The Unsanctity!

At this point, surprise and indignation are no longer in order since the disregard for the Lord’s Day among New Calvinists is so ho-hum. Yet, sometimes the ordinary is brazen in its ordinariness. Consider this paid advertisement for the Professional Golfers Association at the Allies website:

There’s a tight-knit Christian community on the PGA TOUR, including a Tuesday night fellowship that includes Bible study and worship. Tournaments run Thursday to Sunday, so it’s often hard for players to attend church on Sunday. This is their form of Christian community away from church.

No wrestling with the fourth of the Ten Commandments? Just a shrug? It’s hard. Ever heard of Eric Liddell? Sometimes, Christian athletes really do make sacrifices for their religious obligations.

Apparently, a golfer learns enough about grace on the links so he doesn’t need to comply with the demands of God’s law:

Ben Crane, one of the TOUR’s Christian players, summed this up perfectly a few years ago. He was having a tough year on the course. One of his friends asked how he was doing in the midst of his struggles. He replied:

I think he expected me to say I was really struggling because the golf wasn’t all that good. I just said, “You know, I’m doing great, because the rough season of golf has brought me closer to God. Golf was becoming too important to me. . . . These last few weeks I’ve just said, you know what, golf is not everything.”

Two years ago, Crane was injured and thought he may have to retire from the game, even though he was only 38 and keeps himself in good health. He surprisingly won a tournament a few months later.

“I had to finally become okay with golf not being in the picture,” he said, reflecting on how to find an identity apart from golf. But the gospel got him to the place where he could pray, “Lord, if it’s not golf, I will love you. But if it is, that would be really fun.” Golf was no longer his idol; he could enjoy it for what it is—a gift of grace.

I believe the person who conducted this interview attends a Presbyterian church where the Shorter and Larger Catechisms are supposed to be taught and followed. So is the lesson here that New Calvinists really are a different kind of Protestant?

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35 thoughts on “The Unsanctity!

  1. Does Tim Challies have Bethany and Christian pro-golfers in mind?

    Timothy is to “set an example.” This is a term related to art. When you are in art class, the teacher may put a model in the middle of the room and tell you to paint it or sculpt it. That is the example and you, the artist, are to study it, to learn everything about it, and then to make your best reproduction. In this case, the work of art is Timothy’s life. He is to live a life of public godliness and to be such an example that others will see this work of art and imitate it. Even older people who are inclined to disrespect him will see his life and understand that he is modeling Christian thought and Christian living. They will be drawn to his example as he far exceeds their low expectations.

    Timothy isn’t to worry about what other people think of him. He isn’t to demand respect by force of will or force of personality. He is to earn respect by the way he lives. John Stott says, “People would not despise his youth if they could admire his example.” And this is true of you, too. The people around you, old or young, will not be distracted by your youth if they can admire your example. And you, like Timothy, actually can be an example. In fact, God calls you to be an example. Your youth is no excuse for ungodliness or spiritual immaturity. Right now, today, God calls you to set an example—an example of godliness, of character, of maturity.

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  2. The Lord blessed Tebow with not being good enough to make it in the NFL and, thus, not have to work on Sunday. But (doh!) he’s now trying baseball. He hit a homer in his first at-bat yesterday in some instructional league so he must have divine favor, right?

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  3. Except that bloody, blasphemous, pornographic entertainment that itself breaks at very least the 3rd and 7th commandments any day of the week is okay on the Sabbath, right Darryl?

    Do you want me to go pull the video from youtube where you told a congregation that very thing? Nah, I won’t have to do that. You won’t deny it. Consistency is not a requirement for post modern idolators. Come on man. When ya gonna knock this off and break down and repent stop thinking you’re fooling God.

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  4. Greg says Consistency is not a requirement for post modern idolators

    Consistency? Greg, as you know, all of God’s commandments have some importance, but the 4th commandment is the very most important; compliance with it covers a multitude of other sins of commandments 1-3; 5-10. The Lord wasn’t as serious about those. Ones who come across the most serious about just #4 demonstrate they really ‘get’ the great commandment(s) better than others – certainty better than all those great-disregard-for-the-Lord’s-Day-New-Calvinists.

    btw, the Challies post referenced above was very good , wasn’t it? I especially liked the “questions to consider” -question 4
    4. In what ways do you think you are setting a good example to the people of your church? Pray and thank God for each of them. In what ways do you think you are not setting a good example to the people of your church? Pray and ask God for his grace to change you.

