27 February 2007

Sir Russ the Subversive

Pretty cool, huh?.....I kinda like this title. :-)

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Sir Russ the Subversive of Heffton St Mallet
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

26 February 2007

February 28th & 29th in Christian History

February 28 1638 - Second National Covenant signed in Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh, Scotland

February 29 1528 - Patrick Hamilton, a Protestant martyr, was burned at the stake in St Andrews.

25 February 2007

More on Why Men Hate Going To Church

We didn't make it to church this morning do to the severe ice storm in our area. So, I started perusing the 'net for good stuff. Here is more good stuff on Why Men Hate Going To Church. I don't agree with everything you'll read there (I don't entirely agree with Murrow , either) but there is still some thoughtful insights and suggestions. Here is the link.

24 February 2007

Matthew 24

Sometime ago I published the following study in a theological newsletter. I thought I'd put it on here for a new audience. It's a bit lengthy so I'll put a bit on at a time, probably once a week.

A Study Matthew 24:1-36


Other than the book of Revelation, Matthew 24 is paramount to understanding the eschatology of the Bible. A study like this has been done before; however, this study will incorporate not only my views but also those who have distinguished themselves in the area of eschatology. A great deal of scholarship has been expended in this area and I don't wish to presume upon those great men who have already traveled this path before. I simply wish to bring some of this work together in a simple and understandable format. Please note that there will be observations on the dispensational viewpoint occasionally but this is not a critique of dispensationalism. A full refutation of that system will not be given.

To start out, the key to this study (or any study) is context. Verse 34 is the answer to the question of "when these events shall take place." The recorded events up to vs. 34 will happen to the generation then living. "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." Christ's language is simple and direct. There is no mistaking it. "This generation" represents the people Jesus was personally speaking to.

Sometimes the word "generation" is mistranslated or misinterpreted to mean "race." There is no warrant for this error in interpretation other than to make the verse and passage fit a particular eschatological viewpoint, i.e., dispensational premillennialism which is so prevalent today. Not only does the common definition fit the passage, but there are several other reasons not to interpret "generation" as "race." First, the Greek word translated as "generation," genea, is used several times in the book of Matthew, but never in the sense of Israel as a race or nation.
These passages are 1:17; 11:16; 12:39-45; 16:4; 17:17; and 23:36. Secondly, there are five instances when genea is definitely referring only to the generation then living. Verses such as 11:16; 12:41; 42, 45; and 23:36 make this evident. A generation in Scripture is generally 40 years (Psalm 95:10, Num. 32:13.) [See Ken Gentry, Dispensationalism in Transition, ICE June 1991.]

Most importantly, the passage warrants the the "then living" interpretation of "generation." It will be demonstrated that all the events Jesus was prophesying actually did occur just a few decades later in A.D. 70. (I do propose, however, that in verse 36 changed the subject and began a separate discourse on a different theme. Thus, chapter 24 can be divided into two parts. Verses 4-35 refer to the signs of impending doom and destruction on Israel and verse 36 into chapter 25 describes the second coming.) As we shall see later, correlating Matthew 24:15-20 with the parallel passage in Luke 21:20-24 additionally gives evidence of the first century time frame of the first part of Matthew 24.

to be continued....

21 February 2007

I Love it....Martin Luther Quote

From The Wit of Martin Luther,

`Tomorrow I have to lecture on the drunkenness of Noah, so I should drink enough this evening to be able to talk about that wickedness as one who knows by experience.'

What's All the Fuss?

On the whole issue of John Piper recently blurting out the word ass at Passion07 I think the Jolly Blogger sums up the situation and takes a balanced position on using strong language.
Give it a read. I'm not advocating Christians everywhere starting to use strong language but I'm not going to condemn Piper for using it. Should he have used another word for it? Perhaps, but that's the word that came to mind and that's the word he spoke and he was trying to make a point. Rather, it seems like the point may have been missed and the focus became the use of this word.

