Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Deadly Serious Milestone

With typical aplomb, I am choosing to write my first blog post in nearly a month (has it been over a month, yet?) on something of crucial importance: our own popularity. Now, since we're just a bunch of small-potatoes wannabe theologians, any visits feel like a great honor. We, however, have had 10,000 different visitors to our sight, and well... it feels like kind of a big deal. If only Adam could get his groove back, we'd get some satire again. Yeah!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Greek Help!

I have a blog that I am ready to post (it is a good one too), but I cannot seem to get the Greek font to work right. Does anyone know how I can get the Greek fonts to post?

A Good Ol' Puritan Smoke

Over at the Conventicle, Chris Ross found this poem by the famous 18th century Scottish Marrowman, Ralph Erskine, on the delights of tobacco and God's glory displayed in it.
This Indian weed now wither'd quite,
'Tho' green at noon, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The pipe so lily-like and weak,
Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.
Thou art ev'n such,
Gone with a touch.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Then thou behold'st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the pipe grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil'd with sin;
For then the fire,
It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou mayest say
That to the dust
Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One More Can't Hurt, Can it?

It is my great pleasure to announce that the staff of Bring the Books has gained a new member. Michael Lynch. I had the privilege of meeting Michael and his wonderful wife Kelly when they came to visit RTS last month. Let me tell you a bit about Michael so you can get to know him. He grew up in the huge state of Texas. Currently, he is finishing up at Moody Bible Institute (B.A. in Historical Theology) and he wants to attend Seminary in the fall. He loves to read theology and play with his chocolate labrador Luther (what a cool name for a dog!). He also enjoys playing Tetris (I just made that one up). His interests are particularly in the areas of church history, theology (union and justification, really all things Gaffin), and hermeneutics. He is a member of Covenant OPC in Orland Park, IL and is under care in the OPC. After a hard day at school, he enjoys drinking a nice cold beer and smoking a pipe while talking theology with his friends (that is true). He will be a great addition to the staff. Now remember to play nice with him!

Monday, March 16, 2009

John Calvin on Christ's Obedience

In the Institutes, Calvin  takes up the question why did God have to become man. In answering this question, he makes the following remarks (which are found in Book 2.12.3) about the quality of Christ's obedience, which seem to indicate that Christ had to actively and passively obey. Now, I am well aware of the fact that Calvin does not use the language of active and passive obedience, but in this citation it is difficult to understand Calvin in any other categories. Calvin writes (emphasis mine):
The second requirement of our reconciliation with God was this: that man, who by his disobedience had become lost, should by way of remedy counter it with obedience, satisfy God's judgment, and pay the penalties for sin. Accordingly, our Lord come forth as true man and took the person and the name of Adam in order to take Adam's place in obeying the Father, to present our flesh as the price of satisfaction to God's righteous judgment, and, in the same flesh, to pay the penalty that we had deserved. In short, since neither as God alone could he feel death, nor as man alone could he overcome it, he coupled human nature with divine that to atone for sin he might submit the weakness of the one to death; and that, wrestling with death by the power of the other nature, he might win victory for us.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Covenant Theology Part 3

Of the Noahic Covenant listen Here

Noah received the covenant promise as a descendent of Seth. He served as a priest, as a Son of God, in the days of great apostasy. Noah was a preacher of righteousness, but only him and his family was spared.
The Noahic Covenant established after the flood is a further administration of the Covenant of Grace to Noah and his descendants that God would never destroy the world with a flood again. The sign of the covenant was the rainbow, the command was to be fruitful and multiply. Human Government is also instituted with the introduction of capital punishment.

Of the Abrahamic Covenant listen Here

Covenant calling (Gen 12)
Covenant ratification (Gen 15)
Covenant administration (Gen 17)
Covenant confirmation (Gen 22)

Abraham was the 1oth generation Shemite in an apostate age when the Shemites had began to worship the gods of the Hamites, and the Japethites. Abraham was called by God to leave the land of his nativity and to sojourn in to the land of Canaan so that he could posses it and become a great nation, through which the nations of the world would be blessed. The covenant promises were given to Abraham, and in Gen 15 and he believed God. The covenant sign of circumcision was given to him and his sons. It was to be a sign and seal that Abraham’s descendants would posses the land of Canaan and await the coming of the promise seed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis must love books as much as we do. Because of this, I am sure you will love this new site I have been using, LibraryThing. This site allows you to put your whole library online, for a small fee. The uses of this seem endless. Example, if you are at the bookstore and you are not sure if you own a book, you can bring up your library on your iPhone and check. Or when someone borrows a book, you can use LibraryThing to check out your books. The only downside is that you have to enter all your books into their database. It took me and a friend (thanks Steve!!!) about two afternoons to do all my books. You can check out my library here. Hope you enjoy this great site.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Dry Well... Oh Well!

It's true, (sigh). The well is dry, right now, and since I'm not a pastor I have no training in getting blood from a stone. I've been busy, what with all my political scheming and revolution talk. And this just isn't the place for all of that. But fortunately, my sister happens to have written some pretty hilarious satire for the online magazine The Brew, tackling a subject ripe for the picking: "Christianese," the Christian lingo. Cleverly enough, she has written her piece in the form of a pamphlet introducing new believers into the Christian sub-culture. I think it's funny, and I know you guys will, as well. Also, since most of our readers probably tend toward Cessationism, I think you'll all appreciate her skewering of people feeling they are "led by God" to make bonehead decisions.


A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Assimilation by Libby Parker

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Covenant Theology Part 2: Pactum Salutis

Of the Covenant of Redemption (pactum salutis) part 1 listen here

Introduction to Covenant of Redemption

The Covenant of Redemption is defined as “The Father gives the Son to be Head and Redeemer of the elect; and the Son presents himself as a Sponsor or Surety for them.” This covenant is between God and the Mediator, not the elect and God. The elect simply reap the benefits of this agreement between God and the Mediator. John 17:3, Luke 22:28, Rom 5:12-24.

The Covenant between the Father and the Son more fully explained.

The Covenant of Redemption was made in eternity past before creation (1 Pet. 1:20; Prov. 8:23,; Eph. 1:4; John 17:6; Rev. 13:8). This was a voluntary covenant. The Son did not have to agree to the covenant. This is foundation for the Covenant of Grace. It had to be voluntary in order to make redemption a legal transaction.

Of the Person of the Surety.

The Person of the surety had to be a sinless man born of virgin (to avoid original sin) in order to fulfill the demands of the Law Gal 4:4 Matt 5:17 and to propitiate man’s sins Rom 3:25,5:6-11 Gal 3:13. The Surety had to be God in order to enter in to the covenant voluntarily and to be the Sponsor of the Covenant of Works.

Of the Suretyship and Satisfaction of Christ

In order for Christ to expiate and propitiate the sins of the elect there needed to a vicarious substitution atonement. This involved the sins of the elect been imputed to Christ and then in turn having the wrath of God dues those sins placed on Him Isa 53:6-10, 1 Peter 2:23-24. He knew no sin became sin on our behalf 2Cor 5:21(Isa. 53:10; Matt. 20:18; John 10:15; 1 Pet. 3:18; Col. 1:21-22; Rom. 5:10; Heb. 9:15; Rom. 8:34).

What Sufferings of Christ are Satisfactory.

Christ active and passive obedience fully satisfies the demands of Law and to redeem the elect. He active obedience consisting of his sinless life and perfect love for the father, Matt 3:15, 5:17. His passive obedience consisting of the sufferings Christ, which include Gethsename, the floggings, and the Cross.

Of the Efficacy of Christ's Satisfaction

The efficacy of Christ's satisfaction is twofold. First, Christ obtained for himself, as Mediator, a right to all of the elect (Ps. 2:8; Isa. 53:10). Christ obtained for the elect immunity from all misery and a right to eternal life to be applied to them (Matt. 26:28; Gal. 1:4; Tit. 2:14). Christ did not achieve a bare possibility of salvation but actual salvation for His elect. The idea of redemption, ransom and price of redemption infers the reality and not possibility of salvation. Scripture declares that the proximate effect of redemption is actual salvation (Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Cor. 6:20; Acts 20:28; Gal. 4:4-5). .

Of the Necessity of Christ's Satisfaction.

The following may be set forth as real and true arguments in favor of the necessity of Christ's satisfaction. First, an unnecessary satisfaction is contrary to the goodness, wisdom and holiness of God. Second, an unnecessary satisfaction mitigates against the Scripture's stress on the great love of God as demonstrated in the giving of his Son. Third, Christ's satisfaction was a declaration of the righteousness of God which cannot be overthrown (Rom. 3:25). Fourth, animal sacrifices could not atone for sin (Heb. 10:1,4,11) only the sacrifice of Christ could atone for sin. Fifth, Hebrews 10:26 infers that sacrifice is necessary for pardon. Sixth, the necessary satisfaction of Christ exalts the attributes of God. Seventh, the necessary satisfaction of Christ promotes Christian piety. Eighth, the necessary satisfaction of Christ does not detract from any of God's attributes.

Of the Persons for whom Christ Engaged and Satisfied.

There is ample Scriptural support for the doctrine of particular atonement. The "all" of 2 Cor. 5:15, Heb. 2:9, Col. 1:20, and 1 Tim. 2:6 is restricted to the elect, which means exegetical work is needful in order to understand the passages in question. The term "world" in such passages as 1 John 2:2 refers to "the collective body of believers or of the elect." Specifically, the Scripture says that Christ died for his sheep, his church, his people, and his peculiar people (cf. John 10:15; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25; Tit. 2:14).

After what manner Christ used the Sacraments

For Christ, the sacraments were signs and seals of the covenant between God the Father and God the Son. It demonstrated the benefits of salvation for His church and that they were promised to Christ. As a result of these promises, Christ promised to faithfully redeem the elect.

The Covenant of Grace (fodues gratiae) part 2 listen here

Of the Adamic Covenant

The Adamic Covenant was the first administration of the Covenant of Grace beginning in Gen 3:15 also know as the protoevangelicum. This Covenant promised that the seed of the women (The Messiah) would destroy the work of the Serpent (the Devil). The covenant community began with Adam and his sons Cain and Abel who were priest as ministers to the first family in Eden. After the Death of Abel Seth became heir of the promise. His descendants became known as the sons of God and served as priests for the family of Seth.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Erasmus and the Greek New Testament

It was on this date in 1516, 493 years ago, that Desiderius Erasmus published his first edition of the Greek New Testament. This was one of the first steps in starting the scholarly disciple known today as Textual Criticism. His Greek NT was about 1,000 pages. Since he could not find a Greek manuscript of the last six verse of the Book of Revelation, he translated the Latin Vulgate in to Greek and used that for his text. His Greek Bible, know as the Textus Receptus, became the standard for many years to come. For more on this see here.