Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Translation of Daniel 9:7

[In a couple of weeks, I'm scheduled to do the Lord's Day morning Scripture reading at Kosmosdale Baptist Church from Daniel 9. I'm using this as an opportunity to review some Hebrew by doing my own translation of this chapter. I plan to post the translation here so that any friends who know Hebrew can give input on the translation.]

7 To You, Lord, is righteousness, but to us is open shame this day: to every man of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel-- those near and far-- in all the lands to which You have dispersed them because of their betrayal by which they have betrayed You.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Translation of Daniel 9:6

[In a couple of weeks, I'm scheduled to do the Lord's Day morning Scripture reading at Kosmosdale Baptist Church from Daniel 9. I'm using this as an opportunity to review some Hebrew by doing my own translation of this chapter. I plan to post the translation here so that any friends who know Hebrew can give input on the translation.]

6 And we haven't heeded unto your servants, the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our leaders, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Memory of John R.W. Stott

Last night I learned that John R.W. Stott has gone to be with the Lord to wait for that great day of resurrection. For those reading this who may not know: Stott was one of the most influential Evangelicals of the 20th century; I encourage everyone to read Justin Taylor's memorial of Stott HERE.

Below is a picture of me in London, pointing to a plaque with Stott's name on the front of All Souls Church:I only own one book by Stott: his commentary on Ephesians, given to me by my brother-in-law, Daniel Haynes.

Below are Stott's comments on Ephesians 2:8-9,

God will show his grace toward us because he has saved us by his grace: For by grace you have been saved through faith. Here are three foundation words of the Christian good news-- salvation, grace, and faith. 'Salvation' is more than forgiveness. It is deliverance from the death, slavery, and wrath described in verses 1-3. Indeed, it includes the totality of our new life in Christ, together with whom we have been made alive, exalted, and seated in the heavenly realm. 'Grace' is God's free and undeserved mercy towards us, and 'faith' is the humble trust with which we receive it for ourselves.

In order to enforce this positive statement that we have been saved only by God's grace through trust in Christ, Paul adds two balancing negatives: first and this not your own doing, it is the gift of God (verse 8b) and secondly not because of works, lest any man should boast. Some commentator have taken the word 'this' in the former of these two negatives to refer to faith (i.e. 'you were saved... through faith, and even this faith by which you were saved is God's gift'). Theologically, this is true. We must never think of salvation as a kind of transaction between God and us in which he contributes grace and we contribute faith. For we were dead, and had to be quickened before we could believe. No, Christ's apostles clearly teach elsewhere that saving faith too is God's gracious gift. Nevertheless, Paul is not directly affirming this here because 'this' (touto) is neuter, whereas 'faith' is a feminine noun. We must therefore take 'this' as referring to the whole previous sentence: 'By God's grace you are a people who have been saved through faith, and this whole event and experience is... God's free gift to you.' It is neither your achievement (not your own doing) nor a reward for any of your deeds of religion or philanthropy (not because of works). Since, therefore, there is no room for human merit, there is no room for human boasting either. Salvation is God's gift, lest any man should boast. Christians are always uncomfortable in the presence of pride, for they sense its incongruity. We shall not be able to strut round heaven like peacocks. Heaven will be filled with the exploits of Christ and the praises of God. There will indeed be display in heaven. Not self-display, however, but rather a display of the incomparable wealth of God's grace, mercy and kindness through Jesus Christ.

I look forward to meeting Stott one day and, in the meantime, beginning to read his book The Cross of Christ as part of Tim Challies' reading group within the next few weeks.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Translation of Daniel 9:4-5

[In a couple of weeks, I'm scheduled to do the Lord's Day morning Scripture reading at Kosmosdale Baptist Church from Daniel 9. I'm using this as an opportunity to review some Hebrew by doing my own translation of this chapter. I plan to post the translation here so that any friends who know Hebrew can give input on the translation.]

4 And I prayed to the LORD my God: I confessed and I said, "O Lord-- the great and awesome God: keeping the covenant and lovingkindness to those loving Him and keeping His commandments-- 5 we sinned, we did wrong, we made ourselves guilty, and we rebelled by turning away from Your commandments and Your judgments.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Translation of Daniel 9:3

[In a couple of weeks, I'm scheduled to do the Lord's Day morning Scripture reading at Kosmosdale Baptist Church from Daniel 9. I'm using this as an opportunity to review some Hebrew by doing my own translation of this chapter. I plan to post the translation here so that any friends who know Hebrew can give input on the translation.]

3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Translation of Daniel 9:1-2

[In a couple of weeks, I'm scheduled to do the Lord's Day morning Scripture reading at Kosmosdale Baptist Church from Daniel 9. I'm using this as an opportunity to review some Hebrew by doing my own translation of this chapter. I plan to post the translation here so that any friends who know Hebrew can give input on the translation.]

Daniel 9:1-2,

1 In the first year of Darius, son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans-- 2 in the first year of his reign-- I, Daniel, discerned in the books the number of years, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, to be fulfilled concerning the destruction of Jerusalem: seventy years.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sermon Notes from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11. Sermon by Tray Earnhart.

[The following notes were taken at the 10:45AM service this morning at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. The sermon should soon be available to hear on-line HERE.]

I. Introduction: Review of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
A. Paul's challenge to grow in sanctification.
B. Paul's challenge to grow in brotherly love.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

II. Christ's Return
A. What Christ's return means for those who die: security in Christ.
B. Christ's return is certain.
C. Christ's return will be glorious.
D. Christians will be raptured and will always be with Him.

III. The Day of the Lord (=God's wrath poured out on the world)
A. The Day of the Lord will come as a thief: Christians should not "dabble in the darkness" but should be vigilant.
B. Christians will not face God's wrath; our hope is in Christ.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Beatitude to the One Reading and Heeding: Revelation 1:3a

makavrioV (makarios): this blessing begins a verse that is the culmination to the introduction of the book, linking the revelation from Jesus through the angels testified by John to the churches of Asia Minor, and offering a special measure of happiness to the one reading and heeding and those hearing and heeding the words of prophecy.

