Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Worship Wednesday: "The Cross" by Kevin Max








From Lewis's Pen: He Loves Although He Sees

From A Grief Observed:
It is often thought that the dead see us. And we assume, whether reasonably or not, that if htey see us at all they see us more clearly than before. does H. now see exactly how much froth or tinsel there was in what she called, and I call, my love? So be it. Look your hardest, dear. I wouldn't hide if I could. We didn't idealize each other. We tried to keep no secrets. you knew most of the rotten places in me already. if you now see anything worse, I can take it. So can you. Rebuke, explain, mock, forgive. For this is one of the miracles of love; it gives - to both, but perhaps especially to the woman - a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.

To see, in some measure, like god. His love and His knowledge are not distinct from one another, nor from Him. We could almost say He sees because He loves, and therefore loves although He sees.




All Around the Web - October 29, 2014


The Federalists - California Orders Churches To Fund Abortions—Or Else

Washington Post - Christian rapper Jackie Hill-Perry comes out as ex-gay firebrand

The Gospel Coalition - 3 Reasons You Should Care About Election Day

On Faith - 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Reformed Theology

Ligonier - The State of Theology: New Findings on America’s Theological Health


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MacArthur at SBTS


E. Y. Mullins Lecture: Session 1 from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 3

Who isn't on the side of the poor? As I mentioned last week in my discussion of Chad Brand and Tom Pratt's book Seeking the City, the rhetoric of the progressive left is more akin to inaccurate name-calling. For progressives, being pro-free market or anti-statism and government intervention must make you anti-poor. This is simply not true.

In their book, the authors helpfully try to trace the genesis of the phrase "God is on the side of the poor" and determine that, to the best of their research, the origin lies with liberation theologian Ron Sider. The phrase has its problems at it "is clearly an ambiguous turn of phraseology," (742) but it is more than that. The authors suggest it "is marginally useful to some for generating vague concern (guilt?) on the part of sincere Christan people who take the Bible seriously and do not wish to be 'against' the poor and needy" (743).

They then offer the following which garnered a host of "Yes!" in my copy of their book:
In fact, except for the genetic engineers, planned-parenting abortion advocates, Darwinists, and various Hegelian fascist types at the close of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century who advocated (by selective breeding and passive euthanasia) eliminating the chronic bearers of the various syndromes that kept the poor in abject poverty, the mass murders of the Social/Communist twentieth century, the African dictators and thugs who pile up relief supplies in depots for sale to the highest bidder while hundreds of thousands starve to death, the bureaucratic types who soak up large percentages of the budget allocations in the United States reserved as transfer payments to the poor, it is hard to think of anyone not "on the side of the poor." Of course there are the environmentalists who stopped the use of DDT in the last century after the developed world had used it to effectively eliminate the scourge of malaria, the leading cause of 1.5 to 2.7 millions deaths per year. (744-745)
There is a lot here that a simple blog post cannot cover. The authors footnote many of the assertions above, but it does raise a real issue worth highlighting. No one is against poverty in one sense. However, it has historically been the political and cultural left that has sought the elimination of poverty by means of death. The authors specifically mention abortion clinics which are predominately in poor, minority neighborhoods, eugenicists who try to selectively breed only the wealthy and "fit" to live, and the countless Darwinists who apply the basic doctrines of natural selection to society. The record is clear. The secular and progressive left has literally damaged (and killed) the poor as an answer to poverty whereas more theologically robust Christians have sought more beneficial policies.*

With all of this said, the real debate today isn't regarding who wants to eliminate poverty, but how one can best go about eliminating it. The commands in the Bible to serve and help the poor are clear, but how do we "go about being obedient to its teaching?" (746) That is a debate worth having and an honest conversation about how to best eliminate poverty only when we put aside childish rhetoric all too common in the public square today.


* I discuss much of this paragraph in my book The Death of Death: Engaging the Culture of Death with the Gospel of Christ.


"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Preface

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 3
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 4
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 5

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 2  "Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 3


For more:
"Flourishing Faith" by Chad Brand: A Review
Brand on Coveting and Classwarfare
The Secular vs the Sacred: Brand on the Influence of Luther

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Should We Preach Harmonies?

After more than two hundred sermons, I have finally completed preaching through the entire Gospel of Matthew. Even then it feels as if there is still much to say. Nevertheless, each week during this process I turned to some of the same resources to aid my exegesis. John MacArthur is, without a doubt, at the top of that list. I utilized all of his sermons, four-volume commentaries, and numerous books.

Throughout the process, I noticed a trend in his preaching that is consistent throughout all of his sermons of the four Gospels. MacArthur has a tendency to harmonize the Gospels in his preaching and he is not the only preacher.

This tendency is most prevalent in his handling of the passion of Christ. Though there is a general flow of the Gospels, at times one Evangelist will include a detail that the others leave out. Matthew includes the strange account of bodies being raised from the dead, Luke includes Jesus condemning Israel while carrying his cross, and John is perhaps the most unique. The tendency was to pause his exegesis of one Evangelist in order to "fill in the gaps" provided by the others.

Here is my question? Should an expositor adopt this practice?

After having preached through entire Gospel I want to propose that though there might be times with "filling in the gaps" or harmonizing the Gospels might be necessary, the preacher should avoid this approach to preaching the Gospels.

My reasoning is simple. Expository preaching has as its primary objective to proclaim to the congregation the author/Spirit's original intent. Therefore, isolating one's interpretation and presentation of the text to the author allows the expositor to proclaim that message. Matthew is unique from the other Evangelists. Each bring to the table a unique perspective of the same story. By isolating each Evangelists, the preacher can better handle the text.

Perhaps a few examples will suffice. A certain points throughout Matthew's Gospel, the Evangelists interrupts the narrative with a short vignette. In chapter 26, for example, the conspiracy against Christ is interrupted with the story of a woman (unnamed in Matthew's account) pouring an expensive perfume on Jesus. The purpose ought to be obvious to the reader: Judas and the scribes are conspiring to Jesus' death while an unnamed, humbled woman is in worship preparing Jesus for his burial.

Similarly, in Matthew 27, the narrative of Jesus before Pilate is interrupted with the vignette of Judas' suicide (found only in Matthew's Gospel). It seems to me that Matthew's purpose is theological. By interrupting the flow of the narrative, Matthew is juxtaposing a number of things including two acts of repentance (Peter and Judas) and two deaths upon a tree (Jesus and Judas).

This unique style of storytelling is lost when we spend as much time harmonizing the Gospels as opposed to allowing Matthew be Matthew. The Gospels are deeply theological and it is important to allow the theology of each Gospel to speak. Though we might turn to the other Evangelists for help occasionally, we must not let them draun out the voice of the author before us. If an Evangelist leaves out a detail or adds a detail, let the interpreter make note because it is (not) there on purpose.

This is why I prefer to isolate a book and author and allow them to speak. Each biblical writer are competent theologians in their own right - a lesson I learned from exegeting Matthew.

So preacher, preach the text, not the harmonies.

All Around the Web - October 23, 2014

Albert Mohler - Sermons Are “Fair Game” in Houston — The Real Warning in the Subpoena Scandal

Doug Wilson - Houston, We Have a Problem

Russell Moore - Why Not Just Hand the Sermons Over?
 
Eric Metaxas -  Hand Over Your Sermon, Or Else 

Trevin Wax - The Mars Hill Postmortem


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Worship Wednesday: "It is You" by Newsboys





From Lewis's Pen: On Conversion

From Mere Christianity:

I think this is the right moment to consider a question which is often asked: If Christianity is true why are not all Christians obviously nicer than all non-Christians? What lies behind that question is partly something very reasonable and partly something that is not reasonable at all. The reasonable part is this. If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man's outward actions - if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before - then I think we must suspect that his `conversion' was largely imaginary and after one's original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in 'religion' mean nothing unless they make our actual behaviour better; just as in an illness `feeling better' is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up. In that sense the outer world is quite right to judge Christianity by its results. Christ told us to judge by results. A tree is known by its fruit; or, as we say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The wartime posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself. (207)



All Around the Web - October 22, 2014


Eric Metaxas - Running Toward the Plague

Thom Rainer - Eight Causes of Pastoral Ministry Slump

Timothy Paul Jones - Apologetics: Reza Aslan and “The Jesus of History”

Christianity Today - Exclusive: New figures reveal massive decline in religious affiliation

Prince on Preaching - How Should Pastors Deal with Politics in the Pulpit?


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 2

One major myth regarding the political economy I believe Christians should reject whole-heartedly is the well-intentioned myth that the state is a benevolent instrument of social justice. Typically this myth is promoted by more progressive thinkers. Men like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, and Brian McLaren come immediately to mind. But they certainly are not lone wolves.

All of us want to alleviate poverty. All of us want to contribute to a just health system. All of us want to live on a clean, healthy planet. To suggest that one's hesitancy in entrusting government with the responsibilities is somehow anti-poor, anti-environment, racism, sexist, etc. is nonsense.

The reason why the state is not an instrument of social justice authors Chad Brand and Tom Pratt write in their book Seeking the City:
The myth of the state as an instrument of social justice dies hard. The literature providing the massive failures of governmental economic maneuvering and the welfare state in the United States go back thirty to forty years. (718)
They then provide the following evidence (taken from pages 718-719, emphasis original):
  • Government "scandal is almost always found to be about currying favor with economic interests." 
  • The "government itself through its bureaucracies in the primary recipient of welfare dollars through taxation is undeniable."
  • Minimum wage doesn't actually help those it is intended to help and actually makes "them less employable at a higher wage."
  • Affordable housing "legislation leads to ghettoization in the short run followed by gentrification of blighted areas and skyrocketing land values.
  • Governmental "licensing procedures, such as that for taxicabs in New York City, create markets that cannot be entered by anyone but the wealthy."
The authors then state:
The fact that all this is widely known and documented, without resulting in changes of policy or advocacy of more workable and less oppressive actions, tends to make the case that another agenda is at work - an agenda motivated by lust for power and control over people's lives, and perhaps the long-standing disdain of intellectuals for businessmen in general. If the welfare sate is the answer, exactly what was the question? (719)
Exactly. But as the authors conclude, such myth-believing leads to another danger. They write:
A clear corollary to this statist preference is that personal and nongovernmental charity becomes superfluous in the minds of many and noxious to others. After all, "charity" is demeaning and implies lack of just desert on the part of the recipient. This means that the biblical idea of communal and individual care and charity must be subsumed into political activism. Righteous or "good" deeds now become political deeds. Hence Jim Wallis and others can argue that governmental budgets are moral documents in state capitals around the country and in Washington, DC. Given his premise, not a biblical one, it is not hard to see how he could come to such conclusion. We need a corrective. (720)
I appreciate what the authors state here and I agree with their basic conclusion. Although I disagree with Wallis on most things, I do believe that public policy, including governments, do reflect the morality and theological presuppositions of the community. It is for this reason, among many others, that I am deeply concerned with the overspending of the federal government. I do not think the authors would disagree with me here, but such clarity is needed.

The point is, however, that the marriage of social justice (a problematic term in of itself) and government is one made in hell. We should not question the intentions of such progressive thinkers (we all share them). However, the damage government regulation does over individuals and the community is indisputable.


