Calvinism’s Unassuring Assurance

I’m monitoring several Calvinist blog sites and continue, sadly, to note how Calvinism simply and clearly does NOT put Jesus at the center. Note the discussion by Even May about assurance of salvation. Note how he talks about salvation and assurance of salvation, but…no Jesus! How tragic.

Link: Triablogue.

It is sufficient that I believe I’m saved, and that I have adequate grounds for so believing. Or, to recast this in negative terms, it’s sufficient that I have no good grounds for doubting my salvation.

Second Thoughts About Living Together

I’m pleased to tell you about a new pamphlet from Concordia Publishing House created to help pastors and congregations deal with the situation of couples who are living together without marriage. It is extremely well done and covers in good summary fashion the teaching of Holy Scripture about marriage as well as providing responses to most of the commonly heard excuses for this sinful behavior. It is intended to be used by pastors with couples, but it would be a good idea to supply the entire congregation with this pamphlet, perhaps after studying it with the board of elders, so that all might know what the church’s position is on this issue. The author of this pamphlet was Rev. Matthew Harrison, who struggled with this issue in his parish ministry and prepared this pamphlet as a result.

Single copies are $1.75, but you may obtain this 32 page, 6×9 pamphlet for only 90 cents each when you order ten or more copies. Here is the product description from the CPH web site. Either place your order on the web, or call 800-325-3040.

Product Description

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4 ESV)

If there is one thing that all parish pastors have in common that proves time and again to be a persistent and vexing problem, it is the challenge of couples who present themselves for marriage but who are already living together.

In response to frequent requests for a concise, faithfully Biblical resource to help couples reflect on the issues raised by living together, and to help pastors minister in such situations, we have prepared the resource entitled Second Thoughts About Living Together.

This pamphlet is in a Question and Answer format. Some of the questions include

    * What is Marriage?
    * Who regulates marriage: Church or State?
    * What is the purpose of marriage?
    * What’s so important about a piece of paper?
    * What about so-called Common Law marriages?
    * Is living together such a great offense?

Bach Marathon Deemed Huge Hit

Link: Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | Bach in demand: listeners hail Radio 3 festival a huge success.

Bach in demand: listeners hail Radio 3 festival a huge success

Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent
Thursday January 5, 2006
The Guardian

Radio 3′s decision to devote its schedules to the complete works of Bach for 10 days before Christmas proved a runaway success. Its website received a record number of hits in December, with 3.1m page impressions during the season itself and 2.4m in the runup to it.

Precise listener figures will not surface, however, because Rajar, which measures radio audiences, does not monitor the period around Christmas. Nearly 2,000 emails, more than 90% of them positive, were received by the network, according to the Radio 3 controller, Roger Wright.

Listeners are still adding to the 7,000 postings on the Bach messageboard. Discussions include a request by a woman for “a handsome wealthy guy who can live with Bach and me”. It has elicited 383 responses. Although not everyone enjoyed the superabundance of baroque music (one wrote that the event was “in keeping with the western attitude of flogging, dismantling, and murdering the life blood out of every cultural phenomenon”) most agreed with the listener who described being “intoxicated” by Radio 3′s “brilliant achieveme

Bach-fever also made itself felt commercially. Tony Shaw, buyer of classical music for the chain HMV, said Bach sales had doubled. “People say that classical music is dying, but when it is featured heavily on TV or radio there is a huge response,” he said.

When Radio 3 broadcast the complete works of Beethoven earlier in 2005, it also allowed listeners to download, free of charge, his complete symphonies from its website. The popularity of the scheme, with more than 1m downloads, and furore in the recording industry, meant that a similar facility was not offered this time.

Mr Wright said there were no immediate plans to broadcast complete works of other composers; Mozart’s 250th birthday this month will be celebrated “throughout the year”, he said.

Just as well for one listener, on whom the effect of Bach has been so powerful that he described Mozart as “frivolous junk” on the messageboard, and proposed a Bach-only radio station.