Monday, April 25, 2005

Knowing God

"We need to ask ourselves a very fundamental question--a question, indeed, that we always ought to put to ourselves whenever we embark on any line of study in God's holy book. The question concerns our own motives and intentions as students. We need to ask ourselves: What is my ultimate aim and object in occupying my mind with these things? What do I intend to do with my knowledge about God, once I have it? For the fact that we have to face is this: If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate and dismiss them as very poor specimens." J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Theology, brothers and sisters, is a constant rethinking of knowing our precious Father. It is the humble study of Jesus in our bedroom early in the morning. It is the simple and heart-felt prayers from the overlooking mountain peak. It is the way we talk to people out on the streets. It is how we treat our parents. It is how we act at work or school. It is how we treat our fellow brothers. Theology isn't about winning a debate or knowing more than someone else. It isn't becoming well versed in the Scriptures only to have no love for one another. It's loving God so much that you don't want to do anything but know Him and worship Him. No, I never tire of the study of God, for if it is for His name sake, nothing can tear that away from me. If my motives are biblical and my heart refined by constant prayer and meditation on God's Holy Spirit, and if what I do with this knowledge of God is glorifying to Him, then indeed, may I continue to pursue my Father with upmost respect and honor of which He is due.

This past week, I have thought upon this often. What am I doing with my knowledge of God? Is it merely sitting in my brain with no place to go? No, there are many places for it to go. Is it going? Is it being used daily to turn the eyes of pagans, and also my fellow brothers and sisters, to see the very God of whom I worship and pursue? Is it edifying and equipping the saints? Is it instilling courage into others?

I continue in prayer to check my motives and my heart. This is just another example of how in everything I must rely on God; on His grace and mercy. May He take hold of my will and mold it into His. Amen.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

World on Fire

Sarah McLachlan's great music video. Check it out.

Passover Sunday

John Piper has written a good sermon based on the question, "How did believers experience the Holy Spirit before Pentecost, and why should you care?"

Today seemed like a good time to share this with you.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Need I say more?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I can't believe I hadn't seen this movie until now! I thought it was a great portrayal of Luther.

I do have one question, which confessions were mentioned at the end?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

"I do not despise ignorant Christians because of their ignorance, but who can praise those who are determined not to learn?" ~ Gordon Clark

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Thursday, April 14, 2005

What is lacking?

About a month ago, I listened to John Piper's CD "Doing Missions When Dying is Gain."
It was so good that I just had to write up a quick summary of Piper's main points.

Matthew 24:14(ESV): "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Says Jesus)

1. The Promise is Sure.
a) Jesus never lies. You can either get on board and enjoy the triumph, or you can cop-out and waste your life.

b) The ransom has already been paid for those people among all the nations.

Revelation 5:9: "And they sang a new song, saying,
'Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

"He already bought those people, we are going to go find them by indiscriminately preaching the gospel as the Holy Spirit calls them to Himself, I know this can't abort because the debt has already been paid for God's people everywhere in the world, those lost sheep, as Jeus called them, that are scattered throughout the world that will come in as the Father calls through the preaching of the gospel."

c) The glory of God is at stake.

Romans 15:8-9: “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles [Nations] might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.’”

Translations being made from vertical to horizontal in your love for the glory of God.

d) God is sovereign.

Hebrews 6:3: “And this we will do if God permits.”

He is sovereign in the church; he is sovereign in the Nations.

Revelation 6:9: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice,
‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’
Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”

2. The Price is Suffering.
“He who would come after me, let him take up his cross and DIE!”

Hebrews 13:13: “Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.”

There must be suffering.

Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”

What was lacking in Christ’s afflictions???

The only other time that the word “lacking” is used is in Philippians 2:30: “For he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.” (Paul speaking of Epaphroditus)

The thing that was lacking was the church’s presentation of this offering in person.

This is what we have: Jesus dies and he suffers for people all over the world in every nation, then he is buried and according to the Scriptures, he is raised on the third day, and he ascends into Heaven and he reigns over the world, and he leaves a work to be done, and Paul’s self understanding of his mission is that there is one thing lacking in the sufferings of Jesus; the love offering is to be presented in person, in the body of Christ through missionaries to the peoples for whom he died, and he says, “I do this in my sufferings.”

"In my sufferings, I complete what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.” ~Paul

Which means Christ intends for the Great Commission to be a presentation, to the nations, of the sufferings of his cross, in the sufferings of His people.

There might be more coming...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dressed in Beauty not my own

When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o'er life's finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call,
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start to shrink,
On the fiery deluge brink,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

When the praise of heav'n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many water's noise,
Sweet as harp's melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Savior's side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

~ Robert Murray McCheyne, 1837

Church Denominations 2

I like the way this one turned out better. :)

1: Presbyterian/Reformed (100%)
2: Baptist (Reformed/Particular/Calvinistic) (89%)
3: Congregational/United Church of Christ (84%)
4: Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England (63%)
5: Eastern Orthodox (60%)
6: Methodist/Wesleyan/Nazarene (54%)
7: Baptist (non-Calvinistic)/Plymouth Brethren/Fundamentalist (47%)
8: Lutheran (45%)
9: Roman Catholic (43%)
10: Seventh-Day Adventist (43%)
11: Church of Christ/Campbellite (41%)
12: Pentecostal/Charismatic/Assemblies of God (41%)
13: Anabaptist (Mennonite/Quaker etc.) (39%)

The only answers I changed were the Church government and infant baptism questions. Interesting...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Take the Denomination Quiz!

