Saturday, December 31, 2011

Relative Time


As I write this, here in Michigan it is 10:25 AM, December 31, 2011. At this very time in Australia it is already New Years Day, January, 1, 2012.

Time is relative. God said so when He had Peter remind us that to the LORD a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.

Bodies of matter move in relation to one another and we percieve that movement as time.

Jesus revealed Himself to the Apostle John as the Alpha and Omega. He determines the times. He coordinates the movements of those bodies of matter in whose relative movements in relation to one another we percieve this thing we call "time"..

Our times are indeed in your hands O LORD!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

To Focus on the Cross

"To focus on the cross not only grounds our faith on the God who is loving and faithful, but also gives us an example in his sacrificial and redemptive love that we can never outstrip.

When we suffer, there will sometimes be mystery. Will there also be faith?

Yes, if our attention is focused more on the cross, and on the God of the cross, then on the suffering itself."

D.A. Cason, "How Long O Lord?" (2nd Edition) (Baker,2006); page 173

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Letter

You wrote that letter to me 40 plus years ago, and I have not seen nor heard from you since then, but it gave me joy to re-read that letter tonight. Wherever you are, may God's blessings be upon you and it is my prayer you live happily ever after...

Peace...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Immanuel

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

(Matthew 1:18-25)

Immanuel means God did not abandon us. He did not leave us to ourselves.

Immanuel points to that mystery of God becoming man and dwelling among us, feeling our human wants, griefs, and pains.

Immanuel points to that future consummation when in the new heavens and earth, God's dwelling place comes down to that new earth and God and man dwell together forever.

Immanuel means we can live with hope, having the forgivness of our sins, and having peace with God.

Imanuel; the proof of God's love and intent to save a lost and fallen humanity...

Immanuel! All praise and honor and glory to God and God alone!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Billy Goat Log: December 5, 2011


  • From the sanctification department: This morning I found myself irked and bothered about something not really worth mentioning. Truth was, as I thought about those things, I could feel my blood pressure going up; as in the sinful anger zone. I needed to call a time out and rein in the thoughts and passion and confess to the Lord the sin that it was. Then I got irked that I got irked... Of all the serious real life issues in a fallen and not yet fully redeemed world, I got all hot and bothered about that?

    Lord help me to see the trivial issues in life as the trivia it is. Help me to see the cares and things of this kosmos the way You see them.
  • Seasons: In a few short weeks winter will officially be here. The neat thing about that is the days will start to get longer. In our more northerly latitudes in Michigan, the changes in the length of daylight between the seasons is noticeable. We think of winter as the season when everything has died and is dormant and slumbering beneath the cold winter wind and snow. But then think how the definition of winter is the period of time when the short days start getting longer. It is in that we find the hope of the winter season; it anticipates the spring that is coming.
  • It is a beautiful thing to see the people of God show and express the love of God to those who are hurting and broken...
  • My Master invited me to have a meal with Him and His people last night. The partaking of the meal with Him was a sign of His forgiveness for the wrongs I have done Him. The punishment I should have received for those wrongs was borne by the Master Himself. In His work on my behalf, I was reconciled to Him and where there was emnity there is now peace and acceptance. So it is I can eat at His table with joy and gladness of heart.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Of The Father's Love Begotten


Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd; He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed, righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted none in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive, evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men, thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens, with glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Au­rel­i­us Pru­den­ti­us, 5th Cen­tu­ry (Corde na­tus ex pa­ren­tis); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, 1854, and Hen­ry W. Bak­er, 1859.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent

It’s really very simple: Christmas is the feast of the incarnation and the season following that event. Advent is the recognition that we need a savior and the longing for that savior to come, according to God’s promises.

Christmas is joyous, but the joy comes after weeks of waiting, watching, lamenting and calling upon God. Advent is that season of waiting; of looking for the signs and promises of the savior in the scriptures and in the world.

That distinction should save us. We think we can manufacture our own salvation by going shopping. Advent says we cannot save ourselves, that only God can save us and that in his own time and in his own way.

Michael Spencer

Friday, November 25, 2011

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North
 

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
 
The South
 
The Northeast
 
Philadelphia
 
The West
 
Boston
 
North Central
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Friday, November 18, 2011

Penn State, Joe Paterno, and the Meaning of Justice


Papa Joe is gone; fired from his job as head football coach at Penn State University. Allegations abound of criminal sexual misconduct involving a minor child on the part of an assistant coach, and a cover up of those criminal actions on the part of college administrators. Did I mention the president of PSU was also fired?

The reactions to this whole sordid affair have been pretty intense as one would expect given the emotional punch that sexual abuse of children rightly generates in our culture. As usually happens in these and similar cases, the popular sentiment is the alleged perpetrator is obviously guilty, the school also obviously guilty, and burning at the stake is to lenient a sentence for perpetrators of such atrocities. It is very easy to let the heat of emotion have rule and sway over our comments on this disgusting sordid affair, and for that heat and emotion to color our sense of what justice in this case should look like.

What I want to do in this post is step back from the emotion and heat of the Penn State scandal, and take a look at some of aspects of what justice is that should temper our heat and emotion as we view this affair.

Foremost and fundamentally justice is about truth. Justice is not about what allegedly happened, or about what you and I think happened, but about what actually empirically did happen. Justice is not based on what is reported in the news media, or on what you or I choose to believe happened. That is why in our court system we have rules about what evidence and testimony can be given in any specific judicial court case.

Justice is about culpability and having the consequence of criminal actions involve an accountability for those actions that is in measure with the nature of the criminal activity. The determining of culpability defines guilt or degree of guilt. We are answering the question of who is to be held accountable for what happened, and taking measure of what the appropriate consequence should be. A side caution to the question of culpability is that of guilt by association. We don't hold the bank robber's children accountable for the father's crime, even though there are secondary consequences the children will suffer as a result.

Justice is also about protecting the innocent; the innocent victims, and the innocent accused. The victim requires justice for the loss suffered. Justice says the innocent are to be acquitted when falsely accused. We also need to again look at the issue of guilt by association. In the above example, the bank robber's children are innocent and not considered as being guilty of the crime of the father.

