February 2016

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Justice Thomas asked a question...

Yup, it's true. His last question during oral arguments was asked February 22, 2006. He better watch out. it's a very short distance from interlocutory to prolix to garrulous.


We apologize for the previous apology...

When a friend was on a Fulbright in Switzerland, he and his wife were assigned a church by their address. Those who live in the parish go to the parish church and that's that.

Nothing so simple in other places. We choose our church, and choice is a burden older and wiser men find burdensome and seek to avoid if the avoidance is not abdication of responsibility.

"Honey, you want to go out to eat?"

"Sure, I'd be happy not to have to cook."

"Where do you want to go?"

"I don't know. Where do YOU want to go?"

"Wherever YOU want to go. Pick a place."


Choosing a church is much worse...

The good clean entertainment of Star Wars...

Here's a recent tweet from Rian Johnson, the director of the next Star Wars transcendental meditation:

JJ Abramas, directed, wrote, and produced "The Force Awakens" and is one of the largest contributors to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. An occasionally-observant Jew, his submission to the Torah seems absent when, at this past Thursday's Oscar Wilde Awards, he had this to say about the future direction of the Star Wars juggernaut: "To me the fun of 'Star Wars' is exploring the possibilities, so it seems insanely narrow minded to say that there wouldn't be a homosexual character in that world."

This is our entertainment, and we feel magnanimous when we give our preacher thirty-five minutes each week to undo it.

HT J. Moore

Why Google's sales chief resigned...

Alan Gertner is thirty and just quit his job as head of sales at Google. Why? Toronto's Globe and Mail reports:

Gertner created a spreadsheet measuring the metrics of the happiness and meaning in his life, and found that his three particular passions in life are coffee, clothing, and cannabis.

So Gertner has gone into business with his Dad selling dope, threads, and caffeine. Gertner tells us...

You blew it...

We had our largest attendance at a pastors conference yet, this year. Over a hundred and it was a joy to be together, although the work was hard. So this post doesn't come out of disappointment in our numbers.

Sometimes a pastor needs to say to his people, "you blew it."

So, permit me to say to those of you who should have been here for the conference on child abuse and incest, you blew it. And I'll go further than that: it's my conviction that some of you didn't attend, not because you thought the conference wouldn't be helpful, but because you knew it would be. You're a pastor, elder, elder's wife, or women's ministry director and you simply didn't want to spend time thinking about how best to discover and minister to those children in your congregation who are being raped by their father, uncle, brother, or molested by their sister. 

It's easier not to know, isn't it?

Well, you can take a mulligan...

Sexual Abuse in the Church: conference audio available...

Here's the audio from our 2016 Shepherds Conference, "The Enemy Within: A Conference on Sexual Abuse in the Church." I'd particularly recommend "Recognizing Sexual Abuse" and "Shepherding the Sexually Abused."

Please let us know any criticisms or suggestions you have for us. We'll be doing a similar conference next year on the church's ministry to those suffering the gay/lesbian/transexual/BruceJenner/bisexual temptations. Here's the conference title and dates:

Not Ashamed: Gospel ministry in a post-Obergefell world

February, 15-17, 2017

Here then are the audio files for this year's conference on the sexual abuse of the church's children...

Fr. Paul Scalia buries his Dad...

What a privilege, to have a son who is a priest deliver your eulogy. But really, this is not a eulogy. It is an homily that Father Paul Scalia refused to allow to descend to the level of eulogy. It is excellent precisely because Fr. Scalia is restrained in speaking well of his father he calls "Dad."

Rather, he voices his Dad's unease with the sort of overbearing sentimentalities that have become characteristic of funerals today. Instead of spending his time speaking well of his father, Son Scalia spends his time speaking well of the One he directs our attention to throughout his homily, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Only One we may ever speak well of without risking the descent into idolatry. So Fr. Scalia points our attention to the Man Jesus Christ Who came to save the ungodly, saying several times that his Dad was a sinner in need of salvation. Praise God for this witness!

