Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Friction in Marriage Hinders Prayers

1Pet. 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

This verse is not saying something mystical about how your prayers are hindered; rather, it is eminently practical. For, it is hard to sit down at breakfast when you are angry with your wife and say thanksgiving to the God of the Universe for the food. And the kids are not naive enough to miss that dad is having a hard time praying when he is angry at mom.

The Stakes are Far Higher Than We Think

One of my pastors visited a couple in the hospital this last weekend whose adult son had been involved in a heavy equipment accident. Apparently a hydraulic hose broke and sprayed the man with hydraulic fluid that promptly caught fire, burning over 80% of his body. A co-worker pulled him from the flaming cab. His 15-year old daughter watched the entire incident and heard her father's screams of agony as his skin burned.

The pain is so intense, that the doctors have put him in an induced coma. His parents, who are believers, have temporarily moved from another state so that they can be near their son.

Recent surgery cut off the skin from his chest and grafted on skin from a cadaver. The prayer is that it will graft in an not get infected.

If you have read this far, I pray that you feel two things: 1) sorrow and pain for this man and his family that leads you to intercede for him in weeping prayer; and 2) a dawning recognition that if this kind of pain and suffering can happen on earth, how much more will the terror and anguish be in hell for those who do not repent?

Matt. 13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Legal Fathers Chase Them There

Gracious fathers lead their sons through the minefield of sin. Indulgent fathers watch their sons wander off into the minefield. Legal fathers chase them there.

Read the whole post.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I can't let the day slip away...

...without acknowledging that it is the first day of my favorite season...


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

What caption should be here?

Plus Nothing

The reason for this is that all men are separated from God because of their true moral guilt. God exists, God has a character, God is a holy God; and when men sin (and we must acknowledge we have sinned not only by mistake but by intention), they have true moral guilt before the God who exists. That guilt is not just the modern concept of guilt-feelings, a psychological guilty feeling in man. It is a true moral guilt before the infinite-personal, holy God. Only the finished, substitutionary work of Christ upon the cross as the Lamb of God--in history, space, and time--is enough to remove this. Our true guilt, that brazen heaven which stands between us and God, can be removed only upon the basis of the finished work of Christ plus nothing on our part. The Bible's whole emphasis is that there must be no humanistic note added at any point in the accepting of the gospel. It is the infinite value of the finished work of Christ, the second person of the Trinity, upon the cross plus nothing that is the sole basis for the removal of our guilt. When we thus come, believing God, the Bible says we are declared justified by God, the guilt is gone, and we are returned to fellowship with God--the very thing for which we were created in the first place.

Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, p. 3-4.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

From 35 minutes to 17 minutes

Woohoo! My commute just went from 35 minutes each way to 17 minutes each way. The I-35W bridge is finished and I drove over it this morning! I am sure that thousands of people drove over it before I did, including one Tom Steller, who drove over it when it opened at 5 AM. Nuts!

Read Piper on the bridge opening.

Monday, September 15, 2008

True for All Men Everywhere

The first point that we must make is that it is impossible even to begin living the Christian life, or to know anything of true spirituality, before one is a Christian. And the only way to become a Christian is neither by trying to live some sort of a Christian life nor by hoping for some sort of religious experience, but rather by accepting Christ as Savior. No matter how complicated, educated, or sophisticated we may be, or how simple we may be, we must all come the same way, insofar as becoming a Christian is concerned. As the kings of the earth and the mighty of the earth are born in exactly the same way, physically, as the simplest man, so the most intellectual person must become a Christian in exactly the same way as the simplest person. This is true for all men everywhere, through all space and all time. There are no exceptions. Jesus said a totally exclusive word: "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, p. 3.

Available Now: Is Christianity Good for the World?


Friday, September 12, 2008


I just received an email from a fellow student at The Bethlehem Institute:
Hey friends,

I wanted to let you all know that BibleArc.com has been updated. There are quite a few changes, the highlights being the ESV is now available, the learn section is totally redone with the videos we shot, and it is a bit faster.

In Jesus,

Arcing is the Bible study method that John Piper uses when he studies the Bible and a tool that is taught at TBI. If you don't already know how to arc, I suggest that you check out Andy's site. This website is the best arcing tool in existence.

If you watch the videos in the Arcing 101 section, you can see yours truly describe some logical relationships. Woohoo.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

That'll do something to your little leftist narrative.

Some days, the seriousness of life makes me want to cry. At those times, and others, of course, a little laugh-out-loud satire is pleasant.
But in the meantime, we must not overlook the fact that she [Sarah Palin] presents an absolutely devastating challenge to the feminist narrative for women, and there are no mights involved. Here is a woman who (for the sake of principle) has refused to sacrifice those things which feminists insist (in principle) must be sacrificed so that women can reach their "full potential." As a result of refusing the central dogma of their feminism, she might well become the first woman president. That'll do something to your little leftist narrative. Feminism has never been about advancing the cause of women. This reveals, as few other things could, that it has been about advancing the cause of commie women.

Granting that Sarah Palin does not look like June Cleaver, she looks a lot less like Hillary or Gloria Steinem. And, despite the differences, I can imagine Sarah and June having a very pleasant lunch together. If she tried to take Hillary or Gloria out shopping (for motorcyles, say) and a spot of lunch afterwards, all I can envision is stoney silences and a lot of glaring . . . and not from Sarah, who would be chatting happily. Sarah Palin ruffles the hair of some conservatives, but they can always comb it again. Doug Phillips will be all right in a couple days. In contrast, when it comes to the vampirism of the feminist left, let's just call her Buffy. They won't be all right in a couple of days.

