Monday, October 31, 2005

Pastor Dies Performing Baptism

Reformation Day Review

I was planning to post some more on Reformation Day--but other responsibilities meant I could not. So as a public service to those who don't check all the same blogs as I do-here's a sampling of articles on Reformation Day that appeared on various blogs. I don't necessarily agree with all the opinions expressed in these links, (And in one I disagree with almost everything), but I present them here for your perusal.

Feel free to comment here, and especially on the blogs that allow comments.
In no particular order-

Fellowship of Nicea
On the Other Foot (Roman Catholic)
Ruminations By The Lake
Historia Ecclesiastica (not a Reformation Day post per se-but about a Reformation figure)
View From the Pew
Pastor Steve Weaver's Blog

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Recommended Books-Missionary Tales by Don Richardson

By Don Richardson

Don Richardson is a missionary and author of books about the missionary experience. These books are all interesting, well-written books that bring out the adventure and drama- as well as the every day aspects- of missionary work. Even more importantly, they show God’s providence as He builds His Kingdom.

ETERNITY IN THEIR HEARTS is an overview type of book. It takes its title from Ecclesiastes 3:11 and contains stories of how various peoples came to hear and believe the Gospel. Many primitive cultures in the world have something in their past that has prepared them for the Gospel-some even seem to indicate a possibility their ancestors had contact with Christians at some point in the past.

While Richardson never seems to assume any of these tribes are already Christian, sometimes he does seem to assume too much. Other times I think he reads too much into things, possibly motivated by zeal for the Lord and the Gospel. But, overall, I still recommend this book for reading about how God can work in His creation. Richardson indicates they need salvation and he does not credit God with unbiblical behaviour.

Two of the tribes Richardson writes about in ETERNITY also receive full book treatment. LORDS OF THE EARTH tells of Stan Dale’s mission to the Yali tribe of Irian Jaya in Indonesia. PEACE CHILD relates Richardson’s own experience with the Sawi, also of Irian Jaya. While I do recommend the books-I would also caution the squeamish. These books relate, in some detail, violent acts of savagery and cannibalism.

Stan Dale had a vision and drive to go to Irian Jaya-where missionaries had already reached the coastal tribes. He was convinced God had called him to go further inland to reach the people there. He encountered the Yali, a tribe of superstitious pagans, who lived at the whim of very odd gods. Their lives included degrees of cannibalism and ancestor worship. They also held to a form of re-incarnation.

God’s providence in the timing of Dale's arrival is clear. At a different time, the missionaries may very well have been killed instantly upon arrival. But God had other plans that not only protected them from harm, but also led to their gaining the trust of many among the Yali.

Dale didn’t just have to deal with the Yali’s sin, superstition, and suspicion. He also had to deal with their rivalry with a neighbouring tribe-and warfare involved cannibalism. At the same time, he also had to learn the language, set up his family’s home, and he built a landing strip for the supply plane. The landing strip was built with the help of very curious Yali tribesmen. They were not fully aware of the extent of the danger-or the degree of God’s protection until much later.

One of the key events in reaching the Yali was the discovery of their concept of sanctuary, which he could relate to the cities of refuge for Israel in the Old Testament, and from there to Jesus Christ. Even then his work was not done.

PEACE CHILD introduces the Sawi, for whom treachery and betrayal are a way of life. The more treacherous and deceitful among them are the more honoured. They had a phrase which translates as, “to fatten with friendship”, to describe how they set up their victims for the eventual attack.

As with Stan Dale, Don Richardson also had to learn a new language while building a new home and setting up his new ministry. His setting was less remote than Stan Dale’s was-as he had easy river access, but he was still remote enough that help was still far off.

In both books the missionaries receive assistance form the Dani tribe, which was one of the first tribes encountered in Irian Jaya. But the Dani were often very reluctant helpers-partially due to the Yali and Sawi being cannibalistic.

A roadblock encountered by Don Richardson also lead to the breakthrough in sharing the gospel. Due to their love of treachery and betrayal, they saw Judas as the hero. He was left with a feeling of hopelessness of how to get around this. The answer to his problem came when he discovered the Sawi concept of the “peace child”.
This didn’t lead to instant success, but it was a major breakthrough. It started when two of the three neighbouring Sawi groups were about to go to war. Deciding he was in part responsible, as he brought them together, Richardson announced his decision to move on and live in another village. They did not want him to leave as he provided medicine and tools. There was also a certain prestige they enjoyed having him there.

The next day he saw something remarkable. After several false starts and protests by mothers, one Sawi presented his child, in this case his only child, to the other group-who in return gave him a child. The two groups of Sawi would raise each other’s babies-and as long as the children lived there would be peace-for the worst thing to a Sawi was to be one who violated this treaty, and especially one who harmed or killed a “peace child.”

Curious what had transpired, Richardson learned what was happening-and while he knew the analogy wasn’t perfect, he also knew he had way to get around his roadblock. He showed how God gave His only Son as the ultimate “peace child”, no further one was needed. When they heard this the Sawi reversed their view of Judas-seeing him as the biggest villain-as he had betrayed the ultimate peace child. From there it wasn’t a piece of cake, but he had opened a door, and eventually many Sawi believed the gospel.

The stories of the Yali and the Sawi reveal to us God’s mighty work and His grace. We look at those people and often see savage heathens. We may even feel better about ourselves-but God, in many cases, sees His children-and He sends His gospel to them.

Longings After God

All I have to say about this is-Wow. Now that is a prayer-

Longings After God
(Taken from a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions)

My Dear Lord,

I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest
I long for nothing but Thyself,
nothing but holiness, nothing
but union with Thy will.

Thou hast given me these desires;
and Thou alone canst give me the
thing desired.

My soul longs for communion with
Thee, for mortification of
indwelling corruption, especially
spiritual pride.

How precious it is to have a tender
sense and clear apprehension of the
mystery of godliness, of true

What a blessedness to be like Thee
as much as possible for a
creature to be like its creator!

Lord, give me more of Thy likeness;
enlarge my soul to contain fullness
of holiness; engage me to
live more for Thee.

Help me to be less pleased with my
spiritual experiences, and when I
feel at ease after sweet communings,
teach me it is far too little that I know
and do.

Blessed Lord, let me climb up near
to Thee, and love, and long, and plead,
and wrestle with Thee, and pant for
deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart
is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to
think it should ever lose sight of its Beloved.

Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me
ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned
to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may
be more fitted for doing and suffering.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Links of the week

This is the part of the blog where Larry, er Pilgrim, comes out and gives us the links of the week.

The first link--Ape Fest
The Original Planet of the Apes movie is one of my all time favorites.
From the novelty it was as a kid, to the entertaining story, to the parable that picks on everybody to the ending-it's well done.
The recent remake was heavy handed and had an agenda for one point of view. It felt two dimensional, although the makeup and special effects have certainly improved over the years-as one would expect.
This site is a small tribute site to the original movies. It includes audio links of dialogue from the movie. Dr Zaius may have been a hypocrite, but he understood human depravity. You can listen to this one on page 2 of the audio link, as Dr Zaius has Cornelius read from the Apes' Sacred Scrolls. (It is shortened from the original a bit)-

"Beware the beast man, for he is the devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport, or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him. Drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death."

It's a fun little site.

The second link--Sinclair Ferguson

One of my favorite contemporary writers and speakers is Sinclair Ferguson. This site contains some of his sermons and articles. It is part of a Scottish preachers site which has pages for Thomas Chalmers, George Gillespie, John Kennedy, John Knox and Robert Murray M'Cheyne. It also has off site links to other Scottish preachers.
It also appears they plan to add pages for John Murray, Thomas Boston and Horatio Bonar. It has a wealth of godly writings which will edify, encourage, and exhort you.
Check it out.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Forgiveness Link

As a follow up to my previous posts A Look at Forgiveness and This book recommendation, check out this article by Steve Camp.

Reformation Sunday is almost here.

To many it is almost Halloween, but to me it is Reformation Day.
We remember Luther's posting of the 95 Theses. It was a link that still very much Roman Catholic, but shows the progress towards recovering the gospel on a large scale.
It set off a revolution that Luther could not have foreseen.

