"...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)

New Recommended Books for Children

The Big Book of Bible Truths 1 by Sinclair B. Ferguson
The Big Book of Bible Truths 2 by Sinclair B. Ferguson
A Catechism for Boys and Girls by Reformation Trust Today
Little Hands Life of Jesus by Carine Mackenzie
Moses the Shepherd: Chosen by God by Carine Mackenzie & Graham Kennedy
Moses the Traveller: Guided by God by Carine Mackenzie & Graham Kennedy

September 30, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

MP3 Library - This Week's Features

Here are 'This Week's Features' we have been working at the Monergism MP3 Library.

We have added the Celebrate Reformation Day to the main page of the MP3 Library. Reformation Day is celebrated on October 31st each year or the Sunday before or after. This day is a great holiday alternative to Halloween. Why not celebrate it by learning the history of this day with your small group, church, friends and family? It's important to cook some German sausage, German potato salad and German Chocolate cake for your guests. The Reformed churches here in Portland usually have a Reformation Day special service and focus on those biblical doctrines that were so important in the Reformation.

We have added sermons to the "Ask Pastor John" folders. One for John Piper and the other for John MacArthur. These folders are designed to be Q & A.

Desiring God Ministries National Conference had just finished up this weekend. Check out all the audio and video sermons from the conference.

We have added new sermons for Joseph Pipa Jr, Maurice Roberts, O. Palmer Robertson, Noel Piper and Carolyn McCulley.

These topics have new sermons: Homemaking, Hebrews: Consider Jesus Series, A Reformed-Charismatic Approach to ... and God Gave Pastors and Teachers Series.

September 30, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Review: Reformed Worship

Reformed Worship: Worship That Is According to Scripture
By Terry Johnson
Reformed Academic Press (2002)
Reviewed by Rob Hill
HT: Reformation 21

It has recently been noted in Christianity Today, among other places, that Reformed theology is enjoying a resurgence among the younger generation of Christians in America. [1] For that we can give thanks to God. It is questionable, however, whether Reformed worship is enjoying a similar resurgence. But can the two be legitimately separated? Terry Johnson, pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia, thinks they cannot. In his recent re-release book Reformed Worship: Worship that is According to Scripture (Reformed Academic Press: 2008), Johnson argues that we must return to "the simple, spiritual, reverent worship of the Calvinistic heritage... It alone can sustain and nurture Reformed faith and piety" (p. 59).

What makes Reformed worship distinctive? Johnson takes as his starting point John 4:24, where Jesus says, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." To "worship in truth" means that we worship according to Scripture, namely, only those ways that God has prescribed in his Word (also known historically as the Regulative Principle of Worship). But it also means that our worship should be filled with Scripture. One of the most disturbing aspects of much contemporary evangelical worship is its lack of biblical content; instead, Johnson says worship should be characterized by reading the Bible, preaching the Bible, singing the Bible, praying the Bible, and celebrating the sacraments as visible words. Biblical worship must also be "in spirit." This means, in Johnson's words, that worship should be "internal or of the heart," "simple," and "reverent."

Continue reading "Review: Reformed Worship" »

September 26, 2008  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (25 -- The Intercession of Moses)

And Moses returned unto Yahweh and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin, and they have made for themselves gods of gold; but now, if you will forgive their sin! but if not, blot me out, I ask, from your book which you have written.” – Exodus 32:31-32

Of all the offices and ministries that the Son of God has undertaken to enter into for his people, one of the most precious and comfortable is that of his unceasing intercession for those who belong to him. What troubles may not be vanquished, what doubts may not be dispelled, what fears and misgivings may not be put to flight, when the most desperate criminal but glimpses the Savior standing before the holy Father and pleading with him, “Let this sinner be forgiven! For I was indeed blotted out from the land of the living, that he might not be forever.”? Of this most precious office of Christ Jesus our Savior, the most outstanding type is Moses; and in this typical role, he shines the most brilliantly in his activity immediately following Israel's great sin with the golden calf.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (25 -- The Intercession of Moses)" »

September 26, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Regeneration: The Key to Believing the Truth

When Adam fell, the human race became, not stupid so that the truth was hard to understand, but inimical, to the acceptance of the truth. Men did not like to retain God in their knowledge and changed the truth of God into a lie, for the carnal mind is enmity against God. Hence the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, for the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned. In order to accept the Gospel, therefore, it is necessary to be born again. The abnormal, depraved intellect must be remade by the Holy Spirit; the enemy must be made a friend. This is the work of regeneration, and the heart of stone can be taken away and a heart of flesh can be given only by God himself. Resurrecting the man who is dead in sin and giving him a new life, far from being a human achievement, requires nothing less then almighty power.

