Theological Thoughts

Baptism of Little Ezra

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As a pastor, I have many privileges. Among them is to baptize little people. This past Sunday, I had the joy of baptizing my fourth boy, Ezra Alexander.

But this baptism is not a single event. It’s an unfolding event. Baptism is not a ticket to heaven, it’s a call to live heavenly. As the Apostle John says, Ezra is also being called to walk throughout his life in the way of obedient faith, and faithful obedience.

 

Quitting the Internet in a Post-Truth World

Quitting the Internet in a Post-Truth World

I’ve been fairly fascinated by the concept of going “analog.” It means leaving social media behind for older ways of doing things. For many, the headache, tension, frustration are almost enough to unplug. I’ve come to a few conclusions about how to best use social media appropriately which I hope to share in the future. Among them is the idea of minimal engagement with responses. But many are taking it a step further and unplugging all together. I’ve written about some dangers here and the natural consequences of a plugged world here.

In an interesting interview with Parks and Rec star, Aziz Ansari, he makes some observations for why he quit social media. Here are some highlights:

…in a post-truth world, it doesn’t feel like we’re reading news for the reason we used to, which was to get a better sense of what’s going on in the world and to enrich yourself by being aware. It seems like we’re reading wrestling rumors…it all just seems so sensationalized,” he said. It’s not that the news doesn’t matter… it’s that reading the news is “putting me in a bad state of mind.”

I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there’s a new thing. And read a book instead. I’ve been doing it for a couple months, and it’s worked. I’m reading, like, three books right now. I’m putting something in my mind. It feels so much better than just reading the Internet and not remembering anything.

The interview contains some bad language, and Asiz seems strongly anti-Christian, but the ideas are fairly interesting to contemplate. The concept of “post-truth world” is an idea Christians need to wrestle with in this age. How do we communicate and what must we do to speak truth in a day when truth is not valued?

Teaching as a Spiritual Experience

Teaching as a Spiritual Experience

As a new school year begins I want to ask God’s blessings and favor on my friends who are instructors whether in the classroom or at home. Perhaps a good subtle encouragement may come from the lips of our rotund friend, G.K. Chesterton, who once wrote: “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Teaching is a spiritual exercise. It is not a dispensing machine of facts.

Teaching is a deeply emotional and intellectual exercise. And in the process of instructing, one is faced with the many challenges of confronting, challenging, restoring, and rebuilding. There will be many situations where gratitude seems as distant as possible from reality. But in such situations, moms, dads and teachers need to contemplate the engaging and spiritually-charged journey of passing wisdom to another image-bearer. Through every tear and laughter, remember to give thanks. When gratitude is forgotten education suffers from the violence of idolatry; for idolatry entails forgetting the Creator and his gifts. Seek gratitude. Embrace gratitude as a caffeinated arrow of grace in your life. Teach. Give thanks. And persevere. The Lord be with you.

What Should a Pastor Read?

What Should a Pastor Read?

I am the founder of Kuyperian Commentary. Recently I had a conversation with my friend Dustin Messer on what a pastor should read. Take a listen and subscribe to the podcast.

What should a pastor’s reading list and library look like? Should his reading be limited to serious theological tomes and commentaries?

In this episode of the Kuyperian Commentary Podcast, Pastor Uri Brito explains how our patterns and choices in reading can reflect a more Trinitarian approach that includes a broader variety of reading.

Subscribe to the Kuyperian Commentary Podcast on iTunes and Google Play.

4 Suggestions to Develop a Singing Culture

4 Suggestions to Develop a Singing Culture

I want to suggest the following practical steps to developing a singing culture in the Church:
a) When eating together with other families, print some music to sing before a meal.
b) Invite people over for a mini-Psalm sing. It takes one person to lead a crowd. If you have a piano or guitar player, even better.
c) When at home, use opportunities to sing your meal prayers. I have a sung version of our prayer (send me a note). It is simple and easily memorizable. My littlest one was singing it at 20 months.
d) End the day with a song. Ask the children to choose one. Our children’s favorite is “The Son of God Goes Forth to War.”

Notes on Education: Public Schools

Notes on Education: Public Schools

I am part of a denomination that treasures Christian education (see CREC Memorial in the bottom). I don’t think we win the cultural and ideological wars by allowing unbelievers to indoctrinate our children. Not only is this clearly commanded in the Scriptures, but a consistent view of the world demands it. After all, neutrality is a myth.

While our children find themselves in a position of receiving education under parents, tutors, and teachers, they are to receive an education that comports with the general principles and ideals of an explicitly Christian education. Worldview training requires nothing less.

CREC Memorial on Education:
All things are to be considered and conducted under the Lordship of
Jesus Christ, including education, and especially the education of our
covenant children. God has not charged the state to educate children
but has explicitly commanded parents to bring up their children in the
education and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4, Deut. 6:7). Given the
importance and enormity of the task (Ps. 127:3-5, Deut. 6:7-9), and
the impossibility of neutrality in education (Prov. 1:7, Matt. 12:30,
Luke 6:40, Col. 2:1-10, 2 Cor. 10:3-5), we do heartily affirm the
necessity of educating our children in a manner that is explicitly
Christian in content and rigor. Government schools tend to be, by
decree and design, explicitly godless, and therefore normally should
not be considered a legitimate means of inculcating true faith, holy
living and a decidedly Christian worldview in the children of Christian
parents. Therefore, we strongly encourage Christian parents to seek
alternative ways of educating their children, whether by means of
Christian schools or homeschooling. In cases, where Christian
education is an impossibility, parents must be active and diligent in
overseeing the education of their children.
Parents who do not fully understand the indispensability of Christian
education should be warmly received into membership. However, the
leaders of Christ’s church must thoroughly understand and plainly
teach the divine imperative to disciple our children, the divine
prohibition of rendering unto Caesar those who bear God’s image
(Matt. 22:20-21), the divine warning to those who cause their little
ones to stumble (Matt. 18:6) and the divine promises to those who
raise their children in faith (Deut. 7:9, Ps.102:5-7, Ps. 103:17-18,
Prov. 22:6, Luke 1:48-50, Acts 2:39).

Brief Notes on Children’s Education: On Boundaries

Brief Notes on Children’s Education: On Boundaries

Developing a robust view of the world in our children demands boundaries. Therefore, defining these boundaries are crucial educational steps in the early stages of child-rearing.

The absence of boundaries generally produces confused children. We may call this “Enlightenment Parenting.” The children of the enlightenment will jump in the first puddle they find. Whether shallow or deep, they will learn to walk by sight rather than faith. But if they understand the purpose of boundaries, even expressing appreciation and love for them, children will walk in green pastures and be planted by the rivers of life growing into a greater knowledge of God’s world.

Fetal Worldview

I accompanied my wife to the doctor to hear our baby’s heartbeat. It was a magical moment. This is our fifth child and I am still amazed by it each time I hear the sound of life.

I was reminded that our child’s worldview does not begin to be formed when he is born into this world, but when he/she is formed in the mother’s womb (Psalm 139:14). We need a womb theology that equips parents to think biblically about life and the world–which is what a worldview is.

If the life and humanity of the unborn begin at conception then our work as parents does not wait for delivery. The parental duty, therefore, begins by singing, talking, and bathing the unborn in the God who formed him. This may sound strange to some ears, but a pro-life view is not simply one that advocates on behalf of the unborn, but one that ministers to the unborn.

 

Supper Meditation

Supper Meditation

(On the Body; I Corinthians 6:12-20)

This table is given to people whose bodies have served other lords but have found refuge in the true Lord. This table is for redeemed bodies. This table is for those baptized. Baptism is the prerequisite for this table because baptism is the beginning of our commitment to live as unto the Lord in body and soul.

Loving Your Wife with Honor

Loving Your Wife with Honor

Jesus wants you to love your wife so much that she should be sad to see you leave and thrilled to see you come back home. Your marriage needs to be the coronation of self-sacrifice. The world needs to see Christian men unashamedly in love with their wives. Chesterton once wrote that “Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline.” You didn’t decline. You took on the armor to serve her. Now fight! Fight wholeheartedly to the glory of God; for the good of Narnia. Get rid of the ring of selfishness in Mount Doom where harsh masculinity abides and put on Jesus–the God/Husband who gave and gave and gave to the point of death.