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So, I lost the "blog every day" bug (yeah, it happens every February, but this year I want it back¬† ūüėČ

This is going to be sort of "stream of consciousness" sort of post, but this is something I want to articulate and I'm not sure how to do it.

I read in one place that the writer would never be able to read Hebrews 11 without seeing orange jumpsuits...

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth...

 

of whom the world was not worthy‚ÄĒwandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

And in the midst of this, I read in other places that "Coptic 'Christians' are not saved, since they don't get the nature of Christ right."

The Coptic church is the one that the apostle Mark founded when they was sent out to evangelize the world - it's not like they made up their own religion.

The split happened later on, when Arius was preaching his heresy.  Arius taught that Jesus was not God.  Jesus (Arius taught) was a created being, and thus, he denied the Trinity.

There was a big church council, and Arius was declared a heretic.  Here's where I'm a little fuzzy, but I think I have the basics.

All of the "streams" - Alexandria (Coptic) and Constantinople (Orthodox) and Rome (well...Rome) agreed that Arius was wrong.  They all affirm the Divinity of Christ, they all affirm the doctrine of the Trinity.  They all affirm salvation by faith.  They all affirm the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin.

If a person is going to judge the salvation of Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, Arminians, and pretty much everybody other than the "truly Reformed" because of the works debate, I cannot go there.

Even if I don't understand the role of works, is it Jesus Christ who saves me through faith?

Do I hold Christ through my faith, or does He hold me?

How right does my doctrine need to be before Romans 10 is found to be valid?

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Is it "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead *AND you get the hypostatic union right...you will be saved?"

Is it "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead *AND you get the relationship between works and faith right you will be saved?

 

Is it "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead *AND you get TULIP right, you will be saved?

Is it "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead *AND** you can quote from the Catechisms and Confessions, you will be saved?

How big is your asterisk?

 

layersThere was something about THIS rock that caught my eye.

the layer that separates the flat layers from the tilted layers, the pebbles in the water...

This was taken in Utah on our honeymoon, walking through a "slot canyon" - the swooping of the canyon walls.  I don't make a secret that I lean "old earth creationist" - but no matter the age of the earth I am sure of this.

God is everlasting.  God created.

We visited The Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo  on Saturday.  The lasting and plain beauty of the exterior spoke of the quest for beauty in a difficult place.   Inside, the Roman Catholic eye for transcendence shone all around, yet the building reflected the area it sits in.

IMG_2752

Rough textured walls, meeting fine painting and sculptures.

Modern playground equipment adjoining tile patios.

Last year's monument overlooking last century's garden.

Phil and I walked on through the hall, looking at over two centuries of vestments that priests have worn here.

We saw a place of beauty, steeped in tradition, salted with education, but also with the bitterness of a history that we sometimes wish never happened.

 

IMG_2755 We also saw the oldest library in California.

Imagine the care it would have taken to get these books to this remote place!

To me, this seems to say that reading, education, knowledge, learning, played an important role here.

 

Even now, the mission has a school on the grounds.

I believe that Rome has a lot of things wrong. But they worship God with majesty and a seriousness that we have lost.

We reject liturgy, we reject tradition, we reject transcendence.

My soul longs for a serious, adult, deep and wide worship that lifts my heart and my hands to the sky.

Just sayin'

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your splendor and majesty!
In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king's enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:
forget your people and your father's house,
and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people.
All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
with her virgin companions following behind her.
With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.
In place of your fathers shall be your sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.

As I transition churches, preparing for my move, I want to take the time to say what New City Church is doing right.

1) it's not about the style, it's about the substance. There are old hymns that are not good, there is new music that is wonderful. Both old and new, take the good, leave the bad.

2) what is good - songs that point to Jesus. Those that point us upward, not to within ourselves.

3) (from "Worship by the Book") What is the most important instrument of worship? The congregation. What is right, is making the congregation the most important instrument of worship. That means not disrupting worship with the band, not drowning out the congregation with the band.

4) A vital skill to have is knowing the difference between performance music and corporate worship music. There's a place for performance music; but it's not necessarily corporate worship music.

Corporate worship music is not performance music where the audience sings along.

I have been blessed by my time at New City. They've got it together, in a lot of ways.

As I transition churches, preparing for my move, I want to take the time to say what New City Church is doing right.

1) it's not about the style, it's about the substance. There are old hymns that are not good, there is new music that is wonderful. Both old and new, take the good, leave the bad.

2) what is good - songs that point to Jesus. Those that point us upward, not to within ourselves.

3) (from "Worship by the Book") What is the most important instrument of worship? The congregation. What is right, is making the congregation the most important instrument of worship. That means not disrupting worship with the band, not drowning out the congregation with the band.

4) A vital skill to have is knowing the difference between performance music and corporate worship music. There's a place for performance music; but it's not necessarily corporate worship music.

Corporate worship music is not performance music where the audience sings along.

I have been blessed by my time at New City. They've got it together, in a lot of ways.

"Signature in the Cell" was written by Stephen C. Meyer - a Cambridge trained philosopher of science.

Unlike previous arguments for intelligent design, Signature in the Cell presents a radical and comprehensive new case, revealing the evidence not merely of individual features of biological complexity but rather of a fundamental constituent of the universe: information. That evidence has been mounting exponentially in recent years, known to scientists in specialized fields but largely hidden from public view. A Cambridge University-trained theorist and researcher, director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, Dr. Meyer is the first to bring the relevant data together into a powerful demonstration of the intelligence that stands outside nature and directs the path life has taken.

The book is dense - the science part...I caught maybe half. Meyer,a philosopher of science, and writes like a...philosopher of science. If you can partly follow the writing about DNA, its significance, and why it's important to the debate, the pieces of the book on the debate, stifling, and politics of science will fascinate you.

We live in a world where everybody assumes the "fact" of atheistic evolution - "everybody knows it's true." Meyer doesn't know that and sets out to prove he's right.

Meyer asks the answerless questions that atheistic evolutionists should be asking themselves. The world tells Christians that we must examine our beliefs against "known" science; "Signature in the Cell" examines atheistic evolution in that same way.

This is not a "Christian" book - Meyer may be a Christian, but religion has no place in this book. Meyer does not name the "Designer;" his purpose is to make a place FOR a designer.

That doesn't mean the book doesn't have religious implications: once a person is convinced by logic and science that there must be a designer, the next question is who that designer is. (I'm not saying it was aliens...~inside joke from "Ancient Aliens~)

The book leaves out the question of "literal six-day creationism" - we may ask that question another day, but not this one, not in this book.

Also absent is the question of theistic evolution. Did God create "as is" or did He direct the evolution of His creation? Also...a question for another day.

The purpose of the book is to make a case from DNA for a designer, and that he does.

The book is important because it gives a solid reference point of "Intelligent Design" that doesn't get sidetracked by arguments against Christianity. The question stands: "Does DNA point to a designer?"

It took me a while to get through this book. One, it's a big book. Two, I had to read a lot of things twice and let it sink in.

It took work to get through, but it's worth the trouble. Like most books in this genre, you get out of it what you put into it.

Read this book if you want insight into the "Intelligent Design" debate and how the most basic pieces of the stuff we're made of points to our Designer.

Just finished it the first time.

Still don't get it, so I'll blog through it.

the first piece I'll work through is the "why" - why are we so fascinated with the "anti-christ?"

Riddlebarger says that it's because we don't quite see "evil" as evil unless we can put a face to it.  Communism is bad, but unless we can put an evil dictator's face to it, we don't seem to connect it to life.

Another thing is that the "Left Behind" series put a name to him.  That makes it more tantalizing and we "see" more clearly.

But what we think we know (via end times fiction) might not necessarily be what the Bible says about the "man of sin."

~~~

Next question:  why am I interested in this topic?

End times in general, I think - everybody wants a glimpse into the future.  What will happen?  What will happen to those I love?  Will there be a rapture, or will we be here during the "great tribulation?"

I lean "a-mil" so I believe that Christians will be here during the great tribulation - we've been here before, we will be again.  The world hates us; and the more we love Jesus, the more they hate us.

Do I want to "date set?"  Since Christ left, Christians have looked forward to His return.  Is it near?  Is it far?  How do we know?

Is the Anti-Christ a sign?  Who is he?

In the end, curiosity brings me to this topic...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

``

 

"A Reason For the Hope - Essays in Apologetics" - read on Kindle

A nice little book - very sound.

Starting with a duty of a Christian to be prepared to explain our reason for the hope that lies within us, this book covers the "why" of pain and suffering, the difference between Eastern and Christian meditation, postmodernism and the authority of Scripture.

It is meant to be basic, and it is.  But sometimes we need to go back to those basics.