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Living in Light of Two Ages



Some Interesting Links on a Friday . . .

Links.jpgSo, the archbishop is "shocked" that his comments about Sharia law created so much controversy.  Get a clue.  A number of C of E clergymen are calling for his resignation.  An MP quipped that Williams doesn't know his business--hardly a compliment.  Maybe a call for his resignation is too much.  I'd start with a call for him to get a shave and hair-cut.  As my sons would say:  "dude, trim those eyebrows."  Click here: BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Williams 'shocked' at Sharia row

I thought today's evangelical leaders had some political savvy, but this one I just don't get.  Dr. James Dobson waits to endorse Huckabee until its almost impossible for the Huckster to win.  Click here: Christian Leader James Dobson Endorses Huckabee for GOP Nod - You Decide 08!

CT has a great article on Carson/Beale's new and indispensable reference tool, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old TestamentClick here: Two Testaments, One Story | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction .

Finally, my loyal friend Andy is now a statistic.  He's a pooch with a pouch.  And he's not alone.  (It must have been a slow news day @ Reuters).  Click here: Estimated 17 million U.S. dogs overweight or obese | Lifestyle | Living | Reuters


Tonight's Academy Lecture

KR%20lecturing.JPGTonight's Academy lecture is entitled, "An Evaluation of the New Perspectives on Paul -- Part Two."  This lecture is the final in an eight-part series.  If you are interested, you can listen to them here:  Click here: Christ Reformed Info - MP3's and Real Audio (of Academy Lectures)

Our Academy (at Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim) starts @ 7:30 p.m.  Lectures are free of charge and are followed by a time for discussion and refreshments.   For information about our Academy, Click here: Christ Reformed Info - Format and Fees


The Canons of Dort, First Head of Doctrine, Article Ten

Synod%20of%20Dort.jpgArticle 10: Election Based on God's Good Pleasure

But the cause of this undeserved election is exclusively the good pleasure of God. This does not involve his choosing certain human qualities or actions from among all those possible as a condition of salvation, but rather involves his adopting certain particular persons from among the common mass of sinners as his own possession. As Scripture says, When the children were not yet born, and had done nothing either good or bad..., she (Rebecca) was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" (Rom. 9:11_13). Also, All who were appointed for eternal life believed (Acts 13:48).


As we have seen in our survey of the previous articles, the Canons point out that the only biblical basis for God’s choice of a multitude of sinners so vast they cannot be counted to become vessels of honor and not vessels of destruction (Romans 9:22-23) is to be found solely in God’s own inscrutable will (Isaiah 46:8-10; Psalm 115:3; 135:6).  Likewise, the reason why God sovereignly passes over others is known only to himself (Romans 9:14-16), except to say, that since all of Adam’s children are sinners by nature and by choice (Romans 5:12-19), not one of them deserves to be chosen.

To put it another way, the only reason why any are chosen to be redeemed from their sin is to be found in God and not in the creature.  This means that election is based upon God’s sovereign pleasure and purpose, and not because of anything good in us, since we are seen as fallen in Adam when we are chosen.  

The sole reason why any of us were chosen by God is because of God’s mysterious will—what Calvin called the “horrible [awesome] decree.”  What good or value could God possibly foresee in us that would cause him to choose us?  There is nothing good in us (Romans 3:10-12).  God doesn’t choose us because we are smarter, better-looking, less offensive, and so on, than others.  Rather, we are chosen from the same common lump of fallen human clay to become vessels of glory for reasons known only to God.  Those who are not chosen remain as they were before and are, therefore, destined to remain vessels of wrath.  The elect receive grace.  Those passed-by receive justice.  No one is treated unjustly or unfairly as our contemporaries so often whine.  

