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Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Apr222008

Up, Up, and Away, and Some Other Interesting Things from the Blogosphere

Links6.jpgIf you love Reformed theology and don't own Herman Bavinck's four-volume dogmatics, you should!  Volume 4 is now out, and the set is complete.  Click here: Westminster Bookstore - Reformed Books - Low Prices - Flat Fee UPS Shipping.

OK, this was really dumb.  A Roman Catholic priest in Brazil decided to put on a thermal suit and helmet, and tie hundreds of helium balloons to a chair.  The gimmick was done to raise money for his favorite ministry project, and to break the record for chair flying (nineteen hours).  The priest floated up, up, and away, and hasn't been seen since.  At least he broke the record.  Click here: Priest carried aloft by balloons missing - Americas- msnbc.com

If you hate the change from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time, you'll really hate the change from GMT to Mecca Time.  Seriously,  Muslim scientists and clerics think it would be a good idea, because, as we all know, Mecca is the center of the earth.  Click here: BBC NEWS | Middle East | Muslim call to adopt Mecca time

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Live green, die green.  Yes, eco-friendly funerals are here--wicker/cardboard coffins,  natural fiber grave clothes, no marble tombstones.  And no, I'm not kidding.  I hope I don't have to perform one of these.  How do you not peak through the wicker to see if they really put shoes on the deceased?  Click here: Even Funerals Are Going Green - AOL News

Finally, I remember the panic that went through the house when a good size Alligator Lizard ended up in our kitchen.  It may have been 12 inches long and lost its tail when we tried to catch it.  But this poor woman in Florida was really in for a shock.  If my wife actually reads this post, remove Florida from the list of possible retirement places.  By the way, its Mick's birthday today.   Click here: FOXNews.com - Florida Woman Finds 8-Foot Alligator in Kitchen - Local News | News Articles | National News | US Ne

 

Tuesday
Apr222008

"Abba, Father" -- Romans 8:12-17

romans%20fragment.jpgThe Twenty-First in a Series of Sermons on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans

In Romans 8:1-11, Paul sets out a stark contrast between the those who walk in the flesh (non-Christians) and those who walk in the Spirit (those who trust in Christ).  But this is also a contrast between two eschatological ages:  “this present age” which is dominated by the flesh, and the “age to come,” which is an age characterized by life in Christ.  To be in Christ is to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  And to be indwelt by the Spirit is to have life and peace.  But those who remain “in Adam” are bound to the flesh and subject to death.  To be in Adam is to belong the old order of things which even now is passing away.  But to be in Christ is to be a citizen of the age to come and entitled to all of the benefits of heavenly citizenship including a glorious inheritance and an intimate relationship with God, our heavenly father.

In Romans 8:1-11, Paul has stated that we are given life in Christ through the indwelling the Holy Spirit, and we are now freed from sin, death and the condemnation of the law.  In verses 12-17, Paul now turns his attention to some of implications of this indwelling for Christian believers.  While there are no imperatives (commands) in this section, nevertheless, Paul’s words serve as an implicit exhortation for Christians to act in a certain way, especially in light of the knowledge of our present standing in Christ. 

In Romans 7:14-25, Paul describes the Christian life as an intense struggle with indwelling sin–which we spoke of in terms of an unwanted tenant or squatter who refuses to leave even though his former dwelling is under new ownership–and Paul goes on to say that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  This is because Christ has borne our condemnation upon the cross.  Because we are in Christ, we fulfill the righteous requirements of the law.  To be in Christ is to walk in the Spirit and no longer walk after the flesh.  To walk in the flesh as we did “in Adam” is to hate God and to be unwilling and unable to obey his commandments.  But Paul’s whole point is that we are no longer in the flesh and because we walk in the Spirit there are consequences for the Christian life now set forth in verses 12-17.

To read the rest of this verse, click here 

Monday
Apr212008

HWJV and More . . .

links5.bmpHWJV?  It was only a matter of time--"How Would Jesus Vote?"  The HWJV team is touring, they are willing to come to your church, and they want money.  My guess is that Jesus' first vote would be to eliminate the HWJV campaign!  Click here: HWJV?

Its good to be the prince!  And I thought it was a big deal when I got to borrow my mom's Mercedes to pick up a date.  Prince William just landed the royal helicopter in his girlfriend's backyard.  That sets the bar rather high.  Click here: Prince William's '£30K stunt' as he lands RAF helicopter in Kate's back garden | the Daily Mail

Dude, a crowd of 10,000 pot smokers gathered yesterday in Boulder, Colorado, for the annual marijuana celebration.  Nearby convenience stores report selling out of Doritos and all Hostess products.  Click here: CU’s 4/20 pot smoke-out draws crowd of 10,000 : CU News : Boulder Daily Camera

This was news to me.  Atheists "go to church."  They don't believe in God, but enjoy each other's company.  How about a place like "Cheers" instead?  Click here: Some atheists go to church too, but not to worship: Times Argus Online  

Sunday
Apr202008

Ken Samples' Academy Lecture Posted

World%20of%20Difference%20samples%20cover.jpgKen Samples' most recent Academy lecture, "The Imago Dei:  A Meaningful life" has been posted.

Here's the MP3 version:   http://links.christreformed.org/realaudio/A20080418-ViewOfMan.mp3

Here's the streaming file:  http://links.christreformed.org/real/20080418.m3u

Sunday
Apr202008

Who Said That?

question%20mark.jpgA noted pro-choice Catholic had this to say:  "I think the church can only do what it believes and I respect that.  [But]  I can't do anything other than what I believe. . . . I always take Communion when I go to church, and I go to church regularly. . . . God gave us all a free will and a responsibility to be accountable and to live up to our responsibilities, and that's how I see it. . . . The church sees it another way."

Who said that?  No google searches or cheating.  Leave your guess in the comments section below. 

Saturday
Apr192008

More Interesting Links . . . .

links%203.bmpHere's the latest update on the LCMS--"Issues, Etc." debacle.   The church bureaucrats are still stonewalling and equivocating, the faithful are still doing what they can, and "Issues" remains silent.    Click here: New St. Louis Post-Dispatch story « Augsburg1530

The courts now say that Caesar does have the power to tell us what we can and cannot eat.  Man, do I hate the nanny state.  Click here: News from The Associated Press

I'm sorry the courts didn't buy the baldness thing as a handicap/disabled excuse.  I was hoping for a handicapped parking sticker so my car won't get all dinged up.   Click here: BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Tayside and Central | Bald teacher loses disabled claim

Finally, for those of you in South Carolina, be warned, Bigfoot is on the loose.   So is the "Lizard Man," although he's not been seen since 1988.  We had sightings of a "Bigfoot-like"  creature in our neighborhood a few years back.  Turns out it was a tall, bare-footed, bearded, shaggy-haired, homeless guy.    Click here: The State | 04/13/2008 | Bigfoot in S.C.? | Experts: ‘it’s the real deal’

Thursday
Apr172008

Ken Samples' Academy Lecture

kenneth_samples.jpgWorld%20of%20Difference%20samples%20cover.jpgKen Samples continues his Academy series at Christ Reformed Church entitled: "A Little Lower than the Angels:  The Christian View of Man."  Ken's third lecture is entitled, "The Imago Dei:  A Meaningful life"

Here's the synopsis for Ken's series:  What is man? What makes human beings so different from the rest of the creatures on Earth? A person’s thoughts on the origin, nature, and characteristics of humanity (anthropology) are a critical part of any worldview.

For more information, Click here: Christ Reformed Info - Schedule of Academy Classes and Author's Forums

Thursday
Apr172008

Some Interesting Links . . .

links%202.bmp

The CRC wants to be included among those swooning over Benedict XVI.  The once faithful church of farmer-theologians has become the RCA-lite (h.t. Chris Coleman).  Click here: CRC Executive Director Welcomes Papal Invite - Christian Reformed Church      

So, a church is going to hold worship services in a bar.  Its not a Lutheran Church.  Its not a Reformed Church.  Ironically, it is a Methodist Church.  Boy, times have changed.  I'll bet their potlucks are a hoot!  Lots of chips, buffalo wings, and open tabs.  Click here: Area church to hold worship services in bar.

Taking the "be careful little hands what you do" theology to new levels, a number of pastors in the UK plan on boarding city buses to control unruly youth.  Yeah, that will work!  Click here: Croydon Pastors Patrol Bus Routes (from This Is Local London)

There is no doubt that the number of mysterious fires and human deaths, along with strange and ungodly noises in the night, will soon rise to alarming levels.  America is about to be overrun by feral cats--Click here: FOXNews.com - Expert: America About to Be Overrun by Feral Cats - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology

Meanwhile, another brave dog saves its owner's life--Click here: Dog saves woman from watery death.

