Saturday, January 21, 2017

The 1689 LBC Compared to Dispensationalism

One of the strong beliefs of dispensationalism is that the church is the parentheses of the church. If you read the Bible that is not clearly the case. The 1689 London Baptist Confession does indicate any form of dispensationalist teaching.

This video compares the 1689 London Baptist Confession and Dispensationalism:

Recommended Reading:

Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Primer by Douglas Van Dorn

A Reponse to Replacement Theology

Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Radical New Way to Live

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:17-32).

In this passage, Paul urges us “no longer” to “walk,” or live, “as the Gentiles do” (Eph. 4:17), in ignorance and futility of mind. The phrase “no longer” indicates that he is referring to our manner of life before we came to faith in Christ, and the reference to “Gentiles” means anyone living outside the household of faith. Such people—including us, before conversion—are “alienated” from God, with “darkened” understanding, callousness, sensuality, greed, and impurity (vv. 18–19). But when we “learned Christ” (v. 20), everything changed. When we were taught the truth in Jesus, we put off our old self and its lifestyle, and put on the new self after the likeness of the true, righteous, and holy God who saved us (v. 24). Now, with nothing to prove, no image to maintain, no need to impress, we are able to live with truthfulness and grace.

So many men today seem to have anger problems. Road rage, domestic abuse, violent crime, and brawls in bars and on ball fields are predominantly male behaviors. When we “learned Christ,” however, we learned to keep our anger in check and keep the Devil at bay (vv. 26–27). Honesty and hard work become a way of life, which enables generosity toward our neighbors (v. 28). Our words, which once were used for self-exaltation, are now used for gracious edification. Sinful attitudes like bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, and malice are now replaced with godly traits like kindness, goodness, and forgiveness. These are not merely moral virtues accomplished through self-will. They are the result of our new identity, grounded in the gospel, because we now realize that God in Christ has forgiven us (v. 32).

This radically new way of living is the work of the Holy Spirit who has “sealed [us] for the day of redemption” (v. 30). He graciously brings the power to be freed from our “former manner of life” (v. 22), which was bitterly empty, so that we can now await the return of Christ, when we will all be perfectly conformed to his image (Rom. 8:29).

Erik Thoennes from the ESV Men's Devotional Bible

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Podcast Wednesday: Gavin Stone, Legalism, Comic Books, and more

Tony Merida and Steve Timmis on the need to practice hospitality and distinctions of a community-centered gospel

Doctrine and Devotion on legalism

The Regular Reformed Guys on The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God

Albert Mohler talks about feminism, abortion, and other topics

Popcorn Theology speaks with Dallas Jenkins on the upcoming film, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

Four Ways to Respond When a Ministry Leader is Removed From Ministry from Equipping You In Grace

Gotham Central on what's coming for comic books in 2017

Genuinely Learned Christ

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:17-24).

When we embraced Christ and received him, it was not to continue on in the same futile ways of thinking. If our lives do not differ from the lives of unbelievers, we have not truly learned of Christ. When Christ calls us to himself it is always a call to leave the world, die to self, and live for God. Let us never accept a false gospel which says we can have Jesus as Savior without also having him as Lord. It must be both or neither.

What does it look like, then, to have genuinely “learned Christ”? Paul mentions three things (using three infinitive verbs). Learning Christ means we are renewed in the spirit of our minds (v. 23), we put off the old self (v. 22), and we put on the new (v. 24). These exhortations get to the heart of the New Testament view of sanctification. The moral imperative for the Christian is to “be who you now are.” We are new creations in Christ, so let us turn away from the old ways of the world and live like new people of the Spirit. When we sin, we betray our new identity as sons and daughters of God. Our obedience does not create our holy status but reflects it, honors God by it, and aids others through our expression of it.

Adapted from the Gospel Transformation Bible

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

James White on John 6

The Roman Catholics believe that John 6 teaches transubstantiation. Some of you may not be aware of what that is. A simple definition of transubstantiation is the bread and wine during communion literally become the body of Jesus.

