[The following is an excerpt from a commencement address I was asked to give last week for Trinity Preparatory Academy in at Christ Community Church in Lindenwold, NJ. While there was only one graduating senior, they have a big vision and I was proud to be part of the ceremony. The young graduate, Miss Ana Hernandez, is a regular attender at Mercy Hill]
As you begin your life after high school, you need to recognize that while some things will change, many things will remain the same. You’re still going to have homework—in college, of course, there will be homework assignments. But more generally speaking “tests” and “tasks” and “trials” are not things that are limited to school.
In fact, in some ways, the homework assignments of high school are some of the easiest “tests” you’ll ever have. As of today, you’ll begin to discover the truth of this observation yourself. How can you prepare for the changing-yet-similar circumstances of your next chapter of life? How can you start this new chapter well?
God’s Word will help us here, because it is filled with instruction on how to manage life’s tests. It may not have the answers to your school assignments, but it definitely does have the answer to life’s “homework” assignments.
What do the Sony film, The Interview, and the #parisshooting have in common? They both claim to represent, guard, or promote honorable traditions, but in fact do not. Think about it:
How can the lewd, disrespectful, and lascivious movie known as The Interview possibly represent anything that pleases God? Or,
How can a plucky French pundit who sketches obscene comics about political and religious figures in the name of “free speech” be a hero of democracy?
The Bible says that “if we want to have no fear of authority,” then we should “do what is right and we will receive praise from the same.” Under no circumstances can penning, and publishing, obscene comics of the prophet Muhammad be construed as “doing what is right.” Continue reading →
You’ve asked to me and asked me why I called “baptism” a “secondary matter.” I’d like to try and explain myself a little better than I did the first time we talked, so that’s why I’m taking time to write out my thoughts in the form of a letter.
First of all, “secondary matters” for Christians do not mean unimportant matters. Rather, they refer to things over which Christians may and do often disagree but which do not rise to the level of primary issues of orthodoxy.
Orthodoxy doesn’t mean beards and incense, by the way. It is what defines a Christian. Secondary matters are what distinguish Christians from one another.
I used to teach Biology; secondary matters are what makes a species. Primary matters are what make a genus. In Christianity, primary matters refer to the vital heart and center of the Gospel.
For example, did Jesus really rise from the Dead? Was He really fully man and fully God? Was he born of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Will we stand before God in judgment?
Secondary matters are not at the vital heart and center of the Gospel, but they are still convictions about what is “biblical” and “unbiblical.” The difference is that, at the end of the day, we can agree to disagree over these biblical convictions.