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Nothing To Be Proud Of

Defying your creator is nothing to be proud of.

So I’ll have to sit out this June celebration of defiance against what God says. I know that’s not allowed. I know we’ve moved past required acceptance to an absolute demand for celebration, no exceptions. But I can’t.

It is no service to the LGBT community to board the June Pride train. It is impossible to defy the one true God (of Scripture) and not reap devastation and destruction, sooner and later. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. To cheer that on is to speed along destruction among your fellow man. Cruel.

Here is something Paul said: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15). Ironically, this is an author who wrote some of the most devastating statements against sexual deviance in the entire Bible. He knew that Jesus came to save people from the penalty and power of sin, not to minimize it, and certainly not to celebrate it.

And he had seen people be set free. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

So that’s how I’m spending some of my June, praying that Jesus would continue to do what Jesus does, save us from the penalty and power of sin, and rescue many, many, many out of their defiance.

Now that’s something I can celebrate.

The “Knowing God” Conference

Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,

Below is some information about the upcoming Church & Family Life conference in Asheville: “Knowing God” 

Here is the link to the information page for the conference.

Also, there is a singles conference, “Holiness to the Lord,”which starts the day before in the same location. Information for that conference is here.

Hope to see you there!

Fathers and the Lord’s Supper

Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,

At least in our immediate circles it is agreed that family ties don’t dissolve when passing through the doors of the church. That doesn’t diminish the authority or devalue the role of the church, but it does leave family authority and roles in tact, which leaves us carefully navigating how to rightly interact in circumstances where there seems to be overlap. One such place is in the observance of the Lord’s Supper, specifically, what role a father, as an authority in the family, plays in regulating this ordinance of the church, if any.

I would like to explore this subject and provide a few thoughts which I believe are relevant and important.

When comparing the Mosaic covenant to the new covenant, one thing which is immediately apparent is the dramatic difference in the number of ordinances. Ordinances under the Mosaic covenant seem almost innumerable, while under the new covenant, there are only two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. With the coming of Jesus Christ, all of the shadows that prefigured His coming become unnecessary, and so He has left us with only these two great pictorials – baptism, picturing spiritual resurrection, and the Lord’s Supper, picturing the enlivening and sustaining power of Jesus’ self-sacrifice. In light of this, how important it is that we observe these two ordinances with care and precision! Their close association with the gospel message – a preaching in picture, so to speak – makes it absolutely essential that our observances communicate exactly what was intended. No more, no less.

This brings us to the topic of this post, which is to explore a father’s role in the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Consider these two central points:

1. The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the church.

Regarding the Lord’s Supper, the Apostle Paul said, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you…” (1 Corinthians 11:23a). That is what we should be striving for: an observance that represents just what Paul received from the Lord and delivered to the churches. And what is that? 1 Corinthians 11 makes it clear that this ordinance is to be observed according to the repeated phrase, “come together” (verses 17, 18, 20, 33, 34). It is an ordinance for a gathered local church, not an ordinance of the family. 

This accords perfectly with what Paul has already said in the previous chapter, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). One important aspect of the Lord’s Supper is our oneness, expressed through our communion with each other and with our great Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Which brings us to the second point. 

2. There is one Mediator between God and man. 

What the Apostle Paul says with such great clarity in 1 Timothy 2:5 has a bearing on our observance of the Lord’s Supper: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”. The way in which we observe this ordinance cannot risk miscommunicating on this point. Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters of biological families have one relationship with regards to this great remembrance of the life-giving, sacrificial death of our Lord – that of spiritual brothers and sisters. To risk confusion on this point by encouraging or even allowing a father to be the exclusive point of distribution of the bread and the cup to the members of his family is to incur a great risk without a hint of warrant from Scripture.

That does not mean, however, that a father does not have an important role as a spiritual brother to his wife and children. Of course he does! To again quote the Apostle Paul, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any tespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1). This is an important role, it has clear implications for an observance of the Lord’s Supper which includes careful self-examination and repentance, and it is a role that a father may often be in the best position to play. But it is not an exclusive role, and it is not a mediatorial role.

For these two straightforward reasons, it is overwhelmingly the better part of wisdom to avoid having a father distribute the elements of the Lord’s Supper to his family. I would go so far as to say that distribution of the elements exclusively through fathers is a rejection, though likely unintended, of the Regulative Principle of Worship, which constrains its adherents to only do in corporate worship those things which have clear warrant in Scripture, either by command, pattern, or necessary inference.

The Lord’s people have a right – even a duty – to delight in God by delighting in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel, and a wonderful time of feeding on Christ by faith and acknowledging our oneness in Him. May our observance of it be what Paul received from the Lord and delivered to the churches.

Divorced from Worldliness, not from the World

Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,

I am greatly benefiting from reading “The Brokenhearted Evangelist“. It is written by Jeremy Walker, a young-ish pastor who serves alongside his father at a Reformed Baptist church outside of London.

Here is a great quote (page 74):

“Is your church a light to the world? Are you the salt of the earth? Is your light shining before men – all men – from the top to the bottom of society? This is not a picture of a church divorced from the world, but of a church divorced from worldliness and engaged with a fallen world for the glory of Christ.”

I know I must become more of that kind of man.

What about you? What about us?