Monday, 31 January 2011

Mr Trueman, our survey said...

Last summer, during an interview on Justification with the Revd Dr Mike Ovey, Professor Carl Trueman said this "What would concern me I think is if I was preaching Justification and was never vulnerable to the accusation of antinomianism. If nobody could ever make that criticism of my preaching, then I'd be pretty confident that I wasn't preaching the doctrine that Paul preached."

Now take that and compare it with the following:

the real litmus test, if I may be so bold, is to manage to be accused simultaneously of antinomianism and legalism. When you have gotten to the point where any stick is good enough to beat you with, then you really have something. This is like what one Puritan called the bracing experience of "living in the high mountain air of public calumny." The legalists think you are a libertine, and the libertines think you are a fusser, and they all say so in loud voices. That's the ticket. (via Smells Kind of Musty)
In other words,                            "Mr Trueman, our survey said eh urgh!"

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Ridiculously miraculous footage of God's providence

Or, what the pagans sometimes like to call 'luck'

Back to the Future

With the first kipling on the way, I was rather struck by this insightful comment by Neil Postman

Children are living messages we send into a time we will never see.

Here's praying then that our littl'un of the Covenant bestows the message of Grace to many many many who I will never see and to that end I pray that with the Spirit's help I heed the words of Deuteronomy 4:40 this day and always.

What are you praying for yourself and your children?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Justification by Faith and Table Fellowship

Following some comments I made at a while ago at The Blue Fish Project on the Law in Galatians here is an excellent video that puts some of what I was trying to say then in a much clearer way

Leithart - Justification by faith and Table Fellowship from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Collect for today

Though I'm not keen on people praying to the Son, prefering instead that we follow the pattern our Lord gave us, here is a great prayer to our elder brother, Jesus Christ that I commend for your meditation.

Lord Jesus Christ, King and elder brother, I thank you that you have rescued me from sin and death through your own death and your triumphant resurrection. May you always move me to welcome your leadership and protection in my life. In your name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Quote/Thought for the day: which version of salvation?

Calvinists take the verses outlining God's sovereignty at face value (which they should do), and explain away the apostasy passages. Arminians take the apostasy passages at face value, and explain away the glorious promises of a guaranteed perseverance. Thought experiment. What would happen if you took them all at face value? You would get in trouble with everybody, like the guy in the Civil War who tried to make peace by walking in between the armies with a blue coat and gray trousers. (Via No Root in Himself)

So seriously, what would happen if we took the classic Calvinist texts (e.g. Matthew 11:25-27, John 6;65, Acts 13:48) and the classic Arminian texts (e.g. Deuteronomy 30:19, Isaiah 1:18-19, John 7:17) seriously? Is it time to abandon the trad distinctions and start the CalviArmi? For a more helpful answer see the wise advice given at No Root in Himself

Worldy in a positive way

You've got to love the Puritans. Despite all the bad press they tend to receive, their positive affirmations of life and enjoying all the good things God's world offers just keep coming up. Hear for example what Richard Baxter says:

God hath given us several senses that so we might enjoy the delights of them all (from The Saints' Everlasting Rest)

So, rather than withdraw from the world, Baxter (and his fellow Puritans) saw the wonderful intricacies in creation as a gift from our gracious God to enable us to enjoy Him further as we delight in His world. Sadly this has not been my common experience in contemporary evangelical circles here in the UK where often the  concerns focus on saving souls whilst ignoring the delights of creation: the gorgeous taste of butter on toast, the wonderful smell of a freshly cut grass, the arresting sight of a snow covered mountain, the immeasurable warmth felt in holding one's wife or child, the comforting sound of a gentle running stream. This is not to say evangelism is not important - it is. Nevertheless all around us, are innumerable chances to receive the gift of Creation as a key aspect to what the Puritans saw as our primary calling: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Creative genius

Not sure about the music but think this video shows some real creative genius... Worth a watch...

Monday, 17 January 2011

Quote of the week

Everybody has some false beliefs rattling around in their head. Let’s say you’ve got a thousand beliefs, and ten of them are mistaken. If we knew which of our beliefs were false, we could just go in and remove them. The problem is that we don’t know which ones they are. If you think you have absolutely no false beliefs lurking in your mind, guess what: That’s one of them! On the other hand, if you let your fallibility undermine your confidence in the truth, you’ve let a few stray notes ruin the whole song.

Via: Mostly Right, Partly Wrong

Ditch the devotional

Is what CS Lewis advices in his preface to Athanasius' great work on the Incarnation. He writes:

For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await others.  I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.

Or as the Apostle once said, Christians should with time, seek to ditch the milk and tackle some steak (Hebrews 5:12-13).

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Liken Ryken

Inspired by the various articles, blogs and events to celebrate the quatercentenary of the King James Bible, I've decided I'm going to use the King James Bible as much as I can in my private study and public preaching in this the 2011 year of our Lord. One of the best commendations for the literary flair and other excellencies of the King James can be heard in the video below in a conversation between Justin Taylor and Leland Ryken. Listen up especially to what Mr Ryken says at 4:40-5:40. Me I begun reading Genesis today and came across what must the understatement of the week. The first half of Genesis 1:16 reads

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night:

Then these five words follow he made the stars also

Just like that.


Justin Taylor Interview: Leland Ryken, "The History of the King James Bible" from Crossway on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Multi-culturalism yah?


Just listening to Radio 2 (I know I know - clear sign of impending middle age) and good ol' Brucey just told what I thought was a good joke...

He was once present when someone asked someone out. The lady in question responded "Oh no, I'm not that desperate." To which the chap responded "I am, that's why I asked you." Ouch!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Thought for the day: Porn = laziness?

