December 24, 2005

Samuel Davies on Simple, Biblical, Patient Church Ministry

I like the perspective of Samuel Davies, the Great Awakening preacher as well as the theological and homiletical mentor to the Patriot, Patrick Henry. Here are a couple of quotes from his book of sermons that argue for "sober views"... not in 'new experiments" and "new modes of doing things". I wish I understood this as a young pastor.

“The times demand a ministry of sober views: of settled habits of industry; of plain practical good sense; of sound and judicious modes of thinking; a ministry that shall be patient, equable, persevering, and that shall look for success rather in the proper results of patient toil. Than in new experiments find new modes of doing things…. Success should not be expected from that which is adapted merely to startle, shock, surprise, confound or perplex. Success should not be looked for as the result of scheming, of dark plans, of unusual modes of thought, of paradoxes in theology or in an affected originality.. The men who enter the ministry should be men who will be willing to labour patiently as long as may be necessary to accomplish an object; to tread on, if necessary, in a path which has been trodden by thousands before; and at the close of life to look back upon results gained by patient toil rather than on the results of fitful efforts, however brilliant, or which have only served to startle and amaze mankind." p. xxxv Sermons of Samuel Davies

“The times in which we live demand of the ministry a close and patient, and honest investigaton fo the Bible.” Sermons of Samuel Davies, p. xxx

December 23, 2005

Anniversary of 58 Years of Marriage

Today, my father and mother celebrated fiftyeight years of marriage. My mom always says that "Bill made everyday a honeymoon." That's a long honeymoon... sounds like something our Father in heaven would do.

December 14, 2005

What I am NOT saying about Fantasy

Here is what I am not saying about fantasy. I am not saying that it is always wrong to write or read or watch some fantasy, allegory or parable. I do believe that there is a good place for allegory and parable to communicate truth. My opinion is that fantasy is a different category in which much sound wisdom and discernment should be exercised. And, I am not advocating that it is categorically wrong to create or read or view it, but I do have issue with what I regard as "unsanctified fantasy" which is not under the order and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this sense it is our duty to urge our fellow believers to bring every thought (and image and word) captive to Christ. I am simply registering a caution for a culture that consumes lots of fantasy without much forethought.

My main thoughts and questions regarding fantasy are as follows:

Issue #1 The Rush For Entertainment. People in the church today seem to wantonly rush toward every form of fantasy entertainment offered by Hollywood that is “clean” without weighing the other important issues.

Issue #2 The Importance of Images used to communicate the Gospel. Christian people should have a sensitivity to the images that they see and they should understand how important it is that we look upon "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things." (Phl 4:8).

Issue #3 The Words used to communicate the gospel. The words that we read which are surrounding a “presentation” of the “gospel’ in that particular context should be carefully weighed. Why? Because we have been given a perfect, fixed, external Word of God that is best understood in it’s own context, not the context of the fantastical meditations of a creative uninspired writer.

Issue#4 The Relative importance of different genres of literature.
I want to encourage my brothers and sisters to see the relative importance of the different genres of literature. For instance I would encourage fathers and mothers to limit their children’s time spent reading fantasy because reality is better than fantasy. This is very important because all the things that we expose ourselves and our children to builds affection. What we expose them to, will grow a taste and desire. Giving your children fantasy will give them a taste for fantasy and I have seen this taste become an obsession in many children in christian homes consuming much of their time and meditation. And, personal tastes are hard to break. My appeal goes like this: give them God so that they will have a taste for God. You may have fond childhood memories of fantasy stories, but what was it's relative value? Fantasy is indeed fantasy. What if your fond memories were developed by sitting and reading the Bible? Wouldn't that have been better for the building of the fond memories. This is why I advocate limiting exposure to fantasy.

Issue #5 The use of time. The use of time is a critical issue for any person wishing to “redeem the time for the days are evil.” (Ephisians 5:15-16) Where does meditation on fantasy fit in to redeeming the time?

What About Pilgrim's Progress

One of the most asked questions about my view of fantasy and specifically, The Lord of the Rings and Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, is ‘what about the allegory that John Bunyan wrote called Pilgrim’s Progress”.?

To answer this question it is important to define two terms, “fantasy” and “allegory.” The following definitions have been taken from Websters Third New International Dictionary published in 1966.

”...imaginative fiction dependent for effect on strangeness of setting (other worlds or times) and of characters (as supernatural or unnatural beings).

The oral or written or artistic expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human conduct or experience (as in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”…) simply telling a story for the sake of presenting a truth.”

I do not put the Narnia movie and Pilgrim’s Progress in the same category. Granted, they have some similar qualities, but they are not the same genre.

I am more affectionate toward Pilgrim’s Progress because it is more closely tied to real life and real people and it avoids much of the fantastical beasts and images that hard core fantasy presents.

On Fantasy and Video Games and Other Time Wasters

In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul encourages the Ephesians to maintain a vigorous lifestyle that is characterized by walking in love, walking in the light and walking in wisdom. Then he says

"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, for the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15

Then he gives some examples of misuse and good use of time.

The point is, God has given us fleeting days on earth and he does indeed call us to use the time well, savor it and redeem it.

Richard Baxter wrote clearly about the importance of how we spend our time. Here are three selections of his counsel to his people delivered somewhere between the years of 1641 and 1660:

“I tell you time is a most precious thing; more precious than gold, or jewels, or fine clothes’ and he is incomparably more foolish that throws away his time, than he that throws away his gold, or trampleth his clothes or ornaments in the dirt.”

