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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Sunday
Mar082015

This Week's White Horse Inn

Acts 2 and the Day of Pentecost

This week on the White Horse Inn we continue our series on the Work of the Holy Spirit. Justin Holcomb joins us once more as we look at the Spirit’s work in Acts 2. Justin is an Episcopal minister and adjunct professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He has written and edited a number of books, including On the Grace of God, Rid of My Disgrace, Know the Creeds and Councils, and Know the Heretics. Most recently Justin has published Acts: A 12-Week Study in the Knowing the Bible Series.

On this episode we consider the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work, specifically as it relates to the day of Pentecost. Was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost a one-time event? Is this event a paradigm for our own churches today? What does it means to speak in “other tongues”? The main focus of Acts 2 is on the disciples who were empowered by the Spirit to proclaim Christ as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy with boldness and supernatural insight. Join us on this program as we discuss the significance of Pentecost within the scope of redemptive history on the White Horse Inn.

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Friday
Mar062015

Friday Feature -- Pat Robertson Explains the End Times (in 1982) 

Prophecy punditry at its best . . . or worst.

 

Thursday
Mar052015

The Roots of Christian Zionism

In light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech to the US Congress, I thought it important to consider the history of Christian Zionism, and how this movement influences so much of contemporary eschatological discussion.

In a 2013 series of thoughtful essays on the subject, Gerald McDermott lays out a brief history of Christian Zionism, in which Jonathan Edwards plays an important role.

Here are several highlights from the first essay in the series, Christian Zionism.

According to Arthur Hertzberg, this American linkage of Jewish conversion to the millennium was why "American intellectual anti-Semitism never became as virulent as its counterparts in Europe." Christians in Europe believed the End was in the indefinite future. But in America the End seemed near because of the influence of Puritan theology and its foregrounding of Israel, and according to these Puritans the End would not come without major changes in the fortunes of the Jews. So in the colonies, the Jewish question moved "to center stage."

The June 1967 war was a watershed in Christian attitudes toward Israel. Evangelicals saw this once again as confirmation that Jews and Israel still had a role to play in God's ordering of history. From this point on, Merkley reports, Christian Zionists were generally but not exclusively conservatives theologically, while Christian anti-Zionists were generally but not exclusively theological liberals. World Council of Churches (WCC) documents typically moralized about the human weakness for raising mere geography ("real estate") to a spiritual status, and "invariably" treated the creation of the State of Israel as problematic—never as the solution to a problem. The National Council of Churches (NCC) denounced the 1978 Camp David Accords for allegedly ignoring the national ambitions of the Palestinian Arabs. According to Merkley, the mainline Protestant churches of the West joined the churches of the East in an attitude of resentment "shading over into active hostility."

Although I do not agree with Dr. McDermott's endorsement of Christian Zionism, his first essay is very helpful in understanding the history of the Christian Zionist movement, which explains, in part, some of the political hubbub about Netanyahu's speech, especially between evangelicals and the secular left.

One very clear and solid statement (of a non-Zionist variety) regarding Israel's role in the modern world as a secular nation, is this 2002 statement, "The People of God, the Land of Israel, and the Impartiality of the Gospel."  It too is well-worth reading:  Click Here.


Thursday
Mar052015

"This Is How You Pray -- and Then Sue"

The famous figure of the man giving thanks for his daily bread demonstrates why, when praying over one's food, we should keep a reasonable distance (h.t. Larry Johnson).

Unlike the unnamed figure in the painting, it seems that a Mr. Hiram Jimenez got a bit too close to a sizzling plate of fajitas at his local Applebees' and burned his face.  He then sued the restaurant chain for negligence.  Burned by Hot Fajitas

Hiram Jimenez sought damages from Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar after a March 2010 incident at the chain's restaurant on Burlington-Mount Holly Road. But an appellate panel said Applebee's can't be held responsible because the hot food posed an "open and obvious" danger.

According to the ruling, Jimenez ordered fajitas that were placed in front of him in a "sizzling skillet." When he bowed his head "close to the table," the ruling says, Jimenez heard "a loud sizzling noise, followed by 'a pop noise' and then felt a burning sensation in his left eye and on his face."

In an incident report prepared for Appelebee's, Jimenez said he was burned on his face, neck and arms after "grease popped" on the fajitas

His lawsuit said a waitress did not warn Jimenez that the dish was hot. It argued Jimenez suffered "serious and permanent" injuries "solely as a result of (Applebee's) negligence when he came in contact with a dangerous and hazardous condition, specifically, 'a plate of hot food'."

A trial judge dismissed the suit, finding Applebee's — a California-based chain with more than 1,900 restaurants — was not required to warn Jimenez "against a danger that is open and obvious."

The initial suit was dismissed, and an appelete court agreed--throwing the whole thing out.

Better to follow the example set by the old man--keep your soup cool and your face far away from the table!

Wednesday
Mar042015

Herding Cats -- Literally

 

There is a small island in Japan that is overrun by cats.  The cats have inbred for so long, they all look alike.  Is it just me, or does the woman sound like the cats she's herding?  Or do the cats imitate the woman feeding them?
 
A trip here is not on my bucket list of places to visit.

 

Tuesday
Mar032015

"Play Ball!"

The Yanks play the Phillies today in Clearwater in their first spring training game.  The countdown to the 2015 MLB season is now underway!

Tuesday
Mar032015

"The Bread of Life" -- John 6:33-48 

The Twenty-Second in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John

It must have been an amazing scene that day in the synagogue in Capernaum.  The people want to make Jesus king because he gave them bread to eat in the wilderness–just like Moses gave the Israelites manna in the desert.  But Jesus is now speaking of a living bread which endures to eternal life.  The crowds who have been following him relentlessly want that bread that does not spoil.  Jesus speaks of himself as though he were YHWH, declaring “I am the bread of life.”  Yet, when Jesus speaks of striving for this bread, the people want to know what work it is that God requires of them so that Jesus will give them more of this bread.  When Jesus tells the people this bread is received by faith alone, they demand more of this bread to eat.  When Jesus corrects them, and tells them again that he is the living bread who has come down from heaven, those who wanted to make him king, now begin to grumble and complain about his words.  What is Jesus’ response to their lack of faith?  He begins teach about total inability, irresistible grace, and predestination.

We are continuing our series on the Gospel of John, and we are currently going through Jesus’ “bread of life” discourse in John 6.  As I mentioned several weeks ago, ideally, we should go through this entire chapter in one sermon because there is a logical progression of events, and the theological points Jesus makes build one upon the other.  Unfortunately, this would take us a couple of hours to do so, especially if we wish to do the passage justice, so, I’ve broken up the chapter into six sermons.  Again I ask that you read through the entire chapter several times during this series so as not to miss the forest for the trees.

To summarize the ground we have covered so far, recall that the chapter opens (vv. 1-15) with Jesus miraculously feeding over five thousand people in the wilderness east of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus’ actions clearly demonstrate that he is a New Moses who can feed the people of God in the wilderness.  After withdrawing because the crowds wanted to make Jesus king (vv. 16-25), he then walked across the Sea in the midst of a storm, and then calmed the Sea, before proceeding with his disciples by boat to Capernaum.  The next morning, the crowds (who had been searching for Jesus all night), were quite surprised to find Jesus in the synagogue in Capernaum, where he gives the “bread of life” discourse in response to the questions put to him about how it was that he made his way to Capernaum so quickly, and without anyone seeing him.  Jesus knows the people’s hearts, and he knows they are seeking him from self-centered and short-sighted motives, far more indicative of unbelief and superstition than of true faith.

The so-called “bread of life” discourse which is found in verses 26-58, is one of the most significant teaching discourses in all of the New Testament.  Jesus tells those gathered in the synagogue who want to make him king that they are only following him because their bellies are full.  Lacking faith, the large number of people present (which includes his own disciples) do not look beyond the signs (the loaves and the fish) to see the reality–Jesus is a New Moses who is leading the people in a New Exodus from the wilderness of this present evil age, to an age of eternal life and deliverance from the guilt and power of sin.  The people are awed by the fact that Jesus is a miracle worker who can cast out demons and heal the sick, and whom, they have just learned, can feed them in the wilderness just as God did the Israelites.  Many of them believe that Jesus might be the prophet foretold by Moses.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Mar022015

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (March 2-8)

Sunday Morning (March 8):  We begin a three part series on the Epistle of Jude.  This coming Lord's Day, we will be looking at Jude's exhortation to "contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (v. 3).  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 (article 14).  We will discuss how the means of grace relate to the Christian's assurance of salvation.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (March 4)We are continuing our "Run Through the Letters of Paul" and we are Galatians 2. 

The Academy (March 6):  We are continuing our study of Michael Horton's theology text The Christian Faith.  We will be discussing Barth's understanding of election (pp. 317-322).

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

Sunday
Mar012015

"Grow in the Grace and Knowledge" -- 2 Peter 3:14-18

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon, the seventh and final in a series of sermons on 2 Peter

Click Here

Sunday
Mar012015

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Work of the Spirit

This week on the White Horse Inn we begin a new series on the Work of the Holy Spirit. Justin Holcomb joins us once more as we look at the Spirit’s ordinary and extraordinary work in creation, providence, and redemption. Justin is an Episcopal minister and adjunct professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He has written and edited a number of books, including On the Grace of God and Rid of My Disgrace. His most recent works include Know the Creeds and Councils and Know the Heretics (both Zondervan, 2014).

On this episode we consider the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work, discussing the purpose of signs and wonders throughout redemptive history. Why is it difficult for Christians to agree on what the Holy Spirit does? How should we begin to understand his work in the world and in our lives? How does the Spirit relate to the other members of the Godhead? Should we expect to see spectacular miracles or does the Spirit work primarily through providence in our own time? Why does Jesus say that a wicked generation seeks after signs and wonders? Join us as we explore the work of this vital member of the Holy Trinity on the White Horse Inn.

Click Here