Posted tagged ‘Alistair Begg’

An Open Letter to TeamPyro

February 2, 2011

I was a refugee from the world of Charismania when I landed at Pyromaniacs from a link at the Spurgeon archives.  I was being drawn into Reformed Theology by such lovely words as his, and hoped to find more.  Frequently, at Pyromaniacs, I did.  Stuff like Turk’s “This Shall Be A Sign to You” which inspired a weeks fruitful meditation and even a mediocre poem bearing that title.  And the post by Phil Johnson this week on fornication’s particular sin against a body that is owned by the Lord is now part of the must-reads on my teenage boy’s curriculum list.

But more and more the blog has dedicated itself to serving up tasty morsels of scandal, and you all seem to gleefully compete for the most comments in the meta from those with itching ears.  And  the readers who would disagree with your points of view, as I  frequently do–not having completely converted to the cessationist camp– are too intimidated to refudiate your furious clanging swords.  I mean words. And I confess, I was also titillated by all the blood and guts flying about, too.  But then.

The Open Letter to Horton seems like straining at gnats while you all swallow camels.  Mr. Turk  accused WHI of fostering a cold kind of Calvinism.  What about the level of charity and hospitality on this blog?  That quality certainly is lacking in the comments following the posts.  Turk’s very necessary apology to Challies in the meta of the Horton letter only proved this. Time and time again, commenters have begged, “Don’t hurt me”, as they plunge into the shark tank of the comments section.  Mr. Turk used adjectives for Tim Challies like vanilla and worse, but I am not afraid to post on that  blog, even daring recently to pose a question for Tim to use in his interview of John MacArthur.   I have no fear of being shamed at Informing the Reformed.  That is how it should be when we wander into each other’s Internet oikos’, is it not?  When we with meekness seek to glorify the Savior, to make Him known, and help along those weak in knowledge and faith?

And yes, I agree meekness is not a synonym for milktoast.  Jesus was not a wimp.  And I firmly believe that for those who are proud there is much to be recommended in the use of that serrated edge encompassing satire, sarcasm and Open Letters, as I did when I crafted my own “Letter From a Child to Bill Johnson” a year or so ago.  But Mr. Johnson  preaches a false gospel, and I wept when I wrote that post, and I suspect tears had also honed the blades of Jesus and  Paul.  Those motives and emotions keep chances of bleeding to a minimum for rebukers using such messy implements.

Last week, Turk gloated quoted, “big boys play contact sports.”  Well, those big boys’ 300 pound brains eventually turn to cauliflower after too much head to head battering–and all that damage is  done while trying to move a silly ball down some lines in the dirt.

Interestingly, during today’s broadcast on Truth for Life Alistair Begg talks about the twin perils of distractions of the pastor and divisions from the people  in the church.  I urge you to listen to his helpful sermon about dealing with controversies; it comes from his series on Titus titled, “Danger: Keep Out.”  Begg says those distracted by ceaseless arguments have “ceased to be a power in edifying and evangelism…. when they think they have to correct all the ills…they have lost sight of delivering to the people  what they most needed: clear sound helpful instruction of the Scriptures …( these peripheral controversies) will bring your fellowship to nothing, because they are ultimate futility.” And he goes on to talk much better than ever I can about dealing with the ‘pugnacious purveyors of pertinacity’, …or something like that.

I pray better things for Pyros than futility.  I pray  for a  pursuit of edification, exhortation and yes, sometimes the necessary rebuke;  not a devolvement into a scandal-sheet, but instead a growth in this storehouse of wisdom–that it continues to be a blog befitting those who are the caretakers of the Spurgeon Archives.

Respectfully yours,

Karen Butler

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To Number Our Days

July 25, 2009

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
     ( Psalm 90:12-17)

I was surprised at a milestone birthday of late.  It was not the unexpected gathering of happy family and friends who greeted me with the joyful cry “Surprise”, that did it, no,  it was my unexpected reaction to turning fifty that was so surprising to me.  I was surprised that it affected me so deeply, that I mourned my passing days so painfully.  Perhaps a confluence of events–Phil Busbee’s sudden death, fractured friendships, disillusionments,  the graduations of some I have watched grow up–these were  tributaries to the flooding of a river of memories.  I was surprised by all the grief I felt, and that this river overflowed its banks.

But blessed are those who mourn.  For it is a good thing to number our days and grieve before the LORD our losses .  It is a good thing to clearly see the time fleeing, and  the futility of our efforts apart from Him.  It is a good thing to return to Him in reverential fear.  It is very good to hear His voice above the flood of regret, saying “I am your portion, and your exceeding great reward.”   Faith answers, ” You maintain my lot, the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.”

I have been studying the life of Abraham lately.   I am captured again by the One who sees the things that don’t exist as if they did, and identifying deeply with the one who believed the Promise unwaveringly, yet faltered in following consistently.  (Did he just say, “Tell them you are my sister”–again? And did I just fall myself into the fell snare of the fear of man–yet again?  Why was I so intimidated by mere man who has only breath,  and did not tremble before  You, oh Lord? ) 

I have been so encouraged to observe how the ominipotent God of the universe condescended to shape the faith of this humble man, patiently bore with his inconsistencies, and led him inexorably to the Test of all Tests.  And though Abraham stumbled Abimelech’s household by his half-truths which were wholly lies, yet he edified  the Father’s household of faith forever with  his fearsome obedience of death to self.  In this prophetic act,  God’s work of redemption was shown to His servant Abraham, and His glorious power to that man’s child.   Isaac’s faith, though shaken in that terrible moment of  trusting  immolation, was established by that ram caught in the thicket. So it was written in God’s book forever, an example for us all to follow.  “We must make our own way to the region of obedience, and scale our own Golgotha.  And the children walk with us”.*  What will they see us do on the mountain that rises in the distance?

Though my Lord has made the way as difficult as possible, and I am excellent at evading the challenges, I have numbered my days, and I cry out to Him yet again, “How long?”  But I will set my face like flint, as my brother and Savior have done.  I will make myself again a living sacrifice, giving Him everyday everything that gets in the way of obedience.

 Then You, only You,  will establish the work of my hands, oh Lord.  For the glory of your Name! 

 

*I have done this study of Abraham with the book of Romans and the help of Alistair Begg’s wonderful series “Venturing in Faith, A Study in the Life of Abraham.”  I have a haunting feeling rereading this that this might be Beggs’ own wonderful phrase here.  You can download his beautiful sermon for free, and let me know if I stole it from him, at http://www.truthforlife.org/site/News2?abbr=lst&page=NewsArticle&id=9212&news_iv_ctrl=1102 .   

I highly recommend this ministry.  Mr. Begg has a wonderful storytelling gift, a passionate desire for Jesus and clarity into His truth; and a lilting Scottish brogue that helps it all go down easily. He is the only radio preacher  my prodigal #1 can stand to listen to.  She’ll even remind me when he’s on, and helpfully tune him in.  For all  that,  I am a loyal listener, and supporter of the ministry.