God had previously used other men, including, John Wycliffe and Jan Hus to get the ball rolling. He used Luther to ignite things.

Don't forget or neglect the ways God has used godly man & women in history to further His kingdom. When we forget, we are mroe likely to repeat their errors.

If my blog is worth that much I may sell.

I saw a link on Tank's World.

How much is your blog worth?

Since I'd already tried Blog shares where my blog has dropped in value-Seen here., I decide to try this one to see how I fared. Well I did better on this one, as seen below-

My blog is worth $19,194.36.
How much is your blog worth?

But then I remembered I'm not in it for the money. (Which is a good thing.)

Unlike Doxoblogist, No Hillbillies on my site meter-AND an explanation of sorts

I have a list of articles to write for this--I have ones ready to post.
I just need to do them and stop checking all the thousands of other blogs I check daily and just post here!

Okay-I exaggerate. But I do find that after checking other blogs, and fulfilling responsibilities and other things I do--it seems quite late by the time I get around to posting, and lately I just leave it until the next day. So I'm going to add some content now, and make a valiant attempt to add more in the days to come. That content should be better than this article.

Now to explain the article title. First check out one of the blogs I read rather than post here-Doxoblogist
Almost 2 weeks ago he posted -this article about his site meter

So I signed up to check it out. Well nobody's been referred here by searching for hillbillies--but many have visited here from his blog. Most of the visits here, (And thank you for dropping by), get referred from other bloggers links to my site and my Blogger profile from comments I write.

I do get a share from searches by Google, MSN, Blogger, and Technorati.
There are a sizable amount of blocked or unknowns as well.
My strangest I will not post here--I'm not sure how a site that has the name that one does would refer to here. I also had referrals from a Roman Catholic blog, a Computer sports site, and a discussion board.

I've had visits from all the continents except South America and Antarctica.
So again, thanks to all who read these articles. May God use them for His glory-even though I'd wonder how He would do that with some of them.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Another Calvinist Gadfly link-with follow-up

If you don't aready check out Calvinist Gadfly,
click on this.
It's "10 Gadfly Predictions on the Da Vinci Code Movie…"

You may laugh, you may cry.

Then head over to Peter Jones' site-
It's a good resource for info on The Da Vinci Code.

Why is this important?
Read this.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Links of the Week

Each week I will try to post 2 links not found in my link section.
One will be to a Christian/religion/theological type site.
The other will be to a "non-religious" or "secular" site.

First up is a wonderful radio program,The White Horse Inn.
This is also the same group who produces one of my favorite magazines, Modern Reformation.
So this month you get two links for the price of one. (Okay, they're all the same price-free.) Check them out for radio broadcasts, articles, and references.

Then it's back to a show that has entertained more than one generation. You may not have heard about it. It was made in Canada, and it's a bit dated. It attempted to put some eduaction into the mix. So just for fun, check out-
The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

Book Recommendation-"The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness" By John MacArthur

Normally I would take turns recommending books by different authors, but with my recent post on forgiveness I decided to put this one in now. I'm also working on a list of good web articles and books on forgiveness. It may or may not be posted before the history ones I mentioned earlier. (I've started writing them. They need a bit more work.) With that covered on with the review.

Forgiveness is an essential part of being a Christian. Without God’s forgiveness we would be lost, but also we are to show forgiveness to others. John MacArthur covers both the forgiveness we receive and the forgiveness we are to give. This is opposed to the vengeance we may crave.

MacArthur starts the main part of the book by looking at, “The Ground of All Forgiveness.” He gives the bad news about sin and its consequences-and then turns to the good news of God’s reconciliation with His people. This involves reconciling justice with forgiveness. Major points here deal with definitions and applications for substitution, imputation, and justification.

He looks at Christ’s death, and what followed. He answers whether Christians should seek forgiveness for our sins if they’re already forgiven. (The answer is yes.) He also gets into areas such as repentance and God’s disciplining of His children.

