Living in Light of Two Ages
On this program the hosts are continuing their series unpacking the implications of the ascension of Christ. Now that he has died for our sins and has been raised for our justification, what is Christ doing? Is his saving work merely a thing of the past?
The hosts will focus particularly on his present ministry as our advocate and intercessor before the Father, and his everlasting reign as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Join the hosts as they continue this series and unpack the implications of Christ’s ascension on the White Horse Inn.
The Second in a Series of Sermons on 2 Peter
There is a reason why Peter’s second epistle and the small book of Jude are not well-known, or widely read and preached upon in the churches. In both these letters, we find emphatic warnings about false teachers and the dangers of false doctrine they spread. For those who embrace the church-lite ethos of American Christianity, the message of 2 Peter and Jude will not be appreciated, nor warmly received. While many preachers and churches wish to emphasize the positive, 2 Peter and Jude remind us of the negative. There is truth, and there is error. If we believe the one (truth) we are going to encounter the other (error). When contemporaries tell us that doctrine does not matter, 2 Peter and Jude remind us that it does. If our contemporaries seek unity and avoid controversy to the point of fostering a willingness to make peace with false teaching, then 2 Peter and Jude both warn us of the great dangers of doing exactly that.
This is not to say unity is a bad thing–Christians are to seek unity around the truth of those doctrines passed down to us by Jesus and his apostles in the pages of Holy Scripture. Reformed Christians identify our own doctrinal standards as the “Three Forms of Unity” for a very important reason. We believe particular doctrines, and unite around them by confessing a common faith–a faith which we believe to be biblical and which is clearly and concisely summarized in our confessions. Unity is very important, so long as it grounded in the truth of those things taught in God’s word.
The Psalmist tells us “behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” ( Psalm 133:1). Jesus prays that his people would be one (John 17:11). Paul likewise speaks of Christians standing together because we are one body and indwelt by the same Holy Spirit. We have one common hope, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Eph 6:4-5). We may each be different parts, but we are all members of the body of Christ. This is precisely why false doctrine is so dangerous–it is as though one part of the body has cancer, or has become gangrenous. Such seriously illness in one part of the body must be dealt with immediately when it arises, and even perhaps removed, to maintain the health of the whole.
Sadly, we know too well those overzealous folk who apply the label “heretic” to anyone with whom they have the even slightest doctrinal disagreement. It is one thing to defend the truth from error. It is quite another when ill-informed, or just plain ornery people, all-too easily declare others to be heretics, without serious consultation of the perceived heretic’s entire body of work, consideration of their character, and often without any regard to the disruption of the peace of the church, or the creation of schisms and factions which can result from such rash declarations. Defend the truth we must. Identify false teachers we must. Repudiate and refute their teaching we must. But there is a right way to do this. And there is a wrong way. Peter and Jude will lead us in the right way.
For good or for ill, as the case may be, Peter and Jude wrote before the advent of the self-professed internet theologian–typically a bright and witty (or even a caustic) person, who, having no formal theological training, who writes on doctrinal matters they may not fully understand but with the certainty of a papal decree. The good thing about such people is that they challenge and lampoon sacred cows and pomposity which cry out for such treatment. They often are often the first ones to smell the smoke of false doctrine, which, if not extinguished, can lead to a serious and destructive fire. But all too often, the internet theologian engages in gossip, speaks authoritatively to matters about which they only know little, and often times in open violation of the ninth commandment, casting their opponent in the worst possible light. Internet theologians can be brave behind the anonymity of their computers and tablets, but rarely if ever do they thoroughly investigate, personally consult, or properly research those whom they engage from behind the safety of their IP address.
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Sunday Morning, May 15: We are privileged to have Rev. Brad Lenzner preaching this Lord's Day. His sermon will be on Exodus 10:21-29 and Ephesians 5:1-14 and is entitled, "A Darkness to Be Felt." Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Afternoon: Rev. Lenzner will be leading our catechism service, focusing upon Lord's Day 20 (Q & A 53). Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday Night Bible Study, May 11: We are going verse by verse through 1 Thessalonians. We are discussing Paul's doctrine of our Lord's second advent from 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff. Our study begins at 7:30 p.m.
This Week's White Horse Inn
On this program the hosts continue their series on the ascension of Christ. What are its implications for how we interpret the New Testament? What does it mean for us today? In his farewell discourse, Jesus explained to his disciples that it is actually good that he goes away, since from heaven he will send “another advocate,” referring to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, Jesus says, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and lead his followers into all truth.
By his life of obedience and sacrificial death, Jesus accomplished redemption once and for all, but now from his exalted heavenly throne he sends us the Holy Spirit to grant us repentance and enduring faith. Join the hosts as they continue their new series and unpack the implications of Christ’s ascension on the White Horse Inn.
One of the hardest things to do in life is to say "goodbye" to dear friends. It is even harder when these dear friends are folks with whom you've labored together in serving Christ and his church.
Dr. Pam Compton was Christ Reformed's organist for more than ten years. Pam is not only a great organist (frankly, she's the best!), I cannot tell you how many times she helped me with hymn selection, selected better tunes for congregational singing, and prevented me from otherwise embarrassing myself due to my musical ignorance. Pam, thanks for every note!
Andrew served Christ Reformed for the past five years as our associate pastor. Talk about a faithful shepherd! Andrew preached Christ boldly, and faithfully counseled, married, buried, and tended the flock with that rare and God-given balance between strong words and words of compassion. Andrew, what a great blessing and a joy it was to serve with you as a co-laborer in the gospel ministry.
Pam and Andrew, I cannot thank you enough for your years of faithful service and hard work. To a person, our congregation feels the same way. We are praying for a wonderful, new chapter in your lives.
We will miss you both dearly, but we send you on your way with our heartiest blessings and we wish you well in your new endeavors in Indiana as Andrew takes up the task of teaching Old Testament at Mid-America Reformed Seminary.
Until we meet again!
The First in a Series of Sermons on 2 Peter
We begin an eight-part study of the Second Epistle of Peter, continuing our larger series on 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude. From the moment we open this all-too often overlooked, but very important letter ascribed to the Apostle Peter, it soon becomes apparent that there are a number of problems to faced by anyone who attempts to preach through this letter, or treat it as a genuine apostolic document that belongs among those God-breathed writings which make up the canon of the New Testament. In fact, the problems we encounter with this epistle are significant enough that the vast majority of biblical scholars dismiss even the possibility that this epistle was written by the Apostle Peter–in spite of the opening words in which the author claims to be “Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.” Despite the judgment of so many scholars to the contrary, I think a good case can be made for Petrine authorship of this short epistle, and that it does indeed belong in the canon of the New Testament.
A sermon is not a good (or really even an appropriate) place to tackle complicated questions of New Testament introduction. Since these difficulties are so apparent in 2 Peter, and since we will spend several Sundays in this letter, we cannot ignore the matter. So, we will address the questions of authorship and authenticity, and then survey some of the theological themes in this epistle, before we conclude by briefly taking up the opening greeting from Peter found in the first two verses.
Called the “ugly stepchild” of the New Testament–because there are so many issues surrounding its authenticity–the reader of this epistle will soon notice two important difficulties. First, even upon a cursory reading, it is clear that there significant differences in the style of writing and choice of words between 1 and 2 Peter–a problem which must be addressed if the Apostle Peter is responsible for both epistles. As Richard Bauckham has pointed out, there are some fifty-seven words in 2 Peter not found anywhere else in the New Testament (so-called hapax legomena), as well as thirty-two words used in 2 Peter which are not found in the LXX. This means that many of the words the author uses are not “biblical” in the sense that they are not drawn directly from the Old Testament. Since many of these unique words are widely used in Hellenistic Greek writings, this fact suggests to many that the author was someone more cosmopolitan than a man like Simon Peter, a Galilean fisherman.
Even John Calvin had reservations about this epistle on this same ground, noting “there were some who were led by the diversity of style to think that Peter was not the author. Although some difficulty can be traced, I admit that there is a clear difference which argues for different writers.” Yet, despite such reservations, Calvin accepts the epistle as genuine on the grounds that the “majesty of the Spirit of Christ expresses itself in all parts of the epistle, [therefore] I have a dread of repudiating it, even though I do not recognize in it the genuine language of Peter.” Calvin raises the question many others have asked as well. How could the same writer produce two letters so different in both style and wording?
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Sunday Morning, May 8: We are privileged to have Rev. Danny Hyde preaching this Lord's Day on Ruth 1:1-22 and Ephesians 2:11-22. His sermon is entitled, "Where Would You Turn?" Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Afternoon: Rev. Hyde will be covering article 26 of the Belgic Confession, "The Glory of Our Ascended Mediator." Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday Night Bible Study, May 4: We are going verse by verse through 1 Thessalonians. We have come to chapter 4:13 ff., and are discussing Paul's doctrine of our Lord's second advent. Our study begins at 7:30 p.m.