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Saturday, May 31, 2008

CPS raid and the Texas Supreme Court

"The Texas Supreme Court has ruled the removal of 468 children from a polygamist sect on grounds they were at risk of abuse was unwarranted." -- Texas wrong to take fundamentalist Mormon sect kids

The Fundamentalist Mormons stand a religion before the law and Constitution the same as Baptists, Catholics, Methodists or any other group. If some or many of them have done wrong, let the law punish that wrong. But they should not be dealt with differently. They are not treated one way because they are a "cult" and others are "denominations". To classify all those families as one family because they hold the same faith and live on the same ranch was wrong.

While Texas was removing children from the Yearning for Zion ranch, the state attorney general's office was apparently putting the finishing touches on high school parenting classes. When it's the "normal" kids getting pregnant at 13, instead of removing them from their homes we provide them classes and day care.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Now that's a twist

When legislators undertake to create laws that favor certain groups, they don't always consider all the ramifications.

Enter the state of Maine's laws, Orono School District, a 10 year old with "gender identification issues," and Grandfather Paul Melanson.

Orono School District, apparently seeking to follow Maine's human rights laws and accommodate a 10 year old boy who has problems with knowing his sexual orientation, allowed the boy to use the girls' restroom. After Paul Melanson discovered what was happening, he told his grandson to follow the other boy into the girls' restroom whenever he went in. Melanson's grandson was warned by the school not to enter the girls' restroom (and Melanson was warned by police).

Melanson argues, based on Maine's laws governing sexual orientation, that his grandson is being deprived of a right granted to another boy, and that deprivation of rights is based on his grandson's sexual orientation -- heterosexuality.

And he does have a point!

You can read more about this and
HERE, HERE, and HERE. I couldn't find an update on it.

[Note: though I think Paul Melanson makes a correct legal point, I nevertheless do not agree with his handling of the problem.]

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Succession

"The word of God is the seed of the kingdom, and true succession is in the seed." -- Unknown

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sensus plenior

sensus plenior - Latin, "fuller sense". According to Wikipedia in Bible exegesis, "sensus plenior is used to describe the 'deeper meaning intended by God' but not intended by the human author."

"...Moo acknowledges Sensus Plenior has almost become short hand for an explanation of a text that cannot be explained (satisfactorily) by the grammatical-historical method." Darren Middleton,
Divine Meaning or Authorial Intention: Sensus Plenior - a Blessing or Curse for Evangelical Hermeneutics, p. 5

"In my opinion sensus plenior, though attractive to many, will quickly turn into a curse -- a curse that evangelical hermeneutics could well do without." Darren Middleton, Divine Meaning or Authorial Intention, p. 10

Readers, what is your sense of this as a concept of Bible interpretation?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rusk County Project Lifesaver

If you would like to donate to help Rusk County, Texas offset the purchase of Project Lifesaver bracelets, please send donations to:

Nancy Jackson
1612 Clearbrook
Henderson, TX 75652

Please make the donation to "Project Lifesaver Rusk County Scholarship Fund". Be sure it includes "Rusk County". If you would like, you may make the donation in honor of
Shirley Hunt (or any other Alzheimer's patient or missing individual you know).

Project Lifesaver

Comfort For The Lord’s People

“Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem , and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned…” Isaiah 40:2

Christ has done all the fighting with Satan, sin and death, and, "we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us," "that her iniquity is pardoned." All Zion's iniquity in one lump was removed in one day when Jesus put it away by the sacrifice of Himself. How comfortable the privilege to say with the Psalmist, "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and do not forget all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquities," (Ps. 103:2,3). How many? "All your iniquities." How clearly Paul states this in Col. 2:13: "having forgiven you all trespasses." Where are the sins of God's people? Hezekiah says, "You have cast all my sins behind Your back," (Isaiah 38:17). The soul says, "Sought for, they shall not be found," (Jer. 50:20). Micah says, "You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea," (Micah 7:19). Not in the shallows, but where they can never be seen or re-appear. The soul that once enjoys the comfort of that, is very uncomfortable without the enjoyment of it. And what a blessing to know that we are now receiving double favors, favors more abundant, in spite of all our sins.


