“Even if we were carefully to examine just one minute of our lives, we would find ourselves worthy of eternal death. Indeed, each one of us would discover ourselves to be sinners, not in just one area but a hundred thousand; not due to some one fault but to countless millions. Now if even we ourselves acknowledge that we are full of so many blemishes, surely God is aware of many more than we could ever perceive, because He sees more deeply than we can, as John writes in his epistle (l John 3:20). Thus, the case is settled. The verdict is that no one can be justified by the law; justification is through faith alone.” – John Calvin
It was surprising to some that Dr. Keller was initially invited to receive an award from Princeton, and then not at all surprising to them that the offer to honor him with an award was recalled. This is because there’s a divide that goes back more than 90 years. However, looking back on this story in 2022, there’s something interesting. Princeton’s decision to go in a theologically liberal direction was sealed in the 1920’s when the theologically conservative remnant of their staff departed the school to found Westminster in Philadelphia. Now, one-hundred years later it has become clear to almost anyone paying attention that Keller has been on a path to becoming one of them. Oh, the irony. https://religionnews.com/2017/03/22/princeton-theological-seminary-reverses-decision-to-honor-redeemers-tim-keller/?fbclid=IwAR1pS3dBTv8e6OhV_DKZmTWtZqOdNOCMJMlJqf-CfBOsfJ-jj5z_j8HBkPY
Speaking of irony, someone who “unfriended” me on social media due to my habit of posting bold truth from the Bible once sent me a message saying, “I wish I could find a new good church! The churches in my town leave me feeling empty! 🙁” Maybe some people feel empty because they’re not filled with the Holy Spirit in the way that they imagine themselves to be. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many good churches as we’d like. But also remember, we don’t attend church only so we can get filled up… but also so we can help to fill others up. Be encouraged. And be an encourager. Remembering that there’s also aren’t as many good church members as we’d like, either.
More irony. Here’s a Saturday evening social media post from before the lockdowns by someone who is a member of a congregation that shut things down due to fear: “Good morning family! If you live the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, then you already have your clothes prepared for church tomorrow. Fellowship with other born again believers is a part of the Christian experience. Salvation and growth hinge on participants who obey. Forsake not the assembly of the saints. That is the Word. Please no excuses. Give God his due. GO TO CHURCH tomorrow. If you LOVE the Lord Jesus Christ, then obey and forsake not the assembly of the saints. Go to church.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK: How it connects with purpose and helps to bring about human flourishing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAhaN5pr3JM
“Blessed are the Peacemakers.” Be warned, the story and video might make you cry. (But for all the right reasons.) https://6abc.com/good-samaritan-atlantic-city-new-jersey-strreet-fight/1813971/
Global warming or Genesis flood? 🙂 https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/photos/drowned-churches-around-the-world/ss-BByd6il?li=BBnbfcP&srcref=rss&ocid=iehrs&fbclid=IwAR2vTuqHCNe7g7myBTN8lJvxCTbeLmSHA86M_lyexcbtXoJZDKWHazHGlFw#image=1
“Digital heroin” is right! Beware the blue glow. https://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/?fbclid=IwAR2MOjd44bbk0P63QzTEmW4fVUQyeeKoUeqbonnbihDUHx4slsX6OfaFRNQ
A church sign reads: “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.” My knee-jerk snarky retort: “Judge them because they sin the same as you.”
A meme reads: “Bibles aren’t allowed in schools anymore but are encouraged in prison. If kids were allowed to read it at school, they might not end up in prison.” My knee-jerk snarky retort: “Reading it at home would be good, too!”
Someone asks: “Who is Pete and why does everyone command his love? #ForTheLoveOfPete” The response: If you really want to know…“For the love of Pete” and “For Pete’s sake” are euphemisms developed by Christians with strong scruples about saying “For the love of God/Christ” and “For God’s/Christ’s sake”.
They didn’t want to be guilty of taking the Lord’s name in vain.
I saw a video that suggests people should no longer use the phrase “special needs”. Boy, I just don’t know. I looked up words that a large percentage of people find offensive, and the list includes (among others) the words/phrases: differently abled – disabled – feeble-minded – the handicapped – incapacitated – mentally deficient – mentally disabled – slow – and of course the lightning rod word “retarded”. What identifier are people supposed to use when referring to the “special needs” population? Is there any word or phrase that won’t accidentally offend? Not everything is a microaggression. Let’s make use of the full vocabulary available to us. Full disclosure: I’m the father of a son who has been diagnosed with both Williams Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
A few additional random items to close out this blog post:
The Christian hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness. It’s helpful for followers of Christ to keep in mind that this hope does exist for many. For example, public schools are not Christian institutions, and in many cases are probably not administrated by Christians. I find myself often checking my heart in situations like this. We can’t change the fact that God’s enemies hate God’s Word. This is to be expected of them. But perhaps God will use us as He rescues some of these lost souls from their hatred of Him. As we do this, we homeschool so as to protect our kids from soul destroying paganism.
One day, if you do well, your children will say about you what this friend of mine said: “Many of you have already heard that my Dad has gone to be with Jesus. My Dad (and Mom) are a significant reason why I have the faith that I do. There are many things I am grateful for about my Dad, but my faith is the greatest among them. RIP Dad… Well done good and faithful servant!! Until we meet again, I love you, Dad!!!”
Social media allows more people to connect. This is good. The connections are generally a mile wide, but only an inch deep. This is bad. Social media’s shallowness can lead us to see real people as mere “props to entertain us” or “viewers to be entertained”. Our shared human dignity is sacrificed in the process. So, make good use of all communications tools. But also go talk to, and demonstrate love to, someone in person today.
Only by the blood of Christ,
Pastor Troy Skinner