Earth’s Year is 365.2422 Making Today Leap Year Day Since Creation

So today is Leap Year Day, caused by the fact that it takes the Earth 365.2422 days to rotate around the sun, not 365 days of the Gregorian Calendar we use today. There have been a bunch of different people and organizations all over the world that have attempted to created the perfect calendar (Changing Times, Is It Time to Overhaul the Calendar?), but for all of our earthly existence we as humans have never been able to create the “perfect” calendar. This sounds like such a simple thing, especially with all of our computer power and mathematical knowledge, how in the world can we not be able to figure out how to create the mathematically perfect calendar?

The reason why we can’t create the perfect calendar is much easier to answer. God’s creation is so complex, so complicated (to us), that God just didn’t make our solar system divisible evenly. Our calendar is so directly tied to creation that our calendar has actually always been in place since Genesis.

Genesis 1.14 :: 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,t and for days and years,15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

This God did on the 4th day of the creation, yes this was just the 4th day. Man was not created till the 6th day. So we can safely say that the calendar, the mechanism for determining seasons, days, and years has ALWAYS existed, since it existed before man. It was a gift of God. A gift to the man he had not yet even created.

Now look at Genesis 3:17-19. 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Then, go to look at verse 24: “So he drove the man out….”, that is, out of the garden and into the unprepared fields. Then, we move over to chapter 5 verse 5: “In all, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died” (see also God’s Calendar and the Seven Day Week).

So that is how, one the Gregorian Calendar was wrong, but since creation’s foundation, we have always had the perfect calendar in place, God’s calendar, which takes 365.2422 days to rotate around the sun. Since this day only happens, approximately, once every four years I hope you enjoy it, though in reality it has always been in place, so we should enjoy every day God has made, and rejoice in in, right?

I love the photo above, it reminds me of God’s promise, and his creation, and I took it from my back porch. Happy February 29th everyone.

Martin Luther’s Table Talk on the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

A good bit of seminary work is reading the classics from Calvin and Luther going back all the way to Augustine. There is a good reason, they have a huge amount of collective knowledge we can all still learn from today and apply to our own ministry. Table Talk is the classic text written by Martin Luther that launches into “a relentless attack on the ethics and consciences” of Christian religious practices (the Church of Rome or the Catholic Church as we know it today).[1] The text is broken up into 45 “Of” treatise with a final conclusion on the Treatise on Indulgences.

Luther’s language, and the translation from German to English, still retains the form of his day, making it a little harder to understand in the 21st century, but the points are still clear.  His arguments are more or less similar to the differences between the Catholic faith and Protestants that still exist today.

Starting in chapter CCCLVI and going through chapter CCCLXV, Luther takes a look at number fourteen on his list, “Of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,” which deals with how the Roman Church was using the Lord’s Supper sacrament in the late 15th and early 16th century, but recognizes its ordination at the council of Constance as well.[2]  Three points to take away from this section are (1) the altering of the sacrament by raising it, (2) the substance of the bread and wine, and (3) the ex opera operato and the effectiveness of the sacrament.

As was fitting within the culture of his day, he held no punches when explaining his views on the subject.  “The ignorant wretches are not able to distinguish between the cup and fasting… one has God’s express word and command, the other consists in our will and choice.”[3]  Luther starts his argument with a lengthy explanation of how the papists have justified their actions in altering the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  He then proceeds through a step-by-step process of pointing out their errors, calling it an abominable idolatry by raising the “sacrament on high to show people.”[4] Luther says this practice should be “utterly rejected,” and he calls on churches to abolish this idolatrous practice, some of which did follow his recommendation.

The next point is one Luther does not spend much time discussing, although it becomes one of the biggest points of contention between the Roman Church and Protestants, and still is today. The argument, which argues the actual substance of the bread and the wine, and whether it does contain the actual flesh and blood of Christ himself, is still discussed today.  Luther in section CCCLXII almost alludes to this practice, but it is clear that he is referring to the substance of the sacrament, “which is spiritually received by faith… not doubting that Christ’s body and blood were given and shed for us.”[5]

The final point to look at within this section of Table Talk is the ex opera operato, which the Catholic Church said pertained to the efficacy of the sacrament.  This Latin phrase that means “from the work done” pertains to the work done by Christ, the sinful nature of those priests who give the sacrament, and whether the sacrament is effective or not depending on who is giving the sacrament.  Luther’s point was they “do not hold the sacrament as Christ instituted it,” therefore they don’t actually have the sacrament at all, and they are not justified because of ex opera operato.

[1] Martin Luther, Table Talk of Martin Luther, 1st, trans. William Hazlitt (Orlando, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2004), ix.
[2] Ibid, 225.
[3] Ibid, 225.
[4] Ibid, 227.
[5] Ibid, 228.

Ash Wednesday Breaking Routines with a Lenten Reader

It’s already that time of year, Lent is here. Today is Ash Wednesday (see also history), marking the beginning of the season of Lent, which then takes us to the Passion and into Easter. There are many things our church does that I really like and producing a Lenten Reader for the past few years is one of them. It is such a great tool, especially how we use it in our particular church, where it ties each day of the week to the message being taught on Sunday.

