This looks like an amazing cast for the December ’12 release!
I’m spending the week with my in-laws at my wife’s family’s cabin in northern MN. Every year in mid-July we get away to celebrate (my wife and son have birthdays, as well as our upcoming anniversary), play in the lake, and catch up with loved ones. We’re looking forward to some time away, praying for those we’re leaving behind, and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.
I’ve scheduled a few articles to publish while we’re gone, and will try to update as we have opportunity, so it won’t be completely quiet around here.
See you when we get back!
July 10 is the 503rd anniversary of John Calvin’s (1509 – 64) birthday. Many blame Calvin for coming up with a novel and unbiblical theology that centered on predestination. I think that, not only was Calvin’s theology eminently biblical, but it wasn’t novel either. I’ve looked before at similarities between Calvin and Thomas Aquinas. On this his birthday, consider a few quotes comparing Calvin’s so-called “5 Points” with select quotes from the early Church Fathers.
Justin Martyr (A.D. 150): “Mankind by Adam fell under death, and the deception of the serpent; we are born sinners…No good thing dwells in us…For neither by nature, nor by human understanding is it possible for me to acquire the knowledge of things so great and so divine, but by the energy of the Divine Spirit…Of ourselves it is impossible to enter the kingdom of God…He has convicted us of the impossibility of our nature to obtain life…Free will has destroyed us; we who were free are become slaves and for our sin are sold…Being pressed down by our sins, we cannot move upward toward God; we are like birds who have wings, but are unable to fly.”
Origen (A.D. 185): “Our free will…or human nature is not sufficient to seek God in any manner.”
Irenaeus (A.D. 198): “God hath completed the number which He before determined with Himself, all those who are written, or ordained unto eternal life…Being predestined indeed according to the love of the Father that we would belong to Him forever.” Continue reading
This gallery contains 4 photos.
Our little man is 2! There was an obscene amount of pictures taken and video recorded, so there is definitely more to come!
Tom Oden – Methodist minister and promoter of paleo-orthodoxy – outlines what drove him to publish Care of Souls in the Classic Tradition. He began by noting how often 19th century handbooks on pastoral care/theology referenced the ancients on this issue. He collected the most prominent volumes on pastoral theology from various denominational backgrounds, and then counted the number of times they referenced “the MVPs” of Christian care – stalwarts such as Augustine, Baxter, Luther, and Calvin. Here were his results:Oden comments, “This clearly establishes the point that at the turn of the century [ed – 20th] the classical tradition was alive and well, recalled, and considered important to the practice of pastoral care.”
But Oden then went on, and collected what he and others considered the most popular monographs on pastoral theology, that had the broadest consensus for use and excellence. When he searched those modern volumes for the classical tradition of shepherding, he was disappointed: Continue reading
One of the things a pastor and a congregation spend a lot of time on together is the sermon that is preached every Lord’s Day in the worship service. The minister spends time preparing and delivering the message, and the congregation spends time hearing it and living their lives based off of it. But have you ever thought about how to hear a sermon? How can we obey Jesus’ command to “be careful how you hear” (Luke 8:18)? Consider a few ideas with me:
- Believers should prepare themselves to hear. The Apostle Peter commands that we “desire the sincere milk of the Word like newborn babies,” and that one of the ways we prepare that spiritual “thirst” within us for God’s Word is by laying aside all sin (I Peter 2:1 – 2). Sin acts like wax in our ears, and keeps us from hearing the life-giving words we so desperately need. Do not allow Saturday night – or the week before Sunday – as an opportunity for sin, but instead lay aside sin by faith and focus on “thirsting” to hear from the Lord in the sermon.
- Believers should prepare through prayer. One of the best ways to create this spiritual thirst in preparing is through prayer. We say with the psalmist, “Lord, open my eyes, that I would behold wondrous things out of Your Law in the sermon this Sunday” (cf. Psalm 119:18). Ask God to reveal to you His will for your life in the sermon; do it every Sunday! The Apostle Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him as he preached, and to do so constantly (Ephesians 6:18 – 19). We should pray this way for our Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, and especially our ministers and elders.
- Believers should test the sermon against God’s Word. Paul praised the Bereans because they “searched the Scriptures daily” to see if Paul’s message lined up with Scripture (Acts 17:11). As Christians, we are to “test everything; hold fast what is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Ministers must not preach on their favorite topics, heart-warming stories, practical advice for better living, politics, or anything else – but only what the Lord says in Holy Scripture. A congregation can hold their minister accountable by carefully testing what he says.
- Believers should receive the sermon in a godly attitude. Continue reading
Several people have recently mentioned Rev. John Witherspoon in regards to the USA celebrating the 4th of July, so I’m downloading his Works now to peruse later. Go get ’em yourself!