Monday, June 30, 2008

Calling Experience.

How do you know you have been called to become a minister? This has been answered in various and interesting ways.

In my previous background, it is common to hear that they have become ministers/pastors , because just like the prophets of old who received a visitation from God, the same has happened to them. In the same way that they can identify a conversion experience, they can identify a calling experience too, i.e. that particular time when they heard an audible voice telling them to become a minister.

In my early years as a Protestant Christian, I could identify some such subjective experience. However, after that, I struggled. I struggled because I have encountered ministers who had no doubts as to validity of their calling experience yet, I doubted mine. So eventually I wanted to be assured once more, I wanted to be certain, so I wanted re-validation from God, i.e. that he might speak to me the same way he did to them. I was hoping that should this happen, all my doubts as to my calling would vanished. The voice never came.

From the Small Cathechism:

but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.

I have this thesis, and let me run this by you. The same Gospel that calls me to faith in Christ is the same Gospel that calls people to minister on behalf Christ.

1 Cor 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their
trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation

This is again not subjective but entirely objective, it is again extra nos. It is not dependent on a mystical experience. Since I have been reconciled to God by the message of the Gospel, I, by that same reconciliation have received something. I can then give that which I have received to others i.e. the Gospel so that others may be reconciled too. Therefore the minister is giving also what he has received, the reconciliation. Indeed, I am more convinced today that the minister is simply administering or dispensing that said gift.

It is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread (didn't Luther say something like this?).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

See why I prefer uni education?


Ichabod blogged a couple of months on how a seminary can have grave influence on its graduates for good or ill. It all depends on who is teaching.

In one of his posts, he blogged about a recent graduate from a "confessing" seminary here; the gentleman is said to be just one of the many who have either journeyed to Rome or Constantinople. The thought is this - it alleges that the said seminary produces graduates who eventually abandon the "confession". Ironic, if it were true, then this suggests that it seems to produce more defectors than defenders of the "confession".

A few months ago, I said why I prefer university education over seminary when it comes to ministerial training here. Did you get my point why I prefer university education?

You see in a university education - when it comes to theology at least there you recognize right away your "enemy". In the university, the liberals let you know right away that they do not believe the Bible is revelation, they tell you it is a work of myth etc. etc. In that respect the liberals are more ethical compared to Christian professors in seminaries. Liberals show their colors right away. In seminaries you do not know the "moles" or the "in-plants", it is so easy to hide behind the smoke and jargon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Selectively repeating what Luther said

The more I read Luther's works that are in the BoC such as his Large Catechism, the more I appreciate his great gift of insight into the Scriptures. I believe that Luther was a dear wise man and should be considered a Church Father. Of course staunch RC fanats would spit on his gravy.

As much as Luther said many wise things, he said some pretty stupid things too. Here is one of them

I would rather have pure blood with the Pope, than drink mere wine with the
Enthusiasts. (Luther's Works, 37, 317)

Most of those who repeat this saying like to sharpen the division between Luther and the Zwinglians (read - the modern evangelicals). IMHO, the people who repeat this saying usually are high church people, as if by repeating this saying it would bolster or strengthen their position or their program.

I am just wondering, why they do not also repeat what Luther said about the Jews and Germans . They don't, because common sense says that those statements are stupid comments nurtured and blurted out of frustration.

Just have a bit of horse sense, you become stupid when you agree with stupid statements.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

No conditions apply

I took this photo outside a Wesleyan Church in Fremantle, WA.

I think this church got it right.
Of course, church signs are always catchy and there are unstated assumptions we must assume when reading them. The Gospel, of course, without the preceding accusation of the Law ceases to have its power, but we will not go into that right now. For the moment, at least the free gift of Christ's love is on this church sign.
Considering how the Gospel has been presented with lots of do's, lots of pre-conditions, lots of fine prints etc etc etc, that aspect of unconditionality I'd say is a good start.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do something before dementia

I caught this sunset from North Fremantle, WA.

My, my, their train and bus system is so superior compared to the one in Melbourne. Inside Perth, the bus rides are free. Then you can travel any where within the reach of the train for a daily ticket of A$8.10 or for the family for the weekend - same amount! Their stations are safer, cleaner and presentable - no grafitis. They have tougher laws and severe punishments for kids that do this stuff. There is more discipline. It is no wonder, the Western Australians once wanted to secede from the rest of the Easterners. Easterner laws are a bunch of wuusies compared to the Westerners. Just read this news of a light sentence of a person who killed a girl in a drag race incident.

WA is filled with rich people. Perth is filled with rich people, almost everyone has a boat. I went to a marina in the south of Perth (Madurah Estuaries) and the missus started reading the names these rich folk named their boats - one of them caught our eyes, he named his "just before dementia".

