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Showing posts from May, 2016

alistair's top ten list

I'm always attracted to "top ten" (or 20 or 50) lists of books that authors, theologians, pastors, or scholars give as recommended reading.  Each year at the Basics Pastors' Conference at Parkside Church, Alistair Begg gives his current list of top ten books.  Here's the list for 2016, and his notes: A Body of Divinity, Thomas Watson, Banner of Truth. Based on the Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, this book deals with the foremost truths  of the Christian faith. Watson conveys his knowledge of the truth in an original, concise, pithy and  illustrative style. Confessing the Faith, Chad Van Dixhoorn , Banner of Truth. The Westminster Confession of Faith finds itself in the first rank of great Christian creeds. In this book,  Dixhoorn seeks to deepen our understanding of each paragraph of the Confession. Challenging hearts  and minds, Confessing the Faith hopes to edify and instruct both advanced and general audiences. Heroes, Iain Murray, Banner

doctrine, practice, life, and morality

"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds."  (Ephesians 4:17 ESV) "Doctrine followed by practice is the distinct characteristic of [Paul's] method... doctrine and practice are so intimately related and connected that they must never be divided; Paul cannot deal even with the most practical matters except in the light of doctrine." "Our conduct must always arise from and be dictated by and controlled by our doctrine.  In other words, the Christian life is not a code which is imposed upon us and which we do not understand." "As it follows out of doctrine we must understand what we are doing and what we are not doing.  Or, to put that still more plainly, we should never do things merely because other people are doing them; and we should not refrain from doing things simply because other people refrain from doing them. We must understand why we do them or why we refr

striped duofold

Richard Binder writes about the “new” Duofold: After retiring the Streamlined Duofold from its catalog in 1935 (but continuing manufacture in the U.S.A. at least into 1937), Parker reintroduced the Duofold name in 1939.  In 1940, the “striped” Duofold was introduced... [ Read more here ]  I have a green and gold model (beautifully translucent), a Striped Duofold Major with a Fine nib, vacumatic fill, manufactured in 1943 (identified by the wide band on cap & no tassie on the blind cap).  There's a "V" engraved on the nib for "Victory" since this was made during World War II.  Another fine writing instrument and a part of history. 

Parker Duofold "Big Red"

Been a while since I posted anything about fountain pens. One of the prize pens in my collection is the Parker Duofold in red, also known as the "Big Red."  I picked it up at a very reasonable price at an estate sale. PenHero writes , The Parker Duofold was introduced in 1921 in a very unusual orange red hard rubber called "Chinese Lacquer Red." The majority of hard rubber pens being made at the time were all black, so the Duofold stood out. It was a very large pen, being 5 1/2 inches long capped and 6 7/8 posted and the large red pen quickly became known as "Big Red," the name it and all following large red Duofolds are known by to this day... More info here from ParkerPens .     These flat-top Duofolds were manufactured from 1921 to 1933.  Mine is a Parker Duofold Senior, made in 1928.  The two flush, narrow bands on the cap date this to that year.   The nib is gold-filled (medium) with the arrow engraving.  The body is Permanite (cel

not by works, but for works

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV) There are three truths about "works" in this passage, and it's important to hold all three and consider their order: 1) We are not saved by works . (v. 8-9)( Salvation really is a gift. ) 2) We are now God's work . (v. 10a)( God is graciously working in us, Phil. 2:13. ) 3) We are saved for good works , prepared by God. (v. 10b)( Not saved by works, but created for good works. ) Warfield sums up: "The very good works which we do, then, have been prepared for us by God in his electing grace, that we should walk in them. We are not chosen because we are good; we are chosen that we may be good." (B. B. Warfield)

no secular neutrality

"How is this world of assumptions formed? Obviously through all the means of education and communication existing in society. Who controls those means? The question of power is inescapable. Whatever their pretensions, schools teach children to believe something and not something else. There is no ‘secular’ neutrality."  ( Lesslie Newbigin)

sunday slides

"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it."  (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV) “Sanctification may be defined as that gracious and continuous operation of the Holy Spirit by which He purifies the sinner from the pollution of sin, renews his whole nature in the image of God, and enables him to perform good works.” (Louis Berkhof, Manual of Christian Doctrine , p 267) Here's the responsive reading after the sermon : Leader:   Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,  whose sin is covered.   Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,  and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Congregation:   I acknowledged my sin to you,  and I did not cover my iniquity;  I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"  and you forgave the iniquity o

bavinck on sanctification

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV) In studying this passage, I have been helped by the insights of Herman Bavinck on the topic of sanctification.  Some highlights below... "To understand the benefit of sanctification correctly, we must proceed from the idea that Christ is our holiness in the same sense in which he is our righteousness. He is a complete and all-sufficient Savior. He does not rest until, after pronouncing his acquittal in our conscience, he has also imparted full holiness and glory to us. By his righteousness, accordingly, he does not just restore us to the state of the just who will go scot-free in the judgment of God, in order then to leave us to ourselves to reform ourselves after God's image and to merit eternal life. But Christ has accomplis

what we are praying for

Today is the National Day of Prayer .  Below are some of the things we should be praying about... “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  (1 Timothy 2:1, 2) Thanksgiving for the many bounties and blessings our nation has received from God in his grace: public safety, many good laws, opportunities for work, clean food and water, clothing, homes, families, friends, democracy, freedom to worship, and many more.  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.   (Psalm 136:1) For our leaders .  Ask that God in his mercy grant wisdom, humility, and moral integrity to our national leaders: for President Obama, Congress, and Supreme Court justices.  For Governor McAuliffe, Senators Warner and Kaine, and Rep. Morgan Griffith.  For Virginia legislature, sta

why we do theology

In my seminary years I enjoyed most of the classes and subjects I studied.  I loved learning to study the Bible in its original languages, hearing exposition of every book of the Bible, taking historical theology and apologetics, and gaining practical ministry skills for the pastorate.  But my greatest love, and the area that became my major interest, was (and is) systematic theology.  Theopedia gives a good definition : "Systematic theology is a discipline which addresses theological topics one by one (e.g. God, Sin, Humanity) and attempts to summarize all the biblical teaching on each particular subject. Sometimes called constructive theology or even dogmatic theology, the goal is to present the major themes (i.e. doctrines) of the Christian faith in an organized and ordered overview that remains faithful to the biblical witness."   Recently, I came upon this quote from John Murray, who taught theology for many years at Westminster Seminary, on why systematic the

like a child

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."  And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16 ESV) "Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them."  (Luke 18:15 ESV)  At the turn of the previous century, B. B. Warfield, Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton, would give Sunday afternoon sermons to the students on campus.  A number of these have been collected and published in Faith and Life (Banner of Truth, 1974).  In this message on Jesus' blessing of the children (from Mark 10 and Luke 18) Warfield sought to understand just what it was about children (many of them infants) that made them sui