30 March, 2006

Counsel From Job's Counsel

We live in an age where Christians are encouraged to get angry with God and to tell God all the ways that they disappointed with Him. We are told to lay out all of our "fault-finding" to the God who is sovereign and holds the ability to prevent harm and to improve the way that we live. Job is the Bible's book of pastoral counsel. There is no other book in all of Scripture that deals with the deep and painful hurts that children of God go through at times. Here is God's response to Job when he became a "fault-finder" towards the sovereign God who reigns over all to the point where not a hair can fall from our head outside of His Will and Counsel.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
"Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge?
"Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?
"On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
"Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band,
And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors,
And I said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop'?
"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place,
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it?
"It is changed like clay under the seal; And they stand forth like a garment.
"From the wicked their light is withheld, And the uplifted arm is broken.
"Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
"Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
"Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.
"Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory And that you may discern the paths to its home?
"You know, for you were born then, And the number of your days is great!
"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of distress, For the day of war and battle?
"Where is the way that the light is divided, Or the east wind scattered on the earth?
"Who has cleft a channel for the flood, Or a way for the thunderbolt,
To bring rain on a land without people, On a desert without a man in it,
To satisfy the waste and desolate land And to make the seeds of grass to sprout?
"Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
"From whose womb has come the ice? And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth?
"Water becomes hard like stone, And the surface of the deep is imprisoned.
"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion?
"Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites?
"Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?
"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, So that an abundance of water will cover you?
"Can you send forth lightnings that they may go And say to you, 'Here we are'?
"Who has put wisdom in the innermost being Or given understanding to the mind?
"Who can count the clouds by wisdom, Or tip the water jars of the heavens,
When the dust hardens into a mass And the clods stick together?
"Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
When they crouch in their dens And lie in wait in their lair?
"Who prepares for the raven its nourishment When its young cry to God And wander about without food?
"Do you know the time the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer?
"Can you count the months they fulfill, Or do you know the time they give birth?
"They kneel down, they bring forth their young, They get rid of their labor pains.
"Their offspring become strong, they grow up in the open field; They leave and do not return to them.
"Who sent out the wild donkey free? And who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
To whom I gave the wilderness for a home And the salt land for his dwelling place?
"He scorns the tumult of the city, The shoutings of the driver he does not hear.
"He explores the mountains for his pasture And searches after every green thing.
"Will the wild ox consent to serve you, Or will he spend the night at your manger?
"Can you bind the wild ox in a furrow with ropes, Or will he harrow the valleys after you?
"Will you trust him because his strength is great And leave your labor to him?
"Will you have faith in him that he will return your grain And gather {it from} your threshing floor?
"The ostriches' wings flap joyously With the pinion and plumage of love,
For she abandons her eggs to the earth And warms them in the dust,
And she forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may trample them.
"She treats her young cruelly, as if they were not hers; Though her labor be in vain, she is unconcerned;
Because God has made her forget wisdom, And has not given her a share of understanding.
"When she lifts herself on high, She laughs at the horse and his rider.
"Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
"Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrible.
"He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; He goes out to meet the weapons.
"He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; And he does not turn back from the sword.
"The quiver rattles against him, The flashing spear and javelin.
"With shaking and rage he races over the ground, And he does not stand still at the voice of the trumpet.
"As often as the trumpet sounds he says, 'Aha!' And he scents the battle from afar, And the thunder of the captains and the war cry.
"Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, Stretching his wings toward the south?
"Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up And makes his nest on high? "On the cliff he dwells and lodges, Upon the rocky crag, an inaccessible place.
"From there he spies out food; His eyes see it from afar.
"His young ones also suck up blood; And where the slain are, there is he."
Then the LORD said to Job,
"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it."
-Job 38.1-40.2

27 March, 2006

Physician of the Soul

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. ~Mark 2.17

Thank God that we have a Spiritual Physician who has diagnosed us as spiritually dead, yet did not leave us to pay eternally for our diagnosis. Christ has been our diagnostician as well as the one who has made us take the remedy in the application of the redemption of the cross. Let us live our lives as men and women who are thankful for that redemption which has been accomplished and applied for us through Christ.

Christ is the most cheap physician, he takes no fee. He desires us to bring nothing to him but broken hearts; and when he has cured us he desires us to bestow nothing on him but our love.
~Thomas Watson

26 March, 2006

Lord's Day Feature: a'Brakel on the Spiritual Life

True Distinguishing Marks of the Church

The primary and most eminent distinguishing mark is purity of doctrine--doctrine consistent with the Word of God. We are not now dealing with those who deny fundamental principles, but rather with those denominated as Christians who acknowledge God's Word to be the infallible truth. We must therefore consider how God's Word defines the distinguishing marks of the true church. Let him depart who does not wish to conduct himself according to God's Word. However, he who wishes to esteem the Word of God as the only rule of life and doctrine will be able to perceive from this Word that only that church is the true church which has the true doctrine, consistent with the Word (II: 30).

Secondly, one would be in much greater danger of error if one were to depend on the mere testimony of an assembly, since false churches also claim be to the true church. Consequently one must have an infallible and dependable distinguishing mark which is free of error and cannot cause one to err. This is only true for the Word of God. If one therefore hears a church make claim of being the true church, and one examines doctrine and life by this Word and finds them to be in harmony with it, one can say with the believing Samaritans, "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John 4:42). It thus remains certain that the Word is the true distinguishing mark by which it is ascertained which church is true (II: 34).

If holiness is a distinguishing mark of the church, we will be able to identify the church by the same, and thus a church where true holiness is absent is not the true church. Other churches also boast of holiness, but all that is called holiness is not holiness. Therefore we must first determine from God's Word what true holiness is (II: 35).

True holiness springs forth from true faith. Where true faith is absent, true holiness will likewise be absent. Faith receives Christ as Surety unto justification and sanctification (John 1:12). By faith the soul is truly united with Christ (1 Cor. 6:17). By faith Christ, who is their life, dwells in their hearts (Eph. 3:17). Faith purifies the heart (Acts 15:9). Faith worketh by love (Gal. 5:6), and faith causes them to bring forth good works (James 2:18) [II: 35].

We hold the third distinguishing mark of the true church to be the proper administration of the Sacraments. Again this must be determined from the Word of God, and thus not be viewed independently but rather in conjunction with the other distinguishing marks. Wherever the first distinguishing mark is to be found, the others will be found likewise (II: 36).

These keys must not be used independently, however, but in conjunction with all the other distinguishing marks; their correct use must be determined by the Word of God. If those who err in doctrine and lead offensive lives are excluded, whereas those who are orthodox in doctrine and godly in their walk are included, the keys are used correctly; and by this one will be able to identify the true church. If anyone is included, however, regardless of what their doctrine and life may be, or if those are excommunicated who are orthodox in doctrine, while including in the fellowship of the church those who err, then such a practice is very evidently a mark of the false church. As imperfection is to be observed everywhere, and since this accompanying imperfection does not nullify the matter itself, there is also imperfection in the use of these keys. Although in one particular church these keys are used more consistently than in another church, one will find the proper use of the keys in the church (II: 36, 37).

25 March, 2006

Aubourn Avenue vs. the Emergent Church

Credenda Agenda has written a critique of Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christian. They have a lot to say to us Reformed people. We need to listen to this movement and hold onto that which is good.

For all his flaws, though, let's face it—we have guys like McLaren leading a sizeable heap of Christians because we Reformed types consider the Great Commission something of a spectator sport. We consider intramural arguments among postmillenialists more important than feeding the poor in Africa. We haven't the slightest idea how to get our finely-tuned engine into a car, let alone out on the road. We take our talents, bury them, and call our riskless life "good stewardship." The Kingdom of God is much more than the baptistic evangelical altar call. It is much more than the simpering religious bricolage of Emergent. It is also much more than our own myopic infighting. We know for a fact that the Kingdom, the church, is a conquering, holy nation of kings and priests living in the world that God has promised to liberate and has liberated in Jesus. We know and assent to this—and without needing postmodernism to tell us so—but we won't feel it in our bones until we go out to the highways to bring in the poor and the lame and the maimed and the blind.


Tulip Girl has shown us via Douglas Wilson that even us Reformed and Presbyterian Christians can speak in tongues. The problem is that some choose to do so at the expense of letting the unconverted, who need to hear the evengelion, understand the epistemological foundations of the divine syllabus thus making our missiological vocatsio of no effect out of acting antithetically to the revealed characterological nature of God which is the speak in condescension and in anthropomorphic terminology.

