The Transposition of my Imagination

I was listening to an audio book of C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory when I blinked a few times in the striking light of his prose, realizing for the first time what it meant to look along the light and not merely at it.  I was stunned. Lewis argued logically in poetic prose. It was so rich and clear. Lewis conversed so long in the western cannon that he wrote with a Western-Christendom accent. He spoke like one who had walked with Truth in the cool of the day through the English countryside and could imitate the Poet’s cadence and tone.

I was overcome with the idea that I was listening to someone who didn’t think about God as much as He thought like God. I purchased a copy of The Weight of Glory before I was done with the audio book and devoured the print by night and audio by day. I was transported out of myself. I had been looking through borrowed contacts. The eyes of my faith were altered. Continue reading “The Transposition of my Imagination”

The Danger of Dogma

A Series on Love, Part 6

There are several definitions for what a social norm is. What I mean by Social norms, are the practices that express a community’s ethics or values. A social norm is a principle put into practice. Social norms are things like tipping. It’s not a law, but it’s socially unacceptable to not tip. It’s ungracious. Even if the service is bad it’s still not ok to withhold a tip. Tipping expresses a collective value.

The Pharisees Question Jesus
The Pharisees Question Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social norms, in themselves are not a problem. Jesus didn’t rise up against the social norms of 1st century Judaism because they were wicked inthemselves. The problem is, communities elevate their practices to the level of principles and judge harshly any other group that does not follow the same practice. They make practices, principles.

Liturgy is a good example. True Christian worship looks like this and anything else is heresy. Christian communities love their practices; their traditions, and easily love them more than God or people. We create artificial barriers between us and other groups by elevating our social norms above people. This is what Jesus challenged. In Jesus’ day the purity laws, which were right and good in themselves, prevented the Jews from loving people who needed it. Instead it was a source of arrogance.    Continue reading “The Danger of Dogma”

The Tie that Binds

It is this spiritually organic relationship that forms the basis of true Christian community. It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that makes us a community. Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ. There are many organizations, both secular and Christian, whose members work together to pursue common goals. Some of these groups may call themselves communities. But biblical community goes much deeper than sharing common goals, though it ultimately involves that. Biblical community is first of all the sharing of a common life in Christ. It is when we grasp this truth that we are in a position to begin to understand true community.

Bridges, Jerry (2012-09-14). True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia (Kindle Locations 108-113). Navpress. Kindle Edition.

Is Jonah great?

The Sign of Jonah; Introduction

Matthew 12:41The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Jesus says he is greater that Jonah. Why? Isn’t it self-evident that He is? Why not just say I am great and Jonah is Jonah. We understand Jesus is the greater Moses, Joshua, and David. But who would call Jesus the greater Jonah? Jesus did. We need to get the big picture. Who wrote the book of Jonah? Jonah did. Jonah learned an important lesson and wants you to learn it too. Jonah’s sins were startlingly revealed to him and he took the lesson to heart and wrote a book about it.

Jonah is a humbled prophet. Jonah is great because he wrote a book in which God is the hero. Besides pointing the reader toward God’s glory, Jonah is one of the most succinct, dynamic and multi-dimensional “types” of Jesus in the Old Testament.

What is the sign of Jonah? A quick read will point us to the fish and the three days of Death, but it’s more complicated than that. To properly interpret the book of Jonah we need to understand that “the sign of Jonah” is the Sacrifice, the fish, the word and the judgment of Jonah as they foreshadow Jesus’ ministry.

For the Glory of His name

Chapter 4, section 1

It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Heb. 1:2; John 1:2–3; Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4), for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness (Rom. 1:20; Jer. 10:12; Ps. 104:24; 33:5–6), in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good (Gen. 1; Heb. 11:3; Col. 1:16; Acts 17:24).

Scripture Verses

Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,

Isaiah 45:12 I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.

Exposition

We learn from this section that the world had a beginning. This might be considered one of the most obvious truths that can be stated, but is one that has always required confirmation by divine revelation, due to man’s impudent mythologies. Continue reading “For the Glory of His name”

The Triune God

Introduction to WCF, Chapter 2

Nature confesses there is a God. As Calvin stated:

“There exists in the human minds and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead” (Institutes, 3.1)

The Christian’s knowledge of the Godhead is special because it is relational; it is covenantal. We know who God is because of what he does and what he tell us of himself.  The Lord’s creation, actions and disclosures recorded in the bible are the source for our special knowledge of him. Knowledge that goes beyond mere instinct or a vague “sense;” the God of the bible is relational and personal. Continue reading “The Triune God”

How Then, Do We Intrepret the Bible?

WCF, Chapter 1, Section 8-10

Section 8

The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical (Matt. 5:18); so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them (Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39, 46).

But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them (John 5:39), therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come (1 Cor. 14:6, 9, 11–12, 24, 27–28), that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner (Col. 3:16); and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope (Rom. 15:4). Continue reading “How Then, Do We Intrepret the Bible?”

Sacrafice in the New Covenant

Like Marriage (which is a human covenant modeled after God’s covenant with his church, Eph. 5:22-33), God’s covenant with us has a definitive form and content. Furthermore, there is a distinctive way of renewing covenantal relations in the Bible, and that is by way of sacrifice (Gen. 8:20-9:17; Exod. 24:4-11; Lev. 24:1-8; Ps. 50:5).The way of sacrifice has not been abrogated: animal sacrifices have. Much of the language used to describe the Church and the Christian life in the New Testament is derived from the tabernacle, temple, and sacrificial system. This means that the reality of life in the new age was pre-figured in the sacrificial rituals of the old age. Hebrews 10:1 identifies the ritual/sacrificial system as the “shadow of the good things to come.” Jesus’ sacrifice not only did away with the old animal offerings, it also illumined for the Church the true meaning of the sacrificial rituals for life and liturgy. Continue reading “Sacrafice in the New Covenant”

How Then Should We Worship?

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical L...
English: Communion setting at an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America worship service: an open Bible, both unleavened bread and gluten-free wafers, a chalice of wine, and another containing grape juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These Paragraphs are extended quotes lifted from Various books, listed below.

Put simply, the regulative principle of worship means obedience equates to worshiping God the way he requires and not by tradition or man-made invention.  The narrow interpretation of the regulative principle means, that which is not commanded in Scripture, is forbidden. The broader interpretation is that if it is not commanded, it might be prohibited: it depends. What does it depend on?  It depends on a sanctified common sense, constrained by general, biblical categories. This is not meant to be coy. Clearly, all Protestants adhere to the regulative principle and we believe the bible is the standard of life, faith and practice, but the narrow intepretation requires more than the bible could possibly provide. It is founded on an unbiblical hermeneutic that requires express commands and proof text, where proper biblical interpretation and application requires more; wisdom, humility and maturity. [1] Continue reading “How Then Should We Worship?”

The Covenant Structure of Worship

The purpose of the Sunday service is covenant renewal. During corporate “worship” the Lord renews His covenant with His people when He gathers them together and serves them. We do not renew covenant with God because it was going to expire or run out, like a lease. We renew our covenant with God because it is our life: we renew covenant with God in Worship the way food renews physical life or sexual communion renews marriage.

The covenant structure of creation and recreation

Yahweh’s covenant with Adam contains, in seed form, the other covenants in Scripture, as well as, covenant renewal worship. The post fall covenants are not ad hoc, novel arrangements, but renewals of the creation covenant. Following is the structure of covenant making and therefore covenant renewal and how it directly informs the liturgy of the Church.

  1. As covenant Lord, Yahweh takes hold of His creation in order to do something new with it.
  2. The Lord effects a separation. What God grasps is then transformed from one state to another, from the old to the new: a new creation. This new union (dirt and life-giving breath of Yahweh) receives from God a corresponding new name, which implies a new hierarchal relationship. There is a covenant head (Yahweh) and there are those who are dependent on that covenant head (human creatures).
  3. A new verbal communication of stipulation is expressed by the covenant Lord, a way of life fit for the new covenantal situation, a gracious enumeration of how to live fully and joyfully in this new covenant.
  4. The Lord offers His covenant partners a fellowship meal. He gives the gift of signs and seals of the covenant (two trees) together with a setting forth of blessings for grateful faithfulness and curses for ungrateful disobedience.
  5. The Lord arranges for the future succession of the covenant, which in this covenant involves marriage and children. Continue reading “The Covenant Structure of Worship”