Another great quote from CS Lewis

I don’t know how he does it.  His seemingly casual analogies and metaphors just cause a page to explode, driving home the import of whatever he’s talking about.

To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body? These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world- shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else— since He has retained His own charger—should we accompany Him?” – from Miracles

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Princeton, why am I not surprised?

In another blaring case of an institution speaking out of both sides of the mouth, Princeton Theological Seminary declared that it would rescind its offer to Rev. Tim Keller of the Kuyper award for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness as well as affirmed its commitment to “the critical inquiry and theological diversity of our community.”  Evidently, Rev. Keller’s good status as a minister in a denomination  that doesn’t permit the ordination of women or LGBT individuals is a step too far for the “diversity” of their community.  Or, if Orwell’s animals were describing the situation here, they might say that, though everyone in the Reformed community is equal, Keller’s views make him not quite as equal as those at PTS.  Thankfully, Keller is evidently a classy enough guy to accept their invitation to come and speak regardless of the snub.

But the irony here just keeps right on coming.

kuyper-keller

The award that PTS has rescinded for Keller is named after Abraham Kuyper, a Dutch statesman and theologian from the late 19th-early 20th century, known as one of the earlier voices that began speaking into a North American context about the concept of a worldview (from the German Weltanschauung).  In other words, Kuyper helped American Christians begin to think of biblical truth as applicable to all areas of life (e.g. industry, art, science, etc.) and not just as it relates to the church, salvation, and the hereafter.  Here’s the ironic part.  Kuyper delivered a series of lectures at PTS in 1898 in which he issued some warnings to the American theological community about what he called “Modernism”, a distinctive of which Kuyper said “denies and abolishes every difference, [and] cannot rest until it has made woman man and man woman, and, putting every distinction on a common level, kills life by placing it under the ban of uniformity.” (Lectures on Calvinism (1943), 27)  So Kuyper, for whom the award is named, would have decried the demolition of distinctions that is today’s zeit geist, and Keller, in apparent agreement with Kuyper, is denied the award by the institution for reasons that Kuyper warned it about 120 years ago.

If that wasn’t rich enough, I discovered through my highly sophisticated research on the interwebs that Keller wouldn’t have been the first “holy man” to receive the Kuyper award who belonged to a religious order that doesn’t ordain women.  In 2010, PTS awarded it to Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, an Orthodox Jewish movement that “…has yet to officially accept women in its rabbinate…” (see context here).   But we Americans have short memories, tender toes, and institutions like PTS apparently determine their standards by licking a finger and holding aloft to see the direction the winds of cultural change are blowing.  So I guess the moral of this story for all who seek honor in the hoary halls of PTS is, you better not be a conservative Protestant.

Sorry Keller.  I hope your speech is at least well-received.

 

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St. Patrick’s Day funny

Where else can one find the perfect harmony of St. Patrick’s day, obscure theological heresies, and a gratifying reference to Voltron?

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C.S. Lewis on Fake News

You’re probably thinking, “C.S Lewis on fake news?!  Uhhh… wasn’t he dead long before this whole fake news trend started?”  Well… yes and no.  Yes, in the sense that it wasn’t called fake news in his day.  But, no, in the sense that misrepresentations of current events in order to shape or alter public discourse/opinion (e.g. yellow journalism, etc.) has been going on for a good long while.  Only our chronological snobbery (also a CS Lewis-ism) would allow us to think that fake news is a postmodern American problem.  So I commend this reading (and illustration!) of Lewis’s take on how we can be done with wicked journalists.  An added bonus in this video is this: Lewis shares some very clear-headed thinking on a subject that many in our knee-jerk culture struggle to grasp, namely that it is possible to make a moral judgment on someone’s actions or words without necessarily falling prey to the charge of “self-righteous”.

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Baptismal Prayer of a Father

Yesterday, I had the privilege of baptizing another covenant child, and as I have done on many occasion, gave the child’s father an opportunity to pray for his son after the waters of baptism and the Triune name were applied.  The prayer that I post below is the prayer that father prayed (with names removed).  Even now his prayer for his son moves me to tears.

Father, I thank you for the opportunity to witness, firsthand, your kingdom moving forward. For we believe, in faith, that you have marked [our son] as one of your people, a part of your Church. I know we have yet to see the faith in his life, but we are trusting in you to take his heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh. I pray that his faith would not be one born out of crisis, but that his trust in you for salvation would be like the air that he breathes… that long before he can express it, your saving grace would work in his life.  We look forward to the day he can put into words the great work you have done in him.

Father, I thank you that children are truly one of life’s greatest blessings, not life-accessories for selfish adults, not burdens to be endured by exhausted parents, but blessings in the purest sense.  For they are blessings that can, in turn, be a blessing to a dark and dying world.  So, to that end, I pray for [our son’s] physical health, that you would keep sickness and injury from him so that he may care for the sick and the dying. I pray for his strength, that you would make his body continue to grow strong so that he may be a defender of the weak and the abused. I pray that you would continue to fill his life with those who love and care for him, so that he may be an advocate for the unloved and the forgotten.

Lord, your word tells us that to whom much is given, much is required, and, as parents, we have been so richly blessed. So, I ask that you enable us to be the mother and father that your word calls us to be – that we would not neglect to teach our children your word, to discipline them according to your law, and to love them as you have loved us.  Also, as I have just asked you to bless [our son] with great blessings, so I trust that you will use him in mighty way to advance your kingdom – that everywhere he goes the darkness would run and hide for fear of your bright light that shines through him.

We are trusting in you to do all these things. I pray them all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Kingdom and Inauguration

This is a good passage to remind us of God’s upside-down kingdom on this day when the President who is inaugurated has an crown-icon“…obsession with outward appearance, sexiness, superficiality, wealth, [and] his own status and accomplishments.”  Our newly minted President, by virtue of his office, will deserve our prayers, our obedience as far as conscience and God’s Word will allow, but not our imitation.

“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 10

Kyrie, eleison.  Lord, have mercy.

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Gratitude on This Day

​On this Thanksgiving day, there is someone for whom my thanks could not possibly be fully stated: Mother Church.  She can be faithless to her Husband at times and temperamental towards her children, but it is into her arms that I was born. I know not the exact moment of salvation, but it is her nourishment and her children who have fed me, disciplined me, held me accountable, encouraged me, tested me, and lifted up my guilt-ridden countenance and gently reminded me of what her Husband secured on my behalf.  She is sometimes blind to her faults yet always on the verge of reformation.  She often seems so fragile and in danger of perishing, yet she has held forth for centuries against violent persecutions from without and hideous heresies and damnable schisms within.  In one breath she can chase away the stranger and the alien with idolatrous nationalism while in the very next breath offer a home and a family to an orphan and an outcast.  She is both confusing and endearing, maddening and lovely. It is an honor to serve her, and I’m grateful for the Word she serves me, the prayers she offers, and the saints to whom she joins me. 

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