And it is often seen, when the violation of God’s authority, and the stain of our own reputation are coupled together, we are more troubled for what disgraces us than for what dishonors God.

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Stephen Charnock, The Existence & Attributes of God 140

Diversionary Tactics for Toddlers and Other Aliens

Children are not right.

The way their little brains function, the undecipherable languages in which they speak to us and to each other (which to them, apparently, is quite understandable – I’ve seen two of the extra-terrestrials speaking to each other in alien-speak, with appropriate hand gestures, and apparently resolve some dispute over the order in which they were to play with a tire swing), and their unearthly energy levels proves to me that they were dropped here by Martians.

The robotic rovers now searching the red planet for signs of water will not discover the tell-tale signs of intelligent life – they will, however, find three-year-olds.

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Questions about “The Character of the Church” (Chicago: Moody, 2017)

A more complete review of Joe Thorn’s The Character of the Church (Chicago: Moody, 2017) will be coming, but I wanted to put a question out there in advance.

Thorn has written a trio of books as primers for the gospel and church life (The Character of the Church, The Heart of the Church, The Life of the Church), and being on the constant lookout for good resources for the congregation, I obtained a set.

In resources on church practice, I typically turn to the author’s treatment of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper first. I found that Thorn advocates Open communion, though he doesn’t forbid Close and Closed communion (more on that in the full review). He supports Open communion in part by quoting John Bunyan. Here’s the paragraph from Thorn, in which he quotes Bunyan:

All who have trusted in Jesus Christ are admitted to the table. Differences in views on the mode of baptism, therefore, does not [sic] restrict them from receiving the meal. All who know the Lord and are “visible saints” are welcome to participate in communion. In his classic Differences in Water Baptism, No Bar to Communion, John Bunyan explains, “The church of Christ hath not warrant to keep out of their communion the Christian that is discovered to be a visible saint by the word, the Christian that walketh according to his light with God.”

At this point, I haven’t looked into Bunyan’s work for context, but hope to do so soon. In the meantime, here are the questions this raises in my mind:

  • How does Thorn define “visible saints”? (He doesn’t explain in the section on the Lord’s Supper)
  • How does Bunyan define “visible saints”?
  • For either Thorn or Bunyan, who determines whether a person is a “visible saint,” and thus welcome at the table?
  • What does it mean that the “visible saint” is discovered to be so “by the word”?
  • Who makes this determination?

If you’ve already completed Thorn’s material, or have read Bunyan on the subject and can shed some light for me, I’d be glad to here from you. Share your insights in the facebook comments below.

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4 Signs that Your Money has become Filthy Lucre

One of my former law partners relayed the story of once accepting chickens and cabbages as remuneration for legal services rendered. He was trying to encourage me early in my career about the meager income I was making.

I appreciated the gesture, but remember being much more thankful, in view of the prospect of being paid in poultry given my complete lack of familiarity with fowl, that we no longer live in a barter economy.

Whether we are paid in chickens, or cabbages, or U.S. dollars (I seem to recall “cabbage” being a slang term for money), it all represents wealth.

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Local Family Misses Church Due to Bacon

Effect of Other Breakfast Items Remains Unknown

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Spoof, WI (Wire) — Church leaders were surprised to learn recently the reason that a family had been absent from worship services.

One of the elders reported that everyone was alarmed when the family, usually regular attenders, missed church.

“When we went by to check on them that day, they told us that they had been ready to come to worship, but decided against it after a big country breakfast. One of the kids had scorched the bacon. The pork aroma permeated their clothes, and they didn’t want to smell up the sanctuary.”

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A Praying Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2009)

Judging by the number of books on Christian prayer, we’re pretty bad at it.

This is not surprising, since even the disciples had to ask Jesus for help (Luke 11:1).

Paul Miller attempts to help believers pray by reminding us that prayer is difficult when we focus on the process, rather than on the result. He likens this to gathering with friends and family after a meal to talk, and being more concerned with the mechanics of conversational protocol than with enjoying the people we’re with.

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Praying Together (Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2016)

Prayer is a constant struggle for most Christians, and is consistently absent from the life of the church.

Megan Hill tries to show believers that this ought not be so, and persuades us of the need for corporate prayer be explaining its foundations, fruits, and practices.

I recommend this, but see a fuller treatment here.

 

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