It is therefore impossible by argument or preaching alone to cause anyone to believe the Bible. Only God can cause such belief. At the same time, this does not mean that argument is useless. Peter tells us, “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” This was the constant practice of the apostles. Stephen disputed with the Libertines; the Jerusalem council disputed; in Ephesus Paul disputed three months in the synagogue and then continued disputing in the school of Tyrannus. (Acts 6:9; 15:7; 19:8,9: compare Acts 17:2; 18:4, 19; 24:25). Anyone who is unwilling to argue, dispute, and reason is disloyal to his Christian duty.

Continue reading "Regeneration: The Key to Believing the Truth" »

September 25, 2008  |  Comments (5)   |  Permalink

Very Dogmatic?

Here's an e-mail I received today concerning the dogmatic beliefs of reformed people. I provided a brief response and hopefully it will be edifying for others to read.. lets all renounce pride in any form, for it is both very ugly and very subtle, yet at the same time, let us humble ourselves before God's holy word and the truth He has made clear. (My response is in bold) - John Samson

My son and I go back and forth about reformed doctrine all the time. I try to gleen from both thoughts. The Reformed doctrine is very dogmatic and leaves no room for,"we could be wrong".

Well both sides cannot be right as they teach mutually exclusive things.. I was once on the other side, so to speak - and while pride and arrogance lurks all around and sadly can often pervade our hearts, where God has made His truth clear, it is not humility to deny this. I believe scripture is clear that human will is not the ultimate cause of our election but God's mercy (Romans 9:16).

The truth is we are all living in error. There is none righteous, no not one.

Of course.. but that does not mean we cannot be sure of some things when God has clearly revealed it. I recently wrote an article in which I stated, "It is considered the height of arrogance and pride to say “I know the truth” about something. It is far more palatable to modern tastes to suggest merely that truth is mysterious and that none amongst us can be certain of anything. This seems far more humble, at least on the surface anyway.. and on a human level, it certainly helps us all get along to say “you have your truth, I have mine – and what is true for you may not be true for me, but I certainly respect your truth…” But there’s a big problem with this when we consider that God Himself, Truth personified, has claimed to reveal Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ and in His Word, the Bible. This speaks of truth that is true, whether or not we believe it, or as Dr. Francis Schaefer called it, "true truth.""

What if you as a reformed believer get to the Gates of Heaven after serving God all your life, and the Lord says,"sorry your name is not in the Lambs book of life, you are not one of the elect".

Continue reading "Very Dogmatic?" »

September 24, 2008  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ

"...looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." Titus 2:13,14

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:" 2 Peter 1:1

According to 1 Peter 3:15, we have a mandate from God to provide a reasoned defense of the faith to anyone who asks us for it. The Deity of Christ is certainly a doctrine at the heart of the Christian faith. The enemies of the Gospel are all around us and some of them, like Jehovah's Witnesses, attempt to appeal to the original language of the New Testament to dismiss the idea that Christ is God. At this link here you will see (on a youtube video) New Testament scholar, Dr. James White provide a brief response to a caller who was challenged by a Jehovah's Witness concerning the Granville Sharp Rule in Greek and its application in Titus 2:13. Although brief (just over 7 minutes in length), it is an excellent response and well worth seeing.

September 23, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (24 -- The Giving of the Law)

And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out from the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because Yahweh descended upon it in fire, and its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook exceedingly. – Exodus 19:16-18

The occasion of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, when God went down in terrible glory to meet with his people whom he had redeemed, and to speak with them audibly, and to declare to them all his will and commandments, would forever afterward shape the character of the nation of Israel, and serve as the unalterable foundation upon which she was built, dictating the nature of her relationship with God, showing with manifold precision the way in which she must ever conduct herself, and forecasting with implacable exactness the response that Yahweh would have to any covenant unfaithfulness that should be found in her. It was the Law that should serve as the greatest self-revelation of Yahweh until the coming of his perfect and final self-revelation in the eternal Word; and so it was the Law that should come to the fore again and again in all the poetic writings of David, in the thundering condemnations and announcements of judgment that the prophets brought down against rebellious Israel, and in the sweet glimpses of conquering mercy and steadfast covenant love with which they bound up the remnant of grace. The Law was the very backbone of God's pre-incarnational revelation: and so it is most appropriate that the Law should prefigure and teach of Christ in several diverse ways, which we will now consider.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (24 -- The Giving of the Law)" »

September 19, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Saved by Grace: The Holy Spirit's Work in Calling and Regeneration

Description: In the late nineteenth century, two distinct reform movements coming out of the Dutch State Reformed Church (the Afscheiding of 1834 and the Doleantie of 1886) merged to form The Reformed Churches of the Netherlands ( De Geereformeerde Kerken in Nederland). While both groups had much in common, there remained fundamental points of disagreement, which erupted into controversies over such doctrines as immediate regeneration and presumptive regeneration.

