The Need for Love Today – MTS Commencement Address

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The Need for Love Today

The Moody Theological Seminary—Michigan 2016 Commencement Address

© Eric C. Redmond, 2016

Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder, on his Songs in the Key of Life album, explores the highs and lows that make up life. It includes memorable hits like “Sir Duke,” “Knocks Me Off My Feet,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” and the socio-economic critique, “Village Ghetto Land.” The 21-song, 2-volume Motown set won record of the year in 1976, was 57th on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Albums of all Time list in 2005, and was voted Top Album of All Time by Yahoo’s Music Playlist Blog in 2008.

One of the most famous works on the album is the first song, “Love’s in Need of Love Today.” You might be familiar with it first two stanzas:

Good morn or evening friends / Here’s your friendly announcer

I have serious news to pass on to everybody

What I’m about to say / Could mean the world’s disaster

Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It’s that Love’s in need of love today

Don’t delay / Send yours in right away

Hate’s goin’ round / Breaking many hearts

Stop it please / Before it’s gone too far

 

The force of evil plans / To make you its possession

And it will if we let it / Destroy everybody

We all must take Precautionary measures

If love and peace you treasure / Then you’ll hear me when I say

Oh that / Love’s in need of love today.[1]

Wonder presents a rather novel thesis in the song. The status of love between and among people is at the point of critical need, such that it could end the world as we know if we do not turn to morn over the situation right now. Hatred in the world and “the force of evil” plans to destroy everything, already breaking the hearts of many. Everyone must take precautionary measures by sending “Love” all of the love you and I can so that we can rescue our world. Wonder ends his urgent call by saying, “Just give the world love.”

As we have continued to enjoy this melody for the last 40 years, it would seem that no one took the responsibility to lead the way to strengthen the place of love in the world. The force of evil led us through two gulf wars, and the increases in global terrorism and human trafficking. Many more hearts are breaking daily, as evidenced by the climb of the divorce rate in the west, the number of children in foster care systems, the increase of absentee fatherhood, and the rise of a millennial generation that rejects commitments to a relationship largely because they have not seen a so-called committed relationship work, or because they were harmed by the guise of one in their growing-up years.

The rhetoric of our public discourse continues to degrade into personal slurs like “Lucifer in the flesh”[2] rather than offering respectful disagreement over conflicting ideas. Even the disappearance of cards that say “I’m sorry” from the racks of greeting card displays shows that mending fences is passé. Instead of mending, it is easier to block people from a social media page, or to cloak hate in group posts, texts, and emails while saying everything except the name of one’s object of scorn. Yes, our world is in greater need of love today than in a previous day. Before hate wins in your home, your town, your nation, and your world, someone needs to step up to the plate, accept Stevie Wonder’s challenge, and show us the way of love.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the congregation of Corinth 1900 years before Wonder recorded Songs in the Key of Life, the hatred in their world had spilled into their baptismal pool. Divisions and disregard for the religious health of their fellow members clouded their judgments on small matters. So great was their apathy that they called for curtailing sex in marriage – (?) – while they applauded an adulterous affair among their members.[3] Yet rather than suggest that congregants take their ills to the municipal courtroom (or court of public opinion), the Apostle Paul told this church that the number one thing they needed to do is love—but not with just any love, but with the acts and feelings that are the love of Christ.

As graduates of MTS, certainly you are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13 and its placement in the middle of the discussion on the role of supernatural gifts within the local assembly. Even you who are not seminarians or church goers are familiar with lines of the chapter that have become part of American cultural literacy: “Love never fails,” and “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13 is a popular piece for readings at weddings. The literati among us also know Jonathan Edward’s classic, Charity and Its Fruits, with its final chapter, “Heaven is a World of Love,” is an exemplary Puritan exposition of this very passage.