Still, this is an homily given by a Roman Catholic priest during a Roman Catholic mass, and so heresies seep out as Fr. Scalia preaches—the heresies of Roman Catholic dogma...

Paedocommunion (2): permission or requirement...

"Why do we eat as a divided body? [1 Corinthians 11] judges traditional Presbyterianism as a church for 'not discerning the body'! ...traditional Presbyterians have for too long 'despised the church of God and humiliated those who have nothing' (1 Corinthians 11:22)   - PCA paedocommunionist pastor, Jeff Meyers

There are varieties of belief and practice among paedocommunionists. Some bring infants to the Lord’s Table, others wait until the children are sign-language toddlers, and still others wait until the toddlers are capable of some level of verbal communication. Beyond age and maturity, some paedocummunionists reject regeneration, others are sacramentalists, and still others believe in regeneration and deny sacramentalism. 

Paedocommunionists typically used to be credobaptists who changed their view to paedobaptism and don't see why their children shouldn't immediately come to the Lord's Table, also. This is key to understanding their arguments and the strength of their commitment to the practice. As they see it, both paedobaptism and paedocommunion are the logical and necessary steps to leaving their Baptist roots behind and embracing covenantal theology.

Paedocommunionists acknowledge the Reformers and Reformed fathers since the Reformation have practiced paedobaptism while opposing paedocommunion. But paedocommunionists approach the history of the Reformed church's condemnation of paedocommunion the same way credobaptists approach the history of the Reformed church's practice of paedobaptism: both paedocommunionists and credobaptists claim they are the true keepers of what Scripture requires and that the historic Reformed church did not have the courage or faith to...

Paedocommunion (1); Introduction...

[The sacraments] are no means of grace except through the faith of the recipient, and in consequence of his own spiritual state and act. There is no inherent power in the ordinance itself to confer blessing, apart from the faith of the participator, and except through the channel of that faith. There is no deposit of power—whether, with the Church of Rome, we deem it physical and ex opere operato, or whether, with Tractarians and High Churchmen, we call it spiritual—in the Sacraments themselves to influence the mind of him who receives them. They have no virtue of themselves, apart from the work of Christ through His Spirit on the one side, and the spiritual act of the recipient through his faith on the other side. - James Bannerman, The Church of Christ

This is an introduction to a series of posts on paedocommunion, the practice of communing at the Lord's Table children who have not yet confessed their faith and been examined by their pastor or the elders of their church. This practice is most common today within the broad Evangelical church where parents simply commune their own children. When the bread and wine are passed, the children whisper to their father or mother that they "want some, too," and the parents see no reason to say "no."

What we are going to examine, though, is a much less common version of paedocommunion found in a small number of congregations in the Protestant and Reformed tradition. Their practice differs from that of the broader Evangelical church in three ways: first, those young children in mainstream Evangelical congregations who commune have not yet been baptized while the children communed by their parents in Protestant and Reformed congregations have been baptized. Second, children communing in mainstream Evangelical congregations don't normally do so because their fathers and mothers believe paedocommunion is Biblical and have developed a system of doctrine to defend their practice. It's really only an ad hoc practice which exists because no one's thought about it and parents aren't inclined to tell their children "no" when they want to do something that seems good, spiritually. On the other hand, parents who commune their children in the small group of paedocommunion Protestant and Reformed congregations believe Scripture requires their children...

Man knows not his time: Justice Antonin Scalia: 1936-2016.

Terrible news. Justice Scalia has died and President Obama will replace him. Terrible news. May God comfort Justice Scalia's loved ones; also Justice Thomas; also alll those in these United States who believe in the rule of law and thank God for Justice Scalia's work on the Court since President Reagan appointed him and he was confirmed back in 1986.

Speaking truthfully, if The Donald is elected, my hopes wouldn't be much brighter concerning Justice Scalia's replacement.


There is not energy. There is God.

The video is almost a carbon copy of Apple's 1984 ad. Watching it, you feel you should worship. Actually, though, it's not reincarnation, transcendance, or eternal life.

It's just a car.