Jesus’ Tears – No. 3

The hour is late. Christ has left Jerusalem with his disciples. They leave the warmth of the house and make their way out into the cold night, down into the Kidron valley and start to ascend the Mount of Olives. At its foot lies a small grove of olive trees with a press for crushing the olives. Gethsemane was a peaceful place where Jesus had spent time in prayer.

Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him into the garden. He begins to pray and soon his face is marked once more with tears. Why is he weeping? In these tears Jesus displays for us the agony he went through to win our salvation.

And these perhaps are the most precious tears, because in these tears we see what we have been spared from. We see the depths of Jesus’ love for us, and we see the awful price he paid that we might be forgiven. What do these tears tells us?

These tears speak of the intense sorrow Jesus felt

This sorrow is unusually real and deep. He was overwhelmed to the point of death, surrounded by grief and drowning in pain. Mark in his account says Jesus was “greatly distressed.” This word […]



In Praise of Church Meetings

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1Corinthians 14:40, NKJ).

As our denomination prepares for the annual meetings of Synod next week, the difficult task of reading and digesting a mountain of reports and of organizing my schedule to accommodate being gone for the better part of a week is upon me.  While I do enjoy visiting with friends whom I’ve not seen for many months, I must confess that church meetings are not something I look forward to with much anticipation.  Sitting in one room for hours, parliamentary procedure, eating institutional food, sleeping in a dorm room, listening to seemingly endless debates and reports – none of it really appeals.  After about a day and a half, I am ready to give up and go home.  But this year I am heading to our annual meetings with an altered perspective and renewed appreciation for the blessings of ordered and faithful church government.


An up-front discussion; the best seats in worship

Fans pay big money for courtside seats at an NBA Finals game. But when it comes to God’s courts of worship, the prized seats seem to be on the back row. It’s not just true of Back-Row Baptists. It’s also true of Posterior Presbyterians, Latter-Seat Lutherans, and the Rearward Reformed. The trend seems to contradict the profound eagerness the psalmist articulated as he entered the gates of God’s courts with thanksgiving (Psalm 100:4), the joy untold he found when beckoned by fellow saints to go to the Lord’s house (Psalm 122:1), and sorrow of heart he experienced when he could not lead the throng in procession into God’s house as he had previously done (Psalm 42:4).

Certainly, some people have legitimate reasons to sit near the back. These include:

Parents and caretakers with very young children
Elderly saints and physically afflicted individuals
Visitors, especially those who are nervous about being in a church in the first place
On-call servants such as ushers, nursery workers, and security personnel

For the rest, you should consider sitting nearer the front. It is a form of ministry, or service, in the truest sense. You will serve God with more vigor, and you will serve people with deeper love.

What happens as […]


3GT Episode: To Desire or Not to Desire

The gents discuss Christ and culture, technology and the question: Does God desire the salvation of all men? (And please forgive the quality of Austin’s microphone.  His regular microphone broke, and so he had to use a junky one at the last minute, which picked up a lot of “Pfft” sounds.  Enter sad face here.)

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/3gt-171.mp3

Download

Beginning: Interaction with Carl Trueman’s view of Christ and culture
27 minute mark: Rewind on technology
34 minute mark (and some change): Discussion on 1 Timothy 2:4


Don’t Be a Bozo!

Do you know who the first Bozo was?  When you hear that question, you may think I’m talking about the clown and who first played him. We’ll get back to the clown. However, my meaning is about where the name most likely originated.

Probably the name Bozo comes from a historical character who lived nearly a thousand years ago. A man named Boso (spelled with an s) was an abbot in a French abbey.  Boso and the church father Anselm corresponded a great deal about theological matters in the eleventh century, so much so that Anselm used Boso as a foil in his famous work Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man).  In this book, Anselm has Boso asking questions, and in response Anselm explains thoroughly to him why the Son of God had to become man in order to redeem us. As one person stated in a New York Times editorial, “Boso is the dummy, often obtuse, allowing Anselm to chide him, defeat his views and continue in a teacher-to-student relation.” Anselm proves clearly, at Boso’s expense, that no other means for accomplishing salvation would have sufficed.

This same article continues, “No doubt many a slow-witted monk was called ‘Boso’ by his fellows as Anselm’s influence on Christian […]


“Beautiful Beyond Description”

I’m just back from a Jonathan Edwards conference in Durham. The last talk was superb and I thought I would share its outline with you [plus a few random thoughts of my own].
It called to mind an article I read on a BBC website some years ago on what makes a person beautiful. “True beauty”, said the author, “is about symmetry, balance and harmony”. He went on to illustrate this with precision line drawings and pencil sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci. “Every model” he asserted “when you look at their face, jaw, eyes and cheekbones, will have angles that are symmetrical and identical on both sides” [Just by the way, this is a dim, distant, paraphrase]. What depressed me the next morning, as I looked in the mirror, was a nose bent in the middle and one eye higher than the other – I decided I would settle for a little inner beauty!
Our conference speaker at Durham made exactly the same point. He illustrated balance, with all parts working harmoniously, in the abseiling activity of an arachnid descending from its thread, and spinning its silky web. ‘Thus’, he provisionally concluded, ‘we see the glory of divine beauty in nature through the […]


How to Read Revelation

Of all the many and various obstacles that stand in the way of people reading and profiting from the book of Revelation, perhaps one of the greatest is the bizarre, head-scratching imagery of the book. But there is a key that will unlock this closed door—and it’s a key you’ve had in your pocket all along. It’s called the Old Testament.
There are more OT references in Revelation than in any other NT book. Just how many there are exactly depends on how you count them and what you regard as an OT reference. The of range estimates varies from 394 up to more than 1,200. Whatever the precise number, you can’t go more than couple of verses without finding an allusion or an echo or a quotation from the OT.
So if the imagery in Revelation seems strange to us, I think it’s mainly because we don’t know the OT well enough. One like a son of man among the lampstands, the four horsemen riding different coloured horses, the mark of the beast, seven trumpets, seven plagues, the new heavens and earth, a great red dragon, the new Jerusalem adorned with precious stones… The OT must be the first place we […]


Trinitarian Controversy: Necessary Sharpening or Unnecessary Strife?

Sometimes the unfortunate idiomatic expression: “Boys will be boys,” is used to excuse turning a blind eye to the irresponsible behavior of some. After all, what more can you expect from boys? Well, if I can borrow that phrase and adjust it slightly, I suppose one might excuse their deaf ear when it comes to certain theological controversies determining that: “Theologians will be theologians.” There seems to be a certain expectation that theologians will raise mountains out of molehills, create crises out of theological thin air, and make every point of doctrine and endless potential for dilemma. I understand and am not completely unsympathetic toward those who see many theological controversies as a hopeless labyrinth of details lacking practical value.

But not every controversy is a mere “quarrel of words.” The history of the church testifies that out of our greatest strife we have been most sharpened. While those who engage in the debates might do a better job communicating to observers the value and worth of their discussions, so too those who tend to be disinclined shouldn’t be quick to dismiss all arguments as an “unhealthy craving for controversy” (1 Timothy 6:4). Perhaps we can all do better at learning […]


Friction

Recently I was out in the woods hauling some things with a wheelbarrow. As I tromped down the hill, with the weeds, grass, and briars brushing against my legs and arms, I was concerned about getting poison ivy. Then I remembered seeing this video about how to never contract it again (proving Facebook does have some value!).

The message of the video, delivered by Dr. Jim Brauker, is that the urishiol oil in poison ivy must remain on your skin for some time to create the itchy rash. Since this oil is undetectable to the eye and adheres to the skin, it is easy for it to remain on your body. Using very visible axle grease to demonstrate, in the video Brauker shows different ways you get the oil on your skin and then, with his hands and arms blackened by the grease, goes inside to clean up. Brauker uses different soaps and proves that none of them is the true answer to getting rid of the oil. The key is (you guessed it from the title) friction. He uses soap and running water with a cloth, and carefully cleans the axle grease off by rubbing it. He explains in the video that most people get […]