What is not so popular or familiar, however, is the character of the love Paul reveals to his hearers. This love excels all of the supernatural gifts within the congregation of Corinth, and of every congregation. This love also excels all concepts of love we promote in the world—from the puppy-love of two children who first begin to notice that “Yuck!” affection for the girl or boy in class, to the one-night stand of two colleagues, to the 1960’s anti-war slogan, “Make love not war.” It is far greater than the new parental love that removes the word “No” from teaching children ethical parameters, and offers much more than the marriage alternative now codified in Obergefell. v. Hodges. Paul’s love is more than gaining warm tingly feelings, making people happy on the inside, or keeping you from being alone when you come home from work. Warm-fuzzies and recreational partnerships will no more address evils in the world than will building an Iron Curtain-like fence along America’s southern border; every day Evil tells us where we can take the warm-fuzzy fences of our lusts and our visions of Presidential grandeur.

No, what Paul proposes is much greater, and more powerful than any wall, dropping of bombs, or embargo, and it is more powerful that the hope most people have of finally experiencing “real love” one day. This love has an enduring quality: It “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” in verse 8. It doesn’t throw in the towel when caring for a love one’s terminal disease curbs our fun for years on end. It doesn’t drop out of parenting when nothing will bring a wayward or rebellious child to reform or reconciliation. It envisions a brighter future for the addicted spouse when there are no promises of light at the end of the tunnel. It has hope for the daughter who has become a cutter and thrown away her full-ride to college, and continues to act on that hope because the daughter’s turnaround is within the realm of “all things.” Our world needs this enduring love.

This love is more excellent than operating in self-serving passions. It is beyond thinking firstly of one’s own personal comforts, one’s own desires, and one’s own promotion. Instead verses 4 – 7 tell us this love is “patient and kind,” which means love acts with patience and kindness consistently. This “love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” Real love does not smart-off at me in the store because a worker does not like me changing my order as a customer (as someone did to me recently). It does not curse at teachers who are authorities in their classrooms, neither does it try to get in the last word in every argument, and it certainly does not plan to “go up one side and down the other” of a person, or do-in or undo anyone. This love and rudeness in any form cannot coexist in the same person. This love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing,” which includes not laughing at, minimizing, taking advantage of, or ignoring the wrongful treatment of any person. Instead, Paul says this love “rejoices with the truth.”

Love intends to conquer base passions and decrease self so that the church can be the very presence of Love on earth. This is who we are to be—not simply believers intent on having nice friendships, a few prayers, and time of study. The goal of all of our shepherding, preaching, teaching, counseling, singing, praying, fellowshipping, and meeting together for business matters is that we love one another, and that our love so displays the power of Christ in lives that the world takes notice of our uniqueness in society and comes to us to seek this love—love that comes only from calling on the name of the Lord.

When we see that love is more than feeling, and is selfless actions for the greatest good of others, it puts personal, social, and all moral evils into perspective. The Black Lives Matter movement is an issue of love: Lethal use of force would not have a twinge of prejudicial association, and protests would not devolve into attacks on law enforcement, because all sides would be looking for selfless solutions with endurance and hope rather than acting out of impatience and fear. The Flint water crisis is a matter of love: We need officials who do not cover up wrongdoing for the sakes of their jobs, but who, instead, consider what is kind towards its citizenry and make sure their own happiness rests in being truthful.

Even a man being knocked out in a Chicago street, robbed of his possessions while down, and then run over by a taxi while people watch and do nothing[4] is a matter of love—not simply of sympathetic feelings toward one who is down, but it is someone having the courage to step up in the situation at risk of life, fending off pilferers, and identifying the culprits. The ethos that denigrates righteous reporting as “snitching” is the getaway driver for moral evil, and only will stop the car in the face of the lawman known as Love.

