Sunday, November 9, 2014

The blessings of the foreigner

Romans 16:9b - “but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. ”
The other day I saw a family at a Chinese food restaurant. Think of that – I saw a family. It may seem like a common thing to you, but when is the last time you saw a family together? The father and mother together, the sons and daughters playing with each other. Not only were they together, but they were enjoying a meal together, dinner. This was a Saturday evening, they ordered pork-fried rice and chicken, I believe.
The reason why this picture is so rare is what we conservatives have known for quite some time as “the breakdown of the family” -the systemic destroying of the nuclear family. Through media, academia, and legislation. This threefold attack Is being waged upon all in the westernized world. This family however was immune due to one precious thing.
They were a Mexican family, perhaps barely knowing much English at all, definitely not using it as the primary language at home. They were poor, probably not having cable at home, etc. They were virtually exempt from any possibility of a corrupt worldview entering into their homes. They certainly had a worldview, and it must have been a pretty healthy one in order to  keep their family intact in the midst of so much dysfunction. So no, they did not have Miley Cyrus in their homes. No, they did not care much about modern worldly wisdom. And as of yet, the government hasn't succeeded in making home a difficult thing to maintain.  There is a sort of blissfulness in ignorance, and blessings from having nothing. This can be said about any immigrant family – Haitian, Mexican, Chinese, etc.
This is a sort of proof that you can have a godly home if you want. It only depends on how badly you want it. How much you are willing to be ignorant of the what is going on in the world today. How much you are willing to abandon the worlds wisdom for God's wisdom. Are you willing to be a stranger and pilgrim in a foreign land (1 Peter 2:1)?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Jellyfish Christianity by J.C. Ryle

Jellyfish Christianity by J.C. Ryle

The Pastoral Office
Pastors ought never to be spineless jellyfish.
Jellyfish Christianity
by J.C. Ryle

The consequences of this widespread dislike to distinct biblical doctrine are very serious. Whether we like it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a ‘jelly-fish’ Christianity in the land — that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.

A jelly-fish, as everyone who has been much by the seaside knows, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, ‘No dogma, no distinct beliefs, no doctrine.’ We have hundreds of ministers who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity! They have no definite opinions; they are so afraid of ‘extreme views,’ that they have no views at all. We have thousands of sermons preached every year, which are without an edge or a point or a corner — they are as smooth as marble balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint!

We have legions of young men annually turned out from our universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion — and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth. Their only creed, is a kind of ‘nothingism.’ They are sure and positive about nothing!

And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors. They think . . .
everybody is right — and nobody is wrong,
everything is true — and nothing is false,
all sermons are good — and none are bad,
every clergyman is sound — and no clergyman unsound.

They are ‘tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;’ often carried away by some new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to ‘render a reason of the hope that is in them.’

All this, and much more, is the result of that effeminate dread of distinct doctrine which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many pastors in these days.

I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrowful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. Distinct and definitive doctrine is at a premium just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural result, and meet us in every direction.

Cleverness and earnestness are the favorite idols of the age!

What a man says matters nothing — however strange and heterogeneous are the opinions he expresses! If he is only brilliant and ‘earnest’ — he cannot be wrong! Never was it so important for believers to hold sound systematic views of truth, and for ministers to ‘enunciate doctrine’ very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Recycled life.

Life has a funny way of repeating itself...or better yet, recycling itself. You're never quite sure what place or thing will come back into your life again when you thought you parted ways with it forever. Perhaps we did not take advantage or appreciate those things which God thought we ought to have and so placed them back into our lives again. And it always seems to evoke them same response: "wow. I never realized how great it was". Life is funny that way.

Of course it can be the other way around. It can be something horribly negative. Something you dread returning back to you finding its way back to you again.

Something happened to me today that may be one or the other. I'm not sure... I'm hoping for the former, but only time will tell.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thoughts on my sins

Hebrews 3:13 KJV

"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

Sin is a terrible thing in the life of a believer. It is perhaps the only real evil one can experience as a christian. Certainly, we all can experience bad things,and most certainly do, but there is still an assurance of happiness and bliss in the midst of it (acts 16:25). However, with sin it is not so, but an expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God (Hebrews 10:25). In sin there is no hope for Rejoicing.

I have been in a rather sorry state for a while over my failings. Things which I am too ashamed to make known. Shame and guilt work like the venom of the sting of death. They make you cripple in the sense that they make you ineffective for any positive change (i.e. progression). Sins guilt keeps a brother from speaking to another and keeps his sin bubbling inside him like venom. The evil one taunts us with the moniker of a hypocrite. But many times that is not so. For the unbeliever that certainly is so,but for the believer, he or she may hold back for other reasons. Have grace.

Pray for me. You reader. You're the only one I've told and yet I haven't told you anything.  Yet pay with the restful assurance that God knows.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A tid-bit on Depravity in Luke 9:49,50

Anyone Not Against Us Is For Us

9:49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”
  
 Jesus sends out the twelve in the beginning of Luke 9. He endows them with supernatural powers of the Spirit to cast out demons and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1). They now, upon their return (most likely many days after due to all the events that occurred post their return 9:10-48), tell Christ of a man they rebuked. They apparently saw him during this time in-between, apparently this gift to remove spirits was not present in this era and was exclusively a power belonging to Christ prior to his sending his twelve out. Certainly if this fringe Christian had this ability prior this time, those closest to Christ would have this ability without Christ having to bestow it upon them. This fellow undoubtedly must have witnessed the Apostles perform a casting out of a demon and sought to imitate them. This was most likely out of a desire to aid Christ’s kingdom and not for his own glory, for Christ says he is "for Him". (The apostle Paul also speaks of people who perform religious acts in the name of Christ, but he does not say they are necessarily for him, but that they are doing a thing that aids Christ’s kingdom, Philippians 1:15-18. Even the devil unwittingly aids God's kingdom yet we would never assume his is "for Christ" because of it.) 

Let's look closer at verse 50 . . .

There's much that can be said about this verse, but let us focus on the topic at hand, which is total depravity. "the one who is not against you is for you". A definitive statement that can be said in reverse: no one who if for you is against you. It's pretty much stating the obvious. "My disciples, isn't it clear that if he is not against you he is for you? Why are you rebuking him, therefore?" We can deduce from this that there is no way you can be "not against" Christ and at the same time not "for Christ". THERE IS NO NEUTRAL GROUND. Many arminians assume that the natural man is not too hostile to God. They are not spiritually dead, but sick. Their lip-service to total depravity is a contradiction. If total depravity falls short of causing a man to be spiritually dead it is totally lacking. The natural men are at enmity with God (Col. 1:21). 

We mind as well cover all possible scenarios

Can you be against "against Christ" and "for Christ", obviously not (though we have already discussed how we can be God's enemies and yet still in God's wisdom and in man's foolishness still work to advance the kingdom of God. In a very practical sense). Can a man be "against Christ" and "not for Christ", of course, and this is the only other option. Christ says if he is for you he is for Christ and is a believer, if not, then he is lost and against you.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wesh - Re-Evaluating Our Efforts

This was an article I submitted to a supposedly black reformed website. It was rejected, apparently. I have since, perhaps out of a desire to counsole myself, changed my views, kind of, on the idea of being part of a "black" website. There shouldn't be a black. And I know black people need to be drawn into the reformation, but we should avoid distinctions as much as possible. To use an analogy, we should cast the net hoping to draw some black fish in with the whole, we shouldn't make special lures in order to catch only the black, and when they are caught, place them in their own pile in the Reformation boat, no! They need to be in a mixed pile with all the other fish. The black fish and the white fish are both fish and need to realize they are swimming up the same stream. Anyways:

Wesh - Re-Evaluating Our Efforts

The body of Christ never seems to be aloof from the concerns of its day. It either gives rise to such concerns or slavishly follows the cultures goals and objectives, yet, in our untimely attempts to play catch-up, the question always remains, are we utilizing the worlds methodologies for progression or are we coming up with a biblical approach?
The Concern of Our Day
The churches primary goal in our day, to draw in all potential black churchmen into the reformed fold is the current interest of reformed ministers, of all colors. It's no surprise, then, that we see another, civil, movement in the secular world striving towards a similar end. America seeking to reverse its segregated culture into a mosaic of peace and unity. And I believe that once again, it is the Church that is slavishly following. An unbiblical view of race, a neglect of some of the most fundamental aspects of Christian charity has, I believe, caused our lagging, on both sides of the racial spectrum. And it is still an unbiblical view or race and the fundamentals of Christian fellowship (though it must be said, in a much lesser degree, now) that is the detriment to this trend of black reformed evangelicalism today.
Our Shared Methods
The world’s means to bringing minorities to the affluent level of their white-American countrymen has appeared to be to lower the bar for them. This finds its spiritual parallel in the predominantly white reformed church lowering some of its age old theological bars in order to receive their erring Christian brothers. The world promotes affirmative action and accepts many aspiring African-Americans into prestigious colleges they, academically, have no business being in in the first place. Parallel, the neo-reformed has accepted Charismatics, woman preachers, non-Trinitarians, and all manner of worldliness an theological declension in order to declare their unqualified poor black Christian brother "Reformed". This is atrocity is not only a slap in the face to the orthodox reformed tradition, but an insult to the intellect of black Christians (and I use the term black loosely to mean all minorities, but the black Christians seem to be the general focus. Also, we must be reminded that not all black Americans are African-Americans and I am speaking of all our black American Christian brothers and sisters).
Our Solution
Now, I don't believe most reformed advocates are aware of this. I believe they are simply following the worlds methods without even knowing it, it is an extremely easy thing to do. However, we must have a biblical view of man  -that we are all created with the same basic intellectual faculties as one another, and that there really is no need to view Christians in terms of race and ethnicity, we are our own race. Skin tone should not be overwhelming concern until unbiblical views make it so, and I'm afraid it has made it so, and only a biblical approach to our problems can eradicate the errors that brought about the unbalanced racial demographics in our current reformed and evangelical churches in the first place.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Journaling log-3