Before considering those to whom the blessing is addressed, it is important to note the phrase tou;V lovgouV th:V profhteivaV (tous logous tes propheteias), which is translated “the words of prophesy.” This phrase is seen as key in determining the literary genre of the book. Whether or not the book can be understood to fit into the category of apocalyptic literature (and to what degree), the author of the work obviously understands Revelation to be primarily a book of prophecy. th:V profhteivaV (tes propheteias) is to be understood as a genitive of apposition so that this phrase is referring to the same concept as the preceeding tou;V lovgouV (tous logous). The idea, then, is that tou;V lovgouV th:V profhteivaV (tous logous tes propheteias) means “the words which constitute this prophecy.”[1] This phrase further highlights the author’s claim that he is delivering a divine message.

It is also important to note the urgency that makes this blessing necessary. The one reading and heeding and those hearing and heeding “the words of prophecy” need a special blessing because “the time [is] near.” The “time” indicated in this verse does not necessarily refer to the Second Coming of Christ, but (more probably) to the time of trials discussed in the following verses.

To the one reading and heeding. Though the blessing mentioned above may be applied to the individual reader, the primary intention seems to refer to one publicly reading the “words of prophecy” within the context of a local congregation of Christians. Pastors were expected to publicly read Scripture (see 1 Timothy 4:13) and John would similarly expect pastors of the churches receiving his “words of prophecy”– the divine message “from Jesus Christ”– to read the Revelation to their congregations.

To those hearing and heeding. The original audience for Revelation would have had a lower literacy rate than that enjoyed by our current society. Furthermore, there would have been very few copies of Revelation until many years after John penned this book. Therefore, the main way that Christians would encounter Revelation is through hearing it read aloud when meeting together.

throu:nteV (terountes) is translated “heeding;” many could be within earshot of someone reading these verses aloud and yet miss the blessing indicated in this verse. It is not the one who merely hears Revelation who is “blessed,” but it is the one who hears and heeds–listening attentively to put the words into practice– who receives the promised blessing.


[1]Aune, Revelation 1-5, 7.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Martin Luther Biography, Part 1: Origin


[This coming school year, in teaching Writing & Literature at Dorothy Sayers Classical School, one book that I will lead my 5th and 6th grade class to read/discuss is Luther the Leader by Virgil Robinson. In preparing to teach this section of the class, I am composing a short biography of Luther.]

Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Germany to Hans and Margaret Luther (originally, "Luder:" this was later changed). Hans and Margaret apparently named their son "Martin" because November 10 was known as "Saint Martin's Eve." Hans was of peasant origin; Hans became a middle-class silver miner and then an owner of several foundries. Martin Luther had several brothers and sisters. As will be discussed [in a following post], Martin Luther had an extremely severe childhood.

[Sources:

Timothy George, Theology of the Reformers (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1988), 51.
Justo Gonzales, The Story of Christianity, Volume 2 (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1985), 15.
Virgil Robinson, Luther the Leader (Ithaca, MI: A.B. Publishing, 1997), 7-8.]

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Role of Jesus Christ's Servant, John, in the Book of Revelation: Revelation 1:2

John’s role is in Revelation is to bear witness or testify concerning “the message of God– the testimony of Jesus Christ.” As in John’s Gospel account (John 19:35; 21:24) and as in John’s first epistle (1 John 1:1), in Revelation, John sees himself primarily as an eyewitness to an historical event. John encounters the glorified Christ in a specific location on a specific day (Rev 1:9-10) and receives a specific word from Him, which he is charged with delivering. That John is providing eyewitness testimony is further indicated by the last phrase in Revelation 1:2, $osa ^eiden (hosa eiden) “as many [things] as he saw.”

John’s primary testimony is concerning to;n lovgon tou: qeou: (ton logon tou theou), translated above as “the message of God” to avoid confusion. This phrase is often translated “the Word of God;” in this case, however, the phrase is not (at least primarily) intended to indicate “the Word of God” as Christians usually understand it today (i.e., “the Bible” in general), rather, in keeping with the introductory nature of these verses, tou: qeou (tou theou) should be taken as a phrase in the subjective category of the genitive case. In other words, this is a “word” or “message” from God. Again, as Robert L. Thomas notes: in keeping with the introductory character of the opening verses of this book, to;n lovgon tou: qeou: (ton logon tou theou), “the message of God” is a “further characterization of the contents of [Revelation]… [this phrase] is the common idiomatic phrase for a direct prophetic communication, exactly what this book purports to be.”[1] The specific “message of God” John about which John testifies in Revelation is further defined as th;n marturiavn =Ihsou: Cristou: (ten marturian Iesou Christou) “the testimony of Jesus Christ.”[2]



[1]Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), 59.

[2]The kai is taken as epexegetical.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Outline of "Pilgrim's Progress," Chapter 4

This spring, the 5th and 6th grade boys Writing & Literature class I am tutoring will be reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. In preparation for this class, I am re-re-reading the book and constructing a detailed outline for each chapter as I read. The following outline is for Chapter 4 (in the 1991 Tyndale House Edition).

I. Christian Reaches the Cross

A. The High-way on which Christian travels is protected on either side by a wall called Salvation.

B. As Christian approaches a Cross, his burden falls off his back and rolls into an open Grave.

C. Christian worships at the Cross.

D. Christian is visited by three Shining Ones:
1. The first comforts him and proclaims his sins forgiven.
2. The second takes his old garments and dresses him in new garments.
3. The third places a mark on his forehead and gives him a Scroll, and tells him to read it on his way to the Celestial Gate.

E. Christian departs, rejoicing.

II. False Christians Along the Way

A. Simple, Sloth, and Presumption
1. Christian sees the three men named above at the bottom of a hill with fetters on their feet.
2. Christian cries out to the men, warning them of danger.
3. The men dismiss Christian, each in line with the character indicated by his name.
4. Christian is troubled at the men dismissing him, since he had awakened them, offered them counsel, and had offered to help them remove their fetters.

B. Formality and Hypocrisy [I've quoted this section-- from an older edition of this book-- in a previous post found HERE.]
1. Formality and Hypocrisy enter the narrow way by climbing over the Wall.
2. They say they have come from the Land of Vain-glory and are going to Mount Zion to receive praise.
3. Christian asks why they did not enter the Gate, and warns them that "it is written that, 'anyone refusing to walk through the Gate, who sneaks over the Wall, must surely be a thief.'"
4. Formality and Hypocrisy answer that all the people from their country consider the Gate to be "too far away" and that their countrymen regularly find a shortcut.
5. Christian questions them about whether they, violating the revealed will of the Lord of the City, would be viewed as trespassers.
6. They respond that what they are doing is "a custom dating back at least a thousand years."
7. When Christian questions them about the legality of their custom, they respond that such a long-standing custom will doubtlessly be deemed legal, and that it does not matter how they got onto the way, as long as they are on it.
8. Christian challenges them, that they are following vain imaginations rather than the Master's rule.
9. They say they will keep laws and decrees as conscientiously as Christian, and that except for his Coat, he does not differ from them.
10. Christian responds that since they did not come in at the Gate, and do not have a Coat, a mark on their foreheads, or a Scroll, such as was given him, their law-keeping will be no benefit to them.
11. They laugh at him and speak no more, and Christian walks on ahead of them, reading his Scroll.

III. Three Ways From Which to Choose

A. The straight and narrow way leads up a hill called Difficulty; Christian takes this path.

B. The other ways branch off this way and go around the Hill to the right and the left.
1. They are called Destruction and Danger.
2. Formality and Hypocrisy split up, taking these ways.
3. One [the book does not say which] is led into a giant forest.
4. The other is led into a vast field full of dark mountains, where he falls to rise no more.

IV. Christian Loses the Scroll at the Pleasant Arbor

A. Halfway up the Hill, Christ comes to a Pleasant Arbor, made by the Lord of the Hill as a resting place for travelers.

B. Christian reclines and reads from his Scroll, he falls to sleep, and the scroll falls from his hand.

C. Someone wakes him, reproaching him for laziness, and Christian hurries to the top of the Hill.

V. Responding to Fear

A. Christian meets Timorous and Mistrust, hurrying toward him.

B. Christian tells them they are running the wrong way.

C. Timorous responds that there are increasing difficulties ahead of Christian.

D. Mistrust says that there are two Lions just ahead (though they could not tell whether the lions were asleep or awake).

E. Christian is afraid, but resolves to go forward toward the Celestial City, for going back to his own town means certain death.

F. Christian goes on toward the Celestial City, Mistrust and Timorous go the other way, but then Christian realizes he has lost his Scroll.

VI. Recovering the Scroll

A. Christian prays for God's forgiveness, and goes back to find the Scroll.

B. Christian expresses great regret that he had slept, rather than merely resting a while, as he should have, and that he had not remained vigilant.

C. Christian finds the scroll and hurries up the Hill.

D. The sun goes down, and Christian once again is sorrowful for his earlier sleep, for now he cannot sleep and must travel at night.

E. Christian thinks about the Lions (and especially about how they are nocturnal).

F. Christian sees the Palace Beautiful.

VII. Facing Lions in the Way

A. Christian sees two chained Lions (but he cannot see their chains).

B. The gatekeeper at the Lodge, named Watchful, tells Christian not to be afraid: that the Lions are chained, kept as a test of faith, and that if he stays on the middle of the way, he will not be harmed.

C. Christian passes the Lions unharmed and walks on, rejoicing.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jamin Hubner's Challenge for Rachel Held Evans

Last week, Jamin Hubner posted a challenge for Rachel Held Evans at the Alpha & Omega Ministries blog. (Hubner's original challenge may be read HERE, and the reader should view his entire post.)

Hubner basically challenged Evans to use a consistent hermenutic and to try, specifically in her writings about womanhood, to move from an exegetical theology to a biblical theology to a systematic theology.

I personally found Hubner's challenge to Evans noteworthy given my previous interaction with an article by Evans.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

"Doonesbury" comic strip pushes the theory of evolution: my response


Introduction

On Sunday, July 18 of this year, the Louisville Courier-Journal (and, apparently, newspapers across the nation) published a Doonesbury comic strip: pictured to the right, which can be found in an enlargeable version HERE. Below, I attempt to respond to some of Trudeau's presentation (which he makes under the guise of a high school teacher in the strip); some readers may think it odd to respond to a comic strip, but humor can be very powerful in shaping public opinion (if you can get people to laugh at an idea in one context, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to take that idea seriously in another).

The first two panels of the strip linked above were absent in the version found in the Courier-Journal; (it seems that it is a common practice for comics to include one or two panels at the beginning of the Sunday strips, often with a self-contained joke, which papers may delete for the sake of space). The ostensible punch-line for this comic is the statement from the high school student, "Please stop. I'd like to get into a good college;" (I'd like to think that Trudeau intends for his attacks on creationism to be the source of comedy in this strip due to their obvious fallacies, but-- given Trudeau's normal liberal slant-- this seems highly unlikely). Trudeau's punch-line is based on the thought that creationism is so obviously ridiculous that no "good college" would want students trained in such a view.

The Failure of Trudeau's Punch-line

The punch-line of the above-linked strip fails:

First, because the idea that "good college[s]" wouldn't accept creationists is overstated. No college about which I know asks potential students about their views on Darwinism. Also, as Stephen Barr recently argued in a book from Notre Dame University Press [see the details HERE], "proposing an infinity of unobservable entities is no more scientifically defensible than proposing a single unobservable one (God)."

Second, because Trudeau's presentation of creationism is unacceptable, even to creationists, for the following reasons:

1. The high school teacher asserts that creation happened "5,700 years ago." Now, Trudeau may be able to find some piece of creationist literature in which such an exact date is given for creation, but a belief in a certain number of years is definitely not required by the creationist view. Given that many Bible genealogies do not record an exact number of years, any insistence on such an exact number seems more in line with the teaching of Harold Camping than with sound, evangelical Bible scholarship. On the other hand, I will concede that in creationists tend to believe that the universe is much younger than the aeons postulated by those holding to the theory of evolution. Those holding to the theory of evolution are constantly, as they increasingly discover more about the complexity of nature, adjusting their models to include more and more time, because they need jigga-gazillions of years in order to make people believe that it is possible for "chance" to make the impossible happen: life to come from non-life, order to come from disorder.

2. The high school teacher refers to God as a "male deity," a term that is inaccurate and thus offensive. Scripture certainly speaks of God in masculine terms in virtually every instance, but this is not the same as calling God a male deity, because:

a. "God is a Spirit, and does not have a body like men (Jn 4:24; 2 Cor 3:17; 1 Tim 1:17)." Therefore, God cannot literally be "male:" a term that necessarily refers to physicality.

b. Beyond this, though the preponderence of biblical passages refering to God in masculine terms-- along with the central truths concerning God the Father and God the Son-- compel Christians to retain addresses for God that are masculine in character, there are some passages that do speak of God in feminine terms. "Wisdom" in Proverbs has often, in the history of interpretation, been taken to refer to the Word-- the pre-incarnate Christ-- and "Wisdom" is spoken of in feminine terms. Deuteronomy 32:18 refers to "the God who gave you birth" and in Psalm 131:2 David describes his relationship with God as being "like a weaned child with his mother." These passages prevent us from simply seeing our Father [again, the language of Father must be maintained] as a "male deity."

