Quotes on Psalm-Singing: Part 1

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Here is a compilation of quotes I have collected. This will be the first of many. I hope you are encouraged, strengthened, and intellectually challenged for the glory of God and His worship.

 

“The first-century (apostolic) church used the LXX more than any other form (translation) of the Old Testament. .. At the top of the Psalms in the LXX were titles or superscriptions. Those superscriptions described each Psalm, they categorized the psalms in 4 classes or groups: ψαλμος [Psalms], συνεσις; [understanding], υμνος [Hymns], ωδη [Ode/Song]. .. Paul invokes them in Colossians 3:16. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom (σοφίᾳ), singing psalms (ψαλμοις) and hymns (υμνοις) and spiritual songs (ωδαις πνευματικαις), with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” .. If Paul was invoking familiar categories that pre-existed the NT church by 250-300 years then we must account for that in our interpretation and application of these two passages.” – Dr. Scott Clark

 

John Cotton (1584-1652), New England Congregationalist theologian: “In both which places (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16), as the apostle exhorteth us to singing, so he instructeth us what the matter of our song should be, to wit, Psalmes, hymnes, and spirituall Songs. Now these three be the very titles of the Songs of David, as they are delivered to us by the Holy Ghost himself: some of them are called Mizmorim, that is Psalmes; some Tehillim, that is Hymnes; some Shirim, that is Songs, spirituall Songs.  Now what reason can be given why the apostle should direct us in our singing to the very titles of David’s Psalms, if it were not his meaning that we should sing them? … The words of David and Asaph, as they were the words of Christ in the mouth of David and Asaph: so they were the words of Christ also in the mouths of the sonnes of Corah, or any other singers in the Temple.”

 

Henry Ainsworth (1571-1622), English Puritan, scholar in Hebrew and Rabbinics, commenting on Psalm 3: “There be three kinds of songs mentioned in this book: 1. Mizmor, in Greek psalmos, a psalm: 2. Tehillah, in Greek humnos, a hymn or praise: and 3. Shir, in Greek ode, a song or lay. All these three the apostle mentioneth together, where he willeth us to speak to ourselves with ‘psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs,’ Ephesians 5:19.”

 

The Preface to The Bay Psalm Book (1640), the first book to be printed in New England:  “… the whole Church is commanded to teach one another in all the several sorts of David’s psalms, some being called by himself Mizmorim: psalms, some Tehillim: hymns, some Shirim: spiritual songs. So that if the singing of David’s psalms be a moral duty and therefore perpetual; then we under the New Testament are bound to sing them as well as they under the Old: and if we are expressly commanded to sing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), then either we must sing David’s psalms, or else may affirm they are not spiritual songs: which being penned by an extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, for the sake especially of God’s spiritual Israel, not to be read and preached only (as other parts of holy writ) but to be sung also, they are therefore most spiritual, and still to be sung of all the Israel of God: and verily as their sin is exceeding great, who will allow David’s psalms (as other scriptures) to be read in churches (which is one end) but not to be preached also, which is another end so their sin is crying before God, who will allow them to be read and preached, but seek to deprive the Lord of the glory of the third end of them, which is to sing them in Christian churches.”

 

The twenty-six Puritan signatories of the Preface to the 1673 London edition of the Scottish Metrical Psalter: “… to us David’s Psalms seem plainly intended by those terms of ‘psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,’ which the apostle useth (Eph. 5.19; Col. 3.16)” (the signatories include John Owen, Thomas Manton, Matthew Poole, Thomas Watson, Thomas Vincent and William Jenkyn).

 

Thomas Manton (1620-1677), English Puritan, commenting on Ephesians 5:19: “The learned observe, these are the express titles of David’s Psalms, mizmorim, tehillim, and Shirim, which the Septuagint translate, psalmoi, humnoi, and odai, ‘psalms, hymns, and songs,’ [and] seem to recommend to us the book of David’s Psalms.”

 

“The sum of our finding thus far is, first, that there is a body of strong presumptive evidence for the inspiration of Paul’s “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” and, second, that the adjective pneumatikos lifts them to this high level beyond peradventure, stamping them as written by poetically gifted men under the extraordinary impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In keeping with such a conclusion is the following from an editorial in the North British Review, of Edinburgh: “It is probable that, while the miraculous influences of the Spirit continued upon earth, no uninspired songs were admitted into the public or private devotions of Christians” (vol. 27, p. 195). Even if we went no farther it would appear, and we so assert, that in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:15 there is not a scintilla of warrant for the use of humanly composed lyrics in worship. Though other inspired odes than those in the book of Psalms should be countenanced in these passages, it were a bewildering feat of inference that would legalize therefrom the multitudinous hymnology of today, for this has been wrought out at the discretion, and according to the wisdom, of fallible men. Authorization for such an uninspired hymnology is imperatively required, but they labour in vain who seek it here.” – Prof. John McNaugher, D. D., LL.D, “A Special Exegesis of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16”

 

“When Mr. Murray claims to know ‘no prominent orthodox commentator’ who takes the view that Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 refer solely to different sections of the Book of Psalms, he obviously discounts Manton, who wrote: ‘If the practice of the apostles may be interpreted by their instructions, the case will be clear. In Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19, Paul bideth us ‘speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs’. Now these words (which are the known division of David’s Psalms, and expressly answering to the Hebrew words Shurim, Tehillim, and Mizmorim, by which his Psalms are distinguished and entitled), being so precisely used by the Apostle in both places, do plainly point us to the Book of Psalms.’ When he names Eadie, Hodge, Lenski and Hendriksen as examples of the prominent orthodox commentators who take his view of these verses, he ignores not only Thomas Manton, but also John Owen, John Brown of Haddington, Hugh Martin and John Murray, to name only some of those promoted by the Banner of Truth Trust as orthodox commentators and who take the view that these verses restrict sung praise in public worship to inspired materials.” – Rev. H M Cartwright, “Psalms or Hymns in Public Worship”

 

“The Book of Psalms is the only scripturally authorized hymn book, as we see, for example, from 2 Chronicles 29:30 and from the use made of it by the Old Testament saints, by our Lord and by the Apostles. The oneness of the Church in Old and New Testament times, the completeness of the Psalms as regards doctrine and experience, and the divine provision of a book which adequately expresses the praises of God’s people in all ages, indicate its permanent place in the Church. It speaks the language of fulfillment as well as prediction, as Hugh Martin illustrated in 1872 by reference to Psalms 21:4; 40:6, 9; 68:18; 69:9, 20; 80:17; and 110:4. The divine provision of the Psalm Book secures the truthfulness of the praise and the liberty of the people from impositions by men. It expresses and promotes the unity of the Church. It also helps to form godly character and experience in those who enter into its doctrines and sentiments. God did not include all the inspired songs of Scripture in the Book He provided, and so we have no authority to add even other portions of Scripture to what God has given as a complete book of praises. It was not supplanted or supplemented in New Testament times by divine appointment or inspiration. It cannot be supplemented by human hymns without displacing the divine. God has given a book of praise, and the biblical exhortations with respect to the subject matter of praise refer to that book. In the New Testament we are exhorted to sing Psalms and we have the example of Christ and the Apostles (for example, Matt 26:30; 1 Cor 14:15, 26; Eph 5:18-20; Col 3:16; Jas 5:13). Uninspired hymns are unknown in the New Testament. It is not without significance that none were used in the Churches of the Calvinistic Reformation.”  – Rev. H M Cartwright, “Psalms or Hymns in Public Worship”

Federal Vision and Baptism

DOUG-WILSON

(These are my notes for my last Sunday School of the year)
Federal Vision – Sacraments and Baptism
Ch. 27 – Sacraments

I. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him: as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.

II. There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.

III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither does the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that does administer it: but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.

Here we see that a sacrament is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace. We are told that the sacrament in and of itself is not efficacious. In other words, the water applied to the child does not save in and of itself. Rather, the confession rightly states that the efficacy is based “upon the work of the Spirit”. Simply put, the Holy Spirit is the one who applies the benefits of Christ to the person, not the water.

The section on baptism continues this thought when it says the following:

VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.

The work of Christ is not applied to you at your baptism. Rather, it is applied to you by the Holy Spirit in “His appointed time”.

Also, we should consider the Larger Catechism on the idea of baptism.

Q. 165. What is baptism?

A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself, of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit; of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.

Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?

A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.

Last time we looked at 166, we noticed that there is a division between those who are within the covenant of grace externally and those who are in the covenant of grace internally. When it refers to strangers of the promise, we notice that there is a distinction between those who profess Christ and those who do not. “Till they profess their faith in Christ” they should not be baptized. However, it tells us that children of believing parents should be baptized.
The only way to reconcile this is to realize that scripture deals with the church in an invisible/visible distinction.

Wilson

In addressing some of the concerns that we should have for Federal Vision, we should note some of the leading advocates and see what they say. Douglas Wilson tries to use and deal with both B.B. Warfield and the Westminster Confession.

However, in regards to chapter 28 on baptism, Wilson “argues that ‘the Westminster confession assumes that grace and salvation are ordinarily annexed to water baptism,’ though not “inseparably annexed.’ While ‘baptism and salvation are not mechanically or magically linked,’ ‘in the ordinary course of life, they are linked, and we are to speak of them as though they are.’ In response, we may note that this conclusion is an unwarranted inference from WCG 28.5. The paragraph says nothing about who among the baptized will be saved. This concern is reserved for the discussion in 28.6, which explains that grace comes to ‘such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.’” (Guy Waters, Kindle Location 2499).

Simply put, the graces promised in baptism are “offered….really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost” (28.6).

Wilson tries to make the confession say that baptism really unites us to Christ and gives us all the promises, when the water is applied. Wilson is also noted by asking the following question: “Raise your right hand if you knew that the Westminster Confession teaches baptismal regeneration?”

Also, he says this: “The water cleanses us and washes our sins away. But only a doofus would think that water all by itself would wash away sins. Moderns who are stuck with the language of Westminster want to say that we actually have to understand this as a sacramental union, with the word sacramental being understood as some sort of diluting agent. But I want to say that it is a sacramental union, with union meaning union.” On one hand, he claims that only a “doofus” would say the water actually does anything. Yet, he says that the water unites people to Christ. This is a contradiction. This qualifies him as teaching baptismal regeneration.

Rich Lusk

In commenting on Acts 2, after Peter preaches his sermon, we see that the passage about the hearers asking “what we must do to be saved” struck him:

“At this point, the Word has done its work. The hearers have been aroused ad convicted. But apparently, they still aren’t saved. Preaching alone is insufficient to make them participants in Christ’s work of redemption. Thus Peter tells them what to do. They must respond to the preached word with repentance and be baptized to enter into the way of salvation. Baptism, not preaching per se, is linked with forgiveness and the reception of the Spirit. Clearly, Peter believes God will give them something in baptism that they have not received through preaching alone. Baptism will consummate the process of regeneration begun by the Word preached”.

