Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

September 30, 2005

Enjoy these, taken on our front patio. Focusing …

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:59 am

Enjoy these,
taken on our front patio. Focusing on these little buggers ain’t easy. But we will get a lot of practice if we want it.


September 29, 2005

A brief hiatus is possibly beginning, although I h…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 5:33 am

A brief hiatus is possibly
beginning, although I have quite a bit on the “tip of my pen”. I, along with many others, are casualties of a major work re-shuffle which is resulting in an unexpected career shakeup for yours truly. So, I have begun studying computer related stuff in order to secure employment for more years to come.

In fact, the day the hammer dropped on my work prospects is the same day I wrote out the $1K check for my class at sem. Probably shoulda’ dropped out, since I will have to be a yeoman at work rather than a slacker, for the forseeable future.

Also, I am cancelling my gum surgery indefinitely. The surgeon doesn’t use my dental insurance company, so my portion of the $5K is nearly all of it. I am coming up with plan B.

On thing you can look forward to is some cool photos. Check back tomorrow.

September 28, 2005

Today was a breakthrough day in one respect. For t…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 5:04 am

Today was a
breakthrough day in one respect. For the first time, I edited some Wikipedia encyclopedia entry. I don’t even remember what the article was that I edited. You owe yourself, if you haven’t already, to get in the habit of using this great resource for your intellectual growth. It is a great tool and shows how society can work fairly well.

In fact, while typing this brief article, I went to Wikipedia and entered in the search box “Brian Nichols”. You know who he is. He’s is the PDL poster boy who reportedly has had a conversion experience. No, not that onethis one – he has converted to Islam while behind bars.

Anyway, while reading about Nichols, I saw one of those typo/grammatical errors that just bugs a guy. So I fixed this entry. You can even see the trail of my edit.

September 27, 2005

Reading again for my class the assigned text "Prea…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:31 am

Reading again for my
class the assigned text “Preachers and Preaching” I learned about something that I have never heard of in all my 57 years: the heresy of Sandemanianism. Here is how it works, in case you wanted to get on board. “The bare death of Jesus Christ without a thought or deed on the part of man, is sufficient to present the chief of sinners spotless before God.” (You can find that quote inscribed on Robert Sandeman’s tombstone). Reading from wikipedia’s entry on Sandemanianism we learn that Sandeman may have tempered that line a bit. He apparently maintained that justifying faith is a simple assent to the divine testimony concerning Jesus, differing in no way in its character from belief in any ordinary testimony. Well, R. Sandeman isn’t around to defend his view, having died in the 18th century. But I would like to ask him how a “simple assent” is somehow not a thought.

Be that as it may*, his idea may be worth bouncing around a little. If you know me, you’ll know that I never met a heresy I didn’t like. As you also know, St. Paul was the chief of sinners. And he didn’t do a single thing to “get saved”. He was converted entirely without his permission having been granted. No thought, no deed did Paul do, none. And when he resumed walking along the Damascus road, there can be no question that he was the Lord’s possesion. So, at least Sandeman can point to an example of his “heresy”. Leaving Paul aside, since his conversion is not normative (or is it?) let me ask if it’s a problem with Sandemanianism that it teaches entry level faith, the new Christian’s “I believe”, to be sufficient for salvation?

This issue pops up in a few ways. Does your faith entail a mere agreement with a checklist of doctrines? Is your Christian life a matter of doing the Christian thing out of duty, tradition, habit? Are you a Christian because you have the mistaken notion that your salvation will occur because of it, not because of Christ? (A bit of a twist there – is there a difference between faith as the simple assent in the testimony of Christ or are you trusting in your faith?)

One thing that I wrestle with is that critics of this heresy enjoy pointing out that Christianity can’t be merely a mental thing. But I claim that, first, they came to that conclusion entirely by thinking about it, and second, I can think of no other way to get out of the mind game than by thinking my way out of it. (Do you want to get into salvation by deeds?) So, until further notice, I claim that Christianity is a mental thing.

Furthermore, while no-Lordship salvation is one of the hallmarks of Sandemanianism, Lordship salvation is just as much “it’s all in my head”.

In the final analysis, there are plenty of believers running around that make a living out of practicing their own brand of no-Lordship salvation, but none of us would actually foist it onto our brothers as a safe way to go. That is what Sandeman did.

*First time ever in print I wrote “Be that as it may”.

September 25, 2005

Just in the knick of time. Here are my bets for th…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:03 pm

Just in the knick of time.
Here are my bets for this weekend.
Giants to cover 6 pts on the road as dogs against San Diego.
Saints to cover 3.5 pts on the road as dogs against the Vikings.
Carolina to cover 3 pts on the road as favs against the Fish.

One of the books I have to read for my Sem. class …

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:25 am

One of the books
I have to read for my Sem. class is one called The Preacher and Preaching. It has about 15 articles on various aspects of pastoring and being a preacher written by a collection of luminaries in the reformed world. One chapter called “The Preacher and Piety”, written by a guy named Erroll Hulse has a paragraph that pretty much blew me out of the water. The paragraph is in a section that deals with pastors that break down and lose their effectiveness or, worse, their entire ministry. Hulse talks about what a lack of self-denial can do.

Here it is: “The practice of self-denial for the Christian means that his feelings, desires and comforts take second place to the Lord’s will. Self-denial applies to possessions as well. There is no limit to what can be spent on luxuries such as stereos, furnishings and recreational equipment.”

So, reading that I reflected on the $65,000 stereo system I heard in a salon in Point Loma a while back. And said, “there but for the grace of God (and the want of 65Gs) go I.” And I feel good about myself knowing that I have a cheap stereo. (OK, two cheap stereos).

I recall the case of the Lord’s anointed who didn’t bother with the stereo and got himself his own minstrel. It seems he had his troubles that only hearing sweet music day after day could assuage. I can only guess what it would cost me to go and hire the Chicago Symphony (and chorus) to drive the demons out. Mr. Hulse would be proud of my keeping the costs as low as I can.

September 23, 2005

After the preliminaries, baptism takes the primo s…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 3:31 am

After the preliminaries,
baptism takes the primo spot in the Hughes Old’s book about reformed worship. He put it first because baptism is “our entrance into the church”.

The chapter tackles this topic by looking at scripture, by detailing the practice of baptism as it transpired throughout the history of the church, and by discussing a little of the theology of baptism as it has emerged in various ages of church history. Old sees John’s baptism as taking on additional significance by the fact that it took place in the wilderness and in the Jordan river. He claims that this points to a “new entry into the promised land . . . and a reconstituting of Israel and the establishment of the long-promised kingdom of God”. While baptism at that time was symbolic of washing away of sin (accompanied by repentance) John’s baptism pointed to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29). Old makes the somewhat startling claim that Jesus, through John’s baptism “entered into the kingdom of God”; as did the disciples as they followed Jesus into it.

Old highlights the baptism of Jesus by John – elevating its significance – by reminding us that it was at his baptism that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus. There Jesus was proclaimed to be God’s beloved son. So to, is our own baptism a sign that we are sons of God.

Jesus’ baptism (the one you experienced) is commissioned to be pronounced in the trinitarian name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father, signifying our adoption by the Father; the Son, signifying that we are joined to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection; the Holy Spirit signifying a baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ baptism is also commissioned to be carried out to all nations. The Abrahamic covenant promise is thus being fulfilled in that all nations of the earth should be blessed. By receiving the covenant sign of baptism, we become participants in this New covenant, we become children of the kingdom, we become members of the church.

Old unravels some Pauline theology regarding baptism in order to bolster these previous claims. As such, he reiterates that Paul’s view of baptism is covenantal. As you know, a key half of the covenants are the promises associated with them. Here, the promises are the benefits of participating in Christ’s death and resurrection. As members of the covenant community the benefits are freedom over sin, victory over death and eternal life. Old says that the sign of baptism is not magic, but a means of grace. God uses the sign to strengthen our faith and to produce holiness in us.

Old briefly discusses the word ‘baptism’ itself. As much as I like Greek, I will skip over the technicals and leave you with the idea that the essence of the word baptism had become ‘wash’ rather than dunk, dip, sprinkle, pour etc.

Old then traces the practice of baptism in the church starting around 100 AD when it was a simple, plain event; 300 AD, when it involved liturgical drama which was delayed as long as possible in the believers life, some even wating till their deathbed; 400 AD when Augustine implored the church to baptise as early as possible. Baptism of infants was encouraged because Augustine felt doing so demonstrated that salvation is a gracious gift of God. Baptism is a divine work and without it no human work would avail for our salvation; 500 AD until the reformation when baptism became viewed as magic – midwives were baptising infants the instant they emerged from the womb along with exorcisms and anointings; 1500 AD when the reformers saw the need to straighten this out.

Here, Old presents the marriage of covenant theology with baptism as it took shape during the reformation. Old brings up the claim that the reformers stopped short of reforming the church as it related to the sacrament of baptism. Credo-baptists are fond of charging the reformers of leaving alone the Catholic church’s unbiblical practice of infant baptism. On the contrary, Old states that the reformers wrestled with this issue endlessly. The reformers saw the relationship between the covenant, the church, and the families that made it up. Prior to the reformation, the church had, as you know, seven sacraments. In that scheme, baptism washed away sin, but the sacrament of confirmation was when the Holy Spirit was conferred on the person. Reformers rejected a system where baptism with water was one thing and baptism of the Holy Spirit was something else. Their view saw baptism with water as the outward sign of baptism with the Holy Spirit, which was an inward grace.

It was during the reformation that the church (the reformed church) saw the need to catechize children. This is a natural outgrowth of the idea that children, as members of the covenant community, need to be instructed in the teachings of the Bible.