"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Preface

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 3
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 4
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 5

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 2 


For more:
"Flourishing Faith" by Chad Brand: A Review
Brand on Coveting and Classwarfare
The Secular vs the Sacred: Brand on the Influence of Luther

All Around the Web - October 21, 2014

Hershael York - Four Reasons Why Some Preachers Get Better and Others Don’t

Inerrant Word - Did Early Christians Disagree Widely on Which Books Made it into the Canon? 

The Gospel Coalition - Advice to Young Pastors from David Powlison, Danny Akin, Tim Keller

Chuck Lawless - Seven Reasons Why Church Leaders Should Practice Fasting

Church Tech - 5 Essentials for an Effective Church Media Ministry


Monday, October 20, 2014

"Beowulf": A Review

Listen. We have learned the song of the glory of the great kings of the Danes, how those princes did what was daring.

Never while in grade or high school would I have ever desired more assigned English classical reading. Certainly after having to read a number of Shakespearean greats along with other literary classics, the last thing I wanted to do in high school was read an ancient poem from the Middle Ages. However, when it comes to Beowulf, such adolescent conventional wisdom would have been wrong.

After watching a History Channel special on the story and a similar documentary on works that influenced J. R. R. Tolkien I became interested enough to go to my local library and read the epic poem for myself. I chose William Alfred's translation of the tale included in the book Medieval Epics which, in addition to Beowulf, includes three other ancient tales none of which I read or are familiar with.

The challenge in reviewing a classic like this centers around my status as an amateur fan of the poem. In other words, I always kept a copy of SparkNotes next to me for help. Needless to say, if you are looking for rare insight into a classic that scholars have poured over, debated, and dedicated entire thesis', disertations, and academic articles to, you've turned to the wrong place. However, as a pastor and theologian, a number of things stuck out to me worth sharing on this blog.

First, the story. The plot centers around three epic battles that Beowulf, a Geat, fights. He is an outsider who has heard that a demon is murdering innocent civilians of Hrothgar's kingdom. He comes as a hero[1] seeking glory for the avenging the Skyldings. The first villain is Grendel, a demon the anonymous author describes as a creature beyond salvation (14). No physical description of Grendel is ever given and the reader is left to their own imagination as to what he looks like.[2] Nonetheless, Grendel is a demonic being who merciless murders anyone and everyone (but the king) at the mead-hall where there is celebration. Singing and glad tidings seem to conjure up the vile beast, that devil to mankind (15).

Beowulf's first battle is with Grendel and he wins by severing the beasts arm. The victory over that hateful stalker (15) leads to more celebration until Grendel's mother, a descendent of Cain (she is not given a name), avenges her son's death. She too is vile, demonic, and merciless. Beowulf is absent during her rampage against the Skyldings, but seeks her out later for vengeance. The hero, as before, wins over the she-wolf (46).

The reader is left to assume that now that both mother and son are dead, the narrative is completed. Yet the story quickly skips fifty years and now Beowulf is king who is faced with one last challenge - a challenge that will lead to his death. This last battle is against a dragon who mortally wounds the hero before being killed himself.

The poem ends with the burial of the fallen king/hero. And that is the tale. But as a Christian, why it matters goes deeper than the mere plot.

The story is clearly written by a Christian - perhaps even a monk. There are countless allusions to  "God" and the "Lord God." Yet this is not a Christian tale. The story is actually pagan and the narrator at times makes that clear. Consider for example a few lines before the epic battle against Grendel:
From time to time at heathen sanctuaries, they came right out and promised blood-sacrifices, put into words the prayer that the Demon-Slayer should be of help to them int he face of this disaster striking at the whole people. Such was their religion, such was hope among the heathens. (15)
On the very next page, we are more clearly told that the Skyldings had no knowledge of the Lord God. (16) Many scholars, in my brief research, have highlighted this tension. As Britain was Christianized (if you will), many of the pagan stories of old were modified and it seems that the story of Beowulf went through the same revision.

So though it would be farce to suggest that Beowulf is Christian, there are certain themes in the story that medieval, and even modern, Christians can (and should) resonate with. Beowful, in essence, is portrayed not just as a hero who has won many battles, but as a slayer of demons and dragons. He is alien (Geatish) who comes to save a foreign people from the demons Grendel and his mother and eventually a hellish dragon. And he does so alone.

Near the end of the poem, the narrator tells us simply, yet profoundly from the Christian perspective, that after the death of the dragon that Now the serpent lies dead (74). That is the hope of the Christian story and the reference to Grendel's mother and Cain is by no means an accident. Beowulf is a fantasy that reflects the battle of the seeds narrative of Scripture from Genesis 3:15 to the end of Revelation. As a Christian pastor and theologian, this is why I love this tale so much. Though Beowulf is a flawed character who suffers death (an enemy he cannot defeat), his story is similar to that of Christ who comes as more than a hero, a Savior who conquers demons (see Mark 5:1-20) and the dragon - the serpent of old (Isaiah 27:1; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2).

The poem, then, is not just great literature, it reminds us Christians why we live by hope. Our hope is not that a hero might come and protect us from one of many enemies, but that in the end, God Himself will conquer the enemies of death, depravity, and the dragon himself. That process began at the incarnation of Christ and will be finished at the parousia.

Come Lord Jesus quickly!


[1] In the movie, Hrothgar actually says that what they need is a hero.
[2] The connections between Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien's tales from Middle Earth are many. I will highlight only a few. First, Tolkien has written one of the most important scholarly articles on Beowulf called Beowful: The Monster & the Critics. Furthermore, the phrase "the lord of the rings" appears on page 65 of the book cited above. The Hobbit is a story about a dragon, just like Beowulf. Finally, some have suggested that Tolkien's schizophrenic character Gollum was inspired by Grendel. More could be added, but these stick out to me.
[2] We have clear evidence of this. In 797 AD, theologian Alcuin wrote a letter to Bishop Higbald of Lindisfarne questioning the interests among monks with pagan, heroic legends. He asked simply, What has Ingeld to do with Christ? Ingeld, interesting enough, is mentioned by name in Beowulf.


For more:
Clash of the Gods: Tolkien's Monsters Documentary
"The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review 
"The Two Towers" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Return of the King" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
An Encouraging Thought: Gandalf on Providence 
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Dramatized Audio
"Beyond The Movie": A National Geographic Documentary on the Lord of the Rings

All Around the Web - October 20, 2014


Russell Moore - Houston, We Have a Constitution

Denny Burk - Did the Roman Catholic Church just change its position on divorce and gay marriage?

The Gospel Coalition - Rethinking Jephthah’s Foolish Vow

Fox DC - Marriage rates hit new, all-time low

The Blaze - Scientists Captured & Examined 133 Rats in New York. What They Found Is ‘Shocking & Surprising.’


Friday, October 17, 2014

Spurgeon: Church of God! Awake!

From his Fast day sermon (#154-155):

And now, “Hear you the rod.” O Church of God, the rod has fallen and the Church ought to hear it! I am afraid that it is the Church that has been the greatest sinner! Do I mean by “the Church” that established by Law? No, I mean the Christian Church as a body! We, I believe, have been remiss in our duty. For many and many a year pulpits never condescended to men of low estate. Our ministers were great and haughty. They understood the polish of rhetoric, they had all the grandeur of logic. To the people they were blind guides and dumb dogs—for the people knew not what they said—neither did they regard them! The churches themselves slumbered. They wrapped themselves in a shroud of orthodoxy and they slept right on. And while Satan was devouring the world and taking his prey, the Church sat still and said, “Who is my neighbor?” and did not awaken herself to serve her God. I hope that we have already seen the beginning of a revival. The last year has seen more preaching than any year since the days of the Apostles! We are stirring in ragged schools and in various efforts for doing good. But still the Church is only half awake. I fear she still slumbers. O Church of God! Awake! Awake! Awake, for verily the rod has fallen for your sake. “Hear you the rod and Him that has appointed it.” We have had many rods, Friends. We have had many great afflictions and we did bear them for a time. 

Brand on Coveting and Classwarfare

In his book, Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship, Dr. Chad Brand shows how the tenth commandment, do not covet, relates to our nation's current obsession, led by the President, his administration, and those in his party, with class warfare.
A third implication of the two commandments cited above is that not only must we not take from others forcefully, but we must also avoid the temptation of wishing we might have what they own. Efforts at enforced redistribution, whether by personal or legalized theft, often arise from either the desire of one group to have more, or from the desire of another group to see to it that the poor have more. This latter approach has become quite common in modern times, as Socialists and Social Democrats have lobbied for more and more legislation to take higher tax revenues from the wealthier persons in society and to redistribute that wealth to the "less fortunate."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt constitutes a classic example of this redistributive philosophy. Campaigning for president in 1932, he gave a speech on "The Forgotten Man," a phrase that owed its origin to William Graham Sumner of Yale, who had asserted that in politics and taxation where redistribution of wealth was part of the goal, the "forgotten man," was the taxpayer whose income is taken and then given to others who are in some need. FDR, however, inverted the original story . . . claiming that the "forgotten man" was the man in the soup line in the Great Depression, which was raging then at the time of the presidential campaign. The phrase "grew legs," as they say, and the "forgotten man" of FDR's speech became a campaign slogan that helped him defeat Herbert Hoover in the election. Sumner, we are convinced, had it right and FDR got it wrong. The real forgotten man is the man who has to foot the bill when some person or group of persons, A, sees another person or group, B, in need and calls for redistribution of wealth. It is actually then another person, C, whose income is redistributed to make that happen. We can covet others' goods for our own gain, or we can covet to have a sense of satisfaction that someone else is getting "justice" by giving what he has to others, but it is coveting nonetheless.

Further, it needs to be noted that in politics, this "coveting on behalf of someone else" is rarely done on humanitarian grounds. There are of course philanthropic agencies that do have a passion to help the poor, but by the time it gets to the political realm, even though it is presented in humanitarian terms, it is often (usually) a vehicle for one group to exercise political power. (74-75)
Think of this as you watch the news for the next four years. When the President, "takes his message to the American people" he will do so by turning to class, moral, and racial warfare. That is, in fact, how he won reelection. Instead of presenting his vision for a second term, the President made promises to various groups - the poor, homosexuals, women, etc. - and demonized the rich, the conservative, and those with traditional values.




"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Preface

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 3
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 4
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 5

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 1


For more:
"Flourishing Faith" by Chad Brand: A Review
Brand on Coveting and Classwarfare
The Secular vs the Sacred: Brand on the Influence of Luther

All Around the Web - October 17, 2014

Wall Street Journal - How Churches Are Slowly Becoming Less Segregated

Russell Moore - What Should Evangelicals Make of the Rome Synod on the Family?

Liberate -  Paul Tripp on Fear and Faith

Albert Mohler -  Why Expository Preaching Matters

The New York Times - The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spurgeon: The Word of God is Not Fiction

I love this gem from Charles Spurgeon from his sermon taken from Titus 1:2:

We might thus go through everything which concerns God, from prophesy to promises, and threats, and onwards and multiply observations, but we choose to close this point by observing that every word of instruction from God is most certainly true. It is astounding how much sensation is caused in the Christian Church by the outbreak, every now and then, of fresh phases of infidelity. I do not think that these alarms are at all warranted. It is what we must expect to the very end of this dispensation. If all carnal minds believed the Bible, I think the spiritual might almost begin to doubt it, but as there are always some who will attack it, I shall feel none the less confident in it. Really, the Book of God has stood so many attacks from such different quarters, that to be at all alarmed about it shows a very childish fear. When a rock has been standing all our lifetime, and has been known to stand firmly throughout all the ages of history, none but foolish people will think that the next wave will sweep it away. . . . 

