All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

from TMS, a very useful site for memorizing basic Bible verses.

Christianity Today has an interesting article on What’s Next for the Gospel Coalition

Within the broad scope of Church history, Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines in common. Nonetheless, they are often viewed as rivals within Evangelicalism because of their disagreement over details of the doctrines of divine predestination and salvation. Faiths leaning at least in part in the Arminian direction include Methodists, Free Will Baptists, General Baptists, Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Seventh-day Adventists, Mennonites, Pentecostals, and Charismatics. Denominations leaning in the Calvinist direction are grouped as the Reformed churches and include Particular Baptists, Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists. The majority of Southern Baptists, including Billy Graham, accept Arminianism with an exception allowing for a doctrine of eternal security. Many see Calvinism as growing in acceptance,and some well-known Southern Baptists such as Albert Mohler and Mark Dever have been trying to lead the Southern Baptist Convention to a Reformed theological orientation. The majority of Lutherans hold to a third view of salvation and election that was taught by Philip Melanchthon.

The Five articles of Remonstrance that Arminius’ followers formulated in 1610 state beliefs regarding (I) conditional election, (II) unlimited atonement, (III) total depravity, (IV) total depravity and resistible grace, and (V) possibility of apostasy.
Arminian theology usually falls into one of two groups — Classical Arminianism, drawn from the teaching of Jacobus Arminius — and Wesleyan Arminian, drawing primarily from Wesley. Both groups overlap substantially.

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

–John Updike

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.”

-Malachi 3:10

How long must I wait here
for cosmic dust to accumulate
on me like snow upon the gate?
If I shiver…will I need to stand
longer or if I yawn…will it be
as if I’d never stood still at all.
Can you even see
cosmic dust as it falls from space,
pulled to the earth at a rate
I am powerless to hurry?
And if I remember correctly…
it was in deep, dim midwinter
when my grandmother would paint
her garden. Squeezing out titanium
white to tickle the dark bellies
of eggplants nesting under lolling
green vines full of blushing tomatoes,
flanked by bushy rows of carrot tops.
I never saw what she saw (her still life)
in our barren back lot, streaked with snow
and tanned grasses bent southward,
even on the calmest of days.
Still standing, my hands cupped up —
craters for catching what no
one can see…and yet this dust,
this weight is lightness, it is
buoyance of sight. And when,
when shall I go in?
When the warbler whispers,
“Good night,”
I will lay down
under all that blankets me,
and rest.
Have I wasted my day?
what did you do?

-Steve Baliko, published in Communique

Belief among many conservative Christians that the Bible does not contain any errors, historical, scientific, or otherwise. Although the term was not employed much until the twentieth century, upon the rise of biblical criticism, inerrantists would argue that this designation became a necessary line of demarcation between liberals and conservative Christians. Many difficulties arise when defining inerrancy as one’s hermeneutic (method of interpreting the Scripture) becomes an issue. Some would hold to a more literal hermeneutic and define inerrancy accordingly. Others would opt for a less definite hermeneutic and describe themselves as “reasoned inerrantists,” believing that the Bible is true in whatever it is attempting to communicate, but believing that what the Bible intends to communicate is often difficult to understand.

-from Theological Word of the Day

One of the reasons I like reading Christian blogs is because it makes me think about issues which I would never normally think  about, but which could very well be a part of my life in future. Children or lack thereof is one of these things. Here, Russell  Moore talks eloquently about infertility, miscarriages, and adoption in the context of his new book, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches, and how writing it affected he and his wife:

“You know, the book helped us to learn gratitude to God, and not just for the happiness adoption has brought to our home. We grappled for years with infertility and miscarriages. Those are horrible things, aspects of the curse of Eden, and they left us battered. But God works all things to good-even horrible things-and that’s just what he did here.

Our Father knew that I wasn’t able to be a godly Christian father. Sure, I would have loved my children, read to them, prayed with them, done family devotions, evangelized them. But I would have taken my children for granted. I would have seen them as the “natural” part of the next step of my “life stage.” I would not have received my children as gift.  I would have assumed, “Well, we’re ready to have children and here they are.” And that’s pitiful.

The Lord-as he always does for his children-disciplined me. He made me hunger, that I might know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and man doesn’t have children to whom to give bread except by the blessing and mercy of God.

Now, that’s not the case for everybody’s who is infertile, but it is the case that God in his wisdom knows what is best, and he is up to something, even in the most painful of circumstances.”

Read the full article

Sometimes I wonder why it is I believe in God. And when I do, one of the things that sustains me is the realization that I do believe the world we end. Anyone attuned to the rhythms and patterns of the human race and of this world we live in can sense that. Someday, the lights will go out – and when they do, the God of the Bible is the only truth I have discovered which, being tested, rings out bright and sure enough to remain when destruction comes. Sturday and steady enough to remain when oblivion swallows what we know.

“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind” – Ecclesiastes 1: 14

“Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” – Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

I’ve been listening to this Hilary Duff song(!) and even though its lyrics are the usual bubblegum pop for the most part, in the chorus she’s got one thing right – it is only “one more mile to Jericho”. Thank God.

In my wanderings on Christian blogs over the past few months or so, I’ve seen the terms “Emergent” and “Emerging Church” pop up more and more often. I’ve kept wondering what exactly that means, and now Michael Patton has finally written a fantastic article on Parchment and Pen defining the Emerging church, and not coincidentally also giving a fantastic definition/synopsis of Evangelical beliefs, Catholic beliefs, and Eastern Orthodox beliefs, as well as of Orthodoxy itself. I can’t recommend enough.

He follows up soon after with an Obituary: The Emerging Church, essentially declaring the movement/set of ideas dead, which I admit I’m quite relieved at as its ideas appear to me to have been quite dangerous, a sort of extreme form of the connection with modern culture which some Christians seek.