Monday, December 28, 2009

Conversion in Arabia

It seems that we can not go a day with out hearing of another terror attack by some Muslim or group of Muslims against innocent civilians (be they pagan, Christian, Jew, or Muslim) somewhere in the world. Our politicians insist that Islam is a peaceful religion that has been "hijacked" by violent radicals.

I hate to differ with brilliant men like George Bush and Barak Obama, who both parrot the "Islam is a peaceful religion" mantra, but I have to. Islam was birthed in murder, beheadings, genocide, slavery, robbery from the beginning. It's founder, Muhammad was a war lord who led his followers in attacks on caravans to plunder the wealth of others. He also lead them in battle to conquer thse that disagreed with his new religion.

I have to conclude that our modern terrorists are as peace loving as their founder Muhammad. Muhammad thought nothing of slaughtering all the men (between 600 and 900 men) who were part of the Banu Qurayzah, a Jewish tribe that lived at Medina and he did not kill but enslaved the women and children of the tribe.

Muhammad did not shrink from leading raids against the caravan of his own tribe (the Quraysh) and killing his kinsmen, when they did not convert and follow him. Muhammad's
typical way to deal with the pagan "unbeliever" was to give him an option -- convert, be a Muslim and follow me or die. This form of evangelism proved to be a successful form of evangelism in Arabia and in many other parts of the world.

Islam started as a violent religion. I agree most Muslims are not violent, but Jihad and killing the enemies of Allah are not new, modern distortions of Islam invented by Osama bin Laden. These things are core beliefs that have been a part of Islam since Muhammad and a handful of his followers moved out of Mecca and settled in Medina in 622 AD.

Coram Deo,

Monday, December 21, 2009

Civil Government and Me

I know from Scripture that the civil authorities are ordained of God to do good by suppression of evil (i.e. crimes). As a Christian I am to pay due respect to those in authority. This does not mean that I have trust those who rule over us, which is good, because I distrust both major political parties in this country and believe most elected officials (Dem or Rep) are moral midgets.

In the U.S. both political parties are corrupt. They are both more concerned with gaining and holding on to political power than they are in governing justly and honestly. Both parties rail against budget deficits, when they are out of power. Both parties ignore budget deficits when they are in the ascendancy.

Republicans need theologically conservative Christians to vote for them when at the ballot box, but most elected Republicans seem to loath evangelical Protestants, conservative Roman Catholics and other cultural conservatives after elections are over.

Politicians are, for the most part, parasites in the body politic. We Christians need to be concerned with promoting Christ Kingdom and being good citizens in what ever land we live in. We must "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" but we must never believe that Caesar is on our side. Caesar is, at best a VERY fickle friend to the people of God and at worst he is a vicious enemy, but he has no power but that which is granted/allowed him by Christ.

Coram Deo,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A little Something to Say

I am quickly approaching my 50th birthday. I know many people that hate having their 30th, 40th or 50th birthdays. I assume this is because they fear or dread growing older. Our own mortality is made all the more clear when we go from 39 to 40 or from 49 to 50.

I have never had a fear of starting the next decade. When (if) I turn fifty in three months it will mean that I am still alive and kicking. It will mean that I did not die at 49 years of age, just as I did not die at 39 or 38. I would like to live a long healthy life (doesn’t everyone) but I know that someday I will die. It is a strange thing to think about. All I have ever known is living and yet I know that at 50 years of age the odds are pretty good that I have lived well over half of my life. This is true even if I live to be a very old man.

I love life. I love this gift that God has given me. I exist because God made it so. I did not have to have a life; I could have very easily never come into being at all. Every breath I take, even the ones filled with pain and sorrow are gifts from God. I live a comfortable, middleclass American life. In this status, I am for better off, with creature comforts than the large majority of people in the world today and if we look at history, I live better than 99.99999 percent of all the people ever born.

I am blessed beyond measure and it is a gift that I do not deserve and could not have earned. I could have been born on a dirt floor in a jungle or slum. But I was not. All that I have is a gift. If I die today I will have lived a remarkably charmed and blessed life.

Of course I hope to live another several decades, but if I don’t I have nothing to complain about. I have been, until now most blessed of God and He has seen fit to bring me into a relationship with Himself through His son, Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel.

