Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Well, no use in introducing this issue with some story that nobody cares about, so I'll get right to the point. Here is what I was taught in my Advanced Greek Grammar class: The Septuagint is not merely a translation of Scripture, but it is also a reflection of the Jewish theological climate of the day. It is somewhat difficult to explain, but the Jews did not just translate the Scriptures from the Hebrew into the Greek. Rather, they brought their theology with them into the translation process, and the LXX contains in it 2nd-3rd cent. B.C. Jewish theology. The impilcations are somewhat noteworthy. Let me throw out one example we're all familiar with. Ps. 8 contains the word "elohim" in the Hebrew and "angelos" in the LXX. Thus, the translators had to make an EXEGETICAL decision to view the verse as contrasting man against angels rather than against God Himself. Big deal? Well, that was an easy example. Another more significant one: look at Genesis 1:1-2 in the LXX "the earth was invisible." Two significant things: first, the earth was invisible? second, is Greek philosophy creeping into the translator's theology by his choice to use the imperfect form of "eimi"? I may be misrepresenting my professor, who is truly a Greek scholar, but I think the concept itself is interesting. I have thought through it and I have my answer, but I'll let you all think your way through this one for a while. Oh, additionally he thinks that the LXX is Scripture, as in 1 Tim. 3:16 Scripture. The authors of the NT quote from it as authoritative, and that is enough evidence for him to say that it can be called Scripture. Enjoy.

Happy Reformation Day!

"Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
Martin Luther

I'm thankful to God for the courage of Martin Luther to fight established dogmas with a reasonable and common sense interpretation of Scriptures. The world could use more theologians like Luther who can move beyond prolegomena to teach the meaning of scripture and its glorious implications for Christ's church. Post Tenebras Lux!

The Epistle to Diognetus

5:1 For Christians are not distinguished from the
rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in
5:2 For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their
own, neither do they use some different language, nor
practise an extraordinary kind of life.
5:3 Nor again do they possess any invention
discovered by any intelligence or study of ingenious
men, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some
5:4 But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and
barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the
native customs in dress and food and the other
arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their
own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvellous,
and confessedly contradicts expectation.
5:5 They dwell in their own countries, but only as
sojourners; they bear their share in all things as
citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers.
Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and
every fatherland is foreign.
5:6 They marry like all other men and they beget
children; but they do not cast away their offspring.
5:7 They have their meals in common, but not their
5:8 They find themselves in the flesh, and yet they
live not after the flesh.
5:9 Their existence is on earth, but their
citizenship is in heaven.
5:10 They obey the established laws, and they
surpass the laws in their own lives.
5:11 They love all men, and they are persecuted by
5:12 They are ignored, and yet they are condemned.
They are put to death, and yet they are endued with
5:13 They are in beggary, and yet they make many
rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they
abound in all things.
5:14 They are dishonoured, and yet they are
glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of,
and yet they are vindicated.
5:15 They are reviled, and they bless; they are
insulted, and they respect.
5:16 Doing good they are punished as evil-doers;
being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby
quickened by life.
5:17 War is waged against them as aliens by the
Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by
the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell
the reason of their hostility.

9:2 And when our iniquity had been fully
accomplished, and it had been made perfectly manifest
that punishment and death were expected as its
recompense, and the season came which God had
ordained, when henceforth He should manifest His
goodness and power (O the exceeding great kindness and
love of God), He hated us not, neither rejected us,
nor bore us malice, but was long-suffering and
patient, and in pity for us took upon Himself our
sins, and Himself parted with His own Son as a ransom
for us, the holy for the lawless, the guileless for
the evil, _the just for the unjust,_ the incorruptible
for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal.
9:3 For what else but His righteousness would have
covered our sins?
9:4 In whom was it possible for us lawless and
ungodly men to have been justified, save only in the
Son of God?
9:5 O the sweet exchange, O the inscrutable
creation, O the unexpected benefits; that the iniquity
of many should be concealed in One Righteous Man, and
the righteousness of One should justify many that are
9:6 Having then in the former time demonstrated the
inability of our nature to obtain life, and having now
revealed a Saviour able to save even creatures which
have no ability, He willed that for both reasons we
should believe in His goodness and should regard Him
as nurse, father, teacher, counsellor, physician,
mind, light, honour, glory, strength and life.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Levels of Happiness in Heaven

I have recorded a section of Jonathan Edwards' sermon on Romans 2:10. It lasts about seven minutes. The reason I recorded it is that I regard this section as the best thing I have ever read on the issue of varying degrees of reward and happiness and holiness in heaven. It is vintage Edwards. He has thought this through in an amazing way. It opens our eyes to the possibilities of heaven that we have never thought of before. If you want to read and ponder it for yourself, it comes from page 902 of the second volume of The Works of Jonathan Edwards.
J. Piper

Go to the blog

Plantinga at SBTS

Call me crazy but I'm really pumped up to listen to this. I've really really liked what I've read of Plantinga.

ht: Justin Taylor

The Catholic Catechism

"The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth." 1250, The Catholic Catechism

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Book Recommendations

Mark Dever has preached every book of the Bible. He preaches a book in one message to give his people the overall flow of the book. The fruits of his labor are in these two volumes. They read like a sermon but give the depth and richness one would expect from someone of his credentials. I you are preaching through a book of the Bible these would be a good resource so that you get a sense for the flow and scope of the book as a whole.

“I have long desired a book that would unlock the richness of the Old Testament—assisting both the pastor in the pulpit and Christians in their devotions. This is that book.”
—C. J. Mahaney
Sovereign Grace Ministries

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Moo on the modified Lutheran view of law and grace:
The reader may think that I have just affirmed contradictory points: that God did not give the law to save his people, and that the law promises salvation if it is kept. But these two statements are not incompatible. By the latter, I mean simply that the law, in stating God’s demand of his people Israel, promises to bring them also that successfully meeting that demand would bring them salvation. But this is not to say that the law could ever in fact be obeyed so fully by sinful beings that it would save anyone; and God, knowing this, never intended the law to save anyone. It would be as if I were to give a basketball to my son for the first time in his life and tell him: ‘Here: if you make 100 free throws in a row, you will not have to practice and train to become a basketball player.’”

“[Paul’s] strict demarcation of two ‘eras’ can lead to the conclusion that all who lived before Christ were necessarily doomed, while all those who live after Christ are, by definition, saved. But this is not, of course, what Paul intends to say. His application of the salvation-historical contrast of ‘before’ and ‘after’ operates on two levels: the level of world history and the level of individual history. In Galatians 3-4, a passage central to our purposes, the former is clearly dominant, as Paul divides history into three stages: before the law (when the promise was given to Abraham), under the law, and after the law (when the promise to Abraham was fulfilled).”

“The entire Mosaic law comes to fulfillment in Christ, and this fulfillment means that this law is no longer a direct and immediate source of, or judge of, the conduct of God’s people. Christian behavior, rather, is now guided directly by ‘the law of Christ.’ This ‘law’ does not consist of legal prescriptions and ordinances, but of the teaching and example of Jesus and the apostles, the central demand of love, and the guiding influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit.”

“Many argue that this is what the texts we have mentioned require: The new covenant promises the internalization of the same law given by God at Sinai. But there is reason for caution. First, if Jeremiah and Ezekiel are thinking of the Mosaic law, there is no basis to confine the reference to only part of the law (e.g., the so-called moral law). Yet it is evident that the totality of the Mosaic law has not been reinstituted as an authoritative source of life in the new covenant…Second, there are references in the prophets to a tora that will be established in the last days and that probably does not refer to the Mosaic law as such (Isa. 2:3; 42:4; 51:4, 7; Mic. 4:2).”

The Crisis of Modern Fundamentalism

Christianity Today
The difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists hasn't been theology, though some fundamentalists would refuse to compromise on dispensationalism, for example. Fundamentalists have a strategy problem: Do they clamp down on these youngsters, risking a deeper generation gap? Or do they reconsider strict separation and cultural isolation? By choosing the latter, they may save their youth and lose their cause.


From Can I Just Start My Own Tradition

If Joel Osteen, R.C. Sproul, Benny Hinn, Chuck Swindoll, Oral Roberts, J.P. Moreland, T.D. Jakes, Jimmy Carter, Billy Graham, Brian Mclaren, Pat Robertson, and John Piper all distinguish themselves as evangelicals, then we must admit that the disignation both means everything and nothing at the same time.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Blogging and Discernment, by Adrian Warnock - good indictment on blogging and interesting points about discernment. This is a key question that has a very practical impact on one's approach to discernment: does discernment seek primarily to defend truth from error or primarily to promote truth thus exposing error. Which should have precedence the positive or negative approach?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

John Frame on Christ and Culture

A Blog Article Here or a word document here. He promotes a transformational view of Christ and Culture. He's reformed, what else is new. But who else writes on culture?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Confessionism: The Misuse of I John 1:9

Thought this was an excellent article (click to read) on the misunderstanding many in our circles have relating to I John 1:9. His argument tends to be more theological but thorough exegesis backs up the conclusions! Here's a selection. . .
"Now, consider the implications of adding the work of confession for ongoing forgiveness with the data we presently have. If something more is required for forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness (a state required for heaven), then the believer is in a dilemma. What if he fails to confess some sins? What if he fails to confess one sin? Is he unforgiven and not cleansed from all unrighteousness? This is not what propitiation and the continual immediate cleansing from sin by the blood assert. Must we add to what God has so completely accomplished? Isn't Christ's death and the application of His blood enough? Doesn't this additional requirement diminish the cross by making my naming of a sin, each sin, a prerequisite to forgiveness?"

Preach the Gospel to Yourself, in Worship

These verses were on my mind during the worship service this morning:

(Ephesians 2:1-10 NAS95S)
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as 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 so that we would walk in them.”

I was in the worship service this morning and I have a bad habit of scanning the crowd to see who is really singing and who is just going through the motions. I hate when I find myself going through the motions. But on the other hand, I don't want to try to stir up my emotions so that I'm faking it. The trick is, when I sing about these powerful truths of the gospel, why don't I care? I think we often think that if we do not love God with our whole heart that something is wrong with us spiritually. And I'm here to say, that's exactly right. There is something wrong with us spiritually. We are plagued by our sin nature which yields its desire to inferior joys. C.S. Lewis says: "We are half-hearted creatures. Fooling about with food and sex and ambition, when absolute joy is offered us. Like a child content to continue making mud-pies in the slums because he has no concept of what is meant by a holiday at the sea. We are far to easily pleased!" I really think this is where the ministry of the word works most powerfully in our lives. Try reading through the book of Ephesians and you'll see the whole point of the book is to remind the believers of their position and where they came from. On top of this Paul says why he's praying: "For this reason I kneel before the Father...I pray that you...may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge". Paul's prayer and writing were directed at giving the Ephesians a fresh appreciation for who God was and what he had done and was doing. Try these practical things this week:
1. When in worship humbly acknowledge your sinfulness in light of God's word
2. When in worship quote scriptures which remind you of the blessings of God (let the word remind you afresh of his goodness)
3. Throughout the week pray for others to be satisfied in God
I need to be reminded of the gospel every day, especially during the worship service so that I worship in spirit and in truth. I hope you are encouraged to worship authentically seeing the grace of God in the gospel in the past, in the present, and in the future.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I watched Huckabee on channel eight last night. This guy is a very very good politician. Plus, he makes a lot of sense. I think the former baptist pastor might have a real chance. Justin Taylor posted this and this yesterday, Andrew Jackson this. Matt Anderson predicted his straw poll win.

Compare him with others on PewForum

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"The Death of Death in the Death of Christ"

I picked up the Death of Death a few weeks back and began to comb through the introduction (written by Packer). I have have been greatly encouraged by his lucid argument for God's supremacy in salvation. Here's a selection from the introduction:
"And when we come to preach the gospel, our false preconceptions make us say just the opposite of what we intend. We want (rightly) to proclaim Christ as Saviour; yet we end up saying that Christ, having made salvation possible, has left us to become our own saviours. It comes about in this way. We want to magnify the saving grace of God and the saving power of Christ. So we declare that God's redeeming love extends to every man, and that Christ has died to save every man, and we proclaim that the glory of divine mercy is to be measured by these facts. And then, in order to avoid universalism, we have to depreciate all that we were previously extolling, and to explain that, after all, nothing that God and Christ have done can save us unless we add something to it; the decisive factor which actually saves us is our own believing. What we say comes to this -- that Christ saves us with our help; and what that means, when one thinks it out, is this -- that we save ourselves with Christ's help. This is a hollow anticlimax. But if we start by affirming that God has a saving love for all, and Christ died a saving death for all, and yet balk at becoming universalists, there is nothing else we can say. . . We have not exalted grace and the Cross; we have cheapened them. We have limited the atonement far more drastically than Calvinism does, for whereas Calvinism asserts that Christ's death, as such, saves all whom it was meant to save, we have denied that Christ's death, as such, is sufficient to save any of them. . . Christ's death ensured the calling and keeping -- the present and final salvation -- of all whose sins He bore. That is what Calvary meant, and means. The Cross saved; the Cross saves. This is the heart of true Evangelical faith; . . . (pp. 14-15)."
Matt, don't mean to hijack the blog with Packer and Owen but thought this was some good food for thought! Enjoying the hunt. . . Ben Eilers

Evangelism, Pastors, and Churches

Mark Dever has a good series on evangelism. I'd especially be interested in your thoughts on the last twenty minutes of Evangelism for the Pastor or Preacher.

