Monthly Archives: April 2012

  • Deaons

    There are at least two words used to refer to the office of elder: episkipos and presbuteros. They are usually translated overseer/bishop and elder respectively. It is easy enough to see where denominations such as Episcopal and Presbyterian got their names. There is only one word used for deacons: diakonia. Diakonia is a sobering title for this office because the word means “servant”. In the New Testament this word is used in a non-technical and technical way. Which is to say, sometimes this word is used to describe people in general—both males and females, incidentally—and sometimes it is used to describe an office. The first is non-technical and the latter is technical. So we had all the new members over recently for lunch and that same day my wife was forced out of town by the death of her grandmother. … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Knowing God

    We started out by saying that the knowledge of God is the goal of life—yes, even life itself (John 17:3). Then, last week, we noted that God is, in his essence, incomprehensible (cf. 1 Tim. 6:16; Rom. 11:33-36). How are these two seemingly antithetical propositions reconciled? For starters we remember that while it is impossible to comprehend God, it is not impossible to apprehend God. Even apprehension of God is a gift from God, which is to say, these two seemingly contradictory propositions are overcome by God himself by means of revelation. As Bavinck notes, “All knowledge of God rests on revelation. Though we can never know God in the full richness of his being, he is known to all people through his revelation in creation, the theater of his glory.” Revelation is the great foundation of Christianity. It is … Read More »

  • The Incomprehensibility of God

    At the heart of any theological enterprise is the knowledge of God.  To know God is “life itself” (Bavinck).  There is one small problem, though.  How can the creature know the Creator?  God’s ways are unfathomable and his judgments are unsearchable (Rom. 11:33).  No one has ever known his mind and he has never sought counsel from any of us (Rom. 11:34).  He is the Lord and his “greatness is unsearchable” (Ps. 145:3).   He is “invisible” (1 Tim. 1:17), “whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16) and who dwells in “unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16).  To describe God as unsearchable, unapproachable, and invisible is to speak more like a contemporary agnostic than a contemporary Christian.  Contemporary Christians have all but stopped emphasizing the incomprehensibility of God in exchange for the comprehensibility of God.  Bavinck’s comments about … Read More »

  • Easter Day

    Want to have some fun? Do the following Google search: <easter pagan?>. I dare you! You’ll find some weird stuff out there. I think the same guys writing about this also wrote the stuff about 9/11 being an inside job and that President Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney are not really citizens. When it comes to Easter, though, they are writing about you, about us, because we are pausing to remember in a very pointed way the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, a celebration that they regard as having pagan roots. But is that the case?

    Our word “Easter” is old English and may come to us from the Germans who named the month of April Eosturmonath. Obviously it is something that relates closely to the month of April. A lot depends upon what Eosturmonath actually means. The … Read More »

  • Good Friday

    The cross is the most pointed manifestation of the wrath of God in all the Bible.  Sometimes we don’t grapple with this as much as we should.  It is not uncommon to hear folks pitting the “God of the Old Testament” versus the “God of the New Testament.”  The God of the New Testament is a God of love, we are told, while the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath.  That false dichotomy crumbles, however, when we rightly gaze upon the cross.  The cross is also the most pointed manifestation of God’s love.  We tend to emphasize this more and, if we are not careful, can be guilty of subtly embracing the aforementioned dichotomy.  Of course this raises massive questions, questions like, “Are God’s love and wrath in conflict with one another?”  This has been answered … Read More »

  • Maundy Thursday

    Tonight we are here to walk with Jesus through one of the darkest nights of the church calendar.  This was Jesus’ last night, a night which was marked by betrayal—by Judas and Peter—, his passionate prayer in Gethsemane, his arrest and the charge by the high priest that he was guilty of blasphemy. 

    Thus, on Mandy Thursday we are reminded again of the imperative and the indicative.

    The title “Maundy Thursday” is derived from the Latin Mandatum Novum which means “a new commandment.”  Maundy Thursday was the day that Christ uttered those powerful words, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (Jn. 13:34).  He did not issue this commandment in word only, though.  Just prior to giving this commandment he demonstrated it in … Read More »

  • Passion Sunday

    The fifth Sunday in Lent is often referred to by many as “Palm Sunday.” More commonly, however it is referred to as “Passion Sunday.” This is interesting and we will come back to that in a moment. Palm Sunday begins the most holy week for Christians, the week that will culminate in the resurrection of Jesus which we will celebrate on Easter.  Passion Sunday recalls Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem. It is because of this that many churches will gather outside the church first and then enter together as a symbol of Christ with his people preparing for the holy week which is about to begin. In many churches, the worship on this Sunday also includes the use of palm branches which reminds us of Jesus’ “triumphal entry” on that Sunday before Easter. Hence the church prays:

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