Friday, March 31, 2006

Insider Trading

I told you guys to buy my stock, did you listen? Well, someone did because it shot up. It was $25 a share and now it's $118! But when I wrote that last night, I didn't know that I was about to increase the value of my Reformed Chicks Blabbing blog. If you can, buy stock in that before anyone notices that the value just shot up (I was added to another blogroll).

Hey Beth, how I do I find my Reformed Chicks Blabbing blog? I want to see what it's trading for.

A View of Women

Go check out Karen's quotes about women by men of the church over at got me a college girl. Here's a sample:

"Men should not sit and listen to a woman. Even if she says admirable things, or even saintly things, that is of little consequence, since they came from the mouth of a woman." Origen, early church father

"Woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex, while production of woman comes from defect in the active force." Thomas Aquinas

Thank the Lord that we aren't viewed that way today (or are we, check out the video). And thank the Lord for the ladies over at this wonderful website who bring this stuff to our attention. I have learned a great deal about what's going on in the blogosphere from their website.

The church that undervalues their women is a church that rejects what the Lord has given to the body for the use by all. I praise God that I live in a time when this is not the predominate view of the church but only its fringe element. Thank you, Lord that my pastor doesn't think this way, nor my husband and seminary professors. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by support and encouragement. I feel sorry for those who are not. I pray that the Lord will awaken the church to the clear teaching of His word:
Ephesians 4:15-16 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Thank you Lord that this is what goes on at my church and I pray that it is what goes on through this website.

Beth's Concert Fund

If you have some spare cash you want to give to someone, Beth wants to see Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and needs the money by Saturday.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Professor Groves

Please remember to keep Professor Groves in your prayers. He has a blog where he posts updates and prayer requests. I know that some of you have been very supportive of me in prayer and I ask that you do the same for him. Here is one of his requests:

I am beginning my second round of chemo tonight (itÂ’s oral and done at bedtime). It will last for five days, as it did at the end of February. Covet your prayers that there would be no nausea. [This more traditional chemo therapy and different from the targeted molecular therapy which I have been having the side-effects.)
Please read the rest and pray.

I have put a link to his blog on both of my blogs so that you (and I) can be reminded to go there and see what we should be praying for him.

Could someone explain this to me?

What is this all about? How can they trade shares on my blog when I didn't even submit it? I know that it's just a game, but I'm not thrilled that I can't get in on the action and besides shouldn't I be the full owner of the blog? I sent an email asking for an explanation.

But on a note of pride, look at how much money my blog is making! My value has been increasing steadily and I'm up to $25 a share. If anyone is involved in this game they might want to buy now because that price is going to continue to rise (or is that insider trading :-).

Updated to add: Ok, I just got my explanation. They offered to take me off but I'm going to stay. Those two people who bought my shares are going to make a lot of money and I wouldn't want to disappoint them :-).

Another Addition to the Blogging Chicks Blogroll


We have another addition to our Blogging Chicks blogroll. Mel of Empress4 - Journey to being multi-talented in Minnesota. Welcome to the group, Mel! Mel has been blogging for quite some time, almost two years. That's ancient as far as blogs are concerned. She works full time as a Creative Memories consultant. From what I can see, her blog is about her life and I always find blogs like that fascinating (as I mentioned before, I'm nosy). Go check out her blog and welcome her!

Another Prayer Request

BTW, before I tell you what it is, please note that prayer requests can go both ways :-). I'm happy to pray for you and I'm sure others would be as well. Please feel free to leave your prayer request in the comment section or email me.

Please pray for me and my fellow classmates that we are able to finish our digests by next Friday. Also, my daughter and Susan's daughters are both in the science fair (it was mandatory for the 8th graders). Please pray that they will be blessed by their effort and that they win something!

Blog Envy Again

Well, I'm coveting another blog again! This one is a beautiful use of maroon and grey. I love when the color of the graphic matches the color of the font. I didn't do that on this blog but I attempted to integrate the font color with the color of the background I used to frame the picture on my other blog.

You may be interested in the blog for reasons other than aesthetics if you are into the Emergent church discussion. It is a group blog and one of the bloggers is a fellow seminarian from Westminster, Mark. Here is what they're about:

Missional Theology is by its very nature meant for the average person sitting in the pew (or chair, or sofa or whatever people sit in these days when the community of Jesus Christ is gathered). There are very few things more important in our day and age than helping our church communities understand their missional identity and calling. Along with this task, comes the need to help individuals understand their missional identity and calling.
...
This project is in one sense a journey of learning. It is about helping the field missional of theology become a bit more “touchable” for the mechanic, the lawyer, the doctor, the hair dresser, the stay at home parent, the full-time waiter, etc.
BTW, go check out my other blog and tell me if the background color is white or gray because on both Firefox and Explorer they are white but it was coded to be gray. Why would it change overnight? Not that I'm complaining, I like it better this way but I can't take credit for it :-).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Prayer Update

I would put up a dancing "joy" graphic right now but I've got too much dancing stuff on my web right now! I did really well on my midterm. Thank you for your prayers. I cried when I saw the grade because I thought I had failed. God is truly gracious!

So, in lieu of dancing words, I give you this:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

If you want to sing along, go here.

What about this?



Isn't this so cute? And it would be better for a blog list than the bigger icons. I love it (the chick looks like me after a night of blogging)! Tabitha is already using it. BTW, if someone wants to use a different graphic, even one of your own design or no graphic at all, that's fine just make sure that the graphic links back to the blogging chicks sign up info (some people will click on the graphic instead of the link -- I know because I'm one of them).

If anyone is willing to put up our graphic on their site (after we've selected it), I will put a recipocal link to their site (it has to be a family friendly site). I'm making a special "Friends of the Blogging Chicks" link list and you can be part of it (sign up first and there will be a special bonus feature to your link). That list will be on both blogs. (Two links for the price of one, who can beat that?)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What do you think?


While driving home from school today I was thinking about how I can make this blogging chicks cartoon idea work. I kept thinking what is a blogging chick? Then I realized that the best way to describe it would be, "a woman who spends her evenings saying, "I'll be off in a mintue..."' But when I put that into the generator, it wouldn't work. So I lamented to Beth on her blog and she heard my lament and made it work! As you can see above. Thank you Beth, you are a blessing from the Lord.

Blogging Parable

Blogging is like spending all day picking out a beautiful silk dress, getting your hair done, getting your makeup done and making sure that all your accessories match your dress. Then, after getting dressed, you wait on the sidewalk for someone to throw a Boston cream pie at you. But you don't leave; you wait even through you know someone else will probably do the same thing, you wait because you know occasionally there will be someone who will come by, hug you and say, "Thanks, you were a blessing to me today and a source of encouragement."

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New Addition to the Blogroll



We have yet another new member added to our blogroll, Tabitha from "The Blinking Cursor" in Chicago. She has a nicely designed blog with cute graphics and nice colors (I'm all about the looks :-). She blogs on education. Go over and check out her blog and while your at it go check out FzxGkJssFrk Blogs Here and tell me what his name means.

Updated to add: I created a new graphic for the blogroll. What do you think of the joke? Is it lame? (Oh, boy! Who knew when I started this blog that I would be attempting to write jokes. Sheech!)

Am I One of Your Six?

I think this report is probably true. I don't have time for much more than six blogs at any one time and so I have to rotate them. In light of this it seems rather silly of me to start a blogroll that might lure away all my readers :-).

(Link via Postscript Posthaste)

BTW, I checked the poll and a huge majority say they visit more than six. Well, they must have more free time than I do or we define "regularly" differently.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weird Night!

