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Joe Fleener

Joe Fleener's Public Library

  • urning now to the modern world, we can see that the concept of love which is extolled as a virtue is in reality almost exclusively that of love as passion
  • Perhaps this is the real issue in current debates about marriage. Robert George has pointed out that no fault divorce was the real watershed in the recent legal history of the institution. That changed marriage from a relationship of lifelong commitment to that of a temporary, dispensable, sentimental bond.

  • All of this suggests that Christ’s burial has theological significance. After all, if the only thing that matters is Jesus’s death, then why have a burial at all? Further, why the burial for three days? These passages and others indicate that Jesus’s prolonged state of death is vicarious, in that by it Jesus experiences and defeats death for us.
  • Jesus defeats all of God’s enemies, including the last enemy, death, in his death, burial, and resurrection. By taking on death for us, he defeats it for us. Death has been swallowed up in death, because the one who died for us is life.

  • The reason many corporations, members of the media, and ten thousands angry tweeters do not feel the need to examine the arguments for religious freedom is because they don’t think any rational arguments can be made in this instance. Traditional views about marriage are so 1990’s and so obviously immoral that anyone holding such views today does not deserve our respect, let alone any whiff of legal protection. We should not expect our ideas to be debated fairly when it has already been concluded that there are no ideas to consider, only bigotry to suppress. As I’ve said before, why argue about dogma when stigma will do?

  • Tortured for Christ, by VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand, is the free audiobook of the month for April

  • Can the church exist with malfunctioning toilets, leaks in the roof, and paint falling off the walls? Absolutely! The church can exist even when people are falling out of windows (Acts 20:9), though I wouldn’t recommend putting this one to the test. But can a church exist without the Word? Or can it grow while being fed a light dose of the Word? Absolutely not
  • If a pastor is over-confident in his own abilities and drifts away from his call to be a steward of God’s Word, then he is no longer qualified to be a pastor.
  • Because a local church cannot live out its identity as the body of Christ if it doesn’t know who the body is

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  • An early childhood educator says many people are losing confidence in how to be parents because they now see their role as going back to paid work as soon as possible after having a baby.
  • parents understanding their crucial role as their children's 'first teachers'."

  • When I think about upping the joy in parenting and diminishing the stress, I propose that much of our anxiety stems from this notion that our kids’ childhood must be Utterly Magical; a beautifully documented fairytale in which they reside as center of the universe, their success is manufactured (or guaranteed), and we over-attend to every detail of their lives until we send them off to college after writing their entrance essays.
  • They didn’t worry endlessly, interfere constantly, safeguard needlessly, or overprotect religiously.
  • We don’t want to produce young adults that despair at the first obstacle they face. Don’t we want them to learn that they are one part of a healthy family, not the centrifugal force of their entire environment?

  • The Latin edition of the Bible thus approved and privileged by Trent was that which Jerome produced in the late fourth century. Jerome's Latin Bible -- the Vulgate -- was rather controversial in its own time because Jerome chose to translate the Old Testament into Latin from the Hebrew Scriptures rather than the received Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint). But, whatever qualms initially existed regarding Jerome's conviction that Scripture should be translated from its original languages rather than other translations, Jerome's Vulgate eventually became the Church's standard version of Scripture. As knowledge of Greek and Hebrew faded in Western Europe following the collapse of the Roman Empire and the influx of Germanic tribes, few biblical scholars cared enough -- or were, for that matter, competent -- to compare the Vulgate's rendering of Scripture to surviving manuscripts of the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, those languages in which Scripture was originally penned.
  • Trent adopted the decidedly un-reasonable approach of authorizing Jerome's unquestionably flawed translation of the Bible over all would-be competitors.
  • Trent's decision to authenticate the Vulgate translation of the Bible isn't as curious as it seems upon the surface if one remembers the historical circumstances surrounding the Council's meeting. Rome clearly felt threatened by persons who challenged traditional dogmas on the basis of Scripture's original words, and decided to stop the mouths of such persons by taking Scripture in its original languages (or superior translations) from their hands and replacing it with a text which was less threatening since it was familiar to them, and could -- following well-worn patterns of argument -- be more easily turned to the defense of traditional, albeit ultimately unbiblical, doctrines.

  • Unfortunately, for a growing number of churches, there are no hymnals in the pews (or on the chairs), and consequently there is little opportunity to draw from the deep well of Christian hymnody. Most of the hymns in this series are not unfamiliar, just underutilized.

