Hardly To Be Discerned

“Good and evil grow up together in the field of this world almost inseparably, and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labor to cull out and sort asunder were not more intermixed.” – John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644

Here We Stand October 31, 2013

Filed under: Thinking hard — Elizabeth @ 11:52

The following quotes were severely inflammatory words when they were nailed to a church door on this day in 1517, by an earnest young priest and theologian who feared God more than men. Part of a document that sparked many more necessary departures of doctrine from the corrupt Roman Catholic church, and planting seeds of truth with which the dissenters formed a true church that followed Jesus Christ alone, instead of popes and bishops and priests. Even more wonderfully, the Bible was translated into the commoner’s German so that people could read it for themselves — the Dark Ages would soon be over!

Note: Although many reforms were subsequently made within Catholicism, it is tragic that in much of the world Catholicism is synonymous with Christianity. I’d love to wipe out a millennia of semantics and make this no longer the case; if only wishing made it so. Perhaps there is a way. This weighs heavily on my heart. Followers of Christ MUST defend His name and not allow it to be dragged through the Catholic quagmire which makes its parishioners into slaves of the church rather than slaves of Christ!

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope’s wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

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Another note: Even though so much of Martin Luther’s work was used by God to clarify the truth, we must exercise careful discernment as we think about the Reformers, and any other men in leadership or other influential positions. Here are some ways that Luther was not biblical in his beliefs/approach, as laid out by Dr. William Varner.
“He (Luther) had a lot of baggage that should not be overlooked. He persecuted the Anabaptists; he contributed to the slaughter of myriads in the Peasants War; he refused to work with Zwingli because of differences on the eucharist and was not displeased at his death; he approved of his secular elector’s bigamy; he spoke very disparagingly of James and Jude; he viciously attacked the Jews because of their refusal to believe the Gospel; and he supported the idea of a state church with infant baptism as its badge.”

We are all susceptible to error. Let’s commit to stay in the Word and regularly feed ourselves with its truth!

 

Weed ’em and Reap October 30, 2013

Filed under: Elizabeth's escapades! — Elizabeth @ 16:31

Sit for a bit and enjoy three good links for three good thinks. 

First, from Christianity Today (which is often Christianity Astray but not in this case): “The Very Worst Trend Ever” — some keen thoughts on the dangers of the current Christian-cultural crush on “brokenness”, and how it can so easily morph into an unbiblical acceptance of stagnation: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2013/july/very-worst-trend.html?paging=off

Second, from Dr. Al Mohler, insights on Halloween. Not legalistic, just helpful. 
http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/10/30/christianity-and-the-dark-side-what-about-halloween-5/

Third, a gracious and encouraging challenge from John Piper to all parents. Now that I’m grown, I’m so very grateful that mine enforced first-time obedience.  http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/parents-require-obedience-of-your-children

 

A Woman’s Power Over Men October 24, 2013

Filed under: Elizabeth's escapades! — Elizabeth @ 16:32

No, not that kind of power.

I strongly believe that women should put just as much effort into understanding men as we women often demand that they put into understanding us. Movies, TV shows and jokes would have us think that we’ve got men squarely pegged as uncomplicated, egotistical dunderheads.

Well, I beg to differ.

Now, most of you reading this know that I am single. Lack of experience abounds with me, so this is no attempt to come off as some kind of self-declared expert. My desire is to describe some observations, express a few points I’ve become passionate about, and point the reader to some helpful resources that I am very grateful to have the benefit of learning from before ever entering a marriage.
For those of us not married, there is still much that is applicable to our friendships with men, and useful for practice, so to speak.

Back to the — what did we say? — ah yes, egotistical dunderheads.
So, maybe a man is being an egotistical dunderhead at a particular juncture, but that is not the extent of his abilities, nor does it speak to his level of inner complexity. There is no value in arguments over which sex’s inner life is most labyrinthine, and we women should stop thinking of men as easy to understand while writing off any serious effort to modify how we think about how they think. The way we think becomes the way we speak, and “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21a)

Men were created by God just as women were. In fact they were created first, and women were created to be helpers. There are a myriad of places I could go from here, spanning the whole spectrum of the roles discussion, but my focus is the power we women have over the men in our lives — for good or for evil. In particular, power simply to help them either become men or remain boys. To turn them to God, or away from Him.

That’s the kind of power I’m talking about. Women can be an incredible source of strength for their husbands (and sons!), and an equally powerful place of defeat. We can build them up or tear them down, and which one we accomplish is decided in the instant between emotion and response. As we should with all of our speech, take a few extra beats and think carefully. Pray. Seek wisdom. Because belittling, scolding, and disrespecting a man is the best way to hinder his growth. Dennis Rainey, co-founder of FamilyLife Ministries, says “You can mother your husband if you want to, but you’ll turn him back into a boy.” Even if a man is being childish, treating him like a child in return doesn’t help. And a man who has difficulty growing out of adolescence can be absolutely made by a wife who affirms and encourages him, speaking with respect no matter what.

They go together: making the effort to understand men in general and being the helpers we were meant to be.

Personally, I find men very intriguing. They’re plenty complex. The wonderful workings that God has built into men’s minds suit them for roles He requires them to fill. It is my prayer that I will remember to study my future husband and sons, to build them up in a way that helps them become more godly men, mentors, and patriarchs than they would otherwise have been.

Ladies, we may not be superheroes or supermoms, but we have great power and we are using this power whether we’re aware of it or not. Let’s use it for good!

FamilyLife Today radio has a series all about “Stepping Up to Manhood”, which includes two days of talks from Barbara Rainey about ways women can help or hinder the maturity of their men. I highly recommend it, and the link to listen online is below. Also very helpful are the books written by Shaunti Feldhahn, “For Women Only” and “For Men Only.” 

http://www.familylife.com/audio/series/2013/stepping-up-to-manhood

 

APU Decision October 7, 2013

Filed under: Elizabeth's escapades! — Elizabeth @ 16:31

Regarding the theology professor at Azusa Pacific University who recently declared herself to be transgender and now a man:

I’m so glad that it appears she was treated with love and grace by her colleagues throughout the process of discussion and decision. Even more glad that the university decided to stand for Scriptural truth on human sexuality instead of capitulating to the lower standard of political correctness.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?id=9275662