Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Knowing God": A Review

JI Packer's book, "Knowing God," is one of the most foundational and important books of our time. In it, Packer gives us a fuller and Biblical understanding of who God is for the purpose of personal application.

For many years, Dr. JI Packer has encouraged and ministered to millions through his preaching and writings. "Knowing God" is considered one of the best books ever written. Through this work, many have come to a better understanding of who God is and how we can live a Christian life in a Biblical way.

The author begins discussing the importance of knowing God, what it means, and how we go about knowing Him. For one to know such a thing, the author uses to Daniel as an example. First, those who know God have great energy for God and show great boldness for God. Also, those who truly know God, have great thought of God as a result of a consistent prayer, meditation, and devotional life. All of these things Daniel practiced and made evident.

The author also wants to discuss what knowing God means, and he concludes that to know God is to know God in the flesh: Jesus. This means that knowing God is personal and is more than just knowing about Him. We must be willing to listen to Him, trust Him, and follow Him. Also, knowing God means personal involvement. Thus we must use our heart, mind, soul.

The final chapters of section one discuss specific issues that relate to what we know about God. First, we must deal with the Second Commandment that bars all images of God. The author argues that any image that represents God are wrong because it dulls the true essence of God.

Secondly the author deals with the incarnation and several issues that arise concerning the Incarnation debate. But Packer points out that Jesus was born as the God-man; fully God, fully man. Also, the Incarnation reveals that Christ was born in order to die. Finally, the author discusses the Holy Spirit. The author is perplexed at the lack of understanding of most Christians concerning the Spirit. Without the Spirit, we would not have the Word of God.

The second section of Packer’s book can be summed up as; God is awesome. The entire section deals with several important issues such as His Sovereignty, wisdom, love, grace, wrath, and others. He manages to take these difficult topics and explain them in clear terms that the reader can understand and apply.

Throughout this section, he is always able to balance the different attributes of God. For example, he discusses God’s grace, love, and mercy, but later, he equally discusses God’s wrath. When discussing His wrath, he does not picture God as a "bad guy," but as a perfect, loving, righteous God whose justice demands that He judge sin. At the same time, when discussing His love and mercy, he does not picture God as a "nice guy" who would never judge man.

The title for section two is appropriate: "Behold Your God (73)!"

The final part ties the entire book together. Parts one and two deal with different issues such as wrath, mercy, God’s jealously, and other topics. All of this prepares the reader for the heart of the book: the gospel of Christ and what it entails, involves, and means. He lays the gospel out very clearly and allows no room for anything else. Because of man’s sin, he needs a Savior, and God has sent Christ to be that Savior.

He goes on to discuss what it means to be a son of God. When we become adopted sons of God, we receive the Holy Spirit, it guides us, and we have access to our Him through prayer. To be God’s son is a reason to worship and celebrate our King! And we must reiterate the point that the only way to become sons of God, we must accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Throughout this section, Packer makes his arguments from a Biblical standpoint and is not afraid of any difficult issues. He warns the reader of pitfalls, failings, and misunderstandings. Life is not always easy, but through God’s grace, His Word, and His gospel, we can live lives truly knowing God. The title is appropriate; "If God be for us, who can be against us (260)?"

This was an excellent book that deals with a whole host of issues in a clear, Biblical way. One thing I was pleased with was the consistent balance the author has when dealing with all the difficult issues concerning God’s character. For example, as mentioned above, the author manages to give the reader a precise balanced understanding of God’s wrath and His mercy.

Also I thought his discussion on how one can know much about God, but not personally know God the way we should. This is very appropriate because it fits perfectly with the thesis of the book. The author provides the reader with several examples of people who may not have been as intellectually trained as others, but in the end knew God more than their trained brethren.

Another important aspect of this book is his discussion on the gospel. The reader does not go away confused on any issue relating to the gospel. The author makes it clear that it is God who saves, and because of man’s sin, Christ had to die. In one chapter, the author shows how all of the previous discussions concerning God’s wrath, mercy, wisdom, and jealousy all play out in the story of the gospel. Since we are sinners, we deserve God’s wrath and judgment, but because of His love and mercy, He sent His Son to die for us as a propitiation of our sins.

Finally, it cannot be overstated how Packer views God’s Word. It is clear throughout the entire book that the author believes in the inspiration of the bible, and never says anything without Biblical support. Nothing in this book is original. Instead, everything is grounded in Scripture. Packer manages to take the Bible and explain it in ways that the reader can understand and apply. The reader never turns a page without knowing where the author stands on the issue at hand where it is he gets that opinion from.

But there is one major point in which I would disagree and that would be his assessment of the Second Commandment. He argues that the Christian should have nothing that represents God, such a s a picture of Christ, a statue, or even a cross on the wall or around one’s neck. I agree with the author that we should not look at relics or statues when we pray, for that is idolatry, but, at the same time, I do not think that wearing a cross around the neck is sinful either.

The author says that an emblem of the cross "displays his human weakness, but it conceals his divine strength; it depicts the reality of his pain, but keeps out of our sight the reality of his joy and his power 946)." I disagree for the fact that the cross reminds us of the cruelty of sinful man and how it nailed God on a tree. But, at the same time, it remind us of the gospel. Without the shedding of blood we would not be saved. Therefore, the cross is not something that displays only His weakness, but also His greatest strength: salvation for sinful man.

In terms of reflection and application, there is much to be said here. One thing I am most grateful for is the helpful reminder of how theology is applicational. At times, especially as a minister, I find myself falling into the trap that knowing so much at attributes and characteristics of God are not very applicational. Therefore, at times, it is easy to do a feel good sermon or Bible study without any deep reflection on some of the issues this book addresses. It has given me a clearer understanding of how I can personally know God, and how I can share that understanding with others, whether it be friends, family, or a congregation.

Another result of reading this book was that I ended up worshiping God. By the time the reader is done with Packer’s book, they are at a sense of awe finally realizing that this is the God in whom we worship. Worship since reading books such as this has helped me in my personal worship, for now, it is no longer a big guy in the sky, but a knowable God in whom I understand, not completely, but better. And the more I learn about Him, the more amazed I am at who He is and what He has done for me. I am nothing compared to Him.

