Ascension Humility

Introduction: On Ascension Sunday, we mark and remember the coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ. This crowning was the coronation of the ultimate example of humility. Now the Bible teaches us that in Christ, we are kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). We will rule with Him, and in Him (Rev. 2:26-27). And the Scriptures also teach that our path to our little thrones will be just like His path to His great throne (2 Tim. 2:12). This means that we need to make a point of studying what actual humility is like, and how it actually desires what God promises us. The Text: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given … [Read more...]

Creation All Over Again

When we come to the Table, the entire congregation is proclaiming. What are we proclaiming? The apostle Paul says that we are proclaiming the death of Jesus until He comes again? Faithful observance of the Supper is therefore an evangelistic act. Even those participation in the Supper is limited to baptized Christians, the import of the Supper is for all the children of men. So when we proclaim the death of Jesus as the very center of the mighty acts of God, we are doing it context. We rejoice in our subjective experience of salvation, but we do not begin and end there. The experience of salvation is driven by the objective reality of it. God has done marvelous things in the world, and because we look at them and believe, the Spirit continues His work in us. We declare, therefore, the mighty acts of God. We declare what He has done in the creation of Heaven and earth, and we rejoice in how He delivered His people throughout the Old Testament period, doing this over and over … [Read more...]

A Time to Build

The preacher in Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything. There is a time for birth and a time for dying. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance, and so on. Of interest to us here is that there is a time for tearing down and a time for building. When “the time” for something arrives, there is nothing whatever that can prevent it from occurring. This means that when it is time for building, all the apparent obstacles will be manifested as just that—apparent. They will look formidable when they first present themselves, but when approached by men and women of faith they will give way in a most natural fashion. Why? Because it is time to build. If it is not time, the most trivial things can prevent it from happening. When it is time, the most monumental obstacles will be overcome and it will seem to be the most natural thing in the world. So the challenge is to read the times correctly. What separates presumption and faith? It is the ability to read the … [Read more...]

Two Cheers for Nominal Christianity!

In this post, Russell Moore makes a sharp distinction between Christianity and almost-Christianity. He did so in a way that made me think of the distinction between a great point and almost-a-great-point. Moore is talking about the results of a Pew Center study which shows that nominal Christianity is taking it on the chin. Christians who actually believe what they say they believe are holding their own, and Moore rejoices in the vibrancy of faithful churches, and rejoices also in the collapse of the ecclesiastical also-rans. What he says is all quite true, and pretty helpful, and . . . almost a great point. But there is a vast territory to be explored in this sentence of his in the penultimate paragraph. "We’ve been on the wrong side of history since Rome, and it was enough to turn the world upside down." Right -- but what happens in an upside down world? What then? There is absolutely no way to create a vibrant center without also creating a wanna-be periphery. If there is … [Read more...]

My Militance

Reaching out to new dialog partners . . .

One of the stockbook arguments that liberals use is that conservative militance is "offputting." By "liberals" I am referring both to those who are openly so, as well as those who have that crisply moderate evangelical shell surrounding a gooey center. A sure way to identify a liberal disposition is to listen for warnings about hypothetical offenses. But if this were as real a concern as it pretends to be, surely someone would have taken note of the fact that liberal denominations are hemorrhaging all over the floor, while those offputting religious groups are keeping their blood inside the skin, and are continuing to grow. What if the key to growth in the next generation is standing strong against same sex mirage? Trying to anticipate all the people who might be offended sets up a demand for such people to start showing up, which they then do. If you build it, they will come. If you establish an infrastructure for catering to the Hurt Feelings of a particular class of duly … [Read more...]

No, No, Textual Orientation

In the recent edition of Table Talk, Scott Sauls wrote an article on the seventh commandment that contained many true and valuable observations, and which at the same time revealed the profound faint-heartness of contemporary Reformed evangelicalism. Here's a sample. "As once taboo expressions of sexuality become mainstream, and as colleagues, friends, and even family members share news of a pending "no-fault" divorce or same-sex or cohabiting heterosexual relationship, more and more Christians -– especially when friendships and family ties hang in the balance -– feel an urgency to sympathize instead of condemn, to support instead of separate, to affirm instead of deny. And yet, we are still left to wrestle with the biblical text." The entire problem is one of orientation. This being the kind of situation it is, let us call it our textual orientation. In the world of the New Testament, wrestling does go on, but it is not with the text, not like this. We wrestle, for example, … [Read more...]

The Body as Battery

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #191 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:45–49). The difference between the Adams is not that one had a body and the other did not. The first man Adam had a body dominated by his living soul; the quickening agent of the last Adam’s body was the Spirit. The first Adam had a spirit, but his body was animated by his soul. The last Adam has a soul but His body was dominated by the quickening Spirit. The first … [Read more...]

Excommunicated Gnats, Ordained Camels

So let us talk about C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright and the topic of human evolution. I have recently taken N.T. Wright to task for his take on those who oppose his approach to theistic evolution. As it happened, just after posting that well-thought out epistolary sunbeam of mine, I was listening in my truck to C.S. Lewis's treatment of theistic evolution in The Problem of Pain. And lo! His was a position like unto Wright's. What now, Dougie? Well, it seems to me the thing to do is offer up a blog post touching on the three key differences between Lewis and Wright related to this issue. In outlining these differences, I do not mean to indicate that theistic evolution is okay for anybody. It is not okay when C.S. Lewis does it, it is not okay when Tim Keller does it, and it is not okay when N.T. Wright does it. But apart from the general not-okayness, it remains true that when C.S. Lewis does it, we generally don't get an entertaining (to some) blog rant from me about it. So why is … [Read more...]

Not the Story They Wanted

"Apart from Christ, all sorts of people in black robes and white lab coats, want to be the final word. They want to act like they are pacing back and forth on the widow's walk of humanity's great house, gazing heroically out to sea, under the azure sky, when they are actually down in the crawl space trying to suppress those darn coughing fits" (Rules, pp. 133-134). … [Read more...]

Review: Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War

Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War by John C. Pinheiro My rating: 4 of 5 stars A good read, and very informative. Pinheiro shows the important role that religion (Protestant/Catholic) played in the Mexican-American War. A lot of careful detail here recording how Americans of all political stripes thought religiously in the first half of the 19th century. He shows that despite many marked differences, anti-Catholicism was a unifying strand. And it could not be ignored that the war was between a Protestant power and a Catholic power, and so there you go. My one criticism of the book is that while he shows in copious detail what Americans thought about Mexico and their religion, he gives very little information that would indicate whether these assessments were right or wrong. The way he writes, if an American soldier wrote home saying that the culture was primitive and backward, and the religion was idolatrous and … [Read more...]