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Machen: The Christian Reformed Church & Christian Education May 13, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Blog Spotting, Christian Education, Christian Parenting, J. Gresham Machen.
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Genva Redux posts some of Machen’s thoughts on the CRC from back in 1936. Unfortunately, much has changed in the denomination and its schools.  Yet there is much to consider from these characteristics. I was especially appreciative of the last section on Christian education:

They love God and love their children too much to allow Christian instruction to be tagged one day in seven as a kind of excrescence upon an education fundamentally non-Christian.  They have tried to make the education of their children Christian throughout.  God has wonderfully blessed them in that effort.

A good note of encouragement to a parent who has just decided to invest in Christian Education for his children.

Mohler: The Empty Promise of Meditation November 24, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Al Mohler, Blog Spotting.
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Al Mohler has posted some great thoughts on how meditation has been entering the church.

Some quotes from the article:

The Bible does speak positively about meditation.  In the Psalms, David sings of meditating on the Law of God day and night.  The biblical concept of meditation is not without reference to thought and content.  To the contrary, it is about thinking that is directed by the Word of God — scripturally saturated thought.

This is almost the exact opposite of Eastern meditation, which sets the emptying of the mind as its goal.  The Eastern concept of emptying the mind is just not anything close to the biblical vision of filling the mind with the Word of God.

We live in a world so shaped by therapeutic concerns that most people never stop to wonder if God is dealing with them in their stress, their distress, their haunting thoughts, their cluttered minds. An attempt to empty the mind might well be an effort to listen to the self when we should seek to hear from God.

For an example see the February 2008 edition of the ‘Today’ devotional published by the Christian Reformed Church. Ugh.

Church Growth Methods: Amish Style October 17, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting, Christian Parenting, Evangelism.
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Gene Veith points out some interesting facts on Amish church growth. I’ve always had an interest in the Amish. It’s hard not to be inspired by people who live such a radically different life due to their Christian faith. So in turn its also interesting to read about the growth of their church.

But God blesses the evangelism that takes place in vocation, and He is powerfully at work in the vocation of parents when they bring their children to Christ–via Baptism, going to church, the day to day teaching and example that goes on in ordinary families.

What a challenge for parents to evangelize their own children. Yet what a joy to know that God truly does bless such ventures.

Another point is the number of children that the Amish have. The notion of large families really is an antithesis to the prevailing notions of family in our society. I’m really begining to ask questions about how many children I should have.

Mohler: Spare the Rod? October 14, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Al Mohler, Blog Spotting, Christian Parenting.
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Al Mohler comments on an ‘interesting’ news article on spanking. I rarely spank my son, but I do on occasion since being convicted that it is a Biblical form of discipline. However, I do believe it has to be done in a certain manner to be effective and ‘Shepherding a Child’s Heart’ by Ted Tripp has good information on that as well as parenting in general.

This quote from the article gives a good taste of Mohler’s analysis:

Kazdin is simply infatuated with “the science.” What case can be made against spanking? “It can be argued from the science,” he assures. Research “consistently shows” that spanking does not work over time.

Kazdin wants spanking to be outlawed. He reports that 91 nations have banned spanking in the schools and 23 have banned corporal punishment even in the home — generally by criminalizing parents who spank.

He also offers this news bulletin sure to attract the ire of America’s parents:

Practically nobody in America knows or cares that the United Nations has set a target date of 2009 for a universal prohibition of violence against children that would include a ban on corporal punishment in the home.

Ah, so now parents are up against, not only “the science,” but the United Nations as well. Kazdin does not call for any specific legislative provision that would ban spanking, but “we ought to be able to at least discuss it with each other like grownups.” It is time to question “the primacy of rights that parents exercise in the home.” Thanks for the warning.

Thank you science and the UN but I think I’ll stick with the Bible as my guide.

I versus God September 16, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting.
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Tim Challies uses the recent news regarding Christian singer Ray Boltz (I’ve never heard of him) to examine of the antithesis between the believer’s and non-believer’s world views. He lays out his main point in these two paragraphs:

There are essentially two ways that humans can understand the world. The first way is the way we all understand the world until the Holy Spirit intervenes in our lives and gives us new eyes to see. This worldview is I-centered. I am the center of my own universe and the arbiter of all truth. I may not vocalize things in just this way and may not even think them quite like this, but it is ultimately what I believe. I believe that I am capable of looking at the world and understanding the way it works—who God is, who I am, the relationship between us, and so on.

The other way of seeing the world is God-centered. Here I acknowledge God as the center of all that exists and the arbiter of all truth. Everything that is true and everything that is knowable has its source in Him. Thus I can only interpret the world properly by rightly acknowledging God. This is, obviously, the biblical worldview. It is God who tells me who He is, God who tells me who I am and God who declares the terms of the relationship between us.

Here is the central antithesis, the point from which all other departures in world view originate, it is either God or myself who is the center.

Morality is Personal Again September 12, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting.
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HP used to use the slogan ‘The Computer is Personal Again’ touting the many customizations and configurations available on their PC’s.  Anyone could purchase a PC that was exactly what they wanted or needed.  It seems that some people have the same idea about morality.

Dan Phillips from the Pyromaniacs blog posts an article on Down’s syndrome and abortion. In it he links to an article in which Canadian Doctors worry that Sarah Palin’s example of having a child with Down’s syndrome could lead to more children with the disease not being aborted.  In a line from the article a Doctor says:

“We’re coming down to a moral decision and we all know moral decisions are personal decisions.”

At that point hasn’t objective morality just left the building? Can said Dr. even believe that morality exists, hasn’t the whole concept just been reduced to personal opinion? The sad thing though is that the non-believer has nothing on which to base an objective moral standard. So from that world view it is accurate.

9 The wise men shall be put to shame;
they shall be dismayed and taken;
behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD,
so what wisdom is in them? (Jeremiah 8:9 ESV)

The antithesis then is that the Christian has God’s word as his standard, not personal opinion.

Iron Ink: Priest and King August 29, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting, Theology, Two Kingdoms.
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Here’s a link to a great post by Pastor Bret McAtee titled ‘Priest & King, Great Commission & Cultural Mandate.’ In it he examines the relationship of the cultural mandate with Christ’s office of king and the great commission with Christ’s office of priest.

Rick Phillips on Discipling Christian Children August 14, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting, Christian Parenting, Richard Phillips.
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It seems like I’m doing an awful lot of ‘blog spotting’ but then again I openly admit that I’m still learning and there’s so much good stuff being written by others.

Rick Phillips posts an article at the Reformation 21 blog on ‘Discipling Christian Children’. He starts with an excellent quote show casing how the Biblical world view is antithetical to the secular (this blog is titled Reformed Antithesis after all)

We live in a society that assumes that when children grow up they will jettison the family’s beliefs and values. But the Bible sees things differently. The book of Proverbs says that the childhood years have a formative influence that lasts throughout life: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

As a parent of two young children I appreciate any help I can get from a Biblical perspective. He lays out four actions for parents.

  1. Read God’s Word with your children
  2. Pray for and with your children
  3. Work with your children
  4. Play with your children