In Saved by Grace, Herman Bavinck discusses God’s gracious work in bringing fallen sinners to new life and salvation. He gives a careful historical analysis that shows how Reformed theologians have wrestled to understand and express the Holy Spirit’s work in calling and regeneration since the seventeenth century. Bavinck also brings exegetical precision and theological clarity to the discussion, carefully avoiding the errors of undervaluing and overvaluing the use of means in work of salvation. This book, therefore, takes up questions with which every new generation of Reformed writers must grapple.

About the Author
Herman Bavinck (1854–1921) succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University in Amsterdam in 1902. His Reformed Dogmatics is a standard text for modern Reformed theology.

About the Translator
Nelson Kloosterman has translated The Ten Commandments and Principles of Christian Ethics by Dutch theologian J. Douma as well as Preaching and the History of Salvation by C. Trimp. Dr. Kloosterman has written a number of Bible studies and serves as co-editor of the Mid-America Journal of Theology. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

About the Editor
J. Mark Beach brings a wealth of practical experience to his Ministerial Studies classes. Dr. Beach is interested in Reformation and Post-Reformation Reformed Theology as well as practical theology. He believes that Reformed and Presbyterian churches greatly benefit from exploring and rediscovering the rich heritage of the Reformed tradition. Dr. Beach regularly preaches in local churches, has written study materials for youths and adults, and has translated a book on baptism. He is also the managing editor of and frequent contributor to the Mid-America Journal of Theology.

Available at Monergism Books

September 17, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

CPRF | Christian Publication Resource Foundation

We are delighted to report to you that this last week we were approved to form a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called CPRF | Christian Publication Resource Foundation. We currently employ a small team of people to develop, mine, build and maintain Christian content and applications that benefit tens of thousands individuals and churches around the world. Some of the ministries that CPRF currently directs and oversees are,,, Monergism MP3 Library, and the Hall of Contemporary Reformers.

All donations to CPRF are tax deductible and will help support the development and maintenance of these online ministries. We are encouraged and deeply comforted to know that many of you earnestly pray for our ministry. Likewise you are often in our prayers that Jesus Chirst would be formed in you, that your lives might increasingly reflect His image and spread abroad the fragrance of the glories of His name through His gospel in you. We pray that the Holy Spirit might awaken His slumbering church to the amazing redemptive message of salvation by grace ALONE in Christ Alone.

We are working daily on issues that you have told us are close to your heart - We know you are deeply concerned about the recovery of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time, as are we. We thank God daily for his mercy toward us in Christ. We also confess that faith does not spring from our unregenerated human nature (1 Cor 2:14) but rather springs from the working of God's regnerative grace in us (John 6:63-65) to open our eyes, unplug our ears and grant us a new heart that we might be united to Christ and His redemptive benefits. A blind man cannot see if a flashlight shines into his eyes but needs new eyes to see. Likewise those who are spiritually blind cannot see on their own but need the Holy Spirit to give them new eyes and a new heart. We thank the Lord that He is using CPRF first and foremost to highlight the gospel and the Biblical truth of monergistic regeneration and that it is finding its way to more and more people around the world. This is where the rubber meets the road and where the battle has raged in and against the church from the beginning. What people believe about this issue is crucial in revealing the degree and sufficiency to which one believes Christ redeems us. All of grace or partly of grace? What makes one to differ? Jesus alone or Jesus plus something else?

We continue to daily add content and new websites so that now has by far become the largest Reformed website in the world with tens of thousands of essays and Mp3s. As many of you know, with the help of our engineering team, we recently completed the new Monergism MP3 Library with dozens of new quality MP3s added each week.. Our team needs your prayers and support to develop and maintain the Christ-honoring content and applications that we daily mine and produce. May the Lord richly bless you and shine HIs face upon you as you minister to others in and through your calling in the world.

