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

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Mar182014

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 . . .

Tuesday
Mar182014

"God Is Able" -- Hebrews 11:17-22

The Eighteenth in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Hebrews

We’ve all heard people complain that the Bible is boring.  But when we take a look at the events of redemptive history, we find what has to be the most interesting and compelling story in all of human history.  In Genesis 12, God calls a man named Abraham and his wife Sarah to leave their home and move to a new country as yet unseen.  Abraham goes.  God then tells Abraham that he will become the father of a great nation, and will have so many descendants that only God can count them all.  What makes this promise so remarkable is the fact that Abraham and his wife were by now nearly one hundred years old, and it seemed virtually impossible that they would be able to conceive a child.  Yet, despite their physical limitations, Abraham and Sarah believed that God would make good on his promise.  And then when Sarah gives birth to a son (Isaac) through whom the promise would be fulfilled, and after the boy grew to manhood, God appears to Abraham yet again, and this time commands Abraham to take this only son and kill him . . .  How could God command such a thing?  How could God’s promise be fulfilled if the heir is killed?  And what would Abraham do in light of such a command?  This is not only a compelling story and a startling turn of events, it raises a number of questions about the mysterious redemptive purposes of God, one of several questions about the patriarchs addressed in the 11th chapter of Hebrews.

We are working our way through Hebrews 11, the so-called “hall of faith” – that list of Old Testament luminaries who are considered to be examples of people who had great faith under the most trying of times.  As we have seen in previous weeks while covering this chapter, the author of Hebrews’ focus in chapter 11 falls not so much upon the examples these people set for us (although this is certainly a part of what is in view), but on the fact that these people all placed their trust in the same thing–the unshakable and gracious promise of God to provide his people with a Messiah who will redeem them from their sin.

Because this chapter is quite long and refers to so many remarkable and important events in the Old Testament, I have decided to approach Hebrews 11 by dividing it into sections corresponding to the particular period in redemptive history in which the individuals who are mentioned lived.  We have already covered the first three sections.  In the first section (vv. 1-3, in which the author defines faith) we took note of the fact that in verse 1, the author defines of faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Faith (the noun, and the verb “to believe”) is a technical term in the New Testament, in which someone’s trust is directed toward a particular object–usually the person and work of Jesus Christ.  This means that faith–as it is biblically understood–cannot exist apart from the gospel. 

We also saw that in some cases (as here in Hebrews 11), “faith” can mean taking God at his word when God makes promises to his people.  Each of the people mentioned here make the catalogue of those who believed God’s promise, because they did exactly that–they trusted in God’s covenant promise to send a redeemer who would save his people from their sins.  Therefore, instead of seeing this chapter as a list of Old Testament heroes we are to emulate, it is better to see this chapter as a catalogue of those who believed God’s covenant promise throughout the various twists and turns of redemptive history.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Mar172014

Who Said That?

What well known academic administrator said this?

"I should like to make the young gentlemen of the rising generation as unlike their fathers as possible."

Please leave your guess in the comment section below.  If you cannot help yourself and feel like you must cheat (by doing a google search), please do not ruin it for everyone else by then posting the answer!  The whole point is to make a guess.

Some have asked me to bring this Riddleblog feature back, but that will depend upon how the impatient among us behave themselves . . .  Answer to follow next week.

 

Monday
Mar172014

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (March 17-23)

Note:  This is the completely renovated sanctuary

Sunday Morning (March 23, 2014):  We are now in the "passion" section of the Gospel (chapters 18-19), as we work our way through this great book.  This coming Lord's Day we will consider Jesus' appearance before Pilate (John 18:28-40)

Sunday Afternoon I am continuing my series on the Canons of Dort.  We are covering the third/fourth head of doctrine, article 1 which deals with the effects of the fall.  The catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m. 

Wednesday Night Bible Study (March 19, 2014):  In our "Studies in the Book of Revelation," we take up the 15th chapter of this wonderful book. Bible study begins at 7:30 p.m.

Friday Night Academy (March 21, 2014):  We are studying Michael Horton's theology text, The Christian Faith, and we'll continue in part two, chapter seven, (264 ff.) and a discussion of God's communicable attributes (goodness, love, and mercy).

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

Sunday
Mar162014

"I Have Said Nothing in Secret" -- John 18:12-27

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

Sunday
Mar162014

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Book of Job (Part 3)

On this program, we’ll wrap up our three-part series through the book of Job by looking at that wonderful expression of faith in which Job declares, “I know that my redeemer lives.” How does this hope in the future redeeming work of the Messiah comfort Job during his distress? How can a recovery of this Christ-centered focus help us when we suffer? We’ll consider questions like this as we conclude our miniseries on Job.

Click Here

Thursday
Mar132014

Friday Feature--Django

Joe Bonamassa is a great blues guitarist.  This is about as "clean" as it gets.

Wednesday
Mar122014

Logos Introduces "Reformed Library" Software Packages

Great news! You probably know of Logos Bible Software.  They have been around for a long time, and have produced many valuable resources--all of which are well formatted and fully searchable.  I have used their Bible Software for some years now.  The folks at Logos have heard our pleas and have packaged a number of their best resources together into a "Reformed Library."  For more information, a complete list of what is available, and pricing for the various packages, go here: Reformed Resources

The list of resources they are making available in their packages is pretty amazing.

Commentaries:

1.      Calvin's Commentaries (46 vols.)

2.      Crossway Classic Commentaries (26 vols.)

3.      Preaching the Word Series (30 vols.)

Church History:

1.      Philip Schaff’s Early Church Fathers (37 vols.)

2.      History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century (5 vols.)

3.      History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (8 vols.)

Theology:

1.      Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 vols.)

2.      Tracts and Treatises of John Calvin (8 vols.)

3.      The Works of John Owen (24 vols.) (Includes Owen’s 8 vol. commentary on Hebrews) 

4.      The Works of Charles Hodge (29 vos.)

5.      B. B. Warfield Collection (20 vols.)

6.      Select Works of Geerhardus Vos (14 vols.)

7.      The only English translation of Geerhardus Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics (5 vols.) (only available in Logos) 

8.      Louis Berkhof Collection (15 vols.)

9.      Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (4 vols.)

10.   Richard Muller's Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics (4 vols.)

This is only the stuff which I know will be of great interest to folks who frequent here.  There is much, much more included in their various packages.

If you have questions about the Logos system in general, you can check out some of the new features Logos brings to theological studies with the videos found here: Features

For a video and some short descriptions of the datasets powering Logos 5, go here: Datasets

And last, this video answers some FAQ’s about how the resources mature and are enhanced over time with free updates.

This should be a great addtion to anyone's digital library!

Wednesday
Mar122014

The Christian "Horror" Film Designed to "Scare the Living Daylights Out of Non-Believers"

This is what happens when you lose confidence--or if you never had confidence--in the power of the gospel to create faith.  The same thing holds true for those who do not regard the sacraments as the divinely-appointed means to sustain that faith created by the gospel (cf. Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 65).  Without confidence in God's chosen means to create and sustain faith, why not engage in evangelism by manipulation?

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).

There is no question that the final product is slick and well-presented (the website is first rate).  I do not doubt for a minute, the movie will achieve its purpose--to scare people.

But for the Christian, the return of Jesus Christ is pure gospel, and not something which should frighten us.  Jesus' return is the blessed hope (Titus 2:13), when we shall see Jesus as he is (1 John 3:2-3).  It is that moment when death is finally defeated, when the curse is overturned, and the time when every tear is wiped from our eyes (Revelation 21:4).  For those in Christ, the return of our Savior is not to feared, but is something for which we eagerly wait. 

For the non-Christian, however, the second coming of Christ is pure law (Matthew 25:41).  There is not one bit of hope or good news for those outside of Christ, once he returns and every eye beholds him and the heavenly host in their collective glory.  For those who have rejected the Savior, this is the moment in which the terrible realization dawns that it would be far better to be buried in an avalanche (Revelation 6:16) than face the wrath of the lamb!

In the hands of film-makers seeking to terrify people so as not to miss out on the rapture, the gospel is mutated into something like the old Sunday school refrain, "oh be careful little hands what you do."  The law, on the other hand, becomes trviialized into yet another post-apocalypse Hollywood thriller, the likes of which every fan of The Walking Dead has seen many times before, and to which viewers grow increasingly desensitized.  The law is now presented as "you certainly don't want to live through anything like that!"

We should not be surprised that this happens when folks don't really believe that the preached gospel is the power of God unto salvation, or that the penalty for breaking God's law--even but a single time (James 2:10)--is to face the wrath of God for all eternity without a mediator or his cross.

I don't question the motives behind those making and distributing the film.  I grew up in the dispensational world where such things are common--remember Thief in the Night and Left Behind?  In fact, I assume that folks behind this movie have the best of intentions--a desire to see people come to faith in Christ. 

Because of my own personal interest in eschatology, I'll stick with the preaching of the law in all its terror, and the gospel in all its wonder.  Scaring the living daylights out of people in this manner falls far short of the power of the means which God has given us in his word.  And even worse, The Final Watch trivializes the blessed hope, by reducing Christ's return to the Netflix category, "Horror."  Attempting to scare people into the kingdom (based on an improper view of law and gospel) will help create that myriad of scoffers about which Peter has warned us (2 Peter 3:1-13). 

Tuesday
Mar112014

End Times Smack Down! The Third Eagle Takes on John Hagee!!!!

If you watch this, please understand in advance, this will consume fifteen minutes of your life which you can never get back.  On the other hand, it is entertaining (if these prophecy pundit types fascinate you), and it certainly provides a lesson in how not to understand biblical eschatology.  (h.t. Robin)

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