Monday, January 22, 2007

My Head Hurts...

While at the Pro-life rally Saturday afternoon, a pleasant middle-aged woman approached my wife.

"Would you like a prayer card, ma'am?" she politely asked.
"Is that a picture of Mary??" my wife cautiously replied.
"Why, yes it is."
"I am sorry, but we pray only to Jesus our Mediator. We don't need Mary for that," Jody graciously commented.

Thus the cordial debate began. I am certainly impressed that the lady was not timid. Many people in this world are not interested in conversations about God and religion-whether short or prolonged. In this case, the Roman Catholic was not only interested she was persistent. Although most amiable, she was certainly not open minded by any stretch of the imagination. She would pause to breath and then reassert her devotion to Mary, giving us little space to speak at times. And like a pit-bull, no matter how much our counter-points bludgeoned her view, she would not let go.

"Why would Mary have to be perfect to give birth to Christ?" we
"To give birth to a perfect human, she had to be perfect" she answered in a matter-of-fact manner
"Then was her mother perfect?" we quickly countered.
"No, that does not follow. She was divine so she had to be perfect."
"!!??-divine you say?"
"Yes," she innocently responded.
"You realize that in normal language 'divine' means 'deity' or 'god'?" we incredulously asked.
"Well, she is part of Christ. She gave part of herself-her soul-to Christ."
"So, you believe in four gods?" we persisted.
"Look," she sighed, "for Christ to be perfect and live a life of perfection for us to follow, she had to be perfect"
"So she participated in deity with Christ?"
"She is divine; she is perfect and gave part of herself for Christ's humanity. Christ himself while on the cross presented Mary to the church as our Mother" she doggedly persisted.

Persistence indeed! We could never get her to explain what she meant by
Mary being "divine". Nor could we get her to see her need of Christ as her only savior since she insisted that Mary was our mediator with Christ. In fact, Christ must always heed his mother! Did not Christ honor her? Naturally, we pointed out that Christ honored his father too, but it did not follow that Joseph was our mediator.

We were certainly running in circles near the end: she denied the sole authority of the Bible; she denied the sole sufficiency of Christ's atonement; she denied the need for faith alone without works for salvation. This is not inductive speculation on our part, we asked here pointedly these very issues throughout our ten-minute discussion.

Now, dear reader, note the denials carefully: the word "sole" or "alone" are the key words. She admitted the need of Christ and the Bible and faith but none of them were alone. She was adamant that good works would bring her to heaven. She had no confidence that she was going to heaven; so, she explained, she had to try harder to obey God lest she fall short of full justification.

Quite sad. Although we felt as though we were beating our heads
against a wall, we persisted because we pitied her. She has no hope save herself and she admitted that was not enough. Christ was only a godly example (she repeated several times) and Mary was her divine

My wife and I planted a seed. It seemed like much work at the time,
but we know our duty to God and love for the lost: dig, plant and leave the increase to God.

Even if your head hurts.


[from Providence Points e-Newsletter, Jan. 22, 2006, or comment here for a subscription).

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Yes, I still enjoy the muppets. In fact, I hope to buy them on DVD. Good clean and clever humor is hard to come by.

If you like punk cave-men with sun-glasses and singing aliens, I offer you this:



Friday, January 12, 2007

Kudos for CHMCE

Not kimchi--CHMCE. But some of us do pronounce it similarly.
It is the home missions committee of the OPC. And they hosted a training course.

I participated in that two day crash course on how to establish an OPC church. It was quite illuminating, instructive, and, dare I say, inspiring? Why inspiring, you ask?

For starters, the structure included bible reading, singing and prayer. More prayer time was integrated in the afternoons for specific ministerial issues. The difficulties and challenges the men face can be quite daunting, yet they persevere.

The inspiration arose from the ethnic make-up. Of the 21 men 8 of them were non-Anglo-saxon. They were primarily Hispanic. Some of them did not even speak English well.

Normally, the color or ethnic background of others is not high on my priority list, but in the current socio-political and ecclesiastical climate it spoke volumes. The men were there to either learn more about the OPC and/or to learn how to establish OPC churches in their communities. Even though some of their churches had little English, they were so committed to the Reformed faith that they sought out a denomination that was likewise committed. It did not matter if we all spoke the same language. What mattered was the Gospel.

That is inspiring.

Naturally, the format was designed to instruct us on establishing OPC churches, following the book, Planting and Orthodox Presbyterian Church. This book is recommended for any church serious about the Reformed faith.

What was illuminating about the class (and the book) was the emphasis upon Presbyterian transparency. What exactly do I mean by that?

1) It means being upfront about the Reformed distinctive of the newly formed group. It means not being embarrassed about Calvinism or Presbyterianism.

2) It means a conscious exercise of church connectionalism. That purposeful realization and participation in the regional and national church dimensions of the OPC. The laymen and the leaders should not hold their collective abilities under a bush but gladly and heartily join with other churches in fellowship.

3) It means, similarly, that any given new church plant should practice "plain vanilla Presbyterianism". Emphasis upon pet peeves or hobby horses, like homeschooling, Klinianism, family-integrating, etc., should not be the defining element of that work. Differences and distinctions can and will be believed, but in the larger Presbyterian scheme the Westminster Confession of Faith should be the official defining document in the church's life.

These were indeed illuminating and even inspiring. They settled my heart and projected a church committee dedicated to a unity large enough for growth of a church, yet narrow enough for faithfulness to the whole Word of God as summarized in the Confessions. This class showed me hearts aflame with a love for the church as a whole and a dedication to the equipping of the ministers for the work of the church. May the home missionaries, indeed, all ministers, take these lessons to heart.


Friday, January 05, 2007

End of the World as We Know It...

That is how some see the dominance of the Democratic party in Congress (just by listening to a few talk shows anyway...).

And then there is Prager. Still upset about Keith Ellison.

And Keith got his wish: he was sworn in on the Koran.

But what does this mean? Is it a public ploy? Is he serious? I can only take him at his word:

"But if you, and me too, stick together, if we believe in Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala [praised and exalted is he], if we turn to the Quran for guidance, we'll find an answer to the questions we have. And we will find that we are an asset and a plus not only to our own community, but to this country, and to this whole world."

Wow. What if a white congressional male leader said the Christian equivalent? "If we believe in God, praised and exalted is He, if we turn to the Bible for guidance...." The press would have a field day!!

So, why do Christians vote for leaders who don't talk this way publicly but the liberals and Muslims are tickled pink to vote thusly? The Muslims are not afraid of announcing the source of their faith publicly and clearly but many Christians hide their lamp for fear of offending the wrong parties.

But it is not the end of the world. Politically it is terrible, but the politics, like the culture which produces it, simply reflects the religion of the people. We should not be brought to the end of ourselves because of this, declaiming the end of Christian civilization. Or theologically running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

The true solution is not chicken little, but the Lamb of God.


PS: (See Wikipedia's summary of his Islamic activities & his recent past of the Islamic Nation. And don't forget about the Muslim doctrine of lying!)