Clearly, this is a great mystery and it is this very point about which most people object--democratic Americans especially.  It is only natural that we would want God to choose everyone.  It is certainly understandable why we would want God to choose our unsaved loved ones.  Of course, we want God to do it our way, or else we will object!  But who are sinners, bound to time and space, and who can have no knowledge of what it means for the Holy God to be offended by our sin, to complain about how the creator of all saves a multitude of people who don’t deserve to be saved?   We don't like this doctrine because it forces us to bow the knee before our Creator and Redeemer and say, "not my will be done, but thine."

The fact is, Scripture teaches that God elects a multitude of Adam's fallen children based upon reasons known only to himself--reasons which he chooses not to reveal to us.  If any go to heaven, it is only because God elects them in Christ and then redeems them in Christ.  If any perish eternally, it is because God has passed over them and leaves them to the just consequences of their own sin and their sin in Adam. 

When we talk of election, God must get all praise, glory and honor.  And we must accept all the blame.  And that is why people don't like the topic of election.


"That's Entertainment" (from the Latest White Horse Inn Series) on Youtube


Some Interesting Links . . .

Links.jpgWow . . .  Sharia law in the UK?  We knew it was coming, but not this soon.  It is now an inevitability says the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, by the way, calls this a good thing.  Unbelievable!   Click here: Adoption of Islamic Sharia law in Britain is 'unavoidable', says Archbishop of Canterbury| News | This is London

Meanwhile, the Roman church is having a hard time recruiting priests and nuns.  That's hard to believe since you get free meals and room and board.  Click here: BBC NEWS | Europe | Catholic nuns and monks decline

And then there was one--doughboy that is.  You'd think there would be more of a mention of this in the media, but sadly, World War I, and the American contribution to the allied victory, seems virtually forgotten.   Click here: - One of Two Known U.S. WWI Vets Dead at 108 - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

Wondering what to give up for Lent?  How about lowering your carbon footprint?   Don't think I will.   Click here: 40 Days of Carbon Fasting | Liveblog | Christianity Today

After getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar (or with his pants down, or whatever you want to say about it), Ted Haggard was eager to enter a "restoration process."  Now he's had enough and is dropping out.   Click here: Headlines: SUNRISE: Haggard exits restoration process early | haggard, life, new -

Finally, remember that Left Behind end-times video game?  Thankfully, it didn't sell.  Now you can get it as a free download.   Click here: Left Behind: Eternal Forces now free (Hurry! First 1m only!) - Joystiq


Eschatology Q & A -- What About the Remaining 3 1/2 Years in Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks?

eschatology%20q%20and%20a.jpgJoel Asks (Sept 2006):

“What is the most logical method of interpreting the final 3 1/2 days of Daniel's prophecy of 70 weeks.  I see the messianic fulfillment and how the one who confirms a covenant is Christ, not an anti-Christ figure, but still have difficulty with the last 3 1/2 `days.’ While the previous 69.5 weeks can reasonably interpreted as years, it seems like most interpretations end up extending the time period indefinitely or imposing a gap between the first and second halves of the `week.’”


This is a question that troubled me for some time as I was working my way from premillennialism toward amillennialism.  When I read Meredith Kline’s essay (“The Covenant of the Seventy Weeks”-
Click here: Covenant_70th_Week) all of a sudden the answer hit me--and it had been right in front of me the whole time.  In the ninth chapter of Daniel's prophecy, not only was Daniel talking about the Messiah and not an Antichrist (based upon the glorious things that are to be accomplished by the Messiah before end of the 70 weeks–see Daniel 9:24), but in the Book of Revelation, John actually tells us what happens during the last 3 ½ years of Daniel’s 70th week!  It is a time of tribulation for the people of God.

In Revelation 12:14, John speaks of a “time, and times, and half a time.”  The same time reference also appears in Revelation 11:1-2 and 13:5-6 (forty-two months).  Obviously, this is figurative language depicting the fulfillment of that eschatological time of tribulation predicted by Daniel and left open-ended in Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks.  Kline argues that this is the period of time of the church in the wilderness (“The Covenant of the Seventy Weeks,” 469).  Likewise, Beale holds that these references are based upon the eschatological period of tribulation foretold by Daniel not only in Daniel 9:27, but throughout his entire prophecy (Beale, The Book of Revelation, 565). 

In Revelation 11, the forty-two months are connected to Elijah’s ministry of judgment, and to Israel’s time in the wilderness (which included forty-two campsites), and which may have entailed forty-two years in the wilderness-- if Israel came under God’s judgment after spending an initial two years in the wilderness before coming under curse.

Therefore,  Daniel is predicting a time of tribulation for the people of God after the Messiah comes, but before the last Jubilee (since the seventy-sevens of Daniel’s prophecy are ten Jubilee eras–see Kline’s essay, where he argue for this point).  As we see in Revelation 12:5-6, John tells us that this three and a half “years” of tribulation are inaugurated at Christ’s resurrection and will be consummated at his second coming (Beale, Revelation, 567).  When we notice that Christ’s own public ministry lasted three and one-half years, the image should be pretty clear--it applies to the entire church age.  

While dispensationalists have a fit with this "non-literal" interpretation, it is John himself who tells us that the final 3 ½ years of Daniel’s prophecy anticipates the entire period of time between Christ’s first advent (his death and resurrection) and his second advent (in which the final trumpet announces that the earth is redeemed and all of God’s people are forever freed from the guilt and power of sin).

The way we interpret this 3 1/2 weeks is a great example of the hermeneutical difference between Reformed amillennialism and dispensationalism.  As we Reformed amillennarians see it, the New Testament (especially in a vision given by John in which he proclaims to the church the contents of the scroll which Daniel was told to seal  until the time of the end), ultimately interprets for us what Daniel was prophesying.  In other words, the New Testament interprets the Old Testament.  The bottom line is that in Revelation 11-13, John tells us what those remaining three and a half years of Daniel's prophecy really mean.  Thus, we are not left in the dark about what this means, and we have in Daniel 9:24-27 a glorious messianic prophecy centering upon the active and passive obedience of Christ (v. 24).


The Commander of the Lord's Army -- Joshua 5:13-6:7

Joshua%20Conquest.jpgThe Seventh in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Joshua

Everything seems to be in place for a dramatic victory.  All Israel has crossed through the Jordan River on dry ground and is now camped at Gilgal, just a few miles from the gates of Jericho.  The Israelites have renewed their covenant with YHWH, as all the men of Israel have undergone circumcision and the people have celebrated their first Passover in the promised land.  Israel has a standing army of at least 40,000 men and the people of Canaan are terrified at the news of Israel’s rapid and miraculous advance into their territory.  It will not be long before the Lord grants his people a stunning victory at Jericho.  But first, Joshua will encounter a mysterious man who identifies himself as the commander of the Lord’s army, a man who is none other than the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ.  Joshua is then given specific instructions by the LORD for the Jericho campaign.  All Israel and all the inhabitants of Jericho will know that YHWH is the Lord.

As we continue our series on the Book of Joshua, we come to Joshua’s account of the fall of Jericho, a heavily fortified city which blocked Israel’s way into Canaan.  The city of Jericho is one of the oldest cities in the world, the archaeological evidence showing that it has been continuously inhabited since the 8th millennium B.C.  This same evidence shows that city had been destroyed during some point about 1400 B.C, a date which would correspond with the entrance of Israel into the promised land about that same time.  While Jericho was not a large city, the walled portion of the city taking up but seven acres, although, no doubt, many people lived outside the walls.  And it blocked Israel’s way into Canaan.

