Gospel Coalition Confessional Statement, Part 1

(1) The Tri-une God

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.


Why? Why Do I Not Own "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

This movie has some of the funniest lines of any movie I've ever seen. I'd put it as my third-favorite comedy (after Some Like It Hot and His Girl Friday).

Pete: Who elected you leader o' this outfit?
Everett: Well, Pete, I figured it should be the one with a capacity for abstract thought, but if that ain't the consensus view, then hell, let's put it to a vote!
Pete: Suits me. I'm votin' fer yours truly!
Everett: I'm votin' fer yours truly, too!
Delmar: Well, I'm with you fellers.

Pete: You stole from my kin!
Everett: Who was fixin' to betray us.
Pete: You didn't know that at the time!
Everett: So I borrowed it until I did know!
Pete (momentarily perplexed): That don't make no sense!
Everett: Pete, it's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.

Everett: Well, it didn't look like a one-horse town, but try findin' a decent hair jelly!

Wash Hogwallup: Sorry, Pete, I know we're kin, but they got this dee-pression on, and I got ta do fer me an' mine!
Pete: I'll kill you... Judas... Iscariot... Hogwallup!

Everett: Well, ain't this place just a geographical oddity! Two weeks from everywhere!

Wash's Boy (after firing a warning shot over the Wanderers' heads): You men from the bank?
Delmar: No, son.
Wash's Boy: My daddy tole me I'm to shoot whoever's from the bank.
Delmar: We ain't from the bank, young feller.
Wash's Boy: I'm also s'posed to shoot anyone servin' papers. You servin' papers?
Delmar: We ain't servin' papers, neither.
Wash's Boy: I nicked the census man!
Delmar: There's a good boy.

Pete: They never did turn me into no toad.
Delmar: Sorry, Pete, that was our mistake.

Everett: Say, Cousin Wash, I guess it'd be the acme of foolishness to inquire if you had a hairnet.
Wash: There's some in yon' bureau. Mrs. Hogwallup's, before she done R-U-N-N-O-F-T.

That's just a taste. It's absurd that I don't own this great movie! Something must be done.


Please Pray!

Hey everyone, one of our pastors, Robert Cheong, has been in the hospital since Wednesday, when he started experiencing chest pains. He's had several tests and this morning they found some evidence of heart disease, so they are doing a heart catheter. If they find some blockage they will likely do an angioplasty. Fortunately, Robert did not have a heart attack, and he went to the hospital in time to head off major problems. He has a family history of heart disease, so they are being very vigilant.

Please pray for him, his wife Karen, and their three children. Their oldest daughter, Ashley, is getting married two weeks from today. Karen is a very gracious and loving woman, and they both love to help people and minister to them, but they're having a bit of a hard time accepting help from the rest of us!

UPDATE: The doctors found only a 10% blockage in one of Robert's arteries, so he will be able to manage his heart disease with proper diet and exercise. Karen is an incredibly active, fit, healthy woman who will be a huge blessing to Robert. He went home from the hospital on Friday afternoon to rest and be with his family. We are taking meals to them this week (leading up to Ashley's wedding), and then the SBTS faculty wives care team will take over from there.

The "learning party" went really well yesterday, despite the fact that Robert and Karen were supposed to have taught two of the four sessions (!!). The guys did some rearranging, and Dr. Bruce Ware (author of God's Greater Glory), seminary professor and former president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, graciously agreed to speak at the last minute. He gave an outstanding presentation on biblical gender roles, particularly focusing on defending male headship from creation.


The 101st Post!

Wow. Now that nobody reads my blog basically ever, I've hit 101 posts. Crazy. So here's a random list of touristy things I've never done whilst in other countries.

I have never:
1. Worn socks with sandals (MIKE!)
2. Taken pictures of people without their permission
3. Sported a Hawaiian shirt
4. Worn tube socks
5. Worn shorts (no, really. I hate shorts, and rarely wear them at all, but never ever in another country)
6. Said, "Hey, doesn't anybody here speak English?"
7. Turned my nose up at food put in front of me
8. Asked, "What the heck is this?" about the food put in front of me
9. Asked directions to the nearest McDonald's
10. Walked around with a camera around my neck
11. Taken a photo of someone "holding" a monument in their palm... well, OK, once, but it was toward the end of our trip to Europe when we were all a bit punchy from exhaustion and sick to death of Japanese tourists dashing from one gorgeous locale to another, standing still just long enough to snap a picture of their travel partners "holding" Neuschwanstein or whatever in their hand -- not even long enough to look (and I mean, really, they could have stopped by a photo kiosk in Tokyo and saved the plane fare) -- so I took a picture of my mom holding an Irish passage tomb, and she really looks more like a Price is Right girl presenting it, because she was too close to it.

Anyway, you get the idea...

101 posts! Go me!


Christine Day!

The letters in the post are all Green, though it doesn't match my layout, in honor of the Green Girl of (Somewhere Unnamed), Georgia, Kentucky, Germany, and Tasmania, Christine Hnat-soon-to-be-Jolly! Many blessings on your day, my dear friend, and try to keep it together for a little while longer; it's only a few days to go until you leave the world of singleness forever! Whew!

Three Cheers for Christine!

Hip-hip (Huzzah!)
Hip-hip (Huzzah!)
Hip-hip (Huzzah!)

For she's a "Jolly" good fellow,
For she's a "Jolly" good fellow,
For she's a "Jolly" good fellow,
Which nobody can deny!

... Well, not after June 29th, anyway!


Joy in Christ's Presence (Spurgeon)

Beloved, if God has ever visited you, you also will marvel at it, will carry it in your memory, will speak of it to your friends, and will record it in your diary as one of the notable events of your life. Above all, you will speak of it to God Himself and say with adoring gratitude, "Thou hast visited me in the night." (7)

To you, my dear readers, I will write of my own experience, not doubting at all that it is also yours.... The glance of the eye of Jesus was very searching, for it revealed my sin and caused me to go out and weep bitterly. As when the Lord visited Adam and called him to stand naked before Him, so I was stripped of all my righteousness before the face of the Most High. Yet the visit did not end there, for just as the Lord God clothed our first parents in coats of skins, He covered me with the righteousness of the Great Sacrifice and gave me songs in the night. It was night, but the visit was no dream. In fact, there and then I ceased to dream and I began to deal with the reality of things. (8-9)

My first discovery of Christ's injured love was overpowering, and its very hopefulness increased my anguish, for then I saw that I had slain the Lord who had come to save me. (10)

No sinner was ever half as eager for Christ as Christ is eager for the sinner; no saint was ever one-tenth as anxious to behold his Lord as his Lord is to behold him. If you are running to Christ, He is already near you. If you sigh for His presence, that sigh is the evidence that He is with you. He is with you even now; therefore, be glad. (15)


June: A Horror Story

If there is any month that strikes more terror into the hearts of women of a certain age than the month of June, I am not aware of it. Twenty-six is looming, menacingly, on the horizon for me, and the old saying keeps running through my head as if a parrot were cawing it at me: "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, braaack!" Not because I'm particularly depressed at the thought of my singleness (well, not any more than usual), but because being a bridesmaid is an honor that, in most cases, I would just as soon forgo. And I know I am not alone.

Because of the Lord's infinite mercy, I have no bridesmaid dress to purchase this summer. This spring I was in my brother's wedding, but it was in a cool, peaceful month (and I wore a dress I already owned), not the dreaded "wedding season" that makes otherwise lovely, Christian girls turn evil.

I have heard stories of bridesmaids conscripted into bizarre duties, forced to buy dresses more expensive than their last car, enduring terrifying wedding hair and clownishly overdone makeup for the sake of the photographs, driving halfway across the country to be greeted by a long list of responsibilities and a shared air mattress, and investing half a month's salary for the "honor" of being a friend's attendant.

Emily Yoffe tells more mortifying tales of June-mad women, giddy with the rush of flower arrangements and table settings and audacious, paypal-enabled "honeymoon registries."

Whatever happened to weddings where everyone agreed to turn up at the church on a morning a week or so hence for a quiet, liturgically-prescribed ceremony in which the bride and groom each had one witness stand at the front? Or the home wedding, in the parents' living room with the furniture moved out and space for only a dozen or so people to stand?

Ostentatiousness has no place in the life of a Christian. Simplicity and a focus on Christ, not greed, keeping up with the Joneses, fantasy, or selfishness, should characterize the Christian wedding. I look forward, one day, to planning a wedding entirely without the aid of bridal magazines or Martha Stewart -- a wedding memorable for the presence of the Holy Spirit, not the complexity of the centerpieces, the elegance of the decor, or the intricacy of the bead work on the gowns.

If more brides thought of Christ's fame instead of their own demands, June would not be nearly so horrifying.


What Do I Believe?

As part of my deacon training, I'm doing the Christian Life Profile (Randy Frazee, Zondervan). The Profile tests for thirty areas of Christlikeness -- ten core beliefs, ten core practices, and ten core virtues -- all based on Jesus' command to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself."

Basically, what I get out of these types of inventories is that I suck. A lot. All the time. But that's not necessarily a bad realization, if it's coupled with an understanding of adoption, union with Christ, etc. The first ten are the toughest to evaluate, because of course I believe in salvation by grace, the sovereignty of God, and all that stuff. But the issue isn't whether or not I assent to them, it's whether my daily life reflects an integrated trust (here my dad will insert a comment on assentia vs. fiducia, nerd that he is).

The ten core beliefs listed are:

1. Trinity: I believe the God of the Bible is the only true God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14).
- I believe the God of the Bible is the only true God
- I believe the God of the Bible is one in essence but distinct in person -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- I believe Jesus is God in the flesh -- who died and rose bodily from the dead
- I believe the Holy Spirit is God and dwells in Christians to empower them to live the Christian life.

2. Salvation by Grace: I believe a person comes into a right relationship with God by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9)
- I believe I will inherit eternal life because of what Jesus has done for me.
- I believe nothing I do or have done can earn my salvation.
- I believe salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.
- I believe people are saved because of what Jesus Christ did, not because of what they do.

3. Authority of the Bible: I believe the Bible is the Word of God and has the right to command my belief and action (1 Tim. 3:16-17).
- I believe the Bible is absolutely true in matters of faith and morals
- I believe the words of the Bible are words from God.
- I believe the Bible has decisive authority over what I say and do.
- I believe the Bible is relevant to address the needs of contemporary culture

4. Personal God: I believe God is involved in and cares about my daily life (Ps 121).
- I believe God has a purpose for my life.
- I believe pain and suffering can often bring me closer to God.
- I believe God is actively involved in my life.
- I believe God enables me to do things I could not or would not otherwise do.

5. Identity in Christ: I believe I am significant because of my position as a child of God (John 1:12-13).
- I believe God loves me and therefore my life has value.
- I exist to know, love, and serve God.
- I believe God loves me even when I do not obey Him.
- I believe I am forgiven and accepted by God.

6. Church: I believe the church is God's primary way to accomplish his purposes on Earth today (Eph 4:15-16).
- I believe God gives spiritual gifts to every Christian for service to the church and the community.
- I believe I cannot grow as a Christian unless I am an active member of a local church.
- I believe the community of true believers is Christ's body on Earth.
- I believe the purpose of the church is to share the gospel and nurture Christians to maturity in Christ.

7. Humanity: I believe all people are loved by God and need Jesus Christ as their savior (John 3:16).
- I believe each person possesses a sinful nature and is in need of God's forgiveness.
- I believe we are created in the image of God and therefore have equal value regardless of race, religion, or gender.
- I believe all people are loved by God; therefore, I too should love them.
- I believe that God desires all people to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

8. Compassion: I believe God calls all Christians to show compassion to those in need (Ps 82:3-4).
- God calls me to be involved in the lives of the poor and suffering.
- I believe I am responsible before God to show compassion to the sick and imprisoned.
- I believe I should stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
- I believe Christians should not purchase everything they can afford, so that their discretionary money can be available to help those in need.

9. Eternity: I believe there is a heaven and a hell, and I believe Jesus Christ is returning to judge the Earth and establish his eternal Kingdom (John 14:1-4).
- I believe it is important to share the gospel with my neighbor because Christ has commanded me to do so.
- I believe people who deliberately reject Jesus Christ as savior will not inherit eternal life
- I believe every person is subject to the judgment of God.
- I believe all people who place their trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in heaven.

10. Stewardship: I believe everything I am or own belongs to God (1 Tim 6:17-19).
- I believe everything I am or own comes from God and belongs to God.
- I believe a Christian should live a sacrificial life that is not driven by pursuit of material things.
- I believe Christians should give at least ten percent of their income to God's work.
- I believe God will bless Christians now and in the life to come for their good works.

Now, looking over that, it's possible that some of you might be able to guess where I'm having issues with a few of the sub-points -- mostly thinking that they haven't been taken far enough (I'm specifically looking at the "deliberately reject" part under #9), but as a general survey, I think it's useful. We'll just have to see how well I'm embracing these essential doctrines. Always room for growth in the Christian life, I guess.

As a side note, check out www.t4g.org for the new video of CJ Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever cracking each other up while they talk about the 2008 Together for the Gospel conference. Also, much to my delight, they're letting women go this year! Woo hoo!


A Little Rhetoric Lesson

"The 'vote' being taken this week by the secessionist group that now illegally occupies (this building) has no legal validity or bearing on the current efforts by (the original owner) to regain rightful control of its property."

-- identifying details removed. The first person to correctly guess the circumstances of this quote gets a million English pounds.*

The English pounds in question may or may not be invisible. OK, they're definitely invisible. But they're around here somewhere, and as soon as I can find them, they're yours.


Every Pastor Should Read This.

Yet again, Marty Duren has written an amazing post on his blog; this time, however, it's not about the Southern Baptist Confusion, er... I mean, Convention. It's about quiet times, pastoral humility, and the folks in your congregation who don't know Peter from Proverbs.

Find it HERE at sbcoutpost.com