The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “religion”

Down South: Southern Baptists convene amid declining overall numbers

By Thomas Kidd

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held its annual meeting in Houston in June, and although the assembly did not witness any of the spectacular controversies that have marked previous SBC meetings, it nevertheless confronted some hotly debated topics.

The meeting’s most anticipated issue concerned the SBC and the Boy Scouts. Some had predicted that the SBC would endorse a full-fledged boycott of the Scouts for the group’s recent decision to admit openly gay boys as members. But the actual resolution stopped short of a boycott, expressing “opposition to and disappointment in the decision” and calling for the removal of Boy Scouts executive leaders who supported the change.

SBC representatives (called “messengers”) also passed a resolution exhorting member congregations about their “legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities.” Its sponsor, Peter Lumpkins, crafted the statement in response to a lawsuit alleging abuse cover-ups by leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), including its founder, C.J. Mahaney. A judge dismissed the case against SGM pastors in May, citing statute of limitation requirements. Mahaney stepped down as president of SGM in April. Prominent Baptist leaders Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church expressed their individual support for Mahaney in a public statement in May. Read more…

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We are what we Worship: Idols and their Makers

by Uri Brito

John Calvin

Calvin c. 1554.

Human beings are a marketable people. Those who shop around for us see our lifestyles and develop an entire strategy aimed at purchasing our wants at an exceedingly rapid speed. But not only are we easily bought, we are also very creative. We are idol-makers, to quote Calvin’s famous line. We are industrious, and the consequences of our hard work are a boost to the Baal factories and stock.

Unfortunately, this type of productivity is not encouraging. St. John quietly, but forcefully exhorted us in the last verse of I John to keep ourselves from idols. We have not heeded the apostle’s words. We have approached the idols and bargained with them about producing an entire new line of idol fashion and idol currency. We take the idol money and invest it into our own companies. We are good at what we do. In fact, we produce the best idols in town. We make them in all colors and shapes. We sell them at a discount during the Christmas holidays. All we want is for everyone to share in our pleasures. We make idols and the idols make us. We are what we worship. The more we consume the more marketable we become for the more sophisticated idol seller. We become like the gods. We treasure their style. They roam around speechless and blind, and we perceive that to be the new fad.

Read more…

Trinity Sunday: Divine Love

The Church celebrates this Sunday the blessed, Holy Trinity. God is Three and One. In the calendar, Trinity Sunday follows Pentecost. Pentecost was the pouring of the Spirit (The Third Person of the Holy Trinity) upon an infant Church. Pentecost enabled the Bride of Christ to be the instrument of change in the world. She has become the fiery sword that conquers evil and puts foreign armies to flight. Pentecost was the undoing of Babel. The unclean lips of Babel have become–by the Spirit– the clean lips of the messengers of Yahweh going to all the ends of the earth.

The Trinity seals this mission with divine approval. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have covenanted together to see that the divine promises are fulfilled. Trinity Sunday is the renewed call to go into the world not in the name of some unknown God, but in the Name of the True God who reveals Himself in Three Persons. Read more…

A Note from the Founder: 700th Post

Greetings Kuyperians,

If you have been following the progress of this humble bunch you know that we enjoy life; more importantly, we enjoy the good life. We treasure angels, we despise angel-killers, we favor truth, and have an intense allergy for falsehood and hypocrisy. Above all, we like a good party! Part of this party-spirit stems from the inspiration to carry on our noble tasks as ambassadors of the Most High God. When we say we believe in God the Father Almighty, we are doing more than creedal recitation, we are challenging the world to a duel. This is why we are Christians. We refuse to give ground to unbelieving thought. Neutrality is one of those words we dare not utter unless we negate it.

Our purpose is to echo Kuyper’s words “Not Once Square Inch,” into every word and argument we make in this endeavor. I realize it’s a noble and difficult task to live so consistently with such a robust vision, but it’s what we aim for around here.

In this 700th post, we celebrate also over 50,000 hits. This may not seem much, but at the very least it says that our labors are not in vain, and that there is a legitimate need to discuss the issues we are discussing in this virtual lecture hall. So as we aim toward the next 50,000 hits, let me encourage you to spread the word! Share our posts on Facebook and Twitter. Leave comments and feedback on how we can better improve your reading experience. We really do believe what we say is worth listening to. And so on behalf of the 16 writers of Kuyperian Commentary, I would like to say thanks for your support and continual encouragement! Party on!

In Memory of Edith Schaeffer (1914-2013)

Francis and Edith Schaeffer are now together in paradise with their Lord and Savior, Jesus.  Edith died today and you can read the details here: Edith Schaeffer 1914-2013.

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

Pastor John Stoos of Church of the King Sacramento had the following to say,
“As most of you know, her husband Francis had a tremendous influence on my life as a young Christian and I have benefited from his discipleship down through these many years.  The writings and teaching of Edith were especially important and dear to my wife Linda!  We are now blessed to see her influence in the second and third generations of our family.  We miss them both very much and yet rejoice that they are now together with their Lord in paradise!”
Her work will continue to bless generation after generation of Christians who, like her, find shelter (French: l’abri) in the Lord.
Francis and Edith Schaeffer
I’ve posted a few quotes that you should share around on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and in conversations to memorialize the life of a true Proverbs 31 woman.
Tradition as the Best Gift:

“There is something about saying, ‘We always do this,’ which helps keep the years together. Time is such an elusive thing that if we keep on meaning to do something interesting, but never do it, year would follow year with no special thoughtfulness being expressed in making gifts, surprises, charming table settings, and familiar, favorite food. Tradition is a good gift intended to guard the best gifts.”
The Homemaker:
“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family. It it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?”

From What is Family?

Made In the Image of God

“A Christian, who realizes he has been made in the image of the Creator God and is therefore meant to be creative on a finite level, should certainly have more understanding of his responsibility to treat God’s creation with sensitivity, and should develop his talents to do something to beautify his little spot on the earth’s surface.”

From The Hidden Art of Homemaking

On Prayer:

“We need to remind ourselves that although prayer is a very personal and private communication with God, pouring out our repentance and sorrow for sin, it is also to be a constant connection with God, an unbroken communication, a means of receiving assurance as to how to go on in this next hour in our work, and our means of receiving guidance. Prayer is also to be our means of receiving sufficient grace and strength to do what we are being guided to do. This reality is to be handed to the next generation, not to end when we die.”

From The Life Of Prayer

On Marriage:

“There is a mystical oneness God has made possible in the sexual relationship which belongs not to promiscuousness, but to a continuity in marriage, because it parallels the eternal oneness we have when we are united with the Lord.”

From A Celebration Of Marriage

God’s Children:

“God does not promise to treat each of his children the same in this life. God does not say that each one of his children will have the same pattern of living or follow the same plan. God is a God of diversity. God can make trees—but among the trees are hundreds of kinds of trees. God can make apples trees, but among the apples on that tree no two look identically alike. God is able to make snowflakes, and make each snowflake differently. God has a different plan for each of his children—but it all fits together.”

From Everyone Can Know: Family Devotions from the Gospel of Luke

Some Straight Skinny on Crooked Thinking

We serve an exponential God. He who made everything out of nothing does not increase through addition, but through multiplication. We move from faith to faith, from grace to grace, from blessing to blessing. The more we grow in grace the more blessed we are. The more blessed we are, the more we grow in grace. All of this reaches its crescendo when we reach eternity. We will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

This exponential reality, however, applies to His woe as well as to His weal, to cursings as it does to blessings.  For those yet outside of Christ one of the gravest judgments over sin is being given over to sin. Those outside the kingdom find themselves circling ever lower toward that vortex that is the Lake of Fire. Consider Pharaoh. Here is a man deeply blessed of God, not only made the ruler of the greatest empire the world had ever seen, but blessed with an entire nation of priests to instruct him. He, however, remembered Joseph not, and hardening his heart, enslaved those priests, God’s people. So God hardened his heart and in His grace sent a prophet. Pharaoh’s heart already hardened, he would not hear God and hardened his heart. God returned the favor once again. Read more…

Bill O’Reilly, Robert Jeffress, “The Bible,” and the Truth of God’s Revelation

Bill O’Reilly had on Pastor Robert Jeffress of The First Baptist Church of Dallas, TX. Jeffress gained a lot of attention during the 2012 presidential elections when he opposed Romney—in favor of Perry—on the grounds that Romney was a Mormon. Jeffress argued that we needed an evangelical in the White House.

O’Reilly’s segment focused on whether the Bible should be understood literally or allegorically. The unstable Fox News host began the segment with an irresponsible remark:

“The Bible,” which was co-created by Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, “highlights fundamentalist Christian beliefs.”

The History Channel show can be debated (at another time), but the opening assumption already triggers the insult of ignorance of anyone who believes such events to be literal. “Fundamentalist Christian beliefs” is the media’s way of perpetuating evangelical Christians as theological dinosaurs. Further, it carries on the abusive stereo-types usually addressed towards Islamic radicals. If you are a fundamentalist, you are in some way capable of doing things the typical enlightened human being would never do. Read more…

Tim Tebow Cancels Speech at First Baptist Church of Dallas

The New York Jets backup quarterback has cancelled his appearance at the Baptist mega-church in Dallas. The well-known Christian athlete tweeted a short time ago:

 “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance.

“He continued, “I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

The Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Robert Jeffress, has been an outspoken critic of Mitt Romney and suggested in the last campaign that he would prefer to see an orthodox Christian in the White House instead of a Mormon. He has also spoken out against homosexuality and Islam, which has made him a detested name in the politically-correct media.

Undoubtedly there is much that could be said about the star-driven ventures of the evangelical world, and I stand firmly behind critiquing it, however, Tebow’s bailing out of his commitment due to what is perceived to be a strategically wise move for the NFL superstar in unwise. My appreciation for Tebow is known and I can only hope that there are other motives involved, rather than simply avoiding the controversy of associating with a  pastor that has in actuality spoken publicly and truthfully about a host of issues over these last years.

The American Presidents BEFORE George Washington

Presidents Before The Constitution

The American Revolution was a counter-revolution against the encroachment of the British Parliament. The independence movement released the thirteen colonies from foreign control. It is important to remember the American Revolution was a battle between Britain and the thirteen individually sovereign states, each with their own state governments. During the War, the state legislatures granted enumerated portions of their own limited sovereignty to an entity called the Continental Congress.

A congressman was elected by the other delegates to serve as this body’s President-his role was largely as an impartial moderator. Later in the war, the States transferred more responsibilities to the central government in the Articles of Confederation (1781). This stood as the nation’s first established constitution until the Constitutional Convention ratified the current U.S. Constitution in 1788.

Fourteen Presidents Before George Washington

George Washington was the first President to be elected under the 1788 Constitution Model. While many know of George Washington, the Presidents under the Continental Congress are largely unknown to modern Americans. They were men of great moral vigor, who stood strong for liberty, and held at the center of their ambition the glory of God.

Below is a list of the pre-constitution Presidents, along with inspiring quotes from these men who did not shy away from leadership when times were trying.

First Continental Congress

Peyton Randolph, Virginia (Sept 1774 – Oct 1774)

Often called the “father of our country,” the courageous Peyton Randolph led the charge against the Stamp Act as one of the most revolutionary Patriots. He also intitated the practice of prayer before conducting of government business.

In a letter to British General Thomas Cage, Randolph protests his occupation of Boston,

“Your Excellency cannot be a stranger to the sentiments of America with respect to the Acts of Parliament, under the execution of which those unhappy people are oppressed, the approbation universally expressed of their conduct, and the determined resolution of the Colonies, for the preservation of their common rights to unite in their opposition to those Acts. In consequence of these sentiments, they have appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties…” [1]

Henry Middleton, South Carolina (October 1774)

Only serving four days, Middleton resigned in opposition to independence to Great Britian. He was succeeded in Congress by his son, Arthur Middleton (1742–1787), who was more radical than his father and became a signer of the Declaration of Independence.[2] Middleton’s first official act, was to execute a letter as President supporting the efforts of oppressed colonists. In the letter Middleton wrote,

“So rapidly violent and unjust has been the late conduct of the British Administration against the colonies, that either a base and slavish submission, under the loss of their ancient, just, and constitutional liberty, must quickly take place, or an adequate opposition be formed.” [3]

Second Continental Congress

John Hancock, Massachusetts (May 1775 – October 1777)

Hancock was President of the Congress when the Declaration of Independence was prepared. He was the first to sign what most men understood to be a note of their own death. The Declaration was received as treasonous by the British, making the signers traitors to the crown.

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements….All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness–and all created Power Vanity…” [4]

Henry Laurens, South Carolina (November  1777 – December 1778) Read more…

Valentine’s Day: Christian Marriage, Cheap Love, and Sex

St. Valentine Day Valentine was a third century pastor who was imprisoned for his faith. He wrote small pastoral notes to members of his congregation on leaves he was able to pluck from a maple tree just outside his cell.  These little “Valentine’s cards” expressed his love for the flock, and his desire that they demonstrate like love toward one another. Gradually the tradition grew up for Christians to exchange notes of love and encouragement to one another every year on his birthday, February 14.

Dr. George Grant, http://grantian.blogspot.com/2013/02/st-valentines-day.html

We’ve seen baseball stadium proposals where a guy’s urgent question is slapped on the Jumbotron for all in attendance to see. Some men even think it’s romantic to shout their devotion in front of thousands of strangers. Several years back, Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson even tried to convince us that women would actually want this type of proposal. In case you might be contemplating this type of proposal, let me tell you that it is about as tasteful as the rest of Sandler’s work.

In many ways, American romance is Jumbotron romance. Valentine’s Day is a good example. We couch our love in the impersonal and to the cheap. When did the standard fall so low that somehow chocolate and flowers become the epitome of devotion. We should understand these are good things. Any man who forgets them will enjoy the spurn of his wife. But this type of impersonal devotion once a year is akin to attending Easter and Christmas services, yet claiming to love Christ.

A culture of cheap grace produces cheap love. 

“Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Cheap love is giving chocolate without cordial affection, flowers without real delight and pleasure, “I Love Yous” without contentment and satisfaction … Cheap love is love without submission, love without crucifying-self, love without Jesus Christ, living and Incarnate. Cheap love teaches, “Sex is such a hassle, talking is even worse.” Christian love teaches, “rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

Our romance should be modeled after Christ’s self-giving devotion to his bride, which is why St. Valentine is such a beautiful saint. This is not to say that the mark of Valentine’s Day is simply reading verses over flowers-rather that marriage is an image of loving tension. The tenderest love on one side, and loving obedience on the other. This means that romance is an adventure, not a commute. We don’t travel through life enduring the “trial of marriage,” but through the exploration of Godly marriage we are transformed by the circumstances of our love story.

Valentine’s Day is a day for us to look at our adventure, where we’ve been, and where we are going.

Valentine’s Day is a time for Christian men who once belonged to the old Adam to become priests of the New Adam. Where the old Adam betrayed the love of his bride, we -as Priests of the new Adam- guard, nurture, and protect our redeemed garden-helper.  And as such have been called to wash our wives in Christ’s love.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate together as we see God transforming our brides into a holy bride without wrinkle, spot, or blemish.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.

In the past few months I’ve posted two articles on sexuality and marriage, you can read those here:

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