3. The last panel contains more straw-man errors, with NO regard for how creationists actually present their own position. If Trudeau bothered to look at the biblical text describing Noah's activity leading up to the Flood (Gen 6-7), he would see that a single pair of each unclean animal, but seven pairs of each clean animal were gathered (rather than "two of every thing"), and that neither "microbes" or "dinosaurs" are mentioned; (most creationists that I have read believe that the dinosaurs became extinct after the Flood, not during the Flood).

Red Herrings

The statement, "Deity created the heavens and earth and all life on it in six days," does reflect the central teaching of the creationist position, but Trudeau obfuscates this teaching by:

1. Assertions that:

a. "The evidence massively supports a theory of evolution," etc. [Of course, no specific evidence is mentioned.]

b. "[Creationism is] supported by no scientific evidence whatsoever."

[If the evidence really points so conclusively in favor of evolution, then Trudeau has certainly found a humor goldmine; he should certainly sound the depths of the massive amount of evidence for evolution to show comically deluded the creationists are.]

2. Attaching the adjective "male" to "deity" (as discussed above).

3. Using two panels to present inaccurate information about the Great Flood, rather than creationism.

[All of the above simply serve to direct readers' attention away from the fact that the "theory of evolution" contains no adequate account for how life can arise from non-life.]

The Heart Issue

The panels describing the Flood basically get to the heart of what the term "male deity" hinted at: Trudeau seems to have no concept of the biblical distinction between the Creator and His creatures. In this, he has turned his back on wisdom (see the Theologian's quote at the very bottom of this page), and has imagined that he can sit in judgment over God and His Word.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sermon Notes from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. Sermon by Tray Earnhart.

[The following notes were taken at the 10:45AM service this morning at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. The sermon is available to hear on-line HERE.]

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.

I. Introduction:

A. When we meet challenges, do we rise to them?

B. Often, inward challenges are greater than outward challenges.

II. The Inward Challenge

A. "Please God"
1. This is impossible outside of Christ.
2. We should grow in pleasing God.

B. "Sanctification"
1. Sanctification is mentioned here, particularly in the area of "sexual immorality."
2. Sanctification from sexual immorality points to the need for:
a. self-control
b. vigilance
3. Sanctification, unlike justification, is a process.
4. Sanctification is necessarily tied to justification.

C. The ability to please God and growth in sanctification are given by the Holy Spirit.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Notes from Chapter 7 of Machen's "Christianity & Liberalism"


Tim Challies is currently leading an on-line reading group, which is discussing J. Gresham Machen's Christianity & Liberalism. Below are some notes that I've taken from the seventh chapter.

I. Whereas both Christianity and liberalism are concerned with social institutions, Christianity is primarily concerned with the "brotherhood of the Christian church," which is a very different conception than the liberal doctrine of the "brotherhood of man."

A. Christians do believe that all men everywhere are brothers in the sense that, "All men have the same Creator and the same nature."

B. However, "The true brotherhood, according to Christian teaching, is the brotherhood of the redeemed."

II. Objection: this teaching is narrow

A. Answer 1: "There is nothing narrow about this teaching; for the Christian brotherhood is open without distinction to all; and the Christian man seeks to bring all men in."

B. Answer 2: This teaching is not narrow, because "all me, whether Christians or not, are our neighbors if they be in need" and we will seek to serve those in need by all kinds of acts of service, YET we will "make the main business of our lives... to bring them to the Saviour of their souls."

III. "It is upon this brotherhood of twice born sinners, this brotherhood of the redeemed, that the Christian founds the hope of society... [thus] [t]he Church is the highest Christian answer to the social needs of man."

IV. The problem of the Church today is that many have been admitted to the membership of churches, and even welcomed into the teaching institutions utilized by churches, who have not made an adequate profession of faith, and who are characterized by anti-Christian beliefs and practices.

V. Liberalism and Christianity are essentially antithetical belief-systems, and for both liberalism and Christianity to exist in the same organization is highly undesirable.

VI. For honesty sake, liberal ministers should not seek teaching positions in churches that hold to creeds or confessions with which they do not agree; these "ministers" should either join themselves with a professedly liberal body (such as the Unitarian Church) or they should found a new body.

A. Involuntary organizations must be tolerant, lest they be unjustly oppressive, but voluntary organizations must be tolerant, lest they cease to exist.

B. If a Democratic club were formed, and a group of Republicans, instead of forming their own club, professed allegiance to Democratic principles, joined the Democratic club, then used the resources of the Democratic club to spread an anti-Democratic message, these Republicans would rightly be seen as dishonest. But a similar situation is happening now, in which liberals profess belief in certain doctrines when they become ministers of a particular denomination, only to use the resources of that denomination to teach against the doctrines they professed to believe. The Church must be more, not less, honest than any political club.

VII. What is the duty of Christian officers in the Church?

A. They should encourage those engaged in the spiritual and intellectual struggle of defending the faith.

B. They should take great care in performing their duty when evaluating candidates for the ministry.

C. They should carefully evaluate preaching to see that it is full of the gospel of Christ.

D. They should strive to renew Christian education.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

About what law is Jeremiah 31:33 speaking?

[The following is an excerpt from A Reformed Baptist Manifesto by Samuel Waldron and Richard Barcellos, pages 33-35. Identifying the "law" in Jeremiah 31:33 is extremely helpful for thinking rightly about how the law relates to Christians.]

Jeremiah 31:33.

The clue for resolving this question [i.e., the question found in the title of this post] is found in the contrast and parallel between the Old and New Covenants stated in these verses (cf. vv. 32, 33a, "not like the covenant which I made with their fathers... But this is the covenant which I will make..."). Clearly, there is a contrast in these verses between the Old and New Covenants. But that very contrast assumes and implies a parallel. Let me state the contrast clearly. The Old Covenant was broken because God wrote His law on stone and not on all the hearts of His people. The New Covenant will not be broken, because God will write His law on the hearts of all His covenant people.

The clear contrast here is the place where the law is written. In the Old Covenant, the place is on stone tablets. In the New, it is the fleshy heart. But in this contrast there is also clearly a parallel. In both covenants, God writes His law. The contrast clearly assumes and implies the parallel. The contrast in where the law is written, however, assumes that the law under discussion still has a vital place to play in God's New Covenant.

