Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Proclamation: Rachel, Dry Your Tears

Modern Reformation has a wonderful article by Philip Graham Ryken entitled "Christmas Proclamation: Rachel, Dry Your Tears."

May we all look forward to the time when there will be no more tears for the elect.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Dr. Mohler on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer

Dr. Mohler was interviewed on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer this week. You can access links to listen to the interview and read transcripts of the interview at Dr. Mohler's Blog. I will comment on it over the weekend. From Dr. Mohler's comments this interview was handled much better than the Nightly News Interview.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

That's Not Kosher

Way back in 1986 my best friend and new roommate asked me what kosher meant. I, not being educated in the Old Testament dietary rules, gave him the slang definition for kosher. I told him it meant it's cool, it's okay, or something like that. He immediately stated emphatically that it meant fit for Jews to eat. My reply to that was, "Sure! I knew that, but it also is slang for it's cool. Why did you ask me if you already knew what it meant.?" It was a frustrating conversation at the time, but it did demonstrate a truth.

If one fast forwards to about 2001 one will find me interested in theology and now several years later kosher has taken on a new meaning to me. One of the first books I read was Biblical Doctrines, which is Volume 2 of the Works of Benjamin B. Warfield. Chapter 10 is the chapter I wish to focus on. It is entitled "Redeemer and Redemption."

In it he discusses what the outcome would have been if instead of redeemer Christian emotion would have supported "ransom" and its derivatives rather than "redeem" and its derivatives.

"After all is said, the New Testament does not set forth the saving work of Christ as a redemption, but as a ransoming; and does not present Him to us therefore so much as our Redeemer as our Ransomer; and it is a pity that we have been diverted by the channels through which we have historically received our religious phraseology from the adoption and use in our familiar speech of the more exact terminology."

He discusses that by the adoption of the less exact term redeem we risk, "dissipating in our thought all that is distinctive in our Lord's saving action." He states, "The word (ransom) is essentially a modal word; it emphasizes the means by which the effect it intimates is accomplished, and does not exhaust itself merely in declaring the effect. The same, of course, may be said in principle of "redeem." But this word has suffered far more from attrition of meaning than "ransom," and indeed had already lost the power inevitably to suggest purchase before it was adopted into specifically Christian use."

He states further, "Men who have ceased to think of the work of Christ in terms of purchasing, and to whom the whole conception of His giving His life for us as a ransom, or of His pouring out His blood as a price paid for our sins, has become abhorrent, feel little difficulty, therefore in still speaking of Him as our Redeemer, and of His work as a Redemption, and of the Christianity which He founded as a Redemptive Religion."

So upon his writing this work he is speaking of a belief in Christ that does not involve a ransoming. He states, "Such an evacuation of these great words, the vehicles thus far of the fundamental Christian confession, of their whole content as such, is now actually going on about us."

He discusses how it is transpiring at a faster rate in Germany. He writes that in Germany the primary idea attached to the term is of a deliverance of some sort not implying a ransoming.

He states, "You see, that what we are doing today as we look out upon our current religious modes of speech, is assisting at the death bed of a word ... How many worthy words have already died under our very eyes, because we did not take care of them?"

"Tennyson calls our attention to one of them. "The grand old name of gentleman," he sings, "defamed by every charlatan, and soil'd with all ignoble use." If you persist in calling people who are not gentlemen by the name gentleman, you do not make them gentlemen by so calling them, but you end by making the word gentlemen mean that kind of people. The religious terrain is full of graves of good words which have died from lack of care."

"There is that good word "Evangelical." It is certainly moribund, if not already dead."

Warfield sums up the chapter with the following statement:

"I think you will agree with me that it is a sad thing to see words like these die like this. And I hope you will determine that, God helping you, you will not let them die thus, if any care on your part can preserve them in life and vigor. But the dying of the words is not the saddest thing which we see here. The saddest thing is the dying out of the hearts of men of the things for which the words stand. As ministers of Christ it will be your function to keep the things alive. If you can do that, the words whcih express the thing will take care of themselves. Either they will abide in vigor; or other good words and true will press in to take the place left vacant by them. The real thing for you to settle in your minds, therefore, is whether Christ is truly a Redeemer to you, and whether you find an actual Redemption in Him, or are you ready to deny the Master that bought you, and to count His blood an unholy thing? Do you realize that Christ is your Ransomer and has actually shed His blood for you as your ransom? Do you realize that your salvation has been bought, bought at a tremendous price, at the price of nothing less precious than blood, and that the blood of Christ, the Holy One of God? Or, go a step further: do you realize that this Christ who has thus shed His blood for you is Himself your God?"

May I always be cognizant of the fact that Christ who shed His blood for me as a ransom is Himself my God.

May I seek to express this to others with utmost care to protect the essentials of the Gospel.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

M'Cheyne's One Year Bible Reading Chart

The New Year is upon us and it is time for individuals to start planning their Bible reading.

One of the most popular one year Bible reading programs was done by M'Cheyne. A printable chart of this program is located here.

One of the best resources is the two volume set 'For the Love of God' by D.A. Carson.  These books follow the M'Cheyne plan and provide commentary to the readings.

I posted a little more about this plan in my post Bible Before Blogdom.

Between Two Worlds has two good related links For the Love of God and the M'Cheyne Daily Bible Reading Calendar.

