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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Friday
Jan162015

Friday Feature -- I'd Love to See Their Reunion Tour

But there won't be a Sonseed reunion tour because none of the folks in this video would now admit to being in this video.  This is what happens when you mix CCM, American religion, and 80's music--the worst of all three.

Notice too, this video has nearly eight million YouTube views.  There are a slew of parody videos as well.  Watching Sonseed is like slowing down when passing a serious car accident.  You just can't help yourself.

Even worse, can you go all day without catching yourself humming the tune?

Wednesday
Jan142015

The Fast Food Object Lesson

No doubt, many of you have seen the clever display in Dr. Jaqueline Vaughn's chiropractic office:  Two Year Old Fast Food

To make a point about the importance of good nutrition, Dr. Vaughn purchased a McDonald's cheeseburger and a Taco Bell chicken taco in early 2013.  Despite being left on display in her office for nearly two years, there is no mold, no smell, and no noticeable deterioration in either the burger or the taco.

The intended lesson for Dr. Vaughn's patients is that fast food is bad for you because of the preservative chemicals in it.

But might we draw a completely different conclusion from the same display?  If the chemicals in a McDonald's cheeseburger and a Taco Bell chicken taco have preserved them from decay for nearly two years, why won't those preservatives do the same for those who eat this stuff?  Is it not possible that eating fast food, along with the preservative chemical additives, will actually preserve the innards of those who eat it?  Look what the chemicals did for the cheeseburger and taco!  Not quite the message that Dr. Vaughn intended.

Meanwhile, I am downing my daily nutri-bullet concoction for lunch, wishing it were a McDonald's cheeseburger or a Taco Bell chicken taco.

Tuesday
Jan132015

The Sad Tale of the Rise and Fall of the Oral and Richard Roberts Empire

There was a time when Oral Roberts was world famous, and he and his son Richard regularly hobnobbed with the likes of Elvis Presley.  What has happened to the Roberts empire since the glory days of the 1980s? 

Oral Roberts died in 2009, while son Richard still presides over what is left of the massive empire built by his father (Oral Roberts Ministries).  Long since forcibly removed from control of the university his father founded in Tulsa (ORU), an older, paunchy Richard Roberts is still on television, but now languishes in televangelist obscurity on small, late-night cable channels.

Here's the whole sad story of the decline of the Roberts family empire--an object lesson about the long-term consequences of the prosperity gospel, and family-run "ministries," which are actually tributes to their founder, and an unbearable burden to their less-capable children.

The Sad Decline of Oral and Richard Roberts.  The essay is a good read, and reminds us of the fading glory of those monuments built to ourselves out of pure self-interest.

Tuesday
Jan132015

"The Man Believed the Word" -- John 4:43-54

The Fifteenth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

It was not all that long ago (the 1980-90's) when many Christian leaders told us that in order for Christianity to survive in the modern world, it must be presented as a religion of signs and wonders.  In an age of science and skepticism, these Christians argued, the best way to overcome secularism and unbelief is to do what the early church did, perform signs and wonders to prove that Christianity is worthy of consideration.  In fact, we worship not far from the church (the Anaheim Vineyard) where the modern signs and wonders movement was launched (the “third wave”).  Why mention this?  At the end of John 4 (vv. 43-54) we discover that Jesus performed signs and wonders to confirm his messianic mission and to demonstrate that he was the Son of God who was fulfilling Old Testament prophecy.  But, as we will see, Jesus did not perform miracles to attract followers and large crowds.  He did not perform signs and wonders to create faith.  Whenever people flock to Jesus because they think he is a miracle-worker who can help them, his miracles actually become an obstacle to genuine faith in God’s word of promise spoken by Jesus.

As we continue our series on the Gospel of John we come to the final section of John 4, and the account of Jesus returning to Galilee when he heals an unnamed Galilean official’s son.  Before we turn to the details of the passage and the healing which took place, there is one matter we need to address.  Since this account sounds very much like the healing of the centurion’s servant as recounted in Matthew 8:5-13, critical scholars claim that what follows in John 4 is a reference to the same event.  Critical scholars assume that John’s Gospel was not written by John (the disciple) and therefore does not contain eyewitness testimony.  So, in their view, the author of John read or was familiar with the healing of the centurion in Matthew’s account, took it as his own and modified it (garbling it in the process), and then sticks it here in John’s Gospel to make a theological point.

When I speak of critical scholars I am referring to those who assume that miracles are impossible, and that the gospels do not describe factual events and really do not need to.  The Gospels are essentially a group of “Jesus stories,” which reflect more of what the author of John thought and believed about Jesus, than what actually happened in Galilee when Jesus arrived there after returning from Jerusalem.  To the critical mind what matters is the point of the story and the experience we derive from retelling it, not whether the events described therein actually happened.  So, if you have two miracle stories in the New Testament which sound alike, critical scholars jump to the conclusion that you have two versions of the same story–the version in John’s Gospel may get the details wrong, but is inserted at this point in the Gospel to beef up the narrative and create drama as the story takes Jesus back into the Galilee region.

What critical scholars refuse to consider is that everything we have read in John so far has the ring of truth about it (the places John mentions are real places which can be located on both ancient and modern maps, the historical events fit at the right time and place as John recounts them, etc.).  John himself tells us in the last two verses of his Gospel that “this is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.  Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”  Critical scholars act as though such declarations are not important, or even that someone else (who was not an eyewitness) can write this gospel in John’s name and falsely make the claims we have just read, and supposedly such practice was commonplace.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Jan122015

Westminster Seminary California's Annual Conference, "Christ Our Wisdom"

If you are unable to attend WSC's annual conference this coming Friday and Saturday, just a head's up that you can watch the conference via live-streaming.

Here's the link: Christ Our Wisdom

Monday
Jan122015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (January 12-18)

Sunday Morning (January 18):  We continue our sermon series on 2 Peter and Jude.  This coming Lord's Day we will take up Peter's discussion of the prophetic word in 2 Peter 1:12-21.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  I am continuing my series on the Canons of Dort, and this Lord's Day we are working our way through the Fifth Head of Doctrine (articles 4-5).  We will discuss the dangers of falling into serious sin.  Our  catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (January 14, 2015)We return to our series on Romans--picking up with Romans 12.

The Academy:  The Academy will resume on January 30, 2015, when we return to our study of Michael Horton's The Christian Faith.  We will pick up where we left up previously--chapter eight, p. 278, and Michael's discussion of the Holy Trinity.

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

Sunday
Jan112015

"Make Your Calling and Election Sure" -- 2 Peter 1:3-11

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon, the second in a series of sermons on 2 Peter:  Click Here

Sunday
Jan112015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Greater Than Angels

This week on the White Horse Inn we are continuing our study through the Book of Hebrews, looking at the superiority of Christ’s sacrifice. We are joined once more by Dennis Johnson and Zach Keele. Dennis Johnson is Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Seminary California, as well as a minister at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, CA. He is the author of several books including Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All of Scripture, Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, and The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption. Zach Keele is a frequent contributor to Modern Reformation and the pastor of Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He is the co-author of Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored.

Join us this week as we discuss the nature of Christ’s priestly sacrifice. Why do we need a human mediator? How is Jesus’ priestly work superior to the old covenant? On what basis should we reject old covenant worship as obsolete? What hope can we draw from this Epistle? Let’s listen in as we delve into the Book of Hebrews on the White Horse Inn.

Click Here

Friday
Jan092015

"Je Suis Charlie"! Not so Fast

David Brooks' editorial I Am Not Charlie Hebdo in the New York Times is spot on, and I encourage you to read it in its entirety.

A couple of salient quotes from Brooks:

Public reaction to the attack in Paris has revealed that there are a lot of people who are quick to lionize those who offend the views of Islamist terrorists in France but who are a lot less tolerant toward those who offend their own views at home.

Just look at all the people who have overreacted to campus micro-aggressions. The University of Illinois fired a professor who taught the Roman Catholic view on homosexuality. The University of Kansas suspended a professor for writing a harsh tweet against the N.R.A. Vanderbilt University derecognized a Christian group that insisted that it be led by Christians. 

The first thing to say, I suppose, is that whatever you might have put on your Facebook page yesterday, it is inaccurate for most of us to claim, Je Suis Charlie Hebdo, or I Am Charlie Hebdo. Most of us don’t actually engage in the sort of deliberately offensive humor that that newspaper specializes in.

In most societies, there’s the adults’ table and there’s the kids’ table. The people who read Le Monde or the establishment organs are at the adults’ table. The jesters, the holy fools and people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are at the kids’ table. They’re not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.

Healthy societies, in other words, don’t suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect. Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct.

Brooks concludes,

The massacre at Charlie Hebdo should be an occasion to end speech codes. And it should remind us to be legally tolerant toward offensive voices, even as we are socially discriminating.

Thursday
Jan082015

Friday Feature -- My Favorite TV Show as a Kid

As a kid, I loved the TV series Combat.  Vic Morrow's brooding character Sgt. Saunders . . .  Rick Jason's cool and collected Lt. Hanley. . .   And then there was Kirby and his BAR.