Friday, December 19, 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014 & Preview of 2015

I love the top ten lists of books that men put up at the end of each year. I scour the internet looking for new books to purchase in the coming year. This year I decided to put my own list out there. These are books I read in 2014, not books published in 2014. The first three all had major impact on me. They are books that I keep coming back to and have changed my thinking. In the spirit of II Samuel 23:13, these are top three. After number 3 they are in no particular order.

1. Reformed Dogmatics: Volume I by Herman Bavinck-A tour de force of theology, history, research, exegesis, and piety. His section on God's Word is the best I have ever read. Occasionally, I go back and read that portion of the book. Volume II is on my Christmas list.

2. Man and Woman in Christ by Stephen B. Clark- The best work on male/female roles that I have ever read. Careful with the Scriptural text. Careful with extra-biblical data. He does not scream, but he does skillfully cut like a surgeon. He interacts with all the feminist dogma. It is long, but worth the read for those interested in the subject.

3. Sex, Marriage, and Family in John Calvin's Geneva: Vol I-Courtship, Engagement, and Marriage by John Witte Jr. and Robert Kingdon-If you want a close up look at how a leading reformer and his city ordered married life this is your book. Since this topic is perpetually relevant this book is as well. Kingdon is dead, but I just learned that Witte is continuing the project, which is very exciting for a history/Calvin nerd like me.

4. Parenting by God's Promises by Joel Beeke-A wonderful blend of paedo-baptist surety with Puritan piety.  Few parents will agree with everything, but every parent could use this book. His section on teenagers was excellent.

5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand-There is not much to say about this book that has not already been said. A great book about a great story about a great man.

6. What's Best Next by Matt Perlman-An excellent book on the why and how of Christian productivity. Almost any Christian in any setting can take these principles and use them to bring glory to Christ.

7. Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread by Carl Trueman-Trueman is a grumpy, old man. That is why I like him. He does not care what people think. I do not always agree with him, but the essays in this book were superb. "Pro-choice not Pro Options" and "The Freudom of the Christian" were two of my favorites.

8. Against the Church by Douglas Wilson-What I have always loved about Pastor Wilson is that he preaches to his people.  Those who follow him, learn from him, love him, and listen to him will often find themselves being rebuked and challenged by him. This book is a pastoral warning to those who follow him that faith is always necessary.

9. Fundamentalism and the Word of God by J.I. Packer- A wonderful knock down of liberal theology and her arguments against the Scriptures as God's inerrant and inspired word. Many arguments Packer refutes are still in circulation.

10. Abortion by R.C. Sproul-A careful look at the abortion issue that targets those who are on the fence. Sproul is a great reformed thinker and a man whose presence in the Christian world will be missed.

Bonus Pick: Job Through New Eyes: A Son for Glory by Toby Sumpter-I have not finished this book yet, but I will by the end of this week. It is marvelous. Pastor Sumpter's writing is unique and lively. His commentary on Job brings numerous theological themes found in Scripture to bear upon the text of Job. From creation to Adam to Abraham to Solomon to Jesus, Toby weaves them all together to help us understand what is happening in a book that most of us do not get. It is a great book and one I highly recommend.

Preview of 2015, Lord Willing
Here is what I have on my reading list for 2015.
I am reading through Calvin's Institutes again.
I also plan on reading Francis Turretin's first volume of his Institutes of Elenctic Theology.
I have never read Luther's Three Treatises, which I would like to get to this year.

I am working through the doctrine of the atonement so my list includes Christ Crucified and The Person of Christ by Donald Macleod, as well as Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, etc.

I will finish Fred Sanders' The Deep Things of God, which I have greatly enjoyed.

I have a book stack on economic issues, including George Grant's Bringing in the Sheaves, Chilton's Productive Christians, Schiff's How an Economy Grows, and Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door.

On the history side I plan on reading Karen Spierling's Infant Baptism in Reformation Geneva, Bratt's Abraham Kuyper, Ann Douglas' The Feminization of American Culture, Intellectuals by Paul Johnson, and Morris's The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. If I can I would like to start William Manchester's trilogy on Churchill.

I want to read more fiction than I did in 2014. So far I plan on Master and Commander, Beowulf (again!), The Aeneid, The Return of the King, The Power and the Glory, East of Eden, and 1984.

And I will continue to study things like preaching, sacraments, sodomy, male/female roles, government, creation, vocation, and family.