How you can help

September 15, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

New Featured MP3s

Last week at the Monergism MP3 Library, the following pages were updated:

Updated the Wayne Grudem - Systematic Theology Sunday School Classes at Scottsdale Bible Church. Currently even more complete than the Scottsdale's folder.

New sermons in the Richard L. Pratt Jr. and Terry L. Johnson speaker folders. Also some Tim Keller Q&A

Added new sermons in the Womanhood, Equipped: for Small Group Leadership, and the Puritan Studies folders.

September 15, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Free Market of Ideas

With all the problems in our political system, One thing I am thankful for in the USA is that it recognizes people's limitations and innate capacity for corruption. The founders were forward looking enough to understand that we are corrupt by nature and thus needed be limited by a balance of power and a rule of law so that no one person or group of persons could get too much of it. Agreeing with this fundamental insight, the worst prospect imaginable, in my mind, is a theocracy on any side, because people will always be corrupted by power, whether religious or irreligious. So I oppose the idea of any statism ... whether it be secular or religious in nature. We should be a secular state because plurality is a fact. But we should not be a secularist state. The difference is between a fact and a philosophy. Philosophical Secularism can become just as dangerous as any theocracy. So my view is to oppose both religious and secular brand theocracies. I say, may there ever be a free market of ideas with no censorship in the public square of anyone. May 100 flowers bloom but may the best ideas prevail so long as other ideas are always allowed to be freely spoken. Anyone who believes they have truth should not fear such a state of affairs. I know that theonomists will be aghast at such a thought. So be it.

Because of this I tend to vote for persons who want to limit the size of government, not expand it ...who want to bring down man from his perch, rather than grant him more powers. Unfortunately the size of government in the US is growing every year and the original vision is thereby getting clouded. Public education should be a place where all voices pro and con are allowed to be expressed. As it is now, only the secular progressivist voices are being heard in that part of the public square and it reeks of totalitarianism.

September 12, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (23 -- The Church in the Wilderness)

And they came to Elim; and there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees there; and they camped there by the water. – Exodus 14:13-14

After God had redeemed his people from their slavery in Egypt, and destroyed Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea, it is very significant that he did not immediately whisk them away to the promised land, but rather brought them first by slow degrees through a barren wilderness, where they sojourned and camped as pilgrims, and by heavenly supply fitted them with all the necessary provisions for their journey until they had finally reached their destination in Canaan. In this arrangement, we see an indication of the state of the Church on earth, which has already been redeemed, and for whom the victory has already been won, but which must nevertheless press on through the wilderness of sin as a company of strangers and pilgrims until she should finally reach her home in the promised land of God's presence. It is most fitting, therefore, that this time of wandering is filled up with so many precious glimpses of the person and various ministries of Christ, who continually sustains his Church in the time of her sojourn. About these diverse types and images, we will now inquire in a little more detail.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (23 -- The Church in the Wilderness)" »

September 12, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Christian Baptism

I know that many of this blog's readers (and contributors!) don't share my conviction regarding paedobaptism (lit., "infant baptism"); I'm glad we can still get along so well! I used to be an ardent anti-paedobaptist (and I use this term because people on both sides are "credobaptists," thinking that believers ought to be baptized). But after much study and many conversations, the baptism of believers' children is something I've come to believe is biblical (there's no other good reason to believe in it).

As good Christians often disagree strongly on the matter, there is a potential threat to loving unity in the Church. One factor in this is that the Presbyterian (as differentiated from the Roman Catholic) perspective on infant baptism is often misunderstood and caricatured. In the pursuit of civility between brethren who differ on the matter, then, I thought I'd post the mp3 of this sermon that I preached on Acts 2.36-39 at Intown Presbyterian Church (Portland, OR) on August 24, 2008.

It's a sermon—not a systematics lecture intended to answer everyone's questions. But hopefully it will help anti-paedobaptists to understand how their paedobaptist brothers and sisters can desire to glorify God through the baptism of their children.

September 11, 2008  |  Comments (17)   |  Permalink

Some of Our Most Highly Recommended Books

The following are books (or sets of books) that, due to their literary and theological excellence, we believe should have a permanent place in your library. In the case of the selected books, these not only are theologically sound but Christ-centered and enriching to the soul.

