Showing posts from October, 2013

Praying for Death

Have you ever prayed for death? I don't mean praying for the death of an enemy in a moment of anger. I don't mean praying for God to take you out of this world before your time. I mean praying for the death of someone you love. Is it ever appropriate to pray this way? If you've ever experienced the death of a loved one, you know the pain that accompanies such an ordeal. It isn't the pain of a physical injury or an emotional insult. It isn't the pain of guilt or hunger or fear. It is all these pains wrapped into one. It's an empty feeling that moves from your heart to your stomach, numbing your mind, leaving you searching for distraction and escape. But there is no escape. This kind of pain may dull over time, but it never fully goes away. There might be moments when it's forgotten, but there are other times when a smell or a scene from a movie bring it back as though the wound were newly inflicted. And yet, sometimes we pray for this kind of pain to be

Why I Believe in Infant Baptism Part 5: Applying it Today

Baptism is an essential element of Christian worship. The Reformers defined a true church as one which preaches the Word and exercises the sacraments, namely the Lord's Supper and Baptism. Whatever you believe about baptism, I hope you take it seriously enough to follow your convictions. If you are a Christian and haven't been baptized, I would encourage you to speak with your pastor about it. As my wife and I began to put the final pieces into place about what we now believed regarding baptism, we had a few final questions. One of them was about the mode of baptism. I had always been raised with the idea that being fully immersed in water was the only acceptable way to be baptized. After all, being immersed really pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. How does that fit with sprinkling babies? If I believe and infant should be baptized, was sprinkling okay? Should I meet in the middle and pour water instead of fully immersing? Thankfully, I believe scriptu

Sunday Singables: "All Hail the Pow'r of Jesus' Name"

"All Hail the Pow'r of Jesus' Name" by Oliver Holden (1793), new arrangement released by The Gettys on Live at The Gospel Coalition  (2013) Why I recommend this song for worship- This is a classic hymn, one which I hope many of you are familiar with. It echoes the phrase we will be exclaiming throughout eternity, "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name!" I love this hymn because it encompasses not only our individual praise, but the fact that people from all ages, all tribes, and all cultures will also praise the name of Jesus. The next time you sing this in church, remember that this is just a taste of what we'll be able to do and who we'll be able to worship with in heaven. Let it also remind you that just because a song might be a few hundred years old, it doesn't mean we can't still use it to worship God. I'm thankful for this, and other old hymns, which focus our hearts and minds on the realities of the coming age. Suggestions f

Why I Believe in Infant Baptism Part 4: From Abraham to Us

The more I study scripture, the more I see the connections from the Old Testament to the New. The Bible is one Book, telling one story. Certain systems of thought will try to push the idea that only the NT is for the church and the OT is just full of good, moral stories. I couldn't disagree more. Jesus Himself said that the OT was about Him ( John 5:39 ), and if we are about knowing Christ in the church then we better know our Old Testaments. Why do I bring this up during a discussion regarding baptism which many believe is solely in the NT? Because the theme of a covenant sign (which is what baptism really is) begins in the OT. Here's what I mean. In Genesis 12 God chose Abraham to be the father of His people. By choosing to bless Abraham, God was saying that Abraham, and all those who would be his offspring through faith, would be blessed with salvation ( Galatians 3:7-9 ). Adding to this, the Bible says that Abraham is the father of all who would believe in Christ ( G