...about things that interest me and are (hopefully) edifying!

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Soli Deo Gloria!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Brilliant Satirical Video on the Division of the Moral Law vs the Ceremonial Law

My considered position on the LGBTQ movement

To my LGBTQ friends and supporters of the "lifestyle" - you will see me post and "like" articles that do not support the cultural/societal acceptance of the LGBTQ agenda. That should be no surprise, as I am a committed Biblical Christian who understands and reveres the Bible as God's Holy Word.
I have a duty to be a good steward of culture and society, which means I must stand up (in my own minor way) against what has become an incredible turn around on the traditional view of sexual morality and marriage.
I understand that you must feel very justified in your position, seeing how broadly the culture and society have embraced the LGBTQ agenda and somehow have equated it to the racial equality movement. It is a testimony to both your ability to paint your issues in an sympathetic light and the media's ability to highlight the worst version of an opponent and bury men like Albert Mohler and others that understand the slippery slope consequences of your success to society and culture.
Of course, it is helpful to also highlight the very worst of human behavior toward LGBTQ folks, so as to have a handy characterization to paint all of your opponents. The media and base humanity are also very useful in supplying you with those.
But I must try and help draw the distinction between those people and folks like me, that is, Biblical Christians that love you as a neighbor, but do not love what your agenda ultimately means for society - forcing more deviancy from the traditional and Biblical model of sexuality, marriage and family, as well as punishment for those that do not agree with/support you.
My contra-position is simple, if you *must* practice your view of sexuality, do it discreetly, where normal, moral, decent, law-abiding, productive members of society have always practiced their view of sexuality. I think we can all agree that attempts to force someone to adopt a view counter to their deeply held beliefs is not productive, so, as long as you are consenting adults, what you do behind closed doors is between you and, ultimately, God. Don't try and force us to accept it as "normal" though - a simple comparison of natural form, fit and function refutes that claim.
Sadly, our society and culture have embraced idolatry, envy/greed, abortion-murder, flagrant sexual immorality and rampant divorce (among other moral ills), which means that my efforts, and those like me, are Quixotic, at best. That does not abrogate our duty to honor Christ, in fact it validates the Word of God that we must be in the world and not of the world, that we should be wary if the world loves us and that the world will be against us, ultimately.
LGBTQ friends, I again want to tell you that I love you and am praying for your salvation and sanctification, just as I hope my friends and family are praying the same for me, as I am the chief of sinners. I hope this has given you a little more insight and will help you understand why I so strongly oppose your societal agenda and "lifestyle" choice.
Blessings be to you and Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Hallelujah (Easter Edition)

Hallelujah (Easter version)
Tune: Leonard Cohen
Lyrics: Mike Ainsworth with minor edits by JD Longmire


C                   Am
I heard about a baby born
C                         Am
Into a world that sin had torn
             F                           G                         C          G
You’d wouldn't think He'd do too much to save ya
             C                             F           G
But His Father planned and made a way
      Am                               F
He knew that there would come a day
G                                     Em              Am
When all the world would need a hallelujah

F                   Am           F                C  G  C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah


C                                 Am
I’ve heard about what Scriptures frame,
C                       Am
He grew into a man and came
     F                           G                  C          G
To bring the hope of Living Waters to ya
      C                                     F           G
He brought good news, the people came
         Am                   F
The leaders all just turned away
      G                        Em           Am
But others followed crying Hallelujah!

F                   Am           F                C  G  C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah


C                            Am
When they saw all He had done,
         C                        Am
The leaders knew the time had come
     F                       G                         C          G
To make a plan to stop the One sent to ya
     C                              F         G
He knew that He’d give everything
         Am                   F
They knew that must kill the King
       G                   Em           Am
And put an end to all those Hallelujahs

F                   Am           F                C  G  C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

V4 :

C                                           Am
They thought that they had brought Him down
                   C                               Am
When they made Him wear their thorny crown
       F                           G                          C          G
And hung Him on the Cross - a message to ya
      C                                 F             G
But two days passed, the third one came
         Am               F
And Jesus Christ arose again
       G                   Em           Am
Now all of us are singing Hallelujah!