In other words, Lusk believes that baptism is what makes Christ’s salvific work efficacious. Not only does he conclude that baptism saves, but he also states that the preaching of the Word is not the ordinary means of salvation. Rather, he concludes that Baptism is the ordinary means of salvation.

However, in our confession, we see that it rightly states, in Chapter 10 on effectual calling that “All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death”

Likewise, we see that the scriptures clearly teach the Word of God is the ordinary means of salvation.

“13 For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved.
14 But how shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them which bring glad tidings of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 8)
The conclusion to this passage is this: the one who is saved called upon the Lord because he heard the gospel preached from the Word of God. No mention of baptism. No mention of water. Nothing.

 

Reference:

Waters, Guy Prentiss. The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology: A Comparative Analysis. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing Company. 2006. Print.

Wrong Worship Is Idolatry

GoldCalf

“All worshiping, honoring, or service invented by the brain of man in the religion of God, without His own express commandment, is idolatry” (John Knox, Works, Vol. III, pg. 34).

“For inasmuch as it was easy for the people to lapse into the imitation of the Gentiles, and to worship their false gods, under whose protection the inhabitants boasted their land to be, all inquiry respecting them is also strictly forbidden. For this is the origin of idolatry, when the genuine simplicity of God’s worship is known, that people begin to be dissatisfied with it, and curiously to inquire whether there is anything worthy of belief in the figments of men; for men’s minds are soon attracted by the snares of novelty, so as to pollute, with various kinds of leaven, what has been delivered in God’s word.” (John Calvin, Harmony of The Law)

“The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever . . . corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever . . . all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.” (Westminster Larger Catechism, 109)

Recently I posted an article that had to deal with worship. I dealt (generally and briefly) with the concept of the Regulative Principle. God limits us in worship by limiting what we do in our songs, sacraments and sermons. We label this the Regulative Principle because God regulates His worship. This could be shown throughout Holy Writ, but Deuteronomy 12:32 hits the target: “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.”

Worship is not something we do in light of our culture or the people who attend. When we worship, or when we look at doing worship, we have to understand our target audience. We read about, study and focus on our target audience. Understanding our audience is paramount to the way we worship. Let it not be mistaken: our target audience is an audience of One. It sounds simple, but we are to understand our worship method, mode, and regulations in light of Who we are worshiping. If God, the One we worship, has limited His worship (which He has) then as the people who love God we must obey Him. Christ said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The one (out of many) ideas pulled from this text is based upon obedience from the heart. Paul reiterates this idea in Romans: “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed” (Rom. 6:17). This idea is simple and profound. If you truly have an affection, love, adoration for Christ, then you will show your love to Christ through obedience to Him. If you do not obey Christ, you do not love Him.

The Golden Calf

The trouble many churches deal with today has to do with something like a golden calf method. Looking at the passage of Exodus 32, we immediately see the people wanted to have “a god who will go before us” (Ex. 32:1). You might automatically think they are worshiping some sort of false god like the pagans. However, we see a couple verses later that is not the case. The people, for whom Aaron made the calf, say “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Ex. 32:4). They were presenting this golden image as the true God who saved them from bondage. Israel was trying to worship God by a means other then what He has commanded. Further we conclude that they equated the two (the calf and the true God) when Aaron built an altar (v.5), the people gave burnt and peace offerings (v.6), and had a feast (v.6) in honor of this god who took them out of Egypt. Likewise, they were also singing to this god who saved them from the land of Egypt (v.18). These are all elements of worship. Everything that the people of God did with this image was all part of worship which was previously commanded by God for Him alone. Since Israel violated God’s commandments, (v.8) God required that they should be destroyed (v.10). We know that not all of Israel was destroyed by God (v.14), but He did kill many of them through Moses (v.27-28) and God Himself (v.35).

In our present day, churches want something different in worship. They want something other then what God has commanded. They want something cool, hip, showy, or mystical – anything that makes them feel good or culturally relevant. Churches would rather have videos or objects to show their relevance in the world. Instead of obeying God and His commandments “every man [does] what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Are you still wondering how serious worship is to God? Deathly serious.

Heart, Law, and Sufficiency

The issue of worship is not to be taken lightly. It’s not a matter of preference. Worship is a matter of obedience from the heart and according to the letter of the Law. When they worshiped the calf they were worshiping contrary to God’s Law (sinning) and provoked God to anger (Deut. 10:18).

Christ quotes Isaiah in Matthew 5 saying, “‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” Christ points out that the Jews were worshiping according to the worship of men and not of God. This is also known as “will worship”. Make no mistake: you are not free to worship how you please.

Scripture is all sufficient. It tells us everything we need to know and how to practice what we know. Adding anything to or taking away from scripture, especially when it comes to worship, is sin. Greg Price says it well:

Question: Is God’s Word adequate and complete in giving to man all that man needs to know as to how he must please God? Absolutely, for God declares through the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (i.e. teaching), for reproof (i.e. conviction of sin), for correction (i.e. setting one straight in the truth), for instruction in righteousness (i.e. training him in all that God requires of him).” Now that is quite comprehensive. But note the purpose or end God has in view in giving to you the Scripture, “that the man of God may be complete (Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich’s Lexicon states concerning the Greek word used here for complete, “Complete, capable proficient = able to meet all demands.”) thoroughly equipped for every good work” (including how to worship God). Since the apostle Paul addressed these words to a young evangelist (Timothy is a “man of God” in the narrow sense of a minister of God), all ministers and elders are herein specifically addressed. The principle of worship that man can add to worship what God does not specifically prohibit teaches that Scripture is not sufficient for worship, worship needs man’s innovative ideas in order to aid us in our worship of God. The Westminster Confession of Faith denies that we need anything beside Scripture in our worship of God: “God alone is lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines or commandments of men which are in anything contrary to His Word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship” (20:2).

