Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"Pleased as man, with men to dwell..."

How carefully did you listen to the words of the Christmas carols you may have been inundated with over the past few weeks?

For some carols this will reveal how shallow or meaningless they are. For others it will show a depth we take for granted--especially if we go past the first stanza or two.

While I was aware of the words before, this year the words to "Hark the Hearld Angels Sing" really penetrated me. As with many Christmas carols, we should sing this year round, and meditate on the words-
Pleased as man, with men to dwell.
Jesus, our Emmanuel.

He was pleased to become man, He is our God with us.
Yes, in many circles this point is common and well known--but there is something about the way it was put in this song that says it quite eloquently.
It references John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:5-9; Isaiah 7:14; and Matthew 1:23, among others.
It has more depth than much of the teaching out there-especially what I see on the internet.

Then I found this stanza-

Adam's likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the New-born king!"

Wow--even more depth and truth--we need to sing this one!
(And a big thanks to Joshua Robinson of the Son of Man blog for posting this stanza!)

I know for so many years my mind basically zoned out to the words of these songs, and I missed the depth and richness of meaning in them. Still we do need to be discerning--there are some that make little sense and contain error or fluff.
But just because Christmas is over, let's not stop singing the good ones.

Recommended Reading-The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W.Pink

If we profess to be Christians we ought to believe in the sovereignty of God. It is a wonderful doctrine. God’s sovereignty is absolute. We may not understand this, but we can profit from the study of His sovereignty, and how it works itself out. Arthur Pink’s book, The Sovereignty of God, is an excellent read, and a highly recommended way of studying God’s sovereignty.

The main message I got from this book is simple. If God isn’t sovereign, then what’s the point? There is no point in worshipping, praying to, or meditating on the words of a God who is not sovereign. In fact, if God is not sovereign, there’s not really any point to life. But, God IS sovereign, and therefore there is a point. Although the message is simple, there is more to it. It can be overwhelming. “God is in control”, should not merely be a slogan, but a mindset, and a way of life.

The original version of this book contains a chapter entitled, “God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. (More on the original version later.) We need to realize we can not blame God for our mistakes, troubles, or sin. Scripture affirms that man is responsible for his sin. There is an apparent contradiction between God’s sovereignty and our responsibility, but both are taught in God’s inerrant, infallible word. Pink agrees it should not be ignored, but the focus of this book is on God’s sovereignty.

Pink undertakes to define sovereignty as precisely as possible. In the chapter entitled, “God’s Sovereignty Defined”, he writes, “The Sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God.” He goes on to write of God as the Most High and quotes Daniel 4:35; Psalm 115:3; 22:28; and I Timothy 6:15 to show more of God’s sovereignty, both declared and displayed. He builds on this start, and contrasts his view with other views that have been put forth, comparing all views to scripture.

Pink takes us through God’s sovereignty in relationship to creation, (A brief chapter showing “For Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created”-Rev 4:11-emphasis by Pink; and also “The LORD hath made all things FOR HIMSELF”-Prov 16:4-again emphasis by Pink). He looks at how God administers His creation sovereignly.

Next he looks at how God is sovereign in salvation. He writes, “Salvation is of the LORD (Jonah 2:9); but the Lord does not save all. Why not? He does save some; then why not others?” From this point he looks to scripture and goes over the sovereignty of each member of the Trinity in salvation. He shows how they all work together. From here he covers reprobation, basically the opposite of how God works salvation in some. There are various views of reprobation, but they tend to work out the same-just as some are saved, some are not. Again in this too, God is sovereign.

He then addresses God’s sovereignty in action. Does God know all things? Has He ordained them to pass? Is God really governing the world? These questions are addressed. Pink ties this into what God is doing in the lives of His people, and the lives of unbelievers. This leads to discussing the human will.

The highlight of the book for me is the chapter on prayer. If God is completely sovereign, (Incompletely sovereign would be like being a little pregnant), what’s the point of prayer? If God has ordained all things, what’s the point of prayer? Pink outlines several points (for one-it’s commanded), but the bottom line is there’s no point in praying to a God who is NOT sovereign. What can he do? Something, maybe, even if the odds are good. God is SOVEREIGN and therefore can answer all our prayers, but according to His will, not ours. (I have heard it said that prayer changes US, not God.)

Pink takes a look at what our attitude should be towards God’s sovereignty. (Godly fear, implicit obedience, entire resignation, deep thankfulness and joy, and adoring worship.) Next he answers various objections brought forth to God’s sovereignty (They are still around, and we might have some of them ourselves). He also explains the value of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, and wraps up the book by looking at our growth in God’s grace, and our Christian service. The book’s final words are Revelation 19:6, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

One final note- There are two different editions of this book. One is published by Banner of Truth Trust, (A publisher I would normally recommend) and the other by Baker Books. The Banner of Truth edition omits three chapters. (On reprobation, human responsibility, and objections.) Banner of Truth believes Pink changed some of his views in these chapters. This is alluded to in a Preface and more fully outlined in Iain Murray’s Life of Arthur W. Pink. (Another good book.) It is unfortunate the chapters are omitted, even if you disagree with Pink. They help give a fuller view of his beliefs, and definitely can lead to much discussion and study-for those who agree and those who disagree. So I’d have to recommend the Baker Books edition, which reprints the original book. (I have read both versions.) In any case, this is a book which should lead to a great deal of thought, study, prayer, and discussion on a very important doctrine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Get a copy of the latest issue of Modern Reformation

The theme of the Nov/Dec issue is the Promise Driven Church.
Not Purpose Driven, not promise keepers--but promise driven.
Driven by God's promises--especially His promise of His Son.

The issue is here.

Eventually more of it will be online--but get a copy to read Todd Wilken's article-
"The Promise-Driven Church", which is described this way-
What is supposed to drive the church, and who gets to decide?
In answering these questions, the author exposes much of what drives the “Unchurch.”

Great reading--and great food for thought.

(The online articles are worth reading as well.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

If God is Good, Why?

This a great article over at byFaith--(Which I link to on the right)
Here's the article.

A Fine Contemporary Quote

"Although it sometimes seems that we believe prayer is a time when we advise God on how He should run the world, it isn't. Prayer is a child going to a Father with praise and petition-cries for His intervention, not diagrams for His action. God is more than capable of controlling our future without our help."


A Fine Puritan Quote

"How soon are we broken on the soft pillow of ease! Adam in paradise was overcome, when Job on the dunghill was a conqueror."


Sunday, December 18, 2005


No, it's not Lord of the Wings, but Links of the Week--slightly delayed version II.

First--You can go here
or you can go here, to hear the latest from The White Horse Inn. The first link has free streaming audio to hear the earlier broadcasts of the White Horse Inn. Some good stuff there, enjoy!

Second--remember those polite gophers that appeared in Warner Brothers' cartoons?
Well here's a page to either jog your memory, relive old ones, or acquire new ones.
You can go here to listen to them (They're called the Goofy Gophers.) Just for fun.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I like this post

Clint at Cowboyology has some funny stuff at his blog--in a good way. And it's also informative at the same time.

Check out this link and scroll down to the reading chair desk picture--I want one.

Study Helps That are Literally Too Wooden

Recommended Reading-A Golden Treasury of Puritan Devotion-compiled by Mariano Di Gangi

I wouldn’t be surprised that the word “Puritan” elicited a variety of reactions from different people. (Such as, "Puritans again!") Some may be excited, some may be turned off, and some may be confused. Regardless of your reaction-even if you haven’t heard of Puritans before, this is a wonderful book. The introduction gives a brief overview of who the Puritans really were, and clears up some misconceptions about them. If you find them confusing, boring, or if you have no idea who they were-please read the introduction. It will paint a true picture of the Puritans-and set the stage for what follows. The Puritans had hearts for God, and applied that to their lives. They were not “killjoys or prudes”, as Di Gangi points out, nor were they pessimists. The issues they faced have application today as well.

One of the knocks I hear about the Puritans is that they are hard to read—in some cases this is true, but not all cases. And even if the reading is hard-it is rewarding. Still if you find reading them difficult to read—this is a great place to start as Di Gangi has excerpted classic writings by 13 Puritans.

Their styles are different, and they cover a wide range of topics. This book allows you to sample each of them, and see if any of them pique your interest. Then you could go from there and check out that Puritan’s writing- (or those Puritans).
Their hearts are poured out on these pages as they were in all their writings that you may better know Christ, and that He may be glorified. Certainly lessons we can always use.

It's published by
P & R Publishing.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Katrina impact follow up

It's been a while since I linked to an article from By Faith.

This one's an update about Desire Street Ministries.
They've carried on since Katrina struck, and have adopted a new slogan.
“New challenges. Same mission.”
Check it out, and remember them in your prayers.
Desire Street Ministries Adjust to Being Unsettled

Links of the Week

A little late this week, my apologies for a busy week.

As I have mentioned before, I have an interest in sports logos--here's a site that features photographs of CFL helmets, both authentic and ones made by the site's author.
CFL Helmets

While I link to monergism.com to the right there, I wanted to bring attention to one of the pages at the site. This is their page for articles on God & His Attributes

Many, if not most, of the in-house debates Christianity has had thoughtout time have at least one foot in this area of Theology. What you believe about God & His Attributes will affect how you live, as it will affect how you think about God.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Recommended Reading-The Revived Puritan-The Spirituality of George Whitefield-Editted by Michael A.G. Haykin

Published by Joshua Press

Joshua Press is a Canadian publisher that offers a variety of reformed works. This book is a reproduction of 35 letters written by George Whitefield (1714-1770). Whitefield is one of the main figures in the “Great Awakening” of New England in the 1770’s, along with Jonathan Edwards.

He was also friends with John and Charles Wesley, although they differed greatly in some matters of theology, as Whitefield was Reformed. This book includes a letter written to John.

He was an itinerant preacher, he didn’t hold a pastorate for any congregation, but he wrote with a pastoral heart. The letters included here do include some rebuke, but are done lovingly. They include much encouragement and exhortation as well. The insight they provide into Whitefield is valuable—but the insight into Christ and the Gospel are even more valuable.

This book includes a short biographical sketch of Whitefield that helps set the scene, three prayers from sermons by Whitefield, and an account of the conversion of one of his friends. Joshua Press’s books are very reasonably priced compared to what many publishers charge. (This one was $10 for a 254 page book.)

A friend of mine refers to select books as gems-books that are well worth the cost to buy and the time to read. This is a true gem.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Links of the week

Even before I was a Christian, and before I found out Johnny Hart professed to be a Christian I enjoed the B.C. comic strip--here is a recent strip and an archive to previous ones.
He makes me laugh, and makes me think...

And also-Diet of Bookworms (good title) is a site that in their own words-"...is a collection of links to discerning reviews of Christian books. It is a resource for Christians to research books and authors. We collect reviews written by discerning readers and link to them from this site. Once our editors have reviewed the book, we generally provide a consensus view of the book."

There's some good reading there.

More Blog Wars Going On

Have you noticed them?
There seems to be a new blog war every day.
I encountered one through Alpha and Omega-James White's site/blog/ministry.

Seems Calvinism is being misrepresented here and here as well.

Calvinistgadfly.com is getting into the act as well.

So why does this happen?
I know we can't all agree--we're fallen sinful human beings.
Why do we belittle others by misrepresenting them?
I have left comments on Paul McCain's blog (the one misrepresenting Calvinism) to that effect.

Meanwhile the Doxoblogist is running a series that says what Calvinism is not. While I may not quite agree with him on every point it has been a good series so far.
Hopefully critics of Calvinism/Reformed theology will read the series.
Wherever you may stand--reading the series should be helpful--and yes Paul McCain--Jeremy does talk about Jesus.