Recently in Faith Category

Pyromaniacs: Going to Take the Cake

F. X. Turk (grandson of a Hungarian kulak) says it's time to sweep away the euphemisms:

"That is actually what is on the table: being part of a celebration which calls sinful sexual unions holy.  If I refuse, I'm a kulak - part of the hated class who cannot be allowed to own property anymore, who cannot be allowed to buy or sell anymore, and who must be called out as immoral and as enemies of the new way of life.

"I am really not that concerned that gay people (at least superficially) say they want to be 'married'.  I am concerned that anyone who objects to the new moral definitions is clearly being called politically unfit for use."

The Left wages total war and then plays victim | Tim Carney | WashingtonExaminer.com

"After millennia of marriage being uncontroversially a union between one man and one woman, and after a decade of electorates in most states (and President Obama in 2008) upholding that traditional definition, the Left has used the courts to redefine the institution. People are fired for having taken the losing side. On college campuses, the current fights are about banning even the articulation of traditional views....

"Religious liberty is the terms of surrender the Right is requesting in the culture war. It is conservative America saying to the cultural and political elites, you have your gay marriage, your no-fault divorce, your obscene music and television, your indoctrinating public schools and your abortion-on-demand. May we please be allowed to not participate in these?

"But no. Tolerance isn't the goal. Religious conservatives must atone for their heretical views with acts of contrition: Bake me a cake, photograph my wedding, pay for my abortion and my contraception."

Ace of Spades HQ: The New Intolerance: We Are Now Required To Embrace Just About Everything, Except the Gutter Religion Christianity

The writer is an atheist, a fiscal and foreign policy conservative, not at all a social conservative. Bottom line: If you have a problem with religious freedom laws, you're probably a totalitarian leftist. Some excerpts:

"Because that's all the gay 'rights' activists are doing here -- they are forcing people who disagree with their political beliefs to endorse those political beliefs anyway, using the crushing power of the state to compel assent....

""This is not about serving gays, this is about acceding to gays' (and non-gay Gay Enthusiasts') demands that those who dissent with gay weddings nevertheless be forced to endorse them....

"If a minority of bakers refuses services to gay weddings, what actual damage befalls gays? There are still many, many more bakers who will bake them their cakes. So what is the actual harm?

"They never answer this question -- they never ask it, so they couldn't answer it -- but the actual answer would be: 'The harm is finding out that someone disagrees with my Sacred Belief on gay marriage.'...

"What is being pursued here is not gays' right to have wedding cake. They have this, of course, and do not need the law's insistence to get it.

"What is being pursued here is hardcore gay-identity crusaders' insistence that no one has the right to disagree with them on their Sacred Belief, and that the law can and should be perverted into punishing ThoughtCrimes.

"What we are seeing here is the enforcement of a new religious code, one which puts "secular" leftist values at the center of religious dogma, and then uses the power of the state to punish heretics, apostates, and blasphemers.

"It is ugly, cruel, and stupid, as are most things the left wants."

Sola scriptura: Christian Research Institute series on Roman Catholicism

An examination of the agreements and differences between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals. In Part 3, the authors show that the Bible does indeed teach Sola Scriptura, contrary to Catholic claims.

MORE:

Credo House: Early Church Fathers on Sola Scriptura
Credo House: Six Myths about Sola Scriptura
Credo House: Five Views of Tradition's Role in the Christian Life
Credo House: Category archive on Roman Catholicism

Dr. Greg Bahnsen: Is Sola Scriptura a Protestant Concoction? A Biblical Defense of Sola Scriptura: Bahnsen also delves into the problems with the Roman assertion of oral tradition as a separate source of authority as well as the misinterpretation of the use of the word "tradition" in the New Testament.

Blaise Denton: In defense of sola scriptura

The Gospel Coalition: Book Review: Roman Catholic Theology and Practice
An Evangelical Assessment
by Gregg R. Allison
:

"Gregg Allison's new book is good news to all who have long desired a reliable theological guide in dealing with Roman Catholicism. Based on a painstaking analysis of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, it covers the all-embracing trajectory of Roman Catholic theology and practice. Instead of juxtaposing ephemeral impressions and disconnected data, the professor of Christian theology at Southern [Baptist Theological] Seminary in Louisville provides a theological framework that accounts for the complexity of the Roman Catholic system and its dynamic unity....

"Building on the "nature-grace interdependence" and the "Christ-Church interconnection," Allison helps the reader to make sense of both areas of agreements and disagreements while pointing to the hermeneutical grid set at the beginning. For example, the Catechism teaches a doctrine of "justification by faith." What the catechism means by "justification," though, is a synergistic work that is not forensic (legal) in nature but transformative and administered via the sacramental system of the Church and by taking into account one's own merits. The word is the same, but the theological meaning, confirmed by the devotional practices of Rome, strays far from the biblical understanding of justification. The same is true as far as all other key gospel terms are concerned."

J. Ray Art: Pen and Ink

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J. Ray Art: Pen and Ink

Illustrator Josh Ray has produced a series of ten drawings called the Ink Well, currently on display at the Cafe on Broadway in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. "Each of the 10 pieces is inspired from a hymn, and the images themselves are created solely from the words of the hymn, handwritten in ink over and over again. The Image is meant to signify the meaning or the imagery behind each hymn." The background of each image is the sheet music of the song, and even the staves and the notes are revealed to be, on close examination, the words of the hymn. The hymns illustrated are "Amazing Grace," "In Christ Alone," "O for a Thousand Tongues," "I'll Fly Away," "Jesus Paid It All," "It Is Well with My Soul," "The Battle Belongs to the Lord," "All Creatures of Our God and King," and "Our God Is an Awesome God." Prints are available for purchase, starting as low as $35 plus shipping and handling for a 9" x 11" print.

Unseen CS Lewis letter defines his notion of joy | Books | The Guardian

Lewis discusses joy in a letter found tucked into a copy of Lewis's The Problem of Pain which was bought in a used bookshop.

"Real joy seems to me almost as unlike security or prosperity as it is unlike agony...."

"It jumps under one's ribs and tickles down one's back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o' nights. It shocks one awake when the other puts one to sleep. My private table is one second of joy is worth 12 hours of Pleasure. I think you really quite agree with me."

In a postscript, he added:

"Don't you know the disappointment when you expected joy from a piece of music and get only pleasure: Like finding Leah when you thought you'd married Rachel!"

Why We Neglect Our Bibles | Desiring God | John Piper

"I think I can say from experience, from history, and from the Bible: Every Christian needs more spiritual food than one meal a week. That doesn't work physically; it doesn't work spiritually. Temptations are too relentless. Doubt is too frequent. Satan is too active. Tribulations are too heavy. Conflicts are too many. Emotions are too volatile. Perplexities are too difficult. Faith, hope, and love are too threatened, to think I can deal with these all week long simply from one word I got on Sunday. I can't do it. And I don't think anybody can."

You Are What--and How--You Read - The Gospel Coalition Blog

Rosaria Butterfield writes that we need to look back to the past to find sound Christian counsel on indwelling sin and holy living.

"Worldview matters. And if we don't reach back before the 19th century, back to the Bible itself, the Westminster divines, and the Puritans, we will limp along, defeated. Yes, the Holy Spirit gives you a heart of flesh and the mind to understand and love the Lord and his Word. But without good reading practices even this redeemed heart grows flabby, weak, shaky, and ill. You cannot lose your salvation, but you can lose everything else.

"Enter John Owen. Thomas Watson. Richard Baxter. Thomas Brooks. Jeremiah Burroughs. William Gurnall. The Puritans. They didn't live in a world more pure than ours, but they helped create one that valued biblical literacy. Owen's work on indwelling sin is the most liberating balm to someone who feels owned by sexual sin. You are what (and how) you read. J. C. Ryle said it takes the whole Bible to make a whole Christian. Why does sin lurk in the minds of believers as a law, demanding to be obeyed? How do we have victory if sin's tentacles go so deep, if Satan knows our names and addresses? We stand on the ordinary means of grace: Scripture reading, prayer, worship, and the sacraments. We embrace the covenant of church membership for real accountability and community, knowing that left to our own devices we'll either be led astray or become a danger to those we love most. We read our Bibles daily and in great chunks. We surround ourselves with a great cloud of witnesses who don't fall prey to the same worldview snares we and our post-19th century cohorts do.

"In short, we honor God with our reading diligence. We honor God with our reading sacrifice. If you watch two hours of TV and surf the internet for three, what would happen if you abandoned these habits for reading the Bible and the Puritans? For real. Could the best solution to the sin that enslaves us be just that simple and difficult all at the same time? We create Christian communities that are safe places to struggle because we know sin is also "lurking at [our] door." God tells us that sin's "desire is for you, but you shall have mastery over it" (Gen. 4:7). Sin isn't a matter of knowing better, it isn't (only) a series of bad choices--and if it were, we wouldn't need a Savior, just need a new app on our iPhone."

Book of Virtues - Shiver Academy

Questions, worksheets, and activity ideas designed around William Bennett's The Book of Virtues