HAPPY REFORMATION DAY, EVERYONE!
On this date in 1517, Augustinian monk and university professor Martin Luther nailed (or possibly pasted) his Ninety-Five Theses to the castle church door at Wittenberg in what is now Germany as an academic challenge. Though the theses (another word for propositions) were in Latin and meant only for the learned to read, someone translated them into the vernacular and published them without Luther's permission. This was the spark that lit the flame of the Protestant Reformation, and the rest is history. Depending on who you ask, Baptists may or may not consider themselves "Protestant" in the sense of coming out of Roman Catholicism in protest.
But it is beyond dispute, historically, that Baptists have been in full agreement with the spirit of the Reformation since the early days of the denomination in the 17th century. In particular, that means the doctrines of grace and the so-called "Five Solas": Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Gratia (grace alone), Sola Fide (faith alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone). We stand with Luther and the Reformers in proclaiming that Scripture alone is our authority, and salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Nothing else. Here we stand, we cannot do otherwise. God help us!
TODAY is Bible Quiz Day for our church's team as they gather with 25 other teams from around the region to compete as friends and to recall what they have learned over the last month since the last quiz. Our team name is "Contagious" and I would ask that you pray for them as they complete their day of quizzing.
TOMORROW is THE LORD’S DAY! Join us for Bible Study for All Ages at 9:30 am followed by worship at 10:40 am. The worship service is streamed over Facebook Live and is posted on our Youtube channel later in the day for those without access to Facebook Live.
We will be in Ruth 4 for our final message in this great little book about God's faithfulness from generation to generation, and how he uses flawed and sinful people to accomplish His purpose and bring glory to Himself.
Here are the Scriptures that will frame our worship service tomorrow. I hope you will take a few minutes to read through them, meditate on them, and prepare your heart for corporate worship. Click on the link to take you to an online version or read them in your favorite app or print copy:
Fighter Verse: Psalm 118:5-8
Call to Worship: Psalm 46
Old Testament Reading: Micah 3:5-12
New Testament Readings: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12
Assurance of God's Pardon: 1 John 1:8-9
Sermon Passage: Ruth 4
Benediction: Numbers 6:24-26
THIS WEEK is a very important week because of Election Day. I want to take this opportunity to say that if you are registered vote, please exercise your right to do so. Let your vote be consistent with the teaching of Scripture. If you subscribe to The Pathway, then you received a voter guide to describe candidates and issues. If you did not receive one, we have some copies at the church and will be happy to share them with you.
On Monday, November 2 at 7 pm, join me in the Sanctuary for Pre-Election Prayer. We will pray for our country, our leaders, and the upcoming election. I will be preparing a prayer guide, and I anticipate our prayer time to last about 75 minutes. (If you would like to pray at home during that time instead, I will be happy to send you a prayer guide so that you can join with us).
RESOURCES TO WATCH AND LISTEN TO: I don't take time in the pulpit to speak to specific political matters or candidates, but the issues of morality and freedom are matters we do address. I believe that this may very well be a watershed election in terms of the far-reaching impact on matters of life, freedom, and the future of America.
Allow me to share a couple of podcasts with you, one from Al Mohler and another from Doug Wilson. These are men that are much smarter than I, and they have thought much more deeply than I have about political issues as related to theology. I invite you to listen thoughtfully and reflectively. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily endorse every viewpoint of these men, but believe the following resources to be insightful and helpful.
Al Mohler: The Briefing Special Edition: Christians, Conscience, and the 2020 Election (25:55)
Doug Wilson: John Piper, Me, and the Cool Shame Election (9:14); A Second Round of John Piper, Me, and the Cool Shame Election (9:48) [Wilson's podcasts are responses to John Piper's recent article on why he isn't planning to vote for either presidential candidate in this election. While I appreciate and respect John Piper, have read and profited from his books and have attended his conferences gladly, and whose passion for Christ and the Gospel are without equal, I cannot agree with him on this point].
I also invite you to watch Wayne Grudem on Answering a Friend's Objections to Voting for Trump (58:39). Dr. Grudem is a professor at Phoenix Seminary, and his Systematic Theology and books on biblical complementarianism have made a deep impact on me. He is thoughtful, gentle, and well-reasoned in his answers.
ICYMI Last Sunday’s Message Ruth 3: Our Kinsman Redeemer
Visit the website for more up-to-date information!
I leave you with this wonderful recording of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, Martin Luther's text arranged by Henric Idestrom and sung by the John Brown University Singers. Enjoy and be inspired!
See you in church!
Grace and peace,