Headline: Reformation Day 2011

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Reformation Day Worship Service

As a congregation that stands proudly in the tradition of the Protestant Reformation, we are grateful for an opportunity to remember God’s gracious kindness to His Church around the anniversary of the Reformation. On the Sunday closest to October 31, the day history tells us Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenburg, Germany, we pay special attention the details of the Reformation.

Our worship service will take special care to reflect the liturgies of the Reformed tradition of Christianity, especially in the songs and arrangement of psalms that came out of this historical era. Then, be sure to join us later… Continue reading at Zion Ev & Reformed Church…

Reformation Day Liturgy

Order for the Divine Service on Reformation Sunday While the entire liturgy is largely based off of Calvin’s post-Strasbourg order, especially the Call to Worship from Psalm 121 reflects this influence. For more on how Calvin was affected by Bucer and Strasbourg, see Charles Baird The Presbyterian Liturgies. Continue reading Reformation Day Liturgy…

Reformation Day Sermon

I John 4:7 – 21 “The Effects of God’s Love”

Reformation Day Lesson: Standing Firm with Luther, Zwingli and Calvin

Things have been pretty busy for myself, my church, and my family lately, so I doubt I’ll put up the whole text from our Reformation Day festivities at church, but what follows is the outline for Reformation Day conference that encouraged us to stand firm in the faith. May we all stand firm in the power He provides. “Our hope is in no other save in Thee / Our faith is built upon Thy promise free / Oh grant to us such stronger help and sure / That we can boldly conquer and endure.”

Standing Firm in the Faith
I. Introduction
A. How Scripture Exhorts Us to Stand Firm Continue Reading “Standing Firm in the Faith to the End…”

 

Robert Farrar Capon:

“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar of 1500-year-old, 200 proof grace—a bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the gospel—after all these centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your own bootstraps—suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home-free before they started. Grace was to be drunk neat: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale.”

Dear Pastor: Do New Covenant Believers Tithe?

Dear Pastor,
I have given in the past, but now I have questions about tithing. I would like to know more about tithing and was hoping that at some point you could visit with me about it….or address it from the pulpit.

Thanks,
[redacted]

R.C. Sproul marvels:

Recently, I read an article that gave an astonishing statistic that I find difficult to believe is accurate. It declared that of all of the people in America who identify themselves as evangelical Christians, only four percent of them return a tithe to God. If that statistic is accurate, it means that ninety-six percent of professing evangelical Christians regularly, systematically, habitually, and impenitently rob God of what belongs to Him. It also means that ninety-six percent of us are for this reason exposing ourselves to a divine curse upon our lives. Whether this percentage is accurate, one thing is certain — it is clear that the overwhelming majority of professing evangelical Christians do not tithe.

What is the tithe, and does it still apply today?

The Bible has many instructions regarding the tithe. The tithe is a concept of 1 out of 10. Sproul again: “We are required to give ten percent of our gross annual income or gain. If a shepherd’s flock produced ten new lambs, the requirement was that one of those lambs be offered to God. This offering is from the top. It is not an offering that is given after other expenses are met or after other taxes have been paid.”

Generally, the tithe was to be given to the Lord’s servants, the Levites (Numbers 18:21ff). In the Old Testament, many alms for the poor were above and beyond the tithe (e.g. Exod. 23:10-11; Lev. 19:9-10; 25:35-37; Deut. 15:7-11; 24:12-15). The tithe had many purposes, including: to support the priesthood (Num. 18:21-32; Deut. 14:28-29); to honor God in sacrifice and feasts (Lev. 27:31; Num. 18:26-28; Deut. 14:22-26); and to feed the aliens, widows and orphans (Deut. 14:28-29; 26:12).

Some people argue that the tithe is no longer applicable in the New Testament era, as this was only for the Old Covenant era. Continue reading

Authorship of Job

I’m preparing to do a class at church on what we believe about the Bible, and I hope to address some of the issues Christians face today regarding inerrancy, infallibility, and the role God’s Word should have in our daily life. There are few better on the nature of Scripture than John Owen.

Owen (1616 – 1683) broke new ground on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in his Pneumatologia (1693). One distinction he made was between prophecy in general and the inspiration of Scripture to the prophets. “The writing of Scripture was another effect of the Holy Ghost, which had its beginning under the Old Testament. I reckon this as a distinct gift from prophecy in general, or rather, a distinct species or kind of prophecy…”

Owen notes:

Now this ministry was first committed unto Moses, who, besides the five books of the Law, probably also wrote the story of Job. Many prophets there were before him, but he was the fist who committed the will of God to writing after God himself, who wrote the law in tables of stone; which was the beginning and pattern of the Scriptures.

(All quotes from Owen in Works, III.143).

Hywel Jones notes that, prior to the modern period, most followed a reference in the Jewish Talmud to Moses’ authorship of Job (Baba Bathra, 14). However, this should be “balanced by the fact that the book was placed in the third section of the Hebrew Bible because of its acknowledged anonymity” (Jones, A Study Commentary on Job [Evangelical Press, 2007] 18).

A Hermeneutic of Suspicion

Proverbs 3:5 Do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
Proverbs 28:26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
Isaiah 41:10 …Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray…
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
Isaiah 65:2 I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own thoughts.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?

Women’s Fellowship Annual Address 2011

Women’s Ministry In Christ’s Strength for the Church

Thank you for allowing me to come and share with you this afternoon. As Paul reminds us in Romans 1, we are mutually blessed by each other, and as I’ve been so blessed and strengthened and encouraged by so many of you, I hope that what we look at today from God’s Word will be a blessing you and our Women’s Fellowship as well.

At our last meeting, it was suggested that I speak a bit about how Women’s Fellowship fits into the overall ministry of the church, its role, etc. As I prayerfully reflected on this concept, I thought it might be best for us to first remind ourselves about what Jesus’ ministry, how His ministry instructs the Church’s ministry, and then lastly how our Women’s Fellowship and you as women in our congregation might live and serve for His glory from these truths. When we do that, I think we see that Christ is really our strength and our life for empowering all of our ministry in His Church.

Jesus’ Ministry
Well let’s start then by first reminding ourselves about the distinctives of Jesus’ ministry for what He was sent to do by the Father. You know, I’m working with our 9th grade catechism students, and this year it just happens that all of them are girls, and their mentors are moms and women here at the church. So I’m the only guy in there! And there are times when I think I’m going to have to leave the class; too much estrogen! But one of the things these girls have been struck by time and time again as we’ve worked through the Gospel of Luke is how Jesus’s actions are so completely against what the world expects, but also so contrary to what “good,” religious people expect as well.

For example, Jesus’ puts the priority of His ministry on teaching and preaching rather than on miracles.

Luke 4:42-43 he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

We can understand why the people were so desperate to keep Jesus around; the previous context shows Jesus performing miracles at every turn: healings, restoring health, and casting out demons. We would think that this is the good life, to be rid of the evils of living in a fallen world, but Jesus has his sights set on proclaiming the Good News. Continue reading

Do Political Conservatives Understand Liberals?

Aside

And do political liberals understand themselves?
Elizabeth Warren: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own”
Conservative George Will repsonds: “Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the ‘social contract’”
Progressive Greg Sargent responds to Will: The conservative response to Elizabeth Warren

Does either party recognize their position in the critique of the other?