[Updates 6/6 – ch.1] Chris Greer’s 12 Rules for a Christian Life: A Review and Engagement, Updated by Chapter

I am going to review and engage with Chris Greer’s book, 12 Rules for a Christian Life. This review will be bumped back up to the top of the page with each new installment. Chris and his family live in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Chris is a member of Central Baptist Church. You can learn more about Chris, his projects, and his ministry here. I have come to have a deep appreciation for Chris and his approach to the Christian life. I am excited to journey through this book! Get a copy and come along!


Greer begins by introducing us to his terms. By “rule” he does not mean arbitrary and scattered laws but, rather, disciplines. His use of the term is more akin to the monastic concept of “the rule” than the legal. It is interesting and refreshing to see the continued Protestant appropriation—in a healthy and good sense, I hasten to add!—of broadly monastic ideals. But Greer isn’t, it appears, engaged primarily with historical retrieval as much as biblical retrieval. His introduction positions this work tonally in line with evangelical spiritual formation literature (Willard, Foster, Whitney, et al.), but the conceptual foundation of it also aligns it with the argument of something like Greg Peter’s The Monkhood of All Believers: The Monastic Foundation of Christian Spirituality, and, before it, the new monastic movement. It will be interesting to see, as we go along, how Greer’s works substantiates or undercuts this initial impression. Even so, I certainly applaud Greer’s approach and look forward to diving in.

The first four rules, he tells us, are grounded in the first aspect of the greatest commandment: love of God. The next four in the second aspect: love of neighbor. The final four involve our relationship with ourselves. This is a helpful schema. It’s wholistic and and a clear approach to such a lofty goal.

I particularly liked this sentence: “The ideal human life is not a religiously observant one, it’s a relationally connected one” (7). I will remember that.

More to come!

Chapter 1—”Fight for Space”

This was a tremendous chapter. Greer begins the chapter talking about the hectic, crammed, “marginless” nature of modern life.

“There’s very little space.”

“We wear our business like a badge of honor.”

“What’s missing in our lives is space.”

Jesus is out ultimate model and He modeled a healthy approach to space. In discussing Jesus’ ministry, Greer finds a key: in the midst of His miracle-working frenzy, Jesus disappeared and did something life-giving for Himself: “He fought for space.” “The pressure was on,” writes Greer, “but the precedent was set: Jesus would fight for space.”

What does Greer mean by “space.” “By ‘space’ I mean purposeful time with the Creator…The space that is rule #1 for the Christian life is centered in relationship.” We need to make “a commitment to space.”

“The question is not, ‘Will God show up?’ The question is, ‘Will you and I show up?’ and ‘Do we have a good plan for doing so?'”

Helpfully, Greer has adapted Cal Newport’s four approaches to space from his book, Deep Work. Greer appropriates and renames these as:

Extended Space: long periods of silence

Sabbath Space: a full day of space / purposeful and uninterrupted / no less than 8 hours

Daily Space: the creation of a rhythm / quiet time with Jesus

Prompted Space: when life’s circumstances prompt you to create space / as-needed space

Greer then shows how Jesus demonstrated a commitment to each of these four kinds of space. He writes that “rhythm and space marked His ministry instead of panic and hurry.”

In the next section, “How You Can Fight for Space,” Greer offers some very helpful and very practical ideas:

  • calendar it (even prayer!)
  • get out of the house (a new space to carve out this habit / “Where can you go out to allow God to draw you in?”)
  • Make repeat visits (routine / keep the same location, or “a handful of spots”)
  • power down (“Your smart device is a serious devil.”)

Won’t the very fight for space wear us out? No, for as Greer points out, “space becomes a charging station for our Spirit-led and empowered life.”

Finally, Greer argues for “the daily pause,” an intentional “60-second” pause, twice a day, to be alone with God. Schedule the daily pause (Greer does 10 am and 2pm) and don’t skip it.

This was a very helpful, well-organized, accessible, biblically-grounded consideration of space: what it is, how Jesus approached this crucial area of life, why it matters, and how we can go about finding it and meeting God in it.



Credo: A Sermon Series through The Apostles’ Creed // pt.19—“the forgiveness of sins”

Could you forgive the people who ate your grandfather?

There is a question you likely have never asked yourself!

In a 2003 article in The Telegraph entitled “Fijians killed and ate a missionary in 1867. Yesterday their descendants apologised,” Nick Squires, writing from Nubutautau, Fiji, wrote:

Tearful Fijian warriors in grass skirts and armed with clubs yesterday begged forgiveness from the descendants of an English missionary their ancestors killed and ate more than a century ago.

