Thursday, December 02, 2010

Okay, one last thing....

This is the first part in the 14 part series from Don Carson's "The God Who is There".
All 14 parts are now free to watch or even download from Vimeo.
I will be watching and probably downloading them all.
I recommend you do at least the former, if not the latter.
Enjoy, and peace...

The God Who Is There - Part 1. The God Who Made Everything from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Into the Hiatus

Until further notice this blog is defunct.
There may be a time where it starts up again.
But likely not for awhile.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fulfillment of a nearly forgotten promise: The Gentryman's Tale

When I changed the name of this blog from Gregology to The Gentryman's Tale, I mentioned a Canterbury Tale that I had written by the same name with the promise that one day I would post it here for your reading pleasure.  Today that promise is fulfilled in your midst.  I give you The Gentryman's Tale, written by me in the Spring of 1993.


In a far away place, not in distnace, but time
in a town called East Stroudsburg -well know for this rhyme-
In a structure called High School, where knowledge was bred
where they fought not with guns but their minds were instead
used to build up good morals and give students a guide
through a world filled with horrors on which none had relied,
studied a young student (among more in his class)
who chose not to work until the last
moment he had to spare for his work.
And this my good friends was his most hated quirk.
Others of these he had quite a few
but this one's among the highest of two.
The other strong vice which he hid in his mind
was a self-centeredness no one took to real kind.
But of this last vice I'll no longer speak
For he hid it quite well and twas balanced by peaks
of talents and ability of which few do share-
his voice was outstanding -but he took of it no care-
he sang with a heart matched by no other man
but was robbed out of Districts for twas not in the plan.
His feet brought him places of two extremes -
made him dance with great grace and make the football team.
He wrote poems and sonnets that caused women to melt
and could act on a stage better than most, he felt.
His looks were impeccable, or so he was told-
And if he was not, he knew and was bold.
His grades were top notch, had no job to be paid
which was just as well so honor role he always made.
Of his persona enough has been told,
so back to my tale before I'm too old.
A senior he ranked, in his twelfth year,
but ne'er in his schooling did his potential come fully clear.
He passed every class save for one in 8th grade
but ne'er was he pushed by himself nor his aides
to his fullest potential where all wish'd he would go
but lacked self motivation so his conscience said, "no."
His classes were fundamental with the exception of three
for two dealt with music and one, psychology.
But these are not where his vice had shown through
but twas in English it made its debut.
Since childhood he put off this day for the next
and never once learned for even now he is vexed.
A project was due in a group to be done.
A video for Canterbury of the choices was one.
So he made up a group of 5-6 friends
to produce a good show and meet all its ends.
The project, in passing, was brought up time again
but no plans were made not even where to begin.
So our student went on, (let's call him, "Craig")
and followed his routine which for weeks had him dredged.
Every night on the stage if not there, the chorus room
he and others sang, danced, to perfect the performance boom.
But his project could wait at least, so he thought,
until the last week arrived and no time could be bought.
So plans then were made for the weekend ahead
to produce a video that would keep him his head.
But on the very next day much to his surprise
came a long distance call which would seal his demise.
"Hello!" said the voice, light and so full of cheer,
"Come quick to Virginia. It's your grandparents 50th year!"
So Craig came to school to explain to his group
of his situation and departure from the troop.
They were disappointed but they understood,
for these were his friends, and his friends, they were good.
So off to Virginia Craig went with no plan
to save 200 points and his quarter grade if he can.
He thought of it little until he got home
where the thought raided his senses like fermented cologne.
He said to himself, "Oh what shall I do?
my procrastination has now done me through!"
To class the next day Craig took his excuse
and apologized for his 'put off' attitude.
Mr. Catrillo (his teacher) with a heart big as life,
a calm disposition, and impregnated wife,
gave him a chance to redeem his grade
if only his own tale could be made.
One with moral setting to be told once and again,
to teach others something, to keep them from pain.
So Craig took his chance -although not with great speed,
still put off a bit, but he finished this deed.
He wrote a tale of himself and his horrible vice.
Catrillo loved it so much that he read at least twice.
So Craig learned his lesson in a valuable way:
Never put off til tomorrow what you can do today.

- Gregory Rather Gentry  1993

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Life Together - or Maybe Not

Great article by Carl Trueman on being a proper churchman, and by implication, a proper brother/sister in Christ.

You're just going to have to go read it.

I always felt that what he describes was my greatest strength when I was a pastor. Luckily you don't have to be a pastor to do it.

How Hyper is your Calvinism?

Another golden nugget from Ray Ortlund Jr.'s blog.

Click through to be nice.

In Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, Iain Murray draws four lessons from that conflict:
1.  “Genuine evangelical Christianity is never of an exclusive spirit.  Any view of the truth which undermines catholicity has gone astray from Scripture.”  Spurgeon regretfully disagreed with hyper-Calvinists who “made faith in election a part of saving faith and thus either denied the Christianity of all professed Christians who did not so believe or at least treated such profession with much suspicion.”
2.  Spurgeon “wanted to see both divine sovereignty and human responsibility upheld, but when it came to gospel preaching he believed that there needed to be a greater concentration upon responsibility.  The tendency of Hyper-Calvinism was to make sinners want to understand theology before they could believe in Christ.”
3.  “This controversy directs us to our need for profound humility before God.  It reminds us forcefully of questions about which we can only say, ‘Behold, God is great, and we know him not’ (Job 36:26).”  “It is to be feared that sharp contentions between Christians on these issues have too often arisen from a wrong confidence in our powers of reasoning and our assumed ability to draw logical inferences.”  Spurgeon saw “how a system which sought to attribute all to the grace of God had itself too much confidence in the powers of reason.”
4.  “The final conclusion has to be that when Calvinism ceases to be evangelistic, when it becomes more concerned with theory than with the salvation of men and women, when acceptance of doctrines seems to become more important than acceptance of Christ, then it is a system going to seed and it will invariably lose its attractive power.”
Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism (Edinburgh, 1995), pages 110-122.  Italics added.

What surprised me in reading this is how often we lean towards Hyper-Calvinism.  I always knew that it was a danger, but I was struck, particularly in #2, by the strict angle of the lean... it's pretty acute.  It may not be a theological lean, but it sure is a practical one.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Romans 1 FTW

This is such a great post from JT.  He basically takes you through the second half of Romans one in a Q&A type format.  It really lays out the argument in completely clear terms... of course, it really is just scripture in sections, so what JT is really doing is highlighting the clarity of Paul's thinking and the direction of what he is arguing here.

I hope you'll click through and give JT the love he deserves, but in case you are anything like me, here's the post below:

What Are We Apart from Christ?
We sometimes think of the second half of the first chapter of Romans as a discourse about atheists. (And indeed, according to Romans 1 the answer to the question “Does God believe in atheists?” is “no.”)

But in reality, it’s a universal text that applies to all of us apart from Christ—what we are, what we do, and what we would do apart from God’s restraining and redeeming grace, with graphic examples to illustrate our truth-suppression and idolatrous identity.
Here’s an attempt to start to think through this sobering section of Romans.
What do all of us know?
(1) We know God himself.
(2) We know God’s decree.
(3) We know God’s judgment—that those who practice sinful things deserve death.
What is our responsibility?
We are without excuse.
How clear is the evidence for God’s knowability?
What can be known about God is plain.
Who showed us the evidence for God?
God himself has shown us what can be known about him.
What is it about God that every one of us knows?
We have clearly perceived God’s invisible attributes (= his eternal power and divine nature).
Where do we see God’s invisible attributes?
In the things that God has made.
What do we fail to do in response?
(1) We fail to honor God as God.
(2) We fail to give thanks to God.
(2) We fail to acknowledge God.
What do we do instead of honoring and thanking God?
We suppress the truth.
By our unrighteousness.
What do we claim about our thinking?
We claim to be wise.
What are we in reality?
We are fools.
What happened to our minds?
We became futile in our thinking.
What happened to our hearts?
Our foolish hearts were darkened.
What is the result?
We exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling
  • mortal man
  • birds
  • animals
  • creeping things
We exchanged the truth of God for a lie.
What did we do with created things?
(1) We worshiped the creature rather than the Creator.
(2) We served the creature rather than the Creator.
What is the result of this idolatry?
God gave us up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.
What kind of impurity?
The dishonoring of our bodies among ourselves.
How did we become entangled in dishonorable passions?
God gave us up to dishonorable passions.
Which dishonorable passions did women commit?
Women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.
Which dishonorable passions did men commit?
The men gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
What does God do to us for failing to acknowledge him?
God gave us up to a debased mind.
To do what?
To do what ought not to be done.
What are we filled with?
All manner of
  • unrighteousness
  • evil
  • covetousness
  • malice
We are full of
  • envy
  • murder
  • strife
  • deceit
  • maliciousness
What are we?
We are
  • gossips
  • slanderers
  • haters of God
  • insolent
  • haughty
  • boastful
  • inventors of evil
  • disobedient to parents
  • foolish
  • faithless
  • heartless
  • ruthless
What do we know?
God’s decree.
What is God’s decree?
Those who practice such sinful things deserve to die.
What do we do?
(1) We do these sinful things.
(2) We give approval to those who practice these sinful things.
What does God do in response?
God reveals his wrath from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
Is there any hope?
The gospel.
What is the gospel?
The power of God for salvation.
For who?
To everyone who believes—to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
What is revealed in the gospel?
The righteousness of God, from faith to faith.
As Habakkuk 2:4 says, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16-32
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.


For those who struggle to see why Paul would use homosexuality as his prime example of idolatry, I’d recommend this sermon from John Piper. Piper’s most profound insight here is that Paul sees a “dramatization” of Christ and the Church in Christ-centered heterosexual marriage, and that he also sees a dramatization of idolatry in same-sex sexual behavior, as men and women unite with images of themselves.
The reason Paul focuses on homosexuality in these verses is because it is the most vivid dramatization in life of the profoundest connection between the disordering of heart-worship and the disordering of our sexual lives. I’ll try to say it simply, though it is weighty beyond words.
We learn from Paul in Ephesians 5:31-32 that, from the beginning, manhood and womanhood existed to represent or dramatize God’s relation to his people and then Christ’s relation to his bride, the church. In this drama, the man represents God or Christ and is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. The woman represents God’s people or the church. And sexual union in the covenant of marriage represents pure, undefiled, intense heart-worship. That is, God means for the beauty of worship to be dramatized in the right ordering of our sexual lives.
But instead, we have exchanged the glory of God for images, especially of ourselves. The beauty of heart-worship has been destroyed. Therefore, in judgment, God decrees that this disordering of our relation to him be dramatized in the disordering of our sexual relations with each other. And since the right ordering of our relationship to God in heart-worship was dramatized by heterosexual union in the covenant of marriage, the disordering of our relationship to God is dramatized by the breakdown of that heterosexual union.
Homosexuality is the most vivid form of that breakdown. God and man in covenant worship are represented by male and female in covenant sexual union. Therefore, when man turns from God to images of himself, God hands us over to what we have chosen and dramatizes it by male and female turning to images of themselves for sexual union, namely their own sex. Homosexuality is the judgment of God dramatizing the exchange of the glory of God for images of ourselves. (See the parallel uses of “exchange” in verses 25 and 26.)
Piper’s entire sermon is worth reading or listening to, especially as he gives counsel to those struggling with same-sex desire, as well as advice to parents.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Are Christian's under the Ten Commandments?

What is the believer's relationship to the Ten Commandments?
I think John Piper hits it on the head in the following video. We might say it a little different, but we mean the same thing.

I love these ask Pastor John segments. They are great. There are literally hundred of them, check them out on you tube or at

We do something similar with our High School kids. They get to ask our pastor any question they want once or twice a year. I think it should happen more often with a wider audience. That Piper does this with a global audience is fantastic.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

While you're at it...

If you happen to be over at The Gospel Coalition Blog check out this post.

D.A. Carson, one of if not my favorite contemporary preacher/theologians, has put together 14 messages to introduce Christianity and the Bible; who God is and what He says.  It is geared towards seekers, but is simultaneously robust and simple enough to engage and remind seasoned Christians.

In my opinion, Carson, better than just about anybody I have heard or read not named Spurgeon - is able to speak simply and yet profoundly - he gets to the meat of things without dumbing it down, and yet makes it easily understandable for anyone who might be listening.  He is very gifted.

If you know my senior pastor and have heard him preach, you will hear some similarities in style, I think it's the Canadian backgrounds.  If you have opportunity to watch Carson, the similarities multiply.  :-)

In any case, these messages are part of Carson's book, "The God Who is There"
If you like the messages, pass them on, or buy the book to give to your seeking friends.
I think the videos are forthcoming - not sure if they will be free online or just by purchasing DVD's - but there are previews available at the title link above, and you can check out the book by clicking below.

The Evangelical Reformed Movement: A Comeback

This is a great article about the re-emergence of Reformed Christianity, the incredible opportunity it presents to the church and some of the dangers that are lurking as well.
All in all it seems there is a hopeful future for "evangelicalism" in our country and around the world - IF we handle it well and make sure our trust is in the right place.  This is not about us - it's about our God getting the greatest possible amount of glory.

I'm not going to post the article here - go to Kevin DeYoung's blog and bookmark it or add it to your feed-reader, it's worth your daily read.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

For the fellas...

Days away now... try to focus. I will do the same.
It IS just a game... right?

Only a select few will care, but that just gave me nerd chills right there...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Are Your Secrets

I found this post by Ray Ortlund to be right on the money: Go visit him.
But in case you won't, here is his post:

O. Hobart Mowrer, the psychologist, set himself to understand more deeply our hollowed-out emotional lives.  He noted that, commonly, when we perform a good deed, we advertise it, display it, draw attention to it, at least hint at it, hoping to collect on the emotional credit of it then and there.  But when we do something cheap, evil or stupid, we hide it, deny it, minimize it.  But the emotional discredit from that stays with us and even accumulates with each further hypocrisy.  This is how we make ourselves chronically bankrupt in conscience and heart.  Our lives are required of us, and we are found wanting.  No felt “net worth.”  Lost confidence, pizzazz.  Our positive energies are depleted by fugitive concealing and pretending.
Then Mowrer wondered, what if we reversed our strategy?  What if we spent our lives admitting our weaknesses, owning up to our failures, naming our idiot-moments, confessing our follies, errors and debts, while also hiding away from everyone’s view our smart ideas, heroic sacrifices, kind deeds, charities and virtues?  What if, instead of throwing back at the other guy his worst failure while trotting out our best moment, we put up our worst against his best?  What would happen then?  Our hearts might start filling up.
He entitled his essay “You are your secrets.”  It is in his book The New Group Therapy(New York, 1964), pages 65-71.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. . . . Your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1, 4).

Saturday, June 12, 2010