29 September 2007

New Additions

Just thought I'd share some new adds to my library - everyone a gem and worth every penny!

The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim. This is a classic. If you don't have this take moment to check it out.

Always Reforming edited by A.T. B. McGowan. I'm still reading this but its very insightful and if you're stuck in a theology from the 17th century perhaps you should have a look at this.

A Scottish Christian Heritage by Iain Murray

Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray

Evagelicalism Divided by Iain Murray. How can you go wrong with anything written by Murray?

Shared Life by Donald Macleod. A little classic on the importance and right understanding of the Trinity.

See the scrolling widget on the sidebar for links on these books.

25 September 2007

Westminster Wednesday

Before we move to number 24 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism let me say that starting this week I will also be posting the correspondig q&a of Keach's Catechism which, as most of you know, is the catechism for the London Baptist Confession of Faith. Additionally I'll be posting the the corresponding Heidelberg Catechism q&a and other correlating materials as well.

So, let's get to it. We're getting more specific in this week's q&a on Christ's offices.

Q. 24. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet? A. Christ executeth thc office of a prophet, in revealing to us his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.

From John Flavel we read,

Q. 1. What doth Christ’s prophetical office imply?
A. It implies man’s natural blindness and ignorance; 1 Corinthians 2:14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Q. 2. What else doth it imply?
A. That Christ is the original and fountain of all that light which guides us to salvation; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7. For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Q. 3. How doth Christ teach men the will of God?
A. He doth it by external revelation of it; Acts 3:22. For Moses truly said to the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear, in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you. And by internal illumination; Luke 24:45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scripture.
Q. 4. What need then of man’s ministry?
A. Very much; for Christ hath instituted ministers as instruments, by whom he will teach us; Ephesians 4:11, 12. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists and some pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Acts 26:18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.
Q. 5. Can no man savingly know the will of God without the teachings of Christ?
A. No; though common knowledge may be obtained in a natural way, yet not saving; Matthew 11:25. At that time Jesus answered, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord, of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
Q. 6. How appears it that Christ is appointed to this office?
A. We have the written word for it; Acts 3:22. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you.
Q. 7. What is the first instruction from hence?
A. None need be discouraged at their natural weakness, if Christ be their teacher; Matthew 11:25. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Psalm. 19:7. The testimonies of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple.
Q. 8. What is the second instruction?
A. That it is a dreadful judgment to be spiritually blinded under the gospel; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Q. 9. What is the third instruction?
A. That prayer is the best expedient to obtain saving knowledge; James 1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Q. 10. What is the last instruction?
A. Learn hence the transcendent excellency of the knowledge of Christ above all other knowledge; Philippians 3:8. Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.

Keach's Catechism:
Q. 28. How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executes the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by this Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.

Heidelberg Catechism (actually this corresponds to WSC #23):
31. Q. Why is He called Christ, that is, Anointed?
A. Because He has been ordained by God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; our only High Priest, who by the one sacrifice of His body has redeemed us, and who continually intercedes for us before the Father; and our eternal King, who governs us by His Word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.
The book The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English can be purchsed from Amazon.com (See the side bar.)

24 September 2007

Origen Prayer

Lord God, Let us keep your Scriptures in mind and meditate on them day and night, persevering in prayer, always on the watch. We beg you, Lord, to give us real knowlwedge of what we read and to show us not only how to understand it, but how to put it into practice, so that we may...obtain spritual grace, enlightened by the law of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord, whose power and glory will endure throughout the ages. Amen.
- Origen

19 September 2007

Irenaeus on Error

Error never shows itself in its naked reality, in order to be discovered. On the contrary, it dresses elegantly, so that the unwary may be lead to believe that it is more truthful than truth itself. - Irenaeus of Lyons

18 September 2007

Westminster Wednesday

Before we jump into the study of Q&A #23, let's be reminded why we study the WSC. Speaking to some children, John Murray said, It will not only give you the most perfect human compendium of Christian truth that there is in the whole world, but it will be the finest mental exercise, and it will lay a foundation in your mind and in your life for a hundred other things as well as for true religion. If John Murray considers the catechism the most perfect human compendium of Christian truth then it certainly is worth a bit of study on our part. Let's take a look at number 23 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
Q: What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer? A: Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.
From Thomas Vincent we read:
Q. 1. What is it to execute an office?
A. To execute an office, is to do or perform what belongeth to the office.
Q. 2. How many offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A. There are three offices Christ doth execute as our Redeemer — 1. The office of a prophet: "Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." — Acts 3:22. 2. The office of a priest: "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek." — Heb. 5:6. 3. The office of a king: "Yet have I set my King upon my holy bill of Zion." — Ps. 2:6.
Q. 3. In what estate doth Christ execute these offices?
A. 1. Christ doth execute these offices in his estate of humiliation here on earth. 2. Christ doth execute these offices in his estate of exaltation now in heaven.
And from Matthew Henry:
1. Is Christ a complete Redeemer? Yes: for it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, Col. 1:19. Is he completely qualified for the undertaking? Yes: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, John 3:34. Is he authorized for it? Yes: for all things are delivered to him of the Father, Matt. 11:27. Has he a full commission? Yes: for the Father judgeth no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son, John 5:22. And has he an ability equal to his authority? Yes: for as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself, ver. 26.
2. Is there all that in Christ which fallen man stands in need of?
Yes: for Christ is all, and in all, Col. 3:11. Is he light? Yes: I am the light of the world, John 8:12. Is he life? Yes: in him was life, and the life was the light of men, John 1:4. Is he our peace? Yes: he is our peace, Eph. 2:14. Is he our head? Yes: he is the head of the body, the church, Col. 1:18. Is he the door? Yes: I am the door of the sheep, John 10:7. Is he the way? Yes: I am the way, the truth, and the life, John 14:6. Can we come to God as a Father, otherwise than by Jesus Christ as Mediator? No: for no man cometh to the Father but by me, John 14:6. Is he our food? Yes: I am that bread of life, John 6:48. Is he our friend? Yes: This is my beloved, and this is my friend, Cant. 5:16.
3. Is Jesus Christ a Redeemer in office?
Yes: for God hath exalted him with his own right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, Acts 5:31. Is he duly put in office? Yes: for him hath God the Father sealed, John 6:27. Does he duly execute his office? Yes: for he was faithful to him that appointed him, Heb. 3:2. Is he a Prophet? Yes: This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world, John 6:14. Is he a Priest? Yes: he is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Heb. 3:1. Is he a King? Yes: he is King of kings, and Lord of lords, Rev. 19:16.
4. Did Christ execute these offices in his state of humiliation?
Yes: I have glorified thee on the earth, John 17:4. Does he execute them in his state of exaltation? Yes: for in heaven itself he now appears in the presence of God for us, Heb. 9:24. Is he then an all-sufficient Saviour? Yes: he is able to save to the uttermost all those that come to God by him, Heb. 7:25. And is he as willing to save as he is able? Yes: Whosoever comes unto me I will in no wise cast out, John 6:37.

17 September 2007

Need for Creed

Yes, we need creeds. They define us and what we believe and keep us in orthodoxy. Ken Gentry has listed some of the reasons why we should maintain the creeds:

1. Creeds serve as a basis for ecclesiastical fellowship and labor

2. Creeds serve as tools of Christian education

3. Creeds provide an objective, concrete standard of church discipline

4. Creeds help to preserve the orthodox Christian faith in the ongoing Church

5. Creeds offer a witness to the truth to those outside the Church

6. Creeds provide a standard by which to judge new teachings arising within the Church

Without a creed one doesn't really know what a church believes. It protects both the church and the individual from external heresy and internal perversions of truth. A creed is absolutely necessary. Gentry affirms this when he wrote, The Scriptures are careful to instruct the Church to preserve the faith. Hebrews 13:9 warns 'Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings.' Paul gives instruction to the early church leaders in this vein. To Timothy he wrote: 'Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Jesus Christ.' (2 Tim. 1:13). Titus was urged to be careful to see that an overseer 'hold fast the faithful word which is in accord with the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.' (Tit. 1:9). And, Although the special, direct revelation of God ceased and the corpus of Scripture was finalized in the first century, it was still necessary for the continuing Church to interpret and apply the completed revelation. The interpretation and application of Scripture is a process, not an act. It has required the involvement of many devout men working through many centuries to systematize, compile, and disseminate the fundamental truths of Scripture. The fact that the truth of Scripture is of no 'private interpretation' is a foundational principle of creedal theology. NO interpreter of Scripture works alone. All must build on the past labors of godly predecessors. It is not the interpreters or groups of exegetes who agree with the historic, orthodox interpretations of the past and who find themselves in the mainstream of Christian thought who are suspect. Rather it is those who present novel deviations from historic Christendom who deserve careful scrutiny. Creeds help to preserve the essential core of true Christian faith from generation to generation.

We must realize that no creed, confession or catechism is perfect and as times change, so should our statements of faith to reflect and address those changes. But that does not disqualify those statements already penned by those who've gone before us. They are useful and should be in place to assist us and monitor us in our individual and corporate walk before our Lord. The principle of Semper Reformanda should always be engaged.

Read Gentry's article in in entirety here.

16 September 2007

On Reading

Al Mohler has posted some good thoughts on reading. Here are a few:

Maintain regular reading projects.

Read all the titles written by some authors.

Write in your books; mark them up and make them yours.

I seem to always have several books I'm reading through and several more I want to read. I find these posts fun and insightful.

Read the entrire post here.

15 September 2007

Together for the Gospel

This site is definitely worth a read if you have not seen it already. Besides, how bad could it be if one of the authors wears a kilt? :-)

(HT: Between Two Worlds)

12 September 2007

Exiled Preacher: Faithful and contemporary

Belief in “Scripture alone” should liberate us from the dead weight of traditionalism. We must continue to reform our practices and in the light of Scripture. Tradition can be helpful. But we must not become so “traditional” that we lose touch with the modern or postmodern world. We have been called to the kingdom for such a time as this! We do not belong to the 16th or 17th Centuries, we serve the Lord Christ in the 21st Century.

Read more from the Exiled Preacher here:

Exiled Preacher: Faithful and contemporary

11 September 2007

Westminster Wednesday

We're moving into deep theological waters now. The incarnation is of great importance. Let's read from John Flavel:

Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 1. Who is the only Redeemer of God's elect?
A. The Lord Jesus Christ is their only Redeemer, and there is no other Redeemer besides him; Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Q. 2. How is he the Son of God, or can be, as no other is so?
A. He is the Son of God by nature, from all eternity, and so no angel or saint is; Hebrews 1:5. For unto which of the angels said heat any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?
Q. 3. Why was it necessary he should become man?
A. That he might be capable to suffer death in our room; Hebrews 2:15-17. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham; wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Q. 4. Why must the Redeemer be God as well as man?
A. Because the blood of a mere man could not satisfy and redeem us; Acts 20:28. Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Q. 5. Do these two natures make two persons?
A. No, the human nature is united to the second person, and subsists in union with it; John 1:14. And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Q. 6. Was the union only for a time?
A. No, it continues and abides for ever; Hebrews 7:24. But this man, because he continueth ever, bath an unchangeable priesthood.
Q. 7. What is the first instruction from hence?
A. Hence we learn the transcendent love of God to poor sinners; John 3:16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Q. 8. What is the second instruction?
A. Hence we learn the matchless love of Christ, that he should stoop to such a condition for us; 2 Corinthians 8:9. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made rich.
Q. 9. What is the third instruction?
A. That the greatest sins are capable of remission to believers; John 1:29. Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.
Q. 10. What is the fourth instruction?
A. That those that be in Christ need not fear the denial or want of any other mercy; Romans 8:32. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Q. 11. What is the fifth instruction?
A. Hence we learn how impious it is to ascribe any part of the glory of redemption to any other besides Christ.
Q. 12. What is the sixth instruction?
A. This teaches us the miserable condition of all that are out of Christ, and the necessity of their damnation, he being the only Redeemer.

Eschatology Quiz

I took the quiz and hhmmm...interesting and correct (for the most part).

You scored as Postmillenialist







Moltmannian Eschatology




Left Behind




What's your eschatology?
created with QuizFarm.com

I have to look more into this "Moltmannian Escahtology" and I'm a bit disturbed that there is any Premil, Left Behind or Dispy showing up. Of course that could just be the prejudice of the author of the quiz. Hhhmmm....

10 September 2007

We're Back...

We're back from the Ligonier Highland Games in Ligonier, Pa. It was a great time. Here are a few pics of the opening ceremonies and the parade of clans.

Covenant Presbyterian Church, Ligonier, Pa.

On Sunday morning we attended an Old Tyme Scottish Worship Service at Covenant Presbyterian Church. It was intended to incorporate elements of a worship service during the latter half of the 16th century. Well, it was interesting what they decided to keep and what the decided to expel. For instance, the men sat on the left side of the church and the woman on the right. They “locked the doors,” sung a couple Psalms & the minister read a portion of the Scots Confession of 1560. On the flip side, there were two burning candles on the communion table and the minister was adorned in a robe. What would John Knox say about that? There was a brief and incorrect statement in the bulletin as to why musical instruments were not used however the organ was played on this morning. The congregation was asked to recite the Lord’s Prayer in Scots Gaelic and since very few, if any, knew Scots Gaelic, you can just imagine how that sounded. Worst of all, the message smacked of universalism, ok, it was. Should I have expected more in a PCUSA church? In many ways it was hopelessly pathetic from an historic point of view. On the other hand, it was an interesting experience and the church building was beautiful.

07 September 2007

We're Off...

We're off this weekend to the Ligonier Highland Games in Pennsylvania. Looking forward to the games, rugby, bagpipes, vendors, Guinness and the ceilidh in the evening. There is also a Scottish Worship Service Sunday morning at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Ligonier, Pa. I'll post a few photos next week.

05 September 2007

Book Give Away

Hey, Challies has a book give-away happening right now. Check it out. Click on the banner to enter to win.

sept Giveaway

Westminster Wednesday

We move on now to question #21 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

Q. 21. Who is the Redeemer of God's elect?
A. The only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person for ever.

This portion of the catechism is extremely important. John Flavel explains:

Q. 1. What doth the name Redeemer signify?
A. It signifies one that frees another out of captivity and bondage, as Christ did us; Matthew 20:28. And to give his life a ransom for many.
Q. 2. What was the misery from which Christ delivered us?
A. A twofold misery, viz. Sin and hell. First, Sin; Matthew 1:2. Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. Secondly, Hell; 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.
Q. 3. How did Christ deliver us from this misery?
A. First, by price. Secondly, By power. By price; 1 Peter 1:18, 19. Ye are not redeemed with silver and gold from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot. By power; Colossians 1:13. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and bath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
Q. 4. When was the redemption wrought by Christ?
A. It was decreed from eternity; it was actually wrought on the cross; Colossians 1:20. And (having made peace through the blood of his cross) by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Q. 5. How then could they be redeemed that died before?
A. Though Christ's blood was actually shed after the Old Testament believers died: yet the virtue of Christ's death extends to them, as well as us; Hebrews 11:39, 40. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Q. 6. Why would not God deliver us without such a Redeemer?
A. Because it was not so much for the honour of his justice; Romans 3:25, 26. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that arc past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at. this time, his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.
Q. 7. What is the first instruction from hence?
A. That all that are out of Christ are in a miserable bondage and captivity; John 8:36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Q. 8. What is the second instruction?
A. Hence see the heinous nature of sin, which required such a price to satisfy for it; 1 Peter 1:18, 19. We were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot.
Q. 9. What is the third instruction from hence?
A. The wonderful love of Christ in redeeming us at such a rate; Revelation 1:5. Who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
Q. 10. What is the last instruction?
A. This strongly obligeth us to an universal holiness; 1 Corinthians 6:20. For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

04 September 2007

Freedom Ale

This is great - a beer with a Christian connection. I need to find this in my area (or else I need to stop coming across things like this that whet my appetite)!
Check out the article here and thanks again Graham Weeks.

Ten Reasons

Graham Weeks has provided us a great list (ala the Exiled Preacher) of reasons to grow a beard. As I've sported a beard nearly all my life (some of my friends believe I was born with it) I thought this list worth posting here. Thanks Graham!

1. It is truly manly (bearded ladies exempted).
2. It is peaceable. Contrary to popular prejudice which may see beards as aggressive, the need to be clean shaven came from the necessity of not being grabbed by the beard in hand to hand combat. Beardies are big cuddly bears. You can see from this that I am an advocate of the full beard not a goat-like appendage. [Me, too. RR]
3. Makes a young man look older. Obviously not my present reason for growth.
4. Saves much time.
5. Saves much money
6. Proclaims non-conformity.
7. Allows for diversity in appearance. You can change from time to time. You too can endeavour to look like W G Grace, John Calvin, Knox or C.H. Spurgeon et al.
8. A catch all for falling food - but only if a good length.
9. Something to stroke if you are without pet or partner.
10. When old enough, you do not need to hire a beard to be Father Christmas. You are Father Christmas.

01 September 2007

Spurgeon On Preaching

In anticipation of attending Worship tomorrow I believe the following quotes on preaching by Spurgeon are most timely:

Surely if men’s hearts were right, short sermons would be enough.

If you always enjoy sermons, the minister is not a good steward. He is not acting wisely who deals out nothing but sweets.

Faithful preachers are among God’s best gifts. Cherish them, and be obedient to their admonitions. I have known persons become offended when a minister is “too personal;” but wise men always prize a ministry in proportion as it is personal to themselves. He who never tells me of my faults, nor makes me feel uneasy, is not likely to be the means of good to my soul. What is the use of a dog that never barks?

You are listening to a man who professes to speak by God, and for God, and to speak for your good; and his heart yearns over you. Oh, it is solemn work to preach, and it should be solemn work to hear!

And so before tomorrow, let's take some time to contemplate our "solemn work to hear!"