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


Living in Light of Two Ages



Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- God's Revelation (Part Six)

Here's the audio from our Wednesday night Bible Study:  The Accessibility and Value of General Revelation -- The Reformed Debate

Previous lectures in this series can be found here (scroll down): Apologetics in a Post Christian Age


Some Things to Think About

A recent article Evangelical Gnosticism in First Things addresses the widespread influence of Gnostic thought upon the evangelical world.  The author notes . . .

I teach in a great books program at an Evangelical university. Almost all students in the program are born-and-bred Christians of the nondenominational variety. A number of them have been both thoroughly churched and educated through Christian schools or homeschooling curricula. Yet an overwhelming majority of these students do not believe in a bodily resurrection. While they trust in an afterlife of eternal bliss with God, most of them assume this will be disembodied bliss, in which the soul is finally free of its “meat suit” (a term they fondly use).

I first caught wind of this striking divergence from Christian orthodoxy in class last year, when we encountered Stoic visions of the afterlife. Cicero, for one, describes the body as a prison from which the immortal soul is mercifully freed upon death, whereas Seneca views the body as “nothing more or less than a fetter on my freedom,” one eventually “dissolved” when the soul is set loose. These conceptions were quite attractive to the students.

Resistance to the idea of a physical resurrection struck them as perfectly logical. “It doesn’t feel right to say there’s a human body in heaven, when the body is tied so closely to sin,” said one student. In all, fewer than ten of my forty students affirmed the orthodox teaching that we will ultimately have a body in our glorified, heavenly form. None of them realizes that these beliefs are unorthodox; this is not willful doctrinal error. This is an absence of knowledge about the foundational tenets of historical, creedal Christianity.

A second article is by Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard, who describes The Sharp Sting of the Babylon Bee.  I love the Bee, which has become a frequent subject of conversation among my family and friends.

Adam Ford, the founder and only full-time employee of the Babylon Bee, a Christian satire website, is clearly surprised at his success. “On the first of March, we celebrated two years in existence, and a couple of days later I noticed we had passed 100 million page views,” Ford tells The Weekly Standard. The Bee’s social media presence—it now has over 400,000 followers on Facebook and nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter—has grown quickly too. “All of this was totally organic. We’ve never run an ad, never boosted a post, never spent a dollar on spreading the word. And we’ve had no outside funding. Our growth has been totally driven by the content.”

If you’re one of the shrinking number of people to have never encountered an article from the Babylon Bee, the publication could be described as something like a Christian (largely Protestant) version of the Onion. With such headlines as “Treasure In Heaven Revealed To Be Bitcoin,” “Satan Sprinkles A Few More Stegosaurus Bones Across Nation To Test Christians’ Faith,” and “Opinion: My God Is An Imaginary Deification Of My Idiotic And Contradictory Personal Opinions,” you can see where the site gets some of its conceptual inspiration.

Finally, Scott Clark raises and answers the fascinating question, Where Is the Church Heading? Typically, I am not a fan of prognostication.  But I find Dr. Clark's essay to be insightful and expressing similar concerns to my own.  He concludes . . .

In most parts of the world, Biblical, orthodox Christianity is returning to the position it held before the rise of the European church-state complex we call Christendom. We are living in the wake of its collapse. This is a frightening reality for some but our hope is where it has always been, at the right hand of the Father. Christ is ruling the nations now and no movement, not Gnosticism, Moralism, Romanism, or Islamism can alter our Lord’s plans for his church and for the nations. After all, the Apostle Paul promised the church in Rome, “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20). On that basis he pronounced peace upon a church that was about to endure a grave trial in which Christians would be put to a violent and sometimes fiery death merely for bearing the name of Christ and for refusing to renounce him. Yet, even in that, Christ’s sovereign will was being accomplished and the Spirit was drawing his elect to new life, true faith, and to union with the risen Christ. So it shall be. No one shall snatch them out of his hand (John 10:28).


Recent Warfield Discussion

Several recent articles have appeared on-line discussing various and important aspects of B. B. Warfield's theology.

The first is an essay by Fred Zaspel, the author of a very fine systematic summary of Warfield's Theology.

Zaspel's essay deals with Warfield's condemnation of racism and the segregation of his day.  Warfield's argument is grounded in the equal standing of all believers in Jesus Christ.   Warfield on Race and Racism.

A second essay comes from Scott Swain, who is president and professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.

Dr. Swain addresses Warfield's discussion of how the names "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit" signify likeness between the persons in the Godhead. Warfield on the Trinity.


"To the Saints in Christ at Colossae" -- Colossians 1:1-14

The First in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Letter to the Colossians

If Paul’s letter to the Colossians has a single theme, it is the Lordship of Jesus over all of creation.  In this letter Paul makes his case that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God, and secures salvation for all of his people through his work of new creation which even now Jesus is ushering in through his death, resurrection, and ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Paul’s focus upon the person and work of Jesus throughout this epistle will help us (hopefully) prepare for the Advent season and Christmas when we celebrate the birth of that Savior about whom Paul so eloquently writes in Colossians.  Christmas (I mean the biblical and Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus–which should not be confused with the secular holiday celebrated by our contemporaries at the exact same time)–is a wonderful time for Christians and gives us a great opportunity to reflect upon who Jesus is and what he has done for us when he secured our peace with God through the blood of the cross.

Whenever we begin a new study of any book of the Bible it is important to consider three questions: 1). Who wrote this book? 2). When it was written? and 3). Why was it written?  If we do not take the time to do this, we risk missing the main point(s) of the book and open ourselves to error by looking at things out of context or without regard to what this book meant to those to whom it was originally sent.  The reason why this exercise in what is known as New Testament Introduction is so important is that letters like Colossians were written by the Apostle Paul to first century churches facing a number of trials and difficulties.  Sometimes these trials virtually mirror situations we face today.  But sometimes they do not (at least specifically).  The goal in taking the time to ask and answer these three questions is to present the material covered in each book in such a way as to understand the original historical situation and so that we can then draw appropriate application to our situation in light of our unique circumstances.  But we cannot do this properly without answers to the “who,” “when,” and “why” questions–so we will spend our time answering these three questions before turning to the opening verses.

We start with “who wrote Colossians?  The Apostle Paul.  In this case, the “when” question is closely connected to the “who” question, so we will tackle them together.  Colossians is one of the so-called “prison epistles,” which was likely written while the apostle was under house arrest in Rome.  We spent a significant amount of time discussing the impact of Paul’s imprisonment in our just completed series on Philippians, so I will not repeat that discussion here.  The so-called “prison epistles” of Paul also include Paul’s letters to Ephesians (which we covered back in 2009) and the short letter of Philemon.  These four epistles all come from the same point in Paul’s ministry (during his imprisonment in Rome after his third missionary journey) and can be dated about the same time–the early 60's of the first century.  

It is impossible to tell which of these letters was written first (Philippians, or Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon), but Paul’s mention of Epaphroditus and the gift he brought from the Philippian church is a good indication that Philippians was written on a separate occasion in close proximity to the time he composed the other three prison letters.  The specific situation for Paul’s writing and sending Philippians is Epaphroditus’ return to Philippi after he recovered his health.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here


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

Sunday Morning, May 13:  We are working our way through the Minor Prophets.  Lord willing, we will spend the next two Sundays covering the prophecy of Zephaniah.  This week, we will ask and answer the "Who?" "When?" "Why?" and "What?" questions.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are considering Article 13 of the Belgic Confession, the confession's teaching on God's Providence.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (May 9 @ 7:30 p.m.):  We continue with our series, "Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age."  We will be tackling the in-house Reformed debate about the accessibility and value of general revelation.

The Academy (Friday, May 11 @ 7:30 p.m.):  We are continuing our lecture/discussion series based upon Allen Guelzo's Teaching Company Course, The American Mind.  Our topic this week is "FDR and the New Intellectuals."

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Church), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).


"I Will Pour Out My Spirit" -- Joel 2:28-32

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on the Minor Prophets from the Book of Joel



This Week's White Horse Inn


According to Jeff Mallinson, we’ve lost the art of being sexy. Sure, we’ve got plenty of casual sex, porn, and sexual liberation to go around, but none of that ultimately satisfies. All that stuff, he says, lacks the joy of transcendence, flirtation, dancing, and genuine intimacy. On this edition of White Horse Inn, Michael Horton talks with Jeff about the rationale behind his new book, Sexy: The Quest for Erotic Virtue in Perplexing Times. Due to the nature of the subject matter, this program may not be suitable for young children.