In an elaborate ceremony villagers presented woven mats, a dozen highly-prized whale’s teeth and a slaughtered cow to 10 Australian relatives of the Rev Thomas Baker, who was murdered, cooked and consumed while trying to spread Christianity in Fiji’s rugged highlands in July 1867.

Seven Fijian converts who were helping the 35-year-old missionary penetrate the mountainous interior of Viti Levu island were also clubbed to death, their bodies cut up on flat rocks and roasted.

“Thomas Baker died in this place and we need to confess our sins,” said a local woman, Elenoa Naiyaunisiga, 59. “It is time for repentance and an apology.”

Legend has it that Mr Baker, a Methodist minister born in Playden, Sussex, was murdered after breaking a taboo by taking a comb from a chief’s hair.

But historians say the real reason was resistance to the spread of Christianity and complex tribal politics. Mr Baker became the only white man to be eaten in Fiji, a former British colony once known as the Cannibal Isles.

He and his men were ambushed as they left a village early one morning. According to the sole survivor, a Fijian guide, Mr Baker had sensed danger and told his companions: “Boys, we shall be killed today. Let us go now.”

During the six-hour ceremony in the village of Nubutautau, overlooked by jungle-clad ridges and outcrops of black volcanic rock, locals implored his descendants to forgive them for his murder and help them lift a curse which they believe has blighted their lives.

Wiping away tears, the chief of the village, Ratu Filimone Nawawabalavu, offered gifts and kissed the cheek of Les Lester, 56, Mr Baker’s great-great-grandson.[1]

Richard John Neuhaus noted concerning this forgiveness ceremony:

The ceremony of reconciliation included the slaughter of a cow and the gift of 100 sperm whale teeth to the Rev. Baker’s descendants. At the end of the ceremony, the village chief, Ratu Filimoni Nawawabalavu, embraced the British visitors. He is the descendant of the chief who cooked the missionary.[2]

How fascinating! There were at least two fundamental realities at play in Nubutautau on this day: (1) the human need for forgiveness and (2) the astonishing power of forgiveness.

In 1 John 1, John concludes his first chapter with some astonishing words. He writes:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

In these three verses we find the biblical grounding for the great line from the creed we are considering today: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

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Matthew 22:15–22

Matthew 22

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Alfred Nicol has written a fascinating and troubling and humorous and insightful little poem. It reads like a ditty, but there is depth here. Listen:

Give to Caesar what is his,
namely, everything there is.

I see a lot of eyebrows raised.
Let’s check the books. You’ll be amazed.

An x. An o. A hug and kiss.
Render unto Caesar this.

Render unto Caesar that.
His the dog, his the cat.

Render up your reading time.
Render, too, your reverie.

Render up the uphill climb,
render what you hope to be.

If God is dead, does Caesar get
the flip side of the coin? You bet!

Render up. You’ll never win.
The croupier will rake it in.

Caesar’s arms are open wide;
your whole estate will fit inside.[1]

Again, this sounds whimsical almost, but there in the second half is a little couplet upon which the whole poem rests:

If God is dead, does Caesar get
the flip side of the coin? You bet!

Ah! There it is! A conditional statement: “If God is dead…” And this is the key. If God is dead than Caesar does indeed get it all (i.e., “the flip side of the coin,” “render…unto God what is God’s”).

But if God is not dead then the whole thing falls apart, right? In the face of a living God, Caesar does not get it all, or even the most important things, or, in the face of eternity, really anything at all!

Jesus showed us that God is not dead. As such, Jesus’ handling of the question of taxes, of what exactly we should render to Caesar, needs to be heard and heeded, and that carefully! Let us consider this amazing and famous episode in the life of Jesus.

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Credo: A Sermon Series through The Apostles’ Creed // pt.18—“the communion of saints”

In 1927, the German Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was 21 years old. In that year, he completed his doctoral dissertation. The publication of that dissertation in 1930 captivated a number of people, not the least of which was the great theologian Karl Barth who referred to it as “a miracle.” In this book, Bonhoeffer makes an arresting statement. He writes:

There is in fact only one religion in which the idea of community is an integral element of its nature, and that is Christianity.[1]

In other words, according to Bonhoeffer, community is an inescapable reality for the believer. It is part and parcel of being a Christian, and there is no healthy Christianity without it.

What was the name of Bonhoeffer’s book? Sanctorum Communio. Translation: the communion of saints.

I agree with Bonhoeffer. I believe he is correct. Community, the life of the saints of God (i.e., all who are believers) lived out together, is “an integral element” of the nature of Christianity. This truth is firmly grounded in the short but profound statement from 1 Corinthians 12:

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

The “you” there is plural. Paul is speaking to all the believers in Corinth and, by extension, to all believers everywhere. The “body of Christ” is singular. The “members” is plural. And the “are” is emphatic! In other words: you, the saints, the individuals who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, by definition are in and comprise the singular body of Christ on earth, the sanctorum communio, the communion of saints.

When we say we “believe in the communion of saints” we are pressing this idea forward, and we are right to do so. Let us consider how to honor, value, embrace, and safeguard the communion of saints.

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Matthew 22:1–14

Matthew 22

1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

 Here is something I have not quite seen before and that, frankly, gives me pause. In the back of Peter Stoner’s 1944 book, Science Speaks, he presents two options to the reader. He calls them “contracts.” The reader is asked to sign or date one of these contracts.

Consider the two following statements as contracts between yourself and God. One of these contracts is in effect as you finish reading this book. Which one do you now choose?

  1. I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as my personal Savior. By this act my sins are all blotted out and I become a son of God, a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. I now have eternal life and shall spend eternity in heaven with Christ.

Signed……………………….. Dated ………………………..

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? – Hebrews 2:3

  1. I will not accept Jesus Christ as my savior. I realize that this is the greatest sin against God that any man can commit and in so doing I affiliate myself with Satan. I shall live a life in sin against God, and for this decision I shall spend eternity in hell with Satan.

Signed……………………….. Dated ………………………..

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord – Romans 6:23[1]

I do not pause because I disagree with Stoner’s conclusion that everybody must choose either “1” or “2.” I pause because, if I am honest, this is not usually put quite so jarringly in modern Christian practice, certainly not in a way calling for a signature. I suppose we could debate the merits of this approach, but one thing seems clear: Jesus told stories which offered the same decision and the same results for whichever decision was made. And Jesus’ stories were no less jarring than Stoner’s contracts. I suspect in our day we might say that Stoner’s approach risks being too confrontational. Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, our day appears to be one that can never quite get down to the basic confrontation that is inherent in the gospel: Will you accept Jesus or not?

To be frank, many who heard Jesus’ parable in the first fourteen verses of Matthew 22 would have been as offended as some would be at Stoner’s contracts. Yet, there it is: a choice, a decision that needs making, two roads, and two destinations. Listen to Jesus’ story of the wedding feast.

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Credo: A Sermon Series through The Apostles’ Creed // pt.17—“the holy universal church”

Can you imagine how unbelievably awesome it would be to find a long-lost treasure? In January of this year, Reader’s Digest published an article entitled, “The Most Incredible Undersea Treasures Ever Found.” The stories and their accompanying pictures were amazing. Here are a few:

Called the “holy grail of shipwrecks,” the Spanish galleon San José was carrying a treasure of silver, gold, and emeralds worth billions of dollars today. The galleon sunk after a battle with British ships off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, in 1708. Three hundred years later, in 2015, the wreck was discovered on the ocean floor.

The website Scuba Diving writes of the find: “Gold, silver and emeralds in the wreck of a Spanish galleon worth an estimated $20 billion have ignited an international claims battle between Colombia, Spain, Peru, Panama and Bolivia.” Colombia is keeping the exact location a secret![1] Fascinating!

Here’s another from Reader’s Digest:

Turns out that 1985 was a big year for shipwrecks: The sunken “mother lode” of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha was found in July of that year off the coast of Key West, Florida. Famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher searched for 16 years before making the discovery. The ship, commonly referred to as the Atocha, was loaded with treasure to bring to Spain when she left Havana, Cuba, in 1622—and sailed straight into a hurricane…You can see more of the trove, in total estimated to be worth around $450 million, at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West.

Here is one which I find very very cool indeed!

This ancient site off the Greek island Antikythera may have been found back in 1900, but researchers are still unearthing new treasures there. The wreck is famous for the Antikythera mechanism, a complex device made of gears nicknamed the “world’s first computer” for its ability to track the sun and moon and predict eclipses. The device is dated to the second century B.C., but nothing else like it from that time period has ever been found.[2]

I love stuff like this! Oh, yeah, and there is one more treasure, long buried, that I want us to discover today. Here it is:

That’s right: Central Baptist Church, North Little Rock, Arkansas. I am not kidding. The church is an absolute treasure, but it too has been buried. How so? Buried by what? It has been buried beneath years of neglect or ignorance or our own failure to be the church or worldly opposition to the church or biblical illiteracy that blinds us to what the church is supposed to be. We know the church exists, but do we know the value of this treasure?

Make no mistake: When the Apostles’ Creed has us say “I believe in…the holy universal church” it is having us talk about something very valuable indeed.

That phrase, “the holy universal church,” carries with it three qualifiers that will help us get at why the church is so valuable:

  • the
  • holy
  • universal

Let us consider these in turn.

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Credo: A Sermon Series through The Apostles’ Creed // pt.16—“I believe in the Holy Spirit”

David Seamands, in his book Healing for Damaged Emotions, passes on a fascinating story about a man named Charlie Steinmetz.

Do you remember the story of Henry Ford and Charlie Steinmetz? Steinmetz was a dwarf, ugly and deformed, but he had one of the greatest minds in the field of electricity that the world has ever known. Steinmetz built the great generators for Henry Ford in his first plant in Dearborn, Michigan. One day those generators broke down and the plant came to a halt. They brought in ordinary mechanics and helpers who couldn’t get the generators going again. They were losing money. Then Ford called Steinmetz. The genius came, seemed to just putter around for a few hours, and then threw the switch that put the great Ford plant back into operation. A few days later Henry Ford received a bill from Steinmetz for $10,000. Although Ford was a very rich man, he returned the bill with a note, “Charlie, isn’t this bill just a little high for a few hours of tinkering around on those motors?” Steinmetz returned the bill to Ford. This time it read: “For tinkering around on the motors: $10. For knowing where to tinker: $9,990. Total: $10,000.” Henry Ford paid the bill. The Holy Spirit knows where to tinker. We do not know what we ought to be praying for. We often do not receive because we ask for the wrong things.[1]

I love that! The Holy Spirit does indeed know where to tinker, and, in truth, the Christian cannot put a price tag on His value! Without Him, the whole progress of the Christian life comes to a screeching halt.

My point here is simple and urgent: I plead with us to acknowledge our need for the Holy Spirit and for His ministry in our lives as followers of Jesus.

I grieve to read these words from Francis Chan:

There is a big gap between what we read in Scripture about the Holy Spirit and how most believers and churches operate today…

If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit. The degree to which this has happened (and I would argue that it is a prolific disease in the body of Christ) is directly connected to the dissatisfaction most of us feel with and in the church. We understand something very important is missing…

I believe that this missing something is actually a missing Someone—namely, the Holy Spirit…

Given our talent set, experience, and education, many of us are fairly capable of living rather successfully (according to the world’s standards) without any strength from the Holy Spirit.

Even our church growth can happen without Him. Let’s be honest: If you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church.  Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming. It simply means that you have created a space that is appealing enough to draw  people in for an hour or two on Sunday.[2]

Yes, I grieve to read this, and I shudder. I shudder because I know that Chan’s words are true. Too many of us do neglect the Spirit’s presence and His ministry. And I shudder because it is a dreadfully true thought that a church that has the right cogs in place can keep the machine going even if the Lord is not present. But that, friends, is not a church…it is merely a machine, an institution, a business.

But if we are to be a church, then we must return again to the great line of the creed and say it with conviction and with power: “I believe in the Holy Spirit.”

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Credo: A Sermon Series through The Apostles’ Creed // pt.15—“and he will come to judge the living and the dead”

I know I should not, but I do kind of an appreciate a good theologian fracas, when theologians square off. I think this is because the reasons for theologians sparring, unlike most others fights, are at least sometimes (though not always!) substantive. Regardless, the subject matter always matters: who is God and how do we understand Him.

There have been a number of great theologian clashes. One thinks of Athanasius and Arius or Augustine and Pelagius. But another great one was between Tertullian and Marcion. It was not really a squaring off, to be technical about it. Marcion was older. He lived from 85 to 160 AD. Tertullian lived from 155 to 220 AD. So Marcion died when Tertullian was five years old, but that did not stop Tertullian from taking Marcion to task when he got older. In fact, Tertullian wrote a book entitled Adversus Marcionem, Against Marcion.

Why? Well, Marcion developed very problematic views. In fact, Marcion was a heretic. Marcion believed that the God of the Old Testament was a monster, a vengeful, wrathful, false god. He believed that the God of the New Testament was a different deity who revealed Himself in the person of Jesus.

The church condemned Marcionism in 144 AD. A lot of what we know of Marcion’s views we know from the assessments of those, like Tertullian, who wrote against him.

One of Tertullian’s main points was that Marcion left no room for God to have any wrath. Tertullian writes scathingly of Marcion and the Marcionites:

…a better god has been discovered, one who is neither offended nor angry nor inflicts punishment, who has no fire warming up in hell, and no outer darkness wherein there is shuddering and gnashing of teeth: he is merely kind. Of course he forbids you to sin – but only in writing.[1]

Tertullian also noted that the world desperately wants a God with no wrath or judgment. He writes: “We get ourselves laughed at for proclaiming that God will one day judge the world.”[2]

And this is not an uncommon desire, this desire for a God with no wrath who never judges sin. In his article, “No Squishy Love,” Timothy George writes:

In his 1934 book, The Kingdom of God in America, H. Richard Niebuhr depicted the creed of liberal Protestant theology, which was called “modernism” in those days, in these famous words: “A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”[3]

Against this kind of sentimentalism projected upon the God of Heaven and earth stands the line of the creed: “and he will come to judge the living and the dead.” There are two components to this line, both of which have deep scriptural backing:

  • He will come
  • to judge the living and the dead.

Both of these are vitally important, and both are to be understood in the shadow of the cross.

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Matthew 21:28–46

Matthew 21

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. 33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.

 I went to a conference at Union University a few months ago. I was delighted when, in the course of one of his presentations, the speaker quoted William Faulkner’s novel, Light in August. It is a powerful novel. I went up to the speaker at the break and asked him if I might share a line from the novel that haunts me. Faulkner writes the line about a pastor, Reverend Hightower, who, in the course of the novel, becomes disillusioned with the church. Here is what Faulkner writes of Hightower’s epiphany concerning the church:

It seems to him that he has seen it all the while: that that which is destroying the Church is not the outward groping of those within it nor the inward groping of those without, but the professionals who control it and who have removed the bells from its steeples.[1]

That line hits hard. It is not, Faulkner argues, the world that is corrupting the church. Nor is it even the worldliness of the congregation. Rather, it is “the professionals who control it and who have removed the bells from its steeples.” The indictment there is two-pronged:

  • “control”
  • “removing the bells from the steeples”

The first speaks of the corruption of power. The second of the corruption of a loss of focus. The first speaks of arrogance. The second speaks of the tragedy of the religious elites robbing the church of its voice and its beauty.

Jesus corroborates this indictment in the remainder of Matthew 21 when he continues His exchange with the religious elites by telling them two stories that illustrate two points.

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Credo: A Sermon Series through The Apostles’ Creed // pt.14b—“he is seated at the right hand of the Father”

On Saturday, May 6, 2023, the world will get to see something that does not happen very often: the coronation of a new king of England. Charles will be crowned king of England and Camilla will be crowned queen. There will be a great deal of pomp and circumstance and symbolism on May 6, but what strikes me as most interesting is how many of the elements of the upcoming will involve the king’s right hand.

  • A ring will be placed on his right hand.
  • One of the two scepters will be placed in his right hand.
  • An orb will be placed in his right hand.

These will be handed back to the Archbishop of Canterbury after their placement. Then, traditionally, a host of significant people come forward and kiss the ring on the king’s right hand.

The giving of these items to the right hand of the king is intended to communicate different things, but all of them have to do with the new king of England’s rule, over both the state and the Church of England.

It is, to say the least, interesting to watch all of this. In light of the history of our nations, there is, of course, a unique historical angle to an American observing this. Most of us will watch it with a sense of interest and even respect but also with an awareness of our own story. But, more so, it is most interesting to watch this as a Christian. We are aware, of course, that there is only one King who reigns forever and that His throne is above all other thrones. This is Jesus. But what is really fascinating is thinking about how Jesus is the great treasure at the Father’s right hand.

The New Testament is filled with references to the right hand of the Father, and they all involve His Son, King Jesus, God with us. We have seen how “the session” of Jesus—the sitting of Jesus at the Father’s right hand—communicates the completion of Jesus’ earthly saving work, the exaltation of Jesus and His unparalleled power and authority, and the continuation of His priestly role of intercession and advocacy. But there is yet more to the session of Christ, and to this we turn now.

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