God does what is right. He never does what is wrong. God always acts in a righteous manner because His nature is holy. Thus, we can distinguish between the internal righteousness of God (His holy nature) and the external righteousness of God (His actions).
Two virtues assigned to God, greatness and goodness, may be captured by one biblical word, holy. When we speak of God’s holiness, we are accustomed to associating it almost exclusively with the purity and righteousness of God. Surely the idea of holiness contains these virtues, but they are not the primary meaning of holiness.
The biblical word holy has two distinct meanings. The primary meaning is “apartness” or “otherness.” When we say that God is holy, we call attention to the profound difference between Him and all creatures. It refers to God’s transcendent majesty, His august superiority, by virtue of which He is worthy of our honor, reverence, adoration, and worship. He is “other” or different from us in His glory.
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By Robb Brunansky — 5 months ago
Where are you today—are you a spiritual child? A spiritual young man? Or a spiritual father? What steps will you take to grow? If you are saved and your sins forgiven, Christian, you are called to grow in your faith, in spiritual maturity, and more into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In 1 John 2:12-14, the apostle John presents three stages of spiritual maturity to help affirm that his readers are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and to exhort them to grow in their faith. Previously, we’ve looked at the first two stages that John wrote about – spiritual children and young men. Now we come to the final stage of spiritual maturity: Spiritual Fathers, which John describes in verses 13 and 14.
The Spiritual Fathers are those in the church who are the most spiritually mature. (Note that everything previously stated about the markers of spiritual children and young men applies to the Spiritual Fathers as well.) Spiritual Fathers have been forgiven; they know the Father; they are spiritually strong in faith; they know the Word, and they have learned how to find that way of escape when temptation comes along. These spiritually seasoned individuals aren’t perfect, but they understand how to fight the good fight of faith and apply it as a way of life.
We see one trait that is repeated of those who are spiritual fathers: they “know Him who has been from the beginning.” The “Him” John is referring to is Christ. But when John talks about knowing Christ, we must automatically add that if we have the Son, we have the Father; and if we have the Father and the Son, then we also have the Spirit.
The point John is making is that true spiritual maturity settles here: in an intimate, deep knowledge of the true and living God through an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.
What happens between the stages of being a young man and a father?
At some point as a spiritual young man, you are in the midst of the battle, and you begin to understand the devil’s tactics; you become wiser to his schemes, and you know how to handle God’s word, understand how to employ prayer, put on the armor of God, and deflect the fiery arrows of the devil with the shield of faith. Something begins to become clear to you in a way it hasn’t before!
By David Closson — 1 year ago
In an explosive announcement last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone declared that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may no longer receive the sacrament of the Eucharist because of her outspoken support for abortion. The surprising news was released in a series of letters published by Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco. The decision amounts to a rare public rebuke of one of the nation’s most recognized politicians who identifies as Catholic and raises questions about pastoral authority, discipleship, and spiritual responsibility.
In a letter to Pelosi published on Friday, Cordileone, who oversees Pelosi’s home diocese, explained his rationale to the Catholic lawmaker. Citing the Second Vatican Council and Pope Francis, Cordileone explained, “A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.’” According to the archbishop, Pelosi’s “extreme position” on abortion combined with her regular public comments identifying herself as Catholic necessitated Cordileone take pastoral action.
Although there is precedent for Catholic bishops not admitting politicians to communion over abortion (Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has been unable to receive the Eucharist in his home diocese for 17 years), it is rare. Moreover, Pelosi’s role as Speaker of the House (and third in line for the presidency), makes the archbishop’s decision particularly noteworthy. Thus, even for non-Catholics like myself, the story deserves attention.
First, Archbishop Cordileone underscored in his letter the “scandal” caused by Pelosi’s public support for abortion. In Roman Catholicism, a “scandal” refers to behavior that leads others to do evil. Cordileone used the word “scandal” four times to refer to Pelosi’s abortion advocacy, noting that the Speaker’s support for abortion has not only endangered her own soul but has caused harmful confusion among practicing Catholics and other Catholic politicians about the church’s teaching on abortion.
Specifically, the archbishop noted Pelosi’s regular practice of referring to her Catholic faith in the context of championing abortion. For example, as recently as May 4, Pelosi referred to herself as a “devout Catholic” and described opposition to abortion as “appalling.” Cordileone mentioned Pelosi’s recent efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law after Texas passed a heart-beat bill in September. Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in September, legislation that if enacted into law would weaken conscience protections for medical professionals, jeopardize prohibitions on taxpayer funding for abortion, enshrine late-term abortion into law, strike down many pro-life laws passed in the states, and equate the death of unborn children with routine medical procedures.
Second, Archbishop Cordileone noted Pelosi’s “resistance to pastoral counsel.” In letters published on Friday to the Catholic community and fellow priests serving in the archdiocese, Cordileone explained that the Speaker’s “resistance to pastoral counsel has gone on for too long.” He noted that he has prayed and searched his conscience for years about how to respond pastorally to Pelosi’s abortion stance and has attempted—without success—to speak with her privately on at least six occasions within the previous year.
By Jonathon Van Maren — 9 months ago
Mutilated and broken, is not a bizarre paranoid fantasy. It is currently the lived experience of tens of thousands of families across the West—and likely far more than that. These stories are unfolding every day. These ideologies are not simply absurd abstractions pushed out by recently-invented university departments—they are the guiding principles of the very institutions we once assumed had the best interests of our children at heart.
As Mary Eberstadt noted in her 2016 book It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, most people in orthodox Christian circles have, at some point, had a conversation about what they might do if their governments grow even more overtly hostile to Christian beliefs and practices. If you’re an American in a blue state, that might mean joining the growing conservative exodus to red states; if you’re a Canadian, that might involve deciding to move to the United States. If you believe that the American experiment has failed, you might—like Rod Dreher, author of The Benedict Option—decide to decamp to Hungary. I’ve been part of plenty of these discussions myself.
In the last few years, mainstream culture has become, in many ways, more tangibly dangerous. The complete colonization of our collective institutions by the transgender movement is one example. Many parents have reached out to me to describe the helplessness they experience when their children are introduced to gender ideology at school or online, decide to take irreversible cross-sex hormones or undergo sex-change surgeries—with nothing they can do to stop it. The educators, the medical professionals, the mental health experts—all stand in between desperate parents and their confused children. The pain they endure is cruel and unique—that of helplessly watching their children disintegrate before their eyes.
The Substack newsletter “Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans” regularly posts such stories, and a recent column titled “Eastern European Mom” caught my eye. It is written by an Eastern European immigrant to the United States who discovered that her 13-year-old daughter had gone through a “mental meltdown.” She was hospitalized and while in hospital stated that she was a boy. Her mother decided to do the only thing she could when she realized that every single institution supported a sex change for her daughter:
I subsequently learned that my daughter’s public middle school had socially transitioned her behind my back. Alarmed at this plot to take my child away, I immediately made plans to return to Eastern Europe. I located a school back home near my family for both of my children. I contacted the school director, explained the situation and was assured that they would not affirm and that they would work with me no matter what struggles my daughter has. So, I sent both kids to Eastern Europe to stay with family and I followed a few weeks later after making arrangements to work remotely.
When I returned to Eastern Europe, I opened up to my very large family about what had happened with my daughter. As opposed to many of the stories I’ve heard about with US families, where family members are quick to affirm regardless of what the parents see as being in the children’s best interest, my family was shocked.