As Isaac: “You Reign in Perfect Peace”

Just one song, but a good one. Could be easily adapted to congregational singing. And I have a particular affection for songs suited to four-part harmony for some reason.

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Salvation 2.0: Part 9.2: Heb 6:4-6 and Falling Away

grace5Hebrews 6 contains one of the most controversial passages in the New Testament (which says a lot!).

(Heb 6:4-8) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

We need to take this nice and slow. The passage seems to plainly say that not only can Christians fall away, but if they do so, they’ll never repent. Notice carefully that it doesn’t say that God will not accept and forgive those who repent. Not at all. The risk isn’t that God won’t forgive — it’s that we won’t ever repent. Continue reading

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Rounder Records 45th Anniversary Sampler

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue …

Oh, and Alison Kraus. Twice.

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Salvation 2.0: Part 9.1: On the Paradox of Grace

grace5So let’s be honest. The scriptures give us a very good reason not to fall away — fear of damnation. But why not be lazy? Why not do the least possible? Why not take it easy and rely on grace?

I think there are things to deeply fear about that attitude, but that’s not Paul’s approach. He just keeps teaching grace. And to legalistic ears, that’s nonsense, and so we look for ways to fix Paul — such as by inserting a passage from James or refusing to teach salvation by faith without including a long litany of warnings that severely erode grace.

But Paul is smarter than us. He was much closer to God than us. And so here’s where we mess up — Continue reading

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Josh Garrels: “2015 Sampler”

Garrels is a Christian artist who has a very distinctive style that I can’t get enough of. There is no else quite like him. A true musical genius who sees music in a way the rest of us can only envy and enjoy. That’s right. It’s so good I violate one the Ten Commandments every time I listen. (Warning: May be highly addictive.)

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A Communion Meditation: The Poverty of the Passover Lamb

Passover-lambOne of the Bible’s most common images for Jesus is the “lamb of God.” Over and over he is pictured as a sacrificed lamb — a Passover sacrifice.

For example,

(John 1:29 ESV) he next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

(1 Cor 5:7 ESV) Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

(Rev 6:1 ESV)  Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!”

And each year, the Jews celebrate the Passover with a meal, called a seder, in which they eat lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs and drink wine. It was at just such a meal that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, in which we remember his death. Continue reading

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Katrina Stone: “Never Want to Grow Up”

So I’ve finally figured out how to embed iframe code in my posts, which lets me do all sorts of cool things – like embedding links to free mp3 albums and EPs from NoiseTrade. (And I think it’ll let me do similar things with Amazon books.)

So my 21-month old granddaughter and I have been enjoying the melodious strains of Katrina Stone (yes, she dances to the music — and is much better at it than I am; like me, she has an affinity for songs performed with a brass section). And so I thought I should share.


  1.  I figure it’s the gift-giving season, and so I’m going to share access to music I enjoy. Warning: my musical taste is wide-ranging. But no country. And hardly any rap. But some bluegrass is okay. Some of these will be Christian artists. Some not.
  2. Yes, the Noisetrade downloads really are free and entirely legal. You will likely be invited to tip, and it’s entirely voluntary. Enjoy.
  3. I have not carefully checked the lyrics to assure Christian orthodoxy, moral themes, or such. As is true of nearly all new music nowadays, it’s sometimes best not to listen to the lyrics at all. If you come across something just awful, let me know and I’ll post a warning or even take the post down.
  4. This has the advantage over a YouTube video of providing the entire album or EP — and direct link to the free download site.
  5. I likely won’t be posting Christmas albums. Nothing against the genre, but I’d rather invest my music money in year-round music.
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Thought Question: The End of Protestantism

Catholic Protestantism

Interesting article in First Things by Peter J. Leithart.

Protestantism has had a good run. It remade Europe and made America. It inspired global missions, soup kitchens, church plants, and colleges in the four corners of the earth. But the world and the Church have changed, and Protestantism isn’t what the Church, including Protestants themselves, needs today. It’s time to turn the protest against Protestantism and to envision a new way of being heirs of the Reformation, a new way that happens to conform to the original Catholic vision of the Reformers.

Read the whole article and then come back here share you reactions.

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Salvation 2.0: Part 8.5: On the Necessity of Believing in Baptism

grace5I confess that baptism is, to me, terribly difficult to fit into this analysis.

I find nothing in the scriptures that say that teaching baptismal error damns. I find very plain teaching that prohibits adding anything to “faith working through love” as a condition to salvation. But the same Paul that wrote this in Galatians 5:2-6 also
wrote —

(Gal 3:27 ESV)  27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

So does teaching that baptism — done exactly right — is essential to salvation violate Gal 5:2-6? It’s sure hard to fit baptism into “faith working through love.” But Paul sure seems to do just that. Continue reading

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On the religion of Texas barbecue

I get it. I do. But they really do need to cross the Mississippi, come over to the southeastern U.S., and discover pork barbecue (which, around here, is a redundancy).

(I’m a little worried because one of my favorite local barbecue places has started serving beef brisket. And sometimes I find myself ordering it. And then it’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore!)

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