About That Christianity Thing -

There are some things that are non-negotiable, and by that I mean those things that make Christianity what it truly is. When Christians make a common confession assenting to the essentials of the Christian faith there is no room for negotiation. Christianity is particularly Trinitarian, particularly exclusive, and particularly redemptive through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no room for negotiation. Either God exists eternally in three persons, and either Jesus is the only way to God, and either Jesus provides the only access to God, and either Jesus rose from the dead, or Christianity is a lie. This is the sum and substance of the creedal Christianity that has existed for almost two millennia. This is the faith that Christians have believed and that Christians do believe. It will do no good to embrace a faith that has no substance, and to hold close that which bothers to carry no theological and biblical conviction. Christianity is substantive. Christianity is authoritative.  Words mean things and ideas have consequences. We didn’t get here all by ourselves. What this means is that to truly be Christian we align ourselves with those that have gone before us. This is the faith once and for all delivered to us.  We are not the beginning and neither are we the end. This is the faith for which men and women have died. This is not cheap easy-believe-ism.  This is the faith that transforms. This is the faith for which martyrs have died. This is the faith which may cost you your life. We may come and we may go, but this is the faith that will endure. The temptation is to negotiate. The temptation is to acquiesce. Resist the spirit of the age. Resist the enticement to compromise. Believe. Believe this:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
 and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
 He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

- The Apostles Creed, 390 AD

*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places

-DJM, New Years Eve, 2015


Christ's Humiliation and My Only Hope to be a Humble Man

“Where God’s Spirit does not reign, there is no humility, and men ever swell with inward pride.”

–John Calvin, Commentary on Habakkuk-Haggai, p. 52

‘Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."’
- 1 Peter 5:5

I am an arrogant man; just ask my wife and kids and anyone who knows me well. There is a vein of pride and arrogance that runs deeply through my heart. At times it’s as obvious to me as the nose on my face and at other times I cannot see it to save my life. When I’m blindly arrogant I can justify anything I want, say anything I want, and do anything I want. And when needed I can even sanctify my behavior with plenty of religious talk. In those times criticism masquerades as discernment, suspicion masquerades as genuine concern, and gossip and slander masquerade as words to the wise. And behind the mask indwelling sin masquerading as arrogance blinds me to the truth.

A number of years ago we had a dear friend who served us as our pastor. Over a length of time I began to question everything he would do. And soon I found it easy to talk about him disparagingly to others. I colored others’ impression of him. I second-guessed his intentions. I found suspicion in his motives, and generally bore him ill-will. I grossly violated the Ninth Commandment and had nary a twinge of conscience. My arrogance blinded me. Then one day I remember being convicted of my wicked behavior towards this man. God was merciful. The blindness lifted and I was able to see my arrogance and sin for what it really was. I was ashamed of the things I had thought and said and I knew I must make my confession known not only to God, but to this man. I called him and asked if we could talk and he graciously agreed. When we met later that day a dam burst. Confession and tears flowed freely. I confessed my sin toward him and asked for forgiveness. He was quick to forgive and thanked me for my confession. He was a humble man and I had been humbled by his humility. Finally I could see clearly again.

I want to be in the well-worn path of grace. I want to be in the path where God is pleased to bestow abundant mercy, in the frequently trod place where humility reigns supreme. I cannot arrive there, nor can I stay there, without a God-given apprehension of the Humble King, whose confounding humiliation on the Cross deals the death-blow to my arrogance. On my own and in my own strength I will ever and always be an arrogant man, but in casting my only hope upon the personification of humility, the God-man, I can be freed from the blinding bondage of arrogance and pride. I am a great sinner in need of a great Savior. Jesus, the humble servant Savior, is exactly who I need.

Desperate for grace, 


(Adapted from an original blog post 10/2007)