Testify or Die

The people of God are the congregation of testimony. We worship and serve the God who intervenes in human history, and we are among those who testify to what He has done. We are to do this with our lives, with our families, and with our collective and corporate worship. We testify, and we are to testify in all that we do. This includes whatever sanctuary we might build. Is the testimony true? If there is no true testimony, there is no true sanctuary.

The ark of the covenant was called the ark of the testimony numerous times (e.g. Ex. 26:34). The two tables of the Ten Commandments were called the “tables of testimony” (Ex. 31:18). The tabernacle was called the “tabernacle of testimony” (Num. 1:53). Our task is always to testify to God’s testimony, responding to it faithfully. God says “I have acted here,” and we say “Yes, He did.” And remember that when we seek to build a testimony, there will be those who don’t want us to—like Sanballat and Nehemiah’s wall.

The philosophers Hume and Kant, in a frenzy of high conceit, helped to banish “testimony” from the modern world as a reliable source of knowledge. We want an idolatrous way of knowing that we think is indubitable. But we are finite, and so it has to be testimony or nothing. Jesus is Lord, so it is testify and live or languish and die.

Denethor in the Oval Office

One of the amazing things about our president is that he will move heaven and earth to avoid saying something like “Islamic extremism.” When it comes to being PC, he is the utter frozen limit. He is out there by himself on the tundra. He has gathered up every liberal bromide, every pious political platitude, every cheesy sentiment ever uttered by a bouncy camp counselor at a United Methodist youth ranch, and made a huge pyre out of all them, where it is beginning to look like he is going to immolate himself, just like Denethor.

Since when is the president supposed to pronounce on what is and what is not the “true” heart of any religion? Since when did he become the theologian-in-chief? He doesn’t want to use the word Islamic because he doesn’t want the ISIS psychopaths to have the satisfaction of seeing us recognize the religious element in what they are doing. But if you want to read some bracing good sense on the subject, as distinguished by that crawling green mist coming from the State Department, I recommend this.

Secularism wants to run the world, and yet secularism does not know what religion even is. Secularism does not know what men are, and this is why they do not know what evil men are. Putting it all together, this is why they do not know what evil religions are, and why they are so attractive to sinful men.

This ISIS caliphate has come into being because men need for their lives to mean something. The best that secularism can offer is an abstract system that sees us as undulating protoplasm, moist and confused carriers of our selfish genes, which all know exactly what they want. And then you die.

The Allah of ISIS is a blasphemous parody of the triune God, but from a distance it has provided enough transcendental dazzle to begin to attract a number of lost boys from the West. Turns out that cocaine and Playboy are not a marching creed, and men eventually need to march.

We have come to a crossroads that divides into three paths. One sign says that Evolution is god, and time is its blind prophet. The second says that Allah is God, and Muhammad is his prophet. The third says that God is the Father, and Jesus is His Son.

And it also appears that God is insisting that we make our choice, and take the consequences. As for me and my house, the path we are on is the one that follows Jesus.

New Title?

After you enjoy the cartoon, I have to tell you a quick story.

Calvin's Institutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A number of decades ago, before I was Reformed, I wanted to get a copy of Calvin’s Institutes, which I did not yet have. I was on the road and stopped in a Christian bookshop somewhere and asked if they had it. When I asked the question, this very thing happened to me. Years later, I was flipping through CT — back when I still did that — and came across this cartoon. “Nancy!” I said, “this exact thing happened to me.” Beyond coincidence, but I had no explanation. I was befuddled. But eventually I thought to look at who drew the cartoon. Ron Huggins drew it, a friend of mine, and all of a sudden the mystery didn’t seem so grand.

Financing the Kingdom and Church Debt

A great difference lies between alternative living and eccentric living. As citizens in the kingdom of God we want to live in a way that demonstrates a genuine “third way” without veering off into eccentric overreactions. Living under the financial blessing of God, without adequate fleshly explanations for the provision, is such an alternative.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5-6).

In asking whether debt for a church is sin, let us begin with a couple of disclaimers. When this question is asked in this context, it reveals many assumptions about the nature of sin and financial responsibility. If someone were to splay his fingers on a concrete sidewalk so that he could whack each one with a hammer, we might try to stop him. But what if he asked, pointedly, “Would it be a sin to do it?” the answer would have to be, “Not necessarily.” To answer the question this way shows that debt is not neutral. In Scripture, debt is always something to be avoided if prudent.

That said, in the first place borrowing entrammels.

True Balance

Ministers should cultivate “a mixed air of simplicity and majesty, decent neatness and elegance, without flaunting pomp and gaiety” (Foxcroft, The Gospel Ministry, p. 34).

Job Opening . . .

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