30 October 2008

Running Scared part 2

Last weekends Running Scared conference with Ed Welch was time well spent. Any day spent with like-minded believers is a good one and this day was no different. Welch shared great insights on the subjects of fear and anxiety and depression especially. There was not as much depth as my wife and I had hoped however with only an hour for each subject with time for q & a much more could not be expected. But judging by the questions from the crowd much of this was new & worthwhile to many in attendance. And, its always good to have knowledge reinforced. If you or someone you know is searching for answers in these troubling areas of life may I suggest purchasing Welch’s book, Running Scared. CJ mahaney has some thoughts on his book on the Sovereign Grace blog, too.

S.D.G.

29 October 2008

Westminster Wednesday #104

Only three more after today...

Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition? A. In the fourth petition, which is, [Give us this day our daily bread,] we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.

Q. 1. Why is this petition placed after the three former? A. Because those concern immediately and generally God’s glory, in the advancement of his name, kingdom and will, which ought to be preferred to all our personal concerns; Psalm 69:9. The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. Acts 21:13. I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Q. 2. Why is it put before the two following petitions? A. Not for its worth, but for its order; for we can have no spiritual blessings, unless we have a natural being in this life.
Q. 3. What kind of bread is here meant? A. Not spiritual bread, or our Lord Jesus Christ, (as some,) but corporal and temporal.
Q. 4. What is included in this word bread? A. Not that only which we call strictly bread, but all the good things of this present life.
Q. 5. Do we hereby beg pure necessaries only? A. No, we pray for conveniences for our comfort, as well as necessaries for our life.
Q. 6. Do we herein pray only for personal good things for our being? A. No, we pray for civil good things for our condition, that according to our degree in the world, in which God hath placed us, we may have a convenient allowance.
Q. 7. Do we pray here for ourselves only? A. No, but also for our charge, children, and family, that under and with us they may have the good things of this life.
Q. 8. Why do we pray to God for these good things, can we not get them ourselves, or our fellow-creatures give them to us? A. Not without God: whatever we have of these things, they are from God; whoever be the second cause or instrument: If ourselves, God gives us ability and success to get them; if others, God inclined their hearts, and opened their hands to bestow them; Deuteronomy 8:17-18. And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.
Q. 9. Why do we pray to God to give us bread? A. Because the least crumb of bread is a free gift, and never can be merited by all we can do or suffer; Luke 17:10. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all these things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
Q. 10. Why are all these things couched under the expression of bread? A. (1.) Because bread is one of the most necessary and useful things to preserve life. (2.) Because we must not ask delicacies and dainties of God.
Q. 11. What is meant by day in our petition? A. Either (1.) A natural day of twenty four hours; or, (2.) The day of our whole life.
Q. 12. Why do we pray for daily bread? A. Because God must give us the mercies and good things of every day, or else we cannot have them.
Q. 13. Why should we not pray for weekly, or monthly, or yearly bread, as well as daily? A. (1.) Because it is fit we should be still sensible of our dependence upon God. (2.) Because we do frequently pray to God, and so exert our graces, and maintain communion with him, and daily render thanks for daily favours; Psalm 55:17. Evening and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice.
Q. 14. What need we to pray for daily bread, when we may have stores laid up for years? A. They that have the good things of this life need to pray this petition, as well as they that have them not. Not that they may have bread, but that it may be bread to them: for except God give his blessing upon it, bread would be ashes, and not sustenance to us; neither could all the comforts of this life do us any good; Isaiah 3:1. For behold, the Lord, thc Lord of hosts doth take away from Jerusalem, and from Judah, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water. Malachi 2:1-2. And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you: if ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a. curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.
Q. 15. Why do we pray only for daily bread, or a competency, may we not pray for abundance and riches? A. No, because riches are a great snare and temptation; Matthew 19:23-24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Proverbs 30:8-9. Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Q. 16. What shall we then do with riches, if providence cast them upon us, shall we cast them away? A. No, for some of the best of men, and greatest of God’s favourites, have lived and died rich. But, (1.) We must wean our hearts from them; Psalm 62:10. Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. (2.) Be thankful for them; and, (3.) Fruitful with them in acts of piety and charity; 1 Timothy 6:17, 19. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy: laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Q. 17. Wherefore is the bread called our bread? A. Not because we are absolute lords and possessors of it, for it is God’s only; Psalm 24:1-2. The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Psalm 50:10, 12. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee, for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. But, (1.) Because we must have a covenant right to it; and, (2.) A civil right; we must come lawfully and honestly by, and so keep the good things of this life; 2 Thessalonians 3:10. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Q. 18. Having prayed for our daily bread, need we to labour and endeavour to get it? A. Yes, we must labour in good and honest callings; God’s blessing and man’s industry must concur towards the present maintenance of life; Psalm 128:1-2. Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord: that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Proverbs 10:4, 22. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Q. 19. What is the first inference from it? A. That we must not seek great matters for ourselves, neither make them the matter of prayer to God; nor the end and design of our labours and callings among men.
Q. 20. What is a second inference from hence? A. That having food and raiment, we must be therewith content, and therefore thankful; 1 Timothy 6:8. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, In every thing give thanks.
Q. 21. What is the third inference? A. That we ascribe not our success in the world to our own skill and industry, for the wisest and most industrious do sometimes labour in the fire, and put their gain in a bag with holes; but to God’s free donation to us, and to his blessing upon our endeavours; Genesis 33:5, 11. And he lift up his eyes, and saw the women and the children, and said, Who are those with thee? And be said, the children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee, because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. Deuteronomy 28:3. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Ver. 6. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. -
John Flavel

28 October 2008

Two More Ways to Write Bad Worship Songs

Bob Kauflin throws in his very valuable two cents in on the Top Ten ways to Write Bad Worship Songs. Amen! I’m not a songwriter nor do I aspire to be one but permit me to add two more. When the songwriter has got it down may I suggest that he sings it for a group of men. If it nauseates them and they head for the door, scrap the song. There has already been a mass exodus of men from our churches today and we can’t interest them in coming back. This may very well be one of the reasons why, that is, lovey-dovey songs that are more suited to be love songs than worship songs. And, the second point, we must use the name of Christ (or Lord, God, or other biblical name for one of the persons of the Godhead) in the song. If a Muslim could sing the song (not that any would) then it is not suitable for worship. Robin Mark, who is on most occasions a biblically, outstanding lyricist, stumbled when he wrote There Is No Other Name. Ironically, that name is never mentioned in the lyrics. Great tune but the lyrics sadly let us down.There are numerous other worship songs that contain one or both of these faults but the most notable is Draw Me Close which is more aptly suited for a woman to sing to the man in her life. There should be no doubt in our worship who we are singing to or what we are singing about. May we always exalt the our Lord without slipping into some kind of over-emotional, feminized sea of goo.

22 October 2008

Westminster Wednesday #103

Q. 103. What do we pray for in the third petition? A. In the third petition, which is, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we pray that God by his grace would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.

1. Is the will of God's commands the rule of our action? Yes: we must understand what the will of the Lord is, Eph. 5:17. Are we to pray that we may conform to this rule? Yes: that we may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, Rom. 12:2 Must we pray that God would give us to know his will? Yes: Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law, Ps. 119:34. And to know it fully? Yes: That ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will, Col.1:9. And to know it in doubtful cases? Yes: Teach me thy way, O Lord, lead me in a plain path, Ps. 27:11. Do all who are sanctified truly desire to know God's will Yes: What saith my Lord unto his servant? Josh. 5:14.
2. When we know God's will, are we able of ourselves to do it? No: we are not sufficient of ourselves, 2 Cor. 3:5. Must we therefore pray to God to make us able? Yes: Now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands, Neh. 6:9. And must we depend upon his grace? Yes: I will go in the strength of the Lord God, Ps. 71:16. Must we pray to God to make us willing? Yes: incline my heart unto thy testimonies, Ps. 119:36. And to make us entirely willing? Yes: Unite my heart to fear thy name, Ps. 36:11.
3. Must we pray that we may be sincere in our obedience? Yes: Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, Ps. 119:80. And that we may be exact in our obedience? Yes: O that my ways were directed to keep thy commandments! Ps. 119:5. And that we may be universal in our obedience? Yes: That we may stand complete in all the will of God, Col. 4:12. And that we may be armed against that which would divert us from our obedience? Yes: Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way, Ps. 119:37. And must we pray that others also may do God's will? Yes: That they may be perfect in every good work, to do his will, Heb. 13:21.
4. Is the will of God's counsel the rule of his actions? Yes: for he worketh all according to the counsel of his own will, Eph. 1:11. Must we desire that this may be done? Yes: The will of the Lord be done, Acts 21:14. Rather than our own will? Yes: Not as I will, but as thou wilt, Matt. 26:39. And must we acquiesce in it? Yes: It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good, 1 Sam. 3:18. And must we pray that he will enable us to do so? Yes: That we may be strengthened with all might, unto all patience and longsuffering, with joyfulness, Col. 1:11.
5. Do the angels in heaven do the will of God? Yes: they do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word, Ps. 103:20. Do they do it readily? Yes: they fly swiftly, Dan. 9:21. Do they do it zealously? Yes: for they are a flaming fire, Ps. 104:4. Do they do it with an eye to God? Yes: for they always behold the face of our Father, Matt. 18:10. And are we to pray that God's will may so be done on earth? Yes: that the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, Rev. 11:15
.

18 October 2008

Running Scared

Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio is hosting a seminar by Dr. Ed Welch . As you may already know, he is ...The author of several books and booklets, Edward T. Welch’s work demonstrates the power of Scripture to empower and redirect lives. His publications include Running Scared, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness and Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave.
He currently serves as counselor, faculty memeber and director of the School of Biblical Counseling at the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation and as professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. Ed and his wife, Sheri, live in the Philadelphia area and have two married daughters and one granddaughter
. The sessions will cover such topics as depression and anxiety. My wife and I will be attending. If you're in the area, why not come and learn? Read more about it here.

Blogging Thoughts

Paul Wallace (recently interviewed by the Exiled Preacher) has listed some concerns about blogging that I believe are worth some review. He lists seven points, permit me to comment on one and seven. Points two - six are spot on (and let me point out that I have, concerning point number six, submitted myself to the authority of my church for my blog). His first concern is as follows, There are some extremely influential blogs that I think don’t even slightly deserve the influential position they have. Vice-versa as I have said before I get much more benefit from “small” blogs like most of those listed on my side-bar where real, ordinary pastors and other folks are sharing God’s word and their meditations there-on. I emphatically agree. There are a few large blogs that are worth read such as Justin Taylor’s Between Two Worlds, Mark Driscoll’s blog and the Desiring God blog and that’s about it. There is one out there that I can’t for the life of me fathom why its so popular but it is and that’s the way it is. So be it. Wallace’s affirmation that smaller blogs are of more benefit is very true. There is much more to be derived from the average guy or gal who is out there striving to do God’s work in a sinful world and sharing their life’s moments and learnings with us.

His last point is just as insightful: …I am convinced there are way too many armchair theologians out there, who can pontificate about finer points of doctrine and church practice but are not attached to a church at all, or are attached to churches that are well off doctrinally, but they can vent their frustrations in the internet realm, instead of taking courage and joining biblical churches. Likewise they cut down faithful people who just forget to dot their i’s and cross their t’s now and again. I learned my lesson with these folks years ago when I was involved with a particular newsgroup that had some theological heavyweights as members. These guys would cut you down over the least infraction. I often wondered what their congregations thought of them as many were Pastors. I describe myself as an armchair theologian but I don’t think you’ll find me pontificating (I love that word) very often. What you’ll find here is where I’m at, i.e., what I’m reading or thinking about, what I’m struggling through, what has encouraged me and therefore I hope what will encourage you.

