Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Neighbourly Way

I usually think of the rural South as a place of genuine friendliness and neighborliness. I'm not so sure that is still true in a widespread way. Old neighbors die or move. New ones who move in that we hardly know. We often think of a neighbor as a person who lives nearby or next to another. Jesus taught us to think another way -- be a neighbor by showing sympathy, mercy and kindness (especially to those in distress). Even the world and the wicked love those that love them.

Luke 10:30-37 tells the story we usually call "The Good Samaritan". In it Jesus tells us of one who was robbed, beaten and left for dead. After the thieves left him, he was encountered by a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan. In the encounter with the thieves and these three others, we learn 3 philosophies of dealing with our "neighbors".

1. What is yours is mine and I can have it. "A certain man...fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead." The philosophy of thieves is that anything that belongs to another is rightfully theirs (the thief's). They will take whatever they can, regardless of consequences, and not worry their conscience about it.

2. What is mine is mine and you can't have it. "[A] certain priest...when he saw him, he passed by on the other side" and "a Levite...came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side." The philosophy of the cheapskate and the tightwad, like the priest and Levite, is not one that necessarily takes from others. It is possessive of its own; it will not share. Maybe you don't have to worry about them stealing from you and leaving you with the consequences -- but they will not help. Will not give. Will not share.

3. What is mine is yours and you can have it. "[A] certain Samaritan...saw him...had compassion on him...and took care of him." The "Good Samaritan" was larger than life, with a heart as open as his pocketbook. He looked not to what he had and how he could it keep for himself, but looked for what must be done. He alone was neighbor to the man who fell among thieves.

"Go, and do thou likewise."

[Note: The "3 Philosophies" is not original to me. I heard and learned this from some unremembered soul years ago.]

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Poised To Win Popular Vote

According to Denny Burk, same-sex marriage is poised to win the popular vote in several places. I think he is correct. We are losing the battle for "traditional marriage," culturally speaking. The proponents of traditional heterosexual marriage are much to blame. While defending the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, we divorce, cheat, fornicate, adulterate, "pornographize" and so on. How is that defending the sanctity of marriage? These things ought not to be. In the past "American Christian Conservatives" have really bragged on how homosexual marriage only wins by legislatures and judges exerting their will on the people -- and can't win the popular vote. That is true. But it is coming. Some day it will win by popular vote -- and then again and again, over and over. Then what will we brag about? American Christians have bought too much stock in this culture, and the stock is going to crash. We have spent too much time worrying about whether the United States is a "Christian nation" than on whether we are biblical Christians. We'd better make sure we are on the Lord's side and not culture.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Top 200 Church Blogs

For you interest and enjoyment:
Top 200 Church Blogs 

[I was shocked and amazed that "Ministry and Music" didn't make the list! ;-) ]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jesus' wife?

At the top of today's religious and irreligious news is revelation of a papyrus fragment referring to Jesus' wife.

One interesting part of the dialogue is that the researchers claim it is not a forgery. I'd be interested in a clearer explanation of what they mean when they say that. Do they just mean this is really from the fourth-century and not something someone has tried to make look like that? Or something else? Some people will have their "faith" shaken because they will now think Jesus must have had a wife. But all this amounts to is someone writing in the fourth century after Christ who thinks He had a wife. No more and no less.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Resources for church history

Much of what I post related to history is about Baptists. But here are some links to non-Baptist related church history. These links are not endorsements of the men under consideration, neither do they imply agreement with the sources linked. But they can provide some interesting areas for reading, study and research.

Alexander Campbell/Restoration Movement Resources
Arminius/Arminian Resources
George Whitefield Resources
John Calvin Resources
John Knox (scroll to bottom for more reading links)
Martin Luther Resources
Saint Augustine's Library
Wesley Studies Resources

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Present Help in Time of Trouble

1 Why sinks my weak desponding mind?
Why heaves my heart the anxious sigh?
Can sovereign goodness be unkind?
Am I not safe when God is nigh?

2 He holds all nature in his hand:
That gracious hand on which I live,
Does life, and time, and death command,
And has immortal joys to give.

3 'Tis he supports this fainting frame,
On him alone my hopes recline;
the wondrous glories of his name,
How side they spread, how bright they shine!

4 Infinite wisdom! boundless power!
Unchanging faithfulness and love!
Here let me trust, while I adore,
And from my refuge ne'er remove.

5 My God, if thou art mine indeed,
Then I have all my heart can crave;
A present help in times of need,
Still kind to hear and strong to save.

6 Forgive my doubts, o gracious Lord,
And ease the sorrows of my breast;
Speak to my heart the healing word,
That thou art mine--and I am blest.

By Anne Steele

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quotable quotes

(as they say in Reader's Digest)

“The Beatitudes of our Lord do not say, 'Blessed are the orthodox'.” -- Ray Ortlund

"There was nothing my father mistrusted more than 'childhood piety.' He insisted that children should never be taught or allowed to use the language of personal possession' in reference to God. To sing, for instance, "Rock of Ages, cleft for ME" or, "MY Jesus". Herein he was most logical. For by early influence and example you can train up a child to be . . .
a little patriot,
a little Catholic,
a little Calvinist, or
a little Bolshevist.
He took great care that we, his children, attended the means of grace, and never missed chapel or family prayers. But he never expected us to be anything but little heathen. We had, it is true, to be well behaved little heathen. If not, we got "the stick", or its equivalent. But no power on earth can make him a child of God. "Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man—but of God." John 1:13" -- J.C. Philpot

"It was not so long ago, even in secular Western societies, that a man’s manhood was judged according to the way in which he protected and provided for the women in his life. Only a feminist ideologue surveying the wreckage of American society can really believe that the abandonment of this viewpoint has improved the lot of women and children." -- Robert Rayburn

"How often we have seen young members put off the important things “until I retire;” and when retired, too tired now to do anything but complain about the things they once should have put first while it “was day, for in the night, no man worketh.” I have observed this pattern now for over fifty years of my ministry." -- Stanley Phillips