Are there any books you would recommend I put on the list for 2015?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wheaton's Capitulation to Sin

Recently Wheaton College in Illinois hired a woman who declares herself to be a celibate, gay, Christian. You can read the World magazine article here. She says that she is gay, but that being gay does not define her. She is defined by Christ, not by her sexual orientation. She also says she will not act on her desires. What are we to make of this argument? Is it valid to say I want to have sex with women, but I won't act on that desire? The hiring shows the continued breakdown of a Biblical understanding of sin, temptation, and repentance at Wheaton, which has been coming on for some time. Owen Strachan has responded over at Patheos. Toby Sumpter has picked up on one aspect of the debate. Here are a few of my thoughts.

Sin is not just external action. To argue this is to undo the church's teaching on sin and oddly enough to become legalistic. The article implies that sin is really in what you do, not in what you want. But this runs contrary to the Scriptural narrative. Remember Matthew 5:28. Lust is adultery. Wanting to sleep with a woman is as bad as sleeping with her in God's eyes. James 4:1 makes it clear that outward sin, wars and fights, come from inward sin. Numerous sins, such as bitterness, anger, malice, lust, covetousness, are inside us. Even external sins begin in the heart. Jesus said that adultery, murder, and sexual immorality come from the heart. Sin lives in us. Sin is not simply engaging in an action that is wicked. It is thoughts, desires, and emotions that are contrary to God's character and His will for the human race. Putting to death sin does not just mean dealing with external manifestations of sin. It means reshaping our thoughts, desires, and emotions so they are brought in line with God's will. To argue otherwise is to hold a deficient view of sin, repentance, and the Spirit's work in our lives.

What we want matters. Desires matter. We can be guilty of sin by wanting something that we should not have. Here is why same-sex attraction is a sin. It is a twisted desire. It is wanting what one should not long for. With any other sin this is clear. If I hate man and want to kill him the solution is not simply to refrain from killing him. The solution is to repent of the desire itself. My desire to kill the man is a sin even if I never do kill him. If I long to look at porn the solution again is not to simply refrain from looking at porn. The solution is to repent of the desire for porn. So it is with every sin . The external expression is merely a part of the sin and often the easiest to deal with. To argue that I can be attracted sexually to the same gender and not be sinning is contrary to the Scriptures. The desire is a sin and should be repented of.

Sexual sins, both their internal and external manifestations, can be overcome by the Spirit of Christ, the Word of Christ, and the body of Christ. To argue otherwise is to say that Christ cannot make us new. A theme running through "gay Christian" articles is that same sex attraction can not be fully dealt with. We do not say this with other sins.  A man filled with greed should not be told, "Well you can never overcome your greed orientation.The Spirit can't deal with that. You are stuck. But make sure you never steal."  What hope is there in that? What grace is there in that? The Jesus who drove out demons and converted a murdering psychopath cannot help me? Too many Christians have too low a view of the Spirit's work. It is not easy to put our sinful desires and actions to death. But it can be done.

Finally, homosexual sin is not in a separate category from other sins when it comes sanctification. Paul in I Corinthians 6:9-11 puts sodomy right along with all the other sins we might think of, fornication, idolatry, drunkenness, etc. In other words, sodomy can be dealt with by the regular ministry of the church.  A man or woman with same sex desires can be reoriented just as a man with a desire for drunkenness or prostitutes can be reoriented. We tend to take Romans 1 and put homosexuality in its own category. On a cultural level it might be. But on an individual level it is like any other sin. How should a minister deal with a young man with a porn habit? How should he deal with a man who is filled with anger and rage? How should he deal with a woman who is filled with bitterness? The same principles he applies there should be applied to the sodomite.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Freedom and Bondage of God

I reading through Calvin's Institutes for the 2nd time. I came across an interesting argument about free will. This comes from Book II, Chapter III, Section 5.  Calvin is discussing man's fallen nature and how that puts him into bondage, but does not eliminate his free will. Then he uses God's nature as an illustration. Here is the idea:

Can God sin? Right answer is, "No."

Is God free? Correct answer is, "Yes."

So God cannot do certain things and yet is entirely free. He is bound by his nature and yet his will is free.

He also uses Satan as an example.

Can Satan do anything that is rooted in good? Answer, "No."

Is Satan free? Answer is "Yes."

