I’ve made a good start on my Christmas shopping. I enjoy giving presents almost as much as I enjoy getting them. However, I don’t always enjoy shopping for them, so I’m glad to be at least halfway done.
For many years the worship services of Tenth Presbyterian Church have been broadcast over Family Radio, a national network of Christian radio stations. The services—which are produced by The Bible Study Hour—feature the teaching of Dr. James Montgomery Boice, as well as prayers, hymns, and Scripture readings from Tenth Church.
What does God know, and when does he know it? That was the question addressed at the 53rd annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (or ETS), which I attended last week in Colorado Springs. The Society is made up of Bible scholars and theologians from across America. Most of the members teach in evangelical colleges and seminaries, or in other academic institutions, although many pastors also attend.
The theme of this year's Reformation Hymn Festival is sola Scriptura—"Scripture alone." Sola Scriptura was one of the great principles of the Protestant Reformers, who wanted all Christian doctrine and the whole Christian life to rest on the solid foundation of God's Word. Over against the Roman Catholic Church, which based its theology on both Scripture and tradition, the Reformers put their trust in Scripture alone.
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, President Bush and other leaders have taken great pains to assure us that Islam is a peace-loving religion. We are constantly being told that America is a place where Christians, Jews, and Muslims can walk hand in hand. Undoubtedly this is good politics. It helps to reassure the leaders of Muslim nations that we are not at war with them, or their religion, but only with an evil and violent network of terrorists.
For fans of the great Christian writer C. S. Lewis, this ought to be a time of celebration. It was just over fifty years ago that Lewis published The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first of seven children’s books called the Chronicles of Narnia.
The Supreme Court of the United States passes judgment on many controversial issues surrounding the relationship between church and state. That was true again this summer as the Court rendered its verdict in Good News Club v. Milford Central School, a case concerning the use of public school property for religious instruction during after-school hours.
“Life will never be the same again.” That is what many Americans have been saying in the aftermath of last week’s “Attack on America,” the suicide hijackings that brought down four airplanes, two of the world’s tallest buildings, and a large section of the Pentagon. The terrorist attack was the deadliest ever to take place on American soil, with more than six thousand Americans and others perishing.
I wanted to say something this morning that would capture our deep sense of national sadness. I wonder whether that is possible. What words would be adequate to express our grief for those who are dead and missing, our anguish at the way their lives were taken, our shock over our sudden vulnerability, or our fury at the harm that evil men will bring? At the same time how can we possibly convey our admiration for the heroism of ordinary citizens or our renewed passion for our freedoms as Americans?
For its first 150 years Tenth belonged to the United Presbyterian Church, now known as the Presbyterian Church (USA). Although we have since joined the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), it is only natural for us to have an ongoing interest in what happens in our former denomination. From the standpoint of church government, members of the PCUSA are like our estranged cousins. However, many of them are also our brothers and sisters through faith in Christ, and with them our family connection is even stronger.