Theological Thoughts

The Danger of High Standards

Demanding high standards for our children is a noble thing. Demanding high standards while frustrating them in the process is foolish. In other words, our high standards need to be loving standards. We need to allow love to cover a multitude of sins lest we sin attempting to love.
In parenting, we need a healthy dose of humility. This is hard in an age when grades matter more than godliness; external obedience more than internal motivation. We cannot, however, allow our high standards to usurp the proper place for training in love. We need an end result where our children desire the good, true, and beautiful because they are infinitely better than the alternatives. It is possible that in our high standards we lose the purpose of the law: to direct our children to the God of the law.

Theology is not contrary to love, Episode 2

Introduction, Theology is Applied

Five Practices I Expect From My Boys

Five Practices I Expect From My Boys

Five Practices I hope my boys will exercise now and mature into as they get older:
1) Cook/Clean: I want them to be able to provide consistent opportunities for their wives/moms to rest from their labors.
2) Respect women: Treating ladies with utmost respect in word and deed (opening doors, speaking kindly, honoring them before and after leaving the home).
3) Respect those in authority: I hope they will seek the wisdom of parents, but also of their pastors when making important decisions honoring their roles as leaders in their communities.
4) Faithfulness to the local church: I want my boys to grow to love not only the worship of the Church but to serve the church in diaconal fashion, whether they become deacons or not (given to hospitality). Further, I hope they establish a pattern/example of faithful attendance; the kinds of men that pastors count on to be present always on Sundays and frequently in other informal gatherings.
5) Engaged in good conversations: While they may enjoy sports, I am much more concerned that they are engaged in life-changing conversations affecting their communities and the culture. This will necessarily require them to engage and read important books.

Christian Rituals

There is no magic. Life is about rituals. Therefore, we need to build rituals. We need to establish rituals that change not only who we are, but who we wish to be. Christian formation is grounded in rituals: intentional and achievable patterns. These patterns need to provide a sustainable rhythm day after day. What rhythms have strengthened your spiritual walk?

We Need a Resurrected Messiah!

The practice of Easter is where our Christian faith shines the most. Contrary to popular teachers, the Christian faith does not eliminate your problems, it gives you the wisdom to deal with them. This wisdom is found in a glorified Messiah. You and I need a resurrected Christ to help us; a dead Christ can’t see us through pain and suffering. We need a Lord and King who looks at us straight in the eyes and not through a veil; a Christ who says, “You need to eat, here’s bread; you need to live, here’s my Word.” Easter gives that to you. Christ is risen!

The Regulative Principle and Strange Fire

The Regulative Principle and Strange Fire

The Regulative Principle of worship in its strictest form–“whatever is not commanded is forbidden”–has been argued by Puritans from texts like Leviticus 10. But does the Nadab and Abihu incident actually make the case for the RPW? Peter Leithart argues persuasively for a more wisdom principle of the RPW:

The sin of Nadab and Abihu was offering “strange” or “unauthorized” fire on the altar. But there is no command anywhere about what fire was to be used for burning incense. Yet, the priests had to make some determination of what fire to bring, and from the experience of Nadab and Abihu it’s clear that they could make the WRONG decision.

In the absence of specific commandments about the fire, how were they to know? They should have reasoned from the structures of the sanctuary system. The distinction between holy and profane runs the length of the system: There is holy food and common food, holy people and common people, holy things and common things, holy incense and common incense, a holy God and strange gods. With that distinction being hammered again and again, they should have concluded that there is also holy fire and strange fire. With regard to the regulative principle, the important point is that they were supposed to make a liturgical decision NOT merely be searching for an explicit command, but by reasoning from the existing commands and patterns to draw conclusions concerning liturgical actions that were not dealt with explicitly.

James Jordan on Calvin’s Weekly Observance of the Sacraments

James Jordan summarizes the consequences of weekly communion:

Calvin desired greatly that the rite of the Lord’s Supper be present each week in worship, and that the thankfulness highlighted in worship be extended into all labor. In this way, the principles of the Kingdom would flow from worship into the highways and byways of all of life. For this reason also, Calvin produced liturgies that involved the people greatly in the performance of worship, for the performance of public worship was training for the performance of work.a

 

  1. Christian Piety: Deformed and Reformed  (back)

Is Easter Over?

Surrender-Surrender-To-Chance-Thomas_Coles-The_Picnic-Wikipedia
Is Easter over?

Theologically, we know that the earthquake of Easter will reverberate until the Second Coming of Messiah. And liturgically, Easter is in no way over. In fact, Easter has just begun. The joy of Easter carries on until June 3rd, which means we still have 49 days of Eastertide. Easter is far from over and there is much more rejoicing to do in the next seven weeks.

The difficulty for many of us is keeping this Easter enthusiasm for such a lengthy period. The reason many evangelicals are ready to get to the next thing is because they lack a sense of liturgical rhythm. Lent took us through a 40-day journey, but the Easter joy takes us through a 50-day journey. Easter is superior to Lent not only in length of days but also in the quality of its mood. Lent prepares us to a journey towards Calvary, while Easter takes us through a victory march. Through Easter, we are reminded to put away our sadness and embrace the heavenly trumpet sound to all the corners of the earth. “He is risen!, He is risen!, He is risen!” The devil trembles, the enemies fear, the forces of evil shake, the sound of sin is silenced when death was defeated.

What does this mean? It means we must be busy in the business of celebrating. For dads and moms, young and old, we have much to do to preserve and pervade this season with jubilance. I want to offer ten ways we can do that in the remaining 49 days of Easter. a More

  1. I unashamedly used some of the options from this great resource  (back)

N.T. Wright on Palm Sunday

If we try to follow Jesus in faith and hope and love on his journey to the cross, we will find that the hurricane of love which we tremblingly call God will sweep in from a fresh angle, fulfilling our dreams by first shattering them, bringing something new out of the dangerous combination of personal hopes and cultural pressures. We mustn’t be surprised if in this process there are moments when it feels as though we are being sucked down to the depths, five hundred miles from shore amid hundred-foot waves, weeping for the dream that has had to die, for the kingdom that isn’t coming the way we wanted. That is what it’s like when we are caught up in Jesus’s perfect storm. But be sure, when that happens, when you say with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “We had hoped … but now it’s all gone wrong,” that you are on the verge of hearing the fresh word – the word that comes when the storm is stilled, and in the new great calm we see a way forward we had never imagined. “Foolish ones,” said Jesus, “and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and so enter into his glory?” Who knows what might happen if each of us were to approach Holy Week and Good Friday praying humbly for the powerful fresh wind of God to blow into that combination of cultural pressure and personal aspiration, so that we each might share in the sufferings of the Messiah and come through into the new life he longs to give us.