Let’s be frank: If humans are not made in the image of God, Planned Parenthood should not be censored for destroying or selling tiny humans. As soon as society admits the notion that humans are mere mammals, we have already dehumanized ourselves. That is to say that the farm was sold a long time ago in Western society, and those who hem and haw about the appropriateness of one abortion means over another are either being dishonest or are plagiarizing from a worldview not their own (i.e., Christianity). The only grounds on which to condemn the sale of fetal parts as “barbaric” are explicitly religious (not legal, per se), and specifically Christian at that.

Briefly, a few pertinent sections from the Bible come to mind:

  1. Genesis 1:27 – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
  2. Genesis 9:6 – After God wiped the world clean (with a flood) because of humanity’s rampant violence, he said, Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
  3. James 3:9 – James condemns the hypocrisy in claiming to praise God with our mouths while, at the same time, cursing “people who are made in the likeness of God.”

How should the Christian doctrine of the image of God in man change the way I live?

  • If every human is made in the image of God, then each individual is distinct from other forms of life in a special way, and is to be honored and treated with dignity.
  • If every human is made in the image of God, then obviously, behaviors that harm them–whether murder or gossip–are not just crimes against them but against God.
  • If every human is made in the image of God, then I am required(!) to honor and love them like God loves me. We tend to withhold our time and attention from people who can’t benefit us: people from other cultures, other people’s elderly parents, other people’s annoying kids, or the developmentally disabled (whom we assume don’t know whether we care or not… except that sometimes they do, in fact). If we believe that people are made in God’s image, it must change how I spend my time and what goes through my head and mouth in everyday conversations.

I was recently convicted as I read from Luke 9

An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

It’s easy for us to view people in terms of how they might help further our agendas and reputations, even when we think we’re being “nice.” But Jesus saw people made in the image of God, objects of God’s affection and therefore necessary objects of ours as well. So Jesus taught children, touched people with skin diseases, resisted temptation for people who love caving to it, and died for people who’d rather die than obey. Brothers, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (1 John 4:11).

If matter is eternal, personhood is an illusion. But if God made us in his image, then we are people, regardless of race, ability, or week of gestation.

Lord, help me as a Christian to mimic you by fearlessly and sacrificially defending the dignity of every person I meet.



Q. How does the Lord’s Supper signify and seal to you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all His gifts?

A. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken bread and drink of this cup in remembrance of Him. With this command He gave these promises:

First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely was His body offered for me and His blood poured out for me on the cross.

Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the minister and taste with my mouth the bread and the cup of the Lord as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely does He Himself nourish and refresh my soul to everlasting life with His crucified body and shed blood.

Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19, 20; I Cor. 11:23-25.


from the Heidelberg Catechism, Question #75. Kevin DeYoung quoted it at this conference session in 2012.

The Book of Proverbs tells us about the man who lies on his bed, turning like a door on its hinges, while the weeds grow up in his garden, choking and killing his crop. Then, when harvest has come, he has nothing and is reduced to begging for help.

Now, staying in bed when he should be cultivating his garden may not be overly sinful—but I think there is no argument but what a willfully lazy man is a sinful man!

It follows, then, in my estimation, that a person who is intellectually lazy is a sinful person. God had a reason for giving us our heads with intellectual capacity for thinking and reasoning and considering. But what a great company of humans there are who refuse to use their heads and many of these are Christians, we must confess.

Many a preacher would like to challenge the intellectual and thinking capacity of his congregation, but he has been warned about preaching over the people’s heads.

As a preacher, I deny that any of the truths of God which I teach and expound are over the heads of the people. I deny it!

I say to my Christian brother: “You ought to take that head of yours, oil it and rub the dust off and begin to use it as God has always expected you would. God expects you to understand and have a grasp of His truth because you need it from day to day!”


(Emphasis mine); from A Word for Reason: Emotions in Control!; cited in Tozer Speaks, vol. 2

One more thought: Obviously, the truth in both this quote and the Luther quote (see previous post) could be twisted. But it’s important that we who teach care enough for our people to both (1) labor to speak clearly to them regardless of education level, and (2) refuse to assume they are incapable of learning or appreciating complex passages.

Cursed are all preachers that in the church aim at high and hard things, and, neglecting the saving health of the poor unlearned people, seek their own honour and praise, and therewith to please one or two ambitious persons.

