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Showing posts from December, 2017

best books I read in 2017

In no particular order... Reformation:Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow ,  by Carl Trueman (Christian Focus, Reprint 2011).  In this reprint, Trueman (professor of church history) gives a number of important applications for today's church from the Reformation.   How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds ,  by Alan Jacobs (Currency, 2017).  Hard to describe this little book, but it is profound. How community  affects the way we think.  I enjoyed two collections of sermons by Martyn Lloyd-Jones : Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, (Crossway reissue, 2009). The Cross: God's Way of Salvation, (Crossway, 1986)  Awakening the Evangelical Mind:  An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement ,  by Owen Strachan (Zondervan, 2015)  Along with  Confessions of a Theologian, by Carl F. H. Henry (Word Books, 1986).  Strachan chronicles the rise of the new evangelicals in the 1950s and beyond.  Carl Henry figures prominently in that movement.  I also finished  Volu

wise men (and women) still seek him today

And a merry Christmas to all my readers!  (All 0.5 of you!)

and he will be our peace

"And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure,  for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.  And he shall be their peace ."  (Micah 5:4-5a ESV*) "And he shall be their peace."  (5:5a)  Literally, “this one will be peace” .  By "this one" is understood the Shepherd-King previously mentioned (5:2-4), so some translations have, "and he will be..."  Also translators have varied as to which possessive pronoun should be understood here, whether to add to the text either “their", "our", or "your".  "Their peace" would be those who would trust Messiah in that future generation.  But "our" would be viewing Messiah from the reader's perspective, as the peace of Israel past, present, or future.  And we could certainly apply to ourselves -- "your peace" -- as believers in Christ today. 

remembering r c sproul

“We are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because he holds tightly to us.” – R. C. Sproul (1939–2017) A great theologian and teacher has passed to glory.  R. C. Sproul has been a strong help to so many in this confused generation, including me.  I first read The Holiness of God , which struck a vital chord missing from modern and post-modern evangelicalism.   Then, too, I was blessed by his work, Chosen By God , which clarified Reformed principles for me, and is still one of the first books I recommend to those seeking to understand Calvinistic theology.  I found R. C. Sproul so capable of expounding great truths in simple ways.   He loved God in his greatness, and he also loved the church.  He wrote the following words for the bicentenary of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina: The church of God triumphant Shall in that final day Have all her sons and daughters Home from the well-fought fray. Then come, O saints of Zion In sweet com

theology of the cross

Martin Luther was a "theologian of the cross", whereas medieval scholastics were in his view, "theologians of glory."  That is, many theologians considered God in himself in ways that did not begin with the "alien" (his incomprehensible) work of Christ in his humanity and upon the cross.  There is a cradle and a cross to be understood before we can see the glory of God.   Carl Trueman explains this further...   "The theology of the cross is more than just a way of looking at God, however. For Luther, it brings to the fore both the depth of God’s love for sinful humanity, that God himself was willing to undergo such suffering, weakness and humiliation on behalf of helpless sinners, and also underlines that suffering and weakness is a central part of the Christian’s strength experience here on earth. In Christ, God has so identified himself with humanity as to become one with fellow humans. He has endured not only the mundane inconveniences

but first the bad news

Our first Advent sermon this year was taken from Micah 1:1-7 and spoke of the judgment of God upon all of us.   It was not exactly a conventional  Christmas season message.  In the sermon, "Know Justice, Know Peace" ,   Jim said that to know the judgment of God becomes a gateway for us to know forgiveness.  And God's judgment becomes a key for us in showing forgiveness to others.   What did he mean?  And why do we begin with bad news, rather than go straight to the Good News of Christ coming into the world? It is a principle throughout Scripture that the knowledge of our sin and judgment must precede our experience of his mercy and forgiveness.   Romans chapters 1 through 3 ("all have sinned...") comes before chapters 4 and following ("having been justified by faith...").  The book of judgment  in Isaiah (1-39) precedes the book of comfort (40-66).  And in Micah, the threat of judgment looms over the people, before the promise is given of