Calvin goes on to apply this to human beings. Human beings outside of Christ can do nothing that is ultimately good. They are totally depraved. They can do things that are good in some ways, but nothing a unregenerate human being does is at root good. (Calvin's reason for this is that they do not direct those actions towards God.) However, simply because they cannot do good does not mean their will is not free. They sin of "necessity" not of "compulsion." In other words, they sin because they must and because they wish, but they do not sin because of something forcing them to sin outside of themselves. They are not pushed into sin against their will.

The illustration I have often used with my children is that of lion and a goat. You put a big heap of greens in front of a lion and he will ignore them. You put that same pile of greens in front of the goat and he will eat them up. Put a freshly cut piece of deer in front of a lion and he will devour it in a moment. The goat would probably ignore it. Why? Is the lion being forced to eat the meat? No. There is no outside force pressing him to eat. He eats of necessity and with a free will. His nature is such that he must eat, but his nature and his will line up. His nature does not battle against his will.

So it is with man. Man is conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5).  He is born with a sin nature that directs his actions.  But that sin nature lines up perfectly with his will. Calvin notes that when man sinned in the garden he "was not deprived of will, but of soundness of will." Every unregenerate man, women, and child sins because they want to. No man yells at his wife against his will. No child lies to mom against his will. No employee steals against his will. When a man comes to Christ he is changed. That old nature hangs on, like a bad habit that won't go away. However, now the sin is against the will in some way. When a man comes to Christ his nature shifts and so his will shifts, but not all the way and not automatically. That is why a Christian is often at war with himself. His old nature, which is dying, fights against the new nature which Christ has given to him. Some Christians wonder why non-Christians can have such inner peace at times. The reason is simple: their nature and will always line up. Their nature is sinful and their will is sinful. Romans 7 makes no sense to them at all. For us as believers our nature is not sinful any more. We are new creatures. Our will is being brought into line with this new nature, but it is a war. Sometimes this war is internal as we shape thoughts and desires. Sometimes it is directed towards actions when we have learned to do things automatically, such as yelling, which are now contrary to our nature and our desires, yet we still do them out of habit.

Election does not mean that men are forced to sin against their will. Just as God cannot do evil and yet is entirely free. So unregenerate man cannot do good and yet is entirely free.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Quotes from Rules for Reformers

Pastor Doug Wilson's latest book is called Rules for Reformers. It is not for everyone, but anyone in Christian leadership should read the book. It has a hard, but cheerful edge to it.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.
A reformer has to be the kind of man who can stand up to the clamor of the mob. 
The wise are those who take the initiative whenever they have the opportunity.
Survival should never be the goal, stalemate is not the goal, absence of collision is not the goal.
We are not to fight to the point of predominance, we are to fight to the point of complete victory.
Cultivate a robust sense of humor. [Wilson repeats this idea throughout the book.] 
Keep the pressure on, wherever you are on the line...Wake up in the morning thinking about what the fires you can set.
The work of cultural reformation is a contact sport.
A godly satirist [a man who uses sarcasm and ridicule] should know the difference between weakness and arrogance, and, as far as possible, reserve his arrows for the latter.
We need to distinguish between those who demand apologies as a weapon, and those who want to see genuine reconciliation.
Winning an argument, with documents and everything, is not what brings repentance. [Pastor Wilson is not saying that arguments have no value. He is just saying that winning them does not produce repentance.] 
The issue is never the issue. Keep your eye on the ball.
The rule is never to apologize for the truth. Never.[Emphasis his.]
Do you want to bring up endangered kids or dangerous kids...Would you like them to be smooth stones in the sling of the Son of David? Or are you just hoping they make enough money to get by, are generally nice people, and always come home for the holidays...Do you want to provide them with Jesus-centered education that will train them for the battle, the way boot camp is supposed to? 
If you do not love the present, which you have seen, how can you love the future, which you have not seen?
When forgetfulness begins, love is then in decline.
The key battle in our culture wars is the reestablishment of worship that is pleasing to God.
The reason for singling out sodomy for particular political attention right now is the homo-activists have made it their central political weapon.
All the Christians in the world, thinking sweet thoughts all at the same time, could not make a minimum wage law that didn't hurt the poor.  
All hope is lost? Good. That means the conditions for a black swan revival are improving by the day. The stone cold deader we get, the more God is hastening the day. Nothing is dying but what has needed to die for a long time. 
There is no solution to our cultural or political troubles apart from the blood that Jesus shed.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How We Got Here or Principles of Modern Thought: Full Potential

Here is the third post in a series on Stephen Clark's five guiding principles of modern thought. The list with links to the previous posts can be found below.

