The war against empathy (and weeping with those who weep) is so bizarre and novel. Contrast it with reformed ministries just a few years ago.

Ligonier ministries from 2007. Image
The gospel coalition in 2013. Image
Reformed theological seminary in 1989. Image

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More from @tisaiahcho

28 Aug
When Luther helped establish the common chest, out of which the poor could take whatever their financial needs required, a common critique was essentially, "What if people take advantage of this common chest?"

Luther's response is fascinating:
"it is better to have greed take too much in an orderly way than to have general plundering... Let each one examine himself to see what he should take for his own needs and what he should leave for the common chest."

In other words, in Luther's mind, the generosity of the church
should match the generosity of God.

Included in the approved usage of the common chest was a disbursement for those who have immigrated and newly resided in the parish "through loans and gifts out of our common chest... so that the strangers too may not be left without hope..."
Read 4 tweets
21 Aug
If pastors cannot be honest about their struggles and besetting sins with people in their congregations, they aren't really pastoring. Pastoring, according to Jesus, is walking and serving in weakness, because that's where the power of God is found.
Unfortunately, the model for "pastoring" today looks more like being a spiritual guru, a put-together CEO, or a visionary leader. Pastors are expected to wear a mask of self-competency rather than leading in weakness and dependence upon God.
Pastors have a unique opportunity for showing their flock what honest confession and repentance looks like. They can model what it looks like to say, "I need your help, and I need your prayer." They can teach what a broken and contrite heart looks like.
Read 9 tweets
18 Aug
You can go back further than Johnathan Edwards to the 17th century in the Netherlands during the time of the Synod of Dordt, when the Reformed condemned the teachings of Arminius with the Canons of Dordt.
At the same time that delegates were hashing out responses to the Remonstrants that eventually become common parlance as the "5 points of Calvinism" long afterwards, it is more than likely that the majority opinion of these delegates was in favor of slavery and the slave trade.
In fact, a few decades following Dordt, those who were often hard-line Calvinists against Arminians (Gomerians, as they were sometimes called) wrote defenses of slavery or distributed them approvingly. Johann van den Honert oversaw the work of Jacobus Capitein, who was one of the
Read 13 tweets
17 Aug
This recent article by a leading voice in the broadly Reformed world is well within what I've come to expect in these circles when a Reformed "hero" is discovered to be gravely on the side of injustice.
Step one: claim that even though are well-read on the works and life of the Reformed hero, you've never heard about their unjust actions, even though the primary and secondary literature on the topic is myriad.

Step two: pit the Reformed hero's "fruit" and influence against
the injustice they perpetuated. "But he was theologically orthodox..." "He made such an impact on..." "I couldn't believe that...."

Step three: advocate for a novel theological/exegetical interpretation to justify why the Reformed hero did what they did.

Step four: call the
Read 7 tweets
16 Aug
Jesus warned His disciples that people would hate those who follow His ways. I've sadly come to realize that Jesus was including those who consider themselves Christians. More and more often, it is Christians who push back the hardest against basic Christian ethics and truth.
Many Christians in the US (namely, White Evangelicals, but not limited to them) have so conflated their partisanship with Christianity that they get triggered when they hear basic Christian calls for dignity, equity, and justice. The Sermon on the Mount is abhorrent to them.
More and more, I've seen those who call themselves Christians push back against statements of Christian truths regarding the image of God simply because they do not fit their preconceived notions and political assumption of what Christianity should be. It's clear idolatry.
Read 6 tweets
11 Aug
Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Reformed theologian Abraham Kuyper "denounced Laissez-faire capitalism as inimical to human well-being, material and spiritual" and as "out of tune with Scripture and contrary to the will of God."

Kuyper argued that laissez faire capitalism:
1) "replac[ed] the spirit of 'Christian compassion' with “the egoism of a passionate struggle for possessions,"

2) resulted in the "abrogation of the claims of community for the sake of the sovereign individual."

3) commodified labor, which "denied the image of God and the
rightful claims of a brother."

4) idolized the "supposedly free market, which deprived the weak of their necessary protections, licensed the strong in their manipulations, & proclaimed the consequences to be the inevitable workings of natural law.”

James Bratt, “Abraham Kuyper”
Read 7 tweets

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