Coram Deo,

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Liturgia Expurgata

I like and prefer to worship in a more liturgical manner. I was born and raised Roman Catholic for a time, then (with my parents) switched to being Baptist and as a young person I attended some Pentecostal and charismatic churches as well. I’ve also experienced worship at Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Church of Christ, and Eastern Orthodox churches as well. These churches have a great diversity in styles of worship, ranging from very subdued and solemn to frenzied and chaotic.
I much prefer the more structured and liturgical forms of worship. I have been a member of a Presbyterian (PCA) church for more than two decades, and I came to the Presbyterian Church from a Southern Baptist Church. At that time our little Presbyterian congregation worshipped a great deal like the Baptist Churches I had attended, except the Baptists sang only the 1st, 2nd and last verse to most songs and the Presbyterians sang every verse to every song used in worship and the Presbyterians did not have an “alter call” at the end of each service.
Our little PCA church was really Southern Baptist except for the fact that we were Calvinists and we baptised babies. This is not true today. Over the years, as a congregation, we have become more and more “Reformed” in our thinking and our worship has become more liturgical. In that same period I have grown to love liturgical worship and find most non-liturgical worship to be a lot less worshipful.
Now that I have come to appreciate a more structured and worship in which the worshippers truly participate in the worship, I have become more and more interested in liturgy and its history and so I started searching for books on the subject. I was very excited to find Liturgia Expurgata or, The Prayer-Book as Amended by the Westminster Divines: An Essay on the Liturgical Question in the American Churches, by Charles W. Shields on Google Books. I’ve read it and found it to be interesting and informative. Now I want to study the subject more and I want to discuss the issue with a more knowledgeable person like my pastor.
After reading this book, I appreciate our little church’s liturgical form of worship even more than I already did.
Coram Deo,

Friday, October 23, 2009

C.S. Lewis' introduction to St. Athanasius' book "On the Incarnation"

I read the essay below, which is written by C.S. Lewis, many years ago and I consider it to be one of the most enlightening papers that I have ever read. Reading this introduction by Lewis was one of those eureka moments for me. St Athanasius’ little book, which this essay was written as an introduction to, is a work that I recommend as well. I think this essay will let you know why I think it important to read Christians like Athenasius, who came before us.

I hope you find this essay useful.

There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books.. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about "isms" and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than second hand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.


This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology. Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke or St. Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Hooker or Butler, but M. Berdyaev or M. Maritain or M. Niebuhr or Miss Sayers or even myself.


Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light. Often it cannot be fully understood without the knowledge of a good many other modern books. If you join at eleven o'clock a conversation which began at eight you will often not see the real bearing of what is said. Remarks which seem to you very ordinary will produce laughter or irritation and you will not see why—the reason, of course, being that the earlier stages of the conversation have given them a special point. In the same way sentences in a modern book which look quite ordinary may be directed at some other book; in this way you may be led to accept what you would have indignantly rejected if you knew its real significance. The only safety is to have a standard of plain, central Christianity ("mere Christianity" as Baxter called it) which puts the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective. Such a standard can be acquired only from the old books. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.


Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook—even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united—united with each other and against earlier and later ages—by a great mass of common assumptions. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, "But how could they have thought that?"—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them.


I myself was first led into reading the Christian classics, almost accidentally, as a result of my English studies. Some, such as Hooker, Herbert, Traherne, Taylor and Bunyan, I read because they are themselves great English writers; others, such as Boethius, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Dante, because they were "influences." George Macdonald I had found for myself at the age of sixteen and never wavered in my allegiance, though I tried for a long time to ignore his Christianity. They are, you will note, a mixed bag, representative of many Churches, climates and ages. And that brings me to yet another reason for reading them. The divisions of Christendom are undeniable and are by some of these writers most fiercely expressed. But if any man is tempted to think—as one might be tempted who read only con- temporaries—that "Christianity" is a word of so many meanings that it means nothing at all, he can learn beyond all doubt, by stepping out of his own century, that this is not so. Measured against the ages "mere Christianity" turns out to be no insipid interdenominational transparency, but something positive, self-consistent, and inexhaustible. I know it, indeed, to my cost. In the days when I still hated Christianity, I learned to recognise, like some all too familiar smell, that almost unvarying something which met me, now in Puritan Bunyan, now in Anglican Hooker, now in Thomist Dante. It was there (honeyed and floral) in Francois de Sales; it was there (grave and homely) in Spenser and Walton; it was there (grim but manful) in Pascal and Johnson; there again, with a mild, frightening, Paradisial flavour, in Vaughan and Boehme and Traherne. In the urban sobriety of the eighteenth century one was not safe—Law and Butler were two lions in the path. The supposed "Paganism" of the Elizabethans could not keep it out; it lay in wait where a man might have supposed himself safest, in the very centre of The Faerie Queene and the Arcadia. It was, of course, varied; and yet—after all—so unmistakably the same; recognisable, not to be evaded, the odour which is death to us until we allow it to become life:


an air that kills

From yon far country blows.


We are all rightly distressed, and ashamed also, at the divisions of Christendom. But those who have always lived within the Christian fold may be too easily dispirited by them. They are bad, but such people do not know what it looks like from without. Seen from there, what is left intact despite all the divisions, still appears (as it truly is) an immensely formidable unity. I know, for I saw it; and well our enemies know it. That unity any of us can find by going out of his own age. It is not enough, but it is more than you had thought till then. Once you are well soaked in it, if you then venture to speak, you will have an amusing experience. You will be thought a Papist when you are actually reproducing Bunyan, a Pantheist when you are quoting Aquinas, and so forth. For you have now got on to the great level viaduct which crosses the ages and which looks so high from the valleys, so low from the mountains, so narrow compared with the swamps, and so broad compared with the sheep-tracks.


