He is Risen!

For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (1 Corinthians 15:21-26)

PCA's Philadelphia Presbytery overtures General Assembly to study women elders...

From the blog of Pastor Andrew Dionne of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartansburg, South Carolina:

No need for a study committee...

It’s said that progressives will revisit settled issues until they become unsettled. The Philadelphia Presbytery is using such tactics, hoping to revisit the settled Biblical polity regarding the sex (the Philadelphia Presbytery shows her slip by using the word “gender”) of elders. They desire to find some wiggle room for candidates for ordination who “may come forward who understand Scripture to allow women to be ordained to the office of elder.”

3 million customer credit cards stolen from Michaels stores...

michaels.jpgMany of the ladies at Clearnote Church like to shop at Michaels, and the crafts retailer has just announced a security breach at a number of their stores nationwide. It looks like the Bloomington store is on the list for having been breached, as are a number of Indianapolis and Toledo stores.

If you have shopped at Michaels during the specified timeframe, watch your credit card charges over the next few weeks and be sure to report anything you don’t recognize. I recommend reading this post by Brian Krebs explaining the incident. Then, I would also recommend reading his article, Are Credit Monitoring Services Worth It? It turns out that credit card monitoring services are mostly worthless. Credit card fraud and identify theft are no fun, however, and there are some pretty basic things you can do to protect yourself against them.

Shared e-mail addresses...

Our church has a policy that pastors and elders, at least, must have a personal e-mail address other church officers may use with confidence that the officer is the only one who will read e-mails received at that address. It's a necessary policy for churches, but sometimes officers balk at it and try to do church business from an e-mail address they share with their wives. This is the reason this excerpt from a recent TidBITS article on e-mail addresses struck my funny bone...

Visualize impeachment...

Last week an NPR pundit opined on the U.S. Supreme Court’s strategy to impose sodo-matrimony on the nation. Speaking of last summer’s decision to overturn only part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the pundit explained the High Court “didn’t want to get too far out in front of the people.” This sort of cant is supposed to lull us into believing that We the People and our Injustices are headed in the same direction toward the Promised Land of sexual liberation and tolerance. In other words, the Injustices are in the vanguard as they appeal to the better angels of our nature to acquiesce in homosexual marriage. With gentle nudges, they’re only accelerating the transition from our budding, enlightened inclinations toward actions we would eventually take anyway.

In reality, for the last fifty years the Supreme Court has exercised a debasing cultural and spiritual influence on our nation. Any moral capital the Court won in outlawing segregation in 1954 was years ago forfeited as it rampaged through state law after state law after state law erected to protect the weak and innocent. Abortionists, murderers and rapists on death row, and pornographers have been frequent recipients of the Supreme Court’s solicitude and succor. Then as if that weren’t enough, in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas, homosexuals were enshrined in the constitutional Pantheon. The Court has an insatiable appetite for strong delusion.

A more honest pundit would have said that...

Lutheran and Roman Catholic evangelism: we have sacraments that actually do something...

[If you're interested in the magazines-for-Christian-intellectuals scene, read on. If the scene makes you yawn, skip the next four paragraphs and start with the paragraph, "Let me call..."]

Before founding First Things, Richard John Neuhaus edited the Rockford Institute's Religion and Society Report and I was a subscriber. Then came the May 1989 nastiness when the Rockford bumpkins booted Neuhaus from his editorial digs in New York City. What became known as the "Rockford Raid" left Neuhaus shaking the dust off his captoes and moving on to found First Things. My favorite quote of the fracas comes from the Rockford side: "A lot of folks in New York aren't used to being judged by the Midwest." Rockford saying "no" to Manhattan was just chutzpah...

Churches that promise their sacraments DO things...

[TO THE READER: Sorry, but the text of this post wasn't ready for public consumption so I've taken it off. Just before going to my grandsons' soccer game (in which grandson Jonathan scored the only goal, a sweet strike about two feet under the crossbar taken just outside the box) I must have clicked "Publish" instead of "Save." At the game, I received an e-mail about the post and I thought, "Oh no, I must have clicked "Publish" instead of "Save."

Sure enough, I just got back on my computer and saw I had pushed (you know the routine, now) "Publish" instead of "Save." Anyhow, please give me some time and I'll publish it again, this time finished. Thanks for your patience.]

J. Gresham Machen and Reformed ministry today...

After posting on Tim Keller and Redeemer, it seemed good also to post this excerpt from J. Gresham Machen's classic critique of early twentieth century liberalism, Christianity and Liberalism. If you have not read it, you simply must. This past Tuesday in our noon meeting with our church pastors and the students in our Clearnote Pastors College, I read the following excerpt out loud, making the point that this description of the liberalism of the early twentieth century is a very good placeholder for the culture of liberalism within PCA and other Reformed churches today. I say "culture" because the vocabulary of presentation has changed, but the substance is the same. There is no preaching of repentance in the PCA. Only grace everywhere and always. But grace without repentance is no grace at all. Instead, we preach to good people who just need to be a little less...

Tim Keller: hundreds of sermons, but no repentance...

A longtime pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) sent me an e-mail with an excerpt from a Yelp review of Tim Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Going over there, I read all the reviews and here are some interesting excerpts...

A good Reformed church in Indianapolis: Clearnote Church, Indianapolis is particularized...

Yesterday evening we celebrated the particularization service of Clearnote Church, Indianapolis. What's a particularization service?

It's the worship service in which an immature church formerly dependent upon other churches' elders for direction and shepherding ordains and installs her own elders, and becomes emancipated. It's the service in which a church planting mission stops being a mission and becomes a full church.

Last night we had the joy of sitting under the preaching of God's Word (Jude 1-3) by my brother, David, who drove down from Toledo with three men from Christ the Word's Reformed Evangelical Pastors College (Nathan Bayly, Jordan Daugherty, and Jonathan Rethorn. Then we witnessed the public vows, the laying on of hands, praying, ordaining, and installing three men who had been examined, approved, and confirmed by vote of the congregation for the office of ruling elder—Dan George, Abram Hess, and Daniel Meyer; along with one man who had been examined, approved, and confirmed by vote of the congregation for the office of deacon—Luis Carrillo. The picture is of the ordination of the elders.

Following the ordination and installation of the elders and deacon, Joseph Bayly and David Abu-Sara were...