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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

22 July 2005

The Mystery of Godliness

I am taking some time to read through a collection of sermons by John Calvin in the book The Mystery of Godliness. Reading Calvin's sermons really gives me an insight into how Calvin preached and viewed the Christian life. It is quite refreshing. As I read, more and more I realize he was a tender-hearted pastor and theologian who was genuinely seeking to live a holy life before a holy God. So many of the criticisms leveled against Calvin are simply ignorant, mainly because folks simply don't take the time to actually read what he wrote. Calvin preached and wrote more about theology proper, the Christian life, and personal holiness than he did about predestination and election, yet P&E is what critics associate Calvin with the most. I bet if more Calvinists (me included) would read Calvin more often and take heed to what he was trying to say in regards to living a holy life before a holy God, we would probably save some face in many debates. On the other side of the coin, if more Arminians and other Calvin critics would actually take the time to read Calvin, and then reason from his writings to a possibly legitimate dispute, I would respect them more. But since most just like to bring up the Servetus fiasco ad nauseum, a real dialog will never take place.

20 July 2005

Patience in bearing trials

Patience in bearing trials

This patience is twofold: (a) Either in regard to man, when we bear injuries without revenging, or (b) in regard to God, when we bear his hand without repining. A good man will not only do God's will, but bear his will: 'I will bear the indignation of the Lord' (Mic. 7:9). This patient bearing of God's will is not:

(i) A stoical apathy; patience is not insensitivity under God's hand; we ought to be sensitive.

(ii) Enforced patience, to bear a thing because we cannot help it, which (as Erasmus said) is rather necessity than patience. But patience is a cheerful submission of our will to God: 'The will of the Lord be done' (Acts 21:14). A godly man acquiesces in what God does, as being not only good but best for himself. The great quarrel between God and us is, Whose will shall stand? Now the regenerate will falls in with the will of God. There are four things opposite to this patient frame of soul:

(a) Disquiet of spirit, when the soul is discomposed and pulled off the hinges, insomuch that it is unfit for holy duties. When the strings of a lute are snarled up, the lute is not fit to make music. So when a Christian's spirit is perplexed and disturbed, he cannot make melody in his heart to the Lord.

(b) Discontent, which is a sullen, dogged mood. When a man is not angry at his sins, but at his condition, this is different from patience. Discontent is the daughter of pride.

(c) Prejudice, which is a dislike of God and his ways, and a falling off from religion. Sinners have hard thoughts of God, and if he just touches them on a sore spot, they will at once go away from him and throw off his livery.

(d) Self-vindication, when instead of being humbled under God's hand, a man justifies himself, as if he had not deserved what he suffers. A proud sinner stands upon his own defence, and is ready to accuse God of unrighteousness, which is as if we should tax the sun with darkness. This is far from patience. A godly man subscribes to God's wisdom and submits to his will. He says not only, 'Good is the word of the Lord' (Isa. 39:8), but 'Good is the rod of the Lord'.

--Thomas Watson, A Godly Man's Picture

19 July 2005

Post Game re-cap

Steve Hays gives a little post game analysis to PyroManiac's no-holds-barred post of July 14th. It is worth the read. I am starting to think I don't even need meaningfully thought-out blog posts anymore. Why not just blogspot all the time? Hmm...

15 July 2005

Lakewood's new digs

Well, Joel Osteen has a new place to make people feel warm and fuzzy. It officially opens this weekend. It's the old arena where the Houston Rockets once played. It's huge. I wonder what the Apostles Peter or James would think of this place?

14 July 2005

PyroManiac hits a home run

Phil Johnson just published a post that could have come from my own keyboard.

12 July 2005

God & War - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Here is a link to an essay by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on God and war. It is insightful. If you are interested, this article is worth the read to. Interesting view: God's Agency in War.

09 July 2005

London bombings, just war, thoughts

The recent bombings in London should remind all of us that Islamic terrorists are still active and wanting to kill people, for whatever reason. As a Christian, I often ponder the feelings and thoughts I should have towards those enemies of my country (and by extension, myself). I feel I should pray for them, pray the Lord will have mercy on them and save them by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
(Matthew 5:43-45 ESV)

At the same time, I realize we live in a world where justice needs to be meted out. My friend Doug reminded me of the following passage from Romans that seems to support actions by governments against lawlessness:

Rom 13:1-4 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

It is an interesting tension we as Americans are in. In reality, we are the only superpower in the world today with any sort of desire to fight the terrorists, outside of Great Britain, but that is only because of Tony Blair. Maybe the London bombings will change some people'’s minds. But that is beside the point. My point is, we, as America, have the means to bring about justice, via our military might and political clout. But, at the same time, we have got to be one of, if not the most debased society on earth. We export smut all over the globe, yet we claim to be a "“theistic nation"”. We glorify and pervert the sexuality of women, give people the "choice"” to kill unborn children, we love senses violence, we could care less about the elderly, and on and on…

It is just amazing to see God'’s way of doing things. He brings judgment to this nation via a weak church, bad judges, 9/11; yet at the same time, He gives us the awesome responsibility of being the superpower, a force to punish wicked regimes in the world.

Amazing times we live in, may the Lord have mercy. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote about war. It is a good essay, I'll post it in my next entry.

06 July 2005

James White on John Dominic Crossan

The July 5th Dividing Line is worth the bandwidth to listen to. James White plays clips from past Crossan debates and comments on Crossan's presuppositions. I will be attending the debate this August, so this DL is good prep work for that encounter.

05 July 2005

Ebey's Landing

Here is a shot from the top of the bluff at Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island. This is one of our favorite spots to hike and relax. We spent the day there to round out our 4th of July weekend vacation.

04 July 2005

Joe vs. The Volcano

What a sight to behold. If you ever have the opportunity to see Mt. St. Helens this close, do it, you won't be disappointed.Posted by Picasa

July 4th at Mt. St. Helens

My lovely wife and I at Mt. St. Helens on July 4th.Posted by Picasa

02 July 2005

Mt. Rainier

We went to Mt. Rainier yesterday. It was nice, did some light hiking, and read books. Very pleasant day enjoying God's creation. Here is one shot of the mountain. Weather was not that good for photos, but I did ok. Posted by Picasa