Sunday, February 24, 2013

Must You Be a Missionary or a Pastor to Make a Difference?

I ran across an excerpt from What Can I Do? Making a Global Difference Right Where You Are by David Livermore (Zondervan, 2011) 
To live out our part of this story as the church means weaving our priestly identity into every part of our lives. Politics are not somehow off-limits for Christians, but they need to be reformed. The domains of art, business, and science should be reclaimed for Christ, not segregated as secular distractions from the “real” work of ministry. My dad used to proudly declare, “Both my sons are in full-time ministry,” and almost as an afterthought he would add, “and my daughter is a nurse.” I realize that “full-time ministry” is sometimes a shorthand way of referring to people who earn their paycheck from full-time employment in a church or ministry. But what could more closely resemble full-time ministry than the work my sister does daily as a nurse, caring for cancer patients and their family members? We have to reject the notion that it’s the really spiritual people who should become the pastors and missionaries. We are all invited to partner with God–as nurses and truck drivers, aunts and uncles, engineers and musicians, and, yes, pastors and missionaries. The problem isn’t that the Christian community lacks doctors, farmers, businesspeople, or musicians in our midst. The problem is that there are so few doctors, farmers, businesspeople, and musicians who are truly living out their priestly identity in their profession.That’s the central idea of this book. Most of us don’t integrate our Christian identity into our daily tasks. While serving as a missionary overseas is one way of fulfilling our priestly calling, so also is serving in a local hospital near home. What matters most is how you live out your unique vocation as a follower of Jesus Christ.
May it be more so.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Olney Hymn #30. "Is this thy kindness to thy friend."

Is this thy kindness to thy friend.

Poor, weak, and worthless though I am,
I have a rich almighty friend;
Jesus, the Savior, is his name,
He freely loves, and without end.
He ransomed me from hell with blood,
And by his pow’r my foes controlled;
He found me, wand’ring far from God,
And brought me to his chosen fold.
He cheers my heart, my wants supplies,
And says that I shall shortly be
Enthroned with him above the skies,
O! what a friend is CHRIST to me.
But ah! I my inmost spirit mourns,
And well my eyes with tears may swim,
To think of my perverse returns;
I’ve been a faithless friend to him.
Often my gracious Friend I grieve,
Neglect, distrust, and disobey,
And often Satan’s lies believe,
Sooner than all my Friend can say.
He bids me always freely come,
And promises whate’er I ask:
But I am straitened, cold and dumb,
And count my privilege a task.
Before the world that hates his course,
My treach’rous heart has throbbed with shame;
Loth to forego the worlds applause,
I hardly dare avow his name.
Sure were not I most vile and base,
I could not thus my friend requite!
And were not he the God of grace,
He’d frown and spurn me from his sight.
John Newton. Link

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Case for Infant Baptism

While I can affirm the validity of both paedobaptism and credobaptism, this post will reflect my understanding, albeit briefly, of infant baptism (paedobaptism). UPDATE: I should add that this section of the WCF does not in entirety preclude credo immersion. paedobaptism is delineate in points III and IV.

Here is a summary from the WCF on baptism.

I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ,[1] not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church;[2] but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace,[3] of his ingrafting into Christ,[4] of regeneration,[5] of remission of sins,[6] and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life.[7] Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.[8]

II. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the Gospel, lawfully called thereunto.[9]

III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.[10]

IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ,[11] but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.[12]

V. Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance,[13] yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it:[14] or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.[15]

VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered;[16] yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.[17]

VII. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.[18]

Now, fire away.