A Tool Chest Full of Excuses

"Failure to look these facts straight in the eye will tend, inexorably, to transform the claims of theocracy into ecclesiocracy, and from that into a separated ecclesiocracy. And when our separated ecclesial community gets out to the woods of Montana, we will not practice homosexual marriage among ourselves out there. But we will have absolutely nothing to say to the infidels in San Francisco, and if anybody suggests that we send them a prophet to declare their wicked ways to them, we will find our theological tool chest to be empty of tools and full of excuses. You see, we don't believe in natural law and nature/grace dualisms" (Rules for Reformers, p. 146). … [Read more...]

Push Function Quit

Video Games

Video games might well make your son ignorant and corrupt, but they won't make him stupid -- although I trust this might require further explanation. I have recently received some requests from parents about how to govern or regulate their sons' taste for video games, and so here goes. But before rushing to the question of how to govern or regulate, we should begin with the question of how to think about them. Concerns about the influence of video games usually reduces to two categories -- morals and education. If someone asks if all this gaming is "good for" my little Johnny, these are usually the two categories they would have in mind. The question about morals can't really be answered unless we are talking about specific games. It is like asking whether your son will be negatively affected by "books" or by "movies." What books? What movies? Grand Theft Auto is a cesspool of corruption, and the video game of Pilgrim's Progress isn't. Note that I am not here talking about … [Read more...]

Resurrection Practice

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #193 “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:53–55). As he leans toward the resurrection, Paul uses the language of “putting on.” In fact, he uses the same verb (endyo) that he uses elsewhere when telling the saints to put on Christ (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27). And all of this “putting on” amounts to the same thing. Putting on Christ is the same thing as putting on incorruption and immortality. And so it is that the daily acts of sanctification, the decisions to put on Christ, are all resurrection practice. Life smothers death. The corrupt has non-corruption put over top of … [Read more...]

Wife Beating and the Idea of Revelation

Revelation presupposes three things — a revealer, a recipient, and a message with an accompanying hermeneutic. There is one who speaks, there are the ones spoken to, and there is the message along with the medium that carries that message. That medium would include all the created world, with its atmosphere and sound waves, papyrus, paper, computer screens, ink, toner, ones and zeros, and . . . a hermeneutic. How many times did Jesus tell us that the one with ears should hear? It is important to get the hermeneutic right. To illustrate how important this hermeneutic is (illustrated by two different versions of it, two distinct theologies of revelation) let us compare two very angular texts with regard to women. The first is from the Koran and the second from Exodus. [Husbands] "are the protectors and maintainers of their [wives] because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly … [Read more...]

A Mound of Pink Cotton Balls

Double Standards

More needs to said about the idea of cultural justification. Apart from an understanding of this, there is no hope of grasping the deep divisions that the debates over same sex mirages are revealing. Note that I did not say that these debates are creating these division, but rather that they are revealing them. Same sex mirage is the earthquake; different approaches to cultural justification are the tectonic plates. Justification is of course a theological category. For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. When God looks at believers, what He sees is the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our federal representative and head, which means that He is the appointed face of the new human race, the appointed face of the new humanity. And when God wants to communicate with that new human race, He addresses us to our face. All that righteousness, that goodness, that obedience, is credited to us, imputed to us, declared to be ours, and bestowed on us by a … [Read more...]

Falling on Deaf Ears

So then, what is the point of recycling basement tapes if actual tapes are not involved? It was long enough ago that I am not sure about the basement, but in addition to some songs from Angelfood, I hope also gradually to post some other songs here as well -- these from an album called Falling on Deaf Ears. The attached photo is what we used for the cover art. This set of songs was sort of an in betweeny thing with Mountain Angel Band on one side and The Jenny Geddes Band on the other. Here is one cut from that if-you-want-you-can-call-it-an-album -- it was on cassette only. This song is called White Falls Down From the Streetlight. The lyrics are below. Sorry for the one part that cuts out near the end. White Falls Down From the Streetlight White falls down from the streetlight, The sidewalk is gray like a bone, A young man dies in a street fight; He dies alone. Red light is over the doorway, A young girl is standing inside. I don't think that her … [Read more...]

Pentecostal Boldness

Introduction: On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of God was poured out in abundance. That initial baptism of the Holy Spirit was followed, throughout the book of Acts, and throughout church history, with repeated fillings of the Spirit. When the Spirit fills a man already Spirit-baptized, the result is power, authority, logic on fire, and boldness. The Text: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we … [Read more...]

Exercising the Truth of the Gospel

When we come to the Table, we are being given the privilege of exercising ourselves in the truths of the gospel. One of the ways that God enables us to do this is through the establishment of memorials, and this memorial is one of them. When God wanted us to exercise ourselves in the truth of creation, He gave us the Sabbath day as a memorial. When God wanted the Israelites to remember their deliverance from Egypt, He gave them a memorial in the Passover feast. When God wanted us to exercise our understanding of resurrection life, He transferred the memorial of the Sabbath Day to the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day (Heb. 4:9-10; Rev. 1:10). And when He wanted us to exercise ourselves in our knowledge of the shed blood of Jesus, and of His broken body, He gave us this memorial. When we do this, we do it in remembrance of Him, but because it is a covenantal memorial we have to remember also that we are lifting it up into the presence of God so that He will remember. When … [Read more...]

The Rock of Catastrophe

When Peter describes the church, he describes us as living stones, built up into a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5). This house is a holy priesthood, set apart to offer up spiritual sacrifices, sacrifices that are made acceptable to God through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He goes on to say that there is a basic distinction between people, between those who are living stones, built up upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ, and those who treat the cornerstone as a stone of stumbling and rock of offense. So Jesus is either the living rock upon all other living rock derives its life, or Jesus is the rock of catastrophe for those who were appointed to their epic disobedience. When they stumble, the text says that they stumble at the Word. This Word is what we build upon, and this Word is what they stumble over. It is the same Word, with two different responses entirely. Now everything we do as a Christian church should be done in such a way as to testify to this glorious truth, … [Read more...]

In Which C.S. Lewis Holds Up a Mirror in Front of the Internet

Screwtape

"The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there's a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under. Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm at the very moment when they're all really becoming worldly and lukewarm; a century later, when we are really making them all Byronic and drunk with emotion, the fashionable outcry is directed against the dangers of the mere 'understanding.' Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism; and whenever all men are really hastening to be slaves or tyrants we make Liberalism the … [Read more...]

Inescapability of Natural Law

"Worship and honor were required by the knowledge that natural revelation brought. This they refused to do, in defiance of this light from natural revelation, and this light from natural revelation can certainly be called a natural law. It has all the ingredients -- a lawgiver, a standard, a subject, and moral responsibility. Nothing is missing" (Rules for Reformers, p. 144). … [Read more...]