Does John 6 teach transubstantiation or something else? In this nearly two hour video, James White addresses John 6 and the teaching of transubstantiation:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Will There Be Work In The New Heavens and The New Earth?

When it comes to work, many have this sense of dread. They don't want to go because they did not get enough sleep or they want to be bums. Like it or not, we all must work. Some Christians think that work is a by-product of the Fall, but that is not the case.

The Bible says:

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed (Genesis 2:4-8).

Work is was not as a result of the Fall, it was instituted by God during creation. Work became harder as result of the Fall:

And to Adam he said,

"Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:17-19)

James Hamilton wrote:

We have seen that God created man to work, to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, to subdue it, and to exercise dominion over the animal kingdom (Gen. 1:28), working and keeping the garden God made (2:15), imaging God’s own character to improve God’s creation so that all life—plant, animal, human—might flourish.

Man sinned, however, bringing death and futility into the world. God’s merciful instructions enable us to flourish in fallen futility, and the redemption God accomplished in Christ frees us from idolatrous approaches to work and motivates us to work unto the Lord to adorn the gospel as our vocations become the arenas in which we love God and neighbor. In spite of all God has done, however, we are not what we were prior to sin, and the world has been subjected to futility.

One question that continues to pop up in the minds of believe is, will there be work in the new Heavens and the new Earth? James Hamilton answers that question:

To ask that question is to ask what we can say about work after Christ returns to consummate redemption. What will work look like in the new heavens and the new earth?

We cannot be sure, of course, because God’s way is to do what has never before been seen or imagined (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9). As Paul said, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

We have, however, two kinds of information from which we can formulate conclusions about the perspective of the biblical authors on what awaits us. On the one hand, we have details found in particular statements about the future, and on the other hand, we have a broader picture in which these details are to be understood.

The broader picture takes its outline from the Old Testament expectation of a new exodus, new Sinai law, new temple, new experience of the Spirit, new pilgrimage through the wilderness, and new conquest of the land, which is a new Eden, all led by a new King from David’s line. This fund of imagery is the account from which the New Testament draws when it shows the payoff of all that Jesus accomplished. This fund of imagery is also drawn on when the New Testament points to what Jesus will accomplish when he returns.

God will bring to pass the purposes he set out to achieve when he spoke the world into existence. God has not trashed his first failed attempt and started over. To the contrary, what he set out to do when he made this world he will bring about when he makes it new. God will make the world new, and we will do new work.

The new work we will do is the work of ruling and subduing, working and keeping, exercising dominion and rendering judgment, all as God’s people in God’s place in God’s way.

So there will be work in Heaven, but it will not be grueling as it has been due to the Fall. It will be a work we will enjoy for all eternity.

Music Monday: Church Songs: Vol.1 from PSALLOS

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Place of Marriage in Our Own Heart

Everyone who reveres the gospel has compelling reasons to champion biblical sexual ethics. It is falling to our generation to raise up a prophetic counterculture in the face of the sexual revolution’s direct attack on Christ and his marital appeal at the heart of the gospel. The fact that we too are sinners does not exempt us from taking this stand. Our own sinfulness simply means that we take our stand with humility and honesty. But we must not be silent. What is at stake in our sexuality is nothing less than the gospel itself. We need a massive spiritual cleansing coming down from above upon our generation, because a tsunami of sexual defilement has slammed us in the face. For example, every Christian man and woman who cannot stop looking at Internet pornography must have the humility to go to his or her pastor and say, “Pastor, I have a problem. I’m out of control. I am viewing, and thereby participating in, the violation of women and children. I am living in active denial of my Savior and everything he stands for. I love the Lord. But I can’t stop. I don’t make sense to myself. I need help.” As the Holy Spirit renews our vision of our own sexuality, married and single, men and women, and as the Spirit stirs our hearts to care more about the glory of the Lord than our own face saving, the pastors of our churches today will be wonderfully swamped with inquiries from honest sinners longing to be clean again.

