them with those we love.

Similarly, for the faithful, the joy of living, of praying, of studying Scripture cannot be complete until shared. Singing together reminds us — not just intellectually, but experientially — that we are not slaves to the rugged individualism promoted by society. We’re actually responsible to one another.

Christian apologist CS Lewis believed that singing completes our faith. In his Reflections on the Psalms, he writes, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is appointed consumption.”

3. Singing is an expression of brotherhood and unites generations.

Singing together is a picture here on earth of the hope of heaven where every tribe, tongue, and nation will sing to God. Throughout history, God’s people have both discovered and affirmed their solidarity in times of celebration and in times of tragedy through singing.

Consider again those first churches Paul was leading. They often had little in common — they were culturally different, citizens of national enemies, sometimes with different religious traditions or no tradition at all, and sometimes even lacking common language or dialect. His admonition in Ephesians is not a simplistic instruction; it was a hard thing. But, all the more is the importance of their (and our) singing together as it was an undeniable expression of their brotherhood and unity.

It is a curious thing that stats may show the subject of congregational singing (or sadly, perhaps, the larger topic of church music) may have caused more splits within Christian communities than any movement since the Reformation.

The depth of brotherhood that could have been achieved by something as simple as singing together shines a harsh light on the insensitivity of church members and leadership who have broken congregations over so-called “worship wars.”

4. We are what we sing.

Singing affects how we pray, think, and feel. It influences our memory banks and even the deepest parts of our subconscious.

My wife, Kristyn, and I have noticed when we sing children’s hymns in the car with our girls they actually behave better than if, say, they were watching television.

At the other end of the scale, my grandfather arrived at church early on Sundays — very early. He sat in the pew, opened a hymnal, and rehearsed the songs to himself over and over. And though I was glad when we visited him, quiet reflection early on a Sunday morning was not my forte.

But, many years later, when he was in his nineties and unable to remember my name or how to accomplish even the most basic tasks of daily life, he still could recite or respond to the words of those hymns. They were songs he carried for life, and they brought him considerable peace, even at one of the most difficult stages of life, because they were so deeply engrained to his being.

In Deuteronomy 31, we read the instruction of the Lord to Moses to write down the words of the song he was given and to teach it to his children so that when many evils and trouble befell them, the song would be a reminder to them lest they turn away.

If the songs we sing to ourselves and to each other are just of the moment, detached from Scripture and lacking in history or perspective, we’ve little to keep us moored to Truth. But when we are intentional about singing and the songs we sing, we build up a testimony that will travel with us through life.

5. Singing bears testimony to our faith.

How we sing, if we sing, how passionately we sing — our singing itself — is a witness to those looking on. There is no choice in the matter. In the level of our engagement with the songs and participation in the singing, we testify to the joy of an excited believer or betray the chill of a disinterested spectator.

In the New Testament, we read of Christians gathered together who so passionately expressed their faith together in song that the people looking on thought them to be drunk because that was the only explanation for their uniformed experience.

Ultimately, those who may feel they are on the outside looking in will, from the deepest part of themselves, respond to authentic and passionate singing to discover the truth held in the God songs we sing.

*   *   *

As we head to church on Sunday — as overworked dads, stressed out mums, grandparents struggling with health, and young people looking for wealth — we can, with integrity and relief, go with repentance and thanksgiving to the One who has created us, forgiven us and who lives within us. How can we not sing?

It was King David who, in the aftermath of the debacle of his adultery with Bathsheba, turned to God and said, “ . . . my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psalm 51).

If you would like to hear more from Keith on the importance of Christian singing and how to do it well check out this resources:

[Audio]: Keith Getty on Hymns, Christian Worship, and Christian Life

There is no doubt we live in a  rapidly changing culture.  What may be in doubt is whether or not the church and Christians will survive these changes. This post from Mark Dever gives us a way forward in the midst of all our cultural chaos.

How to Survive a Cultural Crisis

Public opinion appears to be changing about same-sex marriage, as are the nation’s laws. Of course this change is just one in a larger constellation. America’s views on family, love, sexuality generally, tolerance, God, and so much more seems to be pushing in directions that put Bible-believing Christians on the defensive.

It’s easy to feel like we’ve become the new “moral outlaws,” to use Al Mohler’s phrase. Standing up for historic Christian principles will increasingly get you in trouble socially and maybe economically, perhaps one day also criminally. It’s ironic that Christians are told not to impose their views on others, even as the threat of job loss or other penalties loom over Christians for not toeing the new party line.

In all this, Christians are tempted to become panicked or to speak as alarmists. But to the extent we do, to that same extent we show we’ve embraced an unbiblical and nominal Christianity.

Here, then, are seven principles for surviving the very real cultural shifts we’re presently enduring.

1. Remember that churches exist to work for supernatural change.

The whole Christian faith is based on the idea that God takes people who are spiritually dead and gives them new life. Whenever we evangelize, we are evangelizing the cemetery.

There’s never been a time or a culture when it was natural to repent of your sins. That culture doesn’t exist, it hasn’t existed, it never will exist. Christians, churches, and pastors especially must know deep in their bones that we’ve always been about a work that’s supernatural.