It gets a little complicated doesn't it?

There is a lot more that could be said for these three aspects of justice and there may be other aspects that could be mentioned.

So what are some conclusions we can draw from this discussion?

A lot of innocent people; students, PSU athletes, faculty, alumni, staff, parents, taxpayers, PSU sports fans, and etc. are and will be to one degree or another impacted by this scandal. Justice would say we need to cut them a break, and avoid guilt by association. It also means we need to give the PSU community room and time to heal and move on, while at the same time giving the victims due and full justice. That will take some real wisdom.

Our statements of opinion on the affair need to be tempered by the fact that all we are hearing about this is from secondary and tertiary sources, and as such is hearsay. It may prove to be true hearsay, but it is still hearsay.

If in the course of investigation the allegations are proven true, all those guilty and culpable need to be made to answer in proportion to the degree of their specific guilt and culpability.

All involved; victims, innocent PSU community members, and the guilty need our prayers. With a understanding of all that justice means, we can't go wrong in praying that justice will be done in the Penn State scandal.

"But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

~ Amos 5:24

[Side Note: The context of my interest in the Penn State scandal is through my alma mater Michigan State University's association with Penn State in the Big Ten conference. The ripples of the scandal reach to all Big Ten schools; just ask Nebraska who played a conference football game with Penn State at Penn State just a few days after Paterno's firing. ]

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Decade Ago Already?


I have had occasion to ponder some of the events in my life that happened 10 years ago this month. Has it been that long already?

It was a time of change for myself and my family; significant major change. Those events were a culmination of things that had been churning and gestating and fermenting for a number of years before they reached the point of critical mass and our world shifted.

Yes, it was only a few months after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York. But what was going on in my life and the life of my family at that time was not the stuff of newspaper headlines.

Looking back at that time, in all our personal turmoil and tumult, what I remember most is how God's hand guided us through the darkness, and how in those personal and family events of November 2001, that point of deepest darkness was actually the point when the light of dawn began to break upon our weary hearts and souls.

In the end we were free. Truly and really free...

God is good... "Hereto has the LORD helped us..." To Him be all praise, honor, and glory foever and ever. Amen!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Then you are an individualist, a materialist, and, logically, a hedonist."

"I wouldn't stand for that," he replied. "Couldn't see the necessity for it, nor the common sense. I cut out the race and the children. I would sacrifice nothing for them. It's just so much slush and sentiment, and you must see it yourself, at least for one who does not believe in eternal life. With immortality before me, altruism would be a paying business proposition. I might elevate my soul to all kinds of altitudes. But with nothing eternal before me but death, given for a brief spell this yeasty crawling and squirming which is called life, why, it would be immoral for me to perform any act that was a sacrifice. Any sacrifice that makes me lose one crawl or squirm is foolish, —and not only foolish, for it is a wrong against myself and a wicked thing. I must not lose one crawl or squirm if I am to get the most out of the ferment. Nor will the eternal movelessness that is coming to me be made easier or harder by the sacrifices or selfishnesses of the time when I was yeasty and acrawl."

"Then you are an individualist, a materialist, and, logically,
a hedonist."

"Big words," he smiled. "But what is a hedonist?"

He nodded agreement when I had given the definition.

"And you are also," I continued. "a man one could not trust in the least thing where it was possible for a selfish interest to intervene?"

"Now you're beginning to understand," he said, brightening.

"You are a man utterly without what the world calls morals?"

"That's it."

"A man of whom to be always afraid —"

"That's the way to put it."

"As one is afraid of a snake, or a tiger, or a shark?"

"Now you know me," he said. "And you know me as I am generally known. Other men call me 'Wolf.'"

(The Sea Wolf by Jack London, Chapter 8)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"MANY clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilisation, what there is particularly immortal about yours?"

~GK Chesterton: The Napoleon of Notting Hill

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Book of Revelations





I came across this movie on YouTube; it is about an hour and a half long. I can't speak for the theology of those who made this movie, but found that once I started watching, I didn't want to stop. This is not so much a movie aboout the the things happening in the book of Revelation, but a movie about the circumstances around the writing of the book and the life of the Apostle John. Yes it is fictional, but also interesting and sobering.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Of This And That


  • It has been a slow summer for blogging. I get home from work and crash, and there isn't a lot of energy left for much else. Work is getting hectic. I did set a personal deadline for retirement. All I'll say at this point is it is less then two years, ready or not. I found I needed to set that deadline to give myself some focus. Otherwise I was just kind of drifting along waiting for something to happen instead of focusing on making it happen.
  • Our Detroit Tigers are tearing up the central division. They have a pretty good lead heading into the end of the regular season. It has been fun to be able to turn on the TV and watch some or parts of the games. It will be interesting to see what the playoffs bring. Also Detroit Lion fans are looking forward to what the regular season will bring. Will this be the year the Lions roar is heard throughout the NFL?
  • New Toy Department: I have a new Toshiba Satellite L755 Laptop. The laptop I was using was a work issued HP, and I was restricted as to how I could use it and what software I could add on. I really like the Toshiba. I don't do gaming so didn't need a lot of bells and whistles. The price for the total package was good and in budget.
  • The days are getting shorter. The trees, flowers, and other fauna are getting that late summer tired, washed out look. Here in our part of Michigan we've even seen a tree here and there that has turned color. A few more weeks and we will put the AC window unit away. Our AC got a real workout during the extended hot weather we had in July and August. I am looking forward to the Fall season.
  • Reading: How Long O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil (2nd Edition); D. A. Carson; (Baker,2006)
  • I have friends and family living in Texas. Things in Texas are really bad; no rain since last fall, and a number of destructive wild fires. Here are some pictures of the devastation caused by the record setting extensive drought. We can expect the economic impact to extend far beyond the Texas borders. The cotton crop has been wiped out. The impact on the livestock industry is simply devastating. We need to pray for our friends in Texas.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Theological Propaganda?