The blood of Jesus God’s Son powerfully cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7). But nothing will change until we get radical. Why not stop posing? Why not stop today? Why not face our sexual sins without a moment’s further delay and fight together by faith for the recovery of our integrity before the Lord? Again, it is sinners whom God wants to use in this generation. Sin as such does not disqualify us; it is only unconfessed sin that disqualifies us. But the blood of Jesus wonderfully cleanses away every sin that we will honestly confront within the community of a safe, gospel-centered church. When the world sees more repentance in our churches, our churches will see more repentance in the world.

If the Bible is telling us the truth about reality, then Ryan Anderson is not overstating the matter when he calls every one of us to rebuild in the present for the sake of the future, whatever the cost to us today:

The church needs to find a way to capture the moral imagination of the next generation. It needs to make the truth about human sexuality and its fulfillment in marriage not only attractive and appealing, but noble and exhilarating. This is a truth worth staking one’s life on.

If the Bible is telling us the truth about reality, then the time has come for all Christians and churches to pray for power, to think with clarity, to confess with humility and to shout with joy on behalf of God’s priceless, blood-bought gift of marriage.

And to God alone be all the glory forever.

Excerpt from Marriage in the World Today which is based on Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund

Patience in Regards to Discipleship

In this video, Mark Vroegop, Pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, IN, speaks on how discipleship and patience go hand in hand. This sermon took place during the 9 Marks at Southeastern conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary:

Friday, January 13, 2017

Around The Web-January 13, 2017

5 Things The Seeker Movement Got Right by Jared C Wilson

Teach Your Children How to Deal With Conflict in the Church by Josh Buice

What Christianity Alone Offers Transgender Persons by Sam Allberry

Is The Reformation Over? by James Forbis

What Is the Regulative Principle of Worship? by Daniel Hyde

John MacArthur on the Legacy of Martin Luther

John Piper on killing your sin with fear and trembling

What does the Bible mean in Ephesians 2:10 when it says, we are God's workmanship?

The Place of Marriage in Today's Culture

There is more at stake in marriage than we ever could have known, without the mystery revealed in the Christian gospel (Eph. 5:32). So as we conclude this study of marriage, let’s think through some personal implications for our own lives. The implications are endless. But I will conclude with one momentous verse, relevant to all of us today: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4). That was a countercultural message in the first century, and it is countercultural today. But it is one of the ways we offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe (Heb. 12:28).

The emphasis of the verse lies on the words “held in honor,” that is, prized, valued, esteemed. The New Testament never says, “Let money be prized, valued, esteemed.” But God has called us all to feel just that way about marriage. It is to be honored and lifted up and protected among all believers, not only among married believers. It is the God-defined institution of marriage as such, not only my own personal marriage, that I am to esteem. The gospel has shown us that every believer has something personally wonderful at stake in the sacred reality marriage, as it points beyond itself to the endless love of Jesus for us all. Now God wants all of us to translate that new awareness into the active hallowing of marriage here in this world.

The gospel, when it is allowed to make its own natural impact, creates a pro-marriage culture among God’s people. Not that unmarried people are second-class, for single people living for Christ gain strategic advantages over married people (1 Cor. 7:25-35). But marriage bespeaks ultimate reality in a way that the single life does not. It was designed to. Human marriage has always been intended by God to serve as a prophetic whisper of the eternal marriage. Every real marriage in the world today makes that statement, to some degree, however weakly, because that is what marriage is. Very few realities in our lives bear such a sacred meaning and deserve such special consideration.

All churches, therefore, have a gospel-motivated obligation actively to teach and honor and promote marriage, for the display of the gospel in our world of confusion and despair. If we love the preaching of the gospel from pulpits, then we will also love the display of the gospel in marriages. Churches must not be neutral or casual about what so rejoices the heart of God.

Yes, marriage also provides social benefits, which both believers and unbelievers can appreciate, especially the rearing of children for the next generation in a secure and stable environment. For that reason alone, the state has a clear interest in supporting and protecting the institution of marriage. Marriage is not the private property of the Christian church. At the creation, God gave marriage to the entire human race. But no one, and not even the entire human race all together, has the right to redefine marriage on its own terms. Nor can anyone, or all of us together, however broad and even unanimous our consensus, expect marriage to succeed if it is reshaped according to what it never was and can never be. If the state fails in its duty to preserve and protect real marriage, there will be a personal, social, and historic cost, a painful and heavy human cost.

The United States Supreme Court, in the landmark case Obergefell versus Hodges on June 26, 2015, by a vote of five to four, ruled that the US Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex “marriage.” Writing in the New York Times, Adam Liptak explained that in this and other related cases “Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution, one that evolves with societal changes.” (The reporter’s candor reminds us that college English and literature and hermeneutics courses might be shaping the future of our world as powerfully as political science courses do.) But as damaging as that Supreme Court ruling is, and as ominous for the future, the state has been injuring a pro-marriage culture for decades. In 1969 Governor Ronald Reagan of California made what he later admitted was one of the biggest mistakes of his political life when he signed into effect the nation’s first no-fault divorce law, with other states following soon thereafter. The state made it easier to end a marriage in divorce, and so it was. But even as the state foolishly continues to undermine a pro-marriage culture, our churches must work all the harder to build a pro-marriage counterculture, where faithfulness and beauty and lasting love point the way not only to a better human society but also, and far more, to the eternal love of Christ.

Divorce grieves the heart of God. God feels strongly in favor of solidly happy marriages. Marriage is precious to the Father and Christ longs for his own with all the romantic passion of his mighty heart. If that gospel is the true drama of human history, and it is, then how could God not hate divorce and every injury we inflict on his precious gift of marriage? God does not hate divorced people. He does not hate gay people. He does not hate Supreme Court justices. He does not hate you and me. Fortunately for us all, “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But God’s people who have been divorced and gay and mistaken in many ways, that is, all believers in Christ—it is spiritual whores like us, having fallen exhausted and guilty into the arms of our bridegroom, who can now be compelling voices in favor of marriage. We know by experience the sorrows of every departure from God’s beautiful norm. Indeed, if Jonathan Edwards is right, if brokenhearted people make the best Christians, then we who have not lived up to God’s high standards for marriage and sexuality can serve best as advocates for those very standards. May our voices be humble but clear.

Hebrews 13:4 also says that the marriage bed must be undefiled, kept pure, its joys richly cultivated and its parameters strictly guarded. Why? We have seen that the biblical concern about sexual integrity is not a petty Victorian taboo, as if sex were dirty or even just beneath true spirituality. Just the opposite. Married sex, with its intimacy and desire and pleasure and intensity and adoration and satisfaction and rest, is a glorious metaphor of heaven. To betray our Lord’s sexual ethics, to drag his amazing gift into the gutter, is to deny the most sacred reality of all, the marriage of the Lamb, given his prophetic purpose invested in married sexuality. For God not to judge sexual sin would be for God to trivialize his own blood bought purposes.

Excerpt from Marriage in the World Today which is based on Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Place of Marriage in The Universe

If the Bible is telling us the truth about reality, then ultimacy is not cold, dark, blank space. Finality, in this universe we live in, is not cosmic emptiness going on and on forever, governed by no purpose, ruled by the laws of physics only, with no song, no poetry, no emotion, no laughter, no play, no love, no commitment, no sacrifice, no tears, and nothing humane and beautiful to live for and die for. If the Bible is telling us the truth about reality, then this horrible modern outlook is completely wrong, and the truth of our existence is the opposite of mechanistic nihilism.

If the Bible is telling us the truth about reality, then the universe we live in was created primarily with marital romance in mind. The heavens and the earth were created for the marriage of Adam and Eve. The new heavens and the new earth will be created for the marriage of Christ and his bride. The whole of cosmic reality exists as the venue for the eternal honeymoon of the perfect husband with his perfect bride in marital bliss forever and ever. This is the breathtaking claim of the Bible.

Excerpt from Marriage in the World Today which is based on Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund