The Incarnate Liberator for a World in Terror

Reverberations from the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington have cast a pall over the usual festivity of the "Christmas" season. This situation brings to mind a song by the sixties' folk-rock team, Simon and Garfunkle: "Silent Night/5:00 News." One speaker emits a beautiful duet of the Christmas carol "Silent Night," while the other blares out the worst news you can imagine from the height of the Vietnam War era. I don't think Paul Simon intended to praise "Jesus, Lord, at thy birth." Rather, I think he intended to mock Christians, to show them up as unrealistic dreamers who indulge in wishful thinking while the world goes to hell. In any case, he powerfully illustrated the very reason why the Son of God did appear. He came because of the bad news! God says that "the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). The Son of God Appeared... Jesus' birth was no ordinary birth. "The Son of God appeared." God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, " ... Read more

The Incarnate King for a World at War

The United States of America was recently assaulted by the most awesome terror in generations. The terrorist attacks of September 11 not only killed thousands of people, but created serious disruptions in transportation, communications, the economy, general freedoms, and who knows what other elements of our life. Bill Shishko, an Orthodox Presbyterian pastor on Long Island, writing of those events, said that the emotions in the aftermath ran the same gamut as they do in the unexpected death of a loved one. First there was shock. Then anger set in. Then the realization of the chaos of changed relationships dawned and grew to be overwhelming. Recent polls have indicated that two-thirds of Americans felt depressed after the tragedies. We saw and heard and felt the shock, anger, and grief of our countrymen. Anger was expressed in threats of retaliation and revenge. Sadness was felt for the thousands who lost husbands, wives, parents, children, and friends in New York and Washington. Tears were brought to Mr. ... Read more

The Incarnate Hope for a World in Turmoil

Whatever one may think of Advent and Christmas, at this time of year people's thoughts do turn, in some fashion, to Christ's coming into the world. That often affords Christians an opportunity to "give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15). Particularly in the aftermath of the horrible events of September 11, this Christmas season may offer us a fresh occasion to speak to family, friends, and colleagues about the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and why his incarnation and atonement were absolutely necessary for our salvation. In the face of such glaring sin, the need for the person and work of Christ is so evident. If sinners ever hope to approach the holy God, they can do so only through the atoning work of the one mediator between God and man. God tells us to make the most of every opportunity (Col. 4:5), and the recent crisis, together with the opportunities that often arise at this season of the year, furnishes us with an excellent occasion to speak ... Read more

Christmas Perfection

Even without a glance at the calendar, or the presence of turkey leftovers, it's obvious that December 1 has arrived for the Doe family. The children's love for one another has become easy to observe. There is shouting only when one child is eager to share with another an exciting secret of the season. Each child does more than his or her part to make the household run smoothly. Steve and I are patiently planning enjoyable family times together, while we finish the last of the Christmas cards and prepare to mail our lovingly chosen gifts to our relatives. The house fills with the fragrance of sugar cookies and with the sound of Christmas carols as all six of us decorate our freshly cut tree.... Thank you for not laughing—at least, not too much. But how many of you haven't, at some time in your life, had a similar fantasy for the holiday season? The reality of our lives always falls far short of what we desire. One year, reality hit an uncomfortable low for the Does the week before Thanksgiving ... Read more

Harold Camping and the Church Today

The session of Franklin Square OPC in Franklin Square, New York, sent the following letter to Mr. Harold Camping of Family Radio on September 10, 2001. We reproduce it here at their request. Dear Mr. Camping: We write to you with great grief, but with a sense of necessity, because of your persistence in teaching things contrary to that which is in accord with both the Word of God and the historic Christian faith. We call upon you, Mr. Camping, to repent of your repeated false teaching that "this is the end of the church age," that God is now "guiding groups outside of the churches into truth for this 'latter rain' period," and even that "the gospel has never been sent out with more purity than it is being sent out now" by groups like Family Radio (cf. Open Forum, July 11, 2001). This extends even to asserting that it is not necessary for believers to meet in churches (cf. Heb. 10:25), but that "through Family Radio we can have this kind of fellowship" (cf. Open Forum, July 12, 2001). The ... Read more