Thanks Paul for a great post.

17 October 2008

Tattoos???


Johnathan Bowers has a thoughtful post on tattoos. Having tattoos myself I was intrigued with the post and thought I would post a few comments on the subject myself. First, I appreciate his comment that it is a matter of personal conviction. I would agree with that. Those who dislike them have their verses they like to throw at you for not marking the body but have little exegetical proof. I won’t go into that except to say that if anyone wants to debate (not go to combat, mind you) that I’m sure open to it.

His first objection, that we are “not our own” (1 Cor. 6:19-20), is a good point. But may I add that we should mindful of that the next time we get our haircut, eat that ice cream cone or buy those pair of trousers. In each of those situations we are also “not our own” and yet we are potentially telling someone else something about ourselves. We cannot avoid expressing ourselves no matter what we do. Objection #2, that tats can breed novelty is also valid. Yet I would humbly state again that if we own more than one pair of shoes, one jacket, one shirt, that novelty can set in and indeed does. Individuality, his third point, is often the reason one offers for getting inked and not necessarily a good one and at the same time we are all individuals so getting inked does not make any of us any more of an individual than anyone else.

Fourth, I think this is extremely important, he feels that having a tat can cause an offense. Very true. So can sporting the latest fashion, or being of the mind not to sport the latest fashion, or driving a Cadillac rather than a Honda, or having a beer, or, or, or… and the list goes on. Its very easy to offend other non-likeminded believers. That is why we need to be patient with our brothers. How about giving an offense to unbelievers? Unbelievers will find fault with believers with almost anything simply because we are believers and the gospel is an offense. I would, however, offer caution here that the tat itself, the design, the meaning, what it portrays is what actually can give offense and therefore we need to choose our tats carefully so as not to give offense in this manner. Tattoos are so common today that many folks do not notice them anymore. We should be mindful too, that any lost soul that enters our church covered with them is still a lost soul seeking the same thing we did. Lastly, tattoos will fade. If that is an issue for someone then don’t get one.

As for myself, I got my tattoos when I was older. I gave each one much thought and each one has more than one meaning. Most are covered by short sleeves and display either my Scottish heritage or my Christian heritage but the two that show below the sleeves are the most “Christian” of the lot. I have been asked what they are and what they mean and have used them as “door openers” to explain the gospel on more than one occasion. Above you see one of those tats. Can we have tattoos for the glory of God? I think so.
Great post Johnathan - thanks.

What say ye?

16 October 2008

Hebrews 6:18-20


That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Hebrews 6:18-20

Some believe the anchor was the first Christian symbol preceeding the cross. We can read some history on the subject here but the very real question for us is whether Christ is truly the anchor of our souls today? If not, have you considered why not?

Image credits here and here

15 October 2008

Westminster Wednesday #102

We're quickly drawing to a close on our study. Let's continue...

Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition? A. In the second petition, which is, [Thy kingdom come,] we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed, and Mat the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it, and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

Q. 1. What is the first thing signified by the kingdom of God here? A. The gospel is here intended by the kingdom of God, Matthew 13:47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind.
Q. 2. What is the thing signified by the coming of this kingdom of God? A. It signifies the removal of all impediments, that hinder its propagation in the world; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.
Q. 3. Who, and what hinders the propagation of it? A. Antichrist, that man of sin, hinders it externally; 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. The devil and men’s lusts internally; 1 Thessalonians 2:18. Wherefore we would have come unto you (even I Paul) once and again; but Satan hindered us. Luke 19:14. But his citizens hated him, and sent a messenger after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
Q. 4. What then is the desire of all good men, with respect to the coming of the gospel-kingdom? A. That all nations may be brought to Christ by the preaching of it, and so Christ’s kingdom be greatly exalted and enlarged; Isaiah 2:2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it.
Q. 5. What is the second thing here meant by the kingdom of God? A. It signifies and intends the work of saving grace wrought in men’s souls; Luke 17:21. Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Q. 6. Why is this work of grace called the kingdom of God? A. Because wherever saving-grace comes, it subdues the soul to Christ’s sceptre; 2 Corinthians 10:5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Q. 7. Wherein consists the kingdom of grace? A. It consists not in external rites and observances, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; Romans 14:17. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Q. 8. What do we ask of God in this petition, with respect to this kingdom of grace? A. Herein we desire not only our own personal progressive sanctification, but the sanctification of others all the world over; Acts 26:29. And Paul said, I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
Q. 9. What is the third thing here meant by the kingdom of God? A. By it is here meant the future state of glory and blessedness; 1 Corinthians 15:50. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, &c.
Q. 10. Why is the heavenly state called the kingdom of God? A. This is called the kingdom of God, because in that state God reigns over his people gloriously, there being no rebellion in them in the least degree; Luke 20:36. For they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. And they reign with Christ; Revelation 3:21. To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, &c.
Q. 11. What do we desire in prayer for the coming of this kingdom? A. We desire not only our p reservation in our passage to that state of glory; 1 Peter 5:10. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you? But the hastening of it to ourselves and others; Revelation 22:20. Amen, even so come Lord Jesus.
Q. 12. What is the first instruction hence? A. That the gospel is an invaluable mercy, as it is the instrument of bringing us into Christ’s gracious and glorious kingdom; 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, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Q. 13. What is the second inference from hence? A. That men may really hate and oppose the very thing they pray for.
Q. 14. What is the last instruction hence? A. That how firmly soever Satan’s and Antichrist’s kingdom seem to be founded in the world, they must and shall fall before the daily prayers of the saints.

13 October 2008

Psalm 34 from the Scottish Psalter


1 God will I bless all times; his praise
my mouth shall still express.
2 My soul shall boast in God: the meek
shall hear with joyfulness.
3 Extol the Lord with me, let us
exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, he heard, and did
me from all fears deliver.
5 They looked to him, and lightened were:
not sham├Ęd were their faces.
6 This poor man cried, God heard, and saved
him from all his distresses.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps,
and round encompasseth
All those about that do him fear,
and them delivereth.
8 O taste and see that God is good:
who trusts in him is blessed.
9 Fear God his saints: none that him fear
shall be with want oppressed.
10 The lions young may hungry be,
and they may lack their food:
But they that truly seek the Lord
shall not lack any good.
11 O children, hither do ye come,
and unto me give ear;
I shall you teach to understand
how ye the Lord should fear.
12 What man is he that life desires,
to see good would live long?
13 Thy lips refrain from speaking guile,
and from ill words thy tongue.
14 Depart from ill, do good, seek peace,
pursue it earnestly.
15 God's eyes are on the just; his ears
are open to their cry.
16 The face of God is set against
those that do wickedly,
That he may quite out from the earth
cut off their memory.
17 The righteous cry unto the Lord,
he unto them gives ear;
And they out of their troubles all
by him delivered are.
18 The Lord is ever nigh to them
that be of broken sp'rit;
To them he safety doth afford
that are in heart contrite.
19 The troubles that afflict the just
in number many be;
But yet at length out of them all
the Lord doth set him free.
20 He carefully his bones doth keep,
whatever can befall;
That not so much as one of them
can broken be at all.
21 Ill shall the wicked slay; laid waste
shall be who hate the just.
22 The Lord redeems his servants' souls;
none perish that him trust.

Something To Think About As You Start Your Week

From Lamentations 3 we read...

38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? 39 Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? 40 Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
but also...
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.

09 October 2008

More Suffering Resources

I posted last week on the subject of suffering and offered some suggestions and resources. Let me provide a few more. John Piper has four sermons on suffering given at Wheaton College last year that can be found here: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4. Don Carson also has much wisdom in this area and he recently he offered the following at Omaha Bible Church: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4. Please use and share these resources. God has much for us to learn in this area of our lives.

