28 January 2010

Pentateuch Study 4

The fourth lesson in a series on the Pentateuch. For a pdf outline click here.

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Keller on "The Shack"

Anyone who is strongly influenced by the imaginative world of The Shack will be totally unprepared for the far more multi-dimensional and complex God that you actually meet when you read the Bible. - One more viewpoint on The Shack from Tim Keller.

27 January 2010

Another Look at "The Shack"

In another superbly written article, Al Mohler spells out the unbiblical errors within the pages of the popular fictional work by William P. Young, The Shack. The ultimate heresies in the book are the misunderstanding of the Trinity and its push for universal redemption. Mohler writes, While the literary device of an unconventional "trinity" of divine persons is itself sub-biblical and dangerous, the theological explanations are worse. "Papa" tells Mack of the time when the three persons of the Trinity "spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God." Nowhere in the Bible is the Father or the Spirit described as taking on human existence. The Christology of the book is likewise confused. "Papa" tells Mack that, though Jesus is fully God, "he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being." When Jesus healed the blind, "He did so only as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone." And further, The relationship of the Father to the Son revealed in a text like John 17 is rejected in favor of an absolute equality of authority among the persons of the Trinity. "Papa" explains that "we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity." In one of the most bizarre paragraphs of the book, Jesus tells Mack: "Papa is as much submitted to me as I am to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way." As Mohler points out, the Church has spent centuries correcting these errors and the popularity of this book teaches us that many of us have returned to the heresies that have plagued the Church since the time of the early church fathers.

Mohler, on the subject of universal redemption, continues, The most controversial aspects of The Shack's message have revolved around questions of universalism, universal redemption, and ultimate reconciliation. Jesus tells Mack: "Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions." Jesus adds, "I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, my Beloved." Another heresy that is has been fought and we shall continue to fight. A concept that the liberals just won't let go.

Mohler wisely and convincingly concludes, In evaluating the book, it must be kept in mind that The Shack is a work of fiction. But it is also a sustained theological argument, and this simply cannot be denied. Any number of notable novels and works of literature have contained aberrant theology, and even heresy. The crucial question is whether the aberrant doctrines are features of the story or the message of the work. When it comes to The Shack, the really troubling fact is that so many readers are drawn to the theological message of the book, and fail to see how it conflicts with the Bible at so many crucial points. ...The Shack is a wake-up call for evangelical Christianity. ...The popularity of this book among evangelicals can only be explained by a lack of basic theological knowledge among us -- a failure even to understand the Gospel of Christ. The tragedy that evangelicals have lost the art of biblical discernment must be traced to a disastrous loss of biblical knowledge. Discernment cannot survive without doctrine.

Let's pick up our Bibles and Confessions and Catechisms and get back to work. Let's get and maintain a Biblical view of these two crucial doctrines for our Lord and King.

Read the entire article here.

22 January 2010

Flavel on Proverbs 4:23

John Flavel's work on Proverbs 4:23, Keeping the Heart, is unsurpassed. It is a book I refer to often and never cease to be blessed by it. Below are a few thoughts on the six special means for keeping the heart.

USE OF DIRECTION. Six special means for keeping the heart:

Means 1: Furnish your hearts richly with the Word of God, which is their best preservation against sin.

How can we ever disagree with this direction? We need to bury ourselves in the Word at every opportunity. We enhance our understanding in further study by listening to sermons and lectures and reading good literature like this book we're looking at today.

Means 2: Call your hearts frequently to an account.

When was the last time any of us have done this or performed this on a regular basis? Not often enough is my own confession and that's probably a good guess for most of us. Its difficult to take a hard look at one's self and be honest. We must also be on guard against morbid introspection as well.

Means 3: Take heed of plunging yourself into such a multiplicity of earthly business that you cannot manage without neglecting your main business.

In other words, are we so involved in the world, i.e., job, friends, material goods, hobbies, yes - even family, that we have no time to keep our hearts? Sadly its often the case for us all.

Means 4: Carefully observe your heart's first declinings from God and stop the there.

This takes much vigilance. Monitoring your heart in the midst of our busy lives takes much work.

Means 5: Take heed of losing the liveliness and sweetness of your communion with God, lest thereby your hearts be pulled off from God.

Is your devotional time boring, is church losing its attraction, local Bible studies just too hard to attend? Its time to take a look at your heart.

Means 6: Habituate your hearts to spiritual meditations if you would have them free from those burdensome diversions.

We need to focus on what is truly important in this world and not on what is passing (Matthew 6:19-21). As difficult as these means are we must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us through.

Flavel closes the outline by citing three comforts for those who have such hearts:

Comfort 1: This argues your heart to be upright and honest, whatever your gifts and abilities are.
Comfort 2: Know further, for your comfort, that God would never leave you under so many heart-troubles and burdens if He intended not your real benefit thereby.
Comfort 3: God will shortly put a blessed end to all these troubles, cares, and watchings.
- From Keeping the Heart by John Flavel.

19 January 2010

Walk With Me Jesus

I'm a long time fan of Darrell Mansfield...

(Ignore that number on the bottom of the screen in the video.)

18 January 2010

Christ Represented by His Children - C.H. Spurgeon

When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed. (Isaiah 53:10)

Our Lord Jesus has not died in vain. His death was sacrificial: He died as our substitute, because death was the penalty of our sins. Because His substitution was accepted of God, He has saved those for whom He made His soul a sacrifice. By death He became like the corn of wheat which bringeth forth much fruit. There must be a succession of children unto Jesus; He is "the Father of the everlasting age." He shall say, "Behold, I and the children whom Thou hast given me."

A man is honored in his sons, and Jesus hath His quiver full of these arrows of the mighty. A man is represented in his children, and so is the Christ in Christians. In his seed a man's life seems to be prolonged and extended; and so is the life of Jesus continued in believers.

Jesus lives, for He sees His seed. He fixes His eye on us, He delights in us, He recognizes us as the fruit of His soul travail. Let us be glad that our Lord does not fail to enjoy the result of His dread sacrifice, and that He will never cease to feast His eyes upon the harvest of His death. Those eyes which once wept for us are now viewing us with pleasure. Yes, He looks upon those who are looking unto Him. Our eyes meet! What a joy is this!
- C.H. Spurgeon

Pentatuech Study 3

The third address in a series on the Pentateuch.

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The Pentateuch: its meaning, message and application

Week 3 – Introduction to the Pentateuch and Genesis 1-11

I. Introduction to the Pentateuch
a. Authorship
i. Fundamental Mosaic authorship with possible minor Hebrew revisions (Gen. 14:14; 36:31; Deut. 34)
1. Proven by Moses as the lawgiver in the OT
2. The NT testimony (Mt. 19:8; Mk. 10:5; Luke 24:27)
3. Literary evaluation of the text itself
ii. “…under divine inspiration, there may have been later minor additions and even revisions. Substantially and essentially, however, it is the product of Moses.” - Young
b. Composition
i. Things taken from oral sources
ii. Things taken from written sources
1. Book of the Covenant (Gen. 24:7)
2. Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num.21:14)
3. Book of the Law
c. Date
i. Sometime around 1440 BC
ii. Must have been sometime between the call of Moses (Ex. 3:1 – 4:31) and the death of Moses (Deut. 34:5)
iii. Written to the second-generation Israelites as they were about to enter the land of Canaan to encourage them to follow God’s calling and trust in His promises
II. Introduction to Genesis
a. Purpose – to encourage the second-generation Israelites to see and long for the kingdom paradigm enough to head into the promised land
i. Original meaning: Israel should leave Egypt behind and move toward the land of promise because God is full of grace and keeps His promises as He did in the past
ii. New Testament meaning/application: The new Israel (the Church) should leave this world behind and move toward the new world because God is full of grace and has fulfilled His promises in Christ.
b. Hermeneutical principle – Framework of grace and covenant faithfulness along with the kingdom paradigm governs our understanding of the law
c. Outline
i. Gen. 1-11:9 – Primeval history
ii. Gen. 11:10 – 37:1 – Early Patriarchal Times
iii. Gen. 37:2 – 50:26 – Joseph’s Times
III. Genesis 1-11
a. The kingdom pattern established in Eden (Gen. 1-2)
i. Creation (generation) of the kingdom of God
b. The perished and promised kingdom (Gen. 3)
i. Fall (degeneration) of the kingdom of God
a. The promise fulfilled through the godly line in Noah (Gen. 4-11)
i. Election of a people to work out His promises
ii. Re-creation and promise through judgment (a new start)
iii. The two lines, one godly (promised) the other ungodly

14 January 2010

9 Marks eJournal

The latest 9 Marks eJournal is ready for download. As a teaser, take a look at these articles:

How to Become a Liberal Without Attending Harvard Divinity School What kind of pastor is susceptible to liberalism? One who loves self, and even the sheep, more than he loves the Good Shepherd. By Michael Lawrence
The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind Why do evangelical academics so crave worldly acceptance? By Carl Trueman
Air Conditioning Hell: How Liberalism Happens Liberalism happens when we try to save Christianity from itself. By R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
The Neo-Liberal Stealth Offensive The gospel's most dangerous adversaries are not raving atheists. They are church leaders with gentle, friendly, pious demeanors.By Phil Johnson

Download the pdf here.

13 January 2010

Pentateuch Study 2

The second in a series of studies on the Pentateuch. This study delves into hermeneutics. Well worth a listen.

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11 January 2010

06 January 2010

Money, money, money

I've been rereading Piper's Desiring God lately and found that I had forgotten how penetrating it really is. It's convicting me at a much deeper level this time. Particularly today, the chapter on money.

If your godliness has freed you from the desire to be rich and has helped you be content with what you have, then your godliness is tremendously profitable (pg.155). How very true. How many of us can say this?

The are no U-Hauls behind hearses (pg. 156). You can't take it with you.

After your basic needs are met, accumulated money begins to diminish your capacity for these pleasures rather than increase them. Buying things contributes absolutely nothing to the heart's capacity for joy (pg. 157). Ever notice that? That's while the thrill of ownership where's off so soon.

...[L]et us use our freedom as Christians to say no to the desire for riches and yes to the truth....(pg. 159).

Finally, we should consider the following from page 163: God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many professing Christians have been deceived by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own. God has prospered them. And by an almost irresistible law of consumer culture (baptized by a doctrine of health, wealth and prosperity) they have bought bigger (and more) houses, newer (and more) cars, fancier (and more) clothes, better (and more) meat, and all manner of trinkets and gadgets and containers and devices and equipment to make life more fun.



Thanks John Piper for all the work you do for us and for His kingdom.

05 January 2010

Pentateuch Study

We've started a thoughtful, in depth study of the Pentateuch at Redeemer Church. This is our first lesson below. Enjoy.

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All Hell Breaks Loose

As most of you know I tend to keep this blog free from this sort of thing but this is worth seeing. I commend Brit Hume for his open comments.

04 January 2010

The Word of God

A remarkable sermon from 1 Thessalonians 2. A great first post of 2010.

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