  • God, as Adam's father, threatened Adam in the Garden. His threat was an act of love (grace?), designed to keep Adam from sinning. Adam had good reason, then, to be afraid of God when he sinned.
  • There are many threats in the New Testament that are made to the people of God, if they continue or persist in a certain path of unrighteousness (e.g., Heb. 10:25-31; 12:15-17; Rev. 3:14-22; Rom. 8:13; Matt. 6:15; 1 Cor. 10:1-22; Gal. 5:21; indeed, the whole book of Hebrews). Whenever we preach on the necessity of repentance, there is an implied gospel threat (assuming Ursinus et al were right to place "repentance" in the category of "gospel", not "law"). Moreover, church discipline is indisputable evidence that believers can be threatened, and sometimes handed over to Satan if they fail to repent. It must be a "gospel threat" because the sin is directly against Christ and his work.
  • "A fond conceit has befallen some, that all denunciations of future wrath, even unto believers, is legal, which therefore it does not become the preachers of the gospel to insist upon: so would men make themselves wiser than Jesus Christ and all his apostles, yes, they would disarm the Lord Christ, and expose him to the contempt of his vilest enemies. There is also, we see, a great use in these evangelical threatenings to believers themselves. And they have been observed to have had an effectual ministry, both unto conversion and edification, who have been made wise and dexterous in managing gospel [threats] toward the consciences of their hearers. And those that hear the word may hence learn their duty, when such threatenings are handled and opened to them" (Works, 3:287).

  • Immaturity and Sin among Men
  • If you are an unmarried adult man, who does not have the gift of singleness (i.e. no or little sex drive), then you should consider the priorities and the trajectory of your life, along with the needs of godly women for husbands.
  • Many men have not had role models and therefore lack confidence in themselves as male leaders

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  • Because the ministry of the word, especially but not only the pastoral element of it, is emotionally instensive. That is why preaching tires us out – there’s nothing particularly physical about it (for most of us!). But we feel drained after preaching because of the emotional investment. It is this emptying that makes ministers so vulnerable to attack.

  • A few notes are significant about abandonment as a ground of divorce.  In his address, Dr. Murray stressed that it must be "irremedial abandonment."  By this, I presume that he meant that the one spouse has rejected all attempts at reconciliation or even has physically absented himself or herself from the marriage in such a way that he cannot be found.  The point is that we do not declare abandonment simply when one member of the marriage moves out or goes to spend at night at his parents.  It is final abandonment, leaving the abandoned spouse with no recourse but to end the marriage.  

  • Being offered money keeps us from asking the tough questions. The offer may, in fact, be a test from the Lord, who has every right to test whether we in fact hallow his name or our own.

  • In Belgium, assisted suicide has been granted to a woman with “­untreatable depression”; in the Netherlands, assisted suicide has been granted to a woman because she did not want to live in a nursing home. We see evidence here of not only a practical slippery slope but a relentlessly logical slide from a cancer patient with six months to live to people who are merely unhappy, demoralized, dejected, depressed, or desperate
  • To abandon suicidal individuals in the midst of a crisis—under the guise of respecting their autonomy—is socially irresponsible: It undermines sound medical ethics and erodes ­social solidarity.
  • Refusing to legitimate suicide helps those in need. The practice of physician-assisted suicide—by whatever name one calls it—sends a message that some lives are not worth living. The law is a teacher: If assisted suicide is legalized, this message will be heard by everyone who is afflicted by suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

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  • The biblical role of deacons is to take care of the physical and logistical needs of the church so that the elders can concentrate on their primary calling.
  • The similarities of the qualifications for deacons and elders/overseers in 1 Timothy 3 are striking
  • Furthermore, the focus of the qualifications is the moral character of the person who is to fill the office: a deacon must be mature and above reproach. The main difference between an elder and a deacon is a difference of gifts and calling, not character.

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  • Elders lead ministry, deacons facilitate ministry, the congregation does ministry

  • What struck me the most about the study was that in helping our children develop a healthy self-esteem, we can so easily slip into overvaluing their performances, which can lead to a narcissistic attitude. As Brummelman put it, "Rather than raising self-esteem, overvaluing practices may inadvertently raise levels of narcissism."

  • A new (third) edition of “Who made God? Searching for a theory of everything” is now available in UK. The original text is unchanged but a nine-page appendix has been added responding to recent atheist books by Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow and Lawrence Krauss published since WMG was written. There is also a link to exchanges between this author and the late Victor Stenger relating to the critique of Stenger’s book “God; the failed hypothesis”.
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