The Rule of Faith
There is a treatment update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
DORIS STAM has written a book. Please take a look.
MOUNTAIN EDUCATORS: THE DOUGHERTY FAMILY
AND THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS OF APPALACHIAN
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE takes a look at the "Rule of Faith" from the second century. This summary of essential gospel truth was put together and embraced by orthodox Christians even before the canon of Scripture was established. This version comes from the writings of Irenaeus of Lyons, the first of the Church Fathers to use the term "New Testament" when referring to something pretty close to what we know as the New Testament. You will recognize content and actual lines from the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed.
THE RULE OF FAITH
The church which is scattered over the whole world all the way to the ends of the earth received from the apostles and their followers this faith: We believe in one God the Father Almighty, "who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them" (Exod. 20:11): and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God who became incarnate for our salvation; and in Holy Spirit, who through the prophets predicted the plans of God.
These divine plans included the first advent; the birth from a Virgin; the passion; the resurrection from the dead; the bodily ascension of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ into heaven; and his second coming from heaven in the glory of the Father to "recapitulate all things" (Eph. 1:10) and to resurrect the bodies of the whole human race, so that to Christ Jesus our Lord and God and Savior and King "every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess Him" (Phil. 2:10-11). This was the good pleasure of the invisible Father.
Christ will raise the dead in order to execute righteous judgment upon everyone. Into eternal fire he will send the "spiritual forces of wickedness" (Eph. 6:12), and the angels who sinned and became apostate, and every person who is profane, unjust, sinful, and blasphemous. But there are others: the righteous and holy, and all who have kept his commandments and remain in his love (John 15:10). The apostles persevered from the beginning of his ministry (John 15:27), while others began at the point of their own repentance. To all of these he will give incorruptible life by his grace, and will clothe them with eternal glory.
Now as I was just saying: the Church which is spread out through the whole world has received this preaching and this faith. And so we Christians diligently guard it as if we were living together in a single house. Or to put it another way: clearly we all believe these things so much, it's like we have a single heart and soul (Acts 4:32). We so consistently preach, teach, and hand down these truths, it's as if we have but one mouth.
For although the languages of the world are dissimilar, the meaning of our tradition is one and the same. The churches founded in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different; neither do the churches established in Spain, or among the Celts, or in the Far East, or in Egypt, or in Libya, or in the middle of the world. Just as the sun which was created by God is one and the same throughout the whole world, so the light which is the preaching of Christian truth shines everywhere, and illumines everyone who wants to come into knowledge of the truth.
No pastor of any congregation, even if he is extremely eloquent, will say anything that varies from the truth. For we all recognize that "no one is above the Master" (Matt. 10:24). Likewise, the pastor who is lacking in eloquence will not diminish the tradition. For since the faith is one and the same, he who can discourse at length about it does not really add to it, and he who is less theologically capable does not diminish it in any way.
— Irenaeus of Lyons, in "Against Heresies," as excerpted by Bryan M. Litfin in GETTING TO KNOW THE CHURCH FATHERS: AN EVANGELICAL INTRODUCTION. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2007), pp. 95-96. ISBN 978-1-587-43-196-8. Highly recommended. There are also chapters on Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Perpetua, Origen, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Augustine, and Cyril of Alexandria.
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
TOPICAL INDEX FOR FORTY-THREE
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
November 9 Treatment Update
Dear friends and family,
Once again, thanks for loving us and praying for us during this long (really long!) cancer journey. Longer journal entries and some new pictures are found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam. Our cup overflows.
GRAFT VS. HOST DISEASE
Well, I am experiencing still more of the same, actually! Praise our great and gracious God that there is still no sign of active Lymphoma in my body. The daily concern about Graft vs. Host Disease continues, changes, and intensifies. My pillbox was adjusted again this morning—fewer steroids and more of other things.
This week we are thankful that the CMV virus numbers were at zero and that the BK virus (bladder infection) seems to be better; even the EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) numbers were negative on Friday. That is fantastic. The peripheral neuropathy (numbness and swelling in my feet and legs) is still a real problem, and they are doing tests to monitor the rash and the infections in my blood. Of course, there are new drugs to combat these aspects of the GvH disease. Last week I had an MRI and an MRA to let the doctors see if there is a neurological reason that the swelling is worse in my left leg and foot (compared to the right). The oncologist said the imaging was "unremarkable" (that is good) but I have not yet had the appointment with the neurologist. I am rejoicing in the fact that my appetite is good. We are so thankful that I have not had any signs of pneumonia or other lung "gunk." My platelet levels are up and down and up and down; we are praying for that to stabilize pretty soon. Also, I am SO, SO, SO weak. I use my walker to stay safe when coming and going, and I am VERY careful even walking around the house—not to stumble. I am often light-headed and dizzy, especially when first standing up from reclining or sitting—so I take my time.
BIG NEWS: I ATTENDED CHURCH ON NOV. 7
On Sunday morning my clinic visit was sort of on the short side. I finished the blood tests and treatment by 9:30am, so I decided to sit on the second row of the congregation at Clifton Baptist Church. It was such a joy. I sat for about 90% of the service (even put my swollen feet up on the pew next to me) and cried through all the prayers, songs, and hymns. This is the first time I have been able to attend since June 13. I have been planning many of the services from my bed of infirmity and have listened to most of the sermons I have missed (on line), but as you can imagine, it "ain't the same as being there." Please pray that I can be back in my role as worship leader Clifton sooner rather than later.
DORIS HAS WRITTEN A BOOK
Doris's book is finally in hand—it is so beautiful. Please take a look at the material on the web site: MOUNTAIN EDUCATORS: THE DOUGHERTY FAMILY AND THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS OF APPALACHIAN. Doris's relatives started Watauga Academy in 1899 (Boone, NC), a little mountain school that finally became Appalachian State University. If you know any happy alumni or fans of ASU, please pass this information to them (Christmas presents are right around the corner). (www.tinyurl.com/mountaineducators)
Please keep praying fervently for Doris, our family, my caregivers, and me; and don't forget to pray for and care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment. Pray that our stem cell drive will provide many, many cancer patients with life-saving options for treatment. If you would like to swab your cheek and participate in our drive, it is not too late.
Resting in the LORD's Great Bounty,