Family Member Funeral Closing Prayer

God of the ages … God of the living and of those who are alive in Christ we thank you for your sovereignty in the giving of life and your sovereignty in the taking of life. We thank you that because of the finished work of Jesus Christ that those whose lives you take are taken to the end of resting from their work you set them apart for while in this life.

We thank you, Father, that the sting of death does not have the final word but that because of Christ’s resurrection we have the certainty that we will be gathered again with the saints who have gone before and who now live in your presence.

We thank you for the Gospel — the promises of God — wherein the penalty of our sin was borne by Christ thereby ensuring the promise of your acceptance of us for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Surety.

We thank you for the life and times of Karen. We thank you for how she fulfilled your purposes. We thank you for the gift she was to her parents upon her birth. We thank you for the blessing she was to Tommy and all of her family through the decades. We thank you that in your infinite wisdom you have gathered her to yourself and all the saints. We thank you for the promise that a time is coming when the circle shall be unbroken.

We ask now for your comfort for Tommy and for the whole family. Grant us grace to grieve, but not to grieve as those without hope. Be pleased to remind us all Father that our times are in your hands and that when those times have come to an end you call blessed those who die in the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

We ask that you would sustain those who are most wounded by Karen’s passing and that you would open before them the doors wherein they should walk in the future. Give them hope Father. Grant them your peace that passes all understanding. Given them wisdom for the days ahead.

We thank you for our undoubted catholic Christian faith which doubles our time of joy and braces us to continue on in times of sorrow.

In our majestic Lord Christ’s name, we pray,

Amen.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends … Is Your Mama A Llama

This post is from a friend of mine. It is a new politically correct rendition of “Is Your Mama a Llama.” This is a children’s book which I remember reading to my children when they were wee ones. What follows is from Mickey Henry,

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This morning, I overheard my wife reading “Is Your Mama a Llama?” to Christian, and it occurred to me how very offensive it would be to postmodern sensibilities if the author had used people rather than anthropomorphized animals as the topic. So I thought I’d write an abbreviated version appropriate for postmoderns:

“Is Your Mama a Llama?” for Postmoderns

“Is your mama a llama?” I asked my friend Dave.
“It’s really hard to say.” is the answer Dave gave.
“She was born to parents who identified as bats.
But she could easily choose to be a rat or a cat.”
“Oh,” I said. “You are right about it all.
I think that your mama sounds more like a…
species-fluid animal!”

“Is your mama a llama?” I asked my friend Fred.
“I’m not sure how to answer.” is what Freddy said.
“My mama’s become my daddy, at least in his head.
If you question his transition you’ll wish you were dead.”
“Oh,” I said. “You needn’t assail,
I think that your mama must actually be…
male!”

“Is your mama a llama?” I asked my friend Jane.
“Yes, no, and everything else.” Jane curtly explained.
“Kind-after-kind is a foolish old Biblical notion.
Adjust your thinking and your rigid devotion.”
“Oh,” I said. “I need worldview destruction,
because I mistook your mama for a…
social-construction!”

Was Judas Predestined to Betray Christ? … Answering a Pastor’s Objection

“Things Jesus never said:
 
Judas, I wanted to let you know that my Father has predestined you to betray me, so it’s really not your fault.”
 
Rev. Duncan Bryant
 
Bret responds,
 
 This statement was made tongue in cheek but I thought I would answer it as if someone really did believe that because Judas was predestined to betray Christ therefore he it was really not his fault.
 
Turning to the matter at hand we know from Scripture that the final days of the life of Jesus on earth were foreordained to include the betrayal of Judas, just as were the cross and resurrection (Mark 14:17-21; Acts 1:16 and Psalm 109:5-8).
 
17 And in the evening He came with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, one of you who eateth with Me shall betray Me.” 19 And they began to be sorrowful and to say unto Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?” 20 And He answered and said unto them, “It is one of the twelve that dippeth with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of Man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born.”
 
Jesus went as it was written and every detail that led Jesus to the Cross was planned as well. Judas’ role was understood as ordained as seen by Peter’s words in Acts 1,
16 “Men and brethren, it was necessary that this Scripture be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, who was the guide to those who took Jesus.
 
In Psalm 109 Luther found Messianic material touching on Judas’ role. The heading given for the contents of this inspired poem is in a modern Luther’s German Bible: “Prophecy Concerning Judas and the Unfaithfulness against Christ by the Jews, and Their Curse.” Luther in a collection entitled: “The Four Psalms of Comfort,” dedicated to Queen Mary of Hungary, in the beginning of his exposition of this Psalm wrote: “David composed this psalm about Christ, who speaks the entire psalm in the first person against Judas, his betrayer, and against Judaism as a whole, describing their ultimate fate. In Acts 1:20 Peter applied this Psalm to Judas when they were selecting Matthias to replace him.” So, even though Rev. Bryant as a Pastor doesn’t see God’s plan in Judas’ work, Rev. Martin Luther saw God’s plan in Judas’ work.
 
Clearly, if Luther is right that the Psalmist speaks of Judas as the betrayer then what else can we conclude that God determined for Judas to betray Jesus? Both Jesus and Peter, as well as the Psalmist, in the above passages, verify that Judas was specifically chosen for the job of betrayal. Following Scripture then we rightly insist that Judas was predestined, called, elected, and/or chosen to betray Jesus.
 
And of course, we can’t forget Peter’s sermon,
 
Acts 2:23 He (Jesus) was handed over by God’s set plan and foreknowledge, and you, by the hands of the lawless, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.
 
Now it beggars the imagination that God planned the actual crucifixion of Christ without planning every particular moment to that end including Judas’ betrayal. If I plan an omelet I also must plan to break eggs. If God planned to hand over His Son then God planned the means by which the Son was to be handed over. So, Judas had no free will. However, this does not mean Judas had no choice in the matter.
 
The Westminster Confession teaches regarding causation,
 
ii. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
 
A “second cause” is simply “a cause caused by something else.” This expression is used in theology to distinguish between God as the ultimate cause of everything that comes to pass and the myriad smaller causes we see at work in the world. If I drop a cup of water gravity is the secondary cause that causes it to fall, but God is the one who causes gravity. He is the primary cause.
 
Judas was a secondary cause of Christ’s crucifixion. As a secondary cause, Judas did what he desired to do because of his fallen human nature. But behind Judas’ free choice was the God who ordains all things to come to pass. We certainly don’t believe that when Judas betrayed Christ, the Father said to Himself, “WOW, I did not see that coming,?” or, “Well, that wasn’t in the plan but I’ll work around it somehow.” Only a free will theist “reasons” that way.
 
Next, we would say that Judas was responsible (at fault) simply because God held Judas responsible. God is the creator and by being the creator all are responsible to Him simply because He holds them responsible. Can Judas say to the creator, “Why did you make me this way?”
 
So, we know, from Scripture that the eternal predestinating God did ordain Judas to betray Christ and that Judas remained responsible for this betrayal. All of this is why Scripture could call Judas, “The Son of perdition.”
 
This title of Judas (John 17:2), which he shares in Scripture with the Anti-Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:3) is a well known Hebrew idiom whereby someone who embodies a trait or characteristic or destiny is called the son of that trait, character or destiny. The name “Son of perdition,” as applied to both Judas and the antichrist represents them both as given over irrecoverably and totally to the final perdition; and this from the foundations of time since it was God’s destiny for them. A destiny they very much freely chose.
 
God predestined Judas from his conception to his hanging himself inclusive of his betrayal of Christ. To believe otherwise introduces us to a non omnipotent God and a completely different definition at all points of the Christian faith. 

Revoice Conference Real Quotes vs. A Future Revoice Conference Fake Quotes

Here is a sampling of some of the main speakers at the looming Revoice conference regarding their thoughts on whether their homosexual desires are sinful or not, or rather, whether they really struggle with them. Following the italicized quote I have interjection in standard type the same sentiment but only as related to a sexual perversion that has not yet become acceptable to the “Christian” mind. The purpose for doing so is to expose the fact that these quotes being found acceptable proves that the larger Christian public has already accepted the normalcy of sodomy. This is proven by the fact that the inserted fake quotes created by me would find Christians being morally repulsed. Keep in mind that all these italicized quotes are from speakers who would label themselves, “Gay but celibate.” The point in the varied italicized quotes is that homosexual desires are perfectly fine as long as those desires are not followed through to become live physical same-sex engagement. The point in the varied non italicized quotes is to demonstrate how much homosexuality has been accepted by demonstrating how the same sentiment as applied to some other heretofore  agreed upon perverted sexual desire would leave Christians with a moral sense of unease.

“I really think the most important thing is, I really like being gay and I really like being Catholic” ~Eve Tushnet

“I really think the most important thing is, I really like being a necrophiliac and I really like being Catholic.” – Evelyn Nettush

“I believe my same-sex attractions are broken, but I do not believe they are sinful. It is not a sin for me to be attracted to another man, in the same way it is not sinful for you (a man) to be attracted to a woman.” ~Stephen Moss, Organizer of Revoice

I believe my animal-sex attractions are broken, but I do not believe they are sinful. It is not sinful for me to be attracted to an animal, in the same way it is not sinful for you (a man) to be attracted to a woman.  -Steven Mossberg

 “Simply experiencing attraction to the same sex (or being gay) is not in itself a morally culpable sin.” ~Nate Collins

“Simply experiencing attraction to dead bodies (or being necrophiliac) is not in itself a morally culpable sin.” -Tom Collins

“SSA can be a product of the Fall—like blindness—and yet not be a morally culpable sin.” ~Preston Sprinkle

“Coprophilia attraction can be a product of the fall — like blindness — and yet not be a morally culpable sin.”  – T. Inkle Sprinkle

“I do not believe homosexuality in itself is a sin as that would imply our basic human desires for things such as intimacy and beauty would be inherently sinful.” ~Jeb Ralston

“I do not believe bestiality in itself is a sin as that would imply our basic human desires for things such as intimacy and beauty would be inherently sinful. -Deb Ralston Purina

“My main worry with some of the “renunciation” and “surrender” and “death to self” language that Christians use in relation to homosexuality is that, for most people, it will end up implying that we believe all aspects of “being gay” are sinful. This is a devastating burden for many same-sex attracted Christians to bear” ~Wesley Hill

“My main worry with some of the “renunciation” and “surrender” and “death to self” language that Christians use in relation to fang bang is that, for most people, it will end up implying that we believe all aspects of “being a fang bang” are sinful. This is a devastating burden for many fang bang attracted Christians to bear.”- Jon Wesley

Again, the point in contrasting these real quotes in relation to a long acknowledge sexual perversion in conjunction with fake quotes in relation to long acknowledge sexual perversion is to shock the reader who thinks the real quotes are reasonable into seeing that the reason that they see the real quotes as reasonable is that they have already accepted, in principle, how reasonable same sex attraction is.

For a far more erudite discussion of the problems with “Gay Christianity” and the Revoice Conference see,

Full Homosexual Inclusion in the PCA?

Durkheim on the Criminal … McAtee on Durkheim

“Nothing is good indefinitely and without limits. The authority which the moral consciousness enjoys must not be excessive, for otherwise no one would dare to attack it and it would petrify too easily into an immutable form. For it to evolve, individual originality must be allowed to manifest itself. But so that the  originality of the idealist who dreams of transcending his era may display itself, that of the criminal, which falls short of the age, must also be possible. One does not go without the other.

Nor is this all. Beyond this indirect utility, crime itself may play a useful part in this evolution. Not only does it imply that the way to necessary changes remains open, but in certain cases it also directly prepares, for these changes. Where crime exists, collective sentiments are not only in the state of plasticity necessary to assume a new form but sometimes it even contributes to determining beforehand the shape they will take on. Indeed, how often is it only an anticipation of the morality to come, a progression towards what will be!”

Emile Durkheim
The Rules of Sociological Method

What the famous sociologist Durkheim is saying here is that crime is necessary because the criminal is pointing the way forward to a new social order morality that is evolving via the criminal. The criminal by his abandoning and violating the law is the evolutionary precursor of the law to come.

Now apply this thinking to sodomy. 60 years ago sodomy was universally outlawed. Sodomites stayed in the closet for fear of penalty. But Durkheim’s humanist methodology was followed and looking back we see that the sodomite of 1958 was really, in fact, the precursor to the new morality we have today. But this new morality also makes for a new criminality as well as a new morality. If the sodomite is going to come out of the closet then the Christian, who still operates by God’s morality, and so consistent with God’s Word warns against the perils of sodomy will be the one who has to go into the closet that the sodomite came out of with the new morality.

Understand also that for Durkheim it is not God’s standard of right and wrong — of legal and illegal — that is the standard for law keeping and morality. Instead, the standard is the general phenomenon of observed behavior. That general phenomenon of observed behavior becomes the new normal and as the standard is merely the general phenomenon of observed behavior any new general phenomenon of newly observed behavior by the criminal class, as practiced in abundance, is a reason to shift the definition of law and morality so that the criminal is no longer criminal.

Clearly what Durkheim is giving us here is an evolutionary morality that redefines itself by the perceived majority report. When enough men, at the same time, together do what is right in their own eyes, then that is right, whatever the perverse or sordid behavior. Crime today then is merely a social evolutionary experimentation which has within itself the wherewithal to vanquish obsolete Christian morality.

Let’s breakdown Durkheim’s first paragraph more closely,

1.) “Nothing is good indefinitely and without limits. The authority which the moral consciousness enjoys must not be excessive, for otherwise no one would dare to attack it and it would petrify too easily into an immutable form

Response

a.) However, it appears that it is good indefinitely and without limit to believe that nothing else except that statement itself is good indefinitely and without limits.

b.) By what standard does Durkheim arrive at this conclusion? By what authority am I to believe that “Nothing is good indefinitely and without limits?” Wouldn’t it be easy to demonstrate that not stealing what legitimately belongs to my neighbor is something good indefinitely and without limit? Wouldn’t it be easy to demonstrate that the prohibition to pedophilia is something good and without limit? Durkheim gives an assertion here but it is only an assertion that has not sustainable authority backing it up.

c.) Clearly, Durkheim’s authority which his moral consciousness is enjoying is excessive. We can easily see that Durkheim’s moral relativism has indeed petrified easily into an immutable form. Where are those who are attacking Durkheim’s moral relativism arguing for a morality standard which grows out of the soil of God’s Word?

For Durkheim, the criminal is the evolutionary signpost of where social order morality is headed. In this mentality, it is easy to understand why criminals are often treated so lightly. If the criminal is the harbinger of our future morality then the criminal should be sympathized with and indeed, even perhaps seen as a noble savage.