Flashback Friday: Limiting The Reformation To October

I originally wrote this article on October 18, 2018. Regretfully. I didn’t take heed to myself. Maybe I’ll get better about it.

Reformation

From November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017 I blogged every Tuesday about the Protestant Reformation in anticipation of its 500th anniversary. Whether or not readers appreciated that series,  I believed they needed to understand the Reformation’s ties to Biblical discernment. The 16th Century Reformers indeed set the standard for discernment ministry, so they have much to teach 21st Century evangelicals. And several of my Tuesday posts made that connection.

When October 31, 2017 had come and gone, I succumbed to the temptation to put the Reformation on the back burner in favor of writing articles that might attract more readers. I know — utter pragmatism!  The very thing I rail against when writing about Rick Warren and the Church Growth Movement, huh? But oh, those climbing stats felt good!

I assured myself that I would continue writing about the Reformation throughout the ensuing year. Maybe not every week. Certainly not on a rigid schedule! But I’d have frequent articles about Zwingli, Knox, the Council of Dort and Bloody Mary. I’d show my readers how the Reformers bravely stood against persecution for the sake of God’s Word, and how they used God’s Word to discern truth from error.

Yeah, well. Here we are in the second half of October 2018, and I realize how little I’ve written about the Reformation in the past eleven months.  The confetti from the celebration had been swept up, brand new controversies rocked evangelical circles and no one really cared what a silly German monk nailed to a Wittenberg church door on October 31, 1517. I guess I got caught up in Beth Moore’s letter to her brothers, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Woke Movement.

I’m not alone.

As October 31, 2018 approaches, a handful of Reformed bloggers have started spitting out the obligatory posts about the Protestant Reformation. I’m hopping on the sparsely populated bandwagon, as I do every October, which is probably better than nothing. But it shames me that a calendar had to nudge me into writing about it.

The Protestant Reformation was monumental in restoring the Word of God to the Church. After the First Century Apostolic era, it was the greatest move of God in the history of Christianity! Besides serving as a model for discernment ministry, it brought God’s Word back to His people, liberating us from an apostate religious system.

This Reformation shouldn’t be politely dusted off each October, only to be packed away in November to make room for Thanksgiving decorations. It should be joyfully proclaimed throughout the year, encouraging us to praise God for His mercy in the 16th Century and to emulate their zeal for the Bible. Hopefully I’ll do better at writing about it all during the coming year.

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Did The Proverbs 31 Woman Violate Titus 2?

Bible believing Christians should all agree that a wife’s first and overriding responsibility must be to her home and family. Paul’s words to Titus make this point abundantly clear.

 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (NASB)

A Christian wife and mother must subject her personal desires and aspirations to the needs of her husband and children. And yes, ladies, that self-sacrifice includes homeschooling children. At least during child-rearing years (and when circumstances allow), a mother should set her career aside in favor of her children.

As we look at the business ventures of the Proverbs 31 woman, therefore, let’s keep in mind that neither I nor the writer of that section of Proverbs would advocate for a woman to seek a career at the expense of her family.

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You’ll Never Find Assurance Apart From Christ

This week I had several severe episodes of anger. Usually, such behavior causes me to doubt that I was ever genuinely saved.

In one sense, our sins should lead us to examine ourselves. If we show absolutely no evidence that Christ is transforming us into His image, perhaps we really need to question our salvation.

But Satan often uses our occasional lapses into sin as an effort to discourage us. Once we attach salvation to our performance, we deny the very heart of the Gospel. Salvation comes exclusively from the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross.

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Saturday Sampler: October 4 — October 10

Mark Loughridge’s post for Gentle Reformation on The Myth of Self-Esteem wonderfully demonstrates the serious damage that teachings on self-esteem have inflicted on people. For decades, I’ve tried to warn people against this popular idea; it’s encouraging to see more Christians waking up to its dangers.

What does it mean that we’re made in the image of God? I don’t really know. But I appreciate Allen Nelson IV for writing about the Implications of the Imago Dei for Things Above Us.

Once again, Leslie A writes a convicting post in Growing 4 Life. Who Me? I’d Never Hold a Grudge… confronts the growing tendency — even among Christians — to be easily offended. You may squirm a bit as you read Leslie’s words, but I strongly encourage you to read them anyway. This is an area we all need to ponder.

We’ve all heard and read wonderful teachings on how people abuse Matthew 7:1, as well as how to correctly understand that verse. But in Judge Not? Robin Self of A Worthy Walk looks at various reasons that people misuse that verse. Her insight isn’t to be missed.

For a splendid example of church history deepening our understanding of theology, read Scott Hubbard’s Desiring God article, Calvinism in One Point. It reminds us how — and why — the TULIP anachronism developed. Even better, it cultivates our assurance that God indeed saves His elect.

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Assigning People To The Wrong Box

Have you ever noticed how people with strong opinions tend to push those who disagree with them into opposite extremes?

While the Patriarchy Movement actually covers a large spectrum of approaches to the Biblical roles of men and women, an extreme wing of the movement sees any sort of variation from wives being full-time homemakers as feminists. And, in trying to reason with them, sometimes I feel pushed into a feminist box.

Adherents of the extreme Patriarchy Movement insist that feminism has invaded the church. This feminism, according to them, manifests itself in women going to college and working outside the home. Apparently, such behavior violates Titus 2:5, which tells older women to teach younger women to be “workers at home.”

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Saturday Sampler: September 27 — October 3

Discernment is surprisingly practical, as Elizabeth Prata of The End Time demonstrates in How to Vet an Author: Example – Linda Dillow. Following the steps Elizabeth lays out provides a helpful guideline for determining an author’s reliability.

I trust you’re aware that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Check out the Top 10 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastors During Pastor Appreciation Month that Michelle Lesley lists.

Continuing her reflections on 2020, Leslie A of Growing 4 Life writes How We Shouldn’t (and Should Be) Changed in 2020 (PART 2) as an encouragement to consider end time prophecy. She also encourages other responses and attitudes.

As his contribution to Gentle Reformation, Keith Evans gives us seven tips to employ when we catch ourselves Serving With Pride.

Writing in For The Church, Jim Elliff reminds us that False Teachers are like Spiders. Don’t pass this article over, assuming that you can figure out his analogy. You just might be surprised by the angle he takes.

Check out 10 Guidelines for Christian Voters, which Brian G. Najapfour lists on the Reformation 21 blog. I do wish he stood a bit more firmly on the abortion issue. I don’t think any Christian ought to vote for a candidate that supports the slaughter of unborn babies! Najapfour does discuss this matter, and he raises several other helpful considerations and suggestions to help us in the voting booth.

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A Brief Update

After some phone conversations with the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office, we suspect that I’ve been suffering from acid reflux due to a hernia in my diaphragm. I’ll get examined Wednesday.

The metallic taste of nearly everything I eat plus the queasiness in my stomach has, as you might expect, greatly diminished my appetite. In turn, the lack of nutrition has made me very tired. Thus, writing blog posts (particularly the type of posts I want to write at this point in time) isn’t too probable.

I may try writing a post over the course of a few days. I prefer writing all in one sitting, but perhaps I need to learn new ways.

My greatest fear is hernia surgery. Hospitalization is always scary for me due to my speech defect. Now with COVID I fear being without someone to advocate for me.

I’d appreciate your prayers. I have no idea what God is doing. I only know I miss blogging.

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The Love And Mercy Near The Cross

Oh, how I needed God’s love and mercy 49 years ago, when His Holy Spirit spoke through Scripture to unmask me as a wretched sinner! His love and mercy assured me that Jesus paid for my sin on the cross. As a young Christian, I clung to the cross.

Oh, how I need God’s love and mercy now, as the Holy Spirit speaks through Scripture to unmask me as a wretched sinner! His love and mercy continue to remind me that Jesus paid for my sin on the cross. The older I grow as a Christian, the more I understand my need to cling to the cross.

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Saturday Sampler: September 20 — September 26

Mike Ratliff explores Christlike Submission to Authority in light of this extremely bizarre election year. His post in Possessing the Treasure addresses our responsibility toward government when it begins demanding that we disobey God. It’s a sobering piece, but one we really need to read.

Responding to an unusual letter, Michelle Lesley writes The Mailbag: Lady looks like a dude? This article strikes a chord with me as, more than once. people have looked at my photo online and said I look like Gilbert Gotlieb in drag. Michelle will never know how much her answer encourages me!

Reprising an article by the late R.C. Sproul, the Ligonier blog answers the question: What If I Don’t Feel Forgiven? Many of us (myself included) need this reminder periodically.

Maybe we should think About Those Old White Men who influenced our lives, as Melissa at Your Mom Has a Blog suggests. Her thoughtful post offers gentle encouragement to reconsider popular attitudes toward old white men.

At The End Time, Elizabeth Prata writes You’ve heard that reading to your children is important, how much more so is the Bible? What a wonderful reminder of both the power of God’s Word and the tenderness of little hearts!

Leslie A makes a rare Friday appearance via Growing 4 Life by posting Do Not Judge? Drawing from Scripture, she looks at proper Christian judging — first the attitude we need to adopt and then the correct direction for making judgments. Her approach to the matter, while different than anything I’ve ever read, offers a Biblical perspective that we should think about.

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