Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spurgeon Devotional on Romans 6:6

"That henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Romans 6:6

CHRISTIAN, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice’ den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish!

Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler—be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord.

Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin.

There is yet a higher argument: each time you “serve sin,” you have “crucified the Lord afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening to bring you back before you have backslidden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; He has not forgotten His love to thee; His grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to His footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into His heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established.

-- Charles Spurgeon, "Morning and Evening"

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Rejoice...always...." (Really?)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)

It is the responsibility and privilege of every Christian to keep himself ‘glad in God.’

Others undoubtedly have an impact upon us and our ‘happiness’ – but, ultimately, it’s the responsibility of each of us to find in God and his fatherly goodness to us, in our ‘so great’ salvation, and in His providential purpose for us, daily reasons for being glad in God, for rejoicing in the Lord.

So if I find myself indulging myself in a simmering discontent, I am disobeying Paul’s exhortation here, and I’m saying, in effect, that God’s goodness and wisdom have failed in my case, and that my reasons for discontent trump the reasons I have for rejoicing (e.g., forgiveness of sin, peace with God, the indwelling Holy Spirit, God’s Word, the fellowship and friendship of God’s people, the hope of Heaven, etc.).

In writing this way, Paul is certainly not na├»ve – he knew, more than most, what it was to suffer (consider what he writes in 2 Cor.11:23-29). But he knew, too, all the reasons for rejoicing that belong to the person who is “in Christ.” His rejoicing was no retreat from realism, and so he could affirm a paradox that many Christians seem not to envision – that there are times when we are “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10).

So I have no excuse, no justifiable reason to linger in my lack of joy. For in Christ – all He is to me and for me – I have more than enough reason to rejoice.

So are you, today, glad in God? Do you aspire daily to “rejoice in the Lord”? Remember that rejoicing is one of the chief signs that the Spirit is truly at work with us (Rom.5:1-5; Gal. 5:22).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Hey, I'm no theologian...."

We are all theologians.

Our ‘theology’ is essentially the set of controlling beliefs and thoughts that we have about God and how we are to relate to him. So, again, we are all theologians. The difference lies in whether or not our theology is intentionally (and increasingly) shaped by Scriptural teaching.

Whether or not we think about God and his will, etc., in ways that are faithful to his Word substantially determines whether or not we will relate to Him in ways that are actually pleasing to Him (cp. Col. 1:9-11). Are we the kind of worshipers he actually seeks and wants? (Jn.4:22-24).

It should come as no surprise, then, that depth of theological understanding is a necessary qualification for being a leader in the church. (e.g., Titus 1:9; cp. Jas. 3:1ff.; cp. Heb.5:11ff.)

Authentic Christian worship and experience are inescapably rooted in Biblical truth/theology (e.g, especially the teaching of Jesus in passages like Matt.5-7, John 17, etc.; and all the NT letters).

You cannot come to a deep and lasting sense of assurance of salvation and peace with God apart from an understanding and an appropriation of a section of Scripture like Rom. 3-5.

You cannot pursue authentic holiness/Christlikeness apart from understanding and applying crucial passages like Rom. 6 and Eph. 4 and Col. 3 and 1 John 3-4

You cannot rightly understand the true nature of the church, and therefore you cannot authentically carry out its true mission apart from a profound understanding of passages like Eph.2-3 and the Pastoral Epistles.

Authentic spiritual transformation is dependent on increasingly bringing our thinking (and ‘theologizing’) increasingly in line with Scripture. We are transformed, Paul says, by the renewing of our mind. And our Lord says that sanctification occurs in connection with the truth – the truth of God’s Word.

Therefore those who disparage the place of thinking, theology, Biblical truth, doctrine (‘teaching’ – cp. the Great Commission, Matt. 28:18ff.) have made a fundamental and critical mistake – and they ought to repent (i.e., change their mind). And those who presume to accept leadership roles in Christ's church have a special and particular calling to know, and live by, and minister in accordance with Biblical teaching (theology). That applies to pastors, executive pastors, college ministry pastors, 'worship leaders,' student ministry pastors, children's ministry directors, etc. And it also applies to every Christian artist, vocalist, comedian and author who puts himself or herself in the place of intentionally influencing people as to how they think about God.

As my own mentor in ministry taught me that the Second Commandment means that we are not free to 'image' (imagine) God any way we choose; we are to stick to the Image of Himself that He has given in His Word (the inscripturated Word and the Word incarnate).

Don’t tell me, “Hey, I’m no theologian…” Yes, you most certainly are. We all are. But not all are intentionally and increasingly Scriptural in their theology. Yet we all should be.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Midsummer Madness" by A.W. Tozer

Midsummer Madness
by A.W. Tozer

As the sun makes its annual climb up from the south, a strange restlessness comes over those of our citizens who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and by the time summer has finally arrived this has increased into a pathological condition which turns the country into one vast cage of waltzing mice. A kind of madness grips the populace, and then begins that four-month frenzied effort on everybody’s part to get somewhere other than where he is. No one stops to ask what it is all about, but practically everyone who is not in the hospital or in jail joins the general stampede from everywhere to anywhere and return. An irresistible impulse picks up most of us like grains of dust caught by the wind, and spins and churns us about dizzily and dangerously till the first frost comes to ripen the pumpkin and drive home the trailers.

Changing times

The sturdy old deacon who spent his entire life in the same country where he was born has passed and gone for ever. He existed before the days of the modern nomad. Changing times have eliminated him as surely as the buggy shed and the hitching post. His chief use now is to decorate a museum along with the three-toed horse and the dinosaur. His basic error was that he failed to take a vacation. He needed a change and a rest, also a bit of recreation: but not having heard of these wonderful aids to health and longevity, he kept his nose to the grindstone, raised ten healthy children, worked his own farm, attended the Baptist Church four times
a week, and managed also to read one or two good books a month. Though he had failed to relax properly at yearly intervals, he could still shoot a squirrel out of a chestnut tree at a hundred yards without glasses and chin himself a dozen times running when he was eighty-seven. When he finally died he was mourned sincerely by his family and a host of real neighbours who had learned to appreciate his sterling worth by living beside him for a lifetime. How anyone can claim that his grandson, who changes apartments every two years and spends his summers roaring through the landscape in a cloud of fumes, is his equal in manly character is beyond comprehension. Goldsmith’s famous lines come back to trouble the serious minded:
Ill fares the land,
to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates,
And men decay.

Now we believe in liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution and the inalienable right of every man to do as he likes as long as he stays within the law. If most of the population choose to forsake their homes and spend all their spare time scudding between filling stations, there is nothing we can do about it. To protest about it is to blow against the wind or shout against the tide. However, some of us old-fashioned throwbacks to a saner if slower age may be forgiven if we indulge in a few honest tears for the havoc this midsummer madness works among the churches of this hectic day.

Crippled churchesEven though the vacation habit is a craze and a curse, even though millions each season take long and expensive vacations from nothing more strenuous than loafing, we are still willing to
concede that there might be some therapeutic value in a vacation trip where and when needed. I would surely not begrudge the hard-working man or woman a rest from the daily grind.
But the sad truth is that the vacation habit, plus the habit of making weekend trips throughout the summer season, has worked to practically paralyse the church of God for several months out of the year. Some churches close altogether, some are forced to give up evening services for the duration of the summer, and many are compelled to join with several other churches in union services in order to have an attendance large enough to justify a meeting. Even full-gospel churches and tabernacles are seriously crippled, the finances go into the red, the morale suffers and faith burns down to a grey ash.

It is hard to understand how a follower of Christ can justify himself in laying down his cross so frequently and so shamelessly in this day of the world’s judgment. The army of the Lord is the
only army on earth where the soldiers expect a four-month furlough in time of war. It is an ironic fact that in the very months of the year when Satan is the busiest the children of God are the laziest. He reaps her harvest during the summer season, while the poor overburdened heirs of the ages crisscross the continent at eighty miles an hour in a grim effort to relax. If someone should remind me that it is during the summer that the great conventions and camp meetings are held, I would reply that a ten-day period of fun at a camp meeting is a poor substitute for a summer of faithful service back at the home church.

