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Archive for the ‘Calling’ Category

The Baptized BodyThe Baptized Body by Peter J. Leithart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For me, this book, like Leithart’s writings generally, was both a hit and a miss. Let’s take it from the top.

Chapter one, “Starting before the Beginning,” was intended to clear “enough ground to move ahead” to discuss the biblical texts about baptism. This chapter seemed a bit choppy, as Leithart’s hitting on different philosophical, ontological, and theological topics. It was intended to be controversial with section headings such as, “Why Sacraments Are Not Signs,” “Why Sacraments Are Not Means of Grace,” and “Why Sacraments Are Not Symbols.” That said, I found the concept of Sacraments as rituals to be compelling and helpful. Sacraments can, however, be signs, means of grace, symbols, AND rituals. (more…)

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I ran across a gorgeous little ditty from John Calvin today. It fits into the discussion about God’s will and the salvation of people. Calvin’s little tract is called “Articles concerning Predestination”; it’s found in a volume translated and edited by J.K.S. Reid entitled Calvin: Theological Treatises. In that the article is short, I will reproduce the whole thing below and then add some comments afterward.

Articles concerning Predestination

Before the first man was created, God in his eternal counsel had determined what he willed to be done with the whole human race.

In the hidden counsel of God it was determined that Adam should fall from the unimpaired condition of his nature, and by his defection should involve all his posterity in sentence of eternal death.

Upon the same decree depends the distinction between elect and reprobate: as he adopted some for himself for salvation, he destined others for eternal ruin. (more…)

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I am delighted to see that my pastor from the Olympia Bible Presbyterian Church, Tito Lyro, has begun to post on his blog. He has a pithy little ditty on Aaron Rodgers, Tim Tebow, and Francis of Assisi. Go give that a look-see.

Crazy Preacher Man

Having read Pastor Tito’s post, it occurred to me that Jesus, too, used words to preach the gospel. Mark 1:14-5 says, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” Mark says that Jesus was “proclaiming” the gospel. This means that he preached, and to do so, he must have used words. In fact, Mark summarizes his words: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Do note that Jesus didn’t come groovin’ up slowly into Galilee and put out the gospel vibe. He didn’t just stand around and exude the good news. He spoke it, preached it, proclaimed and heralded it.

If it can be said of anyone that they lived righteously before men, it can be said of Jesus. He, after all, was (and is!) without sin (2 Cor 5:21). Yet even the perfect life of Jesus Christ is not enough to “preach the gospel,” for preaching the gospel takes words. God gave you a mouth… use it.

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Dear child, do you wish to lead a Christian life and to live according to the will of God our heavenly Father?

Yes, dear father, for I have been baptized in the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit….

These are the opening words from Martin Bucer’s catechism from 1534. Note that the child’s identity is wrapped up in their baptism. “Do you want to live in a way that pleases God?” “Yes, for I am baptized.” That’s not a full answer, but it’s a fine start. We train up our children to grow up into who they are: children of God. Further, note the strong connection between discipleship and baptism, which is drawn from (among other places) Mt 28. Bucer’s commitment to Christian pedagogy also made Strasbourg a thriving center of evangelical education.

(Drawn from Hughes Oliphant Old’s The Shaping of the Reformed Baptismal Rite in the Sixteenth Century [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992], 186.)

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A friend from college shared an article on Facebook today which I thought to be supremely interesting. The article is called “My Ex-Gay Friend,” and it’s written by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, a skilled and thoughtful writer.  Give his article a read and then come on back for my thoughts on it.

One of the things I liked most about Benoit’s article is that it captured something of a panorama of Michael Glatze’s life (though he left out the fact that Michael was born in Olympia, WA – where I live!). As such, there are a ton of things that I find interesting in the article. For the time being, I will limit my observations to two areas: 1) the overpowering might of Jesus Christ, and 2) the notion of the perseverance of the gays. (more…)

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Heidelberg Catechism #44

Q. Why does the Creed add, “He descended to Hell”?

A.  To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation that Christ my Lord, by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul, especially on the cross but also earlier, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.

Theological: Our theological instructors (Ursinus & Olevianus), in their pastoral wisdom, skipped over the controversy surrounding this passage; so will I. (more…)

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What's the Problem?

With all the hubbub surrounding the atonement of late, some comments have surfaced that are quite interesting as to what people think Calvinists think (and say). These comments are telling, as some of them indicate that Calvinism’s being opposed, but  not fully understood. (That, by the way, is a VERY important point, as “Ready! Fire! Aim!” is not the best method.) One of my friends (a genuinely intelligent, well read, and well-intentioned brother in Christ) made this comment:

So once again “everyone who believes” is justified. Reminds me of John’s gospel saying “whosoever will”. Funny how these phrases keep popping up in regard to the unlimited extent of the atonement.

Now, of course it is a non sequitur to think that “whosoever will” implies an “unlimited extent” to the atonement. (more…)

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