In light of this clear parallel, we may return to our question with a better understanding of its answer. About what law is verse 33 speaking? Two things clearly identify this law.

First, it is the law written by God Himself and by His own finger. This is clear from verse 33, "I will put my law within them, and on their heart I will write it..." But the only law so written was the Moral Law of God as summarized in the Ten Commandments. It is the Ten Commandments, and those Ten Commandments alone, which were written by God Himself with His own finger.

[The authors quote Exodus 24:12; 31:18; 32:16; 34:1 and Deuteronomy 10:1-4 to prove that God personally wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger. One thing that I found interesting about these quotes: for some reason I was under the impression that after Moses destroyed the first tablets of the Ten Commandments in his anger, he had carved the second copy himself, but the text is very clear that God directly wrote the second copy of the Ten Commandments, just as He had written the first.]

Other aspects of the Old Covenant law, the Judicial and Ceremonial, were written, not by God Himself, but by Moses. "And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD" (Exo 24:4; cf. 34:10-27).

Second, it is the law written on stone that is re-written in the New Covenant on the heart of all covenant participants. The emphasis on the place where God's law is written in Jeremiah 31:33 plainly suggests this thought. This is confirmed by the references of the Apostle Paul to this verse in 2 Corinthians 3:1-8. Here Paul uses the very words to speak of the stone tablets in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures [LXX]) of Exodus 31:18 and 34:4. The Judicial Law of Israel was not written on stone, but in a book (Exo 24:3, 4, 7; contrast these with v. 12). The Ceremonial Law of Israel was not written on the heart. On the Moral Law, as epitomized and summarily contained in the Ten Commandments, was written on stone.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

John Murray on the Christian Sabbath

[From John Murray's commentary on The Epistle to the Romans, Eerdmans: 1997, 257-258]:

The Sabbath institution is a creation ordinance. It did not begin to have relevance at Sinai when the ten commandments were given to Moses on two tables (cf. Gen. 2:2,3; Exod. 16:21-23). It was, however, incorporated in the law promulgated at Sinai and this we would expect in view of the significance and purpose as enunciated in Genesis 2:2,3. It is so embedded in this covenant law that to regard it as of different character from its context in respect of abiding relevance goes counter to the unity and basic significance of what was inscribed on the two tables. Our Lord himself tells us of its purpose and claims it for his messianic Lordship (Mark 2:28). The thesis we are now considering [that Sabbath observance is not in any way to be maintained by Christians] would have to assume that the pattern provided by God himself (Gen. 2:2,3) in the work of creation (cf. also Exod. 20:11; 31:17) has no longer any relevance for the regulation of man's life on earth, that only nine of the ten words of the decalogue have authority for Christians, that the beneficent design contemplated in the original institution (Mark 2:28) has no application under the gospel, and that the lordship of Christ exercised over the Sabbath was for the purpose of abolishing it as an institution to be observed. These are the necessary conclusions to be drawn from the assumption in question. There is no evidence to support any of these conclusions, and, when they are combined and their cumulative force frankly weighed, it is then that the whole analogy of Scripture is shown to be contradicted by the assumption concerned.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Is "friendship evangelism" the [only] valid form of evangelism?

The type of evangelism mentioned in my last post [i.e., 'open-air evangelism' or 'street-preaching'] is extremely unpopular. It is not only unpopular among non-Christians, but it is misunderstood and derided even by many Christian brothers and sisters. In some cases this is due to the 'street-preachers' themselves saying unnecessarily offensive things or taking an unnecessarily harsh tone, not pleading with their hearers to come to Christ for hope and life; I have even heard some 'street-preachers' (though certainly not among my friends here in Louisville) who fail to preach the gospel at all.

Even when the above errors are carefully avoided, 'open air evangelism' is unpopular simply because, in our current cultural moment, people value non-confrontation and a type of 'tolerance' that would never question another's beliefs.

And so, a couple of Saturdays ago, a couple from a very large church here in Louisville came out to the sidewalk at 2nd and Market for the purpose of persuading some of my friends that we should not be 'street-preaching.' It seems that this couple believes that the only valid type of evangelism is 'friendship evangelism.'

Now 'friendship evangelism' is certainly valid in the sense that we should definitely bring our friends to Christ. Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:45-46) and the Samaritan woman at the well brought her neighbors to Jesus (John 4:28-30), to give only two of many possible examples.

'Friendship evangelism' is improperly practiced when a person believes that he or she must build a friendship first-- and build that friendship without mentioning sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come-- before proclaiming the gospel to an individual.

This is wrong thinking: first because we read of many instances in the Bible where Christians proclaimed the gospel to strangers (Philip's witness to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 comes to mind as but one example); second if we really believe that the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done is the most important topic of conversation-- if we believe that this message is the only hope for salvation from the wrath of God against sin-- then how long can we neglect this gospel when building a friendship?

The reality is that the longer we fail to interact with a person about the gospel, the more difficult it is to speak with that person about Christ. The Christian finds him- or herself in the extremely embarrassing position of having to admit to his or her friend, 'Yes, I believe that if you die without trusting in Christ that you will suffer forever in Hell, but for all these weeks [or months or years] I haven't told you about the only way to avoid this horrible destiny because I was afraid of offending you.'

Advocates of the improper type of 'friendship evangelism' often say, 'A person does not care how much you know until he or she knows how much you care.' There is almost certainly some truth to this statement. But Christians are commissioned by our Lord to make disciples of all. Now imagine that I, hired as a teacher at Dorothy Sayers Classical School, thought to myself, 'People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care,' and, based on that conviction, I decided that I should spend the first few weeks of school befriending my students before attempting to teach them anything; I would be fired for failing to do my job, and rightly so. My principal, Mrs. Lawson, would inform me, 'You should have found some way of communicating how much you care while teaching the actual subject matter.' Likewise, disciples of Jesus must not first try to build friendships without reference to the good news, but we must instead proclaim His gospel while making every possible attempt to show others how much we care.

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

What difference does a few yards make?

Every Saturday morning Christians meet outside the abortion clinic here in Louisville to pray, to proclaim the gospel, and to attempt to persuade women to seek help at A Woman's Choice Resource Center rather than having their children killed in the "clinic".

In proclaiming the gospel, some of us engage in 'open-air evangelism' or 'street-preaching': a type of activity that has a long heritage in Church History and that we see modeled in the Bible (see, for example, Acts 2).

A few Saturdays ago it was suggested that move back a few yards from where we were accustomed to preaching, despite the fact that we were already within our legal rights to preach exactly where we were. When I asked about why we were being asked to move, I was told that there were two reasons:

1. Because we were upsetting the women within the abortion clinic;

2. Because there was the distinct possibility of legal action being taken against all of the Christians in front of the abortion clinic-- in terms of actions being taken to curtail our activities-- and the most vocal ministry of 'street preaching' so close to the clinic may tend to make judges sympathetic to possible complaints.

My friends and I decided that we should NOT heed the request to move. As we discussed the situation, I argued against moving, because:

1. We want to be heard by the women inside the clinic:
a. In any other environment in which you saw a person about to have a child dismembered, you would physically restrain that person from harming the child. Now, there are certainly many reasons not to physically restrain mothers entering the abortion clinic, but there is NO reason not to exercise our legal right to present the truth that abortion is murder (and along with that to proclaim the hope of the gospel).
b. The very fact that the women inside the clinic can hear the pleas of those outside is interesting because the volunteers for the abortion clinic are constantly jeering the 'street-preachers' saying, "They can't hear you!"
c. The fact that the women inside the clinic are upset by the preaching they hear is also interesting, because some volunteers for the abortion clinic try to argue that what we are doing is analogous to 'protesting' at a dentist office where people are having their teeth pulled (because they claim that the child in the womb is a part of the mothers body, like a tooth). But if I were to go to have a tooth pulled and were to hear people outside proclaiming that tooth-pulling is murder and I need to seek God's forgiveness, I would not be upset; it would be obvious that the people were insane. The women in the abortion clinic, however, are upset, because their conscience testifies that what they contemplating grave wickedness.

2. If we were ordered by the authorities to move, then we would have to carefully consider whether we should, in this case, submit to those in authority or if this is an example of a time when obedience to men would mean disobedience to God, in which case we would obey God rather than men (see Acts 5:29). But to shape our evangelistic activities around what some wicked people might do is to fall into the snare of fearing man, rather than to find safety in trusting the LORD (see Prov 29:25).

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Notes from Chapter 6 of Machen's "Christianity & Liberalism"


Tim Challies is currently leading an on-line reading group, which is discussing J. Gresham Machen's Christianity & Liberalism. Below are some notes that I've taken from the sixth chapter.

Salvation

I. "Liberalism finds salvation (so far as it is willing to speak at all of 'salvation') in man; Christianity finds it in an act of God."

II. "[T]he Christian conception of the Cross of Christ"

A. Liberalism ridicules the Christian conception of the Cross of Christ "as being 'a subtle theory of the atonement.'"
B. "[V]icarious atonement... is the only atonement of which the New Testament speaks."
C. The fundamental truth of vicarious atonement is "so simple that a child can understand it."
D. Vicarious atonement is the truth that "'[w]e deserved eternal death, but the Lord Jesus, because He loved us, died instead of us on the cross'".

III. The liberal view of the atonement:

A. Various theories:
1. The Cross as the supreme example of self-sacrifice;
2. The Cross as a demonstration of God's hatred of sin [as liberals today seem to not hold to a biblical notion of sin, and to often avoid the language of sin, I would have written "injustice"];
3. The Cross as the ultimate picture of God's love.
B. Though these theories contain some truth, they all have the problem of not dealing with sin and guilt due to sin.


IV. Liberal objections to vicarious atonement:

A. This doctrine ties the Christian faith to history, rather than immediate experience:
1. This is correct, and differentiates Christianity from mysticism.
2. Christian experience does serve to testify to the truth of Christ's work in history.
B. This doctrine is narrow, and many have never heard the name of Jesus:
1. This is true, and Christianity has always been exclusive; in the early Church "[such exclusiveness ran directly counter to the prevailing syncretism of the Hellenistic age."
2. "If... this way of salvation is not offered to all, it is not the fault of the way of salvation itself, but the fault of those who fail to use the means that God has placed in their hands."
C. "How can one person... suffer for the sins of another?"
1. "It is perfectly true that no mere man can pay the penalty of another man's sin. But it does not follow that Jesus could not do it; for Jesus was no mere man but the eternal Son of God."
2. "The Christian doctrine of the atonement, therefore, is altogether rooted in the Christian doctrine of the deity of Christ."
3. Again, Christian experience testifies to the truth of the vicarious atonement, for it is when we lay aside our own attempts at law-keeping, and embrace the work of Christ on our behalf, that we find true joy and peace.
D. "God is more willing to forgive sin than we are willing to be forgiven; reconsciliation, therefore, can have only to do with man; it all depends upon us; God will receive us any time we choose."
1. "The objection depends of course on the liberal view of sin" in which sin is a small matter and easily overlooked.
2. To simply overlook sin is not gracious, but cruel, even in human relationships.
3. "The truly penitent man longs to wipe out the effects of sin, not merely to forget sin. But who can wipe out the effects of sin?"
4. "If a man has once come under a true conviction of sin, he will have little difficulty with the doctrine of the Cross."
5. Liberalism consistently overlooks the fact that it is God Himself who provides vicarious atonement for sin.

III. Liberalism seeks to make Christianity joyful by doing away with the idea of God as a righteous God, and by instead picturing Him simply as a loving Father; two questions must be asked of this notion:

A. Q1: Does it work? A: No, because such teaching leads to:
1. Ingratitude
2. Apathy
B. Q2: Is it true? A: No, because a denial of God as Judge is contradicted by:
1. Nature
2. Scripture
C. Conclusion: A one-sided God is not a real God, and a false God cannot bring real joy.

[In most of the remainder of the chapter, Machen gives a powerful proclamation of the gospel, focusing on the need for the new birth and on justification by faith alone (with a discussion of the nature of saving faith).]

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Outline of "Pilgrim's Progress," Chapter 3

This fall, the 5th and 6th grade boys Writing & Literature class I am tutoring will be reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. In preparation for this class, I am re-re-reading the book and constructing a detailed outline for each chapter as I read. The following outline is for Chapter 3 (in the 1991 Tyndale House Edition).

I. Christian Arrives at the Gate

A. Above the gate are the words of Matthew 7:7.

B. Christian knocks at the gate.

II. Christian Meets Good-will and Enters the Gate

A. Christian meets Good-will:
1. Good-will is described as a "solemn-looking person."
2. When Christian said who he was, Good-will let him in the Gate very eagerly.

