The Aquila Report

Defending the Family in Liquid Modernity

Mary Harrington’s Feminism Against Progress sees the benefits, counts the costs, tells us how we got here, and gives some advice on muddling through the bitters. No institution—including the Church—is immune from feminism’s influence, so no one can ignore its deeply personal wounds.

Human mastery over nature, exercised technologically, is how human beings experience “progress.” Better medical care to extend life. Cars that prevent crashes and protect us from their effects. More market opportunity for all. We rarely think of how the sweetness of progress comes with corresponding bitter costs—and what that fact teaches about the human condition.
Modern feminism expresses this dilemma of progress. On one hand, women have more schooling and degrees today than ever before; more political and economic rights; and more liberation from unchosen roles. On the other, we no longer really know what a woman is and how other beings (call them men) should relate to women. Mary Harrington’s Feminism Against Progress sees the benefits, counts the costs, tells us how we got here, and gives some advice on muddling through the bitters. No institution—including the Church—is immune from feminism’s influence, so no one can ignore its deeply personal wounds.
For Harrington, feminism rides the wave of deeper movements like industrialization and technological thinking. In the beginning, families were communities, truly the basic units of society. They were economic units where husbands and wives produced what families needed together. These conditions coincided with patriarchal legal and cultural arrangements, but all was softened by the fact that teamwork was essential. Then came “the transition to industrial society,” which took men from the home and created “separate spheres” for men and women. The social and economic conditions for communal marriage vanished, so social mystiques like the “cult of domesticity” were needed to prop up marriage. “Big Romance,” as Harrington calls it, emerged, all the better to encourage women to love their chains. Soon the contradiction was unsustainable.
The first feminism—the good one, as Harrington sees it—defined a woman’s maternal value amidst this mismatch between the mode of production and family form. Such early feminists “valued maternity, care and interdependence alongside just measures of economic and political agency and individual freedom.”
That first feminism did not last, by Harrington’s account, mostly because the market continued to liquify, commodify and alienate and to reduce all human understanding to variations on the pricing mechanism. The result was second-wave feminism, an extreme version of the market mentality, where the male model of market success became the model for everyone. Women could only find their meaning outside the home in paid work, while housework was pawned off on domestics. Sex became transactional. The promise of liberation—indeed, the promise of progress itself— colonized human life through the market mentality.
As a result, as Harrington catalogs, we live in a time when relationships are more difficult to form, when motherhood is neither honored nor aspired to, and female bodies are thought to be the playthings of transgendered technological innovation. Upper-class women can buy some immunity from liquid modernity, but working-class women cannot.
Read More
Related Posts:

Beauty: The Pursuit of Knowledge and Wisdom

‌As you continue to pursue holiness and Christlikeness, don’t simply strive to acquire theological knowledge alone, but let your love abound more and more, with knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

One of the last short stories C. S. Lewis wrote was a revision of one of his first stories. It was a short story he called, “Light.” In the story a man named Robin, who was born blind, has recently had his sight restored through surgery. Robin finds himself quite disappointed with his restored sight, however, because he really wants to see that thing called “light” that he has heard so much about, and yet, while his wife and others insist that light is all around him, he can’t see light. Weeks of being able to see but not being able to see light leads Robin to despair and ultimately death. Of course, Robin’s problem, and even the problem of his wife and others who could not manage to help him, was that light is not something we see; light is something by which we see.
Lewis’s story is ultimately about the nature of human knowing, but it also illustrates well, I think, how we often approach the subject of beauty. In our post-Enlightenment era, beauty is something we look at; it is a subject we talk about; it is, perhaps, something we ought to learn to appreciate and enjoy.
However, as with light in Lewis’s story, beauty is not merely something to think about, to look at, and to simply recognize or even delight in, but rather beauty is what we come to know God and his world through. Or, to put it another way, beauty is not simply a category that stands alongside truth and goodness; rather, beauty is the means through which we come to really know what is true and good.
Transcendent Beauty
One of the most important, foundational principles of a robustly Christian philosophy is affirmation of absolute truth, goodness, and beauty and the fundamental part each of these principles play in truly knowing God and his world.
Belief in transcendent principles is rooted in a conviction that God is the source, sustainer, and end of all things. The Bible clearly proclaims that God is self-existent and self-sustaining, and all things come from him (Rom. 11:36). Everything that is true is so because God is Truth. Everything that is good is so because God is Good. And everything that is beautiful is so because God is Beauty. There are no such things as brute facts apart from God; they are facts because God determined them to be so. There are no such things as moral standards that are merely conceived out of convention apart from God; actions are moral or immoral because God says they are. And in the same way, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder; something is beautiful when it reflects God who is Beauty.
With this in mind, Christians as image-bearers of God must be committed to thinking God’s thoughts after him, to behaving in certain ways that conform to God’s moral will, and to loving those things that God calls lovely. Thoroughly Christian living is therefore concerned with orthodoxy—right belief, orthopraxy—right behavior, and orthopathy—right loves.
And yet the realm of orthopathy—right loving—is often missing from even the most theologically robust churches. We are all about rigorous theology, and we recognize our goal of cultivating thoroughly Christian values in every area of life, but do we recognize beauty as the essential means through which this will happen?
The Aesthetics of Scripture
The primary, fundamental reason we ought to recognize the significance of beauty as a central means through which our loves are shaped and through which we really come to know God and his world is that the Bible itself is God’s truth communicated in beautiful forms. God’s Word is “more than divine data.”1 Instead, God’s revelation of truth and goodness comes to us in various aesthetic forms such as “narratives, proverbs, poems, hymns, and oratory whose artistic tools include allegory, metaphor, symbolism, satire, and irony.”2
These aesthetic forms are essential to the truth itself since God’s inspired Word is exactly the best way that truth could be presented. Clyde S. Kilby observes, “The Bible comes to us in an artistic form which is often sublime, rather than as a document of practical, expository prose, strict in outline like a textbook.” He asserts that these aesthetic forms are not merely decorative but part of the essential presentation of the Bible’s truth: “We do not have truth and beauty, or truth decorated with beauty, or truth illustrated by the beautiful phrase, or truth in a ‘beautiful setting.’ Truth and beauty are in the Scriptures, as indeed they must always be, an inseparable unity.”3
To put it another way—truth, goodness, and beauty, are three strands of a single cord that cannot be separated if we desire to truly know God and his world.
I am afraid that most Christians do not recognize this, and this is evidenced at very least by the fact that many Christians are afraid to affirm and defend absolute beauty in the same way we do absolute truth and morality. We have bought into the modernist idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the postmodern multicultural agenda that argues art is merely neutral contextualization of a given civilization. We still view beauty and the arts as means to the end of making truth interesting instead of as ends in themselves. We view beauty as something to see rather than something by which we see.
Looking Through
I phrase it that way specifically because again, often when we consider aesthetics, it becomes something we talk about and think about. Talking about, thinking about, and looking at beauty are all good as far as they go, but what I am calling the tools of loving—that which shapes our loves and cultivates virtue in us—is not something to look at but rather what we see through.
Read More
Related Posts:

Final Reflections (Job pt 17)

DISCLAIMER: The Aquila Report is a news and information resource. We welcome commentary from readers; for more information visit our Letters to the Editor link. All our content, including commentary and opinion, is intended to be information for our readers and does not necessarily indicate an endorsement by The Aquila Report or its governing board. In order to provide this website free of charge to our readers,  Aquila Report uses a combination of donations, advertisements and affiliate marketing links to  pay its operating costs.

The Presbyterian Cup from Wine to Welch’s

While many Reformed writers, especially recently, make the scriptural case for wine, our question is specifically one of polity: how have Presbyterian Churches used grape juice without running afoul of the Westminster Standards and their respective Books of Church Order? Was the change in American Presbyterian polity merely a matter of disobedience?

In the first 1,800 years of the New Testament church, there was no shortage of debate over the elements of the Lord’s Supper. There have been debates over mixing water with the wine,[1] use of leaven in the bread,[2] and the denial of the cup to the laity.[3]
Yet, through all those debates, the contents of the cup primarily included fermented wine from grapes (even if Eastern and Western Christians were divided on whether that wine needed to be white or red). Wine was considered so essential to the work of Christian missionaries that some scholars attribute the global spread of wine over the past two millennia to the work of Christian missionaries who traveled to new lands with Bibles and grape vines. Missionaries frequently introduced the drinking of wine alongside Christianity in regions previously untouched by the gospel, inaugurating significant cultural change to local societies.[4]
The uninterrupted Christian tradition of wine in communion was challenged in 1869 when Thomas Bramwell Welch—a Methodist supporter of the Temperance movement—applied Louis Pasteur’s process of pasteurization to grape juice to halt fermentation, thereby founding Welch’s Grape Juice.[5]
Before Welch’s process, the only way to acquire unfermented grape juice was by drinking it immediately after squeezing the juice from the grape. This is due to the fact that the natural yeasts that grow on the grape immediately initiate the fermentation process of converting sugar to alcohol. Only this freshly squeezed juice could be considered “grape juice” while fermented juice is referred to as ‘wine’ in Scripture. The Hebrew word for wine comes from a root that means “effervesce” or to bubble, meaning that unfermented wine would be an oxymoron.[6]
Cup or Wine in the Standards?
This leads to a perplexing question in the history of Presbyterian polity. While the words “cup”[7] or “fruit of the vine”[8] are used Scripture, the Westminster Standards interpret that reference to be indicating “wine.”[9] This is not merely in one or two places but in the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which includes both the Westminster Standards as adopted by the PCA and the Book of Church Order (BCO) the word “wine” is used in the following places:

The BCO describes the element representing Christ’s blood as wine: “58-5: The table, on which the elements are placed, being decently covered, and furnished with bread and wine, and the communicants orderly and gravely sitting around it (or in their seats before it), the elders in a convenient place together, the minister should then set the elements apart by prayer and thanksgiving. The bread and wine being thus set apart by prayer and thanksgiving…”
The Larger Catechism defines the Lord’s Supper as “bread and wine” in the answers to questions 168, 169,[10] and 170.
The Shorter Catechism defines the Lord’s Supper as “bread and wine” in the answer to question 96.

Read More
Related Posts:

The Blessedness of Motherhood

We do not live in a perfect world. Every household will make decisions based on their life circumstances, and Christians should avoid being overly prescriptive about matters that are truly secondary. God is honored when Christians prayerfully consider how to best pursue their God given priorities. Even though motherhood is diminished in the world, the church can uphold its glory and dignity.

Motherhood is Life
I recently rewatched “Saving Private Ryan” for what must have been the 10th time. Saving Private Ryan tells the story of a young man whose three brothers were killed in combat in WWII. Private Ryan was the only brother to survive D Day. When military officials realized this, they dispatched a special regiment of eight soldiers to track him down, somewhere in France, to retrieve him and bring him home.
Saving Private Ryan is a masculine movie. It’s all about brotherhood, war, duty, honor. But when I watched the movie this time, however, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before—mothers. Many of these young men, who were fighting for their lives on another continent, were thinking about their mothers back home. In a particularly disturbing scene, a soldier lies on a beach in Normandy, clutching his bloody stomach that had been blown open, crying out “mama!” while he died.
The mission to save Private Ryan was deemed urgent because the military command wanted to spare his mother the overwhelming grief of losing her last remaining son. One scene depicts the awful moment just before she learned the news that she’d lost her other three sons. She is standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes as she notices a military vehicle approach. A man dressed in a military uniform exits the front passenger side of the vehicle, turns toward the back door of the car and opens it. A chaplain steps out. She knew immediately. She falls to her knees in grief, knowing that she’d lost one of her sons. Surely her mind is racing with questions. “Which son? How did he die?” But the audience knows the situation is much worse. She’d lost three of her sons in one day, and the fourth was still missing.
Scenes like this show the power of motherhood. When strong, young men in war are in the throes of death, their hearts are naturally drawn to the safety, comfort, and love of home. They long for the woman who gave them life. Mothers embody everything they hope for in dangerous times. War is death. Motherhood is life.
The World’s View of Motherhood
Many young women feel the need to suppress their maternal instincts because they’ve been culturally conditioned to devalue motherhood. They’ve grown up watching shows and hearing stories celebrating how “girls can do anything boys can do.” A friend once noticed a poster in a school highlighting girl’s potential in a series of pictures associated with different careers. One was a doctor, another was a business executive, a third was an astronaut. Of all these images inspiring young girls about what they could become in life, none of them depicted mothers.
During a small group discussion with some Christian friends, one young woman sheepishly admitted that what she most wanted out of life was to be a wife and a mother. She was hesitant to acknowledge this, because she felt that this was somehow aiming below her potential, wasting her gifts, and settling for second best. All her life, she’d heard about how exciting a career can be, but she’d heard relatively little celebrating the fact that she can create and nurture new life. In pop culture, pregnancy is depicted as a hurdle to overcome. But the testimony of scripture is that children are a blessing and motherhood is a glorious vocation (Ps 127:3-5). This is not to say that women should not get an education or have a job. For our purposes here, it’s simply a matter of priority. Motherhood is highly valued in Scripture but devalued in modern culture.
Motherhood has never been an easy calling ever since it came under the curse of sin (Gen 3:16). Nevertheless, throughout history, societies have always valued motherhood as a social good to preserve and nurture civilization. As the industrial revolution radically changed the household, some feminist thinkers began arguing that the traditional household was outdated, oppressive to women, and needed to be changed. It was holding women back, enslaving them to their husbands and children. But women could be liberated from this bondage by seeking careers outside the home the way men did. They assumed that women could be more free, more fulfilled, and more valued in the marketplace than in the home.
Even though most Christian women would quickly recognize the error of this thinking, the basic assumptions and desires of feminism can nevertheless seep into our unconscious minds, training us to devalue the vocation of motherhood. Women are being subtly conditioned to believe that the marketplace is immanently desirable—where true happiness and fulfillment can be found. Motherhood is a secondary endeavor if a woman chooses to succumb to her own biology. Homemaking should rarely be the top vocational choice, unless she’s going for a trendy, boutique, trad wife flex. This thinking is ungodly. Nevertheless, the feminine nature has a way of asserting itself. It cannot be so easily denied. Women are naturally and instinctively inclined to make homes.
The Feminine Design
I have pastored many women through infertility struggles and have personally seen how devastating this trial can be. For these women, their missing motherhood can feel like a personal failure. Why is missing motherhood such an emotional weight for so many women? Because it’s their design. Motherhood is the goal (or telos) of the feminine design. Women are physiologically oriented towards it. A woman’s menstrual cycle is a monthly reminder that her womb was designed to bear life, and her breasts were designed to feed and nurture life. This astoundingly powerful ability to create life should be affirmed and celebrated, not minimized or dismissed.
The Scriptures present motherhood as one of the greatest blessings a woman could receive. Similarly, a barren womb was one of the greatest trials she could endure. Womanhood cannot be properly understood apart from her potential for motherhood. It is the unique design of her body. When God created Eve, he was not merely solving a loneliness problem, but a reproduction problem. She was God’s answer to man’s inability to fill the earth on his own. This is why Adam named her “Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20). God gave him much more than a wife. He gave him a potential mother.
A common word Scripture uses to describe motherhood is “fruitfulness” (Gen 1:28). This word appears in the Bible over 200 times, covering a range of interrelated meanings from gardening to sexuality. Fruitfulness is multiplication. Just as the Garden of Eden was meant to grow, expand, and multiply to cover the earth, Eve was meant to be fruitful and grow, like a garden. Women are uniquely equipped to multiply and amplify things. A woman’s body can take a single sperm from a man and knit together a new human being from it. Just as her name suggests, Eve truly did become the mother of all living, giving birth to the whole human race. This feminine ability goes beyond physical childbearing. Femininity represents the ability to expand what is received. As author Rebekah Merkle put it, “When God gave Eve to Adam, he was handing Adam an amplifier… Adam is the single acorn sitting on the driveway which, no matter how hard he tries, remains an acorn. Eve is the fertile soil which takes all the potential that resides in that acorn and turns it into a tree, which produces millions more acorns and millions more trees.”
The Vocation of Motherhood
Women are natural homemakers. Marriage is all about making a home, and wives will naturally devote themselves to it. The question is not whether she’ll do it, but to what degree she’ll prioritize it. Every household will need its cabinets stocked with groceries, meals prepared, and laundry washed. Beyond this, the children will need to be fed, nurtured, clothed, disciplined, and educated. Typically, the mother takes the lead in handling these chores. She may do them all herself, or she may outsource some or all of them to others. For example, a well-trained and qualified nanny can be hired to come into the home and perform all these tasks. A nanny may be a better cook, better housekeeper, and better teacher of the kids. This being the case, why not hire them to do as much as possible? Some families see this as the wisest option, since, after all, the nanny is the professional. She’s the expert. But homes need more than domestic expertise; they need a mother’s presence.
Read More
Related Posts:

The Motion of God

Written by T. M. Suffield |
Sunday, June 4, 2023
If we chase after experiences we won’t find them, but that if we look to worship God in spirit and truth, we will have dramatic and dynamic encounters with God by his Spirit that will change us, change our churches, change our towns and cities, shake the foundations of the earth, challenge the powers successfully, and occasionally be just a little bit strange.

In my last post in this series filling out my ‘eucharismatic’ manifesto, I argued that the church exists to worship God, and therefore our primary purpose is worshipping God.
However, if you’ve been following along, you might think that this is an odd first step when I have argued that the church is defined by her encounters with God, which seems to shift the focus to us. That’s not right, church isn’t about us, it’s about God.
Except, I’m a Reformed Charismatic; Calvinistic in my understanding of salvation (and more). Which means I want to argue an important point that affects what happens on Sundays, but also everything else in the entire cosmos. It’s this: God always moves first.
When I repent what I discover is that in the counsels of the Almighty God, he first chose me and elected me to life, the Spirit regenerating my heart so that I can respond in faith to his call and repent. When God calls, he makes what he calls for happen.
When I move towards God and meet him, I will always find that he has moved first. God’s kindness is gratuitous, it overflows, what we call grace or gift is how God always works with his people.
It’s because of the Lord’s gracious posture towards us, his movement, that we can speak of the gathered Church as a series of encounters with God, or even of the Church itself as the mystery of the bride encountering the husband, the son encountering the father, the army encountering the general, the Temple bricks encountering the divine presence of Yahweh filling the holy of holies.
When we gather to worship God, he will have graciously ‘presenced’ himself with us. And before you cry that ‘God is everywhere’ and so can’t be especially present, you’re going to need to go and look at the holy of holies again.
Read More
Related Posts:

Thousands of Congregations Leave United Methodist Church Over Biblical Concerns

In recent years, bishops and ministers blessed homosexual relationships. UMC conferences approved lesbian- and gay-identified ministers and bishops, defying Scripture and official Methodist policy. Church leaders also showed support for abortion, denouncing the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Last week, 193 churches disaffiliated from the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church “over matters related to human sexuality,” announced Bishop David Graves, overseer of the Conference.
They are part of a growing exodus from the denomination, with more than 3,500 congregations leaving the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States in 2022 and 2023.
The separations come after years of contention in the UMC over foundational issues of Christian truth on the authority of Scripture, sanctity of life, and God’s design for marriage and sexuality.
Doctrinal disputes within Methodism date back to the turn of the last century, with some active ministers and bishops denying core church doctrines – and not being disciplined.
In recent years, bishops and ministers blessed homosexual relationships. UMC conferences approved lesbian- and gay-identified ministers and bishops, defying Scripture and official Methodist policy. Church leaders also showed support for abortion, denouncing the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
At its 2019 General Conference, the UMC added a rule to its Book of Discipline which “offers a limited way for congregations to leave the denomination and take full ownership of their buildings and other assets by releasing them from The United Methodist Church’s centuries-old trust clause,” Bishop Graves’ statement explained.
The disaffiliation process created multiple steps for churches who wanted to leave, including a time of prayer and discernment and a vote of approval by at least a two-thirds majority of a church’s professing members. The process also requires the exiting congregations to pay any money owed to the UMC along with all costs for transferring property titles.
Read More
Related Posts:

Don’t Wait For Joy

One day, for all those who have repented and believed that gospel, we too will rise. We will be with the Lord, in His presence forever. And in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Our joy now is weak and fickle, but then it will be unshakeable. We will be with Him forever and sin and weakness and sickness and sadness and all things that could steal our joy will be banished. 

I was talking with a friend at an engagement party about 12 years ago, and he was in the thick of his medical training. He was preparing for a huge exam that took up the vast majority of his free time, and he had spent hours studying every day for months. So I asked him, as we often did, how his soul was. He said, “I’m busy, but I’m still fighting for time in the word and prayer. I can’t wait for this exam to be over, but I’m fighting to have joy now. I can’t wait for on my circumstances to change to have joy. I want to have joy in the Lord now.” Don’t you love talking to real Christians?
This conversation rocked me. My friend was not waiting for joy. He knew that his circumstances couldn’t dictate when he was to find joy, because our sinful nature and our fallen world will always find an excuse to be dissatisfied. To say it plainly, if we are waiting to have joy until things are perfect, we will never have it. There will always be some hardship, or trial, or shortcoming, or whatever to bring us down and “ruin” our joy. And God actually commands our joy. Listen to these commands: “Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright” (Psalm 33:1). “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name” (Psalm 97:12)! “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4).
Read More
Related Posts:

The Ministry of the Pew

The pastor’s ministry does not replace mine; it refines mine. It makes our ministry better, more effective. Your pastor equips you for the work of ministry, for the building up the body of Christ into mature manhood (Ephesians 4:12–13). This ministry finds some expression on Sunday mornings as you serve, you prepare, and you exercise your own gifts and acts of love within your local body. Much of the best ministry in healthy churches happens by those who never hold a microphone.

The first step is to survive the coordinated attacks from the children. An ex-nihilo stain suddenly appears on my daughter’s dress. An episode from my son responding to his sister’s “help.” A well-placed plastic Lego planted strategically at the bottom of the steps. And of course, a soiled-through diaper just as we head for the door.
Safely in the car, we prepare to play our part of our church’s ministry for that Sunday’s gathering. I have no formal duties this week — I am not preaching or welcoming or giving the prayer of thanksgiving — but I ready myself and my family for ministry nonetheless.
A worship song plays. Swerving along the main road cratered as the moon, we arrive at the chosen traffic light signaling time to pray for the service. The music pauses, and a hush falls on the car.
Father, please be with us as we worship you in spirit and in truth. Bless the pastor to preach your word with power. Give us ears to hear and obey your word. Have mercy on your beloved people. Let us see Christ. If any do not truly know you, save them. And Lord, prepare us now to be a blessing to your people.
After we park, we turn our energies to greeting the saints and getting all of our kids into the pew.
As the service begins, we focus on the lyrics being sung, asking God to warm our hearts and the hearts of those around us. My two oldest, imitating their parents, throw up their hands. We praise him with our whole person. Lord, accept our songs in your Son. Forgive our coldness and distractions.
As worship continues, my wife and I see some new faces, some faces we have not seen in a while, some faces we have been praying for. We note people we want to make sure to talk to after the service.
The preacher soon mounts the pulpit. O Lord, give him love for your glory, love for your people, love for your word. Bless him to preach as one speaking your oracles. Speak to us through this man.
After the preaching, after the final song and benediction are given, we look around — a big part of our ministry begins. Who would you have us speak with, encourage, welcome to the church, pray for, confront? How do you plan to use us to bless those around us in the pews this week?
Does My Church Need Me?
Here is the main point, the truth that can revolutionize your walk with the Lord and your experience of the local church: If you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, you have something to contribute to your local church every Sunday morning.
Do you believe that? Do you come not only to receive — which you should — but to also bless?
This has been hard for “normal” Christians to believe ever since the beginning. In the early church, members looked around the house churches in Corinth and saw different usefulness in the Lord, different giftings. Some seemed more essential, and others more dispensable.
Responding to such thinking, Paul writes, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. . .” (1 Corinthians 12:21–22).
In too many churches today, the feet, hands, and ears say of themselves, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body” (1 Corinthians 12:16) — because we do not preach, teach, or host small group — we are not needed. Hands show up on Sundays, listless, merely to listen to the mouth speak. They rest in the audience, treating the local church as a theater that welcomes spectators to watch more prominent saints do actual ministry.
You are not leading worship. You are not formally greeting, nor praying in the service, nor giving communion. You aren’t ushering, or serving in the nursery, or leading a women’s ministry. What part do you really play?
Read More
Related Posts:

Question 2: What Is God?

All things exist because of Him, but He is not the deistic idea of the great Watchmaker, forming the cosmos and then leaving creation to its own devices. No, God actively upholds and sustains His creation. He spoke light into being, and light continues to shine throughout the universe because God is still speaking. Paul affirms this truth to the Athenians by taking the words that a pagan poet used to describe Zeus and rightly applying them onto the one, true God: “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Although this is the second question, it is perhaps the most important question that we could ever seek to answer. The reasons are many, but perhaps the most important is given to us by Jesus whenever He was praying to the Father in John 17:3, which says: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” God is not merely the granter of eternal life; rather, knowing Him is eternal life. Also, by implication, to be ignorant of God is to be divorced and cut off from life everlasting. What then could be more important than knowing God? And what better place to begin than with the question before us: what is God? The answer that the catechism gives contains three sentences, which easily gives a three part structure to our meditation.
First, “God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything.” This truth is so fundamental to our understanding of the person and the very idea of God that it expressed clearly within the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). As many scholars have noted, the phrase ‘heavens and the earth’ is a merism that means all things, just as a common merism used today is to search high and low for something, which means to look everywhere. Thus, with its opening words, the Bible establishes God as our Creator, and it reinforces that truth continually. Consider Psalm 100:3 as an example: “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”
But notice that He is not simply our Creator; He is also the Sustainer. All things exist because of Him, but He is not the deistic idea of the great Watchmaker, forming the cosmos and then leaving creation to its own devices. No, God actively upholds and sustains His creation. He spoke light into being, and light continues to shine throughout the universe because God is still speaking. Paul affirms this truth to the Athenians by taking the words that a pagan poet used to describe Zeus and rightly applying them onto the one, true God: “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Read More
Related Posts:

Scroll to top