Living in Light of Two Ages
Holding on to Hope
On this program, Michael Horton talks with Nancy Guthrie about the personal story behind her book, Holding on to Hope: A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God. What are some of the unhelpful ways in which we as Christians often attempt to comfort those who are going through difficult times? Why is it so important to avoid platitudes?
Dr. Brian Lee's commentary on the World Vision debacle is must reading. He states,
I belong to a near-extinct breed of churchmen who have a certain disdain for parachurch organizations, based upon deeply held convictions about the Gospel, and the church. We live in a religious landscape increasingly dominated by the parachurch — where the church indeed is increasingly modeled on the parachurch — so this is one of those lessons worth considering further. We need to understand why parachurch organizations are destined for trouble, and the World Vision case is a perfect illustration.
To read the rest of Dr. Lee's editorial, On the World Vision Debacle
Roberto Clemente is best remembered for his bat (3000 hits) and for his charity work (he died in a plane crash while taking relief supplies to earthquake victims). But he could also throw, and reportedly had the strongest arm in baseball. Here's the evidence from the 1971 World Series.
According to comprehensive research conducted at Stanford in 2012, "literary reading provides `a truly valuable exercise of people's brains.'" Your Brain on Jane Austen
Preliminary results are pretty remarkable . . .
Surprising preliminary results reveal a dramatic and unexpected increase in blood flow to regions of the brain beyond those responsible for "executive function," areas which would normally be associated with paying close attention to a task, such as reading, said Natalie Phillips, the literary scholar leading the project.
During a series of ongoing experiments, functional magnetic resonance images track blood flow in the brains of subjects as they read excerpts of a Jane Austen novel. Experiment participants are first asked to leisurely skim a passage as they might do in a bookstore, and then to read more closely, as they would while studying for an exam.
Phillips said the global increase in blood flow during close reading suggests that "paying attention to literary texts requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions." Blood flow also increased during pleasure reading, but in different areas of the brain. Phillips suggested that each style of reading may create distinct patterns in the brain that are "far more complex than just work and play."
I'm not sure reading Jane Austen will have the same effect upon me, however. Not a fan . . . But I wonder how someone reading Nietzsche would react--does this impair or increase brain function? And what happens to someone listening to the prophecies of the Third Eagle of the Apocalypse? Or someone who reads the Riddleblog?
Regardless, pick up a good book and read it. It will do your brain some good!
(h.t. Ken Samples)
Long time reader and commenter on this blog (our friend RubeRad--who is also one of the contributors to the Confessional Outhouse) has announced the release of a new book by his aunt, Reading Scripture Together. The Book is designed to point out the differences between the Bible and the Qur'an so as to begin fruitful dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
Here's the publisher's blurb:
What is genuine dialogue between a Christian and Muslim? First, it is NOT an agreement that all paths up the spiritual mountain to God are equal and equally valid. Second, neither is it an "I'm right, you're wrong," closed-minded, tit-for-tat exchange a genuine dialogue. Genuine dialogue is sharing your beliefs with someone else while at the same time learning about his or hers. Genuine dialogue is forged in the crucible of friendship and can culminate in some of the most meaningful sharing you will ever experience. May you experience that kind of dialogue through the seven sessions of this study guide, which takes you into the text of the Bible and the Qur'an.
You can order it from Amazon: Reading Scripture Together
it is also available on Kindle: Reading Scripture Together (Kindle)
The Twentieth in a Series of Sermons on the Epistle to the Hebrews
You would think that if God were going to raise up someone to lead his people to freedom from their bondage under the Pharaoh of Egypt, he would choose someone other than Moses–a man who didn’t speak well in public, and who killed an Egyptian before fleeing across the Red Sea to the Sinai peninsula to go into hiding and remaining there until God summoned him back to Egypt. You would also think that if you were going to list those people most closely associated with the Exodus and conquest of Canaan whose faith stands out as an example for us to follow, you would probably mention Joshua or Caleb. Instead, the only name which appears in Hebrews 11 in connection to the Conquest is that of Rahab, a woman who owned a brothel in the city of Jericho. God does indeed move in mysterious ways, and to accomplish his purposes, he often uses people whom we would never chose nor ever expect him to use.
When we left-off in our series on Hebrews, we were working our way through Hebrews 11, often described as the “hall of faith.” The chapter has been given this label because, as is often taught, the author lists a number of the great saints from the Old Testament and their exploits so that we might emulate their example. “Have faith like Abraham had and do what Abraham did.” But as I have been arguing throughout our time in this chapter, the example these people set for us is secondary to the author’s primary purpose. As I see it, the author’s emphasis falls not so much on the faith of the individuals mentioned here, but on the continuity of God’s covenant promise which progressively unfolds throughout redemptive history as seen by the presence of believers throughout the whole of biblical history. These people believed (or trusted) the same thing–God’s gracious covenant promise. Therefore, the importance of this famous passage is not to be found so much in the example set for us by those listed here, but in the continuity of God’s promise across the ages. And this means that the same gospel was found throughout the Old Testament which has been revealed by Jesus and taught us by the apostles in the New, which is the primary point of Hebrews 11.
As we take up the last part of this chapter (verses 29-40), it is apparent that the author begins to pick up the pace of his discussion, as though he realizes that his exposition of God’s promise throughout the Old Testament could go on and on for an extended number of pages. The author’s concern in presenting this survey of those who believed God’s promise is to remind those in the original audience of the consequence of returning to Judaism after having made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. This is why his readers/hearers need to be very clear about the fact that God’s covenant promise, which unfolds throughout the pages of the Old Testament, is fulfilled through the person and work of Jesus Christ. There has only been one promise. The Old Testament saints believed it. And those receiving this letter we know as the Book of Hebrews must hold fast to it. It is the same covenant promise after all, now fulfilled in the doing and dying of Jesus.
To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here
Mike discusses his new book on Calvin with R. Scott Clark for the Westminster Seminary California podcast, "Office Hours"
There are five seasons in my world--Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Baseball season. Opening day means 162 new box scores, catching a few minutes of MLB Tonight before going to bed, and sneaking a peek at Game Day (the greatest benefit of Al Gore's internet).
It is Time for Predictions (Leave yours in the comments section below):
AL East: Tampa in a squeaker (with Boston or the Yankees winning the wild card)
Al Central: Detroit (pitching, pitching, and more pitching)
AL West: Texas
NL East: Atlanta (Nats winning the wild card)
NL Central: The Cards (who will win the World Series)
NL West: The Dodgers (pitching, hitting, and more pitching)
Sunday Morning (April 6, 2014): This coming Lord's Day we are discussing our Lord's death for our sins as recounted by John (John 19:16b-30).
Sunday Afternoon: I am continuing my series on the Canons of Dort. We are covering the third/fourth head of doctrine, articles 1-2 which deal with the effects of the fall. The catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday Night Bible Study (April 2 2014): In our "Studies in the Book of Revelation," we will be covering Revelation 16. Bible Study begins at 7:30 p.m.
Friday Night Academy (April 4, 2014): We are studying Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith, and we'll continue in part two, chapter eight, (273 ff.) and the section on the Holy Trinity. The Academy begins @ 7:30 p.m.
For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website: Christ Reformed Church