Saturday, December 26, 2015

For the minister, those who want to be minister and for those who are curious

That rascal Rev. Doug Wilson has put up on his blog 21 maxims for discouraged pastors and you can find that link here

I would like to interact with a few of them with the recognition that much of a pastor's discouragement comes because he does not heed good wisdom and thus is a cause to his own discouragement.

The first ten I am in agreement with with no reservations that matter.  Number 11 is what drives me personally.  I "feel" personally responsible and yet I also have experienced my limitations.  I can tell a family to not go a certain route such as take a new job without a sound church in the area or I can tell a family not to send their children to a particular school, but in the end it is their choice and I am to love them even when the fallout occurs.

Number 12 is so very important to establish and practice.  I have been convicted too often of trying to be a pastor to a flock of people that don't want me to pastor them.  Loyalty to those who do want you to pastor them is very important.

Number 13 I am not in full agreement with and I will not post a particular verse that is a counter argument.  I will council instead that because perception is reality to those who have been confused or emotionally hurt, it is wise to confess an unawareness of how your actions as a minister have unintentionally hurt someone.  No harm in doing so as we all are "looking through the glass dimly."

Number 14 is quite necessary to be fruitful for the sake of the Kingdom of God and is related to number 15.  No one warned me about betrayal for if they had I might have been better at keeping bitterness away as number 16 warns.  Of course I was actually warned for if it could happen to Jesus it can happen to any minister who follows him.  But be warned because the betrayal hurts.

Numbers 17 thru 21 are great and I would underline number 21 because keeping your eyes on the prize gets you through much of what is difficult about the call.

Thanks Doug!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Problem of Envy

In our study of Genesis the sin of envy has stuck out.  The devil tempts Eve to envy that God has knowledge that she does not.  This got me wondering what comes first, pride or envy.  Perhaps pride comes first because we would have to believe we deserve something that we don't have and therefore we envy others who do have.  But is envy different than coveting?  Why not just point to the 10th commandment and stop thinking about it?  The root of coveting is lusting.  You want something that is not yours and you desire it more than God.  It also includes being dissatisfied with what you already have.  The etymology of envy includes hate and ill-will.  Envy then is the sin of hatred that not only wants what someone else has be wants said persons who have to suffer loss, to suffer pain.  When you get there, when you get to envy it is the devil who has your ear. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Conceited as it relates to envy

"Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."  Galatians 5:26

The first thing we should note about the verse above is that it is possible for Christians to provoke one another and also to envy one another.  Those two sins we might think should not be a part of a Christian life but if Paul warned against them it is to be understood as likely to happen unless we are wary of it.

The warning comes after Paul lists fruits of the Spirit and those are listed after he lists sins of the flesh.  It is remarkable to me that while walking in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit that we could become conceited.  Walking by and in the Spirit would seem to exclude conceit.  But the warning is clear.

We must be humbled by these possibilities of conceit, being guilty of provoking one another and envying one another, even while we walk in the Spirit.  "Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up"!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Brief History of Anglicanism

The link is to a blog by a pastor in Myrtle Beach.  He does a very good job of explaining movements, defining terminology and identifying the ebbs and flows of Anglican history all in a concise manner.  It will help all my parishioners to understand who we are.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Giving Thanks

Thanks be to God for David Daleiden the leader behind the Planned Parenthood exposure videos. 

Thanks be to God for waking many Christians up to the horror of abortion.

Thanks be to God for keep the heinous sin of abortion before us.

Thanks be to God for the lesson that when God let a people go their own way the results are horrifying.

Thanks be to God for hackers who exposed adulterers. 

Thanks be to God that sin is uncovered. 

Thanks be to God for delivering men to satan for the destruction of the flesh, that their spirits may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Thanks be to God for choosing us to live in a time when the battle lines are being drawn.

Thanks be to God!

Friday, July 31, 2015

We Cannot Be Silent

The following will be handed out Sunday morning.

Response to Planned Parenthood’s barbarism

On the ACNA website there is an explanation of what has been revealed recently about Planned Parenthood.  Summarily we can conclude that the atrocity of abortion itself has become barbarism.  Below we are given guidance as to what we can do.

7) What does God teach us about this through the Bible?
The answer to the question: “When is a human life important enough for us to care about it, protect it or respect it?” is found in Scripture. From Genesis to Revelation, God implies that every human life is sacred, precious, and important enough to send His Son to die so that we humans could have life eternal with Him. God’s sacrifice of Christ on the cross, is the ultimate statement that human life is important enough to die for, in order to save it. God cares for every person even before we are in our mother’s womb according to Jeremiah 1:5 and makes it clear in Psalm 139, verse 16 that every day of our life is known and numbered for us in His book of life.
God answers the question by declaring that His love for every person existed before we are formed by Him and goes on even after we graduate to heaven. He loves the babies, women, doctors, and all involved in this, including us, who now know about it.

8) What is my Church doing?
The Anglican Church in North America has been a strong advocate for life. In fact, it important enough for the Church to include a statement in support of life in its founding documents. Canon 8, Section 3 of Title II states; God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.
Every year our bishops participate in the March for Life, Walk for Life, March for Life Canada and in 2016 the bishops are already planning on participating in a special Summit: Mobilizing the Church for Life in Washington! DC as well as the March for Life.  To learn more visit:

9) What can my congregation do?
Anglicans for Life has resources and educational materials to equip you for this call of protecting life. It is also important to recognize there are members and visitors every Sunday who have been touched by abortion and need to know healing programs are available. Many like myself spent years in the pew, fearing abortion is an unforgivable sin. We need to hear priests preach that forgiveness is available for all sins including abortion.

10) What can I do?
We need to also protect life in the public square, politically and legislatively.  But at the heart of life, this is a spiritual battle between God and Satan, and therefore we must also use our greatest weapon continually. Pray, pray, pray. Pray for all the lives involved and pray for courage to do what God is calling you to do regardless of the cost because life is sacred. Pray for an end to abortion and euthanasia. Pray for the mothers and fathers who have lost children to abortion and are now faced with the reality of what their unborn child went through during the abortion. It is also okay to write letters to your representatives and ask them to suspend the millions of tax dollars given to Planned Parenthood annually.

For more information about Anglicans for Life please visit their website:

Carroll County Reps: Andrew Harris (202) 225-5311; fax: (202) 225-0254
Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. (202) 225-5341; fax: (202) 225-0375

For others see:

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Slide of Degradation

When God tells Abraham that the fourth generation of Israel will return to the Promised Land after the iniquity of the Amorites is complete He implies that their is both a piling up of sin by a nation and sloping degradation of sin. 

The recently revealed sin of human butchery of Planned Parenthood is an example of a sloping degradation of sin.  The slide is so very steep that once you start down you cannot stop and at the bottom is the pit of hell. 

This sin revealed must move us Christians to speak out against it and against Planned Parenthood by whatever means are available to us.  This includes our commerce practices.  Please look over the list of companies that support Planned Parenthood and stop giving them your money.  And let them know why.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

From the Sermon "Pride vs. Humility"

Consider this irony.  I recently read an argument that at the heart of the homosexual life style is the sin of pride.  It is prideful to look at God and say “I know what your Word says regarding a man lying with another man and I know what your Word says regarding marriage being only between a man and a woman but I choose to define such things on my terms.”  That indeed is pride.  But that also means, and here is the irony, that the sin of a homosexual is my sin as well for when we are arrogant about our moral stance we then embrace the same sin as the homosexual and that is the sin of pride.  Ironic indeed! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge for the Church as I see it is going to be how Christian individuals express their position against homosexual marriage and homosexual copulation without being perceived as hateful.  Yes, there will be people who perceive a Christian hateful just because of the moral stand taken.  But others will genuinely want to know why a Christian believes the way he or she does. 

The first thing a Christian should try is to have discussions about the issues privately.  Voicing disapproval for homosexual marriage at the work place or before several people in a social setting will not be conducive to a discussion that projects genuine love and thus genuine concern.

The second thing a Christian should do is use rehearsed phrases such as "because I care for the souls of people," and "I want people to know the freedom in Christ that I have found," and "I take the position I take because I believe in a heavenly reward and an eternal punishment."  Such phrases are not disingenuous because they are rehearsed.  Instead they allow for conversation to be set in the parameters of the Christian faith and love for the souls of people. 

The third thing a Christian should do is genuinely care for people who are either engaged in homosexual behavior or have embraced the spirit of deception that is found within the homosexual agenda.  Actually, the third thing should be the first thing.  God's love for the world was first before Jesus was given. 

If he were to write today...

"G.K. Chesterton said something somewhere" is said by all who have read Chesterton because he seems to have said wise things about every topic for every generation.  He lived in the early 20th century and spoke as if he lived today.  I linked a copy of an article about Chesterton's views on homosexuality but I wanted to pull some quotes from him for quicker reading and obvious application. 

The next great heresy will be an attack on morality, especially sexual morality.” 

the effect of treating sex as only one innocent natural thing was that every other innocent natural thing became soaked and sodden with sex. For sex cannot be admitted to a mere equality among elementary emotions or experiences like eating and sleeping. The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant.”

Decadents may like living in a dream which they can alter at any moment to suit themselves, in which they can create causes without creating consequences, in which they can pervert the future or unmake the past. But I think a decent working man of any class, whether he is working at cube roots or cabbage roots, ought to be glad that, as he sows, so shall he surely reap.” 

“This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

SCOTUS Shmotus

I have sent an email to parishioners of St. Stephen's information them that I will address the ruling by the Supreme Court regarding homosexual marriage from the pulpit this Sunday.  I recommend to any who look at this blog to read the symposium provided by First Things.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Prayer Book Theology

In two weeks I will have served as Rector of St. Stephen's for 16 years.  I am presently 50 years old.  Each of those facts give me more courage to address topics that can divide a congregation.  The facts cited give me clout enough to be heard, at least by my parishioners.

When the subject of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) comes up in various discussions with parishioners it tends to focus on the language of the prayer book.  Some of those discussions are philosophical with opinions expressed about modern language being preferred in places so as to increase our understanding and thus our devotion.  Other discussions express taste:  "I prefer poetic language."  "I don't like the language in the Psalter."  And statements like those.

What appears most important to discuss regarding the question of which prayer book to use, however, is not whether the language is fully understood but actually what the language is saying.  It has been brought to my attention that there are ACNA churches that use the 1979 BCP.  The 1979 BCP has been criticized for not living up to other Anglican Formularies. Specific criticisms point out that man is no longer seen as being born in trespasses and sin resulting in a shorter confession of sin.  Guilt is focused on  in terms of where we have wronged our neighbor rather than God.  The difference between unbelievers and believers is obscured leading to a more universal view of redemption.  These and such criticisms have been around for a long time.  If the Latin saying lex orandi, lex credendi is true (the law of worship is the law of belief) then a causal line can be drawn linking the use of the 1979 BCP in the Epicopal Church in the United States to the apostasy that is practiced and believed in the Episcopal Church today.

The devil is in the details, the details of what we say. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Evolution "yes" and "no"

While reading a book on moral philosophy I had to dismiss the author’s acceptance of the theory of evolution as fact so that I could get to the research that he said proved his thesis.  The book, however, challenges readers to recognize how they too readily choose arguments they know are in agreement with their way of thinking.  And so I applied that challenge to my rejection of the theory of evolution.  I admit that I reject the theory first, because I believe God created everything and I believe He created it as is recorded in Genesis 1 (for those who are curious, I am not certain that a literal six days interpretation is necessary to be orthodox but that is for another post or two).  And so I too find arguments to back up where I started.  But, that does not mean that I can’t accept what scientific evidence has proven. 

Is evolution a fact plain and simple?  Well, it depends on how you define evolution.  If by evolution we simply mean that present day organisms are descended from organisms that lived earlier with modifications, then “yes” we can agree that evolution is a fact.  There is nothing in the Bible about God as creator that contradicts such a statement as fact.

If, however, a person was to say that evolution is a fact plain and simple and then define evolution as “the reconstruction of the evolutionary tree of life that would show all of the branches going back to some primordial ancestor in the past,” then I would say, “no” I don’t believe in such a theory.  I don’t believe in such a theory because of all of the metaphysical arguments that present God as the First Cause of created matter and motion and because the “science” doesn’t prove the definition accurate.  Since I am using the word “fact”, consider that there are no facts that confirm that all that presently exists in life forms came from one primordial ancestor.  For example, there is no data from fossil records that confirm that a bat and a whale came from the same primordial ancestor.  And if there was, the amount of fossil records that would have to exist is mind blowing.   And that is just based on the two species examples.  For all species to now exist and that have existed but are now extinct there would be trillions of fossil trails left that clearly show changes from species to species and yet there are not even thousands, hundreds or tens of such trails. 

All said above is reason enough why I reject the theory of evolution and accept God as the creator of all things.  This post is for the purpose of putting forth a succinct argument that most of us have but have yet articulate. 

(Thanks to Dr. William Lane Craig for his evolution definitions.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pray for Baltimore

It is easy to say, "Pray for Baltimore" and much more difficult to know what to pray.  These two prayers from the BCP help. 

"O Almighty God, the supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongs justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, fro the hands of those intent on evil; that we, being armed with thy defense, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen"

"Almighty God, who has created man in thine own image; Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil, and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it to maintain justice among men, to the glory of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen"

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Great Spirit Conveyed

The gospel in Word and Sacrament by definition is not ordinary.  But the faithfulness conveyed in this blog entry is much appreciated.  "Be not weary in well doing!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Truth I Need

"If I feel bitterly towards those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love."  ~ Amy Carmichael

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Problem with Sola Gratia

While watching a documentary on Vince Lombardi I learned that he was a staunch Roman Catholic who at one time thought about joining the priesthood.  Obviously he did not but, according to the documentary, he wanted to invest truth and goodness in people.  He did so by coaching.  His players are his lasting testimony to the good he did in others.

I reasoned that only God could put a desire to do good for others in a person.  Being Roman Catholic it is likely that Lombardi thought his good deeds would earn him God's favor.  Lombardi said as much.  We Protestants "protest" saying that no man can earn God's favor.  It is only by God's grace in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that can satisfy God's wrath and offer a person forgiveness and eternal life.  I believe that.  But...because it is by God's grace that we are saved I don't have to believe it is by grace alone that I am saved.  Not having a full understanding of the atonement of Jesus cannot get a person damned otherwise a person could be saved by right knowledge (which is a work) and not by grace.

There are plenty of reasons to hold on to the truth of Salvation by Grace Alone.  The first is that to not do so would eventually lead away from the atoning work of Jesus all together and thus not believe in Jesus as Savior.  That will damn a person.

Personally I would never, ever say a person is damned for not understanding correctly the doctrine of grace.  That would be ungracious.  I thank God for people like Vince Lombardi.  May God have mercy on his soul!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Not Quite

The article linked moved me a great deal for I have felt what is described.  I felt it so deeply that I didn't mind the "she" mention. 

When things like this happen the main failure is not loving as Jesus commands Christians to do.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ISIS, Christian response and political ignorance

After hearing the number two from the state department make the claim that creating jobs will curb terrorists like those who are part of ISIS I need say something.  Our political leaders in the White House obviously don't understand religious people and certainly not fanatical religious people.  When the White House designated ISIS terrorists as "thugs" they placed them in urban categories that do not apply.  But we can see the connection.  Young men join gangs and become thugs because they don't have strong families and not many opportunities to get out of the ghetto.  One answer is to provide jobs for such young men, if that were possible.  And so the comment by the White House to provide jobs to terrorists is connected to how the White House perceives these terrorists.  But they are wrong!  They are woefully wrong!

In an article you can find here  author Mr. Wood plainly shows that ISIS really believes the claims of Islam and believes they can usher in a new world where Islam dominates.  They believe they are the righteous hand of their god.  Jobs will not change that belief.  And for a young man to have the opportunity to change the world, well, that is what he believes he was made for.

We are in for a long fight if our government continues to consider these terrorists in social and economic terms instead of as a religious group that is trying to usher into the world Armageddon. 

A Christian response: Oh Lord!  Break thou the power of the ungodly and malicious; search out his ungodliness, until thou find none.  Let them be confounded, and put to shame.  Let them be turned back and brought to confusion.  Break their teeth, O God, in their mouths; smite the jaw-bones of the lions, O Lord.  So that man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous, doubtless there is a God that judgeth the earth! In Jesus Name, Amen

Oh, and pick up arms when needed and kill the enemy where he stands!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Problems in the Church

“Where do wars and fights come from among you?” St. James asked the Church.  “You lust and you do not have.  You murder and covet and cannot obtain.”  Sounds pretty bad, but it is nothing new.

Absalom stood at the gate and tried to be the first to influence the people who came to receive justice from his father King David.  Absalom coveted the power and influence and position of his father and so he resorted to backstabbing.

Jeroboam coveted for power, influence and position as well even after authority was given to him by God.  What he had he wanted to hold onto tightly.  He chose to rely on his own strength to remain in power.  And so he sinned.  He changed the worship of the people so that he they would follow new customs and traditions and even a different identity of God.

The same occurs amongst Christians.  A people who are to love one another have leaders who will covet power, influence and position.  And so such men undermine the authority in place.  They establish their own customs hoping for new traditions to be established so as to lead God’s people away from the truth and properly established authority.  Such influencing needs to be called what it is.  It is cowardly!  Men who act in such a manner need to repent and confess their cowardice.  They need to humble themselves under God and under the authority God has placed over them.  That is the only way they can be restored. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Two are One

Another example of the Old Covenant being united with the New Covenant is how we enter into both.  Under the Old Covenant a person was first born into the covenant of Abraham and then marked under the covenant by the act of circumcision.  For Christians we too come into the covenant first by birth (must be born again) and then by being marked which is our baptism, which is a circumcision of the heart (Col. 2). 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Liberal Arts Cont. Quadrivium


The Greeks lumped the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music) together under one titled subject called “mathematics.”  Christians study mathematics because it develops virtue of the mind (not sure what that means).  Perhaps it means what Plato was after, the mind leading toward pure reason and a love of wisdom.  It is the belief that pure reason and love of wisdom leads to objective truth known.  All of this is in opposition to a practical approach to mathematics (“when are we going to use this?”)  The Incarnation grants the Christian freedom to pursue mathematics because of a greater appreciation for the created order.  The authors believe that education should incorporate both  the formative and the practical. The goal for the Christian using mathematics is wonder, work, wisdom and worship.

Arithmetic- What is missing in modern texts is a recognition that numbers are transcendent and can lead to wonder.  The fact that unity and plurality can exist at the same times leads us to truths of the Godhead.

Geometry- Tools such as propositions and proofs in Euclid’s geometry give students the ability of how to think not just what to think.  A base of Euclid’s geometry is deductive proofs.  Geometry should be seen as a next step after arithmetic as it naturally flows and is the starting point of algebra.

Astronomy- Time keeping and navigation were essential parts of living in ancient days.  The stars were thought to reveal patterns to deep mysteries of the universe.  A grasp of geometry was essential to the discipline of astronomy. “The method of astronomy is mathematical empiricism.”  Astronomy helped birth modern science. 

Music- It is the chief are of the Quadrivium.  Music of the world and music of humans.  Rather then explain what music is in the quadirivium the authors get very excited about how it can be found in the other three disciplines.  They also see music as helping the mind comprehend infinitestimals but fail to explain why that is important. 

Brining back these disciplines is believed to foster greater wonder, work and wisdom and worship.