Thursday, December 31, 2020
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
- Best Books for Pastors in 2020 -- “We asked pastors around the world a simple question: what books did you read in 2020 that helped you be a better pastor? We’ve curated their responses below.”
- Book Review: Andy Chambers, Exemplary Life: A Theology of Church Life in Acts -- “While I am less convinced the later reports in Gentile churches are true echoes of these summaries, in general Chambers makes an excellent argument that Luke’s intention was to provide a model of an ideal church for later generations to emulate.”
- Book Review: Constantine R. Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek -- “Campbell’s Advances in the Study of Greek intends to fill a significant gap in the education of a student of New Testament Greek.”
- Book Review: Heaven by Randy Alcorn -- “Alcorn writes with an awareness of how common and appealing the topic of heaven is, even to those who don’t know the Lord.”
- Book Review: J. B. Lightfoot, The Acts of the Apostles: A Newly Discovered Commentary -- “Overall this commentary is a valuable contribution to the history of scholarship on the Book of Acts. Modern commentaries still cite Lightfoot and his views on textual issues...”
- Book Review: Mere Discipleship, by Alister McGrath -- “Mere Discipleship is an impressive, unique, thought-provoking book; full of edifying stuff that makes it a worthwhile investment.”
- Christianity Today’s 15 Most-Read Book Reviews of 2020 -- “Here are our most popular book reviews of 2020, ranked in reverse order of what our online audience read most.”
- Into All the World: Emergent Christianity in its Jewish and Greco-Roman Context -- “The editors of this volume were deliberate in not seeking to harmonise the various chapters, which has resulted in a diversity of opinions on numerous matters discussed across the various essays.”
- Introduction to Early Christian Books by William John Ferrar -- “This handy little book provides brief summaries of Christian writers and their writings up to the middle of the Second Century.”
- Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes–A Review -- “My guess is that [responsible popularization] is what Richards and O’Brien attempted to do in this work. Given the weaknesses in this book, I cannot in good conscience regard this volume as ‘responsible popularization,’ and would therefore not assign it were I teaching a class on biblical interpretation.”
- The Heart of Revelation: A Review -- “On the whole, there is much value in this work. To be honest, my surprise was not that we disagreed on so many things, but rather that we agreed on so many.”
- Review: The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl R. Trueman -- “How is it that so many average people in the West fail to see ‘I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body’ as a self-evident absurdity?”
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
In this same vein, religious seminaries supposedly want to teach you to think about what you believe and why, rather than teaching you what to believe. It may be that they are more generally successful than secular institutions?
What does the Bible say?
On one hand, it tells us to examine ourselves; for example,
- whether we be in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5)
- to think, and examine our thinking (Matthew 17:25; Matthew 18:12; Matthew 21:28; Matthew 22:17, 42, et al.).
- our motives in taking the Lord ’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:28)
- we have a delivered body of faith for which we should contend (Jude 3)
- our foundation is the teachings of Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets (Ephesians 2:20) in which we should firmly stand (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
- we are to teach disciples to observe all things that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:20)
- the faith should be committed to faithful persons who pass it on to others (2 Timothy 2:2)
- there is only one gospel, from which we cannot diverge (Galatians 1:8-9)
Note: my conclusion in general is that Jesus Christ places pastors and teachers in the churches, and it is to the churches we should resort to learn of the meek and lowly One and his doctrine rather than to the ivory towers of higher education.
Monday, December 28, 2020
“Nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation of faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory.”
Sunday, December 27, 2020
“Happy are they, they that love God,” is a hymn by Robert Seymour Bridges (1844-1930), based on or paraphrased from “O quam juvat fratres, Deus” by Charles Coffin. Coffin published a collection of Latin hymns in 1727, most of which appeared in The Paris Breviary in 1736. Bridges was educated at Eton College in Windsor, Berkshire, and Corpus Christi College at Oxford University. George V named Bridges the poet laureate of England in 1913, which honor he held until his death in 1930. With Harry Ellis Wooldridge, Bridges edited The Yattendon Hymnal in 1899, a collection of one hundred hymns and hymn tune settings. “Happy are they” appears as No. 34 with the tune Binchester, composed by William Croft (1678-1727) – the most common setting still today.