References:

Calvin, John. Harmony of The Law. CCEL.org. 2015. Web.

Price, Greg. Foundation for Reformation: The Regulative Principle of Worship. SWRB.com. 2015. Web.

Worship, Violation, Leadership

sons of aaron

“Surely the first foundation of righteousness is the worship of God. When this is overthrown, all the remaining parts of righteousness, like the pieces of a shattered and fallen building, are mangled and scattered. What kind of righteousness will you call it not to harass men with theft and plundering, if through impious sacrilege you at the same time deprive God’s majesty of its glory? Or that you do not defile your body with fornication, if with your blasphemies you profane God’s most holy name? Or that you do not slay a man, if you strive to kill and to quench the remembrance of God? It is vain to cry up righteousness without religion. This is as unreasonable as to display a mutilated, decapitated body as something beautiful. Not only is religion the chief part but the very soul, whereby the whole breathes and thrives. And apart from the fear of God men do not preserve equity and love among themselves. Therefore we call the worship of God the beginning and foundation of righteousness. When it is removed, whatever equity, continence, or temperance men practice among themselves is in God’s sight empty and worthless. We call it source and spirit because from it men learn to live with one another in moderation and without doing injury, if they honor God as Judge of right and wrong. Accordingly, in the First Table, God instructs us in piety and the proper duties of religion, by which we are to worship his majesty” (John Calvin, Institutes, 2.8.2).

“The common doctrine of Christians on this subject is, that the will of God is the ultimate ground of moral obligation to all rational creatures. No higher reason can be assigned why anything is right than that God commands it. This means, (1.) That the divine will is the only rule for deciding what is right and what is wrong. (2.) That his will is that which binds us, or that to which we are bound to be conformed” (Charles Hodge, 1.5.9).

Getting It Right

When we come to worship on Sunday, we should acknowledge that God commands us to worship Him alone and according to His word. There are many things this entails but we can look to see what this does not include. Worshiping God does not include worshiping contra scriptura. What would be against scripture in worship? We must ask this in light of knowing that the first table of the Law deals with worshiping God. If the first table of the Law deals with worshiping God, then worshiping contrary to scripture is worshiping contrary to God’s Law. We see that this is the case in some very important areas of scripture, but I want to focus on two portions specifically: Lev. 10:1-3 and 1 Cor. 11:17-32.

In the first passage we see God’s judgment upon a very specific group of people. Both of these men (Nadab and Abihu) are Levitical priests. They are not only with the people set apart for God but they are the people set apart for the worship of God. As we know, the Levites were separated by God for God (Num. 3:12-13; 8:14; 16:9). They knew what the Law requires of them as Levitical Priests. They knew the rules and regulations by which God commanded them to worship Him. So, not only were they a special group of people separated specifically for the worship of God, but they also knew what was required of them. Also, to add to their “high” status, they were the sons of Aaron! These guys were the cream of the crop. They were not “nobodies” amongst Israel, but they were high on the social class (so to speak). However, what do we read in the passage?

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying,
‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. –Lev. 10

The interesting thing about this passage is the offering of “strange fire” that God “had not commanded them” to offer. They were doing something that God had not specifically commanded them to do in worship. When we look at this passage we must see this in light of what happens in modern day churches. People preach sermons, have their own liturgy, and sing or play unbiblical songs which God “had not commanded them” to do.

Looking at the next passage we see that the Lord’s Supper is in view. Specifically, Paul talks about the abuse of the Lord’s Supper. People were falling “asleep” i.e. dying. People were dying because they were abusing this part of worship! Paul tells them a few things that must be obeyed when worshiping, but particularly when partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. -1 Cor. 11

Since the members of this congregation are taking the Supper in an “unworthy” manner they are having physical problems. God is judging them because of their “unworthy” worship. They are not treating God as holy when they are drawing near to Him. They are worshiping according to their own view and thought without any regard to God’s Law. This is why Paul tells them that “many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged” (V. 30-31). Just like the sons of Arron, the Corinthians are experiencing the judgment of God for unlawful worship. How serious does God take worship? Deathly serious!

Locally Unlawful Worship

Recently, I have come across a video of a church in my home town where they played a song by Noah Gundersen. In this video it is clear that he is mocking Christ. Not only does he mock Christ, but he violates the whole first table of the Law. Granted, he’s not a Christian…Go Figure! However, this video was played and used to open up a sermon. Before the song was played, they made it aware that they believe this is a real cry out to God. It’s unfortunate that such a large church, adamant about discipleship, is leading the disciples away from Christ.

The more important aspect of this situation is their lack of concern for obedience to God in worship. We previously looked at a couple of examples in scripture dealing with worship and the seriousness of worship. Yet, in our day it seems that churches (like this one) are closer to the world than they want to admit. Anything (including worship) that is contrary to God is at enmity with God. Whether you like this or not, it is biblically true.

Throughout the video we hear good things. I have to give credit to this guy. Many of the things he preaches about or speaks of are true. However, in general, if you preach the Word of God accurately you would worship Him accordingly (preaching is part of the liturgy… yes we all have liturgy).

The real question should be this: did they violate God’s Law (sin) or are they free to do as they please? I believe the answer lies in what we previously went over. No one is free to worship as they please. God alone is the one who qualifies worship. God alone is the one who limits worship. God alone is the one who commands who we worship, when we worship, where we worship, and why we worship.

Blame The Leadership

By the grace of God I was recently ordained and installed as a ruling elder. I am so thankful for the calling by God to serve this most precious of flock. There is nothing greater than to serve the flock of the living God. Now, it is my duty to love and protect this flock. It is the duty of every officer to protect God’s flock. I believe this is where many churches (including this Reno church) fail. It is the leadership’s responsibilities to love, protect, and teach the church. Part of protecting the flock is teaching the flock and leading them in the true worship of the living God.

When the leadership fails to uphold their calling and vows as officers, they disobey God. They not only disobey God but they lead the church down the path of destructive (and sinful) worship. When they lead them down this path, anything becomes permissible and the church ceases being the Church (WCF Ch. 25). We would call this the “trickle down” effect. Think of stacking wine glasses on top of each other. You have a huge base, but then every other level gets smaller until you get to the one glass on top. Pour water on that glass and fill it up to the top. Eventually, if you keep pouring, the water will trickle down every other glass. The water “affects” the other glasses by first filling up the top glass. This is the same as with leadership who does not protect its own flock. Pour down a little “who cares how you worship” juice on the top glass, and the rest fill up with “who cares how we worship” juice. Who cares what God says… right?

References:
Calvin, John. Institutes of The Christian Religion. Edit. John T. McNeill. Trans. Ford Lewis Battles. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Know Press, 2006. Print.

Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Vol. 1. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003. Print

Homosexuality, Brian Prentiss, and a Partial Response

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June 25th, 2003 is the date. That is the date for the 70th General Assembly of the OPC. They met at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa to discuss matters of the church. There were many things going on but the one that should catch everyone’s eye was the Lee Irons trial. Yeah, this is old news. I admit that I am a “day late and a dollar short”. However, there is some concern of specifics in this trial that affect the OPC and the Church of Christ at large.

During the whole process between the time he was going through a lengthy process with the Southern Californian Presbytery and the final verdict at GA (General Assembly), we see specifics or details that many might miss. One important detail in this scenario is his wife’s article, response, and the session of Redeemer Chapel. It is interesting that one would write “Since conservative Christians oppose gay marriage in the church for religious reasons, it is in our best interest to support gay marriage in society for civil rights reasons. Wasn’t sure you heard me the first time? Then let me be absolutely clear: Conservative Christians should support civil same-sex marriage” (M. Irons, Par 1).

This not only came from a Christian, but a reformed minister’s wife.

Irons same mentality is also being stated today as well but from someone else, not in your normal “liberal” churches, but in a reformed church, I.E.  a Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) church. Here is the article to which I am referring, but more specifically, read the words of the minister yourself:

“I’m a pastor of a church where members are not uniform in their response to this ruling, and I actually find that to be one of the most beautiful things about our church. Some of us are putting rainbow filters on our Facebook avatars while others are disappointed in the SCOTUS decision but are holding our tongues on social media for fear or being labeled in an unfortunate way” (Prentiss, Par 3).

He continues:

“As a pastor of a beautifully-diverse church like this, I find myself wanting to offer counsel to both sides of this debate (even while lamenting the unfortunate bifurcation of this issue into two sides aligned against one another.)

For those of us who find the SCOTUS decision something to be celebrated, we should remember Romans 14, where the Apostle Paul advises those of us with less scruples to be gracious towards our brothers and sisters with more. (The “weaker” brother language is unfortunate here, because it seems to suggest one is right and the other is wrong. But, what Paul is asking the Romans to do is to not quarrel over, or judge your brother over matters of dispute.) For you, this ruling might be self-evident and long-overdue, but there are brothers and sisters who are reading the same Bible who are coming to different conclusions than you, and their voices shouldn’t be excluded” (Prentiss, Par 4&5).

And he finally concludes with this:

“The thing I love about Intown is that people on both sides of this debate, as well as those in the middle, can find their views on this and other controversial issues being drawn up into and relativized by our union with Christ. Not only do we bring different convictions to his Table, we also bring our sins and failures, and there, if no other place, we should look across the aisle at our brothers and sisters and see equals – equally in need of grace and equally possessing the dignity of God” (Prentiss, Par 8)

We have to look at these two instances and come to the same conclusion: they both believe that we should capitulate to the abomination of homosexuality. This is not only contra confessional but it is contra legem Dei or against God’s Law.

How Should We Respond To the Church: A Positive Argument

When we look at these two cases, we should note that this is from within. You cannot sit there and say, “of course they would say that because those are the liberal folks!” We expect this kind of response from the PCUSA, but instead we receive such sad responses from members of the OPC and PCA. How should we respond to these cases? How should we respond to the churches that are spiritually declining because of these views? With the Word of God!

What does God say concerning these issues? Well, you do not have to look very far. We understand that there are both positive and negative responses within scripture that deal with sexuality. The first response has been and always will be a positive one. Here is what a positive argument or statement looks like:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Genesis 1:27-29

This is the first positive argument you see for sexuality. God tells us specifically that He created “male and female” to be “fruitful and multiply”. This is the creation order. This is a command. When God commands us to do something, we must go and do what He has commanded (sound redundant?). If we do not do what He commanded, then we are sinning. Likewise, if we go against the creation order in which He Himself created and called “good” (Verse 31) then we are still sinning. What do we see absent from this positive argument? We do not see anyone else in the creation of mankind. We have two individuals named Adam and Eve. God did not call forth another man and give Adam a choice.

Also, from these few verses we see the positive argument that when a male and female come together they are “fruitful”. When male and male (or female and female) come together they are not fruitful. God did not create man to be with man nor woman to be with woman. Why? One reason is because they are not meant to “be fruitful”. Another answer could be that since this goes against the creation order and command of God, it is sin and therefore can only produce what was produced when Adam disobeyed: Death.

