Friday, April 28, 2006

Psalms 2:7-12: Kiss the Son!

Lindsey and I are currently doing devotions on the Psalms...I'll probably post some things that pop out from time to time. The Psalms are rich!

This week Psalm 2:7-12 stood out to me.

"I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have begottn you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

There is a dual meaning in this. The psalmist is talking about God speaking toward him, and yet this is a prophecy of Jesus Christ. "You are my Son; today I have begotten you." These words were written 1000-965 years before Christ's birth (the New Testament fulfillment of this is in Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5; and some translations of Luke 3:22).

It's glorious to think of the phrase David said above. "Kiss the son, lest he be angry and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled." He knew that unless we embrace the Son that we would truly perish in our sin. God is clearly slow to anger in the rest of the Psalms (Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 145:8) yet His anger can be quickly kindled against us (Deuteronomy 7:4; 11:17; Joshua 23:16) to the point that His wrath is quickly kindled against us, unless we "Kiss the Son." God is slow to anger, and yet when His justice comes it will be at thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2; Matthew 24:36-51). So is anger and wrath work fast in one sense and slow in another, but it works nonetheless.

So embrace the Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and your God. He loved you and died for you (John 3:16). It's amazing that in a way David said John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'," almost 1000 before Christ.

"Kiss the Son!"

Together For the Gospel (T4G)

This is a conference that I really wanted to be at, but by God's will it just didn't work out. Check out the following links to see what the speakers talked about. Tim Challies live-blogged the entire conference. Check this material's full God glorifying stuff!


Session One: Mark Dever
Session Two: Ligon Duncan
Session Three: Albert Mohler
T4G Panel Discussions
Session Four: R.C. Sproul
Session Five: John Piper
Session Six: CJ Mahaney
Session Seven: John MacArthur

If you're interested in more of this conference you can check out the T4G Blog. They will be selling the talks, etc., in the future...and they will be compiling a book in 2007!

In Christ

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NY Times on the Emergent Church and “Evangelicalism”

In a recent article in the NY Times there is a discussion on “Evangelicals debating the meaning of ‘Evangelical.’” (Click here to read it.)

Lower down in the article is a quote I couldn’t help but notice. I have been following what is known as the “Emergent Church” for some time now…and this sentence really caught my attention.

“[regarding the Emerging Church] It emphasizes reading the Bible as a narrative, perfect in its purposes but not necessarily inerrant; de-emphasizing individual salvation in favor of a more holistic mission in serving the world; even making evangelicals less absolutist on whether people from other religions might find their way to heaven.”

I’m not sure what the Emerging Church has to say about this, but article says further down
“But Brian D. McLaren, founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church outside of Baltimore and a chief apostle of the emerging church, argues that he is not promoting relativism; rather, he believes the evangelical movement has been hijacked theologically, as well as politically, by its more fundamentalist elements, something he is trying to correct. ‘In many, many areas, I'm looking at polarization,’ he said, ‘and I'm looking at a third way.'"

Al Mohler says this, “A third way between what? It is intellectually dishonest to suggest that those who stand in continuity with the founders of evangelicalism have hijacked the evangelical movement.”

Check out Al Mohler’s blog on this here
Wow…interesting stuff.

If the emerging church really denies the inerrancy of Scripture…then outright that is antithetical to what the E-free statement of faith teaches...what we believe (check out the first point of the statement of faith here).

The first point of our statement of faith is:
(1) The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.

When approaching the theology of the Emergent/Emerging Church be very discerning and very careful. There is a wide array of what different churches practice that call themselves Emerging/Emergent Churches, but Brian McLaren and others who are identified as the leaders of this movement embrace a theology that is different than much of orthodox Christianity. They use words that are very vague to describe their it's confusing to figure out what they actually do be very careful. There are some healthy orthodox Christian churches who use the title Emergent who have a more orthodox approach to theology, but they are selling themselves short using the title Emergent. The Emerging church is surrounded by questions as to what they believe. Those churches that are healthy in their theology are just confusing the matter more. In the end this movement may turn out to have good theology attached to it's name, but right now it's way up in the air!

