Revised & Updated FOS Changes

Apparently the committee that did the first work on giving reasoning for the wholesale change to the Christian Reformed Church’s Form of Subscription went back to the drawing board after some input and modified some of their work. I won’t spend a lot of time with this because the modifications are not that substantial.

From the new and improved committee work we read,

The variety of issues with signing the Form of Subscription that have come up, as well as ongoing attempts to change it, indicate that officebearers today seek to be guided by—not silenced by—the FOS in their understanding of the confessions.

OK… here is really where the issue becomes fuzzy. How could any officebearer claim to be being guided by the FOS if they were advocating something that heretofore would have found the FOS to have been silencing them? This whole ‘guided by – not silenced by’ language is just cutesy for, ‘What it says has made me to think but I disagree with it.’ Second, how can an officebearer claim to be guided by the Form of Subscription while at the same time rising up to speak against their guide? Why else would being ‘silenced by the FOS’ be threatening unless some officebearer determined that the guide was wrong? And if officebearers determine that the guide is wrong are they really be guided by the FOS? In this context, what does ‘guided by’ mean? (Everybody knows that ‘not silenced by’ means that it will be ok to rise up to speak against the confessions.)

Therefore, any regulatory instrument that is adopted by the church ought to be regarded as an invitation to the officebearers of the church to participate in this ongoing reflection rather than as a
document that precludes or hinders such reflection. To this end, we recommend, first, that the title of this document be A Doctrinal Covenant for Officebearers rather than Form of Subscription because it outlines the communal nature of the responsibilities and blessings of ordination and encourages participation as well as regulation.

First note that it is admitted that the FOS or Covenant of Ordination (COO) is intended to be a regulatory document. If something is regulatory it means that it is regulating (monitoring) behavior to insure conformity. And yet, this regulatory, ‘not silencing’instrument, is an invitation to ongoing reflection that presumptively can lead to change in the Confessions. So what does the regulatory instrument regulate since it no longer seems to be regulating adherence? Does it regulate the rate of change? Does it regulate the amount of loquaciousness of those who desire change? Does it regulate the communal nature of change? Does it regulate the rate of participation? What does this new document regulate?

Second, given this is a covenant of ordination and given that all covenants have sanctions for violations one wonders what will be considered a violation of this regulatory covenant and what will be the sanctions of the yet unknown violations?

To remain a truly confessional church, the confessions need to function significantly in our various callings, helping us to deepen our understanding of Scripture in our Reformed tradition.

The Confessions, ‘Functioning significantly’ is a great deal different then the Confessions ‘being adhered to.’ ‘Function significantly’ is also pretty subjective. Who gets to define if the Confessions are functioning significantly in Homer’s life but not Horatio’s and by what standard?

I still strenuously disagree with making the Contemporary Testimony a virtual Fourth form of unity and I likewise disagree with the slippery Covenant of ordination language.

People desiring to read the Committee’s revised work can go here,

http://www.crcna.org/site_uploads/uploads/resources/FormofSubscriptionReport08.pdf

More News From California

In lightning pre-dawn strikes SWAT and ATF teams across California swept in on homeschooling families throughout the State. Just arriving reports suggest that causalities have been low with only a very few home school parents being killed although in one particular case it seems that one of the home school cells had been tipped off in advance with the result that a firefight ensued that ended with all 10 members of the revolutionary band being killed. The good news is though that none of the States brave police women or men have been injured in the pre-dawn raids.

The raids have collected a booty of subversive pamphlets, books, and other assorted literature. Already Police have set up tables identifying this subversive literature for the press corps to examine. There have been countless copies of the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Magna Carta seized, as well as such little known works as Vindicae Contra Tyrannos, The Kentucky, & Virginia Resolutions, St. George Tucker’s commentaries on the Constitution, Benjamin Morris’s, ‘The Christian Life and Character Of The Civil Institutions Of The United States,’ George Buchanan’s, ‘De Jure Regni Apud Scotos,’ Johannes Althusius ‘Politica Methodice Digesta, Atque Exemplis Sacris et Profanis Illustrata,’ the works of John Knox, Samuel Rutherford, Patrick Henry, and other authors and works that ATF Chief Joseph Steele Bismarck said were, “funny looking and more funny titled, and which when considering their cumulative effect on these strange people are self evidently destroyers of the general will, public harmony and our American way of life.” Later once the full catch is collated Police hope to display other assorted novels, treatises, and political tracts in order to convey to the public the dangers of a wrong kind of reading and education. Chief Bismarck ended our brief interview by saying that “once all the heavy work of tracing the books back to those who criminally sold such books and once the haul is fully cataloged the literature will be burned.”

Those subversives arrested during the morning ‘strike for freedom’ will be fully debriefed by professionals flown in from Langley. Authorities on the site are saying, even if only in whispered tones, that they hope it doesn’t come down to using water boarding techniques to gain information from those who are hurting the children. Officials already have brought in a team of child Psychologists to help with the children who have been traumatized by their home schooling experience. The psychologist professionals are telling this reporter that if the children are young enough and if they can isolate the children in the context of intense counseling and with the aid of psycho-tropic drugs the damage done to these children in most cases is rectifiable.

However the State has decided that once the debriefing sessions are finished, those seized, who will eventually be mainstreamed back into American educational centers, will be required to wear a yellow Cross prominently displayed on their clothing so as to identify them as potential dangers.

It seems that in light of this pre-dawn liberation every segment of society is coming forth to weigh in publicly on this stunning victory for liberty. The spokesman from the ACLU, Marten Boormen has said, “the repression of the civil rights of these children was unconscionable. The ACLU will be filing amicus briefs in favor of the State if any legal action is filed.” Torry Quemada speaking for ‘The Children’s Defense Fund’ said, “Today California revealed that to be ever free a people must be ever vigilant. The California chapter of the CDF, in compassion for its most innocent citizens, supports this necessary work of the State.” Also we have a statements by two Church organizations. First, the Evangelical California Churches stated through their spokesman, Rev. Larry Beria, “today Jesus is smiling in heaven as the State’s children have been set free from those who practice the religion of oppression, hate, and slavery. Our chief prayer is that these people during their restoration will find Jesus.” Westminster West Seminary Spokesman, Rev. Dr. R. Scott Irons said, “The Church cannot speak to this since God’s word doesn’t speak to this though we are encouraged to see Presbyterian Judges like H. Walter Croskey, who signed off on this raid, working in the common realm to implement his vision of the Christian faith.”

There seems to be some debate as to whether or not the trials will be public as some State official are concerned about the possible lynch mobs that such a public trial could create, although officials concede that with the current huge backlog of trials the public energy created by these arrests could be well dissipated by the time these cases are heard.

We’re In The Army Now

“The coming of National-Socialist State should not fall into the error of the past and assign to the Army a task which it does not and should not have. The German Army is not to be a school for the maintenance of tribal peculiarities, but rather a school for the mutual understanding and adjustment of all Germans. Whatever may have a disruptive effect in national life should be given a unifying effect through the Army. It should furthermore raise the individual youth above the narrow horizon of his little countryside and place him in the German nation. He must learn to respect, not the boundaries of his birthplace, but the boundaries of his Fatherland; for it is these which he to must some day defend.”

Adolph Schickelgruber (nee – Hitler)
Mein Kampf

“Military service was an essential civic duty, and it was the responsibility of the Army to educate and to unify, once and for all the population of the Reich.”

Sir Winston Churchill — British Prime Minister
The Gathering Storm — pg. 143

I am an opponent of Christians in These United States encouraging their children to consider military service. I know that when children hit 18 they can decide for themselves on this issue over their parents objections and pursue a military hitch or career. Yet, parents can have a huge influence on their children years before they reach the point of considering the military as part of their future.

The reasons I am opposed to the covenant seed going into military service is,

1.)US military is the enforcement agency of the US State.

Christians have to begin to realize the vast implications of what the US State is doing. The US State, comprised of people from both major Parties, are currently seeking to turn America into a pluralistic national entity along with the countries of Mexico and Canada. This arrangement would be prelude to the Babel like larger vision of building a Global Nation State. Christians should oppose this for the same reason that God opposed the same kind of attempt pursued as recorded in Genesis 11. The attempt to build a Global Nation New World order is in direct defiance of God’s unique sovereignty. Such a World State clearly has God like aspirations that would require men to live, move and have their being in the State. No thoughtful Christian can or should support this by being part of the enforcement arm of the State used to muscle acquiescence to the larger program. To join the US military at this time puts one in the position of helping to build an Idol that is intent on replacing the God of the Bible and so, as a general rule, Christian young people shouldn’t join the military.

2.) Per the quotes above the Military, like the educational system in America, is a place where loyalty to the Nation State is to be built over confessional, regional or familial loyalties. The feminization that one finds in the US military is not being done because it works. It is being done so that all those who do a hitch in the military can be brainwashed that this kind of interchangeable male and female parts in part of what it means to be ‘American.’ The same holds true for the homosexulization that one finds in the military with the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. I am convinced that the current primary role of the US military is, like the secondary educational system in America, is to make, by the State’s autonomous standard, ‘good citizens.’ Since this standard is not particularly beholden to a Christian mind, I’m not sure why Christians would want to go to a place where they are going to be bullied into a belief system not their own.

I fully understand and recognize that exceptions would exist for this general policy. There may be Christian young people who may believe themselves called to go into the US military with the idea that they are going to honorably serve their country and if that means disobeying unconstitutional orders then they are willing to face the consequences. I don’t meet many 18 years olds like that but I’m quite willing to admit that they could exist. Also, I suppose the argument could be made that going into the military in a field (like the Army Band) where one would not be as directly involved in what I’ve mentioned is acceptable.

Overall, I’ve come to conclude that since both the US educational system and the US military are committed to the same goal of making ‘World Citizens’ who will aid in the building of the pagan New World Order that Christians will think long and hard about attaching themselves to such agencies.

I realize that this veiw is probably not a popular position. I realize that Christians have and do serve faithfully in the US military. I don’t think Christians who are serving and who have not thought this through are evil. I’ve come to believe however that the interest of the US State are diametrically and diabolically opposed to the interests of the Kingdom of Christ, and as Christians can’t serve two masters I think it is time we started thinking about which of our citizenships we should prioritize in this world.

Why Can’t The Calvinists Be Calvinistic?

I just returned from a funeral where the deceased was a very young man who died in a particularly tragic fashion. During the committal service the (RCA) minister said,

“I am convinced that this death wasn’t God’s will.”

This came immediately after an injunction from him to the people that they shouldn’t ask the question ‘why’ and that the answer was buried inaccessible in the mind of God.

Now, if this wasn’t God’s will how could God have the answer buried in His mind let alone even know the answer?

If these kinds of things aren’t God’s will then why don’t we figure out whose will they are so we can pinch him a little incense and offer him a little worship?

The last time I heard something like this it came out of a Methodist ministers mouth.

I guess there really is no difference.

Funeral Service Douglas Lee Dipple

Call To Attention for the Funeral in memory of Douglas Lee Dipple and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

25Jesus said…”I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11

Invocation

Gracious and Compassionate Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who art the author of life on each side of death, we cast all our grief upon thee, in faith confident that Thou dost care. With the suddenness of this death the meaning of your ways are kept in a mist from us, yet we confess that thy ways are higher than our ways, and thy thoughts higher than our thoughts. In this hour of bereavement, be an ever-present help in time of need, send forth a double portion of they Spirit for our comfort, and sustain us with faith when reason cannot comprehend the depths of your providence. In Jesus Christ name we pray. AMEN

* Scripture Reading

4″O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
Selah

6Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7″And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
8Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool (Psalm 39)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (II Corinthians 1)

1God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46)

Solo

Eulogy

The word ‘eulogy’ literally means ‘good saying.’ Its practice in funerals is the desire to accentuate the blessing that the departed was to those in this life because of their character. We speak eulogies not with the purpose of divinizing the deceased but rather to recognize that as all men bear the image of God so there is in the character of all men that which can be esteemed and well spoken of. In speaking the eulogy we are extolling the one we love who has gone to sleep but more importantly we are praising the one who gave life, breath and character to all that have come from His Creative hand.

When we speak of the life and character of Doug we are mindful of his easygoing character. Doug was not a particularly anxious sort and had the ability to field life in a way that spoke of a quiet confidence.

Perhaps this ability also accounts for his charm. Doug had the ability to put people at ease and make them comfortable. Somebody in the last few days put it this way when speaking to his family, “Doug was the kind of person who had the ability to make people feel, who he had only recently met, like they were his best friend.” None of us here should underestimate that kind of gift and many of us should pray that we might be given more of that ability.

However this gift was not a mere ability to glad-hand or to do a snow job on people. As we all read in the Lansing State Journal story Doug put feet to his friendships. I suspect the type of kindnesses extended by Doug that Mr. Middaugh recorded in that Journal article were not unique to Mike. I suspect that many here would echo Mr. Middaugh’s sentiments that Doug “would think about anybody else before himself.” The outpouring of affection that we have seen for Doug the past few days confirms his ability to have been more to people then just a really nice acquaintance. In the relationships he had with people there is every bit of evidence that there existed genuine depth.

Doug also retained a character trait that is not seen with a great deal of prevalence and that was his general respect for those who were a generation or two his senior. If you listened to Doug in conversations with those kind of people his address was consistently laced with respect…

‘Yes, Mr. Martens.’

‘Thank You Mrs. Douma.’

‘Good to see you Pastor.’

I would suspect that this was a gift that he learned in the home.

In my direct experience there are two things that I clearly remember about Doug. First Doug was intelligent. When I came to Charlotte Doug would have been about 13 years old and so he attended my initial catechism Sunday school classes. Doug consistently mastered the material and showed that mastery on the exams that were given. Further, he would interact with me during the class showing that he comprehended what was being taught.

Also, I recall Doug has having a keen sense of humor. In point of fact the personal memories I will always have of Doug is of him laughing or smiling. My memory of Doug’s sense of humor was reinforced in these past few days as somebody related to me the anecdote of how Doug had convinced a sizable portion of Spartan Motors that in a city without a port they were going to start building submarines. This planted rumor spread so far that at a plant meeting somebody unknown to Doug raised their hand and asked if the rumors were true that Spartan would soon be building submarines.

These are but a humble portion of the greater amount that all of you here know and remember. I can only encourage you to hold fast the imprints upon you that the life of Doug Dipple left.

We thank our Lord Christ for the traces of His fingerprints that can be detected upon the life of Doug.

Solo

Gospel

It is my earnest prayer that you will pause to listen to the next 10 minutes for it is entirely possible that you will hear something more important in the next 10 minutes then you will hear in the next 10 years.

Doug was what Scripture calls a ‘Covenant child.’ In the Church that means a great deal, not least of which is the God of the Bible claimed Doug as His own in Baptism.

And even though God’s people might neglect God’s covenant claim upon them by absenting themselves from the proclamation of the Word and from feasting upon Christ in the Sacrament that doesn’t negate God’s ownership claim upon his people who he has marked as His own in Baptism.

Well, in the few minutes that we have what shall we say of this God of the Bible that has a special claim upon those brought to the Baptismal font but also lays a general claim upon all who live and breathe?

First Scripture records that God is big and man is small. Of course our tendency is to turn around this truth so that man is big and God is small. Still, the Bible teaches that God sits upon the rim of the earth and that its inhabitants are as Grasshoppers.

Scripture further teaches us that this Great Big Transcendent God is so Pure and Just that any creature that has any sliver of evil about them cannot be allowed into His presence, for to keep time with such sinfulness would call into question God’s Holy character.

Obviously what we have said already is not good news for people like you and I have more then just a sliver of evil to contend with. Indeed the Bible teaches that we were born with a human nature that is evil. We were born not able to commune with God due to God’s awesome purity. Indeed Scripture teaches that we increase our debt to God every day.
So, how do we resolve this dilemma?

On the one hand that God has a claim on us that if we fail to take seriously will result in eternal separation from the good life that only He can give — the good life that many of you here desire.
While on the other hand, because of our moral impurity, it is impossible for God to even hear any of our appeals for help.

The answer that the Church offers to this dilemma, in submission to God’s revelation in Scripture is the person and work of Jesus Christ.
God, with regard to His mercy and the need of fallen men, out of love, sent forth Christ to be the means by which His Just anger against our moral impurity would be extinguished through the punishment of His Son on the Cross.

During the Christmas season we celebrate this coming of Christ to save His people from their sins. During the Easter season that is just ahead of us we celebrate that Christ triumphed over the death that we deserved insuring that we likewise triumph with Him.

You see my friends Scripture teaches that the soul that sins shall surely die. Every sin must be visited with its proper penalty or God stands being accused of being unjust. Scripture further teaches that in what happened in the death of Christ on the Cross, God out of regard for His own merciful character, decided that He would lay the penalty of the sin of His people, people like you and I, upon the God-Man Jesus. On the Cross Jesus takes the sin of His people and in repentance He covers us with His obedience – an obedience that makes us a delight to the Father.

The result of this work of the Cross where God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself is that people like you and I can know what it means to live the good life in fellowship with the God who created us. The rejection of this God who sacrifices Himself to restore us to our full humanity results in an increasingly inhuman life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

This is the God who laid claim on Doug in Baptism. And this is the God who even now offers Himself to those who recognize themselves to be living on the wrong end of a life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

Christian Confession – Apostles Creed

Prayer For Family

Benediction / Dismissal – Numbers 6:24-26