Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

March 28, 2010

This hymn, translated from the German Grosser Gott, comes from the venerable Te Deum. I regret that I learned it only recently. It should be better known.

Holy God, we praise thy Name;
   Lord of all, we bow before thee!
All on earth thy scepter claim,
   all in heaven above adore thee;
Infinite thy vast domain,
   everlasting is thy reign.
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Personal God

August 15, 2009

As part of my requirements for this seminary term, I am reading Douglas Moo’s commentary on Romans. Today, in his discussion of Romans 5:10, I ran across the following with regard to our reconciliation with God:

The language of reconciliation is seldom used in other religions because the relationship between human beings and the deity is not conceived there in the personal categories for which the language is appropriate. (p.311)

This caught my attention, and as I began to ponder it, I immediately thought of God walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

This points to a couple of the important things that distinguishes our God from other gods: He is a personal God, and He is interested in fellowship with the persons that He has created. His interest in us is so great that when the fellowship was broken because of our sin, then even though we were ungodly and helpless, He sent Jesus Christ to die in our place that we might be justified and reconciled to God.

Who is like unto our God?

I hope that you have a blessed Lord’s Day.

How Not to Make Law

July 7, 2009

Progressively more information is coming out about the climate bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Whatever you think of the underlying issues, this is not the way to set wise, appropriate policy. Paul Greenberg has written a humorous, yet serious, critique of the process, which he begins this way:

Here’s how to get a dubious bill into law, or at least past the U.S. House of Representatives, which of late has deserved to be called the lower chamber:

First, make the bill long. Very long. So long no one may actually read it, supporters or opponents. Introduce a 310-page horse-choker of an amendment at 3 in the morning on the day of the roll-call vote. So it can’t be examined too closely or too long. Only after the bill passes may its true costs emerge. To cite an old proverb I just made up: Pass in haste, repent at leisure.

You can read the entire article here. Read it! Then contact your representative and senators and petition for the redress of grievances.

Medical Advances

July 4, 2009

I found this AP article entitled Los Angeles Hospital Gets Rep for “Raising Dead” to be interesting. Underneath the sensationalism and strange language—for example, what does it mean to be “basically dead” if you are not actually dead?—there seems to be a genuine medical advance. Persons are being resuscitated who formerly would have been deemed to be beyond help. A UCLA expert referred to in the article, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Gerald Buckberg, is quoted as saying,

[T]he window is wide open to new thinking … We can salvage [persons who hearts have quit beating] way beyond the current time frames that are used. We’ve changed the concept of when the heart is dead permanently.

It seems that this could have significant implications for medical ethics, including possibly decisions made regarding organ donations.

Marriage, Family, and No-Fault Divorce

July 3, 2009

Marriage is important. Family is important.  Many of us accept this as a matter of principle, believing that God chose this and built it into His creation.  Believe it for that reason or not, however, we can accept this for practical and experiential reasons, seeing the impact of marriage and family—and the breakup of marriage and family—on our society.

Law affects marriage and family significantly. I could write more on this, but instead I wish to direct your attention to something written by Leah Ward Sears, recently Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Through both personal and legal experience, she has seen the effect of no-fault divorce laws on marriage and family. Her article, Let’s End Disposable Marriage, is worth your time. I hope that you will take a few minutes to read it.

The Significance of Preunderstanding

March 7, 2009

I have often observed that, especially in ambiguous situations, we tend to see what we expect to see. For example, in personal relationships, we tend to interpret a person’s ambiguous comment in light of how we expect the person to behave towards and speak to us.

I do not recall considering a similar predilection with regard to Biblical interpretation and theology … until now. As part of my seminary class assignments, I am currently reading Bock’s Three Views on the Millenium and Beyond (Zondervan 1999). In Craig Blaising’s main piece on premillenialism, I ran across a term, “preunderstanding,” that was new to me. Here is an excerpt of what Blaising wrote: Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas 2008

December 24, 2008

Wexford Carol

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide,
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark right well what came to pass;
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox’s stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep,
To whom God’s angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
Arise and go, the angels said,
To Bethlehem, be not afraid,
For there you’ll find, this happy morn,
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born.

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find;
And as God’s angel had foretold,
They did our Saviour Christ behold.
Within a manger he was laid,
And by his side a virgin maid,
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife

There were three wise men from afar,
Directed by a glorious star;
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay.
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay,
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.

This is an old Irish carol that is said to date from about the 12th century. I discovered it only last week, when I heard it on a newly purchased Christmas CD. I commend it to you.

May you have a blessed Christmas and new year.