1) Theology of John Owen Bundle 3 Vol. Set (includes The Glory of Christ, Communion with God, and Holy Spirit)
2) The Christian In Complete Armour - by William Gurnall
3) The Crook in the Lot - by Thomas Boston
4) The Sovereignty of God - by Arthur W. Pink
5) The Valley of Vision - by ed. Arthur Bennett
6) Knowing God - by J.I. Packer
7) A Quest for Godliness - by J.I. Packer
8) The Religious Affections - by Jonathan Edwards
9) The Fear of God - by John Bunyan
10) When Grace Comes Home: How the Doctrines of Grace Change Your Life - by Terry Johnson
11) God's Passion for His Glory - by John Piper, Jonathan Edwards
12) Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Vol Set) - by John Calvin

More Highly Recommmended Books by Topic

September 11, 2008  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Expositors Conference - Revisited

I often enjoy checking out the web site of Pastor Steve Weaver found here. I was doing so today and read about something I know I should have mentioned a long, long time ago here, namely, last year's Expositors Conference. I was truly blessed by this material (though I could not attend the Conference last year, I have heard the messages a number of times) and mention it here, so that others can gain the benefits too. (The next Conference is less than a month away, October 6, 7, with Dr. Steve Lawson and Dr. Ligon Duncan.) Anyway - here's what Pastor Weaver wrote:

"This past October a conference on expository preaching was held at Christ Fellowship Church in Mobile, AL. The speakers last year were Pastor Steven Lawson and Dr. John MacArthur. This conference offers wonderful examples of (in Lawson’s opening and closing messages) and arguments for expository preaching. There is no one that I enjoy hear preaching about preaching than Steven Lawson (maybe John Piper). His passion stirs my soul. John MacArthur is speaking out of 40 years experience of expository preaching and describes the practical benefits that he has observed over the course of his ministry. If you need to be convinced of the value of expository preaching or encouraged in its practice, then listen to these lectures/messages... Enjoy."

Session 1: The Invincible Weapon Dr. Steven J. Lawson (Hebrews 4:12-13)
Session 2: What is Expository Preaching? Dr. Steven J. Lawson
Session 3: Why I Am Committed to Expository Preaching I Dr. John MacArthur
Session 4: Why I Am Committed to Expository Preaching II Dr. John MacArthur
Session 5: Expositors Conference Question and Answer Session
Session 6: The Ten How To’s of Expository Preaching Dr. Steven J. Lawson
Session 7: Famine in the Land Dr. Steven J. Lawson (Amos 8:11)

All of these messages can be found here . I recommend them very highly - Rev. John Samson

September 10, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Big Bangs... Big Bucks... Big Leaps?

"At 12:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, scientists on the Franco-Swiss border will flip the switch on the Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile underground ring where subatomic particles will be accelerated to astonishing speeds and then smashed into each other. It'll be months before any usable data comes out from the experiments, but the so-called "Big Bang machine" already has physicists salivating at the prospect of unlocking the mysteries of the universe..."

I think its interesting - some people are ever so excited because a fine team of scientists are working ever so hard around the clock (and have done so for quite some time), using their combined high intelligences and cutting edge skills to seek to replicate what they believe to be the BIG BANG in a controlled environment.. and, here's what we know.. if this thing works, many will no doubt point to it to try to prove that the Universe came about by a random act of "chance," without the need for any Intelligence behind it at all. :-)

full story here

September 09, 2008  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Dr. Michael Horton interviews Dr. R. C. Sproul

With the topic being Christless Christianity and the state of Evangelicalism today, Dr. Michael Horton interviews Dr. R. C. Sproul on the White Horse Inn (approx. 54 minutes):

September 09, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Christless Christianity by Dr. Michael Horton (new book coming soon)

Available very soon is a new book by Dr. Michael Horton called "Christless Christianity." Thabiti M. Anyabwile, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman describes this new work as follows: “Horton has ably helped us see the train wreck that is so much of popular Christianity... A more important and timely volume could not have been written.” Here is a 5 minute video by Dr. Horton about it...

September 06, 2008  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Around the Web

What Everybody Should Know About God - Gospel Presentation

Paul & Timothy Conference
The Conference is designed to help today’s church catch the vision of pre-eldership ministry. From the Pastoral Epistles (particularly the book of Timothy) we will be challenging young men to preach the Word, seek ministry mentorship, and to avoid prematurely taking up the office of elder/pastor. The church as whole will be challenged to create a space for young, aspiring preachers to minister in their years before being eligible for church office. In addition to this, we are encouraging everyone that registers (men, women, young and old) to be involved in the work of evangelism, beginning now! This is inspired by Paul’s charge to Timothy, (do the work of an evangelist). The Friday night portion of the conference will be free to all non-registrants, and will be an engaging evangelistic presentation. We encourage everyone who registers to bring friends, family, co-workers and neighbors who have not yet personally trusted in the work of Christ on Calvary. Also see their blog

Reformed Books

September 05, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (22 -- The Crossing of the Red Sea)

And Moses said unto the people, “Do not fear, stand fast and behold the salvation of Yahweh which he will perform for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never again see any more. Yahweh will fight for you – so you, be still”. – Exodus 14:13-14

The effectuation of God's delivering his people from their bondage in Egypt, as we have often observed before, tended in many particulars to two diverse, yet complementary ends: which are the glory of his just wrath and fury, which is displayed in his fierce judgments against the Egyptian people; and the glory of his free mercy and covenant faithfulness, which is displayed in his redeeming the children of Israel, and bringing them out from the house of slavery. These two facets of God's glory, as different as they are, do not detract from each other, but rather serve to set each other off with a more distinct and brilliant luster, the severity of the judgments underscoring the depth of the calamity that awaits those who have not known mercy, and thereby magnifying the greatness of God's grace, which, when sin and wrath abounded in full measure, still abounded even more (cf. Romans 5:20-21). The stubbornness of Pharaoh, whose heart God had hardened for this purpose, brings out this various glory in greater measure; for the heavy and unyielding hand which he laid upon God's people made necessary a very strong and admirable salvation, if God were to bring them out from his cruel oppression, and at the same time provided cause for the ongoing and ever-increasing displays of God's wrath and punishment upon the land of Egypt. This twofold glory was most poignantly displayed in the first Passover, when the Angel of the Lord, who is Christ, poured out God's final cup of wrath upon his enemies, and put them all to a violent death; and yet, on the day of judgment, he mercifully passed over all those who were covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb, who underwent his bloody judgment in their place. Now, as the great and manifold glory of Christ was admirably displayed in the climax of the redemption from Egypt, that is, in the Passover celebration; so would it also be displayed in the culmination of the redemption from Egypt, in at least two marvelous ways, which are, first, the appearance of the pillar of cloud and fire; and second, the crossing of the Red Sea. And thus, in order that this diverse excellence of Christ might be brought to its final display, God hardened Pharaoh's heart yet again, so that he pursued the children of Israel into the wilderness, after he had once let them go.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (22 -- The Crossing of the Red Sea)" »

September 05, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

On the Birth of Our Daughter

At 10:32 P.M., on Labor Day, September 1st, 2008, God interwove his covenant faithfulness and mercy with the miserable effects of the ancient curse on the woman (see Genesis 3:15-16), and miraculously changed the tortured cries of birthpangs into the joy and triumph of new life. This was both a shadow-reminder of what he had done through Christ Jesus our Lord, some two thousand years ago, when he worked the greatest mercy through the deepest anguish, bringing eternal salvation out of the tortured cries of our Savior, who was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), who became the curse that our rebellion deserved (Galatians 3:13), and who, through that unspeakable suffering, flooded the wicked world of darkness and despair with the joyful beams of light and life (cf. John 16:20-22); and it was also a sign and promise of what he will complete someday, turning the birthpangs of this cursed world into the eternal joy of redemption, in a new heavens and new earth, where righteousness dwells (Romans 8:18-25; 2 Peter 3:13-14). It is only fitting, as we pause to consider the mighty thing that God has done for us this day, that we take advantage of this opportunity to commemorate the mighty and merciful triumph of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Continue reading "On the Birth of Our Daughter" »

September 03, 2008  |  Comments (5)   |  Permalink

West Linn Reformed Bible Study / Church Plant

Immanuel’s Reformed Church of Salem, in conjunction with several West Linn families, would like to invite anyone that has an interest in learning about Christ Centered, Reformed Doctrine to attend the West Linn Reformed Bible Study, starting September 19, 2008 at the West Linn Adult Center. Leading the eight week Bible study will be Pastor Eric Tuininga, from Immanuel’s Reformed Church. Doctrines that are taught each week will be grounded in Scripture alone and summarized in the Reformed Confessions (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dordt).

It is our prayer that this Bible study will bring a core group of families together that have a passion for the gospel, which is the announcement of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. God willing, these families will be the core of a new United Reformed Church in West Linn.

If you feel God’s leading to become part of a new church plant in West Linn, or just want to learn more about Reformed Doctrine, please join us!

West Linn Reformed Bible Study / Church Plant

September 02, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink