December2011Archive for

Ask RC: What Now?

Ask R.C.

During my Denise’s battle we were all needy enough that we asked for and welcomed prayers for all of us. The grave issue, the underlying problem, was of course her illness. I too prayed for strength for me, for peace for the children. I prayed that God would use the beauty of Denise’s character to draw in the elect. Most of all, however, I prayed that Denise would be made well, that the cancer would be beaten, that she would be blessed with health, comfort and joy. It is rare indeed when we can see such specific prayers answered so clearly and powerfully. For nine months I have awakened each morning knowing my wife was weak, fragile, fearful, weary and in pain. She was in danger of sinking deeper into illness. I knew it likely that when I would visit her she would at some point cry in sorrow, and…

Can You Remember?

The Kingdom Notes

Note: RC wrote this two days before Denise died. Though children tend to see “I forgot” as an excuse, the Bible seems to see it as a condemnation. God is good to us from our births, and we forget. We look forward, waiting and wondering if and when God will give us what we want. In so doing we forget that we got to this point by the grace of God, forgetting His sundry deliverances along the way. We accept the status quo as our rightful starting point, and dare the ask the Lord of heaven and earth, “What have You done for me lately? Death, on the other hand, can be good for the memory. Considering what my life will be like without my wife makes me consider what life was like before she blessed us. Already I am finding myself making what were once simple decisions without the…

Praying Friends

The Kingdom Notes

It is not an easy thing to discern where a given soul is headed. The elders of the local church are called with the task of determining the credibility of the professions of those under their care. Because we are all sinners, the presence of sin in a man’s life does not answer the question. Because we all profess Christ, the theological accuracy of ones grasp of the gospel does not answer the question. It is a sticky business indeed. In our day we, as with every other day, suffer from syncretism, the blending together of the worship of the living God with the worship of the spirit of the age. There are many who profess the name of Christ, who in turn lie like, think like, feel like, hunger like their unbelieving neighbors. Will these prove to be skin-of-their-teeth Christians, or will they prove to be wolves amidst the…

Ask RC: What is Apostasy?

Ask R.C.

The Bible affirms two important truths that can seem at first blush difficult to reconcile. On the one hand the Bible affirms that all those who are brought to faith in Christ will be kept in the faith, and enter into paradise at their deaths. See I Corinthians 15:58, John 10:28, John 5:24, I John 2:19 and Romans 8. On the other hand the Bible also warns about the dangers of falling away. See Hebrews 6:4-6, Romans 11:17-22, I Timothy 1: 18-19, John 15: 1-2. If nothing can take believers from God’s hand, if those whom He justifies He glorifies, what is going on with those who are cut off, who trample on the blood? Are these warning merely hypothetical, or are we by them assured that what they warn against won’t come to pass? Are they temporarily saved, having received every blessing in Christ, save for persevering grace? No….

Doing Great Things

The Kingdom Notes

When we first learned that my little girl Shannon would always be a little girl, when we discovered about her first birthday that she was profoundly disabled, my father, a deeply compassionate man asked how I was handling the news. I told him that I had been preparing for this moment all my life. If anyone should be able to rest in the sovereignty of God it is me. The sovereignty of God is the cornerstone of Reformed theology, which theology I have been schooled in from my youth by one of its greatest living proponents. The sovereignty of God, rightly understood, was the very core of my father’s best known work, The Holiness of God. The doctrine came front and center in his next book, Chosen by God. I was a young man when those books were first published. Like many others I ate them up, drank them in,…

Headline Blues

The Kingdom Notes

FROM THE ARCHIVES of Every Thought Captive magazineOpen Letter to Ted Turner Dear Ted, Can I call you Ted? Before I get to any of the uncomfortable stuff, first let me thank you profusely for gifting me with year after year of the greatest television show ever put on. It is because of you that I am now the proud owner of 252 of the 259 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. It’s almost enough to make me forget when Sid slid, and my Pittsburgh Pirates went home empty handed. Of course I understand that it wasn’t really a gift to me at all. Rather we had what might be called a business relationship. You agreed to provide the stories of Mayberry, and I agreed, to one degree or another, to watch advertisements. After years of thinking of television as free, I finally discovered what is really happening. The whole…

Ask RC: Is it a sin to marry outside ones race?

Ask R.C.

Yes, of course. Happily, in every jurisdiction I am aware of, it is not even legally possible to marry outside ones race. Though there are some arguing that such should be legal, even the “gay” “marriage” movement, by and large, disdains the notion. The Bible is abundantly clear that marriage is only for those of the human race, and to extend the institution beyond that is wrong. Within the circle of humanity, God does provide a number of other prohibitions. Marriage, for instance, is, according to the Bible, one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4 -5). Marriage is also only between either two believers, or two unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14). Leviticus 18 gives us the laws of consanguinity, affirming that we may not marry those who are too close kin. The Bible forbids marrying those who have been illegitimately divorced (Matthew 19:9). The only other biblical prohibition that I am…

The Terminal

The Kingdom Notes

The yellowing sky confirmed the wisdom of the forecasters, a tornado might well be just around the bend. With one eye scouring the landscape I dutifully herded my then seven children into our basement. One of them, worried, asked me- “Are we all going to die?” Tender hearted father that I am, I told the truth- “Of course…but probably not today.” We survived the weather that day, but we are all still terminal. As my wife continues her valiant fight against leukemia she too occasionally asks me to look into my crystal ball. She wants to know if she is going to make it. The doctors don’t know, and they are considerably more knowledgeable than I am. So I tell my wife what I do know- “I don’t know if you are going to get well or not. I do know that that day was appointed before all time. Nothing…

Spam, Wonderful Spam

The Kingdom Notes

FROM THE ARCHIVES of Every Thought Captive magazine. Spam, Wonderful Spam I don’t want to get too technical with the fine points of economics, but it isn’t strictly true, despite what you’ve heard, that time is money. But it is not that particular bit of misinformation I want to get at here. Rather it is this cousin of that nugget- knowledge is power. It too, despite being accepted wisdom, is unwise horse feathers. Truth be told, time is power and knowledge is used to wrap fish. We live in the information age, in the comfortable suburbs right off the wonders of the information superhighway. There are wonders of efficiency that the computer has brought us. Just consider eBay. Not only does eBay hook up buyers and sellers that would never have found each other otherwise, but it finds the market price for what is being sold through the magic of…