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Archive | Church History

National Covenanting: A Realistic Solution for the Economy?

I’ve been thinking about the current economic crisis, and whether the Covenanter doctrine of National Covenanting is for such a time as this. I thought I would post some of those thoughts here to invite discussion from anyone interested—mostly as an exercise in thinking through the practical application of that biblical doctrine we call, “National Covenanting.”

Contemporary Roman Catholic Theology – Dr. Robert Strimple

Mary is the mother of Jesus.
Jesus is God.
Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.
God commands us to honor our mother and our father.
Therefore, Mary as the mother of God deserves to be especially honored (insert veneration).

Sometimes our reasoning can slip out of joint; bend in directions not entirely proper.  In the case of Roman Catholicism, I’ve found that they’re extremely good at formulating some real head scratchers; lines of argument that make you feel uneasy, even if you can’t put your finger on the exact point where the logic runs askew.

Here I’m reminded of something Melville once wrote.  In his classic work, Moby Dick, which I might add, is the single greatest work of English literature (sorry, Jane Austen fans), and with which, I might also add, R.C. Sproul agrees (see here), and which, ahem, inspired the last chapter of my book, Melville provides an interesting little twist in “Christian” logic.  In the following quote, Ishmael is debating whether or not he should bow down to the idol of his new friend, Queequeg.  Ishmael reasons as follows:

RP Hearts and Hands in the Revolution

As recounted last month,  Rev. William Martin, on June 4, 1780, preached to the Covenanters of Rocky Creek, South Carolina, and stirred them up to fight in the revolutionary cause. As we celebrate Independence Day in America, it is good for us to recall what happened in the following days that year. The story continues from Mrs. Green whose first-hand account can be found in William Glasgow’s History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America, followed by a few personal reflections.

Loving Mercy

This week, I was humbled twice with reminders that the people of God must be about the work of Isaiah 58:6-7 in response to the great grace that the Lord has shown us. In the examples that I saw this week, I was struck with the need not simply to honor the work of those saints of yesteryear but to take up similarly costly work today in service to the King today. Both stories tell of people who personally gave up their lives in some capacity to show mercy to one person at a time. Is there at least one needy person in your life currently to whom you are intentionally showing mercy?

The Original RP Blog

The church continually needs men and women committed to a gentle reformation, and I am encouraged to pursue the same by considering examples of saints in past generations.

Today, we consider Dr. J.G. Vos (1903-1983) who gently, yet vigorously, pursued reformation in his era. He was the son of Princeton theologian Geerhardus Vos, and served as a Reformed Presbyterian missionary in Manchuria, China, in the 1930s.  When he returned to the States in the late 1930s, he was saddened and frustrated by the spiritual state of the denomination.

In the years following his service in China, Vos fought a number of battles in the RP Synod, but did not make significant progress and was

PARABLE OF A VACANT CONGREGATION’S PASTORAL SEARCH

When approached by the Elders to return to the Topeka pulpit after 10 years of retirement, Pastor Bob McFarland read the following to the congregation on his first Sabbath Day after his ten year absence.

And it came to pass that the Topeka congregation once again in 2008 went to the auto showroom to consider the automobile to meet their needs since they no longer had a car of their own.  ( 10 years earlier they had taken their old car and retired it, they assumed,  for good.)

Hiding Ourselves

Is it not easier to hide who we are than who we are not?

To disguise our selfishness is but the work of a moment, whereas the lack of a generous spirit is too big a void to conceal.
To covet a neighbor’s position can be mostly contained within, but a failure to rejoice spontaneously in a friend’s success creates a loud silence.
To talk big about prayer and pray big in public can, like a rug over swept-up dirt, mostly hide the fact that we do not pray quietly in private, but it is not a very good cover up for a long distance relationship with God.

Is this not the way of the Pharisee Jesus exposed so devastatingly?

On Qu’ran Burnings

Because of what the Bible teaches, I do not think the pastor in Florida, who appears to be vacillating on whether to burn Qu’rans or not, should do so. Why?

Well, it is not because I believe that the Qu’ran is a holy book. To be as direct as possible, in its denunciations of Christ as the Son of God and crucified Redeemer; its upholding of a polygamous charlatan as the prophet of God; and its teaching that men are justified by works (i.e. keeping the Five Pillars of Islam), I believe the Qu’ran is a book that contains Satanic lies and is leading millions to the eternal doom of the burning flames of hell. Yet I still do not think he should burn them or Christians should participate in this type of demonstration. Again, why?

First, it is not consistent with the Scriptures on book burning. The Biblical proof-text Pastor Jones might offer for holding book burnings would come from Acts 19:19, where we are told this about the people of Ephesus who had responded to the gospel:

“And many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted […]

Impurity of Worship

Interesting what you come across where you least expect it.

I have been reading the first volume of a trilogy on the 26th President’s life, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. My purpose in reading it has been simply to enjoy learning more about this larger-than-life man. Never did I expect to have to examine my own heart regarding worship the way I did when I came across this excerpt from a letter of Roosevelt. Listen to what then Civil Service Commissioner Roosevelt said about President Benjamin Harrison following a meeting they had just had:

“Damn the President! He is a cold-blooded, narrow-minded, prejudiced, obstinate, timid old psalm-singing Indianapolis politician.”

Though Roosevelt’s rant is typical of him when he did not get his way, it is interesting how he related the President’s action with his worship practices – in Indiana, no less!This reminded me of a similar line I had read long ago but not forgotten in Gene Stratton-Porter’s (born in Indiana) classic book Freckles. At this point in the story the main character Freckles, a one-handed orphan learning to work the once-great lumber lines of northern Indiana, is recounting his experience of how people […]

Summer Sparks

Setting sun, in its finale,
Drenching clouds with changing hues;

Glowing bits like shooting stars, Fly up then fade from the backyard fire;

Rising fireflies o’er darkening fields, Myriads of tiny angels, signaling the news:

Soon gone are summer sparks, Brief joys of which we never tire.

Slapping thighs, along with a few mosquitoes, As stories meander in the dimming light;

Water’s magnet still attracting Splashing children too soon grown;

Even quieting voices sharing crossesMake hearts glow in the peace of the stilling night;

Summer sparks become dying embersUnless remembrance be over them blown.