“We must be opposed to every sacrament caught in a freeze frame. In order to be true sacraments, they must be story sacraments” (Against the Church, p. 26).
“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #144
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:12-14).
Paul then comes to introduce his central illustration for the use of spiritual gifts, which is the illustration of one body with many different organs. He says, first, the body is one, but the one body has many members. He then comes from the opposite direction, and says that there are many members, but they are all part of one body. This is the way Christ is, because this is the way the body of Christ is. Christ has one body—His church—and this one body has many different members.
I believe I understand what Russell Moore and Andrew Walker were seeking to do with this piece, and I wish them well and applaud their efforts. There is much that is valuable about what they are saying, particularly in their recognition of the distinction between sins and crimes. However, comma . . .
The problem, as I see it, is embodied in a sentence near the end of their post. The context that makes it problematic is cultural climate in the West today. I do not say any of this to applaud the Ugandan legislation, about which I know nothing, but rather to point out how the forces of Progress in our nation use such things to maneuver us into a position that is much more to their liking.
“The jailing and execution of people for consensual sexual immorality, in contexts like we see in many places around the world, isn’t Christian, either.”
This sentiment rests on a particular understanding of the old order, the order of Christendom, at the very time that this order is under a full scale assault, by the very people this sentiment is designed to protect.
I have perhaps said it before, but my pastoral philosophy of ministry is summed up by this: “What would I do here if I were the devil?” and then try to counter that. And if I were the devil, I would take this sentence, and then take two steps beyond it.
Consider this my contribution to a broad discussion that is occurring among classical Christian schools. The question concerns how our schools are to be adequately funded. There are, of course, many ways to go about this, but let me limit my discussion to two very common options. The first is the tuition/tithe donation model, and the second would be the full tuition model.
If a school has a cracker jack development office, then they can have upwards of 15% of their budget funded by donations. If they opt for the full tuition model, then 100% of their budget would be covered by the tuition payments. Left out of the equation would be donations for capital improvements and so forth. Logos School currently follows the tuition/tithe donation model, which I greatly prefer, and for the reasons outlined below.
The basic question has to do with what a Christian school is. Is it a business, or is it a ministry, or is it a hybrid? I would argue that when it is functioning properly, it will be necessarily a hybrid, and should therefore receive hybrid funding.
On the one hand, it is a business, and should be funded by those families who are receiving the services rendered. Such a school teaches a number of subjects that are primarily oriented toward things which are the responsibility of the family to provide — calculus, say, or typing and PE. On the other hand, it is also a ministry — Bible classes, integrated worldview thinking, Greek, choral music, etc. These subjects mean that it is appropriate for it to be funded by the tithe.
In the Old Testament, the tithe was paid to the Levites, who in turn paid their tithe to the priests and the Temple service. The Levites were given 48 cities, and their responsibility in those cities was teaching. They were responsible to teach the Law, and to teach music, and so forth.
The apostle tells us that every time we come to this Table we do so in order to make a proclamation. Every time we eat and drink here, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Now this proclamation is something that occurs among the Lord’s people, for we are the ones invited to this Table, but the proclamation is meant to be heard by all that has breath. Every living thing is invited to worship the Lord.
We don’t need to know how God arranges for nonbelievers to hear this proclamation, or how they come to learn of it, but fortunately, we don’t have to. All we have to do is eat and drink with sincere love for God and for our brothers and sisters. God takes care of the rest. He is the one who called it a proclamation, and who called all of us His messengers.
We have been considering how best to glorify God in our planned building endeavor. We want to glorify God with timber, and brick, and mortar, and stones. And speaking of stones, we should pay very close attention to a juxtaposition that the Lord placed between some stones in very different situations.
“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out . . . And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:40, 44).
If stones can speak in a way that glorifies God, they can also be cast down and crushed into pebbles in a way that glorifies God. If stones can speak, then stones can have a heart, and if they have a heart, then God requires the externals of that architecture and the internals of that architecture to be saying the same thing, with the same motive, in the same love. Isaiah warns us in this way:
“Wherefore the Lord said, forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Is. 29:13).
In order for the stones to cry out rightly, the heart of the building must consist of living stones that also cry out rightly. And in order for us to be those living stones, the sovereign God must take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. He must make us alive. He quickens the stone by taking away the stone. And when He does this, we are then able to quicken the stones by gathering as living stones to worship the Lord God of all Israel. So let the stones cry out.
This small accessible book is a very sane and very good introduction to a much controverted subject.
I write this review as an observer of rap, and admittedly not as a devotee. In fact, I recently told a friend that if I write about it too much, I will undoubtedly commit a howler or two, like calling it hop hip. So what is my perspective on it? Besides being the perspective of a non-expert, I think it would be most accurate to call me an appreciative and supportive non-fan. You can read some of the reasons for that here in a post called Dear XYZ.
This book, Does God Listen to Rap?, by Curtis Allen, can be divided into two basic sections. The first describes the origins of this form of music, giving us the history of it. Where did it come from, and why did it catch on?
“So let’s be honest. Rap isn’t exactly rooted in the rich soil of holiness” (p. 37). Having established in that first section that the origins of rap were pretty tawdry, Allen goes on to show in the second part of the book why — scripturally — that shouldn’t really matter to us, at least not as a stand-alone argument. He gives thoughtful arguments from Scripture on why the genetic fallacy is in fact a fallacy when it comes to music. I have read a lot of cultural analysis, and Allen comes to the subject in fresh ways. For one example, he develops one argument from the fact that all music came from the line of Cain (Gen. 4: 17-21), beginning with a gent named Jubal. We don’t know what his stage name was — perhaps JubalZ.
“The heart of man is fully capable of polluting whatever he might be offering to God. He does this whenever he thinks that believing the promises and keeping God on a short rope are the same thing” (Against the Church, p. 25).