Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Christian Hospitality

Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Romans 12:13-14 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Just been in Toronto, Canada for a wedding.
Stunned by the level of hospitality shown to us by the bride's family, though we've never met them before.

Flats were vacated for us, and they simply handed us the keys, even offering to drive us to and fro as we went around the city.
Random relatives opened their homes to us, and allowed us to stay and enjoy all their comforts.

I know we're not angels, but this was a lesson learnt - total hospitality as a demonstration of the God who loves those who are His enemies, those He does not know, in the hopes that they will know Him and be known by Him.

A big thank you, especially, to John & Marg!


Sunday, 20 July 2008

Five Smooth Stones

Glen's doing another series via David & Goliath:

1. Preaching

2. Grace


3. Faith

4. Election

5. Reward

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

12 days of Christmas

So I never knew the song "12 days of Christmas" had such theological depth...

Paul Blackham (taken from Mark Meynell's blog):

It has got to be the most theologically intense Christmas song. I know that might sound odd… but it is a song written as a memory aid to teach Christian doctrine. It is one of several songs called “catechism songs”. I’m sure some already know this, but here is a complete list of the 12 gifts and their meanings:

  • 1 Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus on the Cross
  • 2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
  • 3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity (Some think this is The Trinity, but this is not the case)
  • 4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
  • 5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the books of Moses
  • 6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
  • 7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit OR the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith
  • 8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes (from the start of the Sermon on the Mount)
  • 9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Spirit
  • 10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
  • 11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
  • 12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Yet More Venning

Ralph Venning is turning out to be one of my all-time favourite Puritans...
more from his book on sin:

Love the sinner, hate the sin??

God hates man for sin. It is not only sin but sinners that God hates, and that for sin. IT is said of God that He hates the workers of iniquity (Ps 5.5); not only the works of iniquity but the workers of it. Hatred is known not by judgements, nor by the evil of suffering, but by the evil of sin which is before us (Ecc 9:1-2). It is because of sin that the merciful God says, "He that made them will not have mercy on them, nor shew them any favour" (Is 27:11). This is the highest that can be spoken of the venom of sin, that in a sense, and to speak after the manner of men, it has put hatred into God Himself; it has made the Lord hate and destroy His own workmanship. God is love, and judgement is a strange work; yet sin makes Him out of love with men and in love with their destruction at last. Though He does not delight in the death of a sinner who repents, yet He does in the death of one who is impenitent...

Christ is the best and the greatest of Saviours, and His salvation is the best and greatest salvation. This proves sin to be the worst and greatest of evils...

Sin is so sinful, contrary and displeasing to God, and has made man so much God's enemy, that it is a mircale that He should find His enemies and let them go away safely. God who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity looks on the sin of men. His eyes so affect His heart as to grieve Him. It tempts and provokes Him to anger, wrath and hatred. And yet God keeps His anger, which is like burning coals in the bosom; He does not let out all His wrath and ease Himself of His burden by avenging Himself on His adversaries, but He woos and waits on sinners. Such is the power of His patience, the infiniteness of His mercy and compassion, and the riches of His unsearchable grace!


His concluding paragraph:

Lastly then, the poor despised profession of the power of godliness, a trembling at the Word of God, a scrupulous and conscientious forebearance not only of oaths but of idle words, a tenderness and aptness to bleed at the touch of any sin, a boldness to withstand the corruptions of the times, a conscience of but the appearance of evil, a walking humbly and mournfully before God, an heroic resolution to be strict and circumspect, to walk in an exact and geometrical holiness in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, which the world esteems and scorns as the peevishness of a few silly impolitic men, shall in good earnest from the mouth of God Himself be declared to have been the true and narrow way which leads to salvation; and the enemies thereof shall then, when it is too late, be driven to that desperate and shameful confession: 'We fools counted their life madness, and their end to have been without honour. And now they are reckoned among the saints and have their portion with the Almighty!'

A Quick Christology of Abraham

Genesis 15:6 6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Ever wondered why Abraham was only counted righteous at Gen 15?
It's clear he had faith at Genesis 12!

Hebrews 11:8-9 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.

This is a very rapid attempt at seeing Christ through Abraham:

