The Traditionalist!

Survey says!?! (take the worldview quiz here)

Quote:

Thank you for taking the worldview test!

The test is based on extensive academic research and has been shown to generate fairly consistent results. You can find more information about the research here.

Here are your results:

The worldview you identify with most is called traditional. Out of 17 questions, you have a total score of 12 on this worldview. (This score is calculated by counting the times you “most agreed” with this worldview, subtracted by the times you “least agreed” with this worldview.)

The worldview you identify with least is called modern. You have a total score of -7 on this worldview. (This score is calculated by counting the times you “least agreed” with this worldview, subtracted by the times you “most agreed” with this worldview.)

Learn about your dominant, traditional worldview, here.

There is great power in knowing your worldview! Not as a label to put on yourself, but in the sense of exploring the set of assumptions that guide you in your day-to-day life. As the ancient Greeks already taught centuries ago: “know thyself!”

If you enjoyed learning about your worldview, please share the test with your friends on Facebook and other platforms!

Thank you for being curious about your worldview!

With warm regards,
Annick de Witt

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Mobile Command Unit

Ok, I broke down and ordered one of those fancy Reformation Study Bibles.

I have the old “Reformation Study Bible,” you know, the edition just after they changed the name from the New Geneva Study Bible? It was a solid Bible and I used it often so when I noticed the crimson hardcover was on sale I picked one up…which is difficult to do considering the weight of the volume! It’s not that heavy, I was joking, it weights in at about 4 lbs.

This edition offers a very clean page style, the font is easy to read and the paper is bright white and thicker when compared to some of my other study bibles. (The ESV Study Bible which is WAY too thin if you ask me). The notes have been updated and revised as you probably already know. The confessions in the back are useful and the sidebar theological notes are extremely valuable, which is why I call it a Mobile Command Unit. I like to bring my Bible along with me to the coffee shop and read it during lunch. Sometimes the Bible I’m reading will solicit a comment or two. The sidebar notes are useful in these situations because it allows you to on the same page when discussing a theological subject when blind sided with random conversation.

It has everything you need to do battle!

reformation study bible crimson

8/10

I gave The Reformation Study Bible an 8 out of 10. It lost a point due to the single column paragraph setup. When reading, studying or even arguing over something from scripture, I’ve found it helps to have a versified two column Bible. Maybe that’s just me. This Bible lost another point due to the limit in translations (ESV/NKJV). It would be nice to have this study Bible with a modern Geneva translation or the King James. I’m thankful for The Reformation Heritage Study Bible which does come in my preferred translations and I would recommend that edition in a hearbeat.

That’s all for now folks.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Glory for the Newborn Child of God

Source

Monday the 10th of December

in Meditations I

Psalm 63:11

    A beautiful truth that a born again child of God can and will sing is stated in these words (PRC Psalter):

    My Savior ‘neath Thy sheltering wings,
    My soul delights to dwell;
    Still closer to Thy side I press,
    For near Thee all is well.
    My soul shall conquer every foe,
    Upholden by Thy hand;
    Thy people shall rejoice in God,
    Thy saints in glory stand.

    This is the versification of Psalm 63:11. In this verse David wrote: But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by Him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.”

    We should note two elements here. The born again child of God will “rejoice in God” and “shall glory.” For the last step in the work of salvation for the child of God is that God glorifies him and gives him the heavenly joy of a covenant life of fellowship with God.

    Now glory is the radiation, the shining forth of virtue. That lies ahead for every child of God. Not only will he receive a glorified body, like that of Christ, wherein his new man in Christ shall have a life of bliss, but he will rejoice in fellowship with God.

    Glory makes us rejoice. The curse brings us tears and sorrow. That will all be behind us when we reach the glory promised us. Now already we have protection. As David wrote in verse 7: “Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” Satan and his servants cannot keep the reborn child of God from reaching that heavenly glory. And reaching that glory with both body and soul, he will have an endless life of heavenly bliss.

    Our new life wants that covenant fellowship with God. That is the blessedness that every reborn child of God hopes to obtain. That he will reach, and then he will rejoice in the Lord and shall have glory that never fades.

    What a work of salvation it is then that God wrought in Christ! What a great praise and thanksgiving we owe Him and will in that glory be able to bring to Him!

Read: Psalm 63
Psalter versification: #163:3

Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter #21
Why not sing along??

****
Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Amos 1 ; Amos 2 ; Amos 3:1-15
Revelation 2:1-17
Psalm 129:1-8
Proverbs 29:19-20 
****
Quote for Reflection:

How sweet is it to godly minds to be assured, not only by word, but by sight, that they obtain so much favour with the Heavenly Father that their offspring are within His care?” ~ John Calvin

O Jerusalem

Baruch 5:1-9Baruch

5Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God. 
2 Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; 
3 for God will show your splendour everywhere under heaven. 
4 For God will give you evermore the name,
‘Righteous Peace, Godly Glory’.


5 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height;
look towards the east,
and see your children gathered from west and east
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that God has remembered them. 
6 For they went out from you on foot,
led away by their enemies;
but God will bring them back to you,
carried in glory, as on a royal throne. 
7 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low
and the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. 
8 The woods and every fragrant tree
have shaded Israel at God’s command. 
9 For God will lead Israel with joy,
in the light of his glory,
with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.

Sorrows of Sin

elder silas

“The terrible afflictions of soul I cannot describe. I cannot tell of the sorrows on account of sin in thought and word and deed, of the going down into the depths, when deep has called unto deep in my soul, when I have felt that “the bars of the earth were about me forever.” But so far the Lord has showed me his delivering power and grace, and out of every one of these deep and heavy afflictions the Lord has brought me into some deeper and more glorious understanding of his goodness.” Silas Durand, Exercises About Preaching

Calvin’s Institutes

Christianbook.com has the single volume edition of Calvin’s Institutes on sale for $15.99. Years ago I purchased the two volume set by McNeill and Battles and read it through a few times. More recently a good friend sent me the sinlge volume, unabridged, 1845 Beveridge calvintranslation (with the older styled cover) and I do prefer it over the two volume set. A few quotes from Amazon will help explain why one might prefer Bereridge over other editions.

Reformed Christian scholar and theological philosopher Paul Helm:

“Incidentally, if you have the need of a translation of the Institutes, then the reissue of the Beveridge translation (newly published by Hendrickson) may be just the thing. It has new indexes, and has been ‘gently edited’, which means, I hope, only the removal of typos and other detritus. (I have not yet had the chance to check). Beveridge is superior to Battles in sticking closer to the original Latin, and having less intrusive editorial paraphernalia.”

Richard A. Muller, on the two translations (from the preface of The Unaccommodated Calvin):

“I have also consulted the older translations of the Institutes, namely those of Norton, Allen and Beveridge, in view of both the accuracy of those translation and the relationship in which they stand to the older or ‘precritical’ text tradition of Calvin’s original. Both in its apparatus and in its editorial approach to the text, the McNeill-Battles translation suffers from the mentality of the text-critic who hides the original ambience of the text even as he attempts to reveal all its secrets to the modern reader.”

from J.I. Packer in the foreword to A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes:

“No English translation fully matches Calvin’s Latin; that of the Elizabethan, Thomas Norton, perhaps gets closest; Beveridge gives us Calvin’s feistiness but not always his precision; Battles gives us the precision but not always the punchiness, and fleetness of foot; Allen is smooth and clear, but low-key.”

David Calhoun:

“Let me just say a few words about English translations. The first was Thomas Norton back in the sixteenth century. Calvin was very fortunate with his first English translator. Norton did an exceptionally good job. Very soon after the completion of the Institutes in 1559, which was written in Latin, it was translated by Calvin into French and then quite soon into English. John Allen was the second translator. John Allen and Henry Beveridge were both nineteenth-century translators. The Beveridge translation is still in print. It was until fairly recently anyway. Those are not bad but not very good either. Ford Lewis Battles’ 1960 translation is the one that we are using. Even though it has been criticized some, it is by far the most superior translation that we have at present.”

Joshua Butcher’s Amazon review:

The recent reissue of Beveridge’s 19th century translation of Calvin’s Institutes is a very nice complement to the more comprehensive scholarly edition by McNeil (translated by Battles). If you are trying to decide between the Battles and the Beveridge translation here are a few things to consider.

1. The Battles has extensive editing, which includes a thorough cross-referencing of the pertinent quotations that Calvin refers to, as well as the pertinent Biblical texts and intertextual references. McNeil is a quality editor, but as with any editing, the view of the editor is never without a measure of bias. If you are looking to get a fresh interpretation of Calvin, you try reading the Beveridge first, or skip over the footnotes in the Battles.

2. The Beveridge provides alternative readings based upon the French edition of the Institutes. I’ve found this aspect to be quite interesting. Calvin’s style in French tends to be a bit more expansive and colorful than his Latin.

3. The Beveridge has the benefit of being a one-volume hardback, as opposed to the two-volume hardback of the Battles. The one-volume has a bit more heft to carry around, but you always have the complete work with you if you are out and about.

4. The subject headings are different in the two editions. The Beveridge provides a full sentence overview outline at the beginning of each chapter division, whereas the Battles provides subheadings for each minor section. There are pros and cons to each approach, of course.

Whatever edition you decide to get, you will not be disappointed. Calvin’s Institutes is a masterpiece of Western literature, and one of the most important works of the Christian Church of all time.

This edition has some nice features as well:

– An eight-page, four-color insert on coated stock, including a frontispiece featuring the title page of the original publication and a timeline of the Reformation and of John Calvin’s life

– Two ribbon markers

– Gold foil and embossing

– Linen end sheets

Even if you disagree with Calvin…you should read him. His influence on the church cannot be ignored.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Prayer

A. W. Pink, “…what is now being taught on the subject of prayer, and the deplorable thing is that scarcely a voice is lifted in protest. To say that “human destinies may be changed and moulded by the will of man” is rank infidelity—that is the only proper term for it. Should any one challenge this classification, we would ask them whether they can find an infidel anywhere who would dissent from such a statement, and we are confident that such an one could not be found. To say that “God has ordained that human destinies may be changed and moulded by the will of man”, is absolutely untrue. “Human destiny” is settled not by “the will of man,” but by the will of God. That which determines human destiny is whether or not a man has been born again, for it is written, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. And as to whose will, whether God’s or man’s, is responsible for the new birth is settled, unequivocally, by John 1:13—”Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD”. To say that “human destiny” may be changed by the will of man, is to make the creature’s will supreme, and that is, virtually, to dethrone God. But what saith the Scriptures? Let the Book answer: “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory” (1 Sam. 2:6-8). Link

John Gill provides a proper theological background to prayer, “…it should be said that God’s will is immutable, and cannot be altered by our crying. When the mind of God is not toward a people to do them good, it cannot be turned to them by the most fervent and importunate prayers of those who have the greatest interest in Him—”Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth” (Jer. 15:1). The prayers of Moses to enter the promised land is a parallel case.

Our views respecting prayer need to be revised and brought into harmony with the teaching of Scripture on the subject. The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonoring and degrading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No; prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth Him best. This makes my will subject to His, instead of, as in the former case, seeking to bring His will into subjection to mine. No prayer is pleasing to God unless the spirit actuating it is, “not my will, but thine be done”.

“When God bestows blessings on a praying people, it is not for the sake of their prayers, as if He was inclined and turned by them; but it is for His own sake, and of His own sovereign will and pleasure. Should it be said, to what purpose then is prayer? it is answered, This is the way and means God has appointed, for the communication of the blessing of His goodness to His people. For though He has purposed, provided, and promised them, yet He will be sought unto, to give them, and it is a duty and privilege to ask. When they are blessed with a spirit of prayer, it forebodes well, and looks as if God intended to bestow the good things asked, which should be asked always with submission to the will of God, saying, Not my will but Thine be done

God creates “ca·lam·i·ty?”

ca·lam·i·ty

noun
noun: calamity; plural noun: calamities
an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster.

I know modern translations prefer to translate the Hebrew word “ra” as calamity…what do you say?

cropped-oldchurch2.jpg

Word Study Dictionary READS:

ra‛, ָרָעה

rā‛āh: An adjective meaning bad, evil. The basic meaning of this word displays ten or more various shades of the meaning of evil according to its contextual usage. It means bad in a moral and ethical sense and is used to describe, along with good, the entire spectrum of good and evil; hence, it depicts evil in an absolute, negative sense, as when it describes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9; Gen 3:5, Gen 3:22). It was necessary for a wise king to be able to discern the evil or the good in the actions of his people (Ecc 12:14); men and women are characterized as evil (1Sa 30:22; Est_7:6; Jer 2:33). The human heart is evil all day long (Gen 6:5) from childhood (Gen 8:21); yet the people of God are to purge evil from among them (Deu 17:7). The Lord is the final arbiter of whether something was good or evil; if something was evil in the eyes of the Lord, there is no further court of appeals (Deu 9:18; 1Ki 14:22). The day of the Lord’s judgment is called an evil day, a day of reckoning and condemnation (Amo 6:3). Jacob would have undergone grave evil (i.e., pain, misery, and ultimate disaster) if he had lost Benjamin (Gen 44:34). The word can refer to circumstances as evil, as when the Israelite foremen were placed in a grave situation (Exo 5:19; 2Ki 14:10).

The word takes on the aspect of something disagreeable, unwholesome, or harmful. Jacob evaluated his life as evil and destructive (Gen_47:9; Num_20:5); and the Israelites considered the wilderness as a threatening, terrifying place. The Canaanite women were evil in the eyes of Isaac (i.e., displeasing [Gen 28:8]). The rabble’s cry within Israel for meat was displeasing in the eyes of Moses (Num 11:10). This word describes the vicious animal that killed Joseph, so Jacob thought (Gen 37:33). The despondent countenances of persons can be described by this word; the baker’s and the butler’s faces were downcast because of their dreams (Gen 40:7). It can also describe one who is heavy in heart (Pro 25:20).

In a literal sense, the word depicts something that is of poor quality or even ugly in appearance. The weak, lean cows of Pharaoh’s dream were decrepit, ugly-looking (Gen 41:3, Gen 41:20, Gen 41:27); poisonous drinking water was described as bad (2Ki 2:19; 2Ki_4:41). From these observations, it is clear that the word can be used to attribute a negative aspect to nearly anything.

Used as a noun, the word indicates realities that are inherently evil, wicked, or bad; the psalmist feared no evil (Psa 23:4). The noun also depicts people of wickedness, that is, wicked people. Aaron characterized the people of Israel as inherently wicked in order to clear himself (Exo 32:22). Calamities, failures, and miseries are all connotations of this word when it is used as a noun. (end quote)

Scriptural Quotations to Consider:

hippo

Isaiah 45:7

KJV- I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

ESV- I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Lamentations 3:37-38

KJV- Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

ESV- Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?

A Quotation from Gordon H. Clark:

The Scofield Bible is a good example of how Arminians try to escape from the plain meaning of the verse. Scofield says, “ra, translated ‘sorrow,’ ‘wretchedness,’ ‘adversity,’ ‘afflictions,’ ‘calamities,’ but never translated SIN. God created evil only in the sense that he made sorrow, wretchedness, etc., to be the sure fruits of sin.”

SCOFIELDNow the most remarkable point about Scofield’s note is that he told the truth when he said, “RA . . . [is] never translated sin.” How could he have made such a statement, knowing it was true? The only answer is that he must have examined every instance of RA in the Hebrew text and then he must have determined that in no case did the King James translate it sin. And this is absolutely true. But if he compared every instance of RA with its translation in every case, he could not have failed to note that RA in Genesis 6:5 and in a number of other places is translated WICKEDNESS. In fact RA is translated wickedness some fifty times. Scofield could not have failed to notice this; so he says with just truth, RA is never translated sin. Since Scofield favors the word EVIL, a partial list of verses in which this translation occurs will be given; and second there will be a partial list where WICKED or WICKEDNESS is used.

Going through the Bible, Scofield must have read as far as Genesis 2:9, 17; 3:5, 22; 6:5; 8:21; 44:4; 48:16; 50:15, 17, 20. “The knowledge of good and EVIL” is simply a knowledge of sorrow or calamity; it is primarily a knowledge of disobedience and sin. Similarly, Genesis 3:5, 22 refers as much to sin as to its punishment. In fact Genesis 3:22 hardly refers to punishment at all. True, Adam was banished from the garden; but the word EVIL in the verse refers to his disobedience and sin.

Whatever lame excuse can be given for excluding sin and retaining only punishment in the previous four verses, Genesis 6:5 is clearly and indisputably a reference to sin. God did not see “adversity” or “afflictions”; he saw sinful thoughts. RA, in this verse at any rate, means sin. The same is true of Genesis 8:21. In fact sin and its punishment are separated here. God will not again curse or smite, as he had just done, for man’s heart is evil. The flood was a punishment, but the evil was the sinful heart of man.

Toward the end of Genesis RA refers to an alleged theft, many sins from which the Angel had redeemed Jacob, and three times the brothers’ sin against Joseph. In 50:17 again the sin is easily distinguishable from the feared punishment.

Is it necessary to plod through all the Old Testament to show that RA often means sin as distinct from its punishment? It should not be necessary; but to show the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the perverseness of Arminianism, something from II Chronicles will be listed: 22:4; 29:6; 36:5, 9, 12. Ahab did EVIL in the sight of the Lord. Our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord. Manasseh did evil in the sight of the Lord. He wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord. Jehoiakim did evil in the sight of the Lord. . . .

ra strongs

Evil, RA, is not once TRANSLATED sin. Very strange, but true.

Then there is Isaiah 56:2; 57:1; 59:7, 15; 65:12; 66:4. All instances of RA, or EVIL.

Now, if Scofield knew that RA was never translated SIN, he must have known that it was often translated WICKEDNESS. WICKEDNESS or WICKED, as the translation of RA occurs in Genesis 6:5; 13:13; 38:7; 39:9. Also in Deuteronomy 13:11 and 17:2. Also in I Samuel 30:22 and II Samuel 3:39. I Kings 2:44; Nehemiah 9:35; Esther 7:6, 9, 25. And Proverbs 21:12; 26:23, 26. Nor are these the only instances.

Scofield told the literal truth when he said it is never translated SIN. But nothing could be more false than his statement, “ God created evil ONLY in the sense that he made sorrow, wretchedness, etc., to be the sure fruits of sin.”

The scriptural meaning of the word RA, has now been abundantly made clear. But there is another point too. If RA means simply external calamities, then the word PEACE, which God also creates, can mean only military peace. The phrases are parallel. But this interpretation reduces the verse, or THIS PART OF THE VERSE, to triviality. Even verse one can hardly be restricted to purely political matters. Verse three speaks of treasures of darkness, hidden riches, and the knowledge of God. Jacob my servant and Israel my elect are not phrases to be restricted to politics and economics. Verse 6 speaks of the extension of the knowledge of God throughout the world. Then comes “I make peace and create evil.” Merely military peace? Not peace with God? The next verse speaks of righteousness dropping down from heaven, not like dew, but like pouring rain. Bring forth salvation, let righteousness spring up together. I the Lord have created it.

O, Arminian, Arminian, thou that distortest the prophets and misinterpretest them that are sent unto thee; how often have I told your children the plain truth . . . and ye would not let them understand!

There is still more in this chapter from Isaiah. Once again we find the potter and the clay. It indicates that God is not responsible to man. Woe to the man who complains that God has made him or anyone else a vessel of dishonor. The clay has no ‘rights’ against the potter. Nor does it have any free will to decide what sort of a bowl or jug it shall be.

Gordon H. Clark, Predestination, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1987, pp. 185-188

Regulative and Normative

fire-ice-fists_1

Samuel Waldron gives us the following in his Exposition of the 1689:

“Mr Anglican must use the materials of the Word of God, but has no blueprint and may use other materials. Mr. Puritan must use only materials of the Word of God and has a blueprint. It takes no special genius to discern which will be more pleasing to God.”

Mr. Anglican represents the Normative Principle of Worship (NPW) and Mr. Puritan represents the Regulative Principle (RPW), but is it accurate? Is there really a set blueprint or pattern that we must follow? Are believers allowed to worship God in ways that are not commanded in scripture? I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last year and have come to the conclusion both positions are honestly trying to “do things biblically,” but the big difference is how each view allows culture and tradition to influence them.

What’s the Difference

Some RPW proponents are against instruments being used and are Psalms only, others contend instruments are fine and songs used on Sunday do not have to be from the Psalter. Those who allow instruments tend to prefer pianos and other “traditional” instruments. Some NPW proponents believe smoke machines, TV screens and drum solos are God glorifying, others, are strongly against all of it. Some believe it’s important to have drama and lights, turning morning worship into a show and creating an emotional response in the people to bring glory to God.

Both the RPW and the NPW folks believe they are within the biblical bounds of God honouring worship.

No matter what position taken on this issue both are really based on preference and that preference is influenced by culture. Some NPW folks would allow the use electric guitars on Sunday morning. Some might not. Within the groups holding to RPW some would never be caught dead singing anything but the Psalter. What’s the difference between these two groups? I’m guessing it’s personal taste and culture.

The traditional position held before RPW and NPW were expressed during the Reformation accepts the traditions of the past, within the bounds of scriptural commands and prohibitions. Overtime local congregations allowed for some elements of culture to be used within their own worship services and liturgies, some gaining approval and others being discarded. The pre-Reformation view allowed for things such as a church calendar, prayer beads, kneeling when receiving communion, a Lord’s Table set apart, crossing oneself, raised pulpit, etc. to enter into the church and liturgy. Over time these traditions gain approval of God’s Ministers and His people and carrying on for future generations.

Learning from Christ’s Example:

Many RPW folks believe we should not use a church calendar to regulate our seasons of worship because it is not commended in holy scripture so I ask that you consider the example set by Jesus Christ Himself.

We read in John 10:

“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”

As many of my readers know the “Feast of the Dedication” is today called Hanukkah or the “Feast of Lights” and was not given by commend to the Jews but rather grew out of the intertestamental period – the Maccabean Revolt.

1 Maccabees 4:

“52 Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, 53 they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering which they had built. 54 At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. 55 All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. 56 So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and praise. 57 They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and furnished them with doors. 58 There was very great gladness among the people, and the reproach of the Gentiles was removed. 59 Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.”

According to The Pulpit Commentary, Hanukkah “occupied eight days, was distinguished by illumination of the city and temple and of other places throughout the land, and hence was called the ‘Feast of Lights.'” The prominent Dr. John Gill also recognizes the lack of a positive command when he commented on the verse from John, “there were no annual feasts appointed in commemoration…”

It would seem rather odd that Jesus would attend the Temple during Hanukkah if He had a problem with it. It would also seem odd that if Jesus had a problem with Hanukkah it went unmentioned, but instead we see Jesus in a different passage instructing us:

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Mat 23:2-3

I guess we have to use some common sense on this one, as a “good” Jew of His time Christ would have kept the Feast of Lights or been accused of not following the traditions of the Elders…after all, the very Son of God commanded that, “whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do…”

Confessions of Faith

As I pointed out above I don’t really see a big difference between the two Protestant positions if both are seeking to glorify God.

From the 39 Articles of Religion found in every Book of Common Prayer:

The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority- in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.”

The 1689 London Baptist Confession reads:

“God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added”

and the Westminster:

“The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”

Anglicans and Lutherans believe the church should decide how worship is to be conducted using scripture as well as traditions from church history. The Reformed wing of the Reformation uses a sliding scale of degrees when they introduce, “good and necessary consequences…” I’ve never really paid attention to, “good and necessary consequences” in relation to worship before but it seems one could use “good and necessary consequence” to conclude that (1) since Jesus kept a church calendar and (2) God has always regulated the year using feasts and fast, the practice should continue.

Some say, “Psalms only” others claim, “any song on a scriptural theme will do.” Both can be said in a confessionally Reformed church. Whatever one can feel justified in allowing during the Lord’s Day worship service seems to be acceptable. The biggest issue I now have is why have most Protestants ignored 2,000 years of continuous church tradition for a modern culture?

Again, it seems to me, that people reject tradition for the sake of rejecting tradition replacing it with modern cultural trappings in accordance with their own personal tastes. So why not use a Reformed liturgy? Another question to consider is, how do you remain RPW if Jesus kept Hanukkah and Hanukkah isn’t commanded by scripture? As I continue to learn and reform, I’m beginning to see nothing wrong with traditional forms of worship such as liturgy.

Just a few wild theological thoughts and ramblings from an insomniac.

Yours in the Lord,

jm