But look at belief in Scripture, and at Scripture itself. The Bible is better understood, more prized, and I believe, on the whole, more practiced than ever it was since the day when its Author sent it abroad into the world. It course is still onward; and after all which has been done against it, no visible effect has been produced upon the granite wall of Scrip- tural Truth by all the pickaxes and boring rods which have been broken upon it! Walking through our Museums nowa- days, we smile at those who think that Scripture is not true. Every block of stone from Nineveh, every relic which has been brought from the Holy Land, speaks with a tongue which must be heard even by the deaf adder of Secularism and which says, “Yes, the Bible is true, and the Word of God is no fiction.” Beloved, we may rest assured that we have not a Word in the Book of God which is untrue! There may be an interpolation or two of man’s which ought to be revised and taken away, but the Book, as it comes from God, is Truth, and nothing but Truth—not only containing God’s Word, but being God’s Word—being not like a lump of gold inside a mass of quartz, but all gold, and nothing but gold! And being Inspired to the highest degree—I will not say verbally inspired, but more than that—having a fullness more than that which the letter can convey, having in it a profundity of meaning such as words never had when used by any other being, God having the power to speak a multitude of Truths at once. And when He means to teach us one thing accord- ing to our capability of receiving it, He often teaches us 20 other things which, for the time, we do not comprehend but which, by-and-by, as our senses are exercised, reveal themselves by the Holy Spirit. Every time I open my Bible I will read it as the Word of “God, who cannot lie,” and when I get a promise or a threat, I will either rejoice or tremble because I know that these stand fast.

Spurgeon On Immutability

From his sermon on Titus 1:2

When we are told in Scripture that God cannot lie, there is usually associated with the idea, the thought of Immuta- bility. As for instance—“He is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent.” The word “lie,” here includes beyond its ordinary meaning the thought of change, so that when we read that God cannot lie, we under- stand by it not only that He cannot say what is untrue, but that having said something which is true, He never changes from it, and does not by any possibility alter His purpose or retract His Word. This is very consolatory to the Christian, that whatever God has said in the Divine Purpose is never changed. The Decrees of God were not written upon sand, but upon the eternal brass of His unchangeable Nature. We may truly say of the sealed Book of the Decrees, “Has He said, and shall He not do it? Has He purposed, and shall it not come to pass?” We read in Scripture of several instances where God apparently changed, but I think the observation of the old Puritan explains all these; he says, “God may will a change, but He cannot change His will.” Those changes of operation which we sometimes read of in Scripture did not involve any change in the Divine Purpose! God, for instance, sent to warn Hezekiah that according to the common course of nature he must die, and yet afterwards 15 years were added to his life—God’s Purpose having been all along that Hezekiah should live till the end of the 15 years; but still His purpose equally included that Hezekiah should be brought so near to the gates of death, that in the ordinary course of nature he must die; and then that the miracle would come in was still part of the God’s Purpose, that Hezekiah might be cured in a supernatural manner, and be made to live nearer to his God in consequence. God wills a change, but He never changes His will! And when the Last Great Day shall come, you and I shall see how everything happened according to that hidden roll wherein God had written with His own wise finger every thought which man should think, every word which he should utter, and every deed which he should do. Just as it was in the Book of Decree, so shall it transpire in the roll of human history.

God never changes, then, as to His purpose, and here is our comfort. If He has determined to save us, and we know He has, for all who believe in Him are His Elect, then we shall be saved. Heaven shall never by any possibility be defeated by Hell. Hell and earth may combine together to destroy a soul which rests upon Christ, but while God’s Decree stands fast and firm, that chosen soul is safe! And since that Decree never can be removed, let us take confidence and rejoice. No promise has ever been altered, and no threat, either. Still is His promise sure. “I have not said unto the seed of Jacob, seek you My face in vain.” No new decrees have been passed repealing the past; we can never say of God’s Book, as we can of old law books, that such-and-such an act is obsolete. There is no obsolete Statute in God’s Book! There stand promises,  as fresh, as new, as vigorous, and as forceful today as when they first dropped from the mouth of God. The Words, then, “God, who cannot lie,” include the very gracious and precious Doctrine that He cannot by any possibility change.

Pray and Let God Worry: The Context

One of the most popular quotes from Martin Luther is "pray and let God worry." Like all quotes allegedly from Luther online, I am always curious as to whether he wrote it and, if so, what is the context. Recently while reading Eric W. Gritsch's book The Wit of Martin Luther my curiosity was satisfied.He sites the source as Letter of February 10, 1546, WABr 7, 307:11-14 (129, footnote 50).
I thank you very kindly for your great worry which robs you of sleep. Since the date that you [started to] worry about me, the fire in my quarters, right outside the door of my room, tried to devour me; and yesterday, no doubt because of the strength of your worries, a stone almost fell on my head and nearly squashed me as in a mouse trap. For in our secret chamber [the toilet], mortar has been falling down for about two days; we called in some people who [merely] touched the stone with two fingers and it fell down. The stone was as big as a long pillow and as wide as a large hand; it intended to repay you for your holy worries, had the dear angels not protected [me]. [Now] I worry that if you do not stop worrying the earth will finally swallow us up and all the elements will chase us. Is this the way you learned the Catechism and the faith? Pray, and let God worry. You have certainly not been commanded to worry about me or about yourself. "Case your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you." (64)