Posts keep disappearing from my blog. Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

Rebecca's List of Blogging Tools



Rebecca's list of blogging tools is getting quite long and has many very useful items that I've never heard of before like this site where you can make custom signs for your blog. They even have a comic generator were I made my very own generated comic! If any of you would like to generate a comic, I will display it here on my blog. You can email me the comic, or send me the link to your host of choice or you can load it here (you can also leave me a link in the comments section of this post) and I will display it here on the blog. But I will not post offensive material, so keep in clean!

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Major Themes in Isaiah

I'm doing an assignment for my hermeneutics class today and I have to read the course syllabus to prepare to do the assignment. I'll explain the assignment later but I thought you might be interested in the following from the notes:

Major Themes of the Book of Isaiah

  1. Idol polemic
  2. Creation and birth
  3. Proclamation and salvation to the nations
  4. The coming of righteousness
  5. The second exodus
  6. Joy
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Another Addition to Our Blogroll

Someone else has decided to take the plunge and join our list. Welcome Beth from Ramblings Of An Undisturbed Mind, somewhere in America who is in West Virginia. Beth has a nicely designed site with an uncluttered look and an excellent title graphic and she is an interesting writer too, I really enjoyed reading about her life. One caveat, she has a picture of a naked man with a strategically placed watermelon but don't let that stop you from visiting.

Updated to add: It is now safe to visit the site! Beth has thoughtfully put the picture "under the fold" with a warning. So, go visit her site, she is very open about her life and it makes for an interesting read (I'm really nosy, so I like this kind of blog). Pray for her job interview today.

Now, those of you who are thinking about taking the plunge, do it now while I still have time to fuss over you. Eventually it will be: "here are two more names added to the list go check them out." And during the month of May it will be "sorry to those of you waiting to join, you will have to wait until after finals."

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Teenage Prostitutes

Here is a very sad story about a thirteen year-old prostitute. When I read about children in situations like this, I can't help but compare their life to that of my daughter. I think about what the world would be missing without someone like her in it and then I think about what the world is missing because these girls weren't raised in a loving and nurturing environment. I think about what could have been, their potential to do great things that would have impacted society and those around them that will never be realized. I pray that they will one day realize that potential, that someone will reach out to them in true love, and show the sacrificial love of Christ.

(Link via Tulip Girl)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Two Additions to My Blog Roll

So, two brave souls have taken the plunge and joined my blogroll. The first was the Undercover Angel over at My Life In the Kid Zoo. The second was Lisa from The Family of Five over in the UK Ireland! My blogroll is international! Isn't that cool? Come join us, especially if you're from India or Japan or even California :-).

If you want me to lavish compliments over your website on my blog, join my blogroll (of course if your blog is not all that, only expect faint praise :-).

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Sarah's Poster of "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Go check out Sarah's poster on my other blog.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Abortion

I have had my first truly negative comment today. I knew it was only a matter of time. The world doesn't like to hear that what it's doing is wrong, they don't want to know that abortion is stopping the beating of a human heart. That you are ending a human life made in the image of God. It really doesn't matter what I believe, don't get mad at me for believing it. Just go on with your life and ignore me.

Updated to add: I should have provided the link to the comment and my response. Go here.

BTW, I have no intention of getting in a shouting match and hurling gernades at other people. I will not answer in kind and you won't force me to do so. You don't agree with me that's fine, there are millions of other blogs out there to read. Don't spoil your day with rage.

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No, I haven't abandoned my readers to cater to my new audience

I will either post a digest tomorrow or something from my hermeneutics class.

Happy 100

Image hosting by TinyPicImage hosting by TinyPicImage hosting by TinyPic


I just realized I went over the 100 post mark! And I hit the 200 over at my other site. It's amazing to me that I've posted over 300 times within a 3 month span (oh, boy that seems wrong somehow -- I do have a life).

(Dancing numbers from Artie.com)

Well Done Blog Mad Bloggers

I take back all my snarky comments and thoughts because I saw some really beautiful sites today. One guy had the best color combination I've seen yet. It was navy blue, maroon and gray with green lines -- very lovely. And I found this site. You might want to eat something before you go or it will make your stomach growl (those who have the weight loss blogs might want to avoid it).

BTW, I'm having a hard time figuring out what to call you in my posts.

A Flaw in the System

You know, I noticed that there is a big problem with this Blog Mad system and it's pretty obvious that even I figured it out. If I'm spending my day viewing sites, when am I going to post new content. And I can't do what I normally do when I read other blogs, "That looks like and interesting subject, I think I'll blog about that as well" because you already read about it, too.

Another huge problem is that I've seen some blogs so often that I dread seeing them again and can't think why I would ever go visit them voluntarily. How does that promote readership?

Friday, March 24, 2006

To the Blog Mad Readers

Content, people! That's all I'm saying. What do you expect me to look at for 25 seconds when you haven't posted anything? And don't just give me one post, what if I'm not interested in the hairball your cat coughed up? And I'm certainly not interested in a picture of it; I will forego the credit!

The Blogging Chicks



To join go here.

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Ok! Enough bragging....Welcome to all from Blog Mad

Time to move on to something else, like the people from Blog Mad. Welcome to my site, I know that you have 25 seconds so I wont bore you with a big long article (I know I saw enough of that today). I'm sorry that I haven't posted fresh content all day (and this is your 6th time viewing my site, believe me I wished some of you would have updated by my 3rd or 4th visit to your site)but I have been doing blog maintenance and viewing your blogs.

I thought I would take this opportunity to say that I was not impressed by the 14 year-old level humor or shock value or whatever you were attempting by using excessive profanity. We hear this very day on the radio (ho-hum, how boring). If you want to actually generate an audience, write something someone would want to read. Otherwise you're wasting your time. Just a word of advice.

And I did want to say that I was impressed by a couple of the blogs, well done!

Best of the GodBlogs



First, Rebecca links to my article on abortion and now the Best of the GodBlogs does as well:

Michele responds to Planned Parenthood's claim that the Bible is silent on abortion. Very well done, Michele!
So cool! Thanks!

Well...

The extreme makeover wasn't as extreme as I thought it was going to be. Go take a look.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Working on My Blogs

I've been very busy today with the blogs but it's behind the scenes stuff. The Reformed Chicks Blabbling blog is getting an extreme makeover and will look totally different. I don't like clicking on a link and finding my blog with someone else's words and picture. I want a blog that is unique, like me :-). I do plan to blog about something the Lord did today later on tonight before I go to bed (if I can stay awake that long).

Good Morning!

For someone who didn't do so well on her test yesterday, I'm in a pretty good mood today! So, I thought I would say, "Good Morning." And hope that your day goes well.

BTW, you may have noticed that I put up a link to the Greek New Testament. If you want to know what each word means you can go to their website for the parsing and definitions. I was thinking about translating at least the verse displayed on my blog (if time permits). If I do I'll post my translation.

Here are some links to learning Greek on your own:

Teknia Software
Resources for Learning New Testament Greek
Little Greek
Learning New Testament Greek (The Greek New Testament Gateway)

I recommend getting Machen's New Testament Greek for Beginners, 2nd ed. It is the standard text at Westminster. I found it to be much easier to use than Mounce. And when I was getting that link, I found out that the Westminster bookstore has a CD of the Greek pronunciations of the vocabulary words in Machen's book. Where was this CD when I took Greek?! I really could have used it because my brain doesn't work quick enough to pronounce the words properly. I think I'll get it to practice my Greek, for future classes.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blogging Chicks

I have created my own blogroll. Everyone seems to have one, so I thought instead of just trying to join someone else's blogroll (believe me it isn't easy), I would just create my own. Sure it's small now, but wait, it will get much bigger! It is for women only and it's open to everyone, not just Christians. My only requirements are that you not be a porn or spam site and that you display the blogroll on your site.

Email me the blog title and your url and I'll send you the code.

Update on My Prayer Request

Thank you for your prayers. I have put an update on my other blog.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Abortion Articles

If you're looking for my article on abortion it's here. I also have one on ER and abortion which is here.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord


My apologetics professor, Scott Oliphint wrote an excellent book on how to look at our job of sharing the Gospel. It is written at the popular level and I recommend it as a group Bible study or devotional (and so does Professor Oliphint). Here is an excerpt from the preface, "This book is meant to be an introduction -- and a beginning -- to a lifetime of defending and commending the Christian faith. It's goal is to point you to biblical principles that will provide a foundation for that task." Click on the book cover to order the book at Westminster.

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Church History for Children




I recently purchased these two books for my daughters and I'm making them write a review for the blog after they are finished with various projects for school. Samantha has to give an oral presentation on Pocahontas (we choose her because we had an Indian costume) and Sarah had to do a collage on "To Kill a Mocking Bird." I will post the pictures I took of the collage after Thursday so no one steals her ideas (you get extra points for originality).

These books are intended for children ages 9-14 and the authors, Mindy and Brandon Withrow are associated with Wesminster Theological Seminary. He is a Ph.D. candidate and she works in public relations at the seminary.

They each have a blog: Mindy L. Withrow and A Blog of Brandon Withrow.

You can order their books at the Westminster Bookstore: here and here

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Books You Should Read Before You Die

Read the list and my thoughts on my other blog.

One last thing...

I had asked for prayer for Professor Al Groves of Westminster Theological Seminary who has been diagnosed with melanoma. Here is an interesting post he made on Flossing as an Act of Hope. And here is something from David Powlison who also has prostrate cancer. These are thoughtful men who love the Lord and we can learn and be encouraged from their struggles.

(Links via See Things Differently)

Pray Request

Please pray for me today, I have a mid-term on Wednesday and I'm not felling well. I was up half the night throwing up. Either my meal didn't agree with me (I can never mix beef and chicken) or I have a stomach flu.

As you can tell posting will be non-existent today and tomorrow. Please read my archives and my other blog until Wednesday. I'll try to check in to read comments. (So Spammers, don't think you can take advantage of my absence!)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

God's Foreknowledge

Here's something interesting from my study:

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What does it mean that God foreknew?

"The Arminian View: Foreknowledge means 'to know beforehand.' The natural question is this: what does God foreknow? The Amrminian answer: faith is what God foresees in those he predestines unto glory" (from Professor Tipton's class notes).

But Tipton contends that it "pertains not to a foreknowledge of what someone will do; instead, it has a different meaning. It involves the notion of knowing with particular interest and concern; it means to set one's affection upon as a special object of affection. God does not foreknow what a person will do, but he foreknows persons" (class notes).

This is supported by the use of this word in the LXX (the Old Testament translation into Greek). A form of the Greek word translated here is used to translate yada (to know) in the Old Testament in the LXX. Yada "conveys the sense of intimate, loving concern. It is not a mere recognition of something: instead, it is knowledge that involves love, trust, commitment and devotion" (class notes). As we can see from the following verses:

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Amos 3:2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

Exodus 2:25 "God saw the people of Israel- and God knew."

This same force is present in the New Testament:

2 Timothy 2:19 "But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are his,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.'"

Matthew 7:23 "And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"

1 Corinthians 8:3 "But if anyone loves God, he is known by God."

"This means, then that for God to know his people involves making them special objects of divine love and concern" (class notes).

Notice that nowhere in this passage does Paul mention that our actions are in view only that He foreknew His people.

We see this expressed elsewhere in Scripture:

Romans 11:2 "God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?"

1 Peter 1:2,20 "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you...He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for
your sake"
And we see a parallel thought in Ephesians 1:5 "in love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." "At the core of our salvation lies God's eternal act by which he fore-loved us and predestined us to be conformed to the glorious image of his Son." (class notes)

What a great thought for a Sunday morning! We were fore-loved by God from all eternity.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

South Park has a new target

So, have you seen this yet:

"South Park" has declared war on Scientology. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the animated satire, are digging in against the celebrity-endorsed religion after a controversial episode mocking outspoken Scientologist Tom Cruise was yanked abruptly from the schedule Wednesday _ with an Internet report saying it was covert warfare by Cruise that led to its departure.

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!" the "South Park" creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. "Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies... You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!"
Very funny! Part of me wants to say, "At least it gets them off our back" but the other part of me feels bad for those whose beliefs are being mocked.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Perseverance

John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 151-60

I. Observation, the biblical record, and church history make for strong arguments against the perseverance of the saints since there are many examples of those who have fallen away from their faith. Plus there are verses that speak of falling away: Hebrews 6:4-6 and John 15:1, 2, 6.

II. To understand what perseverance is, we need to understand what it is not.

    A. Not everyone who professes Christ or is part of the fellowship of the believers has assurance of eternal salvation. Jesus warned that there would be some who thought they were disciples but weren't (John 8:31, 32).

    B. Abiding in the words of Christ is how to distinguish a true disciple of Christ ( Matt. 10:22; John 8:31,32; Heb. 4:14; John 15:6). “The crucial test of true faith is endurance to the end, abiding in Christ, and continuance in his word” (pg. 152).
III. Scripture provides a picture of apostasy (falling away) in the parable of the sower – the seed falls on the rocky soil and when the plant springs up, the sun scorched it and brought forth no fruit (Mark 4:5, 6, 16, 17). A Christian can have all the outward signs of regeneration and appear to have faith in Christ but then fall away and become hostile to the gospel.

IV. In the parable of the sower we see that the plant grows, it produces something. The apostate produces “a blade and sometimes there may be an ear. There is germination; there is also growth. The only defect is that there is never the full ear of corn” (pg. 152-3). We see this also in Hebrews of those who “were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit” (Heb. 6:5-6) as well as 2 Peter 2:20-22. “The Scripture itself, therefore, leads us to the conclusion that it is possible to have very uplifting, ennobling, reforming, and exhilarating experience of the power and truth of the gospel...and yet be not partakers of Christ and heirs of eternal life” (pg. 153)

V. “The Perseverance of the saints” is to be preferred over “The Security of the Believer.” The term “security” implies that the Christian is secure in their salvation which might not be the truth. The believer is not secure in a pernicious state of sin. “It is true that a believer sins; he may fall into grievous sin and backslide for lengthy periods. But it is also true that a believer cannot abandon himself to sin; he cannot come under the dominion of sin; he cannot be guilty of certain kinds of unfaithfulness” (pg. 154).

VI. Peter writes of those who have a living hope: they are kept through faith until the final consummation (1 Peter 1:4, 5).

VII. “The perseverance of the saints reminds us very forcefully that only those who persevere to the end are truly saints. We do not attain to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus automatically. Perseverance means the engagement of our persons in the most intense and concentrated devotion to those means which God has ordained for the achievement of his saving purpose” (pg. 155).

VIII. Paul statement that those who would be justified by the law have fallen from grace in Galatians 5:4 cannot be used as a proof that the saints do not persevere. The doctrine of justification by grace is the reason that the saints will persevere.

IX. The “saints”are the called of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:6,7). According to Paul in Romans 8:27-30, the saints are called and justified. Can those who are called and justified fall away? According to this passage the called and justified are also glorified. Glorification is the conformation of the image of Christ (Phil. 3:21).

X. There are other passages that support the perseverance of the saints.

    A. Jesus says that of all that the Father had given him, he would lose nothing but raise it on the last day (John 6:39) and the Father's will is that everyone who believes in Jesus may have eternal life and Jesus will raise him on the last day (John 6:40). Jesus also says that those who come to him he will not cast out (John 6:37).

    B. Jesus says that everyone that the Father gives him will come to him (John 6:37).

    C. In John 10:30 Jesus says no one is strong enough to snatch those given to him out of the Father's hand. And in the previous verse Jesus said that he gave them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one will snatch them out of his hand.
I. “It is the indissolubility of the bond of the covenant of God's grace that undergirds this precious article of faith” (pg. 160). (Isa. 54:10)

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Prevenient Grace

The Prevenient Grace entry in Wikipedia had the following quote under "The doctrine in other sources:"

"'You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,' said the Lion." - from The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

Though I know they're probably right about this, I would think a Calvinist could look at this quote and say that they agreed with it. Both a Calvinist and an Arminian come to the text with their own presuppostions and read out of the text their own position.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day


(Graphics via Granny J)

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Please Pray for David Powlison

David Powlison has been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. He is the editor of The Journal of Biblical Counseling as well as a guest lecturer at Westminster.

Read more about it here.

ER and Abortion

The following is something I wrote when I first started blogging. No, this is not quite best of but since it is popular, I thought I would repost it for those who are new to this site (since nobody but me appears to hit the archives).

Recently there was an episode on ER which dealt with abortion. Abby is pregnant with Kovac's baby and decided to get an abortion. At the same time a teenager comes into the ER pregnant and it turns out that she is raped. She is not only a teenager but a professing Christian. Her parents decide she should keep the baby but Neela guilts Kovac (implying that his Catholicism is keeping him from giving the patient the proper care) into doing something about it and he offers the girl a way to induce a miscarriage. A procedure where the cervix is opened to give the fetus the opportunity to fall out. When she asks him if it is a sin, he says that it is a medical way of giving God a chance to reconsider.

After the procedure the teenager quotes the Bible, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee and before thou came forth from the womb I sanctified thee and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Kovac recognizes it as Jeremiah 1:5 and he replies "Man was born of dust and it was only when God breathed life into Adam that he became a living soul. Genesis." She asks him if he is a Christian and he shakes his head yes.

"What should I tell my mom? She'll think you're having a miscarriage and you will be."

When I watch shows like this I'm struck by how incredibly wrong the writers are about how a Christian would act or talk. They are at a loss how to portray Christians in any way that would resemble reality and when the Christian speaks they come across as one-dimensional talking points. The writers clearly demonstrate that they are completely clueless about Christianity (though I was a little impressed that Kovac attempted to address her concern with an appeal to the Bible even though a person with a little knowledge of the Bible would be able to respond to his point). I think that the producers should hire a Christian consultant who reads their stuff and critiques it (I am ready and willing).

But the reason for this post isn't all that because this is obvious and a given when you watch TV. Of course ER is going to advocate going behind the backs of the parents. Of course a doctor who says he is a Christian, who knows Jeremiah and the creation story, would be pro-choice and willing to give a young 15 year-old girl a medical procedure that could induce a miscarriage behind the backs of her parents and encourage her to lie to them. But what I was struck with was the long term implications of what he so blithely did. When she is more mature in her faith, when she thinks about what she did and really come to grips with the understanding that God creates life for a reason, that what happened to her was not an accident as far as God was concerned, then she will understand the depth of her sin in ending that life. He should have suggested she talk to a pastor or priest before she had the procedure so that she understood what she was about to do. At the very least, he should have suggested that she talk to someone afterward so that she was not silently living with what she did.

The horror of carrying a child conceived in rape is nothing compared to the horror of realizing that you have ended a life. This doctor let down his patient by giving her what she wanted, not what she needed. From a Christian perspective, one that she should share, the taking of a life is wrong and eventually she would have come to realize this because it is clearly what is taught in Scripture.

Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, you have to understand this, as a Christian we don't take these things lightly and it is a Christian that was being portrayed, not someone who did not care what God thought about what she did. A Christian desires to follow the word of God (what He says in the Scriptures).

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Calvin on Common Grace

"We ought to understand the statement that the Spirit of God dwells only in believers as referring to the Spirit of sanctification through whom we are consecrated as temples to God. The Lord fills, moves, and quickens all things by the power of the same Spirit, and does so according to the character that he bestowed upon each kind by the law of creation. But if the Lord has willed that we be helped in physics, dialectic, mathematics and other like disciplines, let us use this assistance. For if we neglect God’s gift freely offered in these arts, we ought to suffer just punishment for our sloth” (Institutes, pg. 275)

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The Free Offer of the Gospel

I've been preparing for my midterm in Doctrine of Salvation II by going over the notes and listening to the lectures again. As I went over the common grace section, I was struck by how much more I love the Lord because I realize how much more loving He is. He loves His creation, He loves His creatures, even those who rebel against Him and will spend eternity in hell in payment for that rebellion. He still loves them and desires them to repent and follow His commandments. In relation to this, Professor Tipton said that on the one hand God ordained that Judas would betray Christ but on the other He commands Judas to love the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. We don't understand that, it seems contradictory, but it's clearly taught in Scripture and we have to accept it.

I am typing up notes (based on the lectures) for my midterm. I will post it when I'm done.
Updated to add: I've decided not to study this way after all (typing notes), I'm going to make flash cards instead, sorry!

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God or Not Carnival

This looks interesting:

In September of 2005, an unprecedented "blog swap" took place between an atheist site and a Christian one. Chad from Eternal Revolution and "I Am" from The Evangelical Atheist agreed to post to each other's sites in an effort to improve the understanding of each side by the other. The exchange was considered an overwhelming success, and all involved wanted to find a way to keep the dialog open. The GOD or NOT Carnival was born.
...
GOD or NOT is a rotating monthly carnival. Every other Monday, it is hosted by a different blog, alternating between theist and atheist sites. Any theist site is eligible. It need not be Christian. Each carnival has a different theme, featuring posts that deal with a given religious issue. The theme for each carnival is chosen by the previous host with approval of the carnival administrator. The schedule for upcoming editions can be seen below.
I wish I had time to participate.

(Link via Once More Into the Breach)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Blogs for Christ

I would love to be part of a blogs for Christ. I'm surprised no one has thought about it until now. I say, let's proclaim the name of Christ until the ends of the blogosphere!

(Link via Rebecca Writes)

New Ordinary Means Podcast Up


There's a new podcast up at Ordinary Means

How healthy is your church? This month, the Ordinary Means guys discuss what it is that makes a church healthy and why healthy does not mean boring. And while you’re listening, be sure and pop over to the blog and add your questions and comments. Later this month, we’ll be posting a special podcast devoted specifically to answering some of the questions we’ve received. Thanks in advance for your input!
BTW, for those of you who read both of my blogs, I'm sorry that I have to repeat myself, not everyone reads both sites. Though sometimes I don't post on both sites to punish people :-)

Homespun Blogger

I have registered this blog and my other blog in the Homespun Bloggers blogroll . This is a group of bloggers who like to blog for fun but not profit (since none of you is using my Amazon links, there is definitely no profit to be had here). As I said to in my email request: "I'm making absolutely no money from all my labor so I must be doing it for love."

The sites are required to be family friendly but they are not required to be Christian. So caveat emptor! We can all look at this as an opportunity to check out blogs that we might not agree with politically, philosophically, etc. Another point of view can be helpful and enlightening.

Updated to add: I was all worried about misspelling emptor and it turns out I misspelled caveat. As you can see I fixed it. Also, Teresa thinks I should change emptor to lector (reader) which is cute, but not what I wanted to say.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Blog Envy

OK, I'm having blog envy again. First it was a title, and now it's graphics. Look at this blog, isn't it the best you've see? I love it! It is so beautiful, I just want to sit and stare at it. And while I'm confessing I might as well say that I like this one for its flair and sense of humor.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Calvinist Wikipedia

Here's an interesting site:

Tulipedia.org is a wiki that currently contains a working set of documents, initially to be written for the student-hosted TULIP seminar at Wright State University. Every link is a working draft, and will be updated as the weeks go on. This site will subsequently function as a resource for learning about Calvinism.
(Link via Tulip Girl)

Christian Discipline

Tulip Girl has a wonderful post about disciplining our children with the gospel in mind:

I believe Christ paid the penalty for my children's sins on the cross. When my children sin--I want to point them to the One who has already been punished for their sin. When my children sin (and they do--I do not have a weak view of sin)--I come alongside them, confront them with the ugly reality of sin in their lives, and help them repent. I pray that the Holy Spirit softens their hearts and enables them to truly repent. We pray together. We ask for God's grace to do the right thing.

I wrote the following in the comments' section:

I think that when it comes to our children we throw the gospel out the window. Teaching is moralistic not gospel driven and discipline is judgment not grace. Our desires are commendable (we don't want them to grow up committing the same sins that we did, we want them to be close to the Lord). But if we aren't careful, we will raise Pharisees, they will be going through the motions but their faith will not be real since it will be based on the law and not on the gospel.I think that we would all be wise to follow your discipline technique since it is biblical:

Galatians 5:1-2 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

I think it's the gentleness that we are usually lacking when we discipline. If our children are believers, then they are our brothers and sisters in Christ and we should treat them as such and keep verses like this one in mind. When we discipline, we should also restore them to fellowship (with us and the Lord) just as you mentioned in your article.

Deut. 6:4-7 should be the passage that we live by as we teach our children about the Lord so that we strengthen their faith with knowledge. This is what Israel forgot and think that we are following in their path.

Thank you for reminding us of the place of the gosple as we discipline. I think it's a message that is very much needed and one that we all should heed.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Reformed View of Sanctification

Sinclair Ferguson, “The Reformed View,” Christian Spirituality, 44-76

I. “Reformed theology has always placed special emphasis on the subject of sanctification...A necessary connection between biblical doctrine and holy living is fundamental to the biblical and apostolic way of thinking. That is why Scripture is so full of moral imperatives logically derived from doctrinal indicatives” (pg. 48). (Mt. 6:32-34; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:20-25)

II. There are two main features of sanctification

    A. Jesus is our sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30)
    B. Salvation is accomplished through union with Christ.
III. Union with Christ
    A. Jesus is the “author,” “captain” or “pioneer” of salvation (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Heb. 2:10; 12:2). The word archegos (author) has “twin notions of primacy and origin. Jesus is the 'author' of our sanctification, in the sense that he creates it for us, but he is also its 'pioneer' because he does so out of his own incarnate life, death and resurrection...He is the first and only fully sanctified person” (pg. 49).
    B. Christ is the believers sanctification (Jn 17:17-19). He took on human nature in the likeness of sinful man (Rom. 8:3) so that he could live a holy life for those who are united with him (Heb. 2:11). He was the “first person to live a life of perfect obedience and sanctification” (pg. 50). Sanctification is “neither self-induced nor created in us by divine fiat” (pg. 50). His sinless life, death, resurrection and exaltation are shared with those who are united to him.
IV. The Effecting of the Union – Union with Christ is achieved by the “ministry of God's Spirit” and by the exercising of the believer's faith. At Pentecost the disciples were united with Christ through the coming of the Spirit. Though the apostles received the Spirit before Pentecost (15:3-5; 13:10), at Pentecost “they also received the Spirit of the ascended Christ, an event which (in their case necessarily) was chronologically separated from their regeneration” (pg. 52).

V. Union and Sanctification – In Romans 6:1-14 Paul exhorts the church to live in the understanding of their union in Christ's death, resurrection, and newness of life. They, like Christ, have died to sin and have been resurrected to a new life that they life in Christ.

VI. Death to Sin –“Death to sin and life to God is sanctification” (pg. 54). The believer doesn't die to sin, it is something that has already happened. The verb “died” is in the indicative not the imperative. This does not mean that the believer has ceased sinning, otherwise why would Paul exhort the Christian to cease sinning and to not offer their bodies to sin (Rom. 6:12-13).

VII. Freed from Sin – In Romans 6:7 Paul is saying that the believer is not only justified, “but has been set free from the reign or dominion of sin...sanctification means this: in relationship both to sin and to God, the determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ's past” (pg. 56-7). Sin is no longer normative and we do not give full force to the gospel by focusing on our remaining sin.

VIII. A New Creation
    A. Union with Christ in his death, resurrection, ascension, reign (as well his future return) is the “foundation of sanctification in Reformed Theology.”
    B. In Romans 6:6 Paul states that the old man has been crucified with Christ. This usually has been taken to mean that the believer's old self was crucified with Christ which is implied in the passage but Paul has something more in mind. In chapter 5 he has been making the case that mankind is either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” Being “in Adam” is being “in the flesh,” the “old man” enslaved to sin and bound for death and judgment. Christ is the Second Adam, the Last Adam, the new Man, the head of the new humanity through his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:45-49). Being in Christ means being part of a new humanity. In light of what God has wrought the Christians should live in “radical holiness.” Paul tells Christians to “count,” to recognize what God has done and to act in light of that situation (Rom. 6:11).
    C. The response to sin problems in the church is often met with “Do you not know what is true of you in Christ?” (Rom 6:3, 16; 7:1; 1 Cor. 3:16; 5:6; 6:2-3, 9, 14, 19; 9:13, 24)
IX. Spiritual Warfare
    A. In the Reformed view, sanctification is marked by tension and conflict not quietness. The conflict comes from our being in Christ but still being in the world. Our goals and motives are different from the worlds and this sets up tension and conflict.
    B. Another source of conflict is Satan who opposes the Christian's sanctification. We need to wear the armor of God to protect us from the schemes of Satan.
    C. We are in conflict with ourselves. Even though we live in the Spirit, we continue to live in the flesh (though, we are not dominated by it). All that we have received in Christ has not yet come to completion. That is why Paul writes of this struggle in Romans 7:14-25. There has been some dispute whether Paul is talking about before he became a Christian or after. Whether Paul is speaking before or after, “it is a strange Christian who has not at some time realized that everything Paul describes is also experienced by all Christians” (pg. 63). Paul speaks of the struggle of the Christian to live up to the standard of God. This isn't pessimism but “biblical realism.” It is through this struggle that the Spirit is at work.
X. Necessary Mortification – we are to put to death whatever is a part of our earthly nature (Col. 3:5-11). Having put off the old man and put on the new, we are to live in the light of that fact (Col. 3:9-10). “Grace demands mortification. Without it there is no holiness...Mortification is the outworking of our union with Christ in his death to sin” (pg. 64). There is an internal and external mortification in the New Testament (Calvin). God uses external events so that “new life may arise both in us and in others.” This is described as pruning in John 15:2 and Paul describes the process in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12.

XI. Imitation and Self-evaluation
    A. “The ground plan of sanctification, union with Christ, is prophetic of the divine goal in sanctification: renewal in the image of Christ” (pg. 65). (Rom. 8:29) Man was created in the image of God and we are to glorify him but in Adam we all sinned and fell short of the glory of God. Christ restored what was lost and in him we are being conformed to his image.
    B. The believer bears the responsibility to be an imitator of Christ (1 Thess. 1:6; John 13:15). The goal of sanctification is to gain a true humanity by imitating Christ. “Sanctification is radical humanization” (pg. 66). The believer has two contrasting views, Ferguson writes, “in myself there dwells no good thing by my own creation or nature (Rom. 7:18); and in Christ I have been cleansed, justified and sanctified so that in me glorification has begun (1 Cor. 6:11).”
XII. The Means of Sanctification – Reformed theology does not view sanctification as a “mystical experience” where holiness is granted effortlessly. It is a process where God increases our holiness by “engaging our minds, wills, emotions and actions.” We have an active part in the process. Sanctification is an indicative (“I the Lord sanctify you”) and an imperative (“sanctify yourselves this day”). Reformed theology sees four areas which are means of grace.
    A. The Word
      i. The Scripture is the principle means of grace. It is hidden in our hearts to stop us from sinning (Ps. 119:11). It cleanses and regenerates (Jn. 15:3) and sanctifies (Jn. 17:17). It is by the sword of the Spirit that we are changed (Eph. 6:17). It is good for teaching and rebuking (2 Tim. 3:16).

      ii. In Reformed theology there is an emphasis on the preached word as the “instrument of sanctification.” This is why there is an emphasis on expository preaching.
    B. The Providences -- “The providences of God, not least of which are severe trials and affliction, are also ordained for the purpose of sanctification” (pg. 71). This can be seen in the lives of the key figures in the Bible. God intends for good in all the things that happen to them (Gen. 50:20 Rom. 8:29). “United to Christ, we understand providences in theses terms: 'Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows' (2 Cor. 1:5)” (pg. 71).
    C. The Fellowship of the Church – is the context of sanctification. The weak and the strong Christian building each other up (Rom. 15:1-3). The Spirit is given to each individual for the common good of the church (1 Cor. 12:7) and the gifts are intended for the body (Eph. 4:16; Col. 3:16). And the church is a “community of prayer.”
    D. The Sacraments – In the Reformed theology the sacraments play a major role in the sanctification process, “they are a communicative sign. They point us away from ourselves to Christ; but they also are a visible, tangible means by which he communicates with us and we with him. They display his grace and our union and communion with him...Sanctification is simply the outworking of this communion. We become like those with whom we have the closest communion; and in Reformed theology, sanctification means becoming like Christ” (pg. 73-4). The Word and the sacraments are closely tied together and the sacraments are never to be separated from the Word.

Is Abortion Biblical?

When I read this title on Heather's blog "The Bible Is Silent on Abortion says Planned Parenthood Rabbi " I was surprised, Planned Parenthood has a Rabbi? Here's some quotes from his article on the Planned Parenthood website:

Some contend that the Bible approaches the subject of abortion in Exodus (21) when two brawling men accidentally strike a pregnant woman. If the woman is injured, the inadvertent assailant gets punished, receiving the very same wound he caused the woman: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If the woman dies, then it is a life for a life and the man who caused the injury dies. But if the woman miscarries, then the assailant just pays a fine.

So, an injury caused to the woman is one thing. The injury to her fetus is not viewed the same way. This same biblical passage does not say that the fetus is a human being like the injured women or like you or me. If the fetus were considered human, the punishment for injuring the fetus would be the same punishment as that for injuring the pregnant woman.

The book of Exodus warns us to take care around a pregnant woman. Cause her to miscarry, it costs money. Cause her to die, and the penalty is death. The Bible extends a full measure of legal protection to a pregnant woman, a fullness of rights and protection that is not extended to the fetus.
In response to this argument we can take a quick look at the ESV:
Exodus 21:22-25 When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
The ESV is closer to the actual Hebrew then the translation the Rabbi used. If the woman gives birth to a living baby then a fine is imposed but if "there is harm" then the life is required. According to John Piper, the Hebrew word used here is not the one used of miscarriages found in other passages such as Exodus 23:26. (Go here for John Piper's full response to this type of interpretation.)

He goes on:
People who want to make abortion illegal may attempt to use the Bible to justify their arguments. However, nothing in the Hebrew Scriptures and nothing in the New Testament supports their attempts, regardless of the passages they cite or how hard they argue. Scripture does not consider the fetus to be a human being. The Bible does not consider the destruction of a fetus to be the equivalent of murder. If the Bible thought abortion was a sin, it would have named it a sin. Instead, when it comes to abortion, the Bible says not a word.
But the Bible does reveal the value God has placed on human life, the care that He took creating it:
Job 31:15 Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?

Psalm 22:9-10 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breasts. On you was I cast frommy birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

Psalm 139:13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

Jeremiah 1:4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to thenations."
The Creator of the heaven and earth, the almighty God created us in our mother's womb. Doesn't that speak of value?
And in the New Testament (he brought up the New Testament), John the Baptist leaps for joy in his mother's womb:
Luke 1:41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Needless to say that if the Bible didn't consider the fetus a human being, this passage would not make much sense.

In his concluding paragraph he states:
Different faiths reach differing, and sometimes conflicting, biblical interpretations and conclusions. In our America, a free, pluralistic, and strong country, we leave people to come to their own religious conclusions and let the people live as they decide.
Yes, each of us has to draw are own conclusions but truth is not relative, it is absolute. Each of us will have to answer for our actions and that includes how we used the word of the Lord.

Abortion is murder, there is no way to get around that fact. Common sense tells you that and twisting the word of God so that you can justify killing is wrong. God clearly puts a high value on life because man is created in His image and if someone kills another, then their life is required in payment:
Romans 9:5-6 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."
Even those in the pro-abortion camp get this:

Slowly, as though coming to terms with buried sexuality, the abortion-rights leadership is groping for a way to think and talk more frankly about the morality of ending unborn life.

And from the comments section:

I'm pro-choice but not pro-abortion. [...] I have a friend who had a late-term abortion when she discovered her fetus had Downs. I had zero problem with that until they named the baby and had a memorial service for it. Now, I never said anything to her and I remain committed to the idea that it was her right to make that choice and that never having faced that dilemma I wasn't in a position to disapprove. But if she considered it a human baby enough to name it and have a memorial service, it bugged me that she could then kill it because it wasn't perfect.

Updated to add: I have another article on abortion here. (It was an article I wrote after viewing an episode of ER.)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Prayer Request for Professor Groves

Please pray for Professor Al Groves, his wife Libby and the Westminster community, he was just diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Professor Groves is a wonderful, kind, and funny man (I loved reading his Hebrew class notes), whose love for the Lord is evident even to those of us who didn't know him that well. I didn't have him for any classes but he lead the prayer group I was part of last semester.

Here is a website setup for their prayer needs and updates.

(Link via Sacred Journey)

More on Covenant Theology

While you're waiting for your Michael Horton book to arrive, you might want to check out this website which has tons of articles on Covenant Theology, as well as Infant Baptism.

Calvin's Catechism

Did you know that Calvin wrote a catechism? He wrote it as a dialogue between a Minister of the Gospel and a child. You can find it here. The following is a sample. (Do you think your child could provide these answers? How about you?)

34. What, next, is meant by the name of Christ?
By this title His office is still better expressed---for it signifies that He was appointed by the Father to be ordained King, Priest, and Prophet.

35. How do you know that?
Because according to the Scripture, anointing is used for these three things. Also, because they are attributed to Him many times.

36. But with what kind of oil was He anointed?
Not with visible oil as was used for ancient kings, priests, and prophets, but this anointing was by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is the reality signified by that outward anointing made in time past (Isa. 61:1, Ps. 45:7).

37. But what is this Kingdom of which you speak?
It is spiritual, and consists in the Word and Spirit of God, and includes righteousness and life.

38. What of the priesthood?
It is the office and prerogative of presenting Himself before God to obtain grace and favour, and appease His wrath in offering a sacrifice which is acceptable to Him.

39. In what sense do you call Christ a Prophet?
Because on coming down into the world (Isa. 7:14) He was the sovereign messenger and ambassador of God His Father, to give full exposition of God's will toward the world and so put an end to all prophecies and revelations (Heb. 1:2).

40. But do you derive any benefit from this?
All this is for our good. For Jesus Christ has received all these gifts in order that He may communicate them to us, and that all of us may receive out of His fullness.

41. Expound this to me more fully.
He received the Holy Spirit in full perfection with all His graces, that He may lavish them upon us and distribute them, each according to the measure and portion which the Father knows to be expedient (Eph. 4:7). Thus we may draw from Him as from a fountain all the spiritual blessings we possess.

42. What does His Kingdom minister to us?
By it, we are set at liberty in our conscience and are filled with His spiritual riches in order to live in righteousness and holiness, and we are also armed with power to overcome the devil, the flesh, and the world---the enemies of our souls.

43. What about His priesthood?
First, by means of it He is the Mediator who reconciles us to God His Father; and secondly, through Him we have access to present ourselves to God, and offer Him ourselves in sacrifice with all that belongs to us. And in this way we are companions of His priesthood.

44. There remains His Prophetic Office.
Since this office was given to the Lord Jesus to be the Master and Teacher of His own, its end is to bring us the true knowledge of the Father and of His Truth, so that we may be scholars in the household of God.

45. You would conclude, then, that the title of Christ includes three offices which God has given His Son, in order to communicate virtue and fruit to His faithful people?
That is so.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

No Wonder Christians Have Messed Up Theology

Their pastors don't understand basic Protestant theology! Shane Rosenthal interviewed pastors, their wives and ministry leaders at the National Pastor's Convention in San Diego here's a sampling of what he found:

When Shane asked "Is justification a one time declaration or a life long process?"

49% said that justification is a process, 31% said a declaration, while 14% indicated that is was both. 6% were not sure.

When Shane asked, "What are we saved from?

43% said "ourselves." 24% said from "sin and death" while 17% said (correctly) that we are saved from eternal judgment or the wrath of God. Another large group were not sure about the question and some admitted to have never even given this subject any thought.

You haven't given it much thought? Aren't sure what your saved from? Sheech people, read your Bible! Romans 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Don't these pastors read Romans?

Go here to read the rest.

(Link via reformation21 blog)

Horton's New Book

I just picked up Michael Horton's new book on covenant theology. It looks like an easy read so if you are a little shaky on covenant theology make sure you order it. Amazon has it on sale (if you use my links to purchase your books and other stuff, my daughters go to college :-).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dear Spammers

Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I'm stupid or greedy. I understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that every offer has strings attached. I don't want free electronics, I know that I haven't won the lottery, and I am not stupid enough to fall for a sob story that someone was left a large sum of cash and that you will give me part of the take if I would only deposit a check in my bank. Word does spread of your scams, so you might as well not bother. I also don't want you selling your product in the comment section of my blog.

Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."

Updated to add: OK, there are free lunches (see Teresa's comment) but you have to go to a church to get it. Does that constitute an attached string?

Another update: Hey Laura, you got spam, too! The same guy that left it here, left it in your comments section as well. Spam reminds me of graffiti or bird droppings, very unattractive. You see it and you go, "Yech, spam."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I hate myself for saying this ....

but I really want this blog title. And her reason for choosing it fits me to a tee!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sanctification

The following is an excerpt from "The Reformed View" by Sinclair Ferguson:

When Peter urges slaves to live as Christians, he tells them: "Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps" (Pet. 2:21). Peter is applying to slaves a general principle which governs all Christian living. His language is graphic: example (hupogrammos, or "write under") is the word for a written copy. It belongs to the world of elementary education, where the teacher writes
letters on one line and tells the child to copy them on the next line. Peter is urging Christians to write the biography of their own lives with one eye on the lifestyle which Jesus had written. Imitation of the incarnate Savior is the essence of continuing sanctification.

Covenant Theology

A book by Michael Horton on Covenant Theology has just been published. This is an introduction to Covenant Theology. There aren't a lot of introductory books on Covenant Theology (believe me, I've looked), so if you are still confused by how many covenants there (1? 2? 3?) are and would like to understand the differences and similarities between the Old and New Covenant, then you might want to get this book.

I haven't read it so this is not an endorsement but if you've read Putting the Amazing Back Into Grace then you know that he is an excellent writer. And if you haven't read it go get it because it is a wonderful treatment of Reformed theology.

BTW, it's cheap, less than you would pay for CD or DVD.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Strange Blogs

On the lower right-hand side of my blog is a list of sites under The Church Directory button. These are from the Evangelical Outpost blogroll and they change every time my blog is updated. You should try some of the blogs, there are some very unusual sites including this. It made me think about 1 Peter 3:15-16. There are also some very good sites.

The Path to Humble Calvinism...

is rocky and rough! I am not sure how one can be a humble Calvinist and yet take a stand in defense of the truth. And see, right there is the problem. How arrogant of me to say that I know truth. Right there I lose all credibility as humble. By what authority can I proclaim something as true? But the problem is even broader than that because if I can't say that a particular doctrine is true, how can I say any of the doctrines are true, even the ones with which we all agree? The statement, Jesus is God is a doctrine that most Christians would agree is true, right? But how can I state that with certainty? Isn't it arrogant to do so? But we can all agree with that doctrine, can't we? Well, throughout church history there have been some who disputed it and that dispute lead to the creeds that the early church produced. The church took a stand and said this is truth. So, can we do the same?

If I'm able to make the statement, Jesus is God (which we, as Christians, believe the Bible clearly states), then I should be able make the statement that it is God who elects individuals unto salvation since Scripture clearly states this as well:

Romans 8:29-31 "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many rothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Ephesians 1:3-14 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
I guess what I'm saying here is that I'm still struggling to figure out how to live in the light of Peter's exhortation, "always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:15b-16)

John Murray: Effectual Calling

John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 88-105

Effectual Calling

A. Murray places calling before regeneration.
B. There is a call that is not effectual which is the universal call of the gospel (Matt. 22:14). But the terms used for calling in the New Testament usually refer to the call to salvation (Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Pet. 1:10). When the words “call,” “called,” and “calling” are used in the New Testament, they are used for effectual calling.
C. God is the author -- “calling is an act of God's grace and power just as regeneration, justification, and adoption are” (pg. 89). (1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Tim. 1:8,9). And it is God the Father who is the “specific agent in the effectual call.” In Romans 8:29 God the Father is distinguished from the Son and then Romans 8:30 states that “he also called” so God the Father is clearly in view as the one who calls (1 Cor. 1:9; Gal. 1:15; Eph. 1:17, 18; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 John 3:1).
D. The nature of the call – when we think of “call” we should think of “summons” since that is closer to the meaning of the word. The summons is effective, it will bring the elect into fellowship with Christ. “There is something determinate about God's call; by his sovereign power and grace it cannot fail of accomplishment. God calls the things that be not as though they were (cf. Rom. 4:17). God's calling is also immutable (Rom. 11:29) and in Romans 8:28-30 calling is part of a unbreakable chain of redemption that begins “in the divine foreknowledge” and is consummated in glorification. The calling is holy, God's people are called to a life that is separate from this evil world (Rom. 1:7; Phil. 3:14; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 3:1 Eph. 4:1) and are to “have no unfruitful works of darkness.”
E. The plan – calling is part of God's plan. “And that plan is his own purpose and grace given in Christ Jesus before times eternal (2 Tim. 1:9; cf. Rom. 8:28)” (pg. 92). The plan of God is not arbitrary but has been set from eternity. “It is in Christ that the plan was devised (2 Tim. 1:9)...The people of God are not contemplated even in the purpose of grace apart from Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4)” (pg. 93).
F. The priority – “calling is the first step in the application of redemption” (pg. 93). According to Scripture it is calling that unites the elect to Christ (1 Cor. 1:9). “And surely union with Christ is that which unites us to the inwardly operative grace of God. Regeneration is the beginning of inwardly operative saving grace” (pg. 93). The call is a sovereign act of God and is independent of our response and comes prior to regeneration. Regeneration comes before our response.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

John Murray: The Free Offer of the Gospel

One of the differences between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism is whether God truly desires the salvation of the wicked. The following is my digest for John Murray's article on the God's offer of the gospel.

Note: decretive will is the decree of God that something will happen. It was God's decretive will that Christ die on the cross.

John Murray, Collected Writings, vol II, Studies in Theologies, 113-32

    I. “God not only delights in the penitent but is also moved by the riches of his goodness and mercy to desire the repentance and salvation of the impenitent and reprobate” (pg. 113).
    II. This does not refer to God's decretive will only his revealed will. If it referred to his decretive will then there would be a contradiction because then God would be willing the damnation of the wicked and desiring the salvation of all. The key word is “desires.” God takes pleasure when the wicked turn to him in repentance (Ezek. 33:11). God's desire is not for their salvation apart from repentance but he desires that the wicked turn from their sin to him in submission and obedience.
    III. Scriptural Basis
      1. Matthew 5:44-48 – though this passage does not deal directly with “the overtures of grace in the gospel,” we do see God's grace and “benevolence.” Jesus tells the disciples to love their enemies and to bless them and not curse them because God blesses those who are his enemies and since the disciples are God's children, they should do the same. Implied in this passage is the love of God for his enemy. The blessings are a manifestation of that love. This love of the unrepentant is not “something incidental in God but as that which constitutes an element in the sum of divine perfection” (pg. 116). The parallel passage makes this clear (Luke 6:35, 36).
      2. Acts 14:17 is another passage that shows that God gave testimony to the unrepentant through his blessings.
      3. Deuteronomy 5:29; 32:29; Psalm 8:13ff; Isaiah 48:18 – God expresses his desire that Israel would keep his commandments. Here is “an instance of desire on the part of God for the fulfillment of that which he had not decreed” (pg. 118).
      4. Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34 – in these passages Jesus wills something that did not come to pass. Jesus yearns for the salvation of the people of Israel. Jesus is not speaking from a human perspective but from the perspective of his office as “God-man Messiah and Saviour.” “Our Lord in the exercise of his most specific and unique function as the God-man gives expression to a yearning will on his part that responsiveness on the part of the people of Jerusalem would have provided the necessary condition for the bestowal of his saving and protecting love, a responsiveness, nevertheless, which it was not the decretive will of God to create in their hearts” (pg. 120). But this does not mean that there is not perfect harmony in the Godhead (John 12:49, 50; 14:10, 24; 17:8)
      5. Exekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11 – God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. There is no qualifier on the type of the wicked. It is clear from these passages that God desires the wicked to turn from their evil ways, “Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, and why will ye die” (33:11). Why should they die when they don't have to. God wills that all would repent and be saved. But this is not referring to God's decretive will. “In terms of his decretive will it must be said that God absolutely decrees the eternal death of some wicked and, in that sense, is absolutely pleased so to decree” (pg. 125).
      6. Isaiah 45:22 – this passage is a universal call for repentance (“all the ends of the earth”). The meaning of “saved” here would have to be the same as verse 17, “But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation.” The emphasis of this passage is that there is no other way to be saved but by him; he is the only Savior (vv. 15, 20, 21). Again this is not his decretive will. When dealing with God's revealed will and his decretive will it “might seem to us that the one rules out the other. But it is not so. There is a multiformity to the divine will that is consonant with the fullness and richness of his divine character” (pg. 127).
      7. 2 Peter 3:9 – Murray does not believe that this verse refers to God being long-suffering to the elect. The delay in the coming judgment is due to the fact that God is being patient to sinners so that they can come to repentance. When Peter says that God is long suffering on “on your account,” the “your” in view here is not restricted to the elect. “Following his exegesis of 2 Peter 3:9 Calvin says: 'But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches out his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them unto himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world'” (pg. 131).
    IV. “The grace offered is nothing less than salvation in its richness and fullness. The love or lovingkindness that lies back of that offer is not anything less; it is the will to that salvation. In other words, it is Christ in all the glory of his person and in all the perfection of his finished work who God offers in the gospel” (pg. 132).

It's Hard Being the Mom

Last week: “We’re having a Dr. Seuss Day at school.”
“That’s nice.”
“We’re going to have a dress down day.”
“Oh?”
“We get to wear pajamas and bring a pillow and wear slippers.”
“What are you going to wear?”
“I don’t know.”
I think about her various nightgown options and realize she is hinting at new pajamas.
“You want me to buy you a new outfit, don’t you?”
“Yes, please”
“Okay, we’ll go next week and pick something out.”
“I tried my slippers on and they’re too tight.”
“You want new slippers too?”
“Yes, please”
“OK”
This week: “Don’t forget we’re going to get me pajamas for school.”
“I remembered. We’re going on Tuesday.”
I pick them up from school on Tuesday and head toward Kohls.
“We have to get pajamas”
“I know, don’t you see where were going?”
In Kohls we look around for pajamas and we’re trying everything on and can’t find anything that isn’t sheer (and I’m talking girls department). I call my husband, Doug.
“Can you take the girls to Target tomorrow to help Samantha find pajamas for school?”
He agrees and we give up on Kohls and head home.
The next day going to school: “There might be snow tomorrow.”
“Oh no! I want to go to school.”
“Maybe if there’s a snow day they’ll move it to Friday. We’ll ask the teacher.”
At school I ask the teacher if there will be Dr. Seuss Day on Friday if there’s a snow day and she said yes. Samantha is relieved and all is right with the world.

That night when I come home from seminary, Samantha has a nice set of clothes to wear to school the next day. Her tee-shirt reads, “Blame My Sister.” And she is very excited.
The next morning she wakes up and says, “My throat hurts, can I have some juice?”
I look at her and think, “Oh, no!” Now, my next thought, thank the Lord, was not self-centered, it was not, “Oh, no! What am I going to do about classes tomorrow.” No, my next thought was, “What about Dr. Seuss Day at school?” I take her temperature and it's 101.9, I use a second thermometer and that’s 101.2. Samantha cries when I tell her she can’t go to school.

I hate this job! Why do I have to be the bad guy? I want to send her to school so she can have the day she was anticipating for two weeks, I want her to have all the joy of life and give her all the things I can give her so that she can look back at her childhood as a time of love, care and fun times. I want her to have fond memories. But then there’s the other side of motherhood, the responsible side. The side that says, they can’t always have the things they want. It's something that we all have to learn and I know it's something that we all struggle with. Better to learn it as a child and grow into it than to try to adjust to it as an adult. As Christians we know that sometimes God will give us what we need instead of what we want and we won’t always get to do the things we planned to do. Better to learn that lesson now.

But even when I'm being the practical mother the other mom takes over “How about if we buy some ice cream and rent a movie? Ok? After we go to the doctors.”
“I have to go to the doctors? Will I have to get the stick?”
“Maybe.”
She starts crying again.
“We’ll call the doctor's office when we get back from driving Sarah to school. Maybe you won't have to go.”
Driving to school and back she is a sad little girl and it breaks my heart. I attempt to weasel out of the decision making process by saying to the receptionist, “Should I bring her in?” She said a nurse would call me and of course the nurse hears sore throat and fever and switches me back to the receptionist to make the appointment.
Samantha takes the news like I knew she would (more tears) and then we are sitting in the waiting room for a half hour as mom after mom is told that their strep test was negative. I’m thinking this is going to be a waste of time. We get our test results and they are negative as well.
Later that night after a day of watching TV and movies, sleeping, ice pops and cream savers, she tells me “It almost made up for it.” Light dawns from the cloud of despair that we have been under all day. I hug her and tell her that I’m glad.

It’s really hard being the mom but it’s usually worth it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Blog Purpose Statement

When I started this blog I had a hard time explaining what my purpose was and it took two posting to do it (here and here). I finally got it down to two sentences: A blog designed to share the musings of a seminary student and mom. Real Christianity in action, not just our culture's caricature. This is my blog description for Blogarama.

While I'm Posting Links...

I'm not sure if I mentioned this here before, but if so it bears repeating. My Hermeneutics professor, Dr. Poythress has a website. His books are available there as well as the class notes for all his classes and many of his published articles. He shares the website with Dr. John Frame.

Romans 11

Here is an article on Romans 11 that is helpful to understand what Paul meant by "all Israel will be saved."

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