Ask R.C.

Ask R.C.: Are Fathers Priests?

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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….

Ask R.C.: What is the Function of Creeds?

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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?

Ask R.C.: What Makes a Man a Hero?

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I’ve been blessed, over the years, to teach a number of the Great Works courses here at Reformation Bible College. It is my contention that we ought to cover the great books of western civilization not so we can prepare our students to join in what some call the “great conversation” that back and forth over the centuries that seeks to answer the most foundational questions of our nature, purpose and end. Instead I want to prepare them for the “great confrontation.” I teach in light of the antithesis, the battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent that began in Eden and ends with the end of history.  I want our students to understand the culture they are living in, the ideological water they are swimming in, so that they might both guard their hearts and press the crown rights of King Jesus.

Ask R.C.: Is It Wrong to Pray to the Holy Spirit?

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One of the many blessings of having eight children is how frequently I get to remember how very little I understand the trinity. Indeed I regularly tell my students at Reformation Bible College, “If you think you understand the trinity, that is one sure sign that you do not.” The doctrine of the trinity is not an affirmation of a contradiction, that three equals one. It is, however, the greatest mystery, and I argue, the very Rosetta Stone of reality, the key to understanding all that He has made.

Ask R.C.: Could There Be Death Before the Fall?

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Does the biblical truth that “death came through Adam” preclude the possibility of an old earth? Before I address the question please allow me to lay down my bona fides. I believe in a young earth and in six literal days of creation. I believe Adam was fashioned out of the dust of the ground, and Eve from Adam’s rib. I have believed all of this for at least 25 years. And I’m not in danger of changing my mind on the issue any time soon.

Ask R.C.: Why Does God Love Us?

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It might be a sound argument as to why He ought not to love us that we find this question surprising. It is because of our sin, our pride, and our egos that we think ourselves worthy of His love, as if we are owed such. The truth is we are by nature rebels against His reign, would-be dei-cides, dead in our trespasses and sins.

Ask R.C. Jr.: What are the “third rails” in evangelical social media?

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What are the “third rails” in evangelical social media? We all have our sensitive issues, things that tend to instantly shut down our reason and jack up our emotions. It is usually those things, however, that call for careful reason most. What ought to happen and what does happen, sadly are often far apart. Over the years I have from time to time sought to boldly take up the prophet’s mantel and speak to these kinds of issues. On some occasions I’ve been thanked by those who have been helped.  On others I’ve learned my dispassionate careful approach wasn’t careful enough, and I was in the wrong. Most of the time, however, I’ve found myself standing on the third rail as intense wattage of reader angst coursed through me. Like a dim dog not quite mastering the concept of the invisible fence, I sometimes return to the jolt. But I’m…

Ask R.C. Jr.: Is it possible for a Christian to over-repent?

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Is it possible for a Christian to over-repent? Yes and no. There is a perspective out there, driven I suspect more by psychology than theology, that looks down its nose at what is sometimes called “worm theology.” It suggests that we can be too down on ourselves, that looking too deeply into our sinful hearts is unhealthy and unbiblical. The Bible, however, gives a compelling portrait of our sinful nature before we are reborn (see Ephesians 2), and I would argue, after we are reborn (see Romans 7). To look more deeply into our sin is to look more deeply into His grace, and to respond more potently in love and gratitude. One thing most needful for me, and for the church in our age is a more honest, humble grasp of our own sin.

What’s your favorite part of the advent season?

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I confess that I am a profoundly nostalgic man. My daydreams typically focus less on an imagined future and more on a remembered past. I grew up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania. White Christmases, sled riding, hot chocolate, wood fires weren’t affectations but normalcy for me. I was blessed to be raised in a loving family. Our feasts were genuine celebrations, not relational train wrecks. Just as I grew out of childhood my sister’s children were added to the mix, retaining the zeal and wonder of Christmas morning. These are all blessings, blessings I hope my children will get a hint of as we travel back to Ligonier this Christmas, for our family celebration. Truth be told, however, even going back to my childhood, the power and the glory isn’t in Rudolph and the Grinch, not in game systems or Elmo dolls. For me it’s always been the hymnody….

Is my sense of “peace” a good arbiter on right and wrong?

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Acting Against Your Conscience Yes and no. It is all too common, even outside charismatic circles, for people to use their own internal sense of peace, or a lack thereof, as their own personal moral guide when faced with moral choices. The sole reason this might be appropriate, however, has nothing whatever to do with whatever moral dilemma we might be facing and everything to do with a clear biblical principle — whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). The principle here is simple enough — if we do something we believe to be wrong, even if it is not in itself wrong, we have done wrong. My lack of peace is a clear sign I think something a sin. If I go ahead and do it, I have sinned, even if my lack of peace was misguided. Suppose, for instance, that it is not a sin to…