a clown? I’ll have nightmares for a week.
Archive for May, 2008
Jon Barlow points us to the sad testimony of Rebecca Walker, the daughter of the radical feminist, Alice Walker. Her words show why feminism has failed (and always will) — creation and the fall sum it up. Listen to a few of Rebecca’s comments:
[Speaking of her son] “I love the way his head nestles in the crook of my neck. I love the way his face falls into a mask of eager concentration when I help him learn the alphabet. But most of all, I simply love hearing his little voice calling: ‘Mummy, Mummy.’
It reminds me of just how blessed I am. The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother – thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman.
You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.
In fact, having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Far from ‘enslaving’ me, three-and-a-half-year-old Tenzin has opened my world. My only regret is that I discovered the joys of motherhood so late” (more…)
Today is the anniversary of the death of John Calvin. Theodore Beza, his close friend and successor, describes his death as having come quietly as sleep, and then adds: “Thus withdrew into heaven, at the same time with the setting sun, that most brilliant luminary, which was the lamp of the Church. On the following night and day there was intense grief and lamentation in the whole city; for the Republic had lost its wisest citizen, the Church its faithful shepherd, and the Academy an incomparable teacher.”
Calvin had not only forbidden the erection of any monument over his grave, but also expressly forbade any pomp at his funeral. Philip Schaff says, “He wished to be buried, like Moses, out of reach of idolatry. This was consistent, with his theology, which humbles man and exalts God.”
A few years ago, I met a university student from Geneva. He said he was an agnostic and when I asked him if he had ever heard of John Calvin, he became visibly upset, “Calvin! Calvin! We will never get away from the influence of Calvin!” You know you’ve done something right when unbelievers get upset at the mention of your name 500 years after your death.
Leslie Newbigin in his book The Household of God describes the Church as the visible community of God’s people and repeatedly emphasizes that the Church “is as visible as the Christian man.” This emphasis is a vital one for those of us who have been trained to think of the Church as primarily “invisible.” An “invisible” Church which consists exclusively of the “whole number of the elect” tends to become, over time, the only “real” Church (since only those who are counted in the invisible Church will be infallibly saved). This perfect “invisible” Church makes the imperfect, and sometimes deeply flawed, visible Church on the corner appear as a mere shadow of (if not an outright contradiction to) the real glorious body of Christ. Consequently, we come to view the visible Church is at best a secondary and non-essential element in our salvation (and many even think of the Church as a hindrance to their spirituality). But Newbigin tells us that this is a great mistake. In the Bible, the Church, the body of Christ, is the visible body of men and women who have been called out by God’s grace, marked by baptism, and gathered into worshiping and serving communities. Newbigin observes:
“The whole core of biblical history is the story of the calling of a visible community to be God’s own people. His royal priesthood on earth, the bearer of His light to the nations. . . . There is an actual, visible, earthly company which is addressed as ‘the people of God’, the ‘Body of Christ’. It is surely a fact of inexhaustible significance that what our Lord left behind him was not a book, nor a creed, nor a system of thought, nor a rule of life, but a visible community. . . . He committed the entire work of salvation to that community. It was not that a community gathered round an idea, so that the idea was primary and the community secondary. It was a community called together by the deliberate choice of the Lord Himself, and re-created in Him, gradually sought–and is seeking–to make explicit who He is and what He has done. . . . This actual visible community, a company of men and women with ascertainable names and addresses, is the Church of God.” (more…)
In a comment on a previous post, Joshua Smith pointed to a fine article by Michael Horton on the importance and necessity of systematic theology. Professor Horton makes a number of great points regarding the importance of systematic theology, but I especially appreciated his cautions regarding the dangers of making our theological systems immune to Scripture:
“we should have a healthy fear of ignoring some Scriptures in the interest of maintaining our ‘system.’ During every great shift in Christian theology-take the Reformation, for instance-it is always possible to treat the existing system as unalterable. But for we who are heirs to the Reformation, this would be ironic, since the reformers were rightly critical of the notions of an unerring magisterium and irreformable dogmas. In fact, the Reformation occurred because some biblical passages came knocking on the door of the church; and division resulted largely because the late medieval church simply refused to rethink its interpretation of Scripture in the light of clear exegesis.”
“we must be careful to keep our systems open to correction by accurate exegesis, that is, by accurate interpretation of biblical passages. And we must beware of equating our confessional and systematic theologies with Scripture itself. No responsible evangelical theologian has ever attributed final authority to any system.”
yea and right on.
I’m enjoying re-reading Up From Slavery the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. There’s a great deal of wisdom here. For example, Washington observes, “The average man usually has the idea that if he were just somewhere else, in another state or city, or in contact with another race, he would succeed, forgetting too often to utilize the forces that are about him and in his hand.” yep and Amen.
We often think that if we were in another place; if we had another position or more money or greater prominence or important connections, THEN we would be truly useful and influential. We’re dreaming. The reality is if we’re not being faithful where we are with what we have, having more wouldn’t help us. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming your lack of fruitfulness upon a lack of opportunity or the absence of some asset. Take advantage of the opportunities you have now being faithful to fulfill the duties that you have been given now. True “success” is founded upon faithfulness in your present circumstances.
In honor of Ascension Sunday, Dr. Martin comments:
“My Lord Jesus Christ is Lord over death, Satan, sin, righteousness, body, life, foes and friends. What shall I fear? For while my enemies stand before my very door and plan to slay me, my faith reasons thus: Christ is ascended into heaven and become Lord over all creatures, hence my enemies, too, must be subject to him and thus it is not in their power to do me harm. I challenge them to raise a finger against me or to injure a hair of my head against the will of my Lord Jesus Christ. When faith grasps and stands upon this article, it stands firm and waxes bold and defiant, so as even to say: If my Lord so wills that they, mine enemies, slay me, blessed am I; I gladly depart. Thus you will see that he is ascended into heaven, not to remain in indifference, but to exercise dominion; and all for our good, to afford us comfort and joy.”