But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Tuesday, 03 December 2019 04:42

Man Abandoned To Himself (Pascal)

Written by

image Blaise Pascal (d. 1662) is one of those Christian authors I can read over and over.  His writing has a depth to it that is both profound and thought-provoking – two things that are not so common in much of today’s Christian literature.  Here’s a section of...

Read more

image Hezekiah was one of those kings of Judah that really sticks out in the biblical record.  And he sticks out in a good way.  The author of Kings, the Chronicler, and the prophecies of Isaiah contain quite a bit of information on king Hezekiah. His story, reign, and literary references...

Read more

Saturday, 30 November 2019 00:03

Church: A Waste of Time? (Bavinck)

Written by

image Herman Bavinck wrote the following words around 1890 in Holland, but they are quite relevant to our situation in the United States in the year 2019:

Humility, as is rightly said, is the garment that always suits us… Humility must be our home and traveling and wedding and mourning...

Read more

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 01:11

Six Anti-Church Evangelical Trends (Hughes)

Written by

image This is a re-blog from February 2011.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, this is a great book: Set Apart by R. Kent Hughes.  I liked his section where he gave six anti-church trends among American evangelicals (found in chapter 10).  Here they are.

1) Hitchhiker Christians:  These...

Read more

Monday, 25 November 2019 22:19

He Knew He Didn’t Know Everything (Peterson)

Written by

 So far I’m very much enjoying Eugene Peterson’s memoir, The Pastor.   While I don’t always agree with Peterson’s views, I do appreciate and benefit from his writing.  His memoir, The Pastor, is full of stories, wisdom, insight, missteps, and...

Read more

Friday, 22 November 2019 21:29

Cooking for God in Heaven (Luther)

Written by

image  “What does it mean to serve God?” Luther asked in a sermon on Matthew 6:24-34.  He answered his own question echoing Scripture: it means listening to Christ, accepting the gospel, and obeying God.  If we are not obeying God we are not serving him no matter how religious...

Read more

Thursday, 21 November 2019 04:38

Finney’s Firm Rejection of Imputation

Written by

image Charles Finney is well known for his part in the 19th century American revivals.  Obviously,  Finney and these revivals are major topics that many books have covered. But it is worth mentioning that Finney did write a systematic theology where one can learn what he himself taught....

Read more

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 04:45

Preaching to the Heart (Bartholomew)

Written by

image It is true that in some churches sermons are often simply [dry] lectures in theology.  While good theology is a good thing, a sermon should not just be a lecture in theology. A sermon is theological, to be sure, but a sermon also involves the will, the emotions, and of course, the heart....

Read more

Sunday, 17 November 2019 23:49

The Riddle or Enigma of Man (Bavinck)

Written by

image Here’s a great excerpt from the first chapter in Bavinck’s Our Reasonable Faith (aka The Wonderful Works of God or Magnalia Dei). I really like how Bavinck integrates Augustine and Pascal in his biblical reflections:

The conclusion, therefore, is that of Augustine,...

Read more

Friday, 15 November 2019 03:31

Election and Evangelism (Bucer)

Written by

image Some people say that the doctrine of election is a hindrance to evangelism.  I do admit that a hyper-calvinist view of election is a hindrance to evangelism.  However, a historic Reformed, biblical view of election does not get in the way of evangelism at all.  Martin Bucer&nbsp...

Read more

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 05:02

Death Swallowed Up (Young/Cyril)

Written by

Isaiah 25:7-8 is an awesome prophetic promise: “On this mountain he [Yahweh] will destroy the burial shroud, the shroud over all the peoples, the sheet covering all the nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from...

Read more

Sunday, 10 November 2019 23:21

Refusal to Swerve from the Truth (Huss)

Written by

image In the last months of his life, while he was in prison charged with heresy, John Huss faced many false accusations.  Many people thought that he should just recant of these accusations even though they were false – this way he could live on and not die as a martyr.  But Huss...

Read more

Saturday, 09 November 2019 00:36

The Law Is Not a Remedy for Sin

Written by
image

 (This is a re-post from October 2010)

You cannot fully understand Martin Luther’s work unless you understand his distinction between the theologian of the cross and the theologian of glory.  This distinction is also important for us today especially when some are leaving the...

Read more

Friday, 08 November 2019 04:04

The Defeat of the “Strong Man” (Arnold)

Written by

image When Jesus was answering the Pharisees’ diabolical accusation that he cast out demons “by the ruler of demons” (ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων) he gave an...

Read more

Thursday, 07 November 2019 00:39

No More Tears, No More Reproach (Smith)

Written by

image I’ve been enjoying Gary Smith’s Isaiah commentary in the “New American Commentary” series.  I haven’t read it all, but so far so good!  This morning when studying Isaiah 25 I was looking at verse 8, which says this: “…he[Yahweh] will...

Read more

Tuesday, 05 November 2019 05:10

A Most Important Question (Machen)

Written by

image What is saving faith?  This is one of the most important questions we can ask and have answered!  I like how J. Gresham Machen addressed the question:

A more “practical” question could hardly be conceived. The preacher says: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and...

Read more

Saturday, 02 November 2019 01:19

The Day of the Lord (NIDNTTE)

Written by

image The phrase “the day of the LORD” (יוֹם־יְהוָה֙) in OT literature is a phrase with deep meaning and significance.  This phrase is often found in prophetic literature in the context of a significant...

Read more

 I’ve been enjoying Michael LeFebvre’s book, The Liturgy of Creation.  It’s a study of the festivals, feasts, and calendar dates of OT Israel and how those things can help us read and understand the creation week in Genesis 1-3.  I’m not quite finished...

Read more

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 06:24

Helpless and Hopeless Humankind (Motyer)

Written by

image If you’ve used Bible commentaries even a little bit, you know that they are quite often hit or miss.  I’ve had it more than a few times that I purchase a highly recommended commentary and was disappointed with it so much that I turned around and sold it. Such is how it...

Read more

imageThe two prefaces to the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) Hebrew-English Tanakh are helpful sources of information concerning the text of the Hebrew Old Testament.  In these prefaces, one can read about the history of the Hebrew text, the accuracy of the Hebrew text, and information about...

Read more

Saturday, 26 October 2019 01:22

A Captive Still[?!] (Newton)

Written by

image I’ve been studying a couple of the stories in the Gospels where Jesus powerfully casts out demons with a mighty word.  Since I was a little boy I’ve loved these stories since I know that the realm of darkness is real and it’s terrifying.  I’m so thankful that...

Read more

Friday, 25 October 2019 06:00

He Crushed Satan… (Cyril)

Written by

image I’ve come to appreciate Cyril of Alexandria’s 5th-century commentary on Luke.  I don’t necessarily agree with everything in it, but it is interesting, edifying, and enlightening.  While studying the account of Jesus casting the demon out of the man in the synagogue...

Read more

Thursday, 24 October 2019 06:05

Light, Peace, Hope, and a King! (Smith)

Written by

image  After studying and working through Isaiah 9:2-7, I appreciate how Gary Smith summarizes these verses in the “theological implications” section of his commentary.  FYI these verses in Isaiah 9 talk about a “shadow-of-death” kind of darkness that God shines his...

Read more

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 05:19

Predestination and Reformed Theology (Vos)

Written by

image The doctrine of election (predestination) is tied tightly to other aspects of Reformed theology.  Geerhardus Vos expresses this well in his Reformed Dogmatics(recently published in English for the first time thanks to Logos and Lexham Press – see here and here).  Vos asks this...

Read more

image In a 1767 letter to one of his friends who was a pastor, John Newton said that a pastor has “two counter-streams to withstand.”  Both of them, he said, will swipe the pastor off his feet unless the Lord upholds him.  What are these two counter-streams? Opposition and popu...

Read more

Page 1 of 11