Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sobering yet Encouraging Words of Christ

(1)  Sheep in the midst of wolves...

"Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.  When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.  For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. [Matt 10:16-22, ESV]"

(2)  Do not fear those who can kill the body and not the soul...

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell...  So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. [Matt 10:28, 32-33, ESV]" 

(3)  Jesus did not come to bring peace, but a sword...

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. [Matthew 10:34-39, ESV]"

(4) can't lose it if you have received the promise of it... and fruit through actions can give assurance to the faith that the promise is rooted in...

"[for the context read Matt 10:40-41And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. [Matthew 10:42, ESV]"

12 apostles/disciples

Matthew 10:2-4 [Further Devotions]

(1)  Simon who is called Peter

(2)  Andrew, his brother

(3)  James son of Zebedee

(4)  John, his brother

(5)  Philip

(6)  Bartholomew

(7)  Thomas

(8)  Matthew the tax collector

(9)  James, the son of Alphaeus

(10)  Thaddaeus

(11)  Simon the Cananaean

(12)  Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ.


Well, Lindsey and I were eating dinner with my parents on Tuesday, and we were talking about my mom's first day back to school [she's an elementary music teacher]. 

Anyhow, in music class with the youngest students you usually sing things with the solfege "sol, mi, sol sol, mi" to build tension and then resolve to "doh" eventually.  This starts to train the kids, without their knowledge, about melody...etc. 

So they would sing about something that they saw in the Summer...they got to one kid and he sang "I saw a monkey wolf." [Or something like that.]  They stopped and my mom asked him to explain.  Well, he described a creature that drags children off [and I would assume eats them].  Mom correct me if I'm wrong:)

Well, we were all laughing thinking this had to be a campfire story...well I found out that there is such a think as a "Wolf Monkey" [the words are flipped around, but it could be the same thing].  But I doubt this thing eats young children.

Click here to check it out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fox News Reporters "Freed"

On what basis?? Well, I noticed this in the article, "Captors Release Two FOX News Journalists Kidnapped in Gaza Aug. 14."
"We were pushed down onto the dirt-covered concrete floor and we were forced to lie face down with our handcuffs on,"

"Olaf was in the same room with me. Our shoulders were wrenched back, very painful."

"'We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint,' Centanni told FOX News. 'Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on.'"

So...did they really convert to Islam? Or were they just playing along?? If they did...this is not "freedom"...the press needs to rethink this headline.

A few more questions…is this going to become more common? It seems it might. What are you prepared for something like this? What would you do?

Just some food for thought...
1 Peter 1:6-7
"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [ESV]"

Hebrews 4:15-16
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. [ESV]"

1 Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. [ESV]"

Passed in California: "Senate Bill 1441"

This was signed into law in California by Governor Schwarzenegger on 8/28/06.

Senate Bill 1441

Seminaries and Christian colleges are concerned about this law in that the fact that their students might not be able to receive financial aid anymore. This is because of the institution's stance against allowing those who perceive themselves to be homosexual to be students.

These kinds of situations drive us back to our dependence upon God. We are not dependent on the state. It is sad to see this grace of God through our government begin to be lifted from Christian institutions though.

I would say though that as tax incentives, and other governmental graces that God has given to the church in the USA over time, no longer exist in harmony with Biblical Christianity we will see Christian nominalism dry up...or we will see a further distorted government supported "dead" Christianity.

Pray for the state of the church in the world, but also right here at home.

"Church Health" 2

Okay here are a few lists of what a healthy church exhibits... [Don't worry I'll post my opinion soon:)]

The EFCA's "10 Leading Indicators of a Healthy Church"

The Evangelical Free Church movement exists to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people.
1. Centrality of God's Word (II Tim. 3:16, 17)
2. Passionate Spirituality (Eph. 5:18-21; 6:10-18)
3. Fruitful Evangelism (Luke 19:10)
4. High Impact Worship (Psalm 100)
5. Mission and Vision-Driven (Matt. 28:19-20)
6. Leadership Development (II Tim. 2:2, I Tim. 3:1-13; I Pet. 5:1-11)
7. Church Planting (Acts 1:8; Acts 13-28)
8. Financial Stewardship (I Tim. 6:17-19)
9. Intentional Disciplemaking (II Tim 2:2; Matt. 28:19-20)
10. Loving Relationships (John 13:35)

Here are the 9 Marks of a healthy church from 9MARKS ministries.
The Mission of 9Marks
We believe the local church is the focal point of God's plan for displaying his glory to the nations. Our vision is simple: Churches that reflect the character of God. Our mission is to cultivate and encourage churches characterized by these nine marks:

1. Expositional Preaching
2. Biblical Theology
3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News
4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion
5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
6. Biblical Understanding of Membership
7. Biblical Church Discipline
8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
9. Biblical Understanding of Leadership

In identifying and promoting these nine marks, we are not intending to lay down an exhaustive or authoritative list. There are other significant marks of healthy churches, like prayer and fellowship. We want to pursue those ourselves as well, and we want you to pursue them with us. But these nine are the ones we think are most neglected in most local churches today, with the most damaging ramifications. Join us in cultivating churches that reflect the character of God.

Devotions - Matthew 7:15-23

Here's another pretty shocking statement by our Lord.

Matthew 7:15-23

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. [KJV, my emphasis]" 

First, salvation is by grace through faith not by human works[Ephesians 2:8-9]...yet the works/fruit that we bear is an indication of our faith, because faith without works is dead [James 2:17, 26]. 

Second, faith in what??  Jesus Christ [Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:20; Revelation 14:12] who is God the Son in the Trinity [Mark 11:22Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 44:6; John 8:58; etc.]! 

"Lord, let my faith bear fruit, for your name's sake."

Sovereignty: "No Broken Bones"

A.W. Pink has this to say:

"Had it been decreed that not a bone of Him should be broken?  then the controlling hand of God which suffered the Roman soldiers to break the legs of the thieves (John 19:32), prevented them from doing the same with our Lord.  Ah!  there were not enough soldiers in all the Roman legions, there were not sufficient demons in all the hierarchies of Satan, to break one bone in the body of Christ.  And why?  Because the Almighty Sovereign had decreed that not a bone should be broken.  Do we need to extend this paragraph any further?  Does not the accurate and literal fulfilment of all that Scripture had predicted in connection with the Crucifixion, demonstrate beyond all controversy that an Almighty power was directing and superintending everything that was done on the Day of days? [The Sovereignty of God, Pink, 1959, 88]" 

Exodus 12:46:  "It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. [ESV]"

Numbers 9:12:  "They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it. [ESV]"

Psalm 34:20:  "He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. [ESV]"

John 19:33-36:  "But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.  He who saw it has borne witness--his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth--that you also may believe.  For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: 'Not one of his bones will be broken.' [ESV]"

He is truly the lamb of God, "who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 [ESV]"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Devotions - Matthew 5:33-37

Well, these days I'm reading Matthew for devotions...and every time I read the gospels I am always amazed at how Jesus always says stuff...and it seems as though I've never read it before [even though I've read it a lot]. Anyhow...this hit me right between the eyes...
Matthew 5:33-37
"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. [ESV, my emphasis]"

So the next time you hear yourself say, "Yes, but...," stop...and remember these words!

Define What "Healthy Church" Means

What do you think this means? What does it look like?

If you read this please post a comment:)

"Regulative Principle"

Well, I'm reading some stuff in preparation for the trip to Washington D.C. And one thing that I've run across that is really a great idea in regard to worship services...the regulative principle. Dever cites Ligon Duncan III in this idea. If you're curious what it is here you go:
(1) Read the Bible
(2) Preach the Bible
(3) Pray the Bible
(4) Sing the Bible
(5) See the Bible

Very cool:)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Late Night Thinking

It's late...and I've been thinking.

Tomorrow is Sunday... Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday morning! Do you know this? If you know it, how do you respond?
(1) Do you feel that you are responsible for worshipping God?
(2) Or do you just feel like a spectator during a worship service?
(3) Do you clap at the end of a song for the performers or for the audience [God]?
(4) How much time did you spend in prayer at church?
(5) How much time reading the word?
(6) Discoursing over spiritual things over coffee with a dear brother or sister in Christ?
(7) Did you pray with anyone in the hall?
(8) Did you tell anyone about the struggle you're facing right now?
(9) Do you know what your pastors think?
(10) How many kids they have?
(11) How many responsibilities they have?
(12) What sins do they struggle with?
(13) Do you know where they live, what kind of cars they drive?
(14) Do you know what they enjoy?
(15) What theological topic gets your pastors going?
(16) Are you happy with what you have learned about theology and church history in your local church?
(17) Do you feel like you are being equipped to reach your neighborhood for Christ?
(18) What will motivate you to boldly declare Christ in your workplace?
(19) In your neighborhood?
(20) Would you risk getting fired for preaching Christ crucified at work?
(21) Have you talked to your neighbor RIGHT NEXT DOOR about who Jesus Christ is?
(22) What do they think?
(23) Do they believe in Islam, Christianity...are they jews, mormons, atheists, agnosics, hindus, etc.?
(24) Is your church having an effective witness and communication of the gospel in your community?
(25) What can it/you be doing to do this?
(26) If you are leading a group in the church do you know where everyone is at in their faith?
(27) Are they struggling with anything?
(28) Is there a different way you can structure the group in order to be more effective/deliberate?
(29) When was the last time you saw a fellow believer from your fellowship outside of Sunday worship?
(30) For dinner, lunch or breakfast?
(31) Do you know any elderly people in your church body?
(32) Do you know the budget?
(33) The elders, and deacons?
(34) How many people are in the hospital right now?
(35) Do you know how many people have died in the last year?
(36) How many widows?
(37) How many reformed homosexuals?
(38) How many kids in the student ministry?
(39) How many Adult Bible Fellowship's there are?
(40) Are you aware of the theological "wolves" that are licking their chops to drag off some helpless or ignorant lambs from your flock?
(41) Do you know who you can go to for help emotionally?
(42) Do you know who the members are at your church?
(43) Do those members come very often?
(44) Have you read the bible lately?
(45) Have you read the entire bible?
(46) What am I doing in response to these things?
(47) Am I doing anything under compulsion?
(48) How's my wife doing, and what does she think about all this?
(49) Am I harboring any bitterness toward a brother or sister?
(50) Have I told them?
(51) When was the last time I repented of my sin?

"Oh Lord, I'm a man with unclean lips. Cleanse me again. Please forgive me of my sins again. Help me to love my local church and communicate clearly with everyone about what I see for the edification of the body. Give me strength to say no to requests in order that I might be more effectively used, but help everyone of us to know about the needs of the body so that we might find out how to meet them. I'm truly humbled by your grace. Father work mightily in our congregation! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

I'm going to that I've been completely humbled. God bless you on the Lord's Day!

Friday, August 25, 2006


Well, I'm going to a conference in Washington D.C. called a "weekender" from 9/14/06 to 9/18/06. I'll be staying with a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

If you guys can pray for me I'd really appreciate it. I've applied for their church apprenticeship program, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to get it. I will do whatever God has planned, but I would love to have this experience. I don't know if they'll interview me or what while I'm out there, but I'm a little nervous. In the past sometimes I struggle with confidence, so if you could pray for me I would appreciate it.

Thanks everyone!

In Christ


Here's a good quote from John Piper on Jesus Christ and relevancy...

"The glory of Jesus Christ is that he is always out of sync with the world and therefore always relevant for the world. If he fit nicely, he would be of little use. The effort to remake the Jesus of the Bible so that he fits the spirit of one generation makes him feeble in another. Better to let him be what he is, because it is often the offensive side of Jesus that we need most. [Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ]"

Atonement and the Emergent Church

23 pages later, I'm done w/ my paper! I feel like a new man!

Here's a long snippet from the end...some views of the Emergent Church on the atonement...

Current Views of Atonement – Emergent Church Movement
Brian McLaren, who is a representative of the Emergent church, recently answered some questions directly related to atonement,

“Q: You wrote, ‘Which reminds us that none of us has a complete grasp of the gospel… It’s very dangerous to assume you’ve perfectly contained the gospel in your little formula.’ I think with all the other change going on, one thing we’ve got to hold firm on is the gospel.
A: What do you mean when you say ‘the gospel?’
Q: You know, justification by grace through faith in the finished atoning work of Christ on the cross.
A: Are you sure that’s the gospel?
Q: Of course. Aren’t you?
A: I’m sure that’s a facet of the gospel, and it’s the facet that modern evangelical protestants have assumed is the whole gospel, the heart of the gospel. But what’s the point of that gospel? (McLaren)”

The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ displayed His glory and set mankind free from the bondage to sin in order to be reconciled into a relationship with Him by faith. He justified us before the law. He propitiated God’s wrath. The atonement is simply what the gospel is, and the point is that God worked atonement on the cross.

Brian Mclaren along with Walter Brueggemann recently endorsed a book called Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit without Disconnecting Your Mind. In his recommendation McLaren said, “It used to be that Christian institutions and systems of dogma sustained the spiritual life of Christians. Increasingly spirituality itself is what sustains everything else Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. (Jones, back cover)” In this book Alan Jones said, “Implicit in the cross that Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry God. Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine (Jones, 168)” Jones further said, “what does the image of the cross mean to me? It is a sign of the necessary crucifixion of ideologies in the face of concrete human experience – the crucifixion of power plays, the crucifixion of a god we think we can conceptually control. It also is a sign of humanity’s need to find someone to blame for its ills. When we suffer or are threatened, we look for scapegoats. Scholar Rene Girard suggests that scapegoating is the idée fixe at the heart of our culture. It is, for him, the mechanism on which society, culture, and religion are based. The murder of the innocent and our ability to make acts of scapegoating violence sacred seem to be built into us. The cross speaks directly to this dark issue of scapegoating. (Jones, 168)” He called the doctrine of atonement a “vile doctrine” and ruled it out as a “crucifixion of ideals.” McLaren and Jones need to work with how God developed the doctrine of atonement biblically and in church history and they would benefit from Aquinas. Their view is one step away from Anselm in the direction of universalism [similar to Abelard’s], and Aquinas is one step away from Anselm in the direction of orthodox Christian views that the Reformers relied upon. It would be easier for them to understand Aquinas in where their current thought process lies.

Another strong influence in the Emergent church, Steve Chalke, said regarding the atonement in The Lost Message of Jesus, “The church’s inability to shake off the great distortion of God contained in the theory of penal substitution, with its inbuilt belief in retribution and the redemptive power of violence, has cost us dearly. (Chalke, 30-31)” Steve Chalke went further saying, “[we have] come to believe that at the cross this God of love suddenly decides to vent his anger and wrath on his own Son?' (Chalke, 182).” Penal substitutionary atonement is not a “distortion.” The only thing that this doctrine has cost us is our pride. In losing pride one gains humility, which is not a bad thing as the Lord said in Matthew 18:4, “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [ESV]” Chalke would benefit from Aquinas’ view of the atonement in seeing that mankind deserves the punishment that Jesus Christ received. Also, the passion was not a “sudden decision” to “vent God the Father’s wrath.” It was a volitional act of Jesus Christ, and it was preordained. Our sin is a personal offense against God’s justice.

Mark Dever wrote of a theologian, Scot McKnight, who is sympathetic to the Emergent church movement as well in his article Nothing But the Blood, in response to McKnight’s book Jesus and His Death, “[McKnight] assumes that the last phrase in Mark 10:45 – ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ – reports not Jesus’ original words but Mark’s theologizing. And while admitting that the idea of substitution is strongly suggested here, he finally rejects it. (Dever, 32)” The Emergent Church is primarily based upon postmodern thought. They claim autonomy from Modernism, but D.A. Carson clearly identified that, “…postmodernism [is the] bastard child of modernism: the genetic descent can scarcely be denied… (Carson, 26 footnote 71)” Later in Carson’s book Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church he discusses the Emergent church’s view of the atonement. He quoted Brian McLaren saying, “…substitutionary atonement doesn’t address the question if why, if god wants to forgive us, he doesn’t just do it. How can punishing an innocent person make things better? ‘That just sounds like one more injustice in the cosmic equation. It sounds like divine child abuse. You know?’ (Carson, 166)” Cosmic child abuse is hardly what happened on the cross. This is an example of misunderstanding what Aquinas bridged to the reformers, namely, that, “Christ by His death brought us back to life, when by His death He destroyed our death; just as he who bears another’s punishment takes such punishment away. (Aquinas, Q. 50 A. 1)” This is love and justice, not abuse.

The problem that many postmodernists have with the doctrine of substitutionary atonement stems from their belief that it is not relevant to the culture today. In his extremely popular book Blue Like Jazz Don Miller said, “I don’t think any church has ever been relevant to culture, to the human struggle, unless it believed in Jesus and the power of His gospel. (Miller, 111)” This is a very true statement, but the question remains, “what is the gospel?” Miller clarified what he meant by the gospel saying, “I realized, after reading those Gospels, that Jesus didn’t just love me out of principle; He didn’t just love me because it was the right thing to do. Rather, there was something inside me that caused Him to love me. (Miller, 238)” The Bible teaches that Jesus loves His chosen people without partiality (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25) and that He loves His people (John 3:16). Also, God propitiated His wrath from us by Jesus Christ’s work on the cross (Romans 3:24-25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). For Miller to say that the cross was only a display of God’s love to him because of some merit he has, and not because of the justice that took place on the cross is to contradict the biblical narrative. As Berkhof said, “If we represent the atonement as founded only in the righteousness and justice of God, we fail to do justice to the love of God as a moving cause of the atonement…If, on the other hand, we consider the atonement purely as an expression of the love of God, we fail to do justice to the righteousness and veracity of God, and we reduce the sufferings and the death of Christ to an unexplained enigma. (Berkhof, 368)” Miller said that the church is relevant only when it believes in the power of Christ’s gospel which he defines as Christ’s loving men because they have merit. Truth is relevant. Therefore, it is relevant to say that the justice of God was satisfied as well as the love of God was displayed in the death of Christ.

Oh, if you want the bibliography let me know I'll just email it to's too long to post:)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Church Says Women Shouldn't Teach Sunday School Classes To Men, Cites Bible

This article, Church Says Women Shouldn't Teach Sunday School Classes To Men, Cites Bible, is interesting posing a few different questions…
(1) What is a woman’s role in the leadership of the church?? (Not to lead/teach over men)

(2) What is a man’s role?? (Leading and teaching)

(3) Does this mean women are less capable?? (No, men and women have equal value, just different roles within the church and household)

(4) Does this effect women’s role outside of the church and household?? (No, they can lead and teach in corporations as there is no biblical mandate for a difference in roles that are secular [that I know of].)

(5) What are the different biblical offices of the church?? (Elders and deacons)

(6) What should the relationship between secular government and the Church be…can secular government dictate to the Church how it must conduct it’s responsibilities?? (Separation of Church and state, and, “No!” the government shouldn’t dictate how the Church functions)

(7) Should a church leader be involved in any kind of secular government other than being a shepherd for those in secular government positions?? (This is debatable)

What do you guys think??

Here are a few quick quotes to whet your appetite…
“The First Baptist Church dismissed Mary Lambert on Aug. 9 with a letter explaining that the church had adopted an interpretation that prohibits women from teaching men. She had taught there for 54 years.”

"'I believe that a woman can perform any job and fulfill any responsibility that she desires to' outside of the church, LaBouf wrote Saturday."

“’If what's said in that letter reflects the councilman's views, those are disturbing remarks in this day and age,’ [Mayor Jeffrey] Graham said.”

Al Mohler’s radio show today is going to have the pastor involved in this as a guest. Keep your eyes peeled at the link for his show, at the above link, for the link to the show tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out!

Monday, August 21, 2006

"Cooperative Grace"

In the midst of working on my paper I keep rubbing up against one of the biggest divisions between the Roman Catholic doctrine, that Thomas Aquinas developed, and justification by faith alone. The Roman Catholic doctrine is called cooperative grace. Check out some of these quotes...
“There are two states of man without grace, as we said in Q. 109, Art. 2. One is the state of pure nature, such as was Adam before his sin. The other is the state of corrupt nature, such as is in ourselves before restoration through grace.

If we are speaking of man in the first of these states, there is one reason why he cannot merit eternal life by his natural powers alone, and that is that his merit depends on a divine preordination. No action of anything whatsoever is divinely ordained to that which exceeds what is commensurate with the power which is its principle of action. It is indeed an ordinance of divine providence that nothing shall act beyond its own power.

Now eternal life is a good which exceeds what is commensurate with created nature, since it transcends both natural knowledge and natural desire, according to 1 Cor. 2:9: 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man…' No created nature, therefore can suffice as the principle of action which merits eternal life, unless there is added to it a supernatural gift, which we call grace. But if we are speaking of man as he exists in sin, there is a second reason why this is so, namely, the impediment of sin. Sin is an offence against God which excludes us from eternal life…

Hence no one who lives in sin can merit eternal life unless he is first reconciled to God by the remission of sin. Now sin is remitted by grace, since the sinner merits not life but death, according to Rom. 6:23: ‘the wages of sin is death.’ [Pp. 205-206 of Aquinas on Nature and Grace]”

by the gift of grace each one of us is so moved by God that he may attain to eternal life, and eternal life cannot be merited condignly by anything other than God’s moving. But God moved the soul of Christ by grace not only that he might attain eternal life himself, but also that he might lead others to it. [Pp. 212 of Aquinas on Nature and Grace]”

Aquinas believes in a strange and mystical combination of justification by faith and works. The works are meritorious in that God does them through us, but we see that they are meritorious of salvation none the less.

This is not the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone that Luther so beautifully communicated. Our works have no merit... By God's grace He works through us in good works, but they don't merit salvation. Jesus propitated God's wrath on the cross [Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10]; in this act our sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to His chosen people [2 Corinthians 5:21]; and by the gift of faith [Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:22] man can please God again [Hebrews 11:6] and is justified in God's sight apart from works [Romans 3:27-28; Galatians 2:16].

Works play an important role in that they are the fruit of faith as James clearly teaches..."faith without works is dead," but it is not a co-foundation along with faith for salvation.

Therefore, those who teach that faith + works = salvation should take note of Romans 9:32... "Because they did not pursue it [righteousness] by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone..."

Lord, don't let us stumble...

In Christ

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Youth & Apologetics

Tony Jones the national coordinator of Emergent-US recently contributed to an article called "Sparks" [a column in Journal of Student Ministries] as to what the case is for the prominence of apologetics in the life of the church. You can read a blog post on this here.

Here's a quick blurb...

Tony Jones says:
"I agree, of course, that rational argument and persuasion is a part--even an important part--of how the gospel is communicated."

"'I believe there has been an obsession with rationalistic apologetics in the last 50 years,' and that, 'the Christian faith cannot be proven' anyway."
Here's the comment I posted on a Shane Vander Hart's blog on my thoughts...
You know Tony Jones likes to say everything in the last 50 years has only happened in the last 50 years...[we do have some problems that took place in the last 50 years though]

He likes to say everything that took place in the modernist era is only modernist. I think he has forgotten that evangelicalism [rooted in fundamentalism] was around too, which is rooted in a few thousand years of orthodoxy. Regarding apologetics...we don't even need to argue about this...apologetics were around in the apostolic to the patristic eras of the church.

He says this of "inerrancy" as well, "Inerrancy was invented in a council in 1973 in Chicago." Well, what about BB Warfield and John Murray's views, not to mention the Puritans, reformers, not to mention the scholastics, etc.

This guy is smart, but to deny tenets of the church by labeling it "in the last 50 years" or "modernist" is just not going to fly.

Just my 2 cents!

In Christ

What do you guys think??

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It"

[Another hymn on Atonement]
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

I think of my blessèd Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

I know there’s a crown that is waiting,
In yonder bright mansion for me,
And soon, with the spirits made perfect,
At home with the Lord I shall be.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

[Words: Fanny Crosby, in Songs of Redeeming Love, by John R. Sweney, C. C. McCabe, Tullius O’Kane, and William Kirkpatrick (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 1882).]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Church Membership and some thoughts on it...

When I was in college I can remember we questioned everything, and quite honestly I still do. Anyhow, we got onto the functions of the "institution" of the church. The problem was that we were seeing more of the "organization" aspects of it than the "organism" aspects and this was frustrating to some of us. Well, anyway many ended up bailing on what many of us understand to be the local church and not having much commitment to it. I on the other hand decided that I'm not going to give up on the local church.

Church membership came up and some thought it wasn't biblical, as well as dating, and definition of when one is married etc. I on the otherhand felt that church membership was biblical, dating can be done to the glory of God, and that one is married when done in some kind of public God directed service which publicly declares by God's design that they should leave and cleave. I may not have been able to give a defense for these at the time, but now I least a little. Below are some brief thoughts on why I feel that church membership is biblical.

