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By In Scribblings

Wolterstorff on Memorials

What does the term “memorial” mean in the Bible? In his book When Justice and Peace Embrace, Nicholas Wolterstorff provides some insightful guidance. He suggests that the Hebrew concept of memorial is a “public doing in remembrance,” and that “Israel understood and practiced virtually all aspects of its worship as doings-in-memorial.”

Wolterstorff explains:

“The heart of the Jewish concept of the memorial is that the people bring the object of the memorial to the attention of someone other. To eat the Passover supper as a memorial of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is for Israel to bring someone’s attention to that deliverance. So, too, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Jesus is for the church to bring its Lord to someone’s attention.”

Wolterstorff asks “to whose attention is something presented when some memorial action is performed?” and identifies three aspects of biblical memorials.

First, memorial is a covenantal appeal to God:

“On the one hand, God is the recipient. The context in which the people presents its memorial to God… is always that of thanking God for his covenant fidelity… and of interceding with God for his continued blessing in the future.”

Second, memorial involves corporate exhortation:

“On the other hand, by doing something in memorial, the people may also bring to its own attention the memorialized event or person. The context in which the people presents its memorial to itself is that of a renewed commitment to obedience.”

Finally, memorial is a ritual drama and entails

“the incorporation of a ritualized reenactment of the central event that is being memorialized. This feature is especially obvious in the Passover celebration, but it is also a significant aspect of the six-plus-one rhythm of work and rest… Israel understood the six-plus-one rhythm to be a life-long recapitulation, a life-long doing-in-remembrance, of God’s great acts of creation and delighting in creation, and of liberating his people…”

The pattern of Christian worship is similar:

“The church conducts its worship within the context of remembering and expecting as well, but the great event at the center of its expecting is now the full arrival of God’s Kingdom, that Kingdom whose content is shalom… and the pivotal center of its worship on [the Lord’s Day] is its celebration of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial.”

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By In Scribblings

Palin’s Pugnacity

In a recent speech before the NRA, Sarah Palin boasted that she would not “coddle” America’s adversaries if she were running the country. To resounding applause, Palin declared that under her administration, enemies would “know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

Joe Carter of the Gospel Coalition writes an excellent response to Palin’s foolish words, and concludes by saying that “our enemies need to accept Jesus and to be baptized by water and the Spirit. That is the Christian way, not as Palin would have it, to have our enemies fear a pagan god and have their spirit broken by water.”

Rod Dreher of The American Conservative also points out that Palin’s views more resemble the terrorist (!) Jacobins of the French Revolution than the traditional conservatism Palin ostensibly espouses.

Palin’s remarks should cause Christians—especially those in the military—to evaluate our own affiliations and allegiances. Are we willing to stand with the Prince of Peace, even if it means looking weak to the world? Or are we more comfortable among political ideologies that baptize violence?<>mega-vzlomстатистика ключевых запросов google

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By In Wisdom

Anatomy of Sin

In Prov. 6:16-19, Solomon presents us with an anatomy of sin. The entire body—eyes, tongue, hands, feet, all directed by the heart—is implicated in seven abominable postures:

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

Often this passage is read as a simple list of prohibited behaviors. But if we take a closer look at the structure of the text, we will discern that it reveals important truths about the source and scope of sin.

The litany of things God hates is structured as a chiasm:

A: haughty eyes

B: a lying tongue

C: hands that shed innocent blood

D: a heart that devises wicked plans

C’: feet that make haste to run to evil

B’: a false witness who breathes out lies

A’: one who sows discord among brothers

Note the connection between each pair (saving the outer pair for last): In the B pair, a lying tongue and lying witness correspond, and the latter is an intensification of the former. In the C pair, murderous hands complement feet running to evil—all limbs have become members of unrighteousness. At the center (D) is the heart, out of which are the springs of life (Prov. 4:23). Wicked plans take shape in the heart, which in turn directs all parts of the body in the service of sin. Evil doesn’t remain private—not only are these sins unconfined to the heart, they also necessarily involve other people as casualties.

Clear parallels can be observed here. We can see that sin issues from the heart, affects the whole body, and progresses in intensity. However, the link between the bookends of the passage is obscure. What is the relationship between haughty eyes (“a proud look”, in the KJV) and sowing discord among brothers?

A couple new testament passages illuminate the connection between these sins:

In Matt. 7:1-5, Jesus discusses eyes in the context of judgment among brothers. Eyes are the organ of judgment (Ps. 11:4). If they are clouded by pride, they will serve the cause of division, as opposed to fostering unity. We must be humble enough to acknowledge and remove the plank from our own eye before we point out the speck in our brother’s eye.

In Rom. 12:16, Paul connects humility with unity: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” By refusing to associate with the lowly, the haughty create division in the body. This mirrors Paul’s teaching on the church in 1 Cor. 12: no member of the body is to exalt itself above another. One member despising another rends the unity of the body.

Thus, by linking haughty eyes with sowing discord, Solomon is showing that pride is a divider and a destroyer.

The anatomy of sin sketched in Proverbs illustrates the pervasiveness of evil. But Proverbs also gives us an anatomy of holiness, echoing the path of wisdom God mapped for His people in the law:

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Prov. 4:23-27)

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 11:18-19)

A Christian’s eyes, mouths, hands, and feet are to be used in service of righteousness, with all things guided by a heart that meditates on God’s law. In doing this, God is glorified in our bodies.<>регистрация а на google

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By In Scribblings

The Royal Banners Forward Go

Rembrandt

The royal banners forward go;
The cross shines forth in mystic glow
Where He in flesh, our flesh who made,
our sentence bore, our ransom paid;

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side.
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled water flowed and blood.

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
Amidst the nations, God, saith he,
Hath reigned and triumphed from the tree.

O Tree of beauty, Tree of light,
O Tree with royal purple dight;
Elect, on whose triumphal breast
Those holy limbs should find their rest;

On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O Cross, our one reliance, hail!
So may thy power with us avail
To give new virtue to the saint
And pardon to the penitent.

To Thee, eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done
Whom by the cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve, and govern evermore.

Written by 6th century bishop Venantius Fortunatus, translated by John M. Neale.

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By In Scribblings

Abraham Kuyper: On Baptism

We are Christians. Thus what distinguishes us, is not that we believe in God, for Melchizedek too did this, but what marks us is our holy Baptism; and that Baptism is administered unto us in Christ’s name, that as His purchased ones we should confess the Triune God. Christ, and He alone, makes separation between us and those who are not Christians. And Christ makes division between them and us, but not as Mahomet distinguished between Mussulmen [Muslims] and those who are called “unbelievers.” Hence it is not because in Him we honor the founder of our religion, nor yet because we hold ourselves to His institutions and make His doctrine our own; but because a mystical, mysterious tie binds us to Christ and unites us with Him in one body.

—Abraham Kuyper, His Decease at Jerusalem<>продвижение ов ссылками

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By In Worship

Fellowship of Suffering

In a recent article on the Christian Post, Dr. Cornelius Plantinga of Calvin Institute of Christian Worship voices a sobering critique of contemporary evangelical and reformed worship, observing that discussion of sin is disturbingly rare. Plantinga says this is seen chiefly in the obsolescence of rites of confession, and in the songs of the churches, where the “biblical tradition of lament, which is all through the prophets and the Psalms is gone, just not there.”

Plantinga hits upon a crucial point: the psalms (whether spoken or sung) have been absent from church liturgies for decades. Therefore, it’s no surprise that weighty biblical issues like sin, judgment, confession, and lament have become passé. Abandonment of the psalter results in an impoverished liturgical vocabulary, invites trite sentimentalism, and substitutes stilted emotive ecstasy for the broad biblical palette of spiritual affections. Confession and lamentation become foreign once the psalms are lost.

However, the presence of confession and lamentation requires not only appropriate liturgical forms, but a people who are willing to acknowledge the realities of sin, suffering, and injustice in their lives and in society. Communities are shaped by liturgy, but liturgies also take shape according to a communal ethos.

Increasingly, churches are generationally, racially, and economically segregated. Whether by design or not, this has occurred in large part because churches have attempted to be relevant to a fault, deploying marketing campaigns to create an enticing “brand,” borrowing sales techniques to bolster growth, and eschewing tradition in favor of trends. Such a strategy leads to demographically-homogenous congregations. By courting the culturally savvy and elite, churches truncate the body of Christ and cut themselves off from those who have a historic memory and experience of oppression, struggle, and suffering (e.g., the elderly, poor, racial minorities, disabled)–people who would be much more familiar with the vocabulary of lamentation and confession (even imprecation) than the typical hipster evangelical.

To be sure, evangelical churches are populated with plenty of suffering people. And as Plantinga notes, “Ceasingly cheerful worship does not fit with the lives of people who come to worship.” Notwithstanding, the chirpy aura of many modern churches discourages corporate recognition of sin and voicing of lament. Would such a lopsidedly optimistic atmosphere be as plausible and as entrenched if the church better reflected her identity as the new humanity in Christ, and embraced all classes, colors, and ages in her worship and fellowship? Perhaps, then, the pathway to biblically faithful worship needs to include not only recovery of the psalms, but reconciliation of division within the church.<>online mobiреклама а в гугл

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