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


Living in Light of Two Ages



Forty Years Old and Still Like New

This gem was recently found in Pennsylvania barn covered in dust, after its owner died.  He has no heirs or living relatives, and left a number of interesting cars behind, including this Shelby GT500.  One of only a thousand manufactured, the car has 8500 original miles and replacement tires, but otherwise is completely stock.  The owner reportedly never washed it because he was afraid he'd scratch the paint.  Rare Shelby GT500 Found

According to the news report,

the GT500, that features a 428 Cobra Jet engine meshed to a 4-speed transmission, still maintains its original paint, tires, belts, hoses, factory steering wheel cover and 1968-dated coded spark plug wires. Vehicles with more miles, in far less original condition, have sold for over $100,000.

Back in the day, I recall seeing a red Shelby GT500 burning rubber on Whittier Boulevard in front of the Bob's Big Boy.  If you lived in Southern California and had a cool car, or just liked to watch the muscle cars or low-riders cruise by, then Saturday night at the Bob's Big Boy on Whittier Avenue was the place to be.

Quite a car and a wonderful find!


"The Reproach of Christ" -- Hebrews 11:23-28

The Nineteenth in a Series of Sermons on the Epistle to the Hebrews

While all the Old Testament saints mentioned in Hebrews 11 believed the same covenant promise–that God would save them from their sins and grant them eternal life–not all of them believed that promise under the same set of circumstances.  Although a large family who believed in YHWH, the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–the fathers of Israel) believed God’s covenant promise to grant their descendants the land of Canaan, make them a great nation, and give them so many descendants that they cannot be counted.  Moses, however, came on the redemptive historical stage some four hundred years after God appeared to Abraham, when two of these covenant promises had already come to pass.  Although effectively held captive in Egypt for many generations, the Israelites had become a great nation, and despite the difficult circumstances in which they found themselves, had grown in number well into the hundreds of thousands.  But someone would have to lead the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the desert of the Sinai, and then into the promised land of Canaan which was occupied by a number of very fierce Canaanite tribes.  That leader was Moses.

As we return to our series on the Book of Hebrews, we are working our way through Hebrews 11, the so-called “hall of faith.”  Throughout our time in this chapter, I have made the point that the author’s primary purpose is not to give us a list of people to emulate (“have faith like Abraham”).  Rather, his purpose is to remind us that each of these people mentioned in this chapter believed God’s covenant promise to provide a redeemer who would save them from their sins, and who would ensure that all the covenant promises which God makes to his people are fulfilled.  To enable us to devote sufficient attention to each of the people who make the catalogue of those who believed God’s covenant promise, I have divided our study of this chapter into small sections dealing with the individuals who make the catalogue according to the period in redemptive history in which they live.
In vv. 1-3, we discussed the author’s definition of faith–“faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  In vv. 4-7, we discussed those men known as the pre-diluvians because they lived before the time of Noah’s flood.  All three of these men Abel, Enoch, and Noah, believed God’s promise, were justified, and then demonstrated their faith in God by living in obedience before him.  Then in verses 8-16 we took up a discussion of Abraham, the man of faith, who believed God’s promise that he would have so many descendants that they could not be counted, despite the fact that Abraham and his wife Sarah were well beyond child-bearing years. 

Last time (when we covered verses 17-22), we discussed Abraham and his immediate descendants, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (the so-called patriarchs, the fathers of Israel).  As recounted in Genesis 22, when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac–the very one through whom God’s covenant promise would be fulfilled–Abraham obeyed God, took his beloved son Isaac up the mountain and prepared to sacrifice him as a burnt offering.  According to the author of Hebrews’ interpretation of this event, not only did God provide a substitute for Isaac in the form of a ram, but Abraham knew that should he take Isaac’s life, God had the power to raise him from the dead.  In fact, God must raise him if the promise to be fulfilled.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here


Left Behind All Over Again?


The cynic in me understands that there is big money to be made on rapture movies, which is why film-makers keep on cranking them out.  The claim is made that these films are intended to lead people to Christ--the stark reality is that they really don't.  But they do make money for those making them, apparently, lots of money.  In fact, we will be treated to two rapture films in just one year.  A couple of weeks ago I posted about another new rapture film, Final Watch.

Billed as the "scariest Christian movie ever," "Final Watch: The Rapture" is marketed as a sure fire way to scare someone into accepting Jesus by using the horror film genre to warn unbelievers (as well as careless "professing" Christians) of the terror of being left behind after the Rapture occurs (h.t. Gene Veith--Cranach).

Now the 2000 Left behind movie, starring Kirk Cameron is being "replaced" (dispensationalists love this word) by a new version of Left Behind, starring everybody's favorite actor, Nicolas Cage.  The sure sign of career failure in Hollywood is when B-list actors like Cage start turning up in moves like this one.  Michael York comes to mind.

