...and in Jesus Christ his only Son, Dominum nostrum

I'm currently reading through N. T. Wright's little devotional The Lord & His Prayer, and I'm enjoying its comfortably humble prose. But perhaps most striking to me as I read is the constant dwelling on Christ's conquest and Lordship, his Kingom come.

This past weekend Dr. Kistler used a phrase that was apparently a favorite of the Puritans: "closing with Christ in all of his offices." By that he meant that Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King, and we must come to him in all of those offices. They cannot be separated or prioritized. Christ is not just Savior, he is Lord and Savior (Dr. Kistler took special glee in pointing out that the phrase "Lord and Savior" occurs 631 times in the NT, but "Savior and Lord" 0 times).

For God so loved the κοσμον...

Christ is for the world, and he is for us, for his people.

I don't know what the Puritan theology of Christ's lordship was. Dr. Kistler describe pastoral advice given to parents when praying for their children's salvation, advising them to weep and wring their hands as they prayed in front of their children, so that their children might see how much their parents loved them and longed for their salvation.

As one 3 year-old child was described as saying when she was told she must truly love Jesus: Oh, no, m'am, not yet.

But why not? I don't want to say that the child should have lied, but...what were her parents teaching her? Ain't loving doing? Her parents were showing her love...didn't that little girl love her earthly parents? Why not her Father, and his Son? Didn't 3 year-old Jesus love his earthly parents? And his Father? What does the Holy Spirit wait for?

I was made uncomfortably wriggly, I'll admit, by the picture of the earnest Puritan men and women wringing their hands in desperation over the salvation, not of a rebellious older child, but of their toddlers and nine year-olds.

Did you know the OPC denies the Supper to everyone under age sixteen? Categorically. Puritan children who had not made a credible profession of faith could not pray to Jesus, except to ask for change in their wicked hearts, because Jesus was not their Lord.

Jesus was not their Lord?

Whence that first spark?

It seems to me that the desperate-sounding nature of the Puritan's prayer for their children's salvation denies expectation of the fulfillment of God's promises. Such an expectation does not deny the need for each individual to submit to God. However, the baptised individual has already been submitted to God, and may pray to "Lord Jesus." That individual must reject God...unlike his non-baptised age-peers, who are outside Christ's kingdom.

I mentioned The Lord & His Prayer because one thing that has impressed me about it is the author's peace. He is teaching his parishioners about the prayer of their Lord, humbly, and telling them to pray for everything, including their football team's success. He is counting on their immaturity to grow into maturity.

We are all sinners, yet here we are, in fellowship with God. Dominum nostrum.