Thursday, June 21, 2012

Calling the Bluff on Anger

I almost figured in a road altercation this morning. I had just finished dropping my wife off to her usual shuttle service terminal, where she gets her ride to work, and was on my way home. I was about to make a left onto the main road that would take me home, having signaled my intention at the proper distance, when this car at the opposite lane suddenly shot up. I did make my left before this car could pass through, but not without having my ears blared at by an irate horn. In what I perceived was an injustice, I slowed my van just enough to give the offending car a look of taunting defiance. What I got in turn was the finger.

This incident taught me something about righteous indignation—I am often unable to discern the situations that call for it, and I often lack the good sense that makes one slow to anger, rendering me unfit for receiving the glory of the one who overlooks an offense (Proverbs 19:11).

Instead of having my temper blow up at my face when someone just as foolish calls my bluff, I must consider the One who never has the fear of meeting His match and yet prescribes patience, meekness, and longsuffering for His people because He Himself is the archetype of these virtues.

Perhaps, a deeper consideration of the decretive will of God would help me curb the anger that is often directed at mere trifles. The circumstances of life fall into their assigned places by design, and what haughty presumption would it be on my part to fume at instances wherein no explicit violation of God's prescriptive will is evident.

Indeed, be angry and sin not (Eph. 4:26), but this assumes an anger that is excited by infractions of God's revealed will, and even then the setting of the sun lays down the boundary beyond which even anger of the good kind has the potential of becoming bad.

With that said, I think easing off of metal music would do me good, too. LOL.

A good resource on anger by Ed Welch: The Madness of Anger

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Effeminacy in Leadership: More the Effect Than the Cause of God's Judgment

Reproduced below is a very keen and penetrating analysis of the nature of the deplorable upsurge of effeminacy in the church, with the locus of the phenomenon placed not primarily on its consideration as being the cause of God's judgment but, conversely, on it, i.e., the phenomenon, as being the effect.

Recently I was asked whether it would be correct to say that, in the history of the world, whole dynasties and indeed civilisations have foundered on the rock of homosexuality. My answer was that I would not put it this way. Of course I believe that homosexual practices are immoral, and forbidden by God's law. However, in Rom. 1:21-32 Paul puts it this way: Men turned away from serving God to serving the creature. As a consequence God gave them over to impure passions. Homosexuality is God's judgement on a society that has turned away from God and worships the creature rather than the Creator. Spiritual apostasy is the rock upon which cultures, including our own, founder, and homosexuality is God's judgement on that apostasy. This is why homosexuality was a common practice among the pagan cultures of antiquity, indeed is a common practice among most pagan cultures, including now our own increasingly neo-pagan culture. In short, the idea that the toleration of homosexuality is an evil that will lead to God's judgement is unbiblical because it puts the cart before the horse. It is the other way round. The prevalence of homosexuality in a culture is a sure sign that God has already executed or is in the process of executing his wrath upon society for its apostasy. The cause of this judgement is not the immoral practices of homosexuals (immoral though homosexual acts are); rather it is spiritual apostasy. The prevalence of homosexuality is the effect, not the cause of God's wrath being visited upon society. And in a Christian (or perhaps I should say "post- Christian") society this means, inevitably, that the prevalence of homosexuality in society is God's judgement on the church for her apostasy, her unfaithfulness to God, because judgement begins with the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17).

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Aesthetically-Burdened Theology

Man, as made in the image of God, is a connoisseur of beauty. Every eminent feature of the created order is reflective of the perfections of God; hence, it is but fitting for man to appreciate His various creaturely analogies. However, when the comeliness of natural revelation begins to impose upon one's apprehension of special revelation, problems arise.

Somehow, the recent anomalies of "conversions" to Rome by prominent names in Reformed circles are instances of a specific kind of swimming goggles already worn years in advance, even before the Tiber was actually swum. A certain predisposition to beauty, commingled with religious convictions, lends these people weak to the transcendent, and what is it that Roman pomp and pageantry offer but the transcendent mediated through architecture and ritual. Given the almost irresistible tug of these sense-pleasers, the mind, and the theology it once held dear and defended, give in and conform (mutate), in accommodation to the aesthetic presupposition.

But are we promised grace from the both-immanent-and-transcendent God through such means? No. The presumptuously immanentistic trajectory of the low-church modern evangelical is no better countered by the awe-inspiring transcendentalism of the high-church Romanist.

But how is grace from God mediated to His worshippers? Through the Word of God.

The Word of God is communicated to God's people as grace through its faithful preaching and its proper administration as the Sacraments (the tangible/material Word).

I think it is in keeping with the humility of God that present age grace is delivered in a package of meekness, i.e., weak and faltering human ministers and the mundaneness of water, bread, and wine. However, thrill-seekers will not be disappointed at the glory and grandeur that will accompany Christ's second coming—something that will reduce today's incredible cathedrals to yesterday's crumbled bastions of idolatry.

But that is for a future day. Today, those faithful to the Gospel must content themselves with the beauty of holiness as it is presented in a run-down church.

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