Click Here


Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- God's Revelation (Part Five)

Here's the audio from our Wednesday night Bible Study:  The Impact of the Enlightenment Challenge Upon Contemporary Culture

Previous lectures in this series can be found here (scroll down): Apologetics in a Post Christian Age


"God Will Supply Every Need" -- Philippians 4:10-23

The Ninth and Final in a Series of Sermons on Philippians

Paul’s letter to the Philippians comes to an end with Paul reminding his brothers and sisters of one of the great promises given by God to his people.  “God will supply every need.”  This is an important reminder to a congregation facing persecution from those outside the church who cannot possibly understand why someone would give up Roman religion to worship a Palestinian Jews, who claimed to have risen from the dead.  The Philippians were also facing doctrinal woes from a group of Judaizers who had arrived in Philippi and were teaching that faith in Jesus was not enough to be justified.  One had to submit to circumcision and embrace Jewish culture and customs in addition to trusting in Christ.  Paul has exhorted the Philippians to stand firm in the face of this opposition as well to rejoice always even while in the midst of difficult times.  At the end of this epistle, Paul speaks of the secret as to how the Philippians can accomplish these things–they are to realize that through their union with the Risen Jesus who strengthens them, they can indeed accomplish all things and stand firm and even rejoice in the face of anti-Christian opposition to the cause of Jesus and his ever-advancing kingdom.

As we wrap up our series on Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi we come to what one commentator has called “Paul’s thank you note,” sent to those who have supported the apostle during his difficult days in Rome.  The help coming from the Philippians was no doubt greatly appreciated by Paul who was instrumental in the founding of the Philippian church a decade or so earlier.  It may even be the case that Paul was so grateful for the Philippian’s support that he could not pen just a few words of thanks and appreciation, but felt compelled by both his friendship toward the Philippians, as well as by the necessity of his calling as an apostle to encourage the churches, that Paul’s brief note of thanks became the four chapter epistle we now know as Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians.  

So far, Paul has given us a series of indicatives (centering on God’s gracious work in Jesus as applied to the Philippian believers) followed by a number of imperatives (especially the exhortations to stand firm and to rejoice in all circumstances).  But in the final section of chapter 4 (vv. 10-23, our text for this sermon), Paul finally gets to his main reason for writing this epistle.  Paul thanks the Philippians for their generosity in sending him a gift upon learning of his imprisonment in Rome.  From what we can tell, the Philippians learned that Paul’s appeal to Caesar had taken him all the way to Rome, where the apostle was now under house arrest.  This unspecified gift to Paul was brought to him by Ephahroditus, who may have been a pastor or an elder in the Philippian church.  Upon his arrival in Rome, Ephahroditus fell ill, and now that he has recovered, Paul composes this note of thanks (with a long letter of introduction) which is contained in the concluding section of this letter.

In many ways this closing section reflects Paul’s earlier thanksgiving in chapter 1:3-11, especially his comments, in verses 3-6.  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  The concluding section of the epistle effectively wraps up with another demonstration of Paul’s affection toward the Philippians as the apostle expresses his thanks to God for allowing his friends in Philippi to support him with such a generous gift–a gift which comes at a time when Paul was himself encouraged by their concern for him.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (April 30-May 6)

Sunday Morning, May 6:  As part of our on-going series on the Minor Prophets, we are currently in the Book of Joel.  We'll be discussing Joel's prophecy of a time when YHWH's Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh (Pentecost).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon: Article 12 of the Belgic Confession deals with the doctrine of creation--our topic this coming Lord's Day.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (May 2 @ 7:30 p.m.):  We continue with our series, "Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age."  We are summarizing modern approaches to the Christian doctrine of divine revelation.

The Academy (Friday, May 4 @ 7:30 p.m.):   We continue our lecture/discussion series based upon Allen Guelzo's Teaching Company Course, The American Mind.  Our topic this week is "The New South Versus the New Negro."

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Church), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

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