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Showing posts from December, 2018

cross and manger

Carl Trueman explains Martin Luther's "theology of the cross"... "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 of our existence but has even suffered in a supreme sense on our behalf, that suffering which is captured in a deep and inexplicable way in the cry of dereliction on the cross. These are, of course, deep theological waters, but for Luther the crucial dimension of God’s saving power was precisely this profound humiliation of himself in human weakness. He had a saying: Don’t

sufficiency of Christ and his Word

I have often thought of the similarity between the person of Christ and the written Word of God.  There is a duality of natures in each: Christ has two natures, divine and human; he is the God-man.  The Scriptures have dual authorship, again divine and human.  They are at the same time the words of human authors and the word of God as inerrant Author.   Christ himself is called the Word (John 1:1ff) and the Scripture is considered the living voice of God (Heb 3:7; 4:12).  Both are the revelation of God's character and will to us.  We do not know Christ apart from his recorded word (the Apostles' witness in Scripture; John 17:8), and we do not understand his written Word apart from submission to the Lord himself (John 5:39-40).  Author James White notes that this similarity also relates to the sufficiency of each for the life of the believer:  "I have often preached that Christ is a perfect Savior, that He possesses the power and the nature to save without fai

best reading -- part 3

Since the snow is still coming down outside, I'll continue the reviews of the 12 best books I read (or am still reading) in 2018.   Not a Chance: God, Science, and the Revolt against Reason , by R. C. Sproul and Keith Matheson (Baker Books, 2014).  Excellent interaction with  issues related to chance, design, and causality, especially as put forward by proponents of the new physics.  Many years ago in seminary I had an  interest in this field and so did graduate research under Norman Geisler on "Reason, Rationality, and the New Physics."  I muddled through that  research and so, it's a great joy to find R. C.'s acumen put to this topic.  His classical training (and influence from John Gerstner, I would suppose) is so  helpful in making sense of the quantum world.  Or rather, making sense of those who are making nonsense of the quantum world.  Excellent  apologetic work on the value of logic, causality, and the scientific method.  Solar Queen (1956) and

best reading -- part 2

Continuing with the list of twelve best books I read this past year...   The Everlasting Man , G. K. Chesterton (1925).   I studied this work with a reading group I attend.  In his unique way of thinking and writing,  Chesterton deals with how Christianity, and Jesus in particular, is the fulfillment of the religious hopes of philosophers and pagans down through  history.  It's a very winsome presentation of historic Christianity.  This book was instrumental in moving C. S. Lewis from atheism to faith.  Lewis  wrote, "I read Chesterton's Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to  make sense..."   Enough said.  The Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-42 , by Ian Toll (W. W. Norton & Co., 2012).  And I'll add to this the second of his trilogy,  The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-44 (Norton, 2016).  These are riveting narratives of the war agai

best reading in 2018

So, I made a list of the twelve best books I read this past year.  I don't know why I do this, but it seems appropriate to share this, rather than, say, my favorite dog videos or Instagram photos of what I'm eating tonight.  So, in no particular order I'll dive in:  Setting Our Affections upon Glory: Nine Sermons on the Gospel and the Church , by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Crossway, 2013).  At least once each year I  find myself reading a book of sermons preached by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981).  Simply put, he's just in a category by himself and his  sermons always feed my soul, as well as stimulate thought and affections.  Snippets: "There is only one thing [ the Christian can ] do with time, and  that is to take it and put it into the grand context of eternity."  And, "The great need of the church today, in our sadness and in our slowness, is to  discover the secret of the burning heart." The Christian View of Man , by J. Gresham Machen (Banner

why he came

Jesus made it clear that he came to our world on a mission .  His incarnation, and his life here, were filled with purpose.   By studying statements he  made that are recorded in the gospels we can see the purpose behind his coming.   Phrases like, "I came that..." or "I was sent to..." or "for this  purpose I..." will help us see what that is.  Below are listed ten statements the Lord made about his purpose for coming to earth.  (Parallel statements from the synoptic gospels are included in the parentheses.)   1)  To fulfill the Law and Prophets :   "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill  them."  (Matthew 5:17*) 2)   To proclaim the good news of the kingdom :   "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for  this purpose." (Luke 4:43; cf. Mark 1:38) 3)  To bring division and a sword:   "I have