To me church membership is completely biblical as is seen in the discipline presented in 1 Corinthians 5, the member lists implied by the widows supported by the church 1 Timothy 5; those with their name listed in the Lamb's book of life Revelation 21:27; Individuals to be included in the church in contrast to 1 Corinthians 5 in 2 Corinthians 2. Some of these refer to what I understand as a "local" church body, and some I understand as the "universal/catholic" church body [not "catholic" as in Roman Catholic, rather "catholic" as in Universal Church]. There are also two descriptors for the church in regards to the "visible church" and the "invisible church." We cannot completely know a man's heart but we have many assurances as the Bible gives testimony...I won't get into that right now:) Needless to say I feel that Biblically we should try to practice only having people as members in our churches that exhibit regeneration and a saving faith by life and confession. So as close to the "invisible" church as possible.

Also, the "majority" in 2 Corinthians 2:6 Mark Dever says of this, "...Paul even mentions a 'majority' of people (2 Cor 2:6) who were referred to as having 'inflicted the punishment' of exclusion from the church. This majority could only be referring to a majority of the group of people who were recognized as the church's members. [Pp. 31 of 9 Marks of a Healthy Church 4th edition booklet]."

Also, Paul refers to specific local churches and the church in general as church bodies [1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:6; 4:12-16; 5:23; 5:30; Colossians 1:18-24; 2:19; Hebrews 13:3]. In the context of the local church and universal/catholic church there are "members" of the "body" [Matthew 5:29-30; Romans 6:13, 19; 7:5, 23; 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 12:12, 18, 20, 25, 27; Ephesians 2:19; 3:6; 5:30]. It's difficult for me to imagine a scenario of church discipline that Paul speaks outside of the context of some kind of church membership, and the many analogies of "members" of a "body" are more than enough biblical precedent to practice church my mind.

And what I mean by this term, Church Membership, is that the elders of a given fellowship accept people into the membership of the local church based upon their profession of faith and living their life in such a way to display that they actually believe in what they say with their mouth. By being a member a person is saying I have a vested interest in this community for the living, teaching and preaching of the gospel by all of the members.

By signing the statement of faith and church covenant a person is saying I will abide to the authority of the eldership of this community which God has placed over me that I may be disciplined if I do not display the traits of a believer necessary for the clear communication of the gospel by this body to our community and the world. By being a member you commit yourself to the ministry, and if the teaching is poor YOU bear the responsibility, so it is up to you to edify the local body in order to be corrected grow, or in order that you might see why a person taught a certain way or not. So it is my belief that this is the context for passage such as this...
1 Peter 5:1-5 "So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' [ESV]"

Hebrews 13:1-19 Verse 17 specifically "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you."

Embrace the local church and become a member that we may display through this "institution" the glory of God through the enjoyment of Him forever, and the Preaching...not talks, preaching of His holy inerrant, infallible Word!

For Whom Will You Give an Account?

Check out this article, “Southern Baptist Mistake,” by Mark Dever today on the Together for the Gospel blog. His views are something that every leader needs to take into account. At this point in your life how many people are you to give an account for when you come before the judge of the universe?? Yourself only? You are called to at least be shepherd of your family. How’s your wife, children, extended family?? Starting thinking, and do something about it.
"Mortality continues on… as we are all eventually called home. And when we do, according to Hebrews 13, we pastors will give an account to God for the souls in our care. Who are they? They are the members of our churches. At this point, I'm to give account currently for 536."

"For me to allow my local congregation to continue on, with people in membership regularly forsaking assembling together is to be in sin, to lead my congregation into sin, confuse what it means to be a member, and confuse what it means to be a Christian. Any one of these topics could be treated at length. I simply want to reflect for a moment on how we're serving these "prospects", non-attending members."

"All of them will die, many of them without returning to church. Some of those will be our brothers and sisters in Christ who were in sin. I fear that many of them will not have been our brothers and sisters in Christ, and so they will slip into a Christ-less eternity , face a good and just God while they are still pleading their own merits for salvation, and fall under God's deserved penalty forever. We could have helped them, like the man in I Cor. 5 who was caught in sin (and may have repented II Cor. 2?), or like the man in Gal. 6:1. But we didn't. "

"We continued to teach them that church membership was their own private business, not the business of the congregation. We continued to meet their absence with our silence."

"Friends, "prospects" are in the phone book, in our family, in our neighborhood, at work. Church members are not "prospects". Church members are supposed to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. Church members are supposed to be saved from God's wrath against them. If they give no evidence of it, we're playing a high stakes game here with the souls of those we claim to love."

"Church members are not prospects. Church members are not prospects."

Slow Posting

I just took my final for Church History yesterday, so needless to say that's why I've not posted much this last week. I'm still working on my paper "Aquinas on Atonement" so it'll still be slow for a while:)

In Christ

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Resources on Atonement

(1) The Atonement By John Murray

(2) J.I. Packer's introduction to "Death of Death and the Death of Christ"

(3) The Logic of Penal Substitution by J.I. Packer

(4) Christ Our Penal Substitute by R.L. Dabney

(5) Nothing But the Blood by Mark Dever

(6) God's Reconcilling Work in Christ by Herman Ridderbos

(7) The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper (online book)
Chapters 1-6 (PDF)
Chapters 7-22 (PDF)
Chapters 23-38 (PDF)
Chapters 39-50 (PDF)

(8) The Necessity of the Atonement by Jonathan Edwards

(9) Pardon For the Greatest of Sinners by Jonathan Edwards

(10) Christ Our Great High Priest by by Martin Luther (1483-1546)

(11) Our Suffering Substitute by C.H. Spurgeon

(12) The Death of Christ by John Murray

(13) Blessed Are They Whose Iniquity is Forgiven by John Calvin

(14) Nature of Christ's Sacrifice by R. L. Dabney

(15) The Atonement by J. Gresham Machen

(16) Abstract of Systematic Theology THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST Boyce

(17) The Doctrine of the Atonement - Part I, Part II, Part III by J. Gresham Machen

(18) The Day of Atonement by C.H. Spurgeon

(19) The Sin-Bearer by C.H. Spurgeon

(20) The Old, Old Story by Charles Spurgeon

(21) The Atonement: Was the Sin Question Finally Settled at the Cross? by Arthur W. Pink

(22) THE ATONEMENT [Part 1] Arthur.W. Pink
Introductory Essay Part 2 A.W. Pink

(23) The Cross of Christ by Dr. R. C. Sproul

[Praise the Lord for Monergism's link on this.]

