(Tim, from Compass Direct News) On May 31, house church leader Mohsen Namvar was arrested by eight police officers in his home in Tehran, Iran. According to Compass Direct News, "The officers confiscated a number of Namvar's personal belongings including his computer, printer, CDs, books and money. He was given no official explanation for the arrest, and his current location is unknown." Compass Direct added, "According to an Iranian pastor residing outside the country, Namvar had anticipated that police would come for him since hearing that he had been implicated during police interrogations of Christians in the city of Amol in April. He had been warned by a friend that authorities were keeping him under close watch. Namvar was previously held and tortured for baptizing Muslim converts to Christianity in the spring of 2007." Pray for Namvar's release. Pray that he will act as a faithful witness for Christ during his detention. Pray that his wife and children will rely on the Lord for comfort and strength.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 27, 2008 - 10:24am
(Tim, w/thanks to Ruth) As a reminder why many boycotted these Olympics, read about the suffering of our brother in Christ, Pastor Zhang "Bike" Mingxuan, here. Then sign the petition for his release. But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.
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.
(Thanks to James) On this Election Day, here's an artifact of history from the editors of Touchstone, a Christian magazine I subscribe to and recommend. Originally run in 2003, this editorial is more pertinent today than it was five years ago. If you read nothing else, be sure to read the last two paragraphs...
Practical atheism revisited
Last week I came upon an editorial I wrote during the 2003 political season which seems to me even more applicable now. Today I would add that whatever one thinks about Senator Obama's plans for using government power to take money from those who have more of it and give it to those who have less, the social control which must be gained to make such things come to pass has never boded well for Christians in the countries where it has happened. The Gentiles, even--or perhaps especially--the religious ones, have not changed their opinions about people who regard them as morally unclean, nor will they fail to punish them for it when they gain sufficient power. What concerns them, I believe, is not so much that the poor be enriched, but that the middle classes be brought as low as possible by confiscation of their ethically significant wealth...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 12, 2008 - 9:55am
(Tim, w/thanks to Brian) The Christian Law Association reports: "For years Crestwood Baptist Church has unashamedly declared the Gospel of Christ and the Word of God through the display of Scripture on the marquee in front of their church. Tragically, this common practice for churches has now come under attack.
In the days leading up to
the Presidential election, Crestwood Baptist Church displayed
Proverbs 29:2, '...when the wicked beareth rule, the
people mourn,' on their marquee...
"Nearly a week after the
election, while jogging past the marquee, a nationally
syndicated news reporter took notice of the verse, erroneously assumed
it was the church’s attempt to slander a particular candidate, and
reported his biased opinion on CNN news.
This unmerited report
sparked animosity towards Crestwood and its pastor, Phil Edge, who
have received numerous emails and phone calls demanding an explanation
for his alleged attack on the results of this recent Presidential
A couple comments: First, confessing Christians must play hardball to protect our nation's First Amendment rights. We'll lose, but we must go down fighting. We don't live in the Roman Empire; it's our Constitution and we are its stewards.
So, for instance, the actions of the IRS in the past decade have been egregious governmental intrusions into the work of the church. Our government has been rattling its saber
by David and Tim Bayly on November 27, 2008 - 8:05am
(Tim) On Facebook, a friend and former CGSer has been discussing sodomy, marriage, divorce and the civil law with several friends who have said things like: "semantics is a cheap reason to deny a minority their civil rights. None
of the many gay folk I know agree with the "semantics justification"
for denial of marriage. Also, such a social mandate (YOU live by OUR
rules) has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ--and
everything to do with the teachings of the Pharisees."
Wanting to say a couple things, I pointed the conversationalists to this page and here's my own contribution to their dialog. Sorry I haven't linked things, but I wanted to get this up before all our guests arrive for Thanksgiving Dinner. If any of you want to add links, just post them in the comments.
* * *
Sam, Scripture isn't just dogma; it's narrative. Descriptive isn't necessarily prescriptive. It can be, but with divorce, incest, polygamy, concubinage, etc. Scripture reveals both where it was that every culture got marriage and also the laws to which God bound all sexual intimacy.
So, for instance, when Jesus was asked a question similar to yours (but this one concerning divorce), He responded saying it wasn't that way from the beginning (Creation) and that God made male and female for each other for life with the two becoming one--not three, four, or a thousand (Matthew 19:3 ff.). So there's no inconsistency between the Old and New Testaments on this matter. The two, male and female, shall become one until, by God's decree, death parts us. (My dear wife and I are on our thirty-third year, now, and still chugging away in harmony and love, praise God!)
All Christians through all time have always spoken this truth...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 12, 2008 - 1:30pm
(Tim) If pornography is the drug our government uses to keep men passive, gun control leaves us compliant. Imagine the Revolutionary War with only Redcoats allowed to own muskets and you get the idea. And this from a man whose parents forbid him to play with guns, who registered for the draft as a conscientious objector, and who's never owned a gun. Actually, no gun except a potato gun I made out of PVC a few years ago.
