We are fools. That’s a good starting point. We are all together made in the image of God. We are all together by nature children of wrath. We who have been born again have been remade into His children, by His grace. Yet, at every step along the way we face the compulsion of judging ourselves by ourselves. We want to know how we stack up against other image bearers, as if the petty things that distinguish us from each other could compare with the august majesty that we all have in common. We want to insist that sin has wreaked less havoc in and through us than it has in others, which is rather like arguing that Hiroshima was damaged less than Nagasaki. We want to insist that our sanctification is more potent than another’s, as if our actual holiness has a measurable significance in relation to our imputed…
How are you preparing your children for persecution? A few weeks ago I tweeted this: I don’t know the future but am preparing my children to 1 day face martyrdom, like my great-grandparents should’ve done for my grandparents. — R.C. Sproul Jr. (@rcsprouljr) March 13, 2015 Interestingly, I got little push back on the notion that my children might one day face martyrdom. Neither did anyone express any curiosity about what I meant about my great-grandparents and my grandparents. (I meant that every generation of believers, in every context, even those wherein the Christian faith is privileged in a specific culture, ought to prepare their children for martyrdom.) I did, however, have several people wonder just what that preparation looks like. Here’s how we look at it in my family.
If it were twenty five years from now, and you could come back to today to warn yourself, what would you say? It is, I confess, a rather convoluted question, but the principle isn’t so hard to grasp. We often try as a kind of thought experiment to ask what we would tell the us of twenty-five years ago if we can go back in time. If such is at all helpful, shouldn’t we be thinking of the other half of the equation now? What are five things me at 74 would say to me at 49 by way of warning? 1. Do not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9). It is all to easy to allow long years of frustration to wear us down. When I sense I’m not making much progress in my own sanctification, weariness is at my doorstep. Our lives are marathons. And as we…
There is such a thing as poverty. Throughout history and in many parts of the world there are those who, for a variety of reasons, some self-inflicted, others not, have experienced or are experiencing real poverty. That is what happens when you are in danger of not consuming enough calories to make it to the next day, who genuinely can pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Most of what we call poverty, however, falls well short of this standard.
Is it wrong, or dangerous to marry someone from a different culture? I’m writing from San Francisco today. I know and love this city because thirty years ago I was in romantic pursuit of a young lady who lived here. At the time I lived in rural western Pennsylvania. The young lady was raised in the city. I was a student at Grove City College, which could likely be considered the most conservative school in the country. The young lady was a graduate of Cal-Berkeley, which could likely be considered the most liberal school in the country. I was too conservative to vote Republican, she too liberal to vote Democratic. I was a garden variety American, she a Chinese American.
Though it isn’t the most delicate metaphor in the world, I have been grumbling of late about our propensity, especially in the Reformed world I am happily a part of, to suffer from spiritual constipation. This condition is what happens when we take in with our minds all manner of healthy theological food. We read the best books, attend the best conferences, and download the best podcasts. We take in and take in and take in. But all that information, that glorious, God-honoring, biblically sound information gets stuck in our heads. It doesn’t pass through our systems, entering our hearts and coming out our hands. We are a people of sound mind and cold heart.
Are husbands/fathers called to be priests in their homes? Yes and no. If we mean by “priest” one who intercedes for others, beseeching the blessing of God, of course fathers should be priests in their homes. We’re called to pray for our families, to storm the very throne room of heaven on behalf of those whom He has placed under our care. I can’t begin to imagine how anyone could have an objection to this. I will be first in line to object, however, to any notion that a husband or father stands as a mediator between God and man. That is strictly the work of our elder brother, Jesus. While I certainly hope to be used in my children’s lives as an agent of grace, a means in our Lord’s hands to help my children mature in their faith, I never want to stand between them and the Lord….
It is, in one sense, a simple enough question to answer. When you remember that we are wicked enough to murder our own children it makes sense that we are also wicked enough to not be terribly concerned about the murder of children. Thus the answer to the question – why are Christians so profoundly unmoved by the murder of babies? – is this – sin. We are outside of wombs and therefore safe, and struggle to have compassion on those who are in danger.
To too many the creeds are a dusty vestige of a happily distant past. They were written centuries ago, born out of abstract battles whose players we can’t even name. Isn’t it just better to love each other and not get caught up in all those silly questions?