Monday, January 30, 2006

Another quote

"What is offered to men in the gospel? It is not the possibility of salvation, not simply the opportunity of the salvation. What is offered is salvation."

John Murray

Links of the Week January 30, 2006

Okay I missed last week, so here it is on Monday.

First up-A great link--thanks to
ESV audio Bible with Max McLean.
This is the page to set your options--there's a drop down menu to choose the format. Then enter a book in the search box, and when that comes up-click on listen.
(Hopefully I typed that correctly.)
It is a beta version--so some of the options could change.
I've been listening to Hebrews.

Second-Because I presented a humourous link before this, here's another you may find amusing-
Silly Supertogs. It's a collection of some odd and poor costume choices by superheroes over the years.


A link to a blog comment

This cracked me up-
Jeremy at Doxoblogy was waxing semi-seriously about going the group blog route as we've recently seen with Pyromaniacs and Calvinist Gadfly.
(Actually my blog name may have been subconsciously influenced by a possibility to go to a group blog.)
This is the post.
Check out the comments.

John Rush had this comment.
John Rush said...
How 'bout:


You could sing along with Mary Poppins on Supercalifrajilistic....

You know...
La, la, la...Ahem. Ahem... Hear we go...

We're so dead and cold, you could almost say we're frozen.-
Cannot get to heaven 'less you say that you are chosen.-

Or some such thing...

JRush Equal Opportunity Offender: thinking of an ultra-Arminianistic Dispensational, Anthropo-centered chorus.

Just in case you missed it and needed a laugh.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


"If God loved you as much as you love Him, where would you be?"

Links updated

In the Blog Links section I've updated the link for Pyromaniac (Phil Johnson) to Pyromaniacs (or "Team Pyro") as Phil is going the group blog direction.

But you probably already knew that. (And if you didn't-now you do.)
So join Phil and friends there.

I've also added another new group blog-Calvinist Gadfly and Purgatorio.
(I thought I already had them listed, but I didn't. Well now I do.)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Recommended Reading-THE INVISIBLE HAND by R.C. Sproul

A few years ago a friend of mine started an “awareness campaign” to get Christians to think about the use of the word “luck” and its variations. He pointed out that when Christians use the word “luck”, they are usually referring to God’s providence. Since God is sovereign—“luck” doesn’t really exist. Fortunately he wasn’t legalistic about it, and we even had some fun with it. When he went to Bible College in Toronto his church had a going away gift- a box of the cereal, “Providential Charms.” In God’s providence he is now the pastor of a Baptist church in BC.

When I first read R.C. Sproul’s THE INVISIBLE HAND, I thought of my friend. God’s providence was (and I am sure still is) an important doctrine to him, both when times are good, and when times are bad.

The subtitle of this book is, “Do all things really work for good?” Sproul answers that question, and others. This is not a book about how God can make your life better, or that you’ll never have troubles again. Sometimes providence takes us through hard times.

Sproul starts there, with a chapter called, “Hard Providence.” The Bible has many examples of God’s providence, in good times and bad-that is one of its recurring themes. He first uses his family and then David as an example.

If we understand the providence of God and love the God of providence, we are able to worship Him with the sacrifice of praise He inherently deserves when things occur that bring pain, sorrow, and affliction into our lives…It is a worship of faith that is rooted in trust.

He then takes a closer look at what providence means, and how our view of the word has changed. Providence comes from words meaning “before” and “in front of.” However, it means more than just foreknowledge. It also includes giving sustenance-or “providing” (from the same root words). Even that merely scratches the surface—God’s providence means he upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures, actions, and things—“to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.” (See the Westminster Confession of Faith-Chapter 5- paragraph 1)

From here Sproul looks at providence in many forms and settings. First is providence as provision. Here the biblical example is Genesis 22-where Abraham trusts in God, and obeys—even if it means sacrificing his son Isaac, who was (and is) the fulfilment of a promise of God to Abraham.

