Monday, August 28, 2006

Age of Accountability?

Is there such a thing as an age of accountability? Were you ever taught that there is an age of accountability? It is interesting how many times I heard this phrase thrown around as I was growing up. The folks over at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals had given a brief biblical answer to to the question, "Is there an Age of Accountability?" Because I was having difficulty getting the link to work, I just pasted the article below. I highly reccomend reading the article as well as thoughtful consideration to the biblical passages the article cites.

Is There an Age of Accountability?
Is there an age at which children become accountable for their salvation? Prior to this age, is it true that children are not morally responsible and that if they die they are immediately transported to heaven? Does this mean that until the age of accountability is reached we have no reason or duty to instruct children in the faith? Many evangelicals teach these things, often drawing the line at age 12 or 13, since Jesus was 12 when he accompanied his parents to the temple (Lk. 2:42).The first question to ask is whether the Bible teaches this doctrine. The answer is that no age of accountability is found in the Bible. Quite to the contrary, the Bible says that we are all accountable for all our sins. Psalm 58:3 says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb.” A six-year-old is guilty of breaking God’s law when he smashes his brother over the head with a toy block. No exceptions are noted in Scripture to the rule of Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul who sins shall die.” Supposed ignorance of sin is not an excuse, since all transgression of God’s law is sin, whether knowing or not. One passage that is used to teach that God does not hold children accountable is Deuteronomy 1:39. Here, Moses explains that while the exodus generation was denied entry into the Promised Land because of their sin in the desert, their children would be allowed to enter. “As for your little ones… who today have no knowledge of god or evil, they shall go in there.” But Moses’ point was not that the children were innocent of all sin because of their immaturity; they were innocent of their parents’ sin and so would not be punished with them. Other passages used to teach an age of accountability similarly fail to carry the weight assigned to them.Moreover, we are all guilty in Adam. Romans 5:12 says, “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Paul explains, “One trespass led to condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18). The point is that we are guilty in Adam, our federal head under the covenant of works. Children, like adults, are accountable not only for their own sins but for Adam’s. This is why Paul says that by nature, we are all “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).When are children accountable to believe on Jesus and thereby be saved from their sins? The only biblical answer is “As soon as possible!” At increasing ages, they should exercise a faith suited for their ability. As they grow in nature, they should grow in grace, with their profession of faith being adorned by increasing evidences of spiritual life. As soon as possible and as appropriately as possible, our children should be led to Christ by their parents – through God’s Word and through prayer – and the church should assist through pastoral care, godly examples, prayer, and faithful teaching.But how can an infant exercise saving faith in Christ? I would agree that an infant cannot understand the gospel and cannot exercise saving faith. David’s claim in Psalm 22:9 is best taken as poetic license: “You made me trust you at my mother’s breast.” Any idea of infant faith serves only to evacuate the word “faith” of its biblical meaning. But according to 2 Samuel 12:23, infant children of believers who die will go ahead of us to heaven. How can this happen, if infants cannot believe? First, we do not have to explain but merely to proclaim the teaching of Scripture. Second, traditionally Reformed Christians hold that such children are elect, and are saved by Christ apart from faith because they are never in a situation where faith is possible: they pass from infancy (where faith is not possible) to the presence of Christ (where faith is not necessary). (The same is true for retarded and other impaired children). They are an exception to the biblical doctrine of salvation through faith alone, and one for which countless believers are grateful to the Lord.The unbiblical idea of an “age of accountability” can only undermine our parental duty to lead our children to Christ. Many churches today do not even allow children into the worship service, since there is no point and since they considered a hassle to the parents. What an offense this is to the Lord who called for the little children to be brought to him (Mt. 19:14)!Finally, let me point out that no parent is able to save his or her child. In every child’s case, we trust the Lord for the salvation and we are called to exercise our duty to raise them in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. When children profess faith in Jesus – in ways appropriate to their development state – we should rejoice while continuing with our duty. As they grow older, we should prayerfully labor to see more mature expressions of faith. All our children who die in infancy or who die professing Christ with a faith agreeable to their age and ability, have gone directly into heaven, because of the grace of God who numbered all their days and brought them safely to heaven in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Richard Phillips is the chair of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology and senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church Coral Springs, Margate, Florida.Visit the Question

What has been your experience with the idea of an age of accountability?
What are you thoughts about the article?

(HT: Russ)

If you've heard Crowder's new tunes and want a good laugh...

Go here and then click on "You on YouTube" #1 over on the left hand side of the page. You'll be glad you did. Promise.

Born the Same Year as Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler

"In her youth, Capovilla liked to embroider, paint, play piano and dance the waltz at parties, the family said. She also visited nearby plantation, where she would drink fresh milk from donkeys as well as cows.

She always ate three meals a day and never smoked or drank hard liquor — “Only a small cup of wine with lunch and nothing more,” Irma told AP last December. "

The World's oldest person, Maria Esther de Capovilla, born September 14th 1889, died yesterday at age 116.

Read the whole story here.

Calvin's Favorite Drink

So here lately we've been bloggin a lot about our favorite coffee drinks. This morning John Calvin leads us try a little different drink.
"We see that our salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts
4:12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is 'of him' (1 Cor. 1:30). If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth...If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross (Gal. 3:13); if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurection...In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other."

- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.16.9

Have you tried this drink?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Doctrinal Idolatry?

Phil Auxier stirs us up on his blog with some hard questions and interesting insights. I've listed his entire post below. Any thoughts about his implications?

Tim Keller, in a recent sermon entitled Being the Church in Our Culture, said, “If you get self esteem by saying, "My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how I hard I work in religion, how moral I am, and therefore I have to look down on those who I perceive are lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to 'the other'." What do I mean by that? If the reason you can look yourself in the mirror--if you don’t believe in the depths of your being in the radical grace of Jesus--then there’s something else your looking to as your main identity factor…you’re going to look at some other identity factor. You must feel superior to others because there is something in you. If your self esteem is based on how you have sound doctrine and nobody else does. You have to look down and feel superior to those who aren’t as doctrinally sound. Religion leads to all the conflicts."

Obviously Keller is using "religion" here in the end in a perjorative sense. I think I see this sometimes in the church. Instead of clinging to the grace of God expressed in the person and work of Jesus Christ, we are pridefully holding onto our right understanding of essential and non-essential doctrinal issues as our means of a right standing before God. This is the reason we cannot heartily agree with Paul who could tell us that "some are preaching Christ from envy and strife and some from good will, the latter doing it out of love, the former out of selfish ambition." What is Paul's conclusion, "Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice." Our doctrinal arrogance is what keeps us from rejoicing when Christ is preached, even when we don't agree 100% doctrinally.

What are some implications of this:
1) I am not affirming that rejecting of truth doesn't matter. Truth is important. We just must not put doctrinal precision on the same level as a work that is justifying us in God's eyes.
2) We should seek to compel those who don't understand the truth as we see it with our loving actions. A humble love for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would compel them much more than our doctrinally arrogant positions.
3) Ultimately, as James affirms (4:1ff) the quarrels and strife among us come from the lusts of our heart and the evil desires found therein. It is not someone's doctrinal wrongness or rightness that causes conflict in the body of Christ. It is desires that are allowed to set doctrinal rightness as an idol that must be served. In doing this, we are putting something before God Himself. It is through loving our neighbor as ourselves that we fulfill the Law. Therefore, we need to be careful of setting an idol up that would lead to undone conflict in the body of Christ.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Coffee All Around The World

So the HS reunion went really great, I'll probably post on that soon. But now it is on to coffee again. If you don't like coffee of some kind, get off my blog. Just kidding. Sort of. We've talked about Starbucks and our fav drinks from there but now it is time to turn the corner. Most of us have been in other coffee shops that we really enjoy. Sometimes its the location, sometimes its the atmosphere. Sometimes other coffee shops may not be as busy as SBUX and can take the time giving your drink the kind of attention that results in the best velvety foam around. A good example of this is Sunergos Coffee right here in Louisville. These guys do it right! They roast their own beans and have a genuine passion for coffee. They have free wireless internet and they are just a couple minutes from the house. If you are in the Louisville area be sure to hit Sunergos.

So what are the special non-SBUX coffee spots for you?

Another one that is very dear to my heart is Small World Coffee in Princeton, New Jersey. Susan and I visited there as often as we could. Small World is located right across the street from Princeton's campus. They were extremely busy in the evenings but that did not stop them from making the best cappuccino foam I've ever had. The atmosphere at Small World Coffee can't be beat. One of my favorite date nights I've ever had with Susan ended with good conversation over a hazelnut cappuccino with chocolate powder on top at SWC. I do indeed miss Small World Coffee along with all the good people in NJ. Lord willing, I'll enjoy a good cappuccino with some of the dearly missed people from The Point as I venture up that way in November for a mission trip. Till then, just look over to the right and see what you are missing.

So where are your favorite non-SBUX coffee shops?
Why do you like that shop so much?
What are your favorite drinks there?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Bit of a Blog Renovation

The Laughing and Learning Blog has undergone a slight renovation today. I've retired a handful of blogs that have not had enough sustaining activity and I've added several more of interest.

Faithful blogger Timmy Brewster over at Provocations and Pantings has compiled a great list of professors' blogs from which I've posted a Prof Blog Roll over on the sidebar. It is a little much, so only those that prove useful to me will stay up.

stay tuned.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Simple Starbucks Survey - Have Fun!

So I'll start back to Starbucks next week. My store is great to be so flexible with my crazy travels. I'm looking forward to getting back on the bar. On family vacation it came to my attention that our dearest Gran and Frank (Susan's Grandmother and cousin) did not know what to get when they went into a Starbucks. So I promised to post some recommendations. I remember the first Starbucks I ever visited and what drink I ordered. It was the big Starbucks right across from Vanderbilt that is always loaded with students. I went with my good buddy Jeff Bourque. I had a chai latte. It was my first...and it was good. I think my favorite Starbucks I have ever been to would have to be the one I worked at in New Brunswick, NJ on George Street. Classic feel. Close to the train station. 30 minute train ride to NYC. The store I met the VP of Victoria's Secret. (Oh I didn't tell you about that? He hooked me up with complimentary package that arrived at the apartment a few days later.) Nevertheless, I think its my favorite Starbucks. Now we need to help out Gran and Frank. There are often new drinks arriving on the menu. But I will try to give you a little direction and hopefully our readers will give their input as well. On a really cold day in the winter my favorite is either: Tall Black and White, 170 degrees Mocha, or Grande Gingerbread (tiny bit of eggnog) 170 degrees latte, and every now and then I'll get a Tall 170 degrees Peppermint Mocha. On a regular day but I need a big pick me up, my favorite is a Short White Mocha or a Double Tall ToffeeNut Latte. On a very hot day I'll usually go with an Iced Grande Caramel Macchiato or a Grande Mocha Frappuccinno. My favorite drink to enjoy in a mug is Grande Hazelnut dry 170 degrrees, chocolate powder on top, cappuccinno. So help us out! Beings that there are 122 Starbucks within 2 miles of NYU - You've probably been to one somewhere.

1) Where was the first Starbucks you ever entered? Was there a special occasion involved?
2) Where is your favorite Starbucks you've been to?
3) What is your favorite drink at Starbucks. (by all means you do not have to be as detailed as I was, but whatever you desire.)

For all those folks who want to type something about other coffee shops, be patient, another post is coming soon about other coffee shops.

10 Years Ago

I graduated from High School. This weekend, Susan and I will attend my 10-year Highschool Class Reunion. The folks planning it, seem to be very much on the ball. It is kind of funny that we are having ours at a Country Club and our crosstown rivals are having their's in the basement of a bowling alley. (Not that there is anything wrong with the basement of a bowling alley- some very good friends of ours had their wedding reception there...its just fun writing about it.)

Much could be said walking down memory lane. It is quite staggering how fast time goes by and how much of life I have experienced. It will be interesting to see people and their perspectives on life thus far. As I think about the last ten years, I shake my head in amazement at God's tender patience with me.

One phrase - God's unending faithfulness.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Jack Thomas Wyatt! He was tremendously cooperative this morning and clearly did not want to be mistaken for a girl. There's no doubt, he's Jack. Everything measured out healthy and on track. A great blessing from God. Lil'Jack was very active this morning. It was quite amazing getting to see all four chambers of his heart. It was fun to see him stretch and thrilling watching him lift his feet all the way to his head. He once opened his fingers all the way (I think he was waving at us). Needless to say we are overwhelmed with this wonderful step in the journey.



Legs and Knees scrunched up.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

19 weeks tomorrow!

She ain't pushin it out. That's natural. Now you know why I'm still hanging on for two. Wow! We are so excited. Every day is like a fresh revelation that we are pregnant. Not that I've forgotten, but awe just freshly fills my heart when I see our kid growing in Susan's belly. She has long shaken morning sickness and has been feeling great!

The thought that has rested in my mind lately is that we are stewards. The little one growing inside Susan belongs to God. We will be the primary two people contributing to this person's growth and development in all of life's most essential categories. I know right now I only see the mantle of responsibility through a glass dimly, but every day it is coming into focus. What a weight of responsibility! Nevertheless, I am eager to embrace it. Some of you more experienced folks may laugh at my eagerness. But hasn't God said that children are a heritage and reward (Psalm 127:3-5)? What is so rewarding about changing dipers only to get peed on every 4th changing, or what is so rewarding about being wakened by a hungry, wet, angry, or scared baby at all hours of the night, or what is so rewarding when there are more than one or even three and you can't find two of them. What is so rewarding about that? Certainly some seasons of parenting may seem experientially more rewarding than others. However, experience is not our authority. God's word is. God has said it clearly. Children are a reward. All ages, all hours of the night...they are a blessing. How do we reconcile this with our exausting experience as a parent. We must fight in the depths of our heart to believe God's word and in our most difficult moments of parenting, by faith consider children a blessing. You may now be laughing even harder knowing I have yet to wipe a dirty behind. All I am saying is that based on God's word, I am very optimistic that I will find meaning in the mundane, purpose in the pee in the face, and significance in the sleepless nights, for it is a privlege to be a steward of the living God parenting the people he has knit together. May God grant us all the grace to see the glory in the humble task of parenting.

We head to the doctor this Thursday! Lord willing we'll get our first look at this little blessing. We'll keep ya updated.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

No Batteries

An apology...the picture of Susan pregnant will not be posted till Monday. We tried to take the picture and the batteries in the camera went out. We scrounged around and found some more batteries from the TV changers. Before we could take the picture, batteries went dead again...and one more time we tried only to have dead batteries. Yes we could go get batteries and post today..but I'm about to head to Clarksville and she's running errands. Moral of the must have batteries to see the belly.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I am really. Despite one of our biggest blogging droughts during a time when I anticipated many posts, the blog has sustained about the same amount of visits as usual. We do not boast a large readership compared to many blogs out there but are nevertheless still amazed at the blogging phenomenon.

Monday we finally landed back in Louisville after being away for over three weeks, only to find our air conditioner not working. We tried to sleep Monday night and it was terrible. Last night we stayed with our good friends Brent and Courtney Moore who are house sitting at a house with 7 bedrooms. They had a little extra space to say the least. We'll be with them again tonight as our landlord has promised the air conditioner will be working by tomorrow.

Our time away has been filled great times of preaching and seeing God do some really neat things, meeting some new people at the camps, and enjoying time with family on vacation. We are a little weary and trying to recover. Susan reports back to School Monday and gets students the following Monday. I'm taking two classes online that officially begin on the 14th. We are both pretty ready to get back into the groove.

Susan is pooching out pretty nicely. We'll get a picture up this week...promise. Next Thursday Lord willing, we'll find out the sex of the baby(s).

Thanks for your patience more posting to come...