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Showing posts from January, 2014

the greatest gift

There are many blessings and gifts we receive by being united to Christ through faith.  Forgiveness of sin, adoption into God's family, answered prayers, family and church, just to name a few.  Yet the Scripture consistently presents the greatest gift and blessing of the Christian life to be a Who, and not a what.  The blessing is not a thing or any thing, but a Person... "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants." (Isaiah 44:3 ESV) "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13 ESV) And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit .  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all wh

machen on the Jesus of our own making

Gresham Machen was a professor of New Testament at Princeton during the rise of modern liberalism and higher critical thinking.  He was an able apologist for historic Christianity, but was eventually fired for his conservative positions.  He went on to found Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Below are quotes from him, as he showed that the "Jesus" of modern theologians was a fiction of their own prejudices.  Rather, the entire Bible presents a complete and consistent portrait of Christ (centering on his work at the Cross), and that we must take or leave Jesus as the Scriptures so present him.    “The truth is that the life-purpose of Jesus discovered by modern liberalism is not the life purpose of the real Jesus, but merely represents those elements in the teaching of Jesus--isolated and misinterpreted--which happen to agree with the modern program...”   "It is vain, then, to speak of reposing trust in the Person without believing the message. For tr

the sun of his soul

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me... Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 2:20; 6:14 ESV) "Jesus Christ crucified was the joy and delight, the comfort and the peace, the hope and the confidence, the foundation and the resting-place, the ark and the refuge, the food and the medicine of Paul’s soul. He did not think of what he had done himself, and suffered himself. He did not meditate on his own goodness, and his own righteousness. He loved to think of what Christ had done, and Christ had suffered,--of the death of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, the atonement of Christ, the blood of Christ, the finished work of Christ. In this he did glory. This was the sun of his soul."   (J. C. Ryl

more sunday quotes

...regarding the opposition the gospel faces, and having the willingness to accept the conflict that comes with following Christ... “Totalitarian, authoritative states are not far from us. They breathe down our necks at every turn—not only communist countries, but also modern elites in the West. In each case, an authoritative society offers itself as the integration point. The Christian must always say, “I want the state and society to have its proper place. But if it tries to come into the center of my life, I am against it because Jesus only is there.” (Francis Schaeffer, No Little People , 1974) “Jesus promised his disciples three things: that they would be entirely fearless, absurdly happy, and that they would get into trouble.” (W. Russell Maltby) "The saddest symptom about many so-called Christians is the utter absence of anything like conflict and fight against spiritual apathy in their Christianity. They eat, they drink, they dress, they work, they amuse themselve

the worth of the individual

"One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul." (Acts 16:14 ESV) In Philippi (Acts 16) Paul encounters three individuals who are influenced by the proclamation of the gospel:  Lydia, a demonized servant girl, and a Roman jailer.  Each individual's story is different, but all experience the power of Christ. The history of redemption (that is, real history-- the one story that rules them all) focuses largely on individuals.  From the one who disobeyed and cast our planet into darkness (Adam) to the One who restores all (the second Adam, Jesus Christ).  In between there is Abraham, and Jacob, and Joseph, and Moses, and Ruth, and Deborah, and David, and Esther... down to Zacchaeus, Martha, Mary, Bartimaeus, Nicodemus, etc... There is the one lost sheep, the one lost coin, and the prodigal son.  Paul closes his letters with re

humanity an enigma

  Our human condition includes both greatness and misery, both beauty and brokenness.  We are made in God's image and created for a relationship with him.  We are a material creation as well as spiritual.  Both nobility and evil pervade our entire makeup. A purely materialistic explanation does not account for all dimensions of human nature.  This is described so well by the Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck:   “The conclusion, therefore, is that of Augustine, who said that the heart of man was created for God and that it cannot find rest unless it rests in its Father’s heart.  Hence, all men are really seeking after God, as Augustine also declared, but they do not all seek Him in the right way nor at the right place.  They seek Him down below, and He is above, they seek Him on the earth and He is in Heaven.  They seek Him afar, and He is nearby. They seek Him in money, in property, in fame, in power, and in passion; and He is to be found in the high and the holy places, an

only three pull ups

Here are two similar views -- related to the issue of women in combat -- from two very dissimilar sources.  First from an evangelical pastor, John Piper, and then from a feminist professor of humanities, Camille Paglia: "So it has been in almost every society that has come under the sway of Christian truth: women of valor, women ready to die in the service of family and fatherland, but not women armed by men for combat. It would have been viewed by most men as cowardly."  (John Piper, The Folly of Men Arming Women for Combat ) "Extravaganzas of gender experimentation sometimes precede cultural collapse, as they certainly did in Wiemar Germany.  Like late Rome, America too is an empire distracted by games and leisure pursuits.  Now as then, there are forces aligning outside the borders, scattered fanatical hordes where the cult of heroic masculinity still has tremendous force.  I close with this question:  is a nation whose elite education is increasing