Ave Christus Rex!!!

HT: First Things Magazine

As the dust settles and the role that conscientious dissenters will have in our New Society is made clearer, we who pray “Thy kingdom come” need not be afraid. What is new is the unfortunate decision of five Supreme Court justices. What isn’t new is the call for Christians to live lives of peace, love, joy, freedom, generosity, kindness, and prayer. The Holy Spirit, as far as I know, hasn’t been overruled by the Supreme Court.

What better time to let our light shine before all mankind. We can be gracious in our legal defeat while remaining firm in our conviction that God made man, male and female, in his own image, and created man and woman to live together in fruitful harmony. We can still ask his unfailing mercy for ourselves, first of all, and for all those who do not know him.

Jesus is king. Amen. Alleluia. No civil authority can change that. What we owe him in obedience cannot be changed by any civil compulsion, full stop. Freedom is something so internal that external things cannot touch it. When civil society falters, each believer can check to see whether the foundation of his life was set on the rocky ground of God, or the sands of fickle earthly masters.

We realize anew today that the Constitution was written by mere human beings. The Word of God that is inspired by the Spirit and the teachings of the holy men and women who have preserved the faith remain unchangeable. The road ahead will be difficult. At the very least, over 100 million Americans still object to the judicial imposition of a false right on the Constitution of this country. That is not a number which can be summarily dismissed. But today, we reaffirm our faith in God, and ask him to guide us as we discern how to move forward to establish a just society, with laws that reflect human nature and promote the common good.

Ave Christus Rex!

Dominic Bouck, O.P., is a Dominican brother of the Province of St. Joseph and a summer intern at First Things.

The Government’s Mission is to Serve Christ

The title of this post seems ridiculous – especially in this post-Christian world. But its true.

The Government’s Mission is to Serve Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor, prophet, martyr, spy – gives the rationale behind this idea:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The mission of government to serve Christ is at the same time its inescapable destiny. Government serves Christ no matter whether it is conscious or unconscious of this mission or even whether it is true or untrue to it. If it is unwilling to fulfill this mission, then, through the suffering of the congregation, it renders service to the witness of the name of Christ. Such is the close and indissoluble relation of government to Christ. It cannot in either case evade its task of serving Christ. It serves Him by its very existence. – Ethics, 337

Whether the government knows it or not. Whether it wants to or not – the fact is that at the end of the day everything that happens in the realm of government serves to promote Christ’s goals and intentions for this world. The key thing to remember is that we may not have the eyes to see how the government serves Christ. Regardless of the how, the church’s call is to remain faithful to the one who is over all things, remembering that we serve Christ above all others.

The Eternal Subordination of the Son and Divorce in the Southern Baptist Convention

HT: Scot McKnight

Wade Burleson — I’ve seen very few willing to state the matter so boldly and to point the finger not only at false thinking but also at the condition of marriages in the SBC:

How can the divorce rate in every state in the union be declining while at the same time the Southern Baptist divorce rate is accelerating? Because divorce rates are in the culture at large are declining, if Southern Baptists were “accommodating culture,” then our divorce rate would be also declining.

Pay close attention to this categorical statement in the resolution:

“The acceleration in rates of divorce in Southern Baptist churches has not come through a shift in theological conviction…

I disagree. I propose one of the major reasons for the increasing divorce rate in the Southern Baptist Convention is precisely because of a shift in theological conviction during the 1990′s and early 2000′s.

Many of those who were in positions of leadership during those years promoted a doctrinal error called The Eternal Subordination of the Son.  Few Southern Baptist lay men and women even know what that doctrine is, but when you go to a church led by a Southern Baptist pastor who believes it, the emphasis of the teaching will be on “the authority of the husband” and “the subordination of the woman to her husband.” This pastoral demand that a Christian wife alone (not the husband) is called to be subordinate and submissive is based on the false belief that Jesus the Son is eternally subordinate and submissive to the Father.

The Word of God teaches a mutual submission of husband and wife to Jesus Christ–the creator God who became Man (Emmanuel)–and a mutual submission to each other (see Philippians 2:3, 5-7; and Ephesians 5:2 and 5:21).

When the emphasis in any Christian environment–be it a church, home, or ministry–is on one’s alleged superior authority and demand for another’s unconditional submission, a separation in relationship is imminent.

A desire to exert power, control others, and demand submission is unnatural to God’s design for His creation. …

Here’s the catch. Southern Baptist leaders have made the tragic error of believing that a husband should rule and a wife should be submissive because the Bible demands it. Truth be known, the Bible calls any desire to control and dominate–be it the husband or the wife– “the curse.” The divorce rate increases when Southern Baptists call “the norm” what the Bible calls “the curse.” When the first man (Adam) sought to rule over the first woman (Eve), Adam was manifesting a curse, not meeting a commandment (Genesis 3:16).

Jesus came to reverse the curse. Redemption causes curse-filled people to become grace-filled people. Those who seek to rule over others by exerting authority, when they come to see what Jesus says about life, will turn loose of trying to control other people and will only seek to love and serve, NEVER exerting any alleged authority. Again, Jesus said that “the Gentiles lord over others” and “exert authority,” but “it shall not be this way among you”(Matthew 20:24-26).

A Fellowship of Differents (A Primer on the Christian Life in Community)

This is the most important book you may ever read outside of the Bible…

At least that’s what Derwin Gray says about A Fellowship of Differents, Scot McKnight’s new books. Now I really respect Derwin Gray and I definitely try to snatch up any new book that Scot McKnight writes – but really? The most important book you will ever read? That’s a pretty bold claim – and a really hard description to live by.

Gray has gone too far. However I will certainly agree that it is a good an important book for any believer, especially those in ministry to read. Basically McKnight helps us answer the question –

What Would Paul say to the church today?

McKnight takes the teachings of Paul, specifically his major emphases like Grace, Love, Unity, Holiness, and Flourishing and applies those themes to church life today. McKnight takes his deep understanding of the New Testament and his love for the church and gives insight into what a church that actually lives by God’s word might look like today.

Yes the book contains many criticisms of the state of the church in the West, but its all written out of a love for the church in the West. Sometimes you need someone to call out your failings so that you may grow from them.

Favorite Quotes:

  • If we want our church to become holy, we need to learn to spend time in God’s presence, basking in the light of his holiness. (119)
  • To love a person means that together in our mutual indwelling we strive unto kingdom realities, or Christlikeness, or holiness, or love, or full maturity in Christ. (61)
  • If some said, you must be kosher to eat with us, Jesus said, eat with me and I will make you kosher. (135)
  • The ideal Christian life is not a life of “rules and regulations,” but rather a life of irresistible, Spirit-Shaped, new creation freedom to do all God calls us to be. (149)
  • Faithfulness is not our own strength muscled up by determination and discipline and grit; nor is it our strength combined with God’s strength. Faithfulness happens when God’s strength is unleashed in us as we look to, lean on, and love God. (161)

So if you are looking for a primer on how to walk the Christian life in the context of community then this book is for you.

Jurassic World Comes Really Close to Capturing the Magic of Jurassic Park…

For millennials like me Jurassic Park holds a special place in our hearts. The first movie was mind-blowing – for the first time ever Dinosaurs really came to life. Yes there were dinosaurs in movies before but there was nothing like it – they were living breathing dinosaurs on our screens – it was literally awesome – as in “awe-inspiring.” I think that was the appeal of the first movie – these creatures – those shots – were awe inspiring. The first time you saw the brachiosaurs you couldn’t help but have your jaw drop – it was your first glimpse a dinosaur – it was a taste of what Jurassic Park (the park, not the movie) was all about.


Then there was going through the gates of the park – a true woah moment.

Jurassic Park Gate

And of course – there was the T-Rex. The tension of seeing the water ripple, the terror of it smashing through the glass of the Ford Explorer, and the raw power of its roar.

TRex Roar

Rarely has a movie made the audience feel like they were facing something truly beyond us. All these feelings I’m describing are what made Jurassic Park – and they are feelings that haven’t been present in any of the other two movies (except for maybe the RV scene in Lost World). The point is, none of those movies have been able to capture the awe factor which made the movie what it was. Jurassic World however comes really close to recapturing the magic of Jurassic Park.

Jurassic World comes awfully close to re-capturing the awe factor of Jurassic Park.

I won’t go into details about the movie too much – but let me just say that I think Jurassic World is a home run. I give it a solid A rating. Sure the plot is typical of a dino-disaster movie (Dinosaurs are on the lose killing people), sure the movie self-satarizes product placement (I have never seen so many ads in a movie in my whole life), and sure the characters are super archetypal (the billionaire, the mad scientist, the kids with divorcing parents, the hero, the man eating dinosaurs), but I honestly believe you can set aside all those minor issues and say “DANG, this is Jurassic Park!”


What I Loved about the Movie…

  • Getting introduced to the park – and seeing all the attractions. The movie does a great job of setting up the park. And it makes you think – man, I would love to go there! For a Jurassic Park buff like me it was like a dream come true seeing a functional park.
  • The Dinosaurs – part of the magic of the first Jurassic park was that it didn’t use too much CGI, it was mostly really well made puppets. That’s why it didn’t feel “fake.” The dinosaurs in this movie feel real. But most importantly, when you see the dinosaurs there is that awe-factor present. There is that numinous feeling present in this movie once again. And, oh, there are some really cute baby dinosaurs too. Your heart will melt when you see the babies!
  • The Visuals – visually it’s a stunning film. Remember how you felt when they landed the helicopter? Or when you saw the lake scene near the beginning of the first one? Or the shot of the pterodactyls flying next to the helicopter? Yea – its that kind of beutiful. And the cinematography is spot on. The locations are beautiful. The whole thing is just beautiful. That is probably because they filmed it on real film instead of digital.
  • The Homages to the original Jurassic Park – attractions named after John Hammond, a book by Ian Malcolm, a guy wearing an original Jurassic Park T-shirt, the banner, the original gates to the park, even one character making a come back; all these things have a nostalgia factor built in that remind you of how much you loved the first one. But what I really loved – and don’t worry I won’t spoil anything – are the homages to certain shots and angles from the first movie that were iconic. The Ford Explorer scene, the sick triceratops, the galloping gallamiumuses, the T-Rex chasing the flare, the T-Rex vs. raptor fight are all re-worked (not in a copying the original type way) but in new ways which pay honor to the first movie.
  • The most epic ending EVER – let me just say – WOW. *MINDBLOWN*

All this to say, movie was a ton of fun, I will probably see it a few more times (and definitely in IMAX 3D). In a post-Jurassic Park world – it’s the only dinosaur movie that has come close to capturing the awe-factor of the first movie. And in a world where every movie is trying to blow their audience’s minds with epicness – to say that my mind was genuinely blow throughout and I had my jaw drop many times throughout the movie.

But more importantly – At the end of the day, it made me feel like a kid again. I felt like the wide-eyed 6 year old watching Jurassic Park for the first time. And to say that this movie can create those sorts of feelings – that is saying a lot.

Rating – 9.3/10

Grace Is…

What is Grace?

Grace is more than being lucky to be on God’s side.

Grace is God’s goodness showered on people who have failed.

Grace is God’s love on those who think they are unlovable.

Grace is God knowing what we are designed to be.

Grace is God believing in us when we have given up.

Grace is God unleashing his transforming power.

Grace realigns and reroutes a life and a community.

Grace is when you turn your worst enemy into your best friends.

Grace takes people as they are and makes them what they can be.

Grace ennobles; grace empowers.

Grace forgives; grace frees.

Grace transcends, and grace transforms.

Grace turns God-fighters into God-defenders.

Grace turns Jesus-haters into Jesus-lovers.

Grace turns Spirit-resisters into Spirit-listeners.

-Scot McKnight (From A Fellowship of Differents, p.38-39)

Legalism and Law-Keeping

J.I. Packer on Legalism and keeping biblical law:

No doubt ever appears about the universal applicability and authority of laws commanding and forbidding particular things… and John tell us ‘this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” In 1957… John Murray wrote: ‘It is symptomatic of a pattern of thought current in many evangelical circles that the idea of keeping the commandments of God is not consonatn with the liberty and spontaneity of the Christian man, that keeping the law has affinities with legalism…’ He then quotes the passages referred to above, beginning with John 14:15, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ and ending with 14:21, ‘He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me, and concludes ‘When there is a persistent animosity to the notion of keeping commandments the only conclusion is that there is either gross ignorance or malignant opposition to the testimony of Jesus.'”

-Situations and Principles, J.I. Packer


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