78,000 and Counting!

Theology that Matters has reached another milestone this week, and you know how it is with milestones: the more you reach, the fewer you have left to reach. So what is this recent milestone? The blog surpassed 78,000 views for the year, which eclipses last year’s total views of 77,952! I’m hoping to reach the 80,000 mark, but who knows. Blogs are really quite fickle. On posts that I think will generate a lot of traffic, go unnoticed, while those that I write without much thought, garner thousands of hits.

For instance, the year’s current post with the most views is C.S. Lewis on “The Lessor of Two Evils.” Never thought it would garner more than 7,000 hits for the year. But it has, and is currently the number one post. I will gladly take it, because when people read one post, they are likely to read another. This is why I count views more importantly than visits. Views means that someone came and stayed for a while, where as a visitor can come and leave without looking at a thing.

As for Theology that Matters, we will press on trying to bring quality work for my viewers. You may not agree, but I hope you will at least consider.

NKJV vs. ESV: The Final Battle

In my earlier post, NKJV vs. ESV: Thoughts on the Translation Wars, I noted a few differences that the ESV had with the NKJV. Yet, in the end,  those differences did not amount to any reason to discount one version over and against the other. In other words, there is no Holy Spirit-inspired version that we have today.  So the four major versions, NIV, ESV, NKJV, NASB,  are perfectly acceptable.

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Matthew Henry on Titus 2:3

You might wonder why I’m so concerned with Titus 2:3 here of late. Since I published my post, Protecting the Weaker Vessel, I’ve received quite a bit of heat over at Daughters of the Reformation, a blog by Rachel Miller.

It is not very often that I’m attacked on other blogs, so I must have hit a nerve. I’m responding for two reasons: to refute the attack, and, more importantly, to clarify what the Scripture teaches for the edification of the saints. Some might say that I should not respond, but the Apostle Paul set the precedent by responding to his attackers, and I feel that it is important to declare what Scripture says concerning this topic. To remain silent would be to acquiesce to error, and we are never to do so. I also enjoy the challenge of showing what Scripture says in the face of so much opposition. Let God be true but every man a liar (Romans 3:4).

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He Causes It to Happen

I think the key to understanding the book of Job is looking to Elihu. I recently went looking for my favorite Psalm of late, 35, and came to Job 35 and started reading. Elihu’s statements immediately caught my attention and gave me some insight into this difficult book that I have not had before. I had to turn back a few pages to the beginning of his monologue to Job and his three companions.

We find that Elihu has been very patient with these four elderly men. He has listened waiting for them to declare the truth of the situation and all four have fallen dreadfully short. The three friends of Job, acting on behalf of Satan accusing him of all manner of sin, lack any substance in their attack upon Job. It is amazing how prominent this sin is in the body of Christ. Just point to someone, declare them a sinner, and people come out of the woodwork to join in the chorus. I’m not alluding to false doctrine here, which should always be declared in comparison to sound doctrine, but declaring someone has fallen without a shred of evidence is clearly a sin.

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Thanksgiving Holy Unto the LORD?

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This meme is bouncing around Facebook with the intent of keeping Thanksgiving a holy day unto the LORD. This is implied because the point of the meme is to keep the stores closed, keep people from shopping, and close down commerce. Those behind the meme believe that Thanksgiving was started by Christians when they first landed on the continent, therefore it should be a holy day, like Easter or Christmas. As we will see below from one historian, the early settlers had no intention of setting up a yearly holy day.

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Should You Reimburse the Pastor for Performing a Baptism?

This question was recently presented to me and it is a good question. Should we give the pastor who baptizes our children an honorarium? After all, we do so when a pastor performs a wedding, and sometimes even a funeral. Where should we draw the line?

For baptism, the answer is clearly in the “no” category. Performing baptisms, like administering the LORD’s supper and preaching, are a part of a pastor’s regular duties. The pastor is charged with administering the normal means of grace, of which are baptism and the LORD’s supper. It would be quite odd for a pastor to expect additional money for doing what he was hired to do.

Performing weddings is a different story since he is under no obligation to conduct the ceremony. He does so for the blessing of the couple involved and gives up personal time on a Saturday, therefore he should be compensated for doing so.

John Calvin on Titus 2:3

In my recent post, Protecting the Weaker Vessel, I made the assertion that Titus 2:3-5 was not an open invitation for women to lead in Bible studies for other women, but an admonition for older women to actually teach younger women that the focus of their lives is to be loving their husbands and children, in making the home a godly place. It is not to lead women’s ministries and a host of other things that is put forth in the name of this verse.

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Protecting the Weaker Vessel

We have another shining example this week illustrating why the elders of the church need to protect the women of the church from the wolves of the church. This time, it is Jen Hatmaker who has recently come out and caved on the issue of homosexuality. This has caused Lifeway Christian Resources to pull her books off the shelves, and  brought some clarity from Matt Walsh who had this to say about Hatmaker’s recent move on the issue:

Now, you may struggle with the Biblical teaching on homosexuality, just as you may struggle with any other teaching. You may not understand it. You may find it harsh and difficult and emotionally distressing. But before we even get into explaining why the Bible says what it says, all we really need to establish is that it does say it. Period. We are commanded by God to accept this teaching or risk losing our souls. It’s not an option. We are not required to follow Christ only in the areas where we can find mutual agreement with Him. Our consent and agreement does not matter. At all. Not one tiny bit. We are called to follow regardless. That’s what it means to love God.

The reason so many people fall when it comes to the issue of homosexuality, and sin in general, is because they place their love for people over and against their love for God. They have made “acceptance” and “toleration” into idolatry and ignored what God has said. As Christians, we cannot do this. Our stand must always be on what the word of God has declared on any given topic, no matter what the cultural push may be. We should know this: the culture is always at odds with the word of God.

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The Missional Creep of the PCA

Sadly, in my current denomination of the Presbyterian Church in America, the term “missional” is being used more and more. I first heard the phrase back in the 1990s while at seminary. The term is put forth as some new thing that we must be in order to reach the lost for Christ.

It really bothers me whenever I hear new terms like this because it implies that the language of the faith that has come down to us over the past 2,000 years was not good enough. Yes, I realize that really important terms like the “trinity” were new at one point. This is because we did not have an accurate term for the concept that God is three persons but one God; the term was necessary for helping our feeble minds understand such a great truth.

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ALERT: Scripture Abuse

This is floating around the internet.

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The command is actually: you shall not murder. There is a big difference between a government lawfully killing a criminal, which the Bible permits, and murdering someone. Murder is the taking of a innocent life. Killing someone via the death penalty is fully justified because the person being killed has killed another, destroying an image bearer of God. This is why the LORD gave us the command in the first place. It is to deal with those who have sinned against God by destroying His image in another person.

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