What is Evangelism
A Biblical Theology of Evangelism
Evangelism for the Pastor or Preacher
The Church Practice of Evangelism

Monday, October 15, 2007

Demand #17, Humble Yourself in Christlikeness

John Piper's journal entry for December 6, 1988:
Is not the most effective way of bridling my delight in being made much of, to focus on making much of God? Self-denial and crucifixion of the flesh are essential, but O how easy it is to be made much of even for my self denial! How shall this insidious motive of pleasure in being made much of be broken except through bending all my faculties to delight in the pleasure of making much of God! Christian Hedonism is the final solution. It is deeper than death to self. You have to go down deeper into the grave of the flesh to find the truly freeing stream of miracle water that ravishes you with the taste of God's glory. Only in that speechless all-satisfying admiration is the end of self."

from What Jesus Demands from the World, pg. 136-137 by John Piper

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Info-Techno Sabbath

So I had my MacBook open this afternoon while I was watching the Vikings and listening to a podcast, and I read in my Google Reader feed a novel idea from Joe Carter: an Info-Techno Sabbath. I'm not sure about the theology behind it, but I think I'll take him up on his suggestion.


Pat Nemmers this morning preaching on 1 Corinthians 5:1-8:

Churches are not weakened by innovative approaches to ministry creative styles, contemporary music, or relaxed dress codes. They are weakened by the unwillingness of the assembly to deal with spiritual rebels who defame the name of our Lord who delivered them."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Professor of "Dog"matics

A rare casual day; but no flip-flops allowed. Next year they will be more specific.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

No Comment...

Demand #3: Come to Me

As Jesus looks over the religions of the world--including the Judaism of his day--he sees people who are laboring heavy loads to earn the favor of whatever deity they believe in. He did not come to replace that God-appeasing load with another one. He came to carry that load and call us to himself for rest. "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30). Make no mistake, there is a yoke and a burden when we come to Jesus (there would be no demands if this were not true), but the yoke is easy, and the burden is light.

But perhaps it's note easy and light the way we think it is. Jesus also said, "The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life" (Matt. 7:14). The reason it is hard it not because Jesus is a hard taskmaster. It's hard because the world is a hard place to enjoy Jesus above all.

John Piper, What Jesus Demands from the World, pg. 45

Preach the Gospel to Believers

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
(Titus 3:4-8 ESV)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Body Soul and Life Everlasting

This is perhaps the most important contemporary book dealing with the dualism/monism and the distinction between the body and soul. I would very highly recommend it (especially since one's view on this topic has SO MANY contemporary applications)

On Cancer and Death

A family in our church lost a sister to cancer. She was a mother of seven. I'm encouraged to know physical death is a picture of spiritual, but only a shadow. And sickness is terrible but only a veiled threat compared with sin which can infect and kill our very souls.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian

The day of nice people, I fear, is nearly over; two things are killing it. The first is the belief that there is no harm in being happy, provided no one else is the worse for it; the second is the dislike of humbug, a dislike which is quite as much aesthetic as moral. Both these revolts were encouraged by the War, when the nice people in all countries were securely in control, and in the name of the highest morality induced the young people to slaughter one another. When it was all over the survivors began to wonder whether lies and misery inspired by hatred constituted the highest virtue. I am afraid it may be some time before they can again be induced to accept this fundamental doctrine of every really lofty ethic.

The essence of nice people is that they hate life as manifested in tendencies to cooperation, in the boisterousness of children, and above all in sex, with the thought of which they are obsessed. In a word, nice people are those who have nasty minds."

Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, pg. 156

Fascinating couple of paragraphs. I think it illustrates beautifully what happens when a lofty ethic is peddled without authenticity of heart. God's moral standards help decipher life for the one who sets his hope in Him. But to those who look at the standards themselves for life and joy, they will find emptiness and their own delusive hearts (nasty minds).

Friday, October 05, 2007

Free Audio Book, The Life of David Brainerd

This is exciting. I've always wanted to read this book. It's free right now on Just add it to your cart and check out using the coupon code OCT2007 and it's free of charge.

(ht: In the Light of the Gospel)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Faith Soccer Promo

Somewhere Tristan Jackson is smiling...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Message by Randy Alcorn on "how the choices we make today effect who we will be"

Good reminder by Randy Alcorn

This week I've been reading 2 Timothy 2-3 in my devotions. What a good reminder for me.
(2Timothy 2:1-3:9 ESV)
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God* not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,* a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,* he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant* must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.”