Monday, March 30, 2009

Why hasn't anyone said this?

Anyone who knows me for very long, particularly between the months of March and November, will find out that I am a pretty big New York Mets fan. If you search the archives of the Gentryman's Tale, you'll find in depth off-season and pre-season posts from previous seasons that I just simply do not have the time to invest in these days... but of course that certainly does not mean I'm not paying attention.

You may have heard that the Mets are opening their new stadium this year: Citifield. Affectionately known by me as "taxpayer field" - but that's another post... the thing I want to point out seems to me to be so obvious that I am somewhat astounded that no one has picked up on it. It has to do with Jackie Robinson.

Now, if you have even a moderate interest in baseball you know that Jackie Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers before they got shuttled off to LA LA land. Now, while I have questioned the Wilpon's (owners of the NYMets) decision to make this new stadium have so many nods to those brooklyn days, no one can really blame them for wanting to honor Jackie Robinson for his contribution to the great game of baseball and to the civil rights movement. They did so by creating the Jackie Robinson Rotunda pictured below.

It's not a great picture - but I'm not trying to show off how pretty it is...
What I want to point out is the quote that Mr. Robinson has left behind, and that the Wilpon's have decided to emblazen around the rotunda:

"A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives."

It isn't? Are you sure?

I mean... I think I understand the idea. You want your life to impact other people. Jackie Robinson's life impacted many people for the better. But would Jackie Robinson's life been less 'important' if he decided he didn't want to deal with all the harassment and abuse he took coming to the majors? Comparitively speaking it would have certainly been less impactful... but less important?

This to me seems to go against the whole idea of civil rights, doesn't it? The whole idea of human rights? Not to mention the impact on so-called reproductive rights...

I suppose it's fine if you only judge the life through the lense of history in order to determine its impact, and then quantify its importance... I mean we do that all the time - just read history books. But it seems to me that if this is what Mr. Robsinson meant, it is not how it will be read today.

I am probably being nit-picky about this; beating up a straw man perhaps... but it seems like an odd thing to put in the front door of a baseball stadium.

It's been a long day... I may just be sleepy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Only one has satisfied justice

“There was only one, and there will not need to be another, who bore the full weight of the divine judgment upon sin and bore it so as to end it. The lost will eternally suffer in the satisfaction of justice. But they will never satisfy it. Christ satisfied justice.”

—John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1955), 77

They will never satisfy it... Christ did.         mind = blown

HT: First Importance

Friday, March 13, 2009

Calvinism: New or Old?

Mark Driscoll's blog (or is it Mars Hill's blog?...) posted these distinctions between the old 'stereotypical' Calvinist, and what is being styled by many as New Calvinism. All this out of TIME Magazine's proclamation that this "New Calvinism" is 3rd among ideas currently changing the world.

Well - here are the distinctions:
  1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
  2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
  3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.
Now, I don't know if my head has been in a fog or something... but I had heard of neo-Calvinism, but not in these terms. (Don't ask me to remember what terms...these kind of things would have kept me up at night in seminary, now not so much...) But I am out of the 'controversy' loop, and I try to stay away from internet theological flame wars these days... so who knows.

But if the above is an accurate juxtaposition, then I have a couple comments:

First of all, 1 and 4 are stereotypical nonsense. But of course, stereotypes are based in experiential and anecdotal truths, so take them for what they are. I have known incredibly culturally "relevant" (to use a post-modern buzzword), as well as incredibly gracious Calvinists in my time - and like I said, I didn't even know they were Old Calvinists... Having great doctrine can very easily lead into pride, undoubtedly, but the heart of Calvinism, correctly understood, will bring about such a profound humility that it should be impossible not to be gracious and loving towards other believers... of course, Calvinists are still sinners (just ask them!) so they fall down a lot in this area...

Now, on 2 and 3... 2 is just great. I love seeing it and am so happy about it. And it is 100% truthful. Not sure if it was purely an American phenomenon that saw the reformed church retreating into the suburbs, but it has been a real blessing to see the church slowly seeing that this is where they are most called because this is where there is most need.

3... 3 is gonna be a problem for me... but maybe simply because I need some clarification. I have always styled myself as a cessationist. But I realize there are some difficult texts in the Bible dealing with these things. I have always said that I am 95% cessationist, because I bleieve we must leave room for the Holy Spirit to do whatever He wants, and we must leave room for new revelation (or at the very least, new understanding) at the coming of Christ. That being said, I would need to know what is meant by the "presence and power of the Holy Spirit"... The Holy Spirit (HS) has always been central to Calvinism - He is the monergistic mover in salvation. It is the Spirit's work and power that not only draws a person to Christ, but sustains him in Christ, and changes him to be more like Christ. This is powerful stuff, and demands His presence... I believe it is the HS that draws us into worship before the Father on the Lord's Day. It is the HS that filters our prayers, our singing and all vertical aspects of our worship to make them pleasing to the Father, He is the medium through which the horizontal aspects of the worship edify and grow hungry believers... This is powerful stuff, and requires His presence...
So if we are talking about emphasis on the HS, I'm cool with that. The HS should get His props (though he prefers to be in the background, like a deacon, reflecting all glory to Christ). But if they mean welcoming back into the corporate worship things like Speaking in tongues and prophesy, I think I have to fold my hand. Though I wouldn't leave the table...

To use Driscoll's terms, this is a state border, not a national one. I would have no problem fellowshipping and loving up a believer who held to these things. They are so far in the periphery that they do not even enter my mind - though I suppose it might make corporate worship together kinda awkward... But it would take some serious scriptural convincing for me to embrace it fully.

So am I a New Calvinist? Maybe 3 for 4? 75% New?

Actually it's kind of silly... There is nothing new here. We've just put a nice dress on an old friend and softened up some of the rough spots. In any case - for the world to notice this movement is great, and I thank the Lord for what He is doing in His Church.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Piper on Premarital Sex... great stuff.

I wish someone had this conversation with me when I was a young man...

I also wish I was plugged in enough, or trusting enough, or maybe just straight up cared enough about Jesus Christ for a talk like this to make a difference.

This is something I have been harping on a little, and it's because I'm not sure there is a more necessary topic to be discussed with our young people today than the dangers of sexual sin... And I am not talking about unwanted pregnancy or disease - both of which are serious realities... but they are nothing... NOTHING compared to the damage done to your life through sexual sin.

We preach all day about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse to our kids - but very few people talk about the lasting effects of sex outside of marriage. Let me say loud and clear that when I was outside of Christ I did a lot of sinful things. But none of them - NONE of them has affected my life as deeply or as far reaching as the sexual sins.

I rarely ever think about the partying I used to do. I have no noticeable negative effects from the things I used to put in my body. But my sexual sin haunts me DAILY, in almost every aspect of my life... it is the easiest and most readily available tool that Satan has to use against me and he is constantly putting it to work.

Learn from me, my brothers - learn from Mr. Piper... SAVE IT.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Chillin' With the Baby... literally

My little snow angel...

at least its not yellow, right?