Saturday Sampler: September 6 — September 12

In his weekly contribution to The Cripplegate, Clint Archer writes Behold the Lamb: The Trinity Testifies as evidence that God exists in three Persons simultaneously. Those of you who wish to develop discernment skills will find this article indispensable in recognizing false teaching about the Trinity.

Deb Martin of Solid Food Resources addresses the question: How Do We Grow? by taking us back to some basic disciplines. No matter how spiritually mature we think we are, it never hurts to revisit the fundamentals.

As usual, Leslie A pulls no punches. In her Growing 4 Life article, Those Deceptive, Capacious Feelings, she exposes the frightening power that emotions have over us. We need to consider her words and then examine our lives accordingly.

In The End Time, Elizabeth Prata reminds us why we must expose false teachers. Error vs. truth: Jesus takes the difference seriously, so should we looks at a passage from Zechariah to show us the importance of standing against wrong doctrine.

I’m delighted that Peter Krol writes Context Matters: The Cattle on a Thousand Hills for Knowable Word. I recently read Psalm 50 in my personal devotions, and noticed that the popular application of the Lord owning the cattle on a thousand hills has absolutely nothing to do with the context of that verse. Please read Krol’s article for a lesson on how to properly handle God’s Word.

Bringing back a post she wrote two years ago, Michelle Lesley profiles 5 Church Ladies You Don’t Want to Be. Besides its entertainment value, this piece helps us take a little spiritual inventory regarding our relationship with our local church.

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Flashback Friday: A Woman With Birth Defects Looks At Abortion

Originally published January 25, 2018. My dear friend Ginny reminded me of this article after getting me up yesterday and witnessing the terrible pain I’ve been experiencing lately,

Bride&Mother
Me and Mom on my wedding day

When doctors discovered that I had serious birth defects, they advised my mother to put me in an institution and forget she ever had me. According to them, I’d be a vegetable my entire life.  (Thus John refers to me as his spicy little tomato.) Thankfully,  Mom rejected their counsel, put me through college and lived to see me get married a month before my 49th birthday.

My mother didn’t raise a turnip, thank you very much!

All joking aside, I understand that the doctors sincerely believed they made a humane recommendation. Certainly, because they doubted that I had cognitive function, they concluded that I couldn’t possibly tell the difference between a loving home and an institution. And, more importantly (from their perspective), my parents would be spared the anguish of having a severely disabled child.

Mom knew that doctors aren’t God. They have limited powers in predicting an infant’s future. So she brought me home and proceeded to make my childhood as normal and happy as possible. When one teacher told her I’d never go to high school, she informed him that she fully intended for me to attend college. When my occupational therapist insisted that she tell me I’d never marry, she countered, “I can’t tell her something that I don’t know myself.”

Those chilling words, “Put her in an institution and forget you ever had her,” horrified my mother. They horrify me. They horrify everyone who hears the story, as well they should! Doctors have no right to predict a baby’s future and advise a new mother to put the baby away. Had Mom followed their recommendation, both of us would have suffered for the rest of our lives.

I praise God for His sovereignty in giving me a mother who refused to give up her dreams for me. Cerebral Palsy definitely has its challenges, I admit, but the Lord has blessed me with a joyful life.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. ~~Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

Thinking about the doctors’ prediction 64 years ago makes me think about present-day doctors who, on the basis of prenatal tests, recommend abortion to women carrying children with potential birth defects. Typically, they reason that such children, in addition to imposing an enormous financial and emotional burden on the family, would needlessly suffer a low quality of life.

But how can anyone accurately predict the future of a baby who is still in the womb, even if genetic testing indicates birth defects? Perhaps a child will be nothing more than a vegetable, but even then, God might have a purpose for that life.  As a matter of fact, He used such a man to bring me to repentance of self-pity.

Usually,  however, children born with birth defects exceed expectations and live full, productive lives. Aborting them simply because of possible disabilities (especially when the extent of those disabilities couldn’t possibly be determined until well into childhood) seems both arrogant and cruel. Using potential disability as a rationale for aborting a child is horrifying to me.

Actually, the rationale for aborting any child is horrifying to me.

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Equally Preliminary Thoughts On Feminism

As demonstrated in my last blog post, I question some of the tenets of the Patriarchy Movement. Sadly, in this era of polarization, the assumption is that so much as questioning patriarchy means an embrace of feminism.

I think that’s a false dichotomy.

My husband will be the first to tell you that I’m far from being a feminist. True, I struggle to submit to him as well as I should. But even in confessing my struggles in submission, I agree with Scripture that my responsibility as a wife is to submit to John’s authority as my husband.

At our wedding, we chose Ephesians 5:22-33 as our Scripture reading:

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Preliminary Thoughts On Patriarchy

Our 10th annivesery, August 24, 2012

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I’m absolutely not a feminist. I reject egalitarian marriage as well as egalitarian church leadership. The Lord gave men positions of authority in family and church. No Christian should argue against that fact.

That said, I’ve recently begun reading about the Patriarchy Movement, and so far I don’t like what I see.

From what I understand, patriarchy stems from the conviction that feminism has hurt our culture. To a large extent, I would agree with that premise. It would be better if mothers stayed at home and homeschooled their children while their husbands worked outside the home.

But patriarchy doesn’t seem to allow for any variation to that model. Drawing from Titus 2:5, they insist that women not work outside the home. Some I’ve read have gone so far as to teach that girls should not go to college, but should instead concentrate on learning domestic arts in preparation for marriage.

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He Hadn’t Forgotten Me, So Why Would He Forget You?

John wore his new black suit, and I wore a wedding gown that a friend had generously given me. Both of us had waited decades for this day, often despairing that marriage would pass us by. In less than two weeks, John would turn 53, and my 49th birthday would follow a few weeks after that.

So yes, we endured years of attending weddings. We rejoiced with friends and relatives as they took their vows, always wondering when — if — our turn would ever come. We agonized in prayer, wanting to accept singleness if that was God’s will, even as we begged Him to send us someone “to have and to hold.”

I chose Great Is Thy Faithfulness as one of the songs for our wedding because the Lord so faithfully brought us together and made marriage possible for two people who had been severely physically disabled since childhood. As we sang that hymn, I reflected on God’s goodness in bringing us to that church.

God may not answer all your prayers the way you want Him to. Last I checked, I neither have a puppy nor an apartment in downtown Boston. God’s faithfulness to you may look a great deal different than His faithfulness to me and John. But in whatever way best suits His purposes for you. He doesn’t play favorites. Great is His faithfulness to you, just as it has been great to me.

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Saturday Sampler: August 30 — September 5

Hopefully, regular readers of The Outspoken TULIP understand that Scripture absolutely prohibits women from acting as pastors. Sometimes, however, it gets confusing, as Michelle Lesley shows us in The Mailbag: Female Pastors – False Teachers or Just Sinning? Michelle’s insights into this question can help us understand the danger of letting women into the pulpit.

In a post for Reformation 21, Amy Mantravadi writes Justification: The Roman Catholic View to draw the distinction between Catholic and Biblical understandings of justification. If you care about discernment, you need to familiarize yourselves with this very basic division that sets Catholicism outside the realm of Biblical doctrine.

I’m not sure many Christians seriously believed those of us who have been warning about persecution. But in Grace Community Church evicted (from parking lot): how long before harassment like that happens to your church? Elizabeth Prata of The End Time confronts us with the reality that American culture has lost its tolerance for religion.

Christian, the Government Isn’t Going to Save Us warns Leslie A of Growing 4 Life. She’s so right! You’ll want to read through to the end of her article, where she offers wonderful encouragement from Scripture.

Let’s have a second Elizabeth Prata essay, shall we? She answers a Reader Prophecy Question: What about seeing visions and praise in the last days? Since I’ve been a cessationist, I’ve struggled with this passage from Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 (my Charismatic friends just love throwing it at me), so I appreciate Elizabeth’s reasoned answer drawn from Scripture.

Sharon Sampson contributes Landing & Standing to Gentle Reformation as a reminder of why we must stay grounded in Scripture. Generally, I’m not a fan of devotional type articles, but this one is hard to resist.

R. Scott Clark of The Heidelblog quotes once from the Heidelberg Catechism and twice from the Westminster Larger Catechism to answer the question: What Is God’s Will For You In The Ninth Commandment? In the nastiness of social media, we’d all do well to seriously consider the words of these catechisms and to adjust our behavior accordingly,

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The Strange Effect Of Praying

As Mom drove across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to the train station, my sister and I expressed our dread of another year-long visit from Granny. It wasn’t so much that we’d have to share a bedroom again (actually, I kind of liked that part). And I looked forward to her lemon cake.

But Granny complained. A lot. About everything. My sister and I spent that car ride telling Mom how much her complaining bothered us.

Mom validated our feelings by responding, “Granny’s not happy unless she has something to complain about.”

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the sin of complaining. I wake up complaining that it’s time to wake up. Throughout the day, I notice myself grumbling internally about various matters ranging from my assorted aches and pains to my frustrations over COVID-19 restrictions. I understand that complaining exposes a lack of trust in the Lord, not to mention an ungrateful attitude.

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Throwback Thursday: Missing The Reason That I Long For Heaven

Originally published September 6, 2016:

temple

Many evangelicals assume that my eagerness for heaven stems from a desire to escape my disability. I understand their assumption. After all, Cerebral Palsy (especially such a severe case) imposes multiple restrictions on me, and those restrictions often carry a variety of subtexts. So of course one would conclude that the promise of a new body, free of the limitations currently thrust on me, holds a significant appeal for me.

In one sense, it does. But only when I view heaven in terms of how it will benefit me. And as I grow in understanding doctrine, I become increasingly convinced that most professing Christians hold an inverted view of heaven and its purposes.

Somewhere in my past, a friend posited the idea that heaven would be different for each of us, according to our interests, tastes and desires. Using her paradigm, heaven for me would be a giant art  museum filled with works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Monet, Sargent and Rockwell. With cheesecake for meals. Her heaven would be stables of magnificent horses for her to ride and sturdy oak trees for her to climb.

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A Pillow, My Bright Idea And An Astounding Lesson On The Effects Of Pride

There is a way which seems right to a man,

But its end is the way of death. ~~Proverbs 14:12 (NASB)

Quite appropriately, I’ve always understood the above quoted verse as a warning that pursuing human religions over the truth of God’s Word leads to eternal destruction. And I still believe that’s the intended point Solomon had in mind. If you go through life stubbornly rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, you will suffer eternal destruction.

But this past weekend I started seeing a secondary application for this verse as I realized why I’ve been so sick lately.

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Just So You Know

Been sick lately. I’d been alternating between Motrin and Tylenol every day since my back fractures in March, so all this is a rebound effect. I’m beginning to eat again after two days. Not taking pills, so now my back hurts.-My doctor’s nurse said to resume Tylenol and taper off gradually. So no blog post until at least Sunday.