Heir of All Nations
Heritage is about inheritance. The Son is the heir of the nations. He is a new Adam, whose dominion will be to the ends of the earth. This is the Father’s promise to the Son, who will be the Son of David—Messiah—to reign forever. If Psalm 2:8 is a pledge to the Son of global dominion, then we can discern the deceptive words of Satan when he tempted Jesus in Matthew 4.
Psalm 2 was written by David about the Son of David (Acts 4:25–27). We read about the raging and plotting nations (Ps. 2:1–3), the Lord who sits enthroned and laughs at their vain plans (2:4–6), the Father’s words to the royal Son (2:7–9), and the closing warning to the rulers of the earth (2:10–12).
I want us to think about part of the Father’s words to the Son, the Davidic king. He says to the Son, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Ps. 2:8).
Heritage is about inheritance. The Son is the heir of the nations. He is a new Adam, whose dominion will be to the ends of the earth. This is the Father’s promise to the Son, who will be the Son of David—Messiah—to reign forever.
If Psalm 2:8 is a pledge to the Son of global dominion, then we can discern the deceptive words of Satan when he tempted Jesus in Matthew 4. The third and final temptation in that chapter took place like this: “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I give you, if you will fall down and worship me’” (Matt. 4:8–9).
Luke’s parallel account gives us this language from the devil to Jesus: “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will” (Luke 4:6).
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Pedophiles Are Proliferating in Our SchoolsBy Larry Sand — 7 months ago
The U.S. Department of Justice already has established a database for sex offenders. It is imperative that we have a similarly organized collection of information especially for educators, where school administrators are legally bound to report any and every instance of pedophilia.
In the social hierarchy of prison inmates, mob bosses, bank robbers, and cop killers tend to get respect. But “short eyes,” those convicts who have committed crimes against children, especially sexual abuse, are hated, harassed, and abused. In schools, however, this group of detestable perverts rates a “meh.”
The numbers are stunning. A report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education in 2004 revealed that nearly 9.6 percent of students are victims of sexual abuse by school personnel, and these are just the reported cases.
Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (SESAME), a nonprofit that works to stop childhood sexual abuse by teachers and other school employees, disclosed that in 2015, about 3.5 million 8th-11th grade students, or nearly 7 percent of those surveyed divulged that they had experienced “physical sexual contact from an adult” (most often a teacher or coach). The type of physical contact ranged from “unwanted touching of their body, all the way up to sexual intercourse.” Even worse, the statistic increases to about 4.5 million children (10 percent) when other types of sexual misconduct are taken into consideration, such as being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism. SESAME also explains that one child sex offender can have as many as 73 victims in a lifetime.
One might assume that these disgusting perverts would be rounded up, fired, and incarcerated, but all too often, that doesn’t happen. Most recently, Eric Burgess, a high school English teacher in Rosemead, California was found to have repeatedly groomed students for sex, and had sexual relationships with female students over a 20-year period. Infuriatingly, he was allowed to resign without admitting to any wrongdoing and continued to receive his salary for another six months. The settlement agreement bars Burgess from working in the school district, but he can be employed elsewhere, and district officials agreed to provide a “content neutral” reference if he applies for a teaching job in another district.
On a personal level, I taught middle school with “Roy” in the 1990s. One day, this 8th-grade English teacher allegedly touched a female student inappropriately. There were witnesses, but the student involved would not press charges so he was sent off to the district office for a while—the so-called “rubber room” or “teacher jail.” Since firing him was not a viable option, the powers-that-be then decided to transfer him to another school, where he was accused of fondling another student. So he was sent back to the district office, where he whittled away his paid time ogling porn. Busted, he was transferred to yet another school, where he got caught sharing his smut with some of his female students. He was then returned to the district office, where the last I heard, he was waiting for his next assignment, courtesy of his union lawyer.
The Importance of a Plurality of EldersBy Michael G. Brown — 7 months ago
Written by Michael G. Brown |
Friday, August 19, 2022
A plurality of elders provides the flock of Christ with greater pastoral care. In the Old Testament, a multitude of elders were appointed to assist Moses in caring for the people of God. The Lord gave a portion of the Spirit that was on Moses to seventy elders so that they would help carry this burden (Num. 11:16–17). Likewise, in the new covenant church, elders share the responsibility of pastoral care with the minister. Peter writes: “So I exhort the elders . . . shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight” (1 Peter 5:1–2). Elders do this in a variety of practical ways.
Living in Milan, I enjoy taking walks around the perimeter of Sforza Castle. Built in the fifteenth century, this structure was one of the largest citadels in Europe for hundreds of years. Its massive walls, more than a hundred feet high, loom over the outer moat like a towering tsunami of brick, making the castle practically impenetrable. There was a time when these walls extended around the entire city, protecting its inhabitants from invasions and providing them with a sense of security. In the medieval world, a city without walls was almost unimaginable. It would have been defenseless and unlikely to survive.
The vast walls of an ancient city illustrate the church’s need for a plurality of elders. Just as ramparts and fortified gates helped safeguard a city so that civic life could prosper, so too a plurality of faithful overseers in the church helps preserve life in the kingdom of God. A church in which the senior pastor is the sole elder or possesses the most authority among its leaders is in a very vulnerable position, exposed to the perils of power, personality, and conflict. One need only observe the course of many influential evangelical churches in recent years to see how true this is. In most cases, the eventual collapse resulted in part from a lack of shared authority among a group of elders.
There are at least four biblical and practical reasons that a plurality of elders is necessary. First, it provides the church with greater accountability. According to the Bible, believers are accountable for their doctrine and life. What they believe and how they live are to be in line with Scripture. The elders of the local church have the weighty responsibility of holding the members of the congregation accountable. “Obey your leaders and submit to them,” says the writer to the Hebrews, “for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb. 13:17). Notice that this verse speaks of leaders in the plural. Christians are not accountable to one leader alone. Instead, Christ cares for His church through a plurality of elders. This shared accountability helps protect the flock from the spiritual abuse and bullying that could more easily occur in a church where everyone is accountable to one man.
Moreover, the pastor himself is also accountable to the elders. The biblical model for church government is not a hierarchical system in which the senior pastor is a bishop over the elders of the church. In the New Testament, “bishops” (also translated “overseers”) and “elders” (also translated “presbyters”) are synonymous. For example, when Paul instructs Titus to “appoint elders in every town” (Titus 1:5), he describes the qualifications for these elders, calling them overseers: “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach” (Titus 1:7). He uses the two terms to describe the same office. Likewise, in his farewell address to the leaders of the church in Ephesus, Paul “called the elders of the church to come to him” (Acts 20:17). He then addressed them as “overseers” or “bishops” of the church of God (Acts 20:28). These terms are never used in Scripture to describe differing ranks of authority or a single leader governing the church alone. This means that the pastor serves the congregation alongside the ruling elders but not over them. He himself is an elder who labors “in preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). Even though he has biblical training and spiritual gifts for rightly dividing the Word of God, his vote is not more important than the votes of other elders; nor does he possess veto power over the consensus of the group.
Moments With My Father (and My Son)By Tim Challies — 2 years ago
The future…when what is broken will be made whole, when what is sorrowful will be soothed, when what has been torn apart will be stitched back together, a time when son and father and father and son will be reunited, never more to part, never more to grieve.
I have many fond memories of my father—memories accumulated over the 43 years we shared this earth. I have fond memories based on my first twenty-one years when I lived in his home and saw him nearly every day. I remember him taking me to old Exhibition Stadium to watch the Blue Jays play. I remember going on a road trip together—just the two of us traveling across Georgian Bay and onto Manitoulin Island. I remember getting up early in the morning and finding that he was already awake, already reading his Bible, already spending time with the Lord. I remember this and so much else.
Then I have fond memories based on the next 23 years of life after I had gotten married and moved out, and after he and the family had left Canada to settle in the American South. Our visits became less frequent then, but no less significant. I remember his joy on those rare occasions when the whole family could be together, the entire collection of kids and grandkids under a single roof. I remember looking out from many church pulpits and conference podiums and seeing his face in the crowd. I remember notes and letters he would send at important moments or following significant events.
But my favorite memory of all is my final memory of all. In June of 2019 dad turned 70 and the family threw him a surprise party to mark the occasion. I made the long journey from Toronto to my sister’s home in Georgia to be part of the fun. It was a wonderful afternoon spent with friends and family, all of whom had gathered to honor dad as he reached a significant milestone. Though I talked to him on the phone after that day, I never actually saw him again and formed no other lasting memories. Just a few months later he collapsed and died at a time that was unexpected but in a way that was exactly as he wanted—with dirt on his hands.