Lord of Creation Reign

Hymn #443 in the 1875 Wesley Hymnal (or #431 in the Collected Works of John and Charles Wesley) is a remarkable call for faithful evangelism and intercession in the Muslim world: 1. Sun of unclouded righteousness, With healing in Thy wings arise A sad, benighted world to bless, Which now in sin and error lies, Wrapped in Egyptian night profound, With chains of …

Childermas, Kindermord, or the Feast of the Innocents

Often called Childermas, Kindermord, or the Feast of the Innocents, the 28th of December (or more often, the Sunday between Christmas and Epiphany), traditionally solemnizes the slaughter of the children of Judea by Herod. It provides focus for the Christian Community’s calling and commitment to protect and preserve the sanctity of all human life. Immediately after the birth of Jesus, after the …

Stumbling to the Slaughter

Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidized abortion clinics killed 327,653 children in its fiscal year 2014, according to the world’s most profitable non-profit organization’s newly released annual report.

Horrifically, that works out to an average of 37 abortions per hour or nearly 1 every 90 seconds.

For its grisly work, Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million from government grants and reimbursements, approximately 41 percent of its revenue.

Despite the fact that the federal government is prohibited from paying directly for abortions through Title X family planning grants and reimbursements, federal funds do underwrite Planned Parenthood’s administration and programs, making the abortion behemoth’s child-killing programs possible.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:10-12)

The Spirit of the Age

“This day,In sadness borne,We must confess:The Spirit of the AgeHas crushedThe infant in the cradle.And yet:O glorious yet,One day, in gladness shown,We must profess:The infant from the mangerHas crushedThe Spirit of the Age.” Tristan Gylberd

Meaning It, Believing It, and Living It

It is one of the great ironies of our day that Christians can pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” and not actually mean anything by it. Indeed, it is a stunning paradox that we can live as if such a prayer could not be answered. Even worse, we can live as if such a prayer probably should not be answered.

Thomas Chalmers, the great nineteenth century pastor, reformer, and educator asserted that, “Pessimism about the real, palpable, and demonstrable transforming power of the Gospel in history ultimately engenders doubt in the whole of the culture. It is a doubt that has its naissance in over-spiritualizing the church but that has its renaissance in under-spiritualizing the society.”

If Christians have come to believe—contrary to all our creeds, confessions, and prayers—that the will of God is irrelevant to our culture, is it any wonder then that our culture has accepted that proposition with all the zeal of a new convert? Is it possible that our recalcitrance has led to their irreverence; that our passivity has led to their lasciviousness; that our subjective approach to obedience has led to their objective approach to disobedience; that our pessimism has led to their atheism?

This bizarre twist of fate is the result of an even more bizarre twist of faith. The disconnect between Christianity and civilization is the fruit of a woefully deficient theology of the covenant—which has in turn produced a woefully deficient practice of the covenant. Without covenantal orthodoxy and orthopraxy, it is inevitable that the church—and in turn, the wider culture—will plunge into a pool of concupiscence.

At the root of this covenantal unfaithfulness is our misconception of God’s redemptive purposes in history. Our dreadful pessimism is clear evidence of the fact that we have simply misconstrued the Gospel itself.

Jesus explained to His disciples just how the principles of the curse, with its inherent destructiveness, and grace, with its inherent constructiveness, are manifested throughout history. He said:

“The Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ And the slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them.’ Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matthew 13:24-30).

Explaining this parable later, He said:

“The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:37-43).

Essentially what Jesus was saying was that as history moves along, the basic principles of wickedness and righteousness are worked out more and more consistently. Evil matures and becomes ever more evil, ever more distinctive. Likewise godliness matures and becomes ever more godly, ever more distinctive. Tare-maturation will evidence itself in horrid debauchery and unimaginable abomination. As time moves along and men become more and more self-consciously tare-like, more and more self-consciously anti-Christ, the curse becomes more and more evident. They persist in their rebellion to the end, gnawing their tongues, and calling for the rocks to fall on them (Revelation 6:16).

If we knew nothing more than this, perhaps there might be warrant for our persistent pessimism. But we do know more than this. The Biblical perspective of increasing and encroaching wickedness in history comes with a very clear and forthright caveat:

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self- control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on my various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected as regards the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, as also that of those two came to be” (2 Timothy 3:1-9).

As history draws toward consummation, evil will become ever more consistently evil. The tares will mature. But notice the adamant caveat: “They will not make further progress” (2 Timothy 3:9).

Why will they not make further progress? Because just as the tares continue to mature, so does the wheat. The church becomes more and more consistent as history proceeds. She becomes more and more self-consciously Christ-like as covenantal faithfulness is worked out more and more consistently. The truth of the Gospel actually becomes clearer and clearer as time goes on. The steadfast reality of the Good News of Jesus Christ becomes more and more of a contrast with the vain fantasy of the philosophies of the world as history unfolds. Christianity in culture ultimately makes a real and tangible difference—both for the good and for good.

May it be that in days to come we will never be able to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” without actually meaning it, believing it, and living it.

2014: Best Films

Only a few of these films are actually new releases this year–they are just new to me. Though I typically don’t see very many movies, I try to make sure that the ones I do see really count. These days, that’s not a particularly easy task. At any rate, here is my very subjective list of the best of the …

2014: Best Non-Fiction

Here is my very subjective list of the best non-fiction books I was able to read in 2014, ranked here in no particular order: 1. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief by John Frame (P&R) This is a massive, magisterial work that sets traditional, orthodox, Reformed systematics within the compass of Frame’s triperspectival and trinitarian didactae. It is eloquent and …

Kippered

The great Swiss church historian, Merle d’Aubigné, visited Thomas Chalmers and his family in Edinburgh during the winter of 1840. Mrs. Chalmers served kippered herring for breakfast. Dr. d’Aubigné, unfamiliar with the dish asked, “What does kippered mean?” She replied, “It means kept or preserved.” Later, as he was taking his leave, d’Aubigné prayed a blessing on the household and …

Not Good News for Planned Parenthood

The 2014 elections were disastrous for Planned Parenthood’s Democrat sponsors in government. Thanks be to God.Despite spending millions of dollars, the abortion behemoth has virtually nothing to show for it in this election cycle.  Indeed, in Tennessee despite outspending the pro-life Yes on Amendment One campaign more than 3-1, Planned Parenthood was thumped at the polls.Now, we must see what …

A Will Rogers Election Eleventary

“The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.” “A fool and his money are soon elected.” “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” “There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, …

TR: The Original Family Values Social Conservative

“Never will I sit motionless while directly or indirectly apology is made for the murder of the helpless.” Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt was convinced that the family was the fundamental cornerstone of society. Anything that eroded the family’s strength or vitality, anything that sought to undermine its authority or integrity, and anything that subverted its holy purpose or virtue was …

Defending the Indefensible

What can possibly account for this? Is it moral brazenness? Is it intellectual blindness? Is it ideological stubbornness? Perhaps a combination of all three?Whatever the cause, it is more than a little reprehensible.

The Killer Angel

In life and death, Margaret Sanger, the progenitor of the grisly abortion industry and the patron of the devastatingly destructive sexual revolution has been lauded as a “radiant” and “courageous” reformer. Friend and foe alike have heralded her as a “heroine,” a “champion,” a “saint,” and a “martyr.” Honored by men as different and divergent as H. G. Wells and …