Social Network Links
Powered by Squarespace
Search the Riddleblog
"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources


Living in Light of Two Ages



A Very Pleasant Surprise . . .

The members of the Selbständige Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche surprised me with a German edition of my book, A Case for Amillennialism.

The translation was done by one of the church members and approved by the publisher (Baker Books).  The German title means "Dispute Over the Millennium."


Heidelberg Conference on Reformed Theology Begins


We arrived safely in Heideberg and met a wonderful group of like-minded Reformed folk.  The photo on the left is the conference banner, and the other photo is of me making my introductory remarks with Jorg Muller, the conference translator.


Our European Adventure

Our first stop is Heidelberg, where I am speaking at the 2015 Heidelberg Conference on Reformed Theology (you can find info on the annual conference here:  Heidelberg Conference 2015).

I will also be preaching at the Selbständige Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche (the Independent Evangelical Reformed Church) on the Lord's Day (Sunday, September 20).  Rev. Sebastian Heck is the pastor, and directs the Reformation 2 Germany  project.  For more info about the church, go here:  Independent Evangelical Reformed Church of Heidelberg.

Our next stop is Bern, where we will spend a couple of days playing tourist, and then Lording willing, meet up with a "DNA" cousin, who will take us to Langnau-Im-Emmital (a city in the Canton of Bern) and then to the "Rothlisberg" (a small hill nearby), which is the home of our mutual ancestors--the Rotlisbergers of Bern.

After a few days in the Jungfrau the Swiss Alps, we will head on to Milan, where I will be preaching for the URC congregation there on the Lord's Day (September 27).  The pastor is Rev. Andrea Ferrari, who has preached at Christ Reformed.  You can check out the church's website (in Italian -- Chiesa Riformata Filadelphia) or take a look at the Reformation Italy Project (Reformation Italy)

I am thrilled to meet up with two old friends doing such great work in Europe, and then meeting a new cousin, who, until the wonders of DNA testing came on the scene, I would have never known I had.


"Remember the Lord Who Is Great and Mighty" -- Nehemiah 4:1-23

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon, the fourteenth in a series of sermons on Ezra-Nehemiah:  Click Here


This Week's White Horse Inn

Generation Me

We are continuing our series on authority and the Christian life on the White Horse Inn. This week we will be discussing “Generation Me.” How does the millennial generation view itself? What are its characteristics? Who are the millennials? How is their basic outlook on life different from preceding generations? Why does it matter?

According to certain studies, the period in which you were born has more influence on your personality than the parents who raised you. What are the implications of this? How do generational differences relate to the concept of personal identity? Michael Horton discusses these issues and more with Jean Twenge, professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and author of Generation Me. Join us this week on another edition of the White Horse Inn.

Click Here


"You Are Not of the World' -- John 15:18-16:4a

The Forty-Eighth in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

Why do non-Christians dislike Christianity and Christians so much?  No doubt, we ask for and deserve much of the world’s scorn because some Christians do stupid things, and then feel good that the world “hates” them.  Then, there are many Christians who profess one thing, but do another.  Hypocrisy is ugly.  Granted, there are bad examples of Christians and Christianity continually upon display–the media loves to point these out, and probably should.  But I’m talking about the fundamental divide between how Christians view the world, the human condition, human nature, and the important things in life, with those who reject Jesus, his word (scripture) and his claims (to be the way, the truth, and the life).  With but a few moments remaining to instruct his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus answers this latter question.  Because the world hates him, the world will hate his followers.  The disciples will soon discover what Jesus means in the hours ahead, and his warning is given to prepare them for what will surely be the worst three days they will ever experience.  They have given up everything to follow Jesus, and soon he will be dead and they will be hated.  Jesus’ hour has come, and everything is about to change.  The disciples must be prepared to face the tumultuous days which lay ahead.

We now resume our series on the Gospel of John.  When we left off before Advent (with Jesus’ discourse on the vine and its branches in John 15:1-17), Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Passover in a rented upper room in Jerusalem.  This was Jesus’ last night with his disciples, and he used their remaining moments together to give his final instructions to his closest followers.  When the Passover meal was finished, Jesus told them his hour has come–meaning that his messianic mission has come to its conclusion.  At this point, the disciples understood this statement to mean that Jesus’ final showdown with the religious leadership of Israel is at hand.  In the days after Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, things have come to a head, but the disciples still had no idea as to the turn of events which would take place later that evening, and for which Jesus is preparing them.  

Jesus has just delivered the shocking news that one of their own (Judas) would betray him, and that their leader (Peter) would soon desert Jesus in his hour of trial.  Jesus also told his disciples that it was good that he depart from them because the Father would send them another “Helper,” the blessed Holy Spirit.  The disciples, of course, want to know where Jesus was going so that they might follow him.  Jesus has told them that where he is going, they cannot yet come.  Jesus will have much more to say about the “Helper” as the discourse draws to a close, as we will see in the weeks to come.

As recounted in the synoptic gospels, throughout the final phases of his messianic mission, Jesus spoke openly of his death and resurrection.  According to John’s account, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead just days before Palm Sunday.  Jesus also spoke candidly about how the disciples would soon find themselves is a new and unexpected situation.  But Jesus’ words about these things only exposed the disciples’ collective misunderstanding of what he was telling them, and they still had many questions to ask of Jesus even though the time had come for the Lord to depart for the Garden of Gethsemane.  It was there that Jesus would have his fateful encounter with the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas (the high priest), as these foes were led to Jesus by the traitor Judas in exchange for a mere thirty pieces of silver.  

As we saw at the end of chapter 14, when Jesus got up to leave the Upper Room and go to Gethsemane, the disciples did not want their time together to end.  The discussion continued on for some time including the discourse of the vine and its branches in John 15, and including the material to the end of chapter 17.  The disciples are beginning to understand that their time with Jesus is coming to an end, and there are many loose ends to tie up before Jesus departs.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here


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

Sunday Morning (September 13):  We are continuing our series on Ezra-Nehemiah and will work our way through Nehemiah 4, when the people of God face serious opposition.  Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We  continue our study of the Heidelberg Catechism, and will focus upon the three things we need to know in Lord's Day One (Q & A 2).  Our service beings @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study Will resume in the Fall (TBA)

The Academy:  On Hiatus until Fall (TBA)

For More Information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook)


"They Consecrated It" -- Nehemiah 3:1-32

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon, the thirteenth in our series on Ezra-Nehemiah.


This Week's White Horse Inn

Brand Me

In September we will be looking at issues of authority on the White Horse Inn. To better understand the world in which we live and how to bring the gospel to our culture, it is vital to understand how our culture has come to shape our values, our beliefs, and practices through mere participation in consumer habits and transactions. Unknowingly, we often erect idols which we come to confuse with Christ Jesus.

In today’s consumer culture, the customer is king. But do all our consumer preferences end up determining our identity? What if our desires and preferences have been shaped and manipulated by a culture of marketing? Who are we then? On this program the hosts will introduce this new White Horse Inn series as they explore issues related to personal identity in an age of consumerism and self-expression. Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we seek to bring the gospel to a world that constantly seeks to fashion Jesus in its own consumer-friendly image.

Click Here


"I Am the True Vine" -- John 15:1-17

The Forty-Seventh in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

Their time together is apparently over.  Jesus has ended the Passover celebration, he has revealed to his disciples that he is leaving them, and he has told them that he will send the “Helper” to be with them after he departs.  Then he pronounced his word of “peace” upon the disciples.  But the disciples are still confused.  They have so many questions.  And so when Jesus gets up to leave, the conversation continues on.  To help the disciples understand what is about to happen both to him and to them, and to prepare them for what is soon to come, Jesus takes the familiar metaphor of a vine and its branches (one, which he has used several times earlier in his messianic ministry), and now uses it to describe his relationship to his people after his departure.  To bear fruit (to believe the promises Jesus is making and then strive to obey his commandments) one must abide in Jesus, the true vine, who gives fruit-bearing life to those who abide in him.  In using a familiar metaphor in a decidedly different way than he has previously, Jesus is revealing to the disciples that redemptive history has come to a major turning point, and that through abiding in him (the true Israel), the disciples will bear fruit.  In fact, Jesus has chosen them to do this very thing.

As we continue with our series on the Gospel of John, we come to John 15 and yet another of the extended discourses given by Jesus found through this Gospel.  This particular discourse–Jesus’ use of the vine and the branches metaphor to explain his relationship to his people–is itself found within a larger discourse (the Upper Room Discourse of John 13-17).  As we saw last time, in the first half of chapter 14 of John, Jesus introduced the person of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, when he tells them of another Helper who will come and indwell them, after Jesus departs to go to his Father to prepare a place for them.  In John 14:16-17, Jesus told them “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”  

The disciples readily accepted that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah–he had performed countless miracles, and it was clear to them that Jesus was the coming one promised throughout the Old Testament.  But the disciples were struggling to understand how both YHWH and Jesus could be the one true God.  And now, in their few remaining moments together, Jesus reveals to them that there are three divine persons who are the one true God, each of them sharing the divine nature.  The Trinity is a difficult doctrine in many ways, but one well-known to Christians across the ages.  Yet to the disciples, this is all new information which they must now immediately process.  It is precisely because Jesus has so little time left, and the disciples need to know in advance what Jesus is about to do for them, that Jesus reveals to them the person of the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete or “Helper”) who is the third person of the Holy Trinity, and who will be with them after Jesus departs.

The Father has revealed to Jesus that his hour has come.  This means that the Passover celebration, as well as Jesus’ time with the disciples, has come to an end.  With the hour getting late, in John 14:27, the disciple tells us that Jesus pronounces his word of “peace” (his “shalom”) upon those from whom he is about to depart.  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  This is goodbye.  At the end of verse 31, Jesus tells the group, “Rise, let us go from here.” 

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here