nietzsche

Gradually I came to learn what every great philosophy has been up to now, namely, the self-confession of its originator and a form of unintentional and unrecorded memoir, and also that the moral (or immoral) intentions in every philosophy made up the essential living seed from which on every occasion the entire plant has grown. In fact, when we explain how the most remote metaphysical claims in a philosophy really arose, it’s good (and shrewd) for us always to ask first: What moral is it (is he —) aiming at? Consequently, I don’t believe that a “drive to knowledge” is the father of philosophy but that knowledge (and misunderstanding) have functioned only as a tool for another drive, here as elsewhere.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Future Philosophy (Kindle Locations 163-168). The University of Adelaide Library. Kindle Edition.

 


 

This past April I had the privilege to travel with several friends down to Medellin, Colombia. Our purpose was to give a series of messages to the students of the Seminario Reformado Latinoamericano. A seminary aimed to train present and future pastors in Colombia. The seminary is in relationship to the ministry of Gospel Through Colombia. The mission of the ministry, which is stated on their page,  is to equip church leaders in Latin America with sound biblical/theological training and personal, life-on-life discipleship in order to see the continued transformation of Latin American churches.

It was a great time to see and be a part of God’s work among the people of Colombia. We had the privilege to give a series of messages on the topic of personal holiness to the men in the seminary during our time their. After they finish up their time in seminary (8 months) these men go out to serve the churches they have come from. These men continue their connection with Gospel Through Colombia to receive discipleship and build connections with other pastors who desire instruction and training. So little by little faithful local churches are growing up throughout the country of Colombia. And it is through these churches that God is calling many to Himself and expanding His kingdom. So thankful I got to see and experience it.

Medellin

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Medellin fills a massive cove in the mountains. (Pic from Geoffrey)

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The Seminary

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Where classes take place

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The main local church in Medellin

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If you love a person, you will not act indifferently toward dangerous or destructive beliefs or behaviors simply to avoid offending him or her. Yet the new tolerance demands just that sort of indifference.

Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will tell you the truth because I am convinced that the ‘truth will set you free.'”

Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.'”

Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.”

Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance is indifferent; love is active. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.

Once again, Jesus is the supreme example of true Christian love, which is sometimes the antithesis of tolerance. His love drove Him to a cruel death on the cross. Far from being indifferent to the “lifestyle choices” of others, He paid the price of those choices with His own life, and lovingly paved the way for everyone to “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11 KJV)

-Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, The New Tolerance (Wheaton, Il: Tyndale House, 1998), 95.

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Worship is what is evoked by the presence of God. It is a response, not a self-initiated, creative activity on our part. Worship is the only activity that can involve the totality of our personality without any residue. All other relationships are partial. Worship is always extravagant; Elders throw down their crowns, Mary pours out precious ointment, people prostrate themselves. We don’t worship for what we can “get out of it”

Worship is the submission of all our nature to God:

  • The quickening of the conscience by His holiness
  • The nourishment of mind with His truth
  • The purifying of imagination by His beauty
  • The opening of the heart to His love
  • The surrender of the will to His purpose.

All this is gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable, and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.

-Edmund Clowney. “unpublished sermon,” in Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 156.

 

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Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.

-John G. Paton, John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides, an Autobiography (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), 56.

That was John G. Paton’s response to an objection that he would be eaten by Cannibals if he went to share Christ with indigenous people in the South Sea Islands.

I want the perspective Paton had. Serving and honoring Christ is vastly more valuable than the comfort of this short, temporal life. No matter how nice the life, one’s body rots in the ground when all is said and done. Thus, what is ease and comfort if it takes away from honoring Christ? It is empty! The true life is one sacrificing with eternity in view. And with Christ in view! What will it be like to come to the Great Day with comfort and ease in one’s hands? It will be embarrassing if not condemning! But what glory and joy for the one who is willing to lose everything to posses the incalculable riches of Christ in their life now and to come! I want glorifying Christ, not comfort, to be my guiding perspective.

So between the death of Christ and the Last Day it is only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians. It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s Word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands stand alone.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community (New York, NY: HarperOne, 1954), 18.

Great words from a man who knew what it was like to be among “the scattered lonely.” The ability to visible gather with believers is a blessing to be thankful for. Not the local body that you wish you were apart of. But the body you are apart of now. The body full of weak Christians who sing music off key. You are there, gathered, as the exiled believers encouraging one another till the Final Day.  This is a grace and privilege!

Can there be a legitimate time to leave a church? There can be times.

But what we can learn from Bonhoeffer is the needed attitude of our heart. And attitude of gratefulness for the fact that we have a fellowship to gather with. Not every believer gets to experience it week in and week out.

Yes things are not as you want them to be. The preaching is not of great quality. The youth program is next to nonexistent. The style of worship is strange. The policies are indecipherable. But it is still a gathering of believers.

So be thankful for the grace to visibly gather with the believers you do.

How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things? If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty;…

-ibid., 29

leper

The apprehension of God’s infinite knowledge should fill the Christian with adoration. The whole of my life stood open to his view from the beginning. He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed his  heart upon me. Oh, how the realization of this should bow me in wonder and worship before him!

Arthur W. Pink,  The Attributes of God (Grand Rapids, MI: 1975), 26.

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Christ’s union with us in the incarnation is the foundation for our union with him, both now and in the eternal future. It is a pledge of our sonship, as Calvin wrote, for “our common nature with Christ is the pledge of our fellowship with the Son of God; and clothed with our flesh he vanquished death and sin together that the victory and triumph might be ours. He offered as a sacrifice the flesh he received from us, that he might wipe out our guilt by his act of expiation and appease the Father’s righteous wrath.”

-Robert Letham, Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology (Phillisburg NJ: P&R, 2011) 41, quoting John Calvin, Institutes, 2.12.3

Well Christmas is upon us. For this I am very glad!

One of the things I like about this season is that I get to break out the Christmas music. I thought I would share my favorite Christmas albums in hopes of spreading the Christmas cheer!

Savior

Songs filled with the wonderful theology of the Incarnation and of the mission the Incarnated Christ came to complete.

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Advent Songs

New feel to traditional (or not so traditional) Christmas songs from Sojourn Community Church. Over all very well done.

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Still

Nathan George and company bring a gentle folk tune to traditional Christmas songs.

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Christmas Songs

I have always enjoyed Fernando Ortega‘s work. The same enjoyment is carried over to his Christmas album.

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Behold the Lamb of God

Last, but certainly not least. Beginning in the Old Testament and journeying to the coming of Christ Andrew Peterson takes you through the big story of Christmas. You can hear the whole album here. And then buy it here. Or you can go see it if they are coming to your town.

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If you have any Christmas favorites you want to share feel free to share away.

…weakness may be consistent with the assurance of salvation. The disciples, notwithstanding all their weaknesses, are bidden to rejoice that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Failings with conflict, in sanctification should not weaknen the peace of our justification and assurance of salvation. It matters not so much what ill is in us, as what good; not what corruptions, but how we regard them; not what our particular failings are so much as what the thread and tenor of our lives are, for Christ’s dislike of that which is amiss in us turns not to the hatred of our persons but to the victorious subduing of all our infirmities.

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle, PA: The Banner Of Truth Trust, 1998), 96.

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