The life of Moses is another example of God’s providence. One thing after another played a part in Moses’ life. The growing number of Hebrew slaves caused Pharaoh to fear them and order the deaths of the male infants. This lead to Moses’ mother setting him in a small ark and his being found by Pharaoh’s daughter Moses grew up in the royal household, but ended up in the desert as a shepherd for 40 years before he came back to Egypt to lead God’s people out. And that’s just part of it. There was no “co-incidence” or “luck”; it was God’s providence at work.

We see Jacob—and how events seemed to conspire against him. Sproul looks at how those events were part of God’s providence. This also introduces Joseph, who gets more coverage later-Sproul wraps up Jacob’s life this way,
In the final analysis, the providence of God was enough for Jacob. It should also be enough for us. Jacob lived to see something of the hidden hand of God. He did not see all of the purpose of providence unfold before his eyes, but he saw enough.

God’s providence also works with politics and government. He shows the biblical role of government, and several passages that reflect on that. Romans 13 is a common passage used in discussing how God views government. Psalm 2 covers government rebellion against God. The first earthly government is seen in Genesis 3:22-24. The angel posted at the east gate of the garden was an example of law enforcement—a responsibility of government. He digs deeper, showing Who is behind government.

Sproul also extends this to the rise and fall of nations. He looks at the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk, and the words God spoke through him against Israel for their sins against Him. He also looks at the fall of Babylon in Daniel. Here we see not only the invisible hand of God’s providence—but also a visible hand in Daniel 5:25-29.

Sproul introduces us to the idea of concurrence-or how things work together, or come together. I know I have sometimes looked back and was able to see how God caused things to come together. I may not have seen it at the time, but couldn’t miss it afterwards. The idea of concurrence is a hard one for some people, because we want to at least feel like we have some control. We don’t want others bossing us around. We even extend that to God sometimes.

Concurrence really comes together in the life of Jacob’s son Joseph through the latter chapters in Genesis. Although Joseph’s older brothers meant to get rid of him, one way or another, and they lied about it to their father, God used it for good. Sproul points out that God could have used different events—but He didn’t. Sproul concludes, “They (the events in Joseph’s life) took place ultimately because of the perfect intentionality of God.”

An objection to the idea of providence seen so far is how that relates to us. There is concern God’s sovereignty and providence make us puppets, so Sproul answers this by looking at primary and secondary causes. God is the primary cause. We, and all creation are secondary causes—we do play a part.

This sets up a look at providence and history. He covers different views we have had about history, and links them together. It is through history that God revealed Himself to us, and in history that Christ was born, lived, suffered, died and rose. This history of God’s revelation, and of Christ’s saving work intersects world history at many points—all history is in his hands.

Sproul looks at the implications and meaning of all this for the Church, and the idea of “To God alone the glory.” He doesn’t avoid problem areas such as evil or pain. He addresses counterfeit “miracles.” And as in any discussion of God that involves us, there is mention of prayer. Sproul’s hope for this book is that it would act as a stimulus for us to “delve deeper into the matter (providence).” My hope is that we would all see God’s hand in all things, and not in a “fuzzy” way—but in a deeper sense of His providence.

The Invisible Hand is published by P & R Publishing.
(although the Monergism link says Banner of Truth. They may have published an earlier edition.)

Blog Links

Just an update.
I've recently added two new blogs, and alphabetized the blog links.
I have some others I'll probably add soon. Keep an eye out.

The two new links are both Presbyterian related.

The first is Romans Rummage. It's a series of studies on Romans, by a brother in a sister church--so to speak. One of his elders spoke well of it.

The second one I just discovered-First Presbyterian Jackson MS.
They are an original PCA congregation, and the content is quite good.

Check them both out.

Links of the week January 21

I had this all set to post last night, and when I clicked on "publish" Blogger crashed--so now I have to re-do it.
So the lesson is save your work.
A lot of what I post is written in other formats & transferred here, but as LOTW is usually a short piece I write it directly to Blogger--well now I know.

Link one-
Don Kistler has done the Contemporary Church a great service in being one of those who reprints Puritan works through Soli Deo Gloria Books. They also publish multi author books on various themes. (Such as Onward Christian Soldiers, reviewed
here. Check out the link for a page SDG calls, "Meet the Puritans."

Link two-
I've previously mentioned an interest in sports logos. Here's an interesting site that presents the NHL uniforms for each team season by season. A lot of work went into this. I find it interesting to follow the progression various teams have made, and to see the teams that no longer exist. It's called

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hebrews 1:3 study notes part 1

These are adapted from a study I was part of about 5 or 6 years ago. They are intended as a starting point for study.

For context here is Hebrews 1:1-4:

1God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
3And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

Speaking broadly this tells us 5 things about Jesus-
1. He is the radiance of the Father’s Glory;
2. He is the exact representation of His nature;
3. He upholds all things by the word of His power;
4. He made purification of sins;
5. He sat down at the right hand of God;

In this series I want to consider the implications of each point.

Points 1 and 2 are similar and overlap so I will address them together-
Being the radiance of the Father's and the exact representation of His nature speaks of Jesus' deity. God’s glory is part of who He is. This is seen in Isaiah 42:8 – “I am the LORD, That is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor my praise to graven images.” This is also referenced in John 1:1.

Isaiah makes reference to this also in Isaiah 43:11-“I, even I, am the LORD; and there is no saviour besides me.” These verses equate Jesus with God.

Another point here is the Son Reveals the Father. Here's where we get into the Trinity, as opposed to modalism. Jesus is God, but so is the Father. They are distinct persons, but one God.

Some other passages that reveal this include-
-John 8:19 –To the Pharisees-“ If you knew Me, you would know my Father also.”
-John 14:6-7 - I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; No one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known me you would have known My Father also. From now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
The Son is not claiming to be the Father, but that He reveals who the Father is.
He wraps up the point in verse 9-“He who has seen me has seen the Father.”
It’s not just a physical seeing in mind here. The Pharisees could see Jesus physically, but did not know Him or the Father.

The implications for this for everybody are- Jesus is God, He reveals God, and is the only way to God.
For believers the implications are we should be rejoicing. We should be praising Jesus. We should have an attitude of reverence and awe towards Jesus.
For non-believers the implications are the opposite-they have rejected, ridiculed, disregarded or otherwise ignored the Lord-the only God.

(My main references for this study were-John Owen's Commentary on Hebrews, Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary, and Kenneth Wuest's Hebrews translation & commentary. I also referenced study notes in The MacArthur Study Bible & the New Geneva Study Bible, (Which is now called the Reformation Study Bible.) Any deviation I have made from these is my own responsibility.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One's back, the other may be...

I recently, like others, announced and lamented the end of two blogs-
Purgatorio and Calvinist Gadfly-

Well, for those that haven't heard-Puragtorio has a new home, and Marc has reposted some of his previous blog and now has new entries.


the Calvinist Gadfly has an announcement-
The gadfly's wings may still be buzzing...

Glad to hear it guys.
Welcome back...

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Quote

“Most people have some sort of religion, at least they know which church they're staying away from”
John Erskine

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Judas is in hell

I say that with no joy or glee.
Every now and then I encounter somebody who says Judas may be in heaven.
They may claim he was forgiven because he was just fulfilling his role in God's plan.
Some say he got a second chance.

Others say that only God knows the heart, and who knows what happened before he died. The thief on the cross who repented in Luke 23 is invoked as proof death bed confessions are possible. And I believe that thief is in heaven, because in verse 43 Jesus tells him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

So if people believe Jesus that the thief is in heaven, why don't they believe Him that Judas is in hell?

In Mark 14:17 Jesus tells the disciples one of them will betray Him. One by one they ask, "Is it I?" In verses 20-1 Jesus answers, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

Catch the part I put in bold letters-
"It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
How could it be better, (or even good as some translations say), for Judas to have never been born than to be in heaven? It isn't better to never have been born than be in heaven.

But, it is better to never have been born than to be in hell.

In John 17:12 Jesus calls Judas the "Son of perdition." What does perdition mean? It can hell or damnation.
Judas was the son of hell, or damnation.

So why do I bring this up?

In the news today is a story about Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science. He is spearheading a move to clear Judas' name. Now this is not an official Roman Catholic postition, and many Roman Catholics oppose him. But it is making news. It will affect how people view Jesus and the gospel. It affects how we see sin. Taken seriously their arguments do away with consequences of sin, if we can show they are part of God's plan. It ignores our responsibility for our actions.

It's also a form of universalism.

It also casts doubt on God's Word, as one of his sources is the apochryphal "Gospel of Judas."

And those are just some of the ramifications.

For more on the story, here are some links-
Judas Iscariot to get Vatican makeover
A Jewish perspective

When We Belong to Christ By David Linden

Check out this excellent article on Daivd Linden's Website-
When We Belong to Christ

Sovereign Love-LOTW Part 2

For part 2-Sovereign Love-
a website compiled by teenagers and college students in the East Texas area and beyond. Everyday we see Christians who are struggling and who long freedom from hopelessness, fear, rejection, guilt, and hurts. Here at Sovereign Love we desire to help others experience the message of the cross, find there way to a meaningful life, and grow to know Christ as their Savior and Lord.

There's some good stuff here--I haven't checked it all out--but I like what I've seen. Check it out-
Sovereign Love

Wacky Warning Labels-LOTW Part 1

Oh, the things companies do to prevent frivolous lawsuits!
Or perhaps the things they must do because of frivolous lawsuits.

Here's a site that gives out awards for wacky warning labels--some of these cracked me up.

The wierdest one I've personally seen was in the instructions for a toaster I bought when I moved out on my own.

"Do not use toaster to cook meat products"
(Hmm, did somebody start a grease fire putting in frozen hamburger patties?)

Wacky Warning Labels
Past winners

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Recommended Reading-In The Beginning by Alister McGrath

The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture.

When I become interested or involved in something I like to know its history. This is especially true of Church history. While we don’t all need to be scholars in it-the more we know our history, the more likely we will be to avoid mistakes of the past-and embrace its good points. We are all prisoners of out times to some degree, and for that reason RC Sproul recommends reading authors from different times-as the errors of their times will contrast with the eternal truths that come through from various times.

The subtitle pretty much sums up the book. We often look back at the times covered by this book and see it through our eyes, McGrath tries to see it through theirs. And the history of the King James Bible (and English Bibles in general) involves not only Church history, but also cultural, linguistic, and political history as well-especially in times and places with a close connection between Church and State.

McGrath is very thorough in his approach and set up—if you’re expecting the KJV to jump out at you early on, hold tight—it comes in about half way through. But that’s to allow the stage to be set in terms of brief histories of the earlier English translations, as well as history of translating the Scriptures into the common languages in other parts of the world.

The English Bible was a late addition to the scene—other languages had Bible translations earlier-partly because they are older languages. The culture and politics of England prior to the 1600’s led to opposition to translating the Bible into English. One of the reason is the English language was seen as low class. The upper classes in Britain primarily spoke French-the common people spoke English-the Scriptures were seen as defiled to be translated into such a base language. This linguistic “snobbery” is not as prevalent anymore, so we tend to disregard those reasons and see merely a religious and/or political conspiracy against the truth. While the resistance to vernacular (or common) language Bibles often has a religious basis-we should not ignore other factors.

McGrath also takes a look at how the Reformation of the 16th century affected religious thought, and politics. Prior to the Reformation there was also a movement to go back to the sources. So in the area of Biblical studies that meant going back to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts of scripture, in addition to the prevalent Latin translation of the day, the Vulgate- (Along the way people lost sight of why it was called the “Vulgate”—it was a translation into the “vulgar” or common language of the people-which in Western Europe, and other places, was Latin.)

This interest added fuel to the Reformation on both sides, and was part of the catalyst for Martin Luther to translate the Bible into German. That translation helped bring about a more united Germany, and standardized the German language. This is also a potential reason vernacular Bibles could be seen as a threat-in this case by Germany’s enemies.

The most popular English Bible prior to the KJV was the Geneva Bible. (It was translated and produced in Geneva, Switzerland, by refugees fleeing religious persecution in England.) It was also greatly disliked by some religious and political leaders due to marginal notes. These notes were strongly Reformed and clashed with some leaders’ views of their own authority. Some religious leaders were not concerned that way-but were not Reformed so opposed it on those grounds. Despite the opposition to the Geneva Bible’s notes, it clearly influenced the KJV.

In 1603 James VI of Scotland ascended to the throne of England, where he was known as James I. The religious climate at that time depended a great deal on the ruler, and various groups had hopes and plans tied to the new King. It was through these hopes and plans that a new translation was proposed and authorized by King James, (and thus the name-King James Version.) This is a slight over simplification, but the book will fill you in.

Despite how it’s often presented, the KJV was not an instant success when it was first published in 1611-but it eventually became the dominant English translation-and very little new translating was done until the late 1800’s.

From there we see the KJV reverse the story, so to speak. The nation, language and culture influenced the situation into which the KJV was born, but when it took over from the Geneva Bible as the dominant English Bible it impacted the Nation, the language, and the culture.

With so many English translations available today, one may wonder why any of this matters—but it is Church history, and is certainly relevant to where we are now and how we got there. It can also shed some light on the gospel, and how it’s been preached and taught in history. It is certainly probable that without the KJV many hymns would sound different. Our modern translations were affected as well. Many were revisions of the KJV-comparing it to the manuscripts, and retranslating where needed. It also was part of the development of translation methods. Whether or not you’ve ever read the KJV, and whether or not it is your translation of choice-this book is a valuable work on Church history, and should get you thinking about that history-(including those who gave their lives for an English Bible)-and thinking about the Bible.

In the Beginning is published by Anchor Books.

John Piper

Just in case you've missed it, read this statement by John Piper-here-there are some good signs, for which I am thankful.
One sign is the way he addresses the situation.
Read it, pray for John Piper and his family, and pray for your own.

I'm back, they're not

I've never kept a regular blog schedule, and I respect those who do.
I also respect the decison of those who put much time in their blogs to step back, take a break or even stop.
That doesn't mean I won't miss the blogs though--or the writers.

I've seen this all over the blogoshere, but wanted to say a more formal farewell here.

The Calvinist Gadfly is calling it quits, and according to the first post it will be left up until Jan 16.
So if you've never checked it out before--do it now.
Alan Kurschner wrote a thought provoking, entertaining, and insightful blog.
It will be missed. But he has been called to other work. He has indicated he may blog from time to time here.
Thanks for what you've given us Alan.

Then Purgatorio contained an announcement from its creator, Marc Heinrich. He had already announced he would slowing down, but now has posted he's stopping, although he's leaving the bog up. He may be back later, he may not.
Marc provided laughs, poignant commentary, and provoked thought.
And the comments on his announcement thread show he will be missed as well.
Marc is also listed as a contributor to Doxoblogy, another fine blog out there.

Well Alan and Marc--thanks. And may God bless your endeavours as He leads you elsewhere.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Habakkuk 3:2

O LORD, I have heard the report of you,
and your work, O LORD, do I fear.
In the midst of the years revive it;
in the midst of the years make it known;
in wrath remember mercy.

(English Standard Version)

LOTW 2006

Okay, the Christmas and New Year's break is over.

And here's the return of "Links of the Week," after a 2 week hiatus.

First up--What? A Presbyterian posting a link to a Baptist Church?
Well why not? The pastor is an old friend of mine.
I haven't had a chance to check out all the sermons, but there's some good stuff there.
Williams Lake First Baptist Church
(Now maybe that will remind me to email him.)
It was through Darrin I met Clint of Cowboyology.
(Although I've only met Clint on a handful of occasions.)

For my second LOTW please forgive my use of guitar jargon. If you need a translation though-just ask.
Previously I posted a link to make your own Les Paul--well this site goes further, and you can make a Les Paul, SG, Tele, Strat and more. You also have more options as to colours and hardware. You can import images to add to your guitar. The extra options make this a fun site.
You can make something serious, or just something fun.
How about a yellow Strat with soapbars and a Bigsby?

Check it out here.