Spurgeon, Hillsong, and “Conversations”

We do not deliberate, for we have decided. To be for ever holding the truth of God, as though it might yet turn out to be a lie, were to lose all the comfort of it. –Charles Spurgeon

Shortly after reading that quote from Spurgeon I read this sad news of Hillsong Church:

At a press conference for the Hillsong Conference in New York City today, Michael Paulson of The New York Times asked Houston to clarify their church’s position on same sex marriage. But Houston would not offer a definitive answer, instead saying that it was “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.”

Immediately after I tweeted this:

I still can’t understand why we need an “ongoing conversation” on things that the Lord has clearly spoken on.

Hillsong has since clarified, but my larger point stands. There are some things which do not need an “ongoing conversation”. Or to put a little more meat on that: because God has already spoken there are ways in which we now converse about these issues.

The Importance of Keeping Our Presuppositions

I will readily admit that as a believer in Christ, I have certain presuppositions. One of these is that I believe God has clearly spoken to us in His Word. Secondly, that where God has spoken he is the absolute authority. No questions asked. As a Christian He is the Lord of my life. That means if His Word contradicts me then I must change—not His Word.

What is happening, though, is that many believers are having “conversations” while abandoning these presuppositions. And to those with darkened minds, one cannot have these presuppositions and still be considered a rational human being. Therefore, the Christian “conversation” almost always ends in apostasy. Because once God is removed from the center and I, the interpreter (or the interpretive community), becomes sovereign—God has already been booted off his throne.

If you are a believer there are certain presuppositions that you cannot surrender and still converse like a Christian.

I understand the struggle to which Brian Houston was referring; we want to remain relevant and we want to be able to have conversations with those who oppose the gospel. I get that. But I think the words of Os Guinness are helpful:

By our universal pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching commitment to faithfulness, we have become not only unfaithful but irrelevant; by our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant. (Prophetic Untimeleness, 15)

God has spoken. Therefore, every other conversation must be subservient to His conversation.

The NCAA Playoff Teams HAVE TO Be….

The Evil and Despised Alabama Crimson Crud

They are arrogant, obsessed and they have a payroll higher than most NFL teams, but Bama is in. This is a fallen world and evil sometimes wins. Alabama won enough to earn a spot.

Of course, it doesn’t matter how many they win as long as they lose ONE MORE GAME this season. All people of sound mind and good will are hoping for that.

The Team with the HORRIBLE uniforms (from Oregon)

Dale, could you please tell your Ducks to consult a fashion expert. They are really good, but watching them in those uniforms is just horrible.

In a side note, with Wisconsin’s troubles tonight, we can rejoice that the Heisman Trophy does not show uniform color. It’s going to Mariota.

The UNDEFEATED Florida State Seminoles.

They are hated almost as much as the Crimson Crud, but they are undefeated in a Power 5 conference and they are the defending champions. They have to be in. Every game has been an adventure and many have been ugly, but they have outscored the other team in every single one. 13-0.

It would be a travesty of justice to leave FSU ought, no matter how people feel about Jameis Winston.

That leaves THREE TEAMS FOR ONE SPOT!

The Ohio State Buckeyes – Big 10 champs and a complete dismantling of a VERY GOOD Wisconsin team with their 3rd string quarterback. I’m guessing the three teams that are in are hoping OSU gets left out. They could beat anyone on a given day. They could win. But they lost an easy game early, right after Braxton Miller got hurt.

The TCU Horned Frogs – Co-champs of the Big-12 with a deserving resume. Only loss was to Baylor in a crazy game.  Many of their wins have been impressive. But, on the other hand, they are called “Horned Frogs” and that works against them.

The Baylor Bears – Co-champs of the Big-12 and were the victors of the head-to-head game against TCU. They lost one they shouldn’t have lost. Amazing offense.

AND THE WINNER IS…  THE Ohio State University Buckeyes. Did you see what they did to Wisconsin yesterday, after losing their second quarterback to season ending injury? Take 2 QBs off any of the other teams and ask if they would be in the discussion. The answer is no.

I have spoken. The NCAA selection committee SHALL obey!

Throw Open The Doors

She excitedly held the pregnancy test out to her husband.

“What does that mean? What am I looking at?”

“I’m pregnant!”

“What?!?! Awesome. Oh my gosh! Let’s tell our parents and…”

“No. I want to wait until, you know, later on. Just in case…” she trailed off. He knew what she meant but did not want to say. In case the baby didn’t make it. In case there was a miscarriage.

———-

How many of us have gone through something similar? The exhilaration of pregnancy leads to nervous unease as the days pass. Husband and wife pray, and wait, hoping this pregnancy will make it. Hoping this one is viable. If the heartbreak of miscarriage comes and the news wasn’t shared, then it will be less people to share such pain with. There is no shame to share with everyone. No one has to know you failed…. wait.. what?

Friends, this should not be. Every pregnancy is a gift from God, a tiny human growing inside a mother as the miracle of life begins anew. There is hope, dreams, the promise of a future child and the years to come teaching them, enjoying them, loving them. Conversations are shared as parents think about the future and worry if they are ready, or if it’s not your first child, stocking up on diapers and sleeping as much as possible now.

Why do we hide the wonderful news of conception? I understand the pain of those who have experienced a miscarriage, which are far more than is shared or talked about. It may seem easier to you not to share the news in case a miscarriage happens. Who wants to deal with so many well meaning people when that news is shared? They’ll call. They’ll want to talk. You’ll cry.

Is that so bad? We must grieve. A child has died. It’s not a mass of cells as though you lost a finger. From the point of conception forward it will be nothing other than a human child, always. Grieve that loss, and don’t do it privately. It is not healthy to keep such sorrow pent up inside you, burning fresh holes in your heart day by day as you cry silently with no shoulder but your grieving spouse.

There is also no shame as there is no failure. You did not fail. Let me say that again, you did not fail. God knows the beginning and end of all things including whether that child will be born or not. In reading the Bible where it speaks of women being barren until God opened their womb, do you think that means they were always incapable of pregnancy? Could it be that they miscarried anytime they got pregnant as well? The language used is often, “she conceived and bore a,” but that doesn’t mean she never conceived before. Only that before now she had not conceived and given birth. Idle speculation perhaps, but something to think about.

If we hide pregnancies we hide the dignity, wonder, and beauty of human life. We dehumanize the miracle of life that is the child in the womb. Why would you not want to share that something so wonderful and exciting has happened? By doing so, family and friends can pray for you and the baby. Sharing this hope allows you to be open about the hope and happiness of a child. Celebrate that new life that has begun.

“But,” you object, “what if the baby doesn’t make it? I don’t want to deal with all those people.” Friends, I know. Before Gabriel was born we miscarried. Last month, we miscarried again. I know the shock, sadness, utter disappointment, grief, and heartache of miscarriage. I have one beautiful child here, and two more waiting in heaven. I don’t like dealing with so many people expressing sympathy because it seems to bring it up over and over. I don’t like to cry, especially in front of other people. That’s not what 6’2″ big guys with beards do. (But really, we do.)

Yet, I cannot handle that weight alone or shared only with my wife. I live in community with other believers in Christ who rejoice with me when I rejoice, and weep with me when I weep. I’m much happier being alone or with my wife, but grieving is something that happens in community. Share the news when you get pregnant, rejoice in that blessing. If a miscarriage happens and you lose the baby, it is a comfort to have the saints of God there for you.

Do not let the world harden your heart towards your baby, whether they see the light of day or not. The world, and some of your parents and friends, say wait until the first trimester is over. Wait and make reasonably sure the pregnancy will “make it.” Friends, don’t wait. Throw open the doors on that treasure of a child. Let the world know you are parents! You’re not going to be a parent some day, once you conceive you are “mommy” or “daddy.” Whether you get the blessing of raising them or not, you have the blessing of being that child’s parent. Declare to the world and do not be ashamed, then, at the glorious thing that has happened.

My wife and I are grieving. We have lost another child, this time at 7 weeks. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. We rejoice through tears at the honor and blessing of being parents again, even as we say goodbye, for now, to our child. Friends circle their arms on our shoulders from near and far and cry with us. We look forward to that day, that glorious day, when we shall behold Christ. Somewhere in that waiting throng of saints on high are two children we have yet to meet, but we will.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV)