Standing On The Promises

There is unquestionably an element of understanding to faith. But there is more to it than that. For Luther, Faith is fundamentally trust. He uses the word fiducia, which means confidence. Faith is about trusting a God who makes promises, and whose promises may be relied upon.

Luther wrote in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, “Where there is the word of God, who makes promises, there must necessarily be the faith of the person who accepts those promises.”

Faith lays hold of promise. Assurance is not established on reason or science but on the apprehension and acceptance of the word of God.

Witsius comments on Hebrews 11:1 by stating that there is ‘substance,’ or hypostasisor existence to the objects of our faith, “the properties and circumstances of things have a hypostatis, that is, really exist, and are not mere figments of our imagination. Accordingly, faith causes the thing hoped for, though not yet actually existing, to exist in the mind of the believer; who assents as firmly to the promises of God, as if he saw the blessings promised already present.”[1]

Calvin also used this term hypostasis when referring to the object of our faith. Calvin states, “Faith is the hypostasis, that the support or possession, on which we fix our foot.”[2]

Witsius also states that, “We understand by the term [faith], a principle which pervades all the faculties of the soul, and is the proper mean of uniting them to Christ, and of thus quickening, and making them holy, and happy.” [3]

The final resurrection of all men has not yet occurred, nor does it exist in itself, but faith gives it substance in our mind, because we believe God’s promise. The object of our faith; God’s promise of the resurrection, becomes a fact, a historical event just like the battle of Gettysburg.

Likewise, this principle works backward in time to lay hold of the promises of past events. Christ’s declaration in John 19:30 that “It is finished,” though stated in the past and fulfilled in the future, has substance or existence as truth in the present by faith.

Also, in communion we believe that Christ is present in the elements because He said He is, and faith in those words makes the communion, not a figment of our imagination, but something substantive and real. We believe and by believing we come to know that it is not merely bread and wine we hold. And this faith animates our spiritual life and relationship with Christ.

Faith lays hold of God’s words, objects both past and future, and makes them present.  This supports the soul, upon which it steadfastly fixes its foot and stands firm.

[1]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 43

[2]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 44.

[3]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 35.

Wives are Glorious Despots

1 Timothy 5:14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 

The Greek word translated “manage their households” is Oikodespotein; to rule as a despot. The wife is the despot of the home. What are we to make of this given biblical gender roles and headship?

This is not contradictory. The husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. Husbands have the responsibility and authority to lead their household. But good leadership does not micro-manage. It is not overbearing, rude or controlling. Husbands do not have the prerogative to make every decision in the household. Spheres of authority were created by God for good reason. The fact that a woman gets pregnant does deny that the husband is ultimately responsible for the child, unlike the modern view.

When it comes to choosing which prenatal vitamen, or OB or researching the right body pillow, no man is threatened enough to wonder where his headship went. But ultimately, if it’s a home birth or hospital birth fall well within his prerogative.

Men, what do you think of bosses who are control freaks and cannot let anyone else have authority, give input or take ownership of customers or products? What do you call such a boss?

A good leader in business is one who finds or cultivates competent men to whom he can delegate. A man ought to choose a woman who brings value to his life. Some of that value is the fact that you can trust her. She is competent and knows her business.

Proverbs 31:10–11An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  Continue reading “Wives are Glorious Despots”

The Light of the Mind

How does man know what he knows? How does man think? How does the mind process information? Augustine’s influence on man’s understanding of his own understanding can’t be overstated[1], especially when it comes to philosophy, theology and culture. Augustine thought deeply about how man thinks. Given Augustine’s classical education, thirst for philosophical inquiry and deep religious faith, he was particularly equipped by God to teach the Church what Athens has to do with Jerusalem; becoming the second founding father of Christianity[2].  Ronald H. Nash’s contribution to the ongoing debate about exactly what Augustine thought about how man thinks is an important scholarly work. What makes Nash’s work The Light of the Mind[3], so valuable to Augustinian and epistemological studies, is Nash’s approach. Nash accepts the fact that it was never “Augustine’s plan to construct a systematic theory of knowledge.”[4]So Nash’s approach to Augustine’s work is to formulate a system for evaluation. Augustine sometimes said very complicated things about faith’s relationship to knowledge [5]leading some to wonder if, as he aged, Augustine perhaps changed his position on truth, knowledge and faith. But Nash collects Augustine’s ideas into buckets to show exactly what Augustine taught about each idea and then proceeds to show how the buckets; skepticism, truth, faith, sensation, cognition and intellection flow forth into a consistent whole. Nash both attempts and accomplishes his goal. To show that “one can find throughout his [Augustine’s] writings the same general framework of knowledge. From some of his earliest letters to the definitive writings of his mature years he accepted approximately the same position.”[6]Augustine did not write a systematic work of philosophy, aesthetics or theology, but produced works in each with a systematic and poetic mind. Nash suggests that if we break down Augustine’s statements about various aspects of knowledge, we can develop a systematic and defensible Augustinian view on knowledge. Continue reading “The Light of the Mind”

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Kloss

Homily at the renewal of my parents wedding vows on their 42nd anniversary. This year is their 45th. 

Ephesians 5:25-33 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

I have often told young couples entering marriage that they are not getting married for their comfort. This is always hard to for them to understand. In the first bloom of love – when two people are promising themselves to one another – that can seem a bit like a wet blanket.

Young couples have a hard time imagining that wedded bliss would be anything but happiness – they implicitly believe marriage guarantees fulfillment, unconditional love and the absence of conflict. Young men can’t wait to come home after a long day at the office to a perfectly clean house, where the little woman has dinner ready and piled high on the table. Young ladies can’t wait for the security, safety and protection their doting husbands will provide. Someone who finally understands them.

To try to tell the dewy eyed couple that marriage is meant to sanctify them in the most thorough and crushing and glorious way – is hard to pull off. Living 24/7 with someone who is going to know everything ugly, as well as, every beautiful thing about you – is a dangerous prospect.

To enter life with someone who, within a short time, will learn your deepest fears, the exact word to set you off, all the buttons and the proper combination of buttons, that turn you into a maniac. To have the highest hope for someone – who lets you down the most. To try to convince young couples that, like the path of our Lord, marriage is one of selflessness, sorrow, self-denial, humility, service and fellowship that leads to the highest vistas of glorious joy. That is a hard sell. Marriage was not created for comfort. But everything I am saying falls on hard ears in our day. Continue reading “Mr. and Mrs. Paul Kloss”

Raising Children To Shape Culture

The point of saturating chidlren in the word of God and cultivating a curiosity about God in every subject of study is to prepare encultured Christians who shape culture faithfully, from the basis of the Scriptures, with Wisdom and true understanding.

Don’t let your kids get up from the school table and go on auto-pilot. The ditches are utter renunciation of the world or wholesale whoredom with it.

God doesn’t want ghettos and he doesn’t want communities that are undistinguishable from the world. God wants children, standing on the firm foundation of His word, wisely shaping culture – their work, the arts, the media, sports, politics, medicine, etc with wisdom and devotion to Him.

Sit down with your children and teach them at a young age how to engage culture. Watch their favorite program. My little pony, for example. Ask them – what kind of God rules this world? Is there sin? How is sin atoned for? Is individual or community more important? What is the show about?

Read them Pooh Bear and ask what kind of God does Pooh believe in? Continue reading “Raising Children To Shape Culture”

Neutrality is a lie

There is no neutrality in Education because there is no neutrality in anything. No aspect of human existence allows us to be both the servant of God and the servant of Satan. The servant of self and the servant of God.

Double minded, double tongued men who are tossed about by every wind of an idea are abhorrent to God.

John Frame, “Christians think differently from non-Christians; and when they don’t, they should. In describing the difference between Christian and non-Christian thinking, Van Til argued that the two groups of people hold different presuppositions. A presupposition, for Van Til, was the most fundamental commitment of the heart, a commitment that governed human life. Some people are committed to Jesus Christ and seek to “take every thought captive” to him (2 Cor. 10:5). The rest are committed to something else, either another religion, a philosophy, a political movement, or their own reason. There is no neutrality. To paraphrase bob Dylan, “you gotta serve somebody.” Our presupposition always commitments govern all our life decisions, indeed all our thinking. And in the end there are only two presuppositions: the supremacy of God and the supremacy of something in creation, which scripture calls idolatry.”[1]

The Fear of the LORD is the beginning of Knowledge.

1:7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

“Knowledge” and “wisdom” are closely tied together in Proverbs: “knowledge” tends to focus on correct understanding of the world and oneself as creatures of the magnificent and loving God, while “wisdom” is the acquired skill of applying that knowledge rightly, or “skill in the art of godly living.”[2]
Continue reading “Neutrality is a lie”

The Crown of Wife

In Genesis God states that it was not good that man was alone. Adam, upon meeting his wife spoke the first recorded words of man, and in Hebrew, it is a poem.

Adam said, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Essentially, this woman is me. 

It’s better that you are married. But we have to understand that marriage is not the reward for responsible men – marriage is the means that God uses to make responsible men. Without your wife you were incomplete. And your response to her should be poetic praise. 

That completeness isn’t like icing on the cake. It’s not about having a cook or a housecleaner or extra income or something pretty clinging to your arm as you go about impressing everyone. 

Your wife completes you because she brings into your life all of the glorious qualities that make men higher beings than the animals. She softens you into creatures that are images of Christ. 

Marriage is a long obedience in the same direction and God uses it to shape men into little Christs. 

Gentleness, Patience, kindness, self-control – all the things you need to handle the weaker vessel. And the weaker vessel is the weaker vessel like gold is the softer metal. Gold is soft so that it is malleable –able to be shaped, molded and altered by the forces applied to into adorning objects of Beauty.  

You are that force.  Continue reading “The Crown of Wife”