Commenting on the parable of the dragnet (Matthew 13:47-50), Trench writes:
...the Lord did not contemplate His visible Church as a communion in which there should be no intermixture of evil; but as there was a Ham in the ark, and a Judas among the twelve, so there should be a Babylon even within the bosom of the spiritual Israel; Esau shall contend with Jacob even in the Church's womb... This fact does not justify self-willed departure from the fellowship of the Church, an impatient leaping over , or breaking through, the nets, as it is often called; but the Lord's separation is patiently to be waited for.... (R. C. Trench, Notes on the Parables of Our Lord)
Following Trench's footnote pointing to Augustine's exposition of Psalm 126:3 (127:3), "the fruit of the womb is a reward," Augustine...
Our Clearnote Pastors College theology of worship class has been discussing the question of whether or not ministers should wear liturgical vestments in (as well as outof) Divine Service, and if so on what grounds? Our readings have ranged from the gushingly “for” to the violently “against.” Perhaps the most interesting and helpful writer we've encountered on the subject has been Dutch polymath, Abraham Kuyper.
Recently published for the first time in English, Kuyper’s Onze Eeredienst (Our Worship) is a rare, matter-of-fact treatment of biblical worship—the topic Scottish luminary James Bannerman declared to contain ecclesiology's most interesting and difficult questions. Having ventured out beyond my depth in the turgid waters of worship theology, Kuyper’s frank, level-headed approach is a welcome gulp of fresh air, even where I disagree with him. He has a way of demystifying things. And today, worship theology needs demystifying.
On the issue of vestments, Kuyper makes two historical claims I want to summarize for our readers to discuss.
He begins with the suggestion that if a preacher from one of the New Testament churches—say, Ephesus, Colossae, Athens, or Rome—were suddenly to appear today, people would think he looked...
Under my recent post regarding the Google Apps user agreement for non-profits, a discussion was started about how Christians should respond to terms of service like the one mentioned in the post. Here's my attempt to restate the position of one commenter:
The best way to keep the interpretation of these regulations (and terms of service, clauses, etc) from becoming established in a way that does violence to our understanding of the words used in them is to agree to said regulations and then battle it out in court if the need arises. We all see how Google and others are trying to set precedents that we disagree with, and so we shouldn't simply accept their interpretations, but should instead fight them. So, in this case, Christians should agree to Google's terms of service and then be ready to fight it out if the matter ends up in court.
I hope that I have accurately stated the position of the commenter. Here's my response:
Let's start with the word "discriminate". This commenter stated that "discrimination involves a denial of someone's civil rights." I don't think that's right, and I don't think that's how Google understands the word, either. The word "discriminate" now carries a great deal of negative baggage...
Before he died twelve years ago, my brother Nathan was furious over the refusal of our United States Immigration and Naturalization Service to grant political asylum to Chinese couples who, if they returned to their homeland, would be forced to murder their unborn children. Those who have followed the one-child policy of China's Communist dictators implemented in 1978 know such horrors are commonplace. One friend of mine who's an academic at another university got a phone call from a former student in China whose wife had become pregnant. China's apparatchiks were going to murder their unborn child, so my friend arranged for the man to...
In preparation for future course lectures, I’ve been reading and taking notes on the published doctoral dissertation of Horton Davies on The Worship of the English Puritans (reprinted by Soli Deo Gloria). One of the chapters compares the set forms of prayer used by the Anglicans with the extemporary prayers used by the Puritans.
Here is a summary of the arguments used by the Puritans against set forms of prayer:
Set forms of prayer deny ministers and people of the gift of prayer. The Christian hears a prayer rather than being encouraged to pray on his own.
As we've said before, we're fans of John MacArthur and don't want our questions concerning money to detract from God's people looking to him for leadership and wisdom. It's often the case that particularities of our leadership can scandalize sheep who like to think of their pastors as perfect fathers, unlike their own. This is how the celebrity business works and different commenters under these posts have noted the tendency of individual Christians to compare their own local pastors to national celebrities to the detriment of their trust of their local pastors. After all, the sins of their own pastors are obvious whereas the sins of their pastoral heroes are not.
We hope to make it clear that no pastor is above criticism. As Dad used to say (and we doubt it was original with him), "Christians grow best in the manure of criticism." Some sins are public, others more private, and others secret awaiting God's Throne.
Doug Wilson, Lig Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, Mark Driscoll, and John Piper, are...
Recently, Dropbox updated its terms of service. There is a whole lot of legalese in there that few people have the stomach, or ability, to wade through and understand. Dropbox helpfully put up a blog post to explain the new terms of service here.
However, this blog post came to my attention. Here are the salient points:
No matter what they do (delete your data, privacy breach, overcharging, whatever), you don’t get to sue. Instead, THEY get to choose the arbitrator according to whatever criteria they want, and thus any dispute is decided by someone they’re paying.
Also, you can’t join a class-action suit against them. Which sounds like no big deal, but when a company takes advantage of a bunch of people all in the same small way (incorrectly assessing a service charge, for example), class action is how companies are made to clean up their act en masse, instead of waiting for thousands of people to call them up and demand their $20 back or whatever.
Yikes! If you're inclined to opt-out of the new terms of service, you have until March 24, 2014 to do so. You can opt out by clicking here (you will be required to login to your dropbox account).
If you live in the Pittsburgh area, come on out to Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA) for their annual conference (scroll down to see the schedule) starting tonight at 6:30 PM and running through the weekend. At the kind invitation of Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA), I will join Dr. Jack Kinneer of Reformed Presbyterian Seminary speaking on the subject "Imago Dei: Male and Female He Created Them." Because of family business, I've been in Pittsburgh several times the past couple of years...
Historically, Clearnote Church in Bloomington, Indiana has used Google Apps for email and calendars. It's basically Gmail and Google Calendar for businesses using their own domain name.
Google also gives 501(c)3 non-profit organizations access to Google Apps for free. You just have to submit some documentation regarding your 501(c)3 status. For quite a number of years, we have been using the free edition of Google Apps here at the church.
We continue to use Google Apps to this day. Recently, I needed to reapply for non-profit status with Google Apps. I was in the process of filing the necessary "paperwork" online when I ran into a snag...
Back on January 30th, we ran a post updating readers on the latest IRS Forms 990 filed by John MacArthur's non-profit companies and what they show about his annual income. Since the post, several commenters have questioned whether MacArthur really had any say over his study notes being packaged with the neutered New International Version, whether we're saying MacArthur's income is sinful; and if so, what specific sin we're accusing him of? Here are some responses to those questions and challenges:
I've been out of the loop for a while. I appreciate others who have responded to some of the more recent objections to this post. Now, a couple responses of my own.
First, John MacArthur himself had absolute control over whether or not to package and sell his MacArthur Study Bible notes with the neutered Bible now sold under the name New International Version. It was his decision and he alone is the man who could have stopped it. His elders board did not make the decision. Zondervan doesn't control MacArthur's study notes. John MacArthur controls John MacArthur's study notes. This is how publishing works.
John decided he didn't want to lose out on one of the largest Bible markets in the English-speaking world, so after negotiating royalties (which unlike John Piper's royalties, remain a secret), he signed an agreement with Zondervan to sell his own study notes in the text of a Bible that everyone knows has gagged God's words for the sake of pacifying the feminists.
There's no debating these simple facts. Readers may differ concerning the reason MacArthur did this, but it's certain he made the decision to sell the neutered Bible he had previously opposed because of its unfaithfulness to the text of Scripture.
Second, the Bible commands us to exclude men from ministry who are greedy:
This past week, Juergen von Hagen and I have shared our second annual writing retreat up here in Sawyer, Michigan. Kindness of Dad and Mom Taylor, we have a place to stay as we work. We start writing around 9 each morning and break for nothing until dinner around 7:30. Juergen is working on a textbook on economics for seminarians and I'm trying to finish up the book on fatherhood. We've had tons of snow and today got six more inches. We took a walk that lasted a couple hours. It was snowing hard and our faces were snowmen when we got back. Before going into the house, Juergen had a hack at a little shovelling. Check out the icicles!