Whose hearts have Christ confessed,
Who by his cross have found their life,
And ‘neath his yoke their rest.
2. Glad is the praise, sweet are the songs,
When they together sing;
And strong the prayers that bow the ear
Of heaven’s eternal King.
3. Christ to their homes giveth his peace,
And makes their loves his own:
4. Sad were our lot, evil this earth,
Did not its sorrows prove
The path whereby the sheep may find
The fold of Jesus’ love.
5. Then shall they know, they that love him,
How all their pain is good;
And death itself cannot unbind
Their happy brotherhood.
Meter: C. M.
Text: Charles Coffin “O quam juvat,” and Robert Bridges “Happy are they”
Tune: Binchester, by William Croft
Saturday, December 26, 2020
- Biblical Church Growth I Thessalonians 3:12-4:12 -- “Whatever the outward forms of user-friendly churches, the heart of any true church growth will be a desire to please God.”
- Did Jesus and the Apostles Rely on the Corrupt Septuagint? -- “There was no need for Jesus and the New Testament writers to rely on the Septuagint to quote the Old Testament. Jesus Himself was the Author of the Holy Scriptures.”
- Did Matthew Blunder? -- “There appears to be a problem, however. Matthew, in appealing to this prophecy, seems to attribute it to Jeremiah, whereas the Old Testament has it in the book of Zechariah.”
- Have the Archaeological Giants Killed King David? -- “The trend in the academic arena is to challenge society’s cherished beliefs and disparage traditional values.”
- Mausoleum of Rome’s first emperor restored and ready to reopen -- “The mausoleum is the largest circular tomb in the world and was constructed in 28 BC near the banks of the river Tiber to house the remains of Augustus and his heirs, including the emperors Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius.”
- Preparing Our Children for Marriage -- “The longer they wait, the more difficult it may be for them to be flexible and open to accommodate another person in their life.”
- The Battle of Athens, Tennessee -- “In McMinn County, Tennessee, in the early 1940s, the question was not if you farmed, but where you farmed.”
- The Genealogies of Jesus -- “And so, when properly understood, these genealogies–though uninteresting and perhaps even irrelevant at first blush–become a marvelous manifestation of ‘the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God’ (Romans 11:33).”
- The Strange Protestant Bible of Henry VIII -- “Coverdale...would help in the next two English Bibles under Henry, the Matthew’s and Great Bibles before serving on the translation team for the Geneva Bible (1560).”
- Was the Septuagint the Bible of Christ and the Apostles? --“ Jerome wanted to see a new translation of the Old Testament into Latin from the Hebrew. Augustine opposed the use of the Hebrew because he thought the Greek Septuagint was ‘inspired’.”
- What is the Septuagint? 1 -- “The name Septuagint refers to what is mostly a collection of ancient translations.”
- What Is the Septuagint? 2 -- “...when scholars use this term, it does not refer to a single text. Rather, it refers to a collection of Greek translations produced by numerous scribes over the course of a few hundred years and, in all likelihood, composed in different locations.”
- What to Do While You Drive To Church -- “...as you drive to church, sing, consider, and pray. Just be sure to do it with your eyes open.”
Friday, December 25, 2020
1. Fairest of morning Lights appear,
Thou blest and gaudy day,
On whom was born our Saviour dear,
Make haste and come away.
Like gasping land we lie,
Thy holy dews our souls do want.
We faint, we pine, we die.
Like Mel or Manna fall.
Whose searching drops our sins may drain,
And quench our sorrows all.
His mercy now is nigh;
The mighty God of love is come,
The day-spring from on high.
Himself an house of clay,
A robe of virgin flesh he takes
Which he will wear for aye.
Like a weak infant cries;
In form of servant is the Lord,
And God in cradle lies.
It shook the starry frame;
Squadrons of spirits stood and gazed,
Then down in troops they came.
A quire of angels sings;
And eastern sages with delight
Adore this King of kings.
And all our voices prove
To celebrate this holy One,
The God of Peace and Love.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
- Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
- Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
- Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
- Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judæa and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
- Acts 11:26b And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
- Acts 12:24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.
- Acts 14:28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.
- Acts 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
- Acts 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
- Acts 28:31 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
“It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others.”
Monday, December 21, 2020
- 5 ways baseball’s all-time record books could change with Negro League stats added in -- “Major League Baseball made a historic — and long overdue — announcement Wednesday, elevating the Negro Leagues to a major-league level.”
- A Candid Statement of the Reasons Which Induce the Baptists to Differ in Opinion and Practice from so Many of Their Christian Brethren, by John Ryland (1753-1825) -- “In this pamphlet John Ryland outlines the distinctive beliefs of Baptists.”
- Alito: Court’s ‘Preposterous’ Trans Ruling Threatens Religion, Speech, Privacy, and Safety -- “...Justice Samuel Alito...He noted that Congress has tried and repeatedly failed to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in just this fashion and that no one interpreted the law this way until 2017.”
- Arlington Statement on Bible Translation -- “Because every person in every culture needs to know God’s truth in all of its fullness, Bible translations should not avoid confronting sin or falsehood that the original-language texts confront, whether among believers or unbelievers.”
- FTC Sues Facebook for Illegal Monopolization -- “The Federal Trade Commission today sued Facebook, alleging that the company is illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.”
- Hopewell Baptist, Org. 1876, Quitman County, Georgia -- “The congregation is now inactive and has been so for a number of years. However, the structure is in remarkable condition, given the footings and underpinnings of the church have been there for 135 years.”
- Interpreting 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 (Part 1) -- “That women were “silent” in all first century church meetings everywhere (and not just Corinth) is evident from the way the paragraph begins, “As in all the churches of the saints...”
- Leonard Brothers Built Retail Empire -- “The Leonard Brothers was a cross between a modern day super store and a shopping mall. It was a place to purchase merchandise and a place to meet up with friends.”
- Lights of Advent Bring Message of Hope -- “Lights of Advent displays 17,000 lights along a two-story, 100-foot wide grid to portray the coming of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Luke.”
- Must Women Be Silent in Churches? (1 Corinthians 14:34) -- “The Bible’s teaching may be controversial but it’s not self-contradictory. Paul doesn’t forbid women from praying and prophesying in the assembly.”
- Origen on I Corinthians -- “What Origen wrote, in Greek, in the third century.”
- Shepherds Are Shaped by the Sheep -- “The people we ministered to shaped this minister. There’s a symbiosis to shepherding. Shepherds are shaped by the sheep.”
- Studies in Tertullian and Augustine, by B. B. Warfield -- “This free book download is a collection of articles by B. B. Warfield on Tertullian and Augustine that previously appeared in a variety of soruces.”
- The Battle of Athens, Tennessee -- “On August 1, 1946, a group of Southern World War Two veterans in Athens, Tennessee, fought and won the only successful armed insurrection in the United States since the War of Independence.”
- “What Exactly Should We Be Looking For?”: Reflections on My Recent Search for a Church -- “My husband and I have put down roots in a local church here in Washington where the Word is boldly proclaimed, where fellow believers strive for holiness and pursue meaningful fellowship.”
A true recognition of God’s sovereignty will avow God’s perfect right to do with us as He wills. The one who bows to the pleasure of the Almighty will acknowledge His absolute right to do with us as seemeth Him good. If He chooses to send poverty, sickness, domestic bereavements, even while the heart is bleeding at every pore, it will say, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right!” Often there will be a struggle, for the carnal mind remains in the believer to the end of his earthly pilgrimage. But though there may be a conflict within his breast, nevertheless, to the one who has really yielded himself to this blessed truth there will presently be heard that Voice saying, as of old it said to the turbulent Gennesaret, “Peace be still;” and the tempestuous flood within will be quieted and the subdued soul will lift a tearful but confident eye to Heaven and say, “Thy will be done.”
