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The Importance of Worship

From John Frame's Worship in Spirit and Truth:

Redemption is the means; worship is the goal.  In one sense, worship is the whole point of everything.  It is the purpose of history, the goal of the whole Christian story.  Worship is not one segment of the Christian life among others.  Worship is the entire Christian life, seen as a priestly offering to God.  And when we meet together as a church, our time of worship is not merely a preliminary to something else; rather, it is the whole point of our existence as the body of Christ.

I must say, I really like the way Dr. Frame puts things.  This is the second book of his I have read, and I enjoy so much how clear and concise he is.


Soundtrack for a Saturday

If I was going to be home today -- I will be gone most of the day -- this is what I would listen to.   And she's Canadian, too!

I've seen her live a couple of times, and she's pretty amazing.



Warfield Wednesday

From "The Inspiration of the Bible," in The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume I.

Warfield discusses two "lowering" conceptions of the inspiration of Scripture, the rationalistic approach and the mysitcal approach.  With regard to the mystical approach he says this:

Its characteristic conception is that the Christian man has something within himself, -- call it enlightened reasons, spiritual insight, the Chistian consciousness, the witness of the Spirit, or call it what you will, -- to the test of which every "external revelation" is to be subjected, and according to the decision of which are the contents of the Bible to be valued... As a consequence, we find men everywhere who desire to acknowledge as from God only such Scripture as "finds them," - who cast the clear objective enunciation of God's will to the mercy of the currents of thought and feeling which sweep up and down in their own souls, - who "persist" sometimes, to use a sharp but sadly true phrase of Robert Alfred Vaughan's "in their conceited rejection of the light without until they have turned into darkness their light within."  We grieve over the inroads which the essentially naturalistic mode of thought has made in the Christian thinking of the day.  But great and deplorable as they have been, they have not been so extensive as to supplant the church-doctrine of the absolute authority of the objective revelation of God in his Word, in either the creds of the church or the hearts of the people.

Warfield's description of the attitude of men toward Scripture according to this view sounds quite similar to what we may find today.  He does end on a positive note, but my cynical side wonders if this is true any longer.  It seems that the assault on Scripture worsens, even in what is considered orthodox circles.


The Christian and Taking Oaths

In his Studies on the Sermon on the Mount, Lloyd-Jones discusses Matthew 5:33-37:

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

He continues to emphasize that what Jesus was doing was not changing the Law, but was rather correcting the Pharisees' abuse of the Law.

With regard to the use and abuse of speech, Lloyd-Jones says this:

One of the great scandals of life today is the apalling increase in divorce and infidelity.  To what is it due?  It is that men have forgotten the teaching of Christ with regard to vows and oaths, and common veracity and truth and honesty in speech.  How like these Pharisees and scribes we are.  Men on political platfoms have waxed eloquent on the sanctity of international contracts.  But, at the very time they were speaking, they were not loyal and true to their own marriage vows.  When Hitler lied, we all held up our hands aghast; but we seem to think it is somehow different when we tell what we call a 'white lie' in order to get out of a difficulty.  It is terrible, we think, to lit on the international level, but not, apparently, when it comes to a matter between husband and wife, or parents and children.  Is that not the position?

I wonder what Lloyd-Jones would have thought about Bill Clinton.


Heart Aflame - April 11, 2010

Psalm 30:7-12

To you, O LORD, I called; to the LORD I cried for mercy.  Now follows the fruit of David's chastisement.  He had been previously sleeping profoundly, and fostering his indolence by forgetfulness; but being now awakened all of a sudden with fear and terror, he begins to cry out to God.  And this is the chief advanage of afflictions, that while they make us sensible of our wretchedness, they stimulate us again to supplicate the favour of God.

You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have been off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.  David affirms that it was by the help and blessing of God that he had escaped safe, and then adds, that the final object of his escape was, that he might employ the rest of his life in celebrating the praises of God.  Moreover, he shows us that he was not insensible or obdurate under his afflictions, but mourned in heaviness and sorrow, and he also shows us that his very mourning had been the means of leading him to pray to God to deprecate his wrath.  Both these points are most worthy of our observation, in order, first, that we may not suppose that the saints are guilty of stoical insensibility,  depriving them of all feeling of grief; and secondly, that we may perceive that in their mourning they were exercised to repentance.  This latter he denotes by the term sackcloth.  It was a common practice among the ancients to clothe themselves with sackcloth when mourning, for no other reason, indeed, than that like guilty criminals, they might approach their heavenly Judge, imploring his forgiveness with all humility, and testifyig by this clothing their humiliation and dissatisfaction with themselves.  We know also that the orientals were addicted beyond all others to ceremonies.  We perceive, therefore, that David, although he patiently submitted himself to God, was not free from grief.   We also see that his sorrow was "after a godly sort," as Paul speaks (2 Cor. 7:10); for to testify his penitence he clothed himself with sackcloth.  By the term dancing, he does not mean any wanton or profane leaping, but a sober and holy exhibition of joy like that which sacred Scripture mentions when David conveyed the ark of the coenant to its place (2 Sam. 6:15).