Man was created to glorify God & Enjoy Him forever
"Worthy are you, our Lord and our God to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things." (Rev 4:11) "Do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor 10:31)
Man has failed to glorify God & is under His just condemnation
"For all have sinned..." (Rom 3:23) The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) "These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction" (2 Thes 1:9)
Jesus fully bore the wrath and suffered the punishment sinners deserve
Not wishing that sinners perish forever, God determined to save a people for Himself in the Eternal Son who became a man and lived the life we should have lived and died the death we justly deserve. God loves sinners and sent His Son to be the wrath absorbing sacrifice for their sin (1 John 4:10; John 6:37) he "...gave His life as a ransom for many" (Mk 10:45) & "rose again" from the dead (2 Cor 5:15) on their behalf.
All who, by the grace of God, turn to Jesus in repentantant submissive faith are forgiven
& begin a life-changing, eternally satisfying relationship with God! "Repent and believe the gospel (Mk 1:5) "In Your presence is fullness of Joy (Ps 16:11)
For a more detailed analysis of the Gospel click here
Kiss the Son
I had the opportunity to preach again yesterday, and took the time to manuscript my sermon, "Kiss the Son," from Psalm 2. As follows.
It is a commonly accepted notion, and doubtless true, that the first and second psalms stand together as an introduction to the entire psalter, and provide all the information necessary to interpret and make sense of all which follows. Thus, there is contained in these two psalms every major doctrine that the remaining one-hundred forty-eight unfold so variously and wonderfully, from the lives of so many different psalmists, in so many different conditions. But not only is there a true summary of all the major heads of the psalter; there is contained in the first two, moreover, the very root from which those doctrines all spring, the one immovable foundation upon which the entire house is built. So that, if one were to attempt to interpret the things contained in the one-hundred and forty-eight without first being familiar with the two, he would doubtless cast himself into many needless snares and discover certain foolish and dangerous doctrines, that ought not at all to be derived from the psalms, when they are treated of as they should be.
The Omission of "Sanctified" in the Golden Chain
On the blog at desiring God, Dr. John Piper wrote of a reason for the omission of the word "sanctified" in the golden chain of redemption found in Romans 8:28-30. I agree with him completely but would like to add a second reason for the omission. Dr. Piper writes:
Have you ever wondered why â€œsanctificationâ€ is missing from this golden chain in Romans 8:29-30?
Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Foreknown, predestined, called, justified, __________, glorified. Shouldnâ€™t â€œsanctified" fill in that blank space? Romans 6:22 says that believers receive â€œsanctification and its end, eternal life.â€ And 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says that we are â€œsaved, through sanctification by the Spirit.â€
The answer is, no, â€œsanctificationâ€ does not belong in space because it is included in â€œglorified.â€
In Paulâ€™s mind the process called sanctification in this lifeâ€”the process of transformation from one degree of holiness to the nextâ€”is the first stage of glorification. He says,
We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The progressive change that happens in this life can be described in terms of holiness or gloryâ€”sanctification or glorification.
The age to come will be a place of great physical glory. But mainly it will be a place of infinite moral and spiritual glory. The main beauty will be the beauty of holiness.
Therefore be amazed and sobered that this life is not just a waiting period for that day. You are being changed now â€œfrom one degree of glory to the another.â€ You are being glorified. That is, you are being sanctified. That is, you are being made morally glorious for the age to come.
Dr. Piper brings out a very important point. It is something we need to hear. I think a second reason for the omission of "sanctified" in the list is that all the other 5 are things God does exclusively (monergistically). God foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies and glorifies. Though it is true to say that God sanctifies, we have a definite role to play in the process of sanctification. The whole point of the passage in the immediate and greater context is to provide assurance of salvation. If sanctification was included as a synergistic element in the chain, many would focus on this and allow themselves to be robbed of the future tense knowledge that they will be glorified in the presence of the Lord - because we would be the weak link in the chain (so to speak). I know my heart too well. If salvation depended on just how sanctified I am in my present day life, knowing my shortcomings all so well, the wonderful assurance I have (because God started the work and God will finish it) would be lost or at the very least blurred. I think this would be true for many of the saints I see struggle with a deep heart felt knowledge of assurance (as I pastor I see this all the time).
How are we doing?
