July2011Archive for

Choosing Blessing

The Kingdom Notes

My experience, of course, does not trump truth. God, after all, is true, and every man a liar. That same lying spirit, however, also infects our arguments. We yet hold onto a modernist conceit that when we are stacking syllogisms, and citing learned reports we can actually do so as neutral, dispassionate scientists. Now it is the postmodern conceit that suggests that we can’t really know anything, that our propensity to lie has spun an inescapable solipsistic web around us. Sound arguments exist, can be followed, and minds can actually get closer to the truth. It’s just not that easy. What follows, a list of observations on some issues that we struggle with, is not designed to be a careful, exegetical argument. Neither, because what follows is experiential, is it designed to thwart careful, exegetical arguments. These are just some observations that I think we should think about. First, I…

A Well-Oiled Machine?

The Kingdom Notes

From Every Thought Captive, Volume 5, Issue 1by Denise Sproul I am thankful for technology, but am sometimes still confounded by it. Ask any friends of mine who have to wait almost an eternity for an e-mail from me – or ask my husband who just had to hold my hand through getting on this computer to write this article! My subject, in this, my first regular column, is utilizing technology – and therefore, systems – in the home without allowing ourselves to become machine-like. How do we keep the heart of our homes a living, beating, feeling entity rather than a cold machine made of steel? Technology has invaded our homes, just as it has touched every aspect of our world. Sometimes this is a blessing; other times it can be a curse. I am thrilled not to have to rub my family’s clothing against a rock in a…

A Good Word

The Kingdom Notes

Though it didn’t look like it would go that way, it turned out to be a good conversation. Concerned about some attitude problems, my dear wife and I sat down with our three biggest to express those concerns, to encourage repentance, to wash them with the Word. From our perspective the children were falling into a common habit among teenagers, looking to their parents as peers, and seeing their instructions as fodder for arguments. Denise and I were quick and happy to confess that our children haven’t been showing outright defiance, just a bit of cheekiness. They have been forgetting their place. After some struggle they began to own the problem. They repented of their recent weaknesses. That, however, wasn’t the best part, nor the great turn to the good of the conversation. That happened when they, graciously, humbly, remembering their place, gently suggested that their peace and their place…

Ask RC: We can’t find a family integrated church, what should we do?

Ask R.C.

First, whenever the question is, “What should we do?” the best first answer is “Repent and believe the gospel.” God does not welcome into His kingdom only those who both trust in the finished work of Christ alone and don’t allow their children into youth group. Some, sad to say, get so excited about discovering that the notion that our children must attend youth group or Sunday School is nothing more than tradition with no biblical warrant, end up with a rather distorted sense of priorities. Some forget the vital distinction between primary and secondary issues. Some, I’m afraid, would rather be in a family-integrated Mormon “church” than a divided evangelical church. Even more, almost as bad, would rather not be in a church than be in a divided church. In order not to divide up their family, the whole family is divided from the church, as these families set…

Shelter From the Storm

The Kingdom Notes

The grand special effect that caught the eyes of the audience in The Wizard of Oz was color. That’s it, just color. And they were dazzled. And though there were some exciting events, the effects were not up to our modern standards. Still, as the tornado closes in on the family farm, one can’t help but be concerned, or excited. A tornado has three key elements of excitement: speed, power, and unpredictability. I’ve seen my share of natural disasters. I’ve lived in Florida, and I’ve experienced hurricanes. I’ve lived in San Francisco, and I’ve experienced earthquakes. And I’ve lived in Kansas, and I’ve experienced tornadoes. The irony, in the providence of God, is that all three of these wild rides I experienced while living in Pennsylvania. I’m a weather junky. There has never yet been a storm that I have not wished to experience, from the center. When the rain,…

Ask RC: What is a “Family-integrated church?”

Ask R.C.

Though it sounds rather complicated and perhaps a smidge experimental, the concept is both simple and ancient. A family integrated church is one that encourages keeping families together by keeping them together. It is a church where families together study the Bible, where families together worship the living God, where families together serve both the church and the world in the name of Jesus Christ. We fight against a Devil that desperately fights against the family. While we are on guard, as we ought to be, against assaults on the family in the political sphere, we often miss the serpent’s subtleties. The broader culture attacks our families by dividing them. It constructs demographic groups to replace family identity. Each group has its own language, its own clothing, its own music, its own events, its own identity. Our homes, once symbols of togetherness, have now become little more than apartment complexes,…

Ask RC: What are we to make of the Casey Anthony decision?

Ask R.C.

Nothing. A little girl died. She might have been murdered. It might have been an accident. It might have been somewhere in between. Her mother may be a murderer, or she may merely be a slightly more dramatic sinner than most of us. She came by her sin naturally, inheriting it from her parents, just like the rest of us. Her verdict may have been a mistake, a travesty of justice, a regrettable inevitability, or the right thing. I don’t know, and I suspect, neither do any of you. It is a sad and sordid tale, whatever happened. No one should and I, as the father of five of them, never would want to diminish the horror of the death of a little girl. That said, the thing that most interests me in this whole media event is what it tells us about us that it has become such an…

Poppies, From Every Thought Captive, Vol 4, Issue 3

The Kingdom Notes

Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death is one of those books that changed my life. Now run your eyes down to the bottom of the page. This is RC talking, not Laurence. Laurence has a tendency, an endearing tendency to be rather free with superlatives. I’m stingy, but not about this book. The first thing about the book is its title. Though I have just recently re-read it for one of our Academy classes, I don’t remember whether he makes this point, or someone else does, about the term, “amusing.” We have a tendency to think of amusement as synonymous with entertainment. But its root reveals a more sinister element. “Muse” is Latin meaning to think. The prefix a means to not. An a- theist is one who says there is no God. A person who is a-moral has no morals. And to be a-mused is not to be entertained,…

For Whom the Bells Toll

The Kingdom Notes

Because the serpent is so crafty he has taught us to overlook his craftiness. His feints are those blustering and obvious assaults he makes on God and His Word. His real work, however, happens in the hand we are not watching. Consider for a moment the government’s schools. You can count on one group of Christians at the local state school to get in a dither over the propagation of Darwinist dogma, to get hot and bothered over sundry sexual curricula. You can also count on other Christians to get rather defensive about what so upsets the first group of Christians. What both sides miss are the potent subtleties that are built right into the system. Far more damaging than whatever New Age heresy that might be spoken in this classroom or that is what is not spoken in any classroom- that Jesus Christ is Lord. Now my beef here…

Ask RC: Are my sins remembered by God?

Ask R.C.

It was a moment over which I remain deeply ashamed. The office meeting was getting pretty intense. Arguments were getting rather heated. I found myself, in the argument, opposing the perspective of the president of the organization, who was also the chairman of the board. He made a suggestion of some sort, and I replied, while the half a dozen others in the room stared in shock, “Are you out of your mind?” To his credit the chairman remained calm in reply, explaining to me that no, he was quite sane. I knew I had done badly as soon as the words left my mouth. When the meeting was over I went to him and apologized. He forgave me right away. I wasn’t surprised by that, since he had been forgiving me as long as I can remember. The chairman was my father. Ten years later the two of us…