This is so, because love not only is about selfless acts and feeling toward others. Love is about a person, for Paul is personifying love. Love cannot be patient or kind; people are patient and kind. So if real love—the love you long to experience, the love that should characterize every Christian worker and every member of a church, the love that should be the evaluation grid of our ministries at the end of each day, and the love that is stronger than legislation (for even where structural justice is needed, its legislation cannot change hearts)—if real love sat in our pews Sunday to Sunday, it would have all the features of the actions of love. It would show the world what it means to stand in the very presence of God the Father for all of eternity, for, as Paul says, through love we will “see face-to-face” rather than “through a glass darkly,” and through love we will “know fully even as [we are] fully known.”[5] The only person who has shown that love daily in full measure is Jesus.

Jesus is patient toward our sin and kind toward transgressors. Jesus did not envy people’s accomplishments or looks, or boast of his divine abilities to the detriment and shame of others.

Jesus was not arrogant or rude when people accused his momma of being a whore and spat on him—things that would have been causes for fights for the rest of us. Rejection by his own people did not make him irritable or resentful for leaving his glory in heaven to come down to them.

The narrative of Jesus’ life cuts through wrongdoing in the temple and made Zacchaeus pay back stolen money fourfold—something many white-collar crooks in the modern world need to do. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). Jesus rejoiced in the truth.

Surely when he went to the cross to die in the place of our sinfulness before God, experienced and satisfied the very wrath of God in our place, and then got up from the grave by defeating death with his righteousness, he bore for us all things, he believed for us all things, he endured for us all things, and he hoped in us all things.

You sir, you ma’am who came to celebrate a graduate, should put your hope for experiencing real love in Jesus. Only he has the power to forgive you of your lack of acts of love, and to overcome eternal death for you so you can enjoy real love in this life and the life to come. Only his love working in you can transform the pride that rules your marriage into meekness so that his love also can create the bedroom experience—the love—you really want nightly, or sustain you in a marriage when selfless sexual love is absent. Only by knowing the fullness of his love can we let go of bitterness over dashed hopes and hatred of those who have abused and misused us unjustly, and find a life of joy and peace. Ask your graduate to show you the way to this real love that comes only through knowing the Christ.

Yes, the world is in need of love today.

It needs love to permeate everything within the church so that we can mend hearts and keep evil at bay.

Don’t delay; send yours in right away.

Love is the heart-fixer;

Love is the hate-stopper;

Love is the hope-giver;

Love is the evil-defeater.

MTS 2016 graduates, go love the people you serve with the actions and feelings of our Savior.

Make sure you, and your ministry, just give the world Jesus.

 

[1] Wonder, Stevie. 1976. Songs in the Key of Life, vol. 1 & 2 vol. 1 & 2. Los Angeles, CA: Motown.

[2] See http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/29/us/politics/out-of-office-ex-speaker-john-boehner-gleefully-releases-mute-button.html?_r=0, accessed April 30, 2016.

[3] 1 Cor 7:1-5.

[4] See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-bartender-death-lawsuit-0421-20160420-story.html, accessed April 30, 2016.

[5] 1 Cor 13:12.

ON REACHING MEN – Moody Pastors Workshop

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Today I had the pleasure of speaking at the Moody Pastors’ Workshop on the campus of Moody Theological Seminary (MTS; MTS offers a fully-online, fully-accredited Master of Divinity degree [M.Div], and is one of only a few seminaries to do so). I presented two talks on reaching men in the church. The talks intended to go beyond the discussions in Where Are All The Brothers? by offering practical strategies for evangelizing and discipling men. I enjoyed my time with incredible speakers and participants.

I also spoke on the air on Equipped with Chris Brooks. Brooks is Campus Dean of MTS and Pastor of Evangel Ministries, Detroit. I am grateful to Pastor Brooks for hosting me for both events.

Below is a draft of summary notes of the two talks I gave—notes I promised to the participants. Also listed are links to the resources I mentioned during the talks, as well as a link to my title mentioned by Pastor Brooks. Thank you, MTS, for giving away copies of my men’s book to the participants, and for making it available by mail to registered participants who were not able to obtain a copy at the conference.

Introduction: By the term “reaching men,” we mean two things: (1) Evangelizing men who outside the church, or at least getting them into the church for a worship service or to a men’s event hosted by the church or other ministry; (2) providing discipleship opportunities for men within the church (e.g. professed believers) who do not seem to desire to do anything more than the easiest tasks within a local congregation.

Thinking about Scripture: What made men loyal to David—not just any men, but great men (1 Chron 11:10-47)? What made men follow Jesus? What made men follow Paul across the world even when, with Paul, they faced beatings, shipwrecks, and the like (2 Cor 11:22-33)?

Theological and Spiritual Assumption: Men are not really men until they become redeemed men. The vision God has for men in the Bible is to become redeemed men. This includes things like learning to express and seek forgiveness, developing patience, exercising courage as an act of righteousness, growing in emotional endurance, and investing in their own children with more than money. Every time we ask a man in church to do a type of service, we are asking with the assumption that the man has a disposition transformed by Christ—transformation of heart, mind, soul, spirit, motives, goals, intentions, emotions, and thinking (wisely rather than foolishly). We assume we are talking with someone who desires to honor Christ and prioritize the Gospel. Having the Gospel at the center of a life is the starting point for reaching men.

Five Things to Consider When Trying to Reach Men in a Greater Way

  1. Set the highest standards for the men that you approve to lead your people. Men naturally look to follow men who look like heroes, generals, and star athletes, not men who appear to be weak. Jesus was meek, but did not appear to be weak. He took on the religious establishment without fear. He spoke about being willing to die—to lay down his life—with absolute confidence. The men leading your men can lead other men to be gentle, but such men cannot do so if they appear to be weak. Spiritually strong men do not allow other men’s money, physical strength, or power in society to intimidate them. Do not fill an opening for a men’s leader simply with a male body. Do not give honor to fools (Prov. 26:1, 8).
  1. Challenge men, and also be committed to men. If it is worth doing a men’s ministry, it is worth having a pastoral staff member, elder, or deacon who is fully committed to it to run the ministry. If you are involved as the pastor, whether it is a large group ministry or one-on-one discipleship, clear your schedule of obstacles to the meeting and preparation times. Give your best preparation to men’s discipleship. You may have to cut out some ministry tasks in order to give focus to men’s discipleship. However, it will be worth it because the men will sense your commitment to their growth and the ministry. They will sense the value of the ministry to you as integral to their own success.
  1. Use larger circles to bring men into the church; use smaller circles to deepen men. Do not get it mixed up or backwards. The men’s thing that looks like a fishing trip, an event to fix women’s cars for free, or a really good meal masquerading as a men’s prayer breakfast is a prime event to which to invite the unchurched man who would not otherwise go to church. Make the topic of conversation about life in general or things common to all men. Remove the threat of being overwhelmed by theological jargon and/or a “public invitation” or “altar call” that many unchurched men fear or disdain. Talk about things like wisely investing money, marriage (in general), the ups and downs of the local sports teams, or politics. While the unchurched men are at this event, mention the upcoming “class” on the church and politics, or the forthcoming sermon series on being a godly man in the home. The unchurched man can make a decision on whether or not to explore the deepening event. For men in the church, however, the large-group event will excite men, but it will not deepen In contrast to women, who tend to talk more freely and speak with more emotions in the open than only anger—for anger, unfortunately, is the one emotion men feel free to express before people without fear—men, who tend to be less talkative than women, will not disclose anything negative or insufficient about themselves in a large group, unless a man already is very mature in Christ. You must create small arenas of safe discussion in order to challenge men to reveal areas that need more submission to Christ’s Lordship. This includes making the men’s group appear to be elitist—that everyone cannot get in, and there is a waiting list. Make men hunger to be part of something in which it seems that only the best of men can participate. Then walk men through a curriculum related to growth.
  1. Whatever you want a man to do, show him exactly what you want him to do; do not simply tell him what to do, but show him exactly what to do. If you want men to lead their families in family worship, show them the elements of leading their families in worship. Structure your discipleship meetings to resemble a family worship time. Give a man the tools necessary to lead his family in worship. Go over the structure, tools, and content for a year. In this way a man will feel fully adequate when he begins leading his family in worship; he will be confident that he can complete his task. Similar can be said of asking a man to lead a discipleship group, teach a class, pray in public, or mentor another man or younger man. Make sure men do not feel inadequate, ill-equipped, or that they will be embarrassed before others if they try to live the Christian life in fullness.
  1. A man will open up to another man about his own weaknesses and spiritual need, but only after it clear that the hearer will not judge him critically, and that he is free to say whatever he needs to say without any recrimination.

___________________

Curricula related to Growth

Starr Meade, Teaching Hearts, Training Minds

Starr Meade, Comforting Hearts, Teaching Minds

Lifeway, 33 Series

Navigators, Design for Discipleship (Book 1 listed in the link; seven books in the series)

Navigators, Growing in Christ

Eric Redmond, Ephesians: A 12-Week Study

Items related to the new LBGT climate

Christopher Yuan, Out of a Far Country

Wesley Hill, Washed and Waiting

Todd Wilson, “Mere Sexuality” Sermon Series

 

The Artist Formerly Known As

Prince Symbol

I loved Purple Rain.

I married a girl who had a purple raincoat and a pre-Purple Rain, oversized poster of Prince in a purple trench coat (and occasionally she has been known to sing and dance in public when one of Prince’s songs plays in a store or mall).

I am not among the faithful fans of Prince; I simply am one who recognized the same musical brilliance everyone else recognized in him.

I am working on a small piece to honor Christ while talking about Prince. However, I wish to be respectful, so I will wait until we are past the artist’s funeral.

Many condolences to Prince’s family. May the Lord Jesus pour out his mercy upon you.

 

Jn. 14:2-3: Greek Exegesis and OT Background? Exploring Possibilities

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I am enjoying Murray Harris’, John: Exegetical Guide to the New Testament (B&H). I have found it very useful for research I am doing on Jn. 14:2-3. I am exploring possible OT linguistic connections, including military, betrothal, and Passover references. If you are preaching through John, Harris’ text definitely should be open in front of you with pen in hand.

On a lay level, I encourage everyone to grab Richard Phillip’s commentary on John in the Reformed Expositor’s Commentary Series (P&R). Phillips is a thoughtful Biblicist. His expositions are clear and Christ-centered. Consider his comments on Jn. 11:1-6:

Second, we should note the basis on which the sisters sent their prayer: “He whom you love.” They did not appeal to Jesus on the basis of their love or Lazarus’s love for him, but on the basis of his love for them. Not that they did not love Jesus. “They did love him,” Boice writes, “but they knew that their love for Jesus would never in a million years be an adequate basis for their appeal. . . . [This] is the only grounds that any of us can ever have in approaching the Almighty.”  This principle holds in every area of salvation. God did not send his Son because the world loved him. For the world does not love God. But the Bible proclaims, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). “In this is love,” John says, “not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Even our love for God stems from his love for us. John adds, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Therefore, Matthew Henry says, “Our love to him is not worth speaking of, but his to us can never be enough spoken of.”7 Knowing this will provide a great encouragement to our prayers. We feel distant from God because of our cool hearts and mixed performance. But our prayers are offered not in our own name but in Jesus’ name, that is, on the basis of his perfect life and saving work. Our prayers are accepted because God loves us, a love that he has proved once for all by offering his Son for our sins on the cross.

(John, Volume 2. 2014: 9.)

On Jn. 14:2-3, some of the popular concepts associated with ancient Jewish marriage traditions and the return of Christ seem to lack a historical background. However, I still am exploring the ancient literature. I find it interesting, however, that Johannine scholarship – at least in the commentaries – almost makes no comment on a relationship between Jn. 14:2-3, betrothal, and the return of Christ. Köstenberger seems to be a notable exception, but his comment is brief. I also am not sure if Jn. 14:2-3 falls under John’s paroimia concept.

My Attempt at a Leithartian Reading of Exodus 24:15

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The Consecration of JoshuaI enjoy reading Peter Leithart on exegesis and hermeneutics, even though I often find slight disagreement with his readings. His writing is most lucid, and his thinking about passages of Scripture often challenges me to ponder deeper the assumptions I bring to the interpretive table.

At last year’s Center for Pastor Theologians conference, I remember Leithart speaking on Revelation 17 and saying that we cannot start with grammatical-historical analysis when approaching Scripture because of the unity of Scripture—that the Author knew the end from the beginning. He went on to say that the “fragmented Bible” is not the Bible of the church, and that we need to learn again to read the Bible as one book.

I am not ready to jettison grammatical-historical analysis as the third step – after prayer, and multiple readings of the text – in approaching Scripture—no more than I am ready to abandon it in reading Leithart, such that I understand by his words that he means we should read all Scripture in light of the whole story of Scripture, and that he does not mean that I should throw away my BHS, NA 28, or UBS 5. If I get rid of grammatical-historical analysis, “fragmented Bible” might become a Bible with missing books or pages rather than a way of speaking of atomistic reading or reading without Biblical Theology lenses.

I am developing a presentation on the relationship between Augustine’s Christology, his hermeneutics, and three of his tractates in John 16 and 19. The related research has led me into the figurative readings of Augustine and the fathers—readings similar to Leithart’s. I am gaining a greater appreciation of what Leithart is attempting to do in exegesis – so much so that I found myself attempting a Leithartian reading of Ex. 24:15 (the subject of another paper on which I am working).

The LXX of Ex. 24:13 reads, καὶ ἀναστὰς Μωυσῆς καὶ Ἰησοῦς ὁ παρεστηκὼς αὐτῷ ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸ ὄρος τοῦ θεοῦ – “And arising, Moses and Joshua, his assistant, went up into the mountain of God” (or, the ESV – “So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God”). Similarly, two verses later, the ESV reads, “Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.” The ESV is reflective of the Hebrew text. However, the LXX reads, καὶ ἀνέβη Μωυσῆς καὶ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὸ ὄρος, καὶ ἐκάλυψεν ἡ νεφέλη τὸ ὄρος – “And Moses and Joshua went up the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.”

I think the Spirit was doing something through the LXX writer/editor at this point so that the first century believers, reading the LXX of Ex. 24:15, would say, “And Moses and Jesus went up the mountain.” I also think their reading would be right.

Recommended Resource: Peter Leithart, Deep Exegesis (Baylor).

 

Sound Doctrine and No Stress

8. How does God carry out his decrees?

God carries out his decrees in the works of creation and providence.

11. What are God’s works of providence?

God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preservation and control of all his creatures, and all their actions.

12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the state in which he was created?

When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, on condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death.

– The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646 and 1647)

Three Cs

The three Cs, circa 1999, certainly smiling because they just finished enjoying morning family devotions in the catechism.

Today, one of my daughters told me that understanding the doctrine of predestination lowers her stress levels. When I inquired more – because I thought I heard a hint of Pelagianism mixed in with her Augustinianism – I found that she is resting on God’s providence daily. This is a joy to me as a father.

It seems that part of the Lord’s great grace to Pam and me was giving us copies of Starr Meade’s, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds, and Comforting Hearts, Teaching Minds, to use in devotions with our children – ad nauseam for them! – when they were younger and in their formative years. I’m not even sure how the earlier resource landed in our laps, leading us later to the second, but I am grateful for them. Without these resources, I’m also not sure how I would have taught the children theology systematically and simply rather than abstractly and randomly or haphazardly.

My three oldest seemed to have latched onto the catechisms’ teaching on the providence of God more than anything else – which is good! One of the three also latched onto explaining the doctrine of the Trinity very strongly. Asthanasius and the Westminster framers would rejoice to see that their labors still yield fruit for Christ.

I would wish for every Christian parent of toddlers and pre-schoolers to grab hold of Starr Meade’s resources, or something very much like them. Children need to start learning strong, sound theology very early in life. We have a responsibility to pass on the faith to our children, and to prepare them to stand on the truth. prpbooks-images-covers-md-9781596384651

In Song: Christmas Cancels Hell

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.

(Galatians 3:13 ESV)

I am grateful for the joyous reminders in song that Christmas cancels Hell for those elect in Christ:

“Rank on rank the host of heaven

Spreads its vanguard on the way,

As the Light of light descendeth

From the realms of endless day,

That the powers of hell may vanish

As the darkness clears away.”

(Lines from, Liturgy of St. James, 4th Century; translated from Greek to English by Gerard Moultrie, 1864.)

“O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free

Thine own from Satan’s tyranny

From depths of Hell Thy people save

And give them victory o’er the grave

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer

Our spirits by Thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.”

(Lines from, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, trans. 1881.)

“No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow
 Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

(Lines from, “Joy to the World,” Isaac Watts, 1719.)

“So wrap our injured flesh around You

Breathe our air and walk our sod

Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God

Perfect Son of God

Welcome to our world”

(Lives from, ‘Welcome to Our World,” Chris Rice)

Merry Christmas!

The Incarnation in Song: ‘In the First Light’ by Kauflin

In the first light of a new day
No one knew he had arrived
Things continued as they had been
While a newborn softly cried
But the heavens wrapped in wonder
Knew the meaning of his birth
In the weakness of a baby
They knew God had come to Earth

As his mother held him closely
It was hard to understand
That her baby, not yet speaking
Was the Word of God to man
He would tell them of his kingdom
But their hearts would not believe
They would hate him and in anger
They would nail him to a tree

But the sadness will be broken
As the song of life arose
And the firstborn of creation
Would ascend and take his throne
He had left it to redeems us
But before his life began
He knew He’d come back not as a baby
But as the Lord of every man

Hear the angels as they’re singing
On the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be
When he comes again
When he comes again
Hear the angel as they’re singing
On the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be
When he comes again to Earth
When he comes to rule the Earth

Copyright, Bob Kauflin, 1996. Recorded by Glad.

Major Christmas Dessert Sale!

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♥🎄️DESSERT SALE🎄♥️

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Essays in Honor of Elliott E. Johnson on Hermeneutics

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House-Weiland-front-395x600This morning, at the Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) Alumni Breakfast at the ETS Annual Meeting, we honored Dr. Elliott E. Johnson with a festschrift, entitled, The Theory and Practice of Biblical Hermeneutics: Essays in Honor of Elliott E. Johnson (Lampion Press). H. Wayne House and Forrest S. Weiland served as editors. The book recognizes Dr. Johnson for more than 40 years of ministry at DTS, and his influence in the field of contemporary biblical hermeneutics. The work has contributions from Johnson’s present and former colleagues, and former students, including Weiland, Norman Geisler, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Charles Baylis, Mark Bailey, Stephen Bramer, and Stephen S. Kim. Most graciously, E. D. Hirsch provided the forward. Several of the chapters intend to demonstrate the theory and method advanced by Johnson in Expository Hermeneutics and many of his other essays.

I gladly contributed a chapter: “The Very Right of God: The Meaning of Luke 13:1-9, and Criticism(s) of John Piper’s View of the Role of God in Tragedy: A Narrative Analysis” (185-203). The essay allows me to honor my former advisor and friend, who has most shaped my hermeneutical theory. It, too, provides me an opportunity to interact honorably with some of the thinking of John Piper, also my friend and the contemporary theologian who has most shaped my theology of the Christian life. Both men acknowledge Hirsch in their interpretive theories. A version of the essay shortened by the editors, due to space limitations, appears in the book. I have attached a pdf of the originally submitted essay below.

Congratulations to Drs. House, Weiland, and Johnson on a worthy project!

#ets15

The Very Right of God March 2014 pdf The Very Right of God March 2014 pdf

 

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