I never really know what to do when I get comments like the one below on a post or my blog. Robert, who is a first-time visitor, was able to discern from my posts that not only do I believe in original sin (see Romans 5:12) but also the fact that all are conceived in iniquity, therefore sinners, even at their conception (see Psalm 51:5).
In other words, there are no innocent children. No one is born with a clean slate. We are all born into iniquity. In fact, Paul shows us in Ephesians 2 that we “were all by nature children of wrath” until we were made alive by the Spirit of God. The implication is that this is what we are born into because of the fallen nature we inherited from Adam (original sin). We start life in the realm of Satan, the flesh and the world, and it is by God’s mercy that we are moved from being dead in our trespasses and sins, to a state of salvation and new life.
Some of things I write on Facebook crack me up. Yes, I laugh at my own jokes. Sometimes I’m the only one who gets it. With that confession, here are some of the humorous statements I’ve written on Facebook:
- My wife said that I should get a hearing aid after I didn’t understand what she said. I replied: “Hearing aids cost around $1,000, I can say ‘what?’ for free.”
- Tonight, told Heidi that I had a BS in Journalism. She said that I was being redundant.
- Heidi and I were talking about pictures of John Calvin and she asked: “Did he have a pointy chin?”
Me: “Well, he was French, right?”
- Actual text to my wife on why I was late getting off from work today:Me: “Waiting for Jesus to get picked up by his mom.”
Heidi: “OK, that sounds like a Christmas reference, nativity play?”
Me: “Mexican kid.”
Heidi: “Jesus was Mexican?”
I so enjoyed sending that text.
- The pastorate is the one position in the world where every one is an expert about what the pastor should and should not be doing, except the pastor.
- It seems that if you dream about being at work, they should pay you for your work.
- Heidi and I discovered tonight that cauliflower by any other name, is still cauliflower.
Hope you enjoyed those. Not all were humorous, but hopefully all were worth giving some thought.
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Given that today is, first AND foremost, the LORD’s Day, here is what J.C. Ryle has to say about doing good deeds on this holy day, and what they should not be:
But we must take care that the principles here laid down by our LORD, is not abused and turned to bad account. We must not allow ourselves to suppose that the permission to ‘do good’, ‘ implied that every one might find his own pleasure on the Sabbath. The permission to ‘do good’ was never meant to open the door to amusements, worldly festivities, traveling, journeying, and sensual gratification. It was never intended to license the Sunday railway train, or the Sunday steamboat, or the Sunday exhibition. These things do good to none, and do certain harm to many. They rob many a servant of his seventh day’s rest. They turn the Sunday of thousands into a day of hard toil. Let us beware of perverting our LORD’s words from their proper meaning. Let us remember what kind of ‘doing good’ on the Sabbath His blessed example sanctioned. Let us ask ourselves whether there is the slightest likeness between our LORD’s works on the Sabbath, and those ways of spending the Sabbath for which many contend, who yet dare to appeal to our LORD’s example. Let us fall back on the plain meaning of our LORD’s words, and take our stand on them. He gives us a liberty to ‘do good’ on Sunday, but for feasting, sight-seeing, party-giving, and excursion, He gives no liberty at all. (Emphasis added)
Found this floating on Facebook today, showing the importance of the LORD’s day from Calvin’s perspective:
Via Pastor Paul Viggiano:
“It is to be gathered without doubt from many passages, that the keeping of the Sabbath was a serious matter, since God inculcates no other commandment more frequently, nor more strictly requires obedience to any; and again, when He complains that He is despised, and that the Jews have fallen into extreme ungodliness, He simply says that His “Sabbaths are polluted,” as if religion principally consisted in their observance.” ~John Calvin~
Given the importance of observing the LORD’s day, if one has to make a choice between Christmas and the LORD’s day, it would be better to choose the latter over the former. The latter is commanded by our LORD, the former is nothing but an invention from man’s imagination. When we look at the whole of Scripture, it is striking how often man’s imagination get him in trouble when it comes to worshiping our Holy LORD.
Whenever Heidi and I want to bring a smile to each other, we will sends selfies(a picture that you take of yourself). I took this one while giving a test last week, which is why it is taken from a low angel. I was trying to be discreet. In fact, I think there should be a rule when it comes to selfies: Thou Shalt Be Discreet. But alas, I’m old school.
So may I present my latest selfie: Bearded Selfie.
Two trees in the back yard, which is easy to see. One is an oak, the other an elm, both battle for supremacy.
Like two brothers, fighting it out, one is taller, the other more stout.
Which one will win in the decade long fight, who will be supreme in the reach for the heights?
As we smoke their cousins on that back porch, neither realize they are destined for the torch. For one will rot before the other, leading to both being needed to be smothered.
Who will win in this battle of supremacy, why man for sure, don’t you see. For the day will come when both are rotted, and I will decide it’s time for them to be tottered.
Taken from Christmas: A Historical Survey Regarding Its Origins and Opposition to It. Kevin Reed is showing the historical nature of Christmas, rooted in pagan worship, and the opposition of Christmas in the Reformation. Here Reed quotes Spurgeon:
We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.
The prince of preachers doesn’t hold back. He calls Christmas a superstition. Why am I publishing these bits and pieces showing that the celebration is rooted in paganism, and not Christianity? Because most people are more concerned about celebrating a pagan day, with its pagan rituals, etc., than they are in keeping the Lord’s Day holy. Reed writes:
Taken from Christmas: An Historical Survey Regarding Its Origins and Opposition to It. Kevin Reed is showing the historical nature of Christmas, rooted in pagan worship, and the opposition of Christmas in the Reformation. Here Reed quotes Calvin on worship:
The mockery which worships God with nought but external gestures and absurd human fictions, how could we, without sin, allow to pass unrebuked? We know how much he hates hypocrisy, and yet in that fictitious worship, which was everywhere in use, hypocrisy reigned. We hear how bitter the terms in which the prophets inveigh against all worship fabricated by human rashness. But a good intention, i.e., an insane license of daring whatever man pleased, was deemed the perfection of worship. For it is certain that in the whole body of worship which had been established, there was scarcely a single observance which had an authoritative sanction from the Word of God.
Reed goes on to write:
Whenever you work with children, or are around them for any length of time, you tend to get to know them and their beliefs. But one constant among all of them, is this idea concerning fairness, especially given their propensity to declare something as “not fair” when they perceive great injustice done against them. What really will get them going is saying that someone does or does not have favorites. They will immediately say that we are not supposed to have favorites and we are to treat everyone equally.
The fairness argument is a false premise. We are to teach and raise our children in a way that is according to their nature. Some may receive greater privileges than others because they demonstrate the maturity to handle such privileges. Some need to be treated with kid’s gloves because they cannot handle the extra responsibility. So please know, that I don’t buy the premise behind the idea of “fairness.”
A few weeks ago, my students got into a conversation about rights and equality. This came about, without my prompting, over the current political environment. At one point, one of the students adamantly declared that all men were created equal because the Bible said it to be so.
I’m sure he was just parroting his parents, or some other authority figure in his life, because I sincerely doubt he has spent much time in the Bible. I mentioned briefly that his point actually came from the Declaration of Independence, not the Bible. He was speechless at the thought, just as I imagine many would be in our day and age. The Bible never seems to say that we are created equal in so many words.
One of my problems with the yearly celebration of the first advent of Christ is that there is so little support for celebrating such a day in Scripture. When we look at Mark’s gospel, he completely ignores the birth of Christ. The Apostles never speak of it other than the birth accounts given in Matthew, Luke, and John. But what they all do speak to is the purpose of Christ’s coming. In Mark, Jesus declares His purpose early on in His ministry:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Emphasis added).
Notice the first thing that Jesus does: He preaches. He proclaims the necessity of repentance and belief in the gospel. He doesn’t set out to change the world through social advocacy. He doesn’t set out to be nice. He doesn’t set out to comfort people in their sin. He confronts them with their need to repent of their sin and trust in the gospel.
In a recent report from the Christian News, Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX, has come out and said that he advised Trump, and others, to give up on fighting gay marriage, because it was the “law of the land.” He then went on to say that Christians should focus on the battle of abortion. But according to his logic, should we really fight that as well, since it too is the “law of the land.”
It is that time of year again, and once again, it has me thinking about all the traditions we celebrate. I know for some, this time of year is quite sacred, and to speak of it in less that Christmas-bulb glowing terms is tantamount to blasphemy. This is not a post saying you should not celebrate, but more thoughts on things that bother me about Christmas. After all, a lot of people get really wacky about this time of year, and given that we are never told in Scripture to celebrate the birth of Christ on a yearly basis, maybe we should hold the entire season loosely.
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.