Also, here is a quote from an article that the Emergent Church cites from their own webpage. Here's what an article in Christianity Today says (the Emergent website links to this article):
Then it stopped working." The Bells [leaders of an Emergent church]started questioning their assumptions about the Bible itself—"discovering the Bible as a human product," as Rob puts it, rather than the product of divine fiat."

There is definitely more to say... but specifically if you have heard of the Emerging/Emergent Church be very careful when reading or approaching their material.

If you're interested here's a good book you can read on it...D.A. Carson's Being Conversant with Emergent.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beware of “Putting Your Faith in Bono”

Here’s an interesting article on (click here to read it) about how some churches are using the music and message of U2 in their Eucharist/communion/remembrance meetings. Have they gone too far??? You be the judge. Below are some interesting quotes with some commentary:
Their focus…,“Brooks said the evening was designed to invigorate his once-aging congregation -- attracting young people and those interested in social activism. ‘We absolutely need to grow in order to survive,’ he said.”

Strong emphasis on social activism and growth...not so much on faith.

The first aim of the church is not social activism…or growth…rather the glory of God. Christ will build His church through the preaching of His Word…we have to focus on being faithful.
“Still, the band members are traditional rock 'n' rollers -- they swear, drink and sing about sex.”

I don't think these are the kind of role models for the church that the author of Hebrews was talking about in Hebrews 13:7
"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (ESV)"

To me social activism and church growth coupled with immoral behavior seems like a contradiction of what the Bible teaches.
“In Providence [Rhode Island], Blair delivered a homily to pitch the One Campaign, which the Episcopal Church supports. She ticked off statistics about poverty and infant mortality in Africa, underscoring her points with equal parts Bono and Bible.”

Equal parts…Bono and the Bible?! Don’t you think that in a church the Bible should at least come before Bono…let alone have an equal emphasis from both Bono and the Bible for their message. The church should underscore its points with the Bible…not Bono too. 1 Timothy 3:16
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (ESV)”

I don’t see Bono’s name in there…do you?
"If you're a Bono fan, you know the next line: ‘Where you live should not determine whether you live or die,’ she said, then reminding worshippers of a Gospel passage warning that taking care of the needy is what will separate the good from the bad at the final judgment.”

We are definitely commanded to take care of the needy…and this action can be a fruit of genuine faith (Matthew 25:40)…but the way this is phrased makes it sound like human works have some sort of merit to “be separated [as good] in the final judgment.” A call to social activism without mention of Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast, (ESV)”

In a Christian church meeting is a big issue. To emphasize social action without mention that “it is by grace we have been saved through faith” is clearly a different gospel…let a lone no mention Christ (They may mention Jesus…but from the article it definitely doesn’t sound like Christ is the focus). But to challenge a congregation to social action because of the overflow of the congregation’s worship to God out of the faith in Christ they have received by the grace of God is more in sync with the gospel communicated in the Bible.

Check out the article...what do you think? Share your thoughts:)

[UPDATE: FYI...I like some of U2's songs...a lot:)]

Thursday, April 13, 2006

BAD THEOLOGY ALERT: On God’s Justice and Mercy

Listen for this radio spot on one of the local Christian radio stations in Des Moines. Lindsey and I were in the car the other day and she told me about one of those 30-second devotions she heard on the radio. She said a woman was talking… like a short little testimonial. Here’s the idea of what she said:
“I used to think that God was 100% merciful and 100% just…but then I went through some hard times in my life and I realized that God is way more merciful that He is just…”

I didn’t hear this quote but this is a common misconception of God. God’s attributes are equal to who God truly is. He is the most perfect form of justice that there is…also He is the most perfect form of mercy that there is. As humans it might seem easy to say something like … “There is more mercy in God than there is justice” …Christian brother and sister…it might seem that way, but that is not the case. Let us not limit God by our limited understanding of Him. To say that God is more merciful than He is just…shows us that we really don’t understand the cross. Full justice took place on that Good Friday…also full mercy took place. Don’t diminish either aspect. We are guilty as charged…Christ’s blood is the proof of justice and mercy!

Good catch Lindsey!