A Partial Response to Brian

When looking at Brian’s post and trying to figure out where exactly he went wrong, I would like to point out a few things that others should heed. I hope this is beneficial to whoever reads this article.

The first thing I want to point out is Brian’s acknowledgment of the “ruling on Gay Marriage” (Prentiss, Par 1). When the premise of your paper acknowledges homosexual activity or two homosexuals being together as a form of marriage, then you have already capitulated (notice the Genesis 1 sexuality vs. wicked sexuality Romans 1). You have turned your mind, heart and soul from the Word of God (yes, these are quite high of charges, but sin comes from the mind and heart of man — Matt. 15:19). Not only did we already point this out in the positive argument from Genesis 1, but we see this in negative arguments. Paul tells us in Romans that man was so sinful God gave them over to more sin. However, not only did He give them over to sin but homosexuality is the bottom of the list. As a side comment, you could also think of the “natural” argument you always hear people say. They will tell you that they did not choose to be homosexual, but rather they were “born this way”. What does God say about this? Not just mentioning that homosexuality is at the bottom of the list but it is not natural.

“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Romans 1)

If marriage between a man and woman is natural (Gen. 1), and homosexuality is unnatural (Romans 1), then putting Gay and Marriage in the same sentence is as natural as unnaturally putting natural and unnatural together (naturally of course…). Man is saying opposite of what God has already said.

Brian tells us he’s “a pastor of a church where members are not uniform in their response to this ruling” (Prentiss, Par 3). This is a public admission of a failure to teach his flock on biblical sexuality. The sad thing about his remark is that he finds this “to be one of the most beautiful things” (Prentiss, Par 3) about his church.

He then continues to say something that is baffling to me, but then again I have to remember where his allegiance lies. “As a pastor of a beautifully-diverse church like this, I find myself wanting to offer counsel to both sides of this debate (even while lamenting the unfortunate bifurcation of this issue into two sides aligned against one another)” (Prentiss, Par 5). What I find unfortunate is that a pastor (of a supposed confessionally reformed church) is more worried about disunity then righteousness in doctrine and life. He cares more for their feelings and disconnect from socializing then teaching them what God commands.

Conclusion

There is more I could bring up in this article but I think there is sufficient evidence that capitulation (can you tell I like this word?) is a key trait. When we look at what people are saying, doing, or feeling you have to know that without having God’s Word as your standard, you are lost in your autonomous sinful, wicked heart (Jer. 17:9).

References:

Irons, Misty. “A Conservative Christian Case for Civil Same-Sex Marriage”. November 19, 2000. Web. http://www.musingson.com/ccCase.html

Prentiss, Brian. “WHAT A CONSEQUENTIAL COUPLE OF WEEKS!”. June 27, 2015. Web. http://intownchurch.com/blog/2015/6/26/what-a-consequential-week

Bad Counseling

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Reading Christian responses to political or social issues can be quite disheartening. Especially when they come from the reformed circles and they respond in an unbiblical manner. When we ask specific questions or try to respond to anything, we must do what we confess. If we call ourselves Christians, we ought to believe the Word of God. Paul tells us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3). The idea portrayed here is that ALL of God’s inerrant and infallible word is what we need for ALL of life. If we believe that the Word of God is for all of life, encompassing every sphere, then we have to take God at His word.

Recently I read an article by Scott Sauls titled “Sexual Chastity: God’s Life-Giving Path For Unmarried Lovers”. The title itself was enticing because it automatically gives a false idea: Unmarried individuals are not lovers, because they are unmarried. I find it hard that a minister, let alone a Christian from within the reformed ranks would consider unmarried couples “lovers”. In our modern context (and in the context of the article i.e. sex) the word lover gives the impression of sexual intimacy.

In the beginning of the article he refers to an era where Christians were trying to impose biblical Law on American society. “In the 1990s we might say that Western evangelicalism tended to fall to the right. For that decade and the few years that followed, the ‘Christian right’ emphasized purifying society through strategic, largely law-based posturing in the culture wars. If enough Christians were in positions of power, the thinking went, society’s laws, norms, and values would eventually become more ‘Christian’” (Sauls, Par 2).  Unfortunately, the way in which he writes this seems to indicate that he relents biblical Law. The one thing that is not mentioned in this article is that any sexual relations outside of marriage are sin.

“Falling to the right risks becoming alienated from culture due to a morality-based, us-against-them approach that emphasizes rules and rights over love” (Sauls, Par 4). It is interesting to see how one can make such a contrast between obeying God and loving your neighbor. He uses the word “rules” as if God’s Law is unfair, unjust, and wrong. I guess this is the creature telling the Creator that His rules are unfit for man (who He created and told to obey Him). What right do you have to make such a contrast that God’s Law is against love? I guess Christ was wrong when He said “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). What did Christ command? “And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22).In this entire article he never uses the one word in which the bible describes these actions of unmarried sexual relations: sin.

His first question of common questions that he receives is interesting. Instead of going right to scripture and showing them both that sin, their sinful nature, and what makes them “feel” good are sin, he does the unbiblical approach. Instead of using the bible authoritatively he discusses their view of the role of scripture in sexual relations.

1. “If It Feels Right and Nobody Gets Hurt, What’s the Big Deal?”

The answer to this question—and your willingness to receive it—depends entirely on your belief about the role of Scripture in the bedroom” (Sauls, Par 8).

He continues in this first comment/question with statements on what the bible says concerning married couples (even though he still hasn’t dealt with their sinful fornication).

Next, he makes a very disappointing statement that really wouldn’t be caught unless you take a second look.

2. “We’re Committed to Each Other!”

This is what I hear most from sexually active, unmarried professing Christians (Sauls, Par 13).

If they are professing Christians actively committing gross sin against God, why isn’t the minister telling them to stop because they are sinning? Maybe I’m jumping the gun but then again, this is where he continues:

When this logic is used, I usually ask the couple why they feel the need to “solidify” a relationship with someone they’re not sure they’ll marry. Will they be glad about having solidifed the relationship with sex if the quasi-union comes to an end? Will they feel good about sharing the details of their current arrangement with a future spouse? Will they feel good about looking “the one” in the eye and telling them how they gave their body and soul to others? (Sauls, Par 14)

So it seems that Sauls is more concerned how their future spouse will feel then how God feels. This is horrible counseling. Why in the world would you ask them to consider their future spouse when they are in open rebellion against God? It seems like Sauls is being more sensitive to the creature rather than the Creator.

He continues on with one more comment/question/rebuttal (I still don’t know what to call these… oh wait, the scripture calls it rebellion/sin/iniquity/transgression/etc.). However, he doesn’t leave you hanging because he gives you a final word from a “rational” argument, not a biblical one. “In going over these two options, I’ll offer a rational reason in addition to the biblical one” (Sauls, Par 18). In addition to what biblical reason? There was not one mention of how gross a transgression any sexual relation is outside of marriage.

This is not pastoral counseling. We have to call sin for what it is: sin. We must obey Christ by keeping his commandments (John 14:15). What were His commandments? Toto Lex.

Reference:

Sauls, Scott. “Sexual Chastity: God’s Life-Giving Path For Unmarried Lovers.” The Gospel Coalition. (2015) Web. 7/22/2015.

How To Treat Your Wife

holding-handsLast night I was speaking to my wife about certain things concerning the Law of God and how we are to interact with society. I was trying to explain something but then it happened. I said something to my wife that turned her (immediately) off only to become angry with me. I reflected on what I said and I shouldn’t have said it to begin with. I went to bed a little earlier last night to reflect on the conversation.

You know those moments when you realize that you wish you could take back what was said? Yeah, that was me last night. There are a few things that I (and other husbands) need to keep in mind when speaking to our wives. They are to be treated differently because they are your other half. Luther used to frequently refer to his wife as “my rib”. There is a sense of intimacy, softness, and closeness in this remark.

How to Live With Your Wife

A few things we should consider are penned by Peter. Here is what he writes:

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

When we look at this passage alone, we can already learn a few things. He doesn’t just ask us to be nice or love our wives (which are all good things to do!), but he gives us a more detailed understanding of how we are to view our wives.

Right from the start he tells us to “live with your wives in an understanding way”. This is huge! If you have been married for even a few days you can notice significant changes. Probably the first thing you will notice is that you cannot live the way you used to live. As a bachelor you might have left everything messy in your bedroom, or the whole apartment (house, etc). Well, if you try this today (for the most part) eventually your wife will get on you to pick up after yourself (and rightfully so). Also, you might notice that it is not your time anymore but our time. Understand that you have your wife living with you. You must sacrifice your time for her. Instead of watching a movie or playing video games by yourself, do those things with her. This sounds very simple but it might be harder than you think. However, I think the main point Peter is getting to revolves around the idea of knowing and understanding how to live with your wife in a gentle, softer, and knowledgeable way. Let your wife know you care for her and be gracious to her in all aspects of life.

Peter continues to say “as with someone weaker, since she is a woman”. This might be hard for some to hear at first because there might be negative reaction. However, Peter is only referring to the beautiful way in which God created woman. As we know, God created woman from man as a helper to him. We know that God has created them equal as image bearers but uniquely different in roles. We know this from nature as well. When you live with a woman, you know that they have more emotional needs then men do. They are more sensitive to how they are spoken to, treated, etc. We have to realize this in order to live in an “understanding way”.

Finally, we must also understand that they are to be treated as equals in Christ. Peter tells us that we are to “show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life”. We cannot simply look at our wives as just a helper or someone who we should love emotionally and physically. We are to love them in Christ. We are to give them the same honor as anyone else who names the name of Christ. Do not forget that they too are our sisters. Christ bought them with His own blood. Peter also tells us that we should do these things so that our “prayers will not be hindered”. There is probably a bigger idea here, but I want to think of the most immediate practical application to this phrase. Have you ever been so upset at someone that you cannot think about anything else? Or have you ever felt so sad or disconnected that you cannot think about anything else? I believe this is something Peter had in mind. When you say something wrong (like I did) in an insensitive way to your wife (like I did) you will get an automatic response and disconnect from your wife. This could hinder your prayers. This could hinder what you should be praying for as well.

Keep in mind what you ought to be doing, saying, and how you should act around your wife. Be true and honest but with gentleness. Live in an understanding way so that you may be at peace with your wife and your prayers will not be hindered.

The Gospel and The Homosexual Community

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Capitulation is the word to describe what Christians have been doing recently. When you read about the decision SCOTUS made in regards to same-sex “whatever you want to call it”, it should be noted that there are Christians capitulating on the issue. Instead of being in the light to which God has called us, they would rather go back to the “domain of darkness” to which he rescued you from. (Col. 1:13)

Let’s get something out of the way: emotional arguments are nice, warm, and fuzzy; but they keep you and everyone around you in darkness. We must think with a renewed mind (Rom. 12) so that we proclaim Christ.

Imagine for a second that you are walking down a room with a candle as your light. The candle is small and the light only goes so far, but no matter where you are in the room, the darkness is immediately consumed by the light. This is how we are to think of Gospel proclamation.

Proclaiming the Gospel to the Homosexual Community

We know that there are men called specifically to go and evangelize out in the public square. However, every believer is called “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). This includes EVERYONE that you know.

Although there might not be a person you know who is homosexual, there might be someone who sympathizes with same-sex “mirage” (thank you Apologia guys). We have to learn how to engage this ideology. It is affecting our culture in a way that people never thought of 20 years ago. How do we engage people like this or with sympathies to this ideology? Just like everyone else: Proclaim Christ!

Homosexuals vary just like heterosexuals in their sin or degree of sin. There are a group of homosexuals that are not only more open about their sinful behavior, but boast in this fact. Proclaiming the Gospel to them will be just as important as proclaiming Christ to a child or grandma or anyone. They must acknowledge their sin and misery just like everyone else in order to try to understand there is a Hope for redemption. They are chained down to their sinful ways just like you once were.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Eph. 2

God has shown you mercy through His Son and we must realize that the same God who saved a wretch like you can (and might) save those around you as well.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2

Eschatology: Christ Reigns

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It is hard to get rid of old ideas that have been ingrained into your mind. Some of the ideas that you might have about, well, anything could have been established a long time ago from your parents or church or whatever. At this moment I feel like God is using people of a differing opinion to change my outlook on our present day and the future.

I hold to an Amillennial position of eschatology. Most of you know that the “A” that goes before the word millennial refers to “no” millennium. This is not really the case for this position nor is it fair to say they do not believe in some sort of millennial age. Amils believe that we are in the millennial age at this moment, so it would be more accurate to say a “realized” millennium. However, there is a position that would agree on many things with these Amil folks. The position I am thinking about is called Postmillennialism.

What is fascinating about the contrast between the two positions is the idea of pessimism and optimism. The Amil position tends to be known as the pessimistic view while the Postmil position is radically more optimistic. You could suggest that it’s an “eschatology of hope”. They see the Gospel being proclaimed and the enemies of Christ being subdued over time.

This not only intrigues my intellect but hits me at the heart. I want to see Christ proclaimed to the nations and all confess Him as their savior. Yet, I am still wondering how some things might fall into place. How does this fit into the ideas portrayed in Matthew 24 or Revelation where many will persecute Christians? This will involve study, prayer, and true intellectual consideration.

However, I do know this: Christ rules now! Christ is King now!

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2)

Obey Your Boss

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Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

Ephesians 6

Lately I have been struggling with my work and working for people that, well, are hard to work for. I know that we live in a fallen world and that I’m also sinful. I know that this is a secular job with sinful people doing sinful things at the workplace. Their work in and of itself is not sinful, but the ultimate reason why we do things is for a sinful end. For the Christian I would suggest that we want to do everything to the glory of God, but we execute it sinfully (most of the time).

One of the hardest things to accomplish is obeying your boss or certain managers when they do wrong towards you. Anyone who has ever worked knows what I am talking about. Having a sinner in charge of you and expecting you to produce everything is one thing, but when your boss or manager does wrong towards you on top of loading you up with everything to do, adds to our disobedience. Sometimes things go wrong, the work environment gets frustrating, and this is when the sinful rebellion comes out. You do not have to say it out loud, but you are thinking evil thoughts about your boss, probably cussing him/her out in your head as you are painfully doing the work. You might even say bad things about your boss openly or could be very subtle in your rebellion towards your boss.

These things are wrong and sinful. These things are evil. God has called us out of the darkness and into the light of His Beloved Son. As we have been redeemed we must show redeemed qualities. We are called to obey our masters and to do so “as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”, working for our boss as we would “to the Lord”. Remember the qualities you should have as you go to your secular job, and praise God that He has been merciful to you even though you have sinned against Him.

Male and Female He Created Them

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Male and Female He Created Them. Gen 1

It is always interesting to hear how people or animals were born a certain way. I really mean this! Some people were born with a genetic makeup that makes them look a certain way! God truly is amazing in His creation! I look at huskies (for example) and they have beautiful eyes. Sometimes they are mismatched, but the real deep blue eyes are my favorite.

However, when we come to the idea of homosexuality (or any sexual sin) we can truly say that people were born this way and that there is only one suitable helper for man. Why? You are probably thinking, “WRONG! This is a sin and they chose it!” That is correct, it is sin. We are all born sinners and they did choose to live this life. They were born sinners because they are sinners by their very nature.

Also, we must point out that God has a certain order to His creation. He did not create man to lie with another man, or woman with woman. He created man to be with woman and woman with man.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

This is important to know: God created a SUITABLE helper for Adam. God knew that none of His creatures would be suitable for man, so God created woman for man that Adam might not be alone. God said it is not good for man to be alone, therefore He created woman. God did not create another man as a helper, partner, or someone suitable for Adam. A man IS NOT suitable for a man. Woman is the only suitable helper and this is what God has called good.

God Reigns!

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The recent ruling in our land has been devastating. We as God’s people have seen many cruel, evil, and sinful things happen within our nation, states, and cities in these past few years, but no matter what the situation or circumstance, God Reigns! We should be reminded that our God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rule the universe and nothing can stay His hand. “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns” (Rev. 19:6).

It seems at times that the nations are separate from God, but in reality God’s will is being done regardless of the flow of society. The culture does not dictate what God has planned to come about. We not only can know this, but we can rest in this fact:

God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.

Psalm 47:8