I still can't see how anybody can put this song and Martin Luther in the same sentence. Luther would have never written about a baby who didn't cry. Babies cry. It's still a pretty song.
Casting Crowns sings this one.
I wonder if Billy Gilman still sings. Surely he's got a man's voice now. Is he still as good? Why is he not nearly as popular as Justin Bieber who's voice still hasn't changed at age 18.
For those of you who wanted to see the CD art for the Casting Crowns Christmas CD, we play this version of the song again.
And we have Anne Murray with the other tune. She has such a strong alto voice, but she seems to have no emotion in her singing.
This is Cristy Lane. I don't know who she is but I'm enjoying her voice.
This video features you. For those who miss the bouncing ball, you can sing along if you forgot the words.
Here is Maureen Hegarty. I don't know who she is either, but I like her the best so far. The pictures are pretty too despite Jesus looking overly Caucasian, blue-eyed, and blond haired, and possibly might even be a girl.
Can't go wrong with Celtic Woman!
It's the King's College Choir! Yay!
Here's Nat King Cole and a beautiful picture of a swimming pool for those tired of the snow, or if you simply live in Georgia. I'm personally Bah Humbug when it comes to snow, so I'm glad to live in Georgia where we don't get it much.
Since it's Tuesday, this post will be about Adam Kaloostian's 2nd part of his section of Church discipline in his series on Reformed Theology. Since it's the 3rd day of Christmas, this post will also feature versions of "Angels We Have Heard on High."
I really like this video from Sixpence. It's fun to watch, Leigh Nash changes the words to the song, and it's just sweet.
1. What is a church “office, and what are the three offices in Christ’s church”? Where does the Bible teach us that the minister of the Word is a distinct office from that of the elder?
The church office is a position which Christ has given through which He exercises His authority. 1 Timothy 5 describes qualities of church governors. The three positions are: minister of the Word, elder, and deacon. When the minister and the elders meet together, it is called the Consistory. When you add deacons into the mix, it is called the Council. In my EPC church, we just call it Session. Both ministers and elders are considered the same thing. Ruling elders or presbyters, are to be given double honor in the church. Preachers are special elders entrusted with the proper preaching and teaching of the word, so he is called a Teaching elder and is given especial honor.
Third Day's version, this time labelled correctly.
This one is from Chris Tomlin. It's so good to be finding versions by for real Christians.
2. What are the duties of the minister of the Word?
The minister of the Word, aka, the teaching elder is entrusted with the grave task of the right preaching and teaching of the WOG. He is a servant of the Word. He is tasked by Jesus to preach the Word. He is also responsible for the right administration of the sacraments and church discipline.
This is the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Ironic town, but I was impressed by this choir.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. This should not be allowed.
3. What are the duties of the elders?
Elders are trained members that run churches and make decisions. This office is seen in Acts 14:21; the apostles appointed elders when they planted churches so that the church would not be left alone to make its own decisions. Church is not a dictatorship headed by the preacher; it is a checks and balances. Christ appoints the elders based on the instructions in Timothy and Titus. While the elders do take suggestions from the congregation and biblical instruction from the pastor, they still serve to keep the church pure in prayer, doctrine, offices, sacraments, and discipline. They especially come in Matthew 18:17 where if you have a dispute, you tell it to the church. The whole congregation doesn't know, but the trained elders can handle it.
This is a beautiful version by Andrea Bocelli. It's in Italian, and I love the organ part.
David Archuleta looks like he's 13, but he has a great voice. I think this guy is Mormon but I'm not sure. I do like his voice though.
4. What are the duties of the deacons?
Deacons were first appointed in Acts 6. The Apostles did a great job preaching, but the charity work of the church was falling to the wayside, so they appointed seven men, one of them Stephen, do serve the poor, help with administration, and meet physical needs while the elders could still preach the WOG correctly.
The late Robert Shaw used to conduct the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and I got to see him conduct two Christmas shows in his retirement. I wish I could do that again.
Third Day again, this time live with Mac Powell's deep southern voice talking amidst it.
5. What is the relationship of the local Consistory to the broader assemblies?
It is "prudent, important, and necessary" for local churches to meet with others for the wisdom of broader assemblies. This is another checks and balances to hold churches accountable for sticking with correct Biblical teaching and doctrine. The big meetings of elders from a region is churches is called Presbytery and General Assembly by the EPC, but Adam calls this a Classis and Synod.
A final version by Andrea Bocelli and David Foster from PBS. Enjoy!
Excerpts from Stories behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins.
James Montgomery was born 1771 in Scotland. His parents were Irish Moravian missionaries. They moved to the West Indies, leaving James in an Irish Moravian community. He attended Seminary by age 7, but in his seminary career, his parents died, so he dropped out and grew up to be homeless.
Ironically, the above video is labeled "Angels from the Realms of Glory." However, it is Third Day singing "Angels We Have Heard on High." If it wasn't such a good rendition of the song, it would not be here.
James Montgomery, like most vagrants, was a starving artist who only liked to write. Soon, the Sheffield Register noticed his talent and hired him. He wrote stories about being Irish under British government. Later, he became editor of the paper, changed its name to the Sheffield Iris, and wrote to champion for the Irish against the British. He wrote so strongly that he got arrested twice. At the same time, he would also read the Bible, still working through the loss of his parents. Through time, he grew in the faith, blending that into his writings. On Christmas Eve in 1816, he wrote a poem for the Iris. What would normally arm the Irish against the British actually brought them closer to their enemies.
This is the text to "Angels from the Realms of Glory" but the tune is "Angels We Have Heard on High." We sure get our angels confused. This is performed by Sissel and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We also get our theologies confused, but we'll get to that when I discuss the text.
Back to Montgomery: the poem in the Iris was called "Nativity." It later became "Angels from the Realms of Glory." One forgotten verse still spoke of social wrongs:
Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence;
Mercy calls you. Break your chains.
Even in that verse, one can see James transforming from an angry Irishman and lost soul to a repentant sinner longing for freedom from something beyond this world.
Here, Annie Lennox sings the song. Also to the tune of "Angels We Have Heard on High." I used to love her voice. At this point, she's getting to old to sing. It's like she had nodules or something.
In God's sense of humor, this poem from a man who hated the English reached the ears of an Englishman named Henry Smart. He loved the words and wrote the tune to which we now sing the words. This song unintentionally united the Irish and the British and is now sung all over the world.
Here it is sung by some prosperity "ministry." They use the proper tune written by Henry Smart. The ministry's tag line is, "Receive power for practical living today, visit www.websitei'mnotnaming.org." I'm not going to judge the salvation of these people as so many Americans are duped into thinking that God is their magic charm for achieving the American Dream. I know God is way merciful than I could ever be, but I think I'd almost rather hear the Mormons or Annie Lennox singing this song than these clones who are simply entertaining people.
Angels, from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ the newborn King.
It's so ironic that so many Mormons and non-believers will sing this song as it clearly calls us to Worship Christ. Though I do see how they could miss the concept as to them Christ is just a demigod who earned this planet and devout Mormon men will do the same someday. But I'm sure even among their writings they have a copy of the Ten Commandments which says you shall have no other gods before me. We'd be in serious idolatry if we sang this song and Christ wasn't actually God.
This guy who thinks he's David Crowder, does an excellent job with the song. He rocks out as he describes this song as "Off the beaten path." How true that is! It's not one of those songs you hear as often as you hear "Angels We Have Heard on High." Hence, it's sometimes sung to the latter tune. He also throws in lesser known verses that are very God-glorifying.
Though an Infant now we view Him
He shall fill His Fathers throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:
All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To the eternal Three in One.
I'm still amazed at how lesser-known Trinitarian verses get lost through political correctness and it takes good sleuths to unearth them and sing them on YouTube.
Shepherds in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light.
The above is a blatant reference to Christ's deity, however, that did not get lost through the ages. It is a more familiar verse linking "God with man" and "infant Light."
Here is a wordless version of Smart's tune in pipe organ. There are no lyrics posted, but that doesn't mean you can't sing along.
Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations,
Ye have seen his natal star.
Amazingly, when I write out these verses, I see things I've never seen before. "Leave your contemplations." Get off your laurels and actively seek the Lord in society. "Seek the great Desire of nations." There is so much more to this life than social justice. This Christ we sing about is what you have always longed for, that emptiness you can never fill by fighting injustice and seeking freedom from the Brits. "Ye have seen his natal star." This Christ is for real. He is not a secret. We need to look to him and not to our own efforts or sit around waiting for something to happen.
Here are the Mormons again, this time with Natalie Cole and the "Angels We Have Heard on High" tune. I hope this doesn't mean Natalie Cole is Mormon, only that she's singing with a highly talented choir that I'd probably even sing with. I always thought she was actually a for real believer in Christ.
Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.
The last verse a call to believers to not only get off their couches and stop waiting for change, but to encourage them that they are only tools in the hands of God. One day, Christ will come back, take over this planet, and bring us a new heaven and a new earth. He is the change we want, not any elected official.
Same choir, same version, this time with the King's Singers. Vast contrast from Annie Lennox. And yes, they are singing the Trinitarian verses.
Ace Collins also includes a verse by Montgomery from a different poem that continues the theme of waiting on the Lord for justice while still actively carrying out his will while we wait:
Beyond this vale of tears,
There is a life above,
Unmeasured by the flight of yars;
And all that life is love.
At last, a Lutheran choir! Sadly, we only get the tail end of the song. Then they start a beautiful song that gets cut off at the end. There are soloists who for once sing on key and do not sound bored. I would have loved to have attended this whole lessons and carols service.
Finally, home in England, the King's College Cambridge singers sing the "Angels We Have Heard on High" tune. Sorry Henry Smart. We still like your tune.
It's been two days since I've blogged. I don't see myself blogging much next week either as Christmas really will have started.
I don't have to go into internship next week. Yay!
I sure hope I'm singing tomorrow night. If not it would be the first Christmas eve in ages where I don't sing. Oh well, I do have a YouTube account. I can always sing on that.
One YouTube friend who I added on Facebook added me to this Calvinistic discussion group. It's pretty fun so far. Much more intellectual than "Calvinism: the Group that Chooses You." So far we've discussed, "Should a credo court a paedo?" That's pertinent as I'm convinced I will always be single as the only guys I meet are Baptists. Or Mormon. Either that or I have to bite the bullet and allow for my kids to be rebaptized at some point.
The next part in Adam Kaloostian's series on Reformed Faith. He starts his section on Church discipline, the third and final mark of the true church.
1. What are the reasons Christ instituted church discipline? In Matthew 18:19, Jesus himself says that he is acting in our midst during church discipline for the protection and spiritual well-being of his children. We must rebuke our brothers and sisters in Christ so that they can be won over to the Lord.
Also, in 1 Corinthians 5, a man in Corinth is having an affair with his step-mom. Paul is livid, and he commands the church to excommunicate him because God's glory is at stake if they not only tolerate this perversion, but actually celebrate it. His Church must not be corrupted.
2. How does the Bible show us that Christians ought to be members of local churches? All the Old Testament communities were numbered with strict genealogies. In Numbers, the Israelites are numbered twice, which is why the book gets its name. In Chronicles, they are also numbered specifically by name. Again, in Ezra-Nehemiah when they are back from the exile, they have to number themselves. If they were not considered numbered with Israel, and if they lacked a genealogy that led back to Abraham, then they were not part of Israel.
And now in the New Covenant, in Acts 2:41, the church is first born, and folks get baptized and then numbered with the converts. In the same book, 4:23, people go to their own companions to talk about what Peter and John are doing. They aren't necessarily part of the group, but they admire them. Their own. People from the start considered the church body to be theirs, not just a place where you go to worship God. This is a for real body.
In one of the letters to Timothy, Paul mentions a list of widows. There would be no list of widows if there was no membership list.
Finally, church discipline itself is impossible without church membership. It's no use disciplining somebody who will just leave and go to another church. In fact, this is one of the few bad results of the Reformation. So many churches started to break into their own fellowship until we have this huge buffet of "churches." If you don't like one thing, go to another one. Or go to many. Go to the one you are a member of and then go to another because there are young singles there. I'm guilty of this, and this is a tragedy. It's like if a man has one wife, then one girlfriend who will go dance with him, and one woman to eat meals with, and one woman to take trips with. This is huge adultery. I don't know how to solve it at the moment, but it's true.
3. What is the difference between the invisible church and the mixed, visible church? All believers for all time are the invisible church, the group of those truly saved that God knows. On earth, we cannot see the hearts of all the people that come to church; we can only see their outward actions. The visible church is the outward expression of the invisible church. It is comprised of both true believers and hypocrites. Not everyone in the visible church is Christian, but if you are a Christian, then you will go to church. You cannot call yourself a Christian and forsake going to church. You will at least be called to account when you see Christ and he asks why you did not love his representatives on earth.
You want to be on a visible church list because it reflects the invisible list in heaven.
This won't be a long post. I'm tired and have had little sleep this weekend. Yesterday's children's lesson was really bizarre and if I teach it again, I'm going to try harder to circumvent circum-whatever.
You see, I made it safely through the stories of Abraham having Ishmael with Hagar, Jacob marrying 4 wives, Joseph being tempted by Mrs. Potiphar, and yesterday, I taught on Jesus being presented in the temple. How I got through Abraham's story without bringing up circumcision because the lessons narrowly avoided it. I felt I could not get around Jesus's circumcision today. I just had to talk about that, how before Jesus came, men had to be cut, then Jesus's who life was cut off, and now we no longer have to be cut, we are baptized. That's why women can join in the fun and Gentiles. It's why the Presbyterians insist on infant baptism, not to erase the child's original sin, but because the child needs to be dead in Christ's blood from birth, and he needs that same blood to raise him to life as a New Man or Woman of Christ. Also, believing parents must baptize the child, or perhaps some sponsor. Not some unwed mother who still doesn't get what she did wrong. In that case, raise the child in the faith and then let him decide to be baptized. But other than that, two believing married parents can baptize their child, just as Jewish children were circumcised on the 8th day of their lives.
Back to my lesson yesterday: I briefly explained that it's a surgery that only boys can have. Then I just had to add that it involves cutting the part that only boys have. That went to far. Maybe next time I teach the lesson I won't add that. That was my error. I need to remember, I'm surrounded by 3rd grade girls. They kept asking, did they really cut that? Eww. Do girls get cut? No, they don't. They are considered that way when they marry one who is. Oh well. I don't mind getting calls from parents. I just hope they don't call the pastor first. Just to be safe, I did tell the adult Sunday School to pray because I would be approaching the awkward topic of circumcision. I felt like I got to a place where I could not avoid it. Shannon the man said he talks about it to his children, who also say eww, but then again, none of his children were in there that morning, and none of their parents were in Sunday School.
Today I got to relax, chill with my friend in my home church's cemetery, and I started singing a song. That inspired me to record it. Enjoy.
I'm reading through Anne of Green Gables again. Have I talked about that yet on this blog? Oh well. I really love that book. I wish we could go back to a time when we could openly call someone "bosom friend" without getting strange looks. I already have some friends who have to endure me calling them that now.
James White posted a timely video rebutting Michael Voris over the Immaculate Deception, I mean, conception. I only wish he had cited the early church fathers that he quotes because now I want to read them.
Monergism.com does not have a very good search tool. I go to a topic and I know they have way more than listed on that one page on said topic, but they don't have a link to page 2.
I want to hear more paedobaptistic rebuttals of Catholicism. R.C. Sproul speaks freely on it, and in a loving way that I think my Catholic BFF could tolerate, but he kind of compromises, too. I found myself compromising as I do find ways where I very much agree with them. I've found more ways than I even realized. Either that or my friend truly is saved but still clings to their bizarre superstitions. I mean, my friend is the one that got onto me about Twilight. If nothing else, she's at least elect. If only I could get her reading the Bible and to be assured of her salvation and not feel like she has to clean all the time.
I still think of Jesus healing the paralytic in Mark 2, and I do believe some people are saved because other godly people love them. Of course, no one would have that love had God not placed that love in us in the first place. However, if I really love people, I need to talk about what I believe even if it does offend them.
It's still a good thirty minutes before I leave for this party. I'm pretty hungry.
I look forward to seeing my cousins come over for our annual gathering. I look forward to it being over, too. I get so many things I need to do this time of year, I'm actually glad it's not Christmas, just Advent. Christmas starts on December 25, ends on January 6, and really lasts 12 days because of the liturgical calender. I think Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas this year. Jesus celebrated it. I don't. But I do celebrate Christmas all year.
Third lecture in C.S. Lewis series by Louis Markos. It is on Ethics and the Tao.
This is C.S. Lewis's most bizarre choice of words for the best proof of God's existence. He hijacks Confucius's word of Confusion and applies it to God's ultimate moral standard. It's like, all people everywhere have an inner knowledge that you should not kill, cheat on your wife, steal, etc. They would not have this if there was no God to give them this standard, therefore, there is a God.
Lewis does take the wrong path in implying that God placed this inner knowledge inside all people, although it's similar to Romans 1, God is obvious simply through his creation. I'm going to take a different route and go with the arguments of both Jason Lisle of Answers and Genesis and William of Occam (I'm not sure if I'm citing the latter correctly.) Lisle pretty much took Lewis's Tao and formulated the ultimate proof of creation: the fact that we all have a moral code. If there was no God, there would be no morals or reason to not kill, cheat on your wife, steal, etc. The fact that people have moral standards is proof that a divine being did give us laws and order to the planet. But this reason is not because of an inner conscious.
I believe it was William of Occam who got his name on the Ontological argument. Correct me if I'm wrong. Please. Basically, all people have a concept of God in their minds. This concept would not exist if there was no God. God's existence is proven simply because we all have a mental concept of God. Although I've always liked that argument, it seemed rather simplistic until I became a fan of Answers in Genesis. I seriously think Ken Ham has perfected the Ontological argument when he talks about dinosaurs. People all over the world have dragon legends, pictures and tales. The word dinosaur was not coined until 1841, so in 1611, the King James Bible would have called such creatures dragons. Have you ever read of Job's Behemoth and Leviathan? Read the descriptions of Behemoth's cedar-like tale or Leviathan who breathes sparks. He's describing a dinosaur and a fire-breathing dragon. No joke. So, obviously, dinosaurs were real, they went extinct, but they lived to the middle ages because before 1841, they were called dragons.
Why would this all be true? We have bones, fossils, legends and paintings all over the world, and God also sent a great Flood that would churn the earth into looking old, stack the rocks in a such a way that the dinosaurs would be buried and fossilized rapidly, and give us all the evidence we need to prove God and his Word. And Noah would have had dragons on his Ark. And they would have provided all the tales of slayings and knights and sacrifices, etc.
Still, why does this prove the Ontological argument? Because God really created Adam, and all people really are descended from him. After his fall, he told his children about God, who told their children. Then they all sinned, and God destroyed them in a flood but had mercy on Noah and his family. Noah told his children about God who passed it on to their children who migrated all over the world. Many turned their backs on the true God despite what they knew and invented other gods more to their liking, but still, we all come from Noah, he told us all about God, therefore we all have a concept of God, proving him true. So there's the process, and that's all I will say about Lewis's Tao tonight.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Crimson Barber, your sportscaster, bringing you the last inning of the game between the Cleveland Pontiffs and the Published Yankees. Pope John 22 is pitching for the Yankees. Here's the pitch! It's a low betrayed ball that just cuts the inside of the soul for a strike. That makes the count 22 strikes and 28 balls. Now here's the next pitch. The batter swings and connects. It's a long, high Cardinal out to mortal field. But St. Peter is coming up fast and has it for the second out. The next batter up is John Calvin, the Cleveland Roman-stop. Here's the pitch...and it's a hit...a short ground ball to third posterity. Martin Luther scoops it up and throws it to first base for the out, and the game is over. And the Yankees move into second place in the noted league.
-- Words chosen at random from the Institutes 4.7.28
Mother and Son
Mother: Junior, you come right inside. You're late, and your supper is getting absurd.
Son: Aw, Mom. I've been out playing Sense Ball with some of the other devils.
M: Well, get inside. And don't forget to wipe your muddy churches.
S: Okay, Mom. Can I watch television while I eat? There's an impious new show on.
M: No, not whiel you're eating your idol.
S: But Mom! "Have Temple Will Travel" is on.
M: No, sir. You've been watching too much television. You're liable to strain your licenses.
S: Gee whiz! That's my favorite program. It stars Tim Challies as the gunslinger.
M: Never mind. God and wash your College of Cardinals.
S: Aw, Mom. I don't have to. I'm devoid.
M: don't talk back to me, young man, or I'll have to speak to your ear.
From Institutes 4.7.29
One more: Father Goose Rhymes
Old Mother Hubbard went to the lead
To get her antique Romanist a bone.
When she got there, the bull was respectful,
And so her complete dog had none.
Jack and Jill went up the church
To fetch a tomb of water.
Jack fell down and broke his enemy,
And Jill came tumbling after.
There was a little girl and she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her court.
And when she was vicegerent, she was very, very opposed,
And when she was bad, she was successive.
There was a spiritual woman
Who transferred in a shoe.
She had so many priests
She didn't know what to do.
Hi, diddle, diddle, the Pontiff and the fiddle,
The Antichrist jumped over the one.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the defection.
Little Miss Muffet sat on a charge,
Eating her curds and Papacy.
Along came a meaning and sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
Little Boy Blue come blow your tuning fork.
The sheep's in the temple,
The cow's in the soul.
Where is the spiritual boy who looks after the sheep?
He's under the kingdom, fast asleep.
Mary had little serpent.
Its church was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went
Her mask was sure to show.
For many weeks now, I have been bewailing John MacArthur's disdain for infant baptism. However, he's still my favorite famous preacher. I had a conversation with a guy last week about what it means to live by the Holy Spirit, and lo and behold, on You Tube, Johnny Mac had a sermon about the Holy Spirit. It was so timely and I took notes and then made this video. I don't have the caliber of MacArthur, but I do have a YouTube account. And there was much rejoicing.
I remember ages ago I had this compilation CD from Christian singers put out by BEC records. On it Switchfoot had a song called "Evergreen." It was a wonderful song. If anybody can find it, I'd love to see it on YouTube.
But alas, it's not on there today, so I'll go with the Wexford Carol as sung by Moya Brennan, Enya's sister, who I'm sure is still a Christian.
Here is the text:
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born
The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox's stall
Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God's angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you'll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born
With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God's angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife
Today was great. Last night my lawyer that I intern with called and said that I don't have to come in because they were doing training.
I did ask her if I could research something in my local library.
I ended up at Chick-fil-A studying for Monday's exam when she texted me, in multiple texts, this divorce for me to research.
I did that for an hour and a half and realized that the Conyers library, though decent, is just nothing without a key digest. And I still had to use Westlaw later on to shephardize the cases I found.
I didn't think I'd be able to go, but I was so happy that I could go to the party at Refuge for the end of Ashlee's internship. It was so good to see all those women and see Ashlee before she volunteers there only twice a week and on days that I don't volunteer.
I hope I'm studied up for Monday's test. At least tomorrow I'll take a break to make and eat cookies at another friend's cookie swap.
This week, Adam Kaloostian starts on the proper administration of the sacraments, the second of the three marks of the true church. He starts out boldly with baptism, specifically paedobaptism, and with Scriptures, we talk about how it is very Biblical and how it makes more sense if your a Calvinist. But first we'll get to his questions.
1. What is a good working definition of a "sacrament"? How do we know that the Bible teaches that there are only two of them?
First, Adam shows that God gave us the sacraments for a special help and through them, he's giving us grace, specifically, Christ is giving us grace. When people limit communion to only once a quarter, they basically tell the Lord that they don't want his grace or to commune with Christ. This is sad because the Apostles celebrated the Lord's supper every week and baptized often, too. The church makes a huge mistake when it reduces the sacraments to mere pageantry, and our people suffer. I'd never thought of it this way before, but Adam points out the fascination with fortune-telling, horoscopes, Tarot cards, and even science fiction (which I love sci-fi and fantasy, don't get me wrong). People are into New Age religion because they desire this connection with something beyond this world. It's no excuse and really New Age isn't new, but maybe if the church put more emphasis on Sacraments, a healthy and true heavenly contact, then they wouldn't seek it in escapism practices.
But I digress, sacrament: an external sign but which the Lord seals on our consciousness his promises of good will to us in order to sustain our weak faith while we in turn testify of our piety toward him.
Again, the Lord is sealing on our consciousness his promises. Primarily, God is doing something toward us. We are not doing anything toward God.
So why do we have only 2 when RCs have 7 and the Salvation Army has 0? Two reasons: 1. Sacrament by definition is something that Christ institutes to confirm his promises. That's why we have more than 0. Also, Jesus only instituted and partook in 2: baptism and communion. Luther liked confession, but it's something every sinner must do and Jesus never had to do that. 2. Just because something is symbolic does not mean that it's a sacrament. Marriage does symbolize what is supposed to be Christ's relationship to the church, but it is not a sacrament. God doesn't convey his grace through that, although he does bless it if done right. It's even a church service, but it's not a sacrament. You can be a part of the church if you never marry or get ordained. I've done neither so far, and I'm an active part of the church.
2. What are two parts to every sacrament? What is the relationship between the two? 1. There is the sign -- the outward. 2. There is the thing signified -- I'll call it the inward. Baptism for example: The outward is water that washes dirt off a body. The inward is the blood of Christ washing sins from a soul. The outward shows the inward that goes on in heaven.
3. What is the relationship between the time of baptism and the actual washing away of sins for those who receive it? Does everyone who receives water baptism also receive the actual forgiveness of sins?
Titus 3:5, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
The Reformed folks do not believe that the inward always accompanies the outward. Also, we also don't believe that faith has to come first. God can give the inner to the sinner before, during, or after the outer. And of course, at any age, not everyone who receives the outer, receives the inner. They are not inextricably connected. God is the one that washes sins, not us.
4. Who are the proper recipients of Christian baptism?
1. Those not yet baptized who have come to believe in Jesus.
2. The children of at least one believing parents.
John MacArthur considers it a heinous, gross sin to baptize infants. Seriously, even if you don't agree with it, why could you call it Satanic? I on the other hand, in agreement with Adam Kaloostian, consider it a heinous, gross sin to withhold the grace of baptism from our children and infants. They are born into sin just like we are, and they need to have Christ administer his grace on their inner sins from birth, because we need to teach them the Gospel from birth, even if we just start out singing "Jesus Loves Me."
In Acts 16, two people get baptized. Starting in verses 14 and 15, Lydia comes to the Lord and then her whole household gets baptized. No questions asked. Then, the Philippian jailer came to know the Lord and his whole household was baptized. Were any infants baptized then? I admit, the Bible doesn't specifically say, but it says in the ESV that all the jailer's household rejoiced because the jailer believed. And I'm an NIV chick, but the ESV follows the Greek verb which is conjugated only to the man who believed. So basically, his household had no more ability to profess their faith than an goo-gooing infant.
One more: 1 Corinthians 1:16, Paul brags about how glad he was that he did not baptize any of those Corinthians because they could not say they were baptized under Paul except for two people, and oh yeah, Stephanas and his household.
Also, this is in line with how God dealt with his covenant people throughout history. He had the Jewish baby boys circumcised form 8 days old. It made them part of the community and did not mean that they were saved. In fact, so many grew up to be idolaters. Romans 4:11, "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them." This is Abraham. His faith and his circumcision were not simultaneous. And yet God still told him to perform this surgery for the 8-day-old boys.
So, if infant children are considered part of the covenant community in the Old Covenant, why would God turn around and exclude them from the New Covenant? Especially when that's when children come to faith. They usually have their worldview in place by age 13.
Finally, in 1 Corinthians 7:14, Paul is settling disputes between married couples where one had come to the Lord and the other had not. He calls both the unbelieving spouse and their children holy simply because the believing spouse is holy. God sees them as part of his kingdom, and an important part. Therefore, they must be baptized and God needs to wash their sins from the earliest of ages.
5. Who should be doing the baptizing?
I don't care how many random people baptize their friends in swimming pools across the country or at the beach in Haiti or at the real Jordan River. It is not a legitimate baptism unless it is done by an ordained minister of the Word. Christ gave the ability of baptizing to the Apostles, and now that there are no longer Apostles, that job belongs to the ordained ministers of Christ's church.
One time, someone asked me about the passage where the people were re-baptized after they had only had John's baptism. John's baptism was not in the name of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All Trinitarian baptism is legitimate, and there is no need for rebaptism if your baptism was in the name of the Trinity, no matter what denomination.
6. How is Christ "preaching" to the whole church when baptism is administered?
Christ is using his sacrament as a visible word. A metaphor. As Christ washes the sins away from the one being baptized, whether past, present, or future, he is also preaching to us the Gospel of washing our sins away through his blood. Also, God reaffirms is promise to those looking on who have already been baptized. We relive our baptism when someone else is baptized.
I couldn't have asked for a better lesson in Children's Church yesterday, even though I very much miss the Herndons who were all visiting Megan's parents in NC. Also, Alexis and family were gone. :-(
I had Madison, Rebecca, and Macaria. Debbie, the pastor's wife and basically my mother, came back with me to help with Macaria, who sat in church for the first part of the service before I call the kids back for children's church, and she was very well behaved. It seems like once you assert that she has to obey you, she obeys quite well. Still, I was glad for the extra hand from Debbie when we did Children's Church.
We did the lesson on when the angel Gabriel came to tell Mary that she'll be pregnant with the Christ. The lesson called for the children making these gift boxes out of old Christmas cards. I successfully did one at home and put in a picture of an embryo with a crown. During the lessons, we used the figurines of Mary and the angel that the kids painted, and when the angel told Mary she would be pregnant, I showed him giving Mary the box with the royal baby. This was God's gift to the world, and Mary would have the privilege of carrying him for 9 months.
Then, from squares that a cut from cards at home, we made more gift boxes, except this time, I goofed up the directions and had them tape the wrong tabs. The box never got to close. And they put in slips of paper that had the John 3:16 verse on them. They were to give them to someone.
Here are my thoughts on the second lecture in the C.S. Lewis lectures by Louis Markos. "In this second lecture, we again consider the biography of C.S. Lewis but from a radically different perspective: that of his inner spiritual journey."
Markos starts with an outline of Surprised by Joy. "Lewis explains that throughout his childhood, he experienced brief but profound moments of longing."
The word he used to describe these strange yearnings was joy.
Next in the lecture, Markos comments on different times where Lewis experienced this joy or yearning. I won't name them, but I'm sitting here trying to remember if I've ever felt that longing. I'm pretty sure I've traveled somewhere on vacation. I definitely experienced it when I read the Narnia series, this longing for a bigger, betterworld. I experience it when I eat at a fancy restaurant or dine with people who aren't family. When I hear classical music, like Handel's Messiah or even Christmas music right now, I'll see Christmas lights and decoration and even the churches in our Christmas village, and yearn for something that I can't describe. I remember the years I sang on Christmas Eve in this old dying Presbyterian church in Mansfield, GA, how the church building would give me this longing. Old church buildings do that to me. I hope that when Trinity finally builds their church that it looks like an old church building and not too modern or comfortable.
This feeling of joy leads us to what is perhaps Lewis's most original contribution to the study of apologetics: the argument by desire. 1. The fact that we experience thirst is proof that we are creatures for whom drinking water is natural. In the same way, the fact that we desire an object that our natural world cannot supply suggests the existence of another, supernatural world.
I would not say that thirst is actually natural because if we had not sinned in the Garden of Eden, we'd always have God before us and never want anything. But without his physical presence, our thirst will never be quenched until we reach the Living Water.
2. The desire does not guarantee that we will achieve that other world (if stranded in the desert, we will die of thirst), but it does suggest that we are creatures who are capable of achieving it and who were in some sense made to achieve it.
This is where Lewis steps into Pelagian world. I can't argue that all people desire this joy though not all will achieve it, but the Bible is clear that we are all stranded in a desert with no map, intense desire, and no way to reach that desire. If God does not reveal himself to us and drag us kicking and screaming out of this desert we will stay and try to find water in other places, but not in the source. We are certainly not capable in our own volition of achieving what we desire even though God made us for it.
4. Of course, the modernists (especially the Freudians) will tell us that our spiritual longings are merely products of displaced sexual desire, that love is only a sublimination of lust, that heaven is just an illusion, a superstitious with fulfillment.
Which is proof that all people desire heaven, they just don't want God to rule over that heaven or to define for them what is and isn't our ultimate desire. Which is why the reprobates will always be thirsting and in agony but will never be sorry that they did not surrender to Jesus.
5. But moderns only arrive at this conclusion, argues Lewis, because they accept a priori that the supernatural does not exist, that matter is all there is.
This does kind of affirm my statement thatsince all people are born separated from God, the will never know specifically about God, therefore, they will not seek him. However, this contradicts Romans 1 which says all people know God exists because of creation. This is not a saving knowledge of God. One can't be saved unless God specifically reveals Jesus to him. And since people now have special revelation from God about who he is and what he did for us in Jesus, there are those that still reject the truth because they were never God's sheep, like in John 10. If people knew the true God in his glory, they would be frightened and run away like the demons. We all know that there is a world beyond this one; God just has to kidnap our hearts before we can even want to love him.
6. Approaching reality from the bottom up, they insist that the higher must always copy the lower; they refuse to consider that the lower might be the copy.
A huge amento that. In the atheist's folly, he knows that there is a God, that God's way is so much better and more desirable, but since he stifles any knowledge of God, he must resort to empty, sterile substitutes like sex, money, power, fame, and most of these people are miserable, some commit suicide. Still, they have no ability to achieve God's world and will never be sorry that they did not surrender to Jesus.
Markos moves on to discuss The Pilgrim's Regress, an allegorical autobiography by Lewis patterned after Pilgrim's Progress.
A1. Whereas Christian's journey begins with a clear vision of the gospel of Christ, John's [Lewis's pilgrim} journey begins with a nameless desire, a flash of joy.
With this description, one wonders whether Lewis really came to Christ after all. Romans 10 makes it clear that people do not come to believe in Christ unless someone preaches them the Gospel, from the Scriptures, specifically about Christ and his cross. However, I don't want to think of a heaven without Lewis, so I will assume Lewis heard the Gospel of Christ and his cross preached from the Bible somewhere, it planted a seed in him, and then one day, it finally made sense and he experienced the fulfillment of that joyful longing. He may not be able to explain it, but that's what he experienced whether he realizes it or not. 2. Reared in the repressive, hypocritical town of Puritania, John's only intimation of spiritual truth comes through a mystical glimpse of a distant island. 3. The sight of that island fills him with a "sweetness and a pang," and he abandons home and a family to seek the object of his desire.
Fans of the Puritans, such as myself, might cringe at this parody, but then again, I know so many people raised in legalistic religious situations that grew up to seek life and excitement that they never knew in church because they were so stifled under rules and penances. Whether the Pentecostal that could never dance, another Pentecostal who learned "electric guitars were of the devil," to Seventh Day Adventists who still have to follow the Jewish rules that Jesus came to destroy, to people who take God's free grace on the cross when Christ took our punishment and say it's too good to be true so now ever little mistake they make, the must overwork themselves in penances and miss out on fully appreciating the blessings God's free love and mercy that was never meant to be earned.
4. Like Dante, however, he soon loses his way and is sidetracked by a number of counterfeit objects that promise to fulfill his desire.
This includes "brown girls" who John uses for sex, to music, to wine -- sex, drugs, and rock and roll -- never finding fulfillment and moving on to the next big thing. Seriously, I know people who, if they don't abandon their church's constant rules and penances and turn to read what the Bible actually says, they will grow to resent who they think is God, but still seek this joy and turn to other religions and other fulfillments only to remain empty. I greatly fear for these people because I've seen kids of that same church grow to be completely anti-Christian because they never knew true Christianity in the first place. C. Throughout his writings, Lewis emphasizes four elements of desire. 1. First, the good and noble things (not the low, evil, petty ones) most often serve as idols, and roadblocks on our journey to true joy.
Backtracking, I must take this moment to remind folks that Lewis used the German word sehnsucht or "longing" as a synonym for joy. 2. Second, and individual can respond to sehnsucht in two wrong ways: to move restlessly (like an ultra-romantic) from one natural object to the next in search of fulfillment or to reject (like an old stoic or a modern cynic) all desire as "moonshine."
Backtracking again to the Pilgrim's Regress notes: B5. The dryness and rigidity of this cold idolatry Lewis identifies with the northern (Apollonian) regions of his allegory; in the south, desire is no so much frozen and systematized as it is over-indulged and perverted (Dionysian).
So, two extremes: if men don't surrender to Jesus and accept that their punishment is already over and that he took it, then they will either seek their own salvation by rules and rituals leading to an eventual resentment of what isn't God but what they think is God, or they will throw all values to the wind and indulge in orgies and wine into oblivion. In either case, they will die and spend eternity in hell because they rejected God's gracious gift of Jesus and thought they could do it better. 3 of desire's elements. Third, when it comes to the fulfillment of our deepest, God-implanted desires, so many of us are willing to settle for a pale shadow of what God offers us.
Which isn't what God offers at all. God gives to options: follow the rules completely, or accept the gift of Christ dying in our place because you cannot pay the full price. God gave us the rules to show us how impossible it is to get to heaven on your own merits or that of anyone else. Only the perfect God-man could pay your price and you must come to God "dressed in Christ's righteousness alone." Else, you will only settle for a cold shadow of the truth and not the full, complete, glorious reality. 4. Fourth, many fear to receive and accept the very thing they desire.
I first heard the term Black Friday in 2006 when I worked at Nashville's Rainforest Cafe. The general manager preferred to call it Green Friday. I prefer that term, too. I hope it catches on.
I only went shopping on Black Friday in 2003. A friend dragged me along. I said never again.
Even if I do go anywhere that Friday, I'm most certainly not getting up at 3 to go shopping. No way. I went to the Covington Verizon today and upgraded my phone, and there was no one there. Now I'm home again.
I must have eaten to much because I can't stop going to the bathroom. That was my only reason for not sleeping last night.
Will go out eating today. Hope to lose weight by Christmas and then gain it all back.
Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday. The only problem is, no body has a list of small businesses for the Atlanta area.
Still tempted to partake in Ligonier's sale, but then again, every Friday is $5 Friday there. Might as well wait till next week when I get my paycheck.
I'm planning on going very cheap this year for Christmas presents. So cheap that I may even just give away stuff from my room.
Off to browse some more blogs now. I might even put up my laundry.
It's Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is full and that we all get to normal eating on Monday. I think David Murray provides a good template for me, so here goes:
1. God. So thankful that he's Triune. So thankful that he sent Jesus to take my place so that I could take his place with him still there! So thankful that Jesus is God. So thankful God dwells in my through the Holy Spirit. Especially thankful for the renewed discussions about the Trinity on these blogs.
2. Family. Dad, Andrew, Pappy, Uncle Delmous, Granny. I'm thankful for the homes you provide and your leadership and inspiration. Thankful for Mary moving in to care for Andrew and our house. Thankful that water can be as thick as blood.
3. Life. I'm still a live. Do you know how much driving I do? Do you know how many times I've ran red lights and been honked at this year? Not one car has swiped me. I only had one parking lot mishap. I also live in dangerous neighborhoods, go to dangerous neighborhoods, and do more walking in downtown Atlanta by my lonesome. I'm still alive.
4. Lessons. Reliving the Patriarchs with my kids at church awakened a whole new Christology in the Old Testament that I had not thought of before. God always planned on giving his life to save his elect. You can see Christ so clearly in his appearances as the Angel of the Lord. I also learned this year to not ask a young man if he has a job, to choose my battles, to hold my tongue, how to speak up without offending, how to offend without caring, but caring lest I should lose the person, how to thing on what I do believe instead of criticizing what I disagree with in others' beliefs.
5. Preaching. I don't do it, and I don't hear it live much, but I do lead children at church and I'm always so thankful that God lives inside the words of Scripture. I'm also glad that in addition to Piper, MacArthur, and others, I've finally found paedobaptistic talking heads such as RC Sproul, Michael Horton, Carl Trueman, and the folks at URC learning.
6. Seminary. Erskine Seminary still sticks with the Bible's inerrancy. I was so happy to see on Reformation 21 that one of the college profs at Erskine had a note signed by three of my favorite professors from the Seminary, Dale Johnson, RJ Gore, and Toney Parks, and another from the college I hadn't heard of.
7. HeadHeartHand Media. I'm so thankful that I found David Murray's DVDs on the Angel of the Lord. It fit in perfectly with my Abraham studies and Aubrie just love them. Her dad, Shannon, even borrowed them and watched all the videos.
8. Blog. I'm so glad I finally opened up this blog. It's taking my anger and pressure off of facebook, made me way cooler, and I can put my thoughts into more words than a status will allow. I found a network of Reformed bloggers, and I feel the love!
9. Church. I don't understand people who have really good theology, yet they don't go to church. You can't truly love God and not go to church. Some people, you'd think they'd go out of sheer boredom. I do pray that we get more intellectualism in our churches soon so that more men will show up. Hopefully single men around my age.
10. Friends. Along with Buffy from Trevecca, who I've talked to more this year (can't spell Buffy without BFF), I made friends with her friend Liza, another PCAer. We outnumber Buffy who is Nazarene and quite Arminian, though a much better sympathizer to our theology than Buffy's husband Chris who openly debated Liza and me on Facebook. God also let me see Hannah from Erskine again, her brother Jonathan, who I still like. He also gave me my dear friend Caitlin my one local friend who is not busy all the time, and other friends at Clayton State like Chinee, Clayton, Adrian.
11. Bloggers. I don't know where I'd be without Eddie, Gregg, Craig, Persis, Tim Challies, and Ligonier ministries.
12. Teaching CDs. Another thing I love about Caitlin. She's as Roman Catholic as I am Reformed Christian. It's often RC v. RC. We're always loaning books, CDs, articles to each other. We can sit and debate each other without getting at each others' throats. She loaned me these CS Lewis teaching CDs, which I still have and am now reading the lecture notes. But I listened to them on the way to church every Sunday as my "sermon" and when I finished, Ligonier had sent me a sampler, and finally I ordered more CDs from RC Sproul. I don't know where I'd be without them and am glad Caitlin started me on that habit.
13. Simon's Cat. I love cats. I hate dogs but live with two of them and they love me. I just get the biggest kick out of Simon's Cat and can watch the same 17 videos all day. Here's a new one:
2 Peter 1:16-21, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
Romans 10:12-17, "for there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our message?'17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
Revelation 22:18-19, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life in the holy city, which are described in this book."
Matthew 5:17-20, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
I could go on and on, but I need to get to why I titled this Timber Ridge. Timber Ridge was a PCUSA church. About 8 years ago, they broke out and became EPC. Ever since then, Greater Atlanta Presbytery has been at their throats over their property with lawsuits and appeals that went all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court. Last February, our Supreme Court ruled in favor of Timber Ridge. The whiny PCUSA appealed even that, the highest court in our state. Finally, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Presbyqueerians and Timber Ridge will lose their property. This time, the church is tired of fighting. They have been there in McDonough since 1829, buried their ancestors there, married people there, and people were saved there. They would rather lose their property and almost 200 years of legacy than stay in an apostate denomination and I applaud them.
This is my current church's mother church. We are no longer their plant, but we greatly grieve for them. And this, my friends, is why we don't throw the Bible out as our ultimate authority in the church. There are plenty of lovely people who still uphold the Bible's morals, but they threw out the Bible as God's first-hand word. The PCUSA, or whatever it was before north and south united, made a grave error when they started to follow Karl Barth and Neo-orthodoxy.
Now, without God's Word ruling the church as the inerrant standard by which we live, there is no reason why we should not allow openly gay people to preach in our pulpits.
Without the WOG, why can't we abort our children? We'll just invent this age of accountability and assume they're in heaven living better lives anyway, forgetting that even unborn children are born separated from God and in their free will they will reject God unless he intervenes.
Without the WOG, who needs Christ? We are all basically good people who will all die someday in our sins. We try to atone for all our wrongs, but we reject the idea that our perfect God gave his life for us because he knew we could not pay our price for our sin, which is eternal damnation.
And without the WOG, why do we even need to care for the poor, the disabled, the elderly, build homes for poor people, feed the hungry, fight against genocide, and yes, minister to post-abortion folks and the openly gay people in hopes that they will turn from their empty lives and surrender to Christ?
If it was not for the WOG, I would be stuck in my old sins with no hope beyond this wrold. And with it, lives are changed, and back to Romans 10, unrepentant sinners can awaken to God's truth, believe in Christ, and be saved. God has provided no other standard. He's provided accountability, such as the Holy Spirit and our Church family, but both of those testify to the divinity of the Scriptures, the Words that created the universe and the only ones that can raise a dead sinner from the dead.