In the first part of chapter 5, Joshua contrasts the faith and piety of this current generation of Israelites who have just entered Canaan with that of the previous generation which left Egypt forty years before.  That generation which left Egypt was sentenced to wander throughout the Sinai because they doubted that God could make good on his promise.  That generation grumbled at God’s gracious provision of manna in the wilderness.  But this generation would eat the bounty of Canaan.  That generation grumbled under Moses’ leadership, while this generation obeyed Joshua’s every command.  That generation neglected circumcision, which is the sign and seal of the covenant.  But the men of this generation willingly underwent circumcision while camped at Gilgal.  During the lifetimes of this generation, Israel had become a great nation and the people were trusting in YHWH instead of in their own strength to ensure the conquest of Canaan.  No, this generation was not like that one which left Egypt.  Although raised in the wilderness, this generation believed God’s promise and obeyed God’s covenant.

To read the rest of this sermon,  click here



Some Interesting Links . . .

Links.jpgLooks like the state-sponsored schools indoctrination centers in the UK have been about as successful as the schools here.  According to a recent survey, 25% of Britons think Winston was a myth . . .   Yeah, and I'll bet the same state-sponsored UK schools are telling the kids that Islam is a religion of peace!   Click here: Quarter of Brits think Churchill was myth: poll - Yahoo! News

Our Catholic friends face a serious ethical dilemma.  Since Saint Patrick's Day falls within Holy Week this year, Catholics are being asked not to drink, or else celebrate St. Patty's Day a week earlier.  My guess is those people who love St. Patty's Day will move the date!  Click here: Catholics Asked Not To Celebrate St. Patrick's Day On March 17 - Entertainment News Story - WEWS Cleveland.

Here are some great shots of the new Yankee Stadium nearing completion.  Means I have to make my Hajj to the current Yankee Stadium before it closes.  Click here: Sliding Into Home: A Yankees Blog: New Yankee Stadium Construction Updates.

This is a classic case of an editor being asleep at the switch.  Just read the headline and then ask yourself, "isn't this true of all of us?"  Click here: MyFox Washington DC | Police: Crack Found in Man's Buttocks

Yet another faith-based diet?  I keep waiting for the locusts and honey diet.  Click here: Faith-Based Diet Puts God Before Food - Health News Story - KMGH Denver

One of my favorite historians (Ian Kershaw--who's books on Hitler are must reading) asks the question we all need to be asking.  How did a democracy produce a monster like Adolf?  Click here: How democracy produced a monster - International Herald Tribune

Finally, here's a great new blog dealing with historical theology.  Click here: Historical TheoBlogy: Historical Theology one blog at a time


Latest Academy Lecture on New Perspectives on Paul Posted

KR%20lecturing.JPGThe audio file of my latest lecture in my series on the New Perspectives on Paul, can be found here.  Click here: Christ Reformed Info - MP3's and Real Audio (of Academy Lectures).  The lecture is entitled "An Evaluation of the New Perspectives on Paul, Part One."

Using the link above, be sure to check out the growing number of Academy lectures posted on the Christ Reformed website. There are some real gems here from G. K. Beale, Scott Clark, Michael Horton and Ken Samples. 


Who Said That?

question%20mark.jpg“It strikes me that Playboy is a religious magazine, though I will admit I have a peculiar understanding of the meaning of the word. What I mean is that the magazine tells its readers how to get into heaven. It tells them what is important in life, delineates an ethics for them, tells them how to relate to others, tells them what to lavish their attention and energy upon, gives them a model of a kind of person to be. It expresses a consistent world view, a system of values, a philosophical outlook.  

Not only does Playboy create a new image of the ideal man, it also creates a slick little universe all its own, creates what you might call an alternative version of reality in which men may live in their minds. It's a light and jolly kind of universe, a world in which a man can be forever carefree, where a man can remain, like Peter Pan, a boy forever and ever. There are no nagging demands and responsibilities, no complexities or complications.

But for the most part, the magazine is, I would expect, pretty harmless. It amuses its readers by creating a delightful imaginary world for them, a world that they find it fun to live in; and everybody needs a little fun now and then. ”

Who said that?  Leave your guess in the comments section below.  Please, no google searches!