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Archive for January, 2007

Imprecatory Psalms

     Should Christian’s pray the psalms that call for God’s justice upon the nations and upon their enemies?  There is some disagreement to answering this question among Christian pastors and scholars.  Some give an unhesitatingyes because they are part of our inspired Word of God – many usually question this groups love and compassion for people; others give an emphatic “No” because it doesn’t seem to be according to the overarching theme of the teachings of Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament.  And there are those who don’t know, so they avoid them – which I would think is the majority, I’m sure I have fallen into this camp at times.

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“Your statutes, Lord, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days” (PS. 93:5)

     I realize that for not blogging very long I have posted on the Law of God more than any other topic.  This is due to the fact that: (1) Our society has rejected the Law, and many have rejected any sort of moral standard. (2) The church, in many cases, has ceased to stand upon God’s Law – I do think that the entire Bible is God’s Law, so when I say God’s Law or Statutes or such I am referring to the entire Bible.  Yet, here we are told that the statutes of the Lord are firm.  Moreover, the biblical testimony concerning humanity, human civilization, certain nations, etc.,  is that they – we – will pass away.  But, it seems, that man, in an attempt toward autonomy, has always tried to mold God’s standards, His statutes, into the norms of present day society.  Yet, “the statutes of the Lord stand firm!”  May the Church, His people, stand upon that which has been entrusted to her, the only true and solid foundation, God’s Law, even if it means persecution.

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     After writing a post of negative criticism, I thought it would be appropriate to write one of appreciation.  The appreciation goes to Rev. Dr. I John Hesselink for his Platform article – an opinion piece in the Church Herald – discussing weekly communion and church growth.  Essentially what he says is, that if one were to read all of the church growth books today, none – or very very very very few- include the means of grace as those ordained means of church growth – he particularly calls attention to Communion.  I agree with Hesselink wholeheartedly.  Thank You Dr. Hesselink for this great article.  (I often wonder why agree with the Platform articles, which are opinion pieces, more than most of the Herald’s articles…hmmmm….)

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     Every month in the Church Herald the Reverend Louis Lotz, a minister at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, has a piece in the back called Signs of the Kingdom.  Though, I don’t always agree with him on everything, I don’t usually get too distraught concerning what he says.  Yet, I am quite concerned with this month’s article which is titled “Unlimited Growth in a Limited World” (If you don’t receive the Herald and are interested in the article click the title)

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     Yesterday, for the Confession of Faith we used the preface to the PCUSA’s Book of Church Order.  This seemed awkward at first, being it is the BCO.  Yet, it fit rather well into the movement of the liturgy and theme of the sermon.  I am thankful for learning under a pastor who is being creative with such things.  Below is the section we confessed:

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     After a couple of weeks putting in time as I can, I have finally completed my resume.  Now the search for a pastoral position after graduation this Spring is on.  So, if anyone knows of a church, or anyone else that might be interested, please let me know.  If you make a comment it goes to my email, and so does your email address.  Then I can delete the comment if you don’t want it on here, and send you and an email with my resume attached.  Cari and I have the East and Midwest as tied for our top preferences – if Midwest we are looking for a church 1-7 hours from Grand Rapids.  And our next preference is the West Coast.  Thanks in advance for any help.

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     This past summer I attended the Reformed Church in America’s General Synod, and one of the major issues before Synod was adopting the Belhar Confession into the RCA’s book of Standards, which now includes 3 ecumenical creeds – Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian, the Heidelberg Catechism (HC), Belgic Confession (BC), and Canons of Dort (CD).  Now, the RCA has been discussing this issue for five years now, and the CRC has now started to discuss adopting this confession as well.  For those of you who are not familiar with this document I have provided a link to it above; it focuses on three issues: unity of the church, reconciliation within the church and society, and God’s justice – all very important issues.

     Clearly, the RCA has been hesitant in adopting this confession as a confession of the church, this is seen in the fact that it has been a 5 year discussion.  Yet, it seems that the leadership of the denomination is trying to force the issue.  When I was at Synod, one whole day was slotted for celebrating church unity and ecumenicity- which are important issues.  Then, at the end of the day, after all this celebration, we came back from the ecumenical meal and on our tables were the Study Guides which the Synod was to vote on to have all the churches study the Belhar.  So we looked at the study guide, sang a song on the Belhar, then the people were to vote.  Clearly, at this point, no one could say no.  I found this very intriguing. 

     Then, I recently read the fall issue of the Reformed Review, which is Western Theological Seminary’s theological publication, and it was on the Belhar Confession.  After reading the issue I was disappointed that a opposing view was not involved in the discussion; all the authors wrote in favor of adopting the Belhar.  Yet, the RCA has been hesitant, so this clearly is not representing the entire denomination.  Again the denomination seems to be pushing the issue.

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