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Theology Matters Jan/Feb to Nov/Dec 2009

Beauty, the Beholder, and the Believer  by Robert P. Mills, PCUSA minister and Assistant professor of Humanities and Music Theory at Liberty University, VA, and Director of Music at Northminster Presbyterian Church, Madison Heights, VA.  The notion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder seems so intuitively obvious that there is little discussion today to challenge its accuracy.  But, beauty has not always been subjective.  Until the Enlightenment, beauty was understood as an objective quality. Then slowly a shift began to take place and beauty became a relative quality assigned by the observer.  Once beauty became subjective, Truth and Goodness soon followed.  Mills draws application to the church and its ministry form the relativizing of Beauty, Truth and Goodness.


Preparing for the Coming of Jesus Christ: Advent Daily Scripture Readings and Reflections from the Writings of John Calvin compiled and edited by Rev. Edwin Gray Hurley.  This article contains Daily Scripture Readings from the Common Christian Lectionary together with selections from the writings of John Calvin. "The Institutes, from which most of our Advent Reflections are drawn, is a superb comprehensive statement of classical orthodox Christianity"


Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles   Endnotes   Signatories    This article is reprinted with permission from the Witherspoon Institute, 2006.  It is the result of scholarly discussions that began in December, 2004 at a meeting in Princeton, NJ sponsored by the Witherspoon Institute.  This conference brought together scholars from History, Economics, Psychiatry, Law, Sociology and Philosophy to share with each other the findings of their research on why marriage, understood as a permanent union of husband and wife, is in the public interest.  A consensus developed for sharing the fruit of their collaboration more widely.  The Witherspoon Institute is an independent research center located in Princeton, NJ.  The web site for Witherspoon Institute is    


The Reformers Teach Us About Thinking, Praying, Living by Ann White.  White has a Ph.D in history and is a PCUSA elder.
White explains that the Reformers teach us that the Bible illumines all of reality and that 'to God alone belongs the glory'.  They show us how to live one day at a time; that faith invites conflict,requires intellectual effort and requires obedience. p. 1

A Shattered Vase: The Tragedy of Sin in Calvin's Thought by Michael Horton.  This article may not be reprinted or linked to. This is a reprint from the book, A Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes: Essays and Analysis ed. David W. Hall and Peter A. Lillback, (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 2008).  It is reprinted with permission.  Horton looks at the paradox of Calvin's anthropology --human dignity and human  tragedy.   He examines How  Total is Total Depravity?  Is God the Author of Sin? and Sin and Grace.  p. 6.

The Reformation of the Church: Electing Commissioners to the General Assembly by Gabrielle Avedian.  Avedian is Executive Director of the Presbyterian Forum. 


 Reformed Ecclesiology: The Community of Christ, by Dr. Dennis Okholm, p. 1 ---  
Okholm studies the nature of the church: where it is found, what about schism, the mission of the church.

A Review of "What is Missional Ecclesiology?" by  Mrs. Viola Larson, p. 6 --
The paper "what is Missional Ecclesiology" by Paul Hooker explains the foundational principles of the proposed new Form of Government.  Hooker is on the new FOG Task Force.  Larson critiques Hooker's vision of the church.

Lessons from Nehemiah on Wall-Building, by Mrs. Terry Schlossberg, p.10--
Schlossberg studies the prophet Nehemiah who faced the insurmountable task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem from the rubble.  There are applicable lessons for those seeking to renew the PCUSA that appears now in rubble.

The Lamp Has Not Yet Gone Out, by Dr. James R. Edwards, p. 13--
Edwards looks at 1 Samuel that was "the most desperate moment between Moses and David."  Yet in the midst of judgment and desperation, "the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished."  There are lessons for the church today as it seeks God's will in bringing renewal.

The Reformation of the Church: Where Is the Power Lodged, by Rev. Sue Cyre, p. 15--
This is the first in an on-going series on steps to take in the reformation of the church.  This article discusses where the power to reform is lodged--in the people who form governing bodies.  The power is not lodged in renewal groups.