Calvinist not a Threat, Attorney General Says

Attorney General Mukasey announced that the current national security threat we face in the US is not from Calvinists, but from Islamic extremist.  This stunning revelation in the New York Sun relieves the concerns of many Calvinist and Calvinist sympathizers. 

Asked about so-called profiling of Muslims, Mr. Mukasey said that tactic is not used at airports. However, he used blunt language to defend extra scrutiny the Justice Department gives to militant Islamic groups.

“So far as focusing investigations, we investigate where the threat is coming from. The threat is coming from Islamic extremism. It’s not coming from Calvinism,” the attorney general said. “We’d be out of our minds not to mention the waste of resources to look everyplace simply in the name of being correct.”

At the Founders blog, some raise the issue that to some Christians, Calvinism is worse than terrorism.    THey also speculate that the AG is not going to look for a job in the SBC when he steps down, but Founders might have an interest in retaining him as legal counsel.  Tim Ellsworth’s readers wish the SBC to be notified, and are concerned that Calvinism was mentioned along with Islamic extremism.  Mike Whittmann is more concerned about the Free Will Baptist than the Calvinist.  I know some Free Will Baptist, and all the ones I know would rather preach the Gospel to terrorist, while the terrorist is behind bars, than become terrorist themselves, so that group is not a worry either.

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The Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) Question 1

Q) What is man’s primary purpose?

A) Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God (1 Cor10:31; Rom 11:36), and enjoy Him forever (Psalm 73:25-28).

I have decided to go through the Westminster Shorter Catechism, because it’s, well, shorter, and I have a reference for the Shorter Catechism in modern English instead of the 16th century English. I also am putting the Scripture proof references where they are placed in the catechism, and linking them to the ESV Online Bible. Now to the first question.

I find it comforting to know that there really is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9). The same questions have been asked by every generation since the beginning of time; why are we here? What do we exist for? Where, in the grand scheme of life, de we fit in? In the mid 1600’s the Westminster Divines (not that any of these men were actually divine as we understand the term today, it was just how the word was used back then) made this the first question of both the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Three hundred fifty years later, we still ask the question.

Before I get too far, let me start with this presupposition; we are here for a purpose. Having said that, we have a place to start to understand whose purpose we are created for, what that purpose is, and how that purpose is achieved.

Whose Purpose?

This is really an easy question, with an easy answer. We are here for Gods purpose. He created all of what we see, and experience. He is the One that all of creation points to. It is His glory that is displayed in His creation, and while He has given us charge to be good stewards of His creation, ultimately it is God, not us that does it. (1 Th 5:24).

What Purpose?

While Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” is a good start, we need to be reminded that Gods purpose is far more than just a set of five life principles for success, or for church growth. We need to be reminded that the Gospel calls us to live for the glory of God (1 Cor10:31). It is His purpose and plan to make all things new (Rev 21:5), and we are the instruments in His hands that expand His Kingdom, for His glory.

Ultimately, His purpose is for His Kingdom to be fully realized in every sphere of life. We live in what is called the “already and the not yet”. While that seems like a contradictory phrase, it is where we are. We “already” live in the Kingdom. Jesus told His disciples that the Kingdom was near (Luke 10:9), not some 2,000 plus years off in the future. (Luke 9:27).

How is This Purpose Accomplished?

Jesus accomplished this purpose on earth by preaching the Good News of the Kingdom (Luke 4:43). Jesus advances His Kingdom now, through us. (Luke 9:2; John 20:21; Mat 28:18-20) It is by preaching the Gospel, first to ourselves. Then, by word and deed we preach the Gospel to the watching world.

So, what are your thoughts? How should we then live?

Theology

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27 (ESV)

Before you shut me off, read on a bit.  If you are a believer, take a minute, and consider what I have written here.

In Luke 10, Jesus is questioned by an attorney.  The lawyer asks a fair question: How do I inherit eternal life?  Jesus responds with a question.  What does the law say?  The lawyer answers that we must love God with all our heart, soul. strength, and mind.  The one word I want to focus on here is “mind”.

Current church culture emphasizes the heart, soul and strength.  Emotional, passionate worship that we put real effort into is emphasized quite well, as it should be.  The only worship that is acceptable to God is passionate, emotional and requires effort on our part.  I do not want to dwell on what that looks like in this post, but suffice to say, if we are created in His image, then every aspect of that image should be engaged in worship.

The one part that the church seems to miss is the mind.  An engaged mind (intellect is a good synonym) is not spoken of much in the context of worship.  But Jesus commands that we worship Him with our minds as well as our emotion, passion and ability.  While we seek emotional worship experiences, we miss the joy of the mind being fed as well.

Perhaps the reason that theology is out of vogue with most of the discussions about worship is that it is difficult.  Much of that difficulty comes from lack of practice. 

How often do we really think about Scripture.  Meditation is one thing, thinking is a little different.  How often do we read Scripture, and critically analyze what the text is telling us, beyond what is on the surface?  How often do we miss all that Scripture has to tell us, because we check our brains at the door, and just accept what we heard from “reliable sources” or even sources that are actually authoritative?  I am not mocking those who’s vocation it is to study and communicate Biblical theology to the rest of us, theirs is a high calling that should be taken seriously, but we should never subscribe to their interpretation simply because of their position.  They can be wrong too.  Scripture commands us to test everything.  Their vocation is for our benefit, and we should make use of their efforts, as we study Scripture.

Take, for example, the often misunderstood book of Revelation.  What is Revelation about?  Some would say the tribulation, the mark of the beast, and the rapture.  However, if we read Rev 1:1-2, we see something a little different:

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him (Jesus) to show to His servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.            Rev 1:1-2 (ESV)

Instead of marks on foreheads, secret raptures, and tribulations, we read that this book is about Jesus revealing Himself to His people through the apostle John.  Jesus was giving comfort to His people about things that must soon come to pass (not a couple thousand years later).  See the difference?  Read what the Scripture actually says, and it may be very different than what you have been told it said.

This is part of worship.  Our minds were never meant to be checked at the door of the church, but we are to engage our minds as we worship.  Informed minds create inflamed hearts, and inflamed hearts drive minds to know more. 

If we say that all we want to know more about God, then we must study theology, for theology is the study of the Nature and Person of God.  It is not enough to say “I just want to know Jesus” and then refuse to study Him.

Having said that, hopefully, my next post I will start looking at the Westminster Larger Catechism.

Paul C. Quillman

The Twelve Days of Theology

The list owner of a theology e-mail group I am on posted this to our list. For those of you that are musically inclined, please do not try to fit this arrangement into the same timing, meter, ect as the Twelve Days of Christmas.  It does not fit.  Enjoy:)

The Twelve Days of Theology

By Rob Bowman

On the first day of Theology my professor gave to me atonement on an old tree.

On the second day of Theology my professor gave to me two Testaments and atonement on an old tree.

On the third day of Theology my professor gave to me three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the fourth day of Theology my professor gave to me four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the fifth day of Theology my professor gave to me five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the sixth day of Theology my professor gave to me six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the seventh day of Theology my professor gave to me seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the eighth day of Theology my professor gave to me eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the ninth day of Theology my professor gave to me nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the tenth day of Theology my professor gave to me ten Commandments, nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the eleventh day of Theology my professor gave to me eleven apostles on Easter, ten Commandments, nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the twelfth day of Theology my professor gave to me twelve tribes of Israel, eleven apostles on Easter, ten Commandments, nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.