Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Mighty Army of Deeply Spiritual Men

“Where are the men with a moral vision for their families, a zeal for the house of the Lord, a magnificent commitment to the advancement of the kingdom, an articulate dream for the mission of the church and a tenderhearted tenacity to make it real?

“When the Lord visits us from on high and creates a mighty army of deeply spiritual men committed to the Word of God and global mission, the vast majority of women will rejoice over the leadership of these men and enter into a joyful partnership that upholds and honors the beautiful Biblical pattern of mature manhood and mature womanhood.”

– John Piper, “A Vision of Biblical Complementarity: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 1991), 44.

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The Shape of Complementarian Husbanding

Complementarianism is not generally about authority/submission, as if they exist in a moral vacuum. It is about what biblical authority/submission look like. The passages where complementarians find reference to the authority/submission dynamic in marriage do not neglect to show us the nature of the authority.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church . . . (Ephesians 5:25-29)

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:4)

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:19)

This is what …

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The Fourfold Curse and The Tide’s Turning on Two Words

Ever felt Ephesians 2:1-10? You’ve probably read it, maybe multiple times. But ever felt it? Ever drunk it? Steeped in it? Had it knock you over?

Ephesians 2:1-3 is just brutal. Paul pulls no punches. How bad are we? Really, really, really, ridiculously bad. According to those three short verses we are, apart from Christ, dead. Dead, Paul says. Like, you know, dead-dead.

“But wait,” we think, “I sure didn’t feel dead. I could do stuff.” Oh, you mean like obeying your appetites (v.3), following the way of the world (v.2), and worshiping Satan (v.2)? Good job there.

It doesn’t get worse than this. We are dead, belly-ruled, world-following, devil worshipers. The curse we both suffer and embrace has us hemmed in on all sides. There is no escaping. We are much, much worse than we think we are.

Oh! But verse 4! Two sweet words start the reversal of our will and fate. Two words. Not “be still” but with the same effect — the ten-hutting of a storm. Two words that part the sea, roll back the darkness with violent force, like the jolting, snapping up of window shades. Two little words like wings of a seraph, breaking through our tomb with a bright ray of light and lifting us up and through the spiritual aether, seating us in the heavenlies (v.6).

“But God.”

Two words: the crash cart, the smelling salts, the sweet manna, the dagger in the devil’s neckbone.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love …

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J.I. Packer on Union with Christ

“The key category in terms of which every aspect of salvation is to be understood.”

HT: Tony Reinke

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It is because of Jesus and his cross that Paul writes in Colossians 3:8, “But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.”

Wrath belongs to God, not to us. For this reason, we must keep a close eye on our anger and dwell in the truth of God’s Word daily to provide fertile ground in our hearts for the Spirit to produce the fruit of gentleness, peace, and self-control in us.

When we become eager to enact God’s wrath through personal vengeance, it’s often because we distrust God’s ability to deal with injustice Himself. Or we distrust Him to do it in a way that satisfies us. When we lash out, fight back, take up zealous causes, angrily pontificate, feud on Facebook, tsk-tsk on Twitter, and berate on blogs, aren’t we, in essence, saying God needs us to set people straight? All too often what we’re really protecting isn’t God’s honor, but our reputation or influence.

Jesus’ approach to personal wrongs would have us conquer the injustice by embracing its satisfaction at the cross. So instead of attacking the guy who takes our shirt, we offer him our coat, too. I’ll admit that Paul’s questions in 1 Corinthians 6:7 sting a bit: “Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather be cheated?”

If the cross is true, if God is sovereign—why not?

Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; …

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Of Universal Significance: Men Have Forgotten God

“More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

“Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

“What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.”

– Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “Men Have Forgotten God,” The Templeton Address (1983)

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Being the Best is No Cure for Eternity

“Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.” When Kroft asked him, “What’s the answer?” Brady responded, “I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find.” (– Tom Brady interview with Steve Kroft, 60 Minutes, 12.23.07.)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
— Ecclesiastes 3:11

(NFL kicks off Sep. 6 with the Cowboys visiting the Giants.)

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Called into the All-Surpasssing Awesomeness of Jesus

John 1:35-51 is John’s account of Jesus’ calling some of his first disciples. The thing that strikes me as I look at this passage is the array of titles ascribed to Jesus. There are at least 7 titles/descriptors given to Jesus here:

1. The Lamb of God, ultimately referring to his atoning sacrifice2. Rabbi, ascribing to him the place of teaching and wisdom3. Messiah (the Christ), acknowledging him as the answer to Israel’s expectation4. Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph, which reminds us of his incarnate humanity5. Son of God, referring not just to Jesus positional relationship with the Father but his unique nature in connection with the Father6. King, which is pretty self-explanatory7. Son of Man, an earthy title which actually belies its prophetic and apocalyptic meaning, in v.51 connected to his exaltation

Seven titles, seven facets of Jesus’ identity. Seven angles at his all-surpassing awesomeness.In just 17 short verses, in just one short narrative recounting Jesus calling men into the radical life of following him, we see a big picture of all that Jesus is.

And it occurs to me that this is not just a great picture of this call to discipleship, but that it’s a wonderful picture of our call to discipleship. We tag along and Jesus asks, “What do you want?” and so many of us answer with a piddlin’ amount of expectation compared to the all-satisfying goodness he is actually drawing us into.

Think about the mentors you’ve had throughout your life. What would you say if …

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The Beauty of Conversion

I had a piece on the beauty of conversion in the March/April edition of the 9 Marks e-Journal. Here is an excerpt:

The myriad ways God brings dead people to life are beautiful, some instantaneously recognizing stark new realities, others realizing of their need over time. Some hear the message for the first time and respond in faith. Others hear the message all their lives but do not have the spiritual “ears to hear” until some day far down the road. This is artful. There is God, in the vast array of human experience and daily life, in the mundane and the spectacular, rehearsing resurrection over and over again. And even the most ordinary of conversions is extraordinary. The angels celebrated no less for my daughter’s first expression of saving faith in her room at bedtime a few years ago than they did Paul’s 2,000 years ago. Every conversion is a miracle. And the great beatific vision of Christ makes beatific visions of us (2 Cor. 3:18) . . .

Conversion is beautiful because God is beautiful. He is beautiful in the greatness and majesty of his glory, the weighty sum of all his attributes and qualities. The way the Bible talks about God’s beauty is, well, beautiful. From the holiness brought to bear in the Pentateuch narratives to the gushing of the psalmists to God’s epic reply to Job to the wonderment of the prophets to the witness of the Gospels to the epistles’ ecstatic exultations and divine doxologies to …

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A Parable of Sorts

“True masculinity accepts responsibility, period . . .”
— Douglas Wilson, Future Men

At the end of the school year I played with other adults against my daughter’s elementary school team in the annual student vs. teachers/parents basketball game. During the course of the game, the ball changed possessions quickly while we adults were on defense. I was mid-sprint at about the half court line but instantly put on the brakes and reversed direction to run into offensive position. Unbeknownst to me, there was a boy trailing very close behind me. When I spun around, I absolutely clobbered him. We fell into a heap on the floor.

Now, I don’t hate children. And I certainly had nothing against this boy in particular. Also, at no point in the game did I decide it would be good to play roughly with these kids. I didn’t have it out for anybody. I didn’t know he was there, and I didn’t mean to knock him down. And yet the very first thing I said to him was, “I’m sorry.”

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
— Hebrews 12:14

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