Flotsam & Jetsam (6/30)

A Word, a Song, and an Observation – … from Eddie Eddings of Calvinistic Cartoons.

Book Review: The Treasure Principle – Reviewing Randy Alcorn’s book, Gregg writes, “This book was challenging and inspirational. It caused me to rethink how I view
the privilege of giving. This book forces the reader to think through each
principle personally.”

Testing of Our Faith – Excellent.

Everything’s Broken – From Michael: “The entire world is caught up in a web of pain and suffering, and we cannot change everything for everyone – but what if we tried for just a few? What if you tried for just one? What a difference it would make.”

Books About Exotic Places – Fellow Kindle-users/lovers of adventure books, take a look.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct – Did we really blow the Rob Bell situation? Phil Johnson doesn’t think so: “It’s hard to get evangelicals exercised about any point of doctrine nowadays. To scold them for supposedly overreacting at the rankness of Bell’s damnable heresy strikes me as counterproductive – dangerously so.”

The Gospel and Our Relationship with Christ (Pt. 1) – “One of the great benefits of the gospel is reconciliation between God and sinners and it’s out of this reconciliation that relationship flows. However, it’s a false gospel that substitutes our relationship with God for the gospel truths of Christ crucified and justification by grace through faith.”

Internet Service – Just in case you haven’t seen this yet…

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” ~ William Shedd

Flotsam & Jetsam (6/28)

Change of Address – For those interested, The Film Dissectors have moved to a new website. And I must say, it’s lookin’ pretty sweet. Hop on over and take a good look around! You can click here for my review of The Two Towers (2002), here for Santiago’s review of Transformers (2007), and here for Eric’s review of The Green Lantern (2011).

Quotes by Leonard Ravenhill – A very neat compilation from Michael over at Made Free.

Why Chivalry Matters – Worth reading. When you’re done with that, click here to read Joel Garner’s take on the subject.

Movie Review: Cars 2 – Ethan Hansen critiques Pixar’s latest film. The verdict: “It seemed to forget and take for granted the nice, even, moral-driven plot and pace of the original film, and the result just feels forced. Funny, cute, and overall mildly entertaining, but forced.”

The Philosophy of Atlas Shrugged – From Santiago: “Objectivism, in a sense, is an attempt to justify a self-indulgent idolization of man by man. Man as the highest purpose of man, as the its only goal, as its only means of getting things done. The world, this worldview argues, works because man makes it work.”

Reel Quick – Click here to read my review of the thriller Edge of Darkness (2009), starring Mel Gibson. My review Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974) can be found here.

Warning: Do Not Read This Blog – We’ll wrap things up with a hilarious post by Mark Altrogge. Read it. You need to laugh.

“Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing
in your garage makes you a car.” – G.K. Chesterton

Superficial, Effeminate Worship

From Douglas Bond’s Stand Fast In the Way of Truth (pg. 301):

Men are less interested in attending church regularly and even less inclined to commit themselves to ministry responsibilities and leadership in the church in part because there is a significant shift in how Christians worship. Relational songs and emotive choruses have replaced the strong, manly hymns that were sung by men and boys and their families in worship for millenniums. Instead of stout hymns about battles, and triumphant psalms about conquering enemies, and doctrinal poetry calling men to base their lives and deeds on solid biblical foundations, the contemporary church sings superficial songs that make real men feel like they have to act like women in order to be Christians. Young men who grow up under pressure to sing breathy, feminine songs in worship will never be spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally capable of godly leadership in their homes, in Christ’s church, or in the world.

This is pretty much at the heart of my frustration with the majority of contemporary Christian music: it’s either mind-numbingly shallow or so effeminate it makes me want to gag. Sometimes, it’s both. Combined, it’s drivel.

There are exceptions, of course. Indelible GraceDownhere, Newsboys, Sovereign Grace Music, Sanctus Real, to name a few. They write great music and even better lyrics. Unfortunately (and as I said before), these guys are exceptions. They are not the norm. And frankly, much of what passes for “Christian” music these days is astoundingly pathetic.

Gone are the theologically meaty hymns which our forefathers sang. People have moved onto lighter fare. Forget blood, battle, and triumph; bring on the mushy-gushy.

Are we worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? The “the great, the mighty, and the awesome God” (Neh. 9:32), the One who “must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25)? Or are we worshipping a soft, slick Jesus who acts more like a boyfriend than the God of All the Earth?

Consider this stanza from Hillsong United’s “Just Let Me Say”:

So let me say how much I love You
With all my heart I long for You
For I am caught in this passion of knowing
This endless love I’ve found in You.

Now compare it to this excerpt from Isaac Watt’s “Psalm 21”:

Thus, Lord, thy wondrous power declare,
And thus exalt thy fame;
Whilst we glad songs of praise prepare
For thine almighty name.

Not to be harsh, but doesn’t that make Hillsong’s attempt at “praise music” look lame?

In Future Men, Douglas Wilson writes,

The fact that the church has largely abandoned the singing of psalms means that the church has abandoned a songbook that is thoroughly masculine in its lyrics. The writer of most of the psalms was a warrior, and he knew how to fight the Lord’s enemies in song. With regard to the music of our psalms and hymns, we must return to a world of vigorous singing, vibrant anthems, more songs where the tenor carries the melody, open fifths, and glory. Our problem is not that such songs do not exist; our problem is that we have forgotten them. And in forgetting them, we are forgetting our boys. Men need to model such singing for their sons.

Of all the hymns I’ve sung, one of my favorites is “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” by Reginald Heber. Here’s a sample:

The Son of God goes forth to war
A kingly crown to gain.
His blood-red banner streams afar;
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink His cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below –
He follows in His train.

A noble army, men and boys,
The matron and the maid,
Around the Savior’s throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heav’n
Thro’ peril, toil, and pain.
O God, to us may grace be giv’n
To follow in their train!

Why do I love it? You guessed it: because it’s so manly. Because of it’s earthy, vivid picture of what it means to be one of Christ’s followers: blood, sweat, tears, and ultimately, by God’s grace, triumph and everlasting joy.

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged
sword in their hand.” (Psalm 149:6)

The Mercy of God

“I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever!” Psalm 52:8

“Meditate a little on the mercy of God.

“It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of His mercy – as in the matter of it.

“It is great mercy. There is nothing little in God; His mercy is like Himself – infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great – that it forgives great sins of great sinners, after great lengths of time; and then gives great favors and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great Heaven of the great God!

“It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner’s part, to the saving mercy of the Most High God. Had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire – he would have justly merited the doom; and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself.

“It is rich mercy. Some things are large – but have little efficacy in them – but this mercy is:
a cordial to your drooping spirits;
a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds;
a heavenly bandage to your broken bones;
a royal chariot for your weary feet;
a bosom of love for your trembling heart!

“It is manifold mercy. As Bunyan says, ‘All the flowers in God’s garden are double.’ There is no single mercy. You may think you have but one mercy – but you shall find it to be a whole cluster of mercies.

“It is abounding mercy. Millions have received it – yet far from its being exhausted, it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever!

“It is unfailing mercy. It will never leave you. If saved by sovereign mercy – mercy will be…
with you in temptation – to keep you from yielding;
with you in trouble – to prevent you from sinking;
with you in living – to be the light and life of your countenance; and
with you in dying – to be the joy of your soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast!

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever!” Psalm 89:1

~ C.H. Spurgeon