He then shifts from God's forgiveness of His people to our forgiveness to each other. He starts with Paul's letter to Philemon, which has forgiveness as a major theme. From there he looks at Jesus' parable on forgiveness and other passages form the Bible.

He ends with answers to objections, and three appendices. These alone are valuable reading. One is on sustitutionary atonement, and another on "The unforgivable sin." The final appendix contains two sermons on forgiveness. One is by Charles Spurgeon, and the other by Alexander MacLaren.

I highly recommend this book as a help to understanding what the Bible teaches us about forgivenss, both God's to His people, and ours to each other.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Origin of Sarcasm

Monday, October 17, 2005

A look at forgiveness

Forgiveness is so central to the Gospel, but how do we really practice it?
Yesterday I was reminded of a time when bitterness nearly consumed me, because I did not forgive.

I had been wronged by a close friend and brother in the Lord. I won't give any specifics, but many people would think I was justified in the anger I felt. Anger is not always sinful-
"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." (Ephesians 4:25-7)

The problem is we usually sin in our anger, and we let the sun go down on our anger.

A few verse later Paul continues to address anger-
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:31-2)

I had ignored the last sentence-"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

But it was not Ephesians 4 that God used to convict me. I thought I was over the anger, but it kept popping back. It was actually a very poorly written article on forgiveness in a magazine I won't name that convicted me.

Looking back I believe I was trying to avoid dealing with the anger, and so I read something that would allow me to feel good, and not have to deal with anything difficult. I didn't want to be challenged. But the Holy Spirit seemed to have other plans. As I contemplated what was wrong with the article I had to deal with forgiveness. I realized I was still angry because I had not forgiven my brother, and I had not asked for his forgiveness either. The anger didn't instantly vanish, but it did subside. I was able to deal with it, through God's grace.

There is still some sadness when I think about that time. The forgiveness was not returned, and the relationship was not restored. I still have hope it will be one day, and I pray for that restoration.

Since that time I have read well written articles and books on forgiveness. I have heard it preached well. I have read about it in the Bible with a new depth.

Let me encourage you to consider forgiveness. Do you need to forgive anybody? Do you need to ask anyone for their forgiveness? Have you prayed to God, and asked His forgiveness?

(One book on forgiveness I highly recommend is John MacArthur's The Freedom And Power of Forgiveness. Sooner or later I will review it here as well. There are others as well-but it is a great place to start.)

Calvinist Gadfly makes a good point

Calvinist Gadfly makes some good points in this blog article I've linked to.

I believe that there are believers who are not Calvinists or not Reformed, but it can be helpful to discuss and debate these teachings. And when people attack them, as Dave Hunt has, then they should be defended.

One point I have brought up myself, in speaking with Arminians, is this one-
"In other words, I cannot imagine that Dave Hunt prayed as such, “God, only whisper in my unbelieving relative’s ear, but don’t change their heart unless you’ve been given permission by this person.” I do not know of a single person who prays like this. If Arminians pray for God to change their unbelieving relatives’ heart, then why don’t they actually believe it apart from their prayers?"
(emphasis mine)

Hunt has also gone so far as to suggest Calvinists are not saved. (From his newsletter)

This has been addressed on other blogs--including Calvinist Gadfly's.

Now I'm not posting this to bash Dave Hunt--but to link to a well written article on Calvinism that raises some valid points. Read it for those points. Let the article make you think--even if you don't agree.

And feel free to comment on it here-whether you agree or not.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

It's sort of odd, and yet it isn't

I wasn't sure how to title this, but just wanted to share this, maybe to make you think.

There I was at a prayer breakfast, and the pastor of the host church starts speaking about an elderly church member. The night before he was rushed to the hospital, and they didn't have much hope he'd survive.

While they were happy he'd be with his Lord, they were sad. Now that's not the odd part--that's normal for Christians. We rejoice they're with their Lord, but grieve that they are no longer with us here on earth.

I had never met the man. I had no idea who he was. Yes I felt sad for the people there, as I know many of them-and they were losing a friend. What was possibly odd was the sense of loss I felt while the pastor spoke of his dear friend and brother in the Lord. I felt like I had known him, and he had been my friend. Perhaps one day we will speak about it. Maybe it's not odd, maybe I was just grieving with those who grieve. (Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.) After all, the Church is a family, and we are all connected. We had rejoiced together before that, now it was time to weep.

I Do Not Need a Haircut


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Links of the Week

Each week I will try to post 2 links not found in my link section.
One will be to a Christian/religion/theological type site.
The other will be to a "non-religious" or secular site.
It may seem odd to do Links of the week mid-week, but then I'm a non-conformist of sorts.

One of my interests is sports logos. I drew my own as a child-both for existing teams, and ones I made up. If a team is changing its logo, I'm interested in seeing what they came up with. This interest led me to discover this site, which tracks the helmets of football teams from various leagues, including my favorite-the CFL.

The Helmet Project

Another of my interests is the Puritans. Fire and Ice is an informative and valuable resource for Puritan writings. And it's fun too.

Fire and Ice

Biblical Wisdom from Ralph Erskine

Unbelievers' Joy in the Word?

by Ralph Erskine

An Important Question concerning the Joy which Hypocrites may have in the Word.

"May not hypocrites and unbelievers have joy and delight in the word, like these, Isaiah 58:2. and like Herod, that heard the word gladly; and the stony ground hearers, that received the word with joy?"

Answer: Such is the difference between spiritual and carnal joy, that whereas the godly sorrow of the believer is the matter of his joy; insomuch, that he is more glad when his heart will melt for sin, than he would be, though he had all the carnal pleasures in the world. On the other hand, the carnal joy of the wicked is matter of sorrow; yea, in the midst of his laughter his heart is in heaviness.—Again, even the greatest sorrows of the godly are medicinal, therapeutic, and preparative to a later joy; whereas the greatest joys of the wicked are hurtful, pernicious, and preparative to a later sorrow: but godly sorrow works out the poison of sin that would mar their joy.

But more particularly, the difference between the godly and the wicked in their delight, may be viewed in four things, that is to say: the matter, the manner, the measure, and the end of their joy and delight.

1. As for the matter and ground of the godly man's delight, it is God himself; Christ himself, the gospel itself: whereas the matter of the hypocrite's delight is rather his own knowledge of these things; and so his knowledge puffs up.

2. They differ as to the manner of their delight: that of the godly is solid and constant, and proceeding from the special grace of the Spirit; but the delight of the wicked man and hypocrite is unsound, unsolid, and unconstant; proceeding from the common grace of the Spirit, and not from the new nature, but some impression on the old nature; and so his delight is not natural; neither is it the man's element, as we have illustrated above.

3. They differ in the measure of their joy. The delight the believer has in the Lord, and in the word and law of the Lord, is his chief delight; it is his exceeding joy, Psalm 43:4: but the natural man has something that he delights more in; he takes more pleasure in worldly riches and honours; but the godly has more delight in the word than in all manner of worldly enjoyments; "O how I love your law! It is sweeter to me than honey: therefore I love your commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold," Psalm 119:97, 19:10, 119:27. "There be many that say, Who will show us any good? O Lord, lift you up the light of your countenance upon us. Then has you put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and wine increased," Psalm 4:6, 7.

4. They differ in their end and effect. The delight of the godly leads them to desire conformity to the law, inward and outward, while the wicked content themselves at most, with an outward reformation. The difference between them is like that of the two painters, or skilful draughtsmen, who, both together, beholding one and the same picture, very artfully drawn: the one beheld it with admiration; and contented himself with seeing it, and commending it; but endeavoured not himself to make another like it: the other beheld it with a desire oft imitation; and so praised it, as to set his skill a-work to make one like it. So it is with the regenerate and the unregenerate man; the regenerate man likes and delights in the word of God, so as he desires and endeavours a conformity to it: but the unregenerate man rests in the contemplation of the word; and remains at rest, though he attains no conformity to it.

Ralph Erskine was a Puritan. More of his writings may be found here-
Ralph Erskine
As well check out the main site-
Fire and Ice

Monday, October 10, 2005

Dealing with the Culture & Everyday Life (a link)

I enjoy a good magazine, and ByFaith, which I link to is both a web magazine and a print one. Through my church I can read the print version, but I've often already read much of it online. This is amazing in a sense that I prefer to read paper and ink over reading off a computer screen.

But articles such as this one (click here) are the reason I check it out online.

I know this approach will meet resistance from some quarters. Those who disagree may be lumping this approach in with either those who water down the gospel so as not to offend anybody (which this doesn't do) or those who just live the gospel without speaking it (which again this article does not advocate.)

And while you're at it, check out the link at the bottom of the article to
It's worthy of your attention also.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Do-It-Yourself Impressive Theological Constructs

The September/October issue of Modern Reformation
published a chart called "Do-It-Yourself Impressive Theological Constructs"
It's a "fun" way to sound "impressive"
They also gave a link to find this chart online-
Check it out, print it out, have fun with it.

And check out Modern Reformation. One of the few magazines I have ever subscribed to. It's well worth it.

The Vossed World on "The Gift of Scripture"

Below are my semi-disjointed thoughts on "The Gift of Scripture"

Breuss Wane on The Vossed World has posted a much more focused article on it-
Postmodern Catholics: "God's words expressed in human language"

Friday, October 07, 2005

Book recommendation #4-John Plowman's Talks by Charles H. Spurgeon

JOHN PLOUGHMAN’S TALKS is a little different from most of Charles Spurgeon’s other writings. The book consists of 24 short chapters on a variety of topics. It is written in a different style than his other books and sermons. Spurgeon introduces his book this way, “In John Ploughman’s Talks, I have written for plowmen and common people. Hence refined taste and dainty words have been discarded for strong proverbial expressions and homely phrases...If some learn these lessons I shall not repent the adoption of a rustic style...There is no particular virtue in being seriously unreadable.” The book takes aim at various vices and offers advice on virtues that counter those vices. It is an interesting style that works well.

In reading this book I felt convicted and challenged in places. Some of the vices Spurgeon addresses are mine, and some of the virtues he encourages are not mine. He doesn’t leave you to despair, but offers practical advice in a down to earth manner. There is also humour in this book. It is a strength of this book and its author that it can make you laugh in different ways and also convict you. Some of the expressions in this book are no longer commonly used and there are some references I didn’t understand, but these are a small percentage, and I understood more than enough of this book to profit by reading it. I trust you will too. Do yourself a favour, and check it out. Like all of Spurgeon’s work it will point you to Christ.

It is available online here.
In book form I have seen it published by different companies.

Foolish Blog links

Once upon a time I posted a link to a page on foolishblog (God loves you and has a wonderful frisbee for your life.) The link stopped working, and after a couple of days I deleted it. It has since returned, and I am glad to repost it.

They have a new article I really appreciate as well-on systematic theology. Check it out

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Links of the Week #4

Each week I will try to post 2 links not found in my link section.
One will be to a Christian/religion/theological type site.
The other will be to a "non-religious" or secular site.

First, if you have ever been blessed by the ministry of the 19th century Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, you probably already know about this site. That doesn't make it any less of a gem though. Check it out again, or for the first time. Read the words of a man greatly blessed by God, and see the Saviour proclaimed.
The Spurgeon Archive
There is also a collection of his sermons here.

Next, if you enjoy the oddities and complexities of the English Language, then check out Richard Lederer's Verbivore site. It can be quite funny at times, and also educational- (In a good way.)
(WARNING! This link brings up a picture of a man in a funny hat!)

It shouldn't be that surprising in a way...

I'm referring to a book by The Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales, and of Scotland, called The Gift of Scripture . It shouldn't be that surprising in a way, because according to Roman Catholic teaching, they have "Tradition" and the Magesterium. I don't know how many Roman Catholics will agree with this assessment, how many will, and how many won't care.

The media seems shocked from what I've seen. Some of the articles certainly reflect a bias against the Bible and religion. This report certainly broadbrushes those who believe in the a literal 6 day creation. I think ministries such as Answers in Genesis would take issue with how creation is presented (or misrepresented.)

The Times Online story mentioned above lists these two passages as being proclaimed as "untrue"-

Matthew 27:25

The words of the crowd: “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Revelation 19:20

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone.”

