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 …

Why Not the Apocrypha?

It is often asked (usually by Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox friends) why we Protestants do not accept the Apocrypha as Scripture.  The answer is fairly simple and straightforward: Indeed, there are several reasons why Protestants, like Jews, do not accept the Apocrypha as inspired Scripture. 1st is simply a matter of historicity: the Apocrypha was not even officially accepted …

Parish Life: A Thomas Chalmers Reader

“There is not, of course, any difficulty in explaining the indifference of the modern secular mind to Chalmers, neither is it surprising that churchmen of liberal persuasion should lack enthusiasm for his memory. What is more problematical is the question why evangelical Christianity itself should have made so little of him these many years.” Iaian Murray “To know Chalmers is …

A Vital, Essential Truth

This morning, in preparation for a day of writing, I reread the journal I kept during a trip to Iraq in 2003.  It was quite the adventure–in every conceivable sense of that word.I was struck by my last entry in the journal, written as our team was safely headed home:“According to Hebrews, faith is assurance and conviction. But faithfulness is …

In the Way of Grace

“We have to make the Bible our Vade Mecum, our book of reference, our book of trust.  Let us be convinced more and more of the prodigious fertility of the Bible.  How much lies hidden and unobserved, even after many perusals; and surely if it be true that a man may read it an hundred times and find something on …

Creed or Chaos

During the Second World War, the English woman of letters, Dorothy Sayers, gave a stunning address on the importance of doctrine.  Published after the war as Creed or Chaos, the central argument of the book remains remarkably prescient: “Something is happening to us today, which has not happened for a very long time. We are waging a war of religion. …

Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013)

Robert Farrar Capon, a writer, thinker, pastor, and cook of extraordinary depth and insight, has gone home to be with the Lord. He said and did and wrote much, for which we can all be thankful. Perhaps the following (one of my favorite passages from his revelatory book, The Supper of the Lamb) will suffice to explain why: To raise a …

Rock of Ages

Augustus Montague Toplady, clergyman and writer, was born in 1740, at Farnham, about 20 miles southwest of Windsor, England. He studied at the prestigious Westminster School for a short time, but was sent to Ireland in 1755, the same year as his conversion—he had been greatly influenced by the teachings of John Wesley.  Toplady received his degrees of Bachelor of …

A Different Tigger Altogether

“Well, I’ve got an idea,” said Rabbit.  “And, here it is.” “We take Tigger for a long explore.  Somewhere where he has never been.  And then, we lose him there.  And, the next morning we find him again.  And mark my words, he’ll be a different Tigger altogether.” “Why?” asked Pooh. “Because, he’ll be a humble Tigger.  Because, he’ll be …

Soli Vade Mecum Vitae

“I conceive every duty of a Christian to be comprehended in a single word: translation–a translation of the Scriptures into our his tongue, and a translation of its truths into his own heart and conduct. The Bible must be our soli vade mecum vitae, our sole book of reference for life, our only book of trust.” Thomas Chalmers 

A Lesson in Skirling

During the Christmas holidays in 1841, Thomas Chalmers, then perhaps the most prominent man in all of Scotland, paid a visit to the tiny Borders town of Skirling in Peebleshire.  During his stay, he consented to stop by the local village school and give a lecture on Mathematics.  The great man was always inclined to leave a moral philosophy lesson …