Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I just finished reading William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All by Janet and Geoff Benge, and found this to be an excellent account of the life of William Penn and his work in establishing the Pennsylvania colonies. Penn had a remarkable life, filled with religious persecution, conflicts with his father, the English courts, and numerous struggles over establishing the Pennsylvania colonies, or "the holy experiment", as he referred to it.
The book chronicles Penn's life through his childhood in England, and describes how Penn, at a young age, was affected by hearing an influential Quaker minister speak. Penn himself becomes a Quaker during his lifetime, and experiences firsthand the harsh religious persecution that the Anglican government of England imposed (including unfair convictions, trials and imprisonments.)
Later Penn is given a providentially amazing opportunity to establish the Pennsylvania colonies, and his aim was to establish this land as one of liberty, fairness, and religious freedom. It's a remarkable story and can be a real page-turner during some of the momentous times of Penn's life.
However, William Penn's life wasn't without its troubles. Beyond just the religious persecution that Penn experienced as a Quaker, his family also saw the loss of a number of their own children and, potentially most devastating, was the account of Penn's oldest son who (perhaps from having his father absent so much due to persecution or working on Pennsylvania) turned in much different direction of alcohol addiction and gambling. In fact, the book doesn't go much further into what happened to Penn's son, but this serves as a tragic indicator that Penn, for all his remarkable contributions should have also keep his focus on shepherding his own family with the same level of dedication.
The life of William Penn was an amazing one, and his strong stand for religious freedom, both in England and in the Pennsylvania colonies, serve as an excellent example of a man faithful to God in his life efforts.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
And in a strange semi-related note, here's a link to a song by Frehley's Comet that I posted in my music blog, with lyrics that curiously (ironically) remind me of the permanence view:
You will never hear me say the words
Never feel the pain that hurts
Never hear me say Its over now
Not sure that Ace Frehley or Todd Howarth had the permanence view in mind when they wrote the song, but it does fit in an odd sort of way.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Alliance for Church & Family Reformation | Excellent Resource for Family Ministry and Integrated Worship
The Alliance for Church and Family Reformation was born out of a need to help the greater Christian community understand and apply the biblical principles of family discipleship and age-integrated church and to strategically promote both family and church reformation.
Additionally, Grace Family Baptist offers a number of excellent messages by Voddie Baucham.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Regardless, here's a collection of good links that challenge the KJVO stance.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
In the baptist view, believers are clothed with Christ at baptism. Peter's message at Pentecost was "Repent and be baptised". Numerous NT scripture references all cite baptism following belief. In the Presbyterian paedobaptist model, the baptism provides no benefit unless it's followed by later faith. Faith MAY occur later in life, or may never occur at all.
I Cor. 12:13 - All believers are baptised in the body of Christ in one spirit..." All believers drink of the spirit and are equal members at baptism. Have infants received the spirit at baptism? (baptismal regeneration).
Baptism is also described scriptually as a "washing". I Cor. 6:11 - makes it clear that washing of sin and justification take place at the same time, yet justification involves faith. Justification is for those who believe.
"Household baptisms" of scripture (Acts 16) does not support the notion that this included infants. The household is contextually limited to those who could understand and believe. Evidence for this is that the household is described as "rejoicing". This joy implies understanding the significance of what had happened. Those who had rejoiced were those who believed - no compelling evidence that this included infants.
Acts 18 - Belief of the household meaning mental understanding. Maybe children included. Acts 2:39 - Often used in defense of infant baptism. Peter states "The promise is for you and for your children..." A careful reading of this does not include infants. The groups are Peter's listeners, the children, and those far off (the gentiles). It's not all those listeners, but only for those from every group who believe in the Gospel. This is justified by the last clause in the verse, "that is everyone that the Lord has called to himself." How would baptized infants who turn from faith later in life apply to this group?