“How think you the miserable souls in hell would value time, if they were again sent hither, and tried with it again on the terms as we are? Would they feast it away, and play it away, as you do now and then say, Are not plays, and cards, and feastings lawful.” Baxter p1041, Vol 4 The Reformed Pastor

"Have you not many good works of charity to do? And will you leave the most of this undone, and waste your time in plays, and cards, and feasts and idleness and then say, what harm is in all this, and are they not lawful…. And then you would easily tell yourselves whether playing and fooling away precious time be lawful for one in your condition. If your servants leave most of their work undone, an spend the day in cards and stage-plays and feasting, and in merry chat, and then say, “Madam, are not cards, and plays, and jesting lawful?” Will you take it for a satisfactory answer? And it is not worse that you deal with God.”
Richard Baxter, p1040. Vol 4 The Reformed Pastor

It always amazes me that parents would allow their children to spend hours on end playing video games and plunging their minds in fantasy. To me this does not qualify as "redeeming the time."

December 13, 2005

Rushing To Fantasy

As people who know me well might imagine, I am unsettled with the rush of the church for Disneys new "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" movie. Of course, I am always concerned when the church rushes en masse toward entertainment or anything Hollywood has made. The release of this movie, with it's great story line and with it's many teaching points that are helpful in seeing some of the issues of good and evil, is still one of those entertainment offerings presented by Hollywood - the enemy of the church. I just think we need to remember that Satan is an angel of light who always masquerades.

It is a difficult thing to write these things as I have many happy memories of reading most all of what C.S. Lewis has written. And, I have read the entire series of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' to my children. I have also received much benefit from his philosophical works. So please understand that I am not advoctating burning your C.S. Lewis books or protesting at the movie theatres. I am not saying "don't go to that movie or you will be forever outside the camp. I am not even saying, don't go to that movie."

Please consider my comments as a genuine effort to increase the joy and the beauty of the body of Christ.

Here are the concerns I have with fantasy movies as well as most of the other entertainment offerings the church gets excited about.

How we communicate the gospel
How we communicate the gospel matters. My assumption is that the best way to communicate the gospel is the same way it's presented to us in the Bible… not through replacement messages or words or images of fantasy stories, but with the historic ones. For example, what words are best suited to describe the gospel message? I maintain that the best words to use in evangelism or equipping the saints are the bible words. The most powerful tool we can wield is the sword of the spirit, using the very words of scripture to preach the gospel. God has spoken perfectly in words and these words are enough for us as the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture declares. “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

This is why I become uncomfortable when there are attempts to explain the gospel with non biblical images and words through fantastical beings.

The caution that I issue for Christian movie goers is to be very discerning about the words they hear and the images they see. It matters what we see and read and hear because we are created by God to be drawn into whatever words we hear or images we entertain. We simply cannot help ourselves. We cannot engage in anything and expect to come out “neutral” from it. Everything affects us.

What happens in these fantasies is that elements of the gospel are embedded in fantasy which uses all kinds of unscriptural words and images. We are literally staging the gospel in a non gospel or even an anti gospel context.

The gospel is hemmed in by unbiblical words.

Many modern churches like to take out the gospel words and replace them with more modern ones so that people would relate to more easily. The megachurch movement has been the champion of this technique and it has only led to further worldliness in the church.

One of the most vivid expressions of setting the gospel in the midst of non biblical words and contexts is Veggietales. This is a radical trivialization of everything biblical. With Veggie tales it is the gospel in cucumbers and tomatoes. Instead of David and Goliath, it is “Dave and the Giant Pickle”. The good Samaritan becomes “Junior Asparagus’. Narnia does a similar thing, yet with much more style and eloquence. With Narnia, it is witches and centaurs and nymphs. Just because Lewis uses one biblical image - a Lion - does not erase the rest of the miscasting.

The Importance of Images

Images matter. Images can become objects of meditation which shape our thinking. So when we think about going to a movie, we should ask some questions, “where do the images originate?” Do they come from people with Godly meditations or heavenly wisdom? Do they come from the hearts of people who honor God, who are filled up with the knowledge of God, who have set their minds on things above not on the things on the earth.?” "Did God intend for us to create these fantastical extrabiblical beasts to communicate the gospel? Does He desire that our imaginations be activated by images which cast our thinking far from reality? Which images are most helpful to understand the gospel?

I maintain that if we want to give the best information about Christ, we should use the Bible images. In scripture, Christ is portrayed as a lamb, high priest, shepherd, bread… The church is depicted as a family, body, holy nation… These are the perfect images to use in our communication of the gospel.

What do Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia have in common? They are enormously popular, singularly creative, fantasy stories which bring up certain biblical ideas couched in unbiblical words and settings and were produced by very creative people who had the responsibility to make money for their bosses. They contain images that are replacements of the images used to portray the gospel. And they promote replacement words to explain it that are not Biblical words. In this sense, I believe that these entertainment offerings are often misleading for understanding the true gospel.

The Superior Genre

I have a conviction that not all genre's of literature are created equal. For instance, I hold that reality oriented books like historical, biographical, theological and technical writing are superior to fantasy. In the daily educational life in the Brown home, this works itself out in an emphasis on reality oriented books and a virtual starvation of fantasy.

I want my children thinking about the real world not fantasy worlds.

This principle makes me judge the Bible as the supremely important genre is that it presents things that are true, not mythical and profitable not theoretical. This is of enormous importance because it is the truth which sets us free.

If the truth sets us free, what does fantasy do?

God is the God of reality, not fantasy. The beauty of truth is shown everywhere in the Bible (Revelation 22:6, Daniel 8:26, John 1:9, Proverbs 14:2)

This is why I am not a big fan of fantasy stories.

All my life, I have preferred reality to fantasy. And, I want to train my family in reality and knowledge and service instead of spending time understanding the nuances of the latest fantasy story.

I have fond memories of reading Lewis in my younger years, but where did all the time spent and the fond memories get me? Perhaps sentimental feelings, but no real forward movement toward real and important conquerings.

December 09, 2005

"The Entire Concept of School is Flawed", Says C.S. Lewis' Son

Douglas Gresham step son of CS Lewis... on Homeschooling

Homeschooling and why I advocate it is not a matter of whether the schools are good or bad, though obviously I would rather children went to good schools than to bad ones, if go to school they must. It is that, as someone who has been trained and works in the field of post-childhood abuse trauma, and has devoted considerable thought to the mattter, I have formed the opinion that the entire concept of school is flawed. In fact, it is a terrible mistake.

Look what we do: we observe what God has designed, a pair of parents, one of each
sex, and two pairs of grandparents, often with a few aunts and uncles thrown in. In fact, a Family. This is the unit designed by God Himself for the specific purpose of ministry of raising each new generation.
Then what do we do? We take the child and remove him from this carefully designed support group of parents and close family members, all of whom share a genetic bond with the child, and plunge him into a mass group of his peers, all of whom are as ignorant and as demanding as he is, with one adult stranger supervising. In terms of the psycho-emotional development of the child, this is complete madness.

A child is best nurtured by having the one-on-one attention from each of the two parents for a specific period of time each day. Ideally, a child should be homeschooled by both parents sharing the task equally, though I do realize that this is not always possible. Bear in mind that I am not referring to idiotic parents, criminal parents, drug-addicted parents, or self-indulgent, self-obsessed parents, nor to anyone else who should never be graced (in my view, not God's, of course) with progeny in the first place. I am referring to normal, well-adjusted, good parents.

And with our modern habits of sending children away from their home and families for the better part of every day these [well-adjusted parents] are becoming more and more scarce as the vast majority of people are damaged or scarred emotionally and intellectually themselves by being exiled from their home and parents and placed in the hands of strangers at a young age.

It is a trans-generational progression exacerbated by the fact that those who are damaged very often are not even aware of it. If I had known back then what I know now, my children would never have gone to school until they were at least 18 years old. Satan hates what God loves and God loves us, Mankind. The basic unit of Mankind is the family, so Satan has targeted the Family, and he has been pretty successful, mostly by using "good intentions." I think that "School" is one of his very clever inventions. As far as I am concerned, schools are for fish.
(The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Fall 2005 issue, page 57) Fall 2005 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine includes an interview with Douglas Gresham, stepson of C. S. Lewis. While much of the conversation focuses on the upcoming Narnia movie and Gresham's relationship with Lewis, there is some frank discussion about Gresham's own strong support for homeschooling.

December 01, 2005

Families, The Seminaries of Christ's Church

Richard Baxter spoke as clearly as anyone on the importance of Godly family life:

"Holy families are the seminaries of Christ's church on earth, and it is very much that lieth upon them to keep up the interest of religion in the world. Hence come holy magistrates, when great men's children have a holy education. And, oh, what a blessing is one such to the countries where they are! Hence spring holy pastors and teachers to the churches, who as Timothy, receive holy instructions from their parents, and grace from the Spirit of Christ in their tender age. Many a congregation that is happliy fed with the bread of life, may thank God for the endeavors of a poor man or woman,that trained up a child in the fear of God, to become their holy, faithful teacher."

The Reformed Pastor, Vol 4, The Poor Man's Family Book. p230

November 11, 2005

November 10, 2005

Romania Report

Scott Brown, David Brown, Paul Negrut, Andy Davis, Nathaniel Davis

We were invited to Romania by Dr. Paul Negrut, President of Emmanuel University in Oradea Romania. He is one of the happiest men you will ever meet.

He asked us to come and to speak of the biblical roles of fathers and mothers and how the church should be reformed accordingly to facilitate the biblical pattern of family life.

Emmanuel University

My work was to bring the message of returning to biblical order in the home and the church, first by establishing the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture and to ask the question, “if you lived on a desert island, and all you had was the Bible, how would you think and how would you live.”

After establishing the doctrine of sufficiency of scripture, I preached on some major passages of scripture which define church and family life – particularly those which are under attack. I used Deuteronomy 6 which speaks of the role of fathers in education; Psalm 78 which is a call to break the ungodly patterns of our forefathers; Ephesians 6:1-4 and the role of parents in securing honor in their children; I Peter 3 on the importance of the family life of a church leader and “Seven Pillars of Biblical Womanhood. Andy Davis spoke on the Role of Fatherhood in the Plan of Redemption, Psalm 2 which speaks of the role of the man in protecting his family and several other passages which demonstrate the sufficiency of scripture in the life of the believer.

Titi Bulzan was our constant companion and guide, making our ways straight and keeping us laughing.

We had the opportunity to present a week of classroom instruction at Emmanuel University
David and I spent the week with a class of students developing the themes above and gave them an exam at the end of the week. It was a “for credit” class. Andy had a class of theology students.

Emmanuel Baptist Church, Oradea Romania

We had the opportunity to preach in a large metropolitan church in the main Sunday service at Emmanuel Baptist Church with approximately 2700 people in attendance. I preached from Deuteronomy chapter six and the implications for the role of fathers in the home, the biblical view of education and the biblical view of fertility. I also spoke on the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture using Psalm 19 as my text in their Thursday evening service.

The Three year old boy on the far right gave a perfect recitation of the whole of Psalm 23 in front of 2700 people... notice the proud father on the left. He is training his children by helping them memorize scripture. Notice me and Andy and Paul Negrut beaming with joy...

Preaching in a country churches
Andy and split up and preached on Sunday morning in churches nearby. At the one I went to, the men sat on the left and the women on the right. We ate two wonderful lunches in the homes of two church family members.

Father/Son meetings at Emmanuel
Fathers and sons were invited to Friday and Saturday evening sessions in which we defined the father/son relationship.

Showing the film, “League of Grateful Sons” On Saturday night

Went on the Radio for the Sufficiency of Scripture and Uniting Church and Family
We taped a 90 minute radio program in a very modern studio on the subject of Uniting of Church and Family. It will be translated and aired all over Romania. We spoke of the need for reforming the church in this area, gave the Trinity Baptist and Vision Forum web sites for more information. We spoke of all of the major categories of the message of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches.

Pastors Meeting on expository Preaching
On our last day, we met with around 25 Baptist pastors from Arad Romania. We were given the platform for two sessions that included the argument for the practice, which I gave and an example of what it looks like which Andy Davis gave. It was a joy for Andy and me to stand together and be completely in one accord as we spoke of the wonder of the Word of God and the sacred responsibility to trustfully deliver the words to the hearers.

David getting a quick Jet Lag Sleep in an airport

Modern food store... thousands more products than in the communist days. Let freedom ring.

Why Does the Pope Kiss the Ground?

Here we are (David Brown, Andy Davis, Nathaniel Davis) in the foggy Milano airport without our luggage.

On the way to Romania, the deft baggage handlers of Alitalia Airlines lost our bags for a few days leaving us without much apparel.

This begs the question, "why does the Pope kiss the ground?

Paul Negrut's Answer: "He flies Alitalia."

Kelly's Book - Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer

My daughter Kelly’s book, “Coming In on a Wing and a Prayer” has hit the shelves and here is the Vision Forum display at the film festival. It is a story of a grandmother communicating to her great grandchildren about the kind providential acts of God at work in the history of their family.

Film Festival Fun

Pat Walsh on the accordion, Doug Phillips on the harmonica and Charlie Zham on the guitar, serenade the guests in the Phillips home the before the film festival

Bill and Scott Brown... Father and Son in Bomber Jackets getting ready to see the final version of ”The League of Grateful Sons” for the first time. This was an evening of rejoicing for the Brown family.

Jim Zes and Scott Brown’s last stand with Col Travis in the Menger Hotel. We are not turning back. The line has been drawn. To all of you we say, “come with us even if we perish.”

George Sarris gave dramatic word for word recitations of the book of Esther and the story in Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar throwing the Hebrew children to the lions.

The Browns record a segment for the Jonathan Park radio show for an upcoming story that uses our trip to Iwo Jima as a backdrop for the Jonathan Park creation science adventure. It could air in Spring 2006.

RC Sproul Jr speaks about beauty and the kingdom of God. You gotta get the CD.

Doug Phillips, Hero Maker

Doug Phillips is a hero maker

He takes ordinary men and praises them for things not ordinarily praised. My father is a good example. Bill Brown is an ordinary father who lived an ordinary and steady life. So, what makes a man worthy of the title hero? Doug Phillips praises my father for things that the world does not value as heroic. He is a hero because he has spent his senior years telling his children of the providence of God; because he has loved his wife for fifty seven years; because he gives priority to spending time with his children and grandchildren; because he smiles at adversity knowing that God is in control. He is not a business hero or a war hero or a sports hero. But he is an ordinary man who did the things that are truly heroic.

The world will write about you and make films about you and call you a hero if you make lots of money or have an unusual gift. But Doug Phillips will write about you and make films about you and call you a hero if you do the simple, enduring, right things even though you are unnoticed by the worldly hero makers.

While the world ignores the stories of thousands of true heroes, you can count on Doug Phillips to tell the stories rarely appreciated and never told. He is an encouragement to every ordinary man out there, who is living beyond the limelight, doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with his God.

A Film by Families for Families

One of the truly inspiring moments at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival was seeing the Geoff Botkin family on stage for the world premier of “The League of Grateful Sons.”

I’ll wager that you have never seen a family film quite like “League of Grateful Sons.”

Goeff Botkin’s entire family worked together to make the film “League of Grateful Sons”. They filmed, choreographed, produced, acted, narrarated, wrote the score and did the computer graphics for the entire film. Everyone in the Botkin family rallied to provide some valuable investment in the project. This is a living picture of how a family can work together for the glory of God, using each individual talent that God has placed in the home to explain the goodness of God.

