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Showing posts from March 10, 2013

Seminary?

(I was just asked these questions by some local college student. He was surveying several ministers from very different denominations, and I just happened to get pegged. After sending him my answers, I realized that maybe some readers of this blog might benefit from my answers. His questions are in the bold print; my answers are below.)

1.) What are the benefits of someone who attends seminary, as opposed to someone who does not attend seminary, if they both want to be in full-time ministry? I can answer this from both sides. I used to be a Church of Christ minister, who had no seminary training, just some “preacher-training school” classes. Here, my Biblical knowledge was only surface, and guided by my own reason as I pieced things together. After I left the CoC and became Presbyterian, I started seminary (Reformed Theological Seminary-Jackson MS). My depth of Bible knowledge grew exponentially, as well as my ability to discern worldview trends in church and culture. Also, I gained de…

Habemus Papam! 13 March 2013

At the outset, these are only my personal reflections on the election of Pope Francis I (Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina) today, 13 March 2013.
As a Protestant, and a Presbyterian, I affirm wholeheartedly the 1788 American edition of the Westminster Confession of Faith’s clear statement, “There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof” (25.6). This will disappoint my Catholic friends, no doubt, but it is what I affirm and agree with; and I believe that both Scripture and the earliest traditions of the Church teach the same.
But now I speak to my Protestant, Evangelical and Independent friends, recognizing that I may likely dissatisfy many.
There is a hard reality we must acknowledge, no matter what we may prefer or profess. The “Pope of Rome” is the human face of Christianity in the eyes of the world in which we live. If he is an abysmal failure, immoral, weak, or injudicious, all of Christianity suffer…

Distinctly Christian Worship

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 21 paragraph 2, enunciates three very clear criteria for Christian worship that marks it out as distinctly Christian: “Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to Him alone: not to angels, saints, or any other creature: and, since the fall, not without a mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.” First, our worship is to be Trinitarian. It is good, appropriate, and proper that our worship includes Trinitarian Creeds, along with the Doxology, the Gloria Patri, Trinitarian prayers, hymns etc. This Trinitarian nature of Christian liturgy might need to be pointed out at times, and explained at other times, but should never be muted to accommodate visitors. It is one important criterion that sets apart our assemblies from a pep rally, or an Amway sales convention.
I once was part of a worship service where the overtly Trinitarian portion of a hymn was truncated and dropped altogether bec…