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Civil Lawsuit for Over $1,000,000 Filed by Lourdes Torres-Manteufel Against Doug Phillips & Vision Forum Ministries

15 Apr

The science guy debates the creation man

14 Feb

Originally posted on ascribelog:

Bill Nye
media photo provided at his website

I was one of thousands who watched last evening’s debate between Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and Ken Ham, the creation man.

Nye wore a snazzy bow tie and a natty suit that looked tailored. Ham’s suit and tie appeared to be off a department store rack. Nye’s chiseled features contrasted with Ham’s rugged Aussie visage. Nye was a polished speaker with an articulate and pleasant presentation. Ham had a more serious demeanor and sometimes stumbled over words.

But despite external appearances, the more significant internal differences were obvious. Ham clearly has hope, and Nye does not.

Even before the debate, controversy erupted. Secularists criticized Nye for accepting the invitation. Many of them believed entering into a debate added legitimacy to the pseudo-science of creationism. Creationists criticized Ham for “casting pearls” in a debate with someone who would not…

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Presbyterian Proverbs

12 Feb aesops

Originally posted on Presbyterian Blues:


Greek Fables (close enough)

An advantage of being in the same church for a long time is that you have an opportunity to see things play out.  You can observe parenting and then watch the “parented” children grow up.  You can see folks go from young parents to empty nesters.  You can see all sorts of people just passing through. In short, you’re around long enough for time to tell its story.  And if it told proverbs about Presbyterian church life, they might sound like this.

  1. One who speaketh in his first Sunday School class will evaporate like the morning dew.   It’s uncanny – visitors who enter by sharing their brilliance in their first Sunday School class won’t be around for long.  And, really, you don’t want them around for very long.
  2. Better an early grave than the sneer of an alpha church lady.  Thinking of confronting her? Just…

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It’s a Wrap: Summary of our Midwest Book Scouting Adventure

4 Aug

Erik Charter:

Nice book scouting post.

Originally posted on Old Scrolls Blog:

I’m finally squeezing in some time for a summary of the trip for all who may be interested.  We’ve been back home from our Midwest book scouting adventure for just one week.

We have been doing our best to catch up with ourselves – and on gardening, housekeeping, unpacking, laundry, and friends.     Our book store cat, Osa, got really tired watching us unpack all the books…

Osa, one of our book shop cats

Osa, weary book shop cat squeezed between all our new books

 By the way, Osa is oh-so happy that we are home!

 The purpose of our book scouting trips is to find interesting, unusual, high-quality stock for our book store.  We always have our customers in mind while making purchases on these trips.  It is important to know your customer base.  Otherwise, one would lose confidence well before you’d spent your first $500.  For us, this meant we were seeking out vintage decorated…

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One-year internship in Pella for Ecuadorian seminarian

17 Jul

Erik Charter:

He preached in my church this past Sunday.

Originally posted on ascribelog:

The Landázuri family

The Landázuri family

While one-year internships are common in the OPC and one-year vicariates are standard practice in the RCNZ, such arrangements are rare in the URCNA. But Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Pella, IA, is planning a one-year internship with Pablo Landázuri.

Pablo, who is from Quito, Ecuador, anticipates graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary on May 16 and longs to plant Reformed churches in his home country. Pending visa approval, he hopes to travel with his wife and three sons to visit relatives in Ecuador, returning to the US to work in Pella from June of 2013 until June of 2014.

“We are looking forward to it,” says Pablo. “Being a large church, I figure that Covenant experiences different circumstances proper to its pilgrimage here on earth in terms of number and depth. It is a place to learn from others who have more experience and knowledge. This experience…

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Misunderstanding the Gospel at the Gospel Coalition

1 Jul

D.G. Hart:

Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

McMark, historically, punting on baptism was a way to form the Evangelical Alliance and then the Federal Council of Churches. Then you begin to notice things like public morality is more relevant that mode of baptism. I believe TGC may already be there.

The integration of faith and work.
The good news of the Bible is not only individual forgiveness but the renewal of the whole creation. God put humanity in the garden to cultivate the material world for his own glory and for the flourishing of nature and the human community. The Spirit of God not only converts individuals (e.g., John 16:8) but also renews and cultivates the face of the earth (e.g., Gen 1:2; Psalm 104:30). Therefore Christians glorify God not only through the ministry of the Word, but also through their vocations of agriculture, art, business, government, scholarship—all for God’s glory and the furtherance of the public good. Too many Christians have learned to seal off their faith–beliefs from the way they work in their vocation. The gospel is seen as a means of finding individual peace and not as the foundation of a worldview—a comprehensive interpretation of reality affecting all that we do. But we have a vision for a church that equips its people to think out the implications of the gospel on how we do carpentry, plumbing, data–entry, nursing, art, business, government, journalism, entertainment, and scholarship. Such a church will not only support Christians’ engagement with culture, but will also help them work with distinctiveness, excellence, and accountability in their trades and professions. Developing humane yet creative and excellent business environments out of our understanding of the gospel is part of the work of bringing a measure of healing to God’s creation in the power of the Spirit. Bringing Christian joy, hope, and truth to embodiment in the arts is also part of this work. We do all of this because the gospel of God leads us to it, even while we recognize that the ultimate restoration of all things awaits the personal and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ (CS–[13]).

The doing of justice and mercy.
God created both soul and body, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both the spiritual and the material. Therefore God is concerned not only for the salvation of souls but also for the relief of poverty, hunger, and injustice. The gospel opens our eyes to the fact that all our wealth (even wealth for which we worked hard) is ultimately an unmerited gift from God. Therefore the person who does not generously give away his or her wealth to others is not merely lacking in compassion, but is unjust. Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service, and comes to wealth through giving all away. Those who receive his salvation are not the strong and accomplished but those who admit they are weak and lost. We cannot look at the poor and the oppressed and callously call them to pull themselves out of their own difficulty. Jesus did not treat us that way. The gospel replaces superiority toward the poor with mercy and compassion. Christian churches must work for justice and peace in their neighborhoods through service even as they call individuals to conversion and the new birth. We must work for the eternal and common good and show our neighbors we love them sacrificially whether they believe as we do or not. Indifference to the poor and disadvantaged means there has not been a true grasp of our salvation by sheer grace.


Gospel Coalitioner – The integration of faith and work.
The good news of the Bible is not only individual forgiveness but the renewal of the whole creation. God put humanity in the garden to cultivate the material world for his own glory and for the flourishing of nature and the human community. The Spirit of God not only converts individuals (e.g., John 16:8) but also renews and cultivates the face of the earth (e.g., Gen 1:2; Psalm 104:30).

Erik – Boy, that’s some heavy-duty exegesis for such grand claims. Two verses?

And Gen. 1.2? We’re supposed to just overlook the fall?

And the second paragraph is perhaps an element of the law (“Gratitude” section of the Heidelberg), but is not the gospel (maybe the social gospel).

And these guys think they have invented something new? Have they heard of Walter Rauschenbusch?

I also noticed they seriously listed plumbing as one of the activities that the gospel has implications for.

Such grand communal schemes. How about just worshipping God faithfully each Sunday, being fed with word and sacrament, and going out and trying to be a humble, decent person in your daily life? With no great expectations of what may or may not come of it.

My son was playing with a neighborhood kid the other day who has had a tough life. He was given up for adoption by his single mom and his older brother hung himself a few years ago (probably accidentally). He has a good adoptive family now, but they have their hands full with several other adopted kids. I was going to take my son to hit baseballs so I asked him if he wanted to come along. He said he did. I asked him if he had played baseball before and he said he only had a few times. We went and my son (only 6) hit first and the other boy shagged balls. Then the other boy (who is 9 or 10) hit and did really well. He has a lot of potential as a baseball player and all-around athlete. He had fun, my son had fun, and I had fun. We’ll all do  it again. The great thing was that it flowed naturally out of our daily lives. I needed no great pep talk or grand theological framework to do it. No pastor had to guide me. I didn’t have to join some team at church. It was no big deal, but it’s the kind of simple thing that we do as Christians.

27 Mar

Originally posted on Presbyterian Blues:

It will be months before we’ll know how the Supreme Court will rule on the Proposition 8 case. But we can glean from today’s Hollingsworth v. Perry oral arguments. Here, in alphabetical order of the Justices, are select quotes.

Given the long history of heterosexual marriage, Justice Alito expresses caution about resolving gay marriage issues with the courts rather than the democratic process:

Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years. Same-sex marriage is very new. But you want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet? I mean we — we are not — we do not have the ability to see the future.

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19 Mar

Originally posted on Presbyterian Blues:

In Bandstra v. Edouard, defense attorneys have filed motions to dismiss on behalf of the URCNA, Covenant Reformed Church, the Consistory, and four individual elders.  The elders, who are being individually sued for making statements that express or imply moral guilt on behalf of the two female plaintiffs, filed separately.  Two arguments in their memorandum are their First Amendment defense and the “qualified privilege” defense; churches should pay close attention to the second.

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1 Feb

Originally posted on Presbyterian Blues:

thomas_reidMost people don’t think of the philosopher David Hume as having much influence over Reformed Christianity, but in an indirect way his influence has been quite profound.  Most known for his skeptical epistemology, he argued with such force that he compelled reactions from two other philosophers: Immanuel Kant and Thomas Reid.  Kant’s “Copernican Revolution” – in which the mind imposes order on objects rather than conforms to them - changed the course of philosophy, and was subsequently borrowed in various ways by Kuyper, Dooyeweerd, and Van Til, insofar as they promote the idea that basic ideas or presuppositions are filters through which we see all things. The “transcendental argument” of Bahnsen also flowed from Kant’s ideas.

Although it is a matter of some scholarly debate, many argue that Old Princetonians such as Charles Hodge and B.B. Warfield followed the “common sense” philosophy of Thomas Reid

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22 Jan

Originally posted on ascribelog:

Sinke family-2012For Rev. James and Andrea Sinke, health care was an important aspect of the decision-making process before considering his call to Bethel URC in Woodstock, ON. That’s because the Sinkes’ youngest daughter, Sarah, has required special care for continuing health concerns since she was born four years ago.

“Sarah’s health care wasn’t our primary consideration,” says Rev. Sinke, “but we had to be assured of it before we could consider coming.” He explains they first had to find a doctor willing to take on Sarah’s care. An ICU internist took it upon himself to conduct the search and finally found a London doctor willing to provide care for Sarah. Knowing that option was available, Rev. Sinke prayerfully considered and accepted the call.

On August 15, 2012, the Sinke family left Rock Valley, IA, where he had served the URC congregation for almost seven years. The Sinkes stayed with family in…

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