Author Archives: highplainsparson

About highplainsparson

I'm a servant of the word of God, serving the Lord in Colorado. The husband of one and father of four, I count my blessings daily. I wish to build up Christ's flock in love to him and holiness. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Pray for your church, coworkers, and neighbors. Ligonier ministries awakening prayer guide week 2 February 2018

Ligonier awakening prayer guide week 2 February 2018

Pray for your church, coworkers, and neighbors.

Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write on to you of the common salvation it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Prayer by highplainsparson:

O Lord our Father we are a people that you have made and we live here in the city of Babylon in a foreign and strange place which does not know you. We bear the reproach and shame that the world puts upon us for being your people, but let us glorify your name in everything that we do, in conversation with others that don’t know you to lead them to the way. Let our local church hold fast to the confession that was once delivered to the Saints and was handed down through our forefathers in the faith. Let us be like the early church that did not waver in her faith or morals but proclaimed them to the world. Let us be thankful Lord for your law and your gospel and proclaim both without equivocation or trying to soften it up, but let us soften up our demeanor in order to bring people to the truth of you. Strengthen our hearts for we are so weak and frail and afraid. Let us go boldly in our community and tell others the reason for the hope that we have within us that many souls may be converted to you where we work, where we live, and gathered to your church where we worship. Add to the number of your local church where we gather and stir up your people to seek the lost in the world. The contrast between the world and the church is real. Let us never be ashamed of it but to unashamedly stand firm. Let us show them that your love is better than any love the world can offer and that we have a better way, and let this firmness of confession be ours by your Spirit and your grace working in us. Use it effectively to build the local church where we are. We pray this in Jesus name.

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Awakening Prayer: week 1 February 2018

From the Ligonier Awakening prayer guide. Week one February 2018: yourself and family

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Rom. 12:2

Prayer by highplainsparson

O Lord, the world around us is increasingly wicked and hardened in rebellion against you. Protect myself, my wife, and my children from the allurements, Temptations, and vanities of the world, that look good and taste sweet at first, but are bitter in the belly, leading to destruction. Awaken and revive us. Continue the work of grace that you have begun in our hearts. Give the new birth to my children if they do not have it yet. And continue the work of grace that you have begun in me, in my wife, and in my oldest child. Let us be witnesses of your grace in the darkness, and confirm us in your word. Transform our minds from the sinful ways of thinking that we have, by your Holy Spirit working through your word to change our thinking and make it like the thinking of Jesus Christ. Teach us to love you and one other. Let us cease fighting, argumentation, insults, and Unkind words toward one another, and instead compete in acts of love for the distinction of being the most loving to each other. Instruct us from your word on how to love; because of sin we do not know how to love each other as we should, So we need your law to teach us how to love. Write it on our hearts and minds and transform us by it so that we may be more like you.

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Pray For Awakening in 2018-with Ligonier Ministries

It is highly encouraging that such a high profile reformed Christian ministry has caught onto the idea of prayer for revival/awakening! Ligonier’s prayer points are simple, to the point, and given for every week of 2018. And they have devoted their annual conference this year to the topic of prayer for awakening! I have decided that our family will be praying the points this year. Who is with us? Will you join us in this coordinated prayer? Many of us were praying for revival last year, and the increase of such prayer meetings is part of the answer to the prayers. And let’s spread the word. Download your free copy of the booklet with prayer points for every week in 2018 here: http://www.prayforawakening.com Edwards’s “An Humble Attempt” inspired a generation of prayer meetings that God answered powerfully with many conversions at home and abroad. With Jacob, will you not let go until the LORD blesses us?

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Critical Theory and the Unity of the Church

This seems helpful.

TheEcclesialCalvinist

The undersigned concerned individuals are constrained, indeed compelled, to speak to ideological dangers that threaten and subvert the unity of the Body of Christ.

