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Living in Light of Two Ages

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Thursday
Apr102014

Baseball and Bacon

It was just a matter of time.  The perfect food-sports marriage.  Bacon and baseball.

The Lehigh Valley Ironpigs--the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies--have a new look.  A strip of bacon on their cap and matching jersey is one of the logos for their "Saturday" home uniforms.

I'm not a fan of teams coming up with a slew of different jerseys solely for sales revenue--can't beat the pinstripes or the road "grays."  But this is pretty innovative.  The Ironpigs have a different look for each day.  Check out Saturday's "story" and "look."  Smell the Change

Wednesday
Apr092014

Godfrey on Arminius, Mohler on Moralism, and an RNS Article on Israel

Dr. W. Robert Godfrey reviews a new book on Jacob Arminius (Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall, Jacob Arminius, Theologian of Grace, Oxford University Press, 2012).  Godfrey concludes, that the volume Arminius, Theologian of Grace,

succeeds in what it set out to do: present an introduction to the theology of Arminius. The book helped me see Arminius as a theologian of the goodness of God. It did not convince me that he teaches the biblical doctrine of grace.

To read the whole review, click here:  Godfrey on Arminius, Theologian of Grace 

Al Mohler's essay Moralism is Not the Gospel is well worth reading.  Mohler writes

In our own context, one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.

You might enjoy Sarah Pulliam Bailey's recent post on Religion News Service addressing the marked decline in Evangelical support for Israel.  She quotes some guy named Riddlebarger.  Is Support for Israel Waning?

Tuesday
Apr082014

"Something Better for Us" -- Hebrews 11:29-40

The Twenty-First in a Series of Sermons on the Epistle to the Hebrews

Throughout Hebrews 11, the author uses the phrase “by faith” in reference to the particular individuals singled out for mention in this well-known chapter of the Bible.  Those mentioned here–who are found throughout the whole of the Old Testament, prior to the dawn of the messianic age–believed that God would keep his covenant promise.  But for everyone on the list, the fulfillment of that promise was still far off in the distant future.  As the author of Hebrews has been pointing out, it was not until the coming of Jesus Christ that the exact nature of God’s covenant promise and the wonderful benefits our Lord secures for us become clear.  That for which these Old Testament saints longed, is for us, a glorious and present reality.  What God had promised to the Old Testament saints, is now fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
   
Last time we took up the closing verses of Hebrews 11, the so-called “hall of faith.”  As we have seen throughout our time in this chapter, the author of Hebrews is making the point that there has always been one covenant promise–“I will be your God and you will be my people”–and that this same covenant promise unfolds throughout the pages of the Old Testament.  In Hebrews 11, the author appeals to a litany of well-known people who believed this promise.  Although the people mentioned here serve as an example to us of sorts, the author’s primary purpose in this chapter is not to present these Old Testament saints as examples for us to emulate.  Rather, his purpose is to remind his Jewish readers that the same promise which these Old Testament saints believed, pointed ahead to the coming of Jesus Christ, in whom the promise has been fulfilled.  Therefore, the author’s emphasis falls on the continuity of the covenant promise (God’s promise does not change across time), not so much on the example these saints set for us–some of whom, as we will see, were not very saintly.

As we have spent time in this chapter, I have divided it into sections based upon the biblical time period in which those mentioned lived.  In verses 1-3, the author defined faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” before mentioning three men who lived before the great flood (Abel, Enoch, and Noah, in verses 4-7).  Next, in verses 8-16, the author takes up a discussion of Abraham and his belief that the land of promise (Canaan) pointed beyond itself “to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”  When seen through the eyes of faith, earthly prosperity and blessing points ahead to eternal and spiritual realities.  In verses 17-22, the author moves from the account of Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, to Joseph–this is the era of the patriarchs.  In verses 23-28, the author turns to Moses and the Passover–Israel’s time of slavery in Egypt and bondage under Pharaoh.  Then, as we saw last time (in verses 29-31), the author takes up the discussion of Israel’s Exodus through the sea–without any mention of Israel’s journey into the wilderness–before taking up Israel’s entrance into Canaan (the so-called Conquest) and the fall of the Canaanite city of Jericho.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Apr072014

"Basics of the Reformed Faith" -- Free eBook!

My friend John Hendryx (the proprietor of Monergism.com) is making available the series of short essays I wrote several years ago for the Valiant for Truth blog of Westminster Seminary California.

Basics of the Reformed Faith is a free download and is available in Kindle and ePub formats.

You can find it here:  Basics of the Reformed Faith--Free eBook

Thanks John!

Monday
Apr072014

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 7-13)

Sunday Morning (April 13, 2014):  We are continuing our series on the Gospel of John, and we come to the account of Jesus' burial in John 19:31-42.

Sunday AfternoonI am continuing my series on the Canons of Dort.  We are covering the third/fourth head of doctrine, article 3 which deals with "total inability." The catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m. 

Wednesday Night Bible Study (April 9 2014):  In our "Studies in the Book of Revelation," we will be covering Revelation 16 and Armegeddon.  Bible Study begins at 7:30 p.m.

Friday Night Academy (April 11, 2014):  We are studying Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith, and we'll continue in part two, chapter eight, (279 ff.) and the section on the Holy Trinity.  The Academy begins @ 7:30 p.m.

Easter Week Services:

Maundy Thursday (April 17 @ 7:30 p.m.)  "I Am the Bread of Life"

Good Friday (April 18 @ 7:30 p.m.)  "I Will Remember Their Sins and Lawless Deeds No More"

Easter Sunday (April 20 @ 10:25 a.m.)  "He Must Rise from the Dead"

For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website:  Christ Reformed Church

Sunday
Apr062014

"It Is Finished" -- John 19:16b-30

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon: Click Here

Sunday
Apr062014

This Week's White Horse Inn

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?

Click Here

 

Friday
Apr042014

Brian Lee Addresses the World Vision Controversy in "The Federalist"

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

Friday
Apr042014

Friday Feature--Roberto's Arm

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.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Your Brain on Jane Austen

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)