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Kindred Spirits

Anyone familiar with Anne of Green Gables will immediately think of Anne’s search for true friendship when they hear the term “kindred spirits.” This poor orphan finally finding heart companions in such persons as Diana, Matthew, Marilla, and ultimately Gilbert is what makes the story so touching and tender. She viewed a kindred spirit as one who saw things and cared for life in the same manner that she did.

Interestingly, this term is found in the NASB version in Philippians 2:20. Paul says of Timothy, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.” This phrase is a translation of the Greek word ἰσόψυχοs, which combines the word equal (“iso” like in the word isoceles triangle) with the word for soul. So the term is defined to mean “like-minded, equal in soul, same hearted.” The increasingly popular ESV does not quite do justice to the word when it has Paul saying “I have no one like him.” The NKJV and KJV get closer when they use the more literal “I have no one like-minded.” Not to be sentimental, but a brief study would show, I believe, that Paul would have been happy with us thinking of him and […]

A Love Greater than Family

Psalm 87:2 gives expression to a sentiment of God that is worthy of Christian reflection:

The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.”

In speaking of Zion, the psalmist is thinking about the holy city of Jerusalem (v. 1). This city is the place where the temple resided that David prepared for and Solomon constructed, and is clearly Jerusalem for it is called “the city of God” in verse 3. This divine love for the holy city is stated in comparison to the dwelling places of Jacob.  These dwelling places of Jacob referred to the families and their homes throughout Israel.

In the New Testament age with the coming of Christ, we understand this verse to speak to the heavenly Zion, or the church, in contrast to Christian homes. For this statement finds its ultimate, prophetic fulfillment in the church.  Spurgeon says, “God delights in the prayers and praises of Christian families and individuals, but he has a special eye to the assemblies of the faithful.  He has a special delight in their devotions in their church capacity.” In short, God is saying he loves the church more than he loves families.

So how are we to […]

3GT Episode 49: Taking His Name in Vain

What does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain? Our inquiring parishioner wants to know!  

The 3GTers tackle another commandment, this time the third one. Why is God’s name so important to him? Are euphemistic forms of his name wrong? How is our behavior as Christians tied to the name of God? How should this command affect our prayers?

Tune in for another vigorous discussion on 3GT to hear answers to these and other questions!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/3gt-episode-49.mp3

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The Devil’s Glasses

No, this post is not about looking at the eclipse.

Rather, someone once illustrated temptation in this way. When you are being tempted, the devil sets on your nose a pair of false glasses. These glasses make the sin look so small that you view engaging in it as trivial.

How does Satan fool us with lies so that we believe that committing sin will be inconsequential? Here are five of the common ways he distorts our spiritual vision with his lies during temptation.

He focuses our attention on the immediate pleasure rather than the pain of sin. A juicy worm floating in the water looks tasty to a fish, but when it bites and the hook is set the pain makes it thrash. In the same way, thinking of the nice things one can buy with stolen money or the fun to be had with another’s wife can make sin look so pleasurable. But the inevitable pain that will follow of spending time in jail for theft or facing the vengeance of a jealous husband is not considered.

He makes us look myopically at sin as a merely private matter. Many a person thinks that sins such as viewing pornography, bowing before a household idol, […]

Summer Days, Unread Books, and Butterfly Wings

On vacation near Lake Michigan again, here’s a memory from ten years ago from my old blog.

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When I am on vacation, I have one idea of how I like to spend my time. Celia, my four year-old daughter, has another.

Often when we are at Miriam’s parents’ home at summertime, I find myself alone for a few hours in the morning while the rest of the entourage goes into town to shop. Lounging about sipping coffee and reading one of the several books I’m in the midst of before an afternoon down on the beach of Lake Michigan is my ideal. Yesterday morning looked promising, as once again everyone went off to do their thing at an antique store (or was it Meijers? They told me but I was engrossed in my reading and did not hear clearly). Anyway, one thing they surely told me, but I did not factor into my “It’s going to be a perfect morning” equation, was that they were leaving Celia behind.