The Anabaptist movement caused a bit of a speed bump to the reformed church. They contended that baptism must be reserved for confessing believers only and who had had a conversion experience. They understood baptism as a symbolic confession of faith on the part of someone who was already a Christian and who had already been cleansed from sin. A reformer who may not be on everyone’s list of church hall of fame, John Oecolampadius, pointed to passages in the writings of Tertullian, Origen and Cyprian which indicated that the church had baptized infants from the earliest times of the church, that it was taken for granted and that it went back to apostolic times.

This whole discussion relates to these three: baptismal regeneration (Catholic and Lutheran), decisional regeneration (Anabaptist), or the reformed position which is that the Holy Spirit regenerates at his will and time.

I will conclude this overly long treatise with the following summary of baptism from the reformed perspective:
“Baptism is a prophetic sign at the beginning of the Christian life which continues to unfold throughout the whole of life. The sign of baptism claims for us the washing away of sins and calls us to newness of life. The sign of baptism calls us to repentance and to the profession of Christian faith. Baptism is not something that is done once and then is finished and over. It is something that shapes the whole of the Christian life. Baptism is a means of grace. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that brings about and fulfills what the sign of baptism has promised. That inward working of the Holy Spirit takes place through the whole of life until at last we die in Christ and are raised in Christ.”

My personal footnote here is that my baptism explains my earlier comment that I never chose to believe. In fact, I can try as hard as I want to chose not to believe but it is, and has proven to be, simply impossible for me to not believe.

I can also, provisionally, promise that none of the forthcoming chapter summaries will be as long as this one.

September 22, 2005

I am primed to post a summary of baptism as the e…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 5:09 am

I am primed to post
a summary of baptism as the eyes of the 16th century church reformers have viewed it. But I don’t think I want to stay up to 11:30 pm to finish the write-up. So, I will put it up tomorrow. Until then, take a look at this good-lookin guy.

September 21, 2005

With this post on a sanctification view, I will re…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:55 am

With this post
on a sanctification view, I will reach the half way point. That is, I expect to do about eight of them. This one has a distinctive doctrine that if I don’t mention it, it won’t be complete, and if I do, you should be able to identify its label easily. (But maybe not).

Here goes:

Positional sanctification, also referred to as instantaneous sanctification. At the time we are born again, we are set apart from the world to follow Jesus and so become saints. Our life of holiness is possible only because of Christ’s work. This initial step is necessary before we can begin to live a sanctified life. Heb. 10:10 is a key as it is for most all of these views: “And by that will [of God] we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Progressive sanctification – an obvious necessity since the Bible describe the Corinthian church members as saints in the same breath it describes them as utter failures.

Our part (from verses with which you are all familiar) a. “grow in grace” b. “each of you should learn to control his own body” c. “put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature” d. you have been “taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self”. And others.

God’s part. His appointed means to make this feasible. His blood (“and the blood of Jesus purifies us from every sin” 1 John 1:7), the Holy Spirit (“through the sanctifying work of the Spirit” 2 Thess 2:13) and the Word (“Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth” John 17:17).

There is, then, a cooperation between us and God in achieving the progress toward sanctification.

Entire sanctification – a life of victory over temptations to sin. The power of sin is a dominating force no longer. Through the Holy Spirit we are able not to sin even though we never come to a place where we are not able to sin.

The Spirit’s role – There must be a true reliance on the Holy Spirit to make one holy. Holiness is the result of an indwelling, living Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit must do the whole work or none of it. He will not share the work with man. The Holy Spirit serves as the agent to make Christ our sanctification by seeking to bring about a complete and perfect union of Christ and the believer.

Distinctive – Recognizes that it is the Spirit’s work not only to give us life but also to baptize us into the body of Christ. That is, after the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ, we are then saturated or filled with the Spirit; the baptism of the Spirit is thus a distinct experience after conversion.

Comment – Quite orthodox until the distinctive arrives on the scene. Hard to substantiate from scripture, though they obviously make a concerted attempt to do so. Resolving this distinctive hinges on what many would think is elementary exegesis of scripture along with some fairly basic Greek knowledge.

September 20, 2005

Regulars around here will know that I don’t put up…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 4:55 am

Regulars around here
will know that I don’t put up many links to other web sites. But this one was just too good to pass up. If this was the only church in town would you show up once a week? And which service you would you pick?

A while back, Mike S. asked a question about Col 1:24. It seems this verse is used by Roman Catholics to defend the re-sacrifice of Christ in the Mass or merely that the atonement is not complete. A very plausible answer to that question first of all is the rule of faith, which is that scripture must be proved by scripture. On that basis alone, we have to conclude that what Paul wrote here cannot possible infer an incomplete atonement.

A second answer for any problems posed by this verse is that Paul was refering to the application of the atonement, not the accomplishment of the atonement. (BTW, a great book on the subject which really opened my eyes to the gospel is “Redemption, Accomplished and Applied” by John Murray). The idea is that the working out of our salvation involves a great deal of trial, tribulation and suffering. In fact, Jesus says that our sufferings (at least those whcih result from persecution) are actually experienced by Jesus directly. Paul knew this because when he was persecuting the church, Jesus asked him why he, Paul, was persecuting him. The church really is the body of Christ.

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