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"...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)

Book Review: Lord and Servant, by Michael S. Horton

Synopsis: In Lord and Servant, Michael Horton has argued, meticulously and adroitly, that a truly biblical christology cannot be got at except through the lens of a strictly biblical covenant theology. What it is to be God cannot finally be arrived at through the metaphysical and ontological categories of the philosophers, for God will ultimately be known only as he reveals himself through his mighty saving acts as the Lord of the Covenant. What it is to be man, in the image of God, can only be apprehended through the ethical and relational parameters of covenant responsibility. Hence, the covenant is necessarily the locus in which we meet Christ, at once the Lord and Servant of the covenant, who both reveals the nature of the covenant God and brings man to his intended position as the ruling representative of God on earth. Irenic in tone, academic in presentation, and engaging a wide spectrum of opposing viewpoints, this work is sure to be a conservative standard for all who would stay up-to-date on the contemporary conversation about the person of Christ and the nature and design of the atonement.

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November 29, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (34 -- The Year of Jubilee)

And you shall count for yourself seven weeks of years, seven years seven times; and the days of the seven weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine years. And you shall sound forth the trumpet blast on the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month; on the Day of Atonement you shall sound forth the trumpet in all your land. And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and you shall proclaim liberty in the land to all its inhabitants: it shall be a jubilee for you, and you shall return each man to his possession, and each man to his family you shall return. – Leviticus 25:8-10

In all the Levitical laws concerning the sabbaths and solemn feasts, the children of Israel were reminded to look backward to the wonderful works of God in the past, by which he had created the world in perfect splendor and made it altogether suitable for man's joyful habitation; and then, after mankind's first rebellion, had made great promises of a better restoration, and taken great steps to that end; but also, they were admonished by these holy times to look forward to the true fulfillment and culmination of the redemption thereby testified to and sealed, and even tasted, as it were, if but for a day. Thus, on the day of the Sabbath, the Israelites remembered God's perfect creation, and how he entered into the joy of resting in what he had accomplished, and likewise brought in his image-bearing creature, man, to enjoy that rest together with him; and they also would remember, a little later, how Joshua had brought them into their promised land of rest (save only that generation that murmured and doubted, and were destroyed in the wilderness); but even after that entrance into Canaan, the Psalmist spoke of another rest that remained for the people (Psalm 95:7-11; Hebrews 4:7-10); by which he meant that rest which Christ would accomplish for those who are his, working so that they might rest in his sufficiency, and so be brought in to the eternal rest in the New Jerusalem. In the same way, as we have just seen, the feasts taught the people to remember God's redemptive works in the past, and to look through them to the anti-typical redemptive works of Christ in the future, which should provide for and ensure the eternal enjoyment of those things the feasts merely symbolized and hinted at.

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November 28, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

God has preserved His word

1 Peter 3:15 "but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.."

Does the figure of approximately 400,000 textual variants in the New Testament bother you? (that works out to be around 3 variants per word!) In the light of this seemingly staggering number, how do you defend your faith in the inspiration and accurate transmission of the word of God? Can you do it? Can you defend your faith or will you be unprepared and embarassed when the mockers and sceptics quote this figure? And if you are a shepherd of God's people, are you preparing the sheep under your care so that they are not open prey to the savage wolves seeking to devour them?

Actually the figure of 400,000 is VERY misleading, but unless a person knows some of the background issues involved in this field, they can be caught completely off guard by this in a conversation.

Just below you will find a very informative hour long youtube presentation by Dr. James White on the subject of the reliability of the New Testament (in the light of textual variants). This may at one time have been something only scholars needed to be familiar with, but this is no longer the case. Now that the critics have such a voice in our day, each of us as Bible believing Christians need to know something about this matter so that we can defend our faith in Holy Scripture. - John Samson

TEXTUAL VARIANTS AND THE RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT with Dr. James White www.aomin.org

November 26, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Justification by Faith Alone (John Piper Interview)

Found on the internet here - John Piper interviewed by Mike Reeves in a 25 minute interview from the United Kingdom regarding the clarity and urgency of the doctrine of sola fide (justification by faith alone).

November 26, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Advent Readings

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Nancy Guthrie has put together an anthology of 22 choice Advent readings called Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus ... which include a good mixture of classic and contemporary writers. Here is a sample chapter:


Contemplating Christmas by George Whitefield

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

It was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world. What, shall we not remember the birth of our Jesus? Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king, and shall that of the King of kings be quite forgotten? Shall that only, which ought to be had chiefly in remembrance, be quite forgotten? God forbid! No, my dear brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior’s love never be forgotten! But may we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above! May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, forever and ever! And as, my brethren, the time for keeping this festival is approaching, let us consider our duty in the true observation thereof, of the right way for the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; an event which ought to be had in eternal remembrance.

