Friday, October 29, 2010

AKA Halloween

As October 31 approaches, here is an interesting interview with Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History, and Academic Dean, at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, about Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. He knows his facts about Luther having written his dissertation on Luther's Legacy. Check it out.

I found this Q&A very interesting.
Was Luther a “Protestant” at this point (when he nailed the 95 Theses to the door)? Was he a “Lutheran”?

No, on both counts. He himself tells us in 1545 that, in 1517, he was a committed Catholic who would have murdered—or at least been willing to see murder committed—in the name of the Pope. There is some typical Luther hyperbole there, but the theology of the Ninety-Five Theses is not particularly radical, and key Lutheran doctrines, such as justification by grace through faith alone, are not yet present. He was an angry Catholic, hoping that, when the Pope heard about Teztel, he would intervene to stop the abuse.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Reading

I've greatly enjoyed reading books to my children. We've gone through several books and checked out fun, smaller books from the library. On our family blog I've written about Chuck Black's, Kingdom Series. I definitely recommend families to read through them together. They are great allegories of Scripture that provide many opportunities for conversation about the Bible and the Gospel. We're reading through The Chronicles of Narnia now which they absolutely love. It helps that after we read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe that we watched the movie together. We'll read The Dawn Treader well before it's out this December. I can't wait to take them out to the movies.
For our nightly devotions we have read The Big Picture Story Bible several times and finished the Jesus Storybook once. There's no doubt for older children that the Jesus Storybook is amazing. It's presentation of the Gospel and constant emphasis on Jesus as the center of the whole Bible directs us to worship together. During our morning routine we are reading through Mighty Acts of God. It is a good book, and it will be a book we use for a long time. It has many great discussion helps at the end of each section. Once again it is a great help to always point us to Jesus Christ throughout every part of history in God's redemption plan.
I write this because I love being with my children. One of the ways we spend precious time together is playing games but also by reading together which creates conversation and teaching opportunities. I love my children, and I look for ways to cultivate our relationship to deepen it and strengthen it in the Gospel. Reading Truth to them is something I cherish and they enjoy as well. It's a special time when we read together. I pray that by God's grace one of the things that will anchor them to a love for God's Word and a thirst for knowledge is our reading together as a family.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Hiddenness of God

I wrote some time ago about the Hidden smile of God. Behind a frowning Providence, He hides a smiling face. We all wrestle with questions about suffering and death regardless of our belief in God or lack thereof. Below is one man's account of how death has impacted him and yet, his trust in God. Frank James's brother was killed on Mount Hood after being trapped in a cave during a horrendous blizzard. I posted the story in part here but you can read the entire article here which provides great counsel on grieving.

Midnight, it is said, is the portal between this world and the next and is somehow in league with chaos, death, and mystery. It is the moment of dark visitations. So it was for me in December 2006. My sleep was interrupted by a phone call, and I was instantly shocked into full consciousness: My younger brother was trapped in a snow cave on Mount Hood, and an unyielding blizzard prevented rescue.
The mountain proved to be Kelly's final adventure. Losing my brother on Mount Hood has been a painful reminder of my own spiritual fragility. None of us is immune to the heartaches and sorrows that inhabit this misbegotten world. Though I am a preacher, a professor of historical theology, and the provost of a theological seminary, I have found it agonizingly difficult to come to terms with my brother's death. It is one thing to talk about death in the abstract. It is entirely another to cope with the death of someone you love very, very much. The truth of the matter is that losing a loved one hurts down to the deepest parts of your soul.
I was the first to learn the news days later. Hearing those words announcing his death was like a blow to the solar plexus knocking the breath out of me, but telling the rest of my family was more dreadful. I had known heartache before, but this transcended every previous emotion I had ever experienced. My vision blurred. My feet were heavy and seemed to resist carrying me to the next room, where my family anxiously awaited the latest news of the rescue mission on Mount Hood. Kelly's wife, Karen, the children, our mother, three brothers and a sister—they took the news hard. I have never heard weeping like I heard that night in the village at the foot of the mountain. The Bible sometimes refers to "wailing" as an especially forlorn kind of weeping. That is what I heard that night—wailing. I hope I never hear that sound again.
Death is ugly, and we cannot—indeed, should not—try to make it palatable or explain it away with pious platitudes. Death is a cruel, brutal, and fearsome trespasser into this world. It is an intruder and a thief. It has severed an irreplaceable relationship with my brother. We shared the same story, and he knew me in a way no other person did. Kelly would no longer return my calls. Never again would I hear him cheerfully mock me as "Frankie Baby." Sometimes I see him in a dream, and I reach out to grasp him—but he is not there.
We are created for life, not death. Kelly had a shameless zest for living life to the fullest. When death strikes suddenly from the shadows or claws at us until the last breath, those left behind experience numbness and disorientation. Somehow we know in our hearts that it is not supposed to be this way.