Robb Tripp, pastor of the Fireplace Fellowship Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, passed away the afternoon of December 7, 2021. He was the son of LaVerne & Edith Trip and well-known among Southern Gospel artists.
Southern Gospel music lost one of its most prolific songwriters late Tuesday. Dianne Wilkinson went to be with her Lord after losing a a battle with an illness.
“She is going to the place she has written about to see the One who came to save us and all those that she loves that have gone on before, pray for us. It’s hard to say goodbye but we have the blessed hope of seeing her again. I’ll update everyone when I can. Would be a good day to kick up gold dust for this precious Saint,” said her niece in a post to Dianne’s Facebook page.
Dianne quickly rose to the attention of Southern Gospel fans and singers in the 1970’s. By December 2016 she had published her 1,000th song. Through the years she’s been nominated for prestigious awards including SGMA songrwriter of the year, Singing News fan awards, NQC Songwriter of the year, and others. In 2013 she received the Southern Gospel Music Guild Lifetime Achievement Award putting her in the company of artists such as Ronnie Hinson, Rodney Griffin, Phil Cross and Squire Parsons.
Apologetics literally means to “speak in defense,” and there are plenty of authors with books about apologetics. It’s something I find fascinating because as I dissect anti-theist arguments, I find new understand of how God’s creation affirms His presence, something I’m sure those who oppose our faith don’t realize their words do. But is apologetics something on which we are told to spend a lot of time?
I have to admit, I probably spend more time than I should reading atheist writings so I can understand their complaints, and scripture to find the shortfalls of anti-theist criticisms. I could justify doing this with 1 Peter that tells us to always be ready to give answer for our faith. This brings me back to the question at the end of the first paragraph.
Our first calling as Christians is to spread God’s Word to as many people as possible. We do this so that by hearing God’s message they are, for those few precious moments, not distracted by the things of this world. I believe we don’t win people to Christ through argument springing from cognitive skill. If salvation was something we achieve through our own efforts, it would be the result of works and not faith. But Ephesians seems to tell us it’s the other way around; salvation is a gift. By sharing the Gospel, are we not simply removing the distractions of this world for those few precious moments; that is, removing the static between God’s people and salvation? It is His call after all, that leads to salvation, and not something we’ve done.
I think it’s important to note here that some Christians seem more eager to win internet debates than lead someone to God. How would winning a debate at such a cost honor God? Studying apologetics is being ready to give answer about our faith, but not that which results in saving faith.
When you give answers to non-believers, especially those in the anti-theist set, are you helping them understand or causing them to dig their heals into the dirt of non-belief?
Have you ever been to a church service where the congregation recited what we often call The Lord’s Prayer? I think it’s fine to memorize it as scripture. If the purpose of congregational recital is to learn the Word, there’s nothing wrong with reciting it in church. But I don’t think Jesus was telling us to repeat it verbatim as our prayer. To understand why, let’s look at what Matthew Chapter 6 says immediately before the words, “Our Father in Heaven.”
Matthew records Jesus saying, “This, then, is how you should pray.” Notice he said “how” you should pray, not “what” you should say. I believe this is the important part. Isn’t Jesus giving us an example, a model prayer, in the following verses?
It seems clear to me Jesus is telling us to talk to the Father; to do so humbly; to ask for forgiveness; and to ask that we are able to avoid temptation rather than to recite scripture during prayer. Consider, he just got through saying not to be like pagans who feel they will be heard because of many words.