Breaking Hearts

It had been my plan to be in Virginia this past week, teaching what we call Couples Camp, a small group gathering where we talk for a few days about the sovereignty of God, the family, and the kingdom of God. I looked forward to the trip, my old stomping grounds, visiting dear old friends, talking about issues that matter to me. In God’s providence I am not in Virginia. I am not teaching, but am learning.  I am not talking so much as listening. And worst of all, I am in some old stomping grounds, roughly 100 yards from the hospital room where my beloved spent much of the last months of her life.

Five days ago, concerned over a radical increase in seizure activity, and a frightening lethargy I called Shannon’s neurologist. Shannon is my 14 year old daughter. Her brain did not develop properly, and she has the mental capacity of a toddler. She also suffers from seizures. The nurse with whom I spoke had no uncertainty with her advice- call 911 and get her to the emergency room.  She has been wonderfully cared for. Sundry experts have run their tests. Nurses have loved on her. Visitors have come to cheer her. And, by God’s grace it looks likely she will get over this, and in a day or two we will go home. Why then is my heart so heavy?

Because I don’t trust my Father as I ought. I know that the fear that raced through me for those long hours when I didn’t know if she would make it, that fear was medicine for my soul. That is, I know that the immediate hardship I have been through this week is strong plant food for spiritual fruit.  I trust Him to break my heart for the sake of making me more like Him. I trust in turn that He loves my little girl with a perfect love, that she, because she is my spiritual better, feels His loving arms holding her every day, in sickness and in health.

It’s my other children I weep for.  When their mother was dying, they had, by and large, their father with them. When she passed, I was there. The children have their physical needs cared for. The bigs are amazing- giving, loving, and diligent. Meals are being brought in. We have help for this need and that. But my children, who love their sister as tenderly as their dad does, worry without me there. They have no mother to comfort them. I am not there to remind them how to trust, to model faith before them. That this breaks my heart, however, reveals my awful lack of faith.

I am here and not there because He has brought this to pass. I am here for Shannon’s sake, for her good. I am here for my own sake, for my good. And I am here for the sake of Darby, Campbell, Delaney, Erin Claire, Maili, Reilly and Donovan. My Father knows what each of my children need. He knows how to grow the fruit of the Spirit in each of them. He knows precisely what they each need to become more like Jesus. And He has the power to bring this to pass. What they need right now if for me to be here.

Loss of a mother, worry for a sister are not emotional meteorites hurtling haphazardly toward the psyches of my children. They are the plans He has for them, plans to prosper them and not to harm them, plans to give them hope, and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Which, by His grace, are the same plans He has for me.  By His grace I will hope in Him and praise Him, for the help of His countenance (Psalm 42:5).

The Wizard of Ahhs

My incessant gasps were potent portents to my comparative illiteracy. I let them escape my mouth, however, in a faith driven hope that such would at least communicate to my young charges the passion I felt for both wisdom and literary dexterity. The setting was my recently completed class for older homeschoolers on the great modern British conservative canon. We read Orwell’s Animal Farm. We journeyed through Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We tested our wits alongside Lord Peter Wimsey, creation of Dorothy Sayers. We looked deeply into CS Lewis Till We Have Faces. Only one name, however, appeared twice on our reading list. We read a delightful little novel, The Napolean of Notting Hill, and then we read Orthodoxy.

It was my habit for this class to, in preparation for our weekly meetings, sometimes dog-ear and sometimes underline key passages I wanted to discuss with my charges. During class I would find these notes, and off our discussion would go. With GK Chesterton in general and Orthodoxy in particular there was no point in marking the book up. Opening the book to any page is like opening an oven filled with baking bread. You are stunned by the heat, delighted by the aroma. I had not much to say, and so would simply read to the students this passage and that, all while giggling like a schoolgirl, laughing at the glory.

If you are familiar with the book, you know of what I speak. If you are unfamiliar with the book, well, that is something we shall have to remedy. Chesterton writes in a genre all his own, the personal apologetic. He highlights his own journey into embracing “mere” Christianity, framing it as a sailor who journeys to the ends of the earth, only to “discover” that he had never left home. Chesterton, in a manner vastly superior to cold-hearted impossibility-of-the-contrary worldview jockeys, demonstrates that Christianity is not only true, but native to us. It is less that the Christian faith fits the God shaped hole in our souls, more that Christianity makes us fill the us-sized hole in the universe.

Though Orthodoxy is sometimes published as a companion piece to Heretics, Chesterton’s slicing up the modernist worldview like an As Seen on TV kitchen appliance, and was in fact written on purpose as a companion piece, Orthodoxy does still from time to time go on the offensive. In the chapter The Ethics of Elfland, Chesterton performs a veritable apologetical symphony, showing the modernist world for a rickety machine, while at the same time opening our eyes to wonder.

Reading Chesterton is no easy thing. It is, as I like to describe it, like eating a buffet of desserts. Every taste is so rich that you both want more, and can take only so much. He is to be savored. In the end you end up with a fat soul, prosperous and joyful. Orthodoxy is a life-changing book, not because it will change your view on this thing or that, not because it will persuade you of your error in thinking this other thing. Instead reading Orthodoxy is like riding a cyclone, crushing the enemy, and then walking out, for the first time, into a world of color. Get it, read it. Then thank God, and send me a note too.

Ask RC: What is most needful in our pulpits?

First, we need to know which pulpits we are talking about. The world is full of “pulpits” that are filled by men and women who are missing the most important thing- the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  That is, the pulpits in mainline churches are not truly “ours” for they are marked by fundamental unbelief. This is why J. Gresham Machen wisely titled his great work Christianity and Liberalism, affirming that they are two different animals, and that there is no such thing as liberal Christianity.

So perhaps we would be better to ask what is most needful in evangelical pulpits. The first most needful thing, of course, is the evangel. And our pulpits will be filled with the evangel when they are filled with the Bible. We need sermons that are expositing the book of the good news of the work of Christ on our behalf.

There is, however, yet one thing lacking- courage. It is safe to say that most church members in most evangelical churches have at least heard the good news that Jesus came to save sinners. It is even more certain that everyone attending the preaching of the Word in an evangelical church is well aware that he is a sinner. It is absolutely certain, however, that no one at the service is sufficiently aware of the depth, the scope and the power of his sin, nor sufficiently aware of the depth, the scope and the power of the grace of God.  We know not what we have been saved from nor to what we have been saved.

Which is why we need courage. We need shepherds who walk into their pulpits having seen and used the Bible as a mirror to his own sin. We need shepherds who by God’s grace come to see their own sin for what it is, and who preach confident in the knowledge that his flock is neither more nor less sinful than he is.  Knowing his sin, he preaches against his sin. He does not shy away from it, but lays it out for all to see. Because he is speaking to his own sins, others can hear him. Because his sins are the same as those under his care, he speaks to the sins of others.

The courage to speak to our sins, however, is grounded in gospel confidence. A pastor is able to look straight into his own heart of darkness because of the light of the gospel. He can face what he is insofar as he is able to embrace the fullness of the gospel promises. We need pastors who are not merely relieved that their sins are covered, but that are overjoyed to know that they have been adopted. We need pastors who not only know they have by His grace escaped the fires of hell, but who know they will see Him like He is, and so will become like Him.

The church needs preachers who have the courage to believe not only the glories of the gospel, but the sufficiency of the gospel. We don’t need more word studies. We don’t need more scholarship. We don’t need more stories. We don’t need more homiletic genius. We need more courage to preach more gospel. Because Jesus changes everything.

Dissing Our Mother

It wasn’t the first time a wife upstaged her husband, and the results were nearly as disastrous. In Eden Eve took the lead, conversed with the devil, bit the fruit, and then served it to her husband. By the time the Reformation came around the bride of Christ, the church, had taken it upon herself to become the mediator between God and man. An institution created to be a help suitable to the second Adam, like a second Eve the Roman church, desiring to be like God, affirmed that she was the means by which a man might have peace with God. She held the purse strings to merit, to the means of grace, and to grace itself. Rome fell when she affirmed that she saved the lost.

Ever since the serpent has been slithering through a different tack.  Rome made herself to be everything, and the serpent has since made the church to be nothing. Oh, we might be willing to confess that on occasion good things can come through the evangelical church. It’s a blessing to hear good preaching. Who doesn’t enjoy time with friends? And then there’s the church softball league. The church as the church, however, what’s that about? Who needs that? I mean, I download preaching from Sermonaudio, I play rec league instead of church league softball, and hang out with the guys from Promise Keepers, instead of the guys from church. What am I missing?

What we’re missing is our mother, the church. She doesn’t nurture us from afar. She doesn’t feed us through the internet. She can’t discipline us when we won’t even acknowledge her.  Now my heart breaks for those who have made orphans of themselves. I fear for homes led by men who are so intent on leading their families that they refuse to be led by elders and so lead their own children into rebellion. But what is most frustrating, is when those who won’t acknowledge our common mother yet insist that they are my brother.

If I had a nickel for every story I’ve heard that begins with “Well, my son, uncle, father, friend, roommate, doesn’t belong to a church, but is a Christian” my nickel collection would be the envy of my neighbors. If I had a dime for every “brother” who wants me to grant him all the relational goodies of being in the family but who insists that no one will rule over him, well, my nickels would each have someone to play with.  This friend can’t understand why her “professing” son is shacking up with his girlfriend.  That other friend wants to leave the church where I serve, without transferring to another church, and yet still wants to be free to come to the Lord’s Table. And be welcome as a brother into our own tables. This third friend fences the Lord’s Table this way, “If you are a baptized believer you may come.” Okay, according to whom? Just how many baptized people are there out there that are not in the church? And they can come to the table? How can you commune if you have made yourself immune to excommunication?

Friends, I know churches can stink up the joint. Rome did, and it didn’t stop there. But just how repentant are we when we, by refusing to join a church, profess, “Well, I’m a sinner, but not a sinner that might need the grace of discipline. I’m a sinner, but not as bad as all the elders in my town. I’m a sinner, but I’m too good to join that church over there because of their sins.” This kind of repentance looks an awful lot like pride.

It’s true that the work of Christ becomes ours when we by the power of His Spirit trust in that work. It’s true that the thief on the cross never took any membership vows. It’s true if you trust in Him, and end up shipwrecked alone your soul will be safe. But it is also true that on the glorious truth that Jesus is the Son of God the Son of God has built and is building His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. It is also true that the church is our Mother, and our calling is to honor her.  Our post-modern, western, evangelical low to non-existent ecclesiology isn’t a mere mistake. It isn’t merely bad systematic theology. It is instead deeply and profoundly dangerous. Love your mother. She bore you.

Ask RC: What is the “theology of glory”?

There is an appropriate tension in the relationship between Christians and the world. We serve a Lord who came to bring life abundant (John 10:10), who has overcome the world (John 16:33), who is bringing all things under subjection (Ephesians 1:22), who will see every knee bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:10). Jesus is the second Adam succeeding where the first Adam failed, not only in obeying God’s law perfectly, not only atoning for our failure to keep the law, but in fulfilling the dominion mandate. The church, which is the second Eve, or bride of the second Adam, is a help suitable to Jesus in fulfilling that calling. We are in union with Him, bone of His bone. We are to be about the business of pressing the crown rights of King Jesus.

Trouble is, we, like the disciples before us, are often zealous more for our own success, our own power, our own glory than we are for the kingdom. They wanted to know who would be first in the kingdom. We are often much the same. The notion of “the theology of glory” is a means to warn us against this temptation. Rooted in Lutheran thinking, we are reminded that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (II Corinthians 2:10), that the first shall be last and the last first (Matthew 20:16). We are more called to die for our enemies than to kill them, to give freely than to take from them, to turn the other cheek, even to live in peace and quietness with all men, as much as is possible. This, Lutherans wisely call “the theology of the cross.” We are to live lives of sacrifice.

An unbalanced picture on the glory side is found in the prosperity gospel. This heresy teaches that it is God’s will that we all enjoy great health and wealth, that as children of the King we all ought to be living like princes. An unbalanced picture on the cross side is found in the ascetic heresy- don’t eat, don’t drink, don’t touch. Here God’s blessings are frowned upon, seen as a sign of worldliness rather than gifts from God’s hand. Here poverty is seen as a virtue in itself. Worse still this perspective can degenerate to a denial of the reign of Christ over all things.

Our calling is not to pursue our own comfort, far less our own glory. Rather we are called to make known the glory of our King. We are to make visible the invisible kingdom of God. We do this, however, through rather ordinary means. As we work faithfully, rather than claw our way up the financial ladder, as we change diapers, rather than count our gold, as He is exalted and we are laid low, we are not eschewing glory for the cross, but are instead embracing the glory of the cross. We live by dying. We win by losing. We conquer by retreating. We boast in our weakness.

Jesus reigns. But we His subjects are not many wise, not many powerful, not many noble. Therefore let the one who boasts boast in the Lord. The more we manifest Christ and Him crucified, the more we manifest His sovereign reign.

Ask RC: How old will we be in heaven?

