Category Archives: Theology

The Church Lost the Culture Wars Years Ago…

When it stopped stressing its duty to make disciples and started to endure the mere making of ‘church members’; most of whom wouldn’t be allowed to join a civic club because of their complete lack of commitment to anything beyond themselves.

If you want to lament that loss, look in the mirror, Christianity, with your deplorable policy of appeasement to the world and its infiltrators to your once glorious ranks.

Causing Offense

What clearly affects the divine truth, as the belief and commandments of God, no one shall yield, whether one is offended or not. — Huldrych Zwingli

You Just Think You Have The Power to ‘Be Good’…

[But] so great is the power of concupiscence that men obey their evil impulses more often than their sound judgment, while the devil, who as Paul says (Eph. 2:2) is at work in the ungodly, never stops inciting this feeble nature to various offenses. – Philip Melanchthon

The Church in the Genevan Confession of John Calvin

calvin_bookWhile there is one only Church of Jesus Christ, we always acknowledge that necessity requires companies of the faithful to be distributed in different places. Of these assemblies each one is called Church.

But in as much as all companies do not assemble in the name of our Lord, but rather to blaspheme and pollute him by their sacrilegious deeds, we believe that the proper mark by which rightly to discern the Church of Jesus Christ is that his holy gospel be purely and faithfully preached, proclaimed, heard, and kept, that his sacraments be properly administered, even if there be some imperfections and faults, as there always will be among men.

On the other hand, where the Gospel is not declared, heard, and received, there we do not acknowledge the form of the Church. Hence the churches governed by the ordinances of the pope are rather synagogues of the devil than Christian churches.*

Bam!  Take that, Francis!  And Pentebabbleists!  And Emergents!

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*Calvin: Theological Treatises (p. 31).

Origen Was An Unhinged Lunatic

As Jerome remarks to a friend,

It is impossible that you should hold the opinion of Origen, Priscillian, and other heretics that it is for deeds done in a former life that souls are confined in earthly and mortal bodies.

You have to be a loon to think that deeds in a previous life (as though there were such a thing) is what ‘dooms’ people to human-ness.  Origen was a real unhinged madman who knew virtually nothing of authentic, orthodox, Christian faith.

How does he have admirers?

Truth

“There are two ways to get enough: One is to accumulate more and more, the other is to desire less.”  –  G.K. Chesterton

Predestined to Life or to Damnation: Whichever You Are, It’s Because God Wants You To Be

If we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will. When God is said to visit in mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will. – Calvin

Quote of the Day

The enemies of God’s church are often made to ruin themselves by helping one another. – Matthew Henry

Ben Sira’s Advice on Friendship

Some smart stuff from ben Sira-

6:7-10 If thou wouldst get a friend, try him before thou takest him, and do not credit him easily. For there is a friend for his own occasion, and he will not abide in the day of thy trouble. And there is a friend that turneth to enmity; and there is a friend that will disclose hatred and strife and reproaches. And there is a friend a companion at the table, and he will not abide in the day of distress.

Yup. All true.

6:14-16 A faithful friend is a strong defence: and he that hath found him, hath found a treasure. Nothing can be compared to a faithful friend, and no weight of gold and silver is able to countervail the goodness of his fidelity. A faithful friend is the medicine of life and immortality: and they that fear the Lord, shall find him.

Yup, again, all true.

12:8-9 A friend shall not be known in prosperity, and an enemy shall not be hidden in adversity. In the prosperity of a man, his enemies are grieved: and a friend is known in his adversity.

Word, Sirach, word.

37:1-2, 4-6 Every friend will say: I also am his friend: but there is a friend, that is only a friend in name. Is not this a grief even to death? But a companion and a friend shall be turned to an enemy. … There is a companion who rejoiceth with his friend in his joys, but in the time of trouble, he will be against him. There is a companion who condoleth with his friend for his belly’s sake, and he will take up a shield against enemy. Forget not thy friend in thy mind, and be not unmindful of him in thy riches.

It sure happens sure enough.

True friends are hard to find. Friends for the moment are Legion.

On Mother’s Day: My Ambivalence

People love Mother’s Day.  And I don’t mind it.  But it does make me a bit pensive about the women who have either chosen not to be mothers or who can’t be.

And it also makes me pensive concerning those whose experience with their mother’s wasn’t exactly memorable for any positive reason.

What are people to make of Mother’s Day- a day honoring dear old mom, when mom was mommy dearest?  Are the children of alcoholic and abusive mothers supposed to be glad that mom was a massive failure?

Mother’s Day is, for a lot of people, just a painful reminder of their own childhood- when mother would rather drink and carouse than care for her children.

To be sure, a good mother is a treasure.  But by the same token, a bad mother is a curse.  And in spite of Hallmark’s dizzying fixation on the glories of motherhood it must, it has to be said, that not all moms can be called mothers.

So on Mother’s Day, to those of you who have had the great fortune of having Mothers worthy of the name, have a great day and be very, very thankful.  To those of you who had or have the misfortune of drawing a woman without any true mothering instincts, my most heartfelt condolences.

The Exaltation of Humanity – Idolatry

Not only does she proffer a false dichotomy, she implies the exaltation of the human merely for the sake of human-ness and that is in its plainest form, idolatry.  She here turns humanity into an idol to be worshiped rather than recognizing the profound fallen-ness and depravity of humankind.

Furthermore, he willingness to jettison Scripture (which is the Christian’s source for a proper understanding of both God and humanity) belies and betrays a strand of godlessness leading all the way back to Sabellius through Servetus up to Unitarianism.

If her advice is followed, humanity is lost.  Our highest and greatest loyalty lies with God, not people.  It’s a shame that a celebrity Christian with a large following doesn’t say so.

But that isn’t surprising.  One only becomes a celebrity Christian with a large following by being anything but Christian (in its orthodox, historical sense).

Jan Hus Was Right in 1504 and Nothing Has Really Changed

Seht, liebe brüder, die ignoranz der priester ist schuld daran, dass die kirche trauert und in ihren kindern zugrunde geht, die verlorengehen, da der teufel, der feind, stark geworden ist, gewiss wegen der sünden ihrer propheten und ihrer priester . Die kirche krankt an ihren gliedern, und daher spricht gott, der herr: siehe mir, ich bin geworden wie einer, der im herbst nach der weinlese nur noch beeren erntet, es gibt keine traube mehr zu essen. — Jan Hus

Christology

If someone’s Christology is right, their Ecclesiology, Soteriology, Anthropology, Pneumatology, and all the rest of the theological topoi are right.   If their Christology is wrong, they will be wrong about everything else.

Fun Facts From Church History: The Anniversary of the Edict of Worms

It was the 8th of May, 1521, that the imperial denunciation of Luther was promulgated.

lutherThe Edict of Worms was a decree issued by The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V banning the writings of Martin Luther and labeling him a heretic and enemy of the state (see The 95 Theses of Martin Luther). The Edict, issued on May 25, 1521, in the city of Worms in southwest Germany, was the culmination of an ongoing struggle between Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Church over reform, especially in the sale of indulgences. However, there were other deeper issues that revolved around both political and theological concerns. On a political level, Luther had challenged the absolute authority of the pope over the Church by maintaining that the sale of indulgences, authorized and promoted by the pope, was wrong. On a theological level, Luther maintained that salvation was by faith alone (sola fide) not through the legal mechanisms of the church or by what people did to earn it. He had also challenged the authority of the Church by maintaining that all doctrines and dogmas of the church should be accountable to the teachings of Scripture (sola scriptura).

To protect the authority of the pope and the Church, as well as to maintain the profitable sale of indulgences, church officials convinced Charles V that Luther was a threat and persuaded him to authorize his condemnation by the Empire. Luther escaped arrest and remained in seclusion at Wartburg castle for several years where he continued to write and translate the Bible into German.

While the Edict was harsh, Charles was so preoccupied with political and military concerns elsewhere that it was never enforced. Eventually Luther was allowed to return to public life and became instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation. -Dennis Bratcher

Thanks to that miscreant and tool of the devil named Constantine, such political intrusions into the life of the Church were a sad and demonic reality.

Quote of the Day

One man praises the Lord because He is mighty; another because He is good unto him; and, again, another simply because He is good. The first is a slave, and fears for himself; the second mercenary, and desires somewhat for himself; but the third is a son, and gives praise to his Father. — Bernard of Clairvaux

The National Day of Prayer, Again

Today is the National Day of Prayer– when we’re supposed to ask God’s blessings on our Country and our World.  A day I’m regularly ambivalent about.

Should we pray for our Country?  Yes.  But shouldn’t we also pray for our neighbors around the planet and even our enemies?  Absolutely.  Unfortunately, however, the NDP regularly becomes nothing more than nationalism parading as Christianity.

I’m all for national pride.  I think we Americans are the most blessed on the planet.  I think God has granted us far more than we deserve, and I think we’ve squandered it in an orgy of selfishness and self indulgence that the ancient Romans would admire.

I think if we Americans pray for anything today it should be to pray for national revival and spiritual awakening.  If that doesn’t come- if that doesn’t happen, then one day it may be the case (and I’ve mentioned this before) that God may tell us what he told Jeremiah (three times!) –

“As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.’ – Jer 7:16

“Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.” – Jer 11:14

“Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore.” – Jer 14:11

The National Day of Prayer may need to become, among those who have an ear to hear, the National Day of “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.”

Maybe it already has, considering how far we’ve turned from God.

The National Day of Prayer

‪#‎NationalDayofPrayer‬ – “But when you pray, go into your closet and pray in private…” – Jesus

Quote of the Day

This will surely he known as the Age of Credulity. Television advertisements can safely assume in viewers a fathomless credulity, compared with which the most outrageous superstitions and supernatural manifestations seem credible. Believing nothing results in believing anything. –  Malcolm Muggeridge

Truth

‘sub conditione Jacobaea’ Or ‘deo volente’

Tizian_088Those two helpful phrases are based on James 4:15’s  ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ (si Dominus voluerit).  I call them helpful because it’s important that we remember we live in subordination to God’s purpose and plan – or are supposed to.  That most of us don’t is the root of many of our problems.  Nay, most of them.

Anyway, maybe we would all be better off if we ended our declarations SCJ or DV.  I am pretty sure I would be- just to remind myself of a core theological truth.