September2011Archive for

Ask RC: Since God doesn’t change, why does His law change?

Ask R.C.

His law doesn’t change. The application of it does. Theologians wisely distinguish between natural law and positive law. This distinction, however, must be distinguished from natural law and revealed law. The latter distinction separates what we learn about God’s law from the created order, and what we learn from His Word. The former, however, distinguishes between the underlying, unchangeable principles, inherent in the nature of things, and the specific purposes of a particular law. The most common example is the Old Testament requirement that one build a fence around one’s roof. Do we still have the requirement? Is the American church under a cloud of judgment for not obeying this law? By no means This is positive law. The natural law is broader- do not put your guests or visitors in danger. In Old Testament Israel the roofs of homes were places for social gatherings. In America that is generally…

A Fool Load

The Kingdom Notes

FROM THE ARCHIVES of Every Thought Captive magazine. Tell you a little story and it won’t take longAbout a lazy farmer who wouldn’t hoe his corn.The reason why I never could tellFor that young man was always well. He planted his corn in the month of JuneBy July it was up to his eyesCome September came a big frostAll that young man’s corn was lost. Everybody’s busy. Or so everybody would have us believe. We parade our crowded daytimers as evidence of our own significance. We not only schedule every moment of our day, but, in case someone interrupts our plans, we have phones that take more than one call at a time. Even when we relax we have picture-in-picture, so we can watch two shows at once. I don’t know whether it was Locke or Berkeley, but one of them suggested, esse est percipi, to be is to be…

Compromising Positions

The Kingdom Notes

It is surely possible for different people to share the same goals, but to employ different strategies. What I am increasingly seeing, however, is how easy it is for strategies and goals to meld together. We all want, I trust, to grow in grace and wisdom, to bear the fruit of the Spirit. We can all agree also, I trust, that careful study of theology can be used as a means to that end, a strategy if you will. What if, however, the strategy and the goal get so entwined that we end up measuring our spiritual maturity not by the standard of godliness, but by the standard of our libraries? I first noticed this shift in the pro-life movement. Everyone, presumably, wants the babies to be protected. Along the way some have adopted what might be called an incrementalist strategy- we work on stopping the most heinous abortions, and…

“There’s Someone Wrong on the Internet”

The Kingdom Notes

There have always been men who thought Jesus was coming back on a particular day. There have always been men who believed it quite okay to divorce a wife suffering from Alzheimer’s. There have always been pastors who believe that abortion is an option for moms of conjoined twins. There have always been men who believe hell is virtually empty. There have always been men who believe that women should only teach other women about how to love their husbands to be keepers at home. The difference now is that these wrong ideas at least have the potential to reach a world-wide audience. The difference is that the world can then mull over, chew on, and write about the bad ideas others have brought to the watching world. Like everyone else when Pat Robertson’s abysmal and unbiblical counsel to a husband whose wife suffered from Alzheimer’s hit the news I…

Ethics on the Dais

The Kingdom Notes

The Conference circuit is a rather odd duck. It includes events sponsored by para-church organizations, and events sponsored by churches. It includes speakers who work for para-church organizations, and speakers who serve as pastors. And speakers who are both. The talks that are given typically have some connection to the Bible, but typically are not sermons. The circuit, perhaps because it is an odd duck, is also fraught with danger. We communicate something before we even open our mouths, just by being there. And when we are in the audience we tend to hear things before anything is even said. John Piper, for instance, is widely respected in the evangelical conference world. Those who are less enamored of him, at least of late, are likely to be most unhappy because of some of his recent choices in whom he invites to his conferences. After inviting Doug Wilson, Mark Driscoll and…

The Feedback Machine

The Kingdom Notes

Within the next month my hope and prayer is to finish my new book, The Call to Wonder. When I have finished it will go through an editorial process such that six or more months later people will actually be able to buy the book. There may be at that time some reviews. I may receive some emails from readers. The whole process, from when work began on the book to getting a response will be more than a year. Within the next week my hope and my prayer is to write my monthly column for Tabletalk magazine. It too will go through an editorial process, and this time, within a few months it will be in readers’ hands. Then too I might receive some emails from readers. The whole process from when the work began to getting a response will be a few months. Within the next hour my…

Roll, Lazy River

The Kingdom Notes

FROM THE ARCHIVES of Every Thought Captive magazine. Roll, Lazy River by RC Sproul Jr. The experts tell us it’s all about the parking lot, whether for parking cars or keisters. Once it’s not easy to find a spot for the old clunker, people will pass on by to a more spatially congenial place to worship. And we wouldn’t that to happen. So begins the building program, or should I say, so begins VISION 2020!!!! Or should I say, so begins the vicious cycle. You need to build to get more people, and you need more people to afford the new building. You figure you can serve both, that you will untie the Gordian knot with programs. If you build them, they will come. The drive to add more programs, however, is birthed by the same spirit that births the new parking lot, and the new sanctuary. Both feed the…

Ask RC: Is it wrong to live as comfortably as we do?

Ask R.C.

“Is it wrong to live as comfortably as we do, while people are starving in other parts of the world?” It is most certainly wrong to not at least ask the question. It should at least jar us a bit. We ought at least to check our hearts when we see starving children in Africa on our 60 inch televisions. Then, however, we need to set aside the emotional response, and see what the Bible has to say. First, the Bible says quite a bit about our obligation to, at least among the brethren, feed and serve those in need. Matthew 25 reminds us that our failure to feed the hungry and clothe the naked is a failure to serve our Lord. Calloused hearts have no place in the Christian life. Neither, however, does guilt manipulation. Neither does adding to God’s law. God has given us instruction in the formation…

La-La-La I Can’t Hear You

The Kingdom Notes

My friend, Doug Phillips, has written a brief, careful and respectful blog post on a rather emotional issue, government education. You can read it here: http://www.visionforum.com/news/blogs/doug/2011/09/9638/. My goal here is neither to repeat his wisdom, nor to defend it, but rather to consider my own sins. This issue is, of course, a rather emotional one. It involves any number of significant life decisions, touching on family income, wives working, family size, home location, etc. This is not a decision that can be hermetically sealed off from the rest of our lives. Most important of all it touches on the immortal souls of those whom we love most dearly, our children. I, in seeking to persuade others on this issue, often feel as though I am talking to a brick wall. I feel like, no matter how gentle I might be, no matter how logical my arguments might be, I just…

Ladies In Waiting?

The Kingdom Notes

FROM THE ARCHIVES of Every Thought Captive magazineby Denise Sproul Mothers and daughters today are under assault. They are told by the world that their future lies in getting a job and “making a difference.” There are battles out there, social ills that need to be remedied, and we all need to do our part. They are often told a similar tale in the church and given a similar charge: the exercise of dominion, the building of the kingdom is found in getting power jobs (well, they don’t often use the phrase ‘building the kingdom’ when giving this advice). It doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference if you’re a man or a woman – the advice is the same. It is a good and proper thing that we should defend and delight in the calling to be a wife and mother. This is fighting wisely, and it is…