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The Power Of Thanksgiving



By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

Most adults probably know by now that the story of the first Colonial Thanksgiving was a little more complex than that learned as a child. To catch up see Robert Tracy McKenzie, The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning From History (2013). There are young people, however, who have learned an equally simplistic (and even malevolent) story in which the colonists and pilgrims were genocidal maniacs. Check your child’s history books. If one of them is Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States your child is being taught one of those discredited narratives.

Apart from cultural and political arguments over American colonial history, however, Christians do well to appreciate the necessity and power of being thankful. Even among Reformed people gratitude as a motive for the Christian life seems to have fallen on hard times. One need not look far to see various alternatives being suggested. It has been said to me quite plainly that the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) is a “Lutheran” confession and that the old Reformed schema of “guilt, grace, and gratitude,” the three parts of the catechism (and arguably the outline of the book of Romans) are either passé or make sanctification a “second blessing.”

First, how to answer the objection, made seriously by self-identified Reformed and Presbyterians, that the catechism is Lutheran? The charge is absurd and to suggest that the Heidelberg was never Reformed is to adopt a definition of Reformed that is without basis in the history of Reformed theology, piety, and practice. The Westminster Divines received the Heidelberg as Reformed. No one in the history of theology has ever seriously characterized the Heidelberg as Lutheran, in the sense in which this allegation is being made, i.e., in the sense that is sub-Reformed or contra-Reformed. Perhaps it is best to say any definition of Reformed that excludes the Heidelberg is idiosyncratic at best.

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Previously Featured Posts

Bill Hybels Resigns from Willow Creek

By Bob Smietana - Posted at Christianity Today:
Former leaders have accused the church of failing to adequately address several allegations against Hybels, including inappropriate comments, private meetings with female staffers in his hotel room and at his home, intrusive hugs, and, in one case, an unwanted kiss.Megachurch pastor “accelerates” October retirement weeks after former colleagues went public with misconduct allegations.

Bill Hybels has stepped down as senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area megachurch he founded over 40 years ago, citing the controversy over recent allegations against him.

Many in the wider Christian community have been confused by those allegations, he said, and the controversy has distracted his church’s leaders from their mission and has hurt the church’s ministries. “They can’t flourish to their fullest potential when the valuable time of our leaders is divided.”

Hybels, who previously planned to retire in October, revealed the…

The Gospel Is The Remedy For Racism

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

Racism is sin. There can be no hedging or qualifying here. To regard another image bearer as inferior because of his ethnicity is sin and has no place in the church of Jesus Christ. God’s Word is clear about the only remedy for racism: the good news of Jesus Christ.
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:23–29; NASB). N…

Two Lessons from Two Radically Different Funerals

By Jordan Standridge - Posted at The Cripplegate:

Funerals are a gift from God. I know that sounds crazy, but they are a God-given tool to force us to reflect on the brevity of life, and how finite we are as human beings. I truly do believe that humans should attend as many funerals as possible during their lives, it is that good for your soul.

I have the privilege of attending two last Friday, and they could not have been more different from each other.

The first was of a believer. One of the sons (who is an elder at our church) gave the eulogy, and the other son, who is a Presbyterian pastor, gave the message. At least 100 people were there.

The second was of a non-believer. I had the privilege of giving the message at this one to a crowd of 10 people at the local funeral home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the incredible difference between the two funerals. Both individuals were in their 80s, both had lived long lives full of experiences, and yet, the outcome of their fune…