"ARE BAD GUYS REAL?" he exclaimed.
I told him they were, but God was BIGGER.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
What do the supreme court ruling on guns and the martyrdom of missionaries have to do with each other?
Noël and I watched Beyond Gates of Splendor, the documentary version of End of the Spear, the story of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint in Ecuador in 1956. That same day we heard that the Supreme Court decided in favor of the right of Americans to keep firearms at home for self-defense.
Here’s the connection. The missionaries had guns when they were speared to death. One of them shot the gun into the air, it appears, as he was killed, rather than shooting the natives. They had agreed to do this. The reason was simple and staggeringly Christlike:
The natives are not ready for heaven. We are.
I suspect the same could be said for almost anyone who breaks into my house. There are other reasons why I have never owned a firearm and do not have one in my house. But that reason moves me deeply. I hope you don’t use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun. Better to find some missionaries like this and support them.
Here is a Rebuttal to Piper's argument by the "Thirsty Theologian."
Before I begin, I want to say that I appreciate John Piper’s ministry immensely. I have listened to him preach, and, deo volente, will again. I have read some of his books, and there are a couple still on my shelf that I am eager to read. Nothing I am about to say should be taken as a slight to his character or ministry.
However . . .
Today I must strenuously disagree with John Piper. I’ve disagreed with him before, but never like this. In most other disagreements, I’ve at least had some empathy with his position. In this case, I have none; his logic is badly flawed.
If it was almost anyone else, I’d probably ignore it; but John Piper has a following of bloggers who run to their keyboards every time he moves, gasping breathlessly at the profundity of his latest twitch. So I expect to see his latest statement spread virally all over the blogosphere in this and following weeks. In fact, I’m seeing it start already, and it was only posted this morning (it’s Sunday as I write this). And, though his sentiments are noble, I think they are completely wrong-headed, and deserve a rebuttal.
I’m referring to his statement on the Desiring God blog concerning the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the 2nd Amendment was properly (though narrowly) upheld.
Dr. Piper made no statement on the court’s decision per se. His statement addressed why he would not use a gun to defend his home, and expressed his hope that no one else would, either. He used, as his example, Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries, who chose not to defend themselves against the spears of their attackers because “The natives are not ready for heaven. We are.”
I tend to believe that those young missionaries made the right choice. However, I don’t believe their reasoning applies in the vast majority of home-defense situations. My reasons are as follows (none of them would have applied in the jungles of Ecuador):
- In the majority of instances of defensive firearms use, no shots are fired. The threat is enough to subdue or put to flight the perpetrators. Yet being confronted with a violent response increases their fear of other potential victims, most of whom “are not ready for heaven.”
- The knowledge that potential victims, most of whom “are not ready for heaven,” might be armed is a known deterrent to criminals. Violent crime is highest in unarmed cities, and is known to decrease when citizens of those cities arm themselves.
- When an assailant is shot, more is accomplished than stopping the immediate crime: his future crimes — primarily against people who “are not ready for heaven” — are prevented; and a societal atmosphere is created in which criminals are more likely to think twice before attacking.
- While you can be sure that an intruder in your home is “not ready for heaven,” neither are most of his past and future victims — and you can be sure that there are, or will be, others. Sacrificing yourself only leaves him free to move on to his next victim, who is most likely — say it with me, now — “not ready for heaven.”
Piper’s goal of saving the lives of those who “are not ready for heaven,” though noble, is misdirected. It would be better served by doing whatever is necessary to stop the violent criminals who kill them.
Postscript: That was to be the end of this post, but a couple of additional points have crossed my mind.
- I realize that John Piper’s children are all grown and it’s just he and his wife at home. But many of us have children at home, and I am not one who assumes my children are “ready for heaven” just because they say they believe in Jesus. Shall I not protect them? Shall I value the soul of a murderer above theirs?
- Can a Calvinist really believe that evil must be allowed to go unchecked because God hasn’t had a chance to save the evildoers yet? In other words, is this really a dilemma at all?
I am going to talk to some at this time (I do not know how many of the sort may be here) who think that they have found the Savior, who believe that they are saved, who write themselves down as having truly enjoyed religion, and who imagine that now their sole business is to enjoy themselves. They delight to feed on the word, and to this I do not object at all; but then, if it is all feeding and nothing comes of it, I ask to what end are they fed? If the only result of our religion is the comfort of our poor little souls, if the beginning and the end of piety is contained within one’s self, why, it is a strange thing to be in connection with the unselfish Jesus, and to be the fruit of his gracious Spirit. Surely, Jesus did not come to save us that we might live unto ourselves. He came to save us from selfishness. (862)
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.Are we not unlike Elijah when we delight more in pizza and dough nuts rather than the One who is the Bread of Life; or when our cup of coffee or espresso, or whatever you like to drink brings greater anticipation to our hearts than talking to or about the Person who is the DRINK who is called the Living Water; or when we enjoy reading the paper, the sports magazine, the mystery novel or email more than the Word of God which offers to bring us into an all-satisfying relationship with our Creator; or when we care more about what is on TV then what's on God's agenda for our evening which might include time talking with our spouse, or reading the Bible, or serving a friend, or sharing the Gospel with your neighbor.
During a daylong seminar on Puritanism that I taught at a church in London, I remarked at one point that Puritan sermons were sometimes two hours long. A member of the class gasped audibly and asked, “What time did that leave for worship?” Clearly, the individual assumed that listening to God’s Word preached did not constitute worship. I replied that many English Protestants in former centuries believed that the most essential part of their worship was hearing God’s Word in their own language (a freedom purchased by the blood of more than one martyr) and responding to it in their lives. Whether they had time to sing, though not entirely insignificant, was of comparatively little concern to them.
—Mark Dever, What is a Healthy Church? (Crossway, 2007), 65, 67.
It is easy to acknowledge, but almost impossible to realize for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. Surely we must have a little- however little- native luminosity? Surely we can’t be quite creatures…Grace substitutes a full, childlike and delighted acceptance of our Need, a joy in total dependence. We become “jolly beggars”.Now, like any good C. S. Lewis quote, you probably should reread it.
Atheism is a passionate belief in no God, which is much different than apathesim. Apatheists can believe in God or disbelieve in God, but it really doesn’t matter, they are apathetic about it.
“’A world of pragmatic atheists,’ the philosopher Richard Rorty wrote, ‘would be a better, happier world than our present one.’ Perhaps. But best of all would be a world generously leavened with apatheists: people who feel at ease with religion even if they are irreligious; people who may themselves be members of religious communities, but who are neither controlled by godly passions nor concerned about the (nonviolent, noncoercive) religious beliefs of others.” (“Let It Be”)
Rauch and others with his point of view must be thrilled by the lasted survey on "Religious Tolerance" in America. In many ways it is a survey of religious indifferentism. You can read a New York Times article on it here. Christians are to show tolerance towards people of other faiths. This means we should love mormans, atheists and Muslims and not desire to put them in prison or kill them for their beliefs. Tolerance, however, does not mean that we think their beliefs are OK. Salvation is in Jesus Christ alone by faith alone through the power of the Gospel alone. Are we apatheists when we fail to actively pursue relationships with unbelievers and believers of other religions with the purpose of bringing them the TRUE GOSPEL by life and word? I wouldn't confess to be apatheist, but my lack of evangelistic fervor often says otherwise.
Ephesians 4:22-24 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (23) and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, (24) and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.This truly has been happening in Tim since his conversion by God's grace.
Romans 10:13-15 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (14) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (15) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"You can download Tim's testimony and Saul's sermon here or go to the sermons page at www.gracewyoming.com.
It is certainly fair to say that it is not obvious in the Bible that it is our Heavenly Father’s intention that we should work until we are 62 or 65 years of age and spend the remainder of our years touring the United States in our RV (that is, if we had a defined benefit retirement plan that has not gone bankrupt and we can afford the gasoline!).
I said earlier that in your troubles with Jon, you needed to seek out someone who could help you, humble yourself and ask for that help. There is one other point that needs to made about this.
If the answer to your problem were obvious to you, then Jon wouldn't be an out of control discipline case. Neither would Mary, and we will need to talk about her later. Now, because the exact nature of the problem is not obvious to you, when you first seek out the input of someone who has biblical wisdom on these things, the chances are that what they say to you will have two characteristics. First, you will probably be surprised by what they say. Often, their input will tell you to do the exact opposite of what you thought you were supposed to be doing -- like trying to explain to a Southerner how to drive in snow. You have been trying to turn the wheel this way, but you actually should be trying to turn it the other way. Many aspects of this problem are because of the counterintuitive nature of the solution.
The second aspect of their input is a little more unpleasant. When you finally get real help, from someone who is really willing to tell you what is going on in your family, and how you got to the place where you are, it is in the highest degree likely that you or your wife, or both, will be offended. Part of the reason why you have gotten this far without hearing what you need to hear is that many of your friends instinctively know this. You will be tempted to think that the person who finally tells you "doesn't understand," or "doesn't care," or "has a simplistic approach," or "doesn't know your wife," and so on.
My point is not that the outside observer is perfect or omniscient. My point is that it is your son that is out of control, and you don't know why, and this other person is likely to have a better grasp of that than you do. And even if he doesn't, what good does it do to get offended? The temptation to take offense in a situation like this should be taken by you as a version of that children's game, where you tell the child he is getting warmer, warmer, warmer, until he finds the button. The more prickley and offended you feel yourself getting, the more godly advice is probably getting warmer, warmer, warmer. So fight the temptation to take offense. Roll with it.
1. Following Jesus means rightly understanding and responding to the Gospel.
2. Rightly understanding the Gospel means recognizing the centrality and sovereignty of God in all things, the sinful, hopeless, helpless, condemned nature of man apart from God’s grace, and the redemptive, reconciliatory work of Jesus on the cross made efficacious by grace through faith.
3. Rightly responding to the Gospel means receiving the gifts of awe and wonder, brokenness and repentance, desperation and pleading, fear and trembling, thankfulness and rejoicing, love and adoration, acceptance and obedience, and faith and trust.
4. Upon understanding and receiving to Gospel, by grace through faith, we become grace debtors to everyone.
5. Our obligation to make grace payments (share the Gospel) will affect every area of our lives.
Flipping Through the Yellow Pages
By Douglas Wilson
So your son is out of control, and you feel helpless. You don't know what to do. If you tell him to do something, and he doesn't want to, he throws down and there you are. He is defiant, says that he hates everybody, and you know the rest of the drill.
And yet Scripture says the one who refuses to discipline his son hates his son. "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes"(Prov. 13:24). Yes, you might say, but you don't know how to spank, and whenever you have tried it, the whole thing turns into an even bigger disaster than what you have now. It seems to you that the only thing God lets you do is make excuses.
Two things. First, those who know you and the situation and who see it with biblical wisdom see that your son is pleading for someone to love him enough to draw limits and enforce them. You think to yourself that he sure doesn't act like he pleading for anything. He acts like he is demanding the world and everything in it. Sure, but the logic still makes sense. How outrageous and out of control does he have to get before someone will love him enough to intervene? The more outrageous it is, the more you think that you can't do anything. The more outrageous it is, he might think, the more it proves that absolutely nothing will get you to love him.
And second, the plea of ignorance won't wash. If you don't know how to handle this, then find out. If your son had a rare form of cancer, would flipping through the yellow pages for five minutes ("we looked for treatment providers, but came up short") be sufficient to discharge your fatherly duties? No. If you don't know how to deal with this, then find somebody who does. Move if you need to. And don't stop looking until you find someone. And when you find them, humble yourself and ask for real help.
A Barrier to Help
by Douglas Wilson at Blog and Mablog
Over the years, I have seen many hard cases of difficult kids not effectively loved by their fathers. Because I don't see the problem disappearing, I thought I would post a series of short pointed exhortations to a dad who has a problem child. The child actually has a problem dad, but the child doesn't think that. He is too confused, lost, and hurting to think about much of anything. I am going write these posts in the second person. I have no particular people in view; these problems should be taken as a composite. But I trust that some of those who read these posts here will see the applicability to their own situations. When I am talking about a boy I will call him Jon, and when she is a girl I will call her Mary.
