Mining Grace

…the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified

Archive for October 2007

hALloween

hALloween – Al Mohler weighs in on the significant dangers Christians face as they contemplate participating in Halloween.  For many of the reasons cited by Mohler, the Holland family does not participate in Halloween.

Advertisements

Written by Joe Holland

October 31, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Posted in haste

Tagged with ,

Indulge in Some Reformation

Indulge – Tim Challies continues his October 31st tradition of encouraging and linking to bloggers who have written about the value and significance of the Reformation.

Written by Joe Holland

October 31, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Posted in haste

Tagged with , ,

Common Grace Considerations

When I wrote about common grace a few weeks ago I promised to write a future post outlining some basic principles on how to interact with different forms of media with common grace issues in mind. You will remember that we defined common grace as those gracious gifts that God gives to all men regardless of whether they are Christians or not. But I also offered the warning that not all uses of these gifts are worth seeing, reading, listening to, etc. A rare coin dropped into a wading pool deserves every effort of retrieval. A rare coin dropped into the deepest depths of the ocean should simply be forgotten. So it is with common grace in the works of men. Sometimes the grace is visible and profitable. Sometime, however, it is buried under fathoms of sin that make it useless to pursue.

The following principles are set forward as a guide to determining what media deserves to be mined for common grace themes. This is by no means intended to be complete and I welcome any additions in the comments.

  1. The goal of the work should be to articulate some Biblically worthy message or value. Even apart from salvation, men and woman can desire to be and promote biblical virtues. The end of those virtues, in the hands of of a non-Christian artist, is not the ultimate glory of God. The end may be monetary profit, personal recognition, or based on some false view of global altruism. However, these bad ends do not make those virtues irrelevant or invaluable. There is something to be said for that which is beautiful, just, and true. We can find great value in someone articulating the desire for personal salvation or the misery of the human condition. Artistic media is the mouth piece of these noble desires. It is therefore imperative for a Christian interacting with culture to ask the question, “What is the goal of this media?” If the goal is a Biblical worthy message or value, then find in it the common grace placed ,there by God almighty. If it is not, lay it aside as useless.
  2. The work should be produced with skill. It should go without saying that there are good artists and bad artists. There are musicians that have been gifted with tremendous gifts of vocalization and musical composition as well as are there musicians who cannot sing a coherent melody or thought. Christians should look for artistic skill and give praise to God for his great gift in a particular artist.
  3. Consider your besetting sins. God has made all of us with differing personalities and backgrounds. Each of us have peculiar sins that find footing with peculiar strength in our own hearts that do not find equal footing in the hearts of others. For some a particular song linked to some event in their past will conjure up unhealthy and sinful patterns of thought. For others, images innocuous to most, can lead to incredible temptations. You must be mindful of how different forms of media tempt you to unhealthy patterns of thought and living.
  4. Consider the besetting sins of others. Take the above consideration and think of those with whom you view or listen to media. You would not offer a beer to an alcoholic. You should treat your brothers and sisters in Christ the same way as it pertains to their own propensities for sin.

These are just a few principles for guiding you in determining how you interact with culture and specifically media. You could certainly apply many of these principles to other areas in which men are gifted with common grace such as scholarly pursuits, engineering, sciences, et al.

Remember, that in finding and appreciating common grace, we are not extolling grace for grace’s sake. In fact the concept of grace makes no sense without considering the giver of the grace. So to see in different forms of media, the fruit of divine gifting, is to give glory to God for his own work in the heart of men. It is to glorify God almighty. It is also to point men to Jesus Christ. Consider Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17). For him, poetry and sculpture served as a means to speak to the Athenians about the salvation that can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the great end of our life and the great end of cultural interaction: the glory of God highlighted in the saving work of Jesus Christ.

Written by Joe Holland

October 31, 2007 at 12:53 pm

Salt and the Glory of God

“Respect to the glory of God is as salt that must be served up with every dish.  The great work of our life is to glorify him; it is the end of our first and of our second creation.” – Thomas Brooks, Works: Vol 1, 13.

Written by Joe Holland

October 31, 2007 at 9:51 am

Baldness and Relevance in Ministry

Cueball – Carl Trueman writes about baldness and “relating to the youth” in his most recent Reformation 21 article.

Written by Joe Holland

October 29, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Posted in haste

Tagged with , ,

Hanging Out

Hanging Out – Jim Ellif offers his reflections on and advice for hanging out to God’s glory.

Written by Joe Holland

October 29, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Sin In Its Essence

“For this reason sin in its essence is rebellion against God, refusal to be subject to him (Rom 8:7), enmity against God (Rom 5:10, 8:7; Col 1:21), disobedience (Rom 11:32; cf Gal 3:22; Eph 2:2, 5:6; et al.).  One can define it as man’s willing-to-have-command-of-himself, wanting-to-be-as-God.” – Herman Ridderbos, Paul: an outline of his Theology, 106.

Written by Joe Holland

October 29, 2007 at 9:23 am

Posted in haste

Tagged with , ,