24 March, 2006

The Law and the Christian

Today's Christians often err on either side of extremes concerning the law and the Christian. On the one hand, Christians who fear being legalistic disregard the law and say that it has no use to the Christian life- this is called Antinomianism. The other extreme is that people are justified by doing the law- they believe that they are saved through the keeping of the law. This is called Legalism.

The historic Protestant position is that the Christ justifies the sinner by grace, based on NOTHING OTHER THAN GRACE. When one is justified he then begins to keep the law out of gratitude and love for Jesus Christ. Jesus said, If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

1 John 2:3-4 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But there is no one who in everything keeps them; there would thus be no knowledge of God in the world. To this I answer, that the Apostle is by no means inconsistent with himself; since he has before shewed that all are guilty before God, he does not understand that those who keep his commandments wholly satisfy the law (no such example can be found in the world;) but that they are such as strive, according to the capacity of human infirmity, to form their life in conformity to the will of God. For whenever Scripture speaks of the righteousness of the faithful, it does not exclude the remission of sins, but on the contrary, begins with it.
But we are not hence to conclude that faith recumbs on works; for though every one receives a testimony to his faith from his works, yet it does not follow that it is founded on them, since they are added as an evidence. Then the certainty of faith depends on the grace of Christ alone; but piety and holiness of life distinguish true faith from theft knowledge of God which is fictitious and dead; for the truth is, that those who are in Christ, as Paul says, have put off the old man. -Calvin Commentaries

23 March, 2006

To Bear Witness

Is your faith genuine enough to die for it? Ask yourself whether your relationship with Christ is worth your own life.

21 March, 2006

What Will Be Said At Your Funeral?

Then I saw the wicked buried; they used to go in and out of the holy place, and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.
RSV Ecclesiastes 8:10

The Preacher of Ecclesiastes has a lot to say to our age. In the text we see the funeral of a wicked man, a man who has not been converted to Jesus Christ; a man who refused to submit to Christ. The people at the funeral all speak highly of him- because that is what is done at funerals. The people are unaware of the true condition of his heart- wicked, evil, unconverted. This man's life is a lie and he in turn causes others to lie by praising him for his life. Friends, this too is vanity.

The Preacher of Ecclesiastes knew that the heart of the hypocrite, that has spent so much time in the house of God with the people of God, is now in hell for all of eternity. The Preacher calls all of us to see whether or not our faith is genuine. Do you really trust Christ alone through faith alone for salvation, or are you still trying to earn God's favor by good deeds such as going to the holy place. Friends, this is damnable, and it prove that your life too was lived in vanity.

20 March, 2006

Tom Cruise the Theologian

It does not take a Master's of Divinity to understand that there are some religions out there that are just plain scams. Christians should be able to understand the Scriptures enough to reprove those that teach fallacious religions.

I would like all people to have a proper understanding of Apologetics and how one can defend the True Religion. Without getting into VanTil and Presuppositionalism I thought that we could start PRESBYTERIAN THOUGHTS: Apologetics 101 with a lesson in what is one of the most popular religions at the present time.

Watch this to gain a better understanding of what Tom Cruise and his Scientologist friends teach. It is only about three minutes long. Comment on what your impressions were after watching this.

19 March, 2006

Lord's Day Feature: a'Brakel on the Spiritual Life

The Godly Exhorted not to Be Fretful
Do you not perceive that this is idolatry? There is a secret departure from God, a neglect of depending upon Him, and a secret denial of God's providence. There is a secret accusation of cruelty and unwillingness on His part to care for you, of mutability, and of not being faithful to His promises. Under pretense of being concerned about necessities, there is a desire to rely upon temporal things and a living by bread alone--and even if one does not solely put his trust in temporal things, is nevertheless partially true. God and the things of this world together must grant us satisfaction. Or else, do you serve God in order that He would give you temporal things? What an evil disposition this is. How far removed this is from Asaph's disposition: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (Psa. 73:25-26)! Upon coming before God, be therefore ashamed about your sinful disposition (III: 387).

All your concerns are in vain and you will not gain one penny by them. God has already decreed from eternity how much you will have. There is a "convenient" portion (Prov. 30:8) which God has appointed for everyone and which He gives at His time. No one will take away this portion from you nor will it be diminished. With all your concerns and anxiety you will neither add one nickel nor break or change the determinate counsel of God (III: 388).

As far as you yourself are concerned--you bring yourself into continual unrest, apprehension, fear, and anxiety. You rob yourself of delighting and rejoicing in God. You impede your growth, since your disposition displeases God, and renders you unfit to appropriately use the means for spiritual growth. Your concerns will cause the Word and your good inner motions to be choked, thus rendering them unfruitful (Mat. 13:22). Unbelief has opportunity to surface and will toss the anxious soul to and fro. The desire for religious exercise decreases and free access to God is hindered. The thoughts that these adversities come upon you in God's wrath cause the soul to tremble. Thus, to a great extent quietness, dependence upon God, a childlike confidence in God, and walking with God disappear. Would you lose all this for a greater or lesser quantity of bread, for getting your way, for your own honor, and for the future, of which you do not know how it will be? Oh, these matters are too insignificant to permit the well-being of your soul to dissipate (III: 389).

16 March, 2006

Reformed or Dispensationalist?

I have many friends that are Dispensational in their theology. Some know why they are Dispensational, others do not. There are some major differences between Dispensationalists and Reformed people in the way that they view the Bible. I think that this is a fair analysis of what some of the differences are, including some of the major flaws with the arguments.

The difference between Reformed and Dispensational Theology

14 March, 2006

On Conformity to His Image

We can learn a lot about the progression of our sanctification from the way that the Lord called and formed his disciples into the men that he wanted them to be. Each of us grow differently as we draw closer to the Lord in word, thought, and deed. The Lord knows what we are in need of as well as what will need to be mortified and vivified in order to make us the men and the women that he is calling us to be. This is seen very clearly in the different ways that John and Peter grew in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

The faults of the two brethren being so opposite, growth in grace would naturally assume two opposite forms in their respective experiences. In Peter it would take the form of concentration; in John, of expansion. Peter would become less charitable; John would become more charitable. Peter would advance from indiscriminate goodwill to a moral decidedness which should distinguish between friends and foes, the Church and the world; John's progress, on the other hand, would consist in ceasing to be a bigot and in becoming imbued with the genial, humane, sympathetic spirit of his Lord. Peter, in his mature state, would care much less for the opinions and feelings of men than he did at the present time; John again would care much more.
~A.B.Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p474

12 March, 2006

Lord's Day Feature: a' Brakel on the Spiritual Life

PRESBYTERIAN THOUGHTS will host a new feature (since all great blogs have features) for the Lord's Day. With the Lord's help there will be a classic and meaty quote that can aid in your spiritual meditations for the Lord's Day.

All quotes are going to be taken from the magum opus of Wilhelmus a'Brakel (1635-1711) entitled, A Christian's Reasonable Service. The quotes will all revolve around the Christian's spiritual life. I hope that these meditations will aid in your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.


Love is the sweet motion of the heart toward God--infused into the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit--whereby they, by virtue of union with Him and in view of His perfections, delight themselves in God, and in a joyous embrace of His will fully surrender themselves to His service (III: 264).

The Holy Spirit, igniting love in the hearts of God's children, operates in harmony with man's nature. Man cannot love what he does not know and his love cannot go beyond that which he knows. The Holy Spirit thus also works this love by the medium of knowledge. God gives enlightened eyes of understanding to His children. He reveals Himself to them, they know His perfections, and the love of God is thus ignited in them. "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (1 John 4:7-8); "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Mat. 22:37) [III: 265].

To love God is a privilege of the elect. They, as others, were the children of wrath. However, God draws them out of the state of sin, gives them life and a child-like disposition, and thus also a loving heart. Since they are born of God, and since God is love, their nature resembles the nature of their heavenly Father, and they love Him. Their intellect, will, and affections have not only been rendered capable, but they are also active in love toward God. It is not sufficient for them to nourish love within, but they are active in manifesting this with their tongue, eye, and the entire body. They are thus known as lovers of God and are therefore also referred to as "those that love." Ye that love the LORD, hate evil" (Psa. 97:10); "They that love His Name shall dwell therein" (Psa. 69:36) [III: 266].

11 March, 2006

Sermons Now Available

Thanks to the compunerdability of James W. Lanning, the recent sermons of Rev.Lanning are now available for downloading. Save them, email them, trade them with your friends!

Sermons of the Associate Reformed Church of Grand Rapids

(1 Kings 21:21) Behold, I will bring evil upon thee...And will cut off...him that pisseth against the wall

Everyone that has spent more than ten minutes in a Christian bookstore recognizes these paintings. Thomas Kinkade is THE evangelical artist who has become a multi-millionaire over the past decade selling his paintings and other related items. They usually have a nice Bible verse about how nice and neat is our God.

This week Thomas Kinkade was arrested (allegedly) for going on a drunken rampage wherein he urinated on a statue of Winnie the Pooh out of a rage concerning his contract. (See article below.)

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Thomas Kinkade, LA Times

10 March, 2006

The Little Bible

For centuries Reformed Christians have loved the book of Psalms. We have sung them, we have found comfort in them, and especially, we have found much of the Lord Jesus Christ in them! John Calvin called the book of Psalms a complete anatomy of the parts of the soul. The Psalms truly are a "little Bible" as Luther called them- they are full of vibrant, living, and experiential Christianity.

In 1560 a translation of the Bible (complete with Psalms for singing) was completed by some of the world's most foremost Reformed scholars and pastors. This translation, and the notes especially, continue to be loved and cherished by many in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition. Here is the Geneva Bible's introduction to the book of Psalms. It embodies the way in which the Reformed have viewed this book:

This book of psalms is given to us by the Holy Spirit, to be esteemed as a precious treasure in which all things are contained that bring to true happiness in this present life as well as in the life to come. For the riches of true knowledge and heavenly wisdom, are here set open for us, to take of it most abundantly. If we would know the great and high majesty of God, here we may see the brightness of it shine clearly. If we would seek his incomprehensible wisdom, here is the school of the same profession. If we would comprehend his inestimable bounty, and approach near to it, and fill our hands with that treasure, here we may have a most lively and comfortable taste of it. If we would know where our salvation lies and how to attain to everlasting life, here is Christ our Redeemer, and Mediator most evidently described. The rich man may learn the true use of his riches. The poor man may find full contentment. He who will rejoice will know true joy, and how to keep measure in it. They who are afflicted and oppressed will see what their comfort exists in, and how they should praise God when he sends them deliverance. The wicked and the persecutors of the children of God will see how the hand of God is always against them: and though he permits them to prosper for a while, yet he bridles them, so much so that they cannot touch a hair of ones head unless he permits them, and how in the end their destruction is most miserable. Briefly here we have most present remedies against all temptations and troubles of mind and conscience, so that being well practiced in this, we may be assured against all dangers in this life, live in the true fear and love of God, and at length attain the incorruptible crown of glory, which is laid up for all who love the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

08 March, 2006

The Duties of the Government

Either we have no idea what the Bible says about the role of the civil government or we have fallen way off course with the relationship of the State and the Church. Do Christians even believe this stuff? It is the duty of civil government not only to uphold the second table of the law, but also the first. It must see to it that God is honored. It may not tolerate any idolatry, worship of images, or any false religion within her jurisdiction, but must rather eradicate these. It must prevent the vain use of God's Name by way of cursing, swearing, and blasphemy. It must prevent the desecration of the Sabbath, punish violators of this commandment, and see to it that the gospel is proclaimed everywhere within its jurisdiction. It must see to it that the church, as the darling of the Lord Jesus, is protected and preserved; and that neither internal dissension nor any external oppression disturb or destroy the church, but that instead she be safely preserved in the use of the privileges and liberties which her King Jesus has given her

~Wilhelmus a'Brakel (II: 179).

06 March, 2006

Providence Towards Providence

This is a true story of the grace of God at work in the life of a church:
As some of you may have heard, Providence Reformed Church burned extensively last week. This congregation is a group of Christians that split off from the Heritage Reformed Churches for reasons that were not related to doctrine or unbiblical practices on the part of the HNRC. They broke off of this congregation over a ministerial dispute with a pastor.

This week the HNRC offered the chapel at Puritan Seminary for Providence's Sunday services and educational instruction. The very minister that Providence Reformed opposed is now the one that is offering the use of 'his' building until Providence is able to have their building restored.

I see this as a great act of the grace of God in the life of a minister that has been very hurt by this schism. This is also to be seen as the grace of God in the life of a denomination- to offer their facilities to a group that publicly opposes them! May the Lord use this experience to heal this fracture within the body of Christ and call Providence to be reunited with their fellow believers.

Fire does $150,000 damages at Northeast Side church

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
By Dave Murray The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- Audrey Rusthoven pointed to the back corner of Providence Reformed Church as smoke poured through its windows. She thought of a day in 1960. "I got married in the chapel, right there," she said, fighting back tears. "It just makes you so sad to see this happen." Firefighters were called to the church around 12:30 p.m. Monday to put out a blaze that apparently started in the northeast corner of the basement and caused more than $150,000 in damage, officials said. Fire Chief John VanSolkema said firefighters broke windows along the back and side of the building to help knock down the fire, but he said stained glass windows and the sanctuary suffered only smoke damage. "I thought the guys really did an excellent job in there," he said. No one was in the building when the fire started, and a firefighter was treated at the scene for a minor injury. VanSolkema said the damage appeared to be contained to the basement and a room above the furnace that a parishioner called a "ladies' lounge." Investigators had yet to determine a cause. The church, at 1700 Coit Ave. NE, has been an anchor in the Northeast Side neighborhood since it was built in 1928. It was known as Bethel Reformed until 2000, when the congregation had dwindled to 35 aging members.
The building was passed on to a new congregation shortly afterward, said Irene Hart, who has worshipped with both groups. "I was just there yesterday," she said. "I've been going to church in that building for 50 years. My husband once worked as the janitor, so I know every square inch of it." It's the second large fire the church has endured. A 1994 blaze caused it to undergo a similar amount of repair. The church serves about 25 families, and is between pastors, although it has offered the job to someone, congregation member Elizabeth Rozeboom said. Neighbor Kirstyn Stevens said she came home for lunch, saw smoke and called firefighters. She ran into her house to grab her cat, Peanut, and some prized family photos. "It was pretty scary because I didn't know if anyone was inside the church," she said.

05 March, 2006

Sermon Quote

Concerning the fruit of Liberal Christianity and especially their view on Christology: "A devout Muslim believes more about Jesus Christ than the average Methodist, Congregationalist, or Presbyterian today".

-Rev. Ray Lanning

03 March, 2006

A Life Viewed Through Faith

By faith we believe that God is working all things to our good and to his glory. By faith we hold onto the promises of Scripture knowing that this world is not our home, knowing that we are mere pilgrims in this world, that we are seeking a city whose builder and maker is God. By faith we march on with confidence, knowing that which the Bible says is true. We believe by faith, we grow in grace by faith, we draw closer to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. By faith we sit at the feet of Christ learning in his school. We seek more of the Spirit's wisdom by faith and we view the world around us by faith. By faith we are saved, and by faith Christ will carry us to glory upon our departure from this world. By faith we anticipate the dead raised, the world judged, and eternity with our God and our King.

"Faith, I may well say, is the mother of all graces; it conceives and brings them forth, and takes care to promote their growth; it contributes life to them at first, and causes them to thrive and flourish afterwards. With faith our meaner services meet with a cheerful and favorable acceptance; and without it, all the most pompous devotions and all the most tedious and painful mortifications that we could ever practice would be of no value in the sight of God."
- Timothy Rogers, 1691

02 March, 2006

Free Seminary?

I have stated for a long time that I believe that a good Master's of Theology degree would be a great resource for all Christians.

Many Christians today do not have the proper theological instruction to trian their children, discuss with their spouse, or even enough theological knowledge to refute the Jehovah's Witness next door.

Well folks, as the Golden Age draws nigh, more and more theological resources are becoming available for the layman. Covenant Theological Seminary now has all of their lectures available in mp3 format.

Fire up the Ipod and dedicate an hour a day towards advancement in theological knowledge! (If you do not have an Ipod, you can listen on your computer or have someone burn them onto CD.)