The present book is something of an experiment. The translation is intended for the world at large, not only for theological students.. If it succeeds, other translations of other great Christian books will presumably follow. In one sense, of course, it is not the first in the field. Translations of the Theologia Germanica, the Imitation, the Scale of Perfection, and the Revelations of Lady Julian of Norwich, are already on the market, and are very valuable, though some of them are not very scholarly. But it will be noticed that these are all books of devotion rather than of doctrine. Now the layman or amateur needs to be instructed as well as to be exhorted. In this age his need for knowledge is particularly pressing. Nor would I admit any sharp division between the two kinds of book. For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that "nothing happens" when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.


This is a good translation of a very great book. St. Athanasius has suffered in popular estimation from a certain sentence in the "Athanasian Creed." I will not labour the point that that work is not exactly a creed and was not by St. Athanasius, for I think it is a very fine piece of writing. The words "Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly" are the offence. They are commonly misunderstood. The operative word is keep; not acquire, or even believe, but keep. The author, in fact, is not talking about unbelievers, but about deserters, not about those who have never heard of Christ, nor even those who have misunderstood and refused to accept Him, but of those who having really understood and really believed, then allow themselves, under the sway of sloth or of fashion or any other invited confusion to be drawn away into sub-Christian modes of thought. They are a warning against the curious modern assumption that all changes of belief, however brought about, are necessarily exempt from blame. But this is not my immediate concern. I mention "the creed (commonly called) of St. Athanasius" only to get out of the reader's way what may have been a bogey and to put the true Athanasius in its place. His epitaph is Athanasius contra mundum, "Athanasius against the world." We are proud that our own country has more than once stood against the world. Athanasius did the same. He stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, "whole and undefiled," when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—into one of those "sensible" synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.


When I first opened his De Incarnatione I soon discovered by a very simple test that I was reading a masterpiece. I knew very little Christian Greek except that of the New Testament and I had expected difficulties. To my astonishment I found it almost as easy as Xenophon; and only a master mind could, in the fourth century, have written so deeply on such a subject with such classical simplicity. Every page I read confirmed this impression. His approach to the Miracles is badly needed today, for it is the final answer to those who object to them as "arbitrary and meaningless violations of the laws of Nature." They are here shown to be rather the re-telling in capital letters of the same message which Nature writes in her crabbed cursive hand; the very operations one would expect of Him who was so full of life that when He wished to die He had to "borrow death from others." The whole book, indeed, is a picture of the Tree of Life—a sappy and golden book, full of buoyancy and confidence. We cannot, I admit, appropriate all its confidence today. We cannot point to the high virtue of Christian living and the gay, almost mocking courage of Christian martyrdom, as a proof of our doctrines with quite that assurance which Athanasius takes as a matter of course. But whoever may be to blame for that it is not Athanasius.


The translator knows so much more Christian Greek than I that it would be out of place for me to praise her version. But it seems to me to be in the right tradition of English translation. I do not think the reader will find here any of that sawdusty quality which is so common in modern renderings from the ancient languages. That is as much as the English reader will notice; those who compare the version with the original will be able to estimate how much wit and talent is presupposed in such a choice, for example, as "these wiseacres" on the very first page.


C.S. Lewis

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pay Honour and Taxes

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.


 ¶ Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour. (Romans 13:1-7)


I am not a big fan of our secular rulers. There are very few that I believe to be men (or women) of integrity or honesty. I believe the Republican Party sucks and I believe the Democratic Party sucks a tiny bit more. Still, as a Christian my ideas must submit to the teachings of Scripture, which is the word of God.


I know from Scripture that the secular government is established by God. He has instituted it for our good. Of course it is, like all things run by men, often corrupt, but that fact does not change the reality of what St Paul wrote in the passage quoted above.


When Paul wrote those words, Nero was dictator/emperor over the Roman Empire. Nero was a very corrupt ruler. He is also the first emperor start persecuting Christians. It is clear from other writings of St. Paul that he understood the tyranny of the Roman system, but he still wrote that Rome’s civil authority was from God and that we Christians are to show honour to those that rule over us.


He also tells us that we are to pay taxes to governments, even corrupt tyrannical governments like Rome’s. Why should we pay taxes? Paul tells us, “[F]or he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.St. Paul is not the only one in the Bible to tell us to pay taxes to governments that we believe to be corrupt. We find that Jesus to addresses this subject.


Christ deals with paying taxes twice in St. Matthew’s Gospel. First, in chapter 17 (21-24) and next in Matthew 22 we read ‘”Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?  "Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar's." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."’ (17-21)


I believe the taxes I am made to pay to the U.S. government are ungodly. I believe I pay oppressive taxes, yet the Word of God tells me to pay my taxes. Rome was a foreign, oppressive, military, dictatorial empire then ruling over the land of Israel when Jesus made the pronouncement above. 


Jesus and I have different views on how wrongful taxes should be dealt with. My on view is wrong because it is at odds with what Christ, who is God, has said. Therefore, I have to bring my views into line with his views.


I can, and should work for a better, more just civil government, but in the mean time I must do as the Scriptures say. I need to pay my taxes and show honour to those in authority over me. If St Paul could say to Christians then to honour Nero, certainly Christians today should be able to show honour to men like George W. Bush and Barak Obama.


Coram Deo,













Honour Those in Power, But

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men -- as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. (1 Peter 2:13-17)


As an evangelical Christian I find my self at odds with much of what goes on in secular government. I seriously disagree with the left wing of the Democratic Party which now controls both houses of Congress and the White House.


With that said, though I disagree with the party in power on issues like abortion, homosexual rights, taxes and many other things, still I am to be in submission to the established government, because it is established by God and the authority of the president and congress is from God.


In the verse quoted above Peter says that if I fear God I should “honour” President Obama. Our current president, like every president, has been established as president by God. I am to show him and his office the honour that it is owed, because of God. The same is true of Nancy Pelosi and all others who are in offices of power.


The Lord does not tell us to agree with all those in power say. Nor are we told to do all that they command. Peter who wrote the quote above also said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Peter said these words to the High Priest and the Sanhedrin when they repeated a command for them to stop preaching about Christ.


We are to honour those in power, but that does not mean that we are to do what ever we are told by them. If the powers that be command that we do things that God forbids or if we are told we can not do what God has commanded, then we must disobey. Even when we disobey and are brought before judges or kings we must still give them due honour even when we are persecuted for our obedience to God.





Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Few Mysteries.

The Christian faith is a faith of mysteries. We worship one God and yet our one God is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We worship our Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son, who is wholly God and wholly man.
We are told in Scripture that God created us free moral agents and that we are fully responsible for every sinful thought, word and deed. We are also told that God has predestined the end from the beginning and that he controls the hearts of men.
These few items barely scratch the surface of the mysteries of the Christian faith.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Prayer from Jon

Jon, who turned 50 on 3 August died on 27 August. He was a very good man, a friend and an elder at the Church where we worship (Bethel Presbyterian PCA). As an Elder Jon would take his turn giving opening prayer for worship. What follows is a prayer that Jon wrote and gave at the start of worship services earlier this year.

A Prayer For Worship

We praise You, Triune God. We praise you Father, Son and Holy Spirit; for You are the only true and living God. You are not like the idols of the ancient nations, which were made of silver and gold - the work of human hands. These were the idols of the ancients and are the idols of modern man, though these idols are not recognized as such. They have mouths but do not speak. They have ears but do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make and trust in them become like them. But You are not like those idols, the imaginations of men.

You are the the true and living God. You have eyes that see, a mouth that speaks and ears that hear. You have spoken to the fathers through the prophets, but in the last days you have spoken to us by Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You are high and lifted up, yet You bend down to regard the lowly. You have seen us and made us lowly that we may see and know you. You have heard our cries for mercy and have lavished upon us abounding grace. You hear our prayers when we are in difficult circumstances, and You comfort us and answer out of Your abundant compassion. You see us, and You know our struggles. You care for us and provide for us every instant of every day, in ways that we can not see. For these things we praise You, our God and Father: for seeing us and not leaving us alone to our own devices but guiding us by Your Word and Your Spirit; for hearing us and answering us in our every need. It is in our Saviour's name, the Lord Jesus, that we pray. Amen.

Jon will be missed by all, BUT we will meet again in glory.

Coram Deo,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Justice -- Not a Meaningless Word

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls in the water, because a man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there was no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity – book II, chapter 1)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Thoughts About the Faith

I was born into a Cajun French family and baptised as a Roman Catholic. At the age of seven, while living in Eunice, LA my parents took us out of the RCC and we became Baptist. We were, for a time Independent Baptist, but eventually settled in as Southern Baptist. My parents agreed with Baptist teachings, but they were open to visiting other Churches as well. I remember attending a Pentecostal service or two and I also remember numerous visits to Church of Christ congregation that an aunt and uncle attended. My parents were instrumental in getting them to leave the Roman Church as well.
Growing up I heard Independent Baptist preachers, in then overwhelmingly Roman Catholic South Louisiana, preach about how all Catholics were bound for hell, unless they became saved and left the RCC. I also learned from my Roman Catholic kin folk and friends that there was no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church, so my parents, siblings and I were going to hell for leaving the true church.
I became solidly Baptist as I grew up, but I always disliked grossly anti-Catholic preaching. All my grandparents, and all my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends were Roman Catholic and I did not believe that they were “not Christian” because they were RCC. I also knew that I was a Christian and I knew that Christ was my saviour, so I did not believe that I was going to hell because I was no longer a member of the RCC.
At eighteen I joined the Navy. During my first year in the service “Church” was not important to me. As a rule, I did not attend worship services for the first year and when I did go to a Church, it was because I wanted to meet a girl that attended there. In my second year in the Navy I experienced a crisis of faith, determined to know if there was a God or there was not. This crisis caused me to seriously study about God, religion and faith. Obviously I have come down on the side of the Christian faith.
I began my studies twenty-nine years ago, and while I like to read and study many things, I continue to read and study about God, faith religion. In my mid twenties I left the Baptist Church because my theology was evolving and I had become Reformed in my theology. I had come to disagree with the Baptist understanding of Baptism and turned to the more traditional Protestant understanding of paedobaptism (i.e. Infant baptism), but in reality I remained fairly Baptist in my thinking.
Over the years I have read sizable chunks of the Church Fathers, Medieval Christian thinkers, Protestant Reformers, Roman Catholics, Baptist, Presbyterians, Lutherans along with the Bible. Today, my theology is solidly and much more consistently Reformed, I hold to covenant theology. I have a high view of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and believe them to be the word of God. It is through the Bible alone that we learn about the true and living God and how we are to act toward him and our fellow man. I have a high view of baptism. I believe baptism is a serious “covenant” act that unites all who receive it to Christ and His Church in some sense.
I also take the authority of the Church seriously. I have VERY strong differences with the RCC, but if I were in Communion with the Roman Catholic Church today, which I am not, and had the theological beliefs that I have today, I would not leave the Roman Church to join another church. I would stay in that Communion because of my understanding authority.
As things are, I am not in Communion with Rome and I don’t see how I ever could be. The RCC requires those joining the Roman church to affirm that they agree with all that Rome teaches. I could never make such an affirmation, because I disagree with Catholic teaching at many points, I would have to knowingly lie in order to take the oath required by the RCC to be in commion with that church.
I hope what I have said above is clear.
Coram Deo,

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Happy Birthday John Calvin

July 10 is the 500 birthday of John Calvin. Calvin is one of the great theological minds of all history and has been greatly used by God. His influence is still strong today.

Coram Deo,


Sunday, July 05, 2009

On Christian Foundations

Patrick Henry: It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here. (Patrick Henry played an important role in the War for Independence and was a leading Anti-federalist in the debate over the Constitution)  


Noah Webster: In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed.... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people” (Webster took part in the public debates over the Constitution. He was a Federalist)


Noah Webster: The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence... This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.


Noah Webster: When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, "just men who will rule in the fear of God."  The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted.


Alexis de Tocqueville makes this observation of early American culture in his monumental work Democracy in America: "So Christianity reigns without obstacles, by universal consent; consequently, everything in the moral field is certain and fixed."


Tocqueville: ...Christianity has kept a strong hold over the minds of Americans ...Christianity is itself an established and irresistible fact which no one seeks to attack or to defend. (Democracy In America )


Alexis de Tocqueville: For the Americans the idea of Christianity and liberty are so completely  mingled that it is almost impossible to get them to conceive of one without the other; it is not a question with them of sterile beliefs bequeathed by the past and vegetating rather than living in the depths of the soul. (Democracy in America)


Alexis de Tocqueville: I do not know if all Americans have faith in their religion-     for who can read the secrets of the heart? - but I am sure that they think it necessary to the maintenance of republican institutions. That is not the view of one class or party among the citizens, put of the whole nation; it is found in all ranks. (Democracy in America)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remembering Gerry

Today is the 48th birthday of my brother Gerry. Gerry died almost six years ago, after succumbing to a three year battle with colon and liver  cancer.
My sister and two brothers were all born close together.  Gerry was the closest of my siblings to me in age. He was born less than 15 months after me and we grew up close. Of course, being boys close in age, he and I had our share of fist fights. I was the older and faster, but he was stockier and had more natural strength. We both had a fair amount of boxing experience by the time of our last fight.  I was seventeen and he was sixteen at the time. I started the fight, for reasons that I have long since forgotten, but I do remember being the guilty party.
This was the first and only fight between us where blood was spilt. We had several friends with us, and neither one of us wanted to look soft in front of our friends, so the fight went on longer than it would have other wise. I remember, I punched him in the face, cut his cheek and saw blood on his face. When I saw the blood, I immediately wanted to quit, but he would have none of that and we started again. After a few more punches he caught me with right to the face and I too began to bleed. He dropped his fists wanting to stop, but this time I insisted on continuing.
The fight did not last much longer; right about that time our dad drove into the drive way. We both stopped then. Dad was angry. He saw two of his sons fighting one another, both cut and bleeding. I will not go into detail about what happened, but our friends quickly left our yard, Dad sent Gerry and me inside then he came in. My dad but an end to that fight, as he had so  many others, but Gerry and I never fought again. Not too much after that I went in the Navy. When I returned four years later, Gerry was married and had a baby girl.
Gerry was always a good friend, I still miss him a great deal, but I know that we will meet again. He is with our Lord. He made his salvation sure while struggling with his cancer.
Coram Deo,

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Harmless As Doves

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (II Tim 2:24-26)
In St. Paul’s epistles to Timothy and Titus he is instructing young men who have been ordained as pastors in Christ’s Church. The advice he gives above is advice that we should all heed, but it is advice that many of us too often ignore.
Over the years I’ve read a lot of theologians and Bible teachers. I’ve read the writings of men from the very early days of the church up until today’s theologians. I have been greatly blessed by many of them, but I have noticed that many of the teachers, in all times, have fallen short of Paul’s instruction quoted above.
Too often, Christian teachers forget that they “must not quarrel but be gentle to all” and also be “patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition.” This is not an isolated thing that Paul says only here, though once would be enough, instead we find these instruction many times.
Later in this same epistle, Paul writes Timothy and tells him “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” and Timothy will have to deal with such corrupt people with sound teaching. He will have to “Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (II Tim 4:2) That is hard to do, but it is God’s Word that tells us to treat those in error (or worse) this way.
In Matthew 10 Jesus, speaking to the twelve disciples, tells them that “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Now the mission they were going on was a very particular one, but I believe this part of Christ’s instruction is valid for all of us at all times. If you are defenceless, as a sheep is to a wolf, than it is good to be very wise and we Christians should seek wisdom and act wisely. We should also be “harmless as doves.”
Jesus and Paul are both instructing disciples on how to treat unbelievers they confront with the truth of the Gospel. If we are to be gentle, patient, humble, and longsuffering when we deal with unbelievers and evil men, it stands to reason that we should treat fellow believers, with whom we disagree, with as much or more gentleness, and longsuffering, but too often Christians have been brutal to fellow believers who disagree with them on even minor points of doctrine.
There is something wrong with that. It is wrong and a very poor testimony to the unbelieving world around us when they see these nasty disputes between believers.
Reformed Christians’ seem to be particularly guilty of showing no quarter, to fellow believers, who differ with them, whether they are within or without the Reformed camp. One reason for this is Reformed Christians take theology very serious, which is a good thing, but our theology must include what Christ and His Apostles taught in Scripture on how to deal with unbelievers and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We MUST deal with our fellow Christians in love and, if there is need for correction, (which I think we all need at some point) we must correct them in love, with gentleness, humility and great patience. We should be harmless as doves when dealing with wolves; I would hope we can be harmless as doves when dealing with our fellow sheep as well.
Coram Deo,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More "Mere Christianity"

One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sin: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my foot and I forgive you, you steal money from me and I forgive you. But what shall we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announces that he forgave you for treading on other men's toes and stealing other men's money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct. Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.  In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words imply what I can only regard as silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history.
Yet (and this is the strange, significant thing) even His enemies, when they read the Gospels, do not usually get the impression of silliness and conceit. Still less do unprejudiced readers. Christ says that he is ‘humble and meek’ and we believe him; not noticing that, if He were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of His sayings.
I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

C.S. Lewis on Temperance

Temperance is, unfortunately, one of those words that has changed its meaning. It now usually means teetotalism. But in the days when the second Cardinal virtue was christened ‘Temperance’, it meant nothing of the sort. Temperance referred, not specially to drink, but to all pleasures; and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further.  It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Mohammedanism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion.” C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

A Quote: C.S. Lewis

"…as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we are to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only 'as harmless as doves', but also "as wise as serpents'. He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim The fact that what you are thinking about God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He every one to use what sense they haveGod is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.” Quoted from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


If Christianity were something we were making up, of course we could make it easier, but it is not. We can not compete in simplicity with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with fact; of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about. C.S. Lewis

The Bible is not a simple book, and the Christian faith is, in some ways a very complicated one. Our understanding of God is more complicated than many people can abide by. We believe in one God, and yet we believe that God is a unity of being. He is one and he is three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This idea of God offends many. They insist that God must be one, a simple unity. Or, they insist that we admit that we actually believe in three gods. But the Scriptures teach God is a unity and a plurality in one God, He is a trinity. That is not a simple view of God and it is here that numerous individuals and groups have broken with the Christian faith.

We Christians believe that Jesus is wholly man and we also believe that he is wholly and fully the eternal God incarnated in human flesh. This too is a difficult teaching that offends many. They are willing to accept Jesus as a prophet or a great moral teacher. They are willing to accept that Jesus was filled with God’s spirit, but they frown at the doctrine that he can be fully God and fully man at one and the same time. This is teaching of Scripture is not simple or easy.

Christians believe that God took on human flesh and humanity by being conceived in the womb of a young virgin. This again is a teaching that many reject as preposterous nonsense. They don’t, so much, mind God appearing in human flesh, but the idea that he was born of a virgin, that a helpless infant was fully God is beyond what many can accept as reasonable. Unitarians reject the virgin birth.

The cross of Christ is also offensive to many who disbelieve the Christian faith. The God/man being punished for the sins of others is another concept that is not in all aspects a simple one. Why do we have to believe in a blood sacrifice? It is not a simple teaching and is despised by many.

The simplest statement of the Christian Faith is the Apostles Creed.

I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholic Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.

The Christian Faith is a faith based on events that took place in history. The Bible is mostly a divine history of the fall man and God’s work of redeeming work in history to save man and the bring in a new heavens and a new earth.

The teaching the Bible about God and His Christ are not simple, but they are truth.

Coram Deo,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sound Advice from Saint Paul

I have to confess that I do not read the Bible as I should. I have, at times, had very long periods when I consistently read the Bible everyday. There have also been times when I did in depth studies on certain books or themes in Scripture. The opposite has also been true. At times, I've seriously neglected the Word of God and I've found such neglect has harmed my Christian walk as well as my prayer life. I am always in need of prodding to be better at reading and studying the Scriptures as I should.

With all that said, I want to say a little about a segment of the Bible that I have found most practical and useful. I believe the WHOLE of Scripture to be the Word of God. It is the medium which God has chosen to communicate to us and “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Tim. 3:16, 17)

Now back to that section of the Bible that I have found most practical in my daily life. It is found in the fourth chapter of St. Paul’s epistle to the church at Philippi and it reads thus, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

These words always affect me, because they have been so important to my own life. These words are, to me, some the most wonderful, practical words of advice that I have ever received. I have, often failing, tried to live by this advice.

As a child and as a young man, I was fairly a negative person. I was a pessimistic person. My dad preached to me about being positive all the time I was growing up and I am thankful to my dad for his encouragement and persistence in this, but it is when I read these words in Scripture and began to try and practice them that things began to turn around in my outlook on  life.

My dad used to call me a “worry wart” because I was, but here Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing” and gave me advice on how to deal with my worry. He wrote.  “In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” and he assured me that “and the peace of God” would overtake me.

I did not stop worrying all at once (and Lisa can tell you that I still worry from time to time) but I have worked at it and I found, over time, that I worried less and less. I also found that I had more and more peace.

Through the Apostle Paul, the Lord tells us how to think about things, again by very practical advice. He says think about “true, noble and just” things. This is good because if your thinking about items like these than you are not thinking about pessimistic things. This is not magic it takes practice and work on our part, but is doable

Paul is not done yet. He continues and says that we are to think about “whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report.” How can you be a pessimist and think about what is pure, lovely and of good report? You can’t do it. Thinking about these types of things warms the heart and brings joy to the soul.

Still St. Paul knew that not all things were such, so he now he goes a little further and says, “if” because some times good things are not the first thing you see. He writes, “if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” Even in the direst of circumstances there will be something of virtue in the situation that you can dwell on and push out those non-virtues thoughts. It is clear in his advice, the praiseworthy may not be immediately obvious but we are to seek it out and then meditate on those things that are virtues and praiseworthy.

I know this advice is sound. It has made me to be a far better and happier man than I ever could have been without it. The Bible is full of very sound, practical advice like what we find in Philippians 4: 4-8.

Coram Deo,

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day: 6 June 1944

Operation OVERLORD was the name for the greatest invasion by sea in human history. 65 years ago today thousands upon thousands of Americans, Brits, Canadians, and Free French troops parachuted, glided or made an amphibious landing onto the beaches of Normandy France.

Today we remember those brave men who did their duty and fought for an allied toe hold in Nazi occupied France. In the West, this day markes the beginning of the end of the most horrific, brutal, destructive war in human history.

The total numbers of people to be killed in WWII is estimated to be close to 80 million people. The great majority of those killed were civilians caught in the crossfire. 

God save us from another such war.

Coram Deo,

Monday, June 01, 2009

Murder of a Lawful Killer

No person has the authority to take the law into his own hands, becoming judge, jury and executioner. That is what the Scott Roeder did, when he killed Dr. Tiller. What Roeder did was kill another human being. It was a lawless act that he had no authority to do.
I have no sympathy for Dr. Tiller. He was a mass killer of viable, innocent, unborn children. He was a man soaked with the blood of innocence.  

Tiller is now in the hands of God and, very likely, in hell. After the judgement on the last day, if he is in hell now, he will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Still, as evil as Tiiler's work was, God did not give you or me the authority to execute anyone doing something that the state has declared lawful.

In the case of abortion, the 1973 Supreme Court declared evil to be good, and  good to be evil, by making killing unborn children lawful throughout our land. It is a horrible evil that is sanctioned and protected by the United States government, and we know from Romans 13 that those raised to authority in our land are there because God has ordained them to rule over us. "Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God." (Rom. 13:1)

When St. Paul wrote these words, Nero Caesar was the chief magistrate (dictator) of the Roman Empire. He was a very evil man. It was Nero who had St. Paul and St. Peter put to death. He had countless Christians murdered by the Roman State. Yet, Paul said that a beast like Nero was "ordained of God."

Abortion and infanticide were common in Roman Empire. The Earlier Church Fathers spoke out against the evil of baby killing, and Christians in the ancient church worked to stop the evil in godly ways. They did good. They did not stoop to murder.  

In the Old Testament, the worshippers of Moloch sacrificed children to this blood thirsty, pagan god. The Prophets of Israel prophesied against their evil acts, but they did not hint that people could take the law in their own hands and kill the worshippers or priests of Moloch.

God does not give His people permission to do evil in the fight against evil. Who ever decides to be judge, jury and executioner, as in this case or in the case when defrocked, pastor Paul Hill murdered Dr. John Britton in Pensacola (1994), he or she declare by their actions, that they do not believe God or his Word. They think they know or can do better than God.

When government supports and defends evil, as ours does with abortion, we are not given authority from God to take the law into our own hands. To do so, shows that we deny God's sovereign rule over His creation. God will judge the evil in His time. Rome, promoted the persecution and murder of Christians for more that 200 years. Christians did not rebel or take up arms against Rome. They had no authority from the Lord to do so.

We are to face evil by doing good. God will take care of the Moloch worshippers, the Neros and the Tillers of this world in His own time. Men like Roeder and Paul Hill have done evil and the state has the authority to punish them for their crimes (Paul Hill was executed for murder in 2003).

Coram Deo,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Discussion on Dr. Welch and Wine

A very good friend sent a reply to the Dr. Welch and Communion Wine blog I wrote. Below are his comments that he sent to me after he read my comments. After his comments

is my own reply to his email.



This is a great article, but one thing disturbs me, and that is this a direct attack on the convictions of one man. A conviction that me nor you know anything about. Maybe he had an alcohol problem and could not have just one drink, maybe he was allergic to alcohol, who knows. The fact remains that just as the Apostle Paul said we are free in Christ. If one can consume alcohol without guilt then he/she is free in Christ.

Denominations are merely a set of rules that man has created so that he/she can feel free in Christ. I am Baptist because I believe that the rules of this Denomination better fit me and my family, not because I think that only Baptist's will see the Glory of God. There is but one way to that Glory and that is through the Blood of our Savior, a price was paid and by Grace do we receive this Glory. I personally do not have issues with alcohol or those that consume it, but anything consumed in excess then makes it a sin.

"It is good that a mere mortal (like Dr. Welch) can, every now and then, fix God's faux pas." Maybe he wasn't trying to fix God's faux pas, but just trying to give other Christians with convictions or such a way to participate in the Lord's Supper.


I appreciate your reply to my note. It was, for the most part, meant to be tongue in check, but the information in it is accurate. I intended for the letter to have a little bite to it, but I also meant it to be fun as well, kind of like A.R. Minian in reverse.

I know that there are many Christians that have an "abstinence only" view of alcohol. My problem is how this has been dealt with in the church for the past 150 years.

First, today many Christians wrongly believe and continue to be taught in churches that it is a "sin" to consume any alcohol. This is going far beyond the teaching of Scripture. Those who teach this are forbidding what God has blessed and offered to his people. I don't believe that there is a valid excuse for doing this.

It is sin to say, "though shalt not" where God has very clearly given His blessing. This is the case with wine. We all have liberty to consume or not to consume wine, but that liberty is often denied, despite the clear teaching of the Scripture, and the practice of Godly Christians (including Baptists) for the first 1860 years of Christ Church's existence.

The reason Communion wine has been converted to grape juice, at so many Churches during the last half of the 19th century, was because of a very bad (American) theological movement known as the Temperance Movement. While this movement became popular in many 19th century Evangelical Churches, it actually started among the liberal Unitarians (who deny Christ deity as part of their doctrine). The Unitarians believed in the perfectibility of man and they saw alcohol and something that hampered human perfectibility.

This liberal teaching later began to creep into more orthodox churches, which were doctrinally conservative, but imbibed the temperance position, which was then the rage. Baptist, before the Temperance Movement, had no problem with wine in Communion, and Baptist in Britain, Europe and elsewhere continued to use wine long after most (never all) American Baptists had switched to grape juice.

I believe part of our countries alcohol problem today is because Christians worked to make alcohol taboo. In countries like France, it is normal for children to have wine with their supper, so wine (alcohol) is never a big deal to young people growing up. It is an every day thing. We have made it bad, especially for kids, so it has become a thing of rebellion and a teenage rite of passage.

I personally believe that wine should be served in Communion, because that is what Jesus used when He initiated the Supper with his disciples. It is also what all the Church (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc…) used before 1864. A person who should not drink wine (these folks existed before 1864) should be allowed to not take the cup, but I do not believe the Church should remove the wine that Christ gave us and replace it with something we deem better.

The way I see it, is some men (1800 years after the fact) decided that wine should no longer be served at the meal Christ gave to us. I think there is a problem with the thinking that brought this about and still sustains this idea. We, as individuals, are free to let the cup go by with out drinking from it, but the Church has not right to change what Christ instituted at the Supper. I hope I am being clear here.

I hope that this further explains where I'm coming from. Thanks again for the letter, and if you want to continue this discussion I am happy to comply.