We just got our first copies of @ModRef at the church today! Thanks!
Monthly Archives: April 2011
Extra Verses for Turning to Jesus
Our congregation sang “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” yesterday in the Covenant Renewal service, but as I was preparing last week, I noticed the paucity of the rest of the words of that hymn. So, I composed a few extra verses that fit with the tune. The last verse especially reflects the fact that the sermon text for the last Lord’s Day was Colossians 3:16. If you’re looking for other options in singing, you may want to consider the following:
Tullian: “I hear people say that there are two equal dangers Christians must avoid: legalism and lawlessness. Legalism, they say, happens when you focus too much on law, or rules. Lawlessness, they say, happens when you focus too much on grace. Therefore, in order to maintain spiritual equilibrium, you have to balance law and grace. Legalism and lawlessness are typically presented as two ditches on either side of the Gospel that we must avoid. If you start getting too much law, you need to balance it with grace. Too much grace, you need to balance it with law. But I’ve come to believe that this “balanced” way of framing the issue can unwittingly keep us from really understanding the gospel of grace in all of its depth and beauty.”
Ancient Hymns for A Future Faith
Why Young People Are Returning To Old Hymn Texts
by Kevin Twit
Not too long ago I saw a sign in an antique store: “My grandmother saved it, my mother threw it away, and now I’m buying it back!” That little sign captures the story of church music in the last fifty years… For many, the church’s hymn tradition has become a treasured resource; students around the country are scouting out used bookstores for antique hymnals, searching for gems that have fallen out of use and yet resonate with their faith and longing to connect with God in a deeper way… we still need hymns in a postmodern world! Here are several reasons why: Continue reading
God’s Attributes and Poverty in Ethiopia
Why do we see starving people in countries like Ethiopia? More or less; why does God allow things like this if he is love?
Those are great questions. And difficult ones. I think the place to start is to remember God’s sovereignty over all things as Creator and Sustainer. He is sovereign over the sparrows (Matthew 10:29), the rolling of dice (Proverbs 16:33), the decisions of kings (Proverbs 21:1), the rise and fall of governments and kingdoms (Daniel 4:34-37) and traveling and business plans (James 4:15).
Helping College Students Thrive
Looking to get the most out of your college years? Alex Chediak’s Thriving At College is a welcome look from a someone who has succeeded both as a student and as a professor. Download the beginning section here. You can purchase the Tyndale publication from Amazon here.
Repentance unto Life by John Brown of Haddington
Q. 87 What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after new obedience.
This catechetical exploration of repentance, written by John Brown of Haddington, helpfully explores the full extent to which Christians should consider when forsaking sin. For most Christians familiar with American Evangelicalism, you will be shocked by thoroughness and intricate consideration given to turning from sin, and turning to God. He considers, in turn: 1) Worldly Sorrow, 2) Legal Repentance, 3) the Grace of Repentance, 4) Five Aspects of Gospel Repentance, 5) New Obedience, and 6) Concluding Observations. Many of us have never thought so deeply about any subject in our lives, much less repentance. May these question and answers provoke deeper and truer repentance in us all.
Q. Why is this mean of salvation called repentance unto life?
A. Because it proceeds from, and is an evidence of spiritual life, and issueth in eternal life.
How To Make Your Kids Hate Church
- Make sure your faith is something you only live out in public.
- Pray only in public or when it is expected.
- Focus on their morals but allow yourself a double standard.
- Give financially as long as it doesn’t inhibit your own desires.
- Make church a priority… as long as there is nothing else you want to do.
Theological Pedigree Does Not Determine Orthodoxy nor Faithfulness
- Theodore Beza (1519 – 1605) was handpicked by Calvin to continue the Academy at Geneva.
- While teaching there, Beza instructed a new student Jacob Arminius (1560 – 1609).
- Arminius became an instructor at the University of Leiden, where he taught Gisbertus Voetius (1589 – 1676).
- Voetius spent seven years at Leiden. Among his teachers were both Gomarus and Arminius.
Few theologians are known for a higher Calvinism than Beza or Voetius. And yet Arminius fits squarely within their pedagogical history. What conclusions can we draw from this?
- We must not become either too mechanical – as if good teachers automatically produce good students – or too indifferent (e.g., “it doesn’t matter who my professors are; I’ll turn out just fine”). Yes, Arminius studied under Beza, but he also learned from Johann Kolmann. True, Voetius learned from Arminius, but he also sat at Gomarus’ feet. Teachers do exert an effect on their students, but it is not automatic or without nuance.
- I thank God for the professors I had at Westminster West, but a theologically sound faculty is no guarantee for theological soundness. Students blessed to have excellent teachers should be cautious to proceed in their fathers’ footsteps, and never depart.
- Poor theological education is no final impediment to your theological growth. If you lament your professors or education, Voetius is an example of rising above your education and proving to be a master at his craft despite some inadequate examples.