From that standpoint, recent cultural changes have made our job zero percent harder.

2. Understand that persecution is normal.  

In the last few months I’ve been preaching through John’s Gospel, and a number of people have thanked me for bringing out the theme of persecution. But I’m not convinced my preaching has changed; I think people’s ears have changed. Recent events in the public square have caused people to become concerned about what’s ahead for Christians. But if you were to go back and listen to my old sermons—say, a series preached in the 1990s on 1 Peter— you’d discover that ordinary biblical exposition means raising the topic of persecution again and again.

Persecution is what Christians face in this fallen world. It’s what Jesus promised us (e.g., John 16).

Now, it may be that in God’s providence some Christians find themselves in settings where, even if they devote their lives to obeying Jesus, they won’t encounter insult and persecution. But don’t be fooled by the nice buildings in which so many churches meet. This Jesus we follow was executed as a state criminal.

One of my fellow pastors recently observed that, in the history of Christian persecution, it’s often secondary issues—not the gospel—that elicit persecution. Persecutors don’t say, “You believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ; I’m going to persecute you now.” Rather, some belief or practice we maintain as Christians contradicts what people want or threatens their way of seeing the world. And so they oppose us.

Again, to the extent we respond to changes in our culture either with panic or alarmism, to that same extent we contradict the Bible’s teaching about ordinary Christian discipleship. It shows we’ve traded on the normalcy of nominalism.

Pastors especially should set the example in teaching their congregations not to play the victim. We should salt into our regular preaching and praying the normalcy of persecution. It’s the leader’s work to prepare churches for how we can follow Jesus, even if it means social criticism, or loss of privilege, or financial penalties, or criminal prosecution.

3. Eschew utopianism.

Christians should be a people of love and justice, and that means we should always strive to make our little corner of the globe a bit nicer than how we found it, whether that’s a kindergarten classroom or a kingdom. But even as we work for the sake of love and justice, we must remember we’re not going to transform this world into the kingdom of our Christ.

God hasn’t commissioned us to make this world perfect; he’s commissioned us chiefly to point to the One who will one day make it perfect, even as we spend our lives loving and doing good. If you’re tempted to utopianism, please observe that Scripture doesn’t allow it, and that the history of utopianism has a track record of distracting and deceiving even some of Christ’s most zealous followers.

It’s good to feel sadness over the growing approval given to sin in our day. But one of the reasons many Christians in America feel disillusionment over current cultural changes is that we’ve been somewhat utopian in our hopes. Again, to the extent you think and speak as an alarmist, to that same extent you demonstrate that utopian assumptions may have been motivating you all along.

4. Make use of our democratic stewardship.

I would be sad if anyone concluded from my comments that it doesn’t matter what Christians do publicly or with the state. Paul tells us to submit to the state. But in our democratic context, part of submitting to the state means sharing in its authority. And if we have a share in its authority, we just might have, to some extent, a share in its tyranny. To neglect the democratic process, so long as it’s in our hands, is to neglect a stewardship.

We cannot create Utopia, but that doesn’t mean we cannot be good stewards of what we have, or that we cannot use the democratic processes to bless others. For the sake of love and justice, we should make use of our democratic stewardship.

5. Trust the Lord, not human circumstances.

There’s never been a set of circumstances Christians cannot trust God through. Jesus beautifully trusted the Father through the cross “for the joy set before him” (Heb. 12:2). Nothing you and I will face will amount to what our King had to suffer.

We can trust him. He will prove trustworthy through everything we might have to endure. And as we trust him, we will bear a beautiful testimony of God’s goodness and power, and we will bring him glory.

6. Remember that everything we have is God’s grace.

We must remember anything we receive less than hell is dancing time for Christians. Right? Everything a Christian has is all of grace. We need to keep that perspective so that we aren’t tempted to become too sour toward our employers, our friends, our family members, and our government when they oppose us.

How was Paul able to sing in prison? He knew that of which he’d been forgiven. He knew the glory that awaited him. He perceived and prized these greater realities.

7. Rest in the certainty of Christ’s victory.

The gates of hell will not prevail against the church of Jesus Christ. We need not fear and tremble as if Satan has finally, after all these millennia, gained the upper hand in his opposition to God through the same-sex marriage lobby.

“Oh, we might finally lose it here!” No, not a chance.

People around the world now and throughout history have suffered far more than Christians in America presently do. And we don’t assume Satan had the upper hand there, do we?

Each nation and age has a unique way to express its depravity, to attack God. But none will succeed any more than the crucifixion succeeded in defeating Jesus. Yes, he died. But three days later he got up from the dead.

Christ’s kingdom is in no danger of failing. Again, Christians, churches, and especially pastors must know this deeply in our bones. D-Day has happened. Now it’s cleanup time. Not one person God has elected to save will fail to be saved because the secular agenda is “winning” in our time and place. There shouldn’t be anxiety or desperation in us.

We may not be able to out-argue others. They may not be persuaded by our books and articles. But we can love them with the supernatural love God has shown to us in Christ. And we can make his Word known today—with humility, with confidence, and with joy.

​Mark Dever is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and the author of numerous books, including Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. You can learn more about him at 9Marks or follow him on Twitter.