The death of an infant or young child is profoundly heartbreaking – perhaps the greatest grief a parent is called to bear. For Christian parents, there is the sure knowledge that our sovereign and merciful God is in control, but there is also a pressing question: Is our baby in heaven?
This is a natural and unavoidable question, calling for our most careful and faithful biblical study and theological reflection. The unspeakable anguish of a parent?s heart demands our honest and humble searching of the Scriptures.
Some are quick to answer this question out of sentimentality. Of course infants go to heaven, they argue, for how could God refuse a precious little one? The Universalist has a quick answer, for he believes that everyone will go to heaven. Some persons may simply suggest that elect infants go to heaven, while the non-elect do not, and must suffer endless punishment. Each of these easy answers is unsatisfactory. Continue reading →
So I’ve been listening to the CCEF podcast recently and heard Elliot Greene from Redeemer Theological Seminary speak. One thing he said specifically made me think. He said we’re all addicts. That confused me at first but then I thought about it. Some are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other physical substances. Others are addicted to getting their way, pleasing others, or pleasing themselves. Still others are addicted to controlling every situation around them, holiday traditions, or even sitting down when they get home from work. I would go so far as to say that addictions are universal. You know why? We were created for addiction. However, it was to be addicted to the Creator. That was the design. All that fell apart in Genesis 3 when man chose to disobey God and therefore sin. What can we learn from all this? Instead of the addiction I mentioned about (or feel free to insert your own), our addiction should be for our Creator. That cannot happen without a heart that has been regenerated and brought back to life by God. Otherwise we’re all just dead in our addictions.
So we’re getting involved in a church here in Dahlonega named Christ Family Church. It’s quite phenomenal to find a church we can call home after coming back to Georgia. While we attended some nice ones in Lawrenceville, one of them was too focused on tradition and the other was too focused on its members (although it was trying to change that and become more missional). In Dahlonega, CFC is solidly biblical and missional. Just because they’re so concise, here are the vision and distinctions of the church: Continue reading →
Since I am pursuing a Master of Divinity with Biblical Counseling, I figured I should write on counseling a little. Almost everyone goes to counselors / psychologists / psychiatrists now days. Why is this? Why do people go to these particular people with their problems? Because they tell us that they can fix us. Why don’t people take their problems to churches? Because when they do, many times the pastors themselves send them to these self-proclaimed specialists. Shouldn’t the pastors provide counsel from the Bible, instead of trusting in man-made advice that doesn’t even take into account the dichotomy (inner man and outer man) or trichotomy (body, soul, and spirit) of man and is instead anthropologically monistic. If all there is to man is man, and no spiritual side, then psychotherapy is fine. But, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17) Just remember, all Scripture is God-breathed. (II Timothy 3:16-17)
You may think I’m crazy writing about how pastors should be counseling their people, since I’m majoring in counseling. Actually, I write this precisely for this reason. Counseling, when done in a biblical context, takes place in the local church and in a body of believers – it is not a separate entity. It employs accountability in the body and will utilize church discipline in the case of unrepentance.
Let me flesh this out a bit. Here’s how I see counseling operating within the context of the local body: 90% of the counseling is done as one-another ministry. If you have something with which you need help, you first go to your brother or sister (same sex) in Christ, and they will help you from the God’s Word. 90% of counseling would end there, as we have the Bible from which to counsel.
If there is a problem that seems too large for one-another ministry, the “another” should bring in an elder in the church. If the elder feels unqualified for a certain problem, they should bring in a counselor trained in that specific problem – from a biblical perspective. This progression is similar to church discipline. We are called to help one another and that is the method I proclaim. As 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says: “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle (or disorderly, or undisciplined), encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”