Challenge to Definite Atonement?

I believe in the Biblical doctrine of the church "Definite Atonement" [also called Limited Atonement]. If you want to know, why ask me sometime:)

Basically this doctrine states that Jesus Christ died for the sins of anyone whom He chooses to bring into His family. Jesus died for the sins of those who have ever and will ever come into a saving relationship with Him. Not everyone that has ever lived. What do you think?

Anyhow, in the meantime of believing in this doctrine, how should we understand these passages? How would you respond to someone who brought up these passages challenging the doctrine of "Definite Atonement?"
(1) John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [ESV]"

(2) 2 Peter 3:9
"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [ESV]"

(3) Romans 14:15
"For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. [ESV]"

(4) 1 Corinthians 8:11
"And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. [ESV]"

(5) Hebrews 10:29
"How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and , andhas profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified has outraged the Spirit of grace? [ESV]"

(6) 2 Peter 2:1
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. [ESV]"

(7) Isaiah 53:6
"All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. [ESV]"

(8) Romans 5:8
"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [ESV]"

And how do we handle all the other "all," "everyone," "world," "whosoever," passages?

I have some ideas, but I wanted to stir some minds out there before I deal with this on the blog or in my paper.

In Christ

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Biblical Understanding of The Atonement in the Old Testament

[This is long...sorry but they are notes for my paper]

These are my notes from a sermon by Mark Dever entitled "A Biblical Understanding of The Atonement in the Old Testament" preached 3/9/1997.

The Cross is central to Christianity. Word crucial comes from the root crux which means cross.

We should read the Bible both (1) to study [which he recommends outlining entire books/testaments/the Bible.], and (2) to read the Word for pleasure.

Exhorts us to not fail to recognize the importance of the Old Testament as it is part of our Scripture [it was Jesus’, Paul’s, Luke’s, John’s Bible!].

The silhouette of Jesus is being formed by the Old Testament. Also, he said the key to a lock is only of worth because it fits perfectly into the lock. So Jesus [the key] is of great worth because He fits the context of the Old Testament’s outline of atonement [the lock] of redemption between man and God. The Old Testament poses a question and Jesus is the answer.

Here is a list of the questions posed by the context of the Old Testament that Christ’s atonement answers. "The Four P's" (1) Presuppositions of relationship, (2) Problem of sin, (3) Practices prescribed, and (4) Person prophesied.
(1) Presuppositions of relationships
a. Covenant language (relationship)
b. Table of communion “New covenant in His blood
c. Federal language of love, Representative language…familial.
d. Covenant: agreement on terms
i. Swearing an oath
ii. Offering of sacrifice /literally cutting a covenant
1. Animal cut in half…this shows the seriousness of Paul’s concept of communion, Jeremiah 34:18

iii. Witness, someone or something as a reminder [even if inanimate]
1. Stones piled up as a witness to covenant made.
2. Feast [such as a wedding feast].

e. Covenants with God are different than covenants between two people.
i. Noah had nothing to offer God. God had “life” to offer; the earth was cut in half by the flood; the witness to this covenant is the bow in the sky.
ii. Abraham had nothing to offer God. God had “life” to offer; circumcision was the sign or sacrifice cut in two [Genesis 15; Galatians; Exodus 24 …regarding Israel]

f. God only commits Himself. He is not bound to fulfill this covenant as if a slave to men as if it is a right of the people. He binds Himself to this covenant by His sovereign, free, holy will [Jeremiah 31:31]
i. This is foolishness to the Jews…a scandal (1 Corinthians 1)
ii. Therefore, we seek to see the covenant that God has made with us. Not us with Him…like folk who create false gods of a harvest…only for our good…not to bring glory to the One Living God.

(2) Problem of sin
a. Yom “Kippur”- Day of Atonementb.
Because of sin atonement must be made…there must be some way to deal with the problem of sin…Atonement.
c. This is not an impersonal act for a good harvest rather this is for a relationship in need of reconciliation. [Habakkuk 1:13; Isaiah 59; Proverbs 15]
d. Sin breaks our relationship [covenantal relationship with God]
e. Sin breaks relationship; incites anger in God that must be dealt with judicially.
i. Disturbed and opposed to our sin
ii. “All Fall Short [1 Kings 8:26; Psalm 14:3; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20].”

f. We can’t deal with this sin or solve the problem by ourselves
g. Just condemnation by God must be dealt with [Jeremiah 31]
h. Atonement is fundamental to reconciliation.
i. Restoring/Reparation of relationship was work through sacrifice in the Old Testament.
i. This is not like offering a virgin to a volcano…rather payment for specific infractions of the law of God that we broke by sinning against God’s covenant. This is specific payment required to atone for specific sins.

j. This is the Living God who have spoken and provided a way to propitiate His anger and restore His relationship with us.
k. “Kippur”
i. Used 150 times in the Old Testament…means to cover or conceal.
1. Verb: Offer substitute, make atonement used 49 times in this way in I. Purge, removal of sin or the defilement through sin.
2. Noun: Ransom. Exodus 30:12; Isaiah 43:3; Numbers 35:31. A gift to secure favor 1 Sam 12:3.
3. “Place of Atonement”; used 27 times. This is where the blood was sprinkled in the place of something else on the lid of the ark of the covenant [where the 10 commandments were kept] on the Day of Atonement. This has been mistranslated as “mercy seat” in some translations.
4. Romans 3:25

l. Problem of sin dealt with through atonement…Particulars to follow in the Old Testament…
i. Redemption
ii. Cities of Refuge
iii. Year of Jubilee
iv. Israel’s Redemption from Egypt
v. Redemption of First Born “Passover”
vi. Redemption of Israel from Babylon
vii. Personal Redemption seen in the Psalms