When I preach, I sink myself deep down. I regard neither Doctors nor Magistrates, of whom are here in this church above forty; but I have an eye to the multitude of young people, children, and servants, of whom are more than two thousand. I preach to those, directing myself to them that have need thereof. Will not the rest hear me? The door stands open unto them; they may begone. I see that the ambition of preachers grows and increases; this will do the utmost mischief in the church, and produce great disquietness and discord; for they will needs teach high things touching matters of state, thereby aiming at praise and honour; they will please the worldly wise, and meantime neglect the simple and common multitude.

An upright, godly, and true preacher should direct his preaching to the poor, simple sort of people, like a mother that stills her child, dandles and plays with it, presenting it with milk from her own breast, and needing neither malmsey nor muscadin for it. In such sort should also preachers carry themselves, teaching and preaching plainly, that the simple and unlearned may conceive and comprehend, and retain what they say. When they come to me, to Melancthon, to Dr. Pomer, etc., let them show their cunning, how learned they be; they shall be well put to their trumps. But to sprinkle out Hebrew, Greek, and Latin in their public sermons, savours merely of show, according with neither time nor place.


From Table Talk, section CCCCXXVII (HT: quoted by Carl Trueman in a Westminster Seminary lecture from a course on medieval theology, available on iTunes U)

When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I’ve never understood
Why this is so

Bur there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

“Music” by Anne Porter; from Living Things: Collected Poems. Porter started writing in earnest only in her later years; her life sounds remarkably un-Bohemian. Read about her here.

I read “Music” today thanks to a friend who posted it on Facebook; another friend then observed that the poem echoes C.S. Lewis:

The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.”
― from Till We Have Faces

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
― from The Weight of Glory

Why do Christians celebrate the Lord’s Table?

To “frequently call to mind the sufferings of Christ, thereby sustaining and confirming their faith: stirring themselves up to sing the praises of God, and proclaim his goodness…”

– Calvin, Institutes IV:17:44

For those of us in musical leadership in a church, our remarks in corporate worship are often well-meant (we want to help others sing with understanding) but lengthy, cumbersome, unclear. Hear, then, Bob Kauflin:

“[My pastor] told me that if I wanted to grow in communicating effectively, I should write down what I wanted to say and keep it to a certain length. He assured me that the more I thought through my comments in advance, the more substantive they would be and the easier it would eventually be to prepare them. He was right.”

(Worship Matters, p. 40)

A professor in my undergrad church music program used to say, “You’ve got two sentences before people tune you out. Use them well.”

“Coach your flock to see that weak doctrines get pulverized by the weight of powerful temptations. Sin and temptation must be refuted by truths of God that are anchored in the Scriptures, especially the doctrine of the person and nature of God.”

– Mike Abendroth, Jesus Christ: The Prince of Preachers, p.74

These are good words for any believer, but especially for those of us entrusted with the responsibility to lead some aspect of corporate worship. Referring to the friction between David and his wife after he danced before the Lord (2 Sam. 6), D.A. Carson remarks,

[Michal] despises David precisely because he is so God-centered he cares very little about his persona. People constantly fretting about what others think of them cannot be absorbed by the sheer God-awareness and God-centeredness that characterize all true worship.

— For the Love of God, p.254

Book Cover: Referring to Philippe Aries’ book Western Attitudes Towards Death: From the Middle Ages to the Present, Richard Plantinga writes, “Indeed, Aries argues, in the twentieth century the subject of death was suppressed and rigorously censored; in other words, death has become a virtual pornography in the West.”

He goes on to say, in a footnote, “Instructive in this regard is the great reversal in the case of children, who were once not protected from the specter of death but who were sheltered from the mysterious and powerful realm of human sexuality. Today’s children are alarmingly literate and sometimes distressingly practiced in matters pertaining to sex, but tend to be rigorously shielded from the reality of death.”

— Richard J. Plantinga, “The Integration of Music and Theology in J.S. Bach,” from Resonant Witness: Conversations Between Music and Theology, ed. Jeremy Begbie.

Letter & Liturgy

Christian Reviews of Ideas and Culture

Theology Central

Thoughts from the faculty of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota


\"If I am immoderate, I am immoderate to God.\" - Bengel

Antone M Goyak

Leveraging Your Leadership Through the Lens of the Gospel

Worthily Magnify

Helping Worship Leaders Lead Well


Peri De. navigating life with a Christian worldview.

Delivered From Darkness

Freedom Found in the Gospel