Temptation to a false good

The Old Testament reading for the first Sunday of Lent was about Satan’s successful temptation of Adam & Eve.  The New Testament reading was about Satan’s unsuccessful temptation of Jesus Christ.  That’s a good reminder about how Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins; he also fulfilled the righteousness that we so painfully lack.

We had a great, great sermon about it.  Read it all–and I am going to make another post about it–but after the jump I excerpt a point that Pastor Douthwaite made about temptation, how we tend to be tempted not so much by overt evil but by evils that present themselves as being good. [Read more...]

How to see what is invisible

The final gem I want to share with you from last Sunday’s sermon at our church is this quote from the early church father Theodore of Mopsuestia: “We have eyes to see what is visible, and faith to see what is invisible.” [Read more...]

“They’re not the enemy”

Have you noticed how Jesus fulfilled the Sermon on the Mount–turning the other cheek, returning good for evil, exemplifying each of the Beatitudes?  We don’t, but He did, on our behalf.

Now note how Pastor Douthwaite treats “love your enemies,” moving from Law to Gospel, with a bit of the Gospel-motivated Third Use of the Law. [Read more...]

Be different

We had another great sermon on Sunday.  This one was about holiness, based on the section in the Sermon on the Mount about “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:38-48) and Moses’ call to holiness (Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18).  I got so much out of the sermon that I’m going to devote three posts to it.  Today:  Law.  Tomorrow:  Gospel.  Next day, a really thought-provoking quotation.

In the most basic sense, Pastor Douthwaite explained, “holiness” means “set apart.”  So being holy means, on one level, simply being different. [Read more...]

Create in me a clean heart

Last Sunday, Pastor Douthwaite riffed on the hearts of Valentine’s Day and on the sins of the “heart” that the readings from Deuteronomy 30 and Matthew 5 were exposing.  Then he explored David’s prayer in Psalm 51 that God “create” in him a clean heart, tying in to the way God creates:  ex nihilo  (out of nothing) [Read more...]

“They know not what they do”

We just celebrated the last Sunday of the Church Year–some call it the Sunday of the Fulfillment or Christ the King Sunday.  And the Gospel reading for this triumphant, climactic day is about. . . Christ on the Cross (Luke 23:27-43).  Our pastor preached on some words of His that I’ve never heard treated like this:  “They know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

The sermon made me realize that the epistemological problem–what do we know and how do we know it?–is not just a theoretical question for academic philosophers. In the course of our everyday lives, we have to function with major gaps in our knowledge. [Read more...]


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