The Principle of Equality
The Principle of Freedom
The Principle of Developing Full Potential 
The Principle of Authenticity
The Principle of Being a "Full-Person"

Here is Clark's description of the third principle that drives modern thinking:
The Principle of Developing Full Potential or Achieving Self-Fulfillment-"This an individualistic principle closely related to the principle of freedom. Self-fulfillment and full potential become ideals under conditions of little social cohesion where each individual feels the need to watch out for himself...It emphasizes gifts and abilities rather than personal relationships. 
A principle of self-fulfillment cannot be found in scripture. The scriptural teaching presumes a cohesive communal lifestyle and sets forth an ideal of servanthood. The scripture allows Christians to seek reward, but the criterion for action is love, that is, laying down one's life for the Lord and the brothers and sisters." 
The thought here is that anything or anyone that prevents me from achieving what I think is my full potential is restricting  my freedom and ultimately harming me. People and things exist to give me fulfillment and make me happy.

Perhaps no principle on this list is as thoroughly rejected by Scripture as this one. The Christian life is one of love and service that is focused on giving of our life, time, money, and energy to others. A principle of achieving full potential runs hard against that truth. It is impossible to live like Christ and still be focused on achieving your full potential. Yet because this is the air that we breath we still function this way. Popular Christian preachers make millions promising people that if they come to Christ he will help them fulfill their potential. On a more day to day level, we assume that if I am not becoming who I think I ought to be then something has gone wrong.  How many "Christian" men have left their wives because they felt held back by them? How many college children reject their parent's faith because it keeps them from "stretching their wings?" How many pastors have stopped preaching the hard truths of service and sacrifice so their people will be happy and feel fulfilled? How many young men enter the job force expecting it to help them fulfill their potential? How many young ladies bear children for the same, ungodly reason? The Christian life is one of service. The minute we make our personal satisfaction and fulfillment the goal then have abandoned the narrow path.

I would add that when we follow Christ we will ultimately find happiness and satisfaction. We were made for God and in him we will be filled. But that satisfaction comes from the well-done at the end. And that well-done comes from living for Christ, dying to self and serving others. It does not come from putting our own personal fulfillment at the center of our existence.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: Is God Anti-Gay

Is God Anti-Gay?: And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-Sex AttractionIs God Anti-Gay?: And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-Sex Attraction by Sam Allberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very helpful book for those who are struggling with same sex attraction and for churches, ministers, and lay people who counsel, evangelize, or talk to homosexuals. It was a good reminder that the temptation to homosexuality is like any other temptation in the Christian life. It needs to be fought by prayer, the support of Christian friends, and looking to Christ and his cleansing power. As a pastor, it made me want to be more prepared to minister to those coming out of the homosexual lifestyle and those who trust in Christ, but still struggle with same sex temptation. It also reminded me to not be afraid, to be compassionate to individuals struggling with this sin, and to be aware of how common it has become in our culture.

It did have some drawbacks. First, it provides a very basic outline. It would great if a Christian pastor who has shepherded homosexuals could write a book giving more insight into how to minister to them over the long haul. That will surely become more of counseling burden in the coming decades.

Second, there is no discussion of the politics of sodomy. This may be because it is outside the purview of the book. But the political side of sodomy is huge, whether Christians want it to be or not. For one on one discussion with homosexuals the book was great. For how to interact with a world cramming sodomy down our throats it was not.

Finally, there was one statement that I thought needed to be qualified. He says that a homosexual should not be confronted on his homosexuality until he has been told about Christ (p. 64-65). He says he wants to start with the Gospel and then move to the person's sexual behavior. This is the modern evangelical way to do things. And there is a place for that approach. However, it is often the case that the need for the Gospel is only seen in light of one's sense of their own sinfulness. In other words, if you want people to see their need for Christ they must recognize their own depravity. So while I agree we should not pounce on a homosexual. I do not agree that we must begin with the Gospel and then move to sin. Often, we must work the other way.

View all my reviews

Friday, November 28, 2014

David vs. Paul?

