Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Snow Day

"I'm not so sure about all that white stuff outside."

"Brrr! It's cold out here!"

"They left me!"

"So it's a snowball fight you want, huh?"

"That was fun, but I'm glad to be back inside where it's warm!"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

All Decked Out in Our Sunday Best

Anna Ruth has had a fussy week, but Sunday has been a good one so far. Right now, she is full and content, but in another 5 minutes, she will be ready to go down for a nap. What a life!

I think he'll put me down if I pull his hair hard enough...

And she tried, but she was unsuccessful. Here she is, trying to hair-pull me into submission. I endured long enough for the camera to flash a couple times.

Friday, February 10, 2006

NBA All Stars

Recently, I considered never watching the NBA again (see Antonio Davis getting punished for doing the right thing), but, oh well. Anyway, the NBA All Stars have all been named. Also, did anyone see the hurtin' the Mavs put on the Heat? This might be the year for the Mavs; they are a changed team.

Oh, yeah, did anyone else wonder why Ray Allen made the team and not Chris Paul? I love Ray Allen, and I love watching him play, but it seems like the votes went to players making the biggest difference for their teams, so why Allen? The same could be said of Paul Pierce, but his stats are amazing, the best in the league in my opinion.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Is the Catholic Church a true church?

(I should ask the same thing about 80% of modern American churches also, since they teach basically the same thing.) Is it a big deal that they teach that justification is dependent on works in addition to faith? If so, how big? I mean, they're right on so much; how important is it that they are wrong on this one?

"What was it that gave rise to the stupendous polemic of the Epistle to the Galatians? To the modem Church the difference would have seemed to be a mere theological subtlety. About many things the Judaizers were in perfect agreement with Paul. The Judaizers believed that Jesus was the Messiah; there is not a shadow of evidence that they objected to Paul's lofty view of the person of Christ. Without the slightest doubt, they believed that Jesus had really risen from the dead. They believed, moreover, that faith in Christ was necessary to salvation. But the trouble was, they believed that something else was also necessary; they believed that what Christ had done needed to be pieced out by the believer's own effort to keep the Law. From the modern point of view the difference would have seemed to be very slight. Paul as well as the Judaizers believed that the keeping of the law of God, in its deepest import, is inseparably connected with faith. The difference concerned only the logical -- not even, perhaps, the temporal -- order of three steps. Paul said that a man (1) first believes on Christ, (2) then is justified before God, (3) then immediately proceeds to keep God's law. The Judaizers said that a man (1) believes on Christ and (2) keeps the law of God the best he can, and then (3) is justified. The difference would seem to modern "practical" Christians to be a subtle and intangible matter, hardly worthy of consideration at all in view of the large measure of agreement in the practical realm. What a splendid cleaning up of the Gentile cities it would have been if the Judaizers had succeeded in extending to those cities the observance of the Mosaic law, even including the unfortunate ceremonial observances! Surely Paul ought to have made common cause with teachers who were so nearly in agreement with him; surely he ought to have applied to them the great principle of Christian unity. "

As a matter of fact, however, Paul did nothing of the kind; and only because he (and others) did nothing of the kind does the Christian Church exist today. Paul saw very clearly that the difference between the Judaizers and himself was the difference between two entirely distinct types of religion; it was the difference between a religion of merit and a religion of grace. If Christ provides only a part of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, then we are still hopeless under the load of sin. For no matter how small the gap which must be bridged before salvation can be attained, the awakened conscience sees clearly that our wretched attempt at goodness is insufficient even to bridge that gap. The guilty soul enters again into the hopeless reckoning with God, to determine whether we have really done our part. And thus we groan again under the old bondage of the law. Such an attempt to piece out the work of Christ by our own merit, Paul saw clearly, is the very essence of unbelief, Christ will do everything or nothing, and the only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on His mercy and trust Him for all.

"Paul certainly was right. The difference which divided him from the Judaizers was no mere theological subtlety, but concerned the very heart and core of the religion of Christ". (Machen, J. Gresham. Christianity and Liberalism, New York: Macmillan, 1923, p. 23-25.)

Here is more (though on a slightly different subject.)