"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Mutual Submission

... giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:20-27 ESV

From the website of the council on biblical manhood and womanhood, Drs. John Piper and Wayne Grudem respond to the following question: Do you believe in "mutual submission" the way Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another"?

Yes, we do. But "the way Paul teaches" mutual submission is not the way everyone today teaches it. Everything depends on what you mean by "mutual submission." Some of us put more stress on reciprocity here than others. But even if Paul means complete reciprocity (wives submit to husbands and husbands submit to wives), this does not mean that husbands and wives should submit to each other in the same way. The key is to remember that the relationship between Christ and the church is the pattern for the relationship between husband and wife. Are Christ and the church mutually submitted? They aren't if submission means Christ yields to the authority of the church. But they are if submission means that Christ submitted Himself to suffering and death for the good of the church. That, however, is not how the church submits to Christ. The church submits to Christ by affirming His authority and following His lead. So mutual submission does not mean submitting to each other in the same ways. Therefore, mutual submission does not compromise Christ's headship over the church and it should not compromise the headship of a godly husband.

Go here for more questions and answers on this theme

September 27, 2007  |  Comments (5)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (40 – His Triumphal Entry)

The writings of the prophets are filled with predictions of a coming glorious king, from the line of David, who would once again take up the scepter, destroy the enemies of the people of God, and reign in righteousness forevermore (e.g. II Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 11:1- 16, Jeremiah 23:5-6). These same prophets also speak much of a coming servant of the Lord, who would suffer much, and be despised and rejected by his own people (e.g. Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:6-13; 52:13-53:12). In Jesus, these two distinct prophetic lines converge with admirable precision, his everlasting kingship being loudly proclaimed by the same people who, a few days later, would reject him indeed, and leave him to drink alone the inexpressible cup of the Father's wrath, a man afflicted beyond measure and full to the brim with sorrows surpassing the imagination. But herein lies the wonder: these two remarkably diverse characteristics of the person and ministry of the Son of David do not co-exist in an unnatural and forced juxtaposition, but rather complement and give meaning to each other, in a relationship that bursts all conceptual bounds of true glory and praiseworthiness that had ever before been dreamed up, extending the dominion of the Kingdom of the Christ into realms that no king had ever before conquered. The unique glory of Christ consists in part of his humility and suffering; and through his time of humiliation, he became the king of death and hell, victorious over sin and the devil, even as before he was the king of life and righteousness. The deepest lowliness won the highest glory, and cast across the illimitable regions of the shadow of death the splendor of the noon-day sun, transforming them into a fruitful and fair place, and bringing them forevermore into the eternal Kingdom of peace. Every spite and thorn and cruel stripe that Jesus bore wrought for him in the fires of divine justice and mercy another rare and marvelous jewel for his crown, the likes of which no other king has ever worn, nor indeed could bear, for it is fitted for one brow alone, that which once bled with the chastisement of our peace, and now irradiates the divine majesty, lighting the New Jerusalem toward which we press on in the wonder of hope.

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September 24, 2007  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Book (Part 1)

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." - George Washington

"England has become great and happy by the knowledge of the true God by Jesus Christ. This is the secret of England's greatness." - Queen Victoria

"The Bible is more than a book. It is a living being within an action, a power which invades everything that opposes its extension." - Napoleon

"I have known 95 of the world's great men in my time, and of these, 87 were followers of the Bible." - W. E. Gladstone

As Christians, we believe the Bible is inspired by God, the very word of God, without error, the sole infallible rule of faith for all Christian life, practice, and doctrine. The word "Bible" means "the book." Its very title makes the claim that irrespective of whatever else you read, only the Bible is 'THE BOOK' because of its Divine authorship.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is God breathed..."

In quoting from the book of Genesis, Jesus said, "...have you not read what was spoken to you by God..." (Matt. 22:31)

but... the Bible would say this kind of thing, wouldn't it? All religions and cults claim that their sacred book is inspired. Is there any objective evidence we can point to that would show the Bible to be of a supernatural origin, or certainly more than a book filled with the thoughts and opinions of mere mortal men?

What follows in this series of articles are some of the many evidences that support the Bible's claim to being the Word of God, so that we can believe it, beyond doubt.

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September 22, 2007  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Calvin Cracked Open

I'm teaching a five-week Adult Sunday School class on John Calvin and his Institutes of the Christian Religion at our church. The first class is this Sunday, and it will be primarily a biographical sketch. You can download the PDF of the handout for this class here, which is a time line of Calvin's life, including a few contemporary, Reformation-associated dates.

September 22, 2007  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Reformation Society of Oregon

Last Friday morning (the 14th) we praise God for the successful inaugural Reformation Society of Oregon meeting at the old church in downtown Portland. This is actually where our PCA church (Intown) meets on Sunday mornings for corporate worship. David Thommen, Senior Pastor of Estacada Christian Church brought out a huge contingent of willing workers to help set the thing up. They did a fantastic job.

We were doubly blessed to have Dr. R.C. Sproul and Rev Richard Phillips join us for breakfast and encourage us all with some words. Dr. Sproul did a very informative Q&A session and Rev Phillips spoke about the Reformed faith, Jesus and evangelism. We are so glad they came and pray the Lord continue to richly bless their ministry. Anyone who wants to hear an MP3 of Sproul and Phillips can acess it here with an introduction by Pastor David Thommen and Ligonier's Mel Duncan.

September 17, 2007  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (39 – His Coming in to Zacchaeus' House)

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost. – Luke 19:10

In all the gospel of Luke, we may encounter no more concise and compelling description of the Messianic task than that which we meet with at the end of this account: “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). In this declaration we may learn something of the person of Jesus, and his peculiar office: for he is the Son of Man, that is, the divine Messiah whom Daniel saw in his glory (Daniel 7:13-14). We may also learn of the nature of his work, which is to seek and to save. How appropriate it is that both these elements should be so admirably joined together, for we can no more seek for a Savior, than we can save ourselves (see Romans 3:10-11). Jesus did not come to a world that was clamoring for his grace, and then give it to them in response to their pleas. No, he came unto his own, and was despised and rejected (See Isaiah 53:3; John 1:11); he came unto a world that hated and opposed him, and was mocked and derided by all. Therefore, if he would save anyone, he must first seek him out and draw him. An effectual call must be joined to his effective sacrifice, or else the salvation transaction will never be completed. Ah, let us be grateful that Jesus did not merely come to announce a general offer of salvation, but that he came to seek the individual sinner, and to save him indeed! And finally, we may learn of the subjects of this mighty work of mercy: who are none other than the lost. Many there be in this world who do not consider themselves lost, and see no need of a Savior. Let us be certain that these will be lost indeed before they are ever saved. Jesus saves none but lost and hopeless sinners; and so we who are the chief of sinners may all the more fervently rejoice, for no other quality does the Savior require of men, than that they be as we, and unable to help save themselves.

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September 15, 2007  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Monergism Books Getting Major Upgrade!!!

Monergism Books Getting Major Upgrade!!! (pdf screenshot 1.2 Megabytes)

Completely Redesigned, Redeveloped, and Reformed - Coming VERY Soon. Big News!

September 13, 2007  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

I love the Trinity!

I love the Trinity. That's because I love God, and God is a Trinity.

Very few people have a firm grasp of the concept of the Trinity. It is important therefore to determine what we as Christians mean by the term. The doctrine of the Trinity, stated simply is that there is one eternal being of God, and this one being of God is shared by three co-equal, co-eternal persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is therefore one in essense and three in personality.

It is necessary here to distinguish between the terms "being" and "person." It would be a contradiction, obviously, to say that there are three beings within one being, or three persons within one person. There is no contradiction though because that is not what is being said at all. There is one eternal, infinite being of God, shared fully and completely by three persons, Father, Son and Spirit. One what and three who's.

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September 12, 2007  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (38 – His Receiving the Little Children)

And Jesus called them unto himself, saying, “Permit the children to come unto me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 18:16

Those of us whom our heavenly Father has blessed with children of our own may fully appreciate the immeasurably deep yearnings of parental love, which would have for our offspring nothing less than the eternal joy of knowing Christ our Savior, whom we have found in our own souls to be so satisfying; which is indeed the very compassion by which these who had found the delight of knowing Jesus were driven to bring their infant children to him, so that he might but touch them. Therefore, the Savior's response to these compassionate parents, and the manner in which he received their little children, quite contrary to the expectation of his disciples, is to us who are in the same circumstance a most precious glimpse indeed. And we may likewise be sure that all of us, whether we have children or not, may be most wonderfully instructed by the tender love of Jesus, and his words of wisdom which he takes opportunity to apply to all who would enter his Kingdom. Let us note precisely what it is that Jesus intimated on this blessed occasion, attempt to show how admirably consistent his comfortable doctrine is with the customary dealings of the Father throughout redemptive history, and finally draw a few applications from what we have learned.

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September 02, 2007  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink