Archive for April 2009

How Does God Reconcile Justice and Mercy?

I have been meditating on the lyrics of the Downhere song All at War. One phrase in particular—“It’s justice and mercy the old dichotomies”—keeps reverberating through my mind. We know that God is perfectly just. Yet, we also know that God is incredibly merciful. The balance of these two attributes is at the heart of the gospel.

God, unlike us, is completely just. He is righteous. He fulfills all of His obligations. Thus, He must punish those who break His law. The punishment for failure to keep God’s law is death (this is classic Sunday School stuff:” all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one’…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…the wages of sin is death”). If this were all we knew of God, we would be forced to admit that God is fair, and just. We would, however, be in a very scary spot.
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Published on April 2, 2009 at 9:12 pm |

15 Singable, Doctrinally Rich Songs For Congregational Worship

I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who is a pastor about the music program at his church. My friend expressed his continuing desire that the church use a musical style that would enable his congregation to participate joyfully and exuberantly. We also considered the texts of the music typically employed and the necessity for music with rich, doctrinal depth. Out of that conversation grew a desire to compile a list of songs with the following criteria:

  • Modern style to enable exuberant participation of the congregation
  • Significant, rich, doctrinal depth of text
  • Style that lends itself to congregational singing (both music and lyric)
  • Existence of a modern recording that provides a significant addition/alteration (There are many wonderfully rich hymns with modern, singable settings that are well known. My intention with this list was to highlight newer additions or less known works)
  • Obviously, nothing that contradicts our music philosophyRead more ...

    Published on April 7, 2009 at 9:14 pm |

The Primary Issue

When a lawyer asked Jesus what was the most important issue, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” (Matt. 22:37). Jesus was quoting from the Law (Deut. 6: 4-5). All the Law and commandments of Scripture are based on this one preposition — God is the only logical object of worship.

We see this same concept stressed in the structure of the Ten Commandments. The first two commandments declare God as the only entity worthy of worship. Furthermore, worship of any other person, thing, or idea, is strictly forbidden. All the other commandments strengthen or elaborate on this core idea. It is important at this point to say something about worship. We tend to think of worship as praise to, singing about, or adoration of an object. This is accurate. However, it is not all-inclusive. Worship is about how you live life. Inherent to the human experience is the search for purpose. We long to do. We long to achieve. We long to matter. We need a cause. This is because the primary function for which we were created is worship. All created beings were designed to glorify/bring honor to their Creator. Each creation of God was given differing capacity for worship, however, each was given capacity. No creature had greater capacity for worship than Lucifer. The problem was that Lucifer turned from God, and lavished his capacity for worship on himself. This ultimately was his downfall, and it led to the downfall of humanity.
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Published on April 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm |

Theodore Beza (Church History Vignette 4)

Theodore de Besze (as he spelled his name) was born on the 24th of June in Vezelay, Burgundy to wealthy parents Pierre and Marie. Theodore was the youngest of seven and was brought up in a Genteel environment from the start. Before the age of three (when his mother died), his education had already begun and his precocity was beginning to be revealed. Beza lived with his uncle who secured for him the best education that money could buy. At the age of nine, he moved to live with Wolmar, who had taught Calvin. So it was that Beza received a thoroughly Protestant education and an alarming revelation of the evils of the Church in that day (quite against his father’s and uncle’s wishes). At 16, Beza entered the University of Orleans and distinguished himself at a young age. He then continued to Paris where he would study literature and become very prominent in the Parisian social and court life.
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Published on April 14, 2009 at 9:16 pm |

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