September 2015

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Children and delayed obedience...

Earlier today I read a FB discussion on what to do when children playing a game on a tablet, phone, or Wii try to delay obedience with, "Can I just finish this game?" Under a number of good comments containing wise advice, I posted...

"Test me in this," says the Lord of Hosts...

"Does worshipping God with our sexuality mean only that we shouldn't masturbate, fornicate, or commit adultery? If we applied the parable of the talents to this treasure of sexuality, where would it take us? Why did God create sex and what does He claim from it?"

Dad used to say, "God is no man's debtor." We give ourselves to Him; we take up our cross; we sacrifice for His Kingdom; we obey His Word: It's never wasted—absolutely never...

If HONY became HOP...

Be nice if Brandon took his Humans of New York (HONY) project a couple hours south, to Philly. He could rename his site "HOP." And if he were lucky, he might catch some world-famous Reformed theologian and writer out for an afternoon sashay. (Don't miss the caption and comments.)

Good mothers...

Found out today all my family and friends follow "Brandon" of Humans of New York fame. For the record, I did extensive research and finally was able to establish that his last name is "Stanton." Anyhow, Daughter Michal sent me a link to this post which I think of as what happens when you play hip hop backwards.

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Careless about your firewood?

When should a pastor say "no" to officiating a wedding...

Under the post, "Dealing with sexual predators; objections answered...," one reader asked: "Tim, if you won't marry someone who doesn't intend to have children, how do you deal with 1Corinthians 7:9?"

But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Here's my response...

Dear Paul Tripp...

Dear Paul,

I was surprised that you wrote to tell us how we should view the end of Tullian Tchividjian's marriage. But since you addressed us publicly on your web site, I thought I'd write back and publicly say a few things that have occurred to me as well.

I must confess that for many years I confused you with your brother Tedd, never being quite sure which of you was the one doing or saying what. Sorry. I know it can sting. Perhaps it's the mustaches... (For years, for us it was the bow ties.)

More recently, I've been clear on the distinction. Tedd wrote the book my mother commended to me years ago, Shepherding a Child's Heart. Tedd was the pastor my friend Stephen Baker trained under. You're the PCA Tripp who's done the counseling for years. So I think I've got you straight, and my appreciation for your family's ministry is real. Moreover, there are people in the church I pastor who remember you from the Alliance church you attended in the 1950s and 60s. 

It's recently struck me that we've lived for years as each other's kind of reverse doppelganger, swooping back and forth across the same landscape like ships doomed to pass in the night. For instance, the church I pastor is attended by a daughter of the pastor who led the church you attended throughout your childhood, and even the granddaughter of that man's predecessor, pastor of that church when you were born. You were a kid together with people I'm approaching senior citizenship with. 

You were born and raised in Toledo, moving to Philadelphia as an adult. I was born in Philadelphia (with ties to Tenth Presbyterian) and moved to Toledo when I was thirty.

You went to college at Columbia Bible College. I went to college at Macalester. You went to Reformed Episcopal Seminary. I went to Gordon-Conwell. You were at Tenth under Jim Boice. I interned at Fullerton Ev. Free under Chuck Swindoll. Your name is Paul David and mine David Jeremy.

I could go on... You wear glasses today like those I wore in my college years. It was the punk rock era; I cut my hair short and found the frames of my dreams at an optical shop that sold safety glasses to industry...

Dealing with sexual predators: objections answered...

Let's dive further into the discussion of how to deal with God's people concerning sexual abuse, both the perpetrators and their victims, but also the weak, potential victims and potential predators. Why now?

Because it just so happens that this is a giant problem in the church today, whether reformed, evangelical, libertarian, homeschool, credo or paedo, family-integrated, or program-central. Of course, somebody might object that right now is not the best time because there's a war on. Or maybe they'll say that discussing it now is going to cause undue pain to a particular perp or victim. Consider this your trigger warning, if you're that sensitive, and stop reading now. 

Cross-fire and friendly fire are part of the terrain in war. We don't stop fighting the war out of fear of such things. And yes, we correct one another and redirect our friend's attention to bigger problems even while screaming orcs are trying to kill both of us. Remember when Aragorn yells at Legolas in the middle of the battle of Helm's Deep? Legolas doesn't respond with "Can't you see orcs are attacking me?" Both of them know full well that orcs are attacking everybody good on all sides. He assumes, rightly, that if his friend is yelling a warning at him... 

Sex abuse in the church; some clarifications...

A couple things as the discussion of pastoral care for child abusers and their victims in the church continues.

First, Pastor Toby Sumpter wrote a helpful post in which he disagrees with me on...

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Responding to heinous sins as pastors and elders....

Tim has written a post further explaining how we should deal with sexual abusers in the family of Christ in light of recent criticism of Pastor Douglas Wilson and Christ Church Moscow's work with a man convicted of sexual abuse. Dealing with such issues is a weighty duty of Christ's shepherds--one which we almost always recoil before. Many of the errors we make in this area come as a result of not wanting to face the unthinkable.

The pastoral care of men and women who are sexual predators against children...

Here is a hypothetical situation. The details are likely similar to many situations faced by the pastors and elders of churches around the country, including Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. This is no surprise since the sexual abuse of children is so pervasive in our wicked nation today.

This post is written out of two decades working with children and adults who are victims of these crimes, as well as the criminals who committed the crimes. I hope these thoughts will be helpful to church officers and Titus 2 women who may be wondering what principles to follow in their own congregation.

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Let us assume a case in which an adult man1 who confesses faith in Jesus Christ is found guilty in civil and church courts of multiple acts of predatory sexual violence over several years time against minor children unrelated to him by blood or marriage. Regardless of whether this man confessed Christian faith or appeared to be remorseful and repentant, Christians of sound spiritual judgment would, I believe, not condemn the penal codes of many centuries of Christendom which put such a man under sentence of death. We would agree that capital punishment of this crime against children is just to all concerned, from the sinner himself, to his victims and their families, to the church and her members, and society at large. Our Lord warned...

Concerning the open letter of the session of Christ Church, Moscow: a retraction...

Two days ago, with my wife I posted a statement titled "Christ Church's open letter is pastorally wise..." in support of an open letter issued by the pastors and elders of Christ Church, Moscow, in connection with a member of their congregation named Steven Sitler. Since posting our statement, though, Mary Lee and I have learned more details which have led us to conclude our prior statement was precipitous and should not have been published. We apologize and have removed the statement from Baylyblog...

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