Monday, July 25, 2011

"Mother Goose is a Witch"

Interesting sermon on various overt and subtle occult references in a number of familiar book titles. Although some of this at times sounds a little extreme or over-reactive, I think there are some fair points made here by Pastor Faust (a curiously-ironic name considering the subject matter) about examining all aspects of what books (namely, fairy tales) are allowed in ones house. Of course the Harry Potter/Twilight books are (rightly) condemned, but Pastor Faust goes further into the deeper content and history of works like Mother Goose and McGuffy Readers, etc. The biggest take-away is to really examine everything that you allow into your house under the close scrutiny of Scripture in light of 2 Corinthians 6:17 and caution to "touch not the unclean thing".

What's strange, in light of the creepiness of so much of the content discussed, is that I have no idea how this one appeared on my MP3 player, as I have no memory at all of ever downloading this (a providentially-mislabeled SermonAudio title, perhaps?). Ah well, worth checking out.

Lady Jane Grey: A Woman of Whom the World was not Worthy

Pastor Justin's message about Lady Jane Grey, whom I had never heard of previously. This was a wonderful message, and a humbling reminder of standing strong for the gospel, even when you are presented with a simple avenue of escaping persecution by renouncing faith. A message really worth listening to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GFBC Annual Spring Conference 2011 with Conrad Mbewe

Our family was blessed to be able to attend one of the sessions of Grace Family Baptist's Annual Spring Conference for this year, and the following are some of the notes that I took. Pastor Conrad Mbewe was the guest speaker, visiting from Kabwata Reformed Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa (more about him at his blog here).

Pastor Mbewe spoke on the topic of authority and submission. Opening with I Peter 3:13-17, the Apostle Peter is writing to the dispersia of Pontious, Galatia, and believers scattered all over various countries. Peter teaches with a focus on salvation, which is the organizing principle of their lives. As obedient children, so we should be holy, living lives consecrated to God - lives distinct from the Gentiles (the unbelieving world.)

In Ephesians 5, we are instructed to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Col. 3:18 also emphasizes submission, that God has established an order to his people. We honor and respect God by respecting an honoring those in authority over us. We are to be subject, not for America's sake, but for the Lord's sake. We are keeping the vertical plane in the right place.

The question becomes, what if the leader is a despot? This was not a new issue at the time, and Peter addresses the subject of suffering at the hands of the unjust. In doing what is right we might be called upon to suffer for it.

In I Pet. 2:17, we read about being subject to every institution. Submission and authority is a not a side-issue, but rather is at the center of godliness and holiness. Our individual holiness pours into other areas of life.

Peter avoids splitting the hairs of obeying issues such as national vs. state, but rather gives blanket instruction to honor all authority. When Paul speaks of submitting to leaders, we are indirectly submitting to God, and in Paul's situation, he wasn't talking about a Christian leader but rather a despot and a tyrant. National and state leaders that rule are servants of God (I Pet. 2). These governors ensure the way that we live with one another, and uphold laws against those who break them, punishing those who do evil and praising those who do good. Rom. 13 - rulers are ultimately servants for our good. Pay taxes, respect and honor those in authority, as submission to authorities pleases God.

My notes were a little scattered, as we had some kid issues, but there were also a few notes on marriage, and that the one who brings up together in marriage is God. Our vows are made to Him, and we do not need a civil magistrate. We register to satisfy the laws of the land. We should be careful not to use the freedom that we have in Christ to breach the laws of the land.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

General notes on Greek Orthodoxy

Some notes I jotted down listening to a Carl Trueman lecture on the Medieval Church:

Greek Orthodox/Eastern Orthodox:
- High view of the Trinity.
- Highly-elaborate ritual and liturgy.
- Importance placed on icons, with theological arguments made for why dieficiation is given to these (vs. perceiving them as graven images)
- To Eastern Orthodox, icons are an idealized, divinized portrait of what they represent, with a theosis present, or a taking of God's power.  With relics, there is something ontalogically transforming the item (similar to the human body of saints, hence why relics are important.)

Of course I disagree with their view of relics, but I did find it interesting to understand a little bit more of the background as to why they believe this.  I visited a Greek Orthodox church ages ago, and noticed the elaborate ritual.  I was impressed by the importance placed on head coverings, as this was something mandated for all women visiting, as the church adhered to a very high-view of I Cor. 11 (in many ways this was important for me in researching deeper into the head covering issue - that, and Sproul's comments on the topic.)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

Ideal for family worship, the Jesus Storybook Bible is an excellent retelling of many of the principle stories of the Bible.  This was used as part of this year's Family Camp, with each lesson taught at camp punctuated with some of the audio from this series.  The narration is actually fantastic:  read by David Suchet (the Inspector Poirot actor), the reading is very dramatic and entertaining, and appeals both to kids and adults (some of the narration is actually pretty funny.)

There's also a deluxe edition that includes a book with the CD narrations.  Eventually I'll get around to linking some of the sermon notes from family camp.  Every year its a tremendous blessing to be able to head out to do some camping and enjoy the teaching and fellowship, and I look forward to the family camp time each year.