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Parenting as Cultural Resistance

Posted on Aug. 07, 2009

Neil Postman, one of the truly insightful secular social commentators of the 20th century, was correct when he said that parenting was “Cultural Resistance.” In one of his books, “The Disappearance of Childhood” he outlines the devastating influences of our culture on childhood. At the end of the book he asks a question, “is the individual powerless to restrict what is happening?” He says,

The answer to this, in my opinion, is “No.” But, as with all resistance, there is a price to pay. Specifically, resistance entails conceiving of parenting as an act of rebellion against American culture. For example, for parents merely to remain married is itself an act of disobedience and an insult to the spirit of a throwaway culture in which continuity has little value. It is also at least ninety percent un-American to remain in close proximity to one’s extended family so that children can experience, daily, the meaning of kinship and the value of deference and responsibility to elders. Similarly, to insist that one’s children learn the discipline of delayed gratification, or modesty in their sexuality, or self-restraint in manners, language, and style is to place oneself in opposition to almost every social trend. Even further, to ensure that one’s children work hard at becoming literate is extraordinarily time-consuming and even expensive. But most rebellious of all is the attempt to control the media’s access to one’s children. There are, in fact, two ways to do this. The first is to limit the amount of exposure children have to media. The second is to monitor carefully what they are exposed to, and to provide them with a continuously running critique of the themes and values of the media’s content. Both are very difficult to do and require a level of attention that most parents are not prepared to give to child-rearing.

Nonetheless, there are parents who are committed to doing all of these things, who are in effect defying the directives of their culture. Such parents are not only helping their children to have a childhood but are, at the same time, creating a sort of intellectual elite. Certainly in the short run the children who grow up in such homes will, as adults, be much favored by business, the professions, and the media themselves. What can we say of the long run? Only this: Those parents who resist the spirit of the age will contribute to what might be called the Monastery Effect, for they will help to keep alive a humane tradition. It is not conceivable that our culture will forget that it needs children. But it is halfway toward forgetting that children need childhood. Those who insist on remembering shall perform a noble service.

Neil Postman, The Disappearance of Childhood, (1982; repr,. New York: Vintage, 1994), 152-153

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Arraign it, Accuse it, Spit on it - Hatred of Sin

Posted on Aug. 05, 2009

What kind of reactions should we have toward our sin? Thomas Goodwin says this,

Work in your hearts a hatred of sin… If a man had killed your friend, or father, or mother, how would you hate him! You would not endure the sight of him, but follow the law upon him. Send out the avenger of blood with a hue and cry after thy sin; bring it afore God’s judgment seat, arraign it, accuse it, spit on it, condemn it and thyself for it, have it to the cross, nail it there, if it cry I thirst, give it vinegar, stretch the body of sins upon his cross, stretch every vein of it, make the heart strings crack; and then when it hangs there, triumph over the dying of it, show it no pity, laugh at its destruction, say, Thou hast been a bloody sin to me and my husband, hang there and rot. And when thou art tempted to it [sin], and art very thirsty after the pleasure of it, say of that opportunity to enjoy it, It is the price of Christ’s blood, and pour it upon the ground. … Shall I live upon that which was Christ’s death? Shall I please myself in that which was his pain? Shall I be so dishonest, so unkind, as to enjoy the pleasure for which he endured the smart?

—Thomas Goodwin (1600—1679), Christ the Mediator in The Works of Thomas Goodwin (RHB), 5:294.

I found this excellent quote on Miscellanies Blog.

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Welcoming Our Fall Intern Class

Posted on Aug. 03, 2009

We are pleased to welcome our fall intern class to join us for the next five months here at the NCFIC. Please pray for these men as they assist us in the work of church reformation. It is our prayer that their time with us would be fruitful in every way. Pray for their labors, for their studies, and that God would give them a vision of His Holiness, the power of His word, the beauty of the church and an abundance of spiritual fruit from these months of labor and mentorship.

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Now Available: Preparing for Marriage - John Calvin speaks on Courtship and Marriage

Posted on Jul. 28, 2009

As a shepherd of a local flock, it is evident that Calvin had observed many of the tumultuous results of individuals mishandling their single years. He seemed to have great compassion for the single people in his church for he provided much counsel to assist them in governing the critical years leading up to marriage. He preached directly to the issues which they faced and dealt forthrightly with concerns they had regarding marriage and everything leading up to it. He did not provide them with shallow platitudes. Rather, he gave incisive direction for handling a diverse range of complex issues. Through his expositions, letters, commentaries, and the Institutes, he dissected the issues of the single life.

This book captures some of the premarital counsel which John Calvin gave to the youth and families of Geneva. It draws from two categories of Calvin’s writings, bringing up interesting and helpful counsel for young people and their families in order to help them navigate the single years and enter successfully into marriage. First, we have taken statements from his commentaries and sermons on matters relating to this formative time of a young person’s life. Second, many of the statements presented here come from the Marriage Ordinance of 1546, which outlines various difficult issues that most singles need to face before they get married.

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How to Achieve Perpetual Childhood

Posted on Jul. 24, 2009

Why study history? There are many reasons. One reason is that we are commanded to study history—“remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations” (Deut 32:7). Here is another reason posed by one of the reformers of the sixteenth century - it keeps us from “perpetual childhood” and “permanent obscurity.”

“Human life without knowledge of history is nothing other than a perpetual childhood, nay a permanent obscurity and darkness.”

—Philip Melancthon (1497–1560)

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John Foxe - Reformers Are Often Persecuted by the Established Church

Posted on Jul. 23, 2009

John Foxe in the introduction to the 1684 edition to Foxes Book of Martyrs speaks to one of the core issues of reformation: persecution from within the church. It is the repugnance of those present in the church toward those who have a hand in reforming it. Foxe believed that there are always two groups within the visible church – the true church and the false. It is those of the false church, which are participants in it but have not really embraced the gospel who cause problems for those that have.

“And many times, it happeneth, that as between the world and the kingdom of Christ there is a continual repungnance: so between these two parts of this visible church aforesaid oft times growth great Variance and mortal persecution, in so much that sometime the true church of Christ hath no greater enemies, than of their own profession and company, as happened not only in the time of Christ and his Apostles, but also from time to time almost continually, but especially in these later days of the church under the persecution of antichrist and his retinue, as by the reading of this volume more manifestly heareafter may appear.”

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Radio Interview: Kevin Swanson with Scott Brown on “Generations With A Vision”

Posted on Jul. 22, 2009

Kevin Swanson introduced the program with this: “The statist attack on the family since the 1800s has been brutal, and it will take generations to recover from it. But the attack on the family from the sphere of the church in the 1400s was similarly devastating. The return of family discipleship, an appreciation for marriage, and fatherhood was precisely what the world needed then - and it came through the powerful ministry work of men like John Calvin. This interview with Scott Brown brings out the comparison of the 16th century with the 21st century, and challenges us to a Sola Scriptura reformation in the sphere of the family.”

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New Church plant in Dover Delaware - Grace and Truth Community Church

Posted on Jul. 20, 2009

Rick Hensley and Billy Rosano are the founding elders of the new church in Dover Delaware. They both left their pastoral positions at another local church in the area amicably, under the blessing and encouragement of the Elders of that Church.  Grace and Truth Community Church was planted with an interested in influencing the world for Christ through the proclamation of the Gospel, and the discipleship of the saints. 

Mission:

“For the glory of God, we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple the saints to live for Him.”  Their vision is, by God’s grace, “To build a community of Christ exalting, missions minded Christians, who delight in God’s commands and are passionate to influence the world for Christ and raise a righteous generation.”

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Calvin – A Sweetener, a Cataract, Absolutely Chinese

Posted on Jul. 10, 2009

Since today is John Calvin’s 500th Birthday, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a man who reminded us of the majesty of God. Here are some striking statements various theologians have made concerning Calvin.

Cotton Mather was asked why he was reading late into the night during his later years, in contrast to his early years where he did not do it very much. He replied,

“Because I love to sweeten my mouth with a piece of Calvin before I go to sleep.” [1]

Professor John Murray said,

“Calvin was an exegete and biblical theologian of the first rank.

“The greatest and best theologian who has most accurately apprehended the meaning of the statements of scripture – who by comparing and combining them, has most fully and correctly brought out the whole mind of God on all the topics on which the scriptures give us information – who classifies and digests the truths of Scripture in the way best fitted to commend to the apprehension and acceptance of men.

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Celebrating 500th Birthday of John Calvin: Signed Copies of Family Reformation 50% Off

Posted on Jul. 10, 2009

To celebrate John Calvin’s birthday today, we are offering hot-off-the-press personally signed copies of Family Reformation: The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in John Calvin’s Geneva for 50% off.

Signed Copy 50% off Sale Ends on July 17th.

Click HERE to purchase.

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