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


Living in Light of Two Ages



This Week's Academy Lecture . . .

World%20of%20Difference%20samples%20cover.jpgKen Samples continues his Academy series tonight (November 16) @ Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim (7:30 p.m.).  

The series is entitled "Testing the Christian Theistic Worldview" and is based upon Ken's outstanding new book, A World of Difference (Baker).

Ken's third lecture in this five part series is entitled, "Christian Theism’s Explanatory Power and Cumulative Support." 

For more information, Click here: Christ Reformed Info - Schedule of Academy Classes and Author's Forums.

Academy lectures are free of charge, there are refreshments, and time for discussion following.

Come on out and join us! 


On Subscription Sermon Series (Part 4)














OK, I thought I was done with this topic--I've written three previous posts on this.  But then I received another email from our friends at ________ advertising their subscription sermon series.  Just when I think they've hit bottom, well, they prove me wrong.  Now they are selling "award winning" sermons preached at some of the largest churches in America.  Is that a fact?

Rather than tackle the question of plagiarism and sloth (I've already covered that ground), this time I will focus upon the sermon topics they are pitching.  Pretty bad . . .

The latest email begins with the prompt "this Sunday will be a time when pastors will be preparing people's hearts for THANKSGIVING."  Oh, is that so?  As a minister of word and sacrament, my job is to preach Christ crucified, not get people ready to celebrate a national holiday--although, at Christ Reformed we do hold a worship service on Thanksgiving in which we devote the bulk of our time to actually giving thanks.

Next comes the sales pitch.  "If you would like to subscribe today we would like to send you the thanksgiving sermon, `WHERE ARE THE NINE' free."  In light of the earlier sermon we discussed (Click here: Riddleblog - The Latest Post - On Subscription Sermon Series (Part 1), I'll bet this one is a doozy!

Here's the "set" of sermons they are selling.  It includes the following titles:

(1) Two Great Women  (Mother's Day)
(2) Bogus Resolutions  (New Years)
(3) How God's Plans Interfere With Our Plans (Christmas)
(4) Where Do We Find Comfort?  (Friend's Day)
(5) The Proofs of The Resurrection (Easter)
(6) The Excitement of Easter  (Easter)
(7) Funeral Service #1
(8) Funeral Service #2
(9) Grandparent's Day
(10) Heaven  (Funeral)
(11) Mother's Day 2001
(12) Excellent Role Models  (Youth or Father's Day)
(13) Kodak Moments In The Life Of Christ  (Christmas)
(14) What We Should Be Thankful For  (Thanksgiving)
(15) Where Are The Nine?  (Thanksgiving)
(16) What We Can Learn From The Past  (New Years)

Since I've never preached a sermon on Grandparent's Day--sorry, but I don't follow the Hallmark calendar--I have no idea what this would entail.  I am curious, "will the Mother's Day sermon from 2001 work in 2008?"  I'll bet the sermon on comfort (Friend's Day) has nothing to do with guilt-grace-gratitude, and while evidence for the resurrection sounds good, I'm not sure "excitement" is a term I'd use for Easter.  Kodak Moments for Christmas?  Role models for Father's Day? 

As an expository preacher who works from a biblical text, I'm not a fan of topical sermons--especially when they are based on the Hallmark calendar.

Here's the final pitch: "All sixteen of these sermons are award winning sermons that have been preached in many of the largest churches in the United States." 

I'm a bit of a cynic.  So, my question is, "who determines whether a sermon receives an award?"  Furthermore, given the claim that these sermons are supposedly used in many of the largest churches in America, this begs the question as to whether the pastors of these churches are using this subscription sermon series and passing someone else's material off as their own.  But could it be that this particular subscription series is based upon sermons taken from these large churches and then sold as part of their package deal?

Either way, this is real trouble.  Preachers are preaching sermons they did not write, and these topical sermons (if they are like our previous example) fall far short of  the public placarding of Christ, called for by the apostle Paul (Galatians 3:1).


New Commentary on the Belgic Confession

Belgic%20Confession%20--%20Hyde.jpgThe Rev. Danny Hyde (pastor of the Oceanside URC) has completed his commentary on the Belgic Confession.

Here are several endorsements for this important work:

The Belgic Confession is not a systematic theology but the historic and systematic confession of faith by the Reformed Churches. With this commentary Danny Hyde has done the Reformed Churches a great service by placing our confession in its historical, theological, and ecclesiastical contexts again. By reading it in the light of those contexts, he brings it to life for us in our time. Anyone wishing to understand better the Belgic Confession on its own terms and as it has been received by the Reformed Churches must consult this intelligent work.

