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Theological Fragments – 01-11-16


Christian Living

Last week Christina Fox wrote a wonderful blog post at The Christward Collective on the Palms of lament. I’ve been convicted lately on how much I neglect the Psalms in my life. Many Christians today no longer sing the Psalms at church and if they do, it is usually just a small part of the Psalm- the encouraging part. From my experience, this is also how we tend to read the Psalms. We simply don’t know what to do with the dreadful, the depressing, and the fearful aspects of the Psalms. This isn’t how the Psalms were intended to be read or sung. As Fox points out, the Psalms of lament “express the hardest and most painful of all emotions that humans feel: sorrow, rejection, despair, and fear”. They were intended to be taken as a whole so that we can experience and contemplate on how Christ is Lord over our sorrow, rejection, despair and fear. This is a good defense of using the Psalms in private as well as public worship and Christina Fox does a good job breaking down the common structure of these cherished Psalms. Read, How the Laments Speak to Our Fears.


What is the best way to grow a church? Over at Ligonier, Al Mohler argues that it happens by preaching the word Slowly, Immeasurably, Invisibly

The Whitehorse Inn is beginning a new series on the great moments and people of redemption history. I’m excited about this. Really excited. Here is the first lesson.

Current Events

Lat week at Patheos, Libby Anne published a good summary of the allegations against Bill Gothard and IBLP. I know that Gothard still has many apologists. I’m not one. Perhaps he is innocent, but for the sake of the victims we need to let this play out and allow them to be heard. We can not continue to silence victims simply because they might be wrong. The facts will play out. They must if we truly want justice. It doesn’t look good for Gothard. There are simply too many women coming forward and their stories are similar enough that we start to see a pattern of behavior.

Has anyone been paying attention to what is going on over at The Free University of Amsterdam? This is quite unexpected? After starting out as a conservative Christian university, the Free University became a leader in liberal theology. Now it appears there is a slow but sure move back toward orthodoxy. Is it possible that the great American universities (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc) will follow in their footsteps? It’s a bit early to tell but a topic to revisit an a couple of decades.

Cultural Trends

Last month The Federalist had an interesting article on how our society tends to sexualize everything. The author, D.C. McAllister focuses specifically on friendships and calls for a rediscovery of Phileo. Good read. I hope it sparks some discussion.

Also last month, NYC will begin fining employers $250,000 for referring to transgender employees by their birth gender. You can read about it here

6 thoughts on “Theological Fragments – 01-11-16

  1. I adore the Psalms. All of them! You are right though you have to allow the entire Psalm to be read not just the feel good parts. The ones where God slaughters his enemies. Those are hard for me. Or when David prays to God to kill his enemies. Harsh. How are we to read those?

  2. Interesting article on the Free University of Amsterdam. I wonder how this will all play out. Here in the U.S. we seem to be going the opposite but if Europe changes we will follow. Eventually.

    Regarding Gothard. It was bound to happen. All that legalistic pride bundled up on display for all to see. These falls are inevitable. It’s pride. And it ruined a lot of lives. These girls that he raped should get a large portion of his wealth. They are victims and need to be supported.

    I like the post on over sexiualization. Turns out it does hurt others. Abiding friendships are aost a thing of the paSt because any intimacy between friends is looked at with suspicion. When I was a child my family would get together with good friends and would always greet one another with a kiss. I mentioned that to a lady in my congregation when discussing cultural expressions of intimacy and she said “that is perverse”

  3. Marie I agree completely. I’m currently reading a book where the author mentions the Psalms in passing and I was hit by the impact that singing partial Psalms has on our view of God. Consider Psalm 5 as popularized by Maranatha

    “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.

    Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

    My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

    Sounds good right? But what about the parts that left off? This is only an incomplete picture of God. Consider the rest and how it makes God so much more than just the first few verses:

    “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

    The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

    Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

    But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

    Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

    For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

    Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

    But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

    For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”

    That gives us a fuller picture of God. Maybe not as easy to sing or swallow… but a fuller picture nonetheless.

  4. Janis

    Aaron I couldn’t agree with you more and the example you just gave is perfect. What book are you reading? We sing Psalms at out church but this is a dying thing now. We also sing hymns and contemporary songs. We lost our pianist to cancer last fall so we are just singing with a piano recording now but it’s all the same. It is difficult to song the Psalms of you are not used to it. Some of the words make you stop and think ” I can’t worship God by saying that”. But then you remember David wrote them and wrote them as worship songs. This tells me that our modern idea of worship is wrong.

  5. Mari

    My father went to the Free University when RC Sproul was there. He is very excited about the changes. I’m sure Sproul is too!

  6. Donald R.

    My daughter wentry through Gothard’s training. She says nothing ever happened and I believe her but she has a friend sheet there who has closed uplease since she was there and won’t talk about it. She just shuts down when asked. She’s angry with her parents, with the church and in general has rebelled.

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