Christian No More???

OK, the following commercial for a church is quite interesting.

Watch the video…

I know that the guy on the left reflects everything about Christianity that is bothersome to so many of us. He is a cliche of Christianity. He has the suit on, the WWJD bracelet, etc. They are making him out to be a that dimwitted Christian that so many within Christianity loath. He is the one that really knows nothing, but looks good on the outside.

The problem is that I’m not sure I like the attacks by the guy on the left. He is reflective of those who think we need to throw out all that is Christianity, and start over. He is not even calling himself a Christian, but a “Christ follower.” This, of course, is supposed to show a break from “normal” Christianity. Yet, if you are truly a “Christ follower” then you are a Christian, and you cannot break free from the past. Jesus did not die on the cross to allow us to become free from the past of His church. Listen to Paul’s words from the book of Ephesians 2:19-22

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Paul’s words are showing us that we are members of the same household. No matter what you may think about the guy on the left, if he is a true believer, then he too is a member of the household of God, even though he may be misguided in what makes him a Christian.

As for their clothing, I do hate this line of thinking. The man on the left thinks that he is a Christian because he is wearing a suit. The guy on the right, thinks he is above any of that, and is superior because he is going to church “just the way he is.” This shows a fundamental flaw in the understanding of those at his church. What is that flaw? That when you are meeting with Jesus, you are merely meeting your friend.

Yes, I do not deny that for true believers, Jesus is our friend. But He is much more than that. He is our Creator, Redeemer, and Mediator. He is holy beyond all measure, and how we meet with Him shows a lot of what we really believe about Him. We are meeting in the presence of a holy God and our outward appearance should reflect the reality that we are taking this meeting with the Holy God of creation seriously. The guy on the right is demeaning to Christ by treating the encounter with God as nothing more than a trip to the dentist.

No, our clothing does not make us holy. But it does reflect our attitude. And we need to think serious about what it is that we are doing when we meet with God, in His holy of holies. We learn these principles from the Old Testament and the cleansing rituals that the priests went through before meeting with God on behalf of the people. The rituals were to remind them of how sinful man is, and the need to be cleansed by the Spirit of God, through His word. We are in need of cleansing, both inwardly and outwardly.

Another way to look at this is by asking: “how would you dress if you were to meet with the President of the United States, or the Queen of England?” Most people admit that they would dress up. Then, why not dress up for the King of kings? He is by far more holy and important than those two.

The other illegitimate charge made in the video is that Jesus worshiped on Saturday, therefore we should too. This, again, shows the ignorance of the man on the right. Granted, the man on the left was shown to be ignorant to. But the church represented by those on the right are ignorant of why we meet on Sunday.

We do so because the early church met on Sunday, since it was the LORD’s Day, the First Day of the week, the day He arose from the grave. Our worship on this day is reflective of the knowledge that through Christ’s death and atoning work, He redeems us and begins the redemption of the new heavens and new earth. The Sabbath was on Saturday, the final day of the week to point back to God’s work of Creation. The Lord’s Day is on the first day of the week pointing forward to that which is to come, the new heavens and the new earth, the new creation.

I know that this church probably thinks they are on the cutting edge, with their new worship and new attitude. But once again, they are distancing themselves from the body of Christ in doing so. If the man on the right was truly a brother in Christ, he would have been more concerned about helping the brother on the left grow in maturity, instead of making fun of him by rolling his eyes. What does this say to the visitor that shows up to this church… wearing a… gasp, a suit and tie? How will he be treated??? Will they say that the one wearing a suit is bound by tradition and not there for true worship because he fits the dress code of so many “other” churches? Or will he learn, that yes, there is a dress code, but a suit and tie are not a part of that dress code? Hhm?


Michael Vick

As many of you know, Michael Vick has been indicted for running a dog-fighting ring out of his house, where he allegedly put to death the dogs that lost in the most inhumane ways. You can read about it Mike America. Or other places on the web. Like Mark’s site, Casting Pearls.

I really am quite tired of these stories about athletes that are proving themselves to be thugs. Perhaps we should assume that all pro-athletes are thugs, until proven otherwise. That way, when they do stupid things like hold dog-fighting rings in their back yard, and kill the dogs that lose, it won’t surprise us. I’m also tired of this story, and I hope it goes away soon.

What Vick did was wrong. But I have two problems with the entire debate.

First: The sad reality is that there seems to be more moral outrage over the abuse of dogs than there does when someone is murdered. I’m not advocating that we condone his behavior… but let’s be real, they are JUST dogs. I know this may come as a shock to you, but they are not made in the image of God, as humans are. Therefore, biblically speaking, the murder of a unborn child is far worse than what Vick did to those dogs. I’m not trying to lessen his crime. What I’m questioning is all the outrage. It would have been better for Vick to kill his mother than to kill these dogs in the world of public opinion. Instead of all this feigned outrage, can’t we just let the courts run their course and move on. So what he was a football player. He wasn’t all that good to begin with.

Secondly, if those who are outraged at this behavior really want to do away with the dog fighting culture, then do away with the breed itself. Pit bulls are bred to fight. This is what they do. And if this type of activity is so wretched, then do away with the breed all together. No, I’m not suggesting that we euthanize all the dogs. But spade and neuter until the breed naturally dies off. If you really want to see an end to dog fighting, then do away with the breed that does just that. Otherwise, just get use to the reality that there will always be dog fights. BTW, since man bred the dogs, then we have the right, I would think, to extinguish the breed now that we no longer need fighting dogs.

Again, not condoning the sport, or saying we should try to get rid of it. What sin has man ever been able to legislate into obscurity? The point is, that if you really are serious about how wicked this sport is, do away the dogs.

Questioning God

Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

Nicodemus was questioning Christ’s charge that we must be born again to both see and enter the Kingdom of heaven. His response to it is above, and shows that he sees it as impossible. I like what John Calvin wrote concerning this verse:

We always wish to be wise beyond what is proper, and therefore we reject with diabolical pride every thing that is not explained to our reason; as if it were proper to limit the infinite power of God to our poor capacity. We are, indeed, permitted, to a certain extent, to inquire into the manner and reason of the works of God, provided that we do so with sobriety and reverence; but Nicodemus rejects it as a fable, on this ground, that he does not believe it to be possible.”[1]

This is ever so true today. We have Christians that reject orthodox doctrine left and right because they cannot understand it. As if, somehow, we could fully grasp the infinite God who is…

Please don’t think that I’m advocating a minimalist position when it comes to our theology. I am not. We are to study God’s word daily and for the rest of our lives. It’s vital for eternal life to know the living and true God… that is to know Christ by faith, and study His word. But to doubt the truth of Scripture because we cannot grasp it, or understand how it is possible that God can perform such miracles, offer such salvation, save such sinners, is the height of haughtiness.

[1] Calvin’s commentary on John, p. 116.

Winston Churchill is Still Dead!

Churchill Dies, January 1965
Yes, I know, this is not earth shattering news. News, by it’s nature, is something that is new. After news has settled, it becomes history. The reason I’m writing on this is that watching A&E’s Biography presentation on Churchill, the reality of his death hit me like a ton of bricks. It isn’t that I didn’t know he was dead. He died when I was 3 1/2 years old. It’s just for the past three years, I have been studying his life, and no where have I read of his ultimate demise. The book, The Last Lion, has only taken me up to when he became prime minister during the war. Since we are waiting on the final edition, the subject of his death has not come up.

I’m also reading Churchill’s own account of the history of World War II. I don’t think he is going to cover his death in that book. Yes, he was an amazing man. But he was not that amazing. In fact, his mortality came through in the end, as it will for all of us. Knowing even this, it was still sad to watch the record of his final days.

He knew that the best he had to offer was all behind him. It was over. He did amazing things in turning back the onslaught of the Nazis. But he could do nothing about the onslaught of old age, the feelings of uselessness, the feelings of being done. I would like to report that he faced death with the confidence of knowing that there was more to life than this one. But I cannot. The only thing about this great man that I have read concerning his belief is that it was reported he said the following: “I am ready to meet my maker, however I’m not sure He is ready for me.” Or something like that.

