December2010Archive for

Ask RC: Should Churches observe Sanctity of Life Sunday?

Ask R.C.

It is a legitimate and important question- the appropriateness of celebrating the incarnation, the celebration of Christmas. I believe it fitting and appropriate, but am in turn always uncomfortable disagreeing with brothers to my right. I understand their concerns, and appreciate their passion for the regulative principle of worship. On the other hand, one can not rightly argue that the birth of the Savior is off limits in the pulpit. The Bible talks about it, and so we may preach about it. Given that, I cannot embrace a position that suggests we can preach about it, but not in December. If we are allowed to preach the promises in Genesis, in Isaiah, if we are allowed to preach the first few chapters of Luke, it seems we ought to be allowed to preach them at any time of year. The same, it seems to me, applies to not only the…

Ask RC: Should Christians particiate in illegal Bible-distributing activities?

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Should a Christian promote or participate in Bible-distributing activities in a country which deems those activities illegal? And should a father and mother lead and encourage their children to do so as well? We live in a radically disobedient age. The spirit of rebellion is at home even inside the church. We disobey our parents, dishonor our elders, and distrust the law. Seeing this propensity so potent in my own heart I am usually eager to encourage others to meekness of spirit, and a default assumption of obedience, even when the state annoys us. We need to believe the promise of God in the fifth commandment that things are more apt to go well for us in the land as we honor our parents, and by extension all those in authority over us. That said, in each and every circumstance where God has put us under the authority of another…

Ask RC: Are You Messianic?

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That depends. Do I have Messianic delusions? I certainly pray not, and if I do, then surely I must repent for them. Is my faith built around the biblical promise of the coming of Messiah, steeped in the wisdom of the Old Covenant? Of course. Am I part of that subsection of the Christian faith that holds it important to keep kosher, to keep Jewish feast days, who rest and worship Friday through Saturday evening? Nope, that’s not me. Not long ago I was standing behind a table stacked to my eyeballs with copies of my books and teaching tapes, having spoken at a state homeschool convention. I was approached with just this question- is this material Messianic? Taken somewhat aback by such a question, I determined to do my part to take back that rather precious word. “Yes,” I said, “every word in here is Messianic. We aspire always…

Weary in Doing Good

The Kingdom Notes

I’m tired, and my dear wife is happy about it. Two weeks of speaking and travelling among the saints in Colombia, South America has left me run down, fighting a cold, and muddle-headed. My wife, God bless her, is no sadist. Her joy over my weariness is perfectly understandable. She likes “Tired Me” because “Tired Me” is much more soft, attentive, emotional and tender than “Energized Me.” I suspect that there are other husbands like me, and other wives like my own. Having been through this pattern before I was tempted to think nothing of it. It’s a nice bonus that my wife is blessed by this current state of mine. And I had always been content to discount the phenomenon as not touching on the real me, tough guy that I am. But for some reason, perhaps because I watched Inception on my flight back from Colombia, I am…

Guippetto

The Kingdom Notes

Creation, one has to believe, must be a plenty cool thing. The angels, I’m sure, took their seats with a level of anticipation we can only imagine, as they waited for the curtain to go up. God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” Oh His stars that must have been something. The radiance broke forth, and the heavenly chorus sang. Glory! Because we are still modernists, even in this postmodern age, we tend to see the glory of creation in the design stage. We think the universe a staggering marvel of engineering. We think that after the angels saw the light, that God took a time out to explain the wave properties and the particle properties, and how He balanced them in an almost incarnational way, (Jesus is, after all, the light of the world.) Like a scientist explaining an experiment, like a detective explaining a crime,…

Consorting with Whores

The Kingdom Notes

That there is a deep and profound chasm that separates believing in the total depravity of man and our own understanding of the depth and scope of our own sin is a potent sign of the depth and scope of our own sin. “Total depravity” is a true and sound biblical doctrine about how the fall has impacted mankind. We are sinful in every part of our being and utterly unable, precisely because we are unwilling, to embrace the work of Christ on our behalf unless He changes us first. Because we are totally depraved, however, we see this as a doctrine about man, rather than an actual self-description. We distinguish between the problems of “man” and our own problems. It is safe to speak ill of man, but dangerous and sad business to look too closely into our own hearts of darkness. So instead we think ourselves as partaking…

Ask RC: What should our relationship be with our oldest son and his live in girlfriend?

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It would seem to be a reasonable corollary to the Apostle John’s affirmation that he knew no greater joy than to know that his children walk in the truth (III John 4) that there is likely no greater sorrow than to see one’s own children walk away from the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is no mere intellectual question but cuts us to our hearts. The question above suggests that there are two different but related questions in play. First, how ought we to look at such a son, and second, how should such a son relate to the rest of the family? It is both a blessing and a curse that we are not able to see into the hearts of others. It is a curse when such might offer us assurance, a blessing when such might lead us to doubt. Our first bedrock principle we…

A Gringo in Colombia

The Kingdom Notes

Can an experience become a cliché? And if it does, does that make it invalid? I am writing because I have no access to the internet. I have no access to the internet because I am in a small town in a less developed country, Rio Negro, Colombia. I am here to speak to scores of pastors from around the country. And my frustration over the lack of internet once again exposes my frustration over my own sanctification. Which is what always happens when I find myself in less than comfortable surroundings. This is not, by the grace of God, my first time in a less developed nation. Beyond several such trips I have also been privileged to minister from time to time in prisons around the country. In each case I walk into the situation thinking myself a fine fellow, and walk out ashamed. My shame is found in…

Not All That Glitters

The Kingdom Notes

Henry Van Til spoke wisdom when he said that culture is religion externalized. Though the serpent may wish otherwise, the faith born in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit comes out our fingers, and not just we as individuals, but cultures are changed. When Jesus commands that we disciple the nations it certainly includes the idea that we are to proclaim His atoning work to all the world. It also means in turn, however, that nations will be discipled. The more common danger is when we confuse the transformed culture with the gospel itself. The Christian faith is not the same thing as what Christianity does. When we make that confusion we end up with a deracinated civil religion, a cultural Christianity that encourages people to lead clean lives on earth, and spend eternity in hell. We are pilgrims and sojourners. There is, however, another danger- a…

Ask RC: Does God Exist?

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No. Really and sincerely. God does not exist. I am not saying that I doubt His existence. I’m quite confident that He does not exist. This does not mean, however, that there is no God. God is, and He does not exist. There is a profound difference from being and existing. We exist. God is. Indeed we exist because God is. Existence, in terms of its root meaning does not mean to be. Rather it means “to stand out of” from the roots existere. What however, does those things that exist stand out of? Being. To understand this we need a little refresher on Greek philosophy. Two of the pre-socratic titans argued this way: Parmenides suggested that whatever is, is. He took the view that change is an illusion. His nemesis, Heraclitus, argued that whatever is is changing. The truth of the matter, however, is that we, indeed all the…