September 2011

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Sep

01

2011

Children are like upset little gods

I wrote most of this down in my journal on Aug. 16. Don't remember now what my kids did that morning, but it brought about the following reflections:

While I do believe in a kind of varying "age of accountability" before which all children will go to heaven, it is not because of their sinlessness before that age. Anyone still holding on to the conception that all humans are basically good should spend some good time with children. 

Children are like upset little gods. They always want to be in control of whatever they're doing. Yet they're not in control, and so they're often upset. The one thing that every parent who has been embarrassed before in public (i.e. in the supermarket) that the one thing you "don't do" to make these little gods angry is say "no" to them. Try not giving them what they want, or taking away what they want, and they throw a fit: "Oh no you did not just say no to me!!"

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Sep

05

2011

Discouraging Interview with Bashir and Keller

I was happy to see an interview posted on Justin Taylor's blog between Martin Bashir and Tim Keller. I liked the honesty and directness of Bashir in his earlier interview of Rob Bell that I had seen, and I was excited to see how Tim Keller would answer him. The first 10 minutes were quite encouraging. Tim Keller gave insightful answers to tough questions. But starting around 11 minutes, Bashir asked about what happens to people who do not believe in Jesus, will they go to hell?

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Sep

05

2011

Faith Is Greater than Reason

I found an insightful comment from a puritan prayer I read this morning, entitled "Belonging to Jesus":

I thank thee for showing me the vast difference
    between knowing things by reason,
    and knowing them by the spirit of faith.

By reason I see a thing is so;
    by faith I know it as it is.

I have seen thee by reason and have not been amazed,

I have seen thee as thou art in thy Son and have been ravished to behold thee.

Indeed. I desire to know God not simply by reason as a list of facts which do not affect my heart and do not lead to amazement and worship, but rather to see him through the eye of faith to know him truly as he is. I desire to know God more and not simply know more about him. I so desire also to have God's blessing upon my ministry such that the Spirit of God might effect this in the hearts of others as well.

Sep

13

2011

Encouraging Post by Keller

I am greatly encouraged to see Tim Keller's humble correction of his response in the interview posted about a week ago by Justin Taylor. Glad to hear that this is indeed not his first renouncing of these views but that he did so immediately. Wish this information had been made known and more communication had gone on before posting of the interview, since they appear to come from the same source: The Gospel Coalition

Praise God for humble leaders who readily and honestly admit their mistakes. I might add (in parallel to something I said in the previous post), that many who are willing to speak the truth in any situation are not always willing to admit their mistakes. Some who speak the truth no matter what have a harder time humbling admitting their faults. And thus, my hat is now off to Tim Keller, for whose example I am greatly indebted, and I hope I myself would be able to emulate.

Sep

18

2011

God Speaking Through Preaching?

Three quotes to think about:

The Second Helvetic Confession

The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.

John Calvin, Institutes, IV.i.5

It is a singular privilege that He deigns to consecrate to Himself the mouths and tongues of men in order that His voice may resound in them.

Al Mohler, He Is Not Silent, p. 57

I fear that there are many evangelicals today who believe that God spoke but doubt whether he speaks. . . . But if you call yourself a preacher of God's Word, and you think that all of God's speaking was in the past, then resign. I say that with deadly seriousness. . . . If you are not confident that God speaks as you rightly read and explain the Word of God, then you should quit.

Discuss.

Sep

27

2011

The OT Conquest and Jihad?

Christians sometimes have a problem with the OT's record of the conquest of the land of Canaan (cf. Book of Joshua). I was just reading a review of a book on Muslim-Christian relations, which apparently attempted to establish a similarity between the conquest and the Jihad. The reviewer--in denying this absurd claim--made the following helpful assertions on how markedly different the OT conquest was:

  1. It is limited to one time, not all times.
  2. It is limited to one land, not all lands. It judges sin to fulfill prophecy, not to adhere to a religion.
  3. It shows God’s holiness, not his power. Its goal is to bless the whole earth, not subdue it. It is God fighting for his people, not the people fighting for God.
  4. It is according to God’s trustworthy nature, not according to a capricious nature.
  5. It prefigures God finally absorbing the deserved judgment and wrath on all nations in Christ’s death on the cross. Judgment deserved became judgment absorbed.

Imad Shehadeh, "Review: Allah: A Christian Response", Themelios 36-2.

Let us read the Conquest and tremble at the amazing holiness of God and the judgement we all should receive--without the 400+ year waiting period he gave them (Gen 15:13, 16). Let us rejoice that God clearly revealed this judgment so that we could understand more clearly what we deserved, and what Christ endured and exhausted for us.

Sep

28

2011

Reformed Christian Ministry

Carl Trueman has written an insightful post recently entitled "Is the Reformation nearly over? Perhaps, but maybe not for the reason you think", which is about the holistic pastoral concern which was a major in the Reformation and how this mindset is lacking in the multi-site model.

Now, I don't subscribe to the multi-site model, but I enjoyed this article not only for this reason; much more because I find these words equally convicting and challenging applied to myself! 

In the process, the importance of putting in place educated ministers who could articulate the faith and offer pastoral nurture to the people was never far from the centre of concern.

...

Further, they were too busy training people to go to places where there was no Reformation witness to have found the idea of church planting on the doorstep of faithful churches to be an attractive idea

...

The problem with the way 'Reformed' is often used today is that it divorces certain things (typically the five, or more often, four points of Calvinism) from the overall Reformation vision of pastoral care, church worship, Christian nurture and all-round approach to ministry.

...

The Reformation was about more than a doctrinal insight into justification; it was also about abolishing the fetishisation of certain great figures as if they possessed some special magic and about instituting an ideal of educated, personal, local ministry.

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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)