Thursday
Apr172008

The Canons of Dort, First Head of Doctrine, Rejection of Errors, Paragraph One

Synod%20of%20Dort.jpgRejection of the Errors by Which the Dutch Churches Have for Some Time Been Disturbed

The Canons of Dort not only set forth that which Reformed Christians are to believe about predestination and election--the affirmations stated in the first eighteen articles--but they also remind us of those errors that commonly arise in connection with these doctrines, and which are to be rejected.  The Canons do this in the form of “rejection of errors.”  

And so at this point, the Canons now address a series of doctrinal errors, which we as Reformed Christians are to reject.

It is also important to note that the rejection of errors as set forth by the Canons of Dort are much more complicated and technical than the affirmations about what we are to believe.  Sad to say, one of the common objections to the Reformed view of election and predestination is that the Reformed position is supposedly rationalistic, straying far afield from the text of Scripture through the sinful use of speculative human reason.  I think it will soon be very clear that the alternate views set forth by our Lutheran friends, or errors of the Arminians, are far more complex and rationalistic than anything put forth by the Reformed.


Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those . . .

I.  Who teach that the will of God to save those who would believe and persevere in faith and in the obedience of faith is the whole and entire decision of election to salvation, and that nothing else concerning this decision has been revealed in God's Word.

For they deceive the simple and plainly contradict Holy Scripture in its testimony that God does not only wish to save those who would believe, but that he has also from eternity chosen certain particular people to whom, rather than to others, he would within time grant faith in Christ and perseverance. As Scripture says, I have revealed your name to those whom you gave me (John 17:6). Likewise, All who were appointed for eternal life believed (Acts 13:48), and He chose us before the foundation of the world so that we should be holy... (Eph. 1:4).

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The first error to be rejected is one of the most common, and is quite typical of the garden variety Arminianism commonly taught by Evangelicals today. As we have seen in articles one-eighteen, the Bible teaches that election is based upon something good in God, namely his love for lost and fallen sinners.  Scripture very clearly teaches us that God decrees to elect Jesus Christ to be the savior of the world, and to be the mediator of the covenant of grace.  God's purpose in this is to save that multitude of sinners fallen in Adam, who are individually chosen to be saved according to God’s eternal purpose.  The number of those chosen is so great that they cannot be counted (Revelation 7:9).  

The error to be rejected here is that of trying to locate the ground (basis) for election in something that God sees in the creature, namely faith and repentance.  Scripture, on the other hand, very clearly teaches that fallen creatures cannot come to faith in Jesus Christ apart from a prior work of God’s grace, enabling them to do so.

Those who contend that God elects to save some, based upon his foreknowledge of how people will respond to the gospel when it is preached to them, frequently use the illustration that the decree of election is like a book which God has already read, or a movie that God has already seen.  In other words, God knows the final outcome in advance, and so when God choses the people he will save, he bases his decision upon the supposed free actions of his creatures.   In other words,  God knows in advance who will chose Christ when given the chance, and so he choses them.

This is fatally flawed for a number of reasons.  First, as the Canons note, those who are elect believe only because they were chosen by God, not the other way around.  People who are dead in sin cannot believe unless God makes them willing to believe, and so inclines their hearts through the preaching of the gospel.  Dead people do not live until they are resurrected (in effectual calling and regeneration)!  

Second, the book and movie analogy actually serves the Reformed cause, not the Arminian.  The more fundamental question is, “who wrote the book in the first place?”  "Who authored the screen play?"  "Who wrote the script?"  "Who made the cameras, the paper, the writer?"  The reason why God foreknows the future is not because he knows how things will play out, and then responds to what his creatures will do.  The reason God foreknows the action of his creatures is because God determines what the future holds.  He writes the plot and creates the characters!  

And so we must ask, is not easier to simply bow the knee and affirm what Scripture teaches--election does not depend upon the will of man, but upon the will of God.  As we read in John 1:12-13–“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”–and Romans 9:16–“So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”

Wednesday
Apr162008

Just When I Think I've Heard It All . .

Bush%20Benedict.jpgFrom the Religious New Service (Click here: Religion News Service)

President Bush, when asked by EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo: “When you look into Benedict XVI's eyes, what do you see?”

“God.”

Funny, when I see Benedict XVI, I see a brilliant and formidable theologian (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), who now presides over a church which officially denies the gospel of justification sola fide

I also see a man who has rather odd taste in shoes.  Click here: Riddleblog - The Latest Post - A Fashion Statement