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Dealing with Sexual Abuse as the Church

[The following, which may be disturbing to some readers, is mostly from a sermon preached recently at Immanuel RPC in West Lafayette. You can listen to the whole thing here.]

For reasons beyond my understanding, there is a sea change happening in our nation regarding sexual abuse. It has become difficult to go a day or two without hearing new accusations and recriminations. In areas where sexual harassment and abuse has long been winked at – Hollywood and the media – it’s now being taken much more seriously. For this we ought to thank God. In other areas – politics and the church – we could still use some more work. Thankfully, God’s Word is not silent on the subject of abuse. So while we hear accusations and see the results of wickedness, we can turn to the Bible to help us understand how God intends for the church to understand and deal with abuse. 

Holidays and Holy Days (Part 2)

The following article is a guest post by Dr. Michael LeFebvre, Pastor of Christ Church in Brownsburg, Indiana, author of Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms, and Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Board President. 

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Several years ago, I wrote a post for Gentle Reformation called “Holidays and Holy Days” (link here). In that article, I described the roots of the Christian Calendar—including holidays like Easter and Christmas—in the Levitical holy days of the Old Testament. The point of that article was to explain why some churches like the RPCNA uphold the Lord’s Day Sabbath (which the New Testament continues to exhort) while not observing extrabiblical holy days like Christmas. The New Testament does not institute Christmas as a holy day, and in fact the Old Testament Levitical festivals (on which the “Christian Calendar” was based) have been discontinued in the New Testament. With due respect for the sincerity with which many hold Advent worship services each December, there is actually significant reason to question the celebration of Christmas as a church holy day.

That being said, there is every good reason to affirm the place of Christmas in the calendar of American, civic holidays. And to celebrate it as a civic holiday (but […]

Onboard with a Transgender Flight Attendant

This past summer I flew a number of times. On one international flight, as I boarded I was met by a friendly, female flight attendant. As I passed by her to go to my seat, in my mind I did a double take. I realized that the attendant was not a woman, but a man dressed as one. It was pretty obvious.

His face was broad and his voice was husky. Those qualities could easily have been attributed to genetics or a cold. But as I took my seat in the row closest to first class (love the legroom there), other things stood out that made it clear this attendant indeed was a man.

He served the first class passengers warmly and played the part of a hostess quite well. Yet he could not overcome certain things. His thick Adam’s apple protruded. When he walked, he swung his hips just like a man might do imitating a woman, sadly painful to witness. When talking with a seated passenger, he would lean over them with too much intensity and eye-batting. He would then respond to something they said by flipping his long hair back over his shoulder like a teenage girl might do. Observing […]

3GT Episode 58: Flag Football

None of the 3GTers are really built for football, but they try to tackle the current issue of football players kneeling or not for the flag and the national anthem. Well, maybe not tackle, but they play a mean game of flag football!

Aaron holds the ball looking for a receiver for a while by telling us how the whole tradition of playing the national anthem at sporting events began in the first place. He then passes to Kyle, who shares the surprising way the flag used to be honored before WWII and why it changed. The ball gets loose as the boys fumble around on the current NFL situation. They then scoop up the ball and run toward the goal line discussing when allegiance ends and worship begins. And just when it looks like they will score a touchdown and spike the ball…the ref throws a flag and time runs out.

Listen to an episode guaranteed to make everyone feel like a football in the hands of Tom Brady – a bit deflated!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/3gt-episode-58.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

Hatred in Las Vegas: What if…?

Many of us woke up this morning to the absolutely tragic news of a mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip. Videos show the fear and horror as gunshots can be heard breaking through the noise of the crowd. So far, reports indicate a lone gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel into a crowd. The initial numbers are nothing short of devastating. Fifty-eight dead and more than five hundred injured. Fifty-eight people. Fathers. Mothers. Sons. Daughters. Brothers. Sisters. Friends. Almost sixty people who will not walk past the threshold of their homes today because their lives have been snuffed out by an act of violence. Events like these trigger our collective memory—Pulse nightclub, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, and the list goes on. My heart is broken and so is the heart of this nation.

Hatred. Yes, that’s what it is. Hatred. There’s no other word for it. We can see it. We can feel it. We can hear it. To deny its presence or pretend it’s something less is to willingly ignore the obvious. It would be like closing your eyes and insisting that the sun—bright and warm as it is—doesn’t exist. To admit hatred […]

Love your (Transgender) Neighbour as Yourself

The decision this week by English parents Nigel and Sally Rowe to remove their 6-year old son from primary school and homeschool him instead has started a media storm. Why the fuss? Because their reason for doing so was the confusion their son experienced when a boy in his class came to school dressed as a girl and was treated as a girl by all the staff. Pupils at this school are free to ‘change’ their gender from day to day as they wish.

This comes just a week after one of the UK’s leading department stores, John Lewis, made the controversial decision to remove signs identifying children’s clothes in their stores as either ‘boys’’ or ‘girls’’. They now sell dresses for boys and ‘gender neutral’ clothing.

There is no doubt that an extreme transgender agenda is being pushed and rapidly accepted by our culture. How should we respond as Christians? Al Mohler describes the transgender revolution as ‘…one of the most difficult pastoral challenges this generation of Christians will face.’

How should we relate as Christians to those who genuinely feel they are trapped in the wrong body? I’m not thinking here of those who have a passing sense of ‘gender incongruence’. […]

Fallen Towers, Risen Savior

Another September 11th has passed, a date of national and global significance ever since the terrifying events which darkened that bright morning back in 2001.  Sadly and predictably, as the years have gone by, many of us are having a harder time remembering that day in a way that honors its significance, despite our heart-felt promises to “never forget.”  More and more, the day has become a sadly but briefly recalled fact of history, and with each anniversary, we’re dedicating fewer and fewer moments to a fading, wistful contemplation of where we were and what we were doing the morning it felt like the sky was not only falling on us, but attacking us.  But for people who had friends or family right there in the midst of the blood and fire of that nightmare of a day, the memories stay fresh and vital. Every September 11th anniversary makes that day in 2001 feel like it was yesterday.  They are the ones who are keeping the promise to never forget.  We should learn from their example.  

God is all you need

Introduction

This morning as we speak the Caribbean territories and the ‘pan-handle’ state is caught in the grip of a hurricane, which, if predictions are correct, will result in dire need. Back here, in case you are not aware, on the western seaboard of the Atlantic, many public figures have criticized the lethargic, sluggish, response of the UK government – while the French and Dutch had troops positioned in advance to deal with the looming crisis, the ministers in Whitehall were sitting on their hands (at least that is the charge), while their overseas territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, were left in the eye of the storm, for Irma to do its worst.

Context

Paul writes to the Philippians from prison, with the potential of facing death row, to issue a promise that God would supply all their need. Just like any church or group of Christians, the needs of these believers were great. In addition to the normal round of problems that all of God’s children face, Paul catalogued a long list of urgent needs for both Himself and Christ’s flock, for which He was responsible.

Philippian & Pauline Needs

The recipients of the letter of […]

Browse Worthy: The Nashville Statement

Nashville Statement | Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood issued a declaration consisting of fourteen articles addressing the gender and marriage issues of our day. Called the Nashville Statement, it was originally signed by a group of influential evangelical and Reformed men and women. You may have seen that it is receiving a great deal of attention.  Here are some interesting perspectives as you consider not only what it says, but its tone, purpose, and effectiveness.

Rosaria Butterfield | Why I Signed the Nashville Statement

The author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert explains why she believed it was important that she sign this document. She highlights the need for the church to continue to speak prophetically in our age.

Al Mohler | I signed the Nashville Statement. It’s an expression of love for same-sex attracted people.

The president of Southern Baptist Seminary explains the intent of the document is to offer clarity in an age of confusion. With counter declarations like the Denver Statement already being made, Mohler reminds the church of the cultural divide it faces and urges it to rally around Biblical truth.

Rod Dreher | Is the Nashville Statement a Surrender?

The promoter of the Benedict Option, Dreher […]

Addendum on Resisting Redefinition

I’ve been thinking a little more on the need to guard against the casual adoption of the language of the PC establishment.

What I have found really helpful in thinking about this question is some recent reading about Martin Luther’s ‘Theology of the Word’. The German Reformer, pointing to biblical texts like Genesis 1.3, Romans 10.17 or 2 Corinthians 4.6, believed that the Word of God, as Carl Truman summarizes, “not only describes reality but also determines reality: all reality,” in ‘Luther and the Christian Life’ (p.80).

From the point of view of the Gospel, it is good to ask the question, why is it necessary and important to resist redefinition? Can I suggest that it would be good to bear in mind some or all of the following reasons?

First, because the chief instrument Satan uses to promote unbelief and undermine the truth, is the lies he tells. One example might be the lie of ‘same-sex marriage.’ In reality there is no such thing. Marriage is between one man and one woman. This linguistic redefinition is a false construction of the PC establishment which bears no relation to reality before God.

Second, because this blinding power of words is only removed by the […]