By Thomas Bradbury, as posted on Shreveport Grace Church bulletin, Sat, 26 Apr 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Click below to win

...free books from Monergism Books at Challies.com.

May Giveaway

Memorial Day

History of Memorial Day, a United States day of remembrance of those who died in the nation's service

The name of Jesus

"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear" is and has been a popular hymn of John Newton -- at least in the circles I travel in. I wouldn't been surprised if it is second only to his more widely known "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound." We usually sing it with the tune "Ortonville" by Thomas Hastings.

Stephen Conte has been going through the
Olney Hymn book of Newton and Cowper, posting the hymns on the pb-mb forum. It is good and interesting to put these in context of their original settings. Newton associated this hymn with Song of Solomon 1:3 -- Your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore virgins love you -- and titled it "The name of Jesus". [Olney Hymns, Book 1, No. 57, common meter]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A friend that sticketh closer than a brother

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

1 One there is, above all others,
Well deserves the name of friend;
His is love beyond a brother's,
Costly, free, and knows no end:
They who once his kindness prove,
Find it everlasting love!

2 Which of all our friends to save us,
Could or would have shed their blood?
But our JESUS died to have us
Reconciled, in him to God:
This was boundless love indeed!
JESUS is a friend in need.

3 Men, when raised to lofty stations,
Often know their friends no more;
Slight and scorn their poor relations
Though they valued them before.
But our Savior always owns
Those whom he redeemed with groans.

4 When he lived on earth abased,
Friend of sinners was his name;
Now, above all glory raised,
He rejoices in the same:
Still he calls them brethren, friends,
And to all their wants attends.

5 Could we bear from one another,
What he daily bears from us?
Yet this glorious Friend and Brother,
Loves us though we treat him thus:
Though for good we render ill,
He accounts us brethren still.

6 O for grace our hearts to soften!
Teach us, Lord, at length to love;
We, alas! forget too often,
What a Friend we have above:
But when home our souls are brought,
We will love thee as we ought.


Olney Hymns, Book 1. Hymn 53
John Newton
Meter: 8.7.8.7.7.7.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Some "ifs"

If we learn from our mistakes, most of us will never lack for educational material!

If you learn to laugh at yourself, you'll never lack for a source of entertainment!

If you get into deep water, keep your mouth shut.

If there is no wind, row. -- Latin Proverb

If your mind goes blank, don't forget to turn off the sound.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CPS again

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin said CPS had no right to seize over 400 Fundamentalist Mormon children in a raid on FLDS Yearning for Zion ranch. The appeals court ruling gives a lower-court judge 10 days to release the children. The state may appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

Give to the Winds Thy Fears

1. Give to the winds thy fears,
Hope and be undismayed.
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears,
God will lift up thy head.

2. Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command;
Then shalt thou, wandering, own His way,
How wise, how strong His hand.

3. Far, far above thy thought,
His counsel shall appear;
When fully He the work hath wrought
That caused thy needless fear.

4. Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears the way;
Wait thou His time; so shall this night
Soon end in joyous day.


Meter = S. M.
Words by Paul Gerhardt
Translated by John Wesley

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We love thee, tolerance

...unless we have to tolerate the intolerant.

Yes, those on the left wing that seem to honor tolerance above all values just can't tolerate those they view as intolerant. According to STLToday.com, when Washington University announced it would award an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly (president and founder of
Eagle Forum), several WU law professors called on the university to rescind that decision. In addition, some students publicized their intent to turn their backs to the stage when Schlafly is honored. For more read Schlafly controversy proves her continuing relevance. Despite the protest and some weasel words from WU, they evidently tolerated both Schafly and the protestors and did what they had decided to do.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Random thoughts on Esther

Esther 4:14 - And who knoweth, whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther is a short book of ten chapters, 167 verses and 5633 words.* No Divine title is found in the book of Esther; the Medo-Persian king is mentioned 192 times. No Divine name is found in the book of Esther; the name "Ahasuerus" is given 29 times. Like the story of Joseph, the story of Esther involves a foreign monarch who seems to control the destiny of the Jews. But even though God is not mentioned by name or title, He is clearly at work.

The story of God's people in the book of Esther makes me think of some lines of a James Russell Lowell poem:

"Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne, - Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above his own." **

In the movie "Proof of Life", the character Alice Bowman says, "Things don't happen for a reason; they just happen." Yet in the book of Esther as we see the unfolding of events "just happening", it becomes clear that they "just happen" for a reason. Men have many names for "God within the shadow" (or for denying that He is even there) -- fate and fortune, accidents and coincidence, good luck and bad luck (or as we say around here, "It just so happened that..."). Yet even some of these terms admit some portion of the truth. Fate -- beyond the control of man; accident -- no man planned for it to happen that way; coincidence -- events unusually and strikingly come together.

John Gill writes, "...the hand and providence of God is clearly seen -- in raising Esther to such grandeur, and that for the deliverance of the people of the Jews, and in counter working and bringing to nought the plots of their enemies, and in saving them..."

When we don't see God, He is there.

Though we don't understand it, He is not far from every one of us.

Whether or not we believe it, God works all things after the counsel of his own will.

* Words based on MS Word Count feature in Microsoft Word, with possible human error mixed in.
** From "The Present Crisis", 1844

Monday, May 19, 2008

An Evening Hymn for a Little Family

Now condescend, Almighty King,
To bless this little throng;
And kindly listen while we sing
Our pleasant evening song.

We come to own the Power divine
That watches o'er our days:
For this our feeble voices join
In hymns of cheerful praise.


Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
Hymns for Infant Minds, 1832.
As posted on Song To The Lamb Thurs 8 May 2008

Dirty movies??

You probably know that movie theaters provide plenty of mental filth. What do you know about the physical filth? Read about it here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Who said it?

"Few things in our culture are more spiritually numbing than the television. Even the so-called 'good' shows are by and large banal and low-minded and anything but cultivating of a rich, deep capacity to enjoy God. And when you add to that the barrage of suggestive advertisements that accompany virtually every program, I do not wonder why so many of our professing Christians are spiritually incapable of experiencing high thoughts and deep emotions."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Child "protective" services

"Don Duquette, [a University of Michigan] ...says the emergency removal powers of CPS, though "well-intentioned" are "out of control and partly responsible for the large numbers of kids in the foster care system."

Read more:
Hard lemonade, hard price

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Speaking of talking

If your mind goes blank, don't forget to turn off the sound.

Many things are opened by mistake, but none so frequently as the mouth.

Two types of people who don't say much: (1) those who are quiet, and (2) those who talk a lot.

One way to save face -- keep the lower half of it shut.

If you get into deep water, keep your mouth shut.

The typical sermon is a swimming lesson on dry land! -- Frank Viola

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Every church a seminary

"Every church was then a seminary, in which provision and preparation was made, not only for the continuation of Gospel preaching, but for the calling and gathering, and teaching of our churches." -- John Owen, Commentary on Hebrews, Vol. 3, p. 568. (p. 131 in the Crossway Edition edited by McGrath & Packer, 1998)

The local assembly of gathered believers is the primary and best educational institution for BELIEVERS in spiritual and religious matters.* The "church-based education" model derives from the New Testament, and is for all the people of the church. The seminarian model developed from the university's scholastic paradigm, and seems geared to train a "professionally qualified" minister. I have certain presuppositions that undergird and sustain what I am about to write. I will call attention to them, but not go into great detail. Many will agree with most of them, though not all. They are: (1). The Inspiration of Scripture -- all scripture is given by God and is therefore the place we find our instructions for education. (2). The command of Matthew 28:18-20 -- preach, baptize, teach -- is a command to be fulfilled by local assemblies of believers. (3). The local church is by nature and purpose a gathering of baptized saints committed to carrying out the work of Christ. (4). Consistent New Testament practices are authoritative, including that churches should be served by a plurality of elders. Jesus commanded the apostles to teach all things He had commanded them, and they taught the disciples in the churches to follow the commands and traditions they handed down.

Studying the scriptures exhibits nobility (Acts 17:11) and approves us unto God (II Tim. 2:15). This is not and should not be limited to one class of believers. The purpose of religious education is maturation of the saints that they might engage in ministry, be built up as a body with the goal of unity of the faith and knowledge of Christ (Eph. 4:7-16).

"Church-based education" utilizes the institution Jesus built and follows the example of the apostles. In New Testament times, elders received training in and by the local church, the apostles came to the local church, or they traveled with the apostles and assisted them (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1ff.; 14:21-23; 18:2,5,18; 19:8-10; II Tim 4:20; Heb. 6:1,2). All of these examples relate more to mentoring, apprenticeship, or on-the-job training models rather than a classroom model.

"Church-based education" recognizes the giftedness of ALL the body. Some models of education are designed with preachers (that is, ministers as professionals) in mind. Yet the New Testament teaches that all of the body should be trained and equipped for the ministry, and that all the body has gifts for ministry. Training for "the ministry" is not of greater importance than training for "ministry". A sincere effort to equip all the body begins and ends on the local church level.

"Church-based education" offers the best system of "integrated" education with the Lord's basic institution –- the home. In the church, discipleship, ministry experience, and scholarship are integrated -- not only with one another, but with marriage, home life, child rearing, and in a body that is vitally consumed (or at least should be) with the "whole man" minister.

"Church-based education" does not remove the gift of the "preacher-in-training" from benefiting his church, and it does not remove the church from blessing the "preacher-in-training". The young elder/novice remains involved with the congregation and families where God has placed him. Further, the plurality of elders assures he is not thrown into pastoring alone without the skills to do so, and he is not expected to be THE ONE MAN who knows all and does all.

"Church-based education" recognizes the New Testament assumption that churches are equipped to train their ministers. If they are not, they should be. If churches are not fully equipped to train their ministers, and if seminaries are sincere in their desire to best promote the work of God, let them work themselves out of a job by equipping churches to become able to educate their own people, rather than keeping churches dependent upon them.

In the local congregation of believers, we never finish our education and never receive a degree. In addition to theology, hermeneutics, or homiletics, we learn necessary lessons of interdependence, relations, service, self-denial, longsuffering, meekness, kindness, and love. Instead of pre-designed degrees from which to choose, each "course" can be specially adapted with the particular individual student in mind.

According to R. Paul Stevens (Liberating the Laity: Equipping All the Saints for Ministry, Regent College, 2002, p. 46), "The best structure for equipping every Christian is already in place. It predates the seminary and the weekend seminar and will outlast both. In the New Testament no other nurturing and equipping is offered than the local church. In the New Testament church, as in the ministry of Jesus, people learned in the furnace of life, in a relational, living, working and ministering context." I agree.


* The home is also a God-ordained primary educational institution. But it serves all persons in the home and is not restricted solely to believers or spiritual issues.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Barack

"I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and YouTube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way," he said. "But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man." -- From this link

Barack Obama unsparingly criticized his longtime pastor's words while strongly defending the man himself...

But now?

Missing persons: Forrest and Preston Pollock

From Bart Barber's web site I noticed the above named persons are missing, a possible plane crash in North Carolina. Information and updates may be found HERE.

As with most missing person notices I post, I don't know the Pollocks. But we have learned (and are still living & learning) the trauma of such an experience. May God resolve this quickly is our hope and prayer. If not, still look to Him. Where else could we go?


Update: the above-linked web site is reporting that the plane wreckage has been found. Forrest Pollock and his son did not survive. May God grant His comfort to the family.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life and destiny

A man meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. -- Unknown

Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans. -- A. J. Marshall

He that is born to be hanged shall never be drowned. -- Unknown

Every moment, a Christian is in a storm, leaving a storm, or going to a storm. -- Unknown

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day history

Mother's Day Central has some history of Mother's Days, from ancient to the modern.

Proverbs 31:10-11, 27-31 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hosanna in the highest

7.7.8.7. (Doubled)

Hosanna in the highest
To our exalted Savior,
Who left behind for all mankind
These tokens of His favor:
His bleeding love and mercy,
His all redeeming Passion;
Who here displays, and gives the grace
Which brings us our salvation.

Louder than gathered waters,
Or bursting peals of thunder,
We lift our voice and speak our joys
And shout our loving wonder.
Shout, all our elder brethren,
While we record the story
Of Him that came and suffered shame,
To carry us to glory.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Hymns on the Lord's Supper, 1745.


An interesting hymn with a slightly unusual meter.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Quotes again

"I wasn't as accurate as I have been in the past." -- Hillary Clinton, 16 April 2008

"Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened." -- Sir Winston Churchill

Everyone seems to know how to solve someone else's problems. Maybe we should swap! -- Unknown

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Some definitions

Contentment. Enjoying the scenery along the detour; not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
Diplomacy. The art of letting other people have your way.
Friends. Someone who asks how you are, and wants to hear the answer; Someone who is there for you when he'd rather be somewhere else.
Horse sense. Stable thinking combined with the ability to say "nay".
Maturity. Acting your age instead of your urge.
Pessimist. Someone who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks.
Wisdom. The reward you get for listening when you would have preferred to talk.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A book recommendation

I recently read A Hanging in Nacogdoches: Murder, Race, Politics, and Polemics in Texas's Oldest Town, 1870-1916 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2006, 209 pages), by Gary B. Borders. It has murder and intrigue, politics and race relations. The main characters are (1) Jim Buchanan, who was accused of and confessed to the murders of the Hicks family of the Black Jack community; (2) Bill Haltom, the newspaper editor who stirred the issue and stirred particularly in relation to his nemesis, (3) A. J. Spradley, the popular Populist sheriff who traipsed Buchanan around parts of East Texas to keep him from being lynched before his trial. Spradley would later refer to Buchanan's hanging as a "legal lynching".

Archie McDonald of
Stephen F. Austin State University and the East Texas Historical Association writes, "The contribution of A Hanging in Nacogdoches is not limited to that city, East Texas, or even the state....The purpose of the author's presentation is to show life—race relations, politics, the economy—in a typical...Southern town at the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. Borders argues, and demonstrates, that Nacogdoches was, indeed, typical for its time and place."

Gary Borders is past editor of the
Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel and currently the publisher of the Lufkin Daily News.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Slavery and Christianity review

Slavery and Christianity: Paul’s Letter to Philemon, John W. Robbins. Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 2007. $6.95 Paper, 59 pages. ISBN: 1891777173

John Robbins is an elder in a Reformed congregation. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. He founded The Trinity Foundation in 1977 as a Christian
think tank. Other writings include Christ and Civilization, Cornelius Van Til: The Man and the Myth, Ecclesiastical Megalomania: The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church, Freedom and Capitalism: Essays on Christian Politics and Economics, and Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of Her System.

When I read Slavery and Christianity I wrote in my journal, "A pretty good commentary with some rather unique observations." A couple of months later, I still feel the same way.

Mr. Robbins' approach is uncommon. The direction of this commentary can be found in a paragraph from the TF web site: "Paul's letter to Philemon is a masterpiece of divinely inspired political philosophy. It provides the basis for the non-violent abolition of slavery wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and believed." He sees the letter to Philemon as a Christian treatise against slavery.

John W. Robbins is often at odds with other commentators. It is a common idea that early Christianity generally accepted slavery without criticism. Robbins writes, "The Bible supports freedom -- spiritual, religious, political and economic -- not slavery; and those who favor slavery either do not understand or do not believe the Bible." (p. 13) He also believes the letter relates to church government and was "written as a form and model of church discipline." He further states, "Philemon is a goldmine of doctrine – obviously about slavery and freedom, but also about church discipline, civil government, civil disobedience, and tact.” (p. 7)

Robbins challenges the way many Bible students interpret Paul's instructions to masters and servants (Cf. Col. 3:22-4:1 with Eph. 6:5-9; I Tim. 6:1-3; Tit. 2:9-10). I was disappointed that he did not take up a harmonization of Paul's instructions and his interpretation of Philemon. Perhaps he will take up the subject in another format.