This leads to another point. Which is, that, after reading this book, I am reminded of who I am. At times, many Christians fall into the trap of believing that God had to save them and that they are worthy of such salvation. Packer puts the reader back in their place. He reveals to the reader that this is not the case. God does not owe us anything. Instead, we owe Him everything, even if He did not save us for our sins. I am so grateful for the God in whom I worship.

This inevitably, has caused me to reflect my own personal life. Do I know about God, or do I actually know God. This is perhaps my favorite part of the book, because Packer is getting real with the reader. Throughout his ministry and life, he has seen the difference. It is one thing to know about Him, but it is a completely different thing to actually know Him more personally and walk in His ways daily.

Overall, I was well pleased with this book. No wonder this is considered one of Packer’s best work. It is written in a way in which any believer can easily understand. At the same time, those wishing to dig deep into the theological pool will fine that this book is equally uplifting. He leaves no stone unturned, and throughout each page, the reader is encouraged to truly know God personally, Biblically, devotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

One of the greatest testimonies of this book is its lasting impact. Since the original release date in 1973, this has become a Christian classic. It has impacted millions of believers everywhere. And no wonder. Every reader comes away with a better understanding of who God is and how we can know Him. One does not have to take my word for the excellence of this book, but the testimony of millions of people agree of my favorable assessment.



Originally published February 29, 2009.

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 7

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
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What are the implications of God's holiness? If theology is practical, and it is, then we would expect some clear implications and practical applications out of the important doctrine of God's holiness. In his systematic theology textbook, Christian Theology, Dr. Millard Erickson offers a number of implications to the doctrine of the holiness of God.

First, we should note how central this doctrine is in Scripture. Erickson writes:

We have here a very basic and important dimension of God's nature. God's holiness is emphasized throughout the whole Bible, but especially in the Old Testament depictions. Its importance is seen in both the number of times it is referred to and the emphasis with which it is taught. Some have suggested that it is the most important single attribute of God.* Whether or not this is a legitimate or desirable deduction, holiness is at least a very important attribute of God.** And it has far-reaching implications. (312)

As to what those implications are, Erickson notes:

The biblical writers repeatedly emphasize that believers are to be like God. Thus, because God is holy, his followers are also to be holy. . . . God not only is personally free from any moral wickedness or evil. He is unable to tolerate its presence. He is, as it were, allergic to sin and evil. Those who are his must therefore seek the same holiness that is so basic to his own nature. . . . When one measures one's holiness, not against the standard of oneself or of other humans, but against God, the need for a complete change of moral and spiritual condition becomes apparent. (312)

We could say, then, that the reason Christians ought to live holy lives is simply because God is holy. We are to reflect, as His image bearers, the moral character of God, which is holy and without blemish, rather than the corrupt, wicked character of the world. We can't have it both ways.

Erickson goes on to briefly highlight other applications. First, this call to holiness also applies to the church. Paul notes in Ephesians 5:27 that Christ works "to present [the Church] to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Also, worship and reverence are also natural consequences of seing God in his spotlessness and holiness (see Psalm 99:9 and Revelation 15:4).

More could be added to this list, but here we have person application, direction for the church, and insight into what it means to worship. Something should also be said here about the gospel. At its root, the gospel says that we are unholy, filthy rebels opposed to God's rule opposite of His holiness. Thus if we understand His holiness biblically, we ought to all be like Isaiah, "Woe is me!" It isn't just that God is allergic to sin (to use Erickson's language) but also we sinners are allergic to God. But the beauty of the gospel is that it takes that which is filthy and makes it clean/pure; i.e. holy. Though we are like scarlet, we will be made white as snow Scripture says. How does God do this? Through the propitiatory work of the spotless, pure, holy Lamb of God.

So yes, we are to be holy because God is, but we can't on our own. Salvation is a gift from God. Justification is a gift from God. Sanctification - the process of being made holy like God - is a work of God. Never leave the cross and watch how God works in your life!


* Here, Erickson references Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology.

** As to whether or not this is the most important attribute of God, we cannot say for sure. Some see in holiness an explanation of the rest of God's attributes especially His sovereignty, wrath, and love. Certainly that may be the case, but we ought to be careful in contradictory the truth of God's Simplicity. We must not do with holiness what process theologians do with love. God is love. God is holy. One is not greater than the other(s).


For More on Erickson:
Blogizomai - Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Blogizomai - Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
Blogizomai - On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God 
Blogizomai - Is Hell Real?: The Difference Between Emergent Agnostic Doctrine & Orthodoxy
Blogizomai - Condemnation But No Justification: The Purpose of General Revelation
Blogizomai - The Reservoir & Conduit of Divine Truth: Carl FH Henry on Revelation
Blogizomai - Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 
Blogizomai - Exegetical Theology or Theological Exegesis?: DeYoung on the Both/And
Blogizomai - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Authority Question - Part 2
Blogizoami - Grudem on the Problems With Denying Inerrancy
Blogizomai - Inerrancy and the Early Church
Blogizomai - Divine Simplicity: Theology Proper For Liberals & Calvinists
Blogizomai - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction
Blogizomai - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundations
Blogizomai -The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges
Blogizomai - "Their God is Too Small": A Review
Blogizomai - Tozer on Holiness 


For more on Theology Proper:
Blogizomai - Does God Suffer?: Aquinas on Divine Impassibility
Blogizomai - Repost | Will the Two Become One?: Emergents Turn to Process Theology
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction (Part 1)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundation (Part 2)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges (Part 3)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Challenges (Part 4)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Practical Implications (Part 5) 
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Applications (Part 6)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theodicy & God's Sovereignty (Part 7)
GBC - Luther, Depression, and the Sovereignty of God  
GBC - MacDonald on the Sovereignty of God 
GBC - Charles Hodge on Sovereignty 
GBC - God's Sovereignty Defined:  AW Pink on God's Sovereignty 
Theology -  Jim Wallis & Open Theology 
Reviews - "Process Theology"
Sermon Podcast - October 10, 2010 - God is Sovereign
Sermon Podcast - April 26, 2010 - The Immutability of God
Blogizomai - God's Many Names?: Emergent Pluralism in the Extreme
Theology - Orthopraxy is Rooted in Orthodoxy - The Postmodern Return to Rome

Monday, July 30, 2012

Why Capitalism is More Progressive Than Progressive Socialism

Chick-fil-a has made a major mistake. Their openly Christian owner had the audacity to come out of the closet in favor of traditional family values. To the progressive liberal, this can only mean he hates gays. In response to this hateful, bigoted homophobe, the mayors of Boston and Chicago (who was once the Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama) have vowed to prevent Chick-fil-a from opening in their respected cities. And all the progressive socialist of America said, "Amen!"

As this debacle continues, the broader culture and these "open minded" leaders (and their supporters) are missing something incredibly important. The more progressive ideology is not soft-served, progressive socialism by which a power hungry politicians determine what is true and right and what business will have the right to operate in their city or state, but capitalism.

In his book, Capitalism and Freedom, the late Milton Friedman made this point brilliantly. The customer doesn't care about the race or sexual preference of the truck driver that delivered the chicken to Chick-fil-a, all he cares about is the price and the product. The manager of Chick-fil-a doesn't care about the race, religion, sexual (im)morality, or favorite baseball team of the customer, all he cares about is if he/she wants Chick-fil-a's signature potato fries or cole slaw with his/her chicken sandwich.

Capitalism is driven by mutual selfishness that transcends barriers such as religion, race, and sexual preferences. The company needs money from its customers in order to stay open irregardless of who the customer is in their private lives. Likewise, the customer wants the best product at the best price irregardless of the private life of the cook, the clerk, or the manufacturer.

Progressive socialism evidenced by the likes of Rahm Emmanuel (Chicago Mayor) and Tom Menino (Boston Mayor) turns these divisive issues into political talking points. These two mayors are only encouraging anger among its citizens, not unity. By banning a private business from their city, they are encouraging progressive bigotry and the outrage that comes from those who just want a chicken sandwich once in a while. Capitalism, free from political nonsense and power grabs, frees us from real bigotry and hatred. Certainly many capitalist are corrupt, bigoted, and racist, but I wonder how many racist capitalist business owners knew how many black men were involved in the product they were selling? But progressive socialism finds itself not as progressive as it promotes itself. Now in our more statist society, one must toe the party line before serving the broader community.

So it turns out, as Adam Smith and Milton Friedman have proven, that if liberals really are sincere in their promotion of equal rights, they should promote not socialism, but economic freedom. But then again, progressive socialism was never really about social justice in the first place. It really comes down to power and prestige. The respected mayors can promote their own form of bigotry all the while parading themselves as open minded progressives - the future American man - all the while there stands a lonely cow who couldn't care less about what you think about gay marriage or the Presidential race holding a sign that simply reads, "Eat Mor Chiken."







For more:

Reviews - "Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Friedman
Blogizomai - The Economic Value of Marriage
Blogizomai - Poverty and the Breakdown of the Family: Santorum Raises an Important Point
Blogizomai - Economic Freedom Is Better: A Video Worth Considering
Blogizomai - The Gospel and the National Debt:  Why Only the Cross Can Save Us From Ourselves - Part 1 
Blogizomai - The Gospel and the National Debt:  Why Only the Cross Can Save Us From Ourselves - Part 2 
Blogizomai - The Economics of Greed:  What Economics Can Teach Us About the Gospel
Blogizomai - Occupy Wal-Mart?: So This is What the Kingdom of Heaven Looks Like
Reviews - "A Patriot's History of the United States"
Reviews - "A Conflict of Visions"

All Around the Web: Links For Your Monday - July 30, 2012

Desiring God - Election: Handle With Care |



Credo - Are You Reformed (Part 2) | This is a helpful article on a host of issues.

3) TULIP is Not the Only Acronym Proposed to Represent the 5 Points of Calvinism.

The central benefit of the TULIP acronym in my opinion is the facility it provides in remembering the five points. However, alternative proposals have been offered as memory aids. Usually the motivation to revise TULIP stems from a desire to clarify the doctrines they are supposed to teach, since it is debatable whether these descriptions accurately convey the five heads of doctrine from the Canons of Dort.

. . .

R=Radical Depravity
O=Overcoming Grace
S=Sovereign Election
E=Eternal Life
S=Singular Redemption

. . .

L=Limited Depravity
I=I Choose Christ
L=Limitless Atonement
A=Arrestible Grace
C=Carnal Security

. . .

F=Freed by Grace to Believe
A=Atonement for All
C=Conditional Election
T=Total Depravity
S=Security in Christ

. . .

F=Fallen Humanity
A=Adopted by God
I=Intentional Atonement
T=Transformed by the Holy Spirit
H=Held by God

. . .

G=God’s Sovereign Choice
R=Radical Depravity
A=Accomplished Redemption
C=Called Effectually
E=Endurance of the Saints

. . .

G=Given through Christ
R=Rejected through Rebellion
A=Accepted through Faith
C=Christ Died for All
E=Everlasting Life/Security of the Believer

. . .

G=Grace is:
O=Obligatory (that is, indispensable)
S=Sovereign (in choice)
P=Particular (in redemption)
E=Effectual (in operation)
L=Lasting (that is, secure)

. . .

P=Planned Grace
R=Resurrecting Grace
O=Outrageous Grace
O=Overcoming Grace
F=Forever Grace




CNN Belief Blog - Evangelist Billy Graham defends Chick-fil-A |

(CNN)– Billy Graham, the dean of American evangelists, has once again broken his usual silence on hot-button issues, defending the president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain for his opposition to same-sex marriage days after issuing a letter decrying what he sees as the nation's moral decay.


Earlier this year, the ailing preacher publicly endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay unions in North Carolina, raising eyebrows among many who'd watched Graham studiously avoid thorny social issues for years.


On Thursday, he issued a statement of support for the popular fast-food chain. Many people have slammed Chick-fil-A President Don Cathy for saying his company backs the traditional family unit and is opposed to same-sex marriage.


Graham praised restaurant founder S. Truett Cathy and son Don Cathy, the company's president, "for their strong stand for the Christian faith."


The Blaze - ‘USA, USA, USA!’: See the Speech That Got a Standing Ovation in Congress Today | I would welcome more of this from both parties in Congress. Where is the emphasis coming from elected officials on freedom?




Business Insider - POLL: Romney Has His Biggest Lead Over Obama In Weeks | Rasmussen is one of the most accurate polling companies. Here is just another reason why I believe Romney will win in November and I don't think it will be close.

Some good news for Mitt Romney today after spending yesterday getting hammered in his London trip by British press and politicians: He's leading President Barack Obama in Rasmussen's daily tracking poll by his biggest margin in more than a month

Romney leads Obama, 49 percent to 44 percent, in the general election matchup. That nearly mirrors the result on who voters say they trust more to handle the economy. Romney leads there 49-43. . . . 


Since it's always fun to compare: On this day in 2008, Obama led Republican nominee John McCain by 5 points — 49 to 44 percent — in Rasmussen's daily tracking.


Washington Times - McDonnell appears on VP shortlist | This is the best article I've read about the potential VP candidates for Mitt Romney. I would not be surprised by McDonnell and think he would be a great addition. The article focuses on Bobby Jindal (who is my personal favorite and think that he will be the nominee) and McDonell. Also, I expect Giuliani to get more consideration. He would be my dark horse in this race.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has emerged as one of three Republican officeholders who political handicappers say have the most potential to unify the party and boost the fortunes of GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney as a running mate in November.

While Mr. Romney has revealed little about his vice-presidential search, Mr. McDonnell, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are widely seen as reliable economic and social conservatives at a time when the party faces the possibility of factional divisions heading into next month’s convention in Tampa, Fla.

The Virginia governor, experienced analysts note, is a staunchly pro-life Catholic with a fiscally conservative reputation and no known opposition among evangelicals, whose votes have been vital to GOP electoral success and many of whom are skeptical about Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion.

The Virginia governor is considered a competent, and at times engaging, speaker not likely to upstage Mr. Romney — unlike, say, more charismatic figures such as Mr. Rubio or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.



Real Clear Politics - Obama For America TV Ad: "Women's Choices" | I know this is a superpac and not from the Obama campaign, but I believe abortion will be a major loser for Obama. The polls show it. People would rather talk about the economy and it shows his desperation.




Therapy has overtaken Theology

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Beautiful Eulogy

One of my favorite albums of this year is without a doubt Beautiful Eulogy's album "Satellite Kite." It is one of the most incredible albums that combines experimental sounds and rap with sound theology. The following video is from their new album which you can download for free (for free!) and I think it shows you why this is such a great album.






All Around the Web: Links For Your Saturday - July 28, 2012

Dr. Denny Burk - A Smiling Providence in Aurora, Colorado | Amazing story.

As Petra sleeps, [the surgeon] retells the story of the surgery, and we ask questions. The doctor reads the perfect script, as if he is on Hallmark Hall of Fame. He fills us in on the miracle. Honestly, he doesn’t call it that, he just uses words like “happily” and “wonderfully” and “in a very fortunate way” and “luckily” and “we were really surprised by that.” Kim and I know a miracle when we see it.

It seems as if the bullet traveled through Petra’s brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear. Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.

But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself. Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra’s brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed. The brain is destroyed. Evil wins a round.


As he shares, the doctor seems taken aback. It is an odd thing to have a surgeon show a bit of wonder. Professionally, these guys own the universe, it seems, and take everything in stride. He is obviously gifted as a surgeon, and is kind in his manner. “It couldn’t have gone better. If it were my daughter,” he says quietly, glancing around to see if any of his colleagues might be watching him, “I’d be ecstatic. I’d be dancing a jig.” He smiles. I can’t keep my smile back, or the tears of joy. In Christianity we call it prevenient grace: God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future. It’s just like the God I follow to plan the route of a bullet through a brain long before Batman ever rises. Twenty-two years before.


Real Clear Politics - Obama Backs Planned Parenthood: "I've Got Two Daughters -- I Want Them To Control Their Own Health Care Choices" | This is similar to the President saying during the 2008 campaign that he didn't want his daughters "punished" with a baby. The sad part of this is that abortion isn't a health care choice regarding the mother, but regarding the child. The video of the President's remarks is available at the link.

“Mr. Romney wants to get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood. I think that’s a bad idea. I've got two daughters. I want them to control their own health care choices. We're not going backwards, we're going forwards," President Obama said at a campaign event in Oregon on Tuesday night.


Mark Driscoll - 5 Things to Ask Yourself As You Read Your Bible |


1. The Biblical Question: What Does the Bible Say?
2. The Theological Question: What Does the Bible Mean?
3. The Apologetic Question: Why Do We Resist This Truth?
4. The Missional Question: Why Does This Matter?
5. The Christological Question: How Is Jesus the Hero-Salvation?


Keith Matthison (Ligionier) - 10 Books (and One Letter) Every New Calvinist Needs to Read |

1. John Newton’s letter “On Controversy”
2. John Calvin - Institutes of the Christian Religion.
3. Robert Bruce - The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper.
4. John Owen - The Mortification of Sin.
5. Robert Letham – The Holy Trinity.
6. Sinclair Ferguson – The Christian Life.
7. J.V. Fesko – Justification.
8. Cornelis Venema – The Promise of the Future.
9. R.C. Sproul – Chosen by God.
10. Roland Bainton – Here I Stand.




The Blaze - 10 Surprising Facts About Google You Might Want to Know | I'm still scratching my head about the whole goat thing.




Michael Haykin - Christian classics: a list |

1. The Odes of Solomon
2. Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit
3. Augustine, Confessions
4. Augustine, On the Trinity
5. Macarius, Spiritual Homilies
6. Ailred of Rievaulx,
On Spiritual Friendship
7. Thomas Cranmer,
The Book of Common Prayer
8. John Calvin,
The Institutes
9. John Owen, On the Mortification of Sin in Believers
10. Jonathan Edwards, On Religious Affections
11. The Hymns of Charles Wesley
12. John Newton and William Cowper, The Olney Hymns
13. The Hymns and Letters of Ann Griffiths
14. Andrew Fuller, The Memoirs of Samuel Pearce
15. Adolphe Monod, Les Adieux
16. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
17. C. S Lewis, The Weight of Glory
18. John Piper, Desiring God



Bloomberg - Newsweek Owner Says Magazine Will Eventually Be Online Only | With the demise of print newspapers and news magazines, expect other companies to do the same. The rise of tablets like the iPad only make this more inevitable. I am a bit surprised that Newsweek is one of the first.

Newsweek, the 79-year-old magazine, will eventually transition to an online-only publication, according to owner IAC/InterActiveCorp. 