Here is how John Calvin reconciles David's delight in God's law in Psalm 19 and Paul's approbation of  the law in certain parts of his writings.
But in the first place, we must remember what I have shown you at the commencement, that David does not speak simply of the precepts of the Moral Law, but comprehends the whole covenant by which God had adopted the descendants of Abraham to be his peculiar people; and therefore to the Moral Law-the rule of living well- he joins the free promises of salvation, or rather Christ himself, in whom and upon whom this adoption is founded. But Paul who had to deal with persons who perverted and abused the law, and separated it from the grace and Spirit of Christ, refers to the ministry of Moses viewed merely by itself, and according to the letter.
It is  certain, that if the Spirit of Christ does not quicken the law, the law is not only unprofitable, but also deadly to its disciples. Without Christ there is in the law nothing but inexorable rigor, which adjudges all mankind to the wrath and curse of God. And farther, without Christ, there remains within us a rebelliousness of the flesh, which kindles in our hearts a hatred of God and his law, and from this proceed the distressing bondage and awful terror of which the Apostle speaks. 
These different ways in which the law may be viewed, easily show us the manner of reconciling these passages of Paul and David, which seem at  first view to be at variance. The design of Paul it so to show what the law can do for us, taken by itself; that is to say, what it can do for us when, without the promise of grace, it strictly and rigorously exacts from us the duty which we owe to God; but David, in praising it, as he here does, speaks of the whole doctrine of the law, which includes the gospel, and, therefore under the law he comprehends Christ. 

True Joy: John Calvin on Psalm 19

The Word has become for me a joy over the years. There are times where it is dry. But the more I read the more delight I take in it. I used to think I took delight in the Word. And I did. But it was an immature delight, a true delight, but not a deep delight. Deep delight takes time coupled with effort. To love the Book in a moment is possible. To love the Book deeply takes a lifetime of hours sitting beneath it. I am starting to get there.  So I enjoyed reading Calvin's various comments on God's Word from his commentary on this Psalm 19:7-14. Here are some of my favorite quotes from this section:
If a man is duly instructed in the law of God, he wants nothing which is requisite to perfect wisdom. (Psalm 19:7)
When we give ourselves up to be guided and governed by the word of God, we are in no danger of going astray, since this is the path by which he securely guides his own people to salvation.(Psalm 19:7)
None are endued with right understanding until they have made progress in the study of the law. (Psalm 19:7)
We know how much every man is wedded to himself, and difficult it is to eradicate from our minds the vain confidence of our own wisdom.(Psalm 19:8)
Those who take delight in committing sin procure for themselves abundant matter of sorrow; but the observance of the law of God, on the contrary, brings to man true joy. (Psalm 19:8)
David shows that whatever men undertake to do at the mere suggestion of their own minds, without having a regard to the law of God as a rule, is error and falsehood. (Psalm 19:9)
By this commendation he distinguishes the law of God from all the doctrines of men, for no blemish or fault can found in it, but it is in all points absolutely perfect. (Psalm 19:9)
We do not esteem the law as it deserves, if we do not prefer it to all the riches of the world. (Psalm 19:10)
If we separate the law from the hope of pardon, and from the Spirit of Christ, so far from tasting it to be sweet as honey, we will rather find in it a bitterness which kills our wretched souls. (Psalm 19:10)
We should remember that we are not guilty of one offense only, but are overwhelmed with an immense mass of impurities. The more diligently any one examines himself, the more readily will he acknowledge with David that if God should discover our secret faults there would be found in us an abyss of sins so great as to have neither bottom nor shore...for no man can comprehend in how many ways he is guilty before God. (Psalm 19:12) 
There is also another useful lesson which we have here to attend to, namely,  that we ought never to pray for pardon, without, at the same time, asking to be strengthened and fortified by the power of God for the time to come, that temptations, in future may not gain advantage over us. And although we may feel in our hearts the incitements to concupiscence [Lust-Here used in the broadest terms to refer to all evil leanings, not just sexual.] goading and distressing us, we ought not, on that account, to become discouraged. The remedy to which we should have recourse is to pray to God to restrain us. (Psalm 19:13)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The God Who Gives

Belgic Confession: Article 1
We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a single and simple spiritual being, whom we call God -- eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, infinite, almighty; completely wise, just, and good, and the overflowing fountain of all good

How you approach Christmas and Thanksgiving says a lot about your view of God the Father. The kind of God you believe in will show up in what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. We see the world around us abuse these two holidays and we wonder how to react. Unfortunately, for many Christians they believe the proper way to put Christ back into Christmas is to become Scrooge. But when they do this they are lying about God. God gives. He has always given.

He gave us a garden where everything was a "yes" except one tree.
He gave Noah a new world.
He gave Abraham a promise of sons, families, and nations.
He gave Israel a land flowing with milk and honey.
He gave Israel a king in glory.
He gave the Word which brings life and rejoicing.
He gave us snow, rain, thunder, lightening, the sun, the stars, spiders, whales, llamas, toads, coal, trees as tall as skyscrapers, canyons as deep as skyscrapers, oceans miles deep, and hearts that beat.
He gave men who made cars, planes, movies, smartphones, computers, houses, guns, toys, books, pens, coffee, pancakes, and underwear.
He gave delight and pleasure and joy.
He gave so we might work again.
He gave so we might rejoice in our labor and the fruits of our labor.
He gave his only Begotten Son to deliver us from the wrath to come.
He gave his only Begotten Son to those who hate Him.
He gave his only Begotten Son so we might have abundant life. If you think this is about your heart only you missed the point.
He gave us his Spirit, poured out on us so we might be new creatures
He gave so we could be naked and not ashamed.
He gave so we could drink beer with a smile and with deep joy.
He gave so we could eat a second piece of pie without worry.
He gave so we could be free.
He gave so we might stop working.
He gave so our bodies might rise from the ground with tongues that taste, ears that hear, noses that smell, hands that touch, and feet that dance.
He gave so we might be glorified.
He gave so we might give.

He did not give with a pursed lip.
He did not give reminding us to not enjoy it too much. "Make sure you don't get too excited."
He did not just give to our spirits.
He did not give just enough. He gave abundantly. Imagine if He gave one star? One snowflake?
He did not give to make us feel guilty.
He did not give to get.

How then shall we live? In light of God's open hand how can we reflect his character?

Give thanks. This means prayers of thanks. It means giving thanks for all who came before us. But it means a lot more than that. Eat your turkey with glad hearts. Laugh. Tell jokes. Take a sip of beer and smile. Rest in the work of Christ by sleeping soundly in your recliner filled to the brim with turkey. Then get up and have some more. Delight in the world God has made by watching football or better yet playing football. If there is snow, sled, come in drink hot chocolate, and then sled again. What about Jesus you say? But when you ask that question that way you miss the point that for the Christian Jesus is in these things. Christ came to save us. But a saved man enjoys what he is given by Jesus. Yes, he gives thanks for Christ, the cross, His Word, worship, and all those good things. Because he gives thanks for Christ and the Cross he also enjoys his daily bread. All things can be received with thanksgiving (I Timothy 4:4-5) because God was manifested in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). The man who frowns over the good gifts of God is no better than the man who abuses those gifts. You don't honor Jesus by pretending the gifts weren't given or by refusing to enjoy them.

Give stuff. Some can give more. Some can give less. But give. Give presents and stockings. Give candy, turkeys, hams, pies, toys, Legos, wine, and cigars. Oh and books, give lots of books. Give memories your children will look back on with joy. Give traditions your children with take with them. Give the gift of delight and pleasure. Give Christ, in word yes, but also in action. Give your children your time. Give your wife an evening in bed...with you having just showered. Sing and make merry.  Put on music and not just Handel's Messiah, though of course you should do that. Give lights strung up in your children's bedrooms and leave them on all night. Stay up late and watch Elf or Its a Wonderful Life or A Charlie Brown Christmas or whatever your family enjoys. Give a feast or go to a feast.  If you are not married, go to your family's Christmas party bearing gifts for parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. Hold one of the little ones on Thanksgiving. Play in the yard with the young boys in your family. Give gifts to your friends and folks at church. Give of your time, your money, your energy and yourself. Give and then give some more.

Christ came so a people could be formed into his image, a people filled with joy, and overflowing with gifts. As good children let us imitate our Father this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Porn is Barren

One of the things that should be most obvious to a man about the women involved in pornography is that such images, however appealing a man may find them, are images that can present him with no children. They are barren. They flaunt their breasts, but they will never nurse the children of those who gawk with them. The men who pursue such women are men who want such barrenness; they find it a selling point. Another way of saying this is that they don't want to be fathers. They want the privileges of sexual release (after a fashion) but without the responsibilities that God's wisdom necessarily attached to these pleasures.  Douglas Wilson in Father Hunger.  
Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8