Father Abraham +

2010 April 5

Filed in:

Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time (Sacraments)

I am wondering about what appear to me to be priestly qualities to Abraham.  I haven’t read anyone saying this, so I am looking for corroboration.

  1. Conduit of blessing: “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12.3)
  2. Makes altars:
    1. “Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.  So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” (Genesis 12.7)
    2. From there he moved to the hill country on the east ofBethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.” (Genesis 12.8)
    3. 13.4; 13.18
  3. Serves meat to Yhwh at his tabernacle in a Sabbath setting:
    1. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on— since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”” (vv.4-5 from Genesis 18.1-8 – note Resting and Refreshing was what God did on the Sabbath, according to Ex 31.17)
  4. Intercedes before Yhwh for Sodom in front of his tabernacle (Gen 18.22-33).
  5. Offers Burnt Offerings, and a pretty SIGNIFICANT one at that (Genesis 22).

My suspicion is that Adam and Noah deserve priest studies too.



What’s in the Supply Closet [part 1 of 2]

2010 March 30

Filed in:

Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time (Sacraments)

In a short conversation tonight with good family friends, the question was considered, what’s a Christian to do with Santa and the Easter Bunny?  What about various kinds of celebrations of Easter and of Christmas.   I suggest the answer lies in the question, “What supplies are in God’s party closet?”

When I was about 23, I remember having a strong opposition to any celebration that I couldn’t find in scripture, thinking it made legalism and promoted works-salvation.  The Bible didn’t say to celebrate Easter!  By making people dress specially, and feel like it was a more special Sunday weren’t we making people feel bound where scripture left us free?  Well, I don’t actually remember anyone binding my conscience on Easter, but the thought pattern in which I was trained was ready to see legalism behind any practical work done FOR God.

I believe the answer I have come to now has to do with answering what is lawful and how God likes to party.  The main thing I am attacking first is Christmas without presents.  May we give presents at Christmas?

I will write tomorrow or soon on what I think is the answer, but I put forth Deuteronomy 14.22-28 as a text to answer my question, and request your comments (From Biblegateway: )


22 “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. 23And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. 24And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there,25then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses 26and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. 27And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.

28 “At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns.

What Does it Mean that the Spirit is Holy?

2010 February 15

Filed in:

Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time (Sacraments)


I heard a radio program today ask us to pick one word to describe the Holy Spirit.  My automatic thought was “powerful.”  However, it struck me, that there is a single word, an adjective that is most commonly put with “the Spirit”: Holy.

I was pondering the fact that we often talk about the Spirit’s power, and the Spirit’s work, but in today’s public Christian arena we rarely talk about what the Spirit has to do with Holiness.  I think it is worth while to think about the Spirit in this framework:


The Spirit is a marker of set-apart-ness.

My suggestion here is that one of the major works of the Spirit is as a marker of distinguishing between God’s people and not-my-people.  Those who have the Spirit are HOLY, set apart, and those who are not set apart, do not have the Spirit.

Those who are IN God’s family are members of Christ’s body, and take on God’s name.  They are set apart as different.  As in the Exodus: “But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.”  (Exodus 11.7) God makes a distinction between the church and the world.  That distinction is marked out by the anointing of the Spirit.  The oil of Royal anointing was a marker labeling a man as king.  The unction of the Spirit is a marker of royal family membership as well.


Paul says a few things in Romans that tend this way:

1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ… (Romans 1.1-6)

This opening to Romans is about many things, but one of those is about holiness/set-apartness and membership in Christ.

JESUS was PUBLICLY PORTAYED as KING, by resurrection.  The unction and declaration was “according to the Spirit.”  It was not “according to the Holy Spirit,” but “according to the Spirit OF HOLINESS.”  Why “of holiness”?  Because the quality of the Spirit being emphasized is his characteristic ability to set people apart, and to be a public displayer of the right, the in, the chosen.


Paul says similar things here:

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8.9)

How was Jesus said to be declared set apart for God as king?  By his resurrection from the dead.  New life was the chosen sign of the Spirit’s power (Romans 1.4).

The same in Romans 8.10-11:

But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.


The chosen means of the Spirit’s distinction is New Life, and the chose image of the Spirit’s granted New Life is Baptism.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  (Romans 6.3-4)

We are both buried AND raised in baptism:

…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead (Colossians 2.12).

We are actually buried and raised by the work of the Holy Spirit, but it is publically shown in baptism.  In which we are SET APART… in which we are declared HOLY.  See also Ezekiel 36.22-32 for baptism, new life, and spirit in connection.

The Pink Panther, Porn, and the Lord’s Supper

2009 October 3

Filed in:

To the Pure All Things Are Pure (Fidelity)

I was watching “The Pink Panther” on Hulu with my children.  I didn’t let them in on the adult humor included.

I was horrified to see the two main characters reading a magazine called: “Hotsy Totsy Girls Girls Girls”   The cartoon woman on the back of the cartoon porn mag made it clear that it wasn’t a mistake.  I assume that adults were supposed to think this was funny… and normal.

I am guessing that  maybe when adults and children watch cartoons together, there is a need to appeal to both crowds.  Little girls need to be brought to laughter, while their fathers next to them need to be told to think sexual thoughts about some other daddy’s daughter.

The cartoon doesn’t want you to exclaim, “Oh No, this trickery is blaspheming God by degrading his image!”  It doesn’t expect you to say, “Girls, this is the the kind of sin that leads God to tell Moses: ‘Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.'” (Numbers 25)

Do we tell our children that this is the kind of poison that kills men off in the Lord’s supper (1 Cor 10.1-11)?

Of course, I didn’t interrupt the short cartoon to draw their attention to what they are (at the moment) too young to get.  If they had been older, it would have been necessary to rail against the offhand degradation of the love of God.

It is sad that a Christian man could point this out about his children’s entertainment.  But sadder still is the trap for men that is so sophisticated.  It can’t be fixed because it can’t be revealed. It is sad that many men WILL NOT point this out about the cartoon, because their conscience binds them.  If we cannot reveal the sin in the cartoon because of the sin in our hearts, then we may choose to ignore the sin in the cartoon as if nothing significant is taking place.

Families are blessed by freedom, when in face of the Lord’s Table, we “go with our young and our old. … with our sons and daughters … for we must hold a feast to the LORD”  (Ex. 1o.9)  And when we go, we may face our families freely and proclaim that it is about forgiveness, for we know that we are all sinners.  But we are free to say so without fear, for we can eat it without the hypocrisy of KNOWING we are simultaneously feeding at computer screens of demons (1 Cor 10.21).  We can FEED our children.

We mustn’t miss life lessons when our children see displays of porn that make it seem tame, when in fact it “preys upon your very life” (Pr 6.26-27).  If we cannot teach our children to see evil as evil because we are friends of the evil, but only in private, then in public we will have to concede the nourishment of their souls to the message that women are not glorious, and therefore neither is God.  They will eat an increasing diet of “men are not protectors,” and therefore neither is God.

I am glad that my girls couldn’t understand the episode that I won’t be letting them see again.  The last thing I want them to imbibe is “Girls Girls Girls”.  The last thing I want to sacrifice on the altar of a Pagan god, is my children.

Thanks be to God, for men there is hope of sanctification.  I thank God that before I was married, God got a hold of my eyes and heart.  It was painful, but the deliverance freed me like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter.  I am thankful that for men like Manasseh, there is repentance (2 Chron 33).  I am thankful that like Manasseh, I can eat the peace offering of the Lord’s Supper (2 Chron 33.16).

I am thankful that the Lord offered his body and blood for me and for my offspring after me, and that when we see smut, I can say, “Children, this makes men die, but it is one of the many things for which Jesus died.”

Before God dealt with me in my young adulthood, I believed the lie that men have no hope of freedom.  And the lie that it isn’t really THAT damaging.  I needed someone to tell me that it was really bad, and that there was really hope.

So please, if you need hope to be rescued from this curse, please have it!  Please ask the Lord to restore you.  But know that you must, for while Manasseh could repent for burning his children, he could never actually get them back.  And while the meal shows forgiveness for ALL sins, this is one which Paul tells us plainly brings death to the church.

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (Pr 6.27 – ABOUT Sexual sin.)

There is hope in Jesus’ power:

“Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.” (Prv 6.5 ABOUT Sexual sin).

Easter – Video: Resurrected Children and Passover

2009 April 12

My new video about Paedocommunion-

Infants and the Law

2009 March 11

An ingredient that ought to be thrown into anyone’s stew if they are cooking up a theology about faith in children is this:

Infants are called to keep the law; infants can break the law.

Cursory examples are:

Gen 17 – Circumcision

Positive: Infants required to recieve circumcision;

Negative: he who did not receive circumcision are considered “cut off from his people”

Jdg 13 – Nazarite Vow

Positive: Samson required to be a Nazarite “from the womb”;

Negative: Samson must not drink alcohol – so his MOTHER could not drink it while he was in the womb, because it would cause HIM to break the command.


Ability to break the law does not necessarily imply ability to keep the law.

Ability to keep the law externally does not imply internal regeneration.

However, I do think the fact that the Law binds infants is important to the question.  At very least it implies that whenever we talk about the subject of covenant infants it must be through or with God’s law, and not apart from God ‘s law.

Unrepentant covenant breakers are supposed to be excommunicated.  One of the reasons that some paedobaptists refuse to commune children is because they are either unsure of their faith or are sure that they have no faith at such a stage.

IF we are sure they have NO FAITH, then the children are necessarily UNREPENTANT COVENANT BREAKERS.  This means we must not say of them:

Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world. (WCF XXVIII.1)

In other words, if we KNOW that children have no faith, then we CANNOT mean that baptism is an intentional sign of regeneration and faith.  BUT that is exactly what both the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Bible maintain.  Both Baptism and Circumcision are seals of the righteousness that comes through faith.  Baptism says “this one is in Christ and forgiven” (See the Bible):

[Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. (Rom 4.11 ESV)

11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.  (Col 2.11-14 ESV)

3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  (Rom 6.3-4 ESV)

27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Maybe, I’ll edit more into this later.

Baptism of John / Trinitarian Baptism

2009 March 10

2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

I’ve just been reading Acts 18.24-19.7 (see 19)

As a baptist, I wanted John’s baptism to be synonymous with Christian Baptism.  So I tried to read this passage as if it was played out like this:

Paul: Into what were you baptized?

People: Into the Christian water baptism started by John.

Paul: You need the “Spirit Baptism!”  Let me pray for you with laying on of hands….

Obviously, this isn’t what he says or what chapter 18.24ff indicates.

Paul: Into what were you baptized?

People: Into the Jewish national repentance water baptism performed by John.

Paul: You haven’t yet identified with the church, the people of the name of Jesus, the people of the Spirit; you need the “Christian Baptism!”  Let me baptize you in the name of Jesus….

I think that is more like it.  One of the main points is that in Acts 18-19, Luke tells us two stories that indicate VERY CLEARLY that the Baptism of John was NOT the same as Christian or Trititarian Formula Baptism.

John’s Baptism was an intentionally offensive statement about the dirtiness of Israel.

When will the Messiah bring us victory over the Gentiles?  The Restoration of Kingdom to Israel?

This coming Kingdom, always anticipated by the disciples (Mk 10.35-45, Mt 20.20-28), and still on their minds after the resurrection (Ac 1.6), is a key to NT interpretation.

So what was preventing the Kindom’s arrival? Different answers:

The Pharisees said, the problem is other Jews – we must fix them.

The Essenes said, the problem is other Jews – we must flee them and let him save us.

John said, the Kingdom is upon us, time to admit that WE OURSELVES are the problem.  So he assembled people at the Jordan to make a public spectacle and mockery of Israel’s dirt.  And the declaration was personal, not at others, but at “ourselves.”

While Christian Baptism does say this about me, John’s work was a one time eschatological, pre-kingdom preparation to say the kingdom must come on God’s terms not on the laurels of self-righteous hijackers of the system – the Pharisees, especially.


Spirit Baptism:

Two problem theologies come out of this passage –

Pentecostalism – all Christians receive the Spirit after Baptism as a second blessing, and when they do, they will speak in tongues.

Orthodox “Chrismation – the Coming of the Spirit is through laying on of hands not normatively immediate to faith on its own.

Chrismation was later separated from Baptism in the West, which developed the practice of Confirmation to give the Spirit in the Roman Church.

I expect that the “when Paul laid hands on them” it actually means “in the action of the baptism,”  but it could be a prayer separately.  What do you think?

Another main issue to add in is that in Romans 8, Paul says that (at least by the time of the writing of Romans), all believers HAD the spirit by default:

9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.