Words
Are they infinite?
Regardless, of whether they are or not, is there enough of them to convey all emotion and feelings?
All sorrows?
All levels of joy and ecstasy?
I wish I knew every word. (I’m not a wordsmith by any stretch of the imagination.)
I wish I could describe all things with the greatest detail and with precise succinctness.
Or with vague generalities: words upon words, superfluous, yet precious.
Can you describe a mountain? Its clefts and shrubs? nooks and crannies?
A river and its translucent ripples that shimmer and the surface that sways like  the boughs on its borders.
Can you describe a betrayal without tears?
Anger, without fiery eyes and veins bulging red with blood and all manner of angst and evil?
I wish I was an author.
An author is a painter.
After all do not they both use pens to convey a message?
Don’t they both use a medium? One of paper, the other of canvas.
One draws a circle the other writes ‘a circle’.
Come to think of it, is not the author far more superior?
The painter draws a ball with the greatest detail. He shades around the perimeter he causes it to appear as if it may bounce off the page if the aesthete does not hold the painting carefully.
But it's still a circle.
An author merely need to write ‘sphere’ and 2D transforms into 3D.
Life is breathed into Adam and he becomes a living and active being.
perhaps I’m reading into it too deeply.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Journaling log-2

Time away. From writing. From thinking. From reflecting.

There are moments in my life where it just takes too much for me to get out a pad, or sit at my desk, and write, or type, what I'm thinking. (As I write I am in class and I should be paying attention, but I intend to make this shorter than usual.) Journaling takes life. That is, it takes an accumulation of events and those events are then transferred to a medium of preference. Without events journaling is either pointless or dull. Events can be generated by ourselves or by the world around us: me going to war or me hearing of a war.

With that said, I have been accumulating. Gaining life. Not intentionally (it's never intentional), it happens unexpectedly. School work piles up, work takes ups both time and energy, books get more and more intriguing, lists get longer, naps increase in comfort, conversations give birth to more conversations, etc. until you're left with that millisecond of time at the end when you look at your shelf, or peering over at your desk, over the monument of books and loose leafs and think "I haven't writing in my journal for ages".

I have a section in my journal which I entitled "re-cap" where I sum up everything that last occurred in my life post my last entry. It helps me think about my life. It's like a verbal graph showing me the trajectory of my life. Or a compass showing me where I am going.

Do not feel disheartened when you miss a day of writing. I'll go further: do not make a set schedule to journal. Make a commitment to live and a commitment to get back to journaling whenever life gives you the OK to make a log. He (that is, Life) may desire you live one more moment before you write one more summation. One more brush stroke until you're free to step back and view your masterpiece in fascination .

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pride in our midsts

The exterior implications of reformed theology are a new revelation to me. I have not been REFORMED reformed for very long. (I have accept the doctrines of grace for some time now, to some that would classify me as reformed, but that is not so.) These new ways of looking at, well, everything is quite a burden on me. First, because there is so much to read, evaluate, and understand. Two, we have fallen so far away from the attainments of our spiritual forefathers.

The issue of pride has come into my mind much now, due to these revelations. Not just my pride, but the pride in worship. The churches of our day seem to be breeding grounds for this sin. For instance, the charismatic churches emphasis on the external reactions of a “spirit filled” believer is quite intense, and due to the fact that most of these “spiritual gifts” produced by them are actually produced by the flesh. This gives the fleshly (which we all are to some degree, being wrapped in the flesh) the opportunity to gain the attention they desire. One act of babbling gains the attention of the whole congregation and now they're a prophet! One vague prediction of the future (which must be vague in order to somewhat come to fruition) and suddenly they have the appearance of being more in tune with God then the rest! This, I believe, is one of the reasons why this obvious fallacious so-called sign-gift is still accepted in these charismatic churches. The ego of the “prophet”.

The rest of us non-charismatics, us cessationists, are not free from this folly however.

The churches of our day love their professional singers, their celebrity pastors, and their worldly means of impressing the lost world. These may seem like problems that effect only the modern evangelical churches, yet, the reformed love their choirs and priestly garb.

There are women (and men), I've noticed, who love to make much of themselves in worship, who love the stage, love the attention, they love to raise her voice above the rest of the congregation that we all might adore there vocal performances. What can we say if we reject the regulative principle? Not much at all. What can we say about the priest who “make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,"(Matthew 23:5), nothing really. Yet, these things, many of them, have been done away with the Levitical priesthood.

Look, we can never totally erratic ate sin in the church. Discipline will always be necessary and some things are just not clear enough to make judgments on. We don't know people. We don't know their hearts or why they do the things they do. However, if we don't take advantage of the biblical and historical models set before us, how can we even begin to strive for purification in our churches?