The New York-based company made the announcement during its quarterly earnings conference call today, saying it would curb investments in the money-losing business.


Washington Examiner - VP Audition: 8 Hopefuls Fan Out for Romney | They list the 8 hopefuls as Tim Pawlenty, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Rudy Guiliani, Nikki Haley, John Thune, Marco Rubio, and Rob Portman. According to them, however, the 4 who likely have the best chance are Jindal, Rubio, Portman, Pawlenty and Ryan. I am not convinced that Pawlenty will get it because of his ORomneycare comments. I believe the likely 4 are Rob Portman, Bobby Jindal, Bob McConnell, and Paul Ryan. I would also not be surprised if Rudy Giuliani gets serious consideration.

This weekend could make or break any of eight potential Mitt Romney running mates who are fanning out to key battleground states to keep the GOP presidential nominee’s name in front of voters while he is away on a trip to the London Olympics, Poland and Israel.

Potential vice presidential pick from front-runners Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to those way down the list like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are hosting “victory rallies” and fundraisers in Romney’s absence.


The performances will be closely watched by Romney’s vice presidential vetting team who insiders say is looking for a steady, non-controversial running mate who can rally crowds without making any gaffes. Their “presidentialness” will also be on display, a trait the campaign views as key since their effort will be to unveil a team ready for the White House
.


Priceless. Go CARDS!

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Great Forgiveness For Great Sin": A Sermon Preached by CH Spurgeon - Part 2

"Great Forgiveness For Great Sin": A Sermon Preached by CH Spurgeon - Part 1
"Great Forgiveness For Great Sin": A Sermon Preached by CH Spurgeon - Part 2


1. THE SINS MENTIONED HERE ARE GREAT

Because we preach the greatness of God’s mercy, some wicked minds think that sin is but a little thing. But, Sirs it is not so. And if any of you are living in it, listen to me while I try to show you how great it is.

For, first, see what sin has done to us all. Our first parents lived in a Garden of delights and, if they had not sinned, we would have been heirs to a happy life free from sickness, sorrow and death. But sin entered the Garden of Eden and withered every leaf, blighted every flower and, soon, Adam was driven out to till the ground that brought forth thorns and thistles in abundance. As for the woman, she and her daughters were condemned to bring forth children in pain and sorrow. Now look at the result of sin all over the world—the poverty that springs from drunkenness, the disease that comes of debauchery, the pangs of conscience that follow all evil-doing. And when you have gazed at the misery now existing on this earth, think of the many graveyards and cemeteries with their myriads of tombs. The very dust which flies down our streets, was, much of it, once alive as part of the body of one of our forefathers! This earth is, indeed, a huge morgue. What was it that slew all these people and dug all these graves? It was sin, for, “sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.” It is no small thing that has worked all this mischief among mankind!

If any of you doubt the greatness of sin, let me remind you of what has happened to those who have died in it. This Bible, which is the Revelation of God, tells us that sinners who die impenitent are driven from the Presence of God into the outer darkness where there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth forever! I cannot adequately depict that dread abode of lost souls, but there are already myriads there, without light, or hope, or joy, or comfort, waiting for the Day of Judgment when their bodies shall rise and body and soul shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. And then will come upon them “the terror of the Lord.” If I had to describe the woes of the lost, the language I would have to use would be exceedingly strong, but where would I have to look for it? I would not go to Milton and the other poets, but I would have to gather similes most terrible from the lips of the gentle and loving Christ, for it is He who has told us most about these things! Because He loved men so dearly, He faithfully warned them of the wrath to come—and one proof that sin is no trifle is that the wrath to come is so terrible!

If any still doubt whether sin is a great thing, I ask them to remember that it must be great because it takes such great Grace to pardon it. Our text teaches us that the forgiveness of sin is according to the riches of God’s Grace—as if, in order to get rid of sin, the Infinite Wealth of His great heart of love must be freely spent. God, who delights in mercy, had to lay out a mint of Grace before sin could be pardoned! Therefore, sin is no small thing. But if you would really know how great a thing sin is, remember what it cost Christ to be its Forgiver. Go to Gethsemane and see what it cost Christ to bear it there. The sin that covered Him with a bloody sweat was no trifle. Then follow Him to Pilate’s Hall and hear the cruel whips falling on His blessed shoulders, for it is with those stripes that you are healed, and it must be a dire disease that needs such sharp medicine! See the soldiers take Him away and nail Him to the Cross. There He hangs, between Heaven and earth, to die for guilty sinners amid untold anguish which no human eye could see and no mortal mind could understand. Yet there could never have been any forgiveness for sin if there had not been all these pangs on the part of the sinner’s Substitute. Surely, sin must be a great thing to need such a great Sacrifice to put it away.

While I am recalling these familiar Truths of God, I hope somebody is saying, “Ah, Sir, I know that my sins are great!” You need not go into particulars, for, if nobody else’s sin is great, mine is.” Let us all look over the records of this year and see whether it is not so with us. Get out your diary. Ah, you do not put down such things there – you try to forget them. I have been told that, in Naples, there used to be a pit for every day in the year, and each day they took the dead out of the city and flung them into the pit for that day. So there were 365 of these pits which were opened, year after year. In a similar style, you have buried your sins in these 365 days. Let us roll one of the big stones away and look down. No, no! We could not bear to do so, for even one day’s sin has such filthiness about it that we cry, if we are in our right senses, “Bury my dead out of my sight!” Think what your sins have been. Think of the idle words you have spoken – for every one of which you will have to give account. Think of the evil thoughts you have had—angry thoughts, proud thoughts, lustful thoughts—they are all sins. Oh, what a terrible heap they make! Would any man here like to shoot out his sins on this platform? I can never understand how a so-called “priest” can ask people to confess their sins to him. I would not make my ear into a common sewer for all the wealth in the world! What foulness there must be on the soul of him who has heard what others have done and who knows what sin he has himself committed! Sin, when we see what it really is, whether in ourselves or in others, horrifies us.

But there is one thing I want you to remember. If there has been nothing done, or said, or thought by you of which you can convict yourself, yet, if you are not now loving God—if for another year you have been God’s enemy, if for another year you have refused Christ and have lived without prayer, without repentance and without seeking to be right with God. If for another year you have been indifferent to the claims of the Most High and careless of His commands – if you have done nothing else but forget God—that one sin would be enough to cast you into Hell forever! Remember David’s words, “the wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God.”


