Friday, June 22, 2007

"The Church includes all of us."?

I caught part of the news tonight and saw a story on the Anglican Church in Canada discussing whether to "bless" same-sex marraiges. There's a story about it here.

On the news report they spoke with a man in a "Committed homosexual relationship."
He said he wanted to see if the Anglican Church would conclude that, "The Church includes all of us."

I wonder if that man realizes that his statement is actually an oxymoron. The word "Church" is often used in the New Testament to translate "ekklesia" or "the called out ones" or "assembly of called out ones."

If the Church includes us all, then who exactly is called out? And what are they called out from?

(I realize some people disagree with the use of "Church" for "ekklesia", but the principle is the same.)

Labels: ,

Books, Books, Books

I have a weakness for books.
In many ways that's good, as you can learn a lot.
On the other hand there are a lot of bad books out there.
That's one of the reasons I review books here that I recommend.
(I plan on posting a new review soon.)
Also on the bad side is a temptation to make idols of my books, and not just my theological books.
I don't mean in the sense of "bibliolatry" that Roman Catholics have accused me of, nor making idols of favorite authors--I mean the actual books themselves, and the idea of books. (Although "bibliolatry" could be interpreted as "worship of books.")
I love books in general--all sorts of books.

The last time I moved there were jokes about how many books we were moving. But they weren't necessarily jokes after a while.

And there were questions-

"This box is more books?"
"How many books do you need?" (The answer is "At least one more.")
"Have you read all these?" (The answer is "Not enough of them.")

I re-read books, some many times.

I don't like marking up my books.
I have a list of them on file cards, and would love a program like the public library uses to list them and look them up by topic or author or even publisher.

I'm bringing this up because I was in a great mood when I got home today. Why?
I ordered two books from Banner of Truth back in late March, and they were on order so they took longer than usual to arrive. Well today there was a larger than normal envelope in the mail for me.

It was my new books. (New being a relative term-one was written in the late 1600's and the other in the early 1800's.) My mood was lifted.

These books will hopefully make it here as recommended reading.

For those of you curious about them I got-
Truth's Victory Over Error by Dave Dickson. It's a commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith. Their description of it is "This book is not merely of historical interest; it is also of considerable value now because many of the errors refuted within its pages have surfaced again in the 21st century church under new guises. Christians today can learn a great deal from the faithful witness of former generations who experienced ‘truth’s victory over error’."

The other is Hugh Martin's Shadow Of Calvary, where he looks at Christ from the Garden of Gethsemane through to his arrest and trial.

I should probably log off and start reading...

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Quote on Prayer

I don't get tired of good quotes on prayer, as long as they truly are good quotes-ones that are biblical and cause you to think about how you pray.

Were our every wish God's immediate command, Christ's glory would not remain our priority. Christians already struggle to keep Jesus' name our aim. It's hard to imagine how a "get rich quick" mentality could be suppressed by anyone if prayer assured instant personal gratification.

Bryan Chapell

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 15, 2007

PCA General Assembly

Dave at rotundus already posted about this, but I was intending to as well.

General Assembly is now over for this year, but there are sessions online to check out here.

I hope to be there in person sometime--especially if they ever decide to bring it up to Canada.

Some of the sessions are mostly business and may not interest everyone, or make sense to those not knowing what's going on. But I find most of it interesting. I also like that the PCA puts this online so anybody can check it out if they wish.
I'm checking out several sessions today.

Labels: , ,

Non-hierarchal Presbyterianism--L. Roy Taylor

I found this article interesting, and would like to share it for those who may be interested in the structure of the PCA.

Non-hierarchal Presbyterianism

The link tkaes you to the website of Beal Heights Presbyterian Church (PCA), Lawton, Oklahoma. I received this article in an email, but it is here online.

Labels: , , ,

Book Recommendation-A Heart for God by Sinclair Ferguson (a post re-run)

(This is the first book review I posted on this blog, it was originally posted September 14, 2005)

I love this book! It excites me. Sinclair Ferguson shows how having a heart for God comes from knowing who God is. I have heard people talk about the depth of their relationship with God, yet they seem to know very little about Him. None of us know Him perfectly, but this still seems contradictory to me. If I say I know somebody, yet I know little about them, how well do I truly know them? This applies to God. To have a relationship with someone means you need to know them to some degree, the more intimate the relationship-the greater the knowledge. In fact, in the Bible “to know” indicates a form of intimacy.

Ferguson does not ignore the need of saving faith, but points out that saving faith comes by knowing. He shows the importance of knowledge in a believer’s life, “The knowledge of God is the heart of salvation and all true spiritual experience. Knowing Him is what we were created for. It will occupy us throughout eternity.” He tells us knowledge of God is almost the same as salvation, quoting Jesus from John 17:3-“Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” He wraps that up by saying, “To be a Christian is not a mindless experience, but involves knowledge and understanding. It means a personal relationship and personal acquaintance with the Lord.” He is unfolds a proper balance between the heart and mind. The two are NOT mutually exclusive.

Throughout the book Ferguson goes to the Bible to show us who God is. Each chapter has a main passage, backed up by several others. He looks at
-the knowledge of God
-the Trinity
-God as creator
-God as Covenant maker and keeper
-God as The Ever Present One
-God as Saviour
-God’s wisdom
-“The Holy One of Israel”
-God’s faithful providing

He wraps up the book by looking at how the ancient Hebrews forgot God and strayed, and he sees parallels today. Ferguson then prescribes the same treatment Moses did to the Israelites before they entered Canaan. “First, a heart wholly satisfied with the Lord’s provision keeps us fresh and eager to remember and serve Him...The other essential cure for spiritual amnesia is a heart wholly submitted to the Lord’s will.”

This book wasn’t earth shattering for me in what it revealed, but it was significant in how it was revealed, and how it got me to see some things more deeply and fully. I have often heard people use the expression, “He’s got a real heart for______.” (Fill in the blank with anything/anbody than God). That may be a good thing, but the more important question is, “Do you have a heart for God?”

The Banner of Truth edition is 144 pages.
For a sample of Sinclair Ferguson check this out-

A Spiritual Apettite

(Additional link-
More on Sinclair Ferguson)

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 02, 2007

An Answer to a Question I was Once Asked About Prayer

Back when I was recovering from my medical emergency and posted several times about it, I was asked how I feel about Roman Catholics praying for me. I meant to address this question here, but never did. In fact I know Roman Catholics were praying for me, as I was born and raised in it, and most of my extended family would still claim some level of allegiance to it. Some are quite devout, some are more nominal.

Basically I would not support the idea of prayer to Mary or any saint. But I did tend to focus on the concern and love that was shown by people taking time out of their day to pray for me. I know God's will would be done, and it would not be thwarted or changed by people praying in a way I believe is incorrect at best. So my hope and trust was in God all along, but I also was encouraged that people would take time to pray for me. So while I would discount some of the prayers said for me, I would never discount the person who did the praying. Some who said they prayed for me would not call themselves Christians of any sort. They prayed to an impersonal god or force of some sort. I would definitely discount that prayer, but again not discount the person.

I think it's important to make that distinction. No matter what disagreements you have with another person--they are still a human being, and deserve to be treated as one. So if you prayed for my health, to any god, being, person or whatever--I may strongly disagree with you and your prayer, but I do appreciate the time you took and concern and love that shows. (If you prayed for me not to be a Christian/Protestant/Presbyterian/Reformed believer, etc--well, I would disagree with that as well.)

For more on this, with a different reason behind it, see this post on the Beggars All blog.

Labels: , , ,