On Worship

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Worship Regulation

Church worship time is to be guided and directed by the regulative principle.

I could end it right there as I think that should explain my position enough but let’s unpack that.

The regulative principle deals with church government and worship. In it, we find the direction to worship using those components commanded by God. We are not to go outside of His commands found in Scripture for worship.

This worship includes each item done together which includes singing, Scripture reading, prayer, sacraments (Baptism & Communion), responsive readings, etc. Notice I did not limit this to singing only.

What Does This Mean for Lord’s Day Worship?

There is a time and place for everything.

Church worship time is first and foremost for believers and for their edification. This is not to say that non-believers are not welcome but it does mean that the entire meeting time should be fixated on God and His worship. The focus is upon God and not man. Believers are strengthened by this time spent together as we reflect on God and His importance in and for our lives.

With these things in mind, singing should be God-glorifying (not man glorifying). The music should be theologically sound. A great place to be safe in singing in worship is to sing the Psalms. This is not to say hymns or other created songs are wrong to sing in corporate worship but they must be theologically sound.

The principle also has implications for the sacraments. We should be turning to the Scriptures in how we approach and practice both Baptism and Communion (Eucharist).

Liturgy is therefore another element impacted. The very way we order our worship time should point to God.

Church worship is a corporate worship and what is included within it should reflect this corporate nature. This is why I would put special music or performance out of the regular Sabbath worship. These things should be for concerts/events held at a separate time.

Concluding Comments

As usual, I do not intend this to be a deep and comprehensive address but this should suffice to show you where I stand.

To clarify a few items as this article closes . . .

I do not spurn contemporary style music in worship time. I do, however, require it to be theologically sound. There’s no place for a song that sounds like it could be singing about a lover or God at the same time. Such music is shallow at best and ultimately fails to be edifying. We are called to be bold in Christ in the truth we proclaim, not lukewarm (Rev. 3:16) and this should apply toward our singing too.

Our Sabbath worship time should always be distinctly God-focused and God-honoring. It is not about generating personal “feel-good” experiences through mood manipulation and the like.

Church assemblies would be better served today if they consistently everywhere entrenched themselves in the Scriptures and promoted the preaching of His awesomeness in every element.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

For more posts along these topics, use the above navigation to go to Simple Me . . . or click here.

Quote #51 – Pornography

The following deals with fighting back against pornography.

You will need to employ radical measures in at least three areas. You look at porn when you have the desire to see it, when you have the time to look at it, and when it is available to you. Nobody looks at pornography without all three of these elements coming together. In your fight to be free from pornography, you must learn to take radical steps to eliminate each one.

from Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Heath Lambert

On Free Will

This is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Redundancy & Absolute

I will start this topic off by saying that I think, and have long thought, that the term “free will” to be rather redundant. To have a will by nature means to have an ability to make choices. Adding “free” to the beginning of this does not make one suddenly more able to make choices.

However, I have found one group that proposed such an idea that one could have absolute freedom and they taught that free will meant that man had the ability to choose absolutely free from all constraints. This flies in the face of not only natural experience but Scripture.

Why do I say this? Simple. Natural experience tells us that our choices are always constrained by our circumstances. Our circumstances present us our options. Certainly, we could always choose to act according to some other option and thereby refuse to deal with our given situation but that too is bound by the reality we find ourselves in. I may wish to choose to fly out of this reality, but as a mortal man, I have no such empowerment to do so and is therefore not a viable choice. I thereby spend my time not dealing with the situation at hand (effectively ignoring it) by whiling my time away dreaming of a reality that does not exist.

Also, we are bound by God’s will and that means bound according to His overarching plan as we have expressly been told in His Scripture. Therefore, our wills are always subject to or circumscribed by God’s will.

So, yes, we have a will. However, it is never absolutely free as there are always constraints beyond our control. We do the best we can with what we have. We are never outside God’s governing will and His will operates always according to His own character.

God’s Will & Fatalism

With what’s been already said, this likely raises some questions. I do not intend this article to be any sort of extensive treatise but let me try to briefly address some of those points in the following question.

How does fatalism relate?

For starters, God’s will is not the same as fatalism.

There is much mystery involved in the topic when it comes to how exactly our wills work in regards to God’s. Even so, it is clear that God’s plan and will rules over all. However, it is also clear that we as humans make and are responsible for our own choices. Another tidbit for thought is the fact that none of us are here by accident. We are each here according to His greater plan. We can infer from this that we have a part to play then as part of this plan.

As I mentioned earlier, our wills are circumscribed by God’s will. If you think of God’s will and plan as a big circle. Mankind is contained within the circle and can only exercise their wills within the bounds of that circle. This makes all the more sense when you consider everything about creation was ultimately created according to His purposes and plan. At the very least, this is how I picture the scenario of God’s will in my mind’s eye.

Now, back to fatalism. Fatalism tries to make this much more simplistic. It, to over-simplify the topic as there exists a variety of nuanced beliefs, simply makes everyone out to have their own script for their lives that they must follow and there’s no breaking out of it. Who wrote the script? This is where the different belief systems vary the greatest on the topic. Nevertheless, fate and fatalism are not concepts or beliefs that are part of Christianity. We are each part of God’s plan but we are not each on rails following a script.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

For more posts along these topics, use the above navigation to go to Simple Me . . . or click here.

Sharing a Message from Ligonier Ministres

Ligonier Ministries is the Christian ministry tied to the late Dr. R.C. Sproul. Today, I want to share with you a message sent to me via e-mail from them in light of these times.


Now is the time for fervent prayer, urgent action, and bold proclamation. 
You and I have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has swiftly brought the fragility and brevity of life into focus for the seven billion souls on our planet. Families, communities, and nations have had their world upended. We mourn with everyone who has experienced loss and we marvel at the courage of those in the medical community. May the Lord have mercy. Christians everywhere are praying.

Since we know the Lord answers prayer, and many of us have been praying for a global awakening to God’s holiness, do we not think that we might be witnessing an answer unfolding before us? Many of us have not seen such openness to matters of eternal consequence in our lifetime. The fields are white for harvest, and the Lord of the harvest is on the move (John 4:35).

There is much work for the church during and after this worldwide upheaval. So we must rebuild on the authoritative, unchanging, and sufficient Word of God. Let people everywhere call out to the only Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, because “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Therefore, in order to serve growing Christians around the world and to bring the relief of God’s Word to anxious souls in a time of need, we have made our ministry’s deep library of hundreds of teaching series free to stream. In addition, we have compiled a list of many other resources that Ligonier has made freely available to further support God’s people at such a time as this. Please help spread the word so that, together, we can serve many more people who desperately need to hear the truth in a troubling time. You are more than welcome to forward this email to others in your family, church, and community.

Be encouraged to know that hundreds of thousands of people are being newly exposed to the trusted teaching of Dr. R.C. Sproul and other gifted teachers through the global outreach many of you enable by your steadfast prayers and faithful financial support. Certainly, this is no time for us to pause ministry. The truth of Jesus Christ must move forward unhindered. It is God’s gospel, and it can never be quarantined.

In ways we are only beginning to understand, it seems that the Lord has prepared Ligonier for this challenging moment to bring needed reinforcements to God’s people. Dr. Sproul fixed our purpose as a ministry to awaken as many people as possible to the holiness of God by proclaiming, teaching, and defending His holiness in all its fullness. We have been doing that since 1971, and it is a kindness from the Lord that He is allowing us to do that now in these turbulent times.

Please continue to pray with us for global awakening. May the fears of the moment give way to a steadfast fear of the Lord. May you be strengthened by the Spirit’s work through His Word. And may Jesus Christ be praised in our witness to a watching world. 
 YOUR SERVANT IN CHRIST,  
 
Chris Larson
President & CEO   
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On Alcohol

This is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Personally

I have no qualms with it so long as you follow Scriptures warning to not be mastered by it (1 Cor. 6:12). If you are concerned that you cannot control yourself than you need to stay away from it.

I almost always stay away as my stomach tends to get sensitive to acidic stuff and that includes alcohols–in other words, health reasons. With that said, that does not mean I would flat out refuse to drink a glass of wine with a meal ever. It comes down to a judgment call for me in which I actively consider the state of my health–same as I would with any other consumable.

Prohibition

This occurred within the 1800s and has been felt unto the present because of the impacts of changes in society, especially industrialization, and the western world’s use of alcohol.

The temperance movement was a natural reaction to the abuses of strong drink in society which was made all the more plentiful by modern methods. Teetotalers were those who took things to the extent of teetotalism or complete abstinence. These were also the individuals who pushed things to the point of removing wine from the Eucharist.

To keep a long story short, I would side with the temperance individuals and not the teetotalers.

Eucharist

The Eucharist, Communion, or Lord’s Supper are all names for an ordinance brought about by Christ but also not brought about in a vacuum. What I mean is that the Lord’s Supper had a precursor and that precursor was the Passover.

Within the Passover there were the unleavened loaves/cakes and the red wine and these elements were carried forward into the Lord’s Supper at the Last Supper which occurred at Passover. Christ was bringing an old practice to an end and replacing it because He was the final sacrificial lamb (a lamb was also consumed at the Passover). The loaves became His body and the red wine still represented blood but specifically now Christ’s blood shed for us.

Today, many churches particularly in the US like to use grape juice. Not only is this not wine as it was in fact wine going all the way back into the Old Testament Passover practice, but it is often of a purplish color. Where’s the blood symbolism in that? Where is Christ’s blood shed for our sins on the cross in purple juice?

The ancient Hebrews, modern Jews, early Christians, and even Eastern Christian believers to this day that use wine in their practice continue to weaken wine the same way too. They add water to it. They often do this in prescribed amounts even. This greatly dilutes the alcoholic content to the point that those who are concerned over drunkenness involving Communion wine simply do not have an argument any more. This is especially true when you consider the very small dosage taken during the ordinance.

There is much more I could say involving the Eucharist on this topic as I have already written pages and pages on it in my own time and for seminary. Suffice it to say that I believe we should be administering the Lord’s Supper with the elements that we were originally given by Christ. Purple grape juice doesn’t cut it; it must be red. The Scriptures clearly indicate wine in the Passover and the Eucharist, therefore we should use wine even if that means it is diluted with water which was the practice even in Jesus Christ’s time.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

Updated: 7.7.2020

Tips in Fighting the Good Fight

The following tips were taken from a recent message delivered by one of my elders. I modified the language a little for the purposes of this post.

In it, he pointed out that in order to keep God centered in our lives we have to consistently resist the temptation of loving other things more than we love God.

So let’s look at some practical ways to do this.

  1. Eliminate things and habits that constantly pull you away from seeing the Lord as your ultimate treasure. This is best done while replacing them with things that reinforce a focus on God. (like the next item)
  2. Set time for regular, daily prayer.
  3. Practice regular Worship keeping. Having dedicated worship time with the faithful is very edifying. It is good to have time for spiritual rest and reflection.
  4. Confess your idols to God and ask Him to reshape your loves toward Him.

If you’d like to hear more of this message and get it in its original context, check out that full recorded message at faithbaptistorlando.com.

On My Name

This is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


I go by One_Monk on here and I have called it a sort of “pen name” but that is about as far as I have gone in explaining it.

You may be thinking right now, “really? You’re going to write an entire article on this?”

That is exactly what I am going to do!

I could have as easily called this article “On Ascetics” as it is for ascetic reasons I picked the name that I did, but not nearly as many people are familiar with that topic. So, I’m going to fixate on my chosen online pen name and knock on my angle on ascetics as well as describe my name in one go!

Let’s start the explanation.

One_Monk

“One” should be fairly straight-forward here as it is simply counting the individual that is me. I am singular. The name is not shared. I am one lone monk.

Monk. These days in the US all sorts of images come to mind. From my experiences, I first came into contact with Roman Catholic monks and therefore these are the first images I think of but they are not the only as I have had many students in my past who would admit that they first thought of Buddhist monks.

However, I would not want to emulate either one. So, why would I chose “monk” as part of my name?

In Christian monasticism, it has not always been the same. The earliest monks or ascetics (as they were also called) would separate themselves from the world in order to dedicate themselves fully to the study of God’s Word and to prayer and to meditation. They often did this alone in the wilderness but in time communities came to be formed and it also became a practice in the early Christian church that Church leaders would come out of these ascetics. In other words, they didn’t stay in isolation forever – unlike many of the later and even modern ones.

I have found the most redeeming value in the practices of these earliest monks/ascetics over any of the others. Even so, that does not mean I am standing here today agreeing with everything any of them ever said or did that we have recorded.

One_Monk was created with these early monks in mind and the ideal I aim to embody is to be separate from the ways of the world but to fully recognize that I am but one individual. I am to be separate from the world but not isolated from it. I am but one individual of an entire humanity. If I lock myself away, how can I be salt and light unto the rest?

I do not think we should be afraid of terms like “monk” or “ascetic” but should reclaim them. In fact, we are all trying to aim for a particular asceticism in our lives as Christians as we aim to simplify our lives from the things that distract us from Him. This means making a conscious effort to abstain from various things of this world and activities.

Now, let’s get a few other things clear.

Many of the ascetics did take their lives to a point of extreme denial as you would typically find in other ascetic life-styles in other religions. This includes abstaining from sex. I can certainly agree with them in doing so (to a point) but the Christian ascetics often took it to their graves – Not something I agree with!

They would take personal vows of chastity to set themselves aside for service to Christ. This was an individual choice and not all of them did this (most did though). In addition, I can remember some that took such a vow for a time but later after coming out of their isolation, renounced it upon marrying. In other words, not all of these early ascetics followed the same pattern.

I may not be married as of this writing but I would like to think that one of these days I will be and start my own family. I certainly do not take things to the extent that some of the earliest Christian ascetics did.

Several ascetics I have read about also took on extreme diets. Also, not something I do as I am currently eating pizza as I write this. Even so, I am conscious about my diet and between my own health concerns and what I have found is best for my overall health, I do abstain from sodas, many other sweets, pastas, citrus, and a few other things. (Note: Please do not take this as any sort of directive from me as to what you should stay away from. For example, I stay away from citrus because of inflammatory responses my body gives me when I consume any citrus)

I do very much think we should live simplified life styles – especially as Christians. Getting swept up in the drivings to accumulate material items and wealth ultimately puts more stresses on you as such things tend to demand more of you.

Of course, I do have a real name. If you do a little bit of digging you are going to find it. I go by the name of Eli but on here and in my role with this only ministry, I go by my pen name One_Monk.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.