Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2011

quotes from john stott

"God’s Word is designed to make us Christians, not scientists, and to lead us to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. It was not God’s intention to reveal in Scripture what human beings could discover by their own investigations and experiments."  (From Christian Basics ) "The incentive to peacemaking is love, but it degenerates into appeasement whenever justice is ignored. To forgive and to ask for forgiveness are both costly exercises. All authentic Christian peacemaking exhibits the love and justice—and so the pain—of the cross."  (From The Cross of Christ ) “The meaning of atonement is not to be found in our penitence evoked by the sight of Calvary, but rather in what God did when in Christ on the cross He took our place and bore our sin.”  (From The Cross of Christ ) “In our vision of ultimate reality, who is occupying the throne today? Are we authentic New Testament Christians, whose vision is filled with Christ crucified, risen and reigning? Is g

John R. W. Stott, 1921--2011

John Stott died today at age 90.  His writings have impacted me from my first year as a believer.  His Basic Christianity helped put the gospel together for me.  And The Cross of Christ (IVP) is a classic work, and will be for many years. Here is his obituary: John Stott, the British preacher, author and evangelist, died in Lingfield, Surrey, England, on 27th July 2011. He passed away peacefully at 3.15pm UK time.  Close friends and family were with him during the morning. John Stott shaped much of the course of evangelicalism in the 20th century through his writing and preaching, and in 2005, TIME magazine placed him among the world’s ‘100 most influential people’. He was chief architect of The Lausanne Covenant (1974) and remained Honorary Chairman of The Lausanne Movement until he died. The work of Langham Partnership International (LPI, or John Stott Ministries in the USA) is perhaps his major legacy to the world Church. This strategic threefold initiative, now under the direc

a father's gift

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.  (1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV) In studying 1 Chronicles 28 and David's passing the leadership baton to his son Solomon, I remembered a poem that means a lot to me.  I edited the original slightly and printed it out to give to my sons at Christmas in 1997.  Unlike David I do not have a lot of material wealth to pass on to my children, but I do have a spiritual heritage. The original author was Merrill C. Tenney (1904-1985), a Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Graduate School at Wheaton College.  He wrote this for his two sons. A Father’s Gift To you, O son of mine, I cannot give A vast estate of wide and fertile lands; But I can keep for you, long as I live, Unstained hands. I have no coat of arms that insures Your path to eminence and worldly fame; But longer than empty heraldry endu

on a lighter note: fountain pen of the month

I've decided my favorite fountain pen this month -- great for journaling or whatever -- is this 1949 black Sheaffer Valiant with a smooth Fine Triumph nib, with gold trim.   This is the so-called 'fat' version Valiant before Sheaffer began making the TM (thin model) the following year, in 1950.  It has the Touchdown filling system.   The Triumph is a wrap-around, conical nib, and the name was given during the early WW2 years.  Most, like this one, write very smoothly. Here's David Nishimura on the Touchdown models , and Richard Binder on the Triumph nib.

more than humanitarian

Machen shows that, contra liberalism, Jesus is more than an exalted human example to us. He is a supernatural Person who is the object of faith. It is not an either-or.  He is both object of faith and example of faith, but because of his identity and work as God's Son, he is first the One in whom we trust. But Jesus is an example to us, as well.  Machen notes that this is not just in humanitarian concerns, like healing the sick, but also in his relationship to God his Father: Jesus is an example, moreover, not merely for the relations of man to man but also for the relation of man to God; imitation of Him may extend and must extend to the sphere of religion as well as to that of ethics. Indeed religion and ethics in Him were never separated; no single element in His life can be understood without reference to His heavenly Father. Jesus was the most religious man who ever lived; He did nothing and said nothing and thought nothing without the thought of God. If His example means

thinking about thinking

It is impossible to know and love God without thinking.  He has revealed himself not only in his Son, but also by the many words of Scripture.  There is content, and much to learn about God.  We cannot love him without knowing about him .   But thinking is not the end in itself, it is the means.  Here's John Piper on the role and place of thought in loving God... "I will suggest that loving God with the mind means that our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things. Treasuring God is the essence of loving him, and the mind serves this love by comprehending (imperfectly and partially, but truly) the truth and beauty and worth of the Treasure. "The upshot is that the task of all Christian scholarship—not just biblical studies—is to study reality as a manifestation of God’s glory, to speak and write about it with accuracy, and to savor the beauty of God in it, and to make it serve the good

christianity and liberalism

I'm reading again Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937).  This is a classic work written in the early decades of the last century.  He shows how the liberalizing movements of his day were presenting not a modified Christianity but an outright denial of the gospel.   In the process he gives a very clear delineation of the essence of biblical Christianity.  For example on the topic of sound doctrine he says, "Christianity is based, then, upon an account of something that happened, and the Christian worker is primarily a witness. But if so, it is rather important that the Christian worker should tell the truth. When a man takes his seat upon the witness stand, it makes little difference what the cut of his coat is, or whether his sentences are nicely turned. The important thing is that he tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If we are to be truly Christians, then, it does make a vast difference what our teachings are...&q

marching as to war

“In Christ’s kingdom there can be no conscientious objectors. In Christ’s church, there is no inactive duty. To be a disciple is to be a soldier of the cross… The term of enlistment is a lifetime, beginning with conversion, ending with the discharge papers or transfer to the church triumphant in heavenly rest, where we are eager to hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” --Stanley Gale, author of Warfare Witness: Contending with Spiritual Opposition in Everyday Evangelism , as quoted by Tim Challies in "Marching As To War"

reconciliation: honor answering honor

I stood at this site and relived a powerful moment in the healing of a nation.  General Robert E. Lee chose to surrender to the Union Army at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865. At this site, on the road outside Appomattox, the following occurred.  The text is from the historical marker there:  On April 12, 1865, Union Brig. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain watched the distant ridge as the Confederates prepared for the surrender. They formed into column, marched into the valley, then up the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road toward the village. As the column approached this knoll, Chamberlain ordered his men to honor them. The Federals snapped to “carry arms” – the “marching salute.” A surprised Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon instantly ordered his men to return the salute. Until now, the drama at Appomattox had been played out by major figures. But here was a profound expression of respect by the armies’ common soldiers. They, more than anyone else, would blaze the path to reconciliation in the years t

best way to receive divine guidance

Great quote from Alistair Begg, transcribed and sent to me by my friend, Harry Kriz, on divine guidance... "In the Scriptures, God was and is speaking to us. He was speaking, and he is speaking. If you want to listen to God, open your Bible.  The safest way to hear God speak is to read your Bible. And beware of every other notion about how you're going to hear from God. The mystical ideas that have come out of the dark centuries, understandably so, when they didn't have a Bible to guard them and to keep them they came up with all kinds of notions. The trivial ideas of contemporary modern writing which seem to suggest that somehow or other we can hear from God absent what he has said in his word. Again Luther helps us: 'What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who to Jesus for refuge have fled.'  I warrant you that some of the craziest people you will ever meet are the people who have decided that the Bible is insufficient for them when it comes to hea

biography suggestions

Here's a list, in no special order, of some good biographies to read: Surprised by Joy , C. S. Lewis The Swans are not Silent (series), by John Piper Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther , by Roland Bainton. Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God , Noel Piper A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael , by Elisabeth Elliot Through Gates of Splendor , Elisabeth Elliot Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret , by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor and George Verwer Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy , by Eric Metaxas Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery , by Eric Metaxas. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography , by Peter Brown. Francis Schaeffer, An Authentic Life , by Colin Duriez. Lee: The Last Years , by Charles Bracelen Flood Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision , by H. W. Crocker D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: the First Forty Years (Vol. 1), and The Fight of Faith (Vol. 2