Closed

Exactly five weeks and six days ago our landlords called us from Sri Lanka and told us that they were coming home to America, and that they wanted their house back (they were very nice about it), so, unfortunately, we had to move. Brandi and I had been talking about buying a house for years, but other factors in life sort of prevented us from ever moving beyond talk. We both knew instantly that being forced to move quickly was just the push we needed.

Within a week of that phone call from our landlords we had qualified for a loan and found a house on the Internet that we were interested in. Within a week after that we had been inside the house, felt like it was the house for us, and were making an offer on it. Fast-forward to less than four weeks from that point, and here we are today ...

We closed on our house today. We officially own a 4 bedroom home in the country that sits on 2 acres of land. (We had no idea how HUGE 2 acres is until we saw the survey today!)

It's a great place, and it's more than we could have dreamed for. God's been good to us. Thanks to everyone out there who has prayed for us through this whole process. We'll be moving on May 9, so by all means keep praying.

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The Champ!

Here's a photo of Nathan with his 1st Place trophy from the spelling bee a couple of weeks ago.

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The Apostolic Fathers

Many, if not most, writings in this category [Apostolic Fathers] were treated as Scripture alongside the Gospels and apostles' epistles by some Christian churches in the second century. In fact, one way of understanding this category is as the books that came to be judged orthodox but barely missed being judged canonical, inspired Scripture when the Christian canon was being determined. In other words, these writings were hardly distinguished from the writings of the apostles by some Christians in the Roman Empire but were ultimately excluded because they received no universal agreement as Scripture . . .
-- Roger E. Olsen, The Story of Christian Theology


I've been reading a translation of the Apostolic Fathers lately, and, despite their inclination toward moralism, they're very refreshing to read. In fact, if Christians used the Apostolic Fathers as a theological resource on certain issues, they could help shed light on the way many first-generation believers viewed certain cultural and doctrinal issues. For example ...

Abortion

You shall not murder ... you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide.

-- Didache 2:2


Baptism

Now concerning baptism, baptize as follows: after you have reviewed all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in running water. But if you have no running water, then baptize in some other water; and if you are not able to baptize in cold water, then do so in warm. But if you have neither, then pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
-- Didache 7:1-3


The Godhead

The Lord submitted to suffer for our souls, even though he is Lord of the whole world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, "Let us make humankind according to our image and likeness," . . .

-- Barnabas 5:5


Those are only a few examples of certain theological and moral issues that the Apostolic Fathers have something to say about. To be sure, the Apostolic Fathers are not Scripture, but, as Olsen said, they are by-and-large considered orthodox. Sure, in many ways they truly didn't understand the Gospel of Grace, but they didn't have the luxury of the full revelation of Scripture that we now possess.

Furthermore, it's important to note that the Apostolic Fathers were the guys who, in many instances, knew the apostles. For example, Polycarp was a disciple of John. While they didn't have the full canon of Scripture to rely on, they did have a close association with the apostles. They were Christianity's first theologians.

April 30 Is Likely

That's what our lender told me yesterday. She said to count on closing April 30. My real estate broker said, worst case scenario, we'll close May 4. Awesome.

Whole Food And House Update

**Moving Update** We're still moving toward our closing date of April 30. We may end up closing the first week of May, though. In any case it looks like we'll be moving by the second or third weekend of May.

Now to the point of my post. We've been really blessed recently to have a relationship with a community of agrarian believers who have been a valuable resource for getting quality food at affordable prices:

Raw milk -- $4 per gallon
Raw milk that's a few days old, but still good -- $2 per gallon
A dozen farm eggs from free-range chickens -- $2 per dozen
HUGE whole wheat hamburger buns -- Between $2 and $3 per package of eight
Whole wheat tortillas -- $3.50 per dozen
Homemade cheese imported from Amish country -- $2.50 per pound

We could almost live completely off of the whole food deals we get from these believers. It's great! If we close on this house, we'll have two acres of our own and we plan to have our own chickens and ducks, so we may not rely on those people so heavily for eggs, but our family eats a lot of eggs, so we'll see.

Presuppositions

Everyone approaches exegesis and Bible study with presuppositions. For example, one of my presuppositions is that the sacrament of water baptism is not salvific, and that influences my interpretation of Acts 2:38:

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of JESUS Christ for the remission of sins ..." (NKJV)


Many Evangelical commentators say that "for" in that case, actually means "because of," or "due to," even though I can't locate a single popular English translation the renders the Greek in that way. (That's not to say that a minority English translation like that doesn't exist.) Just about every translation I can find seems to indicate that, in Acts 2:38, the forgiveness of sins is linked to baptism.

On a related note, if you were to go with the baptism=forgiveness route, then you'd have to concede that John's baptism had the same effect:

John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
-- Mark 1:4 (NKJV)


Despite some exegetical ambiguity, my presupposition on this matter remains intact.

Some House Photos

We close on the 30th, Lord willing.

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Counting Costs

Brandi and I are purposefully trying to move out to the country. We're moving (hopefully inexorably) toward our closing date of April 30th, at which point we'll be located in a small town about 10 miles outside of Waco. Over the years we've found ourselves more and more disenchanted with city life, and a peaceful existence on a quiet piece of acreage sounds really appealing to us right now.

Many folks I work with live out in the country, and there's a certain idea within their collective mindset that a city is no place to raise a family. I don't think they're universally right. Sure, for them, if they're following God, then the country is exactly where they need to be. But many people -- especially many people in my church -- believe that God has called them to be where the people are -- and that's in cities.

Truth be told, I'd say there's a certain tension between my church's call to be in the middle of a dirt poor, crime-ridden neighborhood, and my personal feeling that my priority before God is to my family, not the lost people who live in the neighborhood or any other group of people in my vicinity. Sure, I want my heart to break for the lost, but above that I want my heart to break for my wife and my children.

There's a human tendency to force convictions on other people. I can't tell you how many times I've heard of homeschooling believers who have frustrated and offended other Christians because they choose to put their children in public or private schools. Yes, Brandi and I home school, and we wouldn't dream of putting our kids into public or private schools, but we don't judge any parent for making the decision they feel is right for them and their children. The same can be said for the contrast between my church's general call to be among the lost, needy, desperate people in our city, and my personal compulsion to protect my family outside of that environment. While I don't think God is leading my family in that general direction, I bless the families of Antioch who lay down their lives for other people. The Body of Christ needs all types.

[About the house, we have a closing date set, but we still need to come out looking good on our inspections before we can say it's in the bag. I'm not going to exhale until we sign on the proverbial dotted line and I'm handed the keys. If the whole deal falls through, we'll gladly live wherever God wants to put us.]

Spelling Bee

Nathan won our homeschool association's annual spelling bee for his grade level yesterday. He's like a spelling machine. I was so proud of him. Since he's an AS Kid, it's a temptation to focus on his deficiencies. It was so refreshing to see him in a comfortable setting, doing something that he excels at.

A funny part was at the end when it was a "spell off" between him and another gal to determine the winner. The caller told Nathan to spell government, and Nathan just sat there staring at the floor in what looked like deep thought. After about 15 seconds the caller said, "Do you need me to repeat the word?" Nathan didn't say anything. Finally Brandi whispered, "Nathan, it's your turn." He shot his head up immediately and said, "I did not know it was my turn. Government. G-O-V-E-R-N-M-E-N-T. Government." :-)