October 2013

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Faithful Through All Generations...

As promised, here's more information on Clearnote Church, Bloomington's Faithful Through All Generations capital campaign:

If you'd like to contribute, you can do so right here: http://clearnotebloomington.com/give Thanks!

On the links with a Sabbath stick...

Son Joseph writes: Despite the interesting titles, I know I can't just dump four links on you, so I've included teaser quotes...

Last week Deadspin ran six sentences and a picture under the headline “Philip Rivers Is An Intense Weirdo.” The final two sentences about the San Diego Charger quarterback were blunt: "And he’s also about to have his seventh kid. There are going to be eight people with Rivers DNA running around this world."
Ah yes. How “intensely weird” it is for an NFL player to be having...

Silence them...

The Apostle Paul is not postmodern. He doesn't preen himself publicly over his meekness and humility. Being fully aware he speaks for God, he's not so arrogant as to refuse to defend his leadership, teaching, and doctrine. He doesn't shrug off his responsibilities, nor is he coy about his authority. When sweet-talking guys invaded the churches of his time spreading their false doctrines and schism, he took a stick to them and beat them about the head until they were driven away from the flock.

God and His truth were The Thing with the Apostle Paul—not himself.

Dear pastor, elder, or Titus 2 woman, how is it with you? When you face a feminist, do you flinch? Do you fear how you'll play in Peoria? Do you say things like...

Lutherans masquerading as Reformed...

If you tired of the discussion under Craig French's post Tullian's therapeutic grace..., bear with me and read my comment just made at the bottom of that post's comments, on October 23 at 3:50 PM. And in that connection...

Is a believer's sanctification simply believing more in their justification...

In connection with the suppression of sanctification by endless repetition of the justification-by-grace-alone-through-faith-alone mantra so endemic within the Reformed church today, it's encouraging to receive notification of this conference to be held at Second Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis.

What do the preacher's hands say?

hand with crossed fingersI've never seen a video of myself preaching. I hope I never do. It's painful enough to hear a recording, and I can only imagine that a video would be excruciating. Regardless, if you've ever worked with video, you know that you can make anybody look ridiculous if you freeze the video at the right moment. Still, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, actions speak louder than words, and body language speaks volumes. 

A pastor asks, "Can anyone point me to a esteemed book on the exegesis and theology of hand gestures within sermon delivery?  I would like to learn more about this topic."

Whether or not they are esteemed, I don't know, but there are several recent books that go on at great length about this topic. For example, in Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon Bryan Chapell says, "Our eyes, faces, hands, and movements participate in what we say or may carry a message all their own that we never intended to communicate. Some communication studies have actually concluded that we communicate more by what we gesture than by what we vocalize." He also goes on at length on hand gestures, posture, facial animation, eye contact, voice, etc. 

Tags: 

Tullian's therapeutic grace...

Saw this piece from Tullian Tchividjian applauded by another R2K advocate. In the article, Tullian sets out to rescue the world from the church. You see, the church has broken the spirit of wordlings and that's why people are abandoning churches and faith in God, altogether.

On the surface, he says some things that are true. In the end, however, the Gospel is, ironically, reduced to little more than a coping mechanism for an overarching sense of failure. This is Tullian's approach to the law: he does not preach it. He assumes...

They assert their firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself...

An Escondido seminary teacher who works alongside Michael Horton starts a 6,200 word blog post with this question: 

There is concern by some in the Reformed community that there is too much emphasis on grace, in the doctrine of sanctification, and not enough emphasis on obedience and even godly fear. The question has arisen how this matter should be addressed.

"The question has arisen how this matter should be addressed" might lead the reader to conclude the author of the post believes these concerns are valid and he shares them. But sadly not. Plowing through the Escondido man's endless words, the readers is led to see the fear of God as a very dangerous thing promoted by those who deny the Reformed doctrine of sola fide—that man is justified by faith alone. In other words, if a Christian starts talking about the fear of God or Christian obedience, watch out! "Holiness" people and Tridentine Roman Catholics are lurking just around the corner.

Now truthfully, in the Reformed church today it should be universally acknowledged that the grace mantra never stops suppressing obedience and the fear of God...

Joe Bayly to Marvin Olasky: Capital punishment is Biblical...

Here's a column Dad published on the subject of capital punishment in a thoughtful and mature Reformed magazine called "Eternity" back in May of 1977. Titled, "Bloodthirsty or Biblical: Hang the man or hang the logic," Dad turned away from the (even then) trendy hand-wringing over the death penalty. After all, he had studied Scripture and listened carefully to the fathers of the Reformed faith.

* * *

One element has been missing from discussions of Gary Gilmore’s recent execution and of the larger question of capital punishment.

We’ve heard a lot, mostly con but some pro, about the deterrent effect of capital punishment, and about the thwarted possibility of reformation. And more has been said about “murder” by the state, about the effect on the condemned man of waiting for time and appeals to run out, about society’s voyeurism, even about the suffering of the condemned man compared to that of his victim and the victim’s family.

But I have not seen a serious presentation of the one element in capital punishment that has found general historical agreement, among Jews and Christians: retribution, the punitive effect.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that this is absent from our consideration of the ultimate punishment, since it is also the missing element from our consideration of punishments for lesser crimes.

I am not especially concerned about the rejection of retribution by the secular mind, which in our day to a large degree is humanistic. Reformation of the criminal is the only reason for incarceration or other punishment, according to this way of thinking. But I am deeply concerned about its rejection by the Christian mind. As in so many other recent instances, it seems to me that we have in this turned from the Word of God and accommodated our theology, attitudes and values to this present evil world and its ruler...

World's Marvin Olasky on the death penalty...

I came home today to the latest copy of World Magazine. Marvin Olasky's cover story is on the death penalty.

It's an unfortunate piece--not because Olasky opposes the death penalty, there's good reason to do that in America today--but because the article is a mishmash of personal pleading and faulty Biblical reasoning. It's so tendentious that I suspect it will only confirm most readers in their unwillingness to reconsider the appropriateness of the American system of justice's death penalty.

A few examples:

A.W. Tozer: man of prayer, introverted pastor, and Evangelical mystic...

A Review of Lyle Dorsett, A Passion for God The Spiritual Journey of A.W. Tozer (2008)

A number of us have enjoyed the books of A.W. Tozer (including, The Pursuit of God, The Knowledge of the Holy, and Worship: The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church), but few of us know anything about his life and pastoral ministry. Years ago, I read James Snyder’s biography of Tozer and learned a lot from it. However, this more brief biography by Dorsett was based on interviews with Tozer’s family and friends, so it gives a more intimate portrait, though that’s a complicated word to use to describe Tozer.

He was born in 1897 in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Central Pennsylvania. The third of six children, Tozer’s family was poor and all the children learned the value of hard work that farm life teaches. His father modeled aloofness and insensitivity to his children. He was irreligious and his family did not attend any church, though he encouraged his children to attend school. Aiden Wilson Tozer finished the eighth grade, but that ended his formal education.

The key event in Aiden’s childhood took place when the family home burned down when he was ten years old...

Recommended reading: Flannery O'Connor...

In March, 1961, an English professor wrote Flannery O'Connor asking for her intention in writing the story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find." He and his colleagues, along with 90 students, had been debating its meaning for weeks. Finally, they'd settled on a clever, academic reading, which interpreted the Misfit and his murder of the Georgia family (spoiler alert) as an extended dream sequence. In other words, a twist ending that only a professor reading into things never meant to be read into could dream up.

O'Connor’s response?

If teachers are in the habit of approaching a story as if it were a research problem for which any answer is believable so long as it is not obvious, then I think students will never learn to enjoy fiction.

For she did intend something with the story...

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