What can we do to employ our time to a more noble purpose than reading of what our dear Redeemer has done and suffered; to read that the King of kings and the Lord of lords came from his throne and took upon him the form of the meanest of his servants; and what great things he underwent. This, this is a history worth reading, this is worth employing our time about: and surely, when we read of the sufferings of our Savior, it should excite us to prayer, that we might have an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ; that the blood which he spilt upon Mount Calvary, and his death and crucifixion, might make an atonement for our sins, that we might be made holy; that we might be enabled to put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, even the Lord Jesus Christ; that we may throw away the heavy yoke of sin, and put on the yoke of the
Lord Jesus Christ.

Indeed, my brethren, these things call for prayer, and for earnest prayer too; and O do be earnest with God, that you may have an interest in this Redeemer, and that you may put on his righteousness, so that you may not come before him in your filthy rags, nor be found not having on the wedding garment. O do not, I beseech you, trust unto yourselves for justification; you cannot, indeed, you cannot be justified by the works of the law. I entreat that your time may be thus spent; and if you are in company, let your time be spent in that conversation which profiteth: let it not be about your dressing, your plays, your profits, or your worldly concerns, but let it be the wonders of redeeming love. O tell, tell to each other what great things the Lord has done for your souls; declare unto one another how you were delivered from the hands of your common enemy, Satan, and how the Lord has brought your feet from the clay and has set them upon the rock of ages, the Lord Jesus Christ; there, my brethren, is no slipping. Other conversation, by often repeating, you become fully acquainted with, but of Christ there is always something new to raise your thoughts; you can never want when the love of the Lord Jesus Christ is the subject. So let Jesus be the subject, my brethren, of all your conversation. Let your time be spent on him: O this, this is an employ, which if you belong to Jesus, will last you to all eternity.

Let me beseech you to have a regard, a particular regard to your behavior, at this time; for indeed the eyes of all are upon you, and they would rejoice much to find any reason to complain of you. They can say things against us without a cause; and how would they rejoice if there was wherewith they might blame us? Then they would triumph and rejoice indeed; and all your little slips, my dear brethren, are, and would be charged upon me. O at this time, when the eyes of so many are upon you, be upon your guard; and if you use the good things of this life with moderation, you do then celebrate this festival in the manner which the institution calls for.

And instead of running into excess, let that money, which you might expend to pamper your own bodies, be given to feed the poor; now, my brethren, is the season in which they commonly require relief; and sure you cannot act more agreeable, either to the season, to the time, or for the glory of God, than in relieving his poor distressed servants. Consider, Christ was always willing to relieve the distressed; it is his command also; and can you better commemorate the birth of your King, your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, than in obeying one of his commands?

Inquire strictly into your end and design in spending your time; see, my brethren, whether it proceeds from a true love to your Redeemer, or whether there is not some worldly pleasure or advantage at the bottom: if there is, our end is not right; but if it proceed entirely from love to him that died and gave himself for us, our actions will be a proof thereof; then our time will be spent, not in the polite pleasures of life, but according to the doctrine and commands of the blessed Jesus; then our conversation will be in heaven; and O that this might be found to be the end of each of you who now hear me; then we should truly observe this festival and have a true regard to the occasion thereof, that of Christ’s coming to redeem the souls of those which were lost.

Let me now conclude, my dear brethren, with a few words of exhortation, beseeching you to think of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Did Jesus come into the world to save us from death, and shall we spend no part of our time in conversing about our dear Jesus; shall we pay no regard to the birth of him who came to redeem us from the worst of slavery, from that of sin, and the devil; and shall this Jesus not only be born on our account, but likewise die in our stead, and yet shall we be unmindful of him? Shall we spend our time in those things which are offensive to him? Shall we not rather do all we can to promote his glory and act according to his command?

O my dear brethren, be found in the ways of God; let us not disturb our dear Redeemer by any irregular proceedings; and let me beseech you to strive to love, fear, honor, and obey him, more than ever you have done yet; let not the devil engross your time, and that dear Savior who came into the world on your accounts have so little. O be not so ungrateful to him who has been so kind to you! What could the Lord Jesus Christ have done for you more than he has? Then do not abuse his mercy, but let your time be spent in thinking and talking of the love of Jesus, who was incarnate for us, who was born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem us from the wrath to come.

Available at Monergism Books

November 25, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Book Review: Bible Overview, by Steve Levy

Synopsis: As many bible handbooks, surveys, and overviews as are already in print, a reader may glance at the non-descript title Bible Overview, groan, and wonder, “Why another one?”. Such at least was my initial reaction; but it took only a few pages for me to realize that this is a different kind of bible overview, which fills an urgent need, and which I cannot recommend highly enough. It's a simple enough book, really: easy-to-follow, down-to-earth writing, peppered with homey illustrations and straightforward explanations; but what it says is so certainly true, so earth-shatteringly important, and yet sadly, so often overlooked today, that it has a value which far outweighs its unacademic presentation. This is a book written for ordinary, unknowledgeable Christians, to help them see the whole point of the scriptures in spite of their lack of acquaintance with the outlandish and inexplicable customs and cultures of their original settings; but it should also be read by scholars and theologians who likewise miss the whole point of the scriptures even in the midst of all their erudite research into those same difficult questions.

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November 24, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

John's Letter to Timothy

... No, not that "John" or that "Timothy" - just an e-mail interchange between myself (John Samson) and a gentleman by the name of Timothy. I thought that perhaps this could be helpful to others who are seeking to understand the doctrines of grace and why we believe them to be biblical. My comments are in bold so that you can follow along and see which one of us is writing.

Timothy writes: John, Thank you for your response. It is rare these days to find a forum where people are actually willing to discuss these issues in a meaningful way.

My pleasure Timothy.

Could I raise a couple of further points? 1.) How would a calvinist approach praying for someone's salvation? Surely the big question to be resolved before doing so is: "is this person predestined to be saved". Of not, prayer, etc is a waste of time, surely? Isn't one always left wondering whether their witnessing / prayer is not in vain? Can one expect the Lord to reveal to us whom He has chosen so we don't waste our time (I think not)?

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November 21, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (33 -- The Holy Feasts of Israel)

And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, 'These are the appointed feasts of Yahweh which you shall proclaim as my holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts'”. – Leviticus 23:1-2

In many ways and at many different places in the book of Leviticus, we have encountered the theme of holiness to the Lord as that one central motif which binds everything together, and gives all the diverse regulations a unity and singularity of purpose: in the tabernacle, the children of Israel had a holy place, where they might meet with their holy God; in the laws of morality and cleanness, they were shown the way to be set apart from sin and the world as a holy people, among whom the holy God might dwell; in the laws concerning the sacrifices and the priesthood, they were given a way to be cleansed and made holy in spite of all their failures to follow God's Law, so that the tabernacle might remain a holy place, and they might continue to be a holy people living in the presence of the holy God. Of course, all this emphasis on holiness led the children of Israel straight to their promised Messiah, who would be the true tabernacle, bringing the very presence of the holy God down to men; and also the true Sacrifice, offered up to make men holy, the true Priest, bringing them out from the world of sin and uncleanness, the true Law-keeper, able always to stand in the thrice-holy presence of God, and so on. In light of this history, it should come as no surprise that the next portion of Leviticus, in which the sacred feasts of Yahweh are detailed, is likewise underscored by the need for holiness, and designed to lead to Christ the Savior: just as the people of Israel were to be a holy nation; just as the tabernacle was to be a holy place; and just as all the worship rituals were to be holy activities; so the appointed feasts were to be holy times. And furthermore, even as all the elements preceding the discussion of these feasts pointed ahead to a better and more lasting fulfillment in the days of the Messiah, so it was with the feasts too: just as, when the Messiah came, he would make his people utterly holy, cleansing their conscience indeed (Hebrews 10:9-14); and just as he would make the whole world their holy place, ensuring its entire recreation as a world where righteousness dwells (John 4:21-24; 2 Peter 3:13); so also would he make all the time of his people holy time, and would ensure an eternity set apart for them to enjoy his holy presence (Hebrews 4:9-11).

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November 21, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

The following is an excerpt of a discussion here on Reformation Theology following in response to John Samson's fine essay on Wrestling with Predestination and Election. If this current post is of interest to you then I would encourage you to go there afterwards to read Pastor John's post and the interesting discussion that follows.

Question:
John. Thank you for your reply, which has got me thinking (esp. the part about why some respond to the gospel and others don't). There is one issue I would love to hear your thoughts on. Calvinists always talk of the bondage of the will, etc and how one cannot come to Christ apart from a supernatural work (regeneration). How then does one explain the fact that some men found favour with God in the Old Testament, when they were unregenerate. Eg Joshua and Caleb whom the Lord said had a "different spirit" about them. Where did this believing spirit come from? Or what about Abraham, the father of our faith. The Bible holds him up as the ultimate example of faith, and yet he was unregenerate. Or why did Jesus marvel at the centurion's faith (if this faith was, according to calvinists, from God in the first place). In all these cases, it would seem the person themself found favour with God without being regenerated first (or at all). In fact, the whole Old Testament needs to be explained (with some believing and some not)as no one was regenerated then. I look forward to your thoughts.

Answer:
Thanks again for your important question which deserves an answer....

you said >>>>>How then does one explain the fact that some men found favour with God in the Old Testament, when they were unregenerate.

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November 20, 2008  |  Comments (14)   |  Permalink

CPRF | Christian Publication Resource Foundation

Visit the Non-Profit Organization that makes Monergism.com possible:
CPRF | Christian Publication Resource Foundation

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November 20, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

In a Few Days our Walk Will be Over

"...blessed be God, the days of man are now shortened, and in a few days our walk will be over. The Judge is before the door: he that cometh will come, and will not tarry: his reward is with him. And we shall all (if we are zealous for the Lord of hosts) ere long shine as the stars in the firmament, in the kingdom of our heavenly Father, for ever and ever. To Him, the blessed Jesus, and eternal Spirit, be all honor and glory, now, and to all eternity. Amen, and Amen." George Whitefield from his sermon Walking with God
November 17, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Always Be Prepared to Provide A Reasoned Defense

"...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..." 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)

Dr. James White is currently ministering in London, England, and this talk, given yesterday, may be useful to those who are just being introduced to the topic of apologetics as well as those who are more familiar with the subject. The video contains the talk as well as a question and answer session, and lasts approximately 92 minutes. May I therefore suggest that for full cultural impact, and if it is possible, you sit down with a hot cup of English tea and watch this able defender of the faith as he explains his motivations and methods in doing so. (I guess you can still do this with a cup of coffee too, but something beneficial, and very English, may be lost). :-)

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November 16, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Book Review: Faith on Trial, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Synopsis: Although the ancient psalmists of Israel were holy men of God, who wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they were also deeply human, and were not above honestly describing their struggles and temptations, as well as the truths they discovered and the hopes that they clung to, in order to find victory at last in the grip of a sovereign and merciful God. In Martyn Lloyd-Jones' masterful study of Psalm 73, this truth comes to the fore; and what worked for the psalmist is painstakingly distilled and analyzed, and put into a modern context, where Lloyd-Jones is certain that it will work for readers today, who face the same overwhelming problems of perplexity and despair in suffering. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, by common attestation, was a skilled physician of the body; but in this work, the reader will encounter indisputable truth that he was also a physician of the soul, whose skill to apply sure remedies to deeply hurting souls is perhaps unrivaled in today's world.

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November 15, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Marriage is Defined by Love not Dogma?

Before I start I want to make it clear that Scripture does not conceive of the church's primary role in the world as one of opposing public immorality through political means. This is because in doing so we promote the law without the lawgiver. This message gives the world the impression that if they just changed their behavior patterns then all would be okay but we all know this simply is not the case. The problem is with our nature, not the mere symptoms of that nature. So our first essential as Christians is to witness to the historic fact of the resurrection, to pray for our friends, to worship, and, by grace, to live pious & holy lives. This witness, is ultimately the only one that matters in influencing society at a root level. If there is to be a vast change of public ideas of morals, it would have to come through the grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by an imperial edict or judicial ruling. The hostility of unrgenerate hearts must be disarmed so they love the law so if we are to make a global impact, our proclimation of the law must be accompanied by the gospel. Culture wars generally tends to have the opposite effect on people. Laws do very little to change people's thinking or heart's disposition. And there is no evidence that Jesus went out of his way to take on any political causes, probably because, in themselves, they do have any power to change hearts.

Of course, many wanted Jesus to be a political organizer but that wasn't His interest (except in an eschatological sense). So because of this I have always viewed moralizing crusades with great suspicion. Jesus' did not mistake any symptomatic aspect of our lost condition--sexual depravity, greed, poverty, war, ignorance--from the root cause (depravity) and remedy of that alienation: the gospel. So as Christians we should not distinguish ourselves by obsessing on the various homosexual and other political agendas. Of course when we vote, we must vote our conscience according to Biblical standards. But, considering the recent events in California, it is clear that homosexuality has by no means outpaced heterosexuality in the committing acts of evil.

