by David and Tim Bayly on August 22, 2005 - 12:28pm
Speaking of the Christian vs. secular college debate, a valid alternative to choosing a Christian college is choosing a secular school based on the churches/campus ministries resident on or around that secular campus. For instance, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, has a campus ministry called Reformed University Ministries. RUM's work is called Reformed University Fellowship on each campus. Of course, this work is better on some campuses than others. It's excellent at Vanderbilt.
This was a prominent factor in our encouraging our second child, Joseph, to consider Vanderbilt.
RUF is self-consciously church-based and biblical exposition forms the centerpiece of their on-campus weekly meetings. Much different than every other evangelical parachurch campus ministry (trust me), RUF doesn't just pay lip-service to the local church but it pushes its students to be committed to a church--and not as secondary priority after their involvement in the RUF campus ministry, but as foundational to Christian discipleship.
On to a story. Joseph narrowed his choice down to Covenant College or Vanderbilt. He and I visited both of them and Joseph still couldn't choose. When we visited Vanderbilt, Marvin and Susan Olasky's son (Joseph, I think) hosted Joseph overnight and gave high marks to his experience there. Eventually, Joseph chose Vanderbilt.
So with some fear (but always faith), in the Fall of 2000 our family piled in the car and took Joseph to Nashville. We stayed at our son-in-law and daughter, Doug and Heather's, on Friday night and Saturday morning got in the minivan to move Joseph into his dorm room about half an hour away.
The building had only singles and was a pit. It's never easy to let a child go so I was feeling some gloom as we finished carrying boxes and clothes up to the room. The time came to leave and, after praying and giving him a kiss and a hug, we walked out of the room and headed to the staircase. Turning left out of his room and starting down the hall (with tears in my eyes, I admit), I was startled to look in the next door and see, exactly at the same place in the bookshelf over the desk, the same two-volume set we had just placed in the same position in Joseph's room: the Banner of Truth two-volume set of the Works of Jonathan Edwards.
I did a doubletake and looked again, thinking I'd likely been doing the moonwalk and not actually moving down the hall at all as I walked. I must still be looking through Joseph's doorway. So I looked more closely and saw through the door a stranger and his mother. I walked straight into the room and asked the young man, "What in the WORLD are you doing with a two-volume set of Jonathan Edwards on our bookshelf!? Come here, I've got to show you something."
We walked out the door and, turning right, I had him look in Joseph's room and see what he had on his shelf. Then it was time for our new-found friend to do a doubletake. Joseph's next door neighbor then told me how he had an older brother who had gone off to college--a non-Christian school by the way--and been led to faith in Jesus, there. His brother came home and told him about Jesus, at which point he too placed his faith in Jesus Christ.
His brother also turned him on to John Piper, so this younger brother began reading Piper. And he noticed in the footnotes that Piper drank waters from Edwards' well, so he went out and bought this set of Edwards and brought it to school so he could read it. Cinching the matter, he told me his name was Joseph--my son's name, also.
Praise God for His loving provision for His children, even down to determining among thousands of students that two students matriculating at Vandy who love Him would have adjoining rooms and doctrine.
Both Josephs attended RUF which was absolutely critical in their spiritual lives while at Vandy; both grew stronger in their friendship and faith while at Vandy; and our family's faith was strengthened as we saw how much God protects those who belong to Him, including their children.
Incidentally, it turned out that their dorm was sort of a self-selective group of sold-out Christians because all the men living there had asked not to be placed in a co-ed dorm.
Following his resurrection, Jesus had appeared a couple times to His disciples, but one of the disciples, Thomas, was absent. When Thomas heard about Jesus' appearance, he didn't believe it. He said, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25).
When Thomas said "I will not believe," was he sinning?
Well, on the one hand we could say Thomas' unbelief is only natural when the other disciples got to see Jesus in His resurrected body, but he didn't. The other disciples had hard evidence he was lacking. No wonder they believed.
We're not asking whether it's understandable, though, but whether it's wrong? And the answer has to be, "Yes, unbelief is sin." How do we know this?
Let’s celebrate Easter with the rite of laughter. Christ died and rose and lives. Laugh like a woman who holds her first baby. Our enemy death will soon be destroyed. Laugh like a man who finds he doesn’t have cancer or does but now there’s a cure. Christ opened wide the door of heaven. Laugh like children at Disneyland’s gates. This world is owned by God and He’ll return to rule. Laugh like a man who walks away uninjured from a wreck in which his car was totaled. Laugh as if all the people in the whole world were invited to a picnic and then invite them.
There has been an extended debate over the nature of the Sacrament of Baptism that's gone on in the comments section of this blog this past week. For Pentecost Sunday, then, here's the command to be baptized that the Apostle Peter gave those gathered under his preaching on that first day of Pentecost, followed by Calvin's comment on that baptism...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 16, 2007 - 8:48pm
Jesus, Lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly; While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high! Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Till the storm of life is past; Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!
(This post was written by Pastor Dave Curell.) Recently, I heard a commercial on the radio advertising a cancer care center. The commercial was militant: the cancer patient is under attack; cancer is the enemy and the patient's allies are the oncologists and treatment centers. There are powerful weapons and there is hope for victory.
While some people diligently monitor their physical condition, most of us live oblivious to the battle our bodies wage to maintain our physical health. Oblivious, that is, until the doctor gives us "the long face." Then we become acutely aware of that battle. And typically, we take one of three courses of action: we begin to fight for our lives; we resign ourselves to the enemy (surrender to the disease); or we begin an elaborate program of denial. If we chose to fight, we surround ourselves with allies and weapons that will improve our chances of winning the battle. Thus, we find the most powerful weapons and aggressive allies. Does anyone want a pacifist for his oncologist?
If this is true of the battle for our bodies, what about the battle for our souls?
We sing the words to "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" and think it nice that someday, if and when we encounter a storm, Jesus will be there for us. Yet we seldom notice the words refer to the present “storm of life." All of life is a storm and this hymn indicates that the turbulence we face begins with our new birth and only ends at death...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 7, 2007 - 7:40am
(Tim) Can anyone think of a better Christmas present for the beginning of Advent than these men doing the hard work of reconciliation? May God increase the Lawyer and Mattes tribes as all of us follow their example in asking and receiving, and giving forgiveness.
God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 20, 2008 - 3:15pm
(Tim: For several months, now, I've been grieving the retirement of my dear brother in Christ, Joe Sobran, whose health has been so poor as to force him to stop writing. First, his half page in The Wanderer was retired; then the weekly columns of his E-subscription service became repeats of classic columns, with no new material. So for the past few months I've been in grief. But then a couple new columns appeared last week and I'm so grateful to God. Here's one of them, delightful as always. Of course I'm no Roman Catholic, and there are things approved of in this piece that are contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. But the larger message...)
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FATHER CASEY AND ME by Joe Sobran
A personal miracle
Of late, literally struggling to survive (your prayers and donations are most welcome), I have sought the consolations of the rosary, my family and friends, and a few books...
(Tim: Last week I was talking on the phone with my friend, David Faulkner, from Presbyterian Church (USA) days and heard again of his inability to get pulpit committees to give him a serious look, given his disability. David mentioned he'd written an op-ed piece on the plight of the blind that the newspaper had rejected, so I asked him to send it on for the blog. Brothers and sisters, David's a valuable and gifted part of the Bride of Christ and I commend him to you. Although earning more money would help him with the expenses of raising the five children he and his wife, Dorothy, have been blessed by God with, David also needs to be using the gifts God has given him.
If your church, school, or business could use a wise, thoughtful, cheerful man who's received the gift of teaching, get in contact with David, please, and give him a chance to use those gifts. To reach David, you can E-mail him at dfdf at acninc dot net).
A NATIONAL SCANDAL?
By David Faulkner
My friend David is blind. A few years back he was living in a tiny apartment in Washington, DC, working as a medical transcriptionist, making just enough to live. He might still be there had his parents not sent him a plate of cookies by a friend. David moved back to Michigan and married the messenger, a clinical counselor with a good job. They adopted a brother and sister out of foster-care.
David still types medical transcriptions. When I asked about the job he responded, “It’s something to do, but you can’t make a living at it.” David has a college degree. I have three, a Bachelors and two Masters. What’s more, I can see—barely. But I can’t get a job...
…Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed… For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him. (Genesis 18:18,19)
(Tim) When the Lord entered into a covenant with Abraham, He was pleased for that covenant’s fulfillment to be dependent upon Abraham “command(ing) his children and his household… to keep the way of the Lord….” Still today, it pleases God to use means to accomplish his will, and he has declared the Church should be built up, instructed, and guarded by men—not angels. Where those men are missing or their work is soft and effeminate, the Church has suffered the removal of her vital manhood; she has been emasculated. (n. 1)
When we speak of the emasculation of the church, though, we are not saying she has been robbed of her Bridegroom nor that her adoptive Father has cast her out of his household. Christ is “faithful over God’s house as a son” (Hebrews 3:6 RSV), (n. 2) and we have his promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. So then, the Church can never be emasculated in any definitive sense, even though her officers may be characterized by a womanly softness and sentimentality.
Such, though, is the church of our time. About twenty years ago I heard Elisabeth Elliot Gren say, “The problem with the church today is that it’s filled with emasculated men who don’t know how to say ‘no’ to a woman.” At the time, I was floored by Elliot’s audacity, but now I realize she was guilty of understatement. Christian men today have a problem saying “no” to almost anyone—not just women. Preachers, elders, and Sunday school teachers place an overwhelming emphasis on the positive and have an almost insurmountable aversion to the negative.
In the mid-eighties, my father was asked to represent the pro-life side at a campus-wide dialogue on abortion held at the Stupe, Wheaton College’s student union. He began his presentation with the statement, “I am not here to represent the pro-life, but the anti-abortion side of this issue..."
Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
(Tim) It may be dispositional with me, but I have an intense dislike for packaging. Those clear plastic frames around little electronic components and almost everything else small and easily pilfered drive me crazy when I get home. They never surrender their product easily, and more often than not, my hand's cut before the extrication's complete.
If our president must use each State of the Union Address to pander to us, I have a suggestion. Next year, instead of a new promise to throw our great, great, great grandchildren's money at our present health care crisis, why not a simple promise that would cost us nothing? The POTUS could promise a consumer protection law requiring stores to hire big strong union men holding box cutters to stand next to cashiers, ready to disengage products from their packaging. Maybe union women could do it too, but the essential law would be that no consumer is allowed to take a product home with its packaging intact. The danger is simply too great. Are you with me?
Speaking of packaging, it helps to think of packaging when it comes to the church today--not simply the evangelical subculture, but the church as she does evangelism...
(Tim) Doubting, I tell myself that, if I were righteous, I could take comfort from this Psalm. But alas, I am not. I look at my heart and my sin overwhelms me. And yet, there is One Who is my righteousness, Whose robes are spotless and reserved for sinners who receive Him by faith. Oh how deep are the riches of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! How kind and patient is our God! Come Lord Jesus--quickly! Bring us peace.
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(A Psalm of David.) Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land, And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity...
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. - 1Timothy 5:8
In a nation where the majority of citizens claim to have "a personal relationship" or to be "living a narrative" with Jesus at the center, how is it that babies keep being murdered at a rate of 1.3 million per year? How is it that women continue to take on more positions in which, by design and intent, they exercise authority over men? How is it that the family meal has died? That what my Dad called "that huckster" now owns the center of our living room and dying room? That no one practices hospitality any more—except perhaps at restaurants or hotels? That husbands love internet sluts instead of the wife of their youth? That one fifth of our nation's women now arrive at their early forties never having given birth to a child?
Really, the older I get the more sense it makes to me that the New Testament Epistles place such constant and heavy emphasis on simple (or should I say foundational) household matters. Do we really think that killing babies, women sleeping with women and men with men, children defying their fathers, mothers abandoning their children and home for a public life, husbands loving prostitutes instead of the virtuous wife God gave them, wives refusing to submit to their husbands and taking over the leadership of the church and state, smutty plays and drama and poetry, and spoiled cats and dogs are things unknown in the world of the early Christians?
by David and Tim Bayly on September 3, 2008 - 9:53am
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
(Tim) Here at Church of the Good Shepherd we just concluded a series of seven sermons on Matthew 23. It's unlikely any of us have committed this chapter to memory. In fact, I'm betting no evangelical parachurch ministry or Sunday school publisher has ever assigned a single verse from this chapter as the memory verse for the week. Yet, God's Word being sharper than any two-edged sword, this chapter has burned itself into our unwilling consciences so every one of us knows its recurrent theme: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!"
Each week as I prepared and preached, I was assaulted by my own conscience...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 1, 2008 - 9:05am
(Tim) So why do we hate authority? Is it really that difficult to submit to our husband or father?
It struck me this morning that Jesus must have thought it important to tell His disciples what great difficulty He had submitting to His Father's will the night He was betrayed. Three times we're told "He went a little beyond" Peter, James, and John when He prayed, "My father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will."
Maybe the disciples overheard Him?
But Luke records the "little beyond" Jesus went to pray was "about a stone's throw." And Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the disciples fell asleep as Jesus prayed. So no, it's unlikely they heard Him.
Our Lord must have thought it important His disciples know of His weakness, and how He pled for the cup of God's wrath to be kept from Him. And beyond His disciples, you and I, also. Our Lord determined that we should know and be encouraged by His Own terrible struggle toward submission to His Father.
Slaves, students, congregants, children, employees, wives, presbyters, citizens--every single one of us in the place of our submission to the authority God has placed over us--our Lord Jesus was tempted in all ways like as we are, yet without sin. Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 8, 2008 - 8:21pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Mary Lee) Being a wife and mother has always meant years of thanklessness, followed by more years of babysitting grandchildren and warily anticipating a husband's retirement. Lately, it's also meant suffering the disdain of other women--even sisters in Christ--who have chosen, themselves, to have their primary orientation outside the home.
Fathers and husbands can't be too careful inoculating their daughters and wives against the envy, bitterness, and fear attendant to such vulnerabilities. Praise, love, a little G. K. Chesterton read aloud every now and then, and gifts of gratitude will go a long way to defend the weaker sex against the enemies within. And occasionally, we'll find others coming alongside to help with the work.
I'm so proud and grateful to the Lord for the women of Church of the Good Shepherd, this blog, and my own family who serve the Lord faithfully, not resenting the call of God upon their lives. Remember, it's our Lord's promise that, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the last shall be first and the first, last.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 10, 2008 - 6:00am
(Tim, w/thanks to James) "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:3-6).
by David and Tim Bayly on November 13, 2008 - 6:03am
(Tim) Since the election, I've boycotted the news, and my family will be skipping January's investiture or ordination or coronation or divination--whatever it's called. But what to think and feel? Balking at the idolatry is not faith and prayer.
Then, this morning, I read Kyriosity, the blog of our esteemed sister Valerie, and here's what she had to say...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 31, 2008 - 1:14pm
(Tim) Things are quiet here at the church-house. It's New Year's Eve and I've been doing odd jobs in between reading Christmas cards and letters that piled up the past few weeks.
Just now, I finished my second letter in a row from friends with lots of children--one family with eight and the other nine. And last night, we sat and talked through the evening with our dear friends, David and Jill Crum, who are in town to visit their six sons now living here in Bloomington. David and Jill have been blessed by God with eleven children--ten sons and one daughter.
These are happy, happy families God has used to propagate a godly seed for His Own glory. And not one of the mothers or fathers cast a longing eye at other believers who chose money, career, or status over another child. They're all poor, and they're all joyful. Trust me. (If you want to test it, send me a private e-mail and I'll put you in touch with them so you may ask them yourself.)
So here's the New Year's Resolution I'm so impertinent as to suggest, dear brothers and sisters. Why not follow these three pastors and their godly wives and dedicate this coming year to being fruitful and multiplying? To propagating a godly seed. To making love and life, both at the same time? And if you and your wife are not able to have children, take in foster children or adopt a child.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 16, 2009 - 2:17pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) You could fill railroad tank cars with the ink spilled on the issue of homosexuality and the church in the past few years. None of it would come close to addressing the subject as well as this meek and humble confession of past sin and present temptation, followed by wise pastoral exhortations. It's titled, "The Celibate Homosexual," and it was posted by Ed Pacht on his blog, POETREADER.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 22, 2009 - 5:21pm
(Tim) If you and the brothers and sisters of your church were regularly standing outside of your local abortuary, offering help to the women going in to kill their little babies, you would have days of God showing His glory and mercy like this account of today's work sent out by the the souls of Church of the Good Shepherd who keep vigil at Bloomington's killing place.
Praise God that He showed mercy on two mothers and their little ones--particularly since today was the thirty-fifth anniversary of the legalization of abortion by the United States Supreme Court who, on January 22, 2009, issued their infamously cruel ruling, Roe v. Wade.
Now, for our correspondent's report on their work this morning here in Bloomington outside Planned Parenthood, saving two babies from being murdered...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 31, 2009 - 8:22am
(Tim) Here's a report from a missionary couple I've had the pleasure of getting to know recently. I was so encouraged by their report that I thought I'd pass it on to our readers. The names of the couple and their cities have been removed to protect them, their brothers and sisters in Christ, and their Gospel work.
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Although we're learning Hebrew, (my husband and I) are able to minister in Russian here, too. There are an estimated one million Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel. They're coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers...
(Tim) Back around 1985, Dad and Mud came up for the weekend to the small town in rural Wisconsin where Mary Lee and I were serving a yoked parish of two churches affiliated with the mainline PC(USA). Some years later, we voted to transfer into the PCA and changed our name to Grace Presbyterian Church.
As it happened, that Lord's Day was Palm Sunday and I was preaching on Jesus' Triumphal Entry. During the school year, the drill was Rosedale Presbyterian Church out in the countryside first, greeting the brothers and sisters of that godly congregation prior to worship. Then, worship over and the benediction given, I'd hop in the car and get to town just in time to give the call to worship in the town church.
...but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
(Tim) Here in Bloomington, there were two sweet endings to a wonderful week among the People of God celebrating Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Let me share them with you for the building up of your faith.
First, following the service, yesterday, a young man came up to me with a smile on his face. Accompanied by a friend, he said he had a sin to confess and told me of his quite-serious dishonesty in certain academic work. Today he will tell the authorities about his sin--confess it to them--and it could well mean the end of his plans for the future. He was ashamed, but joyful. Christ died for that sin and he is forgiven. Christ rose from the grave and because He lives, we also shall live.
What a precious gift this confession of sin is. Everywhere it goes, it lays waste the pride of man and glorifies Jesus Christ. We are less and He is more. It was the perfect end to Holy Week!
But wait, there's more...
Later on in the afternoon, as the sanctuary was being cleaned up after having been packed for several hours with people feasting on ham, potatoes, and green beans, four young men who attend our public high schools asked for advice concerning how they should respond to the Day of Silence that will be taking over their schools' classrooms this coming Friday.
But first, a word of explanation.
The Day of Silence held April 19th each year is a day of student advocacy of sodomy and other sexual perversions. But of course, those who love sexual perversion never admit they love sexual perversion, nor do they demand that others love it. That would be gauche...
by David and Tim Bayly on April 15, 2009 - 11:40am
(Tim) A month or two ago during a Lord's Day sermon, I mentioned the prevalence rate of abortion in our churches and how many of us are likely to be stained by this bloodshed of innocents. My purpose was to call us to self-examination and repentance, then faith in the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ Who came, not for the righteous, but sinners. Afterward, one soul confessed to me privately that he thought he'd likely been complicit in the murder of a child of his, and he expressed deep love for the tender mercy of the Lord to him, a sinner.
This past Lord's Day, Easter 2009, Redeemer in Manhattan had a similar testimony during their worship service. Praise God that the Holy Spirit is awakening our hearts to the cries of the widows and orphans in their distress among us, and that we are responding with both repentance and faith.
(Tim) This past Lord's Day, I was strengthened to sit under the preaching of God's Word done by Lucas Weeks, one of the middler year men in our ClearNote Pastors College. Lucas' sermon was titled, "We Are a Fragrance to Christ," with the text 2Corinthians 2:12-17. Download the sermon here from the iTunes store (of course, there's no cost). Then listen to it the next time you take a walk.
(Tim) This is a transcription of a sermon given March 19,
1999, to the Lancaster Conference of the Mennonite Church. At the time, in addition to my call as pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd here in Bloomington, Indiana, I also was serving as Executive Director of the Council on Biblical Manhood
and Womanhood (CBMW). The occasion was a debate held to consider
whether or not to begin to credential women for pastoral positions in
Lancaster Conference churches. The other side of the debate was
represented by the late Dr. David Scholer, Professor of New Testament at Fuller
This is posted today, the day before Mothers Day, as an encouragement to all the godly mothers among us, daughters of Sarah who have cultivated a gentle and quiet, a submissive, spirit.
We love you and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for your faith and obedience.
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PATRIARCHY: THE CLEAR AND CONSISTENT TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE
Lancaster Mennonite Conference March 19, 1999 Rev. Tim Bayly
A Personal Note: It is good to be with you. Let me please begin with a personal note...
(Tim) We've all been through it many times, with many different families. Struggling to survive, financially, and no high salary on the pastor's conscience keeping him from asking the Lord for His provision, one of the few wealthy families the church has managed to get bonded within her fellowship becomes an increasing problem and it becomes apparent the only answer is formal discipline.
The years past are littered with informal discipline: many pastoral visits to the home, pastoral counseling sessions, post-small group exhortations from fellow believers, deacons, and elders; the wife has had the sweetest and wisest Titus 2 women go aside with her to entreat and exhort her concerning the damage her sin is causing to her own home and the Household of Faith. But all the informal, quiet, gentle ministry has been to little avail.
The family's wealth has complicated matters beyond the simple question of the church's fiscal solvency. The pastor and elders wonder--at first privately, but then openly in elders meetings when harm the family has caused others in the flock is on the agenda--how the congregation and community would be able to understand the discipline of such a beautiful and gifted and (shall we say rich?) family. No one would deny the family's generosity has been used by God to strengthen the fellowship. They have been a blessing in many ways and are loved for it. But also for who they are: hospitable, kind, loving, generous.
Of course, the wealth also has been a key contributor to their failures. There's been a bodaciousness to the sin that's seemed to have its origin in the pride of wealth. But as the private admonitions have failed to produce any substantive change, the family's wealth and resources have continued...
(Tim, thanks to James) Alright, alright; I'll say something good about Stanley Fish. Check out two posts (one and two) he recently did for the New York Times' web site in review of Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith, and Revolution. To whet your appetite, here's an excerpt from the first post...
(Tim) First, if you haven't read the sermon David preached yesterday posted just below (A Sermon for the President--and for the People of God), I commend it to you. We need sermons like this to be preached across our country until those called by God as civil magistrates lead us to return to the fear of God and mercy to the poor, helpless, sojourners in our midst, and unborn. Note particularly David's comment about our self-made bonds.
Second, we're still getting the occasional Christmas/Easter letter and I thought we'd all benefit from this statement from my dear Roman Catholic friends from Denver, John and Molly Archibold:
We have been extraordinarily blessed through joys and sorrows. (Molly)
(Tim) "...nobody is fit to preach the Gospel in a hostile world, unless his mind has been prepared for suffering. Therefore if we are to prove ourselves faithful ministers of Christ, not only must we ask Him for the spirit of knowledge and of wisdom, but also for the spirit of steadfastness and of courage, so that we may never be broken by desperate suffering, for this is the lot of the godly." - John Calvin, Acts, Vol. 1 (Torrance) pp. 266--267.
(Tim) Friends, the last two days have brought a blow to Church of the Good Shepherd and, despite the ephemeral nature of this forum, personally, I'd like to ask your prayers.
From Baylyblog comments, some of you will recognize the name, Eric Rasmusen. Monday evening, Eric and his wife, Helen, lost their second daugther, Elizabeth, as well as Eric's parents, in an automobile collision. Here's the statement Eric released...
(Tim) Tentatively, the visitation for Elizabeth Rasmusen, daughter of Eric and Helen Rasmusen, has been set for this coming Thursday, July 23rd, from 4-8 PM at Deremiah Frye Mortuary. The funeral service is likely to be Friday morning, July 24th, but neither the time nor location has yet been set.
Just now, Eric and Helen are at the visitation for Eric's father and mother, Benjamin and Marilyn Rasmusen, at the Eighner Funeral Home in Somonauc, Illinois. Services in Illinois will be held tomorrow morning at 10 AM at St. John's Lutheran Church, also in Somonauk.
Here's the obituary for Benjamin and Marilyn Rasmusen.
As it now stands, it is likely Amelia and Ben, Eric and Helen's two children also injured in the crash, will be released from the hospital tomorrow.
In behalf of Eric, Helen, and their family, I thank all of you for your love for the Lord Jesus Christ which has poured out to the comfort of the entire Rasmusen family.
(Tim) Recently, I've done some reading on the teaching of Scripture concerning children who die early in life, whether in the womb, at birth, or before the age at which they are able properly to discern the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ--to examine themselves as they come to His Table.
First, we have to admire the single-mindedness of the Roman Catholics. Although the doctrine of limbo is widely reported to be on life support at the Vatican right now (and I'm sure abortion has played a key role in bringing it into question), we can see they acted on principle in their manufacture of this dogma. (And yes, despite their efforts to deny it, this doctrine has been dogma until now.)
From conception, children are corrupted by Adam's sin; therefore children, too, need to be saved from that corruption if they are to enter Heaven; baptism washes off the corruption of original sin, saving a man; children who die in the womb are not baptized; therefore, children who die in the womb are not saved. Thus such statements as these...
(Tim) We are examining the teaching of Scripture concern matters related to the state of the souls of children of believers who die in the womb, as infants, or as very young children. And in the course of this discussion, under the first post in this series, Pastor Dave Curell made reference to Calvin’s comments on 1Corinthians 7:14. For the record, here are Calvin’s comments pertinent to this discussion. There’s a reason Calvin is widely recognized as the prince of exegetes. No one comes close to his precision and judicious restraint in explaining Scripture.
After Calvin's comments, we'll pick up our theme as it is opened up by God's Covenant promises and work.
First, then, the text, followed by Calvin's explanation.
And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.(1Corinthians 7:13, 14)
Verse 14: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified."
Paul therefore declares here, that marriage is, nevertheless, sacred and pure, and that we must not be apprehensive of contagion, as if the wife would contaminate the husband....
(Tim) Our spam filter has been acting up again causing legitimate comments to be thrown into a spam bin where, in thirty days, they die if David or I don't go in and browse the smut to see if there's some treasure. You can imagine that browsing the smut is, for us, not something we want to do. So that, combined with time constraints, means we are late to find those treasures. And that means when we do find the treasures and post them, often they're so late to the queue that they don't show up on the "Recent Comments" column of the blog's main page. So, you'd have to be reading old comments for the fun of it to find them.
Sad state of affairs, isn't it?
All this to point your attention to a couple comments you don't want to miss, both toward the bottom of the page. One is by Eric Rasmusen who, grieving the loss of his parents and nine-year-old daughter, Lizzie, last month, wrestles with the question of Scripture's teaching on the eternal destiny of children of believers...
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
(Tim) Ministering in a university community clarifies the real faith of Christians. If the altar we place our money and children on indicates anything, our help is in education, degrees, and the Academy--not the Name of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also."
Before she walks across the platform, we (along with taxpayers and rich donors) will have spent enough on our daughter's college degree to go a long way toward buying her a nice starter home. Unite two of our children in holy matrimony and the total spent on both of them for their undergrad and graduate degrees quite often exceeds $100,000. One couple from our church had a combined total of $450,000 in undergrad and graduate loans (admittedly, the highest I've come across), and another couple my wife and I were talking with this past week had $160,000 (quite normal).
Soon after entering the ministry, I was listening to one of those endless discussions concerning denominational identity we've all sat through, and I remember hearing a mainline PC(USA) leader adamantly state that the reason for the existence of Presbyterianism was...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 13, 2009 - 7:30am
(Tim) This is a sermon manuscript--not a transcript--and thus differs substantially from the sermon itself.
From the Pulpit of Church of the Good Shepherd (Service held at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church)
Funeral Service for Elizabeth Rasmusen held July 24, 2009 at 10:00 AM
My Little Daughter Is Dying Mark 5:21-24; 35-43
(Preliminary comments on the frequency of death of children in Colonial America, followed by excerpts from prayer requests taken from the flip sides of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon manuscripts.)
Professor Stephen Stein, a retired faculty member here at Indiana University, read the flip sides of hundreds of the scraps of paper on which Jonathan Edwards wrote his sermons. At the time, paper was a valuable commodity and Edwards recycled the pieces of paper given him by his parishioners containing their prayer requests each Lord’s Day, later writing his sermons on them. Professor Stein published an article outlining the content of those requests and they're instructive for us today, on this occasion of the death of little Lizzie Rasmusen. Listen as I read you a few excerpts of these requests and see if there is anything for us to learn from souls who have gone before us...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 24, 2009 - 9:51am
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will... (Eph. 1:5)
(Tim) Since their return from Ethiopia where they spent two weeks, starting May 17, and picked up their son, Joseph and Heidi have been learning to be father and mother. Recently, they returned from a trip to Sawyer, Michigan and Pardeeville, Wisconsin, where they spent time with the Taylor and Staveness/Healy clans, respectively. All of us here in Bloomington have been rejoicing at God's kindness to Joseph and Heidi (and the rest of us) in giving them this wonderful child to raise as a Covenant child. What a joy he is to us!
by David and Tim Bayly on August 29, 2009 - 12:49pm
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children (Genesis 3:16a)
(Tim) One mother who recently gave birth to her first child wrote this meditation on the pain of childbirth, woman's curse from our Heavenly Father. Thank God for this mother and every other woman who is not ashamed of her sex, but gives herself to it as an act of faith and courage. How I love and praise God for these women that surround us as we do the work of husbandry in the home, church, and public square! "The woman is the glory of man."
* * *
Thank you ______ for this testimony of motherhood... I had similar thoughts of the "pain in childbirth" part of the curse until this past year.
Even after I realized that the whole pregnancy was included in "childbirth," I think I still thought that once I got through labor and delivery, I would be done with the pain of childbearing. Almost every day, I realize how wrong that is, but I started to learn that lesson in my first days after delivery...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 3, 2009 - 11:18am
A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (Isaiah 40:6-11)
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) One young couple gave birth to their son. They held him and cooed over him and loved him and prayed for him and sang hymns to him until, two hours later, he died. They allowed their pastor to hold their son, too. The beautiful nurses dressed the couple's son in miniature baby clothes they themselves had knit for this and every one of their babies. This was their life--they spent each day in their metro-area preemie unit serving their babies and their babies' mom and dad as they fought, then gave in to death.
After two hours of love, their son died. Mom and Dad asked their pastor to take their son to the funeral home. The pastor took him in his arms. He was dressed in the nurses' homemade clothes and wrapped in a warm blue blanket. Down the stairs and out to the car.
The pastor laid him on the passenger's seat for the twenty-minute drive to the funeral home and wondered at the beauty of these nurses...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 4, 2009 - 5:37am
(Tim) You may remember our Heavenly Father's kindness, giving us the safe delivery of Chris and Michelle Holmes' twins, Anne-Claire and Elise, I wrote about back on May 26th. Since then, the little girls have been doing very well, but today Elise went into Riley's Children's Hospital with breathing problems and a spot on her brain that may indicate she had a stroke. They've put her on a ventilator and I ask you to join us in prayer for little Elise and her family.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 25, 2009 - 6:17am
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) For Baylyblog readers, this from Touchstone's Tony Esolen is well worth the five minutes it will take. Praise God for men and women who love God's Word and Truth, leading us back to the innocence and joy of the Garden!