It is a pitiful thing to see on any summer Sunday morning a discouraged Sunday school superintendent standing before the tattered remnant of his school, trying to appear cheerful with half of his teachers missing. And it is a tragicomic sight to see a peripatetic playboy of the church getting down on his knees on a Saturday afternoon to thank God for that prosperity which enables him to desert the house of God more frequently than he was able to do in his leaner years, and prays for ‘journeying mercies’ as he speeds away from his post of duty to commune with nature among sardine cans.

That the church of Christ should so completely succumb to this midsummer madness is proof enough of our low spiritual condition. It is little wonder that the people of the world smile cynically when we come back and go to work on them after the cool weather sets in. They do not take us seriously, and we have ourselves to thank for their attitude.

Our needWe need a revival! We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the
heat and burden of the day. We are too much influenced by the world and too little controlled by the Spirit. We of the deeper life persuasion are not immune to the temptations of ease and we are in grave danger of becoming a generation of pleasure-lovers. Any who disagree with this conclusion are within their rights, and I would be the last to deny them the privilege. But in the name of a thousand struggling churches and disheartened pastors, may I not plead for a little more loyalty to the local church during this season of difficulty?

May God raise up a people who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more. I know of one successful layman who refuses again and again to take perfectly legitimate pleasure trips
because he cannot bring himself to leave his class of adolescent Sunday-school boys. May God multiply such men and women among us till the reproach of Egypt is rolled away and man’s
confidence in us is restored.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand...."

(Thanks to Tullian Tchividjian for pointing me to this profound quote from Paul Tripp, author of "A Shelter In the Storm" published by Crossway Books):

A meditation from Psalm 27...

"We all look for it. We all refuse to live without it. We all think we’ve found it, but it can only really be found in one place. What is it that I’m talking about? Well, here it is: all human beings are on a search somehow someway to find that solid rock on which to stand. That one thing that they can bank on. That one thing that will keep them upright when the storms of life are raging. That one thing that will remain firm for the duration. That one thing that will give them security when nothing else does.

"No human being enjoys feeling that he is living in the sinking sand of unpredictability, disappointment, and danger with no rock to reach for and stand on…We long for our lives to make sense. We long to have meaning and purpose, and we long to have lasting stability.

"The problem is that the longer we live, the more we know that there is little around us in this fallen world that’s truly stable. I have a wonderful marriage to a lady who in many ways is my hero, but our marriage is still marred by our sin, and this reality still introduces pain and unpredictability into a relationship we have been working on for thirty-seven years! You may think your job is a source of stability, but a bit of a turn in the global economy could have you out on the street in a relatively short period of time. It may seem that your material possessions are permanent, but every physical thing that exists is in a state of decay, and even in its greatest longevity it doesn’t have the ability to quiet your heart.

"So here is the dilemma of your humanity: you are clearly not in control of the details or destiny of your life, yet as a rational, purposeful, emotional being, you cry for a deep and abiding sense of well-being. In your quest, what you are actually discovering is that you were hardwired to be connected to Another. You weren’t hardwired to walk the pathway of life all by yourself. You weren’t hardwired to be independently okay. You weren’t hardwired to produce in yourself a system of experiences, relationships, and conclusions that would give you rest. You were designed to find your “solid rock” only in a dependent, loving, worshipful relationship with Another. In this way, every human being is on a quest for God; the problem is we don’t know that, and in our quest for stability, we attempt to stand on an endless catalog of God-replacements that end up sinking with us.

"In fact, our inability to find security for ourselves is so profound that we’d never find on our own the One who is to be our rock; no, he must find us. The language of Psalm 27 is quite precise here: 'He will lift me high upon a rock.' It doesn’t say, 'I will find the rock and I will climb up on it.'

"Here is the hope for every weary traveler whose feet are tired of the slippery instability of mud of a fallen world. Your weariness is a signpost. It’s meant to cause you to cry out for help. It’s meant to cause you to quit looking for your stability horizontally and begin to cry out for it vertically. It’s meant to put an end to your belief that situations, people, locations, possessions, positions, or answers will satisfy the longing of your heart. Your weariness is meant to drive you to God. He is the Rock for which you are longing. He is the one who alone is able to give to you the sense that all is well. And as you abandon your hope in the mirage rocks of this fallen world and begin to hunger for the true Rock, he will reach out and place you on solid ground.

"There is a Rock to be found. There is an inner rest to be experienced that’s deeper than conceptual understanding, human love, personal success, and the accumulation of possessions. There is a rock that will give you rest even when all of those things have been taken away. That rock is Christ, and you were hardwired to find what you are seeking in him. In his grace, he won’t play hide-and-seek with you. In your weakness and weariness, cry out to him. He will find you, and he will be your Rock."

--from "A Shelter In the Storm" by Paul David Tripp, © 2009. Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.

The Gospel and True Spirituality

“True spirituality is not a superhuman religiosity; it is simply true humanity released from bondage to sin and renewed by the Holy Spirit. This is given to us as we grasp by faith the full content of Christ’s redemptive work: freedom from the guilt and power of sin, and newness of life through the indwelling and outpouring of his Spirit.”

- Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1979), 19-20.

posted at "Of First Importance"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mark Galli on SPEAKING the Gospel

From Justin Taylor:

"CT senior managing editor Mark Galli--author of a biographical guide to Francis of Assisi--has a good article online today on the quote 'Preach the gospel; use words if necessary.'

'The problem,' Galli writes, "is that he did not say it. Nor did he live it. And those two contra-facts tell us something about the spirit of our age."Mark closes by proposing a more biblical injunction: 'Preach the gospel—use actions when necessary; use words always.'"

From me: I'm very happy to see this unbiblical (and as it turns out, unhistorical) maxim be debunked!

The Gospel is first and foremost "news" -- a "message." So necessarily it must be spoken. It is sad when things this obvious need to be argued for, but that's about where things stand in professing evangelicalism today.

You can read the article here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Keep yourselves from idols..." (1 Jn.5:21)

Here's the link to my Sunday sermon, "For God's Grace, By His Glory." The main idea focused on taking the temptation to idolatry seriously today as Christians and churches.

It's been encouraging to hear that a number of folks found it helpfully challenging...I hope you do too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

John Calvin: "A Man of His Time for All Times"

Collin Hansen, of "Christianity Today," interviews W. Robert Godfrey, author of a new, popular-level biography, "John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor."

The Puritans Regarding Worship

The Puritans prayed:

"Glorious God, it is the flame of my life to worship Thee, the crown and glory of my soul to adore Thee, heavenly pleasure to approach Thee. Give me power by Thy Spirit to help me worship now, that I may forget the world, be brought into fullness of life, be refreshed, comforted, blessed.

"Give me knowledge of Thy goodness that I might not be over-awed by Thy greatness; give me Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, that I might not be terrified, but drawn near with filial love, with holy boldness; He is my Mediator, Interpreter, Branch, Judge, Lamb; Him I glorify, in Him I am set on high.

"I am pardoned through the blood of Jesus--give me a new sense of it, continue to pardon me by it; may I come every day to the fountain, and every day to be washed anew, that I may worship Thee always in Spirit and Truth."

(Valley of Vision: Worship)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Philip Yancey on Authentic Worship

'Christianity claims a unique place among the world's religions. Our faith tells of a God before whom the strongest saints took off their shoes, bowed down, fell on their faces, repented in dust and ashes. At the same time it tells of a God who came to Earth as a baby, who showed tender mercies to children and the weak, who taught us to call him "Abba," who loved and was loved. God is both transcendent and immanent, the theologians say. God inspires at once awe and love, fear and friendship.

'To most moderns, however, a sense of awe comes with the greatest difficulty. We have domesticated angels into stuffed toys and Christmas ornaments, made cartoons of St. Peter at the gate of heaven, tamed the phenomenon of Easter with bunny rabbits, and substituted for the awe of shepherds and wise men cute elves and a jolly man dressed in red. Almighty God gets nicknames like 'The Big Guy' and 'The Man Upstairs.'

'An article in the February 2005 issue of this magazine addressed one of my pet peeves. How did it happen that the word worship became synonymous with music? For several months my church went on a hunt for a "worship pastor," and a parade of candidates auditioned with their guitars and backup groups. Some of them prayed, yes: 'Lord, just, you know, really be here tonight with us, just let us know you're here.' None showed much knowledge of theology, and assuredly none led us toward anything like awe. Worship today means loudly filling every space of silence.

'I welcome the sense of celebration and joy apparent in much recent music. Yet I wonder what we are missing when we seek to reduce the distance between creature and Creator, a distance expressed so eloquently by Job, Isaiah, and the psalmists. John, the disciple Jesus loved, who had lain against Jesus' breast, records in Revelation that he fell at his feet as though dead when Jesus appeared in full glory...."

-- excerpted from Philip Yancey's "Christianity Today" essay, "A Bow and a Kiss"
© 2005 Christianity Today. May 2005, Vol. 49, No. 5, Page 80

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gospel Motivation and Real Change

“All change comes from deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ and living out of the changes that understanding creates in your heart. Faith in the gospel re-structures our motivations, our self-understanding, our identity, and our view of the world. Behavioral compliance to rules without heart-change will be superficial and fleeting.”

- Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (new York, NY: Dutton, 2008), 121.

posted at "Of First Importance"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Carl Trueman on the "Rubbish" That's Polluting the Church Today

In a recent essay, Carl Trueman pulls no punches in his assessment of the 'rubbish' that's corrupting evangelicalism today, both in academia and in weekly worship:

Here is just an excerpt:

"...What are surprising, therefore, are accounts of services where the theology is supposedly orthodox but the content is sheer trivia. If God is awesome, sovereign and holy; if human beings are small, sinful, and lost; if Christ died and rose again by a most miraculous and costly act of grace, then this should impact the way things happen in church. This is not to argue for a one-size-fits-all-my-way-or-the-highway approach to church. Context and culture are important; but what is expressed through the idioms of particular cultural manifestations of the church should be awe, reverence, and, above all seriousness - not a colourless and cold miserable seriousness but a fitting amazement at the greatness of God and his grace.

"A church service involving clowns or fancy dress or skits or stand-up comedy does not reflect the seriousness of the gospel; and those who take the gospel seriously should know better. Frankly, it is more appropriate to liberal theology which does not take the gospel, or the God of the gospel, seriously. Serious things demand serious idioms. I heard recently of a church service involving dressing up in costume and music taken from a Tom Cruise movie. Now, if I go for my annual prostate examination, and the doctor comes into the consulting room dressed as Coco the Clown, with `Take my breath away' from Top Gun playing in the background, guess what? I'm going to take the doctor out with a left hook, flee the surgery, and probably file a complaint with the appropriate professional body. This is serious business; and if he looks like a twit and acts like a twit, then I can only conclude that he is a twit...."

You can read the entire essay here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

John Stott on Preaching the Word and Worship

"The church needs constantly to hear God's Word. Hence the central place of preaching in public worship. Preaching is not an intrusion into it but rather indispensable to it. For the worship of God is always a response to the Word of God."

--from John Stott, "The Bible: Book for Today" (Leicester: IVP, 1982), p. 57.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Authentic Conviction of Sin

Ray Ortlund provides some helpful counsel about how you can tell the difference between the Holy Spirit convicting you of sin and Satan accusing you about a sin:

"He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." John 16:8

". . . the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down . . . ." Revelation 12:10

How can I tell the difference between the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit and the accusing attacks of Satan?

Some thoughts:

1. The Holy Spirit puts his finger on a specific sin I have committed, something concrete I can own and confess, but the accusations of Satan are vague and simply demoralizing.

2. The Holy Spirit shows me Christ, the mighty Friend of sinners, but the devil wants me spiraling down into negative self-focus.

3. The Holy Spirit leads me to a threshold of new life, but the devil wants to paralyze me where I am.

4. The Holy Spirit brings peace of heart along with a new hatred of sin, so that I bow before Jesus in reconsecration, but the devil offers peace of mind with smug relief, so that I fold my arms and say, "There, that's over with."

5. The Holy Spirit helps me to be so open to God that I allow him to control the conversation, but the devil tempts me to take off the table certain questions I just don't want God to talk to me about.We are thankful for our dear Friend, the Holy Spirit.

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Michael Horton on the Heresy Taught by Joel Osteen

Michael Horton presents an important, Biblically-wise critique of the ministry of Joel Osteen.

It's important for us to consider that while Osteen's ministry and teaching may be an extreme example, many megachurches (and smaller churches too) have fallen for the same fundamental errors when it comes to understanding the true nature and mission of the church.

Elsewhere, Horton describes this as 'moralistic, therapeutic deism.' This article provides an important warning that many, many pastors, "worship leaders," and churches need to take seriously.

Here is just an excerpt:

"A TIME story in 2006 observed that Osteen's success has reached even more traditional Protestant circles, citing the example of a Lutheran church that followed Your Best Life Now during Lent, of all times, 'when,' as the writer notes, 'Jesus was having his worst life then.' Even churches formally steeped in a theology of the cross succumb to theologies of glory in the environment of popular American spirituality. We are swimming in a sea of narcissistic moralism: an "easy-listening" version of salvation by self-help.

"This is what we might call the false gospel of 'God-Loves-You-Anyway.' There's no need for Christ as our mediator, since God is never quite as holy and we are never quite as morally perverse as to require nothing short of Christ's death in our place. God is our buddy. He just wants us to be happy, and the Bible gives us the roadmap....."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Michael Horton: "The Gospel-Driven Life"

Justin Taylor gives a helpful preview to this new book by Horton, available this Fall.

Horton recently spoke on the themes of this book at the Spring Theology Conference of the Reformation Society of Oregon. Here are the MP3s:

The Front Page God
The Promise-Driven Life
Feasting in a Fast Food Food World
Question and Answer

HT: James Grant

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Boldness in Prayer

“The wonder of the high priestly ministry of Christ lies not just in where he is, but in who he is. Where he is we may boldly go; he has opened the way to the sanctuary of heaven and the throne of grace. Prayer enters where God dwells. But the boldness of our approach rests on who he is. We know him because he has first known us, and knows us still in all our helplessness and need.”

- Edmund P. Clowney, The Biblical Theology of Prayer
posted at "Of First Importance"

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Loving the Lost" -- Connect

In our evening services we've been doing a special series on 'loving the lost' with a focus on praying, connecting and sharing (that is, sharing the Gospel).

Here's a good blogpost from Jonathan Dodson on ways to 'connect' with non-Christians.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dorothy Sayers on the Doctrine of Hell

“[T]here seems to be a kind of conspiracy, especially among middle-aged writers of vaguely liberal tendency, to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of Hell comes from. One finds frequent references to the ‘cruel and abominable medieval doctrine of Hell’ or ‘the childish and grotesque medieval imagery of physical fire and worms . . . ‘ But the case is quite otherwise; let us face the facts. The doctrine of Hell is not ‘medieval’: it is Christ’s. It is not a device of ‘medieval priestcraft’ for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin. The imagery of the undying worm and the unquenchable fire derives, not from ‘medieval superstition,’ but originally from the Prophet Isaiah, and it was Christ who emphatically used it. . . . [O]ne cannot get rid of it without tearing the New Testament to tatters. We cannot repudiate Hell without altogether repudiating Christ.”

~ Dorothy Sayers, “Introductory Papers on Dante
posted at "The Big Picture"

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Ultimate Motivation for Evangelism and Missions

“If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess Him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ for the honor of His name—troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honor and glory which are due to it.

"The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God), but rather zeal—burning and passionate zeal—for the glory of Jesus Christ.

"Only one imperialism is Christian, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.”

—John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 53
posted at "Of First Importance"

Free Audio and Video from Westminster Seminary Archives

(via Justin Taylor)

Some of the best audio resources available are from Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. In the past they've been available for a price. But now, if you register, you can have free access to their entire audio and video archive.Classic and contemporary teachers include:

E.J. Young
Cornelius Van Til
John Murray
Edmund Clowney
Sinclair Ferguson
Richard Gaffin
Vern Poythress
Darryl Hart
Willia Edgar
David Powlison
Ed Welch


HT: James Grant