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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: The Crook in the Lot, by Thomas Boston

Synopsis: It is a universal truth without exception that everyone's lot in life, since the fall of Adam, is marked at times with certain crooks, whether imperfections, afflictions, relational discords, and so on, under which one chafes and groans, and cries out for relief. But where is God in these times, and why does he allow such evils and adversities to occur? Employing the full counsel of scripture, Thomas Boston gives a very compelling and comforting explanation: all the crooks in our lot come ultimately from God's own hand – and they are not meaningless, arbitrary, or meant for our destruction, but rather employed for our eternal profit, and a necessary means to the glorious end of our being lifted up in God's due time. When we understand God's design in our trials, and the means he would have us make use of in conforming our hearts to his desire and hoping faithfully for his sure and soon relief, we may put to the proof the apostle's admonition to consider it pure joy when we come into the temptation of the various crooks he has placed in our lot.

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January 31, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Our Ongoing Need of Redemption as Christians

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” (2 Peter 1:3-8)

"Fear, lest, by forgetting what you are by nature, you also forget the need that you have of continual pardon, support, and supplies from the Spirit of grace, and so grow proud of your own abilities, or of what you have received from God, and fall into condemnation ... Fear, and that will make you little in your own eyes, keep you humble, put you upon crying to God for protection, and upon lying at his footstool for mercy; that will also make you have low thoughts of your own parts, your own doings and cause you to prefer your brother before yourself. And so you will walk in humiliation and be continually under the teachings of God, and under His conduct in your way, God will teach the humble. "The meek will He guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach His way." - Psalm 25:9 (John Bunyan - The Fear of God, page 96)


When the Lord opened my heart to the gospel in December of 1985, He set me on a radical new course, having delivered me from a wild life which was characterized by various anti-social behaviors, selfishness, drugs, crime, and the occult. Out of the most unlikely place, as I was reading the Scripture, the Lord revealed to me my lost condition: that I was without hope save in the mercy of Jesus Christ alone. In a moment, the Holy Spirit graciously united me to Christ, adopted me into God’s family, turning me from my idols to serve the Living and True God. I reflect back with awe as I consider that during the honeymoon period of my newly granted life in Christ, how the Lord actually poured out on me an extraordinary grace to overcome some of my previous bad habits and gave me a remarkable heart for prayer, especially for the lost. With zeal and great affection my greatest desire was to follow and obey the Lord. He stirred my heart to pray for a couple hours each morning as I arose, knowing that I must call down blessing from God if I was to have any power to live effectively during this age. And the result was much fruitfulness and effective personal and corporate ministry to the glory of God.

More...

January 30, 2009  |  Comments (3)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (42 -- The Levitical Cities of Refuge)

And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them 'When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall appoint for yourself cities; cities of refuge they shall be for you, and the manslayer who takes any life unintentionally shall flee there. And the cities shall be to you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer might not die until he stand before the congregation for judgment. – Numbers 35:9-12

As we saw previously, the book of Numbers opened up with an account of the census of Israel, just before they set out from the foot of Mount Sinai, to cross the wilderness and enter the Promised Land; and now, as we have come to the end of the book of Numbers, we shall see that it likewise concludes with a census of the people, after they have wandered for forty years in the wilderness, during which time the entire generation of Israelites who refused to enter the land were destroyed, saving only Joshua and Caleb alone. So the title “Numbers” is very appropriate after all, drawing our attention as it does to the significance of these two censuses: for we may learn, when we reflect upon them, that if God's people are faithless, and rebel, they will not live, nor ever experience the promised blessings of his grace; but this faithlessness of the people does not nullify God's own faithfulness (cf. Romans 3:3-4), for he will not allow his covenant to be broken, but will raise up in their place another generation that will know the grace that he had promised. Thus, even after killing all the Israelites twenty years of age or older, including 603,550 men able to go to war, from the eleven tribes excepting Levi (Numbers 1:46-47), he raised up in just forty years time another multitude, including 601,730 men of war (Numbers 26:51); and this was just a foreshadow of what he would do in later times, casting off the unbelieving nation of Israel, so that he might graft in by faith another generation of Gentiles, in order that his covenant should not be fruitless, but that they should inherit the blessings promised to Abraham (Romans 11). Only, we must learn from this not to be highminded, but to fear (Romans 11:20): for if this generation of Israel which heard the gospel did not enter into God's rest because of unbelief, neither will we, who have been given the same gospel, enter in if we do not persevere in true faith (Hebrews 4:1-2); so that, if we would learn from the example of the Israelites destroyed in the wilderness, we must not be as they, but looking unto Jesus, we must press on through every difficulty, hoping in his sure covenant, and so find his promised rest at last.

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January 30, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

On the Lordship of Christ

Among the earliest of Christian confessions is, ‘Jesus is Lord’. One of the many ironies of our day is that the language of conversion which is in the Bible is at times exchanged by preachers and others for language that is not. For example, we sometimes mistakenly urge people to ‘accept’ Jesus Christ. This is a weak, and I must say defective, way of formulating what it means to become a Christian. Our interpersonal parallels make this obvious. We say of Mr So and So, ‘He just wants acceptance. He just wants to be accepted by you’. Mr So and So is cast into the role of victim by the language of acceptance. Poor fellow. He just wants to belong, to be one of the gang. It goes without saying, I trust, that such is inadequate terminology for conversion to Christ. Jesus is not passively seeking acceptance. He is not pleading that we let Him be a part of our lives. He does not have a psychological need for a place at our table. He does not need us at all. Rather He is actively demanding and commending submission.

Quoted from When Grace Comes Alive: Living Through the Lord's Prayer
by Terry Johnson, Pages 108-109

January 29, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

On Consumerism by David Wells

Consumerism

Page 77

In fact, in America anything and everything can be “commmodified” and sold, from style to sex, from ideas to religion. In towns and cities are churches, mosques, and synagogues; in the Yellow Pages there are choices for worship on Sunday morning ranging from the Episcopalians to the Baptists to the Assemblies of God; at the local bookstore, shelf after shelf is filled with books on New Age, self-help, witchcraft, holism, and Buddhism. This is Western freedom and Western commercialized culture. Here, we have the ability to hope for what we want, shop where we want, buy what we want, study where we want, think what we want, believe what we want, and treat religion as just another commodity, a product to be consumed.
Page 235

In a decentered culture, eclecticism is the coin of the realm. This is what excessive choice has come to us. There is simply too much to choose between, ranging from products, to beliefs, to lifestyles, so choice becomes almost random. And the sheer weight of all of the information – the knowledge of other religions, belief systems, products, and services – blurs everything so that one idea seems no truer than another. In this video-commercial context, and in this personal mindset, everything begins to seem familiar and equal. Judgments become not only offensive but, for so many, virtually impossible.

Related Online Quotes & Essays:
Eros Spirituality Vs. Agape Faith by David F. Wells

We Are Not Peddlers of God's Word by David Wells

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Quotes from Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World by David Wells
In our postmodern world, every view has a place at the table but none has the final say. How should the church confess Christ in today’s cultural context? Above All Earthly Pow’rs, the fourth and final volume of the series that began in 1993 with No Place for Truth, portrays the West in all its complexity, brilliance, and emptiness. As David F. Wells masterfully depicts it, the postmodern ethos of the West is relativistic, individualistic, therapeutic, and yet remarkably spiritual. Wells shows how this postmodern ethos has incorporated into itself the new religious and cultural relativism, the fear and confusion, that began with the last century’s waves of immigration and have continued apace in recent decades.Wells’s book culminates in a critique of contemporary evangelicalism aimed at both unsettling and reinvigorating readers. Churches that market themselves as relevant and palatable to consumption-oriented postmoderns are indeed swelling in size. But they are doing so, Wells contends, at the expense of the truth of the gospel. By placing a premium on marketing rather than truth, the evangelical church is in danger of trading authentic engagement with culture for worldly success.

January 29, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Our Faith and God's Grace

God justifies the ungodly by Christ through faith so that it may be by grace ALONE. God gives salvation as a free gift. But our redemption is infinitely valuable for it was purchased by the precious blood of his Son. Yet God gives it to the undeserving freely, apart from any conditions. ‘Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.’ (Isaiah 55:1).

But why is it that faith corresponds to grace? It is because the saving grace that works genuine faith in the heart can finally say,

I am unworthy sinner; I am helpless and powerless; I plead guilty and I have no defence; My righteousness are filthy rags; I merit God’s wrath, condemnation, hell!
Faith despairs of self, but faith does not despair of God! Faith fixes its gaze confidently upon the Lord Jesus Christ, saying,
You are worthy, for you shed your precious blood on the cross; You are powerful, for you arose victorious from the grave; You are gracious, kind and compassionate; You promised rest to all who come to you; So Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. I am your sin, you are my righteousness. May I never boast save in the cross of Christ my Lord; And forever glory in the grace of God.

Note: Faith looks away from itself and its own resources and places its trust in Christ alone for salvation. It is Jesus Christ plus nothing that saves us. Even our faith and good works must spring from a renewed heart.

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." Eze 36:25-27

As evidenced by this passage, and many others, that it is by the Holy Spirit within us that we EVEN have the faith, or the strength to do, believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock; It reveals that the assistance of grace does not even depend on the humility or obedience of man since it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, ... "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). So Christ purchases, not only the opportunity for His people to be saved but makes certain they are saved by doing all for them that they are unable to do for themselves, including granting them understanding and the faith to take hold of the promises.

"...flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3).


John Hendryx and Dr Joseph Mizzi

January 29, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

Spring Theology Conference with Michael Horton Registration Open

Monergism.com is sponsoring the Spring Theology Conference with Michael Horton coming up on May 2nd, 2009. It will be hosted by The Reformation Society of Oregon and Estacada Christian Church. If you live in the Northwest, this is the conference to go to this year. Everyone is welcome.

Gospel Driven: Good News People in a Bad News World.
This topic will cover the question of whether the gospel is good news or good advice.

Please download the promotional flyer (.pdf)and the Registration Form (.pdf). There is a $25 fee for early registration and $35 at the door.

At this event Michael Horton will challenge us to re-orient our faith and practice toward the gospel. In his recent book 'Christless Christianity' Horton argued that much of evangelicalism has given into moralistic and therapeutic sermons rather than pointing to the risen Christ. Now, in anticipation of a follow-up book, Horton points us to the solution: a Christ-centered gospel. Please join us as we spend the day with Horton who calls us back to Christ-honoring worship.

January 28, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

God Working Through Prayer by Douglas Kelly

Excerpt from If God Already Knows Why Pray? by Douglas Kelly

Page 52

Two Complementary Truths But notice something very remarkable: Jesus is telling us that our prayers are part of the outworking of those purposes! We are given a mandate to become involved in His divine plan through our human praying. He invites us to approach Him with earthly needs, just like Jabez or those who prayed against the Spanish Armada. Our prayer can be effective in seeing that the divine “will is done.” If this were not so, God would simply tell us that His kingdom will come, that we are not to worry. All that we would have to do would be simply to obey His revealed will and not pray for it! But in some extraordinary way, the unchanging, sovereign God, with an eternally defined purpose for His creatures, invites our input into the making of history.

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January 27, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

This Week's Features at Monergism MP3 Library

We have created new sermon folders for: Russell Moore's Walking the Line: Glimpses of the Christ Life in the Book of Proverbs and Peace, Justice, and Jesus?; Paul Tripp's & Dave Harvey's Marriage and the Mercy of God Conference; Ken Jones of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Demonation did a series on Biblical Interviewing Skills to Evaluate Applicants Integrity; Second Presbyterian Church of Memphis, TN just released their Christian Life Conference MP3s.

We have also updated some folders with newer sermons such as: Nick Needham; Ian Hamilton; Michael Horton; Biblical Counseling; New Testament Sermons By Book and Old Testament Sermons By Book.

This year we celebrate John Calvin's 500th birthday on July 10th, 2009. To learn more about John Calvin and his Calvinism Theology, we have several links to choose from:

  • 1. John Calvin's Biographies and Writings
  • 2. John Calvin's Audio Multimedia
  • 3. The Theology of Calvinism
  • 4. Calvinism Audio Multimedia
  • January 27, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Got 1 minute 25 seconds? Here's the Gospel

    Dr. John Macarthur with Kirk Cameron

    January 26, 2009  |  Comments (5)   |  Permalink

    Concept of Covenant in 'God of Promise' by Michael Horton

    Excerpts from 'God of Promise' by Michael Horton

    Covenant

    Pages 24-25

    Let’s say that several villages on the outskirts of an empire have banded together to try to form something like a league or confederacy. They may perhaps have enough in the way of resources as means of exchange, and they may be capable of setting up institutions for their common welfare. However, they cannot provide for a standing army beyond a small militia that is hardly sufficient to stave off a sizable band of villains, much less an invading imperial force. So the leader of the confederacy, perhaps himself a king, turns to a great king, usually an emperor with forces in the region large enough to protect the client state. In such a case, the lesser king (vassal) could enter into a covenant with the great king (suzerain), or as often happened, a suzerain could rescue a vassal from impending doom and therefore claim his right to annex the beneficiaries of his kindness by covenant to his empire. They would be his people, and he would be their suzerain. Their own king might continue to rule locally but as viceroy of the emperor.

    What is often present in these ancient treaties and missing in modern analogies is the fact that these were not merely legal contacts but involved the deepest affections. The great king was the father adopting the captives he had liberated from oppression. Consequently, he was not simply to be obeyed externally, but loved; not only feared, but revered; not only known as the legal lord of the realm, but acknowledged openly as the rightful sovereign. Of course, there were good suzerains and bad one, but there was widespread agreement at least in the ancient Near East that this is what constituted a lawful covenant.

    Page 40

    “The most widely attested form of swearing to a covenant, however, involved cutting up an animal,” notes Hillers.

    The man taking the oath is identified with the slaughtered animal. “Just as this calf is cut up, so may Matiel be cut up,” is the way it is put in the text of an Aramaic treaty from the eighth century BC, and an earlier document describes a similar ceremony: “Abba-An swore to Yarim-Lim the oath of the gods, and but the neck of a lamb, (saying): ‘If I take back what I gave you….’” Among the Israelites it seems that a common way of identifying the parties was to cut up the animal and pass between the parts [See Jer. 34:18.] From the ceremony is derived the Hebrew idiom for making a treaty, karat berit, “to cut a treaty.”


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    January 26, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Psalm 45 Publications

    Dear friends in Christ,

    Greetings in the name of the Savior! I wanted to take a minute to apprise you of a new tool that the Lord has laid it on our hearts to launch, for the purpose of spreading more widely, through the medium of the printed word, the message of Christ and him crucified, and the centrality of that message in every facet of life and theology.

    Continue reading "Psalm 45 Publications" »

    January 24, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

    Book Review: The Sinfulness of Sin, by Ralph Venning

    Synopsis: The doctrine of sin is a doctrine that pervades every part of the bible from Genesis to Revelation, and helps to shape and define every other aspect of biblical teaching. Without an understanding of the utter sinfulness of sin, redemption is not so great, grace is not so mighty, salvation is not so sweet, the work of the God-man is not so powerful. The need for an exhaustive treatment on the biblical teaching of the horrific extent of sin is, therefore, an eminently needful and salutary thing; and thankfully, that need has already been admirably fulfilled in Ralph Venning's classic work, The Sinfulness of Sin.

    Continue reading "Book Review: The Sinfulness of Sin, by Ralph Venning" »

    January 24, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Images of the Savior (41 -- Balaam's Prophecy)

    I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but it is not near; a Star shall come from Jacob and a Scepter shall arise from Israel, and shall crush the corners of Moab and the head of all the sons of Sheth; and Edom shall be a possession and Seir, his enemies, shall be a possession, and Israel shall be doing valiantly. And he shall exercise dominion from Jacob and destroy the survivor of the city. – Numbers 24:17-19

    In all the Old Testament scriptures, there are very few prophecies of the coming Messiah that shine with a greater brilliance or more explicit certainty than the testimony of Balaam, the false prophet who sought to destroy Israel, but ended up blessing her and confirming her great victory through the light-bearing, scepter-wielding Christ. How all this came about, that he who sought to frustrate God's redemptive design was constrained to render an indisputable testimony to the final triumph of the Church through Christ, and how God caused Israel to prosper at every turn, and protected her with his might, we shall now observe from the account at hand.

    Continue reading "Images of the Savior (41 -- Balaam's Prophecy)" »

    January 23, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated

    Romans 9:10 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad - in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call - 12 she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

    One of the main reasons why some Christians reject the reformed (biblical) understanding of Divine election is because of traditions associated with the love of God. The strong reaction of some against the doctrine of God's Sovereignty in election is often times due to a desire to defend a concept that they have regarding the love of God. They feel that God's attribute of love is in question or under attack.

    Great care is needed to point people to the biblical texts which can clarify the issue. Not everyone seems to be open to examine their assumptions because these traditions are so very strong. The tradition that God loves all people in the exact same way is a strong one. I have to say, for many years, this was exactly the case in my own life. Many see no need to examine the texts at all because in their minds, the concept they have of the love of God = what the Bible teaches. As Dr. James White rightly says, "those most enslaved to their traditions are those who do not believe they have any."

    However we understand the phrase "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" in Romans 9, I think we would all have to agree that God's love for Jacob was certainly different or of a different kind than His love for Esau. I think we all have to say this or else the text is meaningless. But if this is indeed the case, then just this one verse would refute the idea that God loves everyone in the exact same way. There must be different dimensions of the love of God.

    Continue reading "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" »

    January 22, 2009  |  Comments (15)   |  Permalink

    God's Discriminating Love (Q&A)

    Question:

    Hi John, Thanks for all the great resources you have on Monergism.com. I've ordered resources in the past and have found them very helpful. I have especially been enjoying Art Azurdia's series on The Revelation. In fact, I'm rethinking Revelation now.

    I was researching a subject today that I haven't been able to find much on. That is God's personal love for his individual people. It's been a struggle for a while with me. Verses that come to mind are "I will make with THEM an everlasting covenant..." "For God so Loved the WORLD..." "...as Christ loved the CHURCH..." There's plenty out
    there from the "God has a wonderful plan for you" perspective. I'm a little gun shy of that view, but thought you'd be able to point out some reformed resources that would help. Or, just shoot back a couple scriptures. I don't want to take up too much of your time and I appreciate what you do through Monergism.

    Mark

    Response:

    Hi Mark

    Thanks for your great question. A very good place to start looking at this subject is to read John chapter 17 which is the high priestly prayer of Jesus to the Father for His people. It is modeled on the high priest of Israel in the OT praying for atonment for the people of God prior to atonement. The Priest would pray for Israel, not the surrounding nations. Jesus did the same here: He prays, "I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours." This is just prior to his death and so it reveals that He is dying for the same ones he prays for and he does not pray for all.

    Continue reading "God's Discriminating Love (Q&A)" »

    January 20, 2009  |  Comments (3)   |  Permalink

    Christian Giving

    Click here to download a PDF of the following.

    Christian Giving Is Worship

    God made us, sustains us, and lavishes us with good gifts. He loves us and gave his only Son for us. Our response of praise can and should be expressed through giving. The supreme reason to give away our money and possessions—the motive that permeates all other motives—is to worship God. Like a precious cut gem gleaming in the sunlight, every facet of Christian giving should reflect the glory of God's grace. The immediate beneficiaries of Christian giving are earthly, but the One who receives honor from each gift is in Heaven. It is nothing to hoard, to indulge, to beautify ourselves. It is divine to lay down all that we are and all that we have as a tribute at the feet of the King of kings.

    Continue reading "Christian Giving" »

    January 19, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

    John Piper on the Current Economic Downturn

    January 17, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Art Azurdia Sermon Jam: God Saves Bad People

    January 16, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

    As I announced earlier this week, God willing, this coming Sunday we will be starting King's Church in Phoenix. In seeking to comprehend and then implement a biblical strategy for this new church I have found two of Dr. Mark Dever's books to be immensely helpful.

    Many of our readers would be very familiar with this written material, but perhaps there are some who have not yet heard of it. A few years ago, Dr. Mark Dever wrote Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. It is full of insight, especially in regards to what a biblical model for the church actually looks like, building on the foundation of the Gospel. As the book title would suggest, Dr. Dever outlines nine distinctive features of a church that is seeking to conform itself to a biblical pattern for church life and ministry. Here are the nine marks, summarized by an article on the 9Marks website:

    1. Expositional Preaching
    This is preaching which expounds what Scripture says in a particular passage, carefully explaining its meaning and applying it to the congregation. It is a commitment to hearing God’s Word and to recovering the centrality of it in our worship.

    2. Biblical Theology
    Paul charges Titus to "teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Our concern should be not only with how we are taught, but with what we are taught. Biblical theology is a commitment to know the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.

    Continue reading "Nine Marks of a Healthy Church" »

    January 15, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

    Reformed Theology: Utterly Unreconcilable to the Modernist Assertion of Human Autonomy by R. Scott Clark

    The following is an excerpt from a helpful article by R. Scott Clark

    This essay argues that, because of it's core convictions reflected in its doctrines of revelation, God, man, creation, sin, Christ, imputation (federalism), predestination, and the church, confessional Reformed theology is not only, in some sense, postmodern, but more precisely, it is consistently anti-modernist...

    The emerging and emergent movements seek to be "postmodern." In fact, to the degree that they begin with human autonomy, with versions of rationalism (e.g., in their denial of the atonement), in subjectivism (e.g., in their hermeneutic and quest for the immediate encounter with God) they are not postmodern as much as they are, as Mike Horton likes to say, "most modern." To be truly postmodern would be to embrace the historic Reformed faith. It would be to become anti-modern, to repudiate the assertion of the sovereignty of human choice or of human experience or of human rationality in favor of the the sovereignty of the mysterious Triune God, of the two-Adams, of unconditional grace, faith, and the church instituted by Christ himself.

    Read the whole article On Being Truly Postmodern by R. Scott Clark

    January 14, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Book Review: Don't Stop Believing, by Michael E. Wittmer

    Synopsis: Today's Christianity is in the midst of a great conflict: modernity versus postmodernity, liberals versus conservatives, Emergents who emphasize living like Jesus versus Evangelicals who emphasize believing in Jesus; and in the heat of the conflict, each side tends to push the other to further extremes. But is there another way forward, a way that refuses to polarize the complementary spheres of orthodoxy and orthopraxy? Michael Wittmer suggests that there is; and while he would call on modern, conservative Evangelicals to prove their faith by their works, the primary thrust of his message is to the growing community of postmodern Emergents, who have made doubt the new Christian conviction. To them, he addresses the appeal in the title of his book, Don't Stop Believing!

    Continue reading "Book Review: Don't Stop Believing, by Michael E. Wittmer" »

    January 13, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    King's Church, Phoenix, Arizona

    NEW CHURCH IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA

    Next Sunday, January 18, 2009 (at 10:00 a.m.) we will have the first meeting of King's Church. I would very much value your prayers as I serve as Pastor of this new Church plant.

    Our vision: "The Gospel - Getting it Right, Living it out, Getting it out."

    Full details here.

    - Rev. John Samson

    January 11, 2009  |  Comments (5)   |  Permalink

    Images of the Savior (40 -- The Serpent in the Wilderness)

    And the people came unto Moses and said, “We have sinned in that we have spoken against Yahweh and against you; pray to Yahweh that he might take the serpents away from us”; and Moses prayed for the people. And Yahweh said unto Moses, “Make for yourself a serpent, and place it upon an ensign-pole, and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks upon it, shall live”. And Moses made the brazen serpent, and placed it upon an ensign-pole; and it came to pass that, if a serpent bit any man, he would look upon the brazen serpent and live. – Numbers 21:7-9

    After the instructions concerning the ministry of the tabernacle were given to the sons of Levi in general and the priestly class in particular, which was marked out by divine appointment as comprising the family of Aaron alone, following the rebellion of Korah, and after provision was then made for the fabrication of the water of separation, through the ashes of a red heifer, which things were made necessary by the assault on the divine institution which Korah and those who were with him had waged in their deception, the text then turns once more to a historical account of the final stages of Israel's forty-year journey through the wilderness, before they enter the promised land; and in this account, we may discern several very notable types of the Savior, both in the second striking of the rock, in the opposition of Edom to the children of Israel, and most especially in the matter of the fiery serpents which God sent among the people, and the remedy he provided, through a brazen serpent lifted up as an ensign in the wilderness, upon which, if one even looked, he would be healed of his malady and live.

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    January 10, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Grace United Reformed Church in West Linn - New 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 come participate in the worship of our new church plant in West Linn, Oregon. 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 new local church will continue to attract families together who have a passion for the gospel, which is the announcement of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone..

    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 theology, please join us! Our Sunday morning Worship service is held at the Sunset Fire Hall. Worship Times: 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.

    Website: www.gracewl.org


    January 09, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

    John Calvin: Christian Biographies for Young Readers

    In this attractive volume, Simonetta Carr introduces young readers (ages 7-10) to the life, thought, and work of one of the most famous Reformers of the Christian church. She tells about the life of John Calvin from his birth to his death, placing him within the troubled context of the sixteenth century. She also introduces Calvin’s writings in a way that children will desire to know more about his ministry and influence.

    Readers will come to know Calvin’s personality, his devotion to God and the church, and the personal challenges he faced. They will understand the struggles the early Reformed church faced at that time, not only surviving attacks of the Roman Catholic Church, but also achieving a clear identity and a unified doctrine. They will also have a glimpse of life in sixteenth-century Europe, stricken by pestilence, poverty, and wars. Simply written, and full of interesting facts, this book makes a great gift for children of this rich Reformed heritage.

    “The parents of four ourselves, my wife and I are eager to learn of new materials we can use and recommend. This is surely a resource that we would noise abroad. A translator of Reformed materials into Italian as well as a teacher, Simonetta is remarkably gifted. She knows the history and theology of the Reformation well, yet also knows how to ‘translate’ for our children. The Reformed community really needs this kind of edifying literature for our covenant youth.” — Michael Horton

    Available at Monergism Books

    January 08, 2009  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

    Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision by NT Wright

    Check out the wide array of endorsements for N.T. Wright's new book he wrote in response to Piper, Carson and other NPP critics. A number of endoresents from emerging folk like Scot McKnight but the strangest endorsements come from some who don't even understand the basics of the gospel like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren who both think Christianity is about what we do for Jesus rather than what He has done for us. In other words those who see Jesus, not as their savior, only their guru who teaches them principles for right living. And are these guys Pauline scholars? --- strange for IVP to list these endorsements to say the least. Well, you will find this list interesting .... http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/review/code=3863

    January 08, 2009  |  Comments (7)   |  Permalink

    I Believe White is Right to say Wright is Wrong

    2007 saw the release of a book by John Piper called "The Future of Justification - A Response to N. T. Wright." I found this to be a well researched, thoroughly biblical and very much convincing treatment of the subject. It would seem however, that the battle for the truth of justification is not about to disappear over the horizon any time soon. This should not surprise us. If sola fide (justification by faith alone) is the very heart of the biblical gospel (and I believe it is), then we would expect to hear its truth challenged in each generation as meddling demons and those who speak for them raise their voice in hostility and contempt against it. Indeed Martin Luther anticipated just this in his own day. In that both the truth of God and the depravity of man has not changed one iota since then, the long battle continues, yet the source of the attacks can be very surprising at times.

    June 2009 sees the anticipated release of a new book by N. T. Wright, published by IVP, called "Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision" in which Wright attacks the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone, based on the imputed righteousness of Christ alone. This is certainly a time to saturate ourselves in the biblical Gospel - to know what we believe and why we believe it. Here is the heads up from Dr. James White on the issue.

    Martin Luther - "This doctrine [justification by faith alone] is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour. For no one who does not hold this article or, to use Paul's expression, this 'sound doctrine' (Titus 2:1) is able to teach aright in the church or successfully to resist any adversary . . . this is the heel of the Seed that opposes the old serpent and crushes its head. That is why Satan, in turn, cannot but persecute it."

    "Whoever departs from the article of justification does not know God and is an idolater . . . For when this article has been taken away, nothing remains but error, hypocrisy, godlessness, and idolatry, although it may seem to be the height of truth, worship of God, holiness, etc. . . If the article of justification is lost, all Christian doctrine is lost at the same time."

    "When the article of justification has fallen, everything has fallen. Therefore it is necessary constantly to inculcate and impress it, as Moses says of his Law (Deut. 6:7); for it cannot be inculcated and urged enough or too much. Indeed, even though we learn it well and hold to it, yet there is no one who apprehends it perfectly or believes it with a full affection and heart. So very trickish is our flesh, fighting as it does against the obedience of the spirit."

    January 07, 2009  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

    Monergism MP3 Library: John Calvin's 500th Birthday & This Week's Features

    This year we celebrate John Calvin's 500th birthday on July 10th, 2009. To learn more about John Calvin and his Calvinism Theology, we have several links to choose from:

    1. John Calvin's Biographies and Writings
    2. John Calvin's Audio Multimedia
    3. The Theology of Calvinism
    4. Calvinism Audio Multimedia

    In the All Asian & Oceania Speakers Messages folder, we have added: Michael Oh , Peter Jensen and Phillip Jensen .
    In the All European Speakers Messages folder, we have added: Colin Adams , Dave Bish, David J. McCullough , David Jackman , Donald Macleod , Eric Alexander , Geoffrey Thomas, Iain Wright, Ian Hamilton, Marcus Honeysett, Mike Reeves, Richard Cunningham

    In the All North American Speakers Messages folder, we have added: Dale Ralph Davis

    We have also updated several folders with newer sermons such as:
    Gene Veith, Kim Riddlebarger
    Michael Horton
    Terry L. Johnson highly recommended!, Bryan Chapell, and Issues, Etc. Radio Program .

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    January 06, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Book Review: A Biblical Defense of Predestination, by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

    Synopsis: There has always been doctrinal conflict in the Church, as Kenneth Talbot points out in his foreword to Gentry's defense of predestination; but in modern times, no controversy has been as widespread or as heated as the controversy over the doctrine of predestination. So why enter into a discussion that is certain to spark disagreement and dissension? Would it not be better just to overlook differences, and find unity in common ground? Dr. Gentry has presented a compelling case that even though – or perhaps because – the doctrine of predestination is so controversial, it is nevertheless a vital subject to broach, if for no other reason than that, the bible has much to say on the topic, and one's understanding of it will deeply affect his view of the character of God and the nature of his salvation. Not only has Gentry provided a compelling survey of the biblical testimony to predestination, he has also given compelling and practical reasons to spend the necessary time and energy to study and defend these deep and intricate truths. For anyone seeking a straightforward, non-abrasive explanation of both the what and the why of biblical predestination, for himself or others, this will certainly prove to be a resource of tremendous value.

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    January 06, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Rome and the Eucharist (Quote by William Webster)

    "There are some present day Roman Catholic writers who deny that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the mass is the re-sacrifice of Christ, but the words of the Council of Trent are quite clear in their meaning:

    And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross . . . For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. . . If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice. . . and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities: let him be anathema.19

    Trent teaches that just as Christ was the divine victim and was offered and immolated on the cross as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin, so in the mass, which is a distinct sacrifice in its own right, he is referred to as the divine victim who is again offered and immolated as a propitiatory sacrifice, just as he was immolated on the cross. The only difference, according to Trent, between the sacrifice of the mass and the sacrifice of the cross is that one is bloody and the other unbloody.

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    January 05, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Is Mormonism Christian?

    There should be absolutely no doubt on this issue - Mormonism and Christianity are not in any way compatible. Though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints use the same words as Christians, they use a completely different dictionary, hence the subtlety of the deception. Here's Dr. James White, author of the books "Is the Mormon my brother?" and "Letters to a Mormon Elder" with a 13 minute video on the subject:

    January 03, 2009  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

    Book Review: C. H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership, by Steve Miller

    Synopsis: Few preachers in the history of the Church have had as profound and lasting an impact as Charles Haddon Spurgeon, whose ministry in the Metropolitan Tabernacle was characterized by an amazing output in a vast array of ministries, and a worldwide influence for the cause of Christ. For this reason, perhaps, few lives have been as frequently recorded in biographies and as often used for exemplary inspiration as his. In Miller's book, which is not quite a biography and not quite a collection of themed quotations, but displays a little of both, the reader is introduced in a very manageable way, not just to Spurgeon, but to the very heart of the great preacher, and to his thoroughly Christ-centered and Spirit-dependent philosophy of ministry, largely in his own words. For anyone aspiring to the sacred call of the ministry, or for that matter, any believer at all whose heart-cry is simply not to waste his life, this book will be instructive and inspiring reading, everywhere suffused with the godly wisdom that came from a heart that rested always on Jesus alone, and strove always for the greater display of his matchless glory.

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    January 02, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Read through the Bible in 50 Weeks

    There are many existing plans for reading through the Bible in a year. Some have you reading from four places in the Bible every day. Some go through the Psalms and/or the New Testament twice. This one is meant to give you weekends off, be late with that New Year's Resolution, allow for temporary backsliding, and take you very simply through the Old and New Testaments simultaneously. And if you absolutely must be legalistic about it, I even gave you checkboxes.

    You can download the reading plan here.

    Cheers!

    January 02, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

    Images of the Savior (39 -- The Red Heifer)

    And Yahweh spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law which Yahweh has commanded, saying, 'Speak unto the children of Israel, that they should bring to you a red heifer, perfect, in which there is no blemish, upon which a yoke has never come; and you shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, and one shall bring her outside the camp, and shall slaughter her before him; and Eleazar the priest shall take some of her blood with his finger, and he shall sprinkle some of her blood before the front of the Tent of Meeting seven times. And the heifer shall be burned before him: her skin and her flesh and her blood, with her dung, shall be burned. And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet thread, and cast them into the midst of the burning heifer.'” – Numbers 19:1-6

    In the ninth chapter of the letter to the Hebrews, the author proclaims that Christ has made an eternal redemption for his people, by offering himself up, once-for-all, as a perfect sacrifice for their sins; and he goes on to prove his assertion by reflecting that, “if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, being sprinkled on them who were defiled, sanctifies unto the purification of the flesh, how much more does the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself up blameless to God, purify our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14). In this way, he makes clear the typological function of the red heifer, which Israel was commanded of old to sacrifice and burn, and to make of its ashes a water of purification, not as though there were anything especially salubrious in the ashes themselves, but that they were a foreshadow of the sufferings of Christ, which really did cleanse the conscience, and purify those who had been dead in trespasses and sins. As we look to the account in Numbers, in which this ceremonial action is commanded, we must immediately be struck with how many details and instances were perfectly adapted to show forth, in a figure, the perfect redemptive work of Christ, both in its execution and its purifying results, as we shall now observe.

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    January 02, 2009  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink