Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thine is the Kingdom Prayer

I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.
And men shall speak of the might of Your terrible acts: and I will declare Your greatness.
All Your works shall praise You, O LORD; and Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
~ Psalm 145 [excerpts]

Almighty God and Sovereign of all the earth,
The kingdom is Yours, and not ours.  For this we thank You, knowing that by Your might it cannot fail.  We praise you and rejoice to see it like leaven working through this world.  Despite our countless failures, You are faithful throughout every generation. 
We confess ourselves to be but unprofitable servants in Your house among Your people.  Deliver us from the proud pursuit of our own petty kingdom agendas, self interests, and the enticements of this world.  Make us to be men who really do seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness.  Make us into the poor in spirit and even - by the strength of your Spirit - the persecuted righteous, knowing that Your kingdom is given them.
Rest and establish our hearts in this: that the Kingdom belongs to Our Father in Heaven and to His Son our Lord Jesus Christ through Whom we also have been given the victory and in Whose name we pray,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On seeing things in the text THAT REALLY ARE THERE!

A hermeneutical rule of thumb (quite a good one, I should add) is that unclear verses should be interpreted in the light of the clear ones. But however wise this is -- and it is wise -- we also have to distinguish between verses which are unclear, and verses that are excruciatingly clear but which conflict with the received interpretation.

- Doug Wilson

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conversion VS Conversation

In 11 years of evaluating ministers, I am not aware of a single time that the Westminster Assembly asked for one to recount his conversion. They were rather interested in his conversation [his lifestyle]. This is one area in which we today have been influenced by the pietism of the 18th century.

Chad van Dixhoorn [paraphrase], Senior Research Fellow of the Westminster Assembly Project

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The VOYAGE of the DAWN TREADER: My Review

I have to admit that this is the first time I can remember having seen a movie made from a book I really like.  My poor wife had to endure about a thousand whispered objections like, "What! ... that's not in the book!" or "This is not how it happened at all!"  But overall, my grade for the movie would be something like a C or ... on a good day, maybe even a bit better.

I fully admit that this score is somewhat lower than it might have been if I'd never read the book, or if I had but didn't really care for it all that much.  As it is though, I love this book and there were a few parts of the film that really annoyed me ... hence, the C.  I tried [in vain] not to be "that guy" who insists on fidelity in every detail.  I refrained from reactions like, "That didn't happen on this island" or "It did but not in that order" or "The bracelet was on Eustace's left arm, not his right [duh!]" ... well, okay, I did mention that one one [or a dozen] times. 

But I realize that liberties have to be taken.  And don't get me wrong, some of the changes/additions were quite fine. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

On this Day in 1784 ...

“In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity. It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith…”

These are the words pictured above that began the ‘Treaty of Paris’, which formally ended the War for American Independence. They were ratified by Congress in Annapolis, MD on this day in 1784 and then sent to Europe where they were later ratified and finally signed by both parties on May 12th.

I’m sorely tempted to launch into a long rant about the utter ignorance our nation has of her own spiritual past, but instead, I’ll simply note: “My, what beautiful words.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Black-robed Oligarchy

"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy… The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots … The Constitution on this hypothesis is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please. "

--Thomas Jefferson, in letters to William C. Jarvis and Spencer Roane, [1820. ME 15:277; 1819. ME 15:212]

Christianity = Antithesis

The high humanism of contemporary theology and preaching ... reinforced the presumption that Christians could be Christians without enemies. Christianity, as the illumination of the human condition, is not a Christianity at war with the world. Liberal Christianity, of course, has enemies, but they are everyone's enemies-sexism, racism, homophobia... Psalms such as Psalm 109, which ask God to destroy our enemies and their children, can appear only as embarrassing holdovers of "primitive" religious beliefs. Equally problematic are apocalyptic texts that suggest Christians have been made part of a cosmic struggle.
"Cosmic struggle" sounds like a video game that middle-class children play. Most of us do not go to church because we are seeking a safe haven from our enemies; we go to church to be assured we have no enemies.
...The problem with most of the mainstream churches is that we do not even know how to join an argument-better, we think, to create a committee to "study the issue."...
Our difficulty is not that we have conflicts, but that as modern people we have not had the courage to force the conflicts we ought to have had. Instead, we have comforted ourselves with the ideology of pluralism...
One hopes that God is using this time to remind the Church that Christianity is unintelligible without enemies.

-Stanley Hauerwas, Preaching as though we have Enemies

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We're from the gov't and we're here to help you ...

"When tyranny comes knocking, it will do so in uniform."

- Sherriff R. Mack


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Getting the Gospel Wrong

"Christians in modernity thought their task was to make the Gospel intelligible to the world rather than to help the world understand why it could not be intelligible without the Gospel."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Permit Him to Speak Plainly ...

Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild, giddy, thoughtless world, but to those that fear God. I ask, then, for what end do you send you children to school?
“Why, that they may be fit to live in the world.”
In which world do you mean~ this or the next?
Perhaps you thought of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last for ever!
Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to school (permit me to speak plainly) is little better than sending them to the devil.
- John Wesley
esley sermon entitled “On Family Religion”