A number of times I have had students and staff from Liberty ask me a question something along the lines of, “So, why worry about this Calvinism stuff? Does it really matter?” Aside from the issues we addressed in our gift to the students at Liberty (found here), there is another example to be offered in answer to the question.
Here you find an audio recording of the Sunday morning service at McGregor Baptist Church December 10th, 2006. The speaker is Ergun Caner. The title of the “sermon” is “Dealing with Morons.” It ends with “Merry Christmas.” It received a lot of applause and laughter. It is not Reformed. In any sense. Any way.
Here you will find my Christmas Eve sermons from the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. The morning sermon (streaming/save) is about the Incarnation from Matthew 1, Isaiah 7, 9, and 11. The evening sermon (streaming/save) was from Isaiah 53.
I would like to concede a number of points to Dr. Caner. He got a lot of laughs. He got a lot of applause. He even admitted that he preached once while so blasted on some liquid in a mason jar that he doesn’t even remember what he said. I can’t compete with any of that. And that’s the point, actually.
Next, I happened to notice this article over on the Crossed the Tiber blog:
We celebrate Jesus coming into the world as Lord and Savior. We prepare him room in our hearts during Advent with prayers, fasting and giving. As Catholics, we continue to receive him, soul, body and divinity through the gift of the Eucharist as often as we take the Blessed Sacrament. That miracle that occurred 2000 years ago continues to occur on altars throughout the world as Christ gives us His flesh in an ongoing re-presentation of his sacrifice once for all.
We have the opportunity to receive Jesus today in Mass as well as tomorrow or tonite in Midnight vigil Mass. Not an obligation, a holy privilege!
I am so thankful that I have a finished sacrifice that does not need to be “re-presented” on an altar. I am so thankful that the death of Christ perfects. What a tragedy that so many will be going to Mass, thinking they are approaching a “re-presentation” of the Cross, but will go away once again imperfect, without lasting peace, for they have no finished work, no imputed righteousness, upon which to stand. May God be pleased to continue to free men and women from slavery to such a treadmill of sacramentalism and bring them into the glorious truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Finally, this morning when I read the Scriptures in our services, I decided to do something unusual. I strung together four texts that speak of the pre-incarnate Son, to help provide a bit of a balance to the normally chosen texts. I share them with you all with wishes that you will have a blessed celebration of the coming of the Lord of Glory!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
You must have the same mindset among yourselves that was in Christ Jesus,
Who, although He eternally existed in the very form of God,
Did not consider that equality He had with God the Father something to be held on to at all costs,
But instead He made Himself nothing,
By taking on the very form of a slave,
By being made in human likeness.
And having entered into human existence,
He humbled Himself
By becoming obedient to the point of death,
Even the death one dies on a cross!
Because of this, God the Father exalted Him to the highest place,
And bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
So that at the mention of the exalted name of Jesus
Everyone who is in heaven, on earth, and under the earth,
Bows the knee,
And every tongue confesses:
“Jesus Christ is Lord!”
All to the glory of God the Father!
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? 6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” 8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” 10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” 13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?