Still, he was an amazing man. I credit him alone for resisting the onslaught of Hitler and the Nazis. He was the one willing to stand against Hitler. All others capitulated in so many ways. They were afraid of Hitler. They were afraid of war. They were afraid of death. Sadly, those who took such stances, found death. They found enslavement. They found all those things that they feared by giving into the man.

But not Churchill. He courageously fought against Hitler when all others had neither the will to fight, nor the ability. He was willing to do so, whatever the cost. Yes, I know that the United States came to Britain’s aid. But had not Britain said “no” to the tyrant in the first place, the United States would have been sorely pressed to actually beat back the Nazi tide once it reached our shores. Churchill was standing in the way of Hitler’s plans. Had he given in like so many before him, the Soviet Union would have easily collapsed under the blitzkrieg. But because the U.K. gave Hitler two fronts, it weakened his ability to take over the world, and eventually led to his defeat.

Churchill was the man that stood in the way of Hitler. He was willing to fight for freedom, and was able to maintain it.

What is the shame of the United Kingdom is that as a country, they have quit teaching the story of Winston Churchill to their children. Mike’s America shows links to a story that shows those in charge of teaching their school children about Churchill, have deemed him irrelevant. What? Is our world truly mad? I know Churchill had his problems, but how can they do this given that Churchill was voted the Greatest Briton of all time in 2002? How can they do this given that they still speak the King’s English because he was willing to stand for freedom? What fools they are.

I felt the same way while I was in seminary when I realized the great value of John Calvin and his Institutes of Christian Religion. My entire four-year program had just snippet references to Calvin and his theology, yet he is one of Protestants greatest theologian. If any thing, every seminary should start with Augustine and Calvin, and then move on to the dreadful founders of their seminary, instead of the other way around.

But the point is that England should not stop educating their people about Churchill. He was to great a man.

PHOTO: Taken of Joseph on Monday morning… I thought it was an excellent Churchill impersonation.

Neat picture

I found this at Wikipedia while looking up a theologian by the name of Traill. No, couldn’t find any information about the theologian, but did find this picture and I liked it. I’m a fan of black and white, and this picture reminded me of this. Please don’t ask me how looking for a 17th Century theologian led to this picture… it just did.

The picture is located here, and you can go there to read all the specifications about it. The picture was taken in 1947, and has run in several magazines including Sports Illustrated.

The Pope is Honest!

Yes, finally, we have a report showing that the latest Pope, Bededict XVI, is showing some honesty. In a report from the Vatican, the Pope agrees with a paper that says “if you are not Catholic, then you are not a part of the true church” and that only “those who are Catholic are on the road to salvation.”

Here is part of the story from WorldNetDaily:

Pope Benedict XVI has ignited controversy across the world by approving a document saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation.

“Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church,” said the document, reasserting the primacy of Catholicism.

It said other Christian communities such as Protestants “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” since they don’t have what’s known as apostolic succession – that is, the ability to trace their bishops back to the original 12 apostles of Jesus.

The reason I praise him is because there seems to be an attitude in Protestant circles that we should never state our differences with the Roman Catholic church because it might upset someone. Yet, here the pope is stating those differences. I applaud him for doing so and we need to state our differences with the RCc as well.

It saddens me that we hide behind a veil of political correctness with all these differences. Listen, either the Pope is right, or we are right. But not both. If they are right, then we need to repent, ask forgiveness and go join the RCc. But if not, we need to state clearly and passionately why we believe the RCc is wrong. I hate this idea that we have to hide what it is that we believe and why we believe others are wrong.

The last time I really preached on why having a pope was wrong, we had a man in our congregation that was raised Roman Catholic. There were some who were concerned that I might offend him. The reality was that he was glad I did preach on the topic. The man, a believer now, wholeheartedly agreed with what I was saying. He wanted to hear the truth and wanted me to say it as clearly as I did.