I am in the process of reading a book; a book that received much attention, far and wide, when it was published earlier this year. I found myself asking the question, "What am I really reading? What is it about how this book was written?" After a while the word "propaganda" came to mind.


Now there are words of a negative connotation that you don't want to toss loosely around when talking of those whom Jesus said are our neighbors, even with those neighbors whose theology and message we take strong exception to.  "Propaganda" is one of those words. It is one of those words we could quickly toss out as part of an ad hominem argument; and that even as ad hominem arguments are one of the techniques of propaganda.



Nonetheless if the shoe fits, then we are also obligated to speak truth about what our neighbor has said.


 
At this point we need to refer to the Propaganda Critic WWW site which has built on the work of the original Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA). To quote from this site:

"The IPA is best-known for identifying the seven basic propaganda devices: Name-Calling, Glittering Generality, Transfer, Testimonial, Plain Folks, Card Stacking, and Band Wagon. According to the authors of a recent book on propaganda, "these seven devices have been repeated so frequently in lectures, articles, and textbooks ever since that they have become virtually synonymous with the practice and analysis of propaganda in all of its aspects." (Combs and Nimmo, 1993)"


The above quote lists seven basic propaganda techniques. It is not my intent to expand on the seven techniques. For that discussion I greatly encourage you to go to the P-C link above. If you have been around Christianity for any time, you will also recognize that some of the techniques listed are also marks of cultish behavior found in some churches.

All that said, there were several things about the book I'm reading that raised a flag; a total lack of footnotes or bibliography, partial quotes from Scripture used without any reference to the wider context of the quote, broad sweeping assertions or unqualified statements and subtle ad hominem allusions.

And I've seen this before in other theological contexts from those who would take great exception to the author I'm reading. The rhetorical techniques fit the definition of propaganda; theological propaganda.

Let the reader beware...

~ The Billy Goat ~
Four Myths About the Crusades

Paul F. Crawford (from Intercollegiate Review (46:1) - 04/21/11

The four myths Crawford deals with are as follows:

Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.

Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.

Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

Click on the link above to see the whole article with the details and extended footnoted references.  This article is a refreshing breath of wind amidst all the propaganda we are bombarded with.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Balancing Mystery and Certainty in Theology

“…Some of us have absorbed a form of theology with all the answers.  We can offer standard answers to every problem that comes along, especially if the problem is afflicting some other person.  Our certainty and dogmatism give us such assurance, our systematic theology is so well articulated, that we leave precious little scope for mystery, awe, unknowns.   Then when we ourselves face devastating catastrophe, and we find that the certainties we have propounded with such confidence offer us little relief, our despair is the bleaker: we begin to question the most basic elements of our faith.  Had we recognized that in addition to great certainties there are great gaps in our comprehension, perhaps we would have been less torn up to find that the mere certainties proved less than adequate in our own hour of need.   

It becomes important, then, to decide just where the mysteries and the certainties are.  Christianity that is nothing but certainties quickly becomes haughty and arrogant, rigid and unbending.  Worse, it leaves the Christian open to the most excruciating doubt that when the vicissitudes of life finally knock out the supporting pillars.  The God of such Christianity is just not big enough to be trusted when you are up to your neck in the muck of pain and defeat.  Conversely, Christianity that is nothing but mystery leaves nothing to proclaim, and makes faith indistinguishable from blind credulity…”

How Long O Lord? – Reflections on Suffering and Evil (2nd Edition); D. A. Carson; (Baker, 2006), page 26

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Theology Matters: D. A. Carson on the Intent of the Atonement

The above is a link to an extended quotation from D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2000), 73-79.

Carson looks at the atonement in light of the various ways the Bible speaks about the love of God: (1) God’s intra-Trinitarian love, (2) God’s love displayed in his providential care, (3) God’s yearning warning and invitation to all human beings as he invites and commands them to repent and believe, (4) God’s special love towards the elect, and (5) God’s conditional love toward his covenant people as he speaks in the language of discipline.

I found this discussion helpful, and am adding The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God to my "want to read" list.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Does the Word “Evangelical” Mean Anything Anymore?

Eternal Perspective Ministries Blog (Randy Alcorn, July 15,2011)


...I didn’t grow up in an evangelical church. I grew up in a nonchristian home and came to Christ as a teenager. I’ve seen very different kinds of evangelical churches, and I have a broad appreciation of many of these differences. But now, at an ever-accelerating pace, the word “evangelical” and even the term “Bible-believing” seem to be losing their historic meaning. (Yes, I’m aware that terminology isn’t all-important; but I’m also aware that terminology can mislead people and cloud understanding and dialogue when radically different meanings are attached to the same term.)
Is the extent of the need to hear the gospel and respond to it in Christ-centered repentance really so unclear in Scripture? Are matters of salvation, judgment and eternal destiny really gray areas or secondary issues subject to in-house evangelical disputes? Or is the Bible emphatically clear on the point that ANY person without Christ, whether they be Muslim or atheist or Baptist, will go to Hell, not Heaven?

There is what the term "Evangelical" means to me personally, and there is what the term "Evangelical" means to the wider culture. Culture looks at Evangelicalism and defines it in terms of the wider context of evangelical culture. I tend to define the term in a more narrow theological context. It is that theological evangelicalism that I see as my "Mother Kirk" to borrow a C.S. Lewis expression.

It is my fear that the term "Evangelical" as used in the wider context of the visible church and culture is indeed losing its meaning, and thus even the theological definition continues to erode and lose Biblical precision. Along with that erosion is a loss of vibrancy and energy that I associate with my more ideal and perhaps traditional view of what Evangelicalism should be.

That is a reason I have the Philip Yancy quote on the left side bar of this blog. The term Evangelicalism as used in our culture may in the end indeed become meaningless. That said, the Bible will continue to be and always will be an evangelical book; the story of the Creator calling a lost humanity back to Himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"Some of my friends believe we should abandon the word evangelical. I do not. I simply yearn for us to live up to the meaning of our name." ~ Philip Yancey

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Why the Cross?

