Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Clear Color - "Eyes"

Do I say the things I tell you not to say?
(Do I say them?)
And do I do the things I tell you not to do?
(Do I do them?)

The things you know are wrong inside:
they say no one can see them but Jesus.
He sees everything, and He's everywhere.

And do you say the things you tell me not to say?
(Do you say them?)
And do you do the things you tell me not to do?
(Do you do them?)

The things you know are wrong inside:
they say no one can see them but Jesus.
He sees everything, and He's everywhere.

The things you know are wrong inside:
they say no one can see them but Jesus.
He sees everything, and He's everywhere.

Do we do the things Jesus tells us not to do?
(Do we do them?)
These excuses aren't enough
to get us through.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Clear Color - "Always Forgives"

This one's to the One who died for me,
Who gave His life on the rugged cross at Calvary.
And, still to this day,
His love will never change
for me.

And did I turn my back on You,
and I took You for granted,
because I knew You'd forgive me

I kneeled down and prayed
to You.

And did I turn my back on You,
and I took You for granted,
because I knew You'd forgive me

And I look back at my life,
and I see the pain I have caused:
the things I say, the things I do to You,
but You look at me, and You say,
"You're forgiven again!"

And did I turn my back on You,
and I took You for granted,
because I knew You'd forgive me


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Clear Color - "Forever"

You turned my weeping to dancing.
You turned my sorrow to joy in the night.
Where can I go from Your Spirit, O Lord?
When my faith is empty,
You keep giving more!

And I worship You,
my voice I raise,
for giving me this heart of praise.
With all my soul, my mind, my strength,
I worship You, my Lord, my King,



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Clear Color - "Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord"

Let ev'rything that, ev'rything that
Ev'rything that has breath praise the Lord
Let ev'rything that, ev'rything that
Ev'rything that has breath praise the Lord
Praise You in the morning, praise You in the evening
Praise You when I'm young and when I'm old
Praise You when I'm laughing, praise You with I'm grieving
Praise You ev'ry season of the soul
If we could see how much You're worth
Your power, Your might, Your endless love
Then surely we would never cease to praise
Praise You in the heavens, joining with the angels
Praising You forever and a day
Praise You on the earth now, joining with creation
Calling all the nations to Your praise
If we could see how much You're worth
Your power, Your might, Your endless love
Then surely we would never cease to praise
Let ev'rything that, ev'rything that
Ev'rything that has breath praise the Lord
Let ev'rything that, ev'rything that
Ev'rything that has breath praise the Lord


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Clear Color - "Be Glorified"

Your love has captured me.
Your grace has set me free.
Your life, the air I breathe:
Be glorified in me!

You set my feet to dancing;
You set my heart on fire.
In the presence of a thousand kings,
You are my one desire.
And I stand before You now with trembling hands lifted high.
Be glorified!


Monday, February 12, 2018

Clear Color - "True Love"

You gave us Your only Son: that's true love.
Your arms open wide: I come running.
Your hands, You hold out, for us to grab, when we keep falling.

You show me the path to walk,
and show me the road to follow,
when doubt fills my mind,
You give me the hope to carry on.

You wept, You cried,
and You hung, You died;
You walked this world in a body as mine.

Hebrews 4:15,
"For we do not have a great high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but He was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin."


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Some Thoughts on Jordan Peterson

A family member recommended watching the above video about Jordan Peterson. I watched this and have been checking out some other videos by Peterson. I do appreciate how much of his thought resonates with both classical philosophy (in the need for metaphysics and a transcendental basis for categories of thought). Also, his focus on personal responsibility is consonant with some aspects of biblical counseling. However, I have at least two major concerns:

1. In accounting for the origin of both hierarchical structures in society and structures inherent in our thinking, Peterson seems content with (roughly) Darwinistic evolutionary accounts. However, I do not believe that such theories of the origin of life (or at least the origin of human life, as evolving from lower animals) can provide a firm basis for such structures. Neither can observations based on evolutionary accounts of human origins consistently provide a foundation for moral imperatives.

2. Peterson speaks of the necessity of participation in the Logos, but he clearly views belief in Christ as optional to such participation. This is quite dangerous. Peterson is striking a chord with many who have become disillusioned with the post-modern experiment, and he may lead his listeners to trust in self (albeit self as guided by some correct philosophical statements) rather than trusting in Christ. However, Jesus taught that "no one comes to the Father except through [Him]" (John 14:6), and His apostles taught that "there is no name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

-Both of these points of concern speak to the necessity of clear, authoritative divine revelation, rather than human reasoning, to provide a firm foundation for our thoughts and lives.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

On Blaming the Protestants

It is common for Roman Catholics (and the Eastern Orthodox) to blame Protestantism for "individualism" (in its negative, community-corroding sense) and secularism. But those making these charges against Protestantism fail to recognize that it was the will-worship [ideas and forms of worship originating in human opinions rather than divine revelation] present in Medieval Catholicism, which gave rise to Protestantism, along with its illegitimate siblings. The solution to impulses toward secularism and self-centered individualism is not a "return" to Roman Catholicism (or Eastern Orthodoxy). Rather, we should heed the Reformation teaching; we should find our source of authority not in ourselves, nor in a man (or men) wearing bizarre clothes and a pointy hat. Our source of authority must be God's self-revelation in Holy Scripture, and we must worship Him in the ways that He has revealed.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

A Brief Note on the Contemporary Massacre of the Innocents

Imagine that you gained certain information concerning a building in your town in which 70 people were going to be killed this week. Your first response might be to call the police, to let them know of the impending massacre. But imagine that the police refused to do anything about the situation. Furthermore, imagine that a law was passed that (in effect) asserted the people being killed have no right to life.

Faced with this situation, what would you do?

Here in Louisville, at the corner of 2nd and Market, approximately 70 to 100 abortions will be performed this week; 70 to 100 pre-born children will be torn apart and evacuated from their mothers’ wombs.

What should Christians and churches do in light of this situation?

First, it must be strongly asserted that violence is NOT an option for Christians. Abortion is an instance of government-sanctioned murder, and Christians have clear examples from the Bible about how we are to act in the face of government-sanctioned murder:

- When Jesus was being taken to be murdered by the authorities, and He commanded Peter to put away his sword rather than to fight;
- When Peter was arrested soon after the killing of James, and the Church responded not by trying to mount a military-style rescue mission, rather they turn to earnest prayer on his behalf (see Acts 12).

Historically, Christians have followed these examples responding to government sanctioned killing (such as the killing that made martyrs of countless Christians or the gladiator games) through preaching, protest and prayer, but they did not turn to violence to stop violence.

So while the actions of those who kill abortion doctors or bomb abortion clinics may SEEM to make sense from a utilitarian or pragmatic perspective (kill one person or a few people to save, potentially, a great multitude of people), this is NOT the way that Christians are to think.

Second, we should respond to the evil of abortion exactly as the Church has always responded to government-sanctioned murder. We should pray, proclaim the gospel, persuade others to repent, and protest. We should take the message of truth to where it most needs to be heard.

[In March 2011, Tray Earnhart, who was then pastor of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, asked me to speak to our congregation concerning the work done on a weekly basis in front of the abortion clinic here in Louisville; the above thoughts are an excerpt of what I said on that occasion.]


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

out of the frying pan...

"If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye, and then continue onward with that same speed to fly, Do you think that you could ever, through all eternity, find out the generation where Gods began to be?"(From the Mormon hymn: "If You Could Hie to Kolob.")

"Orthodoxy" is a term indicating "right belief" and "true theology," and this term (or group of terms) is distinguishable from (though never to be separated from) "orthopraxy," meaning "right action." Right action flows out of right belief for it is by faith alone in Christ alone that we are made pure by God and "to the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled" (Titus 1:5 NASB).

Usually when we think of "sin," we think of sinful actions that we perform: words and deeds that are obviously wrong and thus contrary to the character of God. But these sinful actions are, in the final analysis, the fruit of wrong belief. Wrong belief is, in biblical terms, equal to unbelief, for belief in God as revealed by His Word is the only belief that counts. And the root of all sin is unbelief, as Martin Luther noted in his lectures on Genesis (LW 1:162; WA 42:121):

"Therefore the root and source of sin is unbelief and turning away from God, just as, on the other hand, the source and root of righteousness is faith."

Each Christian has been granted true belief by God (see Ephesians 2:8-10), but even our true belief will always be mixed with unbelief in this life.

And so this is why the development of right theology is crucial: and not only in our own lives, but for the lives of those we impact each day.

For unbelief is sin, and sin is never satisfied, but always seeks to lead us into greater error. As John Owen wrote in his great work on sanctification, The Mortification of Sin:

"Sin will not only be striving, acting, rebelling, troubling, disquieting, but if let alone, if not continually mortified, it will bring forth great, cursed, scandalous, soul-destroying sins. The apostle tells us what the works and fruits of it are, Gal. 5:19-21, "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like." You know what it did in David and sundry others. Sin aims always at the utmost; every time it rises up to tempt or entice, might it have its own course, it would go out to the utmost sin in that kind. Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its head. Men may come to that, that sin may not be heard speaking a scandalous word in their hearts, -- that is, provoking to any great sin with scandal in its mouth; but yet every rise of lust, might it have its course, would come to the height of villainy: it is like the grave, that is never satisfied. And herein lies no small share of the deceitfulness of sin, by which it prevails to the hardening of men, and so to their ruin, Heb. 3:13, -- it is modest, as it were, in its first motions and proposals, but having once got footing in the heart by them, it constantly makes good its ground, and presseth on to some farther degrees in the same kind. This new acting and pressing forward makes the soul take little notice of what an entrance to a falling off from God is already made; it thinks all is indifferent well if there be no farther progress; and so far as the gospel requireth, -- so far it is hardened: but sin is still pressing forward, and that because it hath no bounds but utter relinquishment of God and opposition to him; that it proceeds towards its height by degrees, making good the ground it hath got by hardness, is not from its nature, but its deceitfulness. Now nothing can prevent this but mortification; that withers the root and strikes at the head of sin every hour, so that whatever it aims at it is crossed in. There is not the best saint in the world but, if he should give over this duty, would fall into as many cursed sins as ever any did of his kind." [Emphases added.]

And so it is a principle that wrong belief if left unchecked will lead to greater unbelief. This is true for individuals and for groups. Jesus points to this fact when confronting the Pharisees, saying,

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves" (Matthew 23:15 NASB)

And also the Apostle Paul:

But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13 NASB)

We see this principle at work in the issue of the idol of 'free-will' as mentioned before, for it is this wrong belief that is so seemingly harmless but has played a major part in errors such as:

1. The Roman Catholic notion of sacerdotalism (that salvation is linked to the free-will choice to partake in the sacraments), which undermines the Bible teaching of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

2. The American church-growth seeker-sensitive movement, which undermines the Bible teaching of radical depravity (the utter sinfulness of fallen Man) and undermines the sufficiency of God's Word so that Man can exercise his 'free-will' to create a business-like model on which to organize a particular Church congregation in order to provoke 'free-will' decisions of others.

3. Open Theism (the teaching that God limits His knowledge in order to give place for Man's 'free-will'), which exalts the will of fallen Man and belittles the God of the Bible by undermining the omniscience and omnipotence of God.

4. Mormonism too holds 'free-will' as a foundational doctrine, teaching that by making right choices, men can not only gain salvation, but attain the status of gods: hence the reason for the citation of the Mormon hymn at the head of this post.

In answer to this YOU must practice the Reformation principle of "semper reformanda"- YOU MUST ALWAYS be checking your beliefs by God's Word and YOU MUST CHANGE your beliefs when you discover your error-- as must we all-- following the example of the Apostle, who declared,

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB).

[This article is edited from a blogpost originally published on 7/1/05.]

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