I say all this as a preface to some of the strange arguments coming from the pro-homosexual "marriage" rights people in California. I saw in front of some megachurches the holding up of protest signs with slogans such as this: "Marriage is Defined by Love not Dogma?" Look at this statement very closely. The slogan is severely problematic. It is a atrocious argument for the reason that it is essentially a dishonest statement. How? you ask. It is dishonest because it is distraction from itself. This is because the slogan that decries dogma is itself is inherently dogmatic. It is not neutral as it would have one believe. When someone says "Marriage is defined by love not dogma", is this not itself dogma? Is this concept not someones' arbitrary preference based on someones' self-declared authority? If the placard was honest it would say what they really mean which is: "marriage is defined by my dogma, not yours." But instead they have chosen a sleight of hand type argument. Unfortunately this is how most debates (on a variety of issues) are conducted these days and if you watch out closely for each persons presuppositions you can expose such hypocricy from the start. The honest thing to do from the start is to acknowledge that there is no neutrality and we all have core beliefs or dogmas. The question isn't love versus dogma but rather, which dogma will be imposed on our society.

November 14, 2008  |  Comments (5)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (32 - Holiness to the Lord)

And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, 'You shall be holy because I the Lord your God am holy'”. – Leviticus 19:1-2

Of all the things we have observed so far from the book of Leviticus, the sum is this: God is a pure and holy God, and if he should have any people at all, and should stoop to dwell in their midst, they must be made holy as well, so that he might walk among them, and not consume them altogether in his righteous fury against sin and uncleanness. This shows just how important holiness to the Lord is: for the true substance of every redemptive blessing is only the presence of God, and fellowship with him; and that goal can only come through sanctification, that is, through being made holy, as God is holy. As we shall see presently, this observation must ultimately lead us to Christ, and drive us to cast ourselves upon him alone, who sanctified himself to his redemptive mission, that we too might be sanctified in the truth (John 17:17-19). In order to unfold these principles more minutely, let us touch first upon the greatness of that one redemptive principle, that God should dwell among his people; then, show how necessary a thing holiness is to that end; and finally demonstrate how those two great truths, which form the core of the book of Leviticus, lead us to Jesus Christ.

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November 14, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The Mosaic Covenant: Works or Grace?

A Repetition of the Law of the Covenant of Works: “…in the ministry of Moses, there was a repetition of the doctrine concerning the law of the covenant of works.” The Mosaic Covenant, then, seems to be a sort of republication of the covenant of works. Of course it is not identical to the prelapsarian covenant, but there is that condition “by which formula, the righteousness, which is of the law, is described, Rom. x. 5. And the terror of the covenant of works is increased by repeated comminations; and that voice heard, ‘cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them,’ Deut. xxvii. 26… as the requirement of obedience was rigid under the ministry of Moses, the promises of spiritual and saving grace were more rare and obscure, the measure of the Spirit granted to the Israelites, scanty and short, Deut. xxix. 4. and on the contrary, the denunciation of the curse frequent and express; hence the ministry of Moses is called, ‘the ministration of death and condemnation,’ 2 Cor. iii. 7,9. doubtless because it mentioned the condemnation of the sinner, and obliged the Israelites to subscribe to it.”

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November 12, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Excerpts from Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow by R.C. Sproul

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Pg. 12 Though sin often brings immediate pleasure, it gives no lasting joy. If we understand the difference, we can avoid the pitfalls that entice the believer.

Pg. 21-22 If I don't like something I read in Scripture, perhaps I simply don't understand it. If so, studying it again may help. If, in fact, I do understand the passage and still don't like it, this is not an indication there is something wrong with the Bible. It's an indication that something is wrong with me, something that needs to change. Often, before we can get something right, we need to first discover what we're doing wrong.

Pg. 22 When we experience the "changing of the mind" that is repentance, we are not suddenly cleansed of all wrong thinking. The renewing of our minds is a lifelong process. We can accelerate this process by focusing on those passages of Scripture that we don't like. This is part of the "instruction in righteousness" of which Paul speaks.

Pg. 24 I think one of the reasons many Christians never get to the meat of the Word but remain at the milk level is because they never really learned how to drink the milk. There is a reason why scales are important to the piano player and the grip to the golfer. We must master these basics if we are to reach higher levels of proficiency.

Pg. 48 Just as God uses the preaching of the gospel as the power unto salvation, so He uses the power of prayer to bring about redemption. Our prayers cannot force God to do anything, but He uses them as His own instruments to bring about His will.