The sins of lust and porn are at least in part grounded in fundamental laziness. This is because there is a gift of God called sex, and that gift is to be received and enjoyed and celebrated in the context of marriage. And lusting after pornstars is trying to get these gifts on the black market. These sins are fundamentally lazy because it takes real, honest, hard work to love a flesh and blood woman, and it takes even more work to keep her...

You can't be lazy all day long in other areas and then expect to be a disciplined, hard worker when it comes to women and sex....

If all you ever say is "yes" and "more" why do you think you will suddenly have an outbreak of self control when it really matters? 


Via: Dealing with Lust and Porn

Monday, 10 January 2011

Sun on day 4 makes sense

One of the big objections I've encountered to holding to the view that the creation of the world occurred in precisely the order outlined in Genesis 1 is that what happens on day 4 "just don't make no sense!" I've never been entirely convinced by that argument partly because of the grammatical construction of Genesis 1:14 (particularly the phrase "let their be lights"). So how good to see that some early Church Fathers were convinced that having the Sun on day 4 makes perfect sense. Here is what two of them wrote:

On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before the stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it. 

Theophilus (of Antioch) to the pagan magistrate Autolycus

Heaven and earth were the first; after them was created light; the day had been distinguished from the night, then had appeared the firmament and the dry element. The water had been gathered into the reservoir assigned to it, the earth displayed its productions, it had caused many kinds of herbs to germinate and it was adorned with all kinds of plants. However, the sun and the moon did not yet exist, in order that those who live in ignorance of God may not consider the sun as the origin and the father of light, or as the maker of all that grows out of the earth. That is why there was a fourth day, and then God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven."

Basil the Great

In simple words, these early Christian leaders saw Genesis 1 as teaching that the sun is secondary to Almighty God who as we know needs nothing and Himself gives everyone light and life and breath and everything else

What I love most about these two quotes though is that they were used to engage non-Christians of their day of the truth of the Gospel. Oh for the day when the Church in our land would have such a sure confidence in Scripture again.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

WWJD and say to: Porn

Brilliantly gifted American pastor Toby Sumpter offers some wise words here on the addictive and debasing sin of pornography. His insights garnered from the Sermon on the Mount are practical, pastoral and painful.

The pain factor is seen most in his corrective to how we normally apply Jesus words to cut off limbs/pluck out eyes which he says we often quickly dismiss as exaggerations and hyperbole whilst reckoning that Jesus is not actually encouraging self mutilation. To which Sumpter replies: 'Well, perhaps not, but He doesn't mean if your hand causes you to sin, you should try to find an accountability partner. If Jesus urges dismemberment, we ought to be thinking of things that are extreme and painful...'

All of which lead him to ask:

'Where do you live? Who do you live with? Where is your computer? What are the usual patterns to your sin? Now get out your sword and start hacking. Do you need to move? Do you need to find new roommates? Do you need to sleep with your bedroom door open and the light on? Should you get rid of the internet, drop your laptop computer out of the window, or get all your bank statements sent to your mom?'

And what's the point of such a radical lifestyle?

'The point is if Jesus says you should do something extreme, then don't go do something reasonable and tame. You can't go parlay a peace treaty with the devil. If you aren't planning extreme violence against your sin then you have already failed. The first step in battling sin is learning to hate it. And if you aren't ready to slay the dragon, then you aren't really fighting even if you're all dressed up for battle. 


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Thought for the day: is 'sharing' bad?

Husbands and wives who talk a lot about their relationships to others, and parents who talk a lot about their relationships with their kids to others, need to ask themselves this question. How much does the Bible warn us about the dangers of sharing too little

Via:Priests with Spears

Before considering the best 100...

This time of year usually prompts many to suggest their 50/100/500? best books from what they've read in the past year or the 50/100 great books they'd like us to read for the coming year. I tend to lap up people's suggestions partly to find out what's hot and what's not, partly to see how 'in the groove' my bookshelf is (even if the particular book mentioned has not been read but sits beautifully, untouched on my shelf) and partly to see which books it'd be worth putting up on my wish list for the next round of Christmas presents. As it happens, one of the my most enjoyable Christmas (2010) presents is a book (The Quotable Lewis) which I became aware of through one of these kinds of lists. Well there was me enjoying Lewis when I came across this advice he gives when it comes to choosing the best 100 books
The sort of culture one can get from the 100 or 1000 Best Books read in isolation from the societies and literatures that begot them seems to me like the sort of knowledge of Europe I [should] get from staying at big hotels in Paris, Berlin, Rome, etc. It [would]. be far better to know intimately one little district, going from village to village, getting to know the local politics, jokes, wines, and cheeses. Or so it seems to me.
Isn't that a great image? And what a brilliant way to build one's knowledge/library? Rather than simply pandering to the pundits of the age wouldn't it be better to grow in knowledge and depth of insight as one meditates not only on a book's content but it's place in the big conversation?

Monday, 3 January 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

Try again...

As George Orwell found out...

When he initially submitted Animal Farm, the publisher (Alfred Knopf) rejected the work citing as their reason that it's "impossible to sell animal stories in the USA." Some time later, another publisher initially accepted the work then turned it down complaining that "the choice of pigs as the ruling caste will no doubt give offence to many people, and particularly to anyone who is a bit touchy, as undoubtedly the Russians are."

Orwell's reply to all this: "PAH!" or as as a wise fellow once put it - if at first you don't succeed, try another publisher

Advice of the week

Learn to say no. It will be of more use than to be able to read Latin.

From Charles Spurgeon