(3) Practices prescribed
a. Sacrifices.
b. No specific command can be cited in the Old Testament that kicks this off.
c. The idea of “sacrifice” seems to be innate…we seem to have an idea that we’ve done something wrong against God, and we have to do something to make things right.
d. Genesis 4, Cain and Abel- sacrifices
e. Abraham
f. Isaac
g. All throughout Israel’s history “Passover”
i. Exodus 12; Passover Lamb
ii. Lamb without defect, slaughtered, blood spilled, used blood to mark the houses of salvation; limited to his people wit the blood on the doorframe.
iii. Not all houses, but God’s own people’s houses were marked by the blood of the substitute in their place, the lamb.
iv. As if to say, “When I see blood I will pass by satisfied by blood because sin is a serious matter.”
h. Exodus Deliverance
i. Leviticus is the restoration of God’s relationship with His people
i. Offering
1. Voluntary
2. Costly
3. Offerers own
4. Accompanied by confession of sin. Sin is associated with the loss of life.
5. According to God’s prescription.

ii. Sacrifice not brought by the grateful [e.g. for a good harvest], but for the guilty [of sin]. They know that they have offended a personal God. Could it be that Cain and Abel were aware of this when they sacrificed?? Probably. This was brought by the conscious [conscious of their sin.]
iii. Association with death
iv. Innocent given for the guilty
v. Picture/symbol of what is needed to assuage the wrath of God. [Genesis 9; Leviticus 16:21; 1:4; 4:4]
vi. The one making the sacrifice is identified with the sacrifice…as if to say “this should be me…I’m acknowledging it’s fate should be my fate.”
1. Exodus 32:30 Moses displays this attitude.
2. Dealing with sin includes his life and death. [Nehemiah 25; Ezekiel 18; Deuteronomy 21; 2 Samuel 21]

viii. Leviticus [Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22] the law is at the heart of this.
ix. The Jews mistook the ritual for reality when in fact it was a shadow of the true reality of the coming Christ.
1. Jeremiah 7…the denunciation to people making sacrifices…they missed the point.
2. When sacrifices were correctly made they recognized that they didn’t actually work in making atonement for their sins…they were not efficacious.
3. Shadow and sign of what was to com Hebrews 10
4. Salvation and forgiveness is costly…pointed to truth about sin, but never actually atoned for sin.

x. “Day of Atonement
1. Sin offering made for whole nation…reminder that the normal sacrifices throughout the year were not enough Leviticus 16.
2. God is the only one who sees the blood in the holy of holies in the temple. So His seeing the blood in their place is in fact to His satisfaction for their sins.
3. This was done every year.
4. Other nations not recognizing the One True Living God would make sacrifices only when things got bad…but not Israel. They had to do this all the time.
5. This reality points to the fact that we are in a state of sin.

(4) Person Prophesied
a. Isaiah 52:13 and forward.
i. The suffering servant, a person becomes the sacrifice of efficacious actual atonement for sins.

b. Romans and Hebrews are a commentary to the Old Testament.
c. This was the propitiation to satisfy, turn away, asuage the wrath/anger of God.
d. Substitution [punishment of the undeserved in the place of the deserved], life of the innocent for the deserved wrath on the life of the guilty.
e. Relation of offerer with the victim…laying hands recognizing, “This should be me.” Isaiah 52-53

"It Is Finished! Man of Sorrows"

[Another atonement centered hymn]

Words: Frederic H. Hedge, Hymns for the Church (Boston, Massachusetts: Crosby, Nichols & Co., 1853); these words come from a longer hymn, “’Twas the Day when God’s Anointed.”

Music: “Christi Mutter,” Corner’s Gesangbuch, 1625

“It is finished!” Man of Sorrows!
From Thy cross our frailty borrows
Strength to bear and conquer thus.

While extended there, we view Thee:
Mighty Suff’rer, draw us to Thee,
Sufferer victorious!

Not in vain for us uplifted:
Man of Sorrows, wonder gifted
May that sacred emblem be.

Lifted high amid the ages:
Guide of heroes, saints, and sages,
May it guide us still to Thee.

Still to Thee, whose love unbounded
Sorrow’s depth’s for us has sounded,
Perfected by conflicts sore.

Honored be Thy cross forever:
Star, that points our high endeavor,
Whither Thou hast gone before!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Biblical Understanding of The Atonement in the New Testament

[These are there may be errors in spelling and definitely in clarity.]

Here are six categories of language in the New Testament regarding atonement from Mark Dever’s sermon “A Biblical Understanding of The Atonement in the New Testament" [preached 3/16/1997].

1) Sacrificial and Ritual language. Including blood sacrifice language. [Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:19; Romans 5:9] Shepherd [John 10] who chose to die laid down His life for us.

2) Redemption, redeeming language. Pay ransom, to release from prison, or payment for good [market place language]. Also called financial language. Paid the price to set people free from bondage/chains to sin. [Matthew 6; 20; Acts 20; Romans 3:24]

3) Reconciliation language, relationally. Dealing with what estranged us, namely sin, on the cross. So dealing with sin and the extent and inner workings of what Christ did on the cross in order to reconcile us. [In John it speaks a few times of the “wrath of God [that] remains on them (John 3:36)”. Romans 5:6-8.] Also, it is God who reconciles…not us. [John 14… “Peace between God and man;” Romans 11:15; Ephesians 2:12… “Reconciled and brought near.”] A subcategory of this reconciliation would be “Adoption” language or “family” language.

4) Propitiation (Greek is hilasterion). God being satisfied so that He turns His wrath away. [see Leon Morris’The Atonement: It’s Meaning and Significance” book] [Luke 18:9… “be propitiated toward me”] Propitiation is relationally personal as opposed to expiation. Expiation isn’t bad, but it doesn’t handle the depth of propitiation. Expiation is just regarding a transaction, not intimate/personal/relational in any way. [Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 8:12]

5) Justification [due to I], language of the law court or legal and judicial language. [Luke 18; Acts 13:39]

6) Battlefield language [military language]. God’s victory in Christ. [Colossians 2:15… “principalities, powers, authorities;” Mark 3; Revelation 5:5; John 16:33; 19]. Warfare with demonic powers between God and the satanic world [Romans 8:39].

There's a ton more in Scripture, but this is what he had time to cover in his sermon [for the most part].

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"There is a Green Hill Far Away"

Well I'm going to write my paper on Thomas Aquinas view on atonement. I wanted to pick a hymn as a theme for the paper and this one "There is a Green Hill Far Away" seems to be the best description that I saw of atonement [By Cecil Frances Alexander, 1848; Meditation: C. M. John H. Gower, 1890].

I'll probably use this hymn to wrap everything up, after I've summed up (1) a brief summary of atonement...development of doctrine of atonement through just before Aquinas; (2) Aquinas' view on atonement with commentary; (3) What this means to us today...some contemporary views...and application.
There is a green hill far away,
Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

He died that we might be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven, and let us in.

O dearly, dearly has He loved,
And we must love Him too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do. A-Men

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Paper Time!

Well, blogging is going to be light for the next few weeks...and what I do blog may be sources or thoughts regarding a paper I'm writing.

Here are the topics I was given to choose from...
(1) What did the early church teach on baptism?
(2) How did the Papacy develop?
(3) What was the historical development of the New Testament canon?
(4) Compare Aquinas and Augustine on predestination.
(5) How did the Medieval view of the Eucharist develop?
(6) Compare Augustine, Aquinas, and Pelagius on original sin.
(7) Compare Anselm, Abelard, and Aquinas on the atonement.
(8) Did charismatic gifts cease to exist in the early church?
(9) Discuss Aquinas on atonement.
(10) Discuss the early developments in Christology.

I have chosen...but I'm not going to share right this second.

Out of these options what would you choose to write about? Which of these topics would you be most interested to read about?

Friday, August 04, 2006

"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

Listen in as Mark Dever gives some background and actually preaches this sermon word for word.

My guess is that Mark was the community, suburb, city, county, state, regional, and national champion in speech contests when he was in High School and college:)

Check it out and let me know what you think. I think it was very well done. You can hardly tell he's reading it! It sounds like a normal [yet heavy] sermon in terms of his normal flow of language.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Solution to Postmodernity in the Church

Check out this brief post by Mark Dever regarding one of the solutions that David Wells poses in his book "Above All Earthly Powers."

This is one of the reasons I want to do a church apprenticeship/internship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and to witness 9Marks ministries up close.

Here's a quick blurb...
"David finishes by calling for reform in our churches as a necessary component in reaching our postmodern culture. When I read it I felt that he had written a perfect introduction for what we're trying to do at is our burden and life-goal to see God glorified in local churches. This is fundamental to our evangelism. The VISIBLE CHURCH commends the AUDIBLE GOSPEL."

News on Piper's Sabbatical, and "New Perspective on Paul"

It appears that while John Piper was on sabbatical he wrote a manuscript combatting the view of justification that N.T. Wright puts forth. This New Perspective on Paul has been dealt with in articles, but not in any books that I know of yet. Read the letter from Piper here. Also, Ligon Duncan has a new book coming out October 13 called "Misunderstanding Paul?"...also here is a ton of information on it from Monergism.

Here's a bried definition from theopedia of the New Perspective on Paul.
"The New Perspective on Paul, also called New Perspectivism (hereafter NPP) is a system of thought in New Testament scholarship that seeks to reinterpret the Apostle Paul and his letters. In brief, the NPP is a reaction to the Lutheran Paul (i.e. the traditional interpretation of him). Proponents of the "Lutheran Paul" understand him to be arguing against a legalistic Jewish culture that seeks to earn their salvation through works. However, supporters of the NPP argue that Paul has been misread. He was actually combating Jews who were boasting because they were God's people, the "elect" or the "chosen ones". Their "works", so to speak, were done to show they were God's covenant people and not to earn their salvation. The result is a Judaism that supposedly affirmed sola gratia (grace alone). Presently, its effects are seen in the academic world of New Testament scholars, particularly those who focus their attention on Pauline studies and the study of first century Judaism."

[HT: Between Two Worlds]

"Don't Look Now"...Footage of War

Here’s an interesting article from the Guardian today… “Don’t look Now” about “trophy videos” that many US soldiers seem to be making from the front lines of the war. I would submit that not only does is this uncomfortable for the American government but also for the American citizens…

Here’s one quick snippet as to why some of these guys are making the videos…
“So why do servicemen want to film this stuff and why do they want to share it with the folks back home ?

One filmmaker compared his material with a video game: ‘you're stepped away from reality ... you're seeing it through the camera lens.’

Another said it was the only way he could feel proud of his work, ‘like a big game hunter feels proud of his kills.’

Yet another said it made him feel good to bring the gruesome reality of a soldier's life in Iraq to those living safely behind their ‘clean, white picket fences at home’.”

These comments turn my stomach…

(1) The first compares the war to a video game
(2) The second says he’s proud of his kills
(3) The third is doing it to unsettle the folks in America

I realize these are only a few guys, but these views are really sad. We need to continue to be praying for our soldiers.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Prayer Request--Valley Church Intern Jake Bouma

I just saw a blog post from Brandon Mick about Jake Bouma. Here's an excerpt...
"My good friend, Jake Bouma, fell last night while playing a game with the junior high ministry he works with. He is in the hospital right now with some internal bleeding (of the bladder and intestines, I believe). It doesn't sound life threatening, but the doctors are monitoring him. He is in a lot of pain right now. He cannot stand up. They are not sure how they are going to get him home to Des Moines; the camp is in Missouri. Pray that there might not be any more complications for Jake, that his pain would subside, and that he might recover quickly."

Please join with us and pray for healing for Jake's current condition for the glory of God!

In Christ

Are You Killing Sin??

Over the last week I have been exercising these principals, toward my sin, that I have gleaned from John Owen and I thought I’d put them out here for everyone to benefit. I’m always trying to be deliberate and think of ways to mortify my sin and this has been great. Check out these principals…

In order to kill sin you have to do the following...

To labour to be acquainted with...
(1) “Ways, wiles, methods, advantages and occasions of my lust’s [sin’s] success.”

(2) “Counsels, designs, their ends, how and by what means they [sins] have prevailed.”

(3) “Subtilties, policies, depth of indwelling sin, where does it’s greatest strength lay?”
a. “What advantages does it use to make of occasions, opportunities, temptations?”

b. “What are it’s pleas, pretences, or reasonings?”

c. “What are it’s stratagems, colours, excuses?”

To have a knowledge of all of this in order to…
(4) “To set the wisdom of the Spirit against the craft of the old man, to trace this serpent in all it’s readiness and windings; to be able to say… ‘This is your old way and course; I know what you aim at.’”

[Edited version of a paragraph in John Owen’s “The Mortification of Sin in Believers” The Works of John Owen Volume VI pp. 31. Banner of Truth. Forgive some of the spelling…it’s 17th Century English.]