Good Friday

The one who crafted all that’s seen
And brought to life this vast array
Could not deny his very being
And let his glory turn to gray

For trifles we descended low
Refusing him, preferred his gift
We seek with longing even though
Unable to repair the rift

To those he gifted with their life
And welcomed to enjoy his grace
He offered relief from their strife
To see again his gracious face

Before we asked for terms of peace
He lived our life and walked our path
He never compromised his glory
Yet he felt the heat of wrath

This was the price of condemnation
His glory could not be denied
And so he took our just condition
To give us life he finally died

His life among us brought together
Justice, Mercy, Grace and Peace
His death, one dying for another
The wrath endured brought our release

There is no boast, just out-stretched hand
In faith to one who came to save
Upon his life, we take our stand
Behold the one rose from the grave

I don’t know how long it has been since I have written poetry, but while studying Romans 3:21-31 (in light of the fact that it is Good Friday) some lines came to mind, so I paused from my study to see what else might come. I might work on it further, but thought I would share what I have.

The Answer to Everything

“God has acted in grace and mercy through the death of Christ with an offer of forgiveness, to which people must respond in faith, turning from evil, receiving empowerment through God’s Spirit, and looking forward to eternal life.” (William D. Mounce, The Pastoral Epistles, WBC v.46, lxxvi.)

[Quote posted at http://julianfreeman.ca/gospel/answer]

Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons

Westminster Theological Seminary has put up a website on the subject of Dan Brown’s book “Angels and Demons,” This website addresses some of the claims made in the book. It may be a novel, but Dan Brown has been explicit that he is using the novel format to help the medicine he is providing (would that be hemlock?) go down smoother.)

The following is from the “about” page.

Westminster Theological Seminary’s web site, TheTruthAboutAngelsAndDemons.com joins Westminster’s already well recognized web site TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com.  Both seek to present a balanced assessment of Dan Brown’s narratives, the historical data, and the philosophy set forth in his best-selling novels and movies. These are not “boycott” sites, which tell people to avoid the movies or books, or “rebuttal” sites whose only purpose is to oppose fact with fact. Our aim is to follow the injunction of the apostle Peter, who instructed the church to be prepared to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you… yet with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16).

While appreciating Brown’s engaging narratives, and recognizing any author’s right to present a good yarn, we are concerned because the mix of fact and fiction in his books and films are leading many readers to question the Bible’s message and its impact on history. Using the best resources we can find, both human and written, we want to set the record straight and commend the historic Christian faith to the sincere inquirer.

Form and Content in the Context of Worship

Carl Trueman has a thought-provoking essay that considers the relationship between form and content in worship services (Look, It’s Rubbish at Reformation 21.org).

If God is awesome, sovereign and holy; if human beings are small, sinful, and lost; if Christ died and rose again by a most miraculous and costly act of grace, then this should impact the way things happen in church.  This is not to argue for a one-size-fits-all-my-way-or-the-highway approach to church.  Context and culture are important; but what is expressed through the idioms of particular cultural manifestations of the church should be awe, reverence, and, above all seriousness – not a colourless and cold miserable seriousness but a fitting amazement at the greatness of God and his grace.

A Call to Joy and Pain

Crossway.blog has an interview with Ajith Fernando, author of “A Call to Joy & Pain,” which recently won a 2008 Christianity Today Book Award in the Church/Pastoral Leadership category.

You mention wanting to help people develop an approach to life that “refuses to look upon suffering as a big deal.” How can this be possible when we inherently view suffering as being a very big deal?

If we realize the great wealth of a life of godliness with contentment (1 Tim. 6:16) and the great wealth of our riches in Christ, then we are able to put suffering in perspective and look at it in relation to the greatest things in life. Then the sting of suffering is reduced. Our theology tells us that even suffering will work out for our good (Rom. 8:28). We realize that suffering is less significant than the love of God for us and in us (Rom. 8:31-38) and the deep joy of the Lord in us arising from the fact that God loves (1 John 3:1) and delights in us (Zeph. 3:17).

Read the whole interview.