The Phillips family provided overall vision, directing, graphic design and script writing talent. They conceived and executed every aspect of the film content, editing, promotion and marketing. Their superior communication skills were always working toward particular theological philosophical and creative objectives. They provided the network of financial resources and personnel and administrative horsepower that was necessary to make everything happen and tie everyone together for a successful effort.

The Brown, Henderson and Chancey families furnished the time investment of characters with stories to tell which provided the structure of the message.

The League of Grateful Sons is truly a “family film’ in the most complete sense of the term. It is a film conceived by families, produced by families and provided for families.

Fathers should look carefully at this example of home life and see how they too can unify and energize their families to be a blessing to all the nations.

October 29, 2005

The Best Film Festival in the World

The San Antonio Independent Film Festival, which is the brain child of Doug Phillips from The Vision Forum, is perhaps one of the most important things to happen to film and family in decades.

For a rich, moment by moment documentary of what is happening at the most important film festival in the world today, check out the link below.

Alex and Brett Harris are posting up to the minute commentaries on the people and the sessions and movies of the festival...

Hold on to your hat... you will get an education

Up to the Minute News From: San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

For a wonderful moment by moment documentary of what is happening at the most important film festival in the world today, check out the link below.

Alex and Brett Harris are posting up to the minute commentaries on the people and the sessions and movies of the festival...

Hold on to your hat... you will get an education

Coming In on a Wing Without Prayer

My twenty year old daughter Kelly has just finished her book "Coming in On a Wing and a Prayer", published by The Vision Forum. It tells the story of her flyboy grandfather who served in the Seventh Air Force in WWII flying P51 Mustangs on missions from Iwo Jima to defeat the empire of Japan.

She documents flyboys in organized prayer before missions and the bible my father kept in his leather flight jacket.

But, the modern US Air Force is not my father's air force. The new guidelines for the US Air Force promote "diversity" which means no prayer, and no "making disciples" which means no sharing your faith with others.

Enter the US Air Force "Coming in on a Wing Without Prayer."

October 24, 2005

Communion Joy at Trinity Baptist

Celebrating Communion Weekly?

The vast majority of people at our church, Trinity Baptist, never took communion more than once per month in their entire Christian lives until recently. But now we are celebrating communion weekly. Why?

The elders of the church came to the conclusion that the New Testament record reveals that it was a weekly celebration. In Acts 20:7 we are informed that ‘On the first day of the week we came together to break bread” Establishing the idea that the church met on the first day of the week “to” break bread. The language uses the infinitive, indicating purpose, ‘to break bread.” The purpose then, in Acts 20:7 of the weekly meeting was to celebrate the Lord’s supper. This is the only place in the New Testament that assigns a purpose for the meeting – the Lord’s supper.

Here are four things that happened to us as a result:

First It helped us to see all of the preaching under the lamp of the gospel. All of the urgings and commands from our preaching (which are a blessing to all who heed them) are seen in the light of the grace of God. Simply, it helps all preaching to be gospel preaching. How easy it is to slip into a moralistic gospel.

Second, the communion service sweetens everything
It puts the preaching in context and freshens it in a way that nothing else can do. In the celebration of communion we see the kindness of God which leads us to repentance and action.

Third, it has increased joy in the church.
I think some might have wondered if it would become routine and lifeless. The opposite has been true. Our hearts soar with more joy.

Fourth, it has increased the regular practice of church discipline.
Examining ourselves during the communion service, is the first line of church discipline. If we do not examine ourselves, we take participate “in an unworthy manner.’

A joyful sound rises among God’s people when they love the gospel of Christ in the celebration of communion. I can say with certainty, that we have found that a measure of the happiness of the church hinges upon the celebration of the gospel message that is the communion service.

October 19, 2005

Fertility The Cause of Mainline Decrease Researchers Say

Rejection of biblical commands and patterns is always disasterous. Sometimes though, the effects may not be dramatically illustrated for a time. Notice how obedience to the command to "be fruitful and multiply" has a dramatic affect on church life and power.

Here are a couple of quotes from the article:

"The popular notion that conservative churches are growing because mainline churches are too liberal is being challenged by new research that suggests a simpler cause -- the use of birth control -- explains most of the mainline decline. Differences in fertility rates account for 70 percent of the decline of mainline Protestant church membership from 1900 to 1975 and the simultaneous rise in conservative church membership, the sociologists said. "For most of the 20th century, conservative women had more children than mainline women did," "It took most of the 20th century for conservative women to adopt family-planning practices that have become dominant in American society," the writers said. "Or to put the matter differently, the so-called decline of the mainline may ultimately be attributable to its earlier approval of contraception."

See the following article for details:

October 10, 2005

Remember Benedict Arnold's Wife

Benedict Arnold was a revolutionary war hero... singularly courageous in Battle as demonstrated in the Battle of Saratoga where five thousand seven hundred Red Coats were taken prisoner. He was on his way to becoming one of the truly great personalities of the Revolution.

Unfortunately he had a beautiful young coquette for a wife who not only had loyalist sentiments and enjoyed access to position and party, but she also had high rolling personal requirements.

She was a socialite who liked all the nice things Society could offer and she needed a husband to keep her there. The Revolution was going badly and she nagged her husband into turning coat – for a tub of gold and an appointment.

Remember Mary Shippen… in the same way we should remember Lot’s wife.

It matters what kind of person you marry for your name is on the line. What does the name, Benedict Arnold mean to you?

Golden Era of American Painting

We celebrated the Golden era of American painting with a viewing of hundreds of NC Wyeth's paintings at the Brandywine River Museum. This is where the famous, "Brandywine school" emerged.

The Brandywine School reacted against the sterility for the neo classical era and it featured landscapes, the vitures of boyhood, optimism.

This stop on the Faith and Freedom Tour was to acknowledge the Christian theory of aesthetics. The mission of the Christian artist must be shaped by the knowledge of God, Truth, Order and Beauty.

NC Wyeth's children did not produce such compelling and beautiful and biblically consistent, morally pure works. Lesson: we mst pass on a view of life, not just a trade.

Open Ended Nature of Liberty

Liberty Bell

The inscription on the Liberty Bell is a quote from Leviticus, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants of the earth.” The Bell cracked when it first rang, and then after it was fixed, it cracked again on George Washington’s birthday in 1846 and was silenced forever.

Interesting sideline. In the museum, there is a display that bears a picture of the Dali Lama and Nelson Mandela with the inscription: “the liberty bell embodies the legacy of the American Revolution, the ongoing struggle for freedom and the open ended nature of liberty’.(italics mine)

Unfortunately this is code for "there is no absolute truth." It means that there are no fixed points of reference for the maintanance of liberty - or anything else.

Prophesy of Our Times From Revolutionary War Pastor

George Duffield
One of the preachers in Philadelphia, George Duffield proclaimed a truth that should be heeded today:

“Whilst sun and moon endure, America shall remain a city of refuge for the whole earth, until she herself shall play the tyrant, forget her destiny, disgrace her freedom and provoke her God. P106 In God We Trust, Stephen McDowell. George Duffielld

Men of Letters Wanted - Needed

When Washington looked for leaders, he first looked for men of letters. He could find fighting men, but what he needed was communicators who were also courageous. He himself wrote 15,000 letters in a six year period during the revolution.

Carpenters Hall - Honor God

Carpenters Hall housed the carpentry guild during the revolutionary war. The Motto of the members: Honor God” in all of your work.

Even though this was the meeting place of the carpenters guild it served a dual purpose during the revolution.

Carpenters Hall was also the place where the committees of correspondence met. The committees of correspondence were the communication arm of the revolution up and down the eastern seaboard.

Quaker Inner Light Diminishes Importance of Scripture

William Penn, one of the very passionate founders of Philadelphia was an ardent Quaker.

Quakers created a denomination based on inner light of revelation above scripture and the rejection of the ordinances.

They exalted the egalitarian work of the spirit in every person. Their meeting houses generally put the chairs in a circle and women, children or anyone was allowed to give “the word of the Lord to the church. With everyone equal, they would wait for the word of god to be spoken by one of the men, women or children.

Quakers rejected the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture and exalted the “inner light” of continuous revelation and private interpretation. They were pacifists, and dressed plainly.

Christ Church - The Church of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Christ Church, the place where Whitfield preached.

Seventeen signers of the Declaration of Independence went to church here. George Washington occupied pew #58 for over half a decade. Benjamin Franklin was a member there for forty years and writes of a time when he observed 20,000 people in the street in front of Christ’s Church listening to George Whitfield.

Benjamin Franklin did some of his experiments for electricity from the bell tower of Christ Church.

Philadelphia - City of Prayer

Independence Hall where prayer launched a nation.

Philadelphia is the cradle of liberty, but that cradle was rocked with the sounds of Prayer.

On Sept 7 1774 the Continental Congress opened with prayer.

John Jay voted against opening congress with prayer because he feared the prayer would not be orthodox. But the worldview of the founding fathers was betrayed by what happened on that day. The founding of our country was bathed in prayer and informed by a Christian worldview.

America's Providential Past

George Washington wrote:

"It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

We are with Doug Phillips and Bill Potter on the Vision Forum Faith and Freedom Tour in Philadelphia to trace some of the lines of America's providential past.

A Christian view of history states that God is at work in all things, and looking back we can see His kind providences – even in the actions of those who did not know Him.

Howard Pyle Rendering "The Nation Makers"

This understanding of history is what distinguishes a Christian world view and a godless worldview. Godlessness frets and pines away at the reversals and difficulties of life. The Christian possesses the peace that passes understanding, because he is assured of the providence of God in all things.

The colonists lost many battles, but God's providential hand favored them at strategic moments.
Yes, it is important to see and document and revel in the working of God in our past. The great bible expositor Matthew Henry said:

“He who notes providences, will have providences to note.”

Westminster confession defines the doctrine of the providence of God.:

“God, the great creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose and govern all creation … to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice goodness and mercy.”

September 28, 2005

Voddie Baucham - Apologist for Biblical Order in Church and Home

Houston Uniting Church and Family Conference

Great Voddie Baucham Quotes from the Houston Conference:

“Modern youth ministry is grossly unbiblical and a detrement to the strength of the family. Since 1970 the number of youth pastors has grown exponentially, while the number of youth baptisms has declined. Modern youth ministry does a pathetic job. It simply does not work.”

“The immodesty in these youth ministries is rampant. I took my family to Disney world and saw so much flesh we thought we were at a church youth camp.”

“Our public schools are anti Christian by Federal mandate.’

September 25, 2005

Campus Crusade Rejects Creation Order Roles

Campus Crusade For Christ, perhaps the largest evangelical parachurch organization in the world, has issued a new statement of ministry practices that is thoroughly egalitarian. They have followed in the footsteps of Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship and YWAM by rejecting gender role distinctions and restrictions. This is a direct rejection of clear biblical statements that describe the gender role distinctions in the creation order mandates.

Here are the key statements from the document:


1. An organizational leadership structure, based upon men and women leading together, is the norm at the local level.

2. It is normative for both men and women to express their spiritual gifts in teaching the Bible within mixed gender contexts.

3. Men and women hold positions of organizational leadership over both men and women.

This is in complete opposition to biblical teaching.

1 Timothy 2:12, Let a woman learn in silence. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence.

I Corinthians 14:34, Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.

Now, if you go to an American university, you not only get an education that is anti-christian by federal mandate, but you also get flagship christian ministries rejecting biblical roles by the mandate of their leaders. Rejecting a word of scripture anywhere from Genesis to Revelation, is rejecting a word of Christ. I pray for a Campus Crusade for Christ.

September 22, 2005

Longing for Security Hinders Entrepreneurship

Arnold Pent believes that longing for security often holds men back from making bold decisions about their work life. He says that faith is the number one quality needed for entrepreneurship and the lack of it, is one of the reasons men stay where they are.

Here is how he explains it:

"There is nothing in the Bible about health insurance, life insurance, workmens compensation insurance, social security, pension plans, old age pensions, savings plans, nest eggs, retirement, financial security. These concepts can easily become enemies of faith and bring men to trust in themselves rather than the God of the Bible. Like anything else, they can spawn laziness, self sufficiency, become false gods and idolatrous practices that lead men into destruction and perdition. The Bible has a lot to say about hard work, diligence, perseverence, gaining by trading, utilizing gifts of the Spirit, etc.

The key to having eternal blessing in both business and ministry is to be filled with and obedient to the Word of God. Financial "success" should be measured with a Biblical ruler and that is the fruits of the spirit in full operation in our lives and God supplying all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Arnold is identifying the underlying issue: Insurance or these other things are not the problem... it is in the hearts of men when they misplace their trust. Arnold would never want to tempt men into a foolish course and throw off wisdom and planning for the sake of zeal. He is not against insurance. He is not saying it is wrong to have insurance. He would encourage men to be thoughtful and wise.

As Penn Linder says,

"a true entrepreneur has courage AND wisdom. Yes, in the end, we can only sow and water, and only God can give the increase. But I think we need to pursue entrepreneurship, trusting that the course we are pursuing is both wise and pleasing to God."

September 15, 2005

Judge John Roberts vs. Bubba Gump Atkins

I would never hire a guy who would not tell me what he would do in a certain situation. But, somehow this has become part of the culture of subterfuge in our legal system.

Even more amazing than this, is that the American people accept these shenanigans. They would never accept an answer like that in any other situation.

The Supreme Court Justice hearings have been showcasing a man of politics who is afraid to state his convictions for the sake of "impartiality". Unfortunately, impartiality does not exist in the marketplace of ideas. Judge Roberts does not even the moral fiber to say that he believes in anything that matters for fear of how it might affect him politically and professionally.

Species Identification: "Spineless Mamilian Evangellyfish"

Here is what he sounds like to me... by Matt (bubba) Chancey:

"Judge John Roberts vs. Bubba Gump Atkins

NEWSFLASH: President Bush appoints Bubba Gump Atkins from Red Level, Alabama, as the replacement for Justice O’Connor. The following is the “unofficial” transcript of Judge Roberts’ and Bubba’s answers to the same questions as put to them by the Senate Judiciary Committee…

1. Senator Specter: Does human life begin at conception?

Judge Roberts: Senator, that’s dealing with a subject that might end up as a case before me, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on that because it would not be right for me to say how I would rule on the matter at this time. I can say that I will consider this subject with an open mind, taking into consideration past precedent, as well as the impact it would have if the Court departed from stare decisis in this matter.

Bubba: Hey, man, if it ain’t a baby, yor ol’ lady ain’t pregnant!

2. Senator Kohl: Do you think it’s a good idea for people to have the right to criticize the Bush administration’s policy on Iraq?

Judge Roberts: Senator, that’s dealing with a subject that might end up as a case before me, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on that because it would not be right for me to say how I would rule on the matter at this time. I can say that I will consider this subject with an open mind, taking into consideration past precedent, as well as the impact it would have if the Court departed from stare decisis in this matter.

Bubba: Why shore, I reckon.

3. Senator Feingold: In your opinion, do mature adults have a constitutional right to marry their pets?

Judge Roberts: Senator, that’s dealing with a subject that might end up as a case before me, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on that because it would not be right for me to say how I would rule on the matter at this time. I can say that I will consider this subject with an open mind, taking into consideration past precedent, as well as the impact it would have if the Court departed from stare decisis in this matter.

Bubba: Senator, yor just plain sick.

4. Senator Schumer: In your personal opinion, do you believe the age of consent should be lowered to 4?

Judge Roberts: Senator, that’s dealing with a subject that might end up as a case before me, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on that because it would not be right for me to say how I would rule on the matter at this time. I can say that I will consider this subject with an open mind, taking into consideration past precedent, as well as the impact it would have if the Court departed from stare decisis in this matter.