I am taking the advice early, I better do something now while my mind is not as demented as it is (grandma died of this). Who knows if I'd remember those fun times.

If you want some hits

I just got back safely from Perth. I got some photos of sunsets which I should be able to share later.

I have been thinking about blog statistics lately and I want to share some tips.

It seems to me that if you want really good visits from people you should discuss the following in your blog:

1. Discuss something critical or controversial, like criticize some folk etc.
2. Discuss how-to-s like - how to be a better so and so etc.

Now, the following is a no-no, the following will surely get your post ignored and get the reader the impression you are boring and uninteresting...

3. Discuss something devotional... like the Gospel.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The real inventor

Too bad, Anders, a follower of Ribi Yehoshua has not replied to some questions. I did poke around the web site of the Netzarims. The thesis to me is simple - the Jesus of Nazareth that Christians worship is a corruption of a figure in history called by the name 'Ribi Yehoshua'. More to the point, I believe the group is repeating the theories of some Jewish folk - to the end that it was really Paul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who invented Jesus of Nazareth. Along side that, it was Paul who taught the idea of atonement of Jesus of Nazareth for the world and his rising from the dead. This is not precisely what the web site is saying but put it this way - it was the Hellenist Jews who created this myth about Jesus of Nazareth, something similar to the Paul, the-inventor-of-Christianity idea is happening there.

I note too on the site's insistence of the Torah to be fulfilled by human beings. When I was studying Early Judaism in uni, it came out clear that the Jews believe that God created human beings FOR the Torah.

Contrast this to what the Christian Jesus says
Mark 2:27
Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath".

For Jesus, God created the Torah FOR man, to benefit man, but for the Jews this is reversed.

Now if Paul was the true promoter or even inventor of the Christian Gospel, he must have been a real genius, he was able to pull the wool on the world's eyes. Besides that the message is so so good - it sounds really good news.

You can only approach this "invented" news in two ways - you can say this is just too good to be true, "my sins have been paid for by Christ" and yet be skeptical about it, it must be a hoax. You know, like the hoax you get from the internet, saying they got some money from some place and they are willing to share it with you? Or you can reason - this is so so super incredible a story, so unheard of that only God could have come up with this ingenious news.

Update: Another thing, who is that Jesus that I encounter each time I take communion?
I hope to go to Perth this next few days - I heard they have beautiful sunsets and so I am taking the missus there. I have never been there I am off to take some sunset pictures, besides giving ourselves a break. Life, with its trials never ends anyway, it will be there when I get back - so what else is new, eyh?

God bless, in the mean time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Messianic Jews under attack - as usual

Time magazine has an article on the suffering being experienced by Messianic Jews in Israel.

The quick way of thinking about Messianic Jews is that they are approximately orthodox Jews who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.

They still follow the cultural aspect of being Jews, like their festivals and customs, the Sabbath and wear all the religious paraphernalia as the occasion requires.

I know of a few friends who are Messianic Jews. I have been to their services. As far as I can remember their liturgy is not the same as the traditional liturgy. I do not recall having confession/absolution nor recitation of the Apostle's Creed etc. I remember that it was semi-charismatic in that they clapped and raised their hands. Their music was original and Hebraic and Psalmic in tune and lyrics. They lit the candles etc. Structurally, their liturgy is more deflected from the way the traditional liturgy has been done.

So, do people have an opinion about this? Should they follow their cultural upbringing and should they have their own type of Christian spirituality? After all Christianity is Jewish in origin, correct? I just want to hear some opinions.

Oh, while we think about this, let us not forget to pray for them too.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hyper and Fundamentalism

This urangutan's face shows how I stare in amazement at what passes as "confessional".

I just noticed that John H calls people who claim to be "confessional" but yet practically deny or contradict what the BoC says about repentance, good works and changed life brought about by the HS, by the term "hyper-Lutheran". See his post here. I call this Lutheran Fundamentalism, because most, I notice, are into traditionalism, liturgicalism and into negativism too. These folk are into "negativation" (a word I invented, for being anti-anything, yes, anti-anything but so called "confessional"). For this reason - it is "fundamentalistic". Fundamentalism is like that - all are bad, except itself. It also throws the baby with the bath water. Actually this is a subtle high-jacking again of another Lutheran term - "confessional". I am concerned for ex-evangelicals/ex-pentecostals like me because they are getting a spin of what passes as "confessional" but when you check what they say against Scripture and BoC, they mis-represent what that word implies.

This is the reason why I have absent myself from most blogs except for a very few and even this recent reference shows I have not been hanging out other spots lately. I encounter so much of these fundamentalistic types.

I went to Wittenberg because I was a pilgrim/a refugee in search for a confession that matches the Scripture, now that I found it, my job is full and should be spent studying it rather than spending my time reading the so called 'fathers'. They will just have to wait in the queue until I have out grown my studies because if I become ignorant of what the 'confession' says, I will also be - 'hyper'.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kick her in the face

This is what the HS said to this "preacher". This is the ministry of kicking you in the face, and you know what? This is a healing ministry! You just might come out battered and bruised to get your healing here.

Please do not take this personally, specially my USA readers, but USA has been a seat bed of cultic activities. The truth is that USA has been a major producer and exporter of cultic religions in the last 100 years. What is it with you people? The laughing revival has come and gone, you would have learned from it but here it is again...

This is good old Rodney Howard-Browne revival, and you know what, he was not even American! This is the ministry of leg dropping, punching, hitting and kicking -- and he is proud of it because it is from God.

Here they are, they are laughing and giggling "oh you are such a man of God, you are going to kick me in the face, but no worries, I will be healed, glory Hallelujah"! People are being duped and they are laughing about it.

Folks, it ain't funny. I am actually teary eyed as I write this, I am crying. This has kicked me in the gut.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Faith - mediated or immediate?

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,”[d] 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. Heb 11:17-19

I have been thinking about this thing called faith...err, once again, ahem.

I have noticed a difference in understanding between the Gnesio-Evangelicals and the neo/modern evangelicals on this lately.

Faith for a modern evangelical is immediate. What I mean by that is that it is not mediated, in other words, it is sudden and without something in between. It drops from heaven, so to speak. I say this because faith in modern evangelicalism is personal, and by that it means direct, i.e. God deals with you in the raw, directly. It is understood that when Scripture said that Abraham was the friend of God, it meant that God spoke to Abraham about what was going on in his mind, i.e. God shared his secret heart with Abraham etc.

This is of course manifested in songs like "He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today, he walks with me and talks with me in life's narrow way and so on". Some manifestations of this would be when God tells you where the bargain goods are, he tells you where the right parking spot is, he tells you what the Scripture means etc. In otherwords, it is sorted out while you are in the midst a crisis situation.

On the otherhand, for Gnesio-Evangelicals, faith is mediated. By that I mean, faith is mediated by a promise. All the while in Christian life, it is the promise (the Gospel) that drives all of deductions in life. I see this in the case of Abraham, his faith was not immediate, rather it was mediated by a promise (see the above verse). When Abraham was being tried he had no immediate word from God saying "look, all will be ok, relax, you kill him and I will raise him from the dead, OK? Don't worry, be happy". I am being sarcasmagoric but you know what I mean.

There was none of that conversation. In fact Scripture says that he used the promise to deduce that God would have to raise Isaac from the dead if he killed him. There was no immediate word, just the promise and the implications of trusting in it. Selah.

Yet, this is the same principle in operation in Gnesio-Evangelicalism because it presents Christianity as a religion based on a promise (in this case the Gospel promise). In this Evangelicalism, Christianity is a promise religion, and you make spiritual deductions based on the Gospel promise, it is the hermeneutic. Comparing to what happened to Abraham, it is similar. We believe the promise that for Christ' sake and by virtue of his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, and thus we hold on to the promise until God takes us home. It is a mediated faith, a faith that is brought about based on a promise. In this very sense, a Christian is a person who has a promise from God and so his faith is like that of Abraham, it is mediated by a promise. He has not gotten it sorted out, there is left over mystery absolutely! He has not figured it all out, he uses the promise to guide him in a crisis, he cleaves, he hangs on, he spiritually grabs the promise by the horns and won't let go and he uses the promise for comfort. Yet all this time, there is no new voice, or new revelation directly from God.

Seems to me indeed that a Christianity that focuses you on God's promise (which is the Gospel) and enjoins you to trust that promise until the end, is similar to that of the faith of Abraham. Well then, it becomes true -- that Abraham is the father of those who believe, whose faith is similar to his. Selah.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


That is what Filipina President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) wants Filipina women to be.

Her vision for the Filipina is that she might become a "supermaid"! What a lofty vision for the Filipina, no? She wants the Filipina to go work abroad, like go to some Middle Eastern country, so that, what? So that they can get maltreated, get physically abused and raped.

It is leaders like this that keeps the country screwed and sliding down to the dogs. Talking about colonial mentality - this one demonstrates that.

I am ashamed to admit it, but you see, she has a PhD in economics from my university and a consistent Dean's List student when she was taking her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University (USA).

Supermaids. Yeah, right, brilliant. Is that the best vision you could have for your countrymen?

Hang on, my memory bank says that there is another meaning of PhD, "Phenomenally Dumb".