Sunday, December 20, 2020
On Sunday morning, I post “A Psalm for Sunday Nights.” Thomas Pestel wrote “A Psalm for Sunday Nights,” and it was published in 1659 in Sermons and Devotions Old and New. Pestel was educated at Queens’ College in Cambridge, graduating in 1609. The author was a chaplain to King Charles I. The title page of his book called him “the meanest amongst his late Majesties Chaplains in ordinary.” Written in Common Meter, in my opinion it would work nicely with Only Trust Him by John Hart Stockton. In this case, just sing the stanzas with the first half of the tune and leave off the chorus.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
- abbreviation, noun. A shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole.
- anemious, adjective. Exposed to wind; windswept.
- bigly, adverb. With great force; firmly, violently; (also) stoutly, strongly.
- bis, adverb. (As a direction in music) again, twice. A way to designate the repeat of a phrase or stanza.
- Briticism, noun. A word or phrase characteristic of the English of Great Britain but not used in the English of the United States or other countries.
- codswallop, noun (British Slang). Nonsense; rubbish.
- gravitas, noun. Seriousness or sobriety, as of conduct or speech.
- hypertonic, adjective (Physiology). Of or relating to hypertonia, that is, increased rigidity, tension, and spasticity of the muscles.
- immaculate, adjective. Free from spot or stain, spotlessly clean; free from fault, flaw, or errors; free from moral blemish or impurity; pure; undefiled.
- initialism, noun. A set of initials representing a name, organization, etc., with each letter pronounced separately; or, a word formed from the initial letters of a group of words and pronounced as a separate word.
- magnalia, noun (with plural agreement). Great or wonderful things; marvels (esp. of nature).
- mel, noun. Honey.
- pacify, verb (transitive). To appease (as wrath or other violent passion or appetite), to calm, still, or quiet; to restore peace to; to tranquilize.
- quarantine, noun (mass noun). A state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.
- sportingly, adverb. In a manner calculated to amuse or entertain; in or with jesting words or speech; wittily, satirically; facetiously, mischievously. (Now rare).
- WotY, noun. An initialism for Word(s) of the Year, referring to various assessments as to the most important word(s) in the public sphere during a specific year.
- zero-sum, adjective. In general, designating any situation in which an advantage to one participant necessarily leads to a disadvantage to one or more of the others.
Friday, December 18, 2020
John Chrysostom (circa AD 347-407) says this in Homily 10 on the Second Timothy:
“Only Luke is with me.” For he adhered to him inseparably. It was he who wrote the Gospel, and the General Acts; he was devoted to labors, and to learning, and a man of fortitude; of him Paul writes, “whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches.” 2 Corinthians 8:18Jerome of Stridon in De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men) Chapter 7 (circa AD 345-420) says Luke:
wrote a Gospel, concerning which the same Paul says, “We send with him a brother whose praise in the gospel is among all the churches”And in Letter 53, To Paulinus
...once we realize that their author is Luke the physician whose praise is in the gospel...The longer recension of the Epistle of Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians (Chapter 15) (died circa AD 108-140) credits Luke as being this brother whose praise in in the Gospel.
For he who shall both “do and teach, the same shall be great in the kingdom.” Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, first did and then taught, as Luke testifies, “whose praise is in the Gospel through all the Churches.”Eusebius of Caesarea (circa AD 262–3390) in Church History, Book III.4.8 makes a reference that seems to say Luke’s Gospel was already written when Paul was writing (though he doesn’t mention the 2 Corinthians passage).
And they say that Paul meant to refer to Luke’s Gospel wherever, as if speaking of some gospel of his own, he used the words, according to my Gospel.Some conservative scholars believe that AD 55-57 is a “reasonable estimate” for dating 2 Corinthians. If so, it would not be far of the possible dating of AD 58-59 that some give the gospel of Luke. Nevertheless, the interpretation of Luke being “the brother whose praise is in the gospel” is tenuous enough that one would not want to be too dogmatic about it.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Proponents of “Luke the Gentile” put forward this text to prove that Luke was a Gentile. In other words, Luke writes about Jews and speaks of “their proper tongue” – therefore he must not be a Jew, but rather a Gentile.
