The truth in no uncertain terms. Thank you, Meg!
This deserves a careful reading. Thank you, Sherry!
Now, I see here today more people that I am accustomed to having at the sermon. Why is that? It is Christmas day. And who told you this? You poor beasts. That is a fitting euphemism for all of you who have come here today to honor Noel. Did you think you would be honoring God? Consider what sort of obedience to God your coming displays. In your mind, you are celebrating a holiday for God, or turning today into one but so much for that. In truth, as you have often been admonished, it is good to set aside one day out of the year in which we are reminded of all the good that has occurred because of Christ’s birth in the world, and in which we hear the story of his birth retold, which will be done Sunday. But if you think that Jesus Christ was born…
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1 Corinthians 14:40
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
I hope you enjoy learning a little more about the city in which the French refugee, John Calvin, lived and taught.
About Dr. Reeves, from his YouTube channel:
I am Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Dean of the Jacksonville campus. My PhD was in Historical Theology from Cambridge University, and my goals here are to provide free, quality explorations of the life of the church and the history of doctrine. I don’t take myself too seriously, though I always try to take each subject seriously. I also do not expect everyone to agree with me on everything. That is the fun of history: a lot to argue over! People may also be interested in my blog, where I at times write things (instead of make videos):
16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Grecian.
17 For by it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
I’m using the first name only and in French of this 16th century pastor, teacher, and reformer because he has been so misrepresented that it’s almost impossible for some people to give him a hearing, and for others not to idolize him. There has to be a middle road.
Jean was a studious man who didn’t really want any position of authority until he was convinced that it was the Lord Who had prepared him for this. He listened to the counsel of his friends and mentors about this.
He took part in the infamous trial of a heretic that ended in the heretic’s execution. He is pretty much blamed for all of it, a reproach that has become associated with his name.
He lived in exile from Catholic France for many years. His only son died in infancy, and his beloved wife also died. He made provisions to be buried in an unmarked grave.
“[Jean] chose Romans as the object of his first commentary because he believed it opened ‘the understanding of the whole of Scripture.’ He underscored a point that he felt ‘can never be sufficiently appreciated’ –namely, ‘when anyone gains a knowledge of this Epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture.’
[Jean]: Pilgrim and Pastor, W. Robert Godfrey, Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois, 2009, p. 51.
As a Catholic child I loved the large ornate crèche that our parish church always placed in front of Mary’s altar at the beginning of Advent. Around and above it, fir trees stood. We had our own small nativity set at home – its figures were small enough to place by hand in a little stable.
If the Lord wanted us to worship using things like this, why did Jesus teach us,
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
A Nativity Scene isn’t a teaching tool or a seasonal decoration but a focus for our idolatry.
3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.
Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
Pulpit & Pen, News DIVISION
“. . . We must hold it as a first principle, that as often as any form is assigned to God, his glory is corrupted by an impious lie.” (Institutes, 1.11)
Pulpit & Pen:
“The Reformers weren’t having it. The early church fathers weren’t having it. We not only tolerate these images of Jesus, however, we put them on display.”
“By creating an image of Jesus (e.g., in a painting or a stained-glass window), a person is inserting his or her own ideas of what Jesus looked like. Because we do not know what he looked like, this image would not be a true image or representation of Christ. Rather, it would simply be an image of a man from the imagination of the artist that he or she has called ‘Jesus.’
“If these images, then, do not truly represent Christ, then they are put in the place of the true Christ. Evoking any sense of worship of that which is not Christ, but rather inserted in the place of Christ, is – by definition – idolatry. If an observer were to gaze upon that image with the intent to worship, by thoughts or emotions, then that observer would be worshipping a man-made image and not the true God-man, Jesus Christ. The same principle would also apply for images of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.”
Photo credit: Bronner’s