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Tertullian: Adversus Marcionem

9 Apr

My sister-in-law, Rachel, posted a great quote by Tertullian on her facebook page. I liked it so much, I did some Googling to discover the context was a rather large diatribe against Marcion. I think I’ll have to read more of Tertullian now.

Tertullian: Adversus Marcionem

Here’s an excerpt:

But evidently he does judge evil by refusing consent, and condemns it
by forbidding it: yet he forgives it by not avenging, and excuses it
by not punishing. There you have as a god a defaulter against the
truth, one who annuls his own decision. He is afraid to condemn what
he does condemn, afraid to hate what he does not love, allows when
done that which he does not allow to be done, and would rather point
out what he disapproves of than give proof of it. Here you will find
the ghost of goodness, discipline itself a phantasm, casual precepts,
offences free from fear. Listen, you sinners, and any of you not yet
so, that you may be able to become so: a better god has been
discovered, one who is neither offended nor angry nor inflicts
punishment, who has no fire warming up in hell, and no outer darkness
wherein there is shuddering and gnashing of teeth: he is merely
kind. Of course he forbids you to sin—but only in writing. It lies
with you whether you consent to accord him obedience, so as to appear
to have given honour to your god: for he will not accept your
And in fact the Marcionites make it their boast that they do not
at all fear their god: for, they say, a bad god needs to be feared,
but a good one loved. Fool: you call him lord, but deny he is to be
feared, though this is a term suggesting authority, and with it
fear. Yet how shall you love, unless you fear not to love? Evidently
he is not even your father, to whom would be due both love for
affection’s sake, and fear for the sake of authority: nor is he your
lawful lord, for you to love for human kindness’ sake and fear for the
sake of discipline. This is the way kidnappers are loved without being
feared. The only domination which can be an object of fear is the
lawful and regular one: though even an illicit one can be an object of
affection, since it rests not upon respect but upon affectation, on
seduction and not on force: and what greater seduction is there than
to abstain from punishing wrongdoing? So then, you who decline to fear
your god because he is good, what keeps you from bubbling over into
all manner of vice—the superlative enjoyment of life, I suppose, for
all who do not fear God? Why absent yourself from those popular
pleasures, the excitement of the race-course, the savagery of the wild
beast show, the lechery of the stage? Why also during persecution do
you not at once offer your incense, and so gain your life by denial?
Oh no, you answer, far from it. In that case you are already in
fear—of doing wrong: and by your fear you have admitted your fear of
him who forbids the wrong. It is another matter if, in imitation of
your god’s perversity, you pay respect to him whom you do not fear, as
he in turn forbids what he does not punish. With much greater
inconsequence, to the question, What will happen on that day to every
sinner? they answer that he will be cast away, as it were out of
sight. Is not this an act of judgement? He is judged worthy to be cast
away—evidently by a judgement of condemnation: unless perhaps the
sinner is cast away into salvation, so that this too may stand to the
credit of a god supremely good. And yet what can being cast away
amount to, if not the loss of that which he was on the way to obtain
if he were not cast away—salvation, no less? So then he will be cast
away to the damage of his salvation: and a sentence like this can only
be passed by one offended and indignant, a punisher of wrongdoing—in
short, a judge.

2010 Bible Reading Plan

20 Feb

I accidentally through out our family Bible plan that we followed in 2010 at the end of the year, and then realized it would be handy to have an idea of when we last studied a book of the Bible, so I’ve reconstructed it from my journal below as a record.

In addition to the Bible plan, we also worked on memorizing verses and went through a number of books. Most of these should be listed in my LibraryThing account.

  • Age of Opportunity (partial)
  • Dangerous Journey
  • The Heart of Anger
  • The Peacemaker (partial)
  • Pilgrim’s Progress (almost finished)
  • The Search for Significance
  • The Shadow of the Broad Brim
  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart
  • What is the Gospel? (partial)
  • When People are Big and God is Small
Date Finished Book
January 25 Galatians
February 6 Ephesians
February 9 Proverbs
February 14 Phillippians
February 19 Colossians
March 29 Matthew
April 1 Titus
April 12 Ecclesiastes
May 15 1 Corinthians
May 29 Hebrews
July 11 Isaiah
July 12 Philemon
July 31 2 Corinthians
August 29 Mark
August 29 Jude
September 7 1 Thessalonians
September 8 2 John
September 27 1 John
October 6 2 Thessalonians
October 9 3 John
October 20 James
October 24 Genesis
November 15 Psalms
December 1 Acts
December 8 1 Timothy
December 13 2 Timothy
December 19 1 Peter
December 22 2 Peter
December 31 John (through v. 6)

C.S. Lewis responding to Augustine

9 Feb

Daniel Baker quoted C.S. Lewis in his sermon last Sunday. I thought the quotes were very powerful and worth sharing, so here it is:

In response to St. Augustine’s conclusion that it’s best not to love too much the things of this world because they will not last, C.S. Lewis says the following:

“I am a safety-first creature. Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as ‘Careful! This might lead you to suffering.’

“To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities. I doubt whether there is anything in me that pleases Him less….We follow One who wept over Jerusalem and at the grave of Lazarus, and, loving all, yet had one disciple whom, in a special sense, he ‘loved.’ St. Paul has a higher authority with us than St. Augustine—St. Paul who shows no sign that he would not have suffered like a man, and no feeling that ought not so to have suffered, if Epaphroditus had died (Philippians, II, 27)…..

“There is no escape along the lines St. Augustine suggests. Nor along any other lines. There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket and coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell”
–C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 110-112

ESV Bible 2007 Update Textual Changes

5 Dec

I found a web site that lists the textual differences between the 2001 and 2007 ESV text.

Failed Gospel Tract

5 Mar

Got this image from Contemporary Calvinist.

God certainly does have a wonderful plan for those who love him:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

However, we may err in our expectation of the implications of this truth, particularly with respect to this present life.

Failed gospel tract

Lynyrd Skynyrd Pianist Billy Powell Dies At 56

30 Jan

My friend Curt alerted me to the sad news that Billy Powell has died at age 56. I posted a comment on Curt’s blog, but I thought I’d make a short blog post as well, so forgive the duplication.

In my high school rock band, probably 9 out of 10 songs we played were Lynyrd Skynyrd songs 🙂 I still occasionally play Freebird or Sweet Home Alabama on my acoustic.

Shortly after my high school days, I came to understand that I was a sinner and, more importantly, that Jesus Christ had paid the penalty for my sin by his sacrifice on the cross – good news indeed!

Not long after that I was attending a Christian concert and while the warm-up band was playing I noticed that the pianist was very good and sounded familiar. Sure enough, it was Billy Powell and he talked for a bit after the song about becoming a Christian.

Comments from Gary Rossington’s wife Dale in the news article above indicate that Billy continued in his faith until his death. It’s quite sad for Billy’s family that he’s gone, but the fact that he had been reconciled with his Maker before his death makes all the difference in the world.

I encourage you to consider the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a good presentation of it:

Two Ways To Live

Phil Keaggy – Salvation Army Band

21 Nov

Found this on Scott Moonen’s blog. Phil Keaggy is still rockin’ it 🙂

It Is Well With My Soul

28 May

I was just listening to and Jeremy Camp’s version of It Is Well With My Soul started playing. I was struck by the lyrics yet again, so I looked up the story again:

“It Is Well with My Soul” is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. This hymn was writ­ten af­ter two ma­jor traua­mas in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the death of his only son, shortly followed by the great Chi­ca­go Fire of Oc­to­ber 1871, which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a weal­thy bus­i­ness­man). In 1873, while cross­ing the At­lan­tic, all four of Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died in a col­li­sion with an­o­ther ship. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, as Spaf­ford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters died, he was inspired to write these words.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

I hope you can say, “It is well with my soul.” If not, I appeal to you to consider the gospel of Jesus Christ. The following material may be helpful in that regard:

Two Ways To Live