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  5. The thing dear Dr. Hart doesn’t get Ali, is that he IS a new Calvinist too. Just in different areas.

    Don’t count the ol boy out just yet though. I’m serious. I don’t think the Lord is through with him.

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  6. Greg, do remember the difference between God’s law and Christian liberty. Christians have liberty where God has not spoken. God has spoken on one day in seven. He has not spoken about tv.

    Real Calvinists don’t create lists of sins beyond God’s.

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  7. cw, or maybe a link to TGC. They always take the edge off. But why they don’t see the contradiction between Piper’s earnest and Keller’s third-way via media has to be all the celebrity in the room.

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  8. @Ali
    I’m pretty sure that no believer’s here question the applicability of commands 1-3, 5-10. Unfortunately many putative “Bible believing” Christians and worse their pastors assert that the 4th commandment has been abrogated. While there may be some dispute over how to apply these commandments in particular situations (Greg evidently believes that all forms of pop-entertainment are inherently sinful for all to partake in, others see this as a matter of conscience), no one would say that shall not commit adultery doesn’t apply anymore.

    The disregard for the Lord’s day is a serious problem:
    1) Worldly amusements have displaced Sunday worship for a lot of families (have you seen what the soccer fields and baseball fields look like on Sundays?). Believing parents who thusly compromise send a potent message to their kids – we shouldn’t give up good things to honor God. He isn’t as important.
    2) We send a potent message to the world that we don’t really believe all that stuff…our appeal to religion is about keeping those icky gays in the closet. Those 10commandments that are supposedly the bedrock of our country don’t actually apply to us.
    3) Most importantly, it dishonors God. He established in the created order 1 day in 7 to be a day of rest. A foretaste of the divine heavenly rest in which we will spend all eternity in praise of Him. We would rather spend it on worldly amusements than worship of our creator, remembrance of our Lord’s death, burial, & resurrection, and acts of mercy & necessity.
    4) Our negligence in keeping the Lord’s day (indeed our assertion that Christians are not bound by this form established in the created order – a pattern established in Eden not Sinai – is negligence of a means of grace by which we are sanctified and brought into greater conformity with God’s law as described in commands 1-3, 5-10.
    5) In place of keeping the Lord’s day (the Christian sabbath), we have created new rules for Christian discipleship: books to read, small groups to attend, quiet times to have, scripture passages to memorize, and a lot list of ideas, books, and activities to avoid. Frankly it is exhausting. While there may be wisdom in some of these things for some people in some situations, converting them into a burden while neglecting what truly matters (worship of God the way he commands) is to repeat the mistakes of the Judaizers Paul eviscerates in his epistles to the Galatians and Colossians (for example).

    I understand that Christians of good will can disagree about how to apply the Bible’s teaching on the sabbath, but your blithe dismissal of the importance of what God’s word teaches us in the 4th commandment and mischaracterization of what many of us here are actually concerned with is disappointing.

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  9. D. G. Hart says: Greg, do remember the difference between God’s law and Christian liberty. Christians have liberty where God has not spoken. God has spoken on one day in seven. He has not spoken about tv
    Greg The Terrible says: The thing dear Dr. Hart doesn’t get Ali, is that he IS a new Calvinist too. Just in different areas.

    Re the post, probably should state this mutual agreement, GTT:(let us) not forsake our own assembling together, as is the habit of some Hebrews 10:25

    Then too this agreement: let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds- and encourage one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

    Seems there may be some disagreement on what that encouraging is to be – is it to encourage one to be meeeee(all that the Lord has made me to be to Hispraise and glory), or is it to encourage that it is all about meeeee ?

    Believers have God ‘s law written on their heart – the freedom for the law of love- therfore one example would be taking care that ‘liberty’ does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak – it was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore we keep standing firm to not be subject again to a yoke of slavery; we were called to freedom, only we do not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (and the Lord ups it- Jesus:A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34)

    But, a note for cw: if you choose to bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. (even while boasting in your Sabbath rule adherence)

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  10. sdb, we wrote at the same time so amen to your post (for the most part), though when your exhortations are not just for some here, but impartially to all the brothers, re: mischaracterizations, exaggerations, etc., you will have more credibility.

    And yes to reaffirm- and thinking of Susan’s admiration of the devotion of the celibate – it ought be stated that ALL believers are called to be wholly devoted to the Lord (according to the Lord) with undivided hearts. His commands are not burdensome, how could they be – He is very, very Great and He alone is worthy to receive all power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing, forever and ever.

    This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:3-4

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  11. Greg, if I’m remembering right you’ll be happy to know that somewhere toward the conclusion of “Mother Kirk” Darryl uses the unfortunate phrase that “God is still working on him.” But somehow I don’t see him singin’ along to that ridiculous ditty, though it is good for a hardy laugh. Romper room much?

    C-dubs, but if the insane say they’re sane and the sane truly wonder, the question could be a non sequitur. Maybe “Is Billy Graham mostly a good thing or mostly a problem?” Route accordingly.

    sdb, all affirmed. But would you agree that the fourth is just as vulnerable to legalism? I’d imagine you would given what you say about differences in application.

    Ali, if you think it’s possible for believers to have undivided hearts then you’ve missed Christianity.

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  12. Zrim Ali, if you think it’s possible for believers to have undivided hearts then you’ve missed Christianity.

    Zrim, good question – what is it you say is the point of Christianity?

    10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
    11 Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
    12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
    13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Psalm 86

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  13. Ali, to be divided is to at once have abiding sin and the Holy Spirit indwelling. The only way to be undivided is to be without sin or no Holy Spirit. But as the man saith: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

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  14. because I think we agree most of the world is ‘missing Christianity’.
    Incredibly, by our Creator’s mercy and grace, and to the praise of His glory, some aren’t, however.
    For this reason, we ought be very intentional and very clear to let everyone know what the LORD says about it all

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  15. sdb, all affirmed. But would you agree that the fourth is just as vulnerable to legalism? I’d imagine you would given what you say about differences in application.

    Oh sure. What’s the joke about the dutch pastor who ice skates to church when the canals froze over and is brought up on charges by his session for recreation on the Lord’s day. The debate is settled by asking if he enjoyed it…

    I see the current mood of rejecting God’s command to keep the sabbath set apart as part of the created order akin to progressive Christians arguing that the whole one man/one woman in marriage (also rooted in Eden) was so last century.

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  16. Zrim says: Ali, to miss Christianity means to miss simul justus et peccator, at once sinful and justified, which is to say being a divided creature.

    That’s what the world is missing about Christianity, Zrim?
    How about man’s greatest need is to be reconciled to his Creator. Man has marred the image of God and the wages of sin is death. But God has made a way out – the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ who came to set captives free and for those who believe and receive Jesus (the only provision) – God has promised to save them – from the penalty, the power, and the presence of sin* and for restored fellowship with Him, forever.

    I know you’re pushing back on the wholly devoted/undivided hearts(and minds) wording of God’s which is par for the course, because despite what Jesus says, despite Paul and all the apostles’ pattern, you never seem to call to obedience (much) nor call out of any double hearted/double mindedness/serving two masters.

    *ps: followers of Jesus know they are not rid of the presence of sin until we receive new bodies and so we groan inwardly and war continuous, for the bible tells us so.

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  17. Ali, not the world, just you. But now you say you know believers are divided. Which is it? If divided then why the “par for the course” remark? If undivided, huh?

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  18. My missionary friends from countries where Christians worship on days other than Sunday do not get this first-world complaint.

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  19. Greg — context, two replies up: ““If we say we have no sin…” — not saying you think you have no sin. I’m saying you need to calm down and maybe go on Amazon and buy yourself a filter of some kind.

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  20. David via Ali: Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

    There’s a big difference between asking God for an undivided heart and claiming to have one.

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  21. Jeff Cagle says: David via Ali: Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.There’s a big difference between asking God for an undivided heart and claiming to have one.

    Someone claimed to have one Jeff? Here’s what I said, Jeff : it ought be stated that ALL believers are called to be wholly devoted to the Lord (according to the Lord) with undivided hearts. What part of that do you disagree with?

    And I think I can play that game too.
    Below: With all the heart,and with all the soul, and with all the might, Jeff? WHAT!
    Are some missing Christianity by making that statement?

    Chapter XXI Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day
    I. The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might

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  22. oh wait , I should add this part, ala sdb;

    Your “ blithe dismissal of the importance of what God’s word teaches in the (greatest commandment) and mischaracterization of what (a few) of us here are actually concerned with is disappointing”

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  23. Ali: Someone claimed to have one Jeff?

    No, definitely not.

    What I meant was that it is entirely compatible to say, with David, “give me an undivided heart”, and at the same time to say, with Paul, “the good that I want to do, I do not do … it is no longer I, but sin that dwells within me…”

    The first statement is aspirational. It is also eschatological — we won’t have undivided hearts until Jesus returns.

    The reason I said that is that Zrim and SDB are focusing on the latter statement as an honest acknowledgment of the Christian condition this side of eternity. But when they do, you are interpreting them as denying David.

    So my point is that you’re talking about different things: the difference between wanting an undivided heart vs. knowing how you really are.

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  24. Jeff, As you can see, I quoted that Psalm portion after ‘the point of Christianity’ – it seemed like a nice summary -essentially glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Stop. Slow down. Reread it. Enjoy it. Maybe even meditate on it, and as it says ‘rely on the Lord’s faithfulness’ even today.

    Have a good day.

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  25. Well, you have a good day, too!

    Here’s where I would want to guard against some potential trouble. Not saying you are there, but explaining why I spoke up.

    The point of Christianity is that God chooses sons (male and female, Gal 3) for Himself and makes them fit for dwelling with Him. That point encompasses the whole of salvation from election in ages past to glorification in the world to come.

    The tricky part is that our sanctification is always incomplete in this life. So the trouble can come in three places:

    (1) If we view our sanctification as “the point”, then we make the point to be the least complete, most frustrating, and actually least eternally significant portion of our salvation. NOT that sanctification is unimportant. But justification secures our eternal destiny; adoption guarantees it. Sanctification is correlated with rewards, and no justified person will not also be sanctified; but sanctification isn’t “the point.”

    (2) If we view sanctification as “the main point right now”, then we can fall into an over-optimistic view of how much sanctification to expect in this life. The Christian life then becomes, instead of a life of gratitude for what God has done and faith in what He does, a life of trying as hard as possible to get rid of sin as much as possible. In other words, a life of self-reliance or dependence on the flesh.

    (3) If on the other hand we give up on sanctification entirely, then we fall into antinomian thinking.

    Zrim isn’t at #3, though frequently accused of such. I don’t know where you are with respect to #2, but the criticism of Zrim suggests that at least #2 would be tempting for you. Yes? No?

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  26. Jeff says Here’s where I would want to guard against some potential trouble.

    Agree. And here’s how: study the bible, pray, submit to God, read confessions like below, assemble, encourage, repeat, then repeat, did I mention repeat, and then also when we like to say ‘the heart is desperately wicked, what can one really do”, we THINK about it all

    This comment above of yours is somewhat tempered since the last one of its type, so I’ll try to temper mine from last time.
    carry on Jeff. enabling ….potentially

    Chapter XIII Of Sanctification
    I. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
    II. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence arises a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
    III. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

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  27. …it is entirely compatible to say, with David, “give me an undivided heart”, and at the same time to say, with Paul, “the good that I want to do, I do not do … it is no longer I, but sin that dwells within me…” The first statement is aspirational. It is also eschatological — we won’t have undivided hearts until Jesus returns.

    Ali, why doesn’t this elicit an a-ha moment for you? Just thank Jeff and move on.

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