Random Stuff

The following is a rambling post intended to cover multiple topics, none of which are necessarily related.  With that disclaimer out of the way:

1.  Andy, I hope you really enjoyed your vacation.  I was born in Hawaii (lived there until I was 2, so no childhood memories to speak of, though there is one involving a plate of spinach, but I will save that for another time).  I have visited the Islands a handful of times with my parents growing up (you haven’t seen the big island until you have done it squeezed into a camper trailer with two younger siblings).  Also, thanks to my parents and their time-share membership, I was able to honeymoon on the big Island and celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary on Maui.  It is one of may favorite places in all the world (after Texas of course…no better place than Texas…can I get an “amen”!)  Anyway, all that to say, that I hope you found a lot to enjoy, a nice time of relaxing and many happy memories, welcome back brother! 🙂

 2.  I would like to ask the “powers that be”, the other contributors to this blog (and that includes the ones who have yet to contribute…hint, hint, Fred!) if it would be acceptable to broaden the scope of the blog.  The justification of it would be that I would like to write about or comment on various things related to an OSP perspective.  So it wouldn’t always have to be explicitly about planting an OSP church.  I think I could find more to write about and comment on if that would be possible.  However, if that would dilute the real purpose of this blog beyond what would be good for it, then I humbly submit and will strive to find something to write about related to OSP churches.  (talk amongst yourselves, but also please eventually chime in on what you think about a somewhat broader scope to the blog…I am speaking to the other contributors here primarily).

 3.  Speaking of OSP issues, I have been doing some thinking (and need to find some time to do more reading) about the spirituality of the church.  What is the church supposed to devote itself to?  With a presidential election on the horizon and talk everywhere about the church’s mission, and its need to be concerned with justice and mercy, what is the answer from an OSP perspective.  Just in outline form for now, I have been thinking that our job as the church is to “gather and perfect the saints”.  And that what I am to do as an individual Christian is related to, but different from what the church is to do.  I, as a Christian, should promote (as far as my station in life allows) justice and mercy in my nation and in my neighborhood and relationships.  But what I do as an individual Christian is not synonymous with what the Church is to do.  I am to vote as a citizen of my nation, but the church is not to tell me who to vote for.  The church teaches me God’s word and God’s standards, but I am to apply those truths as an individual citizen in my exercise of my right to vote.  I use this as an illustration (though it may be a poor one) of the difference between what I am to do as an individual Christian versus what the church, as the church, is to do.  There is a relationship between the two, but it is not one for one.  Besides we no longer live in a theocratic kingdom, like OT Israel, so that what was one (church and state issues) is now distinct.  Anyway, I need to read and think more, but it has been on my mind and I post it here with the other stuff to introduce it and perhaps talk more about it in a future post.  I am very open, by the way, to correction and being taught.  I may be a contributor to this blog, but I am by no means an authority on these things.  For me, this is more like thinking out loud (through my fingers as I type…bad metaphor, eh?).  It is meant to express my thoughts and hopefully draw good comments so that as iron sharpens iron, we can sharpen each other.

4.  And finally, I want to put in a plug for a book.  John Piper has written a book as a response to N.T. Wright and his particular take on Paul.  I am about half way through with it and must say that it is one of the best books, dealing with this topic (of the NPP) that I have ever read.  If this topic concerns you in the least (either pro or con), you need to get and read this book.  You can read more and order it here: http://www.gnpcb.org/product/9781581349641

I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.


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2 Responses to Random Stuff

  1. Andrew Webb says:

    Hi Mark,

    Good to hear from you brother. In answer to your queries:

    1) Yep, we had a great time, even though we came home with about $2 left. It was a much needed break. I should comment that we visited the OPC’s mission in Oahu – Redeemer OPC – while I was there and am happy to report that their pastor has an Old School perspective on Church planting ( http://www.hawaiiopc.com/ ).

    2) I am not averse to discussing broader OSP issues on the blog, but I would ask that we NOT descend into ecclesiastical politics. There are plenty of other places online discussing the latest winds of doctrine that are currently tossing people about in the church. If anything, I’d like to see our attention fixed on the timeless rather than dealing with every new flash in the pan. But if its a matter of OSP theology or practice, I’d say put it in print as soon as possible!

    3) I’ll be publishing a couple of Old School Perspectives on keeping focused the church focused on its mission, one from Dabney, and one from Smith. Again, Christ did not establish his church to be a political movement, and the church as the church should not entangle itself in party politics. If we considered the eternal nature of the gospel and its application to every time, people, and place we’d realize better the foolishness of tying the church to a particular candidate or issue in a particular nation in a particular time. Who, for instance, really cares about the vast majority of political issues and candidates that so animated and incensed people in various nations 200 or 300 years ago? The gospel on the other hand has an eternal and unchanging value, and while the usus politicus of the moral law may have some value in suppressing sin in a society, only the spread of the gospel heart by heart can produce a real change. I’m reminded, for instance, of the vast improvement in Welsh society produced by the revival in the early 20th century, it is that kind of change and not merely attempting to plug up the leaks in the cultural levy via legislation that should be the primary objective of the church.

    4. Thanks for the plug, I plan on picking up a copy. Hopefully, the fact that men of considerable influence like Piper and Sproul are weighing in on this subject will help to further marginalize this latest repudiation of Sola Fide.

  2. Timothy says:

    Hi Mark,
    It’s hard to believe you have been married for 10 years now! Seems like… well, 10 years ago! 🙂

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