March 2015

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Preaching: from boldness to passivity...

In an interview published by NAS, Tom Wolfe says "You’ll notice that all the virtues of political correctness are passive." And thus the origin of redemptive-historical and R2K preaching.

Names of Trustees of Covenant Theological Seminary...

A reader wrote this past week asking if I had the names of the members of the Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Church in America's denominational seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO? One of the more telling aspects of the state of accountability among Christian colleges and seminaries in recent years is how difficult the administrations of these institutions have made it to get in touch with them and those they are accountable to. The internet should have made such accountability much easier, but no.

So here are the names of the Trustees of Covenant Theological Seminary. By the way, if someone would be willing to type all the text on the right into a comment, that would be helpful. Since the image to the right is just a screenshot, as it now stands no one can select the names as text and copy them. Thanks.

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Thank you: Endwright Road Community Garden fully funded...

Join us in praising God that our Kickstarter campaign to fund Endwright Road Community Garden was successful. A warm "thank you" to each of you who contributed. The final tally was $11,710 ($710 over the goal) with 97 backers. If you wish, keep up with the work at the Garden's FB page.

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Speaking of preaching...

Building on Pope Francis's commendation of Evangelical preaching, I thought it was telling that the talks I heard at this year's Auburn Avenue Pastors Conference did not mention preaching. The subject of the conference was "Salt and Light," but there was nothing about preaching. This is the state of preaching in the Reformed church today; we're forsaking preaching for the sacraments, liturgy, and culture (art, music, poetry, etc.) and these are the means of grace we trust for bringing in the Kingdom of God. 

Meanwhile Pope Francis calls Roman Catholics to know their people and to give themselves to preaching.

If you attend the worship services presided over by most Reformed celebrities today, you'll find the sermons are either vacuous exercises in redemptive-historical technique or yawn-inducing lectures on this or that theological truth. The sort of stuff coming from the pulpits of the men who have been called to tall-steeple churches to preach to the Reformed bourgeoisie today in these United States, at least, is never noteworthy for its dependence upon...

Francis: Evangelical preaching "almost a sacrament"...

Pope Francis wrote a private e-mail to an Argentine friend recently in which he expressed concern over Argentina's growing drug trade, adding he hoped there would not be a Mexicanización of Argentina. His comment was released and caused a fuss, so Francis gave a wide-ranging interview to a Mexican journalist in which he cleaned up after his private comment. The interview was broadcast yesterday on the second anniversary of Francis's elevation to the papacy. It was wide-ranging and included this discussion of the difference between Roman Catholic and Evangelical preaching:

Characterizing much Roman Catholic preaching as "disastrous," Francis went on...

Argentine soccer...

Those of you who like soccer might get a kick out of a joke told by the leader of the Roman Catholic church who took the name Francis. Asked about Argentine pride, he said, "Do you know how an Argentine commits suicide? He climbs to the top of his ego and jumps!"

Zenit didn't include the joke in their summary.

It's all too difficult...

[Note: Original post on the Christ Church Cincy website written at my fathers suggestion and reposted here at his request.]

Ross Kaminsky, a radio personality in Colorado, recently received an email from a Christian man tempted by same sex attraction. As the email comes to its conclusion, this Christian man says, "...sodomy is a deviancy. The healthiest thing for me is when a wise man can warn me of the horror, perversion, and abomination of the practice, and save my soul..." Kaminsky responded by email, "I feel terrible that society or the Bible, which I call an old book, are making you feel terrible about yourself." After sharing this response on the air, he then added the following comment:

Mark Twain's "Presbyterian conscience" and repentance...

Some years ago, I was speaking to a middle-aged woman who had been raised in a pious Christian home, sent to a good Christian liberal arts college, married a handsome young man entering the ministry after getting his seminary degree at one of the finest and most conservative Evangelical seminaries, but then given herself to adultery which had marked her and her family for the past twenty years or so. She had long ago given up any pretense of Christian faith, but I appealed to her to pray to God, asking for His help. I told her God would hear her prayers. She responded with a broken question: "But what if He doesn't answer?" She added, softly, "I've tried to pray, but He doesn't answer." It was unbearable and I didn't know what to say.

Later I was speaking to her Christian brother whose faith is strong. I asked if he had any advice concerning future conversations I might have with his sister and he didn't hesitate in his response: "Did she come to God in repentance? There must be repentance." His statement didn't come out any of those sins we associate with calls to repentance today, such as unkindness, vindictiveness, bitterness, moralism, censoriousness; in general, "elder brotherhood." Rather, his comment came from an evident spirit of mourning and faithful love, and it left me very, very sad.

What is the nature of repentance? Is there false repentance, or is all repentance efficacious just like the "Trinitarian baptism" the new Presbyterian sacramentarians hold out to their followers? Should a father or mother, pastor, elder, deacon, or older woman simply comfort those souls who confess to them that they have a bad conscience, telling them that knowing our sin is half or three-quarters of the way to being forgiven; "just ask Jesus and He'll certainly forgive you."

How very enticing it is to heal the souls under our care falsely, as the shepherds of Israel did in the time of...

Erskine College trustees bend the knee...

A couple days ago Google News had a headline about a "small Christian college in South Carolina" coming under fire for a statement its trustees issued concerning sexuality. The headline and story, though, weren't about the original statement, but a second statement the college issued responding to the backlash their first statement produced.

Curious which "small Christian college in South Carolina" they were talking about, I read the story and found it was Erskine College. You remember Erskine? For several years, recently, there was a nasty fight for the soul of the college led partly by my friend, Dick DeWitt. Dick had served for a time as the senior pastor of the historic and rich First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, South Carolina, and First Pres. being a member-church of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and Erskine being the ARP's denominational college meant the work of Dick DeWitt and friends toward the college's reform could not easily be dismissed.

My curiosity piqued, I read Erskine's second statement. Keep in mind this second statement was Erskine's attempt at placating all the foes of its first statement, which in fact was quite short and mostly composed of Scripture references. Here is the part of that first statement the pagans found...

Help kickstart Endwright Road Community Garden...

The church-house of Clearnote Church, Bloomington sits on Bloomington's far west side and God has made us the stewards of 220 acres of prime farmland surrounding our building. This year Alex Costa is leading an effort to turn a parcel of our land into a community garden where relationships can easily and naturally develop. Thing is, it takes money to prepare the soil, put up the fences, build a shed and hammer together the raised beds that will be available in part of the garden. So Alex put together a Kickstarter campaign.

We're happy to report that with nine days left, the campaign has raised half the money needed.

Those who aren't able to pay for one of the plots will be able to get one free and the garden is close by a low-income housing complex where there are many poor including internationals we think will be interested. Would you please help us with our campaign? Alex and his helpers will be good stewards of your donation. Thanks.

Trailer for 2015 Clearnote Summer Conference, "Evangelical: the Musical..."

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