The Bible doesn’t say. My first inclination is usually to push against the prevailing wisdom of the world. They think that youth is better than age, whereas the Bible seems to suggest that wisdom is the main thing, and such comes with age. The Bible also, however, as I argue in my book The Call to Wonder, calls us to be child-like. If that is our end, if of such is the kingdom of God, perhaps we will be rather young in heaven.

The truth is we will probably be both. CS Lewis, in my favorite novel, That Hideous Strength, struggles to describe both the crowning wisdom and the wide-eyed innocence of its hero, Ransom. He looks both remarkably aged and remarkably young, and usually both at the same time. And so I suspect, shall we.

For many years as I thought through this issue I took, however loosely, a rather odd position. What if, I wondered, each of us has a platonic age? What if each of us is truly, eternally, a certain age that we pass during our earthly lives? We’ve seen small children with old faces, old people with young eyes. Was it a hint of what was inside? Do we all live our three score and ten, but have a different window where we actually are what we are? I suspected I would be roughly fourteen in heaven- old enough to appreciate my youth, but young enough to really enjoy it.

Now, however, I am less interested in how old I will be, and am far more curious about how old my beloved is.  Though she never complained, though her smile never faded, my dear wife spent much of the last decade of her life dealing with various cancers. Even at the end, when chemotherapy had taken her hair again I told her, “You look just like you, only with your hair photo-shopped out.” Despite that, however, it delights me to think of her now, remembering that she still awaits the resurrection, young and carefree. No more surgeries. No more chemo. No more radiation. No more tubes and masks and hospital gowns. Young as she had never been before, young like Eve on her first day.

My eldest daughter Darby, God bless her, is burdened with this frequent observation- that she is rather like me. She thinks like me, reasons like me, wills like me, even emotes like me. But as her mother went to glory I assured Darby, “Oh sweetheart, I see your mother in you. You have every one of her strengths.” Which is why it was so easy to see Denise in Darby’s photo.  Last Sunday night as we prepared for evening worship services I leaned over and whispered in her ear, stammering and crying- “When I see this picture of you I see your mother dancing her way into heaven.”

While I looked down upon Denise’s lifeless body the morning she died she was not looking down on me. She was instead dancing to Him and for Him. When I was praying for strength, she was singing from her strength. As I was bent and broken, she twirled and pirouetted. As I became so much less, she became so much more. This is His plan and His promise. In her wisdom Denise is now my older sister. In her innocence she is now Jesus’ little sister.

Worldly Pro-Lifers

There are some Christians that are unhappy with Live Action for their tactics. These are the good folks that take hidden cameras into Planned Parenthood offices, spin horrendous stories, and show the world just how wicked Planned Parenthood really is. The objection from some Christians is that these activists are lying. I am far more concerned with the truth they are exposing.

The most recent film has a young lady explaining to the “counselor” at Planned Parenthood that she wants the abortion because the child she is carrying is a girl, and she wants a boy. The “counselor” doesn’t bat an eyelash. And pro-lifers are aghast.

The truth revealed by this hidden camera is not that Planned Parenthood is an evil organization that encourages and provides abortions. No, what is revealed is just how pro-choice we pro-lifers are. That is, our beef isn’t with abortion, but with this kind of abortion and that kind of abortion. We mobilize over partial birth abortion. We pound the pavement for legislation to prevent abortions after a certain point of gestation.  We promote laws requiring killing centers to be hygienic.  We wring our hands over sex-selection abortions.

Suppose Live Action had sent in an actress who told Planned Parenthood this story. “I’m a freshman at a Christian college, hoping to go into missions. I was assaulted by a black man. The doctors say the baby has spina bifida, and trisomy 13.  Can you help me get an abortion?” Such a video, of course, would never be made, because there is no audience for it. There is no audience for it because a sizable majority of evangelical Christians who self-identify as pro-life would not be outraged, but would be grateful Planned Parenthood was there to help.

The head of the National Abortion Rights Action League was once asked if she feared that Roe v. Wade might one day be overturned. She replied- “No. Pro-lifers all have three exceptions they insist be protected- rape, incest, and their situation.” We’ve all heard about the woman who agreed to sleep with a man for a million dollars. When he offered her fifty she replied indignantly, “What kind of woman do you think I am?” He explained, “We’ve already determined that. Now we’re just haggling over the price.” In like manner the great majority of the pro-life movement, including National Right to Life, not only supports politicians who promise to protect the legal right to abort babies conceived by rape or incest, but dares to call them “pro-life.” The truth is these folks have already determined they are pro-abortion. They’re just haggling over what kinds of abortions are allowable.

