Lord's Day Liturgy

The Word of Protest

Jesus told His disciples, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 25:34). He had just finished giving some signs of His coming, and said that the generation who sees the signs will see all of them. His words are true, firm, inerrant, infallible, indestructible, and eternal.

The Word is living and abiding, and this is the word that was preached in the first century, it is the word that was recovered in the 16th century, it is the word that continues to regenerate and reform.

Sola scriptura was the material cause of the Protest. We Protestants are made by this Word. Scripture is the thread and pattern of our worship and worldview. Obviously it’s possible for men to have it and twist it and turn it for their own advantage; such is the work of Medieval Popes and Cardinals and modern televangelists and so-called critical scholars. But when plough-boys and milk maids get their own copies, and when the Spirit opens the eyes of our hearts, Christians are born and churches are built.

When God gives men understanding of the Word they summarize it into creeds and confessions. Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a systematic theology that helps us in ways that complement his commentaries. Luther’s recovery of justification by faith alone was the instrumental cause of the 16th Century Reformation, and needed particular definition and defense. And while we thank God for those who sacrificed to translate and preserve and teach us God’s Word through their words, we honor their work best by reading and hearing and preaching and memorizing the Word most.

Let the pastors boldly dare all things by the word of God. Let them constrain all the power, glory, and excellence of the world to give place to the divine majesty of the word. (—John Calvin)

When we suffer, Scripture gives us hope. When we walk in darkness, Scripture is a light. When we groan, we learn from God’s Word our lines.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 ESV)

The End of Many Books

The Everlasting Man

by G. K. Chesterton

It seems like there are more and more resources coming out that show how where we are today is completely unexplainable apart from the incarnation of God’s Son followed by His death, resurrection, and commission of disciples. Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World (written by a professing non-Christian), The Air We Breathe: How We All Came to Believe in Freedom, Kindness, Progress, and Equality, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, and How to Be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough. The Everlasting Man may be one of the first to pay tribute to the beauty of the true myth and the boring, repetitive strains of so many mystics and moderns. If we were just given eyes to see the glory of the miraculous, including that for all His miraculous powers Jesus didn’t use His miracle-working powers like the “gods” of men, then we might have more wonder toward and grasp of truth about reality.

Chesterton is sometimes a little too clever with his topsyturvy turns of compound sentences, and he wanders around a lot, though not in circles, and not because he’s lost. I think he’d be fine with that observation; part of his observation is that History is less linear and more of a networked-web. I’m glad I read this, and can see myself referencing it again and again due to his unrelenting joy in how Christ has made and changed the world everlastingly.

Here’s a thread of other things I took away from this book.

4 of 5 stars

The End of Many Books


by C. S. Lewis

I have grown older since the last time I read Perelandra, and reading it again has made me older still.

Of course I’m riffing off the Green Lady’s testimony; growing older is how she describes her learning, so does the King, as well as Piebald. We learn more and it makes us less young. Solomon once wrote that in much wisdom and knowledge there is much grief and sorrow. And there is much to maturing that is misery. It is a fight to keep the joy.

Ransom’s fight on Venus is a good fight.

I reread this second part of the Ransom trilogy because our next Fiction Festival is at least about That Hideous Strength and I wanted a fresh meditation through the whole series for sake of my preparation. I’m adding the fifth star to my previous four in 2014.

Blessed be He!

5 of 5 stars

The End of Many Books


by Tim Grover

I read Grover’s previous book, Relentless, before “The Last Dance” documentary came out during the lockdown months of ’20. I rooted for the 90’s Bulls, and for Michael Jordan in particular since I watched the 1982 NCAA championship when he played at UNC. That’s the first basketball game I remember watching on TV, and I’m wearing a UNC sweatshirt as I type this.

Anyway, Relentless had a number of stories about MJ, and Grover is interviewed a couple times in the “Dance” episodes. This new book, Winning, references more of those stories and adds much more about the mindset and commitments of the late Kobe Bryant.

I don’t remember where I heard about Winning, and I wouldn’t put this in my top ten list of necessary reads, and yet we were having some conversations at home about competition and not holding back and doing the things other people aren’t willing to do. Winning fits.

If you’re looking for a little competitive boost via basketball stories (and don’t mind some language) then this book is a win.

3 of 5 stars

Lord's Day Liturgy

A Dud to Some

Eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper is for the children of God, in order to strengthen their faith which is a work of the Spirit of God, that we may overcome the world.

The victory that victories the world is our faith (1 John 5:4), and in particular our faith that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:5). The Spirit is the one who testifies that this is true, and the testimony of God is greater than the testimony of man (1 John 5:6, 9).

To the world it is a ridiculous thing to eat bread as though it were Jesus’ body and to drink wine as though it were Jesus’ blood. Some even call it scandalous. It’s gross. It’s superstitious. And it certainly can’t be more than a strategic dud. For those who don’t have the testimony, it is a dud. “What good is that?”

But all they have are idols. They are still under the power of the evil one. They do not have understanding. They do not know Him who is true. They do not have eternal life. They are outside of God’s love. They are in a system, the world, destined to lose.

By faith we hold fast to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is the true God and eternal life. The Spirit testifies in our faith that we are God’s children, His heirs, and co-heirs with Christ. We come to this family Table as those who have been born of God, and “everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

Lord's Day Liturgy

Killing Anger

Last Sunday evening I addressed the foolishness of anger as described in Proverbs. Angry men (and women and children) give evidence of failing to fear the Lord. Angry men (and women and children) are also not walking in the Spirit.

There are more works of the flesh than one, but “fits of anger” is in between jealousy and rivalries in Galatians 5:20. These works are “evident.” It’s foolish, fleshly, and apart from repentance, those who keep getting angry will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21).

By contrast, the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. In the Spirit we belong to Jesus and we kill the flesh, including anger.

With different imagery, Paul told the Colossians to “put off anger, wrath” and more (Colossians 3:8). Whether you’re accustomed to wearing anger, or if it’s the fashion of the day, take it off.

James told his readers to be slow to anger because the anger of man doesn’t produce the righteousness that God requires (James 1:19-20).

It matters for our worship.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling. (1 Timothy 2:8 ESV)

Put anger to death (Romans 8:13). Don’t provoke the Father to anger with yours.

Lord's Day Liturgy

Seeking Death

Paul told the Corinthians that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Sometimes I’ve wondered why focus on the death instead of the resurrection. Of course the resurrection is included, because there is no “he comes” after the death unless He’s alive again. But the Lord’s Supper proclaims His death in particular.

The reason the Father sent the Son was to die. When Jesus told His mother that His time hadn’t come yet, He did go ahead and make some tasty wine, but it was His blood that gives us a taste of abundant life. He had no doubt about His purpose. It’s how He told others to recognize Him: when He was lifted up (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32-33). It’s how He knew that forgiveness could be applied: when He bore our sins on the tree.

The gold that he was seeking was death. The primary thing that he was going to do was to die. He was going to do other things equally definite and objective; we might almost say equally external and material. But from first to last the most definite fact is that he is going to die. (G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, Location 3102)

This is why He did not use His miracle-doing power to escape His hour, the power of darkness (Luke 22:53). This hour was His goal and glory (John 12:27).

Which means that He had His mind set on death so that we could have our minds set on the things of the Spirit. He condemned sin in the flesh so that we could could live the rest of our time in the flesh un-condemned and dead to sin.

The End of Many Books

Battle for the American Mind

by Pete Hegseth and David Goodwin

If you can read then this book would benefit you. It’s about education and schools, about the trajectory of teachers’ unions for a century, about what chaos happens in classrooms across the country. But it’s more than that. It’s about civilization and culture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The key term in the book is paideia. Its from a Greek word referring to the culture of a society, how a people understand the “good life,” and how they share it with their kids and equip their kids to live and love according to what is really good.

There are three paideias distinguished in the book: 1) the Western Christian Paideia (WCP), 2) the American Progressive Paideia (APP), and 3) the Cultural Marxist Paideia (CMP). The WCP was predominant in the West until about a century ago, the APP took over, and the CMP started to displace and destroy the remnants of real objective virtue just after the year 2000.

The Christian and classical model is what makes our school tick, and David Goodwin is the President of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) of which our school is a member. The Battle isn’t new, but it will hopefully reach a new audience and convict Christian parents that something is better than government mis-education.

If you care about helping students be less stupid so that they will be less stupid citizens and neighbors, buy and read and share this resource.

4 of 5 stars

Lord's Day Liturgy

No Mercy

We have been remembering and rejoicing that we are not under law but under grace (Romans 7), and that therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8). It’s true, even though Jesus Himself said that He did not come to abolish the law or prophets, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17), and even He demonstrated that the law is actually more exacting than we sometimes allow ourselves to think.

If we are led by the Spirit we are not under the law (Galatians 5:18), and if we belong to Christ Jesus we have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). Because we are not under condemnation, will kill our sin. Here’s a rundown through some of Jesus’ list.

The law prohibits murder. Jesus said that those who are angry are liable to judgment (Matthew 5:22). Have you been angry with a brother? In Christ there is no condemnation! And also, anger is fleshly, hellish, and does not belong with those who walk by the Spirit.

The law prohibits adultery. Jesus said that those who lust have already committed adultery in their hearts (Matthew 5:28). Have you watched and wanted what isn’t yours? In Christ there is no condemnation! And also, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit, so glorify God with your passions.

The law said to love one’s neighbor and hate one’s enemies. Jesus said that His disciples must love and pray for those who persecute (Matthew 5:44). Have you loved only those who love you? In Christ there is no condemnation! And also you are called to greater love than what worldlings can generate.

The requirement is “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). You have not been perfect, and in the Son there is no condemnation. He gives mercy to sinners. And those who have the Spirit of Christ show no mercy to their sin.

Lord's Day Liturgy

The Right Order

Order matters. Sometimes it matters more than others.

If you pour espresso shots in followed by steamed milk it’s a latte, if you pour the shots in after the milk it’s called marking it, so a macchiato (while also sometimes true that a macchiato has less steamed milk). In general it’s the same ingredients, and the different order makes for a different name.

Certain mathematical operations require a particular order. It’s not just what’s it’s called, but the answer is different. In a string of numbers and operations, multiply within the parenthesis then add (follow the acronym PEMDAS for more). It’s not two ways of getting to the same answer, it’s wrong.

The peace offering in the Old Testament did not come first, nor was it typically held on its own. The peace offering came after some other offering, regularly the sin offering as well as the burnt offering. Sins were atoned for, the worshipper was consecrated to the Lord, then food was shared.

If we tried to start at the Lord’s Table in our Lord’s Day liturgy, we’d certainly have to come to the Supper differently. But because we have it when we do, after confession of sin and consecration by the Word, we are ready to celebrate. We are not damned. Christ damned our sin to death. Christ’s death ruined sin’s tyranny. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The correct order is Christ’s work and then our worship. The correct order is faith and rejoicing then obedience. We do not work ourselves into the Supper, the Supper works its way into us by grace.