For more:

It Works Both Ways: The Fallacy of Legalistic Religion & Secularism

Go to your average bible-believing church and you will find plenty of religious legalists; those who turn the faith into what you do. Get baptized. Read your Bible daily (and don't miss a day!). Walk the aisle. Believe in the rapture. Vote Republican. Etc. Then again, go to your average progressive church and you will find the same thing with a little different flavor. There the lists of dos and don't are a very different but underneath it all is the same legalistic mindset. Vote Democrat. Fight global warming. Promote gay marriage. Be postmodern. Don't take the Bible literally. Etc.

In fact, this legalistic mindset can be applied to virtually every worldview and theology. Secularism is no different. The recent shooting in Aurora, CO where a deranged gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater showing the blockbuster hit Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. The fact that this man was dressed up as the Joker and rigged his apartment ought to be evidence enough that at best he is a sane, smart man who has fallen off his rocker. But what strikes me about the broader cultural discussion is how quickly we move from the tragedy (and almost forgetting that real lives with real stories have been lost) to psychoanalyzing the killer and then turning to legalistic means to prevent future attacks.

When we psychoanalyze killers like James Holmes it appears to be both an honest attempt to explain his actions and to convince ourselves that we are not like him. Thus we turn to superficial explanations as to why he would do this sort of thing. Let's blame it on his girlfriend, politics, video games, movies, depression, loneliness, upbringing, socio-economics, or biochemistry. Regardless of what we may point to it is under the assumption that fallen humanity can be fixed because fallen humanity isn't fallen. Secularism, driven by evolution, assumes the best in mankind and thus the thought that we too are capable of wicked actions is foreign to the secular mind.

By psychoanalyzing persons like Holmes we convince ourselves, rather self-righteously, that we are better than that. We would never do something this horrific. And in our self-righteousness we begin to sound strangely like the Pharisee who looked up to heaven and boldly proclaim, "Mother Nature, thank you for not making me like him." Similarly, we try to connect such individuals to gropus we are already predisposed to dislike. Immediately following the shooting, the media and the culture tried to tie Holmes to the Tea Party, the Democratic Party, etc. Interesting. Religious legalism bends us to blame the other for everything. So does secular legalism.

Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we aren't that much different from the likes of Holmes. Sure, perhaps we've never booby trapped our homes or considered buying loads of guns and ammo and storm a crowded movie theater, but everyday we rationalize rebellion, wickedness, and sin. We tell ourselves that dehumanizing women through pornography, fornication, or adultery isn't that big of a deal. In fact we convince ourselves that it might save our marriage. Or maybe we steal from the company, lie on our taxes, pile on the debt, or murder our unborn children. Let's not fall for secular legalism any more than we would for religious legalism. We are all sinners bent towards rebellion, not obedience towards God.

Not only do we psychoanalyze such killers as a means to pat ourselves on the back, we also turn to external means of prevention. In this case, and almost in ever case, we have turned to politics and gun control. After the shooting I gave both Presidential candidates credit for suspending their campaign, but unfortunately not everyone took a break from partisan politics. The fact that we really believe that stricter gun control can and does prevent such cases of mass murder ought to be a joke, yet it always rears its head after every such event. Colorado has very strict gun laws, yet this man was still able to kill. Humans committed mass murder before guns and they have continued that trajectory every since. And it always will.

I am not, however, one who says that no gun laws are necessary. After all, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words of wisdom that a civil rights laws may not make the white man love him, but it might prevent the racist from lynching the innocent black man. That is to say, though the law cannot and does not change us internally, that does not mean that it has role to play in society.

The point here is to point out the legalistic mindset of modern secularism. By fundamentally rejecting human depravity, society is forced turn to external means of correction. Like a religious legalist who thinks blocks on a computer will perfectly keep a struggling porn addict from viewing pornography or banning alcohol from a county will somehow keep people from drinking beer, so too secular legalists turn to external means to change the heart. The problem isn't guns, but the heart of a man who would use them against his fellow man. If banning anything worked, then by now we should have a pretty just society with empty jails.

Legalism simply doesn't work. For those who bey the law, it gives the illusion that they are righteous when really, their heart is just as cold and callous and everyone else. Also, a society that has abandoned theism in favor of secularism has no language to describe and to comprehend evil, human depravity, or the gospel.

If religion is a curse and fails to transform humanity, so does secularism. But don't expect the legalists in our society to change anytime soon. After all, just like the priest who dangles salvation on  a string, forsaking secularism would be too humbling for the cultural elite.






For more:
Blogizomai - Putting Politics on Hold: The Admiral Response of Both Obama and Romney following the Colorado Shooting
Blogizomai - Repost Friday | What the Book of Galatians Taught Me About Politics: The Importance of Freedom, Personal Responsibility, and Community
Blogizomai - Cheap Shots & Politics:  The Gospel & Assessing the Tuscon Tragedy - Part 1    
Yes It (Thinks It) Can:  The Gospel & Assessing the Tucson Tragedy - Part 2
Blogizomai - Shining the Light in the Dark Place:  The Gospel & Assessing the Tucson Tragedy - Part 3 
Blogizomai - To Comfort a Nation:  Obama in Arizona and How the Nation Reacted  
Blogizomai - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Some of the Culture's Reactions to the Tuscon Tragedy
Blogizomai - A Worship Experience Unlike Any Other: The Subtle Nature of Idolary
Blogizomai - Why I Love Jesus, But Hate Antinomianism: Don Miller, Jefferson Bethke, Religion, & the Gospel
Blogizomai - The Gospel and the Story of Everything

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tozer on Holiness

Perhaps some of the most insightful bites I have come across this week regarding the holiness of God comes from A. W. Tozer's wonderful book, The knowledge of the holy: The attributes of God: their meaning in the Christian life  Just consider some of the following quotes:

Until we have see ourselves as God sees us, we are not likely to be much disturbed over conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life.  We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.  -110

Neither the writer nor the reader of these words is qualified to appreciate the holiness of God.  Quite literally a new channel must be cut through the desert of our minds to allow the sweet waters of truth that will heal our great sickness to flow in.  We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of.  God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered.  We know nothing like the divine holiness.  It stands apart, unique, and unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable.  The natural man is blind to it.  He may fear God’s power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.   -111

Holy is the way God is.  To be holy He does not conform to a standard.  He is that standard.  He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is.  Because He is holy, all His attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as holy.  -112-113

This holiness God can and does impart to His children.  He shares it with them by imputation and by impartation, and because He has made it available to them through the blood of the Lamb, He requires it of them.  -113

Some great words here, especially that last paragraph.  When we study the holiness of God, let us always be reminded that such holiness was present in Christ and through the cross and resurrection, our unrightesouness is forgiven and we are given a new, righteous, holy nature.



Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 9
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 3 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5


For More on Erickson:
Blogizomai - Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Blogizomai - Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
Blogizomai - On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God 
Blogizomai - Is Hell Real?: The Difference Between Emergent Agnostic Doctrine & Orthodoxy
Blogizomai - Condemnation But No Justification: The Purpose of General Revelation
Blogizomai - The Reservoir & Conduit of Divine Truth: Carl FH Henry on Revelation
Blogizomai - Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 
Blogizomai - Exegetical Theology or Theological Exegesis?: DeYoung on the Both/And
Blogizomai - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Authority Question - Part 2
Blogizoami - Grudem on the Problems With Denying Inerrancy
Blogizomai - Inerrancy and the Early Church
Blogizomai - Divine Simplicity: Theology Proper For Liberals & Calvinists
Blogizomai - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction
Blogizomai - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundations
Blogizomai -The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges
Blogizomai - "Their God is Too Small": A Review


For more on Theology Proper:
Blogizomai - Does God Suffer?: Aquinas on Divine Impassibility
Blogizomai - Repost | Will the Two Become One?: Emergents Turn to Process Theology
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction (Part 1)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundation (Part 2)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges (Part 3)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Challenges (Part 4)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Practical Implications (Part 5) 
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Applications (Part 6)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theodicy & God's Sovereignty (Part 7)
GBC - Luther, Depression, and the Sovereignty of God  
GBC - MacDonald on the Sovereignty of God 
GBC - Charles Hodge on Sovereignty 
GBC - God's Sovereignty Defined:  AW Pink on God's Sovereignty 
Theology -  Jim Wallis & Open Theology 
Reviews - "Process Theology"
Sermon Podcast - October 10, 2010 - God is Sovereign
Sermon Podcast - April 26, 2010 - The Immutability of God
Blogizomai - God's Many Names?: Emergent Pluralism in the Extreme
Theology - Orthopraxy is Rooted in Orthodoxy - The Postmodern Return to Rome

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 9
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 3 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6 


Is God holy? The Bible couldn't be more clear, but modern Theology Proper prefers to redefine what we mean by God's holiness in order to suite its own anthropocentric theology. In his chapter on "The Goodness of God," Millard Erickson lays out the moral qualities of God beginning with His holiness. Erickson, in his book Christian Theology, suggests that there are two basic aspects to God's holiness. (311)

The first is his uniqueness (311). By this Erickson means:

He is totally separate from all of creation. This is what Louis Berkhof called the "majesty-holiness" of God. The uniqueness of God is affirmed in Exodus 15:11: "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" Similar expressions of the loftiness, the exaltedness, the splendor of God, are found in 1 Samuel 2:2 and Isaiah 57:15. Isaiah saw the Lord "seated on a throne, high and exalted." The foundations of the thresholds shook, and the house was filled with smoke. The seraphim cried out, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty" (Isa. 6:1-4). The Hebrew word for "holy" . . . means "marked off" or "withdrawn from common, ordinary use." The verb from which it is derived suggests to "cut off" or "to separate." Whereas in the religions of the peoples around Israel the adjective holy was freely applied to objects, actions, and personnel involved in the worship, in Israel's covenant worship it was very freely used of the Deity himself. (311)

The second aspect of God's holiness is his absolute purity or goodness (311). Erickson explains:

This means that he is untouched and unstained by the evil in the world. He does not in any sense participate in it. Note the way in which Habakkuk 1:13 addresses God: "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong." . . . In this respect God is totally unlike the gods of other religions. Those gods frequently engaged in the same type of sinful acts as did their followers. Jehovah, however, is free from such acts. Job 34:12 says, "It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice." (311)

A couple of thoughts regarding these two aspects of God's holiness. First, this adds some biblical clarity to a term that seems to have its definition in the eye of the beholder. It seems as if everyone has their own personal, self-serving definition of holiness without much regard to what the Bible says. Furthermore, this is a reminder of how we ought to understand God in His other attributes. To suggest that God is evil or may have wicked motives is contrary to His very nature. This must mean that His Sovereignty and Providence do not contradict His holiness. Though this ought to be obvious, many caricature the Theology Proper of Reformed theology as mean, angry, and unrighteous. Finally, God cannot tolerate sin period for to tolerate sin would be contrary to His nature. Let those who rationalize, defend, or approve sin be aware. Or you could just meet Isaiah. This is why the gospel is so central.


For More on Erickson:
Blogizomai - Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Blogizomai - Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
Blogizomai - On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God 
Blogizomai - Is Hell Real?: The Difference Between Emergent Agnostic Doctrine & Orthodoxy
Blogizomai - Condemnation But No Justification: The Purpose of General Revelation
Blogizomai - The Reservoir & Conduit of Divine Truth: Carl FH Henry on Revelation
Blogizomai - Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 
Blogizomai - Exegetical Theology or Theological Exegesis?: DeYoung on the Both/And
Blogizomai - A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Authority Question - Part 2
Blogizoami - Grudem on the Problems With Denying Inerrancy
Blogizomai - Inerrancy and the Early Church
Blogizomai - Divine Simplicity: Theology Proper For Liberals & Calvinists
Blogizomai - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction
Blogizomai - The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundations
Blogizomai -The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges
Blogizomai - "Their God is Too Small": A Review 


For more on Theology Proper:
Blogizomai - Does God Suffer?: Aquinas on Divine Impassibility
Blogizomai - Repost | Will the Two Become One?: Emergents Turn to Process Theology
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction (Part 1)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundation (Part 2)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges (Part 3)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Challenges (Part 4)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Practical Implications (Part 5) 
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Applications (Part 6)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theodicy & God's Sovereignty (Part 7)
GBC - Luther, Depression, and the Sovereignty of God  
GBC - MacDonald on the Sovereignty of God 
GBC - Charles Hodge on Sovereignty 
GBC - God's Sovereignty Defined:  AW Pink on God's Sovereignty 
Theology -  Jim Wallis & Open Theology 
Reviews - "Process Theology"
Sermon Podcast - October 10, 2010 - God is Sovereign
Sermon Podcast - April 26, 2010 - The Immutability of God
Blogizomai - God's Many Names?: Emergent Pluralism in the Extreme
Theology - Orthopraxy is Rooted in Orthodoxy - The Postmodern Return to Rome

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hump Day Humor: Never Again

I've ridden one of these rides before and I had a similar reaction. I love roller coasters, but not one's like this.

WARNING: Adult language is used.


All Around the Web: Links For Your Wednesday - July 25, 2012

BreakPoint - A Mainline Collapse | Eric Metaxas comments on an earlier column written by Ross Douthat regarding the collapse of progressive Christianity. Though he points out that conservative Christianity is itself showing signs of decline, the numbers do speak for themselves. The decline among progressive circles is at a rapid pace and his opening paragraphs show why. Its theology stupid.

In 2006, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the New York Times that Episcopalians were not interested in “replenishing their ranks by having children.” Instead, the church “[encouraged] people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.”

“Stewardship of the earth” and having children are not incompatible, but if Schori’s goal was a principled extinction, she’s about to succeed. The Episcopal Church, you see, is in a statistical free-fall.

Since 2000, the Episcopal Church has lost 23 percent of its members. At this rate, there will be no Episcopalians in 26 years.

My friend and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat noted that the collapse occurred at the same time that the church was transforming itself “into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States.”

Ironically, this transformation was done to make the church “relevant and vital.” Instead, people stopped going because, as Douthat points out, there was nothing these churches offered that they “[couldn’t] already get from a purely secular liberalism
.”


Practical Shepherding - Why should a pastor preach through whole books of the Bible?

1. You cannot avoid the hard passages.
2. You understand the author's intent better.
3. Our people learn how to read their own Bibles
.


Real Clear Politics - Obama: "Out Of This Darkness A Brighter Day Is Going To Come" |




Mark Driscoll -Resisting Our Idols |

In helping you recognize the idols in your life, here are a series of questions I developed when preaching on this topic:

• What do you long for most passionately?
• Where do you run for comfort?
• What are you most afraid of?
• What angers you most with others and God?
• What makes you happiest?
• How do you explain yourself to others?
• What do you brag about?
• What do you want to have more than anything else?
• What do you sacrifice the most for in your life?
• “If I could change one thing in my life, it would be ____________.”
• Whose approval are you seeking?
• What do you want to control or master?
• What do you treasure most?
• What do you complain about
?


Reformed Forum - Suggested Reading List | I've already added a few of these to my wish list. The list includes history/historical theology, apologetics/philosophy, hermeneutics, systematic theology, biblical theology, etc.

People often ask us to recommend books. While the occasional inquirer asks about a specific issue, most simply seek general guidance in beginning a Reformed program of learning. There are so many good books to read! But we have to begin somewhere. We have found that having a well organized and thorough reading plan promotes discipline and forces the reader to have a breadth of knowledge that will enrich the reader’s studies in all areas. That being said, our list is slightly skewed. For instance, our church history section is heavy on American history, since—for better or worse—our constituency is overwhelmingly American. Also, this list is in progress. We will add items, remove others, and move things around as new books are published and we receive feedback.

Several of these suggestions come from the Westminster Theological Seminary recommended reading list, which we encourage you to review. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church have made these available online in a variety of formats. But above all, and we cannot stress this highly enough, prayerfully read your Bible regularly in such a manner that you work through all of Scripture—preferably at least once each year. Theological study is worthless—even detrimental—apart from a life spent in prayer and reading God’s Word.



CBS Pittsburgh - JCPenney’s To Eliminate Check-Out Clerks | The biggest complaint mentioned in the article is that people want to be waited on by people. And though I think this will be an issue at first, Wal-mart, Kroger, and others who offer self-check out services have shown that we will get over it pretty quick.



National Review Online - Romney’s $23 Million Cash-on-Hand Advantage | Following the news that Obama spent more ($58 million) in June than he took in ($46 million), the following is quit timely and dead on:

The Obama campaign spends money like… the Obama administration:


President Obama’s sharp turn to the offensive against GOP challenger Mitt Romney last month came at a steep cost: nearly $58 million.


That’s how much the president’s reelection campaign burned through in June as it pounded Romney’s business record and personal finances; its relentless television campaign alone cost $38 million, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.


The Hobbit Blog - Production Video 8, Last Days & Comic Con | Can't. Wait.





Biblemesh - How Should We Respond to Old Testament Polygamy |

In the middle of ongoing cultural convulsions over the definition of marriage, I have found one question increasingly on the minds of many people: “Didn’t God in the Old Testament allow for polygamy? If that is true, then how can you say that marriage is defined as being only between one man and one woman?”

The truth is that the story of polygamy in the Old Testament is, well, a problem. There is no purchase in hiding the truth. Although monogamy was clearly God’s intent from the beginning, the picture blurs pretty quickly after Adam and Eve’s first sin and expulsion from the Garden. Accommodations were made. . . . 


How does one respond to this situation? The answer begins by seeing that God always points his creation back to the primacy and perfection of the original design. Next, you have to read every book to the end, and especially if it is the biblical context. And if you read the stories about the characters referenced above, you’ll quickly find that polygamy was an unmitigated sociological disaster that created heartbreak and sowed familial discord. By the time of the writing of Malachi, God’s desire was clear: covenantal monogamy was to be the norm.

Further, through the ministry of Jesus, we see God “reset the clock” so to speak to the original goodness of monogamous marital union – pointing forward to a new society and a new way. He also enacted new provisions to protect women and raise their standing in society. Jesus showed a world that had distorted the meaning of marriage back to the beauty of “the man being joined to his wife, and two will become one flesh.”  The nouns Jesus used are singular here, folks.  He showed that there is a way to go back to our “origin story” in the Garden – where one husband is join to one wife – a relationship Saint Augustine once called, “the basic bond of society.”



Amazon yesterday




HT: Ed Stetzer