First, is Luke explaining or Peter speaking? If Peter is speaking, the question is settled. We know this does not prove Peter was not a Jew. However, if this is a parenthetical explanation by Luke, the question remains open.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
- Andrea Bocelli’s Beautiful Testimony of Life -- “Despite being unable to see, Andrea was born with other gifts. One, in particular, stands out. His voice has been called “the most beautiful in the world.”
- Disgraced Jerry Falwell Jr. drops defamation lawsuit against Liberty University -- “I’ve decided to take a time out from my litigation against Liberty University, but I will continue to keep all options on the table for an appropriate resolution to the matter.”
- Early Welsh Baptist Doctrines, Set forth in a Manuscript, ascribed to Vavasor Powell -- “As for Baptisme with water we doe beleiue it is an ordinance which ought to be practised by all those that doe beleiue and descerne for what end it was ordained.”
- Goya Foods CEO says Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was named ‘employee of the month’ after boycott -- “When she boycotted us, our sales actually increased 1,000%, so we gave her an honorary — we never were able to hand it to her — she got employee of the month for bringing attention to Goya and our adobo”
- History of the Restoration Movement -- “TheRestorationMovement.com is a large growing work about the Restoration Movement of Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone.”
- Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? Jesus Is Myth Become Fact “...the pagan myths that atheists often exaggerate to attack Christianity, Dr. Sunshine thinks, offer tantalizing echoes of Christ in other religions.”
- Old Wisbech Records -- “There is a volume containing registrations of births, burials, marriages and receptions into the church on baptism, from 1700 till 1837, concerning the Baptized Believers who owned Universal Redemption at Wisbech.”
- Six Rare F. F. Bruce articles found -- “The 1947 issues of The Sunday School Magazine contain early articles by F.F. Bruce, then still a Master of Arts, and lecturing at Leeds University.”
- Theology on the Web: Making Biblical Scholarship Accessible -- “Biblical Studies startpage for all the subsites: archeology, Bible, theology, missions, and more.”
- Tulsi Gabbard Proposes Bill to Ban Biological Males from Competing in Women’s Sports -- “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced a bill with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) on Thursday which would restrict federal funds from going to schools that allow boys and men to compete against girls and women in sports.”
- When Was Jesus Born? Why December 25? -- “There may well have been syncretistic borrowing involved in the creation of a December 25 holiday, but the direction of that borrowing is largely in the opposite direction from what is normally supposed.”
- 14 Fort Hood soldiers, leaders relieved or suspended due to major flaws on base -- “Fort Hood leadership knew or should have known of the high risk of harm to female soldiers, according to the report.”
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
A cappella versus Instrumental Accompaniment
One approach promoting the singing in church accompanied by musical instruments is an argument from the Greek verb psallo (and the related noun psalmos).
“Furthermore, in Eph 5:19, the phrase ‘making melody’ is the Greek word, psallo which means, ‘1) to pluck off, pull out, 2) to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang, 2a) to touch or strike the chord, to twang the strings of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate, 2b) to play on a stringed instrument, to play, the harp, etc. 2c) to sing to the music of the harp 2d) in the NT to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.’ We can see that the making melody to the Lord involves the use of musical instruments.”[i]
Psallo is used 5 times in 4 verses in
the New Testament, translated “sing” in Romans 15:9 and 1 Corinthians 14:15, “sing
psalms” in James 5:13, and “making melody” in Ephesians 5:19.[ii] Pointing
to the etymology of the word (to pluck a string), advocates say the command
to psallo means to sing with the accompaniment of musical
instruments. This etymological fallacy attaches a word’s etymology to its usage
and meaning. For example, the etymology of the word “goodbye” tells us it means
“God be with you.” Nevertheless, most people who utter the word “goodbye”
simply mean to express courtesy upon a departure, without connection to
whatever they believe about God. So with psallo. A look at a couple
of New Testament scriptures will expose the fallacy to what should be a sudden
and final death. No need to mine the depths of the Greek language; a little
logic will go a long way.
If a musical instrument inheres in psallo – if it always means to sing with musical accompaniment – then the command to psallo demands a mandatory obedience of singing with musical accompaniment. A cappella singing would be ruled out when the command is “to psallo.” So the merry one of James 5:13 must hold her peace if she does not have or does not know how to play an instrument. The spirit-filled believer of 1 Corinthians 14:26 who “hath a psalm” must remain silent if he left his accompaniment at home! Who can believe it?
In addition to the psallo argument, the next often cited argument probably derives from the normative principle:
“The fact that the New Testament nowhere condemns musical instruments indicates that the Old Testament practice was continued in the New Testament church.”[iii]
This is an application of the normative principle – “whatever is not forbidden is acceptable.”[iv] Further, it is a misreading and misapplication of the Scriptures. We cannot exclude things because Scripture does not specifically address (forbid) them! This approach opens the door to the inventions and imaginations of men regardless of whether Scripture supports them.
This argument should remind us, though, that musical instruments are not inherently sinful, and that God has accepted worship by and with them in the past. Therefore, it is not a matter of moral right or wrong, but rather a matter of what is commanded. However much we might enjoy musical instruments, however much God may be worshipped with them in the past or in the future, there is no command, precept or example – neither necessary inference – for it in the New Testament. If one will argue from the Bible that musical instruments should be used in church worship, sometimes other than these two arguments should be posited.
[ii] Sing in Ephesians 5:19 is ado.
[iii] From Are we supposed to use musical instruments in church? at GotQuestions.Org
[iv] For normative principle, see Principles of Worship. The regulative principle more closely follows the intent of Scripture. Interestingly, exclusive psalmodists who forbid musical instruments place themselves in the peculiar position to sing the commands to use of musical instruments in public worship, but cannot use them because the New Testament church is not commanded to use musical instruments.
Monday, December 14, 2020
- Country superstar Charley Pride dies aged 86 -- “...he became a country superstar, winning three Grammys over a long career and, in 2000, becoming the first black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
- CT Pres Blog -- “The antidote to entertainment-driven worship (what some even call, ‘worshiptainment,’) is not to point the fingers at all the people we think are doing it wrong, but to make sure that we are doing it right.”
- Dolly Parton says hellfire and brimstone preaching impacted her music: ‘I grew up knowing Jesus loved me’ -- “Country singer Dolly Parton started her musical career in her grandfather’s church, where he served as a minister.”
- Hymn and Tune arranged by Karen E. Smith -- “I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew, He moved my soul to it.”
- From My Correspondence: Is Western Music White Supremacist? A Christian Response -- “In order to answer subtle challenges like the one in the YouTube video this whole exchange has been about, we have to have some kind of theological understanding of culture.”
- Hymns sifted in Satan’s sieve of suffering -- “We are self-centered enough to think that our personal plight is exceptional, when in reality it is not.”
- “I don’t feel like singing” -- “Congregation: you are the most important instrument in the room. Act like it.”
- Modern Hymn Writers Revive Lost Art with Surprising Success -- “Most songwriters in Nashville want to get their songs on the radio. Keith and Kristyn Getty hope their songs end up in dusty old hymnbooks.”
- Nancarrow’s Player Piano Music Was Ahead of Its Time -- “Nancarrow spent much of his musical career with a passion for composing highly complex piano music. In fact, it was said to be so complex, that humans could not perform it.”
- The Government Says We Can’t Sing! What Should We Do? (A Forum) -- “A pastor friend recently emailed me the following question: Do you know of anyone who has navigated state mandates against congregational singing indoors?”
“The character of a nation is not to be found primarily in great political movements, and certainly not in an obsession with ‘progress.’ It is found in its land and weather, the kind of people who work there, the music they sing, the places where they worship, the games they play, the food they raise; what they honor and love, and what they will shed their blood to save.”
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Josiah Gilbert Holland wrote the hymn beginning with the first line “There’s a song in the air.” “There’s a song in the air” excellently expresses a childlike simplicity and joy regarding the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It seems best considered as meter 220.127.116.11.12.12. It was set to music in Christmas Song by Karl P. Harrington in 1904.