Babies are babies, and were we babes in evil we would know that there are no exceptions. Were we babes we would be repulsed not just by sex-selection abortion, but by the morally repugnant notion that sex-selection abortion is some different thing from any other abortion. Were we babes we would stop trying to “expose” Planned Parenthood. They murder babies. The great horror isn’t that some of their clients want a different sex for their baby. The great horror is that some of their clients are us.

Fat Fingered Feelings

The Enlightenment must have been the birthplace of fat fingered fiends. The hubris that argued that we could, in principle, usher in paradise on earth was matched by the hubris that in practice bollixed everything up. It is madness to seize the engines of power, and doubly madness to think you can actually operate the machines. A few taxes here, a little engineering there, a modicum of support for those in need in this other place, and the next thing you know, a whole city is underground, and it looks like hell has broken loose all over. When we tinker with God’s law, even with the best of intentions, the law of unintended consequences, sooner rather than later, bites us on the backside. Our thumbs are too fat to push the buttons of tomorrow. We mean this and we get that, and then make it all worse by pushing faster and trying harder.

The same principle, however, often finds a home in our hearts. Too many of us, to make an obvious example, have descended into moon-faced mush over some object of our affection. When the next object came along we wrote off the first object arguing that we had fooled ourselves, that back then we weren’t in love, but only in love with love. Oh what sophomoric sagacity. And now we think we never fall for such hooey anymore.

In a few days the Pittsburgh Steelers will begin a new season. I, though my worldview doesn’t much allow for such, will care a great deal about what happens. I seek to assuage my guilt by noting the peculiar circumstances of my upbringing. When you live within an hour of the stadium, and when the home team wins the championship four of the six years between when you were ten and fourteen, when your father was on a first name basis with several of the future hall of famers, it’s hard to let go. But as I think about it, I don’t think I have confused a love of victory with a love of the Steelers. Instead I have more likely confused a love of my father with a love for the Steelers. That is, I still love the Steelers because they evoke for me hours and hours and hours of shared time and shared zeal with my father. And now my son, who strangely loves his father, likewise loves the Steelers, because it’s something we share together.

My point, however, isn’t to justify my interest in the Steelers, but to argue that the solution to sloppy, misdirected emotion isn’t stern non-emotion, but wisely directed emotion. That is, we don’t stop loving when we find ourselves loving wrong. Instead we seek to love right. How many men fail their families by working all hours, not because they actually love their work, but because they love praise? Perhaps if they’d get home on time, they might get that praise at home. How many young ladies are led astray not because they actually love some boorish boy, but because they love being valued, and don’t get that at home? How many pastor’s tickle ears not because they actually want to be loved by their congregation, but because they don’t believe they are already loved by their savior?

I had in my office a few hours ago one of my daughters. She needed first some help with her math, and then some help for her soul. She made a simple mistake in the former, and a complex one with the latter. After I explained the math, she was crying. Stupid book, stupid math, blah, blah blah. This particular daughter has heard me praise her before others for how bright she is. And now she longs to believe it to be so. What I long for her to believe is that Jesus loves her, and calls her not to be a math whiz, but to bear much of the fruit of the Spirit. Smart, by the way, didn’t make the list. She longed to impress others, but failed to seek to please her savior. I wonder where she learned that.

Martin Luther, who literally had rather fat fingers, hit exactly the right note when he encouraged us to “Sin boldly.” It is better to misdirect our feelings than to stifle them. The solution to our fat fingers isn’t to step away from the keyboard. I would suggest that we must feel boldly, and then, to feel wisely. Do not kill desire, but learn to direct it in the paths in which it should go. Long for the right things, and soon your heart will be playing a symphony, an ode to joy, an ode to love, even an ode to passion, all as an ode to our Lord.


Ask RC: What’s the difference between teaching and preaching?

Like prose and poetry, these two terms are better understood as opposite ends of a spectrum, rather than raw opposites.  When we write prose we are given to sundry poetic devices,  word-plays, metaphors, etc. and when we write poetry we are communicating information. In like manner it is rather difficult if not impossible to teach without preaching to some degree, or to preach without some level of teaching.

One way to illustrate the distinction however is to note the difference between the indicative and the imperative. The former tells us what is, the latter tells us what we’re supposed to do. Teaching, obviously, tends toward the indicative while preaching tends toward the imperative. But what if we made the distinction absolute? Would not any teaching utterly bereft of any imperative cause us to yawn, to reply, “So what?” In like manner, were we to drain preaching of all indicative, and be left with only imperative, would we not have sermons that merely shout, “Do something!”? Would it not end up sound and fury, signifying nothing?

Which means, in the end, that these are each matters of degree. I am blessed to be able to teach at Reformation Bible College. Because my desire for my students is that they would grow in grace and wisdom it is not my design to merely download information from my brain to theirs.  My classes therefore tend to follow a real, though unplanned pattern. It usually happens that I spend roughly two thirds of my class time giving and explaining information. Then, in the final third of class I tend to commence to preaching. I begin to exhort my students to live in light of what they have learned, to change their perspectives, and their lives. I begin to implore them to change their hearts.

I am blessed also, though not as often as I would like to be, to preach. Here I certainly have an obligation, as best as I am able, to explain the text. I seek to place the text in its historical context. I try to clear up any grammatical ambiguities, or translation issues. But, persuaded that the Bible is not some odd and mysterious book that isn’t eminently understandable, believing that our problems are more moral than intellectual, that we are more foolish than stupid, I exhort the congregation to believe, to trust, to rejoice, to give thanks, to love, to forgive. Every Sunday when I am blessed to preach I walk into the pulpit not only hoping to be true to the text, but hoping to encourage growth in godliness. I want the flock to go away persuaded that in Christ they are beloved of the Father, and that Jesus changes everything.

We who are Reformed tend to be stronger teachers than preachers. The non-Reformed tend to be stronger preachers than teachers. We agree with the Bible, but remain unmoved by it. They are quick to be moved, but not always by the Bible.  The Bible is not just filled with truth. It is filled with truth that ought to change us. It isn’t enough that we are taught the Bible. We need the Bible preached.

Imagine No Generations

There’s a new division in town, and we’re talking about my g-g-generation.  With the rise of sociology, demographics, and marketing we find the world is finding new ways to divide us, sift us, and put us where we belong. Which means in turn that the church is doing much the same. Add to the mix the potent brew of victimology and we are off to the races.

I was born in 1965. On more than one occasion I have seen statistics that suggest the baby boom ended in 1964, and others suggesting that Gen-X begins in 1966. That makes me, and others born in 1965 the Generation-less Generation.  We don’t know who we are, or where we belong. We can set the clock on a VCR, but don’t know how to do a hard-drive refresh.

Which may explain why none of this makes any sense to me. What does being young have to do with being Reformed? What does my birthday have to do with my understanding of the biblical role of the state? What is the difference between being missional, and being obedient? And ultimately, isn’t the Bible, the church, the means of grace, aren’t these all for all of us?

I am not suggesting that there might not be similarities in outlook among some who were born in the same decade. I am not arguing  against the notion that this group might have this weakness, and that group might tend toward that strength. What I am suggesting is it doesn’t matter a lick.  Not. A. Lick. My calling before God transcends my generation, or lack thereof. My need from God is the same as those who were born before me, and as those who were born after me. My parents need every day to repent and believe the gospel. My children need every day to repent and believe the gospel. Skinny jeans and wool caps have nothing to do with it.

Pride and selfishness are driven by living for self, by a me perspective. By demanding attention in bulk, we haven’t moved to a you perspective, but a we perspective. That is, we are being selfish together.  Which is still altogether selfish. “What about us and our needs” is no great improvement over “What about me and my needs?” Wrestling for my generation’s megaphone, to speak for my people is still wrestling for a megaphone, and worse, it misses who my people are. My people are old people, not the greatest generation. They are aging people, not boomers. They are young people, not millenials. And as many as are afar off.

What I need is to learn to recognize my family. What I need to learn is that what defines me is the same thing that defines every other Christian, whatever their age- the blood of Christ that washes us, the Spirit of Christ who indwells us, the Kingdom of Christ that welcomes us. We have been given a transcendent gospel that not only crosses barriers, but breaks them down. The gospel makes of the many one. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. We are no longer defined by what we buy, but by the One who bought us. May He give us the grace to toss overboard our generational markers, and may we recognize each other the same way those outside are to recognize us, by our love for each other.

Stand on the Word. Walk by the Way. Run to the Battle. Rest in the Son.
Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. teaches at Reformation Bible College and Ligonier Ministries in Sanford, Florida.
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