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Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Interesting Article from Christianity Today

More than previous generations, 20- and 30- somethings are abandoning the faith. But why?

When I ask church people, I receive some variation of this answer: moral compromise. A teenage girl goes off to college and starts to party. A young man moves in with his girlfriend. Soon the conflict between belief and behavior becomes unbearable. Tired of dealing with a guilty conscience and unwilling to abandon their sinful lifestyles, they drop their Christian commitment. They may cite intellectual skepticism or disappointments with the church, but these are smokescreens designed to hide the reason. "They change their creed to match their deeds," as my parents would say.

I think there's some truth to this—more than most young leavers would care to admit. The Christian life is hard to sustain in the face of so many temptations. Over the past year, I've conducted in-depth interviews with scores of ex-Christians. Only two were honest enough to cite moral compromise as the primary reason for their departures. Many experienced intellectual crises that seemed to conveniently coincide with the adoption of a lifestyle that fell outside the bounds of Christian morality.
Excerpted from The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church, by Drew Dyck. The rest of the article is just as interesting.

Bottom line for the faithful: "He that thinks he standeth, take heed, lest he fall." Playing around with adultery may seem like the exercise of adulthood. Overindulgence of the new-found privileges of coming of age may feel heady and grown up and may not appear all that threatening. But beware. Intentional sin always greives the Holy Spirit and often leads to the very sin against the Holy Spirit which cannot be forgiven. Take care, indeed, lest you lose the gift of faith that you were given at your baptism.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Asia Bibi sentanced to hang for blasphemy

Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted for her faith in a country where Christians face routine harassment and discrimination.

Christian groups and human rights campaigners condemned the verdict and called for the blasphemy laws to be repealed.

Full Article

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Martin Luther, born: November 10, 1483

Today is the second of our trilogy commemorating Martins. Martin Luther never set about or intended to start a new church body -- much less to bestow his name upon any human organization!  Both of these things happened quite against his will.

But that is the way of the will of God. We are done to by One who is wiser, stronger and more merciful that we could ever possibly imagine. And in this "being done to" God re-recreates us after His own image. Reforms us into the form, image and likeness that we had been created to be.

From one point of view, Luther's enemies both excommunicated the reformer and tagged his followers with the mocking name "Lutherans." But from a divine point of view, Jesus Christ, the suffering One, was and is preaching His own eternal word in these humiliating events. And by that Word and suffering He is still bringing life to the world.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Martin Chemnitz, Teacher (1522-1586)

"In the Lord's Supper we do not receive ordinary flesh, not even that of a holy man, but the actual life-giving flesh of the Logos Himself. For sinse His life is in accord with His nature as God, and since He is one with his His flesh, He shows that His flesh is life-giving. Therefore, we do not regard this flesh as that of anyone among us. For how can the flesh of man according to its nature be life-giving? But it became the property of Him who for our sakes was made and called the Son of Man."
Martin Chemnitz, The Two Natures of Christ, CPH, p. 371

Here, Chemnitz is quoting St. Cyril of Alexandria's, Epistola Synodica ). His book "The Two Natures of Christ" has remained THE standard on the subject in all the world for four and a half centuries. Charles Porterfield Krauth describes Chemnitz thus:
The learning of Chemnitz was something colossal, but it had no tinge of pedantry. His judgment was of the highest order. His modesty and simplicity, his clearness of thought, and his luminous style, his firmness in principle, and his gentleness in tone, the richness of his learning and the vigor of his thinking, have revealed themselves in such measure in his Loci, his Books on the Two Natures of our Lord, and on the True Presence, in his Examen of the Council of Trent, his Defence of the Formula of Concord, and his Harmony of the Gospels, as to render each a classic in its kind, and to mark their author as the greatest theologian of his time – one of the greatest theologians of all time. (Charles Porterfield Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology [Philadelphia: General Council Publication Board, 1871], p. 310).

Today we mark his commemoration day of who it was said:

Si Martinus non fuisset, Martinus vix stetisset
"If Martin (Chemnitz) had not come along, Martin (Luther) would hardly have survived"