My lovely wife has started polishing her nails now that she no longer works for Starbucks, (Starbucks forbids their employees from painting their nails) and I love it. She has treated me to maroon, off-white, off-grey, blue and fiery red. I took this picture thinking it would be great in color, but I liked the effect I found on Adobe Photoshop Express.
I really enjoyed reading Dean Abbott’s article “Engaging the Culture” Doesn’t Work Because Christian Beliefs Are a Mark of Low Status over at Patheos. He makes some great observations concerning this misguided movement. My regular readers know that I am not a fan of those who call for us to engage the culture (ETC) because what often happens is that the church ends up looking more like the culture rather than the culture looking like the church.
I took these photos in the restroom of a Trader Joe’s, and thought that they would make a really interesting still life. Trader Joe’s is the first public place that I went into while concealing AND carrying. So it has a special place in my heart.
The first photo is a simple black and white with a filter added in Adobe. The second is also given a filter in Adobe and I like the hard black steel in the soft pastel setting. It just makes me feel all artsy-fartsy! I hope Trader Joe’s doesn’t mind me using their restroom for a bit of photography. It was helpful that their restroom afforded me the opportunity to put the gun on the table. You know, those guns are heavier than they look. If I don’t have my belt on the tightest loop, it makes me look like I belong in the hood.
In the comments section of The Demise of the PCA, Alec wrote the following:
Have you heard of Matthias Loy? He was a faithful Lutheran in Nineteenth Century at the time when the Lutherans were facing the issues the Presbyterians faced 50 years later with the troubles that came to a head at Princeton. Dr. Loy wrote the following in his autobiography:
“The history of the Church confirms and illustrates the teachings of the Bible, that yielding little by little leads to yielding more and more, until all is in danger; and the tempter is never satisfied until all is lost. It seems but a small concession that we are asked to make when an article of our confession is represented as a stumbling block to many Christians which ought therefore in charity to be removed, but surrendering that article would only lead to the surrender of another on the same ground, and that is the beginning of the end; the authority of the inspired Word of our Lord is gradually undermined.” The Story of My Life
I thought it was a great quote, making the point of denominational and seminary drift, along with the church. When we will not stick to the truths of the Bible, we all drift, which we must not do. This is one reason I appreciate the creeds, like the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism. These two documents help keep us grounded in what the church has concluded to be the important doctrines of the faith.
But given all that, I couldn’t help think of Alec’s quote when I read what John Newton preached back in 1779, concerning the passage “speak the truth in love,” from Ephesians 4:15.
The Bible is the grand repository of the truths that it will be the business and the pleasure of my life to set before you. It is the complete system of divine truth to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken with impunity. Every attempt to disguise or soften any branch of this truth in order to accommodate it to the prevailing taste around us either to avoid the displeasure or court the favor of our fellow mortals must be an affront to the majesty of God and act of treachery to men. My conscience bears me witness that I mean to speak the truth among you.
Amen and amen.
This is my contribution to those who love bluebonnets, only, it’s not of a bluebonnet, but a live oak. The bluebonnet was photo bombing. Enjoy.
For more on bluebonnets and pictures of them, read Squatters.
Calvin, writing on the roles of men and women given in Scripture, writes the following:
“Therefore, with respect to external civil organization, the man is the image of God because Jesus Christ is his head. And then the woman is below him, such that she cannot say that she has an equal position, for that would constitute an arrogance which would overturn all order and civic policy.”
This is from his sermons on Genesis.
I’ve often told my congregations over the years that we should not be surprised when we see human institutions, such as seminaries, or even denominations, erode from the foundations in which they were formed. This is because the spiritual attack on those who lead those institutions is constant, and the human heart is frail. Just the reality of generational decline shows this to be true. What I mean by that is that the first generation of those making a stand on the truth is always more solid than the second generation, and third generation. The same is true in business. I believe the axiom is that the first generation builds the empire, the third generation loses it.
Sadly, however, the Presbyterian Church in America is on the fast lane to its own demise. Part of the reason for this is because it’s own seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., has given itself over to the appeal of sophistication or wisdom as in the sense that the Greeks sought after in Paul’s day. He condemned such pursuits of wisdom in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, showing it to be foolish. You can see this form of wisdom today when those in Christian circles are seeking to be agents of change in society. They seek to be practical. They seek to be expedient in all they do. For all these things to happen, they must punt the word of God.
The question that no one is asking when it comes to worship is: what does God want in worship?
Everyone always talks about what they like or don’t like about worship and never consider that the very One being worshipped might actually have an opinion on the issue. After all, He gave us 66 books dealing with worship, so we might be able to find a few things He has said to the issue.
He has told us what He wants. He has made it clear what is acceptable and given us ample examples about what He finds detestable. We see this early on in Scripture with Cain and Abel. Cain gave the first fruits of what he had grown and Abel sacrificed a sheep. One was a blood offering, the other was not. God didn’t respect the offering of Cain, and it drove the older brother to murder the younger brother.
I know I already posted photo of the week on Thursday, but that was for last Saturday. This is a new Saturday and I really wanted to share the following, which I took walking through downtown Brenham, TX.
As my oldest boy gets into his teens, he thinks he has become an expert on are cars, especially those that are clearly out of my price range or interest. Since my auto aspirations and thoughts only involve a Ford F-150 Raptor, I have a hard time keeping him humble. Today, he asked me if I knew what a McLaren was. Apparently, it’s high-end, fast, and expensive. Which are three reasons I don’t know what it is.
While on vacation in Brenham, TX, Heidi and I hunted down the ever elusive Independence Coffee Co. It used to be about 5 miles from my father’s home, but was moved to a larger location heading out on US 290 from downtown Brenham. Also, it’s next to the bowling alley. They have a sign for it, but you need a magnifying glass to read it, especially driving at 55 mph. But we did find it and were able to pick up some of their Laughing Donkey coffee, which is their espresso roast.
One of the mantras that I hear from time-to-time among pastors and teachers of the Bible is that we need to spoon feed our congregations because they can’t handle any of the meat of the word. I’ve always despised this attitude for several reasons. First, the one taking this position assumes that those being taught are not able to handle the truth that is presented in the text. In other words, the rich truths of the Bible are just too much for the audience to handle.
This was the attitude of those in leadership at the church in Dallas where I was an intern. What was remarkable about that is that the congregation was made up of some of the most educated entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen in the entire city. But for some reason, they were considered not intellectually capable of handling spiritual truth.
First published back in January 2017. Republished because there seems to be a renewed interest in bringing back prayer in schools. Some have even suggested that the Bible be taught in schools, which is another bad idea.
The headline, and subsequent story on The Truth Division’s website, seems to indicate that this is what the new education secretary, Betsy DeVos, intends to do once she is confirmed to the position. But when you dig deeper, you find much of what is being written about Betsy DeVos is based upon an interview she and her husband, Dick, gave back in 2001. For the mathematically challenged, that is about 16 years ago.
I know, hopeless cause. But look at that picture. I just wonder what Christ’s disciples would have thought of the church allowing itself to become so off-focus that, somehow, colorful high-fructose corn syrup had become the center of Christianity’s most important tenet: the resurrection. You know, the resurrection? It is one of the key elements that separates true Christianity from all other religions–the leaders of all other religions died, and are still dead. Not so with Jesus Christ. He died on the cross, rose from the dead three days later, and sits at the right hand of God the Father waiting to return to judge the living and dead in order to give then their eternal rewards.
But many reduce the resurrection of the Second Person of the Trinity to colored candy and rabbits.