Some in the conservative Reformed community evince a laudable desire to overcome racial injustice, but they often seek to understand racial divisions by relying on categories drawn from the “critical theory” of secular academia (e.g., notions of “white privilege,” “white guilt,” “intersectionality,” and more broadly the power-analysis tradition that stems from Marx, Foucault, and others) rather than from Scripture and the Christian tradition.  As a result of this uncritical borrowing, some in the church are falling headlong into the divisive identity politics that now plague the broader culture and particularly higher education.

These secular categories are often unhelpful.  For example, what are often taken to be examples of “white privilege” are simply the rights and opportunities that should be enjoyed by all, and the appropriate response…

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Problems with the Nashville Statement

The Nashville Statement is troublingly ambiguous on the sinfulness of same sex attraction:

“Article 8. WE AFFIRM that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.”

Is this Christian’s purity of life attained by repenting and mortifying the sinful “sexual attraction for the same sex”, or are these desires somehow compatible with such purity? It seems they mean the latter, which is unbiblical, and a heretical denial of the sinfulness of sinful lusts.  The authors of the statement had no trouble being crystal clear on the sinfulness of many sins.  Why the lack of clarity here, on one of the most confronting issues of our time?  I take it as a denial that same sex erotic attraction is sinful, which is a huge mistake because:

1. It seems to deny that some sins are more heinous than others.  

One area where Christians need to be taught better, is the degree of heinousness of sins.

Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

All sins are heinous, but some are more heinous than others due to several aggravating factors. One of the aggravating factors that the Larger Catechism lists in Answer 151 is that a sin is more heinous if it be against the “light of nature.” For this reason, in this respect, same sex attraction is more heinous even than lust for the opposite sex, which is not, essentially, against nature. Same sex attraction is not the moral equivalent of opposite sex attraction, which God gave us for the purpose of procreation.  The recent confusion among the Reformed and Evangelicals over the sinfulness of same sex attraction shows this deficiency.
2. It denies the Christian doctrine of original sin. 

The statement that a Christian can live a pure life despite experiencing erotic desires toward persons of the same sex, suggests that such proneness and proclivity to enter into temptation are not sin unless they are acted upon.  But this flies in the face of Scripture and the traditional Augustinian teaching on original sin.  “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:14 Temptation arises from our sinful nature, which is itself sin, and calls down God’s wrath upon us. By grace, those whom God has regenerated, get the victory eventually over their indwelling sin, by mortifying it daily. This teaching is sorely lacking in the church today. It is being said that our sinful nature, and the temptations that arise from it, are not sin, as if to raise up Pelagius from the grave.  If the Church ceases to maintain the historic, orthodox, definition of Original Sin, she will fall utterly.

I am concerned that the Nashville Statement adds to the confusion and false teaching on sin rampant in the Church today.

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A French Huguenot minister in New York

A little family history. Here’s a letter written by a Dutch reformed minister in New York to the Classis of Amsterdam on September 30, 1696. His name is Domine Selyns. In the letter he mentions the French reformed minister who serves where my ancestors the Sicard family [bearing my paternal grandma’s maiden name] were settled in New Rochelle, New York. His name was Reverend (or Domine to use the Dutch title) Bondet, A Huguenot minister from France and a former professor at the famed Academy of Saumur. This was the pastor of some of our ancestors in of New York who had escaped France eight years before.  

Selyns writes, “Domine Brodet [Bondet], who was formerly professor at Saumur, and who lived among the Indians and preached to them for eight years, is at New Rochelle, 20 miles from here, and is very useful by his ministerial gifts and holy life.”

A History of the Reformed Church, Dutch in the United States by ET Corwin, 115.

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Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly speaks out against the secularization of public schools–affirms Christian America

prayer-at-first-continental-congress

Faced with the growing secularization of public schools in America, the PC(USA) defined the position of American Presbyterianism in the following pronouncement by her General Assembly in the year 1870:

“We should regard the successful attempt to expel all religious instruction and influence from our public schools as an evil of the first magnitude. Nor do we see how this can be done without inflicting a deadly wound upon the intellectual and moral life of the nation…We look upon the state as an ordinance of God, and not a mere creature of the popular will; and, under its high responsibility to the Supreme Ruler of the world, we hold it to be both its right and bound duty to educate its children in those elementary principles of knowledge and virtue which are essential to its own security and well-being. The union of church and state is indeed against our American theory and constitutions of government; but the most intimate union of the state with the saving and conservative forces of Christianity is one of the oldest customs of the country, and has always ranked a vital article of our political faith.”

General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) 1870, quoted in A History of the Presbyterian Churches in the United States by Robert E. Thompson, 1895, p. 199.

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Presbyterians Pressured by President Lincoln

Illustration of the Bombardment of Fort SumterWhen the Confederate Army cannonaded Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861, opening the Civil War, it turned out to be a moment that crystallized the patriotic feelings of many Americans in defense of the Union. Sumter awoke a sleeping giant. It was on of those “rally around the flag” moments that the South had probably not expected it to be, when people across the Union who were previously apathetic or ambivalent about the political disputes between North and South felt a rush of anger over what the South had done, and a desire to preserve the Union. Reading about this turn of events reminds me of the patriotic response many Americans exhibited during the First Gulf War, when Lee Greenwood soared to the top of the charts with his perennial favorite, “God Bless the USA”, and later, the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 when Union flags seemed to fly on every car antenna in a surge of patriotic feeling.

Just one month after Sumter, in May 1861, Rev. Gardiner Spring introduced a resolution at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U. S. A. calling for a day of prayer and fasting, in light of the national trouble and warfare that had already broken out with the siege of Ft. Sumter and the secession of 8 states. He was an influential and respected conservative in the denomination, hand-picked to present the resolution by the pro-Union side. It made one small mention of prayer for the preservation of the Union, without including any denunciations of the Southern States that some had wanted to see in it. What many may not know, is that the Lincoln administration was pressuring the Presbyterian Church to pass a resolution supporting the Union. The Presbyterian Church was at that time one of the three largest church bodies in the Union, and the Lincoln administration, perhaps rightly, thought that the declared support of the Presbyterian Church toward the Union would help secure the loyalty of the Border States: New Jersey, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri toward the federal cause. The vote went 156-66 in favor of the resolution*. A contingent protested the resolution led by Charles Hodge, but to no avail. Moderate-mindedness could not quell the spirit of patriotism or the desire to help preserve the Union.220px-abraham_lincoln_o-77_matte_collodion_print

In response, the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States was promptly formed of the forty-seven presbyteries in the South. A schism of the Northern and Southern Presbyterian Churches took place, which did not reunite for over one hundred twenty years. While it was sad that political concerns split the church, it was also a continuation of the Presbyterian tradition of a mutually helpful relationship between the church and the civil government.

*See: A History of the Presbyterian Churches in the United States by Robert Thompson, New York: 1895.

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Presbyterianism in America

The group of ecclesiastical bodies which co(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundationnstitute the Presbyterian family in America hold a place of great importance in the religious life of the nation.  American Presbyterianism has been of weight beyond its numerical strength through the services it has rendered to theological science, the interest it has maintained in Christian doctrine, the high standard of intelligence it has set up for both its ministry and its people, its capacity to develop strength of character, its superior family discipline, and its conservative influence upon the national life.

Robert Ellis Thompson, A History of the Presbyterian Churches in the United States, 1.

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Please forgive my indifference…

A voice of reason.

Wife with Purpose

I’m trying, but you’re making it hard.

There were a number of ways I could have written this blog, but I figured I would write it as genuinely and honestly as I could. So here it goes.

I’m having a hard time with you, and I am referring to the Reformed (or Reforming) African-American crowd (you know, some of the people who like to write for RAAN or the women who host Truth’s Table). I’m really having a hard time. And no, I’m not white. I’m actually an African-American woman who is a Baptist in a conservative PCA church in the South. And though I can consider you to be my “brothers and sisters by color”, I really struggle to not roll my eyes when I hear you speak and read your blogs.

And I know that may sound strange. I mean, I might sound like one of those…

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