The Manna and the Stone

A Theological and Practical Journal of Bible Presbyterians

A Tale of Two Covenants

Introduction

I would assume that you are well acquainted with the phrase, “work ethic.” By it, we usually mean that someone works hard to not only accomplish the bare minimum of their work, but is internally motivated and disciplined to excel, without someone constantly looking over their shoulder to make sure they do what they are supposed to be doing. This is a good thing, in most cases, and we properly admire such efforts.

There is a point, however, Continue reading

What Happened to Their Alabaster Jar?

I don’t know the weight of grief these three women had—

Who went on a mission to anoint Christ’s crucified body.

I don’t know the depth of sorrow of their tortured souls.

I don’t know the desperate need to touch Him one more time

To relieve their aching pain.

I don’t know the cost—actual, tangible cost—of the spices these women expended.

I don’t know what happened to their perfumed treasure.

But what I do know is when they arrived in the dawning of the first day,

The stone was rolled away.

As the shades of light brought clarity to the early hours,

So, the morning’s discoveries revealed an empty tomb.

The need to anoint His body was no more.

The mission to honor the dead became a mission to declare life.

The oil of sorrow—Now the oil of joy.

But wait—

What happened to their alabaster jar?

Ah—do you not know?

It still overflows as a beloved tribute arousing our senses today–

To some, it is an odor accosting the soul

With the enormity of death.

While, to others, it is a life-giving, fragrance diffusing

His weight of glory.

Conversations – 5/5/2017

Source: https://xkcd.com/1827/

I just bumped into this comic since the previous Conversations, and I was struck by how much Christian literature falls in precisely this camp. As I’m looking into doing a church plant, I read quite a bit of literature about church planting and much of it is essentially summarized by, “I have a big church, here’s how you can get a big church too.” I realize that’s crassly cynical, but sometimes I think we could do with a bit more cynicism about the literature we consume in our own circles. Continue reading

What Comes First: Live Birth or Table Food?

We live in a period of time in which individualism is huge and the centrality of the church is almost non-existent. One casualty of this unfortunate arrangement is that coming to the Eucharistic Meal is seen almost solely as an individual’s personal choice, not as a matter of the official ministry of the church. As a campus pastor of mine put it Continue reading

Conversations – 4/21/2017

J. Gresham Machen

He was worth a hundred of his fellows who, as princes of the church, occupy easy places and play their church politics and trim their sails to every wind, who in their smug observance of the convictions of life and religion offend all honest and searching spirits. No forthright mind can live among them, neither the honest skeptic nor the honest dogmatist.
Pearl S. Buck

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Conversations – 4/7/2017

Todd Pruitt

Last week I posted a rather strong critique of the Truth’s Table podcast entitled “Gender Apartheid.” Those who have followed this blog know that I subsequently took the post down because of charges of racism that were being leveled against me. Yes, I chickened out. Those charges were wicked and untrue.

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Pence and a Raging Hypocrite

I grew up in a suburban neighborhood, riding bikes and playing ball in the street in front and the cul-de-sac beside my home. In ball games, as is quite common, whoever brought the gear ruled. If Ringo brought the only baseball bat, even Paul and John had to fall in line… or go home. Continue reading

Conversations – 3/31/2017

Conflict in the PCA

Experiments in the social gospel never end well.
Todd Pruitt

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The Flowering of the Faiths

In the three centuries after the ascension of Jesus Christ, Christians increased in number, eventually flourishing and coming to dominate the whole of the Roman world and beyond. Similarly, in the centuries following Mohammad’s death, Islam flourished and spread from Arabia across the whole of North Africa into Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), up through the Levant into Byzantine lands, across Mesopotamia and into India. Christianity and Islam developed quite differently, even as they began quite differently. This article offers a bird’s-eye view of the growing dominion of these two faiths. Continue reading

Conversations – 3/24/2017

Russell Moore

Concern is mounting among evangelicals that Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, could lose his job following months of backlash over his critiques of President Trump and religious leaders who publicly supported the Republican candidate. Any such move could be explosive for the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, which has been divided over politics, theology and, perhaps most starkly, race.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey

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