April 2008

On commentaries...

(Tim, w/thanks to Jeff) Have I ever said anything about commentaries? Sure, but I'll have another hack at it.

When I left seminary, we had no money, so book purchases were mostly from used bookstores and resale shops. But I felt the need to have something "substantial" on at least one of the Gospels, so I took everyone's advice and spent about 40 of our limited dollars on I. Howard Marshall's commentary on Luke. "Stupendous example of evangelical scholarship at its very best" they all said, and I took the bait.

We moved to Pardeeville and I began preaching. Immediately, I looked for an occasion to use my most-excellent new tool and it wasn't long in coming. Choosing a text in Luke, I opened Marshall and...

The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me...

(Tim) If you don't read Doug Wilson's blog, forget this one and bookmark him. If you have time for two good reads, David and I don't mind being your second, but make sure Doug's your first. Yes, there are positions and friends we don't share with him, but for about fifteen years I've found him more consistently edifying and biblical than anyone else I read.

Typical of his chronic helpfulness is this simple post about why we should all bring Bibles to church. Read it, and then let's all join in making sure each of us and our family members have Bibles in hand in worship next Lord's Day. Deal?

Encroachments on liberty: It won't stop with the Mormons...

(Tim w/thanks to Dan) Speaking of the loss of liberty, here's one of an almost-limitless number of articles that demonstrate where we're headed in these United States. Western European nations, Australia, and Canada are already far down the trail, but it's still a bit of a shocker here at home. "As to be hated needs but to be seen." In time, though, I'm afraid we'll all settle in and decide no Christian witness is at stake here, there, or anywhere.

I wonder whether Christians right now believe spanking their children is a basic act of biblical obedience? How many evangelicals would, as an act of conscience, oppose national or state laws banning it?

You think you know something about the churches David and I serve, right? Well, we just lost a woman who'd been at Church of the Good Shepherd for twelve years because...

Simple statements about politics and our civil authority...

(Tim) Readers know David and I rarely take political positions, but recently I received this E-mail from one of our readers, Keith Knowlden, and I thought I'd pass it on. It's simple and true...

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This week's offertory...

(Tim, w/thanks to Rebecca) Who needs Denise Graves when you've got Zoei, herself.

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You try telling your wife she's a horse with a mane...

(Tim, w/thanks to Bryan Maes) Recently, someone told us he'd thought men had to have beards to attend Church of the Good Shepherd. Not true, although, like babies, we have a lot of beards...

ID: Dawkins isn't opposed to space aliens bringing it...

(Tim) Went to Ben Stein's Expelled this weekend. A couple comments...

Dawkins' facial tics get the best of him when Stein puts him through his paces, repeatedly asking him about his non-belief in God. Do you believe in God? Do you believe in the Christian God? How 'bout the Muslim God? Any one of the many Hindu Gods? Do you believe in any God at all? Are you sure? Absolutely sure? What would you put the chances of God's existence at? Ninety-eight percent sure He doesn't exist and two percent sure He does? Fifty-two percent He doesn't and forty-eight percent He does?

It's a good education watching the über-evolutionist squirm under such scientific scrutiny...

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An apology...

Dear readers,

In the past couple of weeks, David and I have been asked a number of questions concerning the pastoral implications of things we've written. And although I've intended to respond to some of those inquiries, time has passed and few of them have been addressed. Further, it's now clear they won't be if they haven't been already. Please forgive us.

But if truth be told, it's likely we won't respond to most criticisms or questions--not because we're cantankerous or rude (although we can be), but because we have other demands that keep us from it.

David and I trust you will be understanding in this. Further, we thank those of you who have been so helpful in answering many of these questions with godly wisdom yourselves. That blessing has heartened us in this work.

With love,

Tim (and David)

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Trust me and bookmark this...

(Tim) If I were to name the PCA ministry I've been most thankful for over my sixteen years in the denomination, I'd name one not likely to be on anyone else's list. Here it is. Honestly, I'm hard put to think of a better justification for denominations as we know them today.

And who put this up for all of us to use?

Our PCA Archivist, Wayne Sparkman, is a dear man calling absolutely no attention to himself. He serves the church diligently so write him a note of thanks. Or better yet, send him a check supporting his work. He and the PCA Historical Center (which he runs) should be in all our congregation's budgets. Thank you, Wayne, for the tremendous resources you provide us all! You're a dear brother.

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Putin, patriarchs, and thugs...

(Tim, w/thanks to Lucas) From my perspective, there's little difference between the claims of unity of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Both amount to little more than, "We're real, real old."

No duh.

Read Calvin's Institutes and you'll see that evangelical reformed doctrine and practice are much older, going back to the Apostles themselves with much support in the early and medieval church. I like to tell my congregation that the Roman Catholic church didn't exist until the Council of Trent when it went off in schism. Yes, it's slightly hyperbolic, but a good bit true, too.

Here's an article from the New York Times documenting something those of us with brothers and sisters in Christ working in former Soviet bloc countries knew already. Just as Orthodoxy's scribes were tight with the KGB before Communism's fall, they're tight now with the blinkered nationalistic thugs governing these countries today. And Orthodoxy's patriarchs are in The Man's hip pockets...

SJC's preliminary documents concerning use of "Minister" as title...

(Tim) A year ago, we published a critique of a paper by then-PCA pastor Sam Downing of City Church (Denver) defending his decision to call a woman with an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary to serve on his staff as Minister of Church Life. (Pastor Downing's congregation recently voted to affiliate with the Reformed Church in America and Rocky Mountain Presbytery will act on the matter at their April 24/25 meeting.)

As a defense of most things feminist and the necessity of urban PCA church plants following his lead in this direction, Pastor Downing's paper left the men of Rocky Mountain Presbtytery little choice but to initiate discipline aimed at bringing Pastor Downing and his mission church back within the fold of biblical orthodoxy on sexuality. What wasn't so clear was the best tack to take.

Those with a biblical commitment to church discipline know how often disciplinary cases are decided on technical and procedural matters that seem, in the final analysis, to have little to do with the point at issue. So it has been with this case...

The other day, my wife...

(Tim, w/thanks to Al) One of the benefits of having five children is how rarely I have to turn to my dear wife, Mary Lee, for sermon illustrations...

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