B. Christian enters the Gate:
1. Good-will pulls Christian in the Gate quickly.
2. Good-will tells Christian that a strong castle, of which Beelzebub is captain, is nearby, and that Beelzebub and his allies shoot at those entering the gate.
3. Christian recounts his tale to Good-will.
4. Good-will directs Christian to follow the straight and narrow path to the House of the Interpreter.

III. The Interpreter's House

A. Christian arrives at the Interpreter's house and knocks on the door repeatedly until there is an answer.

B. Christian tells the man who answers the door who he is, and asks to speak to the master of the house.

C. The master of the house is called and, after a short time, comes to the door.

D. Christian explains himself to the master of the house.

IV. The Man in the Picture

A. Description of the Man in the Picture:
1. "[I]ntense-looking"
2. Eyes looking toward Heaven
3. Holding "the best of books"
4. "[T]he law of truth written on his lips
5. "[T]he world behind his back"
6. Standing as if "pleading with men"
7. "[A] golden crown... upon his head"

B. Interpreter's explanation of the Man in the Picture:
1. "[O]ne in a thousand"
2. Maternal:
a. "He can bring children into being"
b. "[He can] suffer birthpangs with them"
c. "[He can] nurse them himself"
3. "[H]is work is to know and reveal hidden things to sinners."
a. This is symbolized by:
i. "[H]is eyes looking toward Heaven"
ii. "[T]he best of books in his hand"
iii. "[T]he law of truth written on his lips"
b. This results in him "standing there as if pleading with sinners."
4. "[T]he world behind his back" indicates his disregard and disdain for "the things of this present world because of the love he has for his Master's service."
5. The crown on the man's head represents the glory he will have as his reward in the world to come.
6. Interpreter tells Christian that the Man in the Picture has authority to be his guide.

V. The Room Filled With Dust

A. Cleaning the room:
1. Interpreter shows Christian a room filled with dust.
2. Interpreter orders the room swept.
3. A sweeper comes in, begins to sweep, and the room is filled with a great cloud of dust.
4. Interpreter orders some water to be sprinkled on the dust.
5. A girl with a water-bucket comes in, sprinkles water on the dust, then the room is easily swept.

B. Interpreter's explanation of the room filled with dust:
1. Room = "the heart of a man who was never sanctified by the sweet grace of the Gospel.”

2. Dust = “original sin and inward corruptions”

3. Sweeper = Law

4. Water-bearer = Gospel

5. The dust cloud was indicative of the fact that the Law “revives and adds strength to sin.”

6. The sprinkling of the water was indicative of the fact that “when the Gospel comes into the heart… sin is vanquished and subdued.”


VI. Passion and Patience


A. Description of Passion and Patience:

1. Passion:

a. “quite discontent”

b. desirous of immediate treasure

c. wasteful

2. Patience:

a. “very quiet”

b. “willing to wait”


B. Interpreter’s explanation of Passion and Patience:

1. “Passion represents the people of this world”

2. “Patience represents [the people] of the world to come”


C. Christian’s observations concerning the wisdom of Patience:

1. Patience “waits for the best things”

2. Patience “will have glory in the end”


D. Interpreter’s additional observation: the glory of the next world will never wear out, but these present glories are suddenly gone.”


VII. The Fire by the Wall


A. Description: Interpreter showed Christian a fire burning beside a wall; though someone was constantly pouring water on it, “the Fire continued to burn, higher and hotter.”


B. Interpreter’s explanation of the Fire by the wall:

1. Fire = “the work of Grace that is formed in the heart”

2. “The one who throws water on it to extinguish it is the Devil.”


C. The mystery of the Fire by the wall revealed:

1. Interpreter shows Christian that there is a Man on the other side of the wall, secretly and continuously pouring oil into the Fire.

2. Interpreter explains that the Man is Christ and that the oil is Grace.


VIII. The Beautiful Palace


A. Interpreter shows Christian a beautiful Palace in a pleasant place; Christian observes people standing atop the Palace, clothed in gold.


B. Interpreter leads Christian to the door of the Palace, where there is:

1. A great crowd of people desiring to get in, but afraid to attempt to do so

2. A man sitting at a table near the door with a Book and Pen, “ready to take the name of anyone who would go in”

3. A group of armored men, determined to harm anyone who would enter

4. A man finally deciding to have his name written down; after a fierce battle with his assailants, he is welcomed into the Palace.


C. “Christian smiled and said, ‘I’m sure I understand the meaning of this.’”


IX. The Man in the Iron Cage


A. Interpreter shows Christian a man in an iron cage:

1. The man looks broken-hearted

2. The man explains that once he was on his way to the Celestial City, but he:

a. “[C]eased to watch and be sober”

b. Allowed himself to be driven by his lusts

c. “[S]inned against the light of the Word and the goodness of God”

d. “[G]rieved the Holy Spirit”

e. Hardened his heart so that he cannot repent


B. Christian asks the man if there is no hope, given that the Son is “very merciful,” but the man remains hopeless and says, “God has denied me repentance”


X. The Man with the Terrifying Dream

A. A man tells Christian of a terrifying dream in which the final judgment is taking place; some are gathered to safety and some are left behind.


B. The man explains to Christian that he thought the day of judgment had taken place, and that he was left behind; the man had seen Hell open at his feet, and his conscience had accused him.


XI. Conclusion


A. Christian tells Interpreter that the things he has seen fill him with both hope and fear.


B. Interpreter tells Christian to remember the things he has seen.


C. Christian makes preparations for his journey, and then resumes his travels, with Interpreter’s blessing.

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Monday, July 04, 2011

The Authorship of the Book of Joshua

[The following notes were distributed in Sunday school at Kosmosdale Baptist Church by Tim Scott. I found these notes to be particularly interesting because, though I've read and heard persuasive arguments for how we can know Moses was author of the Pentateuch-- the most notable for the Christian being statements by Jesus such as recorded in John 5:46-47-- I was not aware of the following argument for how we can know Joshua was author of the book bearing his name.]

Joshua.

Technically, the author for the book of Joshua is anonymous since the book does not actually state who is the author. However, there are several indications within the book which point to the identity of the author:

1. The author was an eyewitness to the events of the book (5:1,6; 15:4).

2. Certain parts of the book are said to be written by Joshua himself (24:26, cf. 8:32). This text seems to be the most conclusive evidence that Joshua wrote at least part of the book.

3. Rahab was still living at the time of the writing (6:25). This fact would point to the reality that the book was written during the life of Joshua himself.

4. Since the Jebusites are said to be in control of Jerusalem, the book must have been written before the time of David since David drove the Jebusites from Jerusalem.

All of these facts point to Joshua as the author of the book that bears his name. However, it stands to reason that Joshua did not write the final chapter of the book which describes his death and declares that the people were faithful to the Lord all the days of Joshua and the elders who outlived Joshua.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sermon Notes from 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5, "We Are Destined for This, Part 2" by Tray Earnhart.

[The following notes were taken at the 10:45AM service this morning at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. The sermon should soon be available to hear on-line HERE.]

1 Thessalonians 3:1-5.

I. Introduction: Opposition in the Christian Life
A. Sometimes people, seeking to discern the will of God, think that they are only in God's will if they are facing no opposition.
1. This is a dangerous error.
2. As seen in the earthly ministry of our Lord (and in other biblical/historical/personal examples), OFTEN living in the will of God is accompanied by great opposition.
B. Suffering often prompts us to ask God why we are experiencing certain trials.

II. "It is God's purpose" that His people experience suffering and opposition in their earthly life.
A. It MUST be seen as part of God's purpose, for Satan is inferior to God and a defeated foe.
B. God promises suffering for His servants and promises great blessings for His suffering servants.

III. It is Satan's purpose to bring suffering and opposition to God's people in an attempt to hinder the gospel.
A. Paul knew satanic opposition in his ministry: Acts 13:4-12.
B. Paul warned Timothy about great opposition in the last days: 2 Timothy 3:1-11.
C. Satanic opposition CANNOT:
1. Provide an excuse for disobedience;
2. Thwart the purposes of God;
3. NECESSARILY be taken as an indication of God's displeasure.
D. Satanic opposition is itself used by God to conform us to the image of Christ.

IV. Our sufferings will give way to "shouts of joy:" Psalm 126.

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Notes from Chapter 5 of Machen's "Christianity & Liberalism"


Tim Challies is currently leading an on-line reading group, which is discussing J. Gresham Machen's Christianity & Liberalism. Below are some notes that I've taken from the fifth chapter.

Christ

I. Points of difference between Christianity and liberalism:
A. Three points of difference previously examined:
1. "the view of God"
2. "the view of man"
3. "their estimate of the Book in which the [Christian] message is contained"
B. The point of difference examined in this chapter: "the Person upon whom the [Christian] message is based."

II. Paul's attitude toward Jesus:
A. Primary consideration of Paul (rather than the gospels) defended as due to scholarly consensus (both Christian and non-Christian) that "the chief of the extant epistles attributed to Paul were really written by a man of the first Christian generation," etc.
B. "Paul stood in a truly religious relation to Jesus:"
1. Though Jesus as an example was important to Paul, "the primary thing for Paul" was "the redeeming work of Jesus."
2. Jesus was, for Paul, not "merely an example for faith; He was primarily the object of faith."
C. "Paul was not the first to stand in this religious relation to Jesus:" it is evident that Paul conceived his faith in Jesus to be entirely consistent with the faith of earlier believers.
D. Within primitive Christianity there appears to have been controversy over the relationship of the Mosaic law to the Church, but there appears to be no such controversy in regards to faith in Jesus.

III. Jesus' teaching about Himself:
A. Jesus clearly presented Himself "as the object of faith."
B. Jesus in no way minimized the guilt of sin, but presented Himself as the hope of salvation from sin.

IV. The teaching of liberal theology re: Jesus:
A. "Jesus for [the liberal theologian] is an example for faith, not the object of faith."
B. "According to modern liberalism... Jesus was the founder of Christianity because He was the first Christian, and Christianity consists in maintenance of the religious life which Jesus instituted."

V. Can we follow the example of Jesus in every respect? No, because:
A. Jesus had a unique Messianic consciousness, which included the teaching that He was rightly "the judge of all the earth."
B. Jesus was sinless; He never had to deal with His own sin, He constantly dealt with the problem of sin, assuming that others were sinful.

VI. In what sense "did the early Christians call themselves disciples of Jesus"?
A. Jesus was their means of salvation from sin: "Christ died for our sins."
B. Jesus was the object of their faith.

VII. Objections:
A. Q: If Jesus was not "the first Christian" and not our example in this sense, then doesn't this undermine the humanity of Jesus? A: Jesus was truly, fully human, yet without sin; He had a religion, yet "[t]he religion of Jesus was a religion of untroubled sonship," in some ways indicative of how our religious experience will be in heaven.
B. Q: Don't the above objections to liberal theology undermine the truth that Jesus is our brother and example? A: No, because:
1. Relationships may be complementary; dissimilarity in some respects may actually strengthen a relationship [Machen gives the example of a father and a son];
2. Jesus is indeed our example in:
a. Ethics, through His compassionate actions toward others;
b. Worship, through constant consciousness of God's presence.

VIII. "[L]iberalism regards Jesus as the fairest flower of humanity; Christianity regard Him as a supernatural Person."
A. The apostle Paul clearly "separated Jesus from the rest of humanity and placed Him on the side of God.:
1. Galatians 1:1 as one example.
2. The true humanity of Jesus is spoken of as "something strange, something wonderful" in light of His divinity.
3. The question of Romans 9:5.
4. The use of the title "Lord" as used in the LXX to translate the name of God from the Hebrew.
5. Paul speaks of Jesus as the object of faith.
6. In this regard, Paul was is presented as in agreement with the original apostles (and even the Judaizers!).
B. "The Gospels agree with Paul in presenting Jesus as a supernatural Person."
1. [Machen engages in a discussion of the definition of "supernatural," a distinction of the Christian view of the supernatural from deism and pantheism, the necessity of the supernatural in overcoming the problem of sin, and the fact that miracles belong "to the very warp and woof" of the New Testament account of Jesus.]
2. "The modern liberals... say that Jesus is God not because they think high of Jesus, but because they think deperately low of God."

IX. What do Christians mean when we say "Jesus is God"?
A. NOT Arianism: Jesus is no "super-angelic Being, like God but not God."
B. Jesus is "the object of faith:" "the Christian man reposes confidence in Jesus in a way that would be out of place in the case of any other than God."

X. "[T]he New Testament everywhere presents One who was both God and man."

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