"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hymn: For All the Saints (for November 1 - All Saints Day)

November 1 is All Saints Day. While we celebrate the accomplishments of the Reformers on Reformation Day, it is also good, the next day, to celebrate our oneness with all Christianity. C.S. Lewis said he did not go for praying to saints, but he did like the idea of being aware that we pray with the saints. Thus, I love this hymn. This hymn gives us our center. This hymn is about what made, and makes the saints great: Christ.

1. For all the saints,
who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith
before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus,
be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu...

2. Thou wast their rock,
their fortress and their might;
Thou, Lord, their captain
in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness
drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Allelu...

3. O may Thy soldiers,
faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints
who nobly fought of old,
And win with them
the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia, Allelu...

4. The golden evening
brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful
warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm
of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu...

5. But lo! There breaks
a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant
rise in bright array;
The King of glory
passes on his way,
Alleluia, Allelu...

6. From earth's wide bounds,
from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl
streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia, Alleluia!

(An album with a great version of this song.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

I WILL celebrate Reformation Day!

[update: I do read and appreciate the Internet Monk on various issues, but I will echo John Adams critique of Thomas Paine in regards to the monk: He knows better what he is tearing down than what he wishes to build up.

And yes it does have a snarky tone, for that I apologize]

At another blog, the "internet monk," a Southern Baptist who is somewhat self-loathing of his tradition (Baptist) and his branch of Christianity (Protestantism) wrote a rather whiny post about how the Reformation wasn't all that great. I wanted to comment on a few of these whines:

(Internet monk in BOLD and me in ITALIC)

-I do not believe true Christianity was restored or rediscovered in the Reformation.

me neither. But when the questions were asked about "how am I saved?" the Catholic Church got it wrong. God saves us, not works or actions. God. The question had not been asked in quite the way Luther asked it in regards to Indulgences. Christianity T-ed at that moment in time, and so Reformed Christianity is about development from that point, not going back to some mythical time when everything was better like the 400s, the Nicene Council or the Acts church. So, fine. Have your realization that the Baptist/Restorationist reading of Church History is wrong. That doesn't make the Reformed/Lutheran/Anglican reading wrong...

-I’m convinced that it didn’t take long for Protestantism to accumulate enough problems of its own to justify another reformation or two.

Don't know what he means here as he thinks the first one wasn't all that necessary, but once it got going THEN we need to get back to somewhere...

-I now believe that "tradition" is a very good word.

Good for you. me too

-I believe we ought to grieve the division of Christianity and the continuing division of Protestantism.

Jaslov Pelikan (Lutheran theologian) called the Reformation a tragic necessity. So it will always be. Yet, the continuing division is not one sided. A mend could have happened if not for the negative reactionism of the Council of Trent.

-I can see huge omissions from the work of the reformers, such as a theology of cross-cultural missions and much more.

They didn't develop the Baptist theology of the alter call either, so did they not believe in responding to the gospel? Calvin was sending missionaries into France, who were dying by the dozen. Sorry he didn't develop missional theology but merely practiced missional obedience.

-I no longer believe Luther ever intended to slay the Catholic Church and establish the wonder of contemporary Protestantism.

sure he didn't. Are you new to the history of the Reformation? He wanted to reform the church, not kill it. Yet, we remember the corrupt Roman bureacracy did not want to reform, but continue to sell salvation and tax the poor and live like kings.

But here are some things I firmly believe about the Reformation:

There may never have been a Reformation if not for the doctrine of papal supremacy.

If the Catholic Church was less reactionary and corrupt, the church may never have split.

Catholicity is based on Christ, not on bureaucratic succession.

The Catholic Bureaucracy of the sixteenth century was not exibiting the signs of the true church: the gospel, ministry to the poor, right administration of the sacraments or the ministry of the word.

The Reformation was a tragic necessity, one where we mourn its necessity, not its theology.

So go ahead and mourn the Reformation, yet the mourning should be for the circumstances that necessitated it just as we mourn the death of Christ, not because of what it accomplished (that we celebrate) but because our sin demanded it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

2 races of humans?

A "scientist" recently speculated about the fate of humanity on that channel of scientific renown, Bravo. He speculated on a few important obviously knowable areas such as:

"Men will have symmetrical facial features, deeper voices and bigger penises...

Women will all have glossy hair, smooth hairless skin, large eyes and pert breasts, according to Curry.

Racial differences will be a thing of the past as interbreeding produces a single coffee-coloured skin tone."

Also he speculates that a lesser human species will develop (ala H.G. Well's The Time Machine).

Now, as much as some may joke about Social Sciences not being "real" sciences, like the science this expert claims to study, I think this shows how wrong that assumption is. Bypassing the obvious metaphysical problems with spliting humanity into a tier of the "beautiful" and the "ugly" there is also the problem of simple cultural ignorance.

A student of culture can easily explain the error. The scientist speculates on the basis of EXTREMELY CURRENT preferances. If you look at the time of the Renaissance, women in paintings who they considered beautiful have few of the characteristics that we find attractive today. They tend to be more meaty, and little attention is paid to "glossy hair and pert breasts." Men were desired if they were large in more areas than the doctor is concerned with (big gut = good provider) and commanded a broad intellect. This male doctor assumes natural selection through mating largely on the basis of current preferances and external traits.
Yet, if our culture continues to be as superficial as this "doctor" (I keep putting it in quotes because, what professional would go on Bravo, really?), if everyone is as shallow as him, then perhaps he's right. But, would the shallow breeders really be ruling, or being ruled? As one of my DTS profs likes to say: "everyone has an eschatology, not just Christians."
"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty." -1 Cor 1:27

Friday, October 26, 2007

Liberty vs Liberalism and Legalism

Having attended a Reformed church for 6 months now, I can honestly say there are dozens of things I find refreshing and challenging there, especially in comparison to the evangelical alternatives in Dallas. We visited many churches and either found their theology noodle-like in trying to be hip and modern (i.e. they were liberal without knowing it) and churches that seemed like a Christian frat gone horribly wrong, with a legalistic, super accountability, call-you-out-for-not-following-our-rules mentality. The Reformed tradition has a happy balance of combating both liberalism and legalism. Though practiced by my Reformed church, a great explanation of the needed resistance to legalism came from our DTS Chancellor Chuck Swindoll (here):

"I think legalism begins when you do or refrain from doing what I want you to do or not do because it's on my list and it's something that I am uncomfortable with....The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don't mess with legalism anymore. I'm 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they're dangerous. They are grace-killers. They'll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don't have any opinion!"

Our church adheres to the Westminster Confession, which explains Christian Liberty as such:

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.


They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
Godspeed battling on both fronts against liberalism and legalism.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Not my work: Hymn for the week

Not What My Hands Have Done

“What must I do to be saved?” The natural question of man. Horatius Bonar was a Presbyterian minister who wrote songs for children to help them understand the faith. What must I do? Bonar has a great phrase: "rest on love divine." So don't just do something, stand there (on Christ’s merits)!

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.

Your voice alone, O Lord, can speak to me of grace;
Your power alone, O Son of God, can all my sin erase.
No other work but Yours, no other blood will do;
No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through.

Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest, And set my spirit free.

I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace; I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine, My God, my joy and light.
’Tis He Who saveth me, and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me, I live because He lives.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What he fought for. Killer Angels 2

Are all men brothers? I think many Christians would answer that question with a "yes". But it would not be my first thought, and I do not hear it much. There is stronger theological support to say all Christians are brothers. However it also seems true that we should at least treat all men as brothers. According to Michael Shaara in "The Killer Angels" Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a believer in the brotherhood of all man kind. Above is a painting of him saving the day at The Battle of Gettysburg. He was protecting the Union flank. Out of ammo he knew if they did not hold the line the Rebels would get behind the union army and all would be lost, the battle and perhaps the war. So, he ordered a bayonet charge. But I get ahead of myself. Why was he there? He was a Professor and sometimes Christian Theologian who taught himself Greek. He passed on going to the mission field to study languages and learned nine! (Greek, Latin, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac) But he always wanted to be a soldier. Why?
At Gettysburg he was colonel in command of the 20th Maine infantry. 120 deserters were assigned to his detail that day. His orders were to make them fight or shoot them. The deserters thought they had signed up for two years and their time was up. But they had actually signed up for three years and felt cheated.

From the Killer Angels: (Chamberlain Address the deserters)
"I've been ordered to take you men with me. I've been told that if you don't come I can shoot you. Well you know I won't do that... Well I don't want to preach to you. You know who we are and what we are doing here. But if your going to fight along side of us there is a few things I want you to know. This regiment was formed last fall back in Maine. There were a thousand of us then. There's not three hundred of us now. But what is left is choice."
He was embarrassed. He spoke very slowly, staring at the ground.
"Some of us volunteered to fight for Union. Some came in mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came... because it was the right thing to do. All of us have seen men die. Most of us never saw a black man back home. We think on that too. But freedom.... is not just a word."
He looked up into the sky over silent faces.
"This is a different kind of Army. If you look at history you'll see men fight for pay, or women, or some other kind of loot. They fight for land, or because a king makes them, or just because they like killing. But we're here for something new. I don't.... this hasn't happened much in the history of the world. We're an army going out to set other men free."
He bent down, scratched the black dirt unto his fingers. He was beginning to warm to it; the words were beginning to flow. "The is free ground. All the way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow. No man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here's a place to build a home. It isn't the land - there's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value, you and me, we're Worth something more then the dirt. What we're all fighting for, in the end, is each other..... Didn't mean to preach. Sorry. But I thought... you should know who we are."
He turned left silence behind him. Tom came up with the horse. "My Lawrence, you sure talk pretty."

According to Shaara all but six of the men joined the fight. Those six came along under guard. Three more joined in at the battle since they were there anyway. Fascinating. His bayonet charge sent the Rebs running. A very rare thing. Don't know anything about the guy other then what I am reading in this book. But I intend to find out more.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

You might be a Calvinist if..

Just for fun, I've collected some lines similar to the "You might be a Redneck if" but about: "You might be a Calvinist if":

...you changed your testimony from "I have decided to follow Jesus" to "I never wanted to follow Jesus until"

...in the grocery store, you nonchalantly refer to "Lucky Charms" as "providential trinkets."

... You celebrate Reformation Day instead of Halloween.

...you can quote the Westminster Shorter or the Heidelberg at will (and know what each of those are).
...Your teacher tells you that the early reformers were the "biggest close-minded bigots in the history of religion," and you must stifle the urge to yell, "Yeah, those guys were awesome!"

...Your church would never dare take a "free will" offering

...you find yourself peppering everyday conversation with extensive references to church history only to be greeted with quizzical looks from your friends and crickets chirping in the background..
... in eleventh grade, when you read The Scarlet Letter, everyone thought you were crazy for defending the Puritans in the story

... your favorite flower is the TULIP

...you have ever answered the question "How are you doing today" with "better than I deserve."
...You don't like to be asked "When did you choose to start walking with the Lord?" but rather be asked "When did God drag from the clutches of death?"

...you get and laugh at the comic cover at the bottom...
...You can sing "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus", but only with major qualifications, so that it's more like "I have decided to follow Jesus (because the Spirit has changed and shaped my will so that I actually want to do so/because God has ordained that I do so)", and that just makes it awkward to the point that it's not worth singing.

And for my Presbyterian friends: You might be a Presbyterian if:

...Church Growth Strategy is Infant Baptism...

".. you hear more than 3 verses read in service during Lord's Day worship

... If a song repeats the same line more than 2 or 3 times you begin to tune out.

...You believe buying books should be the third sacrament.

...When anyone makes a suggestion, your first impulse is to form a committee

...You refer to the Episcopal "Church of the Incarnation" as "Church of the Incantation"

...you have ever had a fight over whether your Baptist friend can claim to be "Reformed"

...Instead of "foolish Pollock" jokes, you tell the same jokes about Methodists.
... your "elders" are like 35 ...
... you're sick of explaining "No, we're not THOSE Presbyterians,"...
...you feel awkward in ecumenical settings when people raise their hands during the singing
...when people ask you who writes the best worship music, you are more likely to reply with the names of Watts, Newton or Cowper than Redman, Tomlin or Stewart

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Prone to Wander: Hymn for the week

Last weekend, my church had a sanctuary dedication service celebrating the improvements to the sanctuary and the new organ being completed (yes organ, not amp system). The choir accompanied by the organ and with my wife in robes sang my favorite hymn: Come Thou Fount. Written by Robert Robinson, the song contains lyrics I get all emotional over: "Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God." How thankful I am that Christ did not leave everything up to me to figure out. Yet still "prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love." Yet we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as to save us for "Thy courts above."

1. Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Killer Angels

Been slowly reading one of the books I was told to read in College. "The Killer Angels" Well done very well known historical novel. Was assigned reading for my class "The History of U.S. Warfare" or something like that. It is about the battle of Gettysburg. Easy read I am just always slow going with books. Who has interested me in this book is Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. A professor of rhetoric at Bowdoin College, sometimes professor of Natural and Revealed Religion. He was successor to the chair of Professor Stowe, husband of Harriet Beecher. Told the College, who would not release him to go to war, that he needed sabbatical to study in Europe but used it to join the union army as a colonel of the 20th Maine Infantry. If I may I just wanted to share where the name of the book came from. This is Chamberlain day dreaming about his family on his way to Gettysburg...

From the Killer Angels:
Once long ago visitors in the dead of winter: a preacher preaching hell-fire. Scared the fool out of me. And I resented it and Pa said I was right.
When he thought of the old man he could see him suddenly in a field in the spring, trying to move a gray boulder. He always knew instinctively the ones you could move, even though the greater part was buried in the earth, and he expected you to move the rock and not discuss it. A hard and silent man, an honest man, a noble man. Little humor but sometimes the door opened and you saw the warmth within a long way off, a certain sadness, a slow, remote, unfathomable quality as if the man wanted to be closer to the world but did not know how. Once Chamberlain had a speech memorized from Shakespeare and gave it proudly, the old man listening but not looking, and Chamberlain remembered it still: "What a piece of work is man... in action how like an angel!" And the old man, grinning, had scratched his head and then said stiffly, "Well, boy, if he's an angel, he's sure a murderin' angel." And Chamberlain had gone on to school to make an oration on the subject: Man, the Killer Angel. And when the old man heard about it he was very proud, and Chamberlain felt very good remembering it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

These are the times that try men's souls.

Unfortunately I have not been reading much theology lately so I have not had much to post. But I have been reading just a little of American History here and there. I regret that I have nothing more to post on right now but that is where I am at. There was once a time when being Anti-Christian would hurt your success in America, rather then make it. This was the case with Thomas Paine. I must disclose I am no expert (on anything). Just read bits here and there. He had early success arguing against the tyranny of slavery, monarchy and for the equality of man kind. He helped make the case for the colonies to go to war against Great Britain. But among other problems the more he made known his views of Christ he lost support.

"The opinions I have advanced… are the effect of the most clear and long-established conviction that the Bible and the Testament are impositions upon the world, that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty; that the only true religion is Deism, by which I then meant, and mean now, the belief of one God, and an imitation of his moral character, or the practice of what are called moral virtues—and that it was upon this only (so far as religion is concerned) that I rested all my hopes of happiness hereafter. So say I now—and so help me God."

So help him indeed. Yet sometimes his brilliance shown through as this wonderfully sound piece below. I stand with Paine on this point. Be it the Indian caste system or the European caste system of Monarchy and aristocracy I stand opposed. While tyranny is the norm in human events it is amazing to live in a country that while it does have it's own "aristocracy of wealth" there is amazing access to "pursue happiness". Whatever that means... I think that for those of us born and bred here in America we easily forget how most Kings abused there power greatly as is also the case in Israel where few were righteous. Perhaps I could write more later on the role of the governed, as both are important. But righteous leaders go a long way too. In fact the case the Lord makes against a King seems very similar to what our founding fathers complained about.

1Sa 8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said to Samuel, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them."
1Sa 8:8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.
1Sa 8:9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them."
1Sa 8:10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him.
1Sa 8:11 He said, "These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.
1Sa 8:12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
1Sa 8:13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
1Sa 8:14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants.
1Sa 8:15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants.
1Sa 8:16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work.
1Sa 8:17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.
1Sa 8:18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day."

1Sa 8:19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, "No! But there shall be a king over us,
1Sa 8:20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."
1Sa 8:21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD.
1Sa 8:22 And the LORD said to Samuel, "Obey their voice and make them a king." Samuel then said to the men of Israel, "Go every man to his city."

Here is Paine:
Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession
Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honours to their deceased kings, and the Christian World hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred Majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust!

As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by Kings.

All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have been very smoothly glossed over in monarchical governments, but they undoubtedly merit the attention of countries which have their governments yet to form. "Render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's" is the scripture doctrine of courts, yet it is no support of monarchical government, for the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage to the Romans.

Near three thousand years passed away, from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of Republic, administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of kings, he need not wonder that the Almighty, ever jealous of his honour, should disapprove a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of Heaven.

Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them. The history of that transaction is worth attending to.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jarrett to hang up helmet

So the end has been announced. Here is a link to tie this loosely in with this blog. But really just sad to see a class act leave the sport. Kind of hard to pick a racer to cheer for in NASCAR because it is so personal and less team driven like other sports. The person maybe not that praise worthy for anything other then turning left. But we idolize them for it. Well anyway. He has had the worst year of his career with an upstart Toyota team. I can not blame Dale Jarrett for wanting to call it quits. Waltrip the team owner seemed to be saying the right things.

"When we knew Dale was coming, I just thought it brought us instant credibility," Waltrip said. "I want to thank Dale for putting us on the map. And I want to apologize to him and David for not having the team that they needed at the start of the season."

Maybe they will let the former champ take the truck out on the track for a Farwell lap. Looks like I will get to watch him in the all star race one last time. Go Dale Go!

One of my favorite DJ qoutes. Keep all of this relevent to morality or something.
"Making 31 appearances at Hooters wasn't exactly what I wanted to do."
Dale Jarrett on almost signing a Hooters sponsorship earlier in his career.

Just to have fun with stereo types, I am sure that qoute makes a lot of NASCAR fans scratch their heads and say "Why not?!"

Below is DJ in 2005 at Talladega. Probably his last trip to victory lane.

He accomplised much. He helped put Joe Gibbs racing on the map and the Interstate Batteries car with a nail biter win over Dale Earnhart in the Daytona 500. (The Dale vs Dale show) He won 29 victories with Yates racing and helped Toyota get through a very rocky start this year. Basically he has put three racing compaines "on the map". 1999 Winston Cup Champion, 32 career cup victories, One of the 50 best NASCAR drivers of all time, known as a Superspeedway expert and a "thinker on the track", and most of all, he keeps his cool and does not pop off like so many others in the sport. See you in the ESPN booth Dale!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Shall Lose NONE of Them: Hymn of the Week

"If I am truly saved, can I lose my salvation?"

Well, if the question is about me, then I can only cite my inability. The real question is: “Can Christ lose you?” John seems to like to quote Christ taking offense to the idea that He did not have that ability or power in John 10:28, John 17:12, John 18:9. Christ claims to be a good Shepherd (John 10:14) who seeks sheep that He knows (Luke 15:4).

So can I lose my salvation? Did I gain my salvation? Is Christ that unappealing that if He didn't happen to get me out of that "hell place" by my obeying, I would be done with religion? How is that different from saying "if I knew my wife wouldn't divorce me, what's to keep me from cheating?" Gadsby writes, Christ's love is rich and free. For those who find Romans 8:35-39 to excite their love for Christ more and not entice them to sin: here is a hymn from William Gadsby, a Reformed Baptist. You have to love the Calvinistic Baptists. They are outnumbered in their tradition, and so never tire of repeating the doctrines of grace in their hymns. I love, in verse 4, where Gadsby writes: “He loves through every changing scene, Nor aught from Him can Zion wean, Not all the wandering of her heart, Can make His love for her depart.” :

The love of Christ is rich and free;
Fixed on His own eternally;
Nor earth, nor hell, can it remove;
Long as He lives, His own He’ll love.

His loving heart engaged to be
Their everlasting Surety;
’Twas love that took their cause in hand,
And love maintains it to the end.

Love cannot from its post withdraw;
Nor death, nor hell, nor sin, nor law,
Can turn the Surety’s heart away;
He’ll love His own to endless day.

Love has redeemed His sheep with blood;
And love will bring them safe to God;
Love calls them all from death to life
And love will finish all their strife.

He loves through every changing scene,
Nor aught from Him can Zion wean;
Not all the wanderings of her heart
Can make His love for her depart.

At death, beyond the grave, He’ll love;
In endless bliss, His own shall prove
The blazing glory of that love
Which never could from them remove.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

God's Sovereign choice: Hymn for the week

"You did not choose me, but I chose you." -John 15:16.

"We love because He first loved us." -1 John 4:19

I'm a Calvinist, but no one is born that way. It is amazing how at one time the doctrines of grace can produce such anger and then, your heart is warmed to the truth that you did nothing to deserve or merit God's favor. Soli Deo Gloria. If the hymn angers you, most of it is merely Scripture put to rhyme. This blatantly Calvinist hymn was written by Josiah Conder, a Reformed Congregationalist.

My Lord, I did not choose You,
For that could never be;
My heart would still refuse You,
Had You not chosen me.

You took the sin that stained me,
You cleansed me, made me new;
Of old You have ordained me,
That I should live in You.

Unless Your grace had called me
And taught my op’ning mind,
The world would have enthralled me,
To heav’nly glories blind.

My heart knows none above You;
For Your rich grace I thirst;
I know that if I love You,
You must have loved me first.

(sheet music here)

(put to modern music by this guy)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else

When a slide came up telling us all we were unique, the person next to me quoted the line above. I immediately knew I had heard it before. I asked where that line was from. He sheepishly replied "uh, Fight Club" not really wanting to announce too loud at seminary his viewing of an R-rated movie. But then it made sense. Fight Club is the movie of my generation. Generationally, the baby-boomers have grown up with dreams and high hopes of sucess if you just work hard. I rarely meet a member of the baby-boom generation that liked or followed what Fight Club was about, but rarely meet someone of my generation that did not connect with the theme:

"an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [crap] we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off. "
This is not a recommendation for the book or movie, (so don't blame me if you watch it and are offended by multiple scenes) though it does give a picture of what the great rebellion of my generation looks like. When this angst is seen, the music and general apathy to career makes sense. The idol of the previous generation has become accepted: money=good. My generation is still in the Iconoclast stage, smashing idols without settling on which idol will replace it. Another line gives hope that this generation may be realizing its problem: "First you have to give up, first you have to *know*... not fear... *know*... that someday you're gonna die. "