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Common Men; Uncommon Master

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March 2017

The Deceptive Allure of Predictable Parenting

We live in a cause-effect mechanical world. Insert coin, press button, can of pop falls into the tray. Turn key, press accelerator, car goes. Search, shop, click, and in two days a box shows up on your doorstep. This is the world we live in. It’s built on predictability. It is a mechanical age. Actually, it’s a mechanical world, but modern man has begun to figure out how to predictably manipulate the creation, which is governed by unbreakable natural laws, in order to set in motion a series of controlled events in order to produce a desired outcome.

If that sounds too complicated, here it is more simply: If one understands something about the properties of concrete, steel, and bedrock, he can engineer a mighty bridge and know before it’s built how far it can span and the weight it can carry.  The predictability of the elements of the bridge make the final product less-than-surprising to the one who engineered it, at least if done properly.

Imagine trying to build a house without some certainty that the lumber will behave fairly predictably – it won’t turn into linguini at a random moment for no reason, leaving a house looking like a beached jellyfish – all flesh and no bones. Or imagine if electricity was suddenly conducted by plastic, causing essentially all buildings to burst into an instant conflagration. Imagine the stress of flying in a jet without the certainty that the laws of physics that govern the burning of fuel and principles of thrust will remain operative throughout your flight. Continue reading “The Deceptive Allure of Predictable Parenting”

The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.3

…these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. – 1John 1:4

John rather surprisingly writes that he pens his first epistle for the purpose of completing the joy of his companions and himself. The implications were discussed in part 1, and now we are in the midst of trying to see what kind of thinking leads to such an almost bizarre statement, and to discover that, we are looking at three propositions I believe are undergirding the mind of John. The first proposition was this: Union with Jesus can never be divorced from union with brothers.

The second proposition I want to make is this:

Love for Jesus can never be divorced from love for brothers.

Or we could say it this way: Love for Jesus is equal and proportional to to love for my brother. Continue reading “The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.3”

The Completing Joy Of Fellowship, pt.2

…these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
-1John 1:4

What sort of things must shape the mind and thinking of John to write things such as “if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another,” instead of the seemingly more “appropriate” way to say it, “if we walk in the Light… we have fellowship with Him”? Continue reading “The Completing Joy Of Fellowship, pt.2”

Reformed Bible Conference Messages

The Reformed Bible Conference hosted by First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Hinckley, MN is under way, and is off to an excellent beginning. For information on service schedule and to hear/download the messages as they become available, click here.

The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.1

These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
– 1 John 1:4

When we study the Bible, we become rather quickly aware that with the exception of the book of Romans and some other scattered portions of other books, the Bible is not strictly a theological treatise. The Bible is a collection of history, poetry, of communications from God to specific men or a specific people, (think Old Testament Prophets) and written correspondence between persons, rather ordinary save for the fact that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Examples of this are the writings of Paul or the letters of John.

So in that sense, the Bible is not written first-hand personally to you or me, nor is it written as an encyclopedia of theological positions or propositional doctrinal statements. It’s written by men of God inspired by the Spirit of God who are going about their business of helping their fellow countrymen or brothers in Christ, recording history for the sake of future generations, or in the case of the Psalms, expressing in a poetic way their thoughts and emotions in their given situation.

This means that when we study the Bible in order to construct a good and true understanding of God, self, and the world around us, in a sense we have to reverse engineer the mindset and worldview of those writing the Bible, and distill propositional, doctrinal truth out of the things they say. This tells us something of the genius of God who used this method to write a book whose meaning would be understandable in all languages and cultures over the past 3,500 years, so that all men could read, understand, and be delivered from Divine judgment. By making the Bible sound nothing like a systematic theology, we can look at inspired truth in a variety of situations and settings and systematize the truths explicitly or implicitly stated. Continue reading “The Completing Joy of Fellowship, pt.1”

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