R. Scott Clark, Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Seminary California

It has been a long time since a Belgic Confession commentary of this caliber was last published in English. Biblical, historical and erudite, Rev. Hyde helps the Confession speak freshly to our day. Not only will With Heart and Mouth prove to be a helpful resource for Reformed confessors, it will also no doubt be warmly welcomed by pastors called to teach and preach the Belgic Confession.

Wes Bredenhof, Pastor, Langley Canadian Reformed Church

For more information, Click here: - Pilgrims & Parish (Danny Hyde) - - Update on the Belgic Book


Charts on Revelation

Revelation%20Charts%20Mark%20Wilson.jpgMark Wilson's Charts on the Book of Revelation (Kregel) is an outstanding resource and a "must have" for anyone interested in the Book of Revelation.

Wilson does not advocate one school of interpretation over another, yet his helpful charts (covering virtually every aspect of John's vision) provide great support for the eclectic/idealist interpretation.

The charts on the use of numbers, the theme of victory, the comparison of apocalyptic themes in Revelation and the rest of the New Testament, as well as an extensive chart dealing with allusions to the Old Testament, are simply outstanding.

This one is highly recommended.  For more information: Click here: Charts on the Book of Revelation: Literary, Historical, and Theological Perspectives (Kregel Charts of


Peace With God -- Romans 5:1-11

romans%20fragment.jpgThe Eleventh in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Epistle to the Romans

We’ve all seen the pictures of VE-Day–some reading this might even remember VE Day–that glorious day in May of 1945 when Hitler’s Germany unconditionally surrendered to the victorious allied armies.  The horrors of war were coming to an end.  Peace was at hand.  And did people celebrate!  In Romans 5:1-11, Paul speaks of the coming of peace, but not in the sense of the end of bloody war between combatant nations.  Paul speaks of the peace which is the result of Jesus Christ’s death upon the cross for sinners.  By turning aside the wrath of God, Jesus Christ has reconciled God to sinners and sinners to God.  Because of the cross the war between God and rebellious sinners is now blessedly over.  And this beloved is cause for joy and celebration!

Beginning in Romans 5:1, Paul changes focus a bit and begins to set out some of the blessings which come to all of those who receive the promised inheritance through faith and not through works.  This section in Romans is not only loaded with important theological information, but the entire chapter serves as a hinge of sorts, connecting Paul’s discussion of justification in Romans 3:21-4:25, with his subsequent discussion of sanctification in Romans 6:1-8:39.  As we will see, for Paul, all those who believe God’s promise to justify the ungodly are not only justified and given life, but they are also called to reckon themselves dead to sin but alive to God (Romans 6:11).  Paul cannot conceive of someone who is justified but who is not also being sanctified.  To be justified by grace through faith is to be sanctified by grace through that same faith.  These two things are inextricably linked together.

It is noteworthy that commentators disagree so widely about the main theme of this section as well as how it is connected to the preceding discussion of Abraham and justification by faith (4:25) and the following discussion of sanctification and the Christian life (6:1 ff).  The divergence of opinion about the theme of this section suggests the obvious–this section is packed with information, all of which is related to Paul’s comments about the nature of the inheritance of those justified sola fide.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here


A Robe Dipped in Blood -- Revelation 19:1-11

Revelation%20--%20vision%20of%20John.jpgThe Twenty-Seventh in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Revelation

In Deuteronomy 32:35, God warns covenant breakers, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.”  In verse 41 of that same chapter, God declares, “when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.”  In the closing chapters of the Book of Revelation, John is given a glimpse of that terrible day when God’s judgment comes upon the whole earth.  God’s long-suffering mercies toward his rebellious creatures have come to an end.  The end of the age has finally come.  Judgment day is at hand.

As we continue to survey the final chapters of the Book of Revelation, John takes us from the issues facing his original audience–the persecution of the saints by the beast (the Roman empire)–to those things directly connected to the of the age.  Therefore, once John has been given a vision of the three cycles of judgment (the seven seals, the seven trumpets and seven bowls) each of which intensifies as the end draws near, John now fast-forwards his first-century reader to those events associated with the second advent of Jesus Christ at the end of the age.  These events include the glorious redemption of all the saints and the final destruction of all of God’s enemies, including the harlot, the beast, the false prophet, as well as the destruction of the dragon (Satan) whom they worship and serve.

