September 2015

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Rachel Miller and Valerie Hobbs: where is the Apostle Paul when we need him?

Currently, there are several pieces out there on the web that display the depth of rebellion against God's Order of Creation that has taken over the Reformed church today. Let's start with two women who have gone to the internet to correct and rebuke a number of church officers including Pastors John Piper and Doug Wilson.

The first thing to note is that they are women. Of course my pointing this out will elicit howls from the Joni Rebel side. "Our being women has absolutely nothing to do with it," they'll protest. But of course, it has everything to do with it. When women such as Dr. Valerie Hobbs and Ms. Rachel Miller publicly admonish and rebuke men, particularly men who are ordained officers of Christ's Church, it would be hard to imagine any clearer rebellion against their sex. To say these women are immodest or that the viewing of their public exercise is unseemly is a gross understatement, Scripturally. This is sexual rebellion on the order of the male effeminacy that Scripture tells us disbars a man from...

Fighting jealousy...

Though God is a jealous God, jealousy is not a communicable attribute....

The closest we come to sharing God's jealousy is zeal for Him. God's glory we may seek. God's honor we may promote. God's ownership we may declare. But when we are jealous for ourselves, we sin. 

If your church doesn't teach you to fear God and obey Him, run for your life!

Romans begins and ends with the phrase, "obedience of faith." Chapter one, verse five reads, "we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles." Then the Apostle Paul brings the letter to an end with these words:

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.  - Romans 16: 25-27

Intriguing, isn't it, that the Apostle Paul starts and ends his letter with this pairing "obedience of faith?"

We'd never word it this way. We'd speak of the confession of faith, the grace of faith, the blessing of faith, the certainty of faith, justification by faith, the assurance of faith—anything but the obedience of faith. As we see it, in Christianity faith has displaced obedience from the pride of position it holds in all man's religious schemes of salvation. Further, any talk of obedience is dangerous because man's pride is always chomping at the bit to turn away from dependence upon God's grace, returning to dependence on his own self-righteousness.

"It's all of grace! That's what it means to be Protestant and Reformed! Catholics and Arminians talk about obedience because they believe in salvation by works, but all of us know they're wrong. Grace is everything!"

And yet, there the phrase is at the beginning and end of the book of Romans: the obedience of faith. We must admit it surprises us. If we didn't know it was there, we'd not think it wise for the Apostle Paul to speak this way. We'd warn him that a phrase like this will be used by some people...

Men at work taking down Seattle's largest hardwood tree...

Prior to enrolling in Clearnote Pastors College, Pastor David Abu-Sara of Clearnote Church, Indianapolis, worked in Chicago as a treeman ("certified aborist"). I watched this video about a year ago, then again this past week. This time Dave was in the loop of those the link was forwarded to and he sent out an e-mail giving a little explanation of the work here recorded.

I've watched Dave take down trees that were leaning forty-five degrees in the opposite direction from where he set them down, and it's stupendous. Have a look at the video, then read Dave's commentary.

Urban Hardwoods / Seattle's Largest Hardwood Tree from Ron Hansen on Vimeo.

Dave writes...

Director, Pastor, Whatever....

Tullian Tchividjian's recent hiring as "Director of Ministry Development" by Willow Creek Church PCA exposes a common strategy for avoiding presbytery review of ministry hires among PCA churches

Celibate spiritual friendships between gay Christians...

"Christians today are cringing at God's explicit condemnation of sodomy and are looking for some new place to stand. Desperate to find a sweet spot halfway between "marriage equality" and the Apostle Paul's "degrading passions," we find "gay spiritual friendship" scratches us just where we itch."

To identify as "gay," "queer," "lesbian," or "homosexual" is to declare our rebellion against God Who made us. When we say we're "gay," we repudiate the personhood and duties God assigned us when He created us one of only two sexes, man or woman. It's analogous to a man claiming he's a monkey or cat imprisoned in the body of a man. He refuses the human nature God gave him at the moment of his conception. So it is with the man and woman who say they're "gay"; they refuse to confess the sexual nature God gave them at the moment of conception.

Yes, there are questions we would want to ask those who identify as "gay." Why are you in rebellion? What contributed to your rebellion? Do you see your rebellion as soft or hard-wired? Is the origin of your rebellion tied to anything obvious in your past? Your childhood?

We will ask souls with this besetting sin such questions, and many more. We will be sensitive, tender, and loving. But if we truly love them and trust the Word of God in its revelation of the nature of sexuality, all our ministry with gays will be founded on the hard fact of their rebellion. It is the only solid foundation from which to minister to Christians who claim gayness, and within the church their number is growing. How could it be otherwise given our squeamishness...

Running with the wolves...

You couldn't make this up. A couple days ago Paul Tripp (publicity photo, Mr. Rogers returns as a hipster) announced to the world it was his considered judgment that it was time for Tully Tchividjian to "move on" from his marriage by filing for divorce. He assured us there are unspecified others who agree with him. And then, today, I read an announcement by WillowCreek Church in Winter Park, Florida that they have brought Tully on their ministerial staff as their Director of Ministry Development.

Their web site tells us they are "Reformed," and with good reason...

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