For the whole Douglas Wilson blog post, which is quite lengthy, click here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Honest Enough to See the Logical Conclusion

You have to read this. Justin Taylor provides the closing paragraphs to an article by a feminist liberal woman named Camille Paglia. This woman has unashamedly admitted the logical end result of her worldview. The following is a quote to shock you:

But the pro-life position, whether or not it is based on religious orthodoxy, is more ethically highly evolved than my own tenet of unconstrained access to abortion on demand. My argument (as in my first book, "Sexual Personae,") has always been that nature has a master plan pushing every species toward procreation and that it is our right and even obligation as rational human beings to defy nature's fascism. Nature herself is a mass murderer, making casual, cruel experiments and condemning 10,000 to die so that one more fit will live and thrive.

Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman's body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman's entrance into society and citizenship.

Read Justin's article here.

Read the whole article here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I'm Supposed to do Something in Worship?

"Most denominations have done studies in worship and may even review it frequently; they have also produced books that set forth their worship and their hymns. This is as it should be, of course. But all worshippers need to discover for themselves what worship is all about and how to improve it, and this must come from the Bible itself. After all, our worship of God must continue to develop throughout life" (Allen P. Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory, p. 63n2, emphasis mine).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's Half-Past Twelve Somewhere

Acedia [uh-see-dee-uh] Laziness or indifference in religious matters.

A significant part of Norris' agenda is to distinguish acedia from depression: two intersecting sets that have some features in common but differ in significant ways. Here, she suggests, "an informed understanding of sin" helps. [S]he is concerned that the church long ago began to define sin primarily in terms of acts rather than something like Evagrius' "thoughts," which are part of the human condition and which we must identify before they become harmful actions and stifle the work of grace in our lives. Put more simply, Norris' "most basic definition of sin" is "to comprehend that something is wrong, and choose to do it anyway." The danger of a sin like acedia is that it can become "mortal"--that is, it can prevent God's grace from transforming our lives: "When we are convinced that we are beyond the reach of grace, acedia has done its work."

We urgently need such reminders amid the "restless boredom, frantic escapism, commitment phobia, and enervating despair" of contemporary life, particularly in the context of a marriage such as the one that unfolds in this book. In a society where acedia results in relationships that are recycled more often than aluminum cans, Norris insists that what is most likely to maintain a marriage is not giddy romance, but discipline, martyrdom, and obedience (which, at its etymological root, refers to hearing): "The very nature of marriage means saying yes before you know what it will cost. You may say the 'I do' of the wedding ritual in all sincerity, but it is the testing of that vow over time that makes you married."

This post references the book review by Dennis Okholm. [I have no idea what the title of the review or this post means.] The book being reviewed is Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I Need to Explain That Last Quote

I need to explain that last quote, not necessarily for my two readers, but for myself. Why, indeed, would I post such a quote with all of its two-bit philosophical ramblings? Well, because if you read the entire book, you would get a feel for the person eliciting the quote. And the person who elicited the quote is a complex person who ultimately does what is right regardless of his desire to live. He is what I would call a hero. Yet, he is a flawed hero.

While it is common in most hero stories that the hero must stand against the face of evil, it is also common that the hero be a fractured character, a troubled man who fuzzes the line occasionally to bring about the greater good. Is this concept not central to the recent summer blockbuster The Dark Knight?

Corwin of Amber had just chased down a thief who had murdered a woman and taken her bracelets and rings. Corwin dispatched the murderer, retrieved the stolen items and then buried the woman. Once finished he thought the quote. In my mind his actions were simply retribution for Melkin’s evil deeds. Especially in a medieval setting, were his actions not appropriate?

For me, with years of reading hero stories under my belt, there is something right about the lone hero who fights evil and rides away alone into the sunset, the hero who sheds blood in order to keep blood from being shed. We love this man, don’t we? His story is everywhere. He has been played by Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone, and Matt Damon. He is the lone cowboy, standing against the rustlers, shooting them dead, and then riding into the sunset. He is Aragorn as a Ranger, doing what is right, but in the shadows, protecting the weak with brutal, efficient violence.

I realize that all of the above really doesn’t matter to anyone reading this, unless they have read the chronicles of Corwin of Amber. But, there is one sentence in my previous quote-post that makes me think of a biblical character who also had a lot of blood on his hands. “Until that time, I shall not wash my hands nor let them hang useless.” I can picture King David saying this as he looked forward to the building of the temple and peace in Israel, riding out to battle with his Mighty Men.

Saul has killed his thousands, David his ten thousands! There was blood on David’s hands, to be sure. David avenged more than one evil deed. David wanted to usher in the new kingdom of peace, but was kept from it. David wanted to build the temple. He dreamed of it, he designed it, and he gathered the materials for it. Yet, God did not let him build it because he had blood on his hands.

David was a man after God’s own heart. David wrote ballads and played the harp. David was a lover. And David killed people. David was a hero who was necessary for the kingdom of Israel. God rewarded him by promising that his son would sit on the throne forever. Yet, he was not allowed to build the temple.

I don’t know if he fully knew all that would happen when his reign was over; maybe he did. Even still, he still did what was necessary for the kingdom. “Until that time, I shall not wash my hands nor let them hang useless.”