Visit Christian Traditions
My Results:

1: Baptist (Reformed/Particular/Calvinistic) (100%)
2: Congregational/United Church of Christ (97%)
3: Presbyterian/Reformed (81%)
4: Methodist/Wesleyan/Nazarene (69%)
5: Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England (68%)
6: Eastern Orthodox (61%)
7: Seventh-Day Adventist (59%)
8: Church of Christ/Campbellite (57%)
9: Lutheran (57%)
10: Baptist (non-Calvinistic)/Plymouth Brethren/Fundamentalist (55%)
11: Anabaptist (Mennonite/Quaker etc.) (51%)
12: Roman Catholic (47%)
13: Pentecostal/Charismatic/Assemblies of God (45%)

Gosh, this is really weird. I need to see the answer key. :)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Me down, Christ up

Wow...this is so good. I just love what Charles Spurgeon writes!
Scroll down to #2. Now is a great time for this because of the pope's death.

Good evening, as leave you with some words from Spurgeon himself,

"Oh! down, down, down with everything else -- but, up, up, up, with the cross of Christ!"

Monday, April 04, 2005

Will of Man

"... and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, ‘If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.’ It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that He gives both; that He is ‘Alpha and Omega’ in the salvation of men." (Charles H. Spurgeon from the sermon ‘Free Will A Slave’ (1855) referring to Luther's book, The Bondage of the Will).

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13, KJV, emphases added).

There has been a good discussion over at Joe's concerning the free will of man. I replyed to Joe saying,

"(Joe), you said, 'Calvinism, as I understand it, does teach free will, but only after salvation.'
This would be an inaccurate statement. Free will is a tricky subject, but not quite as complicated as some make it. We are basically free to think, act, and will as our current nature allows. Meaning, before regeneration, we are unable to do anything which pleases God. It is not as if God gives us "free will" once we are born again. What happens is our nature changes. We are given a completely new nature. The old is gone and the new remains. We are free moral agents. Now we are able to think, act, and will in a way which can please God, as His grace allows."

However, my friend, D.Mann, wrote a good response to what I wrote at Joe Missionary. I understand now that free will is something that is given to us after regeneration. Christians throw around "free will" all the time that we just assume what it means. Another blogger pointed out that it's historical definition is

"the ability to make choices without any prior prejudice, inclination, or disposition. The natural capacity of the human will to make free moral decisions."

This belief, he echos from Scripture, is "unbiblical and foolish."

This blogger, Rand, also wrote,

"free agency":
'By a free and responsible agent we mean an intelligent person who acts with rational self-determination.'

God does not MAKE anyone sin, the "agents" do exactly what they want, they are ruled by their nature (whether it be holy, or ungodly)."

This is a biblical explaination of how we (in our finite minds) reconcile God's sovereignty with man's responsibility.

Anyway, I just wanted to admit I was wrong in my definitions, and to clarify what I believe. It is my wish and prayer that I will continue to be semper reformanda, always reforming. Thank you to those of you who continue to press on and hold sound doctrine high above man's approval. Correction and encouragment is always welcome.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Good Theology...

...from a bunch of dead guys.

Learn to speak Curmudgeonese

Glossary of Curmudgeonese:

An evangelical Arminian; a typical Evangelical churchgoer who believes that the final say as to whether a person gets saved or not depends on an autonomous act of human free will: raising his hand during an altar call and "accepting Christ" as his "personal lord and Saviour," rather than on the free choice of a sovereign God. Many people of this persuasion do not like the label "Arminian," feeling it is inaccurate since historically Arminians do not believe in "eternal security."
Fair enough, responded a number of Calvinists on the Fundamentalist Forums one day, we'll call you "free-willies" instead.

Cage-Stage Calvinist
Many new Calvinists go through a period during which they become hyper-zealous for the cause of Calvinism and attempt to convert their Arminian friends more aggressively than most Jehovah's Witnesses. Theologian and philosopher George Grant calls this period the "cage stage." New Calvinists ought to be locked in a cage for about the first two years, or until they mellow out and realize John Calvin isn't God, the Reformers weren't infallible, and the Westminster Confession is not a Bible.

Conspiracy Boy
Nickname for Texe Marrs, author, radio host of Power of Prophecy, home-church advocate, and Ruckmandroid (see below). As Phil Johnson says, Texe never met a conspiracy he didn't like.

For more terms click here.

April Book Giveaway

April Giveaway

Again, my referral ID # is: 51270

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Did Christ Die for You?

A case for the L in TULIP...

Click here for a good explaination from Rand.

His newer website is A Form of Sound Words.

EDIT: Thanks for the help guys. :)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Theology Thursdays

Check out Joe Missionary for a great series on Arminianism every Thursday. Post your comments.