starting at Gen 12:
- so his name is Abram - exalted Father - who will become the Father of many nations
- he leaves his father's house and home for the promised land
- he is promised to have the greatest name above all names
- he is destined to go there with his wife - the princess - Sarai - the one who will be the Jerusalem that is above (cf: Gal 4)
- he will take over the land of Canaan - the city of merchants - making it the city of peace
- he places his tent between Bethel (house of God) & Ai (destruction) - both places that will only be named much later
- he starts of in Canaan - but then goes into Egypt
- in Egypt he shows that his wife is actually his sister - and Pharaoh who tries to steal her away is rebuked
- instead out of Egypt he is called, the prince who will own all the treasures of the serpent king
- He is the chosen one who seeks only the land of God, not the land of riches - which Lot seeks, going east - living in Sodom
- So Abram claims his title on Canaan - the entire promised land - in all directions - promised to all from the Seed
- meanwhile - the rulers and powers of the earth - note their names & their Nephilim heritage (e.g. Tidal king of Goiim means 'The reverent king of all the nations') their absolute audacity - they war with one another in the valley of destruction
- the renegade powers then possess that which belongs to the family of the chosen seed
- Abram and his band of mighty oak-faith-men then defeat the kings that rage in vain
- they pursue them till judgement (Dan - another place that has not been named yet)
- then the true King of Righteousness comes out and sets a table before the conquering Seed - offering bread and wine -anointing him
- Bera king of Sodom (meaning - son of evil, king of burning) - tries to bribe him for the people - offering the treasures of the world - but this exalted Father will not allow him to tempt him
- then again Abram is guaranteed of his reward - for his defeating of the enemies & the rescuing of his people - in fact he is vindicated in righteousness (Gen 15:6) - and promised the fruit of his hands
- then told that this is just a symbol of all things to come - the real time will be much later - the real sacrifice that the vultures of the air will try to interfere with but will not succed - the real deep sleep of the exalted father - the deliverance of the people from the fiery furnace - by the burning torch

well that's about enough for now - plenty more on Abram calling into existance things that don't exist (Gen 16/Rom 4), the covenant that is established by cutting off the flesh of the exalted one to make him the father of many nations, etc...

Friday, 4 July 2008

Come to Christ to make your election sure...

Glen's found another gem from Spurgeon that just has to be reposted:

Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by ‘looking unto Jesus.’ If you desire to ascertain your own election; after the following manner shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? Go straightway to the cross of Christ and tell Jesus so, and tell Him that you have read in the Bible, ‘Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.’ Tell Him that He has said, ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ Look to Jesus and believe on Him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust Him, then you are one of God’s chosen ones; but if you stop and say, ‘I want to know first whether I am elect’, you ask what you do not know. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, ‘I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.’ Christ was at the everlasting council: He can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out any other way. Go and put your trust in Him and His answer will be - ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.’ There will be no doubt about His having chosen you, when you have chosen Him.” (‘Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.’ Morning and Evening, July 17. 1 Thess 1:4.)

Only perhaps the 'everlasting council' bit may be a bit weird =)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

GAFCON

There was a post-GAFCON briefing at All Souls

and it was great to see JI Packer give his testimony of his expulsion from the diocese of New Westminster, Canada

Also the archbishop of the southern cone giving testimony of the churches there and how the 'churches of the old west' need to take the Word of God seriously and not be content with the once a week 20 min sermon

As well as the archbishop of Uganda affirming we need to be ready to die for the faith to be passed from one generation to the next

I have no idea what on earth all these meetings will surmount to, but in the words of archbishop Jensen... even heresy can be a good thing - if it leads to godliness

On a side note..
the usual nonsense continues:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/anglican-rebels-punched-gay-rights-activists-858332.html

Quick response by the rector:
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2008/07/03/from-the-rector-of-all-souls-church-to-the-editor-of-the-independent-newspaper/

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The latest from the Merrie Theologian...

Armed to the Teeth with Laughter

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Tertullian, the great North African theologian writing around 200 AD, was like a cross between Bruce Banner and Oscar Wilde: scary enough that you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of him, and very, very funny.

Tertullian, ready either to explode or write a 'Knock! Knock!' joke.

Tertullian chuckled so much it disturbed people. First of all, he used to laugh at how simple – in fact, how absurdly simple – truth is, meaning it takes a humble mind to recognise it. Once, he put it like this:

‘The Son of God was crucified: I am not ashamed, because it is shameful.
The Son of God died: it is immediately credible, because it is silly.
He was buried, and rose again: it is certain, because it is impossible.’

Fighting talk for those who reasoned God couldn’t become man, nor three be one!

But he also used to laugh at the absurdity of false belief. This was quite appropriate, he reckoned:

‘There are many things which deserve refutation in such a way as to have no gravity expended on them. Vain and silly topics are met with especial fitness by laughter. Even the truth may indulge in ridicule, because it is jubilant; it may play with its enemies, because it is fearless. Only we must take care that its laughter be not unseemly, and so itself be laughed at; but wherever its mirth is decent, there it is a duty to indulge it.’

Marcion was a heretic to be given exactly such treatment. Marcion, reasoning that Jesus was God, felt he had to deny that Jesus was fully human. Tertullian reckoned this merely proved that Marcion himself was not fully human, because he must be lacking a brain. Tertullian thought he probably had a pumpkin instead, meaning Marcion was half-man, half-fruit.

He dished out such lines because he believed they were just the sort of jolt the pompous heretics, puffed up with all their pretentious ‘profundity’, needed. And, especially for dealing with those who denied Jesus’ humanity (and so were a bit inhuman themselves), it was a very human way of arguing.

Perhaps PC means we can’t be like Tertullian any more (or like Paul in Galatians 5:12). Or is it that PC, bone-dry theology is itself a bit half-man, half-fruit?