Jolly Blogger makes a strong point when he stated: My main concern in all of this is that we in the church often display, or seek to attain, a kind of super-spirituality, ultra-piety and over scrupulousness that goes beyond what the Bible requires. Plus, there is something in us that just needs to feel offended at others. He goes on, I also think this sends a bad message to anyone who stumbles on discussions like this who are considering the Christian faith. I can imagine someone seeing this stuff and thinking, "my goodness, if I ever embrace the Christian faith and have a little slip of the tongue I'll probably get hammered for it - no thanks!" I doubt they would be impressed with our convictions and our spirituality, nor do I think this would entice them toward the faith. Peter Leithert contributes to the debate in his blog by clarifying the crucial passage on this issue, Eph. 5:1-12. In some sense, its good that this has come to light so that we may all examine this again.

Not long ago I sat in a class with other middle-age Christians like myself. The teacher is a pastor, well educated, and very interesting. While discussing one of the early Pelagians he started to stumble trying to find the correct word. He tilted his up and uttered, "What he said was..., was..., was just bullsh*t." I was of course caught off guard and thought at first I mis-heard him but I know I did not. I looked around the table and no one batted an eye. I have not heard him use a word like that before or since. But somehow, it was the right word then.

18 February 2007

I Won I Won, I Won..

I know its inconceivable but I won a book over at incrediblog! (Me ol' Mum would be proud!) Take a look here:

incrediblog!: Free Book Offer

Two very difficult questions for which I had to sum up all my powers to answer (correctly, I mean). Follow the link for your chance - OK, I'm a Calvinist - your opportunity to win.

A Very Dangerous Man Indeed

Pray for us in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Joel Osteen is coming to town. He promotes his own brand of the prosperity gospel and folks are just eating it up all over the country. He doesn't even have a theological degree. Unbelievable but people all over the world have followed charlatans before and they're doing it again. A well thought out and informative post on Osteen is here. Be sure to follow the link for a review of Osteen's book.

17 February 2007

A Few Thoughts from J.I. Packer...

Some insightful thoughts from J.I. Packer in his "Quest for Godliness,":

We are spiritual dwarfs. A much traveled leader, a native American, has declared that he finds North American Protestantism, man-centered, manipulative, success oriented, self indulgent and sentimental, as it blatantly is, 3,000 miles wide and half an inch deep. The Puritans, by contrast, as a body were giants....In them clear headed passion and warm-hearted compassion combined. Visionary and practical, idealistic and realistic too, goal oriented and methodical, they were great believers , great hopers, great doers and great sufferers....The Puritans became men & women of order, matter-of-fact and down-to-earth, prayerful, , purposeful, practical. Seeing life whole, they integrated contemplation with action, worship with work, labour with rest, love of God with love of neighbor and of self....

Modern society almost forbids this way of life. We can't go backwards but we can move forwards and incorporate this love of God and lifestyle into our own.

16 February 2007

James Renwick

Tomorrow, February 17th, is the anniversary of the execution of James Renwick. I believe he was the last Covenanter to be executed. You can read more about him here. His life and work is also covered in the book Fair Sunshine by Jock Purves (see sidebar).

15 February 2007

Just had to get it...The Wit of Martin Luther

Came across this book recommendation at Reformation 21. I just couldn't resist it. Based on what I read this is a book for me! I think humor is a gift of which we should all partake and its great to know this Reformer had a sense of humor. And, Amazon has it cheap!

12 February 2007

Take the Test

Another great post from the Jolly Blogger. I took the test, too. My results are below. Take the test here, its fun and makes you think a bit. Of course, the test is biased on the author's opinions but still....

You scored as Reformed Evangelical.
You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical 71%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 61%
Neo orthodox 57%
Fundamentalist 57%
Classical Liberal 25%
Emergent/Postmodern 25%
Roman Catholic 18%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 11%
Modern Liberal 0%

10 February 2007

Calvinism...Where the Rubber Meets the Road

I found a very well written article on the practical side of Calvinism. For when the going gets tough the author wrote:

Now that’s where Calvinism really comes through for you. It applies the Bible where you need it the most. Think through the basics. Jesus died for you personally (Personal Atonement). He loves you, not what he can get out of you (Unconditional Election). He pours out his love on every bit of you, not just on what you think is your sweeter and nicer side (Total Depravity). His love is stronger than all your doubt and foolishness and fear put together (Irresistible Grace). He keeps on loving you, all the way through to the end (Perseverance of the Saints). That’s the Five Points of your Father’s love!

Calvinism is truly life changing and life enriching. For those who think its just stuffy ol' theology, well it's time to think again.

Read the whole article here.

Please pray...

Please pray for Alistair Begg. Read about it here.

06 February 2007

New Books

I love buying new books. There's just something about getting them knowing all that good theology and knowledge is packed in there. So what did I order? The Works of John Flavel: In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation; A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life; Fair Sunshine: Character Studies of the Scottish Covenanters. I'm like a kid in a candy store!!


OK, I got tagged by Gordon at incrediblog! Hhhmmm...very strange thing to be tagged. Anyway, here's the rules:

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123; go down to the fourth sentence.
3. Post the text of the following three sentences.
4. Name the author and book title.
5. Tag three people to do the same.

Alright, nearest book to me is......Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray:
In God's justification of sinners there is no deviation from the rule that what is declared is presupposed to be. God's judgment is according to truth here as elsewhere. The pecularity of God's action consists in this that he causes to be the righteous state or relation which is declared to be.

I haven't read this book in quite some time. I think its time for a review.

So, I tag 3:17 and The Reluctant Puritan.

03 February 2007

Semi-pelagian Narrower Catechism

I came across this the other day at this website. It was just too good to pass up. Hey, there's only 45 Q's & A's - Lets start memorizing now!

Semi-pelagian Narrower Catechism

This has floated around for some time. Don't know who did it, but it is too funny (in an irenic sort of way). Warning: All will laugh and all will get offended!

1. Q: What is the chief end of each individual Christian?
A: Each individual Christian's chief end is to get saved. This is the first and great commandment. 2. Q: And what is the second great commandment?
A: The second, which is like unto it, is to get as many others saved as he can.
3. Q: What one work is required of thee for thy salvation?
A: It is required of me for my salvation that I make a Decision for Christ, which meaneth to accept Him into my heart to be my personal lord'n'saviour
4. Q: At what time must thou perform this work?
A: I must perform this work at such time as I have reached the Age of Accountability.
5. Q: At what time wilt thou have reached this Age?
A: That is a trick question. In order to determine this time, my mind must needs be sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce even to the division of bone and marrow; for, alas, the Age of Accountability is different for each individual, and is thus unknowable.
6. Q: By what means is a Decision for Christ made?
A: A Decision for Christ is made, not according to His own purpose and grace which was given to me in Christ Jesus before the world began, but according to the exercise of my own Free Will in saying the Sinner's Prayer in my own words.
7. Q: If it be true then that man is responsible for this Decision, how then can God be sovereign?A: He cannot be. God sovereignly chose not to be sovereign, and is therefore dependent upon me to come to Him for salvation. He standeth outside the door of my heart, forlornly knocking, until such time as I Decide to let Him in.
8. Q: How then can we make such a Decision, seeing that the Scripture saith, we are dead in our trespasses and sins?
A: By this the Scripture meaneth, not that we are dead, but only that we are sick or injured in them.
9. Q: What is the assurance of thy salvation?
A: The assurance of thy salvation is, that I know the date on which I prayed the Sinner's Prayer, and have duly written this date on an official Decision card.
10. Q: What is thy story? What is thy song?
A: Praising my Savior all the day long.
11. Q: You ask me how I know he lives?
A: He lives within my heart.
12. Q: And what else hast thou got in thine heart?
A: I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
13. Q: Where??
A: Down in my heart!
14. Q: Where???
A: Down in my heart!!
15. Q: What witness aid hath been given us as a technique by which we may win souls?
A: The tract known commonly as the Four Spiritual Laws, is the chief aid whereby we may win souls.
16. Q: What doth this tract principally teach?
A: The Four Spiritual Laws principally teach, that God's entire plan for history and the universe centereth on me, and that I am powerful enough to thwart His divine purpose if I refuse to let Him pursue His Wonderful Plan for my life.
17. Q: What supplementary technique is given by which we may win souls?
A: The technique of giving our own Personal Testimony, in the which we must always be ready to give an answer concerning the years we spent in vanity and pride, and the wretched vices in which we wallowed all our lives untilthe day we got saved.
18. Q: I'm so happy, what's the reason why?
A: Jesus took my burden all away!
19. Q: What are the means given whereby we may save large crowds of souls in a spectacular manner?
A: Such a spectacle is accomplished by means of well-publicized Crusades and Revivals which (in order that none may be loath to attend) are best conducted anywhere else but in a Church.
20. Q: Am I a soldier of the Cross?
A: I am a soldier of the Cross if I join Campus Crusade, Boys' Brigade, the Salvation Army, or the Wheaton Crusaders; of if I put on the helmet of Dispensationalism, the breastplate of Pietism, the shield of Tribulationism, and the sword of Zionism, having my feet shod with the gospel of Arminianism.
21. Q: Who is your boss?
A: My boss is a Jewish carpenter.
22. Q: Hath God predestined vessels of wrath to Hell?
A: God hath never performed such an omnipotent act, for any such thing would not reflect His primary attribute, which is Niceness.
23. Q: What is sanctification?
A: Sanctification is the work of my free Will, whereby I am renewed by having my Daily Quiet Time.
24. Q: What rule hath God for our direction in prayer?
A: The rule that we must bow our hands, close our heads, and fold our eyes.
25. Q: What doth the Lord's Prayer teach us?
A: The Lord's Prayer teacheth us that we must never memorize a prayer, or use one that hath been written down.
26. Q: What's the book for thee?
A: The B-I-B-L-E.
27. Q: Which are among the first books which a Christian should read to his soul's health?
A: Among the first books which a Christian should read are the books of Daniel and Revelation, and The Late Great Planet Earth.
28. Q: Who is on the Lord's side?
A: He who doth support whatsoever is done by the nation of Israel, and who doth renounce the world, the flesh, and the Catholic Church.
29. Q: What are the seven deadly sins?
A: The seven deadly sins are smoking, drinking, dancing, card-playing, movie-going, baptizing babies, and having any creed but Christ.
30. Q: What is a sacrament?
A: A sacrament is an insidious invention devised by the Catholic Church whereby men are drawn into idolatry.
31. Q: What is the Lord's Supper?
A: The Lord's Supper is a dispensing of saltines and grape juice, in the which we remember Christ's command to pretend that they are His body and blood.
32. Q: What is baptism?
A: Baptism is the act whereby, by the performance of something that seems quite silly in front of everyone, I prove that I really, really mean it.
33. Q: What is the Church?
A: The Church is the tiny minority of individuals living at this time who have Jesus in their hearts, and who come together once a week for a sermon, fellowship and donuts.
34. Q: What is the office of the keys?
A: The office of the keys is that office held by the custodian.
35. Q: What meaneth "The Priesthood Of All Believers"?
A: The Priesthood Of All Believers meaneth that there exists no authority in the Church, as that falsely thought to be held by elders, presbyters, deacons, and bishops, but that each individual Christian acts as his own authority in all matters pertaining to the faith.
36. Q: Who is the Holy Spirit?
A: The Holy Spirit is a gentleman Who would never barge in.
37. Q: How long hath the Holy Spirit been at work?
A: The Holy Spirit hath been at work for more than a century: expressly, since the nineteenth-century Revitalization brought about by traveling Evangelists carrying tents across America.
38. Q: When will be the "Last Days" of which the Bible speaketh?
A: The "Last Days" are these days in which we are now living, in which the Antichrist, the Beast, and the Thief in the Night shall most certainly appear.
39. Q: What is the name of the event by which Christians will escape these dreadful entities?
A: The event commonly known as the Rapture, in the which it is our Blessed Hope that all cars driven by Christians will suddenly have no drivers.
40. Q: When is Jesus coming again?
A: Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening, and maybe soon.
41. Q: When the roll, roll, roll, is called up yonder, where will you be?
A: There.
42. Q: Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!
A: Praise ye the Lord!
43. Q: Praise ye the Lord!
A: Hallelujah!
44. Q: Where will we meet again?
A: Here, there, or in the air.
45. Q: Can I hear an Ay-men?
A: Ay-men.

Church History Classes

I'm taking a Church History class online through Covenant Seminary. Its absolutely excellent & I highly recommend it. Online class info can be found here. The book for the class is The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2, by Justo L. Gonzalez, is as good as any I've found on church history. Amazon has it a good price. Another valuable resource I found is the Church History Timeline website. Good info and the author has taken these courses as well. I'm always looking for good church history websites so, please let me know what you come across.

A Positive Article From....

Wow...A positive article on Calvinism printed in Christianity Today. Nice to see it anyway. It was encouraging to read some of the modern initiatives that are engaging today's youth. Take a look here.