What I Read Online – 08/10/2011 (a.m.)

    • In pre-marital counseling I challenge newlyweds to think through the reasons for birth control (which I am not against) instead of just assuming it. I warn against the abortifacient possibilities of taking the Pill.  I try to dissuade most young couples from the notion that they have to be married for several years before they start a family. I am pro-children big time.
    • There are simply too many things I don’t know about other couples to even dare to judge. I don’t know how difficult it can be too get pregnant or how difficult the pregnancies are. I don’t know the financial situation, the medical history, the family pressures, the cultural expectations. I don’t know what their kids are like, their marriage, or their attitude before the Lord. I don’t know what other God-glorifying, self-sacrificing, world-serving opportunities they are praying through. So when we see faithful Christians with two kids or ten kids, we should praise God and assume the best.
    • For most Christians there is almost nothing as joyful as having a baby, and almost nothing as painful as being unable to do so.
    • However, valid as this faith may be, it doesn’t mean such a man is suited for a young woman who is seeking to live her life according to the Bible. To the extent that the Catholic man recognizes the authority and revelation of Christ to be in and from the institution of the Catholic Church without reference to Scripture, their yoke is uneven.
    • The bar must be higher than simply finding a “Christian man” (this is when I imagine that I am talking to my daughter and become animated). I told Ann, “You want a guy who is a man of the Word, who is captivated by the triune God. Someone whose life is defined by redemptive grace from top to bottom, who embodies it, proclaims it, and understands his marital calling in terms shepherding you by this grace. And, if the Lord should one day bless you with children, realize that this man will be one of two people who most influence your family’s spiritual life. You’re not looking for perfection; but he must demonstrate a credible trajectory toward gospel priorities.”
    • Let’s be honest: a depressingly large number of evangelical men in our churches don’t fit this bill.
    • And, though God may have more to say to us from each text than its human writer had in mind, God’s meaning is never less than his. So the first responsibility of the exegete is to seek to get into the human writer’s mind . . . always remembering, as Calvin so wisely did, that the biblical writer cannot be assumed to have had before his mind the exegete’s own theological system!
    • Oh, the arrogant pride of thinking that by our “good parenting” we can take credit for what you alone can graciously do in the lives of our children. Oh, the arrogant unbelief of assuming that by our “bad parenting” we’ve forever limited what you’ll be able to accomplish in the future.

       

      Oh, the undue pressure our children must feel when we parent more out of fear than faith; more out of rules than relationship; more out of and pride than patience; more out of comparison than covenant; more out of threats than theology. Forgive us. Free us. Focus us.

       

      Father, since our children and grandchildren are your inheritance, teach us how to care for them as humble stewards, not as anxious owners. More than anything else, show us how to parent and grandparent in a way that best reveals the unsearchable riches of Jesus in the gospel. We want the gospel to be beautiful and believable to our children.

       

      Give us quick repentances and observable kindnesses. Grant us confidence that you can redeem our past parental failures. Convict us quickly and surely when we don’t relate to your covenant children, “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal. 2:14). So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ faithful and powerful name.

    • Enough about us, already. Either the church is a witness to the Triune God, revealed consummately in the incarnate Son, clothed in his gospel; or it has no right to exist, whatever its impact, usefulness or relevance on other points. On the horizon of mass movements at least, evangelicalism still has considerable strengths. Nevertheless, we do well to ponder the line from Newsweek religion editor Kenneth Woodward in 1993: “The mainline denominations may be dying because they lost their theological integrity. The only thing worse, perhaps, would be the rise of a new Protestant establishment that succeeds because it never had any.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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