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Showing posts from December, 2019

new creation

"...then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."  (Genesis 2:7 ESV)  "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."  (Philippians 3:20-21 ESV)  The future hope of the Christian is "spiritual" in the sense that God's Spirit will indwell, give life to, glorify, and mediate all creation with God's holy presence.  But the new creation will not for that reason be primarily immaterial or ethereal (like harps and clouds), though there is an immaterial dimension to it.  Jesus in his resurrected body -- better, in his resurrected Self -- ate meals with his disciples, walked and talked with them, and allowed them to touch his wounds from the cross.  This was real and physical and

reading the bible in 2020

"The Word is in our pockets and on our coffee tables, like a love letter waiting to be perused or a feast waiting to be devoured." There are so many good Bible reading plans out there!  And media to match: podcasts, audio, mobile plans, etc.  I read through the Bible more rapidly every couple of years.  Like a flyover.  But in the in-between years I slow it down and focus on a couple of books, like exploring one part of the terrain in more detail.   This year I think I'm going to use the  the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) reading schedule as modified by D. A. Carson into a two-year reading schedule .   Reading about two chapters a day, this is do-able for most people.  You can cover in the first year, a) all the NT, the Psalms, and half of the OT, and in the second year, b) all the NT, the Psalms, and the second half of the OT. The pace would be about 2 chapters per day .  In our family the plan is to individually read the first chapter in the morning (quiet tim

recent articles

What if the elites are right? I appreciated this article by Samuel James, not so much because he addresses the moral suitability of our current president (which is an issue), but because we evangelical conservatives need to avoid using the same kind of identity politics that we resent being used against us...  I wish so much that evangelicals would fully resist the allure of identity politics, especially the versions that seem to be popular in our conservative theological circles. Substitute the word “white” for “elite” in much evangelical political discourse, and you would end up with lengthy essays that would be logically indistinguishable from those of the wokest SJWs. Whether Galli and the staff at CT are elites has absolutely no bearing on whether they’re right about this president and the morality of supporting him. The argument fails for the same reason the common pro-choice canard about pro-life’s being “out of touch” with the physical and social trauma of unplanned preg

standard of truth and life

"And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers."  (1 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV)  "...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..." (Ephesians 6:17 ESV)  "And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth."  (1 John 5:6 ESV)  Gresham Machen writes,  If we take the Bible as the Word of God, then the Bible becomes our standard of truth and of life. When we are asked whether we can support any kind of message or can engage in any course of conduct, what we do is simply to compare that message or that course of conduct with the Bible. If it agrees with the Bible, we can support it or follow it; if it does not agree with the Bible, we cannot support it or follow it no matter what we may be told by other authorities to do. ... Our standard is n

Christ and revelation

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ... No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known." (John 1:14, 18 ESV) Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'"?  (John 14:8-9 ESV) In reflecting upon Jesus Christ being the ultimate revelation of God, here are a few highlights from the third volume of Carl Henry's magisterial work, God, Revelation and Authority :  "In Jesus Christ the source and content of God's revelation converge and coincide."  (III:9) [The Church is] "a transnational, transracial, transcultural beachhead for the transcendent kingdom of God." (III:68) &qu

the supernatural element

The supernatural element in the Gospel picture of Jesus has proved to be an integral part of the whole. It cannot be separated from the rest in that easy, artificial way. The Gospel picture of Jesus is supernatural through and through. They are telling us that we cannot know anything at all with any certainty about Jesus. Such skepticism is preposterous. It will never hold the field. You need not be afraid of it at all, my friends. The picture in the Gospels is too vivid. It is too incapable of having been invented. It is evidently the picture of a real person. So the age-long bewilderment of unsaved men in the presence of Jesus still goes on. Jesus will not let men go. They will not accept His stupendous claims; they will not accept Him as their Savior. But He continues to intrigue and baffle them. He refuses to be pushed into their little molds. They stand bewildered in His presence. There is only one escape from that bewilderment. It is to accept Jesus after all.

the virgin birth of Jesus

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us)". (Matthew 1:22-23 ESV) John Frame writes of the doctrinal importance of the virgin birth (or more accurately, virginal conception) of our Lord Jesus. Specifically, he lists five reasons this truth is vitally important .  The consistency of this doctrine with other Christian truth is important to its usefulness and, indeed, to its credibility. For Matthew and Luke the chief importance of the event seems to be that it calls to mind (as a “sign,” Isa. 7:14) the great OT promises of salvation through supernaturally born deliverers, while going far beyond them, showing that God’s final deliverance has come. But one can also go beyond the specific concerns of Matthew and Luke and see that the virgin birth is fully consistent with the whole range of biblical doctrine. The virgin birt

by faith not by sight

"...for we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV) "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)  Over the years I have seen that faith is largely and simply taking God at his word.  We come to trust his character, the Person behind the promises, but we should never let go of the promises he has made in Scripture.  It may seem too simple, and childlike, which it is.  See Psalm 131 and Luke 18:17, for example. I have spent much time being overly concerned with my impressions, my feelings, my felt experience, and my sense of where I think (or feel) God is (or is not) and what I think he is doing (or not doing).  The Scriptures tell us over and over again that we walk by faith not by sight , and that faith is being assured and convicted of things not seen .   Faith is not a matter of being pumped up with excitement but rather walking in trust and obedience to God's word, whether we se

remaking a broken world

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"  (Revelation 7:9-10 ESV) "There are actually only two options for human society: true worship and war. Only true worship humbles human pride. False worship and war go together, because false worship exalts the worshiper, who is really only worshiping an idol of their creation or imagination. Only in worship of the true God will people be brought so low our aspirations to greatness will be removed, and our empire-building plans abandoned. Only in true worship will we live together in weakness and without pretensions."  (Christopher Ash) I am currently reading Remaking a Broken World .  The author, Christopher Ash,