Friday, December 25, 2009

The True Christmas Spirit

With the Christmas season here, I can't help but think of all those Christian brothers and sisters scattered among us who, because of conscience, do not observe Christmas.  I recently sent an email to one, and found myself deleting the 'Merry Christmas' conclusion, in place of 'Warm Blessings in the Lamb.'  Now, I don't hold to this position myself, but Scripture commands me to regard their conscientious objection with the utmost sensitivity, as they are a perfect example of a modern-day equivalent to the 'weaker brethren' in 1st-century Corinth.
This is one of the Biblical principles many of us have completely backward today:  

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Christmas Meditation - American Style




In 2002 the federal budget was $2.1 trillion and the federal debt had reached $6 trillion.  To help you get a handle on the meaning of this, suppose that the day Christ was born, you had $2.1 trillion to spend ... if you spent $3 million a day, each day, you would barely have completed your task by the year 2000.


- R.C. Sproul Jr.,  Biblical Economics

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Irresistible Grace

Karissa Noel - 6lbs, 14oz.  What a blessing!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Theological 12 Days of Christmas

From our brothers at the Reformed Baptist Seminary - Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Deep our Rabbit Hole Goes ...


The dope culture was a part of it, of course, and the rock-n-roll culture, but I think the relaxing of our morals really started with the birth control pill.

- Walter Cronkite, pinpointing the beginning of the decline of American Morality in Cronkite Remembers

Sunday, December 13, 2009

16,000 Itching Ears Can't Be Wrong ... can they?

The following is a contrast that James White posted on the RB Fellowship Blog.  It is worth noting here with the words of George Whitefield in mind: The reason why congregations have been so dead is because they have dead men preaching to them. How can dead men beget living children?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why - God Willing - I am going to start a homeschool tutorial



College Degrees More Expensive, Worth Less in Job Market

By KRISTI OLOFFSON Wed Dec 9, 4:55 pm ET

Employers and career experts see a growing problem in American society - an abundance of college graduates, burdened with tuition-loan debt, heading into the work world with a degree that doesn't mean much anymore.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Courage to do Nothing



"The right response to the non-problem of global warming is to have the courage to do nothing."

- Lord Christopher Walter Monckton, vocal leader of the 'climate change is myth' movement.
photo: The Guardian

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't worry ... it's supposed to be hard.


Here’s what you’ve got to realize, guys. If you’re men, your ... life ... is ... work. You’re supposed to be tired; it’s supposed to be tough; all this ‘other stuff’ is not what you’re supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to go to bed tired and satisfied in my labor. I’m supposed to invest my life in the next generation. I’m supposed to die to self – ‘unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone’.


- Paul Washer
photo: Toward Los Angelos, Dorothea Lange, 1937.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

DOCKERS: The official pants of this blog.

One dear virtue has vanished from our society; yeah two are no longer to be found among us: Old-fashioned manliness and free speech about it.  
But today - through some inexplicable glitch in the galactic ‘P.C.’ vortex we call ‘the media’, Dockers has launched the following ‘Wear the Pants’ ad campaign. BRAVO!




Thursday, December 3, 2009

Men Used to Raise their Mugs to Toasts Like This



If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.




—Samuel Adams

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Loving Words

When my brother Tommy
Sleeps in bed with me,
He doubles up
And makes
himself
exactly
like
a
V
And 'cause the bed is not so wide,
A part of him is on my side.

TWO IN BED by A. B. Ross

"Probably nothing I ever wrote as a published author did not derive in some way from the 16 or so poems my mother chose, over and over again, to read to us [before bed]. The sheer pleasure of the experience was key."
- World-renowned novelist, Anne Rice, Called Out of Darkness

The single biggest surprise to me after our first half year of homeschooling is the major role poetry has played.  Above is one of the gems we've unearthed.  Look for more to come.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Son of God Goes Forth to War



This is the congregation of Cornerstone Reformed Church [CREC, Illinois] singing yet another dead, dry, dusty traditional hymn.  Check out the young men in the front row ... poor boys - you can tell they're just dying for something hipper maybe with drums and guitars;  poor folks in the middle, they're yawning or maybe lipsynching;  and the folks in the back, well anyone can see how badly they need a big screen and projector; poor flock - this is such a complex tune and obviously way too difficult and involved to be worth their time to learn; and did you see how limp and lifeless the preacher was as he struggled to muster a prayer after the hymn had ended?  [post-hyper-sarcasm]  If we are going to raise the next generation of Christian martyrs, they will march to the gallows singing songs like this.  Think about the theology of your singing - what you sing and how you sing it!
The Son of God goes forth to war,
a kingly crown to gain;
his blood red banner streams afar:
who follows in his train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
triumphant over pain,
who patient bears his cross below,
he follows in his train.


That martyr first, whose eagle eye
could pierce beyond the grave;
who saw his Master in the sky,
and called on him to save.
Like him, with pardon on his tongue,
in midst of mortal pain,
he prayed for them that did the wrong:
who follows in his train?


A glorious band, the chosen few
on whom the Spirit came;
twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
and mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant's brandished steel,
the lion's gory mane;
they bowed their heads the death to feel:
who follows in their train?


A noble army, men and boys,
the matron and the maid,
around the Savior's throne rejoice,
in robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven,
through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given,
to follow in their train.

- Reginald Heber, 1827

Friday, November 27, 2009

What is Contemporary Music?




One of the things I’ve found intruiguing in the nomenclature that’s used to describe the appropriation of popular forms in the church is: ‘contemporary worship’.   And the reason I balk at that is because the 20th century is one of the most deadly and tragic centuries in history.  The writer who probably captures the 20th century best is somebody like Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the aforementioned examples of Part and Gorecki - that’s contemporary music!  And yet the idea that contemporary Christian music is only of a particular form, I find it shows a lack of appreciation for what the contemporary really is.  What is the nature of our times?  If we step back and say, ‘What is the nature of our times?  What kinds of music are appropriate for the nature of our times? …not just the nature of show business or the nature of entertainment in the world.  And that’s where I think that the Church has to be honest about the age that we’re living in.  The Church only sees the ‘glitzy’ side of the age that we’re living in and say that’s what we have resonance with rather than recognize the tragedies of the age as well. 


- Ken Myers, discussing his book, All God's Children in Blue Suede Shoes
Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sheep without a shepherd


‘There are tens of thousands of older people in nursing homes today who don’t have a pastor they trust to do their funerals.’… because the pastor has been so eager to look like Seinfeld for the last 10 years that they’re not confident that they can do their funerals.


- Al Mohler quoting Gene Veith

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Education and Entertainment



Is it a surprise, then, that this generation of students -- steeped in consumer culture before going off to school, treated as potent customers by the university well before their date of arrival, then pandered to from day one until the morning of the final kiss-off from Kermit or one of his kin -- are inclined to see the books they read as a string of entertainments to be placidly enjoyed or languidly cast down? Given the way universities are now administered (which is more and more to say, given the way that they are currently marketed), is it a shock that the kids don't come to school hot to learn, unable to beat their own ignorance? For some measure of self-dislike, or self-discontent -- which is much different than simple depression -- seems to me to be a prerequisite for getting an education that matters. My students, alas, usually lack the confidence to acknowledge what would be their most precious asset for learning: their ignorance.

ON THE USES OF A LIBERAL EDUCATION:
AS LITE ENTERTAINMENT FOR BORED COLLEGE STUDENTS
Mark Edmundson

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Santayana had it Right





The Postal Service just announced that the Post Office lost $3.8 billion last year.  I’ve got a good idea:  let’s put the government in charge of healthcare!

- Jay Leno

Monday, November 23, 2009

Daycare Deception





"… Dr. Benjamin Spock, after flatly informing 1950s mothers that day nurseries are "no good for infants," deleted this advice from 1990s editions of his manual because it made working mothers feel guilty (and to no avail, because they were headed to work anyway). Spock himself admitted: 'It's a cowardly thing that I did; I just tossed it in subsequent editions.' "

-          Brian C. RobertsonDay Care Deception: What the Child Care Establishment Isn't Telling Us

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Be There, Dad





… you never really know how your words or actions will affect your children.  What will they say about you when you’re gone?  What moment will they remember?  What will they tell their children about you?  … the most precious things a father can provide are time, attention, and love.   For about six months, [in preparation for this book about remembering our fathers] I read hundreds of letters and emails every day but I can’t remember a single one that said ‘My father gave me every material thing I wanted’ or ‘what I remember about my dad is the TV he bought me’.  What we remember about our fathers has nothing little or nothing to do with material objects.  We remember the time they gave us – whether indirectly [through hard work] or in more conventional ways – time spent providing advice, telling a bedtime story, or simply showing up for a recital, spelling bee, or an athletic event.  There’s a reason one of these chapters is called, “Being there”.

-Tim Russert [1950-2008], an excerpt from his book, The Wisdom of our Fathers 
Picture from Getty Images


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lord's Day Meditation


Despite the source [Romans 12.9], I was struck by these lines.  It would do us all good to take in a large dose of this:


Truly, our mighty men are nothing before Thee, and the men of fame as though they had never been; the learned appear void of knowledge and the wise like men without understanding.  For their deeds are vain, and their lives, days of emptiness before Thine eyes; and whatever we are, O God, we are through Thee and Thy Divine Aid.

- excerpt from a Jewish Prayer for the Day of Atonement

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MTV Worldview





Often there’s a kind of official and systematic rebelliousness that’s reflected in media products pitched at kids.  It’s part of the official rock-video worldview.  It’s part of the official advertizing worldview – that your parents are creeps, teachers are nerds and idiots, authority figures are laughable, and nobody can really understand kids, except the corporate sponsor.  That huge authority has, interestingly enough, emerged as the sort of tacit superhero of consumer culture. That's the coolest entity of all, and yet they are very busily selling the illusion that they are there to liberate the youth, to let them be free, to let them be themselves, to let them think different, and so on. But it's really just an enormous sales job.

- Mark Crispin Miller, media critic, NYU professor, and author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Real Difference Between Cats and Dogs





I’ve been told the difference between cats and dogs is that a dog looks at his master and says, ‘Wow, he gives me food, gives me toys, plays with me, he grooms me … he must be a god.’  And a cat looks at his master and says, ‘Wow, he gives me food, he gives me toys, he plays with me, he grooms me … I must be a god.’ 


Surrounded by a super-abundance of choices very few of us feel like dogs.  We don’t feel humble that we live in a world where things have been taken care of us this way, we tend to feel empowered … whether or not we actually are.  We don’t regard the people who provide us with those choices as special and worthy, we feel that we’re special and worthy to be addressed so deliberately, so earnestly, and so creatively. 

-Ken Myers, Electronic Media and Restless Souls

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Fog of Battle





Odd alliances and friendships can form in the course of a church conflict. I have seen a disgruntled person leave the church because of something that someone else in the church was doing. And then, when that someone else also became disgruntled and left, the two immediately sought one another out. Over the years, I have called this kind of thing the Fellowship of the Grievance (FOG). People who are unhappy with a church for various (and sometimes contradictory) reasons will find in the mere fact of their grievance a kinship or a bond with others who are peeved. This is a strange and perverse sort of koinonia—in gripes there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. 

        Douglas Wilson, The Genesis of Church Conflict

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Butterfly Effect



God’s way is to use the butterfly effect…  Chaos theory is much more Christian than what came before [in the study of physics] because it deals with the complexities of existence in time.  The butterfly effect says that a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere in the Amazon and it sets currents in the air that eventually cause a tornado in Texas.  God says He wants the nations of the world to become theocracies and you start by sprinkling a few drops of water on the heads of babies…The idea that God is going to start things with something so infinitesimally small doesn’t compute, but that’s exactly how God does things.  He tells us not to despise the day of small things.  And you have no idea where things will be 50 years from now if a few small-situation people are faithful, if we can get a new Cantus Christi with all the Psalms in it [which of course is the goal], and we get all the Psalms in the Church, and we get people thinking in terms of warfare and shaking spears when they sing the Psalms [which are war dances before you go into battle], things change!  But they don’t change directly in the way you think they do.  God’s usual way of doing things is to give you a vision, then kill it, bury it, then rebuild it somewhere else.  He does things in mysterious ways.  So if we want things to change, the answer is be faithful in small things and it’s amazing what butterfly effects will come.  That is the way the Bible teaches things change.

- James Jordan

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Real Problem with Authority




I would say that authority is - in a way - a bigger crisis than the crisis of truth in postmodern culture.  Because authority constitutes also moral authority, the idea that God is a Judge to Whom we are rightly accountable.  The gospel is unimaginable without the concept of authority. 

-          Ken Meyers, IX Marks interview
[photo:SBTS]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not Your Father's Church Methodology ... or is it?



When we talk about adapting the Gospel and Christian message to fit generational niches and habits, that is what Willow Creek inaugurated.  The evangelical church has become significantly 'Willow-Creek-ized'.  It is true that the emergent church is a reaction to that in large measure, but not a total reaction.  Some of those marketing habits have continued, it’s just that instead of marketing to the boomers [which is what Willow Creek got stuck on] Gen-Xer’s are the target niche and generation for the emergent crowd.  But the emergent crowd is also reacting against the emptiness and shallowness and triviality of much of what has resulted from the marketing of the gospel. So there is both continuity and discontinuity.  


– David F Wells
[Photo by Webb Chappelle for the Boston Globe]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Problems have Deep Roots




I have seen it without going a mile from home, that in a Church of between three and four hundred communicants, there are but few more than one hundred men; all the rest are women.

-          Cotton Mather, 1692

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fighting Socialism from your Family Dinner Table




As we talked more and more I began to see this as a personal responsibility issue.  95% of my effort in fighting socialism really is how I educate my children; the kind of relationship I have with my daughters; the kind of relationship I have with my father and mother; my willingness to bring them into my home and take care of them myself.  And I’m sorry, but that’s really a lot more difficult than writing a check to the Heritage Foundation!

- Kevin Swanson
 [photo at Christian Heritage Online]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The God Who is There ... whether you've got the tinglies or not



One of the best books on worship by Don Hustad, Jubilate!: Church Music in the Evangelical Tradition, says that basically, there is a Pentecostal/Charismatic understanding of worship – which I think is more and more true for Evangelical worship at large --  which is that people by having more of an experience in worship, that that is when God becomes present.  In their experience, when they reach a certain threshold, then God is present.  So that is why in so many praise and worship settings you have this half hour of song which is supposed to work everybody up to get them to an emotional pitch where God is present, which is totally different from Reformed worship where at the very beginning we invoke the presence of God and at that point, we’re there-- we’ve been raised up to Glory with the Saints and angels and God is there whether we know it or not.  So there’s this objective element to Reformed worship that something is going on there whether or not you’re experiencing it. 


- D G Hart,  in an interview w/ Mark Dever at IX Marks
[photo: Twin Cities Masters Chorale]

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fatherhood 101




The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

-          Theodore M. Hesburgh

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Representing...

Now when was the last time you saw a true-blue Reformed pastor on a major network's morning show representing?  Please pray for him.  [He is afterall trying something new for us Calvinists - arguing with someone who is not another Christian!]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Half a Century Later ...



"If our society seriously wondered whether or not to denationalize the lighthouses, it would not wonder at all whether to nationalize the medical profession."

- William F Buckley, 1964

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Comfortable Tyranny





The past shows unvaryingly that when a people’s freedom disappears, it goes not with a bang, but in silence amid the comfort of being cared for. That is the dire peril in the present trend toward statism. If freedom is not found accompanied by a willingness to resist, and to reject favors, rather than to give up what is intangible but precarious, it will not long be found at all.

—  Richard Weaver, 1962

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book List [what I've been reading these days] ...

you are what your mind eats ...




IOUSA - YOU MUST WATCH IT.




In the house of the wise are savings of delicious food and oil, but a foolish man spends all he has. - Proverbs 21.20

The Huffington Post called IOUSA "the single most important film you will see this year[2008]." I am inclined to agree [w/ exception of Expelled].

Watch the entire thing here, thanks to google.video.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our 1st Month of Homeschooling



Well, we're approaching the end of our first full month of homeschooling and I'm happy to report that we're all still alive and in love with each other. My wife has been a regular superhero through it all and when I get home and spend time in the evenings and Saturdays working with the boys, I'm continually astonished at their progress.  
We follow the Classical method, which sounds impressive, but it simply means that right now our main objective is memorization. At their ages [5 and 3] comprehension is burdensome for the most part. So I sat down and wrote up a list of about 100 things I wanted them to know [and/or do] by the end of the year. I call it the Kindergarten Big 100.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Honor of National Black Poetry Day



On Being Brought From Africa To America

'TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew,
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
'Their colour is a diabolic die.'
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.

Phillis Wheatley.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Context

As our churchplant group has been working through the concept of covenant, I’ve been struck by how easy it is to miss the parts of our faith and thought that are the most basic. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me as someone who resisted Calvinism for years. As these things are becoming more clear to me, I’ve come to understand that in order to read any Bible verse in context, you have to start reading at the first page of Scripture. The context of any given verse in Colossians is not simply the start of its paragraph – it is the entire ancient legacy, from the Edenic prophecies that were made as the fiery cherubim was descending from Heaven, and every subsequent prophecy from every millennium since.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Education: An Oasis

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.

--C.S. Lewis

Friday, October 9, 2009

Historic Charismania


Those who, rejecting Scripture, imagine that they have some peculiar way of penetrating to God, are to be deemed not so much under the influence of error as madness. For certain giddy men have lately appeared, who, while they make a great display of the superiority of the Spirit, reject all reading of the Scriptures themselves, and deride the simplicity of those who only delight in what they call the dead and deadly letter”.

- J Calvin, Insitutes, I.9.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Real Jesus


“I think we have to get passed importing our own notions into Who Jesus was and what He was like. You read through His life and uh … He wouldn’t’ve faired very well in many-a Sunday School.”

- Christian singer and song writer, Jamie Soles, answering a question about a children’s song he wrote inspired by the Psalmist’s sentiment of rejoicing at the destruction of God's enemies.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

True North


How many times have you heard this one? "The Bible isn't a textbook of ..." If this is true, then just how, specifically and concretely, does it provide answers for life's problems? Either it answers real-life problems, or it doesn't.
In short: Does the Bible make a difference?

Let's put it another way. If a mass revival at last hits this nation, and if millions of people are regenerated by God's grace through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ at Calvary, will this change be visible in the way new converts run their lives? Will their politics change, their business dealings change, heir families change, their family budgets change, and their church membership change?
In short: Will conversion make a visible difference in our personal lives? If not, why not?
Second, 2 or 3 years later, will Congress be voting for a different kind of defense policy, foreign relations policy, environmental policy, immigration policy, monetary policy, and so forth? Will the Federal budget change? If not, why not?
In short: Will conversion to Christ make a visible difference in our civilization? If not, why not?

- Gary North, What are Biblical Blueprints? [photo: mises.org]

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Forget Swine Flu - watch out for Guitar Hero-itis!



"Get out of the house because those video games are death."

- Aaron Fotheringham

Born with spina bifida,17 yr old Fotheringham invented "hardcore sitting" [extreme wheelchair stunt riding]. He's pictured below performing his signature wheelchair back flip [the first person ever to do so].

Now, I have no intention of encouraging my sons to spend 4 hours a night practicing skateboard tricks. But I can't help but admire this kid. It makes me marvel at the 'dominion potential' our sons possess, even those with providential handicaps. Aaron is gaining publicity these days, but says - in his typically soft-spoken and humble way - that all he really wants is to keep getting better and find some guys who can give him some competition. What a kid! In his own way, Aaron Fotheringham is a true inspiration. [photos: top: Lisa Wyatt; bottom: Bancroft Media]



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Enmity with God


“Any system of morality that is predicated in any way upon a threat of violence is a morally bankrupt system. It may not cross the mind of many of you believers that if there actually is a Heaven and a Hell – there’s not ... and there’s no soul either – but if there were a Heaven and a Hell, some of us might proudly choose to go to Hell in order to avoid having to pretend to worship this bloodthirsty, immoral dictator of the God of the Bible. We might proudly resist ‘the Hitler’ and say, ‘Send me to the gas chamber. Fine!’ At least we will go with dignity and pride.”

- Dan Barker, atheist author and spokesman, [unintentionally] doing a great job of articulating a Reformed understanding of the radical depravity of the unregenerate human heart. The statement was from a public Q&A forum after the debate ‘Should God and Government be Separate?’ w/ Douglas Wilson.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

King for a Day

Q: If you could recommend any 2 changes to reform the US gov’t, what would they be?