* * *
You see Jon acting up in public settings and it embarrasses you. You know that there is a serious problem, and you find yourself frequently making generic excuses to people, but you don't do anything that will actually address the problem. You are not trying to help your son, but rather trying to smooth over awkward social situations for yourself. You are at church, and in front of others you ask Jon to do something for you, and he just stares at you and turns away. He ignores you, and so then you ignore him ignoring you. When he is gone, you make a lame joke to your friend about how Jon was up late last night, and is a real pain in the rear end when that happens.
One of the first things you need to recognize is that the central problem here is pride -- yours. There are people in your circle of friends or in your extended family who see the problem, and the causes of it, and who could very likely give you genuine, pointed help. But because of pride, these are the very people you are most likely to make excuses to, and are least likely to ask for their advice. You admire them, and their abilities with children, and so you are still trying to prove something to them instead of learning from them.
If the topic ever comes up, you may acknowledge that you have something of a problem, or a measure of difficulty, but you don't humble yourself completely. Because of this, the people who could really help you don't say everything they could; or they do and you don't hear it; or they do say it, and you hear it, but the next day your pride is back and most of their counsel is displaced by it.
But you don't want your pride to be the one barrier that prevents you from hearing what you need to hear, and learning what you need to learn. I am not talking about the people who think they know what your problem is -- I am talking about the people that you know understand what your problem is.
In America we are currently living in a Kindergarchy, under rule by children. People who are raising, or have recently raised, or have even been around children a fair amount in recent years will, I think, immediately sense what I have in mind. Children have gone from background to foreground figures in domestic life, with more and more attention centered on them, their upbringing, their small accomplishments, their right relationship with parents and grandparents. For the past 30 years at least, we have been lavishing vast expense and anxiety on our children in ways that are unprecedented in American and in perhaps any other national life. Such has been the weight of all this concern about children that it has exercised a subtle but pervasive tyranny of its own. This is what I call Kindergarchy: dreary, boring, sadly misguided Kindergarchy.For the entire article, click here.
While it is good to walk among the living, it is good also to live with the wise, great, and good dead. It keeps out of life the dreadful feeling of extemporaneousness, with its conceit and its despair. It makes us always know that God made other men before He made us. It furnishes a constant background for our living. It provides us with perpetual humility and inspiration. (In W. Wiersbe, Walking with the Giants, p. 15)Isaac Watts wrote:
The lives or memoirs of persons of piety, well written, have been of infinite and unspeakable advantage to the disciples and professors of Christianity, and have given us admirable instances and rules how to resist every temptation of a soothing or a frowning world, how to practice important and difficult duties, how to love God above all, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, to live by the faith of the Son of God, and to die in the same faith, in sure and certain hope of a resurrection to eternal life. (In James Reid, Memoirs of the Westminster Divines, p. iv)Jonthan Edwards wrote:
There are two ways of representing and recommending true religion and virtue to the world; the one, by doctrine and precept; the other, by instance and example.
(1 Timothy 4:7-8) Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.Here is the sermon manuscript from last Sunday's sermon. I am preaching a series called "Following Jesus" and this is the sixth sermon called "Growing in Godliness."
“...the idea of a personal attitude towards God that results in actions that are pleasing to God.”I recommend reading Jerry Bridges book -- The Practice of Godliness.
I praise God with amazing wife, Molly, for the healthy birth of our third son (and 4th child), Barnabas John Calvin Patz, who was born at 8:47 PM on Friday, June 6th 2008 at the
Barnabas was a hefty 9 lbs and 10 oz and was 21 ½ inches tall. Both the mom and boy are doing great (oh, and dad)!Here are a few pictures and a video clip:
I am going to pose a question and ask you to think for a minute or two before answering. Stop for a moment before you continue reading this article and answer this simple question. Who is the worst sinner you know? Chances are that you know hundreds of people. Perhaps a thousand. Think of all those people and ponder which one is the worst sinner of all.
Who did you think of? Perhaps you thought of a parent who did irreversible damage to you when you were only a child. Maybe you thought of a co-worker who delights in his own depravity, or maybe you thought of a friend or family-member who is imprisoned for what he has done. But if you were honest I hope you were able to admit that you know someone who is a far greater sinner than any of these.
Who do you know better than anyone else? Whose heart is laid before you in its entirety, so that you cannot escape the evil bubbling just beneath the surface and the far greater evil buried deep within? When I stop and think about the greatest sinner I know, I really have no choice but to admit that it is me. I am the greatest sinner I know. It feels good to say it. Good but humbling. I am the greatest sinner I know. I may not sin as much as the guy next door, but I see only a few of his evil deeds, so he cannot be the worst winner I know. I see every single one of mine. All day long, in everything I do and in every word I say, I see my own propensity towards evil.
I know how my heart grumbles when it should be glad, and how it is glad when it should cry out. I see how I can walk away from the poor, lonely and destitute and rarely think of them again. I know how I continually do the very things I least want to do and least should do, all the while avoiding those things I most want to do. Truly there is no end to the depravity of my heart. William Law, who lived in the 18th century, knew this. He said, “Nothing hath separated us from God but our own will, or rather our own will is our separation from God.” He said also that, “Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state.” The selfishness of my heart and my love for what is evil is both shocking and humbling. And it all begins with me.
The apostle Paul knew this. While there are few people in all of history most of us would be more eager to spend time with, and while there are few who have contributed more to the Christian faith, he looked into his heart and proclaimed himself the chief of sinners. “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15,16).
Like Paul, William Law was the worst sinner he knew. He wrote, “We may justly condemn ourselves as the greatest sinners we know because we know more of the folly of our own heart than we do of other people’s.”
You are the worst winner you know. I am the worst sinner I know. Say it to yourself and let it sink in. Let it penetrate your heart and your conscience.
All is not lost.
Why did Paul proclaim himself the foremost of sinners? He was not dwelling on his own sinful nature, nor bemoaning his state. No, Paul was pointing, as he did in every area of his ministry, to the cross of Christ. The depravity of the apostle was great, but how much greater was the love of Jesus Christ! He received mercy so that Jesus might display His amazing grace.
In The Cross Centered Life, C.J. Mahaney writes of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet. “As Jesus reclines at the low table, leaning on one elbow, His feet stretched out away from the table, the woman stands over Him and begins to weep. All conversation ceases. The sound of her weeping grows in volume, filling the house and spilling out into the street. Her freely flowing tears wet His unwashed feet. She kneels down, takes down her hair, and with it begins to wash Jesus’ tear-stained feet. The she kisses them and anoints them with perfume as an act of worship.”
We have all heard this story many times. But maybe we have missed its full significance. This woman was not weeping out of remorse for her sin. She was not asking the Lord’s forgiveness, hoping that her cries would stir His heart to give her a word of blessing. She knew that she had already been forgiven. Her soul was cleansed, her past forgotten. And so she wept, crying out with joy, gratitude and devotion. Looking to the worst sinner she knew, she was filled with love for the One who had extended grace to her. And so she wept, providing for Christians of all ages a beautiful example of worshipful devotion. And so she wept.
The greatest of sinners requires the greatest Savior. I am the greatest sinner I know. Thankfully, because of God’s grace, I also know the greatest Savior. And so I weep.
I am repeatedly asked about books that boys and men will want to read. The fact is that many guys just do not read for fun (if much at all) and yet, every now and then, they read a book that captures their attention. This list is for the moms and wives who are looking for a book that just might light that fire.Here is the link to the page with more detail but I have listed the names of the books below. They look good.
One reason for low interest in reading among males is the fact that much of the reading they are required to do in school is so uninteresting or demoralizing for boys. I believe that reading is appetitive. Readers develop a more ravenous appetite for books when they discover that they want to read and actually enjoy it. Here are some recent books that men and older teenagers are likely to enjoy.
Whole Bible in a year
Old Testament in a year
New Testament in a year
Old Testament in two years
Words of Jesus 4 times in a year
Whole Bible chronologically in a year
Whole Bible chronologically in a year #2
New Testament Letters 3 times in a year
New Testament & Proverbs twice, Psalms once in a year
New Testament & Psalms twice, rest of Bible once in a year
Proverbs in a month
Gospels in a month
Psalms in a month