Andrew Wilson from Think Theology praises PJ Smyth’s analogy of church elders as bridesmaids:
I once took a wedding where it was pouring with rain and muddy outside the church. I was moved watching how the bridesmaids selflessly got wet and muddy to ensure that the Bride didn’t. They were clear in their minds that the day was about the Bride, not them. They were resolute in their endeavour to present a clean, dry beautiful Bride to the Groom, even if they got grubby in the process.
About a week later I preached a message entitled “Elders are Bridesmaids.”
The Bride we serve belongs to Him. We are stewards of the Son of Man’s wife. And, one day we will give an account to God for how we stewarded our responsibility as maids to his Bride (Heb. 13.7).
Last I checked, Jesus is the one who presents the bride to himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless, having sanctified her with his baptism and word.
I reread J. I. Packer’s classic Knowing God last week for the first time since my teenage years. It was an overlong return, and well worth the read. Something I had not recalled, and was pleasantly surprised to find, was the Anglican Packer’s rejection of the use of images of God in worship. The edition of Knowing God I reread was from 1993, and Packer had faced so much pushback on his original position that he included an additional section in that chapter explaining why he had not changed his mind in the 20 years since the book’s original publication. So, evidently, this was a significant enough feature of the book to have warranted a lot of attention, and yet I had managed to forget it. The thing I was delighted to find in Packer’s argument was that his conclusion generally overlapped with my own: Images of God, including depictions of Christ, should not be used in worship; ambivalence in regards to the appropriateness of images of God for didactic purposes outside of worship; and finding prudent uses of images of God in art limited but acceptable.
Packer lays out his argument in these ways…
One of the issues I have shifted my views on since graduating seminary is intinction, the practice of administering the Lord’s Supper by dipping the bread into the wine rather than drinking of the cup. I was in seminary and on staff at a PCA church when the denomination was vigorously debating the issue. The PCA’s General Assembly had unexpectedly approved a constitutional amendment banning the practice, which a majority of presbyteries subsequently rejected. I was actually under care of the presbytery whose rejection of the amendment made it mathematically impossible for it to pass. This whole process had left a deep impression upon me. My seminary context was confessionally ecumenical, with lots of people attending non-presbyterian churches. This left me inclined to be deferential on something like intinction, whose opponents initially appeared to me too doctrinaire. The PCA was also being roiled by the debate, and the possibility of a real conflict over a seemingly insignificant issue was shameful…