08 October 2008

Can I say #!@%&# ?

I’ve been listening through the Desiring God conference lectures & I can’t recommend them highly enough. I was most anxiously waiting for Driscoll’s lecture on the use of harsh language. I won’t spoil it for you other than to list his five points and encourage you to give it a listen. He delves deep into this subject and its not just whether or not you can say damn or hell the next time you’re frustrated with something.

1. Feed The Sheep
2. Rebuke The Swine
3. Shoot The Wolves
4. Bark At The Dogs
5. Pray For The Shepherds

I laughed, I cried, I was convicted. Take sometime and listen to this one. You’ll be blessed.

More on John Frame

The Exiled Preacher has done it once again in providing us a fascinating interview in his Blogging In The Name of the Lord series with his latest discourse with John Frame. John Frame has been very influential in my theological and spiritual development so I was of course very interested. His comment on systematic theology was clarifying: Among all the theological disciplines (exegesis, biblical theology, historical theology, practical theology) systematics is the one that adds it all up. When we have a question about God, or Christ, or salvation, systematics is the discipline that looks at all the biblical data, sifts through all the work of past theologians, and tries to formulate an answer. So it answers questions of the form “what does the whole Bible say about…?”
I could not easily get excited about working through scholarly problems about, say, how Turretin’s view of the sacraments developed from 1680-83, though I’m happy that God has provided the church with people who have that kind of skill and interest. But I can get very excited about questions of what we today should believe and do (about the sacraments, the hypostatic union, abortion, or anything else). So to me systematics is the most directly contemporary, practical, and pastoral of all the theological disciplines.

Also, as a presuppositionalist, (due much to his influence) I found his answer worth consideration to those in the evidentialist camp, “Presuppositionalism” simply means that in all our thought God’s word is our supreme authority. We presuppose it, in the sense that its teachings take precedence over any other ideas we have, from any other source. “Let God be true, though every man a liar,” Rom. 3:4. That means that we must presuppose God’s revelation in all fields of study and all our conversation, even in apologetics, when we are arguing the truth of Christianity with an unbeliever. We cannot at any time pretend to be “neutral.” We should, rather, honestly admit our bias. Of course we should point out also that non-Christians are biased in the other direction: according to Rom. 1, they know God, but they repress that knowledge, exchange it for a lie, prefer not to have God in their knowledge. Insofar as evidentialists deny these biblical teachings, presuppositionalism is far better and more biblical.
But none of this forbids us to use evidences in our apologetic encounters. The Bible itself says that the heavens declare the glory of God. We should assume, then, that study of the heavens will validate Scripture, not falsify it. And we should be ready to use the Bible’s own evidences for its truth: the New Testament’s citations of the Old, the witnesses of 1 Cor. 15: 3-11, and so on. But we should not present these as neutral observers. Rather we should point out that these evidences must be seen through the eyes of faith, and that they make no sense without faith. Indeed, nothing can be rightly understood apart from faith, for everything is God’s creation and bears witness to him.

It’s a great read about this thoughtful and insightful teacher. Read the whole article here.

Westminster Wednesday #101

101. Ques. What do we pray for in the first petition? Ans. In the first petition, (which is, "hallowed be thy name,") we pray, That God would enable us, and others, to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.

Q. 1. What is the second part in the Lord's prayer? A. The second part in the Lord's prayer is petitions.
Q. 2. How many petitions are there in the Lord's prayer? A. There are six petitions in the Lord's prayer.
Q. 3. What is the first petition in the Lord's prayer? A. The first petition in the Lord's prayer is in these words, "Hallowed be thy name."
Q. 4. What is meant by the name of God? A. By the name of God is meant, God's titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works, whereby God is pleased to make himself known. See the explication of the fifty-fourth answer.
Q. 5. What is it to hallow God's name? A. To hallow God's name, is, to sanctify, honour and glorify God in all things whereby he maketh himself known. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear and your dread."— Isa. 8:13. "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."— Ps. 96:8, 9.
Q. 6. What do we pray for in the petition, "Hallowed be thy name? A. In the petition, "Hallowed be thy name," we pray — 1. That God would hallow and glorify his own name, by magnifying himself in the world, and by disposing all things for his own glory. "Let thy name be magnified for ever."— 2 Sam. 7:26. "Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O Lord: that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth."— Ps. 83: 16, 18. 2. That God would enable us to hallow and glorify his name, by confessing and forsaking our sins, which rob him of his glory; by admiring and adoring him in his glorious titles and attributes, in his infinite excellences and perfections; by believing, loving, and obeying his word; by observing and attending upon his worship and ordinances; by magnifying him in his works, and making use of his creatures for his glory; by sincere, diligent, zealous, and constant endeavours to promote his honour and interest in our places and relations; and that the chief design of our thoughts, words, and actions, may be the glory of God, and that he would enable others also thus to hallow and glorify his name. "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee."— Ps. 67:1-3. "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever."— Rom. 11:36.
- Thomas Vincent

07 October 2008

Jim West (Thankfully) Strikes Again!

Speaking of beer, oh, we weren’t? Then let’s start. Jim West has a great article posted at the Wittenberg Hall. Of interest is his quote of Martin Luther who stated, Do you suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused? Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? The sun, the moon, and the stars have been worshipped. Shall we then pluck them out of the sky? … See how much He has been able to accomplish through me, though I did no more than pray and preach. The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.

Have a beer while you read the entire article here.

01 October 2008

Westminster Wednesday #100

Q. 100. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface to the Lord’s prayer, which is, [Our Father which art in heaven,] teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a Father, able and ready to help us: and that we should pray with and for others.


Q. 1. What doth the word Father import in this preface?
A. It imports the Spirit of adoption to be the principal thing in all acceptable prayers; Galatians 4:6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Q. 2. What is the first benefit, or help we have in prayer, from the Spirit of adoption?
A. He excites our spirits to seek God in prayer; Psalm 27:8. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Q. 3. What is the second assistance he gives us in prayer?
A. He indites and suggests suitable and acceptable matter to us in prayer; Romans 8:26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, &c.

Q. 4. What is the third benefit we have by him in prayer?
A. He fills our souls with spiritual and holy affections in prayer, and helps us to act his graces iii our duties; Romans 8:26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Q. 5. What else doth this word Father import?
A. It imports that holy confidence which believers may, and ought to draw near to God withal, as children to a Father; Ephesians 3:12. In whom we have boldness and access, with confidence, by the faith of him.

Q. 6. Doth it only signify our relation and confidence?
A. No, it also signifies the reverential fear of God, which ought at all times to be on our hearts, especially in prayer; Malachi 1:6. A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear?

Q. 7. What is further imported in this word Father?
A. It imports God’s willingness and readiness to grant the best mercies to his people that seek them duly at his hand; Matthew 7:11. If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Q. 8. Why is he here called our Father?
A. To signify to us, that it is not only our duty to pray secretly by and for ourselves, but also with and for others? Ephesians 6:18. Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance, and supplication for all saints.

Q. 9. Why is God said here to be in heaven?
A. It is to note his sovereign power and dominion over all, as a ground-work of faith in prayer.

Q. 10. What else doth it import?
A. The great distance between God and us, which should fill our hearts with an holy awe of him; Ecclesiastes 5:2. God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

Q. 11. What is the first inference from hence?
A. It shews us, what a sad case all those are in, that have no special interest in God as a Father.

Q. 12. What is the second inference from hence?
A. It shews us, what a glorious privilege the Lord Jesus Christ hath purchased for, and settled on his people? Hebrews 4:15-16. For we have not an high-priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Q. 13. What is the last inference from hence?
A. That seeing believers have a Father in heaven, they should never fear wants while they live, nor be afraid to die, since death brings them to heaven their Father’s house.
- John Flavel