So yes, I'm in favor of defending the Second Amendment against the relentless attacks it suffers. In defense of that amendment, here's an anouncement just received from Fran Griffin, the wonderful woman who administers Joe Sobran's e-publications. Let's all buy the book:
Here's an exciting way to help derail the anti-Second Amendment forces in Washington: A Second Amendment Book Bomb on December 15, Bill of Rights Day.
If a huge number of people buy the book on the same day, this could catapult it to best seller status, which would stun the Obama camp. Obama claimed to support the Second Amendment during his campaign so he wouldn't lose blue collar Democrats, but he is really very much opposed to it.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 20, 2009 - 5:19am
(Tim; this from and by Rev. David Wegener of Ndola, Zambia)
* * * This is an open letter from an American Reformed Christian living in Africa to my African Christian friends on the occasion of the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the U.S.A.
20 January 2009
Dear African Christian Brother:
I would ask you to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ in the church in America, particularly for those who believe in the complete truthfulness of Scripture.
I’ve just begun a new term at the college and one of the courses I teach is a survey of church history. Last week we learned about Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, who was asked to curse Christ or die. The old man replied, “for 86 years I have served Him and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” Minutes after making this good confession he was burned alive... We also read about Blandina, a slave girl who endured indescribable tortures before being killed for her faith. In a few weeks we’ll study Athanasius, who was exiled from his pastorate five times because of his faith in our triune God and his willingness to stand alone against the world for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2009 - 2:54pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Brian) Although it makes me uncomfortable seeing national sovereignty lose to the New One World Order, praise God for this victory for religious freedom in Bulgaria won in the European Court of Human Rights by an attorney allied with the Alliance Defense Fund. If you have never supported the Alliance Defense Fund and you're able, please do so...
(Tim) The joys of serving Church of the Good Shepherd are all around me, day by day, and my heart is constantly thankful to God for this privilege. Just one of my recent joys was reading the following statement written by several of our high school students a week and a half ago in anticipation of being ready to respond to the pro homosexual immorality Day of Silence held at our two public high schools each year on April 17th (last Friday):
Silence Can’t Hide the Truth
Although people attempt to write
off sodomy as merely a lifestyle choice, it is in fact morally wrong.
Arguments to the contrary could go on forever, but the conscience and
the Word of God give indisputable evidence that it is sin.
this fact, many believe that they can continue in this sin without any
form of judgment, and try in every way to gain equal approval from
others. However, even if all voices were to cease speaking out against
homosexuality, in the coming judgment no one will be able to escape or
to justify himself.
While this may seem cruel and heartless, as
there are none who are perfect, God has given us a way to escape from
our sin and be saved from the coming judgment...
(Tim, w/thanks to James) Please listen to Wake Up Sleeper (the title cut) and Where Are the Persecuted? as you read this post.
At Church of the Good Shepherd, we work to raise our children and disciple new believers in expectation of growing persecution. Calvin says times of peace are not to be used getting fat, but to prepare for the next battle already on the horizon and closing on us quickly.
This is our goal at CGS and it informs our preaching, Bible study, childrearing, reading, and worship. It's these last two things I want to focus on in this post--worship and reading. First then, worship; and within worship, the themes and instrumentation of our music.
STEP NUMBER ONE: MUSIC
In our age of feminized discourse and cheap grace, Church of the Good Shepherd makes a conscious effort to restore the biblical themes of persecution, conflict, suffering, Satan, death, the coming Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.
Have you noticed these themes are absent from reformed worship today? And beyond absent, they're anathema to woman deacon/Emergelical churches where everyone has an iPhone, evangelism happens in the art gallery, sermons are eloquent discourses on the many faces of narcissism, and women administer the Lord's Supper.
Living in such a decadent age, we're working to restore them--particularly to the music of our worship.
Next to one of the world's largest music schools, Church of the Good Shepherd is a congregation filled with musicians and composers, most of them classical...
(Tim) We're looking forward to hosting a number of you for the first annual ClearNote Fellowship conference, Standing in the Gap, to be held here in Bloomington two weeks from now, July 10-12. If you haven't done it yet, please register now and we'll look forward to meeting you and your children.
Online registration is available. And here's a PDF of the conference brochure for you to download. Message titles include, Who Will Stand?; Fight or Flight--True or False Contextualization; Cheap Grace; and Worship Wars.
plan a refreshing time of fellowship, teaching, food, and worship. The whole family is welcome--we'll be child-friendly but we'll also provide childcare.
I hope you'll register now and join with us for the weekend.
If you'd like more information, please e-mail (Mrs.) Ali Trout at churchoffice at shepherdchurch dot com.
Or, give her a call, Tuesday through Friday, at (812) 825-2684.
(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, w/thanks to David W.) The people of these United States haven't learned it well yet, but whilte the state is a worthy servant, it's a cruel master. And when it murders, it hides its victims and claims its only motivation is the people's welfare. So note carefully that, while the unborn and newborn die here, it's Christians who are dying in North Korea. You can't help but think of the Roman Empire reading these words from the BBC:
Human rights groups in South Korea say North Korea has stepped up executions of Christians, some of them in public. The communist country, the world's most closed society, views religion as a major threat.
Only the founder of the country, Kim Il-sung, and his son, Kim Jong-il, may be worshipped, in mass public displays of fervour.
Let us remember our brothers and sisters in prayer.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 29, 2009 - 5:44am
(Tim, w/thanks to Mark C.) If the truth that God hates divorce is not enough for you, here's something that may stiffen your resolve. A ten-year-old home schooled girl whose parents are divorced has been ordered to go to government school and the order has been approved by Judge Lucinda V. Sadler for this reason: "(the child's) vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view." Of course, her "religious beliefs" considered by the court to be a threat to her well-being are Christian.
Why are the courts making this decision about a ten-year-old girl?
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2009 - 11:26am
(Tim, w/thanks to David T.) Sixty-three year old James Pouillon had long been active opposing the slaughter of unborn children. This morning he was martyred for his witness as he stood outside Owosso
High School ninety miles
northwest of Detroit. He frequently could be seen there holding large pictures of dismembered children. His murderer indicated Mr. Pouillon's pictures and witness made him mad.
Let us pray for Mr. Pouillon's family, loved ones, his murderer, and someone to step into Mr. Pouillon's shoes outside Owosso High School now that he's gone.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 29, 2009 - 6:25am
(Tim, w/thanks to Mark) Lest there be any doubt in the
matter, I'm absolutely opposed to any expansion of the authority and
power of our national government in the lives of citizens of our united
states. And this is particularly true with regard to what is being
referred to as national healthcare. The national healthcare we need is
CPR for the Tenth Amendment--not President Barack Obama forcing
believers in Jesus Christ to send our taxes to him so he can pay for
someone else's daughter to slaughter her unborn child or intimidate someone else's
son into pulling the plug on his aging mother.
If you want to read the
definitive work on national healthcare and where it will lead us...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 14, 2009 - 1:55pm
(Tim, w/thanks to David L.) On the occasion of another thematic Bible, this one titled The American Patriot's Bible...
Recently, I've been explaining to younger believers that we must beware the idolatry of the state--particularly now when so many are crying out for Washington D.C. to heal them. We're well on our way to granting the civil magistrate unlimited authority and the consequences for followers of Jesus Christ will be catastrophic.
Thunderheads are gathering on the horizon and those who don't see them must not want to.
Here's a sampling of current cases where religious liberty is under attack. And note, these stories are all from this past week.
First, the Roman Catholic church is threatening to pull out of diaconal work in the District of Columbia rather than submit to the District of Columbia requiring them...
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!
by David and Tim Bayly on December 12, 2009 - 10:02am
(Tim, w/thanks to a brother) Wondering if and where there are violations of the First Amendment in these United States? Look no further. Here's an entirely believable account of the method used to bar Roman Catholic attorney Bryan Brown from practicing law in the state of Indiana. If even partially true, this is a sordid tale. But I'm betting it's all true being quite similar to accounts I've heard privately of intimidation and persecution for the Faith.
Seeking to evaluate Brown's psychological fitness, representatives of the Indiana Supreme Court asked him these questions:
Do you believe that you should be punished
for your sins?
by David and Tim Bayly on January 23, 2010 - 8:23am
(Tim) This excellent exhortation to church planters and other pastors by son Joseph was just posted on the ClearNote Fellowship Blog. With his wife, Heidi, Joseph is planting a church in Indianapolis and I commend the work to our readers if they know residents of Indy looking for a church home. For more information, please e-mail Joseph.
* * *
Currently, my wife and I are reading out loud together volume one of
Iain Murray’s two-volume biography of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First Forty Years 1899-1939 (v. 1). (By the way, reading out loud is an excellent way to pass the time, but more about that another day.)
Whenever I read history, I find myself wondering at my own
stupidity... It's truly amazing I so easily forget the
truth of God’s declaration through King Solomon that “there is nothing
new under the sun.” But I always do, and this is why it's so
important to read history. Whenever I read about the past, I find that
it's just like the present. Only today we’re so conceited we
honestly think we’re the first ones to…
by David and Tim Bayly on February 6, 2010 - 9:40am
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man….
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
(Tim, w/thanks to many) Like Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, Jim Dobson's breakout book, Dare to Discipline, was rejected by many publishers before one gave it a try--in Dobson's case, my father-in-law's Tyndale House Publishers. Later, Dad Taylor gave money to Jim to do a radio show, and the rest is history.
I am not ashamed of Dr. James Dobson. Rather, I've long expressed my deep gratitude for Jim's work on the air and in print. Few men have contributed so much Biblical instruction to my flocks. When the history of the late twentieth century is written, it will become clear Jim was one of the most courageous warriors for truth and mercy and justice in these United States.
You may have noticed on this blog that I've never mentioned the name of that publication in Wheaton calling itself Christianity Today. One reason is their sotto voce attacks on Jim Dobson. Among Wheaton's detelligentsia, it's hip to smirk when Dobson's name comes up, and CT has taken its cue and place among the pea-shooters.
This has been very discouraging for Jim; it's hurt him, his wife Shirley, and their children.
I can hear the exclamations: "Hello! How does Tim Keller feel about your criticism, dude? Something about the splinter and the log!"
by David and Tim Bayly on February 13, 2010 - 11:55am
(Tim) This piece ran in Eternity magazine back in June of 1984, in Dad's (Joe Bayly's) monthly column, "Out of My Mind." The sin of indifference Dad was condemning is the sin of reformed pastors and elders today. Some of us hide behind missional concerns and talk of contextualization; others behind talk of the spirituality of the Church; others two kingdom theology; others redemptive historical preaching; and there are those who make no effort at all to hide it. If nothing else, readers may understand David and I haven't fallen far from the tree. Dad was ordained to the Gospel ministry.
I should add that, when he wrote this, Dad had just served several years as Executive Director of Christian Medical Society, the national professional association of physicians with evangelical doctrinal commitments.
* * *
Our Reich of Indifference
"We castigate the apathy of Christians in Nazi
Germany-and ignore our own silence on today's holocaust of abortion..."
There is a sin of indifference. It is the sin that binds evangelicals
as the Lilliputians bound Gulliver, preventing us from exercising the
influence that God has given us in these years-years that are destined
to come to an end and may never be repeated.
To me, the outstanding example of indifference is in our reaction to
the great sin of abortion that is the shame of our nation...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 20, 2010 - 6:38am
(Tim) About forty years ago, Dad published this article in his "Out of My Mind" column in Eternity. It's helpful to the godly trying to make sense of the 2-kingdom men in our midst. Where and how ought we to stand as we watch the oppression, not of negro slaves but unborn babies, today.
No generation of so-called Christians has ever lacked for careful theological distinctions that allow us to feel self-righteous in our cold silence towards the widow and orphan God commands us to love; to feel perfectly justified in looking the other way when we drive past the baby slaughterhouse on South College Avenue; to condemn others who engage in what we love to refer to as "the culture war" while we sleep well at night after leaving the drunk on the sidewalk outside our front door.
Titles and subtitles are precisely Dad's when the article first ran back in May of 1971, the month I graduated from high school...
I've previously said that advocates of a radical two-kingdom theology apparently see no limits to state authority over Christians and the Church in the civil sphere. Their second kingdom, the kingdom of man, rules with absolute authority over both. Moreover, when the Church seeks to apply God's Word to the civil sphere it is violating not merely civil authority but the will of God who grants civil authority its power. The only check God permits upon civil authority is natural law; applying God's Law to civil authority is denying the legitimacy of that authority.
Thus, the Church is to be silent before the world on the major cultural sins of our day. It should be as silent on abortion today as it ought to have been on prohibition in the early twentieth century--and believe me, as Darryl Hart has made clear in numerouscomments on this blog, the two are closely related social ills in his two-kingdom view. The Church may speak to Christians about such matters but not to the world. Before the world the Church speaks only of Christ, not of God's Law.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 21, 2010 - 1:15pm
(Tim) Speaking of Shiphrah and Puah, here's Calvin on the godliness of these Hebrew midwives in rebelling against the unspeakable wickedness of Pharaoh demanding the slaughter of Hebrews' infants. It's clear Calvin would not be a 2-K man, today. TODAY.
* * *
Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” (Exodus 1:15-16).
The tyrant now descends from the open violence and cruelty which had availed nothing, to secret plots and deceit. He desires the infants to be killed at their birth; and commands the midwives to be the instruments of this dreadful barbarity.
We read of no such detestable example of inhumanity since the world began...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 22, 2010 - 5:10am
(Tim, w/thanks to Alan) Now that it's safe, movies are made and books written about the men and women who feared God and took action to save the lives of Jews during the Third Reich. Corrie ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer are the best-known in evangelical circles. Oskar Schindler was the inspiration behind Steven Spielberg's Academy Awards Best Picture, Schindler's List. Too, there's the relentless (and unjustified) attack on Pope Pius XII for his purported failure to defend the Jews.
But back when Hitler was still in power and the Jews were still being slaughtered, who then was making movies about Corrie ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer?
No one. Our Lord made it clear prophets don't get garlands until they're dead and buried.
And while, elsewhere on this blog, the debate rages over whether any pastoral prayer should include a petition that God our Father would cause our civil magistrates to repent of their hatred of justice and mercy and bring an end to the slaughter of untold millions of unborn babies they have presided over, there are a few heroes at work in our cities today...
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way" (Luke 6:26)
"Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name" (Matthew 24:9).
Taking the measure of how Wheaton's Department of Education will implement their Teacher Education Program Conceptual Framework and what kind of Christian witness it would allow Wheaton students to have and still be certified requires seeing the increasingly narrow constraints applied through these three "goals/outcomes related to social justice" spelled out on page four.
The first outcome required of the students is that they "work effectively with all children and their families regardless of race, creed, religion, national origin, sexual preference, disabling condition, or capabilities." As Professor Rasmusen said under an earlier post, as long as "work effectively" is fairly defined and doesn't exclude the diversity of orthodox Christian thought and speech related, for instance, to sodomy and sodomites, we have no problem.
But anyone half alive in these United States today knows how "work effectively" is likely to be defined. As I said to George Marsden years ago when he was busy arguing that Christians should also have a place at the table (of the modern university), if they give us our place and we open our mouths about the slaughter of the unborn children all around us; or if we utter a single word about Adam being created first, and then Eve; we'll be removed. In a heartbeat, our place will vanish. Poof! It's gone.
So we move on to the second "goal/outcome related to social justice" required of students. They are "to ensure that diversity is respected and that candidates have the opportunity to work in diverse environments and with diverse colleagues and teachers." Now we begin to see how "work effectively" is defined by Wheaton's profs as they evaluate their students. The above diversities must be "respected." Of course we respect different races and national origins and disabling conditions and capabilities. No problem.
But would a student be "respecting" the diversity of sodomy or Islam if he presented a loving and graceful and merciful and cogent and truthful witness against it? If he taught the true history of expansion by Jihad...
(Tim: this is second in a series, with the first, here) It's in vogue for preachers to cop a posture of humility, today, but it’s almost always a counterfeit humility. While claiming to be speaking for God, they deny the
very authority of God and His Word that forms the only foundation they can
stand on when they say, “Thus says the Lord.”
Jonathan Edwards, the best-known preacher of the Great Awakening in Colonial
America, points to the difference between true and false
A truly humble man is inflexible in nothing but in the cause
of his Lord and Master, which is the cause of truth and virtue. In this he is
inflexible, because God and conscience require it. But in things of lesser
moment, and which do not involve his principles as a follower of Christ, and in
things that only concern his own private interests, he is apt to yield to
There are various imitations of (humility) that fall short of
the reality. Some put on an affected humility. Others have a natural
low-spiritedness, and are wanting in manliness of character. …In others, there
is a counterfeit kind of humility, wrought by the delusions of Satan: and all
of these may be mistaken for true humility. 
by David and Tim Bayly on March 30, 2010 - 12:25pm
(Tim) Ten years ago, I read this column by Joe Sobran. Joe's declaration of faith gave me joy, but what struck me, particularly, was this statement:
Great as Shakespeare is, I never lose sleep over anything he said. He
leaves my conscience alone.
Still today, I find myself wondering whether what's lacking in
Shakespeare is not also lacking in my own preaching? Do God's sheep leave my proclamation of the Word of God each Lord's Day
morning with easy consciences? Is their sleep always peaceful? If so,
what an unfaithful minister of the Gospel I am.
Then we hit Sobran's promotion of the Roman Catholic error of transubstantiation. If you think it scandalous that I'd give any space to Sobran's defense of transubstantiation, never fear. Think about this.
Jesus didn't say, "this wine which is poured out for you," "this wine is the new covenant in my blood," or "for as often as you eat this bread and drink this wine...."
Rather, He said:
“This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:20b). And the Apostle Paul said, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:25-28).
Reformed Protestants have no need to fear the Roman Catholic dogma of transubstantiation. If their claim to hold to the literal meaning of these texts were true, it wouldn't be the wine, but the cup that becomes our Lord's blood. Have you ever tried to drink a cup?
They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. -Mark 1:21, 22
(Tim: this is third in an ongoing series, with the first here and the second here) Whether in classroom discussions, the dorm late at night, our accountant’s office, or coffee with a neighbor, the believer is hard pressed on all sides to give up truth. The radical relativism that permeates our world is absolutely antithetical to Scripture. Those seeking to preach Scripture faithfully will immediately face the world's dogmatic declaration that there is no truth--only stories, perspectives, and narratives; only my truth and your truth.
The intensity of the opposition we face is directly related to our faithfulness in preaching God’s Word with a form of delivery and content that is contextualized to the end that it appears radically authoritative to those acclimated to an effeminate relativism. Or, to put it another way, in our world one way to judge whether of not a preacher is a faithful servant of God is whether he is accused of arrogance. A faithful man will employ a method and content that bears witness to his faith that he is not communicating the words of men, but of God. With Calvin, he will declare that preaching is the Word of God. And the world has no way of understanding such declarations as anything but an arrogance that's sick and pathetic.
My wife and I were out for dinner one night. As we prepared to leave, we struck up a conversation with another couple at an adjoining table. In their mid-seventies, both were strikingly tall and dignified. During the preliminary small talk, we learned they had been married fifteen years, were from the Pacific Northwest, had several children from previous marriages, and he'd spent fifty years working as a computer programmer.
Our deeper conversation started with the woman exclaiming over the beauty of the ocean. She had learned I was a pastor and, trying to relate to us on a spiritual level, she told us how the sea gave her permission to commune with God as “she” rather than “he...”
(Tim, w/thanks to David L.) If you find yourself wondering why Tim Keller would go through such machinations of equivocation at the Columbia University Q&A session when he was asked whether sodomy is a sin and whether a man could be condemned to Hell for it, here's an article telling of the arrest of street preacher Dale Mcalpine on charges of hooliganism for not equivocating on the subject.
One of our correspondents under this prior Keller post stated that he didn't believe Keller was afraid to speak the truth about sodomy, but only that he had forgotten that truth.
Doesn't it seem like it would be mighty difficult to forget one of God's most basic moral laws when the whole world has that specific law in its sights and is blazing away? Tim Keller's simply forgotten what the Word of God says about sodomy? Really?
Today, the world has judged that anyone condemning sodomy and sodomites has committed a heinous crime against humanity for which he will receive his reward. It may be arrest. It may only be a civil suit. It may be the loss of friendships. It may be a rejection for tenure...
Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions, So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans.
Now what will you do in the day of punishment, And in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives Or fall among the slain. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out. (Isaiah 10:1-4)
(Tim: This by Brian Bailey, an attorney and elder here at Church of the Good Shepherd) On October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Congress tacked
the hate crimes act onto the tail end of an already 646-page, $686 billion Department
of Defense bill.
Ahate crimes racket?
What is a federal
hate crime? “[W]hoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any
circumstance described in subparagraph (B) or paragraph (3), willfully causes
bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous
weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury
to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin,
gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person”
commits a federal hate crime.
We can breathe a sigh of relief. We don’t plan to cause
homosexuals or cross-dressers “bodily injury,” and thus the statute could not
possibly apply to us. But . . . why this nagging doubt about the reach of the
hate crime act?
(Tim: Over on ClearNote Blog, son Joseph writes:) Just today I heard that Riley Children's Hospital here in Indianapolis
has signs up stating that the entire hospital is a "No Hit Zone". They
are big banner signs, small tripod signs, and everything in between.
Apparently they have been up since at least November. Here is an
example... Each time I hear people discussing discipline or talk to somebody about
it, I feel the pressure build... (continue reading...)
(Tim, w/thanks to Bob P.; this happened a year ago, but I'd not heard of it) Reformed isolationists like to think the barbarians sacking the West will leave them alone if they keep church and state separate and don't go meddling in public morality. But it's a Faustian bargain. There never has been such a thing as separation of church and state, and never will be. Presently, Christians believe the push for pluralism and diversity and tolerance is sincere and will protect the people of God in our private judgments and ministries and worship, but it won't...
(In September of 2008, preaching in the midst of a raging controversy
over racism that was dividing his own congregation) Pastor Bulkeley condemned the
neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, saying its leader taught
that Nazism was the "racial order" of God and that Jews should be
eliminated. "This teaching was evil," Bulkeley told his congregation.
"It is heretical. It is from the pit of hell and it's a direct offense
against the gospel. There should be no mistake about that. It is
completely contrary to everything the Bible teaches."
(Tim, w/thanks to Joel B.) Here's an article and sidebar from the Summer 2010 issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report telling the story of good church discipline carried out in Friendship Presbyterian Church outside Asheville, North Carolina. The discipline ended up also being adjudicated by the congregation's appellate court, Western Carolina Presbytery (PCA). (And if you don't understand why I'd refer to a PCA presbytery as an appellate court, read Brother David's superb commentary on the state of the PCA post-General Assembly union, here.)
Racism was the sin, and thus the Southern Poverty Law Center this one time stood on the side of the angels. Both the article and the sidebar attempt to provide some of the historic context for the battle against racism throughout the history of the PCA--very much a southern denomination with its roots deeply embedded in "The Recent Unpleasantness."
These articles have both the weaknesses and strengths of their origin outside the PCA. I hope you'll take the time to read them.
First, though, one prefatory remark. Dealing with abortion or racism or feminism is a bloody work...
(Tim) So, speaking only personally, I have a friend fired from the faculty of Greenville College (a small Christian liberal arts college in Southern Illinois where three of my in-laws attended), for defending Christian orthodoxy; another friend denied the Ph.D. by Harvard because his thesis defended Christian orthodoxy; another friend ejected from his Ph.D. program in the history department at UW-Madison (my own alma mater and major department) because of his commitment to Christian orthodoxy; another friend terminated from Covenant College who found the atmosphere there stifling to Reformed orthodoxy; another friend disciplined and publicly humiliated by the Vice Chancellor in the Faculty Council (on which he sat) for holding to Christian orthodoxy (see here, here, and here); and now, another friend has been terminated...
(Tim) Steve Hutchens is a senior editor at Touchstone magazine (join me in subscribing), and I've long had a deep appreciation for his Biblical wisdom. For instance, each time one of our good readers makes a public demonstration of his cluelessness by declaring, "sex has nothing to do with worship," I remember this superb critique of evangelical worship that Hutchens published back in 2004. If you've never read it, you must. Trust me.
Anyhow, earlier this week I was privy to an e-mail exchange between Hutchens and a mutual friend. Steve's graciously allowed me to post his response here.
* ** *
There was a time when I would have scoffed at the idea that in the United States one could be hauled up before a judge for expressing a difference in philosophical or religious opinion. But the world is changing, and those who wish to make the expression of Christian opinions a hate crime, or otherwise punishable by law, are gaining the political power to do it...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 21, 2010 - 6:18pm
(Tim) Responding to a couple Baylyblog posts on Rad2K, another Reformed blogger points to one Rad2K man who has written a book on "ethics" in which he dealt with abortion and euthanasia, listing it as proof-positive that our concerns are wrong. As he puts it: "Here's a link to (one rad2K man's) book on medical ethics where he condemns abortion and euthanasia (something 'radical' 2K people are supposedly not interested in doing)."
Of course it would be hard for any Reformed man to write a book on medical ethics in which he didn't condemn abortion and euthanasia. Every Evangelical has to pay lip service to being "pro-life." It's pro forma--kind of like being against pornography and for abstinence. People would be scandalized if he hadn't condemned abortion and euthanasia.
Consider: men of God can be opposed to a whole bunch of stuff without running the risk of becoming a stench in the eyes of Pharaoh or their next door neighbor. The problem is our living wihout public protest in the midst of a sea of blood, our refusing to serve as the pillar and foundation of God's truth, our refusing to carry light into darkness, to rescue those being led to slaughter, to live in compassion for widows and orphans, to call out mothers and fathers for sacrificing their children to Molech. In short, we're not salty.
But really, this error is just normal mainstream Evangelicalism...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 8, 2010 - 8:55am
(Tim) David Canfield forwarded this news piece about the Vatican working to stem the tide of Christian refugees flowing from the Middle East, adding this comment: "It's interesting that the US sought to re-introduce political freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, but did virtually nothing to secure religious freedom in those places. Considering that the US was first settled primarily by men and women seeking religious freedom, it would seem that we are abandoning our very roots by trying to promote the one without the other."
by David and Tim Bayly on November 10, 2010 - 7:00am
(Tim, w/thanks to a brother) Over and over, I warn Christian fathers and mothers that each community's child protective services pose a terrible threat to our covenant children. Since twenty-five years ago when we lived in rural Wisconsin and a dear godly pastor and his wife had their son kidnapped by the state, to the past few years when our church and family have had the state threaten four of our families with the loss of their children, it's only becoming more clear each year that the state is not content to have our children in their schools to be indoctrinated from age five through eighteen. They will come after our children at home, also, and kidnap them from their father and mother after getting one anonymous phone call from a malicious neighbor, an officious nurse, a jealous lesbian, or a practicing witch who hates Christ and is delighted to torment his sons and daughters at the place of their greatest vulnerability.
We must do everything possible to oppose this growing threat to our precious children and grandchildren. Remember C. S. Lewis' warning that they'll tell us we can have our religion in private and then make sure we're never alone.
The suffering of children growing up in homes where they are the objects of physical and sexual and spiritual torment is horrible, crying out to God Almighty for His intervention. But to adress these problems in a way that undercuts the authority and love of the children's natural sovereigns given them by God...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 10, 2010 - 1:05pm
(Tim) Yesterday, in the name of teaching normal students how to avoid making students committed to sexual perversion feel bad about their perversion, the young men and women at Bloomington High School North were required to watch a movie that promoted bestiality. In that movie, young perverts complained about how hard it is to be committed to bestiality when normal boys and girls act squeamish about it. They can't change the way they feel about animals, they said, so why can't other boys and girls get over it and learn to accept their unique sexual identity?
Of course, the reason perverts feel bad about themselves is that, even with the help of teachers and school counselors, we have a tough time silencing our consciences. When we give ourselves to sexual immorality, inevitably it takes a toll on us, particularly when we're young and still feel our guilt acutely. When those tempted by bestiality give in to their perversion, depression sets in. Inevitably, depression sometimes leads to suicide.
To fault those normal souls who fight against that same perversion by avoiding the sin and those who advocate it is to blame the victim. The perversion should never be mentioned in public, nor should any boy or girl be able to parade that perversion among our children through wicked and destructive conversations, clothing, or other stylistic signatures associated with bestiality. It's time for the school systems paid for with our tax dollars to stop bullyng our children in the name of tolerance. We don't pay taxes to have bestiality shoved down our sons and daughter's throats...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 17, 2010 - 6:32am
[John the Baptist was preaching:] “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.
But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done, Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison. (Luke 3:17-20)
(Tim, w/thanks to Kevin) Did you notice John the Baptist was "preaching the Gospel" when he rebuked Herod for "all the wicked things" done by his government? Too, did you notice why Reformed men today don't rebuke Herod?
"He locked John up in prison." Usually things are more simple than we make them--Reformed men, that is--and the avoidance of suffering and absence of faith is the key to understand our silence. Not doctrine. Never ever doctrine, but the absence of faith. Which reminds me...
About fifteen years ago, I drove an hour to take in a lecture given by the eminent historian, George Marsden, at a nearby liberal arts college. His presentation amounted to a very sophisticated wheedling and cajolling of fellow academics to give orthodox Christians a seat at the table, which plea had been the substance of a piece he'd recently published in First Things. We were coming off a bad decade or two during which political correctness had shut down rational discourse in public, private, and Christian higher educational institutions, alike, and Allan Bloom's jeremiad, The Closing of the American Mind, had accomplished little except to earn its author the scorn of the tenured and their administrative masters.
Following Marsden's lecture, one fellow asked him whether Buddhists should have a seat at the table, too?
"Yes--serious Buddhists that is," Marsden replied...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 24, 2010 - 8:09am
(Tim) In the preface to his book, Alias Shakespeare, the late Joe Sobran wrote: "I would much rather be in the tradition of great American cranks like Thoreau, Ambrose Bierce, Lysander Spooner, and H. L. Mencken, than belong to the mass of scholars who, ever mindful of tenure, promotion, grants, and that last infirmity of ignoble minds, respectability, never deviate from scholarly consensus."
Everyone wants to have led a scientific revolution, but where's the man willing to lead one?
This Thanksgiving, I thank God for the nobility and fear of God that led Joe Sobran and Joe Bayly to deviate from the consensus and to oppose the regnant racism and sexism that deny the moral agency of blacks, women, and Jews...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 10, 2011 - 11:42am
(Tim) The Midtown Pregnancy Support Center (MPSC) in Manhattan just sent out this announcment:
URGENT MEETING TONIGHT!
Dear (John Doe),
Though it is last minute, MPSC wanted to alert you to an important gathering of pastors and community leaders, led by Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to discuss the targeting of minority communities by the abortion industry, happening this evening at 7 pm.
A new study released last week shows that 79% of New York City's nearly 90,000 abortions per year were from the Black and Hispanic communities. Dr. King will be addressing this issue as well as the pending legislation in the New York City Council that is aimed at crippling Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
The meeting will be this evening, Monday, January 10 (7 pm) at the Manhattan Bible Church, located at 401 West 205th Street.
Their reference to "the pending legislation in the New York City Council that is aimed at crippling Crisis Pregnancy Centers" has to do with the same matter raised here on Baylyblog two months ago.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 19, 2011 - 8:12pm
For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.” When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:24-28).
(Tim) The newly inaugurated governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, said this inside a Christian church from that church's pulpit during a worship service: "Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."
A spokesman for the Anti Defamation League said the governor's comments were "stunning" and "distressing" and were tantamount to proselytizing.
"It is stunning to me that he'd make those remarks. It's distressing because of the suggestion that he feels that people who aren't Christian are not entitled to love and respect. On the day that he is sworn in as governor, he's sending a statement to the public saying if you're not Christian you can't be with me. From our point of view that is proselytizing for Christianity and coming very close to a violation of the First Amendment."
Let me keep reminding us that the much-ballyhooed separation of church and state that lulls a certain type of naive Christian man to sleep is a figment of our imagination and this becomes more clear each day. What was meant by freedom of religion by those who wrote and adopted our U.S. Constitution was freedom to acknowledge and worship the Only True God according to the leading of our own consciences. It was never meant to allow Islam or the fools of evolution who say there is no God the same protection as Christians. This is a simple historical fact and is avoided at all costs by those who live in a dream world and desperately want to believe secularism is a tolerant religion.
Exactly like the ancient Roman Empire, America's laws and civil magistrates and the schools they force us to fund are supremely religious and utterly intolerant. The religion is secularism and it's committed to outlawing true Christian faith. Those Christians who think they will be allowed to practice Biblical faith under secular civil magistrates are blind to the reality of their own lives as well as the lives being prepared for their children and grandchildren...