If your church doesn’t put out a Lenten Reader there are plenty of other options, YouVersion has two great Lenten Reader plans, Lent For Everyone and 40 Days of Lent. A Lenten reader is more than just a daily devotional, it is intended to be a meditation, a call, to pull us out of our daily routine and refocus our lives back to Christ and His sacrifice. Lent is more than a time of self-denial, it is a time we can use to get back to the spiritual disciplines like worship, confession, meditation, fasting, study, and prayer.

In our culture of busyness to excess, these disciplines become the most expendable. When time is short, these are either the first to go, or denied their proper place at all, and a Lenten Reader is a great way to pull ourselves back into the fold. Our American culture seems to have no problem celebrating the over indulgence of Fat-Tuesday, (see a great post by Beeson titled, Fat Tuesday And We’re Running Out of Options) but there is rarely a mention of the ashes of repentance on Wednesday. Ultimately, even though the world may not take notice, we do, and we look through this season of Lent, and the next 47 days, to celebrating the greatest event even known to history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A Review and Critique of The Four Views on Hell

I just finished off another book. Every time I’m able to finish a book I think it’s a really amazing thing to me, still. Below is part of a review I did on this particular book called The Four Views on Hell (Amazon). Even though I had to read the book for a seminary class it was still worth the read, though perhaps not quite as closely as I had to read it.

The Doctrine of Hell is something rarely taught anymore in our churches, and it’s an important part of the Christian faith, and our story as fallen beings. There is much more of the prosperity gospel preached today than the reality of a real place of separation from God, an eternal punishment, for those who do not trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior. For those who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead, will be saved.

If you would like to read the entire review, you can read Book Critique of Four Views on Hell by Walvoord in a pdf form.  Below is the summary of that review.  The book does take a good look at four different views of Hell, basically, the Traditional View (Orthodox or Literally View), Annihilationism, Purgatory, and Universalism.

In this review of Four Views on Hell, each argument was presented and evaluated. The reader was given an argument on Hell where one could quickly see the demarcation lines between each view. However, all four authors stop somewhat short from making a full apologetic case for their particular view in question. They all agree that historically, the Traditional or Literal View is the orthodox view, and then “they all acknowledge it has fallen out of favor” as of late.[21] “Today a number of evangelical churchmen embrace variations of [these views] in terms such as ‘[B]iblical Universalism’, ‘qualified Universalism’, and ‘conditional immortality’” as the alternative to the Literal View and the eternal separation from God.[22]

The underlying issue as to why the Literal view is no longer favored is loosely addressed throughout the book, but has an overall tone in line with our pluralistic society saying no just God of grace and mercy can possibly send anyone to an eternal punishment, no matter the sin. “How can we project a deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness [Who] tortures people without end,” which is what the Literal view teaches?[23] With this as the general tone of each view, a better examination of the views would be to treat them within the culture setting of today as: The Doctrine of Hell, Annihilationism, Purgatory, and Universalism.

The doctrines that most closely follow Scripture are not always going to be in line with secular society, or liberal theology, but looking at these four views of Hell is beneficial to the reader no matter what theological base they align with today. Of the four views, Crockett’s argument for a less literal view of Hell was well thought out and presented, and makes Hell more palatable to the modern day reader, but Walvoor’s Literal View is still the most orthodox, and most closely aligned with the teaching of Scripture, and therefore, the best alternative of the four.

[1] Jonathan Edwards, The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader, 1st Edition, ed. Wilson H. Kimnach, Kenneth P. Minkema and Douglas A. Sweeney (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 50.
[2] John Walvoord, Zachary Hayes and Clark Pinnock, Four Views on Hell, EPub Edition, ed. Stanley N. Gundry and William Crockett (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 7.
[3] Dr. John Walvoord, About Dr. John Walvoord, (accessed February 15, 2012).
[4] William V. Crockett, Author Page William V. Crockett,, (accessed February 15, 2012).
[5] Zachary J. Hayes, About Zachary J. Hayes, (accessed February 15, 2012).
[6] Bob Allen, Controversial theologian Clark Pinnock dies, August 18, 2010, (accessed February 15, 2012).
[13] Rev Jeff Wright, “Book Review: Four Views on Hell,” Jeff Wright: Exalt Christ, April 03, 2010, (accessed February 15, 2012).
[18] J. R. Root, “Universalism,” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2001, 2nd ed, 1234.
[20] Eric Stoddart and Gwilym Pryce, “Observed Aversion to Raising Hell in Pastoral Care: The Conflict Between Doctrine and Practice,” Journal of Empirical Theology (Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden) 18, no. 2 (January 2005): 133.
[21] Cris D. Putnam, “Book Critique: Four Views On Hell,” Logos Apologia, March 14, 2011, (accessed February 15, 2012).
[22] R. P. Lightner, “Hell,” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2001, 2nd ed., 547-548.