Luther’s love for Erasmus…


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Happy Reformation Day! Here’s the conclusion of Luther’s On the Bondage of the Will (1525). Such Christian love as Luther had for Erasmus is hard to find in our day when diffidence and collegial discourse are virtues and exhortation and assertions, no matter how faithful to God’s Word, are rejected as arrogance. There is nothing new under the sun…

My dear Erasmus, I beg you now for Christ’s sake to do at last as you promised; for you promised you would willingly yield to anyone who taught you better. Have done with respecting of persons! I recognize that you are a great man, richly endowed with the noblest gifts of God—with talent and learning, with eloquence bordering on the miraculous, to mention no others—while I have and am nothing, unless I may venture to boast that I am a Christian. Moreover, I praise and commend you highly for this also, that unlike all the rest you alone have attacked the real issue, the essence of the matter in dispute, and have not wearied me with irrelevances about the papacy, purgatory, indulgences, and such like trifles (for trifles they are rather than basic issues), with which almost everyone hitherto has gone hunting for me without success. You and you alone have seen the question on which everything hinges, and have aimed at the vital spot; for which I sincerely thank you, since I am only too glad to give as much attention to this subject as time and leisure permit. If those who have attacked me hitherto had done the same, and if those who now boast of new spirits and new revelations would still do it, we should have less of sedition and sects and more of peace and concord. But God has in this way through Satan punished our ingratitude.

Unless, however, you can conduct this case differently from the way you have in this Diatribe, I could very much wish that you would be content with your own special gift, and would study, adorn, and promote languages and literature as you have hitherto done with great profit and distinction. I must confess that in this direction you have done no small service to me too, so that I am considerably indebted to you, and in this regard I certainly respect and admire you most sincerely. But God has not willed or granted that you should be equal to the matter at the present at issue between us. I say this, as I beg you to believe, in no spirit of arrogance, but I pray that the Lord may soon make you as much superior to me in this matter as you are in all others. There is no novelty in it, if God instructs Moses through Jethro and teaches Paul through Ananias. For as to your saying that you have wandered very far from the mark if you are ignorant of Christ, I think you yourself see what it implies. For it does not follow that everybody will go astray if you or I do. God is preached as being marvelous in his saints, so that we may regard as saints those who are very far from sanctity. And it is not difficult to suppose that you, since you are human, may not have rightly understood or observed with due care the Scriptures or the sayings of the Fathers under whose guidance you think you are attaining your goal; and of this there is more than a hint in your statement that you are asserting nothing, but have only ‘discoursed.’ No one writes like that who has a thorough insight into the subject and rightly understands it. I, for my part in this book have not discoursed, but have asserted and do assert, and I am unwilling to submit the matter to anyone’s judgment, but advise everyone to yield assent. But may the Lord, whose cause this is, enlighten you and make you a vessel for honor and glory. Amen.

The queering of USC Upstate…

It should come as no surprise that an American university, even in the State of South Carolina, is pushing sexual perversion. University of South Carolina Upstate, in our own backyard in Spartanburg, is promoting a performance-art piece called “How to be a Lesbian in Ten Days or Less.” The schedule of events for the “Bodies of Knowledge Symposium 2014: New Normals, Old Normals, Future Normals in the LGBTQ Community” includes lectures such as “The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays,” “Lesbians can be very dangerous. It’s the testosterone,” “How to Be Queer,” and “What is Sex For?” Search the websites and the academic catalogues of just about any university and you will find such topics boringly normal today.

Let me remind you, residents of South Carolina, that USC Upstate is a public institution. You paid for that April 10-11 Symposium… Continue reading

Moral clarity from Phil Robertson…

In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame talked about homosexuality. His remarks, which Denny Burke unhelpfully deems “unhelpfully crude and explicit,” draw attention to the ick factor of sodomy and are indeed helpful in reminding Christians just exactly what President Obama and our Supreme Court Justices prefer to religious freedom. Robertson said…

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

The zealots of the New Sexual Orthodoxy (NSO) have begun raving about Robertson’s blasphemous views. “Backwoods fool called our appetites sin! Down with the Duck Commander!” Their chorus sings in a perfect unison of outrage. They know very well that those in power have been converted to their religion. They know freedom of speech does not protect those who speak of sodomy, homosexuality, and abortion as God’s Word speaks of them. They know freedom of religion does not protect those who call all men everywhere to repent of sodomy, homosexuality, and abortion. The precious sacraments of the NSO must be defended: sodomy and abortion. Anal sex and child murder.

Anal sex and child murder…

Anal sex and child murder…

Christian, do you need any more proof of the depravity of man, the train wreck that is the mind without the Word of God, the hopelessness of man outside of Jesus Christ…

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:20-21).