"Consider what God did to save us.  He didn't hand us a brochure, as if our problem was merely ignorance.  He didn't call a meeting, as if our problem was merely stubbornness.  He answered our need with the cross, which can only mean we have royally messed up.  If the cross is necessary to save us, then What did we do?

We have rebelled against God, causing both his death and ours.  So hard as this is to accept, of course we deserve hell.  Anything less would be grave injustice."

(Mike Wittmer, Christ Alone, page 130)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bengalis as an Essentially Unreached People

"...although the founder of the modern missionary movement, William Carey, went first to the Bengali people in 1793, even today there are less than one half of one percent (0.5%) of Bengalis who call themselves Christian (both Catholics and evangelical). In the same time frame we have seen some Latin American and some African countries exceed 30% evangelical. China itself is over 5%. But the 250 million Bengalis are basically still languishing without the Good News. We must raise the level of our passion and start bridge-building to them."

~ Dave DeCook, Director of Bangla Ministries Worldwide

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Billy Goat Log: June 18, 2011

  • We upgraded our cable subscription back in early April, just in time to catch some of the NHL Stanley Cup playoff games.  The Red Wings were taken out by the Sharks who were taken out by the Cannuks who were taken out by the Bruins, and then Vancouver burned down which was really kind of silly.
  • We made it through the high school graduation open house season.   Look out world!  Here they come!  We blink our eyes and that "little kid" running around the church foyer is now driving a car, and then graduating from high school.  Then at some point they get married  and maybe further down the road start having kids of their own.  
  • I've been reading some Vince Flynn spy thrillers.  Also I've picked up a Tony Hillerman book I don't remember reading before.
  • Will I ever be able to retire? I'm at that age, but financial prospects are still tenuous at this point. Back in March a good friend passed away very suddenly. He was about 3 months from retirement. He had talked about his plans for this summer of which at the top of the list was spending time with his one and only grandchild. It is things like that which cause you to stop and think.
  • We had a wet spring, and so far it has been relatively cool. We've ran the AC a few times, but have been able to go days at a time without it. Back in the fall of 2009 I split some peony bushes. This is the first year we've had blooms from the transplanted portions.
  • I'm convinced more then ever that Biblical perseverance is perseverance in faith believing. The context of the persevering passages in the book of Hebrews sets perseverance in contrast to apostasy.
  • On one of my other blogs I did a story on a Great-Uncle Pvt. George Britton who was killed in World War I. I was able to find some information on the regiment he was in, including some combat history. That story is found here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Mountian  (TSO Photography)



This is really nice. 

~ The Billy Goat  ~

Friday, May 20, 2011


Calvinists, says one Calvinist, misunderstand some of their history and theology. A review of 'Ten Myths About Calvinism.' (Roger E. Olson,  posted 5/18/2011)
"We need fewer angular, sharp-elbowed Calvinists who glory in what distinguishes their stance from others," Stewart argues, "and a lot more supporters of the Reformed faith who rejoice in what they hold in common with others."
AMEN to that brother!!!!
Yes I Believe in the Rapture, and I don't Apologize for Doing So!

This post was triggered by recent Blog discussions of Harold Camping's misguided predictions regarding the timing of what he calls the pre-tribulational rapture of the church.   If you read this after May 21, 2011, according to Harold you missed it.

We let the dispensationalist debate about the rapture cloud the meaning of the word “rapture” and its context in the 1Thessalonians 4:13-17 passage. At the end of that passage Paul tells us to “comfort one another with these words..” The snatching or taking up (rapture) is taught in the passage. The issue is not one of will there be or not be a rapture. The real question is when it will occur?

I am very well aware, and have been for many a year, that the 1 Thessalonians 4 passage has behind it a picture of the King approaching a city and the dignitaries of the city going out to meet that King, and escorting the King into the city. . I also read in verse 17,  “arpagasometha ‘en nephlais” and “eis aera”. (Pardon my crude transliteration.) The initial meeting does not take place on the “ge” (earth), but in the clouds; that is, "in the air".  We will then escort the King down to the “ge” (earth).

There seems to be an assumption by many dispensatinalists and non-dispensatiinalists alike that believers “being taken away someplace else other then earth” is a sin qua non of any rapture theology.  My contention is that it is not; that one can hold a rapture theology consistent with the picture of the royal approach of the King.

Jerome supposedly translated “arpagasometha” with the Latin word from which we get the English word “rapture”. You may argue that word, but please don’t argue with "arpagasometha ‘en nephlais” or the factual events Paul says will happen.

It bothers me GREATLY that non-dispensationalists diss the rapture concept as though it is ONLY a dispensatinalist concept. If the “snatching up” (rapture) is not a Biblical concept then why did Paul talk about it at all?  I have my doubts about the pre-trib rapture of the church. I have no doubts whatsoever about the rapture of those believers still alive on earth at Christ’s return. We are in danger of letting the debate about timing steal from us the comfort Paul intended for us to get from his words, and in doing so we miss Paul's pastoral intent in writing about the matter in the first place.

In that light I refuse to give up the concept of the rapture because I refuse to give up clearly Biblical concepts period. And pardon me if I get a little passionate about reclaiming a Biblical concept from the dispensational abuse of the concept.  Pastoral concern demands no less.

Peace…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011





A Holy Meal: The Lord's Supper in the Life of the Church

by Gordon T. Smith (Baker Academic, 2005)


I found this to be an excellent reading on the Biblical meaning of the Lord's Supper.  The writing is not shallow, but neither is it overly academic.  Often one's view of the Lord's Supper is skewed by the particular emphasis of our particular Christian tradition.  Dr. Smith opens with discussion of the meaning of eating, symbol, and sacrament. He then looks at the Lord's Supper as described by the following seven chapter headings:  

  1. Remembrance: The Lord's Supper as a Memorial
  2. Communion: The Lord's Supper as Fellowship with Christ and with One Another
  3. Forgiveness: The Lord's Supper as a Table of Mercy
  4. Covenant: The Lord's Supper as a Renewal of Baptismal Vows
  5. Nourishment: The Lord's Supper as Bread from Heaven
  6. Anticipation: The Lord's Supper as a Declaration of Hope
  7. Eucharist: The Lord's Supper as a Joyous Thanksgiving Celebration
In my own church background and circles the historic emphasis has been on the Lord's Supper as a memorial.  As Smith rightly points out, the Lord's Supper is indeed a memorial, but it is not just a memorial.  This realization makes the Table even more meaningful and personal. 

