An Accuser’s Mouth Shut

When a man criticizes and complains about a subject for a very long time, claiming to possess special insight into a matter and endeavors with great energy to prove his case, but is later shown to be woefully incorrect, he is made to look like a fool. His reputation is marred. He may sputter and back peddle with great emphasis, but sensible onlookers recognize the man’s error for what it is and pay little attention to his excuses. The amount of time and energy dedicated to such criticisms, as well as the degree of passion employed, will inevitably heighten the embarrassment. In other words, if a man dedicates the entirety of his life to a subject, and argues vociferously against a certain view, his error will more greatly impugn his reputation.

In the case of Satan, he has argued with unparalleled passion against God’s righteousness, urging that God unjustly overlooks sin. As far as time is concerned, his complaint has spanned the ages. Countless centuries have rolled by with him complaining in the background. So in terms of degree and duration, Satan’s accusations against God and His people have been unequaled.

Consider the following by way of reminder. When King David committed […]

What a Week!

Last week was full in more ways than one as I taught a four-day, intensive church planting course at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary to seventeen students.  Thankfully, two friends experienced in church planting helped me teach throughout the week as we emphasized together the evangelism, discipleship, and particularly the working of God’s Spirit necessary to see new works develop.  Their presence added to the joy of the time.  All of the students were special, and the possibilities and realities for their involvement in church plants are so exciting.

Yet it was made all the more special and exciting seeing those present who want to do cross cultural and across the ocean church planting!  We had present men and women from a large Asian nation who want to plant churches in North America to immigrant populations.  Also, two families participated who are planning to move to India next summer as a team to begin a work there.  These movements in our little denomination and seminary are unprecedented, and my heart is still pumping hard just remembering their hunger, intensity, and determination for what lies ahead.

At the end of class, the folks from India sang Psalm 67 in a beautiful Hindi arrangement one of them […]

Vanity Fair: Just Passing Through

Vanity Fair “broke the internet” with a story of shock and shame. As the church reflects on the way in which the world has responded with glee, we must be mindful that we live in Vanity Fair. As Christians, we ought not to be surprised; we need to realize that we live in the midst of a world that is hostile to God and his glory.

The pretentious and wonderful Oxford English Dictionary defines Vanity Fair as “a place or scene where all is frivolity and empty show; the world or a section of it as a scene of idle amusement and unsubstantial display.”

As the world screams “wonderful” and the church groans in disgust, we must remember where Vanity Fair got its name.

Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It is kept all the year long. It beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is lighter than vanity, and also because all that is there sold, or that cometh thither, is […]

Browse Worthy: Bruce Jenner’s Vanity Fair

With the explosion in print and social media of “the picture” (which I refuse to post here), one cannot escape the discussion about Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner.  Without offering a critique of each approach, here are ten trending articles in alphabetical order with insightful viewpoints regarding this matter.

Bruce Jenner, the Transgender Revolution, and Loving Our Neighbors – Denny Burk

Bruce Jenner is Not Brave – Nicole Russell

Calling Bruce Jenner a Woman is an Insult to Women – Matt Walsh

Caitlyn Jenner and Love in the Future Tense – Alex Duke

Fifty Shades of Gender Insanity – Walt Heyer

Franklin Graham on Facebook

I am Ryland – The Story of a Male-Identifying Little Girl Who Didn’t Transition – Lindsay Leigh Bentley

Jenner’s Vanity Fair – R.C. Sproul Jr.

John Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’ – Michael W. Chapman

Triple D Demented – Douglas Wilson

In case those ten are not enough, here’s my offering.   A few months ago I wrote about Jenner in a post entitled The Plastic Man.

Forget my head if it wasn’t attached

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

We all struggle with forgetfulness to some extent, I suppose. Missing appointments, searching for keys, failing the name-to-a-face game…it’s all one of the lesser devastations flowing from the Fall.

So perhaps we could forgiven for glossing over Philippians 4:4 on our way to more memorable verses like those on prayer (“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition…”) or contentment (“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”). A short verse on rejoicing seems so, well, forgettable. 

Some Audio Picks

A few audio picks for your listening pleasure:

• Christ the Center recently invited Dr. David Graves on the show to discuss the book of Leviticus. What a fantastic discussion it proved to be! If you would like some help thinking about the structure of Leviticus, or if you’re looking to chew on some tasty insights (which who isn’t, right?), this is the show for you.

• Dr. Prutow and Dr. Gordon recently met to debate the subject of exclusive Psalmody. Actually, the word debate is far too strong a term here. It was more like a friendly discussion; a good example of how to disagree in a gentlemanly way.

• By way of reminder, I’d like to encourage our readers to stay on top of The Briefing, a daily (and short) podcast detailing the latest events in the news. Al Mohler is the man behind the microphone, and he brings careful Christian analysis to the issue. Well worth your attention.

Sacrifices by Fire

I knew the day would come.

My life like yours is becoming increasingly a digital one.  I am moving more and more away from filing papers to storing items electronically.  I knew one day those three big, rusting, steel filing cabinets in our basement, sitting there like artifacts in a museum in that they remind you of the past but are rarely visited, would be emptied and removed. Sure, important documents would still be kept in a small filing cabinet or security box. But why keep paper files of items already stored on multiple devices and backed up in the cloud?

The past few days it finally happened.  A desire to declutter our basement drove me to do it.  What satisfaction it was to haul those cabinets out to the curb and, literally within minutes and without any summons, have a guy named Dan stop by in a pickup truck and haul them away to be scrapped.

Yet the joy of being free of the cabinets’ bulkiness turned into a bit of unexpected melancholy as I pulled the wagon filled with their contents over to the fire pit.  Now it was time to burn these papers, which mostly meant for me watching over two decades of […]

The Hospital is Full of Sick People!

I’m shocked! I mean absolutely shocked! Now, I don’t normally write in order to rant. I’m a firm believer that people have better things to do than read my rants–or anyone’s for that matter. But if I don’t say something I know I’m going to bottle it up and I’ll probably have a hard time sleeping–maybe even a hard time functioning as a normal human being. And if I don’t warn you, you might also experience what I did and I can’t even bear the thought. The craziest thing happened to me today. Can I tell you about it?

Here’s what happened. I decided to go and visit a hospital. I didn’t go because I felt sick. In fact, I felt just fine. I went simply to scope the place out. Now, I don’t do that on a regular basis and what I’m about to tell you will probably be so disturbing that you will never want to step foot in a hospital again. And, truth be told, I can’t blame you. Yes, you can thank me latter. Anyway, I got into the hospital and was waiting in the lobby and quickly found out that I was surrounded by coughing, sneezing, […]

Are We Being Exposed To Too Much Of The Bible?

Can I hear you say, did I read that right?  How could anyone be exposed to too much of the Bible?  I am aware that most of you reading this blog will be serious, godly people, but the title is ‘Gentle Reformation’ and surely our desire is that there would be a gentle reformation in the lives of those around us who profess faith in Christ but are struggling to live it.
I think one of the issues facing the church today is the fact that too few Christians are actually living as Christians because too few Christians are actually reading their Bible. Why is this the case?  Is it because too many Christians think that they are probably getting enough of the Bible already, from their multiple contacts with it through the church?  If that is the case, therein lies a grave danger.  For it indicates that many Christians are confusing exposure to the Bible with engagement with God through His Word?  (Even if that exposure is of a really good quality.)
Think about it.  What does the normal church/personal life look like with reference to God’s Word.  On a Sunday you have Sunday school or Bible classes with doctrinal or thematic teaching, one, hopefully […]

Baptism and the Burden of Proof

Who bears the burden of proof in the argument over infant baptism? The New Testament (NT) neither explicitly commands the baptizing of infant children of believers nor forbids it. Sometimes what is NOT said speaks loudly to us. In this case, the absence of a direct command regarding infants and baptism strongly supports one position on this issue over the other.

Given that the people of God in the Old Testament (OT) had been putting the sign of the covenant (circumcision) on their infant children for nearly 2,000 years when Jesus arrived on the scene, it is logical to infer that NT believers, who were overwhelmingly Jewish, would have assumed that the NT sign of the covenant (baptism) would be applied to their children as well. The absence of any prohibitions on baptizing the children of believers or even any discussion of this as an issue in the churches to which Paul wrote suggests that this was NOT an issue in the early church. The only way it could be a non-issue is if there was no fundamental change in the way the sign was applied to the children of believers.

While there is […]