For more:
"The Wit of Martin Luther" by Eric Gritsch: A Review
Luther: Beat the Gospel into their Heads Continually
Martin Luther on how John 1:1 Contradicts Modalism & Arianism
"Theology of the Reformers" by Timothy George: A Review
Martin Luther: The Reluctant Revolutionary
Luther on the Estate of Marriage
Martin Luther on the Secular/Sacred Dichotomy
"I fly Unto Christ": Luther on Imputation For When the Devil Accuses
We Preach Christ: Martin Luther, the Apostle Paul, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ "The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther" by Steven Lawson: A Review
Luther on the Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration
Luther on the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 6 
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
The 95 Theses, 490 Years Later
For Reformation Day:  An Insightful Documentary  
The Theology of the Reformers  
The Unquenchable Flame  
Christianity's Dangerous Idea 
"Five Leading Reformers"   

All Around the Web - October 16, 2014

Credo House - Who or What Were the Nephilim?

Thom Rainer - Seven Things I’ve Learned from Joyous Pastors’ Wives

John Stonestreet - Excuse Me, My Baby Is the Wrong Color

Zondervan Academic - Did Jesus Hang on a Pole? (Gal 3:3) — Mondays with Mounce 237

Rob Bell - What is the Bible? Part 72: The Question That Keeps Coming Up


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Worship Wednesday: "Who Am I?" by Casting Crowns







From Lewis's Pen: On Loving Your Neighbor

From Mere Christianity:
The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

All Around the Web - October 15, 2014

Eric Metaxas - Supreme Inaction on Gay Marriage

Church tech - Four Things Churches Must Get Right with Digital Presence – Part 2

Thom Rainer -  The Top Ten Attitudes of Healthy, Long-term Pastors

Tim Challies - 7 Things Your Church Needs From You







Church Times - Welcome to the 100 best Christian books website


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spurgeon Against Hyper-Calvinism

One common retort against Calvinism is that doctrines like predestination & absolute sovereignty precludes human responsibility, evangelism, missions, & calling on sinners to repent. The great Charles H. Spurgeon disagreed. When such accusations are leveled against Calvinism, it is clear the accuser is confusing Calvinism with Hyper- Calvinism - a doctrinal system that should be whole-heartily rejected. 

In his majestic biography & study of Spurgeon, Dr. Tom Nettles writes the following:

"If a person viewed total depravity in a way that diminished the true guilt and human responsibility for sin, his system opposed the Bibile. If one constructed divine sovereignty in election in such a way as to render inoperable the appointed use of means and the legitimacy of calling on sinners to repent of sin, the Bible opposed him. If one viewed effectual calling as closing the mouth of the preacher in calling on sinners to trust in Christ with the promise that, if they would, he would receive them and save them, his doctrine sidestepped biblical practice. If one viewed God's persevering quest for holiness on the part of the believer was presumptuous and mere legality, his system was a corpse. If one taught the doctrine of indwelling sin and consequently insisted that mortification of sin was futile and unnecessary for sanctification, he must be sure to correct the apostles in heaven. Spurgeon's Calvinism affirmed the first in each case and did not deny the second." -Nettles, "Living By Revealed Truth," 205

The ongoing debate between Calvinism and Arminianism is too often a conversation about Hyper-Calvinism. Reformed doctrine holds simultaneously God's unquestioned sovereignty & human responsibility. Therefore, like Spurgeon, the Reformed pastor ought, should, and does call on sinners to repent just like their Arminianism brothers. 

We can disagree. But let us not charge one another with doctrines we reject. 

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 1

One of the helpful things about the book Seeking the City by Chad Brand and Tom Pratt is it prophetically speaks to and confronts humans as we are and not as we are often portrayed. For example, the current political class in general and the executive branch in particular have promoted the story of class warfare. Embedded in that story is the ethical assumption that the rich gained their wealth on the backs of the poor. Therefore, the rich 1% are wicked while the victimized poor are righteous.

This is a false narrative. Scripture teaches a different story. It suggests that righteousness and unrighteousness are not a matter of wallet size, but an unredeemed heart. Therefore, a rich man or woman can be wicked (and many are), but it is equally true that a rich man or woman can be righteous (and many are). Likewise, a poor man or woman can be righteous (and many are), but it is equally true that a poor man or woman can be wicked (and many are).

The authors illustrate this point in their discussion of the collapse of Enron - a story I will not retell here. They then add:
What is fully Christian response to this story? Of course, ti begins with the obvious - "You shall not steal, bear false witness against your neighbor, etc." means don't manipulate the market to your gain and another's loss. Be particularly careful not to take advantage of a situation where you are able to exert overwhelming power at the expense of an "innocent" person. This bare minimum is incorporated in SEC regulations and has become the cause for widespread prosecutions, convictions, and punishments. (699)
They then add:
But is this all a Christian has to say to this peculiarly modern morality tale? We think not - and this will illustrate our methodology. Christians should be contemplating ethical issues well beyond the mere fact that the "rich and powerful" sometimes manipulate and do harm to the "poor and weak" because of greed, lust, covetousness, and sheer murderous intent. What about the "ordinary investor" type in this situation? Is there no ethical question for him in selling a stock he has reason to believe will keep going down? All along the way of Enron's decline, "ordinary investors" directly selling shares and indirectly selling them through mutual funds saved losses for themselves by passing them along to their buyers. At the end, the woeful 401(k) investors who were unable to sell lamented that they had not been allowed to do the same as those above them - thus showing their own envy and covetousness. Were these "poor and weak" only less guilty of sin because of the absence of means to do as others did?

Surely the Ten Commandments encompass the full range of human depravity that sometimes only awaits a moment of opportunity. Accordingly, Jesus in his "fulfilling" ethic of the Law warns that "lust in the heart" and inappropriate "anger" toward another as well as the language of disrespect for persons (see in Matt. 5:22 rhaka, "fool," a term that impugns a person's moral capacity) are offenses that, without the work of grace, will exclude one from the kingdom and bring on damnation. A fully biblical Christian ethics says that all persons - poor and rich, weak and mighty, young and old, male and female, brother ans alien - stand before the bar of God's just demands in need of equal amounts of grace. (699-700)
I completely agree. By placing the blame of human sin on the human heart and not on outward manifestations of it, in this case riches and wealth, we can better understand the world around us. The depravity of the individual heart explains why class warfare is a popular means of gaining votes every election cycle. Robin Hood is a popular "hero" in spite of his violation of the commandment to not steal.

At root of class warfare is envy. The poor do not loathe riches, they loath the rich. They have no problem with having money, they are instead jealous that they do not possess it. And because this is a heart issue, no articulate politician will be able to resolve this issue. Only King Jesus can.


"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Preface

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 3
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 4
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 5

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Historical Theology 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Practical Theology 1


For more:
"Flourishing Faith" by Chad Brand: A Review
Brand on Coveting and Classwarfare
The Secular vs the Sacred: Brand on the Influence of Luther

All Around the Web - October 14, 2014

Russell Moore - Joan or John


John Stonestreet - The Jealous God of Tolerance


Liberate - Paul Tripp on Who You Really Are


The Gospel Coalition - Will Christians Be Secretly Raptured?


Ben Witherington - The Rapture 'Uncaged'


The Blaze - This Woman Says She Will Willingly Die on November 1

Monday, October 13, 2014

"James Petigru Boyce: Selected Writings" by Timothy George: A Review

I just finished the book, "James Petigru Boyce: Selected Writings," by Timothy George, and I highly recommend it. For those who like to study great men of God who were great preachers and leaders, you will enjoy this.

First, George offers some biographical information about Boyce. Boyce is most known for being the founder and first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 2009 will mark the 150 anniversary of his life work! George's biography on this great man is an excellent synopsis and summary of his life. In it, George covers many of the important events and people in Boyce's life.

I have done some studying of James P. Boyce before, and George is does an excellent job at summarizing the great life of Boyce.

The second part of the book is Boyce's faculty address he gave in 1856 called "Three Changes in Theological Institutions." This is a great read, and it sums up Boyce's vision for Southern Seminary. And it was on these 3 things that Southern was found on.

One of changes he suggests in this address is the need for a confession of faith. When Boyce began the Seminary, he wrote out such a document called "The Abstract of Principles." It is essentially an orthodox document that summarizes orthodoxy with Calvinism. Boyce was a Calvinist, and therefore includes things such as election, and so forth.

This document is still in use today at Southern. Every professor that teaches at Southern, Boyce argued, was to sign and agree to the things written in the Abstract of Principles. Why? For fear that liberalism and heresy would be taught to those preparing to become minsters of the gospel.

This confession of faith is important. I believe that it is one of the reasons that Southern was able to become conservative again. Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., the current President at Southern, led the charge on making Southern a conservative institution, the way Boyce would want it. One of the things Dr. Mohler had to do was simply hire professors that agreed to this profession of faith. Those who disagreed with it, were not to be hired.

Why? Because the faith must remain pure. And because of Boyce's vision, the school is as he would want it to be today!

The last part of the book is a selection of sermons he preached. My favorite would probably be the Christmas children's sermon. Though short, I loved how he handled the text, applied the text, and how he encouraged the children and the congregation with clear Biblical truth.

The way Boyce preached was quit different than the way it is done now. It is obvious that times have changed. But in every sermon, even those who are living 150 years after the fact, can still understand and apply what Boyce had to say. It is a great reminder that though cultures and times may change, Scripture and it's many truths will not!

Boyce has been criticized for his Calvinism, something he was never ashamed of. And since that is the case, I would like to close with the conclusion of one of his sermons entitled, "Christ Receiving and Eating With Sinners":
Do you believe in Jesus, my hearers? Has He spoken here the truth concerning Himself? Is it, can it be, true that Jesus thus yearns over each one here? That He thus earnestly desires the salvation of each soul?

Too long have you lingered int he ways of sin and folly. too long have you stood and trembled and doubted what might be His feelings toward you.

Hearken today to the message of His yearning love by which he would win you.

It tells you of sinners waited for, longed for with deep desire.

It tells you of the yearnings of your Jehovah Savior who cannot afford to lose you. It tells you of His earnest seeking, by which He would take you wounded and sore and unable to return and bear you back upon His shoulders to the fold.

Can you resist these pleadings? Can you reject such love? Can you disappoint such earnest longings and desires?

Will you to welcome to your heart your blessed Lord, your glorious Savior, who thus seeks you that he may regain His wandering sheep, His lost treasure, His prodigal child, that He may once more number you among His own.

Suffer this day the word of exhortation. Would that I could utter such words as would make you hesitate no longer.

Where shall I find them? Isaiah 55:1, "Ho, every one that thristeth, come ye to the waters, and he that hat no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

All Around the Web - October 13, 2014

The Week - Why do so many liberals despise Christianity?


John Stonestreet - Seeking a Good Death


Doug Wilson - To Join the Orgy Porgy


Thom Rainer - Nine Trends in Pastor and Church Staff Compensation


CBS Cleveland - Christian Company Ordered To Take Diversity Classes After Refusal To Print Gay Pride Shirts


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let's Thank God for Laughter

From "The Sabbath Recorder" found at The Gospel Coalition:
“Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, the celebrated Brooklyn divine, was visiting the famous London preacher, Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon.  After a hard day of work and serious discussion, these two mighty men of God went out into the country together for a holiday.  They roamed the fields in high spirits like boys let loose from school, chatting and laughing and free from care.  Dr. Cuyler had just told a story at which Mr. Spurgeon laughed uproariously.  Then suddenly he turned to Dr. Cuyler and exclaimed, ‘Theodore, let’s kneel down and thank God for laughter!’  And there, on the green carpet of grass, under the trees, two of the world’s greatest men knelt and thanked the dear Lord for the bright and joyous gift of laughter.”
The Sabbath Recorder, 4 January 1915, page 157.

Spurgeon on Prayer

From his sermon, "Peter's Shortest Prayer":

The habit of daily prayer must be maintained. It is well to have regular hours for devotion, and to resort to the same place for prayer as far as possible; still, the spirit of prayer is better even than the habit of prayer. It is better to be able to pray at all times than to make it a rule to pray at certain times and seasons. A Christian is more fully grown in grace when he prays about everything, than he would be if he only prayed under certain conditions and circumstances. I always feel there is something wrong if I go without prayer for even half an hour in the day. I do not understand how a Christian can go from morning to evening without prayer. I cannot comprehend how he lives, and how he fights the battle of life without asking for the guardian care of God while the arrows of temptation are flying so thickly around him. I cannot imagine how he can decide what to do in times of perplexity, how he can see his own imperfections or the faults of others, without feeling constrained to say, all day long, “O Lord, guide me; O Lord, forgive me; O Lord, bless my friend!” I cannot think how he can be continually receiving mercies from the Lord without responding, “God be thanked for this new token of His grace! Blessed be the Name of the Lord for what He is doing in me through His abounding mercy!” Do not be content, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, unless you can pray everywhere and at all times, and so obey the apostolic injunction, “Pray without ceasing.”

Spurgeon on Prayer

From his sermon, "Peter's Shortest Prayer":

The habit of daily prayer must be maintained. It is well to have regular hours for devotion, and to resort to the same place for prayer as far as possible; still, the spirit of prayer is better even than the habit of prayer. It is better to be able to pray at all times than to make it a rule to pray at certain times and seasons. A Christian is more fully grown in grace when he prays about everything, than he would be if he only prayed under certain conditions and circumstances. I always feel there is something wrong if I go without prayer for even half an hour in the day. I do not understand how a Christian can go from morning to evening without prayer. I cannot comprehend how he lives, and how he fights the battle of life without asking for the guardian care of God while the arrows of temptation are flying so thickly around him. I cannot imagine how he can decide what to do in times of perplexity, how he can see his own imperfections or the faults of others, without feeling constrained to say, all day long, “O Lord, guide me; O Lord, forgive me; O Lord, bless my friend!” I cannot think how he can be continually receiving mercies from the Lord without responding, “God be thanked for this new token of His grace! Blessed be the Name of the Lord for what He is doing in me through His abounding mercy!” Do not be content, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, unless you can pray everywhere and at all times, and so obey the apostolic injunction, “Pray without ceasing.”

"Immanuel": A Hymn by Charles H. Spurgeon

When once I mourned a load of sin;
When conscience felt a wound within;
When all my works were thrown away;
When on my knees I knelt to pray,
Then, blissful hour, remembered well,
I learned Thy love, Immanuel.

When storms of sorrow toss my soul;
When waves of care around me roll;
When comforts sink, when joys shall flee;
When hopeless griefs shall gape for me,
One word the tempest's rage shall quell--
That word, Thy name, Immanuel.

When for the truth I suffer shame;
When foes pour scandal on my name;
When cruel taunts and jeers abound;
When "Bulls of Bashan" gird me round,
Secure within Thy tower I'll dwell--
That tower, Thy grace, Immanuel.


When hell enraged lifts up her roar;
When Satan stops my path before;
When fiends rejoice and wait my end;
When legioned hosts their arrows send,
Fear not, my soul, but hurl at hell
Thy battle-cry, Immanuel.


When down the hill of life I go;
When o'er my feet death's waters flow;
When in the deep'ning flood I sink;
When friends stand weeping on the brink,
I'll mingle with my last farewell
Thy lovely name, Immanuel.


When tears are banished from mine eye;
When fairer worlds than these are nigh;
When heaven shall fill my ravished sight;
When I shall bathe in sweet delight,
One joy all joys shall far excel,
To see Thy face, Immanuel.

"Immanuel": A Hymn by Charles H. Spurgeon

When once I mourned a load of sin;
When conscience felt a wound within;
When all my works were thrown away;
When on my knees I knelt to pray,
Then, blissful hour, remembered well,
I learned Thy love, Immanuel.

When storms of sorrow toss my soul;
When waves of care around me roll;
When comforts sink, when joys shall flee;
When hopeless griefs shall gape for me,
One word the tempest's rage shall quell--
That word, Thy name, Immanuel.

When for the truth I suffer shame;
When foes pour scandal on my name;
When cruel taunts and jeers abound;
When "Bulls of Bashan" gird me round,
Secure within Thy tower I'll dwell--
That tower, Thy grace, Immanuel.


When hell enraged lifts up her roar;
When Satan stops my path before;
When fiends rejoice and wait my end;
When legioned hosts their arrows send,
Fear not, my soul, but hurl at hell
Thy battle-cry, Immanuel.


When down the hill of life I go;
When o'er my feet death's waters flow;
When in the deep'ning flood I sink;
When friends stand weeping on the brink,
I'll mingle with my last farewell
Thy lovely name, Immanuel.


When tears are banished from mine eye;
When fairer worlds than these are nigh;
When heaven shall fill my ravished sight;
When I shall bathe in sweet delight,
One joy all joys shall far excel,
To see Thy face, Immanuel.