Let us worship the one triune God today! Give Him praise that He is fully merciful (100% mercy) and fully just (100% just)…there was more to the cross than only mercy…there was also justice…

“Merciful and Just Father forgive us of our sins! Enlighten our minds and hearts with Your Word so that we might understand…and that we Might see Your face.”

He is Risen! Let us reflect on our beautiful savior everyday!

In Christ

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Phil Ryken Interview

9Marks ministries just posted their latest interview on their website. (Click here for a link to listen to the interview.)

Phil Ryken Interview at 9 Marks 3/31/06
Pastor of 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA
Here’s a brief overview of the interview:
(1) Best book on the Authority of Scripture…B.B. Warfield’s collected essays on
(2) Phil's Background
(3) Maintaining a work/life balance in the ministry.
(4) Opportunities for personal evangelism
(5) Ministry in an urban area…how to handle an ever changing congregation…By
having pastors committed to the community through staying.
(6) Phil's Influences
(7) Recommended authors
a. R.C. Sproul
b. Hughes Oliphant Old
c. Etc.
(8) Vision for the future of the ministry at 10th Presbyterian Church
a. Desires to see Philadelphia evangelized through the planting of
Presbyterian churches…this is something that is already underway.
b. Wants to see growth in their internship opportunities to help more
young pastors coming into the ministry.

This is some good insight into the pastoral ministry...if your interested:)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Eargate...The Holy War

In the lesson on What It Means to Be a Christian, that I taught on Sunday, I think I misspoke regarding something that just popped in my mind today. I said that in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress that "Eargate" is the chief entrance to "Mansoul."

Well, this is actually from John Bunyan's The Holy War, not Pilgrim's Progress. So if you go to double check me on that one go to The Holy War.

Anyhow, this is how God works in the general call (as opposed to the effectual call) through the preaching/teaching of His Word. So "Mansoul" is won through God's use of His church (us) in what is called the general call (the preaching/teaching of His Word) through "Eargate." Whew!

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Echo Ranch Bible Camp: Mission to Alaska

Well, it was great to see everyone in the ABF again today. I can't tell you how much I really do look forward to meeting together every week to worship God together. Thanks for coming!

I'm going to take a nap here in a few minutes, but I wanted to share a little more information with you all about the construction mission trips they are taking to Alaska this Summer. Go to the links below if your interested to check it out!

I don't know if this was shared but the organization the Fenimore's are affiliated with is Avant Ministries (Click here to see Avant's website). Avant's mission is to, "Glorify God by helping others enjoy His presence through planting and developing new churches in the unreached areas of the world." Check out Avant's statement of faith by clicking here! These frontier missions are vital to spreading the gospel to all nations. If you have heard of the movie The End of the Spear one of the men that was martyred was actually sent by Avant Ministries (Roger Youderian).

THE FENIMORES NEED YOU! Click here to view the Fenimore's website. This is a great site. Pictures, Journal, Prayer letters, the Lodge they are going to build (Lord willing). The picture on the front is awesome of Terry, Yvonne, and their youngest daughter Kate.

Pray for them...and pray that if God is leading you to be a part of this mission, or if God might lead you to support them or someone financially on the team...that you might be able to respond in faith.

Let us know about your interest! Also, I've placed the link to the Fenimore's website and Avant's website in the links margin to the right side of the blog for future reference.

God bless you and keep you!

Thanks everyone! Enjoy the beautiful day that we have!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

Are you Ready to Give a Response?

1 Peter 3:5 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; (ESV)

You may or may not have heard about the The Gospel of Judas...but if you watch the news or read the paper you will. This is going to be a common conversation piece for a bit...especially since the Da Vinci Code is being made into a movie.

I'm writing this post so that we might be able to talk about the Gospel of Judas from a Christian perspective.

Here are a few things to note regarding The Gospel of Judas that was just released by the National Geographic Society. (Most of this information came from either what I have learned in church history classes, or from Al Mohler’s radio show/commentary.)

(1) The Gospel of Judas was referred to in a letter that Irenaeus wrote in 180A.D. so this text isn’t a new thing that was unknown until the present time; however, we have not had the text in written form until now. This is clearly a second century text as opposed to everything in the New Testament canon which is from the first century. So this has no bearing as to how we should view the New Testament as we have it. Anything with apostolic first century roots could possibly be considered credible. However, this is from the second century and has Gnostic roots…something which the church ruled out that same century as not being the same gospel as what the apostles preached. This is clearly a different gospel from the quotes that I have heard…heed the warning of Galatians 1:8-9

“8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (ESV)”

(2) Here are a few critiques of the text of the Gospel of Judas:
(I wrote these quotes down while listening…so punctuation and phrasing is not necessarily 100% correct. I just put these in here to give an idea of what's going on in the text.)
Jesus to Judas: “But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”

This passage alludes to the idea that Christ is clothed in the unholy body, and that Judas was responsible for separating Christ’s holy spirit from the filthy unholy body. This is very Gnostic and goes against all other biblical teaching. Gnostics taught that matter has always been evil, but we know from the Bible’s creation account that it was originally good (There’s more, but I’m trying to be concise).

Jesus to Judas: “Judas your star has led you astray. No person of mortal birth is worthy to enter the house you have seen. Neither the sun nor the moon will rule there nor the day, but the holy will abide there always in the eternal realm with the holy angels. Look I have explained to you the mysteries of the kingdom, and I have taught you the error of the stars and I send it on the twelve aeons.”

Judas to Jesus: “Master could it be that my seed is under the control of the rulers?”

Jesus to Judas: No, you will become the thirteenth and you will be cursed by other generations and you will come to rule over them. In the last days they will curse your ascent to the holy generation.

This is a very astrological worldview (as Al Mohler's radio show points out). Honestly, I’m not sure how you could actually hold this up against the gospels that have been universally accepted by the Church over time and geography and think that it is truth as well. As you learn more about what the Gnostics believed you will probably be amazed at how crazy it sounds compared to what the Bible teaches. They believe that these are secret teachings/knowledge the “gnosis” of the Apostles passed in a secret inner circle. It’s interesting though that none of the proponents of this “Gnosticism” were even the disciples of the Apostles…so how could they really claim that this is secret knowledge passed down from the apostles? They couldn’t! The disciples of the Apostles did not teach this “gnosis.”

(3) The “Gospel of Judas” is one of many Gnostic Gospels catching some attention lately…test what you read if you read them against the Word to see if they are true. You’ll see that there are many, many discrepancies.

(4) The Coptic Orthodox Church denies the credibility of this document. The following is from Al Mohler’s commentary (click here to see the commentary):

“Metropolitan Bishoy, leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, dismissed The Gospel of Judas as 'non-Christian babbling resulting from a group of people trying to create a false 'amalgam' between the Greek mythology and Far East religions with Christianity . . . They were written by a group of people who were aliens to the main Christian stream of the early Christianity. These texts are neither reliable nor accurate Christian texts, as they are historically and logically alien to the main Christian thinking and philosophy of the early and present Christians.' The Metropolitan is right, but we are better armed to face the heresies of our own day if we face with honesty the heresies of times past.”
So even though this is a Coptic text the Coptic Orthodox Church is by no means endorsing this text.

Listen to Al Mohler’s radio show on this here.

(5) The text does not pass the "catholicity" test. The entire early to contemporary church has not accepted this text in the New Testament canon.

Hopefully this helps clarify a few things.

In Christ

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Resurrection of the Body

The resurrection of the dead has been on my mind since last Wednesday at Bible study when we were going through Mark 12 and the Sadducees are said to not believe in the resurrection and try to trap Jesus with a question about it.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. (NASB)

Many people deny the resurrection of the body, specifically the body of the saints. Click here to read an article on a study that was done on this recently.

This is an important topic not only because we can affirm the inerrancy of the Scripture by believing this teaching to be true (because this is what the Word says), but because of some of the implications of the elects’ bodily resurrection in relation to all things being made new through Christ (Revelations 21:5).
(1) There are many heresies from the early church period that separated the body from the soul…thinking that the problem is the material body. The reality is that sin is in our bodies and our souls. One of the thoughts posed would be…”if only our innocent/clean/ perfect souls could be freed from this sinful/dirty/cursed body.” The Gnostics had a teaching similar to this, also the Docetics, and Ebionites. This teaching in many of these perspectives was coupled with some type of limitation of Christ’s deity as not being God within the trinity as God the Son.

(2) The bodily resurrection of the elect is very much tied to the concept of making all things new. New heavens and earth, etc. We don’t know a ton of the specifics (certainly we know more than I have eluded to here).

(3) Man was not originally made to be mortal. Only when Adam fell did death enter into the world. So…since God is a God of redemption and He makes all things new our bodies are part of this promised reality.

(4) In the 1 Corinthians passage above verse 16 states, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.” We need to watch what we believe closely (Job 11:4; 1 Timothy 1:3; 4:6; 6:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1). Our bodily resurrection is closely linked to Christ’s resurrection…without which we know from verse 16 that our faith would be worthless. But Christ did raise, so our faith isn’t worthless. This doctrine is sweet to the taste. We will taste sweet victory in our resurrection bodies through Christ. They will be different no doubt (Christ’s was different…He was even a little less recognizable, but He still had a body that Thomas could touch).

(5) Lastly, there is a dual reality of our resurrection. We were in Christ when he was raised…so we were raised with Him. Yet, we will physically be raised on that last day. In the twinkle of an eye we will be like Him. This is similar to the fact that we are sanctified yet we aren’t completely sanctified yet, we are righteous yet being made righteous, we are holy yet being made holy, etc.

For God’s glory lets bathe in this until we gain more understanding in this teaching of the resurrection of the bodies of the elect. It’s strange…no doubt…but it is an awesome reality that we can look forward to. Let’s not miss out on this glorious reality.

[Interestingly enough Al Mohler blogged on this today too. Click here to see his response.]
He quotes 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (ESV)

Also…here are a few relevant quotes from Jonathan Edwards on this from his miscellanies.
“One calamity that was the consequence of the fall was the dissolution of the body. There is in Christ a remedy for this calamity; the body is through him restored, and comfort is administered to the saints against the apprehensions of it, by the promises of the resurrection.”

“For the body shall [not] only return to life, but to a much more glorious state than it was in before its dissolution, yea, a much more glorious state than the body of man was in before the fall; for it shall not be conformed to the body of the first Adam, which was a natural body, but to the body of Christ, which is a spiritual body (see 1 Corinthians 15:44-49).”

In Christ

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Work: Part Three

This is an excellent sermon by Sinclair Ferguson on Ephesians 6:5-9. Christians in the Workplace: Knowing How to Be Faithful to Christ. This was a great encouragement to me as I reflect on how sometimes what I perceive to be a worthless task is a God glorifying opportunity.

Click here to listen.

This is the sister passage to what Pastor Dan preached on this last Sunday (Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.)

Ephesians 6:5-9 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Also check out these verses in regards to work today:

1 Corinthians 10:31-32 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Philipians 2:3-5 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus...

What's my attitude at work today? This stuff is good.

The Effects of the Word

The list below is what we discussed for part of the time last night. The Bible is where we need to be grounding our thoughts. I picked up this list from a sermon on Psalm 119 by Dr. Andrew Davis here.

The effects of the Word
1.) Produces faith (Romans 10:17)
2.) Produces our trust in God (Psalm 119:41-43)
3.) Produces righteousness (Psalm 119:7)
4.) Security, assurance, peace (Psalm 119:140 in conjuction with vs.165)
5.) Pleasure, joy, delight (Psalm 119:103, 47)
6.) Obedience (Psalm 119:129)
7.) Wisdom (Psalm 119:105)
8.) Transforms our mind (Romans 12:2)

This is by no means exhaustive, but is a great starting point to see some of the fruit of the Word in our lives.

Knowing God

I'm teaching a class on Knowing God for the next month on Wednesday nights (April 5, 12, 19, 26 and May 3). We'll be talking a little about J.I. Packer's book Knowing God, a little about J.C. Ryle's book Holiness, a little about Jonathan's essay on The Distinguishing Marks of Believers, and more.

Here are some key verses in regards to knowing God. Knowing God is very important because knowing God is eternal life!

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

1 John 2:3-6 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Galatians 4:8-9 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worhtless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

These passages remind me of Psalm 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

More to come in the following weeks regarding Knowing God!