Monthly Archives: April 2009

Tuesday Special: In the house of Simon

Based on Luke 7:36-50

Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus and indirectly also invited the sinful woman (not Mary Magdalene-as according to traditional reading nor to Dan Brown) who wept, broke an alabaster jar full of perfume, wipe Jesus’ feet and kiss them.

Simon feared of contamination from a sinful woman-which in that time and place-will contaminate them with her adulterous ways. Adultery is a sin against their own body-with its bodily fluids and perspiration sticking on their bodily landscape. He thought that Jesus was not Divine and also because of this situation-was also not a prophet.

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But Jesus knows him-so he told him a story about forgiveness. The gist of the story is that the one “who will love him more” is the one “who had bigger debt cancelled”. Simon did not understand that all men are sinners-and all of our sins are big in the face of God-they are all an assault to his majesty and Kingship. So we all need to be forgiven. BIG time! But we are not conscious of it since we thought are sins are just small-petty in fact.

If we knew this-we would have served the Lord as the woman did-“she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil” and Jesus would have forgive us of our sins.

The woman cannot contaminate Jesus. Jesus can ‘contaminate’ the woman in reverse. His holiness-shown in forgiving her-will restore her back to clean slate-always -because she understood who Jesus is. The others cannot understand how Jesus can forgive-when in fact He is the Great God-Yahweh himself!

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Movie Review: Body of Lies

body-of-lies-dicaprio

Synopsis from IMDB> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758774/synopsis

Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a covert CIA operative working in Jordan searching for terrorists who have been bombing civilian targets. Ferris uncovers information on the Islamic mastermind Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul). He devises a plan to infiltrate Al-Saleem’s terrorist network with the help of his boss back in Langley, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe). Ferris enlists the help of the Chief of Jordanian Intelligence, Hani Salaam (Mark Strong) on this operation, but he doesn’t know how far he can trust him without putting his life in danger. The uneasy alliance leads to a cultural and moral clash between the men.

My Take:

If not for the personal agendas and concerns of the main characters-this would only be another spy thriller. Leonardo diCarpio character would have been as ruthless as with the Jordanian spy chief or his American counterpart at Langley-if not for the fact that his local was killed by the  terrorists and that hsi love interest was kidnapped by the Jordanian secret police-which was made up to look like it was the Al-Qaeda who did it.

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Because of the love-interest/ romantic angle of Leonardo with regards to his Iranian girlfriend-he was willing to be caught and tortured by his captors. It is also the personal knowledge of the Jordanian spy-chief that he was able to trick not only the Americans but also the Al-Qaeda-that he has a spy within their organization.

Sometimes-it is really our personal interest that either lifts us up or bring us down. It will be better really to seperate our professional life from our personal lives. But it is only through this that we become human again.

BTW-this is a “bloody hell” of a movie in terms of action. Its director really knows how to make a movie with such adrenalin rush.

To my Timothy’s

For all those I shared my bible knowledge, insights and theological directions like Gerwin, Teddy, Romy, Samuel, Rovic and others through the years-here are my suggestions -in order that you may still grow and mature in the faith and life:

1. Remain faithful to the Lord Jesus -not how your church tradition or peers conceive him to be-nor other scholars -especially the “historical Jesus” group nor the “high scholasticism Jesus” conceive him to be.

2. Be faithful to the Word of God-but learn first how to understand it-by reading it, understanding its language, historical and cultural milieu and knowing the broad sweep perspective of the whole bible.

3. Use your reason and insights in applying your bible knowledge. Do not forget your common sense -and do not be intimidated by others-in applying what is wrong or right-even if others are no longer living (the great authors of previous years).

4. Use tradition or the voice of the church fathers/reformers/confessions -as long as they retained their secondary status with respect to Scriptures. You must remember Scripture better than your confessionsional standards.