Why do Protestants worry so much about being who we are? Why not just preach the truth of who we are and show biblically why we believe what we believe and not worry about it. If those visiting our congregations are going to get mad, they would have eventually gotten mad over something and left the church anyway. I hate this idea that we have to worry about offending someone because of our differences.

The differences we, Reformed Presbyterian, have with the RCc and Baptist and Pentecostal, etc. are important. There are reasons for those difference, biblical reasons. Somebody is wrong. Again, if it is us, then we shall repent and change our position. But if not, then we need to stand on the truth that we are convinced is right. Otherwise, we would be sinning against our conscience.

BTW, I expect these other groups within Christianity to do the same thing we are doing. If they are convinced from Scripture that their position is correct, then so be it. Let them hold to that position with just as much conviction as we do. But to try to act all nicey-nice and say we all believe the same thing is to lie… last time I checked, that was a sin (See the Ten Commandments).

While I strongly disagree with the pope over the RCc being the true church, I do applaud him for being honest enough to state what it is that Catholics believe. Now we can quit hiding behind the lie that we all believe the same thing and agree that we don’t. We do have different beliefs. Let the dialog, that has been silenced behind the arrival of the lie “unity at all cost” continue as it should have. Not that I’m not for being unified. But to say that we our unified when we have major theological differences is a white wash.

Global Warming Update — The Polar Bears

I found this thanks to Gayle at My Republican Blog. It’s a story on that picture of the polar bears that were supposedly dying because of melting ice caps. You may remember it. This story shows that the entire story was made up to fit the global warming agenda on the left. It’s only about 3 minutes long and worth watching.

Thanks Gayle.

Hopefully, it will publish this time.

Vacation Bible School

Yes, it’s that time of year again here at my church. Every year, the summer comes with the anticipation of vacation Bible school, and every year I lament the fact. Then it gets here, and every year I end up eating my words. It’s such a blast seeing all the children go through the skits and hearing them laugh and when that happens, I remember why we do it. It’s… for the children. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

This year, because of the fact that we don’t have many children above the elementary age level, the giggle factor is really through the roof, which makes it all the more fun. Even Andrew is getting into it, although during the skit of Moses leading the children through the Red Sea and away from Pharaoh, Fred, THE INTERN, scared poor Andrew with his beard. Andrew hasn’t picked up on the concept that Fred’s fake beard is nothing more than make believe. But then again, he is only 2 and a half. Before long, he will learn.

As for VBS right now? It’s still going on and I’m hiding away in my office taking a break. My official responsibilities include the following: make an appearance, pray when asked, take lots of pictures for the DVD. I like to take my photos and turn them into slide shows with music, captions etc. You might say that I’m the unofficial photographer for VBS, which is the perfect job for me. My favorite subject, children and my favorite hobby, photography. What a blast. The picture above is… of my youngest, Joey. I was carrying him around with one hand and my camera in the other. I had to take one of him and this is it… plus the 30 others that I had to take of him. (I would show some of the other children, but I’m not sure how their parents would feel about me posting their pictures on the web.)

Better get back and make an official appearance.

A Sad Decision

I love my dog. But, I love my boys more. Yesterday, Casey bit Andy. Granted, Andy was rough with the dog, but life with two growing boys will get rougher as we go. That’s the way boys are even when trying to be gentle. It is sad to say, but I need a dog that will bear with the rough play and agitation of the boys without biting. He is a huge dog and they are little boys. Though the bite bruised and scraped, not breaking skin, Casey found out that he can bite Andy. The bite ran from the top of his hand to almost his elbow. The fact of the matter is I no longer trust him around little children.
But he is still a great dog, and he was defending himself. We just can’t have him around our children.
That makes me sad. I have had Casey for so long and we’ve been through so much. But the bite was a bad thing and Casey must live with another family. We now have to find just the right one. I won’t give him to just anyone.
Uck. I don’t like making this decision, but it has to be done. Children are more important than dogs.