Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Power of Thrift

Under the influence of Christian concepts of familistic property, the free market has acted to break up such large aristocratic holdings. The industrious poor eventually buy out the lazy rich, and anyone with thrift can eventually obtain his own garden. Dominion is multiplied (James Jordan, The Law of the Covenant, 133).

A guiding principle is for a poor person to be industrious and get to a point in their life where they consume less than they produce. When you consume less than you produce dominion is multiplied. The Church needs to teach the poor to get dominion for Jesus by being industrious in the midst of their poverty. 

This is The Healing

…You’ve tried to philosophize your pain / but the hurt is in your heart and not in your brain / You could be hit by the Spirit and be made new / You thought Heaven was a place one goes to /and this heaven on Earth is true / This is the healing / Give me tears from all your bitter years / The healing / Salt the wounds, the healing will come soon…     
                                   – This is The Healing by L.S.U./Michael Knott

40 Days for Life Kickoff Rally

Yellowstone Valley Christians for Life sponsors the local 40 Days for Life pro-life campaign and prayer vigil for Billings, MT. Tonight was the Kickoff Rally, hosted at St. Bernard Catholic Church; I provided an opening prayer below. 


7 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
40 Days for Life Kickoff Rally
St. Bernard Catholic Church
Billings, MT

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Blessed Triune Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: You have called us to be a people of prayer, therefore, with ready obedience we now lift our hearts to you.

We come before you this evening as faithful Christians, as brothers and sisters in the household of faith, as citizens in the Kingdom of God. We are people of our Lord Jesus, we are people of our Lord’s Prayer, therefore, we pray the prayer-of-all-prayers, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 

O Lord, in your Perfect Law you condemn murder; to Moses you gave the Holy Words, “Thou shalt not kill.” But our Nation scoffs at your Law; we’ve legalized and funded the heinous sin of abortion. Thus, tonight with urgency we join together in prayer; we now come before you in humility, interceding on the behalf of our nation–that you would continue to be long-suffering and merciful, and that we would be judged unto repentance and not unto destruction. We pray again, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

O Lord, we confess and acknowledge that we live in a society that has built prosperity and a culture, economies and our cities, upon the blood of the Aborted. Blood flows from the operation tables in the abortion facilities, out doors, over sidewalks, and into the streets. This blood is mixed with the mortar used by our Nation for the bricks of progress and growth, and thus, Lord, we come before you and confess that we live in a Nation of bloody-city-builders. Therefore, we pray for conversion and revival in our nation, that the unborn and innocent might have life. We pray again, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 

O Lord, we thank you that we can be witnesses against this culture of death. O Lord, we ask that you would do a mighty work through the 40 Days for Life campaign in our Valley. Protect the many who in the days to come will offer up the sacrifice of prayer to you on the behalf of the unborn; and we rejoice knowing that you have promised in your Word, which never returns void, that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  We pray again, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

O Lord, we ask that the hearts of fathers and mothers would be turned to their children through our witness. We ask that you would save babies here in the city of Billings! We ask that you would prevent mothers from committing the sin of aborting their children here in the city of Billings! We ask that you would close the Abortion Facility in our midst, in our city, just up the road. We ask that you would convert the employees of Planned Parenthood, that they would forsake their sins, as well as their wicked employment. And we ask that you would do all this in order that you might be Glorified! We pray again, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

O Lord, teach us to humble ourselves; teach us to seek your face. We pray these things in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Jesus Christ: Initiative of God

“God has spoken and acted in Jesus Christ. He has said something. He has done something. . . . It [Christianity] is a ‘gospel’ (i.e. good news) — in Paul’s words ‘the gospel of God . . . concerning his Son . . . Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 1:1-4). It is not primarily an invitation to man to do anything; it is supremely a declaration of what God has done in Christ for human beings like ourselves” (John R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity, 12).

Reading Notes: Christian Theology by Alister E. McGrath

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction (5th ed.). Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

This book was comprehensive but not exhaustive. Christian Theology is indisputably a “textbook” proper, i.e., “a book used as a standard work for the study of a particular subject.” What the book lacks in imagination, i.e., style, tone, voice, allusion, etc., McGrath compensates for with factoid and reference factors, e.g., a useful (shock!!!) index, glossary, and primary source citations. Such being the case, the book will sit on my bookcase next to other useful theological reference works, e.g., Lewis and DeMarest’s Integrative Theology (3 vol.), Beeke and Ferguson’s Reformed Confessions Harmonized, Hodge’s Outlines of Theology, Beeke and Jones’s A Puritan Theology, etc.
The book is truly comprehensive: “The present volume therefore assumes that its reader knows nothing about Christian theology. . . . This book is ideally placed to help its reader gain an appreciation of the rich resources of the Christian tradition. Although this is not a work of Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant theology, great care has been taken to ensure that Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant perspectives and insights are represented and explored” (xxii-xxiii). McGrath gladly admits “My aim in this work has not be to persuade but to explain” (xxiii). That is good in one sense, but bad in the sense that McGrath does not provide direction on what ideas the reader’s mind-trap ought to go “slam!” on.
In addition to the already mentioned “factoid and reference factors” the book’s structure was very helpful. McGrath wants to expose readers the “themes of Christian theology” but he also wants to “enable them to understand them” (xxvii). Thus, the book is split into three parts: Part I covers the “landmarks” of Christian theology, i.e., the historical development of Christian theology neatly broken into four parts (Patristic c. 100-700; Middle Ages/Renaissance, c. 700-1500; Reformation, c. 1500-1750; Modern, c. 1750-the Present); Part 2 covers “Sources and Methods,” i.e., Prolegomena; the quadrilateral of Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Religious Experience; the ideas/categories of divine revelation and natural theology; and a high overview of different approaches to the relationship between Philosophy and Theology); Part 3 covers “Christian Theology” in its traditional creedal outline, i.e., “We shall use the structure of the traditional Christian creeds as a framework for our exploration of the leading topics of Christian theology” (197). This structure is where the book is at its strongest–the author’s aim for his readers to know and understand the themes of Christian theology.
My undergraduate degree is in Religion and Philosophy, so I enjoyed Part 2 – Chapter 8, “Philosophy and Theology: Dialogue and Debate,” and Part 3 – Chapter 17, “Christianity and the World Religions.” Nothing new therein, but thoroughly enjoyable–like shaking up and searching through the catch-all, “junk drawer” in a home, revisiting those chapters stirred up a bunch lost, “junk drawer — “wellwouldyoulookatthat” and “ha, cool!” — philosophic ideas and memories. 😉
It was a bit of a chore to trudge through 450+ pages of dry academic prose that attempted to be objective, but it was well worth it. To have another good reference work that has been thumbed through and heavily underlined with marginal notes is always a good thing to have; later on in life when the brain-gears are getting rusty and the recall and recollection skills are taxed with the weight of decades I will be even more thankful.
My 8 word aphoristic review: A non-scintillating but thorough rehearsal of Christian theology. As McGrath may say, Cheers!

More Than Introduction

“‘In the beginning God.’ The first four words of the Bible are more than an introduction to the creation story or to the book of Genesis They supply the key to which opens our understanding to the Bible as a whole. They tell us that the religion of the Bible is a religion of the initiative of God” (John R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity, 11).