A&E Network, a denomination of the NSO, has suspended Robertson for his “personal beliefs” as they called them…

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty’…. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.

Look for the NSO to coax an apology out of Phil Robertson in coming days. I also expect there will be a strong backlash against the vagina…

 

Richard Dawkins' office hours involve some evolutionary risk…

Thank goodness, I have never personally experienced what it is like to believe – really and truly and deeply believe ­– in hell. But I think it can be plausibly argued that such a deeply held belief might cause a child more long-lasting mental trauma than the temporary embarrassment of mild physical abuse. -Richard Dawkins, Atheist

If man was created by impersonal forces over the course of many billions of years rather than by the word of the Holy God, there is no basis for morality. If whatever sense of fairness/ethics/kindness we subjectively experience is merely a series of chemical reactions in our brains, there is no objective morality, no real right and wrong. If current standards of morality are part of the impersonal process of evolution, there is no possibility of objective morality–what is morally reprehensible in one age may be perfectly beautiful in another. This evolutionary, impersonal, materialistic worldview permeates the Western world today. We have only the inner impulses which must be obeyed–and to each his own. The only standard left seems to be “Don’t do anything that will hurt somebody else.” But even that standard is running on the fumes of God’s “Do unto others…”. The consistent atheist must jettison all that religious muck and really live in the here and now, doing whatever those refined chemical reactions demand. If it be infanticide, so it must be. If it be pedophilia, so it must be.

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Rom. 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Rom. 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Rom. 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

The altars are busy today… (Another day of witness at the abortuary in Greenville, SC…)

While Molech was fed (Jer. 32:35) this morning by the blood of babies murdered by their mothers, Christians in the area—and all throughout the South—did their obeisance to the very universities that taught them and will teach their children that Molech, though he requires a drench of blood from the bodies of tiny babies, is really kind and gentle and compassionate and satisfying. We did, though, have an army of seven devoted soldiers, standing at the gates of hell, pleading with women to love their children and turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. How many of our Reformed and Presbyterian brothers and sisters in the Greenville/Spartanburg area woke up this morning with joy in their hearts because, after a long off-season sabbatical, they were called back to devote themselves to college football? Flags, and face-paint, and car decals, and shirts, and hats, and tickets, and travel, and time, and energy, and raised hands, and shouts of praise. If only 1% of them had devoted themselves to practicing true religion (James 1:27) by standing outside the Greenville Women’s Clinic to denounce the genocide that’s taking place in their backyards, I would be praising God this morning for an outpouring of His Spirit upon His church, for a sign of life in the midst of deadness. Instead, I pray for God to change hearts, so hardened and distracted by the gods of the world.

“He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent” (Rev. 3:1-3).

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Academic barrenness and RTS's little "thank you"…

And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them (Mark 10:13-16).

I received an invitation in the church mail box for the inauguration of Dr. Michael J. Kruger. He will be the fourth president of Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte. Near the bottom of that invitation is a little statement, a “thank you” to those who will not do something: “Thank you for not bringing children to this adult only worship service.”

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Now, I do not know what sort of seating is available at Uptown Church. Perhaps the Board of Trustees is concerned that adults (donors) have seats. But, really, they could have chosen a number of venues in Charlotte that would have ample seating. There is a large PCA church in town. That can’t be what’s motivating the Board of Trustees to give you thanks for complying.

What little children require are nursery workers and cry rooms and air fresheners…and, worst of all, they make noise, bless their hearts. On the solemn occasion of a doctor being inaugurated to the pinnacle of this particular parachurch ministry, noise of children would be a solemnity-breaker, a terrible interruption, a most unwelcome intrusion. The fragile solemnity of the occasion is being held together by a few threads of academic gowns, transitional silence, and classical subtlety. A child crying could quickly sever those threads…

Though there may be a whole host of pragmatic reasons for this request to leave your children at home, it stands as a testimony to academic barrenness. Presidents of seminaries are inaugurated at child-free, squeaky-clean, adult-only worship services. Contrast that to the strong solemnity of the installation of pastors in a local body of believers. They are ordained and installed in worship services with families strewn across the pews, children crying during the prayers (God-ordained strength: Psalm 8:2), mothers and fathers roaming about the back of the sanctuary bouncing infants, cheerios being crushed into the carpet, sons and daughters learning something deeply significant as the fathers of the church press their weight on the shoulders of the new shepherd.

Which more resembles the ministry of Jesus?

In this decision to forbid children at a worship service, The Board of Trustees of RTS has given the first class to current students on the orthodoxy of barrenness.

I’m tempted to load up the Ford E-350 and see what happens…

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Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone…

Here are a few classes you can take at one of the colleges in the Spartanburg area. These classes shouldn’t come as a surprise to you—boringly normal. Search through any American Institution of Higher Learning’s catalogue of classes and you will find classes affirming sexual sin. You’ll be paying top dollar for your sons and daughters to have access to such teaching. These classes are evidence of the inoculation to sin our children are guaranteed to receive at our nation’s colleges and universities.

Wofford College…

Philosophy of Love, Sex & Friendship
A seminar on the nature and morality of love, sex, and friendship and their social meanings. Topics to be discussed may include, but are not limited to, familial love, marriage, homosexuality, prostitution, pornography, erotic love, sexual objectification, and the different forms of friendship. Emphasis is on the study of how gender norms inform our understanding of the controversies surrounding these topics. This course may count toward the requirements for the Gender Studies Program.

Sex & Gender Across Cultures
Debates over gender and human sexuality in western societies generally assume that there are only two gender roles, male and female, and only two types of sexuality, heterosexual and homosexual. Some non-Western cultures have a far broader range of both gender roles and sexualities. This class examines gender roles and human sexuality primarily in non-Western cultures, and explores what these cultures have to teach us about gender and sex in our society. Successful completion of this course satisfies the Cultures and Peoples requirements for graduation.

As for the “Sex & Gender Across Cultures” description, I wonder if one of those things the non-Western cultures have “to teach us” is something about sin, depravity, and repentance…

Baylor University's President should fire the women's basketball coach…

ESPN reports that Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey told star basketball player Brittney Griner to keep her homosexuality on the down low…because not doing so would hurt recruiting. You see, Baylor is a Baptist school with this official policy on sexual misconduct. Here’s an excerpt:

Baylor will be guided by the understanding that human sexuality is a gift from the creator God and that the purposes of this gift include (1) the procreation of human life and (2) the uniting and strengthening of the marital bond in self-giving love. These purposes are to be achieved through heterosexual relationships within marriage. Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts.

Baylor will strive to deal in a constructive and redemptive manner with all who fail to live up to this high standard.

Coach Mulkey told Griner her sexual deviance was not a problem (before she even got to campus), but it is clear she did not know the University’s policy, right? I’m betting her willful ignorance was promoted by Griner’s unequaled talent (Griner did get Baylor a national championship) and that her request for Griner to stay quiet had more to do with her remaining at Baylor than it had to do with recruiting.

Baylor’s Christian witness is being tested. President Ken Starr (yup, that Ken Starr) should fire the women’s basketball coach. By that action he could send a message to the faculty and assure parents who are considering sending their children to Baylor that their children will not be asked to jettison their Christian faith when they arrive on Baylor’s campus. He should make it clear the University is unashamed of her Christian commitments, particularly in the critical area of Biblical sexuality.

Or…President Starr could follow Wheaton College’s President Ryken and officially promote homosexuality on campus.

 

Would you give up sodomy for Jesus?

Those who say God loves sodomy have not read His book. They say Sodom’s sin was not taking care of the poor and needy (Ez. 16:49) as if Sodom could only have one sin. They bring up the egregious sin of Sodom’s negligence because they heard some sodomite professor for a brief moment had reason to believe the book of Ezekiel was truthful at a few points. Leviticus, not so much. The Apostle Paul’s epistles, not. Jesus’ “sayings,” well…

Listening to ESPN radio last week was like sitting in that professor’s lecture hall. Radio personalities, famous sports figures, masculine men known for their masculine pursuits in masculine sports with millions of masculine listeners had to talk about courage and bravery and boldness and triumph without once talking about what Jason Collins does. They kept to the crooked and wide, praising Collins as a hero. Last week’s radio was gloriously awkward.

Chris Broussard didn’t play along, saying homosexuality was “open rebellion” and “sin.” He said,

If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.

Jason Collins assured us of his own Christian faith in his Sports Illustrated article: “I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.” Jason Collins likes all those passages that address everyone else’s behavior and can be used to protect his gayness. I’d love for him to tell me which ones he has in mind. But what of those passages that touch on his behavior? What does he think of those?

Here’s another question: Would Jason Collins give up sodomy as an act of faith in Jesus Christ? Would he take up that cross and follow Jesus Christ, as those called to Jesus must leave behind idolatry, and fornication, and money, and, yes, even family (Luke 14:26). Every Christian has a testimony to the cost of discipleship. They have learned what this verse means: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

Consider the rich fool who had taken the teachings of God seriously (“All these things I have kept”–Matt. 19:20). Jesus asked him to give up all that he owned, all the possessions with which God had blessed him: “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possession and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matt. 19:21). The rich man was unwilling: “But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property” (Matt. 19:22). Jesus asked him to give up his property, give up his material blessings, but he would not. Would Jason Collins give up sodomy for Jesus?

God is, as Psalm 25 says, a teacher of sinners:

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity, for it is great (Psalm 25:8-11).

Sinners, the poor in spirit, those who acknowledge their sin, love God because he teaches them in the way. They know the preciousness of His covenant and His testimonies. They live for His glory, crying out for pardon. They know Jesus Christ as the pearl of great price. They will not happily coexist with sin because Jesus is all. They know the loveliness and mercy of Jesus asking them to give up everything for Him.

Would Jason Collins give up sodomy for Jesus? Would he make himself a eunuch for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:12)? Would he hear and love God’s “No!”?

Jason Collins serves an idol. Idols do not make demands of their worshippers. The golden calf allows her worshippers to “play.” Jason Collins has found an understanding and tolerant idol. This idol has a great following in today’s apostate church, in the chambers of our Supreme Court, and in every institution of higher learning. Her priests are members of the media who keep the sacrifices coming.

Idols are tolerant, gentle, nice, accepting, understanding. They are memory-foam for our flesh.

God, on the other hand, instructs sinners in the way. He is not tolerant of sinners…He is merciful toward sinners through His Son Jesus Christ.

Jason Collins eyes will likely never fall upon this blog. But should they, I’ll ask again: Would you give up sodomy for Jesus Christ? Which is more precious to you?

"Honey, we're changing our name to Dylan. Actually, you better pick…"

People do not know what they are doing; because they do not know what they are undoing. – from Chesterton’s The Thing

Just stumbled upon this article by the Oxford and Princeton ethicist formerly known as William Crouch. He’s formerly known as Crouch because he and his fiancée have determined to both change their surnames when they are married. His facile mind has reasoned thus:

As with so many gender-biased traditions, this one has pretty disturbing roots. The legal concept of coverture came from England and caught on in 19th century America: the idea was that a woman, upon marriage, becomes the property of her husband. She had no right to vote or take out a bank account because she could rely on her owner to do that for her. And, of course, she couldn’t be raped by her husband—because she was essentially her husband’s property, and he was free to do with her what he wished.

We’ve made progress on these issues (though some remarkably late). But the tradition of taking the man’s name remains and, given its background, it seems to me it’s simply bad taste to carry on with it, in the same way that it would be bad taste to put on a minstrel show, no matter how pure the intentions.

You might say that we need some rule, and that taking the man’s name is as good as any other. But is this true? Why not go with whichever name sounds better? Or which name is associated with the coolest people? (MacAskill clearly beats my birth surname “Crouch” on both counts, having a better ring and being the name of both Giant MacAskill—a forebear of my fiancée’s who has a claim to be the world’s strongest ever man—and Danny MacAskill, a trial-biking legend who, also being descended from Giant MacAskill, must be a very distant cousin.)  Or any other choice made by both parties.

Crouch has added his voice to a growing post-Christian chorus whose understanding is completely ignorant of God’s Word. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Christian capital that has steadied the ethics of our nation for some time is running out. The radical egalitarian agenda is incapable of recognizing, honoring, and rejoicing in authority. The suggestion that a woman take her husband’s name as a sign of his authority is rejected as a relic from a dark, oppressive, unenlightened age. Cranmer’s old vows that the wife “love, honor, and obey” are laughable and insufferable to Crouch and his fiancée.

The reason a woman takes a man’s name is not that she becomes his property but that she gives testimony to her husband’s God-given authority and delights herself in the comfort and protection that follow therefrom. As I just said, such authority/hierarchy/patriarchy is hated today. Evangelicals hate what God’s Word says about men and women and marriage (for example, check out the website of Christians for Biblical Equality), and they save face by mocking Scripture’s teaching. And so today’s male is expected to limp wrist it from the wedding altar on, which he’s only happy to do because he’s thoroughly healed from his neutering.

Scripture teaches us that authority is good. The problem today is we’ve believed the lie taught to us…that authority is bad and only and ever used for oppression. Such is the case when authority is dislodged from Scripture. When there is no governor on authority, in the form of all men everywhere submitting to their Creator, then we do indeed get oppression. Yet, as we submit ourselves to God’s ethics, authority is blessing and comfort and assurance and a cozy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter night.

The woman takes her husband’s name in order to show respect to her man (Eph. 5:33). The woman takes her husband’s name in order to announce to the world she has a protector and a lover (Eph. 5:25-27). The woman takes her husband’s name as a sign of her deep commitment to her husband, following Eve’s lead (after reading Gen. 2:18, read the Holy Spirit’s explanation in 1 Cor. 11:8-9). The woman takes her husband’s name in order to honor God’s Word (Titus 2:5), to witness to the marriage of Christ and His Bride, the Church (Eph. 5:22-33), and to thumb her nose at the world’s hatred of femininity (Gen. 2:23).

Or, you could listen to the sage advice of our clear-thinking ethicists and go with whichever name is associated with the coolest people… Honey, we’re changing our surname to Dylan.