Also, his comments on "Race and Christianity" (pp. 14-17), while good in themselves, may cause confusion related to racially-based slavery. Though the letter mentions Jews (e.g. Paul) and Gentiles (e.g. Philemon, Luke, Onesimus), there seems to be no basis for understanding Onesimus' servitude to Philemon as racially-based.

A reviewer on
The Domain for Truth blog writes, "'Slavery and Christianity' is what you would expect from a Reformed and Presuppositional teacher of the Word of God: logically sharp, fascinating insight from the Biblical text, lay-man friendly and more importantly, spiritually edifying." In addition to the commentary, appended is a short treatise by Robbins entitled The Crisis of our Time, as well as a list of books available from The Trinity Foundation -- bringing the total number of pages to 84.

John W. Robbins challenges the "status quo". His book Slavery and Christianity is a good addition to conservative commentaries on Philemon. It will force you to think. I don't agree with all he wrote. But he made me study some things to see whether they were so. I recommend this book as well worth the cost. Anyone studying the relationship of Christianity and slavery should read Robbins' words.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Church miscellany

Tonight, Monday May 5 (d.v.) -- our regular monthly Sacred Harp singing will meet at Corinth Primitive Baptist Church, 6:30 p.m. Y'all come.

Sunday May the 11th -- very good friends of ours hope to be visiting at Old Prospect Baptist Church. Brother Roger Sanders will be preaching (d.v.). Old Prospect meets on Rusk County road 3197. The Old Prospect Church and Cemetery is 2-3/4 of a mile down CR 3197. The cemetery and brick church building is on the left, the old church building is on the right. A picture of the old church building is
HERE. We'd love to have you visit; we'll start at or around 10:00 a.m.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The sleep of death

A couple of days ago I attended a funeral in which the minister alluded to the Biblical references that compare death to sleep (e.g. Matt. 9:24; John 11:11-13). He pointed out that sleep is (1) ordinary, (2) necessary, and (3) temporary.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Machen

"In general, it is a good rule to vote against any proposal that you have not been given adequate opportunity to examine."

"One of you ought to nominate a Moderator who is opposed to the present Modernist and Indifferentist machine, and all of you ought to vote for him. There is not the slightest chance that any such Moderator will be elected, but that does not affect your duty in the slightest."
-- From What Should True Presbyterians Do at the 1936 General Assembly? by J. Gresham Machen; printed in The Trinity Review, May 2007

Though I'm not a Presbyterian (and so don't have any vested interest in "What True Presbyterians Should Do"), I found some common ground in Machen's comments. In the first, I've often applied that general rule in voting on things and people that our various governmental entities have put before me. On the second, I like Machen's emphasis on doing what is right even when there appears to be (or is) no chance one will be successful in it. "And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear..." (Ezekiel 2:7)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The giver of every good gift

Lamb of God, we fall before Thee,
Humbly trusting in Thy cross.
That alone be all our glory;
All things else are only dross.

Thee we own a perfect Savior,
Only source of all that's good.
Every grace and every favor
Comes to us through Jesus' blood.

Jesus gives us true repentance
By His Spirit sent from Heav'n;
Whispers this transporting sentence,
"Son, thy sins are all forgiv'n."

Faith He grants us to believe it,
Grateful hearts His love to prize;
Want we wisdom? He must give it,
Hearing ears and seeing eyes.

Jesus gives us pure affections,
Wills to do what He requires,
Makes us follow His directions,
And what He commands, inspires.

All our prayers and all our praises,
Rightly offered in His Name-
He that dictates them is Jesus;
He that answers is the same.

Joseph Hart (1712-1768)
First published in 1759.