Friday, June 29, 2007

For All Men From All Sin

As I said in my post yesterday, doing construction gives me a lot of time to think. Today I was thinking about what is central to the faith. I don't claim to have gotten some revelation, but I feel like God was messing with me. I was thinking about what I would be willing to break fellowship with a person over. I became convinced that a lack of commitment to holiness would be one of the first things I would break fellowship over. I would break fellowship over the issue of holiness before a lot of other theological issues that I also feel strongly about.

Holiness is central and many Christians have forgotten it or just don't want to deal with it.

I think that the only kind of Christian there can be is a radical Christian. Anything less and I think a person is risking, "Lord, Lord, did we not prohesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.'" Do we not believe that the road is narrow leading to salvation? Have we forgotten "unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Anyone who is not seeking utter obedience to God is condemned by Christ's words, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching." What was Christ's teaching on sin? To the woman caught in adultery he said, "leave your life of sin." He says the same thing to all of us. Do we love him enough to do it?

Is this holiness easy? Do we just get saved and have no desire to sin? Perhaps some have experienced entire sanctification at conversion but most do not. So what does this mean? It means that the Christian life is a constant battle against the flesh. It means that there are things in us, things that seem to be central to who we are that must be renounced and rejected in obedience to and trust in God. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Self-denial, cross bearing - not things that feel good but things we MUST do to follow Christ. There is no other way. These are the basic values that liberal "christians" utterly reject and that many other true Christians try to ignore.

We must also trust that it is out of God's love that he calls us to this holiness. If God becomes our portion, that is, if we truely experience the Presence of God in this life then I think that all the things we are called to leave behind will appear weak and ugly compared to what we gain in God.

Did Jesus' death and resurrection free us from needing to be holy or did they allow us to become holy? On a plaque outside of the chapel at Asbury College is written, "Salvation For All Men From All Sin." I believe it. Christ frees us from sin. That is what he calls us to. He didn't just die to give us a ticket to heaven. Heaven can begin now and there is no sin in heaven. 1st John 3:4-6 says, "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him."


Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I finally got hooked up with a summer job. I'm working for the same company that I have worked for during most of my summers, starting when I was in college back in '99. We do epoxy flooring - high test and decorative floors used mostly for industrial floors or in other businesses. Right now we're working on a warehouse in Portland, Ore. My boss is a good guy and a strong Christian who goes to a local Evangelical Free church. I've come to realize that I really enjoy doing construction - something about working with your hands and being able to see what you've built. I know that a floor may not sound all that involved, but trust me - a lot of work goes into making one of our floors. Another thing I like about doing construction are long periods of time just to think while I'm doing some manual task. I think I could be pretty happy just doing construction my whole life. That's probably not what I'll do but I think I would like it. I'm thankful that God has provided once again with a good job to get me through the summer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


My experience at Bethel has put me in the mood to consider the mystical experiences of other Christians. Two of my favorites that I have read about are those of St. Thomas Aquinas and Blaise Pascal. The great theologian Aquinas had his experience during a mass where he received a revelation of God and said "All my works seem like straw after what I have seen." Pascal had an experience of which he sewed a memorial into the lining of his coat. Every time I read what he wrote I get chills. Here I present it for your encouragement.

The year of grace 1654,

Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology.
Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.
From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,


GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day's exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Meaning of Life

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. To glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

-The Westminster Catechism

Have you enjoyed your God lately?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pro Deo et Patria

Today I was sworn in as a second lieutenant into the United States Army. I had decided long ago that if I got into medical school, I would most likely go into the armed forces. The army takes very good care of its future physicians and after I'm done serving I could come out with zero debt. This will free me up for what I really want to do - mission work in Africa. I will be proud to serve my country in the military and I'm also proud to carry on a family tradition of military service. My dad was in the army, my grandfather got a purple heart in WWII and I had relatives in WWI and the Civil War.I was honored to be sworn in by a family friend and a strong Christian man, Steve Root. He served our country as a lieutenant commander in the navy.
I, Matthew James Perkins, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, in the grade of 2nd Lieutenant do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; SO HELP ME GOD.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gettin' soaked in the Gorge

Today I went hiking with my friend Josh in the Columbia River Gorge. We hiked the short Angel's Rest trail. The forecast had been for partly cloudy skies so we expected good weather but by the time we got to the viewpoint and it began to rain. It began pouring as we hiked back to the car so we were soaked by the time we started the drive home. Even with the weather it was a lot of fun and there were some great views of this beautiful area. Here are a few of the pictures...Josh, with the western end of the Columbia River Gorge behind him.Up at the viewpoint just before the rain started.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Churches I'll Check-out in Cali

I'm moving to Loma Linda, California at the end of July to go to medical school there. I've surfed the internet to find some churches in the area that I'll check out. Here's what I've found. . .

Christ's Chapel Reformed Episcopal Church in Riverside

This church has a cool website. They might be a bit too reformed for my Arminian Anglo-Catholic sensibilities. I will definitly check them out though.

Inland Empire Orthodox Anglican Fellowship in Riverside

This is a church-plant of St. James Anglican in Newport Beach. According to St. James' website, they have "Charismatic roots" which I would certainly appreciate. St. James Church is part of the Anglican Province of Uganda so if I end up going to this church I will have ended up moving from Rwanda to Uganda. I like the idea of staying in an African church.

Brookside Free Methodist Church in Redlands

When I was at Loma Linda for my interview someone recommended this church to me. Even with my antipathy for certain regions of the United Methodist Church, I am somewhat of a Methodist at heart and would probably agree with the teachings I would find in a Free Methodist Church. Their website is currently down but I checked it out a few months ago and it looked like it would be a good place to meet other Christian 20-somethings. Even if I don't end up regularly attending worship here, I think they might have some ministries I'll check out.

Some Foursquare Church in the area

While I'm home in Battle Ground, I go to Wellspring Foursquare Church. I have had a great experience with this denomination. I love their commitment to living by the word of God and their openness to the activity of the Holy Spirit. Even if I don't end up at a Foursquare church, I'll probably have to go somewhere to get my necessary dose of Pentecostalism.

P.S. - Big announcement this Sunday at around 7 or 8 Pacific Standard Time - I promise!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

June in Western Washington

A week ago I was swimming in the Lewis River with temperatures close to 90 degrees. The last few days have reminded me that I really am back home in Washington. . . weather in the 50's, gloomy clouds and constant rain. I do love this weather though, as there is no better weather to drink coffee in, read good books or spend an inordinate amount of time reading blogs. . .

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Battle Ground Skate Park

I thought I should join in on the skate-park craze and write a blog about it. Most of my readers are not from the wonderful city that is BG WA so I'll fill you in. The city decided to build a skate park a year or two ago and it opened this weekend. The cool thing is that Battle Ground, with a population of just over 15,000, now has one of the best skate-parks in the whole country. I for one am proud of my town for having decided to build it. I tried skating a few times but never stuck with it. . . guess I wasn't cool enough.