Bubba: Well, Momma got married at 14, but I think yor push’n yor luck, Senator!

5. Senator Biden: Does 2 + 2 = 4?

Judge Roberts: Senator, that’s dealing with a subject that might end up as a case before me, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on that because it would not be right for me to say how I would rule on the matter at this time. I can say that I will consider this subject with an open mind, taking into consideration past precedent, as well as the impact it would have if the Court departed from stare decisis in this matter.

Bubba: Why, o’course. Any idjot knows that!

6. Senator Kennedy: Is the sky blue?

Judge Roberts: Senator, that’s dealing with a subject that might end up as a case before me, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on that because it would not be right for me to say how I would rule on the matter at this time. I can say that I will consider this subject with an open mind, taking into consideration past precedent, as well as the impact it would have if the Court departed from stare decisis in this matter.

Bubba: Are you serious? Wut do they put in the wudder up here?

7. Senator Feinstein: Do you agree with me that a woman has a constitutional right to abort her child up to 6 weeks after birth if she decides she doesn’t want to be a mother?

Judge Roberts: Senator, that’s dealing with a subject that might end up as a case before me, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on that because it would not be right for me to say how I would rule on the matter at this time. I can say that I will consider this subject with an open mind, taking into consideration past precedent, as well as the impact it would have if the Court departed from stare decisis in this matter.

Bubba: Alright, that duz it. Whar’s my gun?!"

September 14, 2005

For the Joy of the Daughters of Zion

We Just finished having a Father Daughter Retreat

The Theme: "No Prima Donna's

Tea in the Barn. We started with a tea and the proposition that fathers should do everything for “the joy of the daughters of Zion.’ First that “he walks beside her for she needs his companionship, Deut 6:1-9. Second ‘He leads her, for she needs his headship. Third, “He trains her, for she has a mission to fulfill.’

Servants for the day

Our charge to our men was to walk beside their daughters, and fulfill these callings.

We studied Sarah Edwards, who is a quintessential example of the principles of Biblical womanhood. We read passages from “Marriage to a Difficult Man” by Elizabeth Dodds. Sarah Edwards was married to a “difficult man”, and our objective was to use this Father Daughter Retreat to help our daughters gain a vision for the glory of the Biblical vision that is exemplified in Sarah Edwards. We wanted to say, ‘marry a man and get your whole being behind becoming his helper, not a self obsessed, need driven, security clamoring – “gotta marry the perfect guy” – kind of girl.

Sarah Edwards Understudy, Claudia Brown

As a daughter in training, Sarah Edwards would spend hours walking with straight back and level chin...

Keith Wagner served as minstrel, song leader and carriage driver

Don Albright encouraging daughters to take courage and trust God

Jason Dohm Reading from Elizabeth Elliot's book, "Passion and Purity"

Brad Phillips and Clementine... Telling us about his work in Sudan

Kelly Brown and Victoria Pent... Stunning pictures of Godly womanhood. My daughter Kelly has been my helper for many years and I know that she will be a powerpunch for her husband...

Tim and Gigi Holden soaking it in...

Tea Time

I told the fathers and daughters that we would be having a Saturday afternoon tea like no other.

Why? To drive home the point that we are not raising prima donna daughters, and that they need to throw off social convention. We would have “tea’ in a way that no one else in the church does tea.

We like Tea parties that make a statement - like the Boston Tea Party that trumpeted the usurpation of rights against the colonies. Now, we have a feminism that denies happiness to our daughters. We must rise up.

The "Tea Party"
This is how they should think of their lives as women. They should be biblical instead of socially acceptable in their plans for womanhood. So, we had a tea party that was contrary to social convention that included shooting tea cups... blowing up the traditions of ungodly feminism.

Cousins, Katy Albright and Claudia Brown overthrow social convention

Erica Daming Takes a Bead on Unbiblical Philosophies of Womanhood

Final address

For the joy of the daughters of Zion, fathers should rise up and make sure their daughters do not grow up to be “prima donnas” (Prima (first) donna (lady). No, they should become a picture of the biblical vision of womanhood.

Here are my favorite things about our retreat:

1. Our fathers and daughters were exposed to a picture of biblical male leadership and Christian hospitality at the Pent home.

2. Our men really do understand the Biblical vision and are ready to lead the charge with their wives and children.

3. Our girls know the biblical vision and they embrace it.

Stephen and Grace Breagy

Every father and daughter memorized the Seven Pillars of Biblical Womanhood:

1. A helpmeet, Genesis 2:18

2. Fruitful bearer of children, Genesis 1:28

3. Keeper at home, Titus 2:4

4. Teacher, Ephesians 6:1-4

5. Demonstration of unfading beauty, I Peter 3:4-6

6. Humble, obedient, respectful toward a husband, Ephesians 5:22-33

7. Domestic entrepreneur, Proverbs 31:10-31

Victoria Pent, Keith and Hannah Wagner Play for us before departing

As for me, I am not going to get caught encouraging daughters to become attorneys or corporate executives or workers outside the home. Nor will I encourage dads to give their daughters a taste for these things during their formative years. I will, however glorify and promote the Biblical vision. Please join me for the joy of the daughters of Zion!