Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Discussion on Eschatology

Eschatology is commonly known as the study of end times or last things. This study usually refers to the Second Coming of Christ. Many books have been written on the subject which most of them do not agree with one another along with commentaries on the book of Revelation.

This is video, John Piper moderated a discussion in regards to the three main views of eschatology, which took place back in 2009 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Joining Piper is James Hamilton, who hold the Historic Premillennial view, Doug Wilson, who holds the Postmillennial view, and Sam Storms, who holds the Amillennial view.

If you have two hours to spear, this video will be worth your time:

Recommended Reading:

Like Storms, I hold the Amillennial view as well. There are two books (one written by Storms) that I highly recommend to give you an idea of what Amillennialism is:

Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative by Sam Storms

A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times by Kim Riddlebarger

Regarding the other two views, there are books on the subject, however, I have not read them, but this might be a good starting point if you are considering either view or wanting to know what these view are:

A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to "Left Behind" Eschatology edited by Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung

Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope by Keith A. Mathison

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Is America A Christian Nation?

In almost every church I have been to, there are some who believe that America is, or was, a Christian nation. Some would go on to say that the problems America is having is because we forsake the commandments of God.

Many have wonder if America is still a Christian nation. Russell Moore addresses this issue:

Introducting Podcast Wednesday

I have been a podcast junkie as of late. It all began when I heard an episode of The Reformed Pubcast. I don't remember what episode it was unfortunately. My list of podcasts have grown over the last year with new shows coming up and ones that I have just discovered.

I have shared a few during my "Around The Web" segment that takes place on Fridays as well as Twitter and Facebook. There are many podcast episodes that I can recommend everyone to listen to till I am blue in the face. So I decided to begin a new segment on Keeping The Main Thing called, "Podcast Wednesday." This is where I will be sharing podcast episodes whether new or old ones that I think will benefit you as you listen.

I am hoping this will be a hit for all of my readers. I pray each podcast you listen will edify you and equip you. Please remember, these podcasts are not to take the place of your local church or the pastors you are under.

These Go To 11: Scotty Smith On Grace, Brokenness and Earnest Prayer

Worst Youth Ministry: Is Youth Ministry Biblical?

The Reformed Pubcast speak with Michael Horton and on avoiding being arrogant

Popcorn Theology talk about the movie, Crash

Bob Thune speaks with Dave Jenkins at Equipping You in Grace about his book, Gospel Eldership

D.A. Carson preaches on the Bread of Life

The Reformed Library interview

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

God Does Not Apologize For The Bible

It seems that J.K. Rowling, author of the famous "Harry Potter" series has been issuing apologies for killing off several beloved characters. I am not what to call this. Writer's guilt or responding to backlash from the fans. I have never heard of an author apologizing from their work as much as J.K. Rowling. You never hear that from any other writer unless they wrote something that was false or controversial.

As I was reading about Rowling's latest apology, I am thankful for one will never apologize for what He has inspired 40 different authors to write. The Bible has been around for centuries and we have never heard through out the cosmos an apology from God about what He has written. Other Christian have taken it upon themselves to do such a task because they don't want to offend people with Biblical truth. The problem is they are offended by Biblical truth themselves because they love their sin, lifestyle, or possessions more than the Savior. When we have done this, we have become ashamed of the Bible and God Himself.

The word is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). The second half of Psalm 19 is a song of praise for the Word as well as all of Psalm 119. The Lord through the Prophet Isaiah said, "so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

As you read through the Bible, you see how God fulfills His promises and what promises He has made that are still to come. You will also never see God apologizing to anyone for what He has said or what He has done. If He did, the first person I think He would apologize to is Job for allowing Satan to put him through all his trials.

There are some things in the Bible that can make people uncomfortable. When that moment comes, we need to realize the problem is not the Bible. The problem is us. In my early days as a Christian, I wished Revelation was not in the Bible because I heard a lot of bad teaching from it. I was scared of the Second Coming because of cheesy End Time movies. Thankfully, my perspective on the Bible has changed as well as my eschatology.

While there will be authors of classic work that may regret things they have written, we can rest knowing that God will never go back on His word. He will never apologize for it nor will He want anyone else editing it. Since He has never apologized for what He has written, neither should we.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Book Review: Zeal Without Burnout by Christopher Ash

One of the reasons that Pastors leave their churches is burnout. Burnout is simply put, tired of the work of ministry. They are so exhausted that they feel if they continue it will literally kill them. A Pastor's body and family can be affected by burnout in various forms as well as the church itself.

Some churches have this idea their pastor is Superman who can do everything they cannot do. I know many have this expectations with youth pastors because many feel they have a lot of energy because they work with teenagers. Pastors, and their churches, need to be reminded that they are human. Jesus is divine and powerful, they are not. Christopher Ash has written a simple book for the issue of burnout called Zeal Without Burnout.

One of the things Ash communicates in this book is being burnout does not make you a Super Christian. You are human. You will need rest. You will also need to eat. Jesus during His earthly ministry rested and ate. He also took time to be with friends. He also went to parties. Pastors will become Super Saint when they are running at the end of their rope in the work of ministry.

Ash also writes a warning about being a celebrity pastor, which we have seen three celebrity pastors fall in the last year, so this comes at the right time. Ash also reminds us that ministry is a delight and joy. Yes, it can be a demanding job at times, but it is worth it. However, we do not honor God by wearing ourselves out.

If you know a pastor going through a burnout situation, give them this book. I think some churches need to read this book so they can know their pastor is human because some of them don't want to admit that. Anyone in ministry, especially those starting out, need to read this book.

Thanks Good Book Company for letting me review this book.

Music Monday: He Will Hold Me Fast by Norton Hall Band

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach

Imagine finding out both of your parents are gay. They divorce and live in separate cities where you go to visit them. Imagine you were raised in LGBT community, going to gay pride parades, the LGBT events that your mother helped put together. Imagine as a child you see what Christians do to people who are not like them. You were told by your mother that Christians hate us because we are gay.

Imagine you now attend church knowing who your parents are and coming to faith in Christ. Imagine telling your parents you are now a Christian knowing they have been hated on by some Christian groups. Years later, you sensed God's calling to the ministry. Imagine the anxiety you were feeling at that time. These things might not have happened to you personally but they did happen to Caleb Kaltenbach. Caleb is a pastor and writes his story along with what the church should do in a book called, Messy Grace.

I must admit when I first heard of this book, I thought this is one of those books of a pastor compromising God's Word in regards to the LGBT community. I was wrong. This book is about how the church should show love to the LGBT community without compromising the truth of God's Word. He does believe the Bible calls all to repent and we must trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins. I should have read the subtitle of the book a little more carefully, which says this book is about a pastor learning to love others without compromising conviction.

The reason this book is called Messy Grace is because the church is called to be a messy place. We are called to love messy people. The church should be the first place where we are honest about our struggles, but it is not. I am not just talking about same-sex attraction.

Kaltenbach talks about loving people the LGBT community with grace and truth. We should show them grace because Jesus showed us great grace while at the same time we are to love them in truth. The example he gives is the woman caught in adultery in the gospel of John. After her accusers left, Jesus said I do not commend you (grace), go and sin no more (truth). He gave her grace in not condemning her, but told her the truth that what she did was sin.

The issue of the what the church should do in relation to the LGBT community will not be going away any time soon. In fact, it should have been addressed along time ago. The church is called to love people in grace and truth which means we will be dealing with messy people. Jesus did that yet He loved them in grace but told them the truth as well.

You may not agree with all of Kaltenbach's conclusions and he is okay with that. I think everyone in the church needs to read this book and talk it over with the leaders of your church. Can we love people who are different from us without compromising God's Word? Yes, we can.

Thanks Waterbrook Press for letting me review this book.

Around The Web-April 29, 2016

The Regular Reformed Guys speak to Kerry Gillard about race and the church

Dave Jenkins speaks with Ed Welch about his book, Side By Side, which I highly recommend

What I Learned The First Two Years of Church Planting by Jason Davis

Scott Sauls shares his thoughts on the Rise and Fall of Pastors

Daniel Darling wants you to get caught up on church history

Are You Tempted to Toss the Bible? by Aaron Armstrong

Calvinist Batman speaks with Heath Lambert about the Theology of Biblical Counseling

How the Lord’s Supper Makes a Local Church by Bobby Jamieson

Seeing Christ in All of Scripture and other books are on sale right now.

Daily quotes from Spurgeon and books for Mother's Day on sale as well.

Reformed Theological Seminary has a video they release called Wisdom Wednesday where they address theological issues. This past week feature Derek Thomas and Ligon Duncan answering two questions: what is hell and what is Heaven.

Next Friday, Captain America: Civil War comes out in the theatres. There have already been some great reviews. I think this might be the best Marvel film ever. One reason this movie is getting a lot of buzz is Spider-man. Yes, the web-slinger makes his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These two videos are TV spots from the movie that came out earlier this week (it will say in 10 days) which shows a little more Spidey.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Bread of Life Doesn't Spoil

Recently, we had a storm come through our city that knocked out the power for over 5,000 homes which included mine. We brought out candles and flashlights so we would not stumble in throughout the night. As we were heading to bed, I noticed the power came back on for across the street. I thought we would get power back on in a matter of minutes.

I woke up the next morning and we still had no power. The power did not come back to our home until that afternoon. Our house suffered no damage nor were we inconvenienced one bit. However, since the power was off for more than four hours, we had to throw food out of our refrigerator. How many of you have done that? Its not fun especially after you made a trip to the grocery store.

As I was thinking about this, I am grateful to God that we have spiritual food that does not spoil and that is the Bread of Life. When you go to the grocery store, most products have an expiration date. Some more readable than others, but its there. Our food spoils, but the food God gives does not spoil.

Jesus said, "Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal" (John 6:27). The people listening to Jesus asked him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat'" (John 6:30-31).

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:32-33). Who wouldn't want that bread? That is what the people wanted, but Jesus gives them a different answer, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).

Jesus is the Bread of Life that gives life to those who believe. Jesus even said that the will of God is "that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40). Everyone who looks to the Son and believes will be saved. This is why the gospel is powerful. This offer does not spoil. Yes, there is an expiration date, but only when it is in the predetermined plan of God.

This food does not spoil when the power goes off. We don't need to throw it out. This food is offered to all who believe. For us who do believe, we can always go back for more especially when the cares of the world fall upon us. Especially when we have stumbled along the way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Has the Mission of the Church Changed?

For The Church:

Is The Reformation Over?

For decades, one of the main questions that has been asked, Is the Reformation over? Has the church moved from beyond the point that the church needs reforming? Ligon Duncan addressed this very question during Together for the Gospel 2016:

Other theologians have addresses this question especially in the last few years. Here are just a few:

R.C. Sproul

Kevin DeYoung

Carl Trueman

Albert Mohler

Monday, April 25, 2016

Music Monday: Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery by Matt Boswell

Book Review: Visual Theology by Tim Challies with Josh Byers

If you are a regular visitor to Tim Challies' website, you have seen a few entries from time to time called Visual Theology. These are posters that address various topics such as The Trinity, The Order of Salvation, and Reformed Theology. Many have downloaded these images to put on their computer background or on their social media site.

Challies has now written a book that addresses theological issues with the help of artist Josh Byers, which is appropriately called, Visual Theology. What this book does is teach theology to its readers and get a visual aid to understand what is being addressed. You can call this book, "Systematic Theology with Pictures."

Challies writes about the gospel, what the Bible is, prayer, how to live the Christian life, and even stewardship. Challies writes in the simplest way so that all of his readers can understand what he is communicating. The pictures are great as well (not is not often I say that in a book review). One of my favorites is the one on the Bible, which looks like this:

The picture looks like the Periodic Table separating the Old and New Testaments. This is just one of the many images that are in this book.

Who should read this book? Every Christian for edification and being equipped. I think this book would be good for teenagers and even college students. This might be good for some kids to help them learn sound doctrine as they are getting away from children's Bibles.

Overall, this is an amazing book filled with sound theology and great artistry.

Thanks Booklook Bloggers for letting me review this book.

Friday, April 22, 2016

From 1967...

This video is contains audio from Martyn Lloyd-Jones during the 450th anniversary of the Reformation. He address why the church should look back to an event that happened centuries ago.