Second Reformed Church

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Puritan

On Mark 2:8-11, George Petter writes in his commentary on Mark:
"These words were directed to the Scribes by our Saviour Christ, for they are not the words of the Evangelist. And in them our Saviour sheweth the Ground or Reason of his working of this miraculous cure; namely, that by this he might prove unto the Scribes, and the rest of the People, that he was God, and consequently had power to forgive sins."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

February Sermons

2/5/06 Mark 3:1-12 "The Witness of Healing and Unclean Spirits" (Communion)
2/12/06 Mark 3:13-35 "Division and Obedience"
2/19/06 Mark 4:1-20 "Parables and Seed Sowing"
2/26/06 Mark 4:21-34 "Parables and the Kingdom"

"The Book of Daniel"

I've gotten a number of e-mails urging me not to watch "The Book of Daniel" - a new television series. Of course, given its supposed blasphemous nature, I was compelled to watch and draw my own conclusions.
After viewing the first episode, I thought, "This is 'Desperate Housewives' with a priest." And now that I have watched the second episode, I have some thoughts.
First, the family: Father Daniel Webster is addicted to painkillers. His wife is an alcoholic and calls the shots in the bedroom. Their daughter believes that the ends always justify the means. (For example, she becomes a pot dealer to support the cost of her artwork.) Their biological son is a homosexual, and, as the mother said, "We will all be thrilled when you find a man who makes you happy." (Again and again the show emphasizes that homosexual relationships are good and normal and to be encouraged.) The adopted son finds persistent premarital sex (with a female) to be his raison d'etre. Father Webster's boss is a female priest, who is having an affair with Daniel's father, who is the bishop. Daniel's mother has Alzheimer's (which justifies the affair).
How are we to react to this? With outrage, because no Christian minister has a family with members who sin! No, it's exaggerated, but the fact of the family being sinners shouldn't bother us.
What we should learn from this family is that discipline is necessary. There is rarely anything condemned as wrong, nor is there encouragement to do what is right. There's "keep drinking, it's alright," "hiding secrets is alright," "sex with anyone at any time of any sex is alright," "just try not to cause a ruckus." In other words, the only sin is rocking the boat. We have a duty to discipline our children and our churches: to teach them what is right and wrong and to excise persistent, unrepentant sin and sinners.
Second, there is the portrayal of Jesus - who appears to Father Webster - only - to make obtuse and/or smart comments. This Jesus doesn't know what's happening or what will happen; he's just a buddy to get a second opinion from, a friend that makes you uncomfortable. One might also bring the argument of the Second Commandment to this portrayal, but I will leave that to someone else.
How should we react to this? Threatening letters to the studio? Burnt effigies of the person who portrays Jesus? Or perhaps of the writers? No, how much more effective would it be, if we Christians put forth a quality, true portrayal of Jesus in some medium. Rather than attack the straw man - who is sincerely shabby! - let us raise up the One True Glorious Christ for all to see!
Thirdly, there are Daniel's sermons: admittedly, we only hear snippets, but what we hear of them is this: there is a dualism of good and evil - God and the devil - equal and opposite. Thus, in order to truly be holy, we must occasionally sin. It is by learning to balance that tension, while singing, "All You Need Is Love," that we embody Christ. In the end, Heaven is the reward to living a hard life and making it through reasonably well.
Again, scathing letters to have Daniel preach sincere, exegetical sermons on the show would, (don't you think?), be futile. Perhaps the answer here, as already suggested, would be for us to preach quality, exegetical sermons. If we preach the Word of God, wholly and alone, the Word will be preached, and God, as He Wills, will not allow it to come back empty.
Perhaps there is a reason to be thankful for this C+ show: it makes it patently obvious that Christians - we - are not doing our job to present Jesus Christ and His Gospel Alone.
Watch the show, perhaps it will spur you on to be the next George Whitefield or Jonathan Edwards.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Membership Class

There will be no membership class on Saturday, January 28th. We will resume, D.V., on Saturday, February 4th.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Membership Class

W will be offering a membership class beginning this Saturday (D.V.) at 3 PM and running for about two months. If you are interested in joining Second Reformed Church, or just want to review what the RCA believes in, come join us, beginning this Saturday.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Consistory Meeting

Consistory members: please remember that we are meeting (D.V.) on Sunday January 8th after morning worship.