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this week 6/11

“Fierce was the wild billow 
Dark was the night;
Oars labored heavily 
Foam glimmered white;
Mariners trembled 
Peril was nigh; 
Then said the God of God -- 
‘Peace! It is I!’

“Ridge of the mountain wave, 
Lower thy crest!
Wail of Euroclydon, 
Be thou at rest!
Peril can none be – 
Sorrow must fly – 
Where saith the Light of Light -- 
‘Peace! It is I! 

“Jesus, Deliverer! 
Come Thou to me:
Soothe Thou my voyaging 
Over life’s sea!
Thou, when the storms of death 
Roars, sweeping by, 
Whisper, O Truth of Truth! -- 
‘Peace! It is I!’”

~ Anatolius of Constantinople (d. 458),
   Hymns of the Eastern Church  (J. M. Neale, trans.)  

"We need our brothers and sisters down through the ages.  We need the whole church for this task of explaining God's word."  (Michael Horton)

Summer reading suggestion:  Church History in Plain Language (4th. ed., 2013) by Bruce Shelley.  This is an enjoyable, and very readable, overview of the history of the Christian church.

Image above: "Storm on the Sea of Galilee", by Rembrandt, 1633.  This work, along with several others, was stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston thirty years ago, and has not been recovered yet.   Image below, a photo of the day-lilies in our yard.  Each bloom lasts only a day, but in that day it's beautiful.  Great lesson for us: we're given only one day at a time to bloom for the Lord.  Tomorrow's another day.  

Off-the-cuff  links...

Restored, body and soul.  We cannot separate our sexuality from our identity as created in God's image:  "Indeed, in this view, all of Christ’s miracles of healing suddenly give meaning to a spiritual reality we might not have otherwise considered. In his healings, he was not simply going around touching bodies, he was restoring people to God. But such a restoration becomes known and valued precisely because he did touch bodies, restoring them."  More on reintegrating sexuality with the complete self here. 

"Trust me, I'm a scientist."  A review of a review of Michael Behe's latest book:  " don’t need a biology degree to see what’s going on here. When a group of scientists opens their critique with an appeal to judicial authority (a decision by a U.S. federal judge), you know they aren’t really talking science."  More here.  

Students need theology.  "Each college ministry ought to have two main concerns: 1) The external journey of gospel advancement on college campuses and 2) the internal journey of personal holiness in the lives of the Christians within the ministry.  Theology will be essential in accomplishing both these endeavors."  On the importance of teaching good theology to college students

Open doors, closed doors.  More on knowing God's will for your life: "It seems to me, however, that such biblical advice about decision-making is regularly trumped in modern evangelical circles by simplistic appeals to what God is 'leading' one to do..."  

Book notes.  Christianity and Liberalism, by J. Gresham Machen, was originally published in 1923, and a new edition came out in 2009.  Christianity Today listed this book in the Top 100 books of the 20th century.  It is indeed in that category, if not in the top 10.  In this classic work Machen shows that liberal Christianity, that is, theological and religious liberalism, is not a form of Christianity, but rather, not Christianity at all.  

Now, a new edition has been published, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of Westminster Seminary.   In the new foreword, Vern Poythress writes, "Christianity, as unfolded in the Bible, is a religion that believes in a God who is continually involved in the world, even to its minutest detail—including the number of hairs on our heads (Matt. 10:30). He works in ordinary ways (providence) and extraordinary ways (miracles), as he chooses. Liberalism, by contrast, denies miracles—or is at least deeply skeptical of them. So, before the liberal even opens the Bible to see what it says, he is committed in principle to explaining away its miracles—either as misunderstandings of natural events, or as exaggerated or mythic representations built upon fluid human traditions."   

This is a must-read, still, for believers today. There are free digital copies of the original work here and here

Final quote. 

“Christ died" -- that is history; 
"Christ died for our sins" -- that is doctrine. 
Without these two elements, 
joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, 
there is no Christianity.” 

~ J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (1923)



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