Responding to John MacArthur about Charlottesville

I have listened to John MacArthur’s response to a question about what the Bible would say about Charlottesville 3 times. He gave a masterful biblical explanation of how desperately wicked the human heart is.

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

 

While his explanation of why people would act as they did in Charlottesville was on target, his summary of the implications rang hollow.  Mr. MacArthur’s summary of the Charlottesville event was that it was just an opportunity for “angry, hostile, self willed, selfish people to explode.”  From his perspective, what was on display was a proud angry mob expressing itself. In fact he said of the entire event, “All I see in that is the justification of anger.”

I wonder if Mr. MacArthur was given the opportunity to think further about what the angry people were exploding about whether he would be so quick to say, “This is  not about race.”  

The PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) in 2004 defined it as follows: “Racism is an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races.”

The people who were there exploding with anger have given testimony about what their anger was directed toward and they seem to know very well it was all about race!

Mr Spencer is one of a number of white nationalist leaders who have given voice to a legion of angry white men who feel that their status in America is being eroded by multiculturalism, feminism, global trade and affirmative action.

“Our people are subjugated while an endless tide of incompatible foreigners floods this nation every year,” the group says on its website Vanguard America.

“If current trends continue, White Americans will be a minority in the nation they built.

“Our America is to be a nation exclusively for the White American peoples who out of the barren hills, empty plains, and vast mountains forged the most powerful nation to ever have existed.”

“We’re never backing down. The fact that you treated us this way, the fact that you treated American citizens who are peacefully assembling this way is an absolute outrage.

“I have never been so offended in all my life … You think you won? You looked like complete fools.

“And we’re going to make even more of a fool of you when we’re back here because we do not give up.

“Our movement is about our identity and our future and we’re not going to give up.”

It is crucial for Christians to understand that the heart of our problems resides in the evil hearts of mankind. However, that was and is not the only truth on display in Charlottesville and our society at large.  Please let more of our pastors and ministry leaders step forward and not minimize what was also on display in Charlottesville on August 12th — ugly, hostile, dehumanizing, treacherous, hateful racism.

We have this future to look forward to and to work toward!

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Rev. 7:9

We are the Body

This lighted pear with the church design was a gift from a friend. I loved seeing it this morning and thinking about the ways it teaches the role of the church in the world.  Our purpose as members is to get out of the four walls and shed light to others.

At a time when the numbers of religiously unaffiliated is growing rapidly, my sense is that I have been rescued from a shallow and frivolous life not just through affiliation but commitment to the church which is the Body of Christ.

 

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Cor. 12:27

John Calvin would not endorse our casual thinking about what it means to be part of a church.

The church is the common mother of all the godly, which bears, nourishes, and brings up children to God, kings and peasants alike; and this is done by the ministry. Those who neglect or despise this order choose to be wiser than Christ. Woe to the pride of such men!”

A summer studying the letter of Ephesians with other women has renewed my love and commitment to the church that Christ loved and gave Himself for.


A Place to Die

Harry W. Schaumburg wrote a blog post entitled “Sexual Sin in the Ministry”.   He makes a strong case that our “diagnosis determines the treatment” and suggests that nothing short of the cross will heal people caught in sexual sin.

“The cross isn’t a recovery program, the place to improve on what good is already there. It is a place to die.  It is not a question of giving up sexual sin, but of giving up one’s rights.”

Remembering God

image“What one thing about God in Christ speaks directly into today’s trouble? …

Just as we don’t change all at once, so we don’t swallow all of truth in one gulp.

We are simple people. You can’t remember ten things at once. Invariably, if you could remember just ONE true thing in the moment of trial, you’d be different. Bible “verses” aren’t magic.

But God’s words are revelations of God from God for our redemption. When you actually remember God, you do not sin. The only way we ever sin is by suppressing God, by forgetting, by tuning out his voice, switching channels, and listening to other voices.

When you actually remember, you actually change. In fact, remembering is the first change.”

– David Powlison

To God be the Glory

GodsGlory “So God glorifies himself towards the creatures also two ways:

(1) by appearing to them, being manifested to their understandings

(2) in communicating himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in, and enjoying the manifestations which he makes of himself.

They both of them may be called his glory in the more extensive sense of the word, viz. his shining forth, or the going forth of his excellency, beauty and essential glory ad extra.

By one way it goes forth towards their understandings; by the other it goes forth towards their wills or hearts. God is glorified not only by his glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in, when those that see it delight in it: God is more glorified than if they only see it; his glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart.

God made the world that he might communicate, and the creature receive, his glory, but that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart. He that testifies his having an idea of God’s glory don’t glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation of it and his delight in it.

Both these ways of God’s glorifying himself come from the same cause, viz. the overflowing of God’s internal glory, or an inclination in God to cause his internal glory to flow out ad extra. What God has in view in neither of them, neither in his manifesting his glory to the understanding nor communication to the heart, is not that he may receive, but that he [may] go forth: the main end of his shining forth is not that he may have his rays reflected back to himself, but that the rays may go forth.

Jonathan Edwards [1722], The "Miscellanies": (Entry Nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500) (WJE Online Vol. 13) , Ed. Harry S. Stout

Can you hear me now?

“But some seeds fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”  Matthew 13:8

soilandseedlingThe good soil has none of the faults of the rest of the field.  It is loose and thus unlike the path, deep and thus unlike the rocky bit, clean and thus unlike the thorny infestation.

Jesus interprets this in one word: understands. While others  received the Word, and it had some growth in them, the distinction here is surely of a moral nature.

Biblical usage of “understanding” regards the action of the whole moral and spiritual nature, not purely the intellectual process.  It involves the grasp of the truth with the whole being, the complete reception of the Word of the kingdom not merely into the intellect but into the central self that is the undivided fountain from which flow the issues of life.  Only he who has housed the Word deep in his inmost soul “understands it.”  ‘

Alexander MacLaren In His Presence, June 26th, Emerald Books, 1998.

The Gospel is Strong Wind!

"For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep doing…What a wretched man I am!   Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!…Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Romans 7:19, 24-25, 8:1

mistress1 What a gift to a believer’s heart are these words from Romans 7-8!

From his own experience, Paul describes the struggle of having new creation wants and desires coexisting and battling within the same body that still houses the desires that he had before being indwelt by Christ. 

He turns not to the law to resolve the inner conflict–he turns to Christ and the glory of the gospel!

"The law can tell us what obedience looks like and can chart our course for it, but it cannot give what it commands, and this is as true for the Christians as it is for unbelievers. 

Continue reading “The Gospel is Strong Wind!”