Smith does not separate the Supper from the Word or the working of the Holy Spirit.  It is the Word that gives us the context and informs us of the meaning and purpose of the Supper.  It is  the Holy Spirit that makes the meaning and purpose of the Supper real to us in our corporate church life as well as in the individual lives of each believer participating.  The author also understands there is a certain mystery to the Lord's Supper that our intellect will not fully comprehend, but it is also that same intellect that informs our humble obedience in observing the Supper.

The reader may come across a statement or two in this book that could cause the eyebrows to raise in question or disagreement.  Dr. Smith's own view of the Lord's Supper has roots that go back through John Calvin, and as such reflects an overall view of the Table that I am personally sympathetic to.   Whatever few statements raised my eyebrows were far out weighed by the positive contribution Dr. Smith has made to the church's understanding of the Lord's Supper. 

If you are sensing that there is more to the Lord's Supper then your tradition's peculiar emphasis; that perhaps there is something about the meaning and purpose of the Lord's Supper that you are missing, this will be a helpful  book to read.

~ The Billy Goat ~

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Mercies Every Morning


"...my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, "My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD."

Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

(Lamentations 3:17-25)

"Kyrie eleison!" (Lord have mercy!) has been the heart cry and prayer of the people of God from time immemorial. The more we sense our desperate need, the more we cry out "Kyrie eleison!"

There have been more then a few times over the years when I have found the cry for mercy to be the only prayer I can make. In those times I feel like a sheep that can only bleat one phrase over and over again.

"Lord have mercy..."

The cares of the world press in. You see the needs of others around you and the desperate crying needs of the world at large and sense how quickly your own world could be turned upside down. Your own needs and fears become overwhelming. You have a sense of how vulnerable and fragile your life and world really is, and how it all hangs as by a thread that could so easily break, shattering your world and leaving your life in shambles.

"Lord have mercy..."

So it is that over the past week or so I have found encouragement and joy in meditating on that part of Lamentations 3 that reads "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

His mercies toward His people NEVER end. His mercies are NEW every morning.

Jesus said, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matt 6:34). We can also say sufficient unto the day are the mercies thereof.

Each day the mercies of God toward His people are new and fresh. His mercies don't get worn out or wrinkled with age. The reservoir of God's mercy is as limitless and as infinite as God Himself. And we will continue to be the recipiants of those mercies throughout eternity.

Kyrie eleison...

~ The Billy Goat ~

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Subtle Evangelical Narcissistic Navel Gazing


The response of the Evangelical blogosphere to the news of Osama bin Laden's death was frankly disturbing. The overwhelming fixation on "how a Christian should respond" quickly reached the point of nauseous. I very early stopped reading any of the numerous posts on the subject. Of those I did read, the best was Steve Scott's subtly sarcastic response here.

In interaction with another blogger I asked for specific examples of inappropriate responses by Christians. This brother did respond with some examples, but again I was left with the feeling the vast majority of Evangelical and Reformed blogging or posting in social media on the subject had little to do with those specific examples or any specific examples at all. For some reason the OBL story became an occasion of an Evangelical and Reformed pontificating to a degree that was just plain overly excessive. Given the nature of blogging and social media such as Facebook, it was probably inevitable.

And the world at large? The truth is the media at large, the media beyond the Christian Evangelical world, really didn't care what Evangelicals thought about it at all. The silence on the "Christian response" from that media was deafening. They rightly were focusing on other more pertinent aspects of the OBL story.

But that was not the point was it? We as Evangelical or Reformed Christians can now smugly pat ourselves on the back because we "responded appropriately" to the news of OBL's death, thus insuring our own self-righteousness and preserving our "testimony". The truth is that it was much ado about something no where as overwhelming as we made it out to be.

Could it possibly be that underneath all the Evangelical and Reformed pontificating about "how Christians should respond" was a certain degree of subtle narcissism? Could it just possibly be?

~ The Billy Goat ~

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Civil War Sesquicentennial



Robert H. Moore over at Cenantua's Blog writes in his own words, "As a Southerner and native of the Shenandoah Valley, I reflect on the Civil War-era South… and sometimes a little more. But… expect the unexpected."

This past week Robert has been posting a number of interesting articles on the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. He quotes extensively from those who were there in Virginia at the time, and in these eye witness accounts of the time, demonstrates the diversity and differences of opinion in Virginia in regard to the issue of succession. I am finding this series pretty compelling reading and highly recommend it. (See link above for Cenantua;s Blog.)

~ The Billy Goat ~

All We Like Sheep...


I came home from work yesterday and TV trucks were parked next door. One of the reporters came over and asked us what we knew, which up to that point was zero. She informed us our next door neighbor, the husband, was arrested on charges of child molestation. His wife runs a licensed child day care out of the home.

We were flabbergasted and shocked. My concern was not to rush to judgement when so few of the facts were known. The reporter asked if we would speak "on camera". We declined, but did give permission to quote us anonymously.

Through the evening more details emerged including a report based on court records that our neighbor had confessed to several of the charges. An investigation is ongoing. The day care has been shut down pending further investigations.

One of our other neighbors did give one of the TV stations an "on-camera" statement. What they said pretty well spoke for all of us in the neighborhood. Shock, pain, grief, disbelief

As my wife and I talked about all this, we agreed the question is not, "Is this a man you would have thought capable of doing such things?" We are all capable of doing many seriously sinful and wicked things in life. The question is not what was our neighbor capable of doing, but one of what did he actually do.

Here is a man with grown adult children, a grandfather with grand-kids, retired; a man who up to this point in life has lived with integrity in relation to the civil laws governing our society. What has come to light must be devastating to his wife, his children, his grandchildren, we who are his neighbors, as well as the parents of the children who were in the day care, and the children themselves. And to top it off, one of those parents is a colleague of mine from work.

I'm still dealing with the emotional shock. Though not close friends, we were friends. Over the years we had chatted back and forth, loaned needed tools for whatever project was pressing at the time, and all the other interactions of casual neighbor to neighbor relations.

Anyone of us could very easily and quickly fall into the same kind of sin. We ought not to kid ourselves that we could never do such a thing. The warning is there. "Let he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." For it is not about what we are capable of doing. It is about what we actually do. God give us grace and mercy to actually do what is right and good and pure.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Intellectual Integrity Wins!



Have you ever observed people being accused of resisting someones ideas because of fear? Someone writes a controversial book and reviewers critique the book and take exception to the writer's propositions as expressed in the book. Then the author responds that his critics are reacting out of fear.

Oh really? The author knows this for sure? All the criticism of his book is based on fear? Fear is the primary driving motive of the criticism?

But what if it is not? What if the criticism was based on the reviewer's properly critical rational examination of the author's own words and arguments as presented in the book? What if the criticism is based on an objective scholarly analysis of the author's own words and assertions?

What if the criticism comes from a basis of intellectual integrity, and the reviewer in his or her analysis detects that the author has not been entirely intellectually honest with the data; that critical points of context and other relevant information and data have been ignored or overlooked?

And why is the author responding to his critics with an ad hominem argument? Were the critics suppose to leave their brains at the door of their office before sitting down and reviewing the author's book? Are all critical rational thinking facilities to be laid aside when it comes to examining this writers assertions and claims?

And why use such emotional words such as "fear" or "afraid" in labeling one's critics? After all, does the author want dialogue or monologue?

What if in the end it is not fear that drives the criticism, but on the contrary it is application of the rigor of intellectual integrity?

In that case intellectual integrity and honesty wins.

Vacation



We took a quick vacation to Texas; blue skies, sunshine and 70's and 80's. Nice... On our way home we got to St. Louis, MO and there was snow on the ground. Oh well...



We go to Texas Via Missouri and Oklahoma. I really enjoy the scenery in eastern Oklahoma.




One of the more picturesque areas in that part of Oklahoma is the Lake Eufaula area just north of McAlester.





It was nice to get away for a little while.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Of This and That


  • The Michigan State Spartans make it to the NCAA dance once again. Life is good.

  • Winter keeps dragging on here in our part of Michigan. We are really ready to be done with it all.

  • Civil War redux: The picture of the Civil War in popular culture is one of a southern slave state unity in a "Confederate Solidarity". The truth is that image of Confederate solidarity is a myth. Here are some blogs I follow that expose that myth for what it is: Renegade South, Southern Unionist Chronicles, and Cenantua's Blog.

  • To The Post-Modernity Child: Even as the gods of your fathers betrayed your fathers and you, so shall the new gods you have replaced them with end up betraying you, and your children, and your children's children. You sow to the wind. You will reap the whirlwind. Sadly, you are becoming the same thing you were trying to avoid.

  • Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong: fear not! Behold your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God He will come and save you." (Isaiah 35:3-4)

    There are a lot of precious nuggets in Isaiah...

  • Here is a link to Tim Challies's review of Rob Bell's "Love Wins".

  • Internet Wonders: A young friend of ours is on the swim team at a nearby NCAA Division II school. This past week she and some of her teammates were at the National NCAA Div. II Swim & Dive Championships in San Antonio, TX. Through the wonder of a NCAA WWW live stream, we were able to watch some of the events she was in. That was pretty neat... Our young friend is a solid commited Christian, and it was a joy to see her swim her heart out; leaving it all in the pool; swimming to the glory of her Lord and God.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Letter to Jack



Hi Jack,

It been about 55 years ago when you left us... A lot has happened since then. Some good... Some not so good.. Some just outright bad...

I need to ask you to forgive me for trying to blame you for messing up the pencil sharpener when somebody sharpened their crayon in it. It was me... At the time I didn't realize what I had done... I'm really sorry about that.

You missed some wars and stuff. Some of the guys you knew went to Vietnam. A few came back in body bags. And there was all the anti-war crap, and drugs and the false gods of the so called "Age of Aquarius". We haven't exactly blown up the world yet, but we keep working on it...

There's been some good stuff along the way too... Little League baseball, Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts, 4-H and the county fair. High school plays and sports. A wife, kids and grand kids and good times with friends... Sunsets, ocean beaches, and all that kind of stuff is pretty nice... We've had some good music, art, books, and film along the way too.

A lot of good things have happened medically... Ironic that if we had had some of the stuff we have now, you might have been able to stay and go on through life with us.

I've wondered over the years about what might have been had you not left us. Maybe we would have had a chance to be friends; if not close friends, at least acquaintances sharing a period of our life together with our other classmates...

But... You were gone...

They didn't talk to us about it hardly at all. Miss Laseer went to the funeral and that was it. It was only years latter with the experiances of a lifetime under our belt that we found in our remembering that there was a loss.

The last 55 years have gone by so fast.. The years are adding up... The autumn and winter of life are upon us. Eventually if the Lord tarries, we also will die.

Jack, there is a lot about life and death that I do not pretend to understand. It could have happened to any one of us. When I think of it, I wonder that any of us survived to gorw up, graduate from high school, and go on into life. You were not forgotten. Somehow, someway, your life, as brief as it was, had meaning and purpose.

Well... That's about it... Only God Almighty knows what the future will bring. I really want to beleive that just maybe... just maybe... Lord willing... someday we will see each other again... That would be really nice...

Regards, Bill

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Love wins?


For a number of years in our metropolitan area there have been those who have summed up their Christian perspective in the slogan "Love wins!".

At face value it sounds nice. We think of John 3:16 and all the other familiar verses in the Bible that talk about the love of God. We think of how God expressed his love in sending His only begotten son. We recognize that God's love plays a very important part in the course of Biblical redemptive history.

So why is it that in recent days I find myself questioning that slogan?

Context means a lot. Here is the context of how the slogan "Love wins.." is being used.

Something very subtle is happening here.

Instead of saying "Love wins!", why don't we say "God wins!"?

God IS love... But God is much more then JUST love... God doesn't win because love wins (as though God is just along for the ride). If love wins, (and it does), love's winning is subsidiary to the fact that God in the whole of His person-hood wins.

So I ask once again. Instead of saying "Love wins!", why don't we say "God wins!"?

What I sense is subtly happening is the person of God is being replaced with some concept of love. In doing so we end up worshiping some idea of "love" instead of the God who in His person is the great "I AM". The other pitfall we face is wanting to define for ourselves what "love" is. God as the source of love is greater then love. God as the source of love is the one who defines both what love is, and what love is not.

Idolatry can be very subtle.

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." (I John 5:21)

God wins!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The JESUS Film Project


"But how can any single film reach so many people and touch so many lives?"

It is the power of the Word of God in their heart language.


Based on the Gospel of Luke, the "JESUS" film has now been translated into more than 1,000 languages, with a new language being added nearly every week. This brings God's Word to people in more than 200 countries in languages they know and understand...


You may if you choose to do so, quibble about any number of things about The Jesus Film Project. I can be as cynical as anyone, and more then a few so called "evangelism" methodologies leave me cold.

And yes, I was even skeptical about the Jesus Film Project... until I started to actually watch the film and realized what was being done.

The Word of God.... from the Gospel of Luke... Scripture itself, yes, being acted out but also being spoken aloud via film... Faith comes by hearing, and not hearing any old thing someone wants to say but hearing the Word of God...

So though I don't put to much stock in the statistics about how many people come to Christ through the Jesus Film, I believe there are those those who do. It is not "the film", it is the Word of God the film is bringing to the ears of millions of people around the world, and that in their own heart language...

Be a skeptic if you want, but don't be a skeptic about the power of the Word of God, and do not be so quick to skepticism regarding the medium that might be used to bring that Word of God to a lost world...

After all it is not about the numbers and statistics. It is about faithful proclamation and the witness of Jesus Christ to every kindred, tribe, and tongue and nation.

Peace,

~ The Billy Goat ~

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Sin of All Sins



In a recent blog post titled Defining Deviancy Down and the Wrath of God Ardel Caneday engages in an extended essay on how we should understand Romans 1:21-27.

The bottom line is that the primary sin the Apostle Paul is dealing with in that passage is not homosexual perversion but man's heart idolatry. This assessment of the essay is a bit of over simplification so I encourage you to read the whole of Dr. Caneday's post here.

As I thought about the things discussed in the essay, I came to a realization.

If we make sexual perversion "the sin of all sins" we are focusing on the issue of what man does; we are being anthropocentric. When we recognize the "sin of all sins" is heart idolatry, the issue becomes one of who God is, and our thinking is now Theocentric. The heart of man's estrangement from God is self-worship in the place of the worship we owe our creator God. All other sins flow from that, and as Dr. Caneday has rightly pointed out, that is the message of Romans 1:21-27.

Thankfully the Apostle doesn't end with Romans 1:22-27. As we read on into the rest of the epistle, the mercy and grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ is proclaimed.

To God alone be the glory!

~ The Billy Goat ~

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Groundhog Day Blizzard: February 2, 2011, Ada, MI



Our driveway is out there somewhere...


Clearing the driveway: My daughter took a turn on the snowblower.


Our little 1-stage Toro Snowblower got a real workout today.



The cleared driveway.


We also cleared out the mailbox commons and I helped a few neighbors with their driveways. My Toro snowblower is 9 years old. Today is the hardest it has ever had to work. I decided my next snowblower, if I ever get another one, will be a 2-stage self-propelled...

Last night as the wind and snow was blowing, I was very thankful that last fall we had all but one of the windows on the house replaced. (The other had already been replaced a few years ago.) The new windows cut the drafts way down, and we know we are using less gas for heating.

The company I work for closed operations for today due to the snow. In the 31 years I've worked there, this is only the second time that I remember the company closing for snow. I did do a little work from home, but they posted a note that the VPN connection was getting overwhelmed and to only use it if necessary.

Our Wednesday night activities at church were cancelled. I and a friend are team teaching a men's Bible study on Isaiah1. Tonight was my turn to do the study. That will have to wait until next week.

It has been nice to have a snow-day like this, but now the sun has set, and in the morning it will be back to work and to the routine of life. That said, we take hope in that we are one major snowstorm closer to Spring!

"Hither to has the LORD helped us!" To Him be the glory, honor and praise!

~ The Billy Goat ~

1 We are using Warren Wiersbe's commentary on Isaiah, "Be Comforted: Feeling Secure In The Arms Of God"; (David C. Cook, 1992)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quotes from Calvin's Commentary on I Corinthians 11:23-29:
"The Lord's Supper"



...But that participation in the body of Christ, which, I affirm, is presented to us in the Supper, does not require a local presence, nor the descent of Christ, nor infinite extension, nor anything of that nature, for the Supper being a heavenly action, there is no absurdity in saying, that Christ, while remaining in heaven, is received by us. For as to his communicating himself to us, that is effected through the secret virtue of his Holy Spirit, which can not merely bring together, but join in one, things that are separated by distance of place, and far remote.

But, in order that we may be capable of this participation, we must rise heavenward. Here, therefore, faith must be our resource, when all the bodily senses have failed. When I speak of faith, I do not mean any sort of opinion, resting on human contrivances, as many, boasting of faith on all occasions, run grievously wild on this point. What then? You see bread — nothing more — but you learn that it is a symbol of Christ’s body. Do not doubt that the Lord accomplishes what his words intimate — that the body, which thou dost not at all behold, is given to thee, as a spiritual repast. It seems incredible, that we should be nourished by Christ’s flesh, which is at so great a distance from us. Let us bear in mind, that it is a secret and wonderful work of the Holy Spirit, which it were criminal to measure by the standard of our understanding. In the meantime, however, drive away gross imaginations, which would keep thee from looking beyond the bread. Leave to Christ the true nature of flesh, and do not, by a mistaken apprehension, extend his body over heaven and earth: do not divide him into different parts by thy fancies, and do not adore him in this place and that, according to thy carnal apprehension. Allow him to remain in his heavenly glory, and aspire thou thither, that he may thence communicate himself to thee. These few things will satisfy those that are sound and modest. As for the curious, I would have them look somewhere else for the means of satisfying their appetite...

