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Reformation Day

       Today is Reformation Day, although you would never know it from all the Halloween talk.  The Google logo is transformed into a witch's brew and then goblins appear.  I looked vainly for some reference in the newspapers for an article on Reformation Day, but there was none.  It is all about horror, grotesqueness, and blood.  A salesman came today and asked if we were all set for Halloween.  We said no, we celebrate Reformation Day.  A blank stare and some awkward silence.
      The good news is that like Good Friday, Ascension Day and Pentecost the world has not tried to takeover these days.  So go to church tonight and celebrate that faith is a gift from God.

Movie Review: Lion in the Winter

      "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."  Daniel Patrick Moynihan
     My wife and I recently watched both Lion in the Winters, one with Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine, one with Glenn Close as Eleanor.  I have also been reading to my wife Alison Weir's captivating, very well researched book, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  In both films there is a scene where Richard the Lion Heart is portrayed as a homosexual lover to King Philip Augustus of France.  Where did that come from?
     In 1948 John Harvey first theorized that Richard the I was bisexual.  Note there was no chronicler of the 12th century that accuses him of being bisexual.  The medieval chroniclers frequently accused Richard I of adultery and fornication, but never of homosexual acts.  The first time this theory was set forth is 1948.  Alison Weir says "this view of him tells us more about our own age than about the twelfth century." 
       One of Richard I's lead counselors, William Longchamps, Bishop of Ely, was an alleged homosexual, and when he was placed in charge of the hostages, the nobles said that for their sons' safety William Longchamps should not be in charge of the boys, only the girls.
     Richard I was no schoolboy.  He bedded many women, and raped others, but he was not a homosexual.  Unfortunately, the homosexuals have hijacked Richard the Lion Heart in the films Lion in the Winter.

Lord, help us to speak the truth in love.

All will be Resurrected

     Yesterday we had a good sermon at our church.  Many people think that the resurrection is for believers.  But in fact all of us will be raised on the final judgement day.  In the fifth chapter of the book of John we read:  "26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has given Him [Jesus Christ] authority to judge because He is the Son of Man. 28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice 29 and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."
   Thus, all are going to be raised at the last day.  All of us.  We can not say, "Hey Lord, I just want to stay dead."  No, all of us will be raised - some to live and some to be condemned. 
   So in which camp are you?  Are you in the rise to live camp?  or are you in the rise to be condemned camp?  Acts 4:12 states
"Salvation is found in no one else [Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

In the Footsteps of Jesus - a Chronicle of His Life and the Origins of Christianity

   National Geographic has published a beautiful book  In the Footsteps of Jesus - A Chronicle of HIs Life and the Origins of Christianity.  In the best traditions of National Geographic, the pictures are stunning.  The full page photos on high quality paper are superb.
     However, the book is very weak on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In all fairness, the book quotes Paul in I Corinthians 15:19 "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied."   However, in a 361 page book,  there are only three paragraphs on His resurrection and only one sentence on His ascension.
       The Book is divided into three parts, and Part II is "The Life of Jesus."  However, the section on the resurrection is found in Part III, the Legacy of Christians.  If I were writing, I would have included the resurrection and the ascension of Christ in the Life of Christ. not in the legacy section.  It is almost as if they are Christ's legacy, but not real facts.  The author then writes "The question of the resurrection is beyond the grasp of human science; it cannot be corroborated by historical or archaeological evidence.  Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is, quite simply, and act of faith."  Excuse me, but there are eye-witness accounts of the resurrection.  The resurrection is an established historical fact that can be corroborated.  The book frequently quotes from Josephus and Tacitus (as if they were the Gospel truth), but fails to emphasize that the resurrection is very well documented fact.  In fact, it is the most documented fact in the ancient world.  If the resurrection was not fact, why did Peter, who when accused by a servant girl denied Christ at His trial, is able to stand up to thousands of Jews and tell them that they crucified the Christ?  If the resurrection did not happen, how do you explain the spread of Christianity?
     Second, deliberately using BCE, Before Common Era, and CE, Common Era, is a slap in the face to Jesus Christ.  A sign of the times is that when you have a book whose primary subject is Jesus Christ, yet the author can not acknowledge that He made such an impact that all history dating revolves around Him.  How ironic that a book about Jesus Christ does not even date using the dating with Jesus Christ as a reference:  the Before Christ (BC) or the Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord.
      So if you buy this book, read it with the Bible in one hand, and this book in the other. 

Soli Deo gloria

There are five Solas of the Reformation, sola/soli/solus being alone or only.
These are
1.  Soli Deo Gloria. (Glory to God alone)
2.  Sola Fide (by faith alone)
3.  Sola Gratia (by grace alone)
4.  Sola Scriptura (only the Scriptures)
5.  Solus Christus (Christ alone)
Daniel Patrick Moynihan stated that "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." 
Last night my wife and I watched the movie J.S. Bach:  The Music, the Life, the Legend.  Unfortunately, the movie downplayed Johann Sebastian Bach's Christianity.  They did not mention that J. S. Bach wrote SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) on the vast majority of his works.  As a good Christian, he claimed all of life to the glory of God.  Thus, he did not just put Soli Deo Gloria on just his works composed for the church, but he also put it frequently on his works composed for other events. 
       Note that one website on JS Bach writes this "Bach was not very much of a religiously inspired composer anyway during the last two decades of his life."  http://www.let.rug.nl/Linguistics/diversen/bach/leipzig3.html.  Note this is in the same paragraph that talks about him composing the B Minor Mass.  Many websites and the film try to downplay JS Bach's Christianity, despite JS Bach writing SDG (Glory to God alone) on his works.

Pray for our Government

Benjamin Franklin famously exhorted his weary colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to pray, saying: “[T]the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men.”

So the challenge I have for  you is would you pray for our government, especially the Federal government.  And remember, that God is in charge of the world.

Communion, Spirituality, and the Physical World

This Sunday, God willing, we are going to be celebrating the Lord's Supper, or Communion.  During the Lord's Supper, we are given bread and grape juice to use as crutches for our faith.  Just like a wedding ring is a reminder of our marriage vows, so the bread and the wine/grape juice are reminders of God's presence.  But how can bread help us understand a God that is a spirit?  How can the wine/grape juice help us feel that the almighty, omnipresent, omniscient, holy, all powerful, all loving God is here with us?  C.S. Lewis writes:
"There is no good trying to more spiritual than God.  God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature.  That is why he uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us.  We may think this rather rude and unspiritual. God does not: he invented eating.  He likes matter.  He invented it."  (Mere Christianity)

So come to our church and celebrate with us the Lord's Supper.