This from Baylyblog correspondent, Fr. Bill Mouser:
* * *
I am encouraged by a recent expansion of Breitbart.com from where ever it is headquartered (California?) to include new centers of guerrilla journalism in Texas and London. The head of their London outfit is a fellow named James Dillingpole whose work I always enjoyed and took courage from when he was writing columns for The Telegraph.
What I want to share with you is his explanation for taking the headship of the Breitbart news organization in London.I encourage you to read it...
Fascinating article on children's play forwarded by my daughter, Michal. There's almost nothing here that caused me to cringe or disagree. I'd simply like to point out that it may be better to think of much of children's play as simply little men and women practising for manhood and womanhood.
Here's text from an e-mail I received recently from Dr. David Canfield, an elder at Clearnote Church, Bloomington. David gave his permission for me to post it here on Baylyblog. There is a context for the letter, but it's unimportant to David's larger point.
* * *
The problem is not, essentially, that President Obama has... That is just a symptom of the true problem, viz., that America (and this has happened to a great extent during my lifetime) has abandoned the notion of us, both as individuals and a nation, as being under authority. I speak of authority in all of its manifestations. We have seen, for instance, parental authority ripped to shreds, and the US Constitution is now viewed as a list of suggestions that might...
Today, a man sent an e-mail linking to a feminist heretic (you do know that's what they are, don't you?) dissing the Apostle Paul's command that older women of the church teach younger women this core curriculum:
to love their husbands
to love their children.
to be sensible.
to be pure (RSV "chaste").
to be workers at home (RSV "domestic").
to be kind.
to be subject (RSV "submissive") to their husbands.
Ms. Heretic lampooned the words of Scripture, albeit in the mouths of self-styled "complementarians." (It wouldn't do to lampoon the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Apostle Paul.) It takes no imagination to come up with the scoffing and ridicule she trotted out in her post. To an old warhorse, this feminist making a living off Evangelical simpletons is immodest, indiscrete, vain, deceptive, dangerous, and thus very boring. And the great tragedy of it is that I have it on good authority that her father is godly. How his heart must break over his precious daughter's rebellion against the Father Almighty!
All this as introduction to two things below: first, my response to the brother who forwarded the feminist's attack upon Titus 2:1-5; and second, my sermon notes used to preach on this text. May God use both to keep us from the very seductive idols of our culture.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. - 1Corinthians 2:12-16
Regularly, I warn academics that reason is not the one faculty of man that has escaped the Fall. To err is human, and institutions of learning both lower and higher are equally subject to this fruit of Adam's sin.
Reason and logic have been corrupted by the Fall. So, although we can say that all truth is God's truth, we must keep in mind that all man believes to be true is not. True.
The Fall's determinative impact on man's intellectual work is quite obvious to readers of Paul Johnson's Intellectuals. Again and again, Johnson demonstrates the connection between famous intellectuals' private sins...
One question these new institutions must address as they set up their governance structures is the same question older colleges and seminaries have had to wrestle with: Should we have women serving on our school's top governing board?
As I have corresponded with a number of leaders of these colleges...
Conversation between teacher-mother and her student-son:
Son: Mom, did you know India has the most starvation in the world? But they also have the most cattle. Because they think cows are sacred....It's like Africa where so many people die because of malaria but they love the birds too much to kill the mosquitos. Mother: Hmm, yeah. Except it's not the Africans that love the birds, it's the Americans. Son: What? You mean the Africans would? Mother: Probably. Son: How could we have so much influence? Mother: Cause we're the most powerful country in the world, and the richest. Son: The richest?! I thought we were in debt for like a hundred kazillion dollars!! Mother: Yeah, well there is that.