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)

My Photo
Name:

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Grumpy"

When I'm tired or feeling stressed out, every once in a while [Abby will laugh at that last phrase], I can be a little grumpy. Sadly, I tend to express my grumpy attitude by speaking in a harsh tone to Abby or the children.

Within the last few months, Abby and I have started helping Christian work on improving his attitude through focusing on the characteristics of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 (this was Abby's idea). So, for example, when Christian demands things be done his own way, Abby or I say to him, "Love does not insist on its own way; you are not being loving; you need to have a better, more loving attitude," etc.

In thinking about 1 Corinthians 13:5, I've recently realized that what I've been excusing in myself as "grumpiness" is biblically defined as "irritability," which is contrary to love and is, therefore, a sin. By God's grace, I am seeking to put off this irritable attitude and to replace it with godly love toward others.

I encourage anyone who may be reading this post to take a moment to look at 1 Corinthians 13 and to consider ways in which you too may need God's forgiveness and help in reflecting His love.

Labels:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Witnessing: An Application of Exegetical, Biblical, and Systematic Theology

Yesterday I drove for about seven hours to get from the Atlanta area to Louisville in order to work my shift at UPS. I arrived at work early and sat in the break room, rather selfishly planning to 'chill out' after the drive and not talk to anyone. Graciously, however, God gave me an opportunity to bear witness concerning the good news of my Lord Jesus Christ as a non-Christian friend began talking to me and he raised the subject of different religions.

In speaking to my friend, I realized that I was applying what I learned in Seminary concerning exegetical, biblical and systematic theology. Exegetically, I discussed the meaning of particular verses in the Gospel of John with my friend; biblically, I helped him to see what John was trying to show about Jesus throughout his Gospel account in relation to the other Scriptures; systematically, we discussed questions that he had about how the Cross relates to God's forgiveness and what happens to people who do not believe in Jesus.

Certainly Christians do not need a degree in theology in order to witness about Jesus, but I was glad to see that my education seemed to be helping me in a conversation with a non-seminary-graduate. Also, I think that with or without a degree, every Christian needs to pursue some form of education in exegetical, biblical, and systematic theology in order to understand the Bible and to accurately declare the good news from the Bible to others.

Labels:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Celebration

Recently I read a comment by a Christian arguing against celebrating Christmas, in which he wrote, "what about even the 'most conservative' celebration is not an adaption of unbiblical practices?"

In responding, I noted the following activities normally associated with Christmas celebration that have direct biblical support:

Hymn singing (Col 3:16), gift-giving (Matt 2:11), reading the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke, giving thanks to God for Christ's birth (1 Thess 5:18).

To the above list, I should add, "Giving to the needy and to missions" (1 Cor 8).

Certainly, none of the activities mentioned above should be limited to Christmas, but due to limited resources of both time and money, people cannot necessarily give the same amount every day of the year and we cannot proclaim and explain the story of Christ's birth in equal detail every week. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate that Christians should use the Christmas season as a reminder to serve Christ in these specific ways.

Labels:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Twelve Doctrines of Christmas

A few of my friends have posted the following video, and I finally got around to watching it; (it's pretty good):



I confess that I had to look up "dichotomy" because, without context, I could not think of what that term might mean; (it refers to the biblical-anthropological idea of Man being composed of two parts-- body and soul, with "spirit" being an aspect of "soul"-- rather than three parts).

Also, "salvific monergism" is an awkward phrase at best; ("monergistic regeneration" is preferable because some other aspects of salvation may be, in a sense, synergistic).

Labels:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thomas Aquinas On Original Sin: Compilation.

Notes I took while reading sections of Summa Theologica:

Part 1: Whether the first sin of our first parent is contracted by his descendants, by way of origin?

Labels:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas

As noted in the statement of 'worship philosophy' from Grace Heritage Church, where Abby and I were members when we lived in Auburn:
Because the distance between God and His creatures is so great, the only acceptable way of approaching God in worship must be revealed to us by God Himself.

Acceptable worship for the Church is prescribed through commands and examples found in Scripture.

The teaching mentioned above is called the "Regulative Principle of Worship."

I've had two friends-- one Reformed Baptist, and one Presbyterian-- who have tried to apply the Regulative Principle in such a way as to argue that Christians should not celebrate Christmas. At first I thought that they might be making a valid point in their arguments, but upon further examination I find their arguments to be almost entirely without merit.

Christmas is a national holiday. Christians are not forbidden to celebrate national holidays. Moreover, Christians-- following the example of Jesus-- are permitted to celebrate holidays instituted by people.

Jesus celebrated Purim (the feast mentioned in John 5, when one examines the chronology of John) and Hanukkah (John 10:22-24; "The Feast of the Dedication" is another name for Hanukkah), which were Jewish national holidays with religious significance that were instituted by the people after the giving of the Law was already completed. Purim is given by the Westminster Confession of Faith (a document written by theologians who were committed to the Regulative Principle) as one example of proper "thanksgivings upon special occasions."

Above, I wrote that the arguments against Christians celebrating Christmas are almost entirely without merit. The reason that I wrote "almost" is because Christians can certainly take Christmas celebrations to ungodly excess; also, churches can introduce pageantry or ceremonies in worship around Christmastime that clearly violate the Regulative Principle and distract from the gospel.

But if Christmas is truly used as a time of thanksgiving for the Incarnation, then it is an entirely appropriate holiday for Christians, who should use our society's rather superficial mentions of Christ's birth to introduce people to Jesus Himself through the proclamation of the gospel.

Labels: