Turning from Self to Christ, Necessary for Obedience

“We cannot will ourselves into the deep obedience that God requires. We can’t obey until we ourselves have received this grace and picked up our cross. We can’t obey until we have laid down our life, with all our false and worldly identities and idols. We can’t obey until we face the facts: the gospel comes in exchange for the life we once loved.” -Rosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Comes with a House Key



Leprosy in the Bible

“When Jesus walked the earth, leprosy was the worst of all plagues. Not only was it a filthy, deadly disease from which no one recovered, but its contagion spread arbitrarily and wildly, rendering beloved family members outcasts and wanderers in the beat of a heart. Like Frankenstein’s creature, the leper’s skin no longer covered his sinews and muscles. With a pop of white pus, a beloved family member overnight became abhorrent. Lepers—moral and social outcasts, isolated, rejected, feared, despised—banded together in pain, waiting to die, bereft of hope. Leprosy was a medical plague with legal warrants for arrest and disbandment. The ceremonial law deemed the leper morally and physically unclean. Leprosy was more than an infectious skin disease. It rendered the person who embodied it unfit to be part of a healthy community and unable to join in the worship of God. When Jesus walked the earth, leprosy was thus a repulsive corporealization of original sin. It was not caused by a particular sin or behavior. Rather, it pointed to our sin nature, the walking time bomb inside each and every one of us. The only solution was containment of the leper and protection for the yet healthy. Whole chapters of the law—Leviticus 13 and 14— are devoted to how to contain the contagion and restore the healed leper. This disease could transform a beloved father or mother into a despised outcast overnight. One day you could enjoy belonging, touch, recognition, value. The next, you were as good as garbage.” -Rosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Comes with a House Key

Butterfield, Rosaria Champagne. The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World (Kindle Locations 334-343). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Butterfield, Rosaria Champagne. The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World (Kindle Locations 332-334). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Eden as Place of Communion

“The Sabbath was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden, where he invited Adam into his communion and to imitate his own reign. This is one of the most astonishing aspects of this institution. Transcendence is not aloofness. It is a property of God’s very existence—he cannot help but be beyond anything we could imagine or think. Once God freely decided to create human beings in his image, he chose involvement over indifference. Far from being a distant deity. God is eager to be in the company of human beings whom he created in his own image. This is why he created Paradise, with its order, productivity, diversity, justice, and harmony—a “living room” where he could dwell with his imagebearers and they could dwell safely with him.” -Horton, A Better Way

The Breadth of the Reformed Tradition

“In our considering this there are two extremes to be avoided. The first is a sort of archaeological reconstruction in the English language of the Genevan Psalter or a meticulous following of the Westminster Directory. Simply going back to either of these classics would not really constitute a reform of worship. One problem with doing this is that our
tradition at its most simple and at its most classical revolves around these two foci, the Continental Reformers of the sixteenth century and the English Puritans of the seventeenth century. There will always be those who will tend more toward Geneva, others who will tend more toward Westminster. Luther, Zwingli, Bucer, and Calvin did not always agree, nor did the Scottish Presbyterians and the English Puritans. There is quite a spread between Richard Baxter and Matthew Henry. Some are going to be more attentive to Manton, some to Bucer. The Reformed tradition has been collegial from its very beginning. This was made abundantly clear as early as the Synod of Berne in 1528. We are not the devotees of some single, star Reformer. Reformed is not the same thing as Lutheran, Zwinglian, or Calvinist.” -Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship

Tradition and Scripture in the Reformed… Tradition

“Just because one seeks to recover a tradition, one is not necessarily
committed to what we have called an archaeological reconstruction of the tradition. For a Reformed theologian any tradition, the Reformed tradition as well, needs to be measured against Scripture to determine whether it is of value. It is Scripture which has authority and the tradition only has authority when it is based on Scripture. The tradition needs to be evaluated and re-evaluated and those elements in it which are most solid emphasized. In any tradition there are elements which have played a significant role because of the needs of the day, but which in few generations no longer seemed meaningful. In every tradition, there
are the marks of compromises with the culture. There are things the
religious leaders would have liked to have done but which the state would not permit or the people would not support.” -Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship

Why You Only Need One Priest

“Bishop Ryle was right to ask what the sense or reason was of going to an earthly confessor so long as we can have access to the best of all Priests, Jesus Christ Himself: ‘When His ear is deaf, and His heart is cold when His hand is feeble, and His power to heal is exhausted when the treasure-house of His sympathy is empty, and His love and goodwill have become cold then and not till then, it will be time to turn to earthly priests and earthly confessionals. Thank God, that time is not yet come!'” -quoted in John Stott, Confess Your Sins