Now I love my kids, and playing Monopoly, riding bikes, jumping in waves, playing kickball in the sand and the like are testimony that I cannot exactly be accused of ignoring them on […]

3GT Episode 48: Small Town Ministry

You got it – we’ve finally given Kyle his own episode! After we have fun learning more about Winchester, Kansas, we dig into his recent article in Tabletalk on rural ministry. We discuss counterbalancing the current rush to church plant, being more like Jesus and the apostles who preached in towns and villages, the wonderful blessings of doing so, and some of the unique challenges faced in ministering in rural areas. It leads us to the obvious question: Is Kyle the next Tim Keller of the small town? You be the judge!

Listen along and you’ll probably start singing, “Give me a Sunday morning that’s full of grace/A simple life and I’ll be okay/Here in small town U-S-A.”

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/3gt-episode-481.mp3

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Referenced Article:

“The Need for Rural Ministry“, Tabletalk | Kyle Borg

Browse Worthy: The Slippery Slope

Some helpful articles have appeared recently discussing how ministers, churches, and denominations can start the downhill slide down into theological liberalism that destroys evangelical faith, personal holiness, and ecclesiastical integrity. The following posts are helpful mind-sharpeners on this issue.

The Slippery Slope and the Jesus Box | Richard Philips

Dr. Philips tracks a former PCA minister’s (and the congregation he pastors) long descent into endorsing homosexuality and denying Christ’s penal substitution. He points to the first steps down this slope, which he identifies as compromising Biblical authority and accepting women’s ordination.

The Slippery Slope: An Iron Law of Theological Declension? | William Evans

In response to Philips, Dr. Evans questions whether these are truly the first steps and wonders if starting the slide down the slippery slope is not more complicated. He raises the question of whether the competing authority of the culture with Christ and how the Bible is being interpreted are where slides begin.

Double Black Diamonds: Navigating the Slopes | Jay Harvey

In another article interacting with this subject on Reformation21, two particular types of slippery slopes, that of hermeneutical fallacy and the other of fear, are described.

Avoiding Logical Fallacies in Theology | Justin Taylor

In this archived article, Justin Taylor reminds us of how a slippery slope argument […]

3GT Episode 47: The Mark of Church Discipline

Seriously, is one of the top three attributes of a true church, in addition to preaching and the sacraments, really discipline? How can this be? What about other attributes such as love or prayer?

The guys dig in to define, defend, and describe what church discipline is. Both sides of discipline, formative and corrective, are explained. The relationship with the two other marks of preaching and sacraments is made. The connection between love and discipline is given. Even more importantly, they show the connection between Christ and the marks.

Seriously, you need to listen to this episode!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/3gt-episode-47.mp3

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Motherly Grief

The following piece is the sad companion to one I wrote a number of years ago entitled “Fatherly Grief“.

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Lying next to me, I know that
Her restlessness comes most
Acutely
In the middle of the night.
The pillow beneath her head and her body move
Gently in rhythm with the quiet
Sobs
And questioning supplications.

Augustine eventually said,
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is
Restless
Until it finds its rest in thee.”
Did Monica then pray beforehand,
“Thou hast made him through me, O Lord, and my heart will be
Restless
Until he finds his rest in thee”?

I witnessed the awe of birth, and its ending;
The cutting of the binding cord that gave
Life,
When mother’s blood was child’s own.
But, no matter the number of yearly remembrances,
An unseen tie still remains, wishing
Life
For the child needing another birth.

O, what awful pain some mothers endure when
They stand by a child’s grave! The unnatural
Reversal
Bringing unbearable grief, unimaginable grief.
Do promise and time truly help? Does knowing a child is
Living though dead help dull the ache, ever
Reverse
Unending waves of sorrow and loss?

The book of wisdom speaks of a similar
Grief other mothers must bear; of a child living yet
Dead,
Not caring that earthly pleasure brings endless pain elsewhere.
This maternal distress does not diminish, each passing day
Sending […]

3GT Episode 46: Reforming Women

No, the guys are not plotting about how they can try to change their wives. They know better than that!

Rather, they look at the growing trend of women studying, discussing, and promoting Reformed theology. For consider the facts. Blogs such as Sheologians and HERmeneutics are popular. Conference speakers such as Aimee Byrd and Rosaria Butterfield have large followings. Female authors are writing books such as No Little Women and Reformation Women. What in the world is going on?

The guys discuss this trend and wrestle a bit with its implications. You will conclude that they cannot quite figure the women out, but they do give it a try!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/3gt-episode-46.mp3

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