In the previous section of Revelation, which runs from Revelation 16:17 to Revelation 19:10, John describes God’s judgment upon the harlot, and contrasts the bride of the dragon (Babylon the Great) with the bride of Jesus Christ (which is the church).  While the great harlot commits adultery with the kings of the earth, continually increasing her guilt, Christ’s bride, meanwhile, is preparing herself for her marriage to the Lamb.  By holding fast to the testimony of Jesus in the face of persecution, by remaining faithful to her spouse, and resisting all of the seductive efforts of the harlot, while walking in the good works that Jesus Christ has prepared her to do, the bride readies herself to receive the gift of spotless wedding garments of fine white linen from her husband.  Because of the mercies of her bridegroom, she is now holy and blameless, purified from every hint and trace of sin.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here 


Some Interesting Links

Links.jpgLooking for a car?  Here are two really cool choices.

Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez (yes that Manny Ramirez) is selling his Chrysler 300 on E-Bay.  Click here: eBay Motors: Chrysler : 300 Series (item 300170156441 end time Nov-13-07 20:00:00 PST)

If you are looking for something more sensible, like a car in which you can always find Mecca, store your Koran and head-scarf, boy have I got a car for you! Click here: BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Malaysia firm's 'Muslim car' plan

What features would a car for Reformed Christians include?  Lots of horsepower and a way to enjoy a good cigar for starters. 

I hope Major League Baseball sues the crud out of these guys:  Click here: A Little Leaven: Major League Rip Off.  I am always amazed at the "originality" of Christian merchandisers.

Don't you just love it when "snake-handlers" sue the doctor and the hospital after they get bit by a rattler during church and die?  Click here: Family sues hospital over snakebite death

Finally, on a serious note, OldTruth has a great essay on amillennialism.  Click here: Prophecy Not Intended To Be a Crystal Ball


Who Said That?

question%20mark.jpgWho Said That?

“Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, corporate jets, $23,000 commodes in a multimillion-dollar home. You know, just think of a $23,000 marble commode. A lot of money going down the toilet, you can say.”

Leave your guess in the comments section.  Please no google searched or cheating.


For All You Heidelbergers Out There

Belgic%20Confession%20--%20Gootjes.jpgFor those of you who are interested in the Three Forms of Unity, there's a very helpful new book out dealing the history and sources of the Belgic Confession.

Nicolaas Gootjes' The Belgic Confession:  Its History and Sources covers a number of important topics, including whether or not Guido (Guy) de Bres is the primary author of the confession -- Gootjes argues that he was.  There are important chapters dealing with the sources of the Belgic Confession (primarily the French Confession) as well as a previously overlooked source, Beza's Catechism.

There is a helpful discussion of the confession's authority in the Dutch Reformed Church.  As the Remonstrants gathered steam in Holland, they began to challenge the authority of the confession, especially because it was used by the orthodox to challenge Arminian doctrine.  Gootjes convincingly shows that the confession was accepted by the churches (and was therefore binding) shortly after it was written, well before the Synod of Dort.

The appendix is also helpful and contains the texts of critical correspondence establishing the confession's authorship and authority.

This is an important book, and Dr. Gootjes (a professor at the Canadian Reformed Seminary in Hamilton, Ontario) has given us non-Dutch speakers an important window into the origins of our confession which is a wonderful summary of the biblical faith. 

For more information, Click here: The Belgic Confession: Its History and Sources (Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation



Some Interesting Links . . .

Links.jpgI'm sure looking forward to reading this one -- Click here: The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright :: John Piper :: Contemporary Authors :: Modern Authors ::

A great discussion of Gary Johnson's new book on Warfield can be found here -- Click here: Warfield, Part 3 « Green Baggins.

Here's a list of the ten worst album covers of all-time.  Thankfully, I never owned any of them (hilarious and creepy) -- Click here: mental_floss magazine - Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix

Baby-boomers might remember these tacky Halloween costumes -- Click here: retroCRUSH: The World's Greatest Pop Culture Site.

And then for all you WWII buffs, here's an essay about a very flatulent Fuhrer.  How come I didn't read about this in Ian Kershaw's excellent biography of Hitler?  Click here: The Smart Set: Scent of a Führer - October 24, 2007