F                   Am           F                C  G  C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
F                   Am           F                C  G  C
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

A brief apology against Exclusive Psalmody and for Inclusive Psalmody

I hold to the Regulative Principle of Worship, but do not hold to exclusive psalmody (since the Psalms themselves are not exclusive "sing to the Lord a new song...") and find the rationale towards it a hyper-scrupulous interpretation of the Regulative Principle - that is "what is not commanded is forbidden" - the problem is that there is a corollary that is often ignored - "what is commanded is required" - the hyper-RPW'er spends so much energy following the first rule that they ignore the second, to the exclusion of the liberty the New Covenant believer is given in this area.

A brief apology for Inclusive Psalmody:

Colossians 3:16 (New American Standard Bible)

16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God

This Scripture is a cornerstone to defining the RPW in terms of music to the Lord's worship.

The reasoning goes something like this:

"Let the Word of Christ dwell richly within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another.."

This obviously directs us to fullness of God's word as our ultimate authority and source of all wisdom - including the source of our worship in song - sola Scriptura. In this the IP-EP debate is in full alignment.

"with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..."

This is the crux of the IP-EP debate - we are perfectly able to understand how we may worship with psalms; there are 150 of them right in the middle of the Bible (coincidence?).

This, to both sides, leads to the next question - "How then, holding scrupulously to the RPW, are we to worship with hymns and spiritual songs?"

Many EP'ers look at this and concludes, in summary, "Since there is seemingly no clear exposition in Scripture of these 2 additional types, following the analogy of faith, one must conclude that this is a reinforcement of the first object - that is - the rendering could easily be "with psalms, psalms, and psalms" - exclusively.

The IP'er (at least this one!) - rejects the EP interpretation and instead looks at the same passage and concludes, "since we are commanded to sing the 3 types of songs, how best may one fulfill the commandment, align to Sola Scriptura and not dishonor God by worshiping with "strange fire" (Leviticus 10:1-3)?

The rationale is thus: Since the NT does not go into detail concerning specific templates for hymns or spiritual songs, then a) there is some liberty in the composition of these songs (much as there is liberty in the composition of prayers and sermons) and b) we should search the Scriptures to see if there is clearer guidance for our praxis in this area.

And, oddly enough, the Lord has been gracious enough to deliver to His Church a source for these templates - the 150 Psalms. That is certainly not to exclude the fullness of Scripture as source material, since the Psalms themselves utilized the then available Scriptures as content sources, but certainly to look to these inspired songs, or psalms, to guide us into God honoring and newly composed hymns and spiritual songs.

Thus may we align to the fullness of the RPW and, in our practice and understanding, have confident assurance that we are singing with thankfulness in our hearts to God.

Thoughts on Adam and Eve, Original Sin, Self-Awareness and True Faith

Pre-fall, A&E were in a state of sinlessness and circumstantially aware, but not fully self-aware.

Circumstantially aware of God, so they had belief, but demonstrably not full of true faith that God was who He revealed Himself to be.

This lack of true faith caused them to succumb to temptation and sin in pride and selfishness. They grasped for equality with God and disobeyed.

Once they sinned, they received self-awareness of their true place before God and their position within His Creation. Naked, vulnerable, insufficient and hopeless outside of His sovereign benevolence and love.

I think this may be when they received true faith, as well.

The prime cause of Original Sin is lack of true faith, even in the face of God's immediate and visible imminence - self-pride and disobedience were results.

That is, God makes a material example of how we are by nature sinners and doomed to sin apart from His intervention, even though we were created without sin in the beginning.

Also, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is self-awareness. This enables the ability to understand God's goodness and still disregard it willfully, but also the capacity that the Holy Spirit uses to guide us toward true goodness, once regenerated.

In the same way, Satan is circumstantially aware (along with all those who do not receive true faith), but not self-aware, not until final Judgement. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Why Christianity is the superior worldview

Christianity, particularly the reformed branches, is by far the most consistent and reasonable worldview. It can answer the Big Questions and gives/enables a purposeful existence.

Compare Christianity's answers to any other worldview:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

All things have been made through and for the glory of God through Jesus Christ.

What is the purpose of the universe?

To reflect the glory and majesty of God to humanity through Jesus Christ.

What is the purpose of humanity/why are we here?

To glorify God through Jesus Christ as objects of Justice/Wrath or objects of Mercy/Grace.

How do you explain human nature?

Human nature facilitates humanity's purpose and justifies God's wrath as well as magnifies the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

What happens to a person at death?

All humanity will be judged by God through Jesus Christ. Those that are covered by His righteousness will receive mercy and enter into eternal communion with God in Heaven. Those that are not will experience His eternal wrath in Hell.

How do you determine right and wrong?

God has embedded a certain moral law within humanity, that is summarized as “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

How do you know that you know?

Humanity can only have certainty by the Word of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A few high level thoughts for church music leaders

Church music leadership is not complicated, but it is tricky and requires due consideration. Here are a couple of thoughts that I try and keep in my mind as I prepare and lead.

Pick music with intentionality - not just in terms of subject matter (very important!), but also keep in mind the “shape” of the service - lead off with exuberant music to engage and excite, and gradually taper down to more contemplative songs to focus into prayer and the word. For example - Your Grace is Enough, Your Love Makes Me Sing, God of Wonders, Amazing Grace. In terms of intensity - High, Med-High, Med-Low, Low.

Don’t feel like you have to introduce or explain the music - if you have chosen well, it speaks for itself. Invite the congregation into worship and get going! Then taper or dovetail the songs together - doesn’t mean they all have to be in the same key (although that helps), but don’t let a lot of time sag between each song - jump right in - and don’t feel like it has to be a long intro - just make sure you have set the key and go.

It is critical to understand that over-performing can distract, but under-committing can lose engagement. Stay focused on what you are there to do - worship the Lord and lead others into worship - you are not responsible for their commitment to worship, but you are responsible for demonstrating a proper attitude as an example. Don’t get so wrapped up in your own worship that your expression and movement is inward focused, nor should you get so caught up in exhorting that you become a parody.

Sound level and quality is an important component, too - whether you are solo leading or if you have a small or large ensemble - the idea is to have the sound robust enough to match the size group you are leading. Too soft and you lose the congregation, too loud and you overwhelm them. It is important to never override the vocals with the instruments - the text sets the context of worship - don’t lose them!

In terms of song selection, don’t feel like you have to introduce a bunch of new songs frequently. In fact, it is best to have a large group of familiar songs in the repertoire (traditional as well as more contemporary - also in medium range keys), in order to most effectively engage the larger group. Introduce news songs sparingly and very intentionally - songs that will have enduring meaning and “engagability”.

It is important not to over-complicate. Simple, direct and accessible worship is honoring to God and pleasing to Him, as well. Worshiping in spirit and truth is achievable by simply and effectively aligning the intentions and activities of praise with the proclamation of the Word and the unity of the Spirit. We don’t have to force engagement, but we do have a responsibility to encourage it.

Hope this is helpful and richest blessings in Christ!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Theology Folder

Here is a collection of documents and other artifacts I have collected/developed over the last few years around doctrine/theology - more to come - Soli Deo gloria!

Theology Folder

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Wrote this to a friend - thought it might be useful to others:

You mentioned in conversation that there was no condition except "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" in which you can lose your salvation.

I'd like to orient your thoughts about that :) - and to make sure we are starting from the right place - some Scripture:

Mark 3:29 "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"
Luke 12:10b "the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven"

Romans 1
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Psalm 14
1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
2The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
3They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

John 14:16-18 (English Standard Version)
16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Bottom line - fallen humanity's default state is to deny truth in blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) - unless God intervenes and changes a heart of stone to a heart of flesh, we'd all be lost forever.

God's gracious gift of salvific faith - a one time deposit purchased by the blood of Christ - eternally seals us by the Holy Spirit - thus eternally removing us from our blasphemous state.

We can't ever lose our salvation, because it does not belong to us.

Psalm 3:8
Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people!

...about things that interest me and are (hopefully) edifying!

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Soli Deo Gloria!!

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