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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.