And, of course, we are treated to the obligatory movie poster featuring a packed airplane--which we know will either crash because the pilot is a Christian and is suddenly raptured away from the controls at a critical moment in the flight, or suddenly, the plane will be missing a whole bunch of passengers who instantaneously disappear to the horror of all those left behind.

The commercial success of AMC's The Walking Dead, is clearly be responsible for this spate of rapture movies, because one of the promo pictures from the new version of Left behind, tells us of the horrors of having to go through the tribulation, aping the critical issue faced by Walking Dead's main character, Sheriff Rick Grimes and the ubermensch himself, his son Carl.  The rules go out the window after the rapture, just like they do after the zombie apocalypse.


One more pet peeve of mine is, why do characters in movies of this genre always have highly improbable nicknames?  "Buck" Williams sounds far more like a Seinfeld quip applied to George Costanza, than to a nickname someone actually possesses.  Where are the guys named Bob, Steve, Mike, or Fred?  You know, like real people . . . 

If you haven't heard enough, here's the website so you can check it out for yourself:  Left Behind All Over Again


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (March 24-30)

Sunday Morning (March 30, 2014):  As we work our way through John's Passion Narrative, this coming Lord's Day, we will consider Pilate's order that Jesus be crucified (John 19:1-16a).

Sunday Afternoon:  Prof.  Ken Samples is conducting the afternoon service.  The catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m. 

Wednesday Night Bible Study (March 26, 2014):  In our "Studies in the Book of Revelation," we are currently in chapter 15.  Bible Study begins at 7:30 p.m.

Friday Night Academy (March 28, 2014):  We are studying Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith, and we'll continue in part two, chapter seven, (268 ff.) and a discussion of God's communicable attributes (holiness, righteousness, and justice).

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


"My Kingdom Is Not from the World" -- John 18:28-40 

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon: Click Here


This Week's White Horse Inn

Why Suffering?

After surveying the book of Job and especially its message on suffering, we’ll continue our series on Suffering & the Christian Life by tackling some of the tough questions that come up with this topic. Should we see suffering as a form of divine punishment? Is God trying to teach us something? If God really loves us, why does he allow us to experience so much pain and difficulty? Those are the crucial questions we’ll deal with on this edition of White Horse Inn.

Click Here


Friday Feature--Who's On First

If you have never seen this, it is a true comedy classic.


Just Got My Copy!

I have been waiting for this one for a while now.  Can't wait to read it! 

Mike has been talking about Calvin on the Christian Life since he started his final research for the manuscript.  Based on those conversations, and after quickly skimming through it, I am sure this volume will remind us that Calvin did indeed have much to say about the Christian life and true piety, and that what Calvin said is wise, practical, and more importantly, biblical.

Hopefully, Calvin on the Christian Life will get a wide reading and help clear away many of the all too common misconceptions about Calvin even in Christian circles.

I don't do this often, but this is one you need to read!

You can purchase it here:  Amazon: Calvin on the Christian Life


Asking Jesus into Your Heart

Baylor University History Professor Thomas Kidd discusses the origins of the phrase "ask Jesus into your heart," which is not found anywhere in the New Testament.

Kidd points out that,

The phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is not in the Bible, although there are similar phrases there (“ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord,” Col. 2.6 KJV). So where did this prayer come from?

It turns out that Anglo-American Puritans and evangelicals in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries used the phrase “receive Christ into your heart,” or something like it, with some regularity. The great Puritan devotional writer John Flavel, for example, spoke of those who had heard the gospel but who would “receive not Christ into their hearts.”

But it was just as common for pastors of that era to use the phrase to describe a Christian act of devotion. Thomas Boston, a Scottish Calvinist pastor, encouraged Christians taking communion to receive “Christ into their hearts.” Benjamin Colman, the leading evangelical pastor in Boston in the early eighteenth century, wrote explicitly that Christians should “receive Christ into their hearts, and hold him forth in their lives.”

There was a time in my life when I was certain that both Jesus and Paul must have told people "to ask Jesus into their hearts" in their own attempts at personal evangelism.  I hadn't thought about how confusing it would have been had Jesus himself actually told people to do this. 

But I was surprised at first about Flavel and Boston using the phrase, but then realized that what they meant by "receive Christ in your heart" is not what most of our contemporaries mean when they use it as the key petition of the sinner's prayer.

To read Dr. Kidd's entire post go here, Asking Jesus into Your Heart


Radio Interview on "Always Ready" 

I was on "Always Ready" this afternoon (on KPDQ in Portland) with host David Lowman, who, as it turns out, knew me from my old Christian bookstore days.

Here's the interview, Amillennialism.

We talked about amillennialism (in contrast to other views).  David asked some very thoughtful questions, and played some "Rapture" tunes from early Christian rock (as bumper music).

I actually recognized most of them.  Ugh . . .

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