Now these two passages are quite different and each should be interpreted as the type of writing it is. I believe the bishops discounted the Matthew passage due to Anti-Semitism charges. It is presented in Matthew's gospel as narrative, and is not anti-semitic. To toss it aside is to doubt God's Word, and to misunderstand the passage. The passage does not condemn all Jews for all time-it refers to the Jews who were there at that time. If anyone uses it as anti-Semitic they are adding to scripture. This is making the Bible "politically-correct" and is at best misguided.

The Revelation passage is a different type of literature. While some do take it as literal and others as figurative, it sould be noted that all figurative language has a literal meaning. For example, when Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, He did not mean there was a literal Samaritan who helped a literal Jew, but the parable has a literal meaning as to who is our neighbour, and how are we to treat our neighbours. It was told in a context of a man trying to get away with the least possible effort in serving God.

It is not clear from the article whether the bishops are merely saying Revelation 19:20 is figurative, or if they are denying the meaning behind the passage even if one takes it as figurative. I would take the passage as figurative, but also believe it has a literal meaning about hell and sin. If anybody reads the bishops' book, let me know how they handle that passage. (I may check it out for myself.)

Now neither passage directly affects the gospel, but there is danger in even an apparent down-grading of the Bible. It is the Word of God, and it has been attacked inside and outside of the visible Church for centuries. God has shown Himself faithful, and His Word trustworthy over and over agian. There is no need to doubt it. I will trust the Word of God over the Word of man any day, whether that man (and this really does include women) is a bishop, a reporter, scholar, theologian, or anything else. I believe it is arrogant to set ourselves above God, or even at His level and to dismiss that which we don't understand, or we don't like, or are afraid will offend. It is true that Romans 12:18 says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (NASB) But we are not to deny or downgrade the gospel or the Bible to do this. The Gospel will bring offense-and if we offend someone we need to ask-"was it the gospel/Bible that offended them, or was I the cause?" Paul understands this, and it is part of his message in I Corinthians 1.

Hopefully people will get their Bible teaching from godly men and women-whether they are ordained minsters of the Word or laypeople who love the Lord-and not from the media or bishops that cast doubt on God's Word.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Yes it's almost Presbytery time here.
And I am excited about it.
While I know there are those who agree with me, I'm sure some of you may be scratching your head and going, "presba-what?"
And others are going, "Presbytery exciting? Are you crazy?!?!"

Well maybe I am crazy--but let me try to answer both questions.

Presbytery is a level of Church Government found in Presbyterian and Reformed Churches--although sometimes the name or some of the details are different. But basically that's what it is. Pastors (Teaching elders) and ruling elders from a specified geographical area meet to pray, worship, encourage, and take care of business.

When I started attending a Presbyterian Church many years ago I learned what Presbytery was. Then about a year ago I attended my first one. It was like night and day. It's like the difference between your friend describing a football game to you and actually seeing the game. It was exciting to see it at work, not just hear about it.

Many years ago a friend of mine attended Presbytery. He was working towards a degree and had plans to go into the ministry. When he came back he was more excited than I'd ever seen him, and last fall I found out why.

It's not just reports and votes and discussion. It's prayer, worship, encouragement-as I posted above. It is a sweet time of fellowship. I even followed General Assembly--the top level of presbyterian government--on the internet.

I'm sure I'll have some news to share when I return. (And I may be able to blog while it's going on. I do have plans to blog between now & then.)

Hopefully, whichever type of Church government your congregation practices you'll have the opportunity to see it in action, and it will excite you as well.
It's God at work, through His people, the Church.


(Here's a link to the PCA's Book of Church Order explaining the levels of Church Government-it's a bit dry, but gives the basics. In action it isn't dry at all!)

A Link to Christian Creeds

Now there may be others that do this, and they may be better than this one.
I also don't know anything about the guy who did this other than the info he put on the site.

But I do find it a helpful link, and it covers a wide variety of creeds. I am in the process of planning & writing some short bits on Church History so this may be a good site to keep handy to check out some of what I'll post if all goes according to plan and if the Lord is willing.