Reflections on the Collapse of the American Republic

fireworks

So now that the fireworks are over…

As I told my people yesterday morning, I endeavor to never do two things in our church: preach the newspaper and preach the secular calendar. Nevertheless, I did both in one sermon, noting the passage of the republic’s birthday with a sermon addressing its recent demise.

And why do I say that the Republic has collapsed? Continue reading

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How Presbyterianism Solves Everything

kids

Poor, Unloved Baptist Children

One of the challenges of theological debate is our tendency to easily perceive the problems created by the other side while ignoring the problems created by our own. This tendency is only exacerbated by the existence of strong ecclesiastical institutions; when you have a reputation for orderliness, it is very difficult to imagine yourself stumbling into the same pit that snares so many misguided, anarchistic evangelicals.

That this tendency continues to be a problem for many of our Presbyterian friends is, I think, rather obvious. I am reminded of the following set-to from my archives: Continue reading

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An Addendum on “Reality”

argument

Another Irenic Day on the Internet

I know some of my readers understood yesterday’s post perfectly; others perhaps did not. I thought I would add a quick word of clarification, which may not help anyone who is committed to one or another of the narratives of the Duggar disaster.

I thought I was obvious enough when I opened by saying, “Truth be told, I don’t know much about what happened, or about how it was handled.” (emphasis today) Nothing in my post addressed the question of whether or not parents are required to report crime to the police, and nothing in the post addressed the question of whether or not the Duggars did so adequately. I don’t know, and frankly, it is not my concern. When I spoke of “privacy,” I was talking about something altogether different. Continue reading

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Questioning “Reality”

reality

“I was merely . . . acting!”

I’m not going to say anything about the Duggars scandal per se. Truth be told, I don’t know much about what happened, or about how it was handled. I don’t want to know. It’s frankly none of my business. I do, however have something to say to the Duggars’ fans. It’s simple, really: What did you expect?

I have never really understood the “Reality TV” phenomenon. I don’t find any of it the least bit interesting. It is all quite obviously scripted, and the main difference between Reality TV and traditional TV is that in the traditional version the canned lines were at least delivered by trained experts. Reality TV is more like watching an eighth grade play; most of the roles are filled by people who will never, no matter how hard they try, be actors. Continue reading

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What Walter Chantry Really Said in 1966

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Chantry at the 1966 Pastor’s Conference

It came to my attention over the weekend that my father’s sermon from the 1966 Pastors’ Conference in Carlisle, PA has been going the rounds on the internet. That conference was the first formal gathering of Reformed Baptists, and it was also the scene of earliest efforts to establish a Reformed Baptist association. Those efforts bore fruit two years later in the establishment of the RBA – forerunner to RBMS and ultimately to ARBCA.

The subject of the address – Christian Unity – has obvious implications for the project to build a confessional and associational movement among Reformed Baptists. As such, I thought it worthwhile to have a listen myself. I have never heard one of my father’s sermons from so early on; what struck me most was the presence of certain themes which I have heard from him all my life and continue to hear today. Continue reading

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Imagine

lennon

Sorry, John, but I had to do it.

In an excellent post in which he admits that he’s a recovering TGC fanboy, Justin Bullington put the following words into the mouth of an imaginary objector to his criticisms: “Imagine if TGC didn’t exist!”

So I did. Continue reading

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Love & Truth

ruler

Disheartened and Sad

This week I had the opportunity to preach on the story of the Rich Young Ruler from Mark’s gospel. Each gospel includes different details, and one in Mark struck me in particular. It is a brief story; here it is in its entirety:

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”  And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”  And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.          (Mark 10:17-22, ESV)

Continue reading

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