Friday, January 23, 2009

Lecture: Music's Indispensible Place in (the) Reformation

Prof. Barry Gritters from the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently gave a remarkable lecture in Limerick on the above subject. I haven't written anything extensively reviewing it since I've been quite busy with various other things recently.

A great review can be found here:

And the lecture itself can be found here:

There will hopefully a blogpost coming up again shortly.

The particularly pertinent points to me were:
  • The importance of congregational singing in worship.
  • The kind of music most appropriate to this.
  • The role and nature of music as God's creation.
Especially good was the point that our music ought not to be like the music of the world with all its connotations. It ought to be not worldly, and have majesty and gravity.

- Sam W.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cosmology and Biblical Creation: God stretched out the heavens!

I have a book by Dr. John Hartnett called "Starlight, Time, and New Physics" which I had not quite finished reading yet (it was so exciting, I had to lend it to someone else). But I would nevertheless like to quote some info about it from this article:
But this is only the beginning of the exciting implications of this
revolutionary book. Hartnett refers to recent observational data that
overwhelmingly leads to the conclusion that the universe must have a centre, with our galaxy somewhere near it. By plugging this ‘galactocentric’ universe into Carmeli’s equations, and then adding the biblical ‘stretching out of the heavens’ by God at creation (big bangers can scarcely disagree, as they call something like that ‘inflation’), what ‘falls out’ is an astonishing by-product. Namely, that there are built-in gravitational time-dilating effects such that:

a) Adam would have seen light from most of the same stars we see today
when he looked up on the sixth day and
b) light from even the most distant quasar, billions of light-years away from Earth, would reach us now within the six or so thousand years since creation.

Note that this is not the product of wishful thinking, or mathematics designed to give that outcome—just a straightforward chain of scientific reasoning:

a) Carmelian cosmology fits the observational data overwhelmingly, data which has been so puzzling that mysterious (and now unnecessary) fudge factors have been invented.
b) Observations also indicate that we are in a galactocentric universe.
c) Combining a) and b) mathematically shows that it is inevitable that an initial rapid ‘stretching out’ completely eliminates the so-called light-travel time problem for biblical creation.
I highly recommend reading the short article for more info on how to appropriately respond to the common attacks on God's Word from this area, even without Hartnett's book, and how to follow 2Co 10:3-5 in tearing down the fallacies of modern "big-bang theory" foolishness. I also highly recommend the book (although I cannot as yet give it a proper review).

- Sam W.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Biblical Church Unity in 2009

Happy new year from Limerick!

It has been an eventful year, and one in which I could not even begin to recount the myriad journey which the Lord, by His eternally steadfast, unchanging, and powerful grace, has brought me through. Perhaps the journey above all journeys this year, which has in some ways permeated everything I have been through, has been regarding the church.

First there is all that I have learnt about the church, in its government, in its nature, in its purpose, and in its local expression. Second there is all I have had to put in practice concerning what I have learnt. I have had to leave a church that has departed from the truth and is becoming more and more a part of the Anti-christian harlot (Rev 17:1-6). I have had to figure out what church I can join and how to make that decision. I have had to learn what church membership is really all about, and what the importance of creeds and confessions are. And I have had to join the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, in the hope that God will graciously institute a true church here that is "Reformed according to the word of God".

In the light of this great journey on which at least now I can confess that I am on the right road (the narrow way) and heading in the right direction, I would like to share the following excerpt from a very short book on biblical church unity that I have just read (I seem to always end up reading shockingly appropriate articles about issues after I have struggled with them myself and come through to the very positions expressed by those articles - why isn't it the other way around?):
"Doctrinal independence from the church of the past is the hallmark of sectarianism. Sects, by their very nature, reject and despise the creeds and confessions. They thrive in a climate of theological individualism. They epitomize the idea of all men believing that which is right in their own eyes and then drawing other men after them. In contrast, churches that "hold the traditions" will with gladness in their hearts join their fathers in common confession of the truth which they all as one believe.

If church unity is to be biblical, therefore, the churches must be confessional churches.

Finally, before we move on, there is a further objection to the confessions which we must consider briefly. Against those churches who take their confessional standards seriously the charge is sometimes made that they give them an authority equal to that of Holy Scripture. There are two comments to be made in reply. In the first place, it is doubtful whether the charge is ever actually true, but, in the second place, even if it were a valid charge, the objection is misdirected, since the fault lies not with the confession, but with the individual, church, or denomination giving it the undue authority.

The authority of a creed is a derived authority and is therefore always subordinate to that of Scripture.

The danger today, in these times of doctrinal laxity, lies not so much in giving the confessions too much authority as not enough. Once a church or denomination becomes embarrassed by its stated confession and quietly leaves it to gather dust on the shelf, or allows diversity of opinion on matters which are judged to be unconcerned with the substance of the faith, then the enemy is at the door, if not already rampaging through the house. The churches no longer speak with one voice, and divisions, with all the disruption and pain they incur, inevitably follow."

From this article:

After all this, though it is but a glimpse of God's work in this world for His people, and all for the glory of His Name, I still confess: God is sovereign, and His Word is sufficient. I am continually reminded of my ignorance and lack of faith. I know that God holds me, because I could never hold onto Him unless I was firmly clutched in the palm of His sovereign hand. Through all the trials which it pleases the Lord to bring upon us, may we confess with Job:
"Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my mine hand upon my mouth. Once I have spoken; but I will not answer: yea twice; but I will proceed no further. ... I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore I have uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." - Job 40:4-5; 42:2-6.
In 2009, may we pray for the true biblical peace of Jerusalem (Psa 122:1-9, 1Co 1:10), though I don't mean the Jerusalem of the premillenialists (Heb 12:22-24).

- Sam W.