...Do this in remembrance of me. Hence the Supper is a memorial,(μνημόσυνον) appointed as a help to our weakness; for if we were sufficiently mindful of the death of Christ, this help would be unnecessary. This is common to all sacraments, for they are helps to our weakness. What is the nature of that remembrance which Christ would have us cherish with regard to him, we shall hear presently. As to the inference, however, which some draw from this — that Christ is not present in the Supper, because a remembrance applies to something that is absent; the answer is easy — that Christ is absent from it in the sense in which the Supper is a commemoration. For Christ is not visibly present, and is not beheld with our eyes, as the symbols are which excite our remembrance by representing him. In short, in order that he may be present with us, he does not change his place, but communicates to us from heaven the virtue of his flesh, as though it were present...

...Until he come As we always need a help of this kind, so long as we are in this world, Paul intimates that this commemoration has been given us in charge, until Christ come to judgment. For as he is not present with us in a visible form, it is necessary for us to have some symbol of his presence, by which our minds may exercise themselves.


The reader is encouraged to check out the context of these quotes by reading Calvin's complete commentary on this section of I Corinthians 11:23-29 at the CCEL library.

Side Note Regarding Zwingli:

Thomas Davis points out that Zwingli was killed at a realitively young age (47). As such, it is not clear how Zwingli's theology may have changed and matured if he had lived as long as Luther (62) or Calvin (54).
"Rather then a bare and simple memorialism, it appears that in Zwingli, Paul's admonition to "discern the body" took Zwingli along the path of theological development, one cut short, perhaps, by his untimely death at the Battle of Kappel." This Is My Body: The Presence of Christ in Reformation Thought; (page 159),

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are Evangelicals missing something, or is it just me?



I just got back from a visit to one of our local Christian book stores. To put the following in context, you need to know that I live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan USA area of the world which is home to several Christian publishing companies and probably has more Christian bookstores per capita then 99.99% of the rest of the world.

While at the bookstore, I found the commentary I was looking for and then started browsing. I thought as long as I was browsing, I'd see what books might be there that dealt with the theology and meaning of of the Lord's Supper. After all, this was the same store where previously I had found Thomas Davis' This Is My Body: The Presence of Christ in Reformation Thought.

It was pretty sparse. I could only find one other book dealing explicitly with the Lord's Supper; A Holy Meal by Gordon T. Smith.

I browsed through the theological section and the "Christian Living" section, and that one book was it. There were several books on baptism, one book by a Reformed padeobaptist pastor arguing in favor of allowing baptized, but not yet confirmed children access to the Communion Table, but other then the Gordon Smith book, nothing dealing with a Biblical theology of the Lord's Table.

I could not help but wonder as I saw all the other titles on the shelf dealing with all sorts of, and sundry issues in the Christan life, "How much of this stuff would be impacted if we as Evangelicals had a more Biblical theological understanding of the Lord's Supper?"

Where is the book that gives a definitive Evangelical Biblical theology of the Lord's Supper? And it would be well if it was something that has been written recently enough to have taken advantage of the Evangelical theological and Biblical scholarship of the last fifty or so years. (Dead Puritans need not apply, though whoever writes this should not ignore the contributions of the Reformers and the Puritans.) If you know of such a definitive, more recent work as described, please let me know.

If such a work does not exist, it would be well if some Evangelical theologian/Bible scholar with the qualifications and time to do so, would produce such a work. That's my humble opinion. I really think we may be missing something...

Peace,

~ The Billy Goat ~

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Billy Goat Log: January 9, 2011




  • The church we attend is inter-generational. We have a pretty good balance from youngsters on up through the grey haired seniors. So it is we see the normal ebb and flow of life in the life of the congregation; births, weddings, funerals, and etc. This past week was the occasion of several deaths in the Church family.

    We knew Sue was not long for this world. Cancer had taken its toll on her body, and chemo was no longer effective. My wife and I went to see her this past Monday. She knew we were there, but it was hard for her to talk, and the morphine to control pain made her drowsy. Friday we got word she was now with Jesus.

    I'm glad we got to know Sue and her husband over the past eight years we've been at our church. I'm glad she got to hold her grandchildren in her arms before leaving this world. I'm glad my last spoken words to her were, "Jesus still loves you..."

    RIP

  • I had to get a new mobile phone. The old one totally died. It was about three years old so it didn't have many bells and whistles. The new one has the camera and some text and e-mail capabilities the old did not. Of course I had to check out all those fancy new features. It's like having a new toy.

  • The Detroit Lions finished the regular NFL season with a string of wins. The roar is starting to come back... I remember the last time the Lions were in a playoff game many, many years ago. Maybe next year...

  • Back in September I posted a study on The Lord's Table. I recently had opportunity to present a more developed and expanded version of that material in an adult Sunday school class. I want to do some further work on that and sometime in the future publish that revision here. It has been of particular interest to me to read John Calvin's Commentary on the 1 Corinthians 10 & 11 passages that deal with the Lord's Table.

  • Over the Christmas break we took the oldest grandson to see The Voyage of the Dawntreader in 3D. If you are a stickler about a movie following closely to the book, you will find this version of the Dawntreader a disappointment. That said, I thought the movie did retain the basic essence of Lewis' original story, and the technical things such as graphics and etc, were well done. Somethings were left out that I would have like to have seen included. Some things were included that I thought could have been left out. Overall it was passasble though not outstanding; three stars out of five.

  • "With nearly 230 million total speakers, Bangla (Bengali) is one of the most spoken languages, ranking sixth in the world. The predominent religion among the Bangla people is Islam 89.5%, followed by Hindu 9.6%, and "other" 0.9% (2004, CIA Factbook). That less then 1% "other" includes Christianity."

    Bangla Ministries Worldwide (Facebook)
    Bangla Ministries Worldwide