Baptism as covenental sign (col. 2:12) continuing circumcision. "In him you were circumcised..." The parallel, however, doesn't work for a number of reasons: it lumps the plans of God together. There is one plan of God from scripture, but there is no evidence from scripture that we have one covenant of grace. The Abrahamic covenant is clearly distinguished from the Mosaic covenant. It is also clear that the new covenant and the Abrahamic covenant are not the same. There are elements unique to the Abrahamic covenant. For instance, Ishmael receives the covenental sign of circumcision. There is a genealogical principle to the Abrahamic covenant that does not continue in the new covenant. There is continuity and discontinuity in both covenants. The old covenant was a nation and a church. This is no longer true in the new covenant - the new covenant is composed only of those who believe in Jesus Christ. There is no special chosen nation. Heb. 8-10 make it clear that all members of the new covenant are forgiven of their sin and filled with the Holy Spirit. People from every people group.
The new testament supports a credobaptist position.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Genesis 26: 34 - 27: 45 talks about the stolen blessing. Isaac had planned to bypass God's will and just give Esau the blessing, but Rebbecca schemed to have Jacob get it instead. It's all a big mess, but as pastor said, God's will is accomplished in spite of us. God's election is at work here, and in Gen. 25 we God's election at work in the two nations in the womb, Jacob and Esau.
Pastor Paul went on to elaborate some of the misconceptions of God's role in the universe. Some of the worldviews that he pointed out and spoke about were:
- Deism - God created everything and left it all alone.
- Pantheism - God is in everything and not distinct from the creation.
- Everything just by chance (as opposed to providence)
- Impersonal faith - "Things just happen. That's just how the world is", etc.
Another question addressed was that, if God in in control, then why is there evil? Pastor Paul pointed out that often bad things, or things that seem bad to us at the time, are there as part of God's direction leading to good. He pointed out the example of Joseph, who was taken from his family and brought into slavery. From this "bad" situation, Joseph, given the ability from God to interpret dreams, was able to rise in prominence to being second in command of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh, and from this position, he was able to not only save his family but also ultimately the people of Israel.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
It's easy to perceive Isaac as a bridge between Abraham and Jacob, as we don't know much about his life. We know of the miraculous situation of his birth, the sacrifice, and his marriage, but otherwise not much else. From the previous week, we also know that he had a fondness for wild game, and exercised a favoritism towards Esau.
Looking ahead to the book of Hebrews, we read about how Isaac was identified as one of the "by faith" individuals and how Isaac invoked the future blessings of Jacob and Esau. His sin of lying is not mentioned by the writer of Hebrews. In spite of his shortcomings, God forgave them and Isaac was remembered as an inportant member of the Messianic line.
I missed some details of the message as I needed to care for a crabby baby during the service (it's integrated worship, so no nurseries here) but I thought that Greg did a good job with the message. As I understand it, he's done speaking before but this was his first sermon at Gfbc, and he's clearly been blessed by God with the ability to teach from the Word.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It's sad to make this comparison, but the Message translation/distortion of the Scriptures is like a bad movie, that you just have to see to the end to justify the purchase cost ($10 at Lifeway. And on a related note, I'm becoming convinced of something that Pastor Baucham once said, that "Christian" bookstores like Lifeway need to put signs on their doors that say "the views expressed inside are not necessarily that of Christ and the Bible" (or words to that effect.)
On the surface, the idea behind the Message is a good one: roll the text out in a more easy to consume format for contemporary readers. But at the cost of compromising the integrity of the original MESSAGE, the Message misses the mark. I wonder if I can make a return to Lifeway, on grounds of Scriptural errancy in the translation?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
I've finished the Old Testament translation of the Message, and now I'm into Matthew's gospel, and while some of the translation has been engaging through the Old Testament text, once we get into the gospels, the narrative seems to get a bit strange. Having recently studied Matt. 7 at church, I'm pretty sure that the translator is taking some liberties with some of the text, as if he's writing what he THINKS the text is stating, but which it actually isn't. Still, I'm going to see it through even though I would NOT recommend this translation to others.
v. 13-14 speak of the straight and narrow paths (Jer. 21:8 - "The way of life, the way of death"). Voddie spoke about the Christian life, and how it must be entered into intentionally. He addressed the more nominal approach to Christianity, that when asked "are you a Christian?", tend to reply with "I go to church", "I was raised a Christian", or "I've been a Christian all my life" (the later of which goes against the viewpoint of entering the Christian life intentionally, but rather makes it sound like an accidental pursuit.) Christianity is not an accidental endeavor, but instead is founded on repentance and faith (Mark 1 - "repent and believe"). To state that "I've been a believer all my life" is a theological impossibility.
Voddie pointed out that we all, by default, find the "wide gate" (the doctrine of original sin). We need to find the narrow gate. We seek it and petition God, with faith and repentance. So many churches this day teach an easy salvation, with belief without repentance, or acknowledgement of the burden of sin. The world wants to believe in Jesus "meek and mild", not the final judge who will convict us based upon our sins. We all deserve the death on the cross.
The expectation, as well, as that we will experience persecution as part of our walk. Modern teaching ("Best Life Yet" stuff) teaches that you should believe to escape persecution (in other words, they have the system backwards.) We learn from the Word that the one who endures to the end will be saved, not the one who just says "the sinner's prayer". We are encouraged to endure patiently.
Pastor also taught that our sin nature makes it difficult to find the narrow gate, as it's surrounded by the wide path. But our companions are few on this road. Language on the broad road, about the narrow road, is that the narrow-road travelers are "over committed", or "they're taking it too far." Responses like "Do you think we're wrong when there are THOUSANDS at our church, or because God is blessing our church?" This was a really good point, as I've struggled with how the local UM church can be so enormous, while being so shallow in it's teaching. The broad road is convenient, easy Christianity. Church on Sunday then go home and live as you like for a week.
We are exhorted to watch ourselves, and test ourselves. Jesus is the author and finished of our faith, and we should never adopt an attitude of, as Pastor said, "Thanks for dying, Jesus, but I did the rest myself." Endurance is evidence of our salvation - it's not a result of sheer credit to our own efforts. Salvation is about more than a "sinners prayer" on a specific date and time written in a Bible somewhere. It's about repentance, because you fully know and understand that you are a sinner deserving eternal wrath (and not just repentance in thinking that we are comparably less-wicked than the "Hitlers" of the world). Repentance and faith in the person and work of Christ alone.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
A favorite hymn of mine, particularly the last verse: "Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Alleluia, Alleluia!" More background here.
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
The text of Matt. 6:25ff should not be abuse: this is not endorsing a "prosperity gospel" that we should seek to grow closer to God in order to gain material "blessings." Rather, this texts speaks of reliance on God to provide for our basic needs such as food and clothing, and gives instruction to avoid fruitless, godless anxiety, which is nothing more than faithless self-reliance. Trust in God and know that He will provide for your needs.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
1) Find a cheap MP3 player. You don't need to get a top of the line iPod thing, but you can easily pick up a half-decent MP3 player at Walmart for around $30. I've got an old Coby MP3 player that I've been using for a long, long time (I've had to purchase more memory, as one of my cards died recently, but memory isn't expensive.) The player will likely have a couple of gig built into it. I think the ESV required about 4 GIG, so I only loaded up about half of it, and then once finished, deleted it and loaded the second half.
3) Start doing dishes and cleanup and laundry at night, and put on the MP3 and headset and listen away. I've found that, while doing chores, my brain just recycles nonsense, news, politics, or old television theme songs if I don't feed it with something, so having a steady stream of the Word has been a wonderful blessing. There is such a richness to listening to the Bible, and since chores take up part of every day, why not multi-task and include the Word with it?
This system has worked for me, and I was able to finish the entirety of the ESV from Jan-June, and now I'm listening to the Message tranlation on MP3 (it's a little cheesy at times, but the translation actually did an excellent job with how it described the reign of Josiah and his destruction of the false gods from the land.)
MP3 player + the Bible + chores = a good way to multi-task and grow in the Word.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
The writer of Hebrews speaks of sanctification with the instruction to "pursue holiness", and that we should be especially set apart for God. Sanctification is just as important in the believers life as is our justification.
Pastor Walthers elaborated on three different categories of sanctification:
- The sanctification of God (such as described in the book of Ezekiel: God is set apart from the false gods of the time)
- The sanctification of Man (in the Old Testament, this was a sanctification of self through separation from what was unclean)
- The sanctification of the Redeemer (John 17 speaks about how Jesus sanctified Himself)
Monday, May 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Actually, the fact is, there are a number of things theological I'd like to blog about: namely, books I'm reading, sermons I've listened to, and even sermon notes that I'd like to record and comment about online. That's that this blog is for. This content doesn't fit over at the normal webcomic site , so I'll cover it here.