11

More Than Conquerors

As faithful readers of this blog know,  I have often posted humorous videos from The Lutheran Satire.  The man behind the videos, Lutheran Pastor Hans Fiene, has a profound reflection on the Sutherland shootings at The Federalist:

 

So when a madman with a rifle sought to persecute the faithful at First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, he failed. Just like those who put Christ to death, and just like those who have brought violence to believers in every generation, this man only succeeded in being the means through which God delivered his children from this evil world into an eternity of righteousness and peace.

“We do not need to fear the day of persecution that’s coming to the church, because God said it’s going to come. He warned us over 2,000 years ago the day was coming. And rather than fear it, He said just endure it. Now ‘endure it’ is a hard word. ‘Endure it’ doesn’t mean that they might take your ice cream away today. ‘Endure it’ means it may be a rough day. It may be a rough few years. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.”

 

These are words that First Baptist’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, preached on October 19, 2014—a little more than three years before his 14-year-old daughter and 25 other members of his congregation were murdered. Despite the immense sorrow he, his family, and his congregation are now experiencing, I pray they will still trust in these words.

Despite the horror that madman made the saints of First Baptist endure, those who endured it with faith in Christ have received his victory. Although the murderer filled their eyes with terror, God has now filled them with his glory. Although he persecuted them with violence, God seized that violence and has now used it to deliver his faithful into a kingdom of peace. Although this madman brought death to so many, God has used that death to give them the eternal life won for them in the blood of Jesus.

 

Those who persecute the church and those who mock Christians for trusting in Almighty God rather than Almighty Government may believe that the bloodshed in Texas proves the futility of prayer. But we believers see the shooting in Texas as proof of something far different—proof that Christ has counted us worthy to suffer dishonor for his name and proof that no amount of dishonor, persecution, or violence can stop him from answering our prayer to deliver us from evil.

 

Go here to read the rest.

 

31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”j

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8: 31-39

 

 

April Fool From the Lutheran Satire

 

A bit strange, even for The Lutheran Satire, but I fear that Ozymandias may be an accurate summation of this pontificate:

 

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley
15

Tim Kaine Is No Prophet

 

Faithful readers of this blog know that I am a fan of The Lutheran Satire videos.  The man behind them, Lutheran Pastor Hans Fiene, has a great post at The Federalist on Tim Kaine’s prediction that the Catholic Church will ultimately approve gay marriage.  He ends on a note of optimism that I believe is completely acccurate:

What Kaine fails to recognize, however, is that Francis is the peak rather than the beginning of liberalism’s ascendancy, that his generation’s Catholicism is in its last gasp. American cultural Christianity is in its death throes. The social mechanisms that have kept heterodox people in the pews and in seminaries are evaporating. For several generations, cultural and moral relativism-spouting court preachers in soft clothing have taught their people that the church body has nothing of substance to offer them, and our nation’s children are finally responding accordingly.

So while Kaine may feel optimistic when he sees that millennials overwhelmingly favor gay marriage, he forgets that, unlike his generation, millennials also overwhelmingly favor not bothering to change the dogma of churches they’ve already quit attending. No matter how many secular cheerleaders your side may have, it will be rather hard for Kaine’s camp to win the battle for Catholicism’s future when they don’t have any actual soldiers under the age of 50.

The future of Christianity does not belong to those who want to clothe themselves in both the robes of the church and the approval of the world. It belongs to those who gladly endure the rejection of this world to taste the kingdom of God. The future of Christianity does not belong to the hordes of aging white, liberal American cafeteria Catholics or a la carte Protestants who insist it doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you have love in your heart. Christendom’s future belongs to the stubborn young bloods of all tribes and tongues throughout the world who will actually bother to show up because they actually believe what their creeds and catechisms confess.

In the years to come, at least in our nation, our pews may be emptier but the faithful few who fill them will be looking for genuine forgiveness instead of shallow validation. The next generation of clergymen will be far more likely to proclaim it to them, just as they will be more likely to preach genuine repentance to the next generation of Kaines and Paul Simons instead of covering their ears every time those supposedly devout Catholics and Lutherans claim to be “personally opposed” to an evil they’ve consistently worked to perpetuate.

The future of Christianity does not belong to those who are certain the pope will one day see the light on gay marriage or any other unbiblical notion about marriage. The future of Christianity does not belong to those who publicly deny the doctrines of their church bodies, but to those who will boldly confess them, thank God where they are unified with other denominations, and seek to resolve their divisions until Christ blesses us with the unity he prayed for. Continue Reading

3

CS Lewis on the Trinity

 

 

 

You know that in space you can move in three ways – to left or right, backwards or forwards, up or down. Every direction is either one of these three or a compromise between them. They are called the three Dimensions. Now notice this. If you are using only one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you are using two, you could draw a figure: say, a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines. Now a step further. If you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body: say, a cube – a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made up of six squares.

Do you see the point? A world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways – in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.

Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level. On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate beings – just as, in two dimensions (say on a flat sheet of paper) one square is one figure, and any two squares are two separate figures. On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine. In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube. But we can get a sort of faint notion of it. And when we do, we are then, for the first time in our lives, getting some positive idea, however faint, of something super-personal – something more than a person. It is something we could never have guessed, and yet, once we have been told, one almost feels one ought to have been able to guess it because it fits in so well with all the things we know already. Continue Reading

4

Parodies

17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

2 Peter 2:  17-22

 

 

Both the videos should be parodies, but sadly only the one below from those brilliantly twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire is an intentional one:

 

9

Shocking New Discovery About Christ!

 

From those brilliantly twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire.  As CS Lewis said:

 

You will find that a good many Christian political writers think that Christianity began going wrong in departing from the doctrine of its founder at a very early stage. Now this idea must be used by us to encourage once again the conception of a “historical Jesus” to be found by clearing away later “accretions and perversions,” and then to be contrasted with the whole Christian tradition. In the last generation we promoted the construction of such a “historical Jesus” on liberal and humanitarian lines. We are now putting forward a new “historical Jesus” on Marxian, catastrophic and revolutionary lines. The advantages of these constructions, which we intend to change every thirty years or so, are manifold. In the first place they all tend to direct man’s devotion to something which does not exist. Because each “historical Jesus” is unhistorical, the documents say what they say and they cannot be added to. Each new “historical Jesus” has to be got out of them by suppression at one point and exaggeration at another point. And by that sort of guessing (brilliant is the adjective we teach humans to apply to it) on which no one would risk ten shillings in ordinary life, but which is enough to produce a crop of new Napoleons, new Shakespeares, and new Swifts in every publisher’s autumn list. . . . The “historical Jesus,” then, however dangerous he may seem to be to us at some particular point, is always to be encouraged.

3

Saint Patrick and the Trinity

Well, the Trinity is a hard concept for human minds to grasp, something we often encounter when describing God.  Saint Patrick probably never used a shamrock to describe the Trinity, but I like to think he did state what the Trinity is when he spoke to two daughters of an Irish King:

 

 

St. Patrick, full of the Holy Spirit, responded, “Our God is the God of all, the God of heaven and earth, the God of the seas and rivers, the God of the sun and moon, and all the other planets; the God of the high hills and low valleys; God over heaven, in heaven, and under heaven; and He has a mansion, that is, heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them. He inspireth all things. He quickeneth all things. He enkindleth all things. He giveth light to the sun, and to the moon. He created fountains in the dry land, and placed dry islands in the sea, and stars to minister to the greater lights. He hath a Son, coeternal and coequal with Himself; and the Son is not younger than the Father, nor is the Father older than the Son. And the Holy Ghost breatheth in them. And the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not divided. I desire, moreover, to unite you to the Son of the heavenly king, for ye are daughters of an earthly king. Continue Reading

5

Donall and Conall Teach Richard Dawkins About Circular Arguments

 

From those twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire.  Dawkins, and others of his mindset, attempt to erect Science as a substitute religion, even as they absolutely refuse to seriously entertain the truth of Hamlet’s observation:    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.  Attempting to turn the intellectual instrument of Science into a religion underlines this statement from CS Lewis that looks increasingly prophetic as the years roll by:

“Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared—the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true. We may be living nearer than we suppose to the end of the Scientific Age.”  

3

The Moral Law and the Ritual Purity Law

Those wonderfully twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire explain the distinction between the moral law and the ritual purity law to internet atheists.  It is an important issue and I have addressed it before:

 

A question arose yesterday in a thread, posed by Michael:

I have a real question. Homosexuality, as a sin an abomination, is mentioned in Leviticus. That book, however, also says:
 – disrespect of parents should be punishable by death
 – sleeping with a woman during her period should make both parties outcasts
 – don’t eat pork
 – shellfish are an abomination

So my question is, why are some of the verses ignored and others so important?

It is a good question and sometimes confuses Catholics and non-Catholics.  The answer to the question is in the very earliest history of the Church.  After the ascension of Jesus, the apostles went about the great task of making “disciples of all the nations”, and Christianity began to spread among Jew and Gentile alike.  The question quickly arose as to whether Gentile converts would have to be circumcised (the males only of course!) and follow all of the Jewish laws regarding ritual purity.  If they were asked to do this, it would mean a complete revolution in their life.  They would no longer be able to even eat a meal with their Gentile relatives and friends.  Like the Jews, the Christians would be a people set apart, cut off from interacting in the simplest ways with non-Jews for fear of violating the hundreds of laws of the Old Testament regarding ritual purity. Continue Reading

6

Saint Patrick’s Bad Analogies: Updated

From those wickedly funny folks at The Lutheran Satire.  On Saint Patrick’s Day it is good to recall this from his confession of faith:

For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name.

Anyone who can say Amen to that will be honoring Saint Patrick today in a manner he would truly approve.

Update:

The folks at The Lutheran Satire delve what happens to YouTube captioning in a video filled with bad Irish accents and Trinitarian jargon:

Then Donall and Conall tangle with Mormon missionaries: