Friday, December 14, 2012

Dont Worry Your Child--FULL


Great post from Tulian. It went live and then went down. It is up at TGC but I put the post here.

I was putting my daughter Genna (11) to bed the other night and I asked her, “Honey, what do you think is God’s overall disposition toward you?” Her immediate response was, “Disappointed.” After probing why she might answer that way–wondering, perhaps, if the Holy Spirit had convicted her regarding something she may have said or done–I realized that she wasn’t feeling convicted about any particular sin, she simply sees God as someone whose disposition toward her is basically unhappy. She knows that God is perfect and that she is imperfect–she understands that God is holy and that she is sinful–and so it only makes sense to her that God is perpetually displeased with her.

Seizing an opportunity to preach the gospel to my daughter–AGAIN–I scrambled in my mind for an illustration that might help an 11 year-old grasp the liberating power of Christ’s imputed righteousness. Now, don’t be nit-picky. I know illustrations all break down at some point. But this was my best off-the-cuff attempt to help an 11 year-old sleep well knowing that God’s love for her is immutable (it’s actually kind of sad that I even have to say that).

I said, “Genna, imagine some stranger (let’s call him Steven) comes walking down our street right about the time Mommy is making dinner. He walks up our driveway, through our front door (without knocking), into our kitchen, looks at mommy and asks, ‘What’s for dinner?’ Now, you and I both know that Mommy is hospitable. But a complete stranger walking in our house would freak her out. She’d probably say something like, ‘Who are you? And if you don’t turn around and leave right now I’m going to call the police.’”

I continued, “Now imagine someone that Mommy doesn’t know comes walking down our street around dinner time with Gabe (Genna’s 17 year-old brother). The two of them together walk up our driveway, through the front door, and into our kitchen. Gabe looks at Mommy with his arm around his friend and says, ‘Mom, this is Steven. Can he stay for dinner?’ Her response would be totally different, wouldn’t it? She would say something like, ‘Nice to meet you Steven. Of course you can have dinner with us.’ Then she’d get another place-setting and treat Steven like a son at our table. Why? Because he was with Gabe.”

I then went on to explain the difference between the way God feels toward those who come to him without Jesus and those who come to him with Jesus. Reminding her that, because of what Jesus did for her on the cross, God sees her as a friend and a daughter, not an enemy and a stranger, she smiled. I explained that God is a good Father and will discipline those he loves, but because she’s with Jesus, God’s affection for her is unchanging and his approval of her is forever.

Having talked to many, many Christians over the years, I know for a fact that a lot of them (like Genna) think that God is perpetually disappointed with them. Maybe it’s time the church spends more energy reminding Christians that God’s love for them is not dependent on what they do or don’t do, but rather on what Christ has done for them. For, as Luther said so well, “God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.”

I promise you, more Christians need to be reminded of this than you think.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas music from Indelible Grace

It is always a debate in my house as to when Christmas music can begin being played in my household.  And while my rule of 1 week remains for such "classics" as Rudolf, White Christmas and Momma Got Ranover, this is some Christmas music that can be played all year round.  Celebrate the coming of Christ and anticipate His return this holiday season with music from Indelible Grace. 



Friday, November 23, 2012

Now you have absolutely no excuse..

...for not owning this book!

Bring the Books: Black Friday Kindle Special on Beeke's A Puritan Theology

Black Friday Kindle Special on Beeke's A Puritan Theology

If you're like me, you love the idea of reading Joel Beeke & Mark Jones' impressive new book A Puritan Theology, but you also find it pretty inconvenient to carry a book of 1000+ pages with you on the go. Ordinarily, you could just tear out the pages you want to read and then glue them back in later, but lets face it -that's not a great idea. One option is to get the book on Amazon Kindle. Ordinarily, the book is an unpleasant $30 on Kindle (and $60 in print), but for the weekend until Monday the book is on sale for $9.99 at Amazon. Even if you have the book in print, it's probably worth it to get it in this portable format. Although our readers are probably familiar with this book, I want to mention the very first paragraph in the book from the foreword written by Sinclair Ferguson:

The one thousand pages and more than half a million words you now hold in your hand constitute the largest and most comprehensive exposition to date on the theology of the English Puritans. It is a remarkable achievement, the fruit of many combined decades of reading, research, and reflection on the part of its authors.

I did leap on this deal immediately, and while I love print books, this is definitely the kind of book to take with you wherever you go, since it is as devotional as it is systematic. You can fine it here.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Perfect Love by Shai Linne

Perfect Love
Written by Shai Linne and Monielle Laney

Verse 1

Now let's get straight to the topic, God's love is weighty to process
And apart from the Holy Spirit, we're unable to digest
Because man's depraved in his logic, so God's haters will mock it
But inter-trinitarian love should make us astonished
Imagine the Son enjoying the embrace of His Father
Eternally paying Him homage as He bathed in His knowledge
Equally faithful and sovereign, gracious, patient and honest
Cosmic greatness blazing with radiance- conscious
Holy Spirit also present, full display of His God-ness
No creation could watch this- it wasn't safe for their optics
What an awesome scene in heaven with all esteem and reverence
It's Psalm 16:11 as conveyed through the prophet
Overflow of joy and love, the Father made Him a promise
To give His Son a people to liberate from their bondage
So they're no longer slaves and hostages, but blameless and spotless
Consequence of eternal love- our salvation's accomplished!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Listen to the new Indelible Grace album

From depths of woe I raise to Thee

This great hymn by Martin Luther is the lead song on the new Indelible Grace album. It is awesome.  Listen and buy here. 

From depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lord of Patience by Shai Linne

Lord of Patience
Written by Shai Linne and Melissa Thorpe

Verse 1

Heavenly Father, we come to You in the name of Jesus
It's because of His righteousness that we pray You receive this
Lord, you're holy, we shouldn't even be in Your presence
Due to our sin, we don't deserve the least of Your blessings
But through the cross and believing that Jesus is risen
Even the worst of sinners can be redeemed and forgiven
I'm living proof when I say this and these are truthful statements
You're beautiful when displaying Your unusual patience
You take the blasphemous- pridefully stuck in our blindness
Instead of smashing us, decided to love us with kindness
Even with unbelievers facing Your terror, You slow up
Like when You waited patiently in the era of Noah
We know that with You, a day is just like a thousand years
So does that mean for every sin, You cry a thousand tears?
Who can record Your graces? Adored through scores of ages
Your reward is the nations, for You are the Lord of patience

Chorus

Our Sovereign God, You are
The Lord of Patience, yeah
Your wrath, Oh God, we deserve
Christ has taken, yeah

Gracious God, You are
Slow to anger, yeah
You're Lord of patience and
You love us patiently

Verse 2

Lord, we worship You, we know that everything we owe You
And when we reflect on the time before we came to know You
How we were unbelievers committing tons of treason
We had a hundred reasons why we wouldn't come to Jesus
But they were all excuses because our thoughts were useless
That's what the dark produces, Father, You already knew this
We were foolish and clueless, just as ruthless as Judas
Who knew that You would choose to pursue us and move to woo us
So after waiting with patience as we would run from You
You activated our faith so that we would come to You
Your law exposed our sin so that we would know the danger
And take refuge in the Holy Savior who's slow to anger
And as our teary eyes beheld the cross of our King
We understood the true meaning of long-suffering
Who can record Your graces? Adored through scores of ages
Your reward is the nations, for You are the Lord of patience

Chorus

Verse 3

And now that we're in Christ, the thing that is amazing to us
Is that You still continue to display Your patience to us
Through all our stumbles and falls and our idolatry
Through all our grumbling and all of our hypocrisy
Our self-righteousness, with brothers and sisters we're hostile
Our unforgiveness- all because we're just missing the gospel
We should be slow to anger, but Your Word- we're slow to hear it
Oh Father, help us please! We truly need Your Holy Spirit!
He is the only Person who can shape this fruit within us
We praise the risen Savior who is able to present us
Without an ounce of blame, with zero doubt or shame
Lord Jesus, down You came from heaven to announce Your reign
In the hearts of Your people, and now we have the truth
And gladly choose to praise You for all of Your attributes
Who can record Your graces? Adored through scores of ages
Your reward is the nations, for You are the Lord of patience

Chorus

 The Attributes of God

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Awesome!

Michael Horton:

“According to the gospel, the divine Stranger has met us throughout our history in our own world and has even descended to us as our elder brother, reconciling us to his Father. In a covenantal perspective, we are no less dependent on God for our knowledge than for our existence. Given both the positive ontological difference and the negative ethical opposition between God and fallen humanity, we dare not attempt to ascend to heaven by our own reason, will, and works, but we must meet God where he has promised to descend to us, meeting us in grace. This is the covenant of grace, with Christ’s mediation as the only basis for a safe conduct into God’s presence.

In contrast to the visual analogies that dominant our western intellectual heritage, its principal metaphors for knowing God are oral/aural—God’s speaking and our hearing rather than our seeing and mastering reality. Hearers are never autonomous, but receive both their existence and their knowledge from the God who speaks.” via the Logos Bible Android app.

http://biblia.com/books/chrfthsystheo/offset/561688


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mercy and Grace by Shai Linne and Tim Brindle




Mercy and Grace
Written by Shai Linne and Timothy Brindle

Verse 1 (Shai Linne)

I gotta say this, God is gracious
That's not just a doctrine statement, but my heartfelt proclamation
Of a God who saves men without obligation
From sin's domination and the bonds of Satan
Nobody sins in moderation
That's obvious from our evil thoughts to our conversation
We were dead, we needed more than an operation
We had to be brought out the grave and made alive, awakened
It's quite amazing how in salvation
Each person of the Trinity contributes like a compilation
The Father elected me, Jesus bled for me
And regeneration is the Holy Spirit's confirmation
So we repent of our abominations
Consecration to the God who's exalted above the constellations
The observation of the congregation is
God is gracious with a lot of patience, so we gotta praise Him!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Historical Truth-Thoughts on Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 17 from Kevin DeYoung

“There has been no more important event in history than the resurrection of the Son of God. And don’t overlook the word history in that last sentence. Christianity is an historical religion. We believe and proclaim certain events that happened-really happened, as everyone except madmen and New Testament scholars understand things to have really happened. Easter is not about Jesus living on in His teachings or the experience of Jesus coming to life in His disciples. Easter is about a divine Galilean whose heart pumped blood again, whose lungs filled with oxygen again, and whose synapses started firing again.

“What was it that within a few days transformed a band of mourners into the spiritual conquerors of the world?” asked J. Gresham Machen. “It was not the memory of Jesus’ life; it was not the inspiration which came from past contact with Him. But it was the message, ‘He is risen.’ That message alone gave to the disciples a living Saviour; and it alone can give to us a living Saviour today.” If the historical Jesus is something other than the Jesus who died for sins, was buried, and raised to life again, then He was a failure and a fraud and we are mistaken in our devotion to Him.”

http://biblia.com/books/9781575675503/offset/148316 via the Logos Bible Android app.


Our God is in the Heavens by Shai Linne


Our God Is In The Heavens
Written by S. Linne and B. Davis

Chorus

Our God is in the heavens
He does whatever He pleases! (repeat)

Verse 1 (Shai Linne)

The Sovereign LORD, Great I AM recognize the name!
He's always on top of His game, a Lion that simply cannot be tamed
And no, He is not restrained at all- nobody can stop His reign
So why do the nations rage and all of the peoples plot in vain?
Their sin and offense is against His excellence and they're not ashamed
As though He's lacking the power to shackle them now in the hottest flames
And so they cock and aim- the target? His cosmic reign
That's like a kid with a super soaker trying to conquer Spain!
Man thinks he's a pugilist, trying to ball up his puny fist
At the LORD, who is ruling this
What's amusing is God just laughs, like "Who is this"?
Stupid kids who persist in foolishness
It's only by God's power you exist
Now you declare war on the LORD
When before you were born, He formed you in the uterus?
Look- Our God is in the heavens and He does all that He pleases
He's established His King in Zion and His name is Jesus!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taste and See--Shai Linne

Taste and See
Written by Shai Linne

Chorus:

If you've tasted and seen, then you know what I mean, He's GOOD!
In His nature, His love, everything that He does, He's GOOD!
Even when it gets tough, yes the Lord is enough, He's GOOD!
Yes, God makes it plain through the Lamb who was slain, He's GOOD!

Verse 1

The world is not subtle, why should we be subliminal?
When it comes to goodness, our God is at the pinnacle
If God is approving it, then it's good- that's the principle
Humanity is minimal, the Lord is the original
Fountain of benevolence,  boundless in measurement
Abounding in blessedness, there's mountains of evidence
Found in the testaments, resounding these sentiments
We drown in His benefits from towns to the settlements
His goodness expressed in the natural and physical
From rocks and minerals to toxic chemicals
Stop being cynical, not trying to be traditional
But God is good all the time- no intervals
While doubters and pessimists clown what He represents
His smiles toward the penitent endowed us with better sense
Now that we've been convinced, we shout without hesitance
Crown His excellency now and forever friends!  

Chorus

Verse 2

Understand God is good apart from anything He's done for me
Yet and still His goodness has blessed me abundantly
I'll try to give a summary beginning with with His love for me
In sending Christ to die yes, the blood of Jesus covers me
Our years, He can make them new, our fears He's awakened to
He hears when we're praying and He's there when the payment's due
His Spirit enables you to fear Him and praise Him through
the tears, we can say it's true, He's near when we're breaking too
Whether we are suffering or living in luxury
His works toward His people are all done lovingly
They're never done stubbornly or with a hint of drudgery
Every single sunrise provides a new discovery
It's clear what He came to do- seers like Isaiah knew
He'd appear as a baby who was reared as a faithful Jew
then pierced for a shady crew, appeared in plainest view,
So here's what's we're made to do, revere Him because praise is due!

Chorus

Verse 3

Peep this and listen, the keys in the ignition
The goodness of God can be seen in His provision
In each of His decisions, He's leaving the inscription
That it's needless and grievous just to keep Him in derision
It's cool to know His goodness never changes- immutable
It's true when we can't explain this- He's inscrutable
And we are not delusional, these facts are indisputable
I know it sounds unusual, I'll show you how it's provable
Adam and Eve had freedom with one restriction
Satan deceived them, from Eden received eviction
To leave us in a greasy condition with sleazy addictions
But Jesus' afflictions frees those believing He's risen
God's goodness seen at the cross- irrefutable
On this gospel truth we will stand- immovable
And glorify God for His goodness- it's suitable
Just because it's a duty? No! Simply because He's beautiful!

Chorus


Monday, November 12, 2012

White Horse Inn: What is Covenant Theology

The newest White Horse Inn episode is an interview with the authors of Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored.  You can read my thoughts on this great book here and get the audio to the WHI episode here. More resources can be found on the WHI blog.  Read the episode teaser below and I dare you to try and not listen...I dare ya!!

What is covenant theology and why is it crucial for our overall understanding of Scripture? How does covenant theology relate to our understanding of law and gospel? What is the difference between the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants? On this edition of White Horse Inn, Michael Horton will discuss these important issues with Mike Brown and Zach Keele, authors of a new book, Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dead to sin-Thoughts on the Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 16 from Kevin DeYoung

“Jesus Christ died for our sins. God’s justice demanded it, and His burial testifies to it. Jesus did not swoon or slip into a coma or fall asleep on the cross. He died-stone-cold dead and buried. But why then do we still die? If Christ’s death meant the death of death and paid in full the penalty for our sin, why do one hundred out of one hundred Christians still die? Death is our entrance into eternal life. We know that.

But have you ever stopped to think that death also puts an end to our sinning? I don’t think I’ve ever comforted the dying with this thought. But I should. When a loved one dies of cancer or some debilitating disease, we often hear how “they fought bravely for many years, and now the fight is over and her suffering has ended.” We ought to say the same thing about spiritual disease: “She loved the Lord with all her heart and fought against indwelling sin for the past forty years. Now the fight is over and she has overcome.”

Granted, there are aspects of dying that frighten us. But the Catechism reminds us of an aspect of the good news that we often forget. After death, we won’t think another proud thought, we won’t snap at our children again, we won’t face another temptation to lust ever again. What sweet relief.”

http://biblia.com/books/9781575675503/offset/142385 via the Logos Bible Android app.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Virgin Birth: Thoughts on Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 14 from Kevin DeYoung

DeYoung on why the virgin birth is essential to the Christian faith: "...the virgin birth demonstrates that Jesus was truly human and truly divine. How can the virgin birth be an inconsequential spring for our jumping when it establishes the very identity of our Lord and Savior? If Jesus had not been born of a human, we could not believe in His full humanity. But if His birth were like any other human birth-through the union of a human father and mother-we would question His full divinity. The virgin birth is necessary to secure both a real human nature and a completely divine nature."


The good news we almost forgot: Rediscovering the gospel in a 16th century catechism.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What's wrong with a civil government forcing people to follow a particular religion?

With the election today, I was reading on Christian involvement in politics.  This word from Wayne Grudem gives a good critique on a wrong view of civil involvement. 





--------------------
The first wrong view (according to my judgment) is the idea that civil government should compel people to support or follow one particular religion.
Tragically, this “compel religion” view was held by many Christians in previous centuries. This view played a large role in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) that began as a conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholics over control of various territories, especially in Germany. There were many other “wars of religion” in Europe, particularly between Catholics and Protestants, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Also in the sixteenth century, the Reformed and Lutheran Protestants persecuted and killed thousands from the Anabaptist groups in Switzerland and Germany who sought to have churches for “believers only” and practiced baptism by immersion for those who made a personal profession of faith.
Over the course of time, more and more Christians realized that this “compel religion” view is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus and inconsistent with the nature of faith itself (see discussion below). Today I am not aware of any major Christian group that still holds to the view that government should try to compel people to follow the Christian faith.

God's Only Son? Thoughts on Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 13 from Kevin DeYoung



Having explained the words from the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in Jesus Christ,” we now turn to an explanation of “His only Son, our Lord.” Question 33 raises a question many of us have never considered. How can Jesus be God’s only Son if we too are called sons (and daughters)? The answer lies in the distinction between natural children and adoption.
    
Because of Adam’s sin, we are by nature children of wrath and sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2–3). We are not born children of God as if it were our right as human beings. Rather, we must be made children of God by adoption. In the fullness of time, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4–5).

J. I. Packer, author of the classic Knowing God, once summarized the gospel in just three words: “adoption through propitiation.” Now, it strikes me as close to cheating when your simple summary uses two big Latinate words that beg for further explanation, but I have to hand it to Packer; his definition is elegantly profound. The short and sweet of the gospel is this: The wrath of God has been turned away from sinners because of the death of Christ so that we might be reconciled to God and brought into His family.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

From "The Good News We Almost Forgot" on Lord's Day 12

“Answer 31 goes on to explain that the Father ordained and the Spirit anointed Christ to fulfill three different offices: prophet, priest, and king. If you’ve ever struggled to explain Christ at the beach or around the water cooler, try using these three words. Prophet, priest, and king is not the only way to talk about Christ, but it has to be one of the simplest and best-better than contemporary ascriptions of Jesus as revolutionary, home-boy, or the “center” (never sure what to make of that one).”

http://biblia.com/books/9781575675503/offset/113850 via the Logos Bible Android app.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

From "The Good News We Almost Forgot" for Lord's Day 11

“There is nowhere else we ought to look for our salvation than in Christ. You cannot trust Christ truly unless you trust Christ alone. No matter how much you boast of Christ or talk of your love for Christ or passion for Christ, if you add anything to Christ, your boasting and love and passion are all in vain. There is no “both-and” with Jesus, only “either-or.” Either Jesus is the only Savior, the perfect Savior, and your only comfort in life and in death, or Jesus is for you no Savior at all.” http://biblia.com/books/9781575675503/offset/110771 via the Logos Bible Android app.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Owen on the presence of Christ in all of Scripture

“This principle is always to be retained in our minds in reading of the Scripture,—namely, that the revelation and doctrine of the person of Christ and his office, is the foundation whereon all other instructions of the prophets and apostles for the edification of the church are built, and whereinto they are resolved; as is declared, Eph. 2:20–22. So our Lord Jesus Christ himself at large makes it manifest, Luke 24:26, 27, 45, 46. Lay aside the consideration hereof, and the Scriptures are no such thing as they pretend unto,—namely, a revelation of the glory of God in the salvation of the church; nor are those of the Old Testament so at this day unto the Jews, who own not this principle, 2 Cor. 3:13–16. There are, therefore, such revelations of the person and glory of Christ treasured up in the Scripture, from the beginning unto the end of it, as may exercise the faith and contemplation of believers in this world, and shall never, during this life, be fully discovered or understood; and in divine meditations of these revelations doth much of the life of faith consist.”

via the Logos Bible Android app.

http://biblia.com/books/worksowen01/offset/1240083


Free and Discounted Books

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not even the most hardened nihilist...

“Since God is the author of reality, it is his interpretation that we must pursue. No one can actually live in the world that is imagined by secularism. Not even the most hardened nihilist can live in the world of pure meaninglessness that his or her narrative presupposes. In their daily practice, the most ardent religious skeptics have to presuppose a basic order and intelligibility in reality that contradicts the creed of self-creation through random chance.”

via the Logos Bible Android app.

http://biblia.com/books/chrfthsystheo/offset/479027


Apostasy from the assumed creed of our age

“For over three centuries now, atheists and skeptics have catechized the West in the belief that as cultures progress, belief in God or at least in extraordinary divine intervention in nature and history will wane. What proponents forget is that this concept of “progress” itself presupposes a certain kind of faith: an interpretation of reality that requires personal commitment. Among other things, it presupposes that reality is entirely self-creating and self-regulating (autonomous), such that the very idea of a personal God who enters into a world that we have defined as “without God” already precludes the possibility of entertaining specific claims to the contrary. The most rigorous physicist can become the most rigid dogmatist, closing his or her mind arbitrarily to every argument or evidence that might challenge such presuppositions. Narrative paradigms are resilient. They can be overthrown, but everyone works hard at preserving them from impeachment.

Once upon a time in the West, one could become an atheist or deist only with considerable difficulty; the widespread narrative within which everyone operated rendered unbelief implausible. Today, it is exactly the opposite. To believe in the triune God of Scripture who speaks and acts in history requires an act of apostasy from the assumed creed of our age.” via the Logos Bible Android app.

http://biblia.com/books/chrfthsystheo/offset/476670


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Romans 8


Romans 8 (ESV)
Life in the Spirit
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson





 In the well-appointed study of a professor of history in a prestigious university in the American South sits a brick-sized piece of the Berlin Wall. It sits on the floor, because he uses it as a doorstop. He is not ignorant of the piece’s historical significance; as a historian he is deeply informed of the struggle and the repression attached to the wall, to the shame it symbolized and the division both literal and cultural it created. He not only knows about but also teaches on the international reverberations that occurred when the great emblem of the communist stronghold in Western Europe finally came down. The piece of wall propping open the professor’s door has some sentimental significance to him as well, as it was
a gift from a former student, a star pupil currently pursuing her doctorate.

In a small, dingy apartment in Midwest America lives an elderly immigrant woman who sells newspapers and fresh cut flowers during the day and cleans an office building in the evenings. On an iron shelf in her bedroom sits a  mall lidless glass jar, and in that jar is a piece of the Berlin Wall the size of a marble. She has often held that piece of rock in her withered hand and wept. Her husband did not live to see the wall come down. Her cousin was one of the estimated five thousand people who tried to escape from the communist Eastern Bloc into West Berlin. He was one of the estimated one hundred to two hundred people killed by border guards in the attempt. He was one of those crushed by the Iron Curtain, so she is one of those who knows the unique confluence of memorial pain and joy in having intimately felt how the world once was and in having experienced how the whole world was changed. She knows what it feels like to carry an ocean full of grief and longing, what it feels like to cling to a sliver of hope, and what it feels like when that sliver of hope—a crack in the great barrier of darkness—gives way to a dam break of glorious fulfillment and release.

When the professor hears the epic Brandenburg Gate speech in which President Ronald Reagan famously commanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” he admires it as a watershed moment in history, as iconic a sound bite from the annals of historical rhetoric as any. When the woman hears “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” she is stirred, always. When the professor speaks of the fall of the Berlin Wall as an earth-shattering event, he really does mean to communicate the radical nature of the event; he really does understand this. But the woman knows that the fall of the Berlin Wall was an earth-shattering event deep down in her bones.
This is gospel wakefulness.

            And this is how Jared Wilson begins his book, Gospel Wakefulness. 

More important than can be stated

This WHI episode covers, what I would argue is, the most important issue there is in all of Christian thought, preaching and living.

From the WHI blog: "Martin Luther once observed that the “difference between Law and Gospel is the height of knowledge.” If this ability is lacking, he argued, “one cannot tell a Christian from a Turk or a Jew.” So what is this distinction, and why are so many Christians in our day ignorant of these crucial categories? On this program, Mike takes us through a number of important passages that contrast God’s command and promise, and explain why this distinction is so important to recover in the church. "

WHI-1117 | Understanding Law & Gospel « White Horse Inn Blog

The Cross

“There is nothing more important in Christian theology than our theology of the cross. We must speak clearly that the heart of the gospel is the good news of divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution. Never compromise on the cross. Never dilute the message of the cross. And never stop glorying in the cross where Christ accepted the penalties that should belong to us so that we can claim the blessings that would otherwise belong only to Him.” via the Logos Bible Android app.

http://biblia.com/books/9781575675503/offset/76090

Monday, October 22, 2012

Religious Issue?

Christian Character and Good Arguments

Great article from Michael Horton.
As you know, White Horse Inn and Modern Reformation are all about “conversations for a new Reformation.” For over two decades, we’ve hosted a conversation between representatives of Lutheran, Baptist, and Reformed traditions on the White Horse Inn, expanding that circle in the pages of our magazine, Modern Reformation. We’ve also held public conversations with those who hold views that are antithetical to our own. (Check out our upcoming conversation with Roman Catholic theologian, Scott Hahn, here and our previous conversations with Arminian theologian Roger Olson here.) Part of the rationale is that we can’t defend the truth by creating caricatures. We have to engage the actual positions, not straw opponents we can easily knock down. Convinced that truth can take care of itself, we want to expose more and more people to the richness of that “Great Conversation” that Christians have been having for two millennia.
Especially in a “wiki” age, our communication today is prone to gushes of words with trickles of thought. We don’t compose letters much anymore, but blurt out emails and tweets. Just look at the level of discourse in this political campaign season and you can see how much we talk about, over, and past rather than to each other. Sadly, these habits—whether fueled by sloth or malice—are becoming acceptable in Christian circles, too. The subculture of Christian blogging often mirrors the “shock-jock” atmosphere of the wider web. “Don’t be like the world” means more than not imitating a porn-addicted culture, while we tolerate a level of interaction that apes the worst of TV sound-bites, ads, and political debates.
For my seminary students I’ve written a summary of what I expect in good paper-writing for my classes. It follows the classical order of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. It also explains why the pursuit of excellence in thinking and communicating is not just an academic exercise, but is a crucial part of Christian character.
I’ll skip over some of the rules specific to papers in my classes and get to the core points. Rules for paper-writing carry over directly to good preaching and good conversations. ------
Follow the link for the rest.
Christian Character and Good Arguments « White Horse Inn Blog

A Word for Pastors, from Jared Wilson's Gospel Wakefulness


A Word to Pastors (and Eavesdroppers)
From “Gospel Wakefulness” by Jared Wilson

My greatest caution to pastors who are excited about the concept of gospel-wakefulness is to make sure you are more excited about the gospel than any concept related to it. Be more excited about Jesus’s lordship than your own leadership. The humility and confidence intrinsic to gospel wakefulness precludes turning the concept into a meritorious measur-ing stick or means of success. Faithfulness ought to be your measure of success. If you struggle with this, check to make sure you are actually gospel-wakened and not merely enthused about something that seems new and “catchy.” 

The work of a pastor is difficult. Very few Christians lose sleep over the state of their church, the spiritual health of the body, the collective faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the congregation. But pastors do. This is something very few people who aren’t pastors can understand, isn’t it? While pastors carry the weight of their own struggles, and likely the weight of the struggles of their friends and family, they also carry the weight of the struggles of an entire church.

Why would you use a catechism?

An excellent article at the TGC blog on catechesis as it relates to sharing the Gospel.
Catechism---With OUR Kids?


Thursday, October 18, 2012

New City Catechism

New City Catechism

I downloaded the pdf and it looks pretty good...its no Heidelberg, but what can you do?!?

Here is Tim Keller's article on why we need new catechisms. Presumably this article is to combat the Heidelberg Onlyism that runs rambant in some circles...like my living room.


Answering Skeptics Without a Word

Great article at The Gospel Coalition blog on the role of Christian living and mercy ministries in apologetics...probably could have found a better picture of Christopher Hitchens, though!

Answering Skeptics Without a Word

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored

About a week ago, my three sons and I set out on a quest.  We had spotted some tadpoles swimming in the little creek in the city park and we were determined to go and to catch a few.  What we learned was rather simple, but profound.  Those things are fast.  Beyond their speed it was apparent that they do not want to be caught.  We fished with a bucket for a good forty-five minutes, most of which was an epic failure and we were feeling not the least bit mocked by those little creatures who defied every effort of ours to take them home in our trusty bucket.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chosen But Free-Review--Full

Due to the fact that people I know and respect have spoken highly of Norman Geisler's book, Chosen But Free, and people I know and respect have also spoken quite critically of this book, I decided to grab the Kindle version and give it a read. There is praise to be offered and well-deserved criticism to be voiced as well.

Chapter 1 is a great introduction to the topic of God's sovereignty. Geisler spends an extended amount of time affirming God as sovereign over all, even the choices of men. On the surface and divorced from the rest of the text, chapter 1 is a tremendous defense of God being God over all, even the hearts of men. Geisler spends the rest of the book, however, undermining the firm foundation that Scripture laid for him in the first few pages.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, 
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father before all worlds; 
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; 
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. 
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; 
He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;
and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reckless Abandon


Reckless Abandon, by David Sitton, is a memoir of a frontier missionary. In it, Sitton takes the reader with him as he blazes a trail to people who have never even heard the message of the Gospel, many who have never even seen a white man. This book is an engrossing read and I would not be surprised that if you sat down to read it that you did not arise until three or four hours later after completing it.

The most endearing part of this book is what I perceive to be the most endearing part of David Sitton, his ever-present focus on the Gospel of the crucified and resurrected Messiah, the Gospel of our King Jesus. All throughout the book, as Sitton tells of dangerous encounters with hostile tribes, predators stalking his home, hardships limiting his work in an area, theological convictions causing intramural persecution, or the tribulation of speaking in front of thousands of pastors, Sitton is consistent in his Gospel focus and persistent in his efforts to proclaim the Gospel message.


This is a book that God will use in the life of anyone who reads it, primarily because of how saturated it is with the Word of God. In it you will encounter the Holy Spirit working mightily in the lives of many people, and you will see the opposition that is faced when the Gospel message goes forth. It will encourage the believer to know that, while our mission may not be cannibalistic tribal chiefs who throw coconuts at us and threaten our life, the opposition found within them is the same opposition we find in our agnostic co-worker or our “I'm a good person” neighbor or our religious, “Christian” relative.

This is a book that brings the reality of what it means to be a Christian to the forefront of our thinking. Our culture has indoctrinated us with health and wealth prosperity teaching (or the evangelical form of it, the “God's ultimate desire is for you to be happy” gospel). For so many, throughout history and throughout the world today, to follow Jesus is what Bonhoeffer equated to a “call to come and die.” For most of us in the West, this call is simply a spiritual one. Very real, but not bleeding into our physical safety and comfort to a great degree. But for many still, this “call to come and die” is a literal, physical call that will cost them their property, their safety, and ultimately their physical life.

Throughout this book, I found myself getting angry. I found myself weeping in misery and weeping in joy. I was sad, mad, but ultimately greatly encouraged (that the Gospel will go forth to the ends of the earth) and challenged (because God has blessed me and every believer with the burden/opportunity to be the one to take it). It is not just the frontier missionary who has been called to live a life of reckless abandon, but everyone who claims the blood of Jesus as his righteousness and bears the name Christian.