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Showing posts from September, 2009

Reconfiguring the Lutheran church

I have so appreciated the faithfulness and tireless efforts of Bob Benne and others (including Gerry McDermott) as they have sought to keep Lutheranism true to its biblical foundations. Bob wrote this after the CORE meeting in Indiana to chart a new course for conservative Lutherans. I was especially moved by the last paragraph. My Interpretation of the CORE Assembly at Fishers, Indiana, Last Weekend I haven’t been so excited about church life beyond the local parish for a long time. The camaraderie, the singing, the hospitality, the powerful talks, the affirmation of biblical and confessional truth, the focus on the future……all were expressed in almost overwhelming portions. The 1,200 souls present were full of life and determination. The CORE assembly was quite an experience. For the first time in 25 years I felt liberation from the arduous struggle for the soul of the ELCA and freedom for the shaping of a future church life in which I could joyously participate. I had hoped fo

briz & his boys at thompson field

Looking forward to taking in the VT men's soccer game v. NC State on Sunday afternoon. Great field; great coach; great team.

Sheaffer Snorkel

Finally finished restoring this fountain pen, one of the most complex made, but one of the coolest. First the parts, then the finished product. Fills perfectly with a tube that extends when you twist the cap. And it writes like a dream -- a Sheaffer Statesman with a Triumph nib made of Palladium/silver. Made sometime between 1952-56. I picked it up from a flea market for $3. Worth much more than that now.

do you pray?

Came upon this good quote today, from "the bishop" (of Liverpool)... This I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian. He cannot really feel his sins. He cannot love God. He cannot feel himself a debtor to Christ. He cannot long after holiness. He cannot desire heaven. He has yet to be born again. He has yet to be made a new creature. He may boast confidently of election, grace, faith, hope, and knowledge, and deceive ignorant people. But you may rest assured it is all vain talk if he does not pray. From J.C. Ryle, “A Call to Prayer.”

On the Trinity

Wayne Grudem gives the simplest description of the Triune God: “God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology ) Berkhof gives a little more, adding the important distinction that Person is not an Individual, but persona (Latin). This may be more in the direction of Karl Barth's eternal semi-modalism. (Not to be confused with old Modalism.) “The Bible teaches that, while He exists in three Persons, called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, these are not three persons in the ordinary sense of the word; they are not three individuals, but rather three modes or forms in which the Divine Being exists. At the same time they are of such a nature that they can enter into personal relations. The Father can speak to the Son and vice versa, and both can send forth the Spirit. The real mystery of the Trinity consists in this that each one of the Persons possesses the whole of the divine es

St Patrick's breastplate

Sometimes people think the doctrine of the Trinity is a speculative and irrelevant formula, far removed from daily life. But here's how Patrick (aka St. Patrick), missionary to the Irish in the fourth century, applied God's Triune nature at the beginning of the day. Very realistic and practical... I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through the belief in the threeness, Through confession of the oneness Of the Creator of Creation. I arise today Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism, Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom. I arise today Through the strength of the love of Cherubim, In obedience of angels, In the service of archangels, In hope of resurrection to meet with reward, In prayers of patriarchs, In predictions

Pleasure reading

Man, I just love sitting down with a volume of Martyn Lloyd-Jones sermons! No printed sermons feed me like his. In fact not many other books, period. I can even hear the words in my mind with his Welsh accent. This is the first volume of his series in Acts , preached at Westminster Chapel in, I think, the mid- 1960s. Here's timeless presentation of the gospel and biblical truth. Highly recommended. I have many biblical and theological works I need to read, but this is what I read for sheer pleasure. It's soul-searching, but so very enriching. With such a large view of God, Lloyd-Jones puts all human pride and problems in their place.

Another reminder

As I plan for another year of ministry I need reminders of what it is I'm called to do. There are soooo many needs and opportunities for Christian leaders. I go back to passages like this: "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:4 ESV) And Psalm 23, describing to us God's ministry as a Shepherd who 1) feeds, 2) guides, 3) protects, and 4) cares for the flock. Banner of Truth posted this today, a pastoral charge by John Murray , where he summarizes our calling: You have been called as minister in this congregation and you have been ordained in pursuance of that call. There are many functions which devolve upon you in that particular capacity, but I want to draw your attention particularly to two of these functions because I believe they are the two main functions which devolve upon the minister of the gospel. And these two functions are the preaching of the Word and pastoral care . Read the rest of the charge here .

Remembering Beslan, Sept 3

Last year we spent three hours at church one afternoon with Russian representatives from North Ossetia, talking on the subject of faith in the aftermath of tragedy. Many of these delegates were psychologists or social service professionals who had dealt with the aftermath of the Beslan School Hostage crisis , September 1-3, 2004. At the end of this siege on September 3, there were nearly a thousand casualties, including the death of 334 hostages, of which 186 were children. These workers had come to Virginia Tech a year after our 4.16 to dialogue with us. Most of the representatives were Russian Orthodox and spoke freely of their faith and relationship to the church. It was a precious and intensely moving time. One of them, a social worker, said that there is no problem for mental health professionals to advise their counselees to seek God and attend church, something not usually allowed to American mental health professionals. They said, "There is no possible answer in this lif

One way or many ways?

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:1-6 ESV) "You know the way to where I am going," Jesus said. Thomas, the really honest disciple, said, "we don't even know where you're going, so how can we know how to get there?" Jesus called our ultimate destination his "Father's house." Heaven? The new creation, the new heavens and earth? "My Father's house" suffices, emphasizing not the