manhatten declaration

An interesting controversy has cropped up in an unexpected place. The Manhatten Declaration is circulating for signatures.

Kevin DeYoung has a thorough and balanced explanation of the controversy, including why there is a controversy and the positions of both sides.

here is his position:

So where do I stand on The Manhattan Declaration? Well, I wish I would have listened to my initial hesitation about signing these sorts of documents. The Declaration does not need my signature to make it significant and I don’t need people to misunderstand what my support means. But having signed it (only as one of the crowd), I still agree with the Declaration and feel no pang of conscience for supporting it. If it comes out that the Declaration was meant to minimize the deepest divisions between Evangelicals and Catholics, then I will regret my support. But as it stands, I agree with Mohler’s reasons for signing the document and share his understanding of what signing does and does not mean

Go read the rest of Kevin’s thoughtful post.

Delight yourself in the Lord

Psalm 37:4 says that we should delight ourselves in the Lord and he will give us the desires of our heart. Verse 5 follows that up by telling us to commit our ways to him, trust in him and he will act.

Psalm 103 is a great one extolling the goodness of God to us.

1(A) Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2(B) Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and(C) forget not all his benefits,
3who(D) forgives all your iniquity,
who(E) heals all your diseases,
4who(F) redeems your life from the pit,
who(G) crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who(H) satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like(I) the eagle’s.

6The LORD works(J) righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.

….

10He does not deal with us(P) according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11For(Q) as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his(R) steadfast love toward(S) those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he(T) remove our transgressions from us.
13As(U) a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion(V) to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame;[a]
he(W) remembers that we are dust.

Matthew 7:7-11 says:

7(A) “Ask,(B) and it will be given to you;(C) seek, and you will find;(D) knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9Or which one of you, if his son asks him for(E) bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If you then,(F) who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will(G) your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Old and New Testament thus affirm that God loves us and gives us good gifts.

why do we think that C.S. Lewis is crazy for writing something like this:

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

and why do we think John Piper is crazy for agreeing with him?

Marriage is like Christ and the Church

this is the important responsibility that married people have. To demonstrate the relationship of Christ and the church.

Here is John Piper on why this reminder is important.

  1. It lifts marriage out of sordid sitcom images and gives it the magnificent meaning God meant it to have.
  2. It gives marriage a solid basis in grace, since Christ obtained and sustains his bride by grace alone.
  3. It shows that the husband’s headship and the wife’s submission are crucial andcrucified. That is, they are woven into the very meaning of marriage as a display of Christ and the church, but they are both defined by Christ’s self-denying work on the cross so that pride and slavishness are cancelled.

Adapted from the 2007 sermon “Marriage: God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace.”

Brain food

for the day after Thanksgiving here is some brain food from John Piper and G.K. Chesterton.

G. K. Chesterton helps explain why.

It’s not merely true that a creed unites men. Nay a difference of creed unites men—so long as it is a clear difference . . . So a Tory can walk up to the very edge of Socialism if he knows what Socialism is. But if he is told that Socialism is a spirit, a sublime atmosphere, a noble indefinable tendency, why then he keeps out its way; and quite right too. One can meet an assertion with an argument; but a healthy bigotry is the only way in which one can meet a tendency. (What’s Wrong with the World 22-23)

Go here to find out what Chesterton is explaining.

a great Thanksgiving story

here is a great story for Thanksgiving. Check it out.

Davis said he was sad to leave Yonan behind and worried about the interpreter’s safety.

“I told him, ‘If you come to the Austin-Round Rock area, I will do everything I can to help you live the American dream. … I will not let you fail,’ ” Davis said.

Today, Yonan and Davis and their families will celebrate Thanksgiving together — this time at Davis’ Round Rock home. Yonan just moved to Austin with his wife and baby daughter on a special immigration visa. Davis said he is determined to help him any way he can.

“He is a special person, and he and I have a bond,” Davis said.

That bond began developing when they met in Iraq, Yonan said this week.

Major Davis is a man who practices the instruction in Romans 12:13.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

D.A. Carson on God’s existence

How do I know God exists?

HT to Ramblin’ Pastor Man

Genesis

At our church, the Austin Stone Community Church, we are going through Genesis. So far the messages have been convicting and edifying.

Today Matt preached on the bigness of God and the closeness of God. God is both the sovereign almighty God who created the universe and everything in it and the friend that sticks closer than a brother. Whenever we emphasize one of the aspects at the expense of the other, we are not worshipping God, we are worshipping an idol we have created.

Matt expressed his belief that most of the modern American Church overemphasizes the relational aspect of God.

A test of where you are on the spectrum is how you feel about II Samuel 6:1-9. If it makes you angry at God that He struck down Uzzah, then you don’t give enough weight to the all powerful holy and righteous side of God. If you wonder why God doesn’t strike us all down this very minute, then you aren’t fully trusting in God as the lover of your soul.

Well, are you worshipping God as He is or are you worshipping an idol of your own making?