This is an invite to let us know what you think and feel about this blog? Give us your feedback? (Please try to be kind, if at all possible, we all bleed easily) :-) Maybe we should not ask these questions though - it might be considered to be seeker sensitive. :-)
So - what do you like about the reformation theology blog? What do you dislike? What would you like more of? What has been the most helpful thing? What do you think can improve? Fire away!
DVD Review: Does the Bible Misquote Jesus?, Dr. Bart Ehrman and Dr. James White (Debate)
Does the bible misquote Jesus? When stated that way, the question â€“ intentionally â€“ sounds provocative. What Dr. Bart Ehrman means to call into question, by this incendiary query, is whether we can actually know what Jesus really did and taught, given the history of the transmission of the original gospel accounts, and the other New Testament documents. We do not have the original manuscripts that the authors of scriptures penned. We do not even have copies. We have, according to Ehrman, â€œcopies of copies of copies,â€ that have been so corrupted that we simply cannot know what the originals actually said with any degree of certainty.
The skepticism of highly-acclaimed textual critic Bart Ehrman has been seized upon by the non-Christian world with a great deal of alacrity. Distorting his nuanced theories, which he has framed, it would seem, in such a way as to be intentionally inflammatory, the news media across the world speak of how the greatest and most brilliant scholars have determined that the text of the New Testament is hopelessly corrupt. This is a distortion that Dr. Ehrman has not seemed interested in correcting, As Dr. White points out in the formal, three-hour debate between the two on the reliability of the New Testament text, which American Vision has made available on DVD.
Essentially, this intelligent and scintillating debate centers on the question of whether or not we must have an absolutely perfect, â€œphotocopied,â€ reduplication of the original inspired text of scripture in order for scripture to have any authority or reliability at all. In simple fact, that is not what we have â€“ we have a huge collection of largely consistent manuscripts that all have mistakes. Most of the mistakes are meaningless â€“ spelling errors, for instance, that have no effect at all on what the text is saying. Some of them actually change the text, but they are obvious mistakes so absurd that they are not even viable â€“ it's beyond any reasonable doubt to suppose that they were actually original. And a very few are both meaningful (impacting the meaning of the text) as well as viable. Those few variants do not realistically affect any major doctrine of scripture, there is no vital point that hangs entirely upon a disputed variant. But they do exist. Perhaps, in a few places, we will never know with a great deal of certainty what an original word or tense or construction was. But does this mean that the New Testament is not reliable or authoritative at all? That is what Dr. Ehrman would say. According to him, if God did not flawlessly (and miraculously) preserve the original texts, then he must not have perfectly inspired them either (a non sequitur, of course). And then, if we cannot know with perfect certainty every single letter originally penned, then we simply cannot be sure of anything at all.
Dr. White helpfully exposes the radical nature of such skepticism. The New Testament is far and away the best attested document of antiquity, and there is much, much more certainty of what it actually said than any other document ever written before the advent of the printing press. If we cannot trust the New Testament, then we can certainly not trust that we actually have anything written by Homer, or Marcus Aurelius, or Suetonius, Tacitus, Cicero, or anyone else. In fact, we can know nothing of history whatsoever, at least before the invention of the printing press, if not before the invention of the xerox photocopier. Is that radical nature of such a standard really something that the skeptic would want to live with? Or perhaps, the antagonism to the reliability of the best-attested document in ancient history comes from some other source, some deeper and more theological reason.
Not only is it unreasonable to suppose that we must have a perfect photocopy of the original texts for them to be authoritative; but furthermore, the nature of the transmission process actually demonstrates God's preservation and care of the documents in an amazing way. The texts we have come from multiples lines of transmission, they were copied out lovingly by persecuted believers in North Africa, Asia, Europe â€“ all over the known world â€“ who had no access to each other, as the Church lived out the Great Commission left to them by the Savior; and now, today, when we gather them together we have substantially the same document. This is certain proof that no one central, controlling body forced changes upon the originals, intentionally corrupting them to be more consistent with their own doctrines, and destroying all evidence thereof. No, the New Testament is essentially the same whether on a scrap of papyrus in Africa from thirty years after John's death or from the careful copying of the Medieval scribes in Europe a thousand years later. What a proof that God carefully preserved all his words in the multiplicity of manuscripts available to us today! We may not know with certainty every single letter â€“ but we have every letter, and to a high degree of accuracy, by comparing these multiple lines of transmission, we can piece together the authoritative Word of God, in what is by far the best-attested document from its time. And even in those places where we are uncertain of a word or phrase, there is no vital doctrine that can be changed or destroyed. For those who are uncertain of the reliability of our modern New Testament or anyone who may interact with such a skeptic, this debate will doubtless prove to be very stimulating and helpful.
Available at Monergism Books.
Arminianism's Depersonalization of the Gospel
Below, in a youtube video (lasting approximately 20 minutes), here is Dr. James White teaching a class from Romans 8:31ff, asking the question, who is being referred to as the "us" in this passage?... nameless faceless people? Is it everyone who lives or has ever lived? Is it a specific group? Is Paul referring to the same group all the way through the passage? What are the implications? Who is Christ interceding for? Is it a group that has people entering and leaving (gaining salvation and then losing it)? Is it "me" IF I fulfill certain conditions? Does Christ fail to save some of those He is interceding for? An interesting unveiling concerning the impersonal nature of Arminian theology and salvation showing the huge implications of a man centered theology and the great cost of losing the personal promises and the deep and abiding assurance this passage is meant to bring to the people of God:
Dr. James White - "Does Reformed Theology Matter?"
After a short introduction, Mr. Lane Chaplin interviews Dr. White from Dr. White's own office on the importance of Reformed theology. There's even a video clip from one of Dr. White's debates. Enjoy!
Why the Right Response?
"I have never met an Arminian who would answer the question... â€œOh, the reason Iâ€™m a believer is because Iâ€™m better than my neighbor.â€ They would be loath to say that. However, though they reject this implication, the logic of semi-Pelagianism requires this conclusion. If indeed in the final analysis the reason Iâ€™m a Christian and someone else is not is that I made the proper response to Godâ€™s offer of salvation while somebody else rejected it, then by resistless logic I have indeed made the good response, and my neighbor has made the bad response.
What Reformed theology teaches is that it is true the believer makes the right response and the non-believer makes the wrong response. But the reason the believer makes the good response is because God in His sovereign election changes the disposition of the heart of the elect to effect a good response. I can take no credit for the response that I made for Christ. God not only initiated my salvation, He not only sowed the seed, but He made sure that that seed germinated in my heart by regenerating me by the power of the Holy Ghost. That regeneration is a necessary condition for the seed to take root and to flourish. Thatâ€™s why at at the heart of Reformed theology the axiom resounds, namely, that regeneration precedes faith. Itâ€™s that formula, that order of salvation that all semi-Pelagians reject. They hold to the idea that in their fallen condition of spiritual death, they exercise faith, and then are born again. In their view, they respond to the gospel before the Spirit has changed the disposition of their soul to bring them to faith. When that happens, the glory of God is shared. No semi-Pelagian can ever say with authenticity: â€œTo God alone be the glory.â€ For the semi-Pelagian, God may be gracious, but in addition to Godâ€™s grace, my work of response is absolutely essential. Here grace is not effectual, and such grace, in the final analysis, is not really saving grace. In fact, salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end. Yes, I must believe. Yes, I must respond. Yes, I must receive Christ. But for me to say â€œyesâ€ to any of those things, my heart must first be changed by the sovereign, effectual power of God the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo gloria. " - R. C. Sproul, Grace Alone (article)
Primary and Secondary Doctrines
"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity." - historically attributed to Augustine
Jesus made it clear that what a person believes about His deity is fundamental to eternal life. He said, "Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins." John 8:24. As Christians we would affirm that all truth is important, but the question is, are all truths equally important? The following is a quote by Dr. Phil Johnson, from an article "Does Scripture Permit Us to Regard ANY Truth as "Secondary"?" first posted 14, September, 2005, at his Pyromaniacs blog:
"It seems to me that the distinction between primary and secondary doctrines is implicit rather than explicit in Scripture. But I think the distinction is still very clear. Here, briefly, are five biblical arguments in favor of making some kind of distinction between primary and secondary doctrines:
Jesus Himself suggested that some errors are gnats and some are camels (Matt. 23:24-25). And He stated that some matters of the law are "weightier" than others (v. 23). Think about it; such distinctions could not be made if every point of truth were essential.
Paul likewise speaks of truths that are "of first importance" (1 Cor. 15:3)â€”clearly indicating that there is a hierarchy of doctrinal significance. Certain issues are plainly identified by Scripture as fundamental or essential doctrines. These include:
doctrines that Scripture makes essential to saving faith (e.g., justification by faithâ€”Rom. 4:4-5; knowledge of the true Godâ€”Jn. 17:3; the bodily resurrectionâ€”1 Cor. 15:4; and several others).
doctrines that Scripture forbids us to deny under threat of condemnation (e.g., 1 Jn. 1:6, 8, 10; 1 Cor. 16:22; 1 Jn. 4:2-3).
Since these doctrines are explicitly said to make a difference between heaven and hell while others (the "gnats" Jesus spoke of) are not assigned that level of importance, a distinction between fundamental and secondary truths is clearly implied.
Paul distinguished between the foundation and that which is built on the foundation (1 Cor. 3:11-13). The foundation is established in Christ, and "no other foundation" may be laid. Paul suggests, however, that the edifice itself will be built with some wood, hay, and stubble. Again, this seems to suggest that while there is no tolerance whatsoever for error in the foundation, some of the individual building-blocks, though important, are not of the same fundamental importance.
The principle Paul sets forth in Roman 14 also has serious implications for this question. There were some differences of opinion in the Roman church which Paul declined to make into hard-and-fast matters of truth vs. heresy. In Romans 14:5, he writes, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." That clearly allows a measure of tolerance for two differing opinions on what is undeniably a point of doctrine.
As an apostle, Paul could simply have handed down a ruling that would have settled the controversy. In fact, elsewhere he did give clear instructions that speaks to the very doctrine under debate in Romans 14 (cf. Col. 2:16-17). Yet in writing to the Romans, he was more interested in teaching them the principle of tolerance for differing views on matters of less-then-fundamental importance. Surely this is something we should weigh very heavily before we make any point of truth a matter over which we break fellowship."
Distinguishing Between Moral and Natural Inability
"No one can come to Me unless that Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:44
"... Edwards distinguished between moral and natural inability. Because man's inability is moral and not natural, according to Edwards, the individual is responsible for the choices he or she makes. Here is a simple illustration: in the natural world there are animals that eat nothing but meat. They are called carnivores, from caro, carnis, which means "meat." There are other animals that eat nothing but grass or plants. They are called herbivores, from herba, which means vegetation. Imagine taking a lion, who is a carnivore, and placing a bundle of hay or a trough of oats before him. He will not eat the hay or oats. Why not? It is not because he is physically or naturally unable to eat them. Physically, he could munch on the oats and swallow them. But he does not and will not, because it is not in his nature to eat this kind of food. Moreover, if we were to ask why he will not eat the herbivore's meal, and if the lion could answer, he would say, "I can't eat this food, because I hate it. I will only eat meat."
Now think of the verse that says, "Taste and see that the LORD is good" (Ps. 34:8), or of Jesus saying, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread, he will live forever" (John 6:51). Why won't a sinful person "taste and see that the Lord is good" or feed upon Jesus as "the living bread"? To use the lion's words, it is because he "hates" such food. The sinner will not come to Christ because he does not want to. Deep in his heart he hates Christ and what he stands for. It is not because he cannot come naturally or physically.
"He gave gifts to men" (Eph 4:8)
Its interesting to read two men I have come to admire for their consistency in interpreting the Biblical text wrestle about the same thing and yet bring out different facets of truth. They in no way disagree with each other in these articles, but seeing their words in such close proximity to each other, allows me to marvel at the beauty and depth there is to be found in God's word. I also believe it shows us the value of receiving gift ministries of Christ to His Church (Eph. 4:11ff) in the way God intended. By all means, check everything these men or anyone else for that matter would say, preach or write. Check everything out with Scripture.. and do this ALWAYS.. and yet where you find them to be speaking truths consistent with the biblical text, allow these men and their words to feed and nourish your soul and your walk with Christ. Here's what I mean..
First of all here's a short article by R. C. Sproul on "Seeking After God"
"How many times have you heard Christians say (or heard the words from your own mouth), "So-and-so is not a Christian but he's searching"? It is a common statement among Christians. The idea is that there are people all over the place who are searching for God. Their problem is that they just haven't been able to find Him. He is playing hide-and-seek. He is elusive.
In the Garden of Eden, when sin came into the world, who hid? Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost. Jesus wasn't the one who was hiding. God is not a fugitive. We are the ones on the run. Scripture declares that the wicked flee when no man pursues. As Martin Luther remarked: "The pagan trembles at the rustling of a leaf. The uniform teaching of Scripture is that fallen men are fleeing from God."
People do not seek God. They seek after the benefits that only God can give them. The sin of fallen man is this: Man seeks the benefits of God while fleeing from God Himself. We are, by nature, fugitives.
Dr. Steven J. Lawson Defines the Doctrines of Grace
A brief excerpt (below) from the Iron Sharpens Iron radio program at www.sharpens.org as Chris Arnzen interviews Dr. Steve J. Lawson.
HT: Nathan W. Bingham
Book Review: The Fear of God, by Arnold L. Frank
The subtitle to Arnold Frank's comprehensive study on the fear of God says all that is necessary to commend its subject matter to today's Church: â€œA Forgotten Doctrineâ€. If there was ever a major doctrinal understanding, suffused throughout the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, that a notable segment of the historical Church entirely overlooked, then it is the doctrine of the fear of God, which the vast bulk of contemporary Evangelicalism has blithely, carelessly, and altogether shockingly ignored. The Fear of God is a timely and potent cordial for a very widespread and malignant disease.
A Guidance for Humanity: The New Testament or the Qur'an?
Lasting approx. 1 hour 42 minutes, here is Dr. James White in dialog with an Islamic apologist, Abdullah Kunde at Sydney University, Sydney, Australia, August 17, 2009.
Sola Gratia is so un-American...
There is no teaching in Christian theology that offends our contemporaries (especially our Christian friends and family), any more then the teaching of sola gratia. Americans hate to be told "no," that they are helpless. Surprisingly, the greatest opposition to the biblical teaching on this point comes not from a secular culture, but from household-name leaders in the American Church. From contemporary figures such as Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel to Bill Bright and Campus Crusade, to virtually all forms of revivalism and Pentecostalism which spring from the loins of one Charles Grandison Finney ... to Alexander Campbell and the Restorationist movement, to Joseph Smith and what later on became the cult known as Mormonism, to William Miller and the Adventist movement, and we can go on and on; all of these movements are based, at least in part, upon a denial of sola gratia, in direct opposition to Reformation theology, and the biblical teaching on this point. Americans hate to be told that God does not depend upon them and a decision that they make. And it is here, then, that we as Reformation Christians and historic Protestants run smack dab into our culture and to much of American Christianity. This is why our friends and families look at us like we have three heads when we speak of these doctrines. But this is the historic Protestant position, and the wholesale rejection of sola gratia demonstrates how far the "evangelical movement" has departed from the historic and biblical Evangelical faith. - Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, from his article "Grace Alone, an Evangelical Problem" found here.
Fun Stuff - Talking Animals (all with English accents)
and sadly, there's more...
The Intention(s) of Christ in the Atonement
Christ died for the elect in a way that he did not for the non-elect. It could be argued that there are at least two intentions in Christ's work of the atonement. The first one is for the elect, in whom God has decreed that the atonement is certain and eventual, therefore it is necessary that it will be applied on His people at a time of the Spirit's choosing. The second is for the non-elect, who receive non-redemptive benefits. These may include not immediately receiving (a putting off of) God's just wrath, but the redemptive benefits of the atonement will only be heralded in the divine command but never actualized in the non-elect. This is why the Bible proclaims that we freely hold out the gospel to all unbelievers and tell them that Christ died, not for all men, but for all sinners who would believe (John 3:16). The redemptive benefits are only for believers. All who believe will have the benefits of the atonement applied to them and be justified, but since no one naturally fits this description, the only persons who come to Christ are those who are God's elect, regenerated by the Holy Spirit unto faith. This means that we are wholly dependent on the work of Christ for our redemption, which includes our ability to have faith in the Redeemer. Since we do not have the power in ourselves to do anything apart from the work of God's Son on the cross, He also gives, as one of its benefits, the Holy Spirit for our conversion (1 Pet 1:3). God "has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). Our redemption in Christ is the wellspring out of which flows regeneration, faith, repentance, justification and sanctification. So although the atonement may have more than one intent, its central purpose is for the redemption of elect (Titus 2:14). In other words, Christ died in a way for the elect that he did not for the non-elect.
Those who say they believe the doctrines of grace, but not particular redemption, carve out the Person, heart and source of grace in these doctrines. For without the particularly of the death of Jesus Christ, all of the other doctrines of grace become mere impersonal abstractions. Jesus Christ must be at their center or not at all. What do I mean by this? For example, if one claims the the atonement is not particular, but that irresistible grace is, then where does the grace come from which makes irresistible grace particular? From Christ or from some generic grace apart from Christ? If from Christ, then you already affirm particular redemption and the impersonal abstraction of four-point calvinism is overthrown. If not from Christ, do you then believe there are redemptive benefits to be had apart from Christ? It is impossible, in other words, to believe in irresistible grace without acknowledging that all spiritual/redemptive blessings (including irresistible grace) flow from one source: Christ.
To show that this doctrine has biblical authority have a look at the following: The Jewish high priest in the Old Testament prayed for the Israelites on the Day of Atonement. He approached the Lord wearing the names of the twelve tribes when bringing the sacrifice. Likewise, before His death on the cross, Jesus also prays a "high priestly prayer" for His people in John 17. Notice that in verse 9, Jesus (as high priest) prays an exclusive prayer for certain people and not others: 'I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours." Then soon after in verse 19 when praying for the same persons the Father has "given" Jesus, He prays: "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." So Jesus only sanctifies Himself for those the Father has given him, meaning these are the very ones He dies redemptively for. In short, Jesus prays for the same persons He dies redemptively for. Only those God has elected in Christ from eternity are given the grace of regeneration that they might believe. And this regeneration is among the redemptive benefits of Christ given to the elect alone - for he purchased with his blood people OUT OF every tribe, nation, tongue and people (Rev 5:9).
Banner of Truth Books Listed by Author
Banner of Truth Books by Author @Monergism Books (for your convenience)
The Gospel is a Complete Surprise
"Itâ€™s the gospel thatâ€™s surprising; itâ€™s the gospel that comes to us and throws us off our horse, because the gospel isnâ€™t wired into us. The gospel only came about because after the Fallâ€”though God could have invoked the judgments that he threatened in the Lawâ€”he instead promised a Savior and clothed Adam and Eve, took all their fig leaves, and clothed them with the sacrificial skins of animals pointing forward to Christ. That was a surprise, a complete surprise. God could have wiped them off the face of the earth at that point and thatâ€™s why they ran because their law compass said, â€œweâ€™d better run.â€ Thatâ€™s why religions, you know, throw kids into volcanoes; and have things like penance where theyâ€™ll go through and make all kinds of satisfactionâ€”crawl on their knees, bloody their kneesâ€“do whatever needs to be done; go on suicide missions; do whatever it takes in order to appease this God they know theyâ€™ve offended." (quote from Dr. Michael Horton in his Christless Christianity DVD series)
Jesus in the Midst of Our Sufferings
â€œWhat the Lord expects from us at such seasons is not to abandon ourselves to unreasoning sorrow, but trustingly to look sorrow in the face, to scan its features, to search for the help and hope, which, as surely as God is our Father, must be there. In such trials there can be no comfort for us so long as we stand outside weeping. If only we will take the courage to fix our gaze deliberately upon the stern countenance of grief, and enter unafraid into the darkest recesses of our trouble, we shall find the terror gone, because the Lord has been there before us, and, coming out again, has left the place transfigured, making of it by the grace of his resurrection a house of life, the very gate of heaven.â€ - Geerhardus Vos
HT: Jolly Blogger
Theodoret on Lamentations 4
Introductory Note: To the best of my knowledge, most of the exegetical writings of Theodoret have never been translated into English. His expositional works are available in the original Greek, however, and I have recently employed them in my study of the fourth of Jeremiah's Lamentations. I took the liberty to translate his interpretation of this lamentation, in order to make it available to the English-speaking reader. Please take a moment to glance through this brief, straightforward, and delightful exposition, and if nothing else, pay attention to Theodoret's explanation of the twentieth verse!
If this portion of his works has indeed been previously translated, contrary to my current knowledge, I would love to know about it -- so please let me know if I am wrong.
The Interpretation of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, by the blessed Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus
How the gold has become dimmed, the good silver has been changed! Have the holy stones been scattered out from the top of all the streets?
He likens the godliness of the forebears to these materials, and mourns the change which has come about in the descendants; for this he makes evident in the following things.
That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection...
"Many Christians are either woefully deficient in their knowledge of Scripture or noticeably devoid of any experience of God's power. The Lord never intended this for His people. We have all seen firsthand the joyless intellectual arrogance the absence of spiritual power can produce, as well as the fanatical emotional excess that comes from the lack of theological integrity." - Sam Storms
Earlier today I posted a youtube video here which projected the rise of Islam across the world, especially in Europe. In researching the matter further, I have determined that much of the content of the video cannot be verified, or worse, actually contained false statements. I really should have done much more research before posting the video and therefore wish to sincerely apologize to our readers for not doing so. I have removed the initial post without even a moment's hesitation as I do not wish to perpetuate falsehood of any kind. Here's an article from the BBC which outlines some of the errors. The internet is a great tool of communication but not always that of a factual nature. Lesson learned - hopefully. - JS
You Need to Accept the Gift?
Have you ever encountered this particular scenario? A Christian says to his non-Christian friend, â€œChrist died for you so you need to accept the gift or it does you no good." In this situation faith is seen as something a person (a natural person) conjures up from his unregenerated human nature. This is unbiblical. The Scriptures argue that faith is a gift (John 6:63-65). Regeneration is produced in you by the preaching of the word as the Holy Spirit works 'germination' through it. You were dead in your sins and transgressions and God came to you first by His Spirit and Word to regenerate you and give you faith (Eph 2:5). J.I. Packer said, The saving power of the cross does not depend on faith being added to it; its saving power is such that faith flows from it"
So the gift is not like a piece of candy which we can accept or refuse but the gift can be likened to the gift of eyes or the reception of new life as a baby. We did not receive either of these things by choosing them, but God just granted them to us at our natural birth. Likewise we trust in Christ, not because we came to Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit in our natural state. Rather we trust Jesus because He removed our heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh which loves Christ. A heart without the Spirit is dead to God and needs the Spirit to make it alive so the person may believe. It was not our good will which caused our regeneration but our regeneration which caused our will to desire what is good. We "were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13).
So when we present the gospel we need to herald the new about what Jesus has accomplished and the command for all persons everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. Telling people the command of God is not the same as telling them the unbiblical and impossible supposition that they have the power to believe apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. (See Rom 3:19, 20).
Resources: Canons of Dort, Heads 3 & 4, Articles 14 & 15
Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 2:1-10, John 1:13, 6:63-65
The Eternal State
At the consummation of all things, Jesus Christ will come for his bride, the church, and will appear in the blazing fire of His glory to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty casting the unbelievers in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:15)
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him and on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. At that time He will resurrect the righteous and the unrighteous (John 5:29) and will create a new heaven and a new earth.The present earth and heaven will be destroyed by fire and the eternal
home of the righteous will be the new earth and new heaven (2 Peter 3:10-13). (See Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22).
In Revelation 21:1-22:6. we get small glimpse of what the future holds for God's covenant people. Much of this in is apocalyptic language so many of these images point to something greater than themselves:
â€¢ There will be no pain or death (Revelation 21:4)
â€¢ God will dwell together with His covenant people (Revelation 21:3)
â€¢ There will be no marriage (Matthew 22:30)
â€¢ There will no longer be any sea (Revelation 21:1)
â€¢ There will be no night (Revelation 21:23; 22:5)
â€¢ Godâ€™s glory will bring light (Revelation 21:23)
â€¢ Godâ€™s throne is in the New Jerusalem (22:4)
â€¢ The curse is removed (Revelation 22:3; cf. Gen. 3)
â€¢ We will have perfect knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:12)
â€¢ We shall be like Christ having an imperishable body just like His (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor 15)
â€¢ We will live forever and exist without pain (Revelation 21:4)
â€¢ We will all be holy (Revelation 21:27)
â€¢ We will reign with Christ for eternity (Revelation 22:5)
â€¢ Christ will rule man (Isaiah 9:7; Revelation 11:15)
At that time, the Heavenly city will become one with the earthly one, which will be the dwelling place of the righteous for all eternity. Those who were cursed in Adam will be perfected as death will have been completely eradicated. May it be so. "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).
Some people think Mormonism is simply a branch of Christianity, such as Methodism or Lutheranism. Yet biblical Christianity actually has more in common with Islam than Mormonism - at least Islam is monotheistic (believes in one God).
Back in 2007, Dr. James White wrote, "For anyone who has studied the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, listening to talk radio of any kind during this political season is proving painful. Being even a conservative talk show host obviously does not impart to you even the slightest bit of theological or historical knowledge. The flood of utter ignorance of LDS beliefs that I have heard flying out of my radio speakers has been breathtaking. "Mormons are just a different kind of Christian" seems to be about as deep as most people want to go, and one thing is for sure: if you dare try to address the fundamental differences between Mormonism and Christianity, you will not be given the time of day. No one is interested. Now, I must admit, I have heard a few make the attempt who never should have, either. You need to know what you are talking about if you are going to try to make the case with clarity."
He continued, "It is to that end that I would like to provide you with some basic information regarding the LDS doctrine of God. My sources will be LDS. I am drawing from my book, Is the Mormon My Brother.... The current political campaign has opened up the opportunity for dialogue. The door is not wide open, but, if the Christian is prepared, knowledgable, and has a clear direction in mind, he or she has an opportunity to speak a word in due season, to God's glory."
A series of articles by Dr. White can be found here which are very useful for anyone wishing to dialog with people caught up in the extremely polytheistic religion of Mormonism - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Monergism.com Announces Major Re-Design
We are very pleased to announce the launch of a major redesign of Monergism.com. After many months of working with our designer and engineers, PHASE 1 of the largest Reformed Website in the world just got easier to navigate and more usable:
|Monergism Directory of Theology||Monergism Home Page|
Phase 1: (Completed)
The first phase is a design and usability face lift. Significant changes you may want to note are:
1) The new Directory of Theology page has had a major overhaul. Take the time to check it out.
2) A huge improvement to the usability and navigation of the Alphabetical and Topical Indexes on the Directory of Theology Page.
3) A much more prominent daily streaming list of Monergism's "Newest Links" on the Directory of Theology Page.
4) A major redesign to the look and feel of the home page.
5) The "Weekly Features" on the home page are now much more prominent and in a larger font that is easier to read.
6) More directory categories to choose from on the home page, for ease of use.
Phase 2: (Currently in planning Stages)
Lord willing, the second phase of Monergism.com's upgrade will either be done by the end of this year or early next year. It is intended to be a major database/backend upgrade which should prove to be greatly beneficial for visitors to the site in terms of functionality and interactivity. While we are unable to provide specifics, the upgrade is intended to set Monergism.com apart as an indespensible tool for pastors, leaders, students and laypeople around the world who want to grow deeper in their knowledge and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. In the words of our engineer, Monergism.com is going to sing when PHASE 2 is done. As upgrading the backend of the website will be a very expensive proposition, please consider contributing financially to its development through CPRF, our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Dear loved ones in Christ,
We are excited to announce the launching of our new ministry website, psalm45publications.com. From this page, you may access all of my books, and either download them electronically, browse chapter-by-chapter, or purchase print copies. In addition, you will find hundreds of Christ-centered articles, teaching outlines, book reviews, categorized and annotated scripture lists designed for reference and guided studies, poems, "theological FAQs," and other similar items. Also, you can keep up-to-date on my latest posts by scrolling down to the "recent articles" section on the home page. Many thanks to Matthew Fitzsimmons for all the work he contributed toward designing a simple, attractive, and easy-to-use website.
Psalm 45 Publications exists to disseminate Christ-centered and gospel-saturated literature as freely and widely as possible, so please make free use of any of the resources you find. Everything on the site is available for free download, and print copies of most of the items are available to purchase at a reasonable price -- but if you would benefit from having something in print and cannot afford to purchase it, send me an e-mail and I'll try to get it into your hands. The only thing I would request in return is that, if you find something to be useful for stirring up your love of the Savior or strengthening your theological understanding or Christian walk, you would spread the news to others who might also benefit. In order thereto, please feel free to e-mail this to friends, link to or blog about psalm45publications.com, or spread the news in any other way you see fit.
Your partners in the gospel,
Nathan, Nicole, Mishael & Ariel
P.S. We are still ironing out a few things such as the "reference only Scripture lists" and links on the sidebar.
Book Review: Counsel from the Cross, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson
It will probably come as no surprise to many of you that much of what is passed off these days as biblical counseling is actually nothing but modern, godless, popular psychology dressed up with a few bible verses. But I am very pleased to inform you that Counsel from the Cross, by Fitzpatrick and Johnson, contains nothing of the sort. It is counseling, yes: but true to its title, it is always most eminently counsel from nowhere but the cross of Jesus Christ. Highly recommended for counselors, counselees, and all those Christians who simply have a hard time remembering the gospel when life gets hard.