Pg. 76-77 Nobody wants to come near to God with an uneasy conscience. Sin is one of the reasons why we like to keep a safe distance from Him.

Pg. 78 If we don't feel like going to church, we are to do it anyway. It's a privilege to come near to God and to worship with other believers, but it's also a sacred duty.

Pg. 80 The primary reason to be in church is to worship the living God, and for this we must bring a sense of reverence and adoration for His transcendent majesty. There's nothing common about this. We walk through the door. We step across the threshold. We enter into His presence. We know that God is not restricted to the building, but we are aware that this is a sacred hour that God has set apart and declared to be a holy time of visitation between Himself and His people. So we leave worldly cares and concerns for a while and focus on God. We come to hear a word from God, and it is the pastor's responsibility to make sure what we hear from the pulpit is the Word of God, not pop psychology. The power is in the Word, for it is the truth. That's what we all desperately need to hear, and more than once a week. And so we come to hear and respond in a way that will honor God, in a way that will honor His majesty.

Pg. 87 This is a glorious story of redemption, but there is great irony here. We see what God redeemed His people from, but we must not miss what God redeemed them to. He called His people out of Egypt, out of slavery, not to become autonomous or to do whatever they please. He called them to serve Him. The Israelites were called out of service to Pharaoh and into service to God.

Pg. 90 Service...is not high on the list of things we enjoy. In our culture, we struggle with the image and role of the servant. We think it's beneath our dignity to fulfill that role.

Pg. 98 I have no "profit" of my own because I earn nothing by doing what I am required to do. That's why our redemption is by grace and grace alone. There is only one thing that I can place before God that is, properly speaking, my own—my sin. The only thing that can redeem me is not my work, but the work that Christ has performed on my behalf. He freely came to do the Father's will and to submit Himself to the law for our sake. He, and He alone, is a profitable servant.

Pg. 105-106 Our servanthood should require no supervision. We should not need to have someone constantly watching us to ensure that we are working. Our goal should be to please Christ, not perform merely for the applause of people. People-pleasers cannot be true servants of Christ. We must keep our eyes on Christ and not on the judges of this world.

Pg. 108 There is widespread cynicism today about giving to the church. Some unscrupulous televangelists and pastors have made it seem unwise, thanks to their lavish lifestyles. Yet the Bible clearly commands Christians to give and to practice good stewardship. We take an offering every Sunday in our church. Right before the offering, I usually say, "Let us now worship God with our tithes and offerings." The point I'm stressing to our congregation is that giving should be an act of worship.

Pg. 122 Failure to tithe also limits the ministry of the church. One of the greatest barriers to expanding the kingdom of Christ in this world is financial.

Pg. 124 I often hear people say, "I'd like to tithe, but I can't afford to." I honestly believe that if you invest in the kingdom of God, you won't lose anything in the final analysis.

Available at Monergism Books

November 11, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Book Review: Covenant Theology, by Peter Golding

Synopsis: Nearly five hundred years after the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Reformed theology and piety continue to have a worldwide impact on the Church; but how many Christians who consider themselves to be heirs of the Reformation have drifted from an understanding of what its central and distinguishing doctrines have always been? In his comprehensive and hugely helpful survey, Peter Golding argues that the key of theology in Reformed thought and tradition – the essential genius of the vastly diverse and yet fundamentally unified phenomenon known as the Reformation – is simply Covenant Theology. For a generation of Protestants who have lost their roots and are adrift in the sea of nebulous contemporary Evangelicalism, this book cannot be too highly recommended.

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November 11, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Five Solas Hooded Full-Zip Sweatshirt (Black)

Due to the increasing popularity of the Five Solas Hooded Sweatshirt (Maroon) we have also created a Black Five Solas Hooded Sweatshirt with Full-Zip. They turned out unbelievably nice!

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Available at Monergism Books

November 07, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (31 - The Day of Atonement)

And he shall take the two goats, and he shall set them before Yahweh, at the door of the Tent of Meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for Yahweh and one lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot for Yahweh fell, and he shall offer it as a sin offering. And the goat upon which the lot for Azazel fell shall be presented alive before Yahweh, to make atonement upon it, to send it away to Azazel, into the wilderness. – Leviticus 16:7-10

The Day of Atonement, coming as it does in the middle of the festive cycles, and in the heart of the calendar year, being observed on the tenth day of the seventh month, which is the month having the greatest symbolic and ceremonial significance; and being described most minutely, moreover, in the heart of the most intricate elaboration of the Law, which comprises the book of Leviticus, and which is itself at the center of the Pentateuch; must therefore take on a character of utter centrality and solemn importance from the very outset. With regard to the festive cycles, it is distinct in that it alone is a day of solemn affliction and mourning over sin (Leviticus 16:29-31); and yet, its observance prepares for the celebration of the most joyful of feasts, that of Tabernacles (see Leviticus 23:26-43); by which we may learn that it constituted the deep and solemn foundation for all the feasts of joy by which Israel's entire year was structured – without its time of sorrow and affliction, there would be no times of joyous fellowship in the presence of God. And then, it is likewise set apart from all the other feasts in the book of Leviticus, where it is described in great detail in chapter sixteen, in the midst of the laws and regulations governing cleanness and holiness; even though it is also described again in chapter twenty-three, where all the feasts of the Lord are discussed. In this way, its distinct character is emphasized, and especially its relationship to the heart of the Law, which existed to show God's people what it was to be clean and holy, so that he might dwell among them. The Law described what it is to be holy in God's sight: and in the midst of the Law, lest its overwhelming and unyielding demands should terrify and discourage the people, God enjoins upon the people this solemn feast, as if to say, “Although you are insufficient to keep my holy statutes, I have prepared a way for you to be made clean and holy again, so that I might continue to dwell among you”.

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November 07, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Book Review: "It's Not Fair!", by Wayne Mack

" Synopsis: If we are being honest, we will have to admit that every one of us, in a hundred different ways and for a thousand different reasons, has been guilty of murmuring "It's not fair!" when things don't go as we would like them to. So how do we respond when we, or others who come to us for counsel, are in such a state of despair? In his simple, compassionate, and eminently biblical way, Wayne Mack drives home the point that our only pathway to hope, when times are tough, is in apprehending the character of the just and sovereign God as he has revealed himself in the scriptures. "It's Not Fair!" is a gem of a book, that meets people where they are at, but doesn't leave them there; it takes them to the God who changes sinful hearts, and brings healing and praise out of very real and very painful tragedy.

I must admit up front, that whenever I am asked to read a Christian counselingbook, I immediately become apprehensive. I have seen far too much "Christian counseling" that is really just secular poppycock with a thin bible veneer. But I am very pleased to say that this book is not like that. It does not cast the hurting counselee upon himself, and advise him to find hope in keeping a bright outlook, or believing in his own abilities, or nurturing his self-esteem. And it does not (worse yet!) suggest that it's okay to be angry with God, that a person is right to feel upset when unfair things happen. No, Wayne Mack, although with a deep and genuine empathy and an understanding of the stark reality of hurts and sorrows in this fallen world, makes it very clear that God is God, and we are not; but then, in going consistently to the biblical witness, he shows how a right understanding of the character of this God whom we must not in any event murmur against is our only real hope for healing, change, and joy in the midst of any trouble.

From the beginning, Wayne emphasizes that an "It's not fair" attitude is never appropriate, and always springs from a heart of rebellion and pride. Whenever we find ourselves feeling that way, he suggests, it is not our circumstances which need to change, but we ourselves. And that change can only come about by the power of God, as he opens up our hearts to understand who he is as he has revealed himself in the scriptures.

Wayne focuses on four basic attributes of God, a fuller understanding of which will change our perspective and our grumbling hearts: his wisdom, his love, his justice, and his omnipotence/sovereignty. These chapters, which are the real meat of the book, are simple and concise, but packed with the plentiful scriptural testimony of who God is, and what that means for us. I can think of no better remedy for the hurting believer than to read through these truths slowly and deliberately, and to meditate on the nature of the God that they reveal.

Although the heart of the book is the biblical testimony about God, Wayne is also very practical and applicational. The pages bleed with the heart of a seasoned counselor, who has seen every kind of hurt imaginable, and has wept with the weeping. He does not have the sort of rosy optimism that suggests that everything will get better (if, by better, we mean that circumstances will change to what we want them to be); but he does have the deeper and more comforting conviction that all things are ordained by an all-powerful, all-wise, and utterly just and sovereign God, who is actively working everything out for the eternal good of those who trust in him, using the pain of trials and the comfort of overwhelming grace for our greater sanctification and eternal weight of glory. And when the pain is deep and real, that is the only assurance that can really do our hearts any good.

Reviewed by Nathan Pitchford

"It's Not Fair!": Finding Hope When Times Are Tough, by Wayne A. Mack available at Monergism Books

November 06, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Book Review: Fathers & Sons: Hold Fast in a Broken World, by Douglas Bond

"Synopsis: In twenty-first century America, young men are in more need than ever of mature, godly wisdom and counsel to instruct them as they set out on their daunting task of living as genuine Christians in a deceptive and ungodly world. But unfortunately, when young men are in the direst straits, it seems as if wise fathers, who will guide them through the daunting world of false philosophies and lying pleasures stretched out before them, are in scarce demand. Recognizing this dilemma, Douglas Bond has undertaken to write a book that shows how advantageous and necessary it is, “in a broken world,” for fathers to speak sensibly and biblically on every issue from work ethics to cultural engagement, and for sons to heed their wisdom and fight against sin with the strength of youth. God grant that both generations, by his power and grace, may continue to hold fast when all the world is falling apart.

In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon models what it is to be a godly father, instructing his children in practical, God-given wisdom, which touches on every topic under the sun. How well he recognized the vast array of enticing sins and the bitter ends to which they finally lead, and how ardently did he wish to prepare his children to meet those temptations with an informed mind and a heart set on the truth! Sadly, this sort of father/son relationship is hard to find these days; but Douglas Bond is a refreshing example of just such a father, who takes advantage of every opportunity to press home to his children the courses which the godly life must take, always against the grain of this world, and the popular form of religion which has already embraced the world's deceptive ideals.Bond does not write with the pen of a scholarly exegete or systematizer of doctrine, and he has not produced a structured compendium of theological truths; instead, he writes occasionally, modeling how different circumstances and situations may be wrested to a wise father's purpose, as illustrations to his sons of the heavenly wisdom that sheds light on all of society's perplexing problems. He has a penchant for finding analogies and exemplary materials in all of the events of life, and using those everyday realities of soldiery and athletics, or encounters with inconsistent college professors and selfcontradictory artists, as solid instructional materials, designed to make his children grapple with real issues, and set their hearts on following the path of godliness, no matter what the cost may be, or how inexplicable it may appear to modern society.

Loosely grouped into four themes – Leaders and Servants, Culture and Art, Culture, Humanity, Truth, and Lies, and Death, Suffering, and Heaven – Bond has compiled twenty-one chapters, which may perhaps be fittingly described as informal, didactic monologues, in which he relates anecdotes and illustrations, diagnoses cultural nconsistencies and masquerading sins, prescribes godly actions and responses, and encourages heartfelt perseverance in the truth. Usually he is thought-provoking, sometimes profound, and always authentic and overflowing with a fatherly concern that his sons grow up to be faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, holding fast in a broken world.

The command that God has given to fathers in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, that they be teaching their children always and at every opportunity of the works and commandments of the Lord, is sobering in its solemn import; and frankly, even among Christian men and leaders, far more failures to observe its prescriptions may be found than true successes. Douglas Bond is one man who seems to have taken this command seriously; and by his example, we may all be admonished. This is a book that both fathers and sons would do well to come to: sons, to drink from the well of practical wisdom, and fathers to encounter an example to be followed. May Christian fathers everywhere be encouraged to use all of life as an opportunity to train up their sons in the practical wisdom that flies in the face of the culture, and which can only be formed by a constant and Spirit-led meditation on the scriptures; and may Christian sons be stirred up to press on through the fierce and numerous foes to their faith. In a word, may both
fathers and sons “hold fast in a broken world”.

Reviewed by Nathan Pitchford

Fathers & Sons: Volume 2: Hold Fast In a Broken World, by Douglas Bond available at Monergism Books

November 06, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

On the day after an historic election

Some strong and sober words on the day after an historic election from Dr. James White:

November 05, 2008  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Are Arminians Saved?

Question: If we are saved by grace alone (and we are) how can anyone be saved if they believe that you can lose your salvation? If one believes they can lose their salvation does not that faith then become a work, rather than a gift of God? If someone believes they can lose their salvation, do they really believe that it is the finished work of Christ, and not the "work" of faith, that saves them? If someone believes that they can lose their salvation, would it be true that their faith is no longer a free gift from God, but something the sinner needs to muster up daily to keep their salvation? So here is the hard question. In this matter, can we be saved in spite bad theology? If someone truly held to the five points of Arminianism, could they have "real" saving faith? Can you have real saving faith without understanding Grace Alone?

To Read Our Answer Click Here

November 04, 2008  |  Comments (17)   |  Permalink

Popular Titles at Monergism Books

This last week, many customers have shown increased interest in the following items:

ESV Study Bibles Still Available
Calfskin Edition
Hardback Edition
Genuine Leather Black
Genuine Leather Burgundy
Other versions will ship around November 14th

November 04, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink