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Archive for May, 2009

Fred H. Klooster in his commentary of the Heidelberg Catechism (HC) makes a seemingly bold statement when discussing the questions and answers on the Ascension of Christ.  He says, “In fact, if there had been no theological controversy concerning the ascension of Christ after the completion of his earthly ministry, there might never have been a Heidelberg Catechism (v. 1, 592).”  Then he proceeds discuss the historical environment the HC was birthed from.  First, he makes the reader aware that the Catechism itself shows this in that there is only one Q & A over the the resurrection, an accepted doctrine by all, and four on the ascension.  Then he notes that the main theological issue was the ubiquity of Christ.  That is, Christ, in both his divinity and humanity, is omnipresent (or present everywhere).  This issue erupted in then Reformed leaning but German Heidelberg.  The Lutheran church in 1559 adopted the doctrine of Ubiquity, thus separating it from the wing of Lutheranism that was influenced by Philip Melanchthon and from the Reformed church following John Calvin.  Melanchthon and Calvin taught that Christ’s human nature is ascended and remains in heaven, and that Christ is present with us through the Holy Spirit, not physically but Spiritually.  

So, great debate exploded in Heidelberg, Germany but the elector could not subscribe to the doctrine of Ubiquity and thus needed a new catechism – prior to this they used a Lutheran catechism.  As a result, the Heidelberg Catechism was created and has been cherished by many around the world.  And sometimes we take such documents for granted, not realizing the struggle that they were created in.  Just think, a Christianity with the great Q & A 1 that so aptly points us to our true comfort in life and death.  It is especially interesting, that in light of this the ascension of Christ is often over looked by many Christians today.

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Here is an interesting and thought provoking article on Christians and Torture.  – click here

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Last week at Classis (the regional gathering of RCA elders and ministers) we discussed the topic of what it means to be both missional and Reformed.  The delegates were split into small groups to discuss different aspects of this topic.  One question for discussion was on how the delegates see a distinctly Reformed approach active in their churches.  The other delegates, who were all elders, mentioned how they love the welcoming atmosphere of the congregations.  Upon hearing this, I asked myself, “How does this have anything to do with being Reformed?”  “Did these people totally miss the question?”  “Do they even know what Reformed means?”  But then I began to think and reflect on what they were saying and a light went on.  Of course!  Reformed churches should be the most welcoming churches because at the very foundation of our understanding of God is that it is only by His grace that we are invited into His community.  God’s very nature is one of welcoming undeserving guests into participating in His Kingdom and subsequently His benefits.  Thus, to be Reformed is to be a welcoming community.  

(At this point I am close to delving into the hospitality of God at the Table and all sorts of other tangents so it is best to stop here)

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