Years ago, I read the study by a medieval scholar of the great religious war of the ages, between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. The writer scornfully concluded that the two alien realms were merging instead of warring. The church was becoming more like the world than vice versa.
When we say that a point is the crux of the matter, what we are really saying is that just as the cross is central to Christianity, so a particular point is central to the issue under discussion.
As a truly Reformed sort of fellow who follows the regulative principle of worship, I believe that if God does not COMMAND something in worship, then it is FORBIDDEN in worship.
Introduction: Cornelius Van Til's first main interpreter to a wider audience was Rousas John Rushdoony. His By What Standard? (available from Chalcedon) remains a most readable and incisive introduction to Van Til's thought.
In first thought, many Christians would conclude that a lawyer and the media would spell double trouble for Christianity. Herb Titus, a Harvard graduate, has a different idea.
What was the original purpose of the school in America? Was it to send everyone, no matter what profession he aspired to, to a university? Was it to make children humanistic puppets of the state before they reached the age of 10? Or was the reason for something much more holy and Christian in origin? That is where it started!
Shakespeare's Hamlet, in his famous soliloquy, says at one point, "Conscience does make cowards of us all." In this sentence, Shakespeare summed up an ancient awareness of the corrosive effects of a bad conscience. Guilty men pay a price: they lose the power to be free. Being enslaved to sin, they become outwardly slaves as well. As our Lord says, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [or, slave] of sin." However, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (Jn. 8:34, 36).
The Great Betrayal (Boston: Little, Brown, 1998) is a work of major importance by one of the finest minds on the current scene.
We've been speaking about the challenges facing those responsible for admitting people into the church. We noted that some sort of standard and procedure for church membership are necessary: without a standard you could find everyone claiming membership; without a procedure no one could claim membership. We know that membership is a Biblical concept because the Bible provides for being put out of the church: you can't put out what was never in.
We humans are easily inclined toward extremes. Think of the pendulum phenomenon: we see it stuck on one side. Then, using great force to dislodge it, we pass the via media and find ourselves stuck in the other corner.