Pilgrim’s Progress Characters — Mr. Worldly Wiseman

imagesJohn Bunyan’s famous allegory Pilgrim’s Progress is filled with men and women who happened along the path of Christian as he has started his journey toward the Celestial City.  We have spent a little time with Ignorance who wanted to talk Christian into trying to make the journey on his own works.  Evangelist is another character who was very instrumental in the conversion and later the discipleship of Christian.  He is representative of a faithful godly pastor who spends time and effort working with the travelers as they labor through the journey.  We now come to another impediment, another character, who will serve as an agent of Satan to hinder the pilgrim’s progress.  Mr. Worldly Wiseman is a convoluted but very brilliant soul.  His brilliance rivals that of Ignorance who was just as polished and shameful except Mr. Worldly Wiseman is an older gentleman who has been around the world for a while and knows the general thoughts and doubts of the travelers.

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Study Bibles for Expositors–The Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (HCSB)–Holman Bible Publishers

This study Bible is the sixth one that I will review.  Several years ago I ran across a garage sale where due to some very unfortunate events a man had compromised his ministry and his family was selling all of his books, commentaries, and Bibles.  While I did find some very useful books at dirt-cheap prices, I did not want to purchase the Bibles because there was a little something sacred about them even though this man was not of my doctrinal persuasion.  As I was about to leave, his ex-wife came over and gave me a copy of a very nice leather bound Holman Christian Standard Bible that was just plain text with a single reference column.  I started to read it some weeks later and found it to be a thought-provoking translation.

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Study Bibles for Expositors–The NIV Archaeological Study Bible–Zondervan

The fourth study Bible that I would like to recommend to those who are endeavoring to develop into being an expositor is one that is very useful in looking at a text in a bit of a different light.  The NIV Archaeological Study Bible published by Zondervan is another excellent tool for those who would be critical of the biblical text.  A preacher will preach to a wide variety of people that visit the church where he will pastor.  For the most part the vast majority of apostolic churches have people who attend that believe the Scriptures to be authentic, inspired, inerrant, and authoritative.  But we have unbelievers who attend that do not have the same shared confidence in Scripture that we might not have and we have college students who attend schools where professors and other students can be militantly hostile against the Word of God.  This Bible is very helpful in combatting some of that rhetoric.

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Study Bibles for Expositors–Dugan Topical Reference Bible–Dugan Publishers, Inc.

 

The third study Bible that we come to has a great sentimental value to me.  It is the Dugan Topical Reference Bible from Dugan Publishers out of Tennessee although I believe they are no longer in business.  I purchased this Study Bible on September 15, 1989 from Rev. Kelsey Griffin who was teaching my Bible Study Methods class my freshman year at Texas Bible College when it was still located in Houston.  He had boxes of these Bibles that he kept in his upstairs study/library and he sold them to the students for $20.  If I had known then what I know now I would have bought as many as I could afford at the time.  What is unique about this Bible is that it came at a time when computers were just starting to come on the scene but the vast majority of people did not have $2000-3000 to spend on one.  So most of the resources that ministers had available to them had to be in printed form of books.  Also at that time there was very few study Bibles around.  Most Pentecostal ministers used a Thompson Chain Reference Bible, a Schofield Study Bible, or a Dake’s Annotated Bible.  Occasionally you might find someone who had a Ryrie Study Bible but they were not very many who had those at the time.  There were a couple of features about the Dugan Bible that Brother Griffin brought to our attention.

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Isn’t That Something?

I have been revisiting some of my journal scribblings from the last four years or so and have found a variety of thoughts I had written down.  Some of those scribblings had to do with little mental or spiritual stimulations that I thought I would put on this blog.  This post comes about from three different entries that I have merged together.  The first one was from Eugene Peterson’s very fine memoir, The Pastor and the other two were blog entries that Thom Rainer had written which dealt with pastoral ministry.  Peterson’s angle was that pastors have fallen into the trap of being turned into church growth gurus and it has cost them the priority of their own spiritual life of prayer, personal Bible reading/study (you would be shocked how many pastors don’t read the Bible on a regular basis), and the practice of spiritual disciplines which include the previous two and a host of others.  His fear was that pastors are being turned into executive automatons who can drive cattle about on a range but have lost the art of leading sheep through still pastures.  Rainer wrote about the dilemmas pastors face in the church which contribute to great dilemmas in the soul of the pastor.  The best way to describe it would be to say that the little foxes have gained an entrance and they are spoiling a harvest.

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Only 30%

Several weeks ago I had a very thought provoking discussion with my brother about Pentecostal preaching.  In 1992 my parents gave Mark a new Thompson Chain reference Bible for Christmas.  It wasn’t too long after that he began to use this Bible as his primary Bible as his everyday carry.  He used it for devotional matters, he used it at Texas Bible College in the classroom, and he also used it to preach.  One of the other things he did with this Bible was underline every sermon he heard during a twenty-year period.  After retiring this Bible in 2012, he discovered something very interesting about this Bible.  He went back and looked at all of the Scriptures that he had underlined when he was listening to preachers.  He noted that during that twenty-year time period that he had heard approximately 3,500 messages.  This came from a variety of places.  Obviously the bulk of these came from the local churches where he had attended during that twenty-year time period.  There were other unique places where he had listened to preaching.  He had been in multiple chapel services at TBC, he had gone to several of the larger Pentecostal churches in the Houston area, and he had been to various conferences although he had not attended as many as I have through the years.

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On Pastoral Criticism–Part 3

We have spent the last two posts speaking of what takes place with criticism in the confines of a church.  The first one was what takes place in the soul of the pastor.  The second was what takes place in the soul of the critic.  This last post is devoted to what takes place in the church when critics began to do their work.
As a leaping off point, look to Romans 16:17-20 from the Message (as a disclaimer, I don’t use the Message as a primary source):

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