A: Every[one] probably has a cabinet-level agency that he thinks should be abolished first. I dream such dreams, too. But as I grow older, I become less utopian. So, I [recommend] 2 minor technical revisions of the tax code:

1. Repeal withholding on all federal income taxes.
2. Move the date that federal taxes are due to the first Monday of November. [Federal elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.]

These are just a couple of minor technical revisions, right? Nothing too revolutionary here! I find it difficult to believe that a critic could go on national television and say, "This strikes at the very heart of the American experiment in liberty!" …Would voters rise up in wrath against a President who proposed these reforms? …

The withholding tax system is popular with the federal government for 4 reasons:
1. The government deliberately over-withholds. This forces taxpayers to file their forms to get their refunds.
2. It creates a "free money from the government" emotional response when the refund check arrives.
3. The government gets to use this money, interest-free, during the taxable year.
4. It makes income taxes and Social Security taxes less painful and therefore more acceptable.

If all federal income taxes were due on the same day, this day would become the most feared and hated day of the year, assuming that it isn't already. I ask: Why not have this day fall on the day before federal elections?

Personal income tax forms must be mailed by April 15. Think about this date. Before they vote in November, taxpayers have almost seven months to forget about tax misery day the previous April, and their next form-filing day will not come for almost six months. Out of sight, out of mind.
I say, let every citizen recall his previous day's tax filing and check-writing experience when he steps into the polling booth to cast his vote. Let democracy speak!

- Gary North

Monday, September 28, 2009

All Puffed Up

To grow in knowledge and not in meekness is not to grow; a thing may well swell and not grow.

-Thomas Watson on the Application of Redemption

Growing in grace is not [to be confused with a] strong interest in one or two doctrines - when someone gets hooked by a doctrine. Young men are famous for getting excited about Calvinism or the millennium or something else. But their interest in theology - their burning interest in election or the rapture - doesn't translate into better lives. In fact, it often makes them worse. It makes them look down on others; it makes them monopolize conversations or bully people who know less than they do; and hate pastors who may be mistaken at one point, but are still faithful shepherds of God's people. It's good to care about doctrine, but these things by themselves are no proof that you're growing in grace.

- Pastor Michael Phillips


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Present Your Bodies: Rejecting Gnositicism


Over the years we have emphasized the importance of ritual. Rituals are significant in the Bible and they ought to be significant to us. We've also emphasized the importance of worshipping God with our bodies and not just with our minds. We have sought to resist the temptation that many reformed Christians deal with, which is the idea that God gave us bodies as carrying cases to get our brains to church. Here is a brief reminder of doctrinal reasons for some of the very physical things we do in our worship of God:

We sing throughout the service, which should be strenuous; we kneel in confession; we eat bread and drink wine; and we raise our hands in the gloria Patri.

We worship God physically in this way for 3 reasons:

1st: We believe that Scripture requires this kind of thing of us. We are not in charge of inventing a worship service that we think God might like. He wrote a book. He tells us. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

2nd: We worship God this way in order to lean against the perrennial temptation of gnosticism - the idea that some divine spark inside us is all that's necessary and that the material body is irrelevent. We want to be reminded every week that God has a claim on your lungs, your knees, your hands, and your mouth and throat.

3rd: We believe that worship is a conversation - a dialogue between God and His people. It is therefore important that you not be passive. You have a role to play that goes far beyond that of simply sitting and listening. We gather to hear the Word of God, but we also gather so that God can hear from us - observing us as we approach Him.

-Douglas Wilson, intro to the sermon: Judge Me, Oh God; Psalm 43

Friday, September 25, 2009

Little Liberties


"It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave in the minor details of life. For my own part, I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones.... Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately.... It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their own will."

-Alexis De Tocqueville

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Holiness with a Backbone [and the beard to prove it] ...


For your own soul's sake dare to make up your mind what you believe, and dare to have positive distinct views of truth and error. Never, never be afraid to hold decided doctrinal opinions and let no fear of man, and no morbid dread of being thought party-spirited, narrow, or controversial, make you rest contented with a bloodless, boneless, tasteless, colourless, lukewarm, undogmatic Christianity.


-J C Ryle, Holiness