5. Ask advice from almost everybody-even your enemies-maybe they have the right perspective in understanding the truth-you just have to extract it from them. It is true that “whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future. Everything belongs to you,23 and you belong to Christ”…

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6. Always believe in defending freedom before any human authority. We only bow down before Divine authority-everything else is relative.

7. Always allow room for your own personal or others experience in your search for truth. It is not infallible butu it is also not dispensable. Use and learn how to use it

Impact 2 : The Vanderbilts at Tirona Street, BF Homes

I cannot really remember my first encounter with them. The church there is renting a house. It was a bookstore and lending library during the weekdays and also offers coffee and cookies.

There was only one service during the morning, where Mom Eloise always plays the organ. She is not as good as others now-but she is our musical muse. And Pastor Maas was always optimistic, fatherly and friendly. And he can really lead in singing. His messages are always firm, simple and very helpful.

Before meeting them –I spent my weekends at Sampaloc, Manila-at CCRL-Community Church of the Risen Lord. But since my affinity now is with the reformed branch of Christianity-I decided to attend church during Sundays at BF Homes Christian Fellowship.

 

John Stott

John Stott

 And I enjoy it immensely. Mom Eloise always lent me books of CS Lewis-which I devour. I also remember reading books of John Stott and Schaeffer then. When Pastor went to Bacolod –he passed by the Reformed Bible Institute there and got some books for me to read. It was books of GC Berkouwer, Ronald Nash and Ethical Reflections of Henry Stob-which I enjoyed immensely.

 

Henry Stob

Henry Stob

They treated me as their son since they only got only 1 son-but 5-6 daughters. Their youngest is Debbie-beautiful Debbie. I found out later than she was gay-though at a young age –she was grazing magazine covers. I got a crushed on her-but felt then that she was out of my league. I hope then that she will become my friend-but she only stayed for awhile here in the Philippines. I still pray for her once-in-awhile. I have no problem treating her as gay-we are all sinners-just some more obvious than others. But sinners still.

I remembered one time that I have some problem with my parents-so I stayed at the Vanderbilts and slept at their sofa for a night. And I felt secure with them. They also asked me to join them one summer at Pangasinan. Ps. Maas was baptizing and marrying a couple there. We also took the weekend at Hundred Islands Resort. We went snorkeling-though I have trouble swimming. At one of the island-Pastor Maas taught me about heaven –that there will be no sea or ocean there-since it was a symbol of God’s enemies. He also taught me about the joke regarding the amount of water needed for baptism-and it led to the doctrine of sprinkling.

It was a swell weekend-and I still remember waking up in the morning alone in the room and hearing the rustling of water below. Wow! God really knows how to send teachers in this world.

Impact 1 : “Today” and Pastor Dick Kwantes

My grandfather, Vicente Villena besides reading Daily Bread, also keeps Today devotional booklet-and he gives me one copy sometime in 1982.I was already convince 5-Pointer Calvinist and I might have chosen some Bible Baptist Calvinist as my church destination.

But due also to the influence of my first mentor-Ps Ric Pagarigan-with his books of Francis Schaeffer, Machen, Nash and those related to the defunct Faith Theological Seminary.-I am also weary of that association.

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By the use of the Today’s address-I was able to contact the main headquarters of the Christian Reformed Church at Grand Rapids,Michigan. Then they wrote me a letter which for some time I kept together with a small booklet-which I gave to then Susanna Ponseca-Pura. And they also gave me the address of their missionary-Ps Dick Kwantes-a Canadian missionary, whose wife, Dr Anne Kwantes, is more known since she became a professor at the Asian theological

Anne Kwantes

Anne Kwantes

Seminary, Quezon City and published a church history regarding the Protestant/Presbyterian missions in the Philippines-which was published by OMF.

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In 1982 they were residing at Times St. near Cory Aquino’s house. I just rode a jeepney to that place and walked to their house from the corner.

They were so hospitable and friendly-they also lent me Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology and the multivolume-SD Graff –Promise and Deliverance. And they also gave me the names of their missionary located at BF Homes, Paranaque. Their names were –Pastor Maas and Eloise Vanderbilts. They also gave me the name of the First CRC of Quezon City’s pastor-Rev Nomer Bernardino. I went there once-but Ps Nomer is not as enthusiastic to know that I came to know CRC because of the 5 points of Calvinism-or TULIP. He just emphasized then that there are many ministry opportunities there.

So off I go to BF Homes Christian Fellowship-located at Tirona St.

Outline on Studies Re: Believers’ Baptism

I. Three main reasons usually adduced by Baptist for Believer’s BAptism

1. Mode of Baptism is Immersion (But Greek Orthodox do tri-immersion of babies)

2. No Direct Command to baptize infants-but only believers (No abrogation of command to apply covenant sign to infants either)

3. No Direct Example of baptizing infants-only believers or adults (but there are household baptisms and children are considered holy in 1 Corinthians)

II. The Covenant of Abraham and the rite of Circumcion applied to his seed

III. The Exodus-Israel Covenant is similar and conjunct to the Abrahamic Covenant.

IV. The New Covenant in Jeremiah 31-  Election and Covenant

V. The Disturbing passages in New Testament better explained by Believer’s Baptism: John 1:12-13 and Galatians 3:6, 26-29

Justin Taylor’s Comment re:E. Ferguson’s book

This excerpt is from http://theologica.blogspot.com/2009/04/ferguson-on-infant-baptism-and-mode-of.html   >

On infant baptism, he writes:

There is general agreement that there is no firm evidence for infant baptism before the latter part of the second century. This fact does not mean that it did not occur, but it does mean that supporters of the practice have a considerable chronological gap to account for. Many replace the historical silence by appeal to theological or sociological considerations. . . .

The most plausible explanation for the origin of infant baptism is found in the emergency baptism of sick children expected to die soon so that they would be assured of entrance into the kingdom of heaven. There was a slow extension of baptizing babies as a precautionary measure. It was generally accepted, but questions continued to be raised about its propriety into the fifth century. It became the usual practice in the fifth and sixth centuries. (pp. 856, 857)

On the mode of baptism, he writes:

The comprehensive survey of the evidence compiled in this study give a basis for a fresh look at this subject and seeks to give coherence to that evidence while addressing seeming anomalies. The Christian literary sources, backed by secular word usage and Jewish religous immersions, given an overwhelming support for full immersion as the normal action. Exceptions in cases of a lack of water and especially of sickbed baptism were made.

Submersion was undoubtedly the case for the fourth and fifth centuries in the Greek East and only slightly less certain for the Latin West. Was this a change from an earlier practice, a selection out of options previously available, or a continuation of the practice of the first three centuries? It is the contention of this study that the last interpretation best accords with the available facts. Unless one has preconceived ideas about how an immersion would be performed, the literary, art, and archaeological evidence supports this conclusion. (p. 857)

Also from http://www.amazon.com/Baptism-Early-Church-H-Stander/dp/0952791315

By Puritan Covenanter “R. Martin” (Speedway, Indiana)

The authors come from a paedo baptist theological bent. I am not sure why they wrote the book because it doesn’t seem to support their view. They even use a lot of quotes from other Paedo-Baptists and show that they have misquoted or misunderstood the context of the Early Church Fathers. Maybe they are just illuminating the Early Church Father’s beliefs concerning baptism for conscience sake. From the outset the Early Church seemed to link water baptism very closely to the remission and cleansing of sin. If one wasn’t baptized by water they had no forgiveness of sin. This theological theme continued but grew in different directions concerning its efficacy and benefits during the next four centuries. According to the authors the connection between baptism and modern day covenant theology is proven to be almost non-existent in the writings of the Early Church. They link infant baptism’s induction into the church because of necessity. In other words the deathbed was the reason infant baptism was introduced into the church. The book was very illuminating and I agreed with part of its conclusion. “The symbol became the actual means. The rite of baptism itself, rather than Christ, became the guarantee of eternal salvation.”