A Keller quote from Kemeny's brief devotion yesterday, (I asked him for the text)

“If the distance between the earth and sun, 92 million miles, was reduced to the thickness of one sheet of paper, then the distance between the earth and the nearest star would be a stack of paper nearly 70 feet high. The diameter of the galaxy would be a stack of paper 310 miles high. That’s how big the galaxy is. Yet the galaxy is nothing but a speck of dust in the whole universe. And the Bible says that Jesus Christ holds this universe together with the Word and with His power, with his pinky, as it were. And then ask this question: Is this the kind of person who you ask into your life to be your personal assistant? Think about the implications of this for your life."


Reason for God #18 on the NY Times

Tim Keller's book is number 18 on the New York Times Bestsellers list! (Score) I cannot wait till Easter till I get my hands on a copy. (Oh the sheer delight).

Here is an interview that Keller did with First Things. [HT - Between Two Worlds]

I journeyed to Barnes and Noble and Borders - Both places had it. I have read that a few coffee joints have them next to "The God Delusion" and Keller's book is being picked up more than Dawkins.

two quotes grabbed from elsewhere

Biblical texts such as Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21-22 depict a renewed,
perfect, future world in which we retain our cultural differences (”every
tongue, tribe, people, nation”). This means every human culture has (from God)
distinct goods and strengths for the enrichment of the human race. As Walls
indicates, while every culture has distortions and elements that will be
critiqued and revised by the Christian message, each culture will also have good
and unique elements to which Christianity connects and adapts. [Sets'n'Service]

“The death of Jesus was qualitatively different from any other death. The physical pain was nothing compared to the spiritual experiences of cosmic abandonment. Christianity alone among the world religions claims that God became uniquely and fully human in Jesus Christ and therefore knows firsthand despair, rejection, loneliness, poverty, bereavement, torture, and imprisonment. On the cross he went beyond even the worst human suffering and experienced cosmic rejection and pain that exceeds ours as infinitely as his knowledge and power excels ours. In his death, God suffers in love, identifying with the abandoned and godforsaken. Why did he do it? The Bible says that Jesus came on a rescue mission for creation. He had to pay for our sins so that someday he can end evil and suffering without ending us. … If we again ask the question: ‘Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?’ and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition. God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on himself. … So, if we embrace the Christian teaching that Jesus is God and that he went to the Cross, then we have deep consolation and strength to face the brutal realities of life on earth.” [Shepherd's Scrapbook]


I'm Engaged

A week and a few days ago Jennifer agreed to be my wife. It happened on Valentine's Day (what a sap) at Olive Garden in Pittsburgh. If you want more details than that I will tell ya. Yesterday, while visiting my best bud family in Cleveland, I was told that Jen is too good for me. So true, God is very gracious.


the gospel attacking social problems?

(Keller's new book was released today!!!)

The ideology of the left believes big government and social reform will solve social ills, while the right believes big business and economic growth will do it. The left expects a citizen to be held legally accountable for the use of his wealth, but totally autonomous in other areas, such as sexual morality. The right expects a citizen to be held legally accountable in areas of personal morality, but totally autonomous in the use of wealth. The North American 'idol' - radical individualism- lies beneath both ideologies. A Christian sees either "solution" as fundamentally humanistic and simplistic.

The causes of our worsening social problems are far more complex than either the secularists of the right or left understand. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with powers and principalities! We have seen with the greatest wealth in the country (and sadly within the evangelical church itself). At the same time, there is a general breakdown of order- of the famiily and the morals of the nation. There is more premarital sex (and thus there are mroe unwed mothers), more divorce, child neglect, and abuse, more crime. Neither a simple redistribution of wealth nor simple economic growth and prosperity can mend broken families; nor can they turn low skilled mothers into engineers or technicians

Only the ministry of the church of Jesus Christ, and the millions of mini churches (Christian Homes) throughout the country can attack the roots of social problems. Only the church can minister to the whole person. Only the gospel understands that sin has ruined us both individually and socially. We cannot be viewed individualistically (as the capitalists do) or collectively (as the communists do) but as related to God. Only Christians, armed with the word and Spirit, planning and working to spread the kingdom and righteousness of Christ, can transform a nation as well as a neighborhood as well as a broken heart.


Is it right to plant a church in an area where there are other healthy, reformed churches? I was asked this question earlier today, when a friend approached me, asking for my counsel and thoughts on the matter. I want to throw my thoughts out there and ask for criticism.

Assuming that the church planted was presbyterian in nature and the others in the area were as well, of differing denominations, I would have no problem with that. For the following reasons: It is proven that the best way to reach the lost is by planting churches, they are the most active in evangelism and building community. No church is perfect, the idea that one church got it right is wrong and sinful. People have different needs, and can every church reach and minister to every situation. No, of course not. We must remember, that while we are little popes with prideful hearts that want everything to be our way, Christ is King and pastors are only his stewards of flocks. Some flocks are in the same area, some are not. Elders must remember that other churches in the area have the same king, and not compete for turf.

In the end. If the goal is to "win souls" I vote yes. If the focus is to intrude on another persons ministry just because they have one. Thats wrong and sinful.


WTS Pictures

This here is the Westminster Bookstore. I should have taken pictures of the massive stockpile that they have, but I failed.

Here is Machen Hall- which houses the administrative offices. And where my friend Leah works.

The periodical section of the Library... very nice collection.


Why should there be a separation of church and state?

If there is confusion between the two spheres, the first being the church, the second being the state, then there will be confusion about the role of the church in the world. Our sinful hearts want to distort the church's mission in this world. God actively calls the church to save sinners and showing the world Christ Jesus in deed and word. However, the state is not defined in the enormous detail or length like the church is. God gives liberty for men to organize themselves in democracies, monarchies or confederations, just not theocracies. To think that the church's mission is to govern the land, is to think that it is our duty to spread the ideals of our country to the rest of the world. Sound familiar?

[thoughts provoked from The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State]


My day at Westminster, Philadelphia

Yesterday Jen and I made the trek from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to visit Westminster Theological Seminary, where our good friend Andy Stapleton goes, and his wife, Leah, works. I spent 5 hours basking in the teaching of Poythress, Trueman and Tipton. I sat in their classes, Hermeneutics, Medieval Church, and Doctrine of Salvation 2 (Applied), respectively. With a brief tour of the campus, pictures will be posted on Monday, along with visiting the growing Westminster Bookstore. (I got In Christ Alone by Ferguson, Christian Apologetics by Van Til, and Making the Lord's Prayer Your Own, by Philip Ryken; Jen got How People Change). It was a good visit, since it was the first day of the semester I got a glance of the academic rigor of the seminary from the various syllabi and readings contained therein.

A good quote from Poythress,
"The Bible is a dangerous book. Look at the hardening of Pharoah's heart. Later Joshua calls the people to choose this day who they will serve. They chose the course of sin and idolatry. We choose everyday when he decide to pick up the Word, or leave it on the shelf. All of our study must be based on the Word and reliance of the Spirit."

More to come as I reflect on my time here.