Also check out Bible Intake 2008 from Gazing at Glory.

Crossway the publishers of the ESV Bible have 8 Bible reading plans. The ESV Blog relates that you can read each plan on the web, through RSS, by email, or print out the reading schedule and tuck it in your Bible.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christ is Born! Rejoice!

Names of Jesus Christ courtesy of A Puritans Mind.

Adam, the Last (1 Cor. 15:45)

Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1)

All & in All (Col. 3:11)

Almighty (Rev. 1:8)

Altogether Lovely One (Song of Sol. 5:16)

Amen (Rev. 3:14)

Anchor (Heb. 6:19)

Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:9-11 with Rev. 1:13-16)

Angel [of the Lord] (Gen. 16:9-14; Gen. 48:16)

Anointed, His (Ps. 2:2). See also Messiah.

Apostle (Heb. 3:1)

Arm of the Lord (Isa. 53:1)

Alpha & Omega (Rev. 1:8; 21:6)

Author (Heb. 12:2)

Balm of Gilead (Jer. 8:22)

Beginning (Col. 1:18)

Begotten (One and Only – John 3:16)

Beloved (Eph. 1:6)

Bishop of your souls (1 Pet. 2:25)

Blessed and only Potentate (1 Tim. 6:15)

Branch (Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Rev. 11:1)

Bread (John 6:32-33; 6:35)

Bridegroom (Mt. 9:15; Jn. 3:29; Rev. 21:9)

Bright & Morning Star, see Star.

Brightness of His (God's) glory (Heb. 1:3)

Captain of their salvation (Heb. 2:12; Josh. 5:4)

Carpenter['s son] (Mt. 13:55; Mk. 6:3)

Chief[est among ten thousand] Song of Sol. 5:10)

Child, [the young] (Isa. 9:6; Mt. 2:8-21)

Chosen of God (Lk. 23:35)

Christ (Mt. 1:17; Mk. 8:29; Jn. 1:41; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:23)

Comforter (Isa. 61:2; Jn. 14:16)

Commander (Isa. 55:4)

Consolation of Israel (Lk. 2:25)

Corn of Wheat (Jn. 12:24)

Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20; see also Isa. 28:16)

Counsellor (Isa. 9:6; Isa. 40:13)

Covert (Isa. 32:2)

Creator of all things (Col. 1:16)

Daysman (Job 9:33)

Dayspring from on high (Lk. 1:78)

Day Star (2 Pet. 1:19). See also Bright & Morning Star.

Deliverer (Rom. 11:26)

Desire of all nations (Hag. 2:7)

Door [of the sheepfold] (Jn. 10:7, 9)

Emmanuel (Mt. 1:23; see also Isa. 7:14; 8:8)

End, see Beginning & the End. End of the Law (Rom 10:4)

Express image of His (God's) person (Heb. 1:3)

Faithful Witness (Rev. 1:5; 3:14; 19:11)

Faithful & True (Rev. 19:11)

Father of Eternity (Isa. 9:6)

Fellow of God (Zech. 13:7)

First & the Last (Rev. 1:17)

First begotten of the dead (Rev. 1:5)

Firstborn Firstfruits [of them that slept] (1 Cor. 15:20, 23)

Foundation (Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:11)

Fountain (Jer. 2:13; Zech. 13:1)

Forerunner (Heb. 6:20)

Friend of sinners (Mt. 11:19; Lk. 7:34)

Fulness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9)

Gift of God (Jn. 4:10; 2 Cor. 9:15)

Glory of God (Isa. 60:1)

God (Jn. 1:1; Mt. 1:23; Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:8)

Good Master (Mt. 19:16)

Governor (Mt. 2:6)

Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)

Guide (Ps. 48:14)

Head (even Christ) (Eph. 4:15)

Heir of all things (Heb. 1:2)

Helper (Heb. 13:6)

Hiding Place (Isa. 32:2)

High Priest (Heb. 3:1; 7:1)

Holy Child (Acts 4:30)

Holy One [& the Just] (Acts 2:27; 3:14)

Hope of Israel (Jer. 17:3)

Horn of salvation (Ps. 18:2; Lk. 1:69)

I AM (Jn. 8:24, 58)

Image of [the invisible] God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15)

Intercessor (Heb. 7:25)

Jehovah (Isa. 26:4; 40:3)

Jesus (Mt. 1:21)

Judge (Micah 5:1; Acts 10:42)

Just One (Acts 7:52)

King (Zech. 14:16)

Kinsman (Ruth 2:14)

Lamb [of God] (Jn. 1:29, 36; 1 Pet 1:19; Rev. 5:6, 12; 7:17)

Last, see First. (Rev. 22:13)

Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22)

Life (1 Jn. 1:2)

Light (Jn. 12:35)

Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)

Lord [& Saviour] (1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Pet. 1:11), see also Master.

Man (Jn. 19:5; Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5). See also Son of Man.

Master (Mt. 8:19)

Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5)

Merciful High Priest (Heb. 2:17)

Mercy Seat (Rom. 3:24-25)

Messiah (Dan. 9:25; Jn. 1:41; 4:25)

Mighty God (Isa. 9:6; 63:1)

Minister of the Sanctuary (Heb. 8:2)

Nazarene (Mk. 1:24)

Nobleman (Lk. 19:12)

Offering (Eph. 5:2; Heb. 10:10)

Offspring of David (Rev. 22:16). See also Root.

Ointment poured forth (Song of Sol. 1:3)

Omega. See Alpha & Omega.

One and Only Son, see Son. (John 3:16)

Passover (1 Cor. 5:7)

Peace, our (Eph. 2:14)

Physician (Mt. 9:12; Lk. 4:23)

Plant of Renown (Ezek. 34:29)

Potentate, Blessed and only, see Blessed Prince [& a Saviour] (Acts 3:15; 5:31)

Prophet (Acts 3:22-23)

Propitiation (1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10)

Power of God (1 Cor. 1:24)

Priest (Heb. 4:14)

Quickening (life-giving) Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45)

Rabbi (Jn. 3:2; Mt. 26:25; Jn. 20:16)

Ransom (1 Tim. 2:6)

Redeemer, Redemption (Isa. 59:20; 60:16; 1 Cor. 1:30)

Refuge (Isa. 25:4)

Resurrection & the Life (Jn. 11:25)

Righteousness (Jer. 23:6; 33:16; 1 Cor. 1:30)

Rock [of offence] (Deut. 32:15; 1 Cor. 10:4; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8)

Rod (Isa. 11:1)

Root (Rev. 22:16)

Rose of Sharon (Song of Sol. 2:1)

Sacrifice (Eph. 5:2)

Same, the (Heb. 1:12)

Sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30)

Saviour [of the world] (Lk. 1:47; 2:11; 1 Jn. 4:14)

Second Man, see Man.

Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16, 19)

Seed Servant (Isa. 42:1; 49:5-7; Mt. 12:18)

Shadow of a great Rock (Isa. 32:2)

Shepherd ( 1 Peter 5:4)

Shiloh (Gen. 49:10)

Son (Isa. 9:6; 1 Jn. 4:14)

Sower (Mt. 13:37)

Star (Num. 24:17)

Stone (Psalm 118:22)

Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2)

Surety (Heb. 7:22)

Teacher (Mt. 26:18; Jn. 3:2; 11:28). See also Master.

Tender Plant (Isa. 53:2)

Testator (Heb. 9:15-17)

True Bread, see Bread.

Truth (Jn. 14:6)

Vine (Jn. 15:1, 5)

Way (Jn. 14:6)

Wisdom [of God] (1 Cor. 1:24, 30)

Wonderful (Isa. 9:6)

Word (Jn. 1:1)

May the Christ be all these to you in the new year.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Those Daring Young Somnambulists and Their Flying Machines

Are you a Somnambulist?
Are you living in a state of spiritual sleep?
Are you deluded into thinking you are saved, but sadly only fooling yourself?

That is the question Spurgeon asks his listener in his sermon: "A Christmas Question". The text can be found at The Spurgeon Archive and the audio was made available by Sermon Audio.

A few quotes from the sermon:

"Or to vary the picture; sometimes when persons are asleep, they take to walking and they will climb where others will not think of venturing. Giddy heights that would turn our brain seem safe enough to them. So there be many spiritual sleep-walkers in our midst, who think that they are awake. But they are not. Their very presumption in venturing to the high places of self-confidence, proves that they are somnambulists; not awake, but men who walk and talk in their sleep. It is, then, I say, really a matter of serious questioning with all men who would be right at last, as to whether this child is born to us, and this Son given to us?"

"I have seen the men about whose eternal destiny I had serious questioning, whose inconsistencies in life were palpable and glaring, who have prated concerning their sure portion in Israel, and their infallible hope, as though they believed others to be as easily duped as themselves."

May the sermon test and strengthen my faith.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Image Bearer?

Rick Beckman has a wonderful post on his blog discussing man as the image-bearer of God and how that should influence Christian behavior towards all men, especially at Christmas. You are doing yourself an injustice if you do not read his post. His post should influence the way you view others as well as yourself.

May I treat others with the dignity they deserve as image-bearers of God.

May I reach out in love to share the Gospel to those individuals that I would not normally speak to because of their outward image.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day Three of the Said at Southern Bible Reading Challenge

The Carpenters' song comes to mind. We've only just begun. It is day three for me in the Said at Southern Bible Reading Challenge. While I have only just begun I am beginning to hit my stride. Again I am thankful to Mr. Kummer for proffering the challenge. I encourage anyone that has not yet begun the challenge to start today. The beauty of the challenge is not only will I have read through the Bible by the end of January, but I will have disciplined myself to set aside daily time for Bible reading. What a wonderful habit to get into.

63 Old Testament Pages / 18 New Testament Pages

May at the end of the day I be able to say:

2 Timothy 4:7 (English Standard Version)

7(A) I have fought the good fight,(B) I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

M'Cheyne's One Year Bible Reading Plan Resources


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Desiring God's Advice on Reading Blogs / Better Blog Reading

I found this article by Abraham Piper , Better Blog Reading, on the Desiring God Blog and thought that it dovetailed nicely with the recent conversation regarding reading the Bible, Blogs, and other Books. In the article he lists some good suggestions on how to manage one's blog reading.

Read the Bible first.
It is important to read what God is saying in the morning before reading what bloggers or news reporters have to say.

Don't read trash.
A first step toward using the internet wisely is to cut out any material that is sin. Some of this will be obvious—like porn. Others will be less objective and we need to judge for ourselves whether a particular website helps us in our walk with Christ or not.

Read books too.
One goal of mine is to try to keep the DG Blog valuable for you as a reader--and most other bloggers would say the same thing about their blogs--but every blogger worth taking seriously would tell you that if you had to choose between the internet and books, you should choose books. We will miss out on too much of what is true and beautiful if our reading time is monopolized by the computer. Most of us don't have to choose between the two. Since we use both, we should make sure that we maintain a balance, so that reading blogs does not cause us to marginalize books.

Use RSS.
Perhaps you are hesitant to use a feedreader because you'd have to learn how, and that feels like it would require too much of a commitment to blogs. In fact, if you do not use one, you are probably spending more time reading blogs than if you did.

Feel free to add and delete subscriptions often.
I regularly remind myself that subscriptions to blogs are not commitments. They can be added and deleted as often or as rarely as I want. This means I often add blogs to my feedreader—it only needs to have one good post to convince me to see if it is regularly good. Similarly, if a blog is not helpful often enough to make scanning it worthwhile, I delete it without a second thought. I have found that this easy-come-easy-go mentality to blog subscription ensures that I find what is helpful for me and don't waste my time with what isn't.

Scan an article first, then read it more thoroughly if it seems worthwhile.
Even in the short list of blogs I have come to trust, I don't have time to carefully read all the content. I have found it helpful to scan an article before I commit to it. I rely on titles, headers, introductions, conclusions, and topic sentences to inform me whether it would be valuable for me to read the whole thing. Thankfully, good articles generally convey quite a bit of content when I scan them, so even if I don't have time to read them fully, they are still valuable.

Be quick to listen, slow to comment.
The comments section beneath a blog post is meant to further the discussion that the post began. If commenters keep this goal in mind, comments can be very helpful. I try to do my part by asking myself whether I am making a contribution to the discussion with my comment. I don't mean anything fancy--just something that is encouraging, clarifying, or maybe just pleasant. Often I discover that my goal is not to contribute but to correct, or worse, criticize. In these cases, I delete the comment and stay out of the fray.

Another good rule is, if you wouldn't say it to someone in person, don't say it on a blog either. Of course, this isn't a perfect rule, since some of us are mean in person too. Maybe better would just be: Be kind and be positive.

Thanks for the sage advice Mr. Piper.

Jonathan Edwards' Resolution #5:

Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

May my free moments be spent glorifying the Triune God.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Gazing at Glory: Bible Intake in 2008

Gazing at Glory: Bible Intake in 2008 is a wonderful set of Bible reading resources that Doug Smith has posted to help Christians with their Bible study in the upcoming year. I invite you to take advantage of this wonderful list he has graciously compiled for us and to visit his blog, Gazing at Glory.


Richard Baxter's: Advice On Reading

"Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy scriptures ever have the pre-eminence, and, next to them, those solid, lively, heavenly treatises which best expound and apply the scriptures, and next, credible histories, especially of the Church . . . but take heed of false teachers who would corrupt your understandings."

Richard Baxter gave sound advice to Christian readers. You can read his article Advice on Reading at the Fire and Ice website. His advice not only applies to reading, but to any other aspect of a Christian's free-time. We must always keep in mind where our treasure is when we choose how to spend our time. I especially like his guide to the value of a book:

Baxter's Guide To The Value Of A Book

While reading ask oneself:

1. Could I spend this time no better?

2. Are there better books that would edify me more?

3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?

4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?

May Baxter's words edify us and encourage us to spend our free-time wisely.


Bible Reading Challenge Schedule

Here is my schedule for completing the Said at Southern Seminary Bible Reading Challenge. I will keep you posted daily on my progress along with my thoughts regarding the readings. My posting is more of an exercise to help motivate myself to finish the Challenge, but maybe it will assist someone. I will be using a Bible Reading Chart furnished by Tony Kummer at Said at Southern Seminary. It is a useful chart. Without further discussion here is my chart:

New Testament: 18 Hours, 1080 minutes, ESV 279 Pages
Old Testament: 57 Hours, 3420 minutes, ESV 968 Pages

The plan calls for an individual to begin reading January 1 and finish by January 31, but I am beginning today. By beginning today, 12-17-07, that gives me 46 days to complete the Challenge. Through simple math I can determine my daily reading amount:

New Testament: 24 minutes, 6 pages
Old Testament: 75 minutes, 21 pages

Total daily reading 27 pages with an estimated elapsed time of 1 hour and 40 minutes.

I will keep you posted.

May this challenge encourage me to complete my reading of the Bible by January 31, 2008.

For a good one year bible reading plan and related resources refer to this post.


Said at Southern Bible Reading Challenge

I will begin tomorrow morning posting daily on my progess taking the Said at Southern Seminary Bible Reading Challenge. I will post the pages I read the night before each morning and offer a devotional comment for both my Old Testament and New Testament readings. This is an awesome opportunity for each of you to take part in this Challenge. Anyone taking this challenge will benefit greatly. I am going to report into the originating site each day. I like the accontability involved. I am thankful to Tony Kummer for initiating this challenge.

May this challenge cause more Christians to read their Bibles daily.

If you are not up for such a rigorous challenge you may want to do a one year plan.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

What a Great Idea: Using a Pew Bible as Your Primary Study Bible

Richard at the Puritan Board forum writes about using a pew Bible as his primary Bible. His post makes a lot of sense and has made me decide to purchase one for myself. I think if you read his post you will probably be persuaded to purchase one as well.


Via: ESV Blog

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bible Reading Plan: Southern Seminary Style

The Bible Reading Plan: Southern Seminary Style is a challenge to all Christians to read through the entire Bible during the month of January. The author suggests, however, if you start now it will make it easier to finish the Bible by the end of January. Are you Game? What are you waiting for? I am going to begin tonight. There is a link at the top of the Said at Southern Seminary blog to the Bible Reading Challenge so others can discuss their progress. Here are some Scripture verses that I hope will motivate you.

Acts 17:10-11

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Romans 15:4

4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

1 Timothy 4:12-13

12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching

2 Timothy 3:16

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

Are you up to the challenge. You have little to lose and a lot to gain.

May we embrace this endeavor and may it edify us.


Via: ESV Blog

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do It For Posterity - An Excerpt From The Reformed Pastor

The Far Country
The Reformed Pastor
, one of Richard Baxter's more famous works, has had a great influence on my Christian life. I highly recommend it to all Christians.

J.I. Packer describes how the book came about in the introduction to a Study Guide which can be found at The Banner of Truth:

"To upgrade the practice of personal catechizing from a preliminary discipline for children to a permanent ingredient in pastoral care for all ages was Baxter's main contribution to the development of Puritan ideals for the ministry; and it was his concern for catechizing that brought The Reformed Pastor to birth."

Baxter was concerned about private instruction and catechizing and he wrote the book as an address to the ministers of Worcester County who were gathered for a "Day of Humiliation" on December 4, 1655. Baxter originally meant to deliver the work as and address to the gathered ministers, but due to illness he sent a copy of the material with friends to be read aloud. Thus The Reformed Pastor was born.

One short excerpt from the book struck me as especially poignant for Christians today. The excerpt is found in Chapter 3, Section 2, Article 1: Motives From the Benefits of the Work. Work being the duty of personally catechizing and instructing the members of the church.

"10. It will exceedingly facilitate the ministerial work in succeeding generations. Custom, as I said before, is the thing that sways much with the multitude; and they who first break a destructive custom, must bear the brunt of their indignation. Now, somebody must do this. If we do it not, it will lie upon our successors; and how can we expect that they will be more hardy, and resolute, and faithful than we? It is we that have seen the heavy judgments of the Lord, and heard him pleading by fire and sword with the land. It is we that have been ourselves in the furnace, and should be the most refined. It is we that are most deeply obliged by oaths and covenants, by wonderful deliverances, experiences, and mercies of all sorts. And if we yet flinch and turn our backs, and prove false-hearted, why should we expect better from them, that have not been driven by such scourges as we, nor drawn by such cords? But, if they do prove better than we, the same odium and opposition must befall them which we avoid, and that with some increase, because of our neglect; for the people will tell them that we, their predecessors did no such things. But if we would now break the ice for them that follow us, their souls will bless us, and our names will be dear to them, and they will feel the happy fruits of our labor every day of their ministry; when the people shall willingly submit to their private instructions and examinations, yea, and to discipline too, because we have acquainted them with it, and removed the prejudice, and broken the evil custom which our predecessors had been the cause of. Thus we may do much to the saving of many thousand souls, in all ages to come, as well as in the present age in which we live."

We, as Christians, need to decide what we should do. Should we allow historic Christianity to erode due to expediency? Will we wilt due to criticism we face when defending basic Christian doctrine? If we do cower down to criticism from within and from without the church how much worse are we making it for the next generation of Christians? If the next generation of Christians prove to be more up to the task than we how much better will it be if we have already broken the ice for them? The next generation will feel the joyous fruits of our labor when people willingly listen to sound doctrine, because we have acquainted them with it.

“Thus we may do much to the saving of many souls, in all ages to come, as well as in the present age in which we live.”

I say we should accept the challenge and redouble our efforts to discern and disseminate Biblical Truth to the ends of the earth.

May God bless our efforts.


Monday, December 10, 2007

I Heart the ESV Blog

This may seem like a shameless I scratch your back you scratch mine moment. To bring you up to speed the ESV Blog recently commented on my feature "Bible Before Blogdom." Needless to say they have a few more readers than I do. Their commenting on my blog garnered a large amount of visitors. So I really need to let them know how appreciative I am. I heart you ESV Blog and I am thankful to you for noticing me, however, my love for the ESV Blog goes further than that. I love the blog because it focuses on the Bible. It is a veritable clearinghouse for Bible and Bible related topics.


Bible Reading - Learning from Children

The ESV Bible Blog recently posted "8 Ways to Get More out of Your Bible" from the Blazing Center Blog. "The 8 Ways to Get More out of Your Bible" post was originally mentioned by Tim Challies. It reminded me of a posting by Dr. Mohler in November entitled "And For Older Children...Respect Their Desire to Read and to Learn." I have always thought that Christian adults could learn a lot from Christian children. I think if we modify Dr. Mohler's suggestions for maximizing the reading experience for school age children we will find the suggestions helpful to us.

"1. Read at a specific time set as part of the ritual of the child's life."

We as adults need to set aside time for our Bible Study and make it a habit.

"2. Read in a clear voice and avoid both excessive drama and a lifeless reading. A listless and lazy reader will lose the child's attention, but an excessively dramatic reader will make the child grow accustomed to drama -- often at the expense of thoughtful content and retention. You want the child to be fully drawn into the story, but you also want the child to be thinking about the story and its meaning."

We as adults need to be attentive to what we are reading in the Bible.

"3. When reading a Bible story, help the child to find the actual text of the account in the pages of the Bible."

We as adults need to read the Bible itself -- not just Commentaries, Devotionals, etc., and to know that the Bible is God's perfect and sufficient Word.

"4. Place the story in its context within God's plan and within the Bible. Help children to understand how every word of the Bible is fulfilled in Christ and finds its meaning within God's plan to redeem His people from sin."

We as adults need to keep our daily Bible reading in context with the overarching themes of the Bible.

"5. Recognize that many of the stories of the Bible teach a clear moral lesson -- a lesson that children clearly need to learn and take to heart. At the same time, recognize that these accounts are never merely morality tales. Point your child to the big picture."

We as adults need to note the clear moral lessons, but at the same time, we need to recognize the big picture.

"6. Never read down to your children, treating them as dull. Instead, give them a substantial story, lay out the narrative, and then trust that they will want to learn and to push themselves toward understanding. Then, be the human agent of that understanding by explaining the story with patience, creativity, and insight based in the fact that you know both the story and the child or children hearing it."

We as adults should never sell ourselves short. If we do not understand a passage we should avail ourselves of available resources for clarification.

"7. Be as honest as the Bible in revealing the strengths and weaknesses of God's people. Children need to know that God loves us in spite of who we are as sinners, not because of our supposed worth. Children need to learn moral honesty and to know that all (even you, dear parents) are sinners."

We as adults need to be honest with ourselves and admit our sins, but also know that we all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We need to know that in spite of our sins God loves us and has made allowance for us through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus on the cross.

"8. Ask your children questions about the story to measure understanding, and make sure to see if they have any questions. Ask questions the next morning, during the day, on the playground, in the car, and when the child is in the bathtub. Encourage conversation about the Bible and Bible stories."

We as adults need to spend time reflecting on what we have read in the Bible.

"9. Ask older children to help with the reading and to grow accustomed both to reading for themselves and to reading aloud. There is much too little reading of the Bible aloud to the congregation in many churches. Let the recovery of reading aloud the Word of God begin in your home."

We as adults need to read the Bible aloud at home so that we are comfortable reading it in church settings

"10. Finally, teach them to pray the Scriptures, talking about the story just read and its biblical text as you pray. Pray that God will apply His Word to their hearts, thank God for His Word and for His love, remind them of Christ and His promises, and entrust them to God for the night and for eternity."

We as adults need to pray before, during, and after our Bible study that God will apply His Word to our hearts. We need to thank God for His Word and His love and entrust ourselves to God for the night and for eternity.

"No moment invested in teaching your child the Bible and reading Bible stories is ever wasted time. If your reading of a story is interrupted by circumstances (or by a child who has lost the fight against sleep), just pick it up the next time and move on. Enjoy every moment while your children are at this precious and promising stage of life."

We as adults should realize that every moment we spend reading the Bible and Biblical materials is well spent. If we backslide and fail to study the Bible one day or several we should not let it deter our study, but we should immediately pick up where we left off.

Thanks for helping a 39 year old child Dr. Mohler.

May I lead the way for my family through my example of daily Bible Study and may I spend time in Bible Study daily with my family.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sharing the Gospel

I believe in the priesthood of believers and the "Great Commission":

Matthew 28:19-20 (English Standard Version)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

I feel, however, inadequate in presenting the Gospel to others. I understand the grave repercussions of misrepresenting the Gospel, but I also know that it is my duty as a Christian to share the Gospel. I will spend the rest of my life in the study of God and His Word and I will seek to share what I learn with anyone who will listen. I do feel inadequate at times, but I will share the Gospel in my inadequacies. I take solace in the conversation at the burning bush. God has told Moses that he will return to Egypt and lead God's people out of exile, but Moses needs reassurance.

Exodus 4:10-12 (English Standard Version)

10But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue." 11Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak."

May the LORD be with my mouth and teach me the words I shall speak.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Thank You ESV Blog

I would like to thank the folks at the ESV Blog for mentioning me. I would also like to thank Doug Smith at Gazing at Glory for giving me the idea for "Bible Before Blogdom." I hope that the outcome that he and I hoped to achieve, bloggers reading their Bibles more, will come to fruition.


Merry Christmas Unbeliever from your friends at Reformation Theology


The Burned Over District

I read a little of a lot of books and blogs. I am going to attempt to draw some of the common threads together from several sources in order to make a point or more likely let more learned men make their points. Lets see if my feeble mind can. I will add my comments in italics. We will begin our journey with an excerpt from J.P. Moreland's

book,"Love Your God With All Your Mind."

pp. 22-23
The Loss of the Christian Mind in American Christianity:
Historical Overview:
1. The Emergence of Anti-intellectualism

"While generalizations can be misleading, it is safe to say that from the arrival of the Pilgrims to the middle of the nineteenth century, American believers prized the intellectual life for its contribution to the Christian journey. The Puritans were highly educated people (the literacy rate for men in early Massachusetts and Connecticut was between 89 and and 95 percent) who founded colleges, taught their children to read and write before the age of six, and studied, art, science, philosophy and other fields as a way of loving God with the mind. Scholars like Jonathan Edwards were activists who sought to be scholarly and well informed in a variety of disciplines. The minsiter was an intellectual, as well as a spiritual authority in the community. As Puritan Cotton Mather proclaimed, "Ignorance is the Mother not of Devotion but of HERESY.""

Phil Johnsonof the Pyromaniacs has a recent article, A Certain Uncertainty, which discusses how the emergent types pile endless disclaimers and qualifications on to every profession of belief. They do this it is assumed because of their desire to share the gospel, however, by not really standing up for any of the individual Truths of God they neuter the Gospel. They are afraid to defend any truths that may offend their audience. The result of their lack of desire to defend the truth is that ignorance pervades and HERESY invades. The very people they claim to want to reach are thrown into a pit of confusion. Let's get back to Moreland's book.

"In the middle 1800s, however, things began to dramatically change, though the seeds for the change had already been planted in the popularized, rhetorically powerful, and emotionally directed preaching of George Whitfield in the First Great Awakening in the United States from the 1730s to 1750s. During the middle 1800s, three awakenings broke out in the United States: the Second Great Awakening (1800-1820), the revivals of Charles Finney (1824-1837), and the Layman's Prayer Revival (1856-1858). Much good came from these movements. But their overall effect was to overemphasize immediate personal conversion to Christ instead of a studied period of reflection and conviction; emotional, simple, popular preaching instead of intellectually careful and doctrinally precise sermons; and personal feelings and relationship to Christ instead of a deep grasp nature of Christian teaching and ideas. Sadly, as historian George Marsden noter, "anti-intellectualism was a feature of American revivalism.""

Sounds a lot like the emergents. They would run from doctrially precise sermons. Back to J.P.

"Obviously there is nothing wrong with the emphasis of these movements on personal conversion. What was a problem, however, was the intellectually shallow, theologically illiterate form of Christianity that came to be part of the populist Christian religion that emerged. One tragic result of this was what happened in the so-called Burned Over District in the state of New York. Thousands of people were "converted" to Christ by revivalist preaching, but they had no real intellectual grasp of Christian teaching. As a result, two of the three major American cults began in the Burned Over District among the unstable, untaught "converts": Mormonsim (1830) and Jehovah's Witnesses (1884). Christian Science arose in 1866 but was not connected with this area."

I agree, there is nothing wrong with the emphasis on personal conversion. The problem is after the initial emotionally charged decision the "converts" were not educated in Christian doctrine. They did not know what it meant to be a Christian. As a result they fell prey to multiple aberrant teachings. I know what you emergent types are saying, "J.P. Moreland and this R.C. cat are way too overconfident in their proclamations of truth. They need to qualify their statements. If they do not they are going to destroy all we are doing to try to reach the masses." I say to you, emergent types, your failure to plainly speak the truth is doing a great injustice to the conveyance of the Gospel to the World. When the truth is not proclaimed and Christian doctrine plainly taught the audience is led into despair.

Jonathan Edwards knew how the Devil works. Jonathan Edwards knew how the Devil overcomes every great revival: "It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ." It would do us all good to read the preface to Jonathan Edwards "Religious Affections"

Here is and excerpt from the preface to Religious Affections:

It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ. It is plainly by this means, principally, that he has prevailed against all revivals of religion, since the first founding of the christian church. By this he hurt the cause of Christianity, in and after the apostolic age, much more than by all the persecutions of both Jews and heathens. The apostles, in all their epistles, show themselves much more concerned at the former mischief, than the latter. By this, Satan prevailed against the reformation, begun by Luther, Zuinglius, &c. to put a stop to its progress, and bring it into disgrace, ten times more than by all the bloody and cruel persecutions of the church of Rome. By this, principally, has he prevailed against revivals of religion in our nation. By this he prevailed against New England, to quench the love and spoil the joy of her espousals, about a hundred years ago. And, I think, I have had opportunity enough to see plainly, that by this the devil has prevailed against the late great revival of religion in New England, so happy and promising in its beginning. Here, most evidently, has been the main advantage Satan has had against us; by this he has foiled us. It is by this means that the daughter of Zion in this land now lies on the ground, in such piteous circumstances, with her garments rent, her face disfigured, her nakedness exposed, her limbs broken, and weltering in the blood of her own wounds, and in no wise able to arise; and this, so quickly after her late great joys and hopes: Lam. i. 17. “Zion spreadeth forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her: the Lord hath commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries shall be round about him: Jerusalem is as a menstruous woman among them.” I have seen the devil prevail the same way, against two great revivals of religion in this country.—Satan goes on with mankind as he began with them. He prevailed against our first parents, cast them out of paradise, and suddenly brought all their happiness and glory to an end, by appearing to be a friend to their happy state, and pretending to advance it to higher degrees. So the same cunning serpent that beguiled Eve through his subtilty, by perverting us from the simplicity that is in Christ, hath suddenly prevailed to deprive us of that fair prospect we had, a little while ago, of a kind of paradisiacal state of the church of God in New England.

After religion has revived in the church of God, and enemies appear, people that are engaged to defend its cause are commonly most exposed, where they are least sensible of danger. While they are wholly intent upon the opposition that appears openly before them, in order to make head against that, and while they neglect carefully to look around, the devil comes behind them, and gives a fatal stab unseen; and he has opportunity to give a more home stroke, and to wound the deeper, because he strikes at his leisure, being obstructed by no resistance or guard.

And so it is likely ever to be in the church, whenever religion revives remarkably, till we have learned well to distinguish between true and false religion, between saving affections and experiences, and those manifold fair shows, and glistering appearances, by which they are counterfeited; the consequences of which, when they are not distinguished, are often inexpressibly dreadful. By this means, the devil gratifies himself, that multitudes should offer to God, under the notion of acceptable service, what is indeed above all things abominable to him. By this means, he deceives great multitudes about the state of their souls; making them think they are something, when they are nothing; and so eternally undoes them: and not only so, but establishes many in a strong confidence of their eminent holiness, who, in God’s sight, are some of the vilest hypocrites. By this means, he many ways damps religion in the hearts of the saints, obscures and deforms it by corrupt mixtures, causes their religious affections wofully to degenerate, and sometimes, for a considerable time, to be like the manna that bred worms and stank; and dreadfully insnares and confounds the minds of others, brings them into great difficulties and temptations, and entangles them in a wilderness, out of which they can by no means extricate themselves. By this means, Satan mightily encourages the hearts of open enemies, strengthens their hands, fills them with weapons, and makes strong their fortresses; when at the same time, religion and the church of God lie exposed to them, as a city without walls. By this means, he brings it to pass, that men work wickedness under a notion of doing God service, and so sin without restraint, yea with earnest forwardness and zeal, and with all their might. By this means, he brings in even the friends of religion, insensibly, to do the work of enemies, by destroying religion in a far more effectual manner than open enemies can do, under a notion of advancing it. By this means, the devil scatters the flock of Christ, and sets them one against another with great heat of spirit, under a notion of zeal for God; and religion, by degrees, degenerates into vain jangling. During the strife, Satan leads both parties far out of the right way, driving each to great extremes, one on the right hand, and the other on the left, according as he finds they are most inclined, or most easily moved and swayed, till the right path in the middle is almost wholly neglected. In the midst of this confusion, the devil has great opportunity to advance his own interest, to make it strong in ways innumerable, to get the government of all into his own hands, and to work his own will. And by what is seen of the terrible consequences of this counterfeit, when not distinguished from true religion, God’s people in general have their minds unsettled in religion, and know not where to set their foot, or what to think, and many are brought into doubts, whether there be any thing at all in religion; and heresy, infidelity, and atheism greatly prevail.

Therefore, it greatly concerns us to use our utmost endeavours, clearly to discern, and have it well settled and established, wherein true religion does consist. Till this be done, it may be expected that great revivals of religion will be but of short continuance; till this be done, there is but little good to be expected of all our warm debates, in conversation and from the press, not knowing clearly and distinctly what we ought to contend for.

Till this be done. Until the church can discern wherein true religion does consist revivals will be short lived. We, as Christians, should endeavor with all haste to determine true religion.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Who's on First?

Reminds me of a certain candidate who would not mind if he was mistaken for a Christian.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Relativism Bonus Feature / Koukl Video


I read this book several years ago Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-air. The book is written by Francis J. Beckwith and Greg Koukl and it discusses Relativism on what I would term a lay level. Anyone could benefit from reading this book, which by the way is a fast read, and I highly recommend it. You should also visit Stand to Reason a site that is Mr. Koukl's web prescence. Tim Challies selected The Stand to Reason Blog as his blog's King for a Week on 11-25-07.

I am sure there are other reviews of the book but you can start with these:

The Discerning Reader

World Reformed Fellowship

Again this is a wonderful resource.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Meet Kevin Bauder

Kevin Bauderis the President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota a suburb of Minneapolis. The two Baptist gentlemen I appreciate the most are Dr. Bauder and Dr. Mohler. I am sure there are others, so please direct me to them. I am Presbyterian, but I am foremost Reformed. I did not mean to insinuate that there were a couple of Baptist that I surprisingly liked.

You can receive a newsletter, via e-mail, from him entitled In the Nick of Time. I enjoy it.

I get tired of plugging Scott Aniol's blog, Religious Affections, but he has a wonderful post with a link to an address by Kevin Bauder entitled Imagining God. Mr. Aniol I had my tongue firmly planted in cheek when I said I grew tired of plugging your blog.

If you have not already met Dr. Bauder I suggest you do. He actually gave me some good advice via e-mail and I am thankful to him.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dr. Mohler on NBC: Part Two

So I was shaving this morning and thinking about how the piece irritated me so much because NBC manipulated the video clips in order to convey their message to the public whether that message was valid or not. It dawned on me where I had seen this before. The wildly popular Coors Light advertisements featuring NFL coaches' comments juxtaposed with bogus questioners. This type of directing makes an entertaining commercial, but it does not produce a valid news report. Shame on you NBC.


Valley of Vision Worship CD

Sovereign Grace Ministries has released a new worship CD called Valley of Vision, adapted from Puritan collection of prayers of the same name.

You can purchase the CD at Sovereign Grace Ministries's website.

Looks like a good Christmas present.