Holland was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts July 24, 1819. He served on the staff of the Springfield Republican newspaper, under Editor Samuel Bowles. He wrote numerous essays under the pseudonym Timothy Titcomb. In 1870, he became editor of Scribner’s Magazine. He wrote several poems, as well as a biography of Abraham Lincoln. “For summer’s bloom, and autumn’s blight” is among his well-known works (from Bitter-Sweet). Holland married Elizabeth L Chapin. He perhaps was a Unitarian. Henry Foote Wilder lists him in American Unitarian Hymn Writers and Hymns.[i] Josiah Holland died October 12, 1881 in New York City, New York. He is buried in the Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts.
There’s a star in the sky!
[i] Whether because he was a Unitarian or because “For summer’s bloom, and autumn’s blight” is included in the Unitarian Hymn and Tune Book for Church and Home (Boston, MA: 1868) is not clear to me.
Saturday, December 12, 2020
- celebrous, adjective. Famous, well-known, renowned. Also: well-attended, crowded.
- prominent, adjective. Standing out so as to be seen easily; conspicuous; particularly noticeable; leading, important, or well-known.
- dressing, noun. A seasoned mixture (as of bread crumbs, vegetables, and butter) that is typically baked in a pan and served with a turkey, pepper, etc. Cf. stuffing.
- stuffing, noun. A seasoned mixture (as of bread crumbs, vegetables, and butter) that is typically placed inside the cavity of a turkey, pepper, etc. and cooked. Cf. dressing.
- eminently, adverb. To a high degree; very.
- imminently, adverb. Ready to take place; in a way that is likely to happen very soon.
- epidemic, noun and adjective. A widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time (n.); of the nature of an epidemic (adj.).
- pandemic, noun and adjective. An outbreak of a pandemic disease (n.); (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world (adj.).
- plandemic, noun. A widespread occurrence of an infectious disease that is planned, especially that the Covid-19 virus is a planned bioweapon, is a planned effort to inspire worldwide vaccinations, or some other related conspiracy. From “plan” + “pandemic” or “plan” + “epidemic.” (A popular conspiracy term in 2020, it’s use can be found at least to 2006 in a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.)
- extraneous, adjective. Not constituting an essential or vital element or part; unrelated to the topic or matter at hand; coming from the outside.
- irrelevant, adjective. Not connected with or relevant to something.
- keening, noun and adjective. The action of wailing in grief for a dead person (n.); (of a sound) prolonged and high-pitched, typically in a way that expresses grief or sorrow (adj.).
- threnody, noun. A poem, speech, or song of lamentation, especially for the dead; dirge; funeral song.
- pair, noun. A set of two things used together or regarded as a unit; Two people related in some way or considered together.
- twin, noun. One of two children or animals born at the same birth; a person or thing that is exactly like another; something containing or consisting of two matching or corresponding parts.
- pedophobia, noun. Fear of children; hatred of children.
- podophobia, noun. An irrational fear of feet, especially the fear of looking at or touching feet, or the fear of having one’s own feet touched or looked at.
- Pentecost, noun. The Old Testament feast of weeks; Jewish festival of Shavuoth; the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter.
- Whitsunday (or Whit Sunday), noun. The seventh Sunday after Easter, a Christian festival commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. From “white Sunday,” a reference to the practice in some churches of the newly baptized wearing white robes at Pentecost.
- slummock, verb (intransitive, Scottish). To kiss amorously, in a particularly wet and slobbery way. Obsolete.
- smooch, verb (used without object). To kiss; to engage in amorous caressing; pet.
Friday, December 11, 2020
“Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he is now, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.”
I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:25).
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Charles Carrin’s Open Heart Letter tells his story of leaving the Primitive Baptists for other pastures. It is a very captivating story, whether or not you agree. The following admission really caught my attention.
For 30 years of ministry there were certain New Testament scriptures which I was unable to preach. Why? I felt honor-bound to interpret every Bible verse through our Articles of Faith. If scriptures did not agree with the Articles I thought I was confused about the Scripture. The Articles were right (I reasoned). If I had preached any Scripture contrary to the Articles I would have been excommunicated. I am convinced many other godly pastors are submitting to the same tragic error, and getting the same zero-results in their ministry.
In addition, Carrin wrote, “The enormity of Scripture can never be reduced to a few humanly-composed statements of faith.” Articles of faith are utilitarian for Baptists, but have at least at times been controversial as well – that is, whether you should even have them. In theory, all Baptists believe the Bible is the “only rule of faith and practice.” Most, however, do not think that it is wrong to express one’s views in some type of confession of faith. The early Separate Baptists in the United States for years stood solidly against creeds or articles of faith. George Bagwell expressed their view this way: If human creeds contain less than the Bible on the subject of religion, then they are incomplete. If they contain more than the Bible, they are not worthy of credit—are superfluous. If they contain the same as the Bible, then they are not creeds, but Bible itself. The Separate Baptist aversion to written creeds seems to have been thoughtful and sincere. However, many of them eventually saw the benefit of stating to others some of the things they believed about the Bible.
Properly understood, a statement of faith is neither authoritative nor immutable. It is prepared by individuals or churches to let others know some things they believe about the Bible. Associations adopt a statement of faith usually with the additional reason of providing a sort of minimum standard the churches need to hold in order to be able to cooperate with one another on an associational basis.
The problem with a creed or confession of faith is not that people or churches might try to express what they believe to others, but that they words can become deified documents, existing for their own purposes. The brasen serpent of Moses served a purpose (Numbers 21:8-9). Long after it outlived its purpose, the brasen serpent became a snare to the people (2 Kings 18:4). Hezekiah king of Judah recognized this and called it Nehushtan – a piece of brass – broke it in pieces.
Let articles of faith succinctly and simply express to others what we believe. If the document becomes a snare, break it in pieces. If we can only preach a creed, break it in pieces. If we are interpreting the Bible by our creed rather than fashioning our creed to the teachings of the Bible, break it in pieces. Let the statement serve a purpose. Let it not become stumblingblock or an idol.
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
- Burgs in a New Land -- “175 years ago, a wave of German immigrants transformed the Texas Hill Country.”
- Covid-19 Likely in U.S. in Mid-December 2019, CDC Scientists Report -- “The findings significantly strengthen evidence suggesting the virus was spreading around the world well before public health authorities and researchers became aware...”
- ERLC declares in federal court that ‘hierarchy’ governs SBC churches -- “ERLC joined in the Amicus Curiae with the Thomas More Society...The ERLC Amicus Curiae states specifically, ‘The primary, leading convention, or group, is the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the Southern Baptist governing body over all the various groups of churches...’”
- Full Time Ministers --“Most pastors will be bi-vocational and thus in a position of giving monetarily to the church, rather than receiving from it.”
- Ghost Town Hangout -- “Terlingua’s Starlight Theatre draws a crowd.”
- How transactional faith led evangelicals to embrace transactional politics -- “Small wonder, then, that some evangelicals just adapted this transactional model of faith to politics: We’ll give you votes if you’ll do what we want. That’s a shrewd enough business proposition.”
- LA Mayor bans walking outside -- “Remember the hit song from the ‘80s by the band Missing Persons that went, ‘Nobody walks in L.A.’? Who would’ve guessed that in 2020, that would be mandatory?”
- Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist, Thomas County, Org. 1845 -- “...the architecture and design of these Wiregrass Primitive churches are representative of this all pervasive, conservative approach to life and religion.”
- Siloam Baptist, Greene County, Org. 1828 -- “Siloam Baptist Church was originally organized as Smyrna Baptist and was constituted in December of 1828.”
- Sweet Memories -- “Visits to panaderías for pan dulce create cherished family bonds in Mexican American culture.”
- The Current Fad of Male Bashing -- “We will not have happy work places, contented homes, and fruitful congregations until men and women learn to respect one another.”
- Three Species of “Extinct” Frogs Rediscovered -- “The three animals that have been rediscovered so far include a Mexican salamander not seen since it was discovered in 1941, the Mount Nimba Reed Frog missing since 1967, and the Omaniundu Reed Frog lost since 1979.”