Monthly Archives: July 2011

Repentance and Justification

Justification reminds us that saying ‘sorry’ earns us nothing. We ought to be sorry and fess up for our actions regardless of the consequences; this is simply our right duty. Saying ‘sorry’ is embracing the consequences as what we justly deserve. Never mind for just a moment that we will never come to the Lord except by His gracious calling. If we see our sins aright, when we come back to the Lord we ought to expect nothing but judgment for our actions and unbelief.

What is surprising is that we when come to the Lord he also wipes our sins away. This is the overabundant outpouring of his grace. Justification is a landslide of grace on top of his gracious welcoming us back in the first place. We have nothing to pay, but are now treated as if we were faithful like Jesus our whole lives. ‘Sorry’ earns us nothing; Jesus righteous life, death and resurrection have accomplished everything.


Candidates and Theology


In the 2008 elections, I bothered everyone who was stuck with me by constantly saying that I wished I had a document explaining Obama’s political philosophy as a whole, not to mention any system of thought that binds his thinking together. I always felt like I was given well polished snippets which did nothing to reveal the undergirding system of thought.

It turns out I am not alone. Please read this article by David Mills, at First Things. Here is a lovely clipping:

The country does not need religous politicians to collaborate in removing religious doctrine from the public square. We need politicians who lay out their theology and explain how it both binds and directs them, and that theology includes finer points generally considered politically irrelevant. And we need this from secular politicians, who also have a theology, or if they prefer a philosophy, as much as from religious ones.

Not that we will get such disclosures. Religious candidates are happy to argue fiercely about cutting taxes or regulating banks or increasing social spending, but not about anything they can segregate out as religious" or theological." The closest conservatives come is to speak of family values" or traditional values," while avoiding answering the question of what justifies those values and why they should bind anyone else. The closest liberals come is to invoke compassion and concern for the poor without explaining how this justifies their policies.

Bianchi Built!

After 3 years I have finally completed my new bike. I picked up a Bianchi frame with Dedeccai steel frame and some carbon chain stays in the winter of 2008. Well, my wonderful Dad picked it up for me in winter 2008 driving through a foot of snow to get it; I was in Malawi, sweating. I repo-ed the frame from my Dad when we returned in 2009 and moved to St. Louis. Eager to build it up, I quickly bought a wheelset, a lovely Reynolds Ouzo fork, a handlebar, a stem and a headset. But, after school hit, as well as the realization that the old components from my Cannondale were not going to function well on a new frame (since they barely function on my old one), the project languished and halted.

It wasn’t until this last spring (2011), that I found a groupset for a reasonable price: Dura-Ace 7800, pristine condition, $450, 11-pieces including new chain, new brake pads, new housing. After a grueling Spring semester, and a wonderful trip to Zimbabwe to teach, I returned home invigorated to build. Today I finished my third ever bike build; and its the best yet.

Can’t wait to ride it, though I may need to upgrade my security.


Zimbabwe – Summary

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We had a wonderful time visiting the Theological College of Zimbabwe, and the fellow Presbyterian churches in Bulawayo. Bethany has done a great job giving some color to the stories of our time there at her blog Still in St. Louis. Please visit there to get a glimpse of our daily life there and the ministry and relationships she had.

In an effort to keep things brief, here is an executive summary. Over the five and a half weeks we were there, I was able to:
– Teach on Romans 12-16
– Teach on Philippians 2
– Teach on Amos 5-6
– Teach two lectures with KJ Drake on Covenant Theology
– Teach on Episcopalian Polity
– Teach one chapter of Greek Grammar
– Lead one session of an advanced Greek reading course, looking at Romans 8
– Tutor 2 Greek students a handful of times
– Preach twice; once in the TCZ chapel and once in City Presbyterian

I feel quite blessed not only to have been able to go and visit the school, but also to have been able to participate and teach as many sections as I did. It was quite encouraging teaching. I had a great time doing it, and realized how much more I need to learn to teach well (pedagogy is difficult).

There were 3 guys and 1 girl from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and 2 of us from Covenant (myself and KJ Drake). The guys from Gordon-Conwell were all there without their wives and children. All the guys stayed on campus and ate PB & J and Ramen noodles. I had the sweetest gig of all; I got to teach and research all day long, and then come home to a wonderful meal and my wonderful family. I got to spend time with my wife and kids every night of the week (a bit rare in our home during the semester while working at the restaurant!)

We are praying for wisdom in how we spend the next two or more years here in STL. We would love to go back to Zim, and especially TCZ. It would be great if they could use us as well. It was quite exciting to meet the Presbyterian ministers there, and very encouraging to here their hearts for the church and vision to see the Lord continue his work among them and among the city. It would be a life well spent partnering with the church there and serving along side these wonderful brothers.

If we were to go and work with the church there, an M.Div would be sufficient. But if I wanted to teach, I would need to get a Th.M or an equivalent research Masters. This is not because I haven’t studied enough to teach at a Bachelor’s level, nor is it a requirement of the college. Rather, it would be a good degree to have to bring some higher credentials to the table for the college’s sake. They want to eventually offer an MA in theological/biblical studies. but in order to do that it seems they need a certain number of faculty with Ph.D’s or Th.M’s. At this point, a Th.M (or an S.T.M. at Concordia Seminary) seems like the best option. It, ideally, would only take a year to complete after finishing my M.Div. It would allow me to teach at a higher level, and wouldn’t take the next 5 or more years to complete (like a Ph.D would; if I could be accepted to a program).

So, please pray for us. Pray for our wisdom in deciding how to go about the next few years in terms of study, but also in terms of continuing relationships with those in Zim. It would be lovely if the Lord had a place for us in Zim at the end of our studies. At the end of the day, though, we don’t want to go anywhere if the Lord isn’t there as well.

Thank you to all of you who were praying for us, and especially to all of you who prayed for us and gave us the money we needed to get there! It was amazing to see all of the support come together so quickly; that in and of itself is a testimony to the Lord’s kindness and our continued partnership.