Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bucey on Modern Reformation

I found this article by Camden Bucey on Feeding on Christ to be interesting, so I wanted to pass it along. It does seem interesting that Modern Reformation, which is associated with Mike Horton, would have a Roman Catholic write an article on a view of Calvin's doctrine of union with Christ that is seemingly different than Horton's. I was wondering if they were trying to paint Richard Gaffin's view, set forth here, as Roman Catholic, which makes one wonder.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

God's Happiness: Self-Knowledge

It's always nice to make a discovery of connections between two beautiful things that we already thought we understood but never put together before. In this case, I have long known that God is infinitely happy and taken great joy in knowing that He is the most joyful person in the entire universe; in fact, He is the fountain of all joy.

I have also intellectually ascertained for years now that God has perfect knowledge; when reading the right systematic theology I have long understood that God has not only perfect knowledge of the universe which He made, but He also has perfect self-knowledge.

"The Father, Son, and Spirit search one another's hearts (1 Cor. 2:10-11). God knows himself exhaustively. We creatures do not have perfect self-knowledge. But there are no unexplored depths in God's nature. He does not surprise Himself. He is word. His word exhaustively expresses his being to himself, among the persons of the Trinity. Our God has perfect knowledge of who he is and of what he does." (Frame, John M. The Doctrine of God; Page 474-5)

My error has been my understanding of the source of God's joyfulness. I have always chocked up the source of God's joyfulness to his providence; to the fact that His will always occurs. But there was another aspect of God's joyfulness which eluded me, and that is His self-knowledge. For the Biblically-minded and regenerate person, there is no greater joy than knowing God and learning more and more about Him, because He continually marvels us and there are never new vistas of understanding which we will not find as we grow closer and closer to Him throughout eternity. This is a profound source of joy for the redeemed.

But consider how joyful such knowledge would make one if such knowledge could be perfect or exhaustive! While we humans, as we come to know ourselves, we come to understand more deeply our flaws and limitations. In the case of humanity, this is a source of sorrow and consternation. God's self-knowledge would be the exact inverse of this. Who can even begin to reflect on the joy which would result from perfectly knowing such an infinitely admirable and perfect person?

And so God is not only infinitely joyful because of His providence and the perfect fulfillment of His will at all times, but He is joyful also because He exhaustively knows Himself, and there is no greater joy for anyone than to know God.

I'm pretty sure my memory is simply faulty, and I am certain that I am walking where Jonathan Edwards has already tread in his Unpublished Essay on the Trinity. No new insights here, just something I've been chewing on, this fine morning.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Maybe I Should Be Post-Millennial

After watching this video, I was forced to rethink my eschatology. But at the end, I stayed right where I was.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sermons by Jonathan Goundry

As many of you know, Jonathan Goundry is one of the bloggers here at Bring the Books. But what you might not know is that Jonathan is also an elder at Great Oak Baptist Church. His sermons preached there (and elsewhere I presume) can be found here. I would recommend giving them a listen. Jonathan is a great communicator and solid in his understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well worth the time spent!

Monday, June 22, 2009

William Tyndale on Imputation and Union with Christ

I mentioned over at my other blog that I was reading Carl Trueman's dissertation on the Early English Reformers. Anyhow, I came across this marvelous quote by William Tyndale in his 1527 Parable of the Wicked Mammon. It shows a profound awareness of the inseparability of union and imputation (and might I add, union with Christ does not diminish or make unnecessary the need for imputation but rather allows it!) I take the second sentence as the cause of the first sentence. Here is Tyndale:
and by thy good deeds shalt thou be saved, not which thou hast done, but which Christ has done for thee; for Christ is thine, and all his deeds are thy deeds. Christ is in thee, and thou in him, knit together inseparably. Neither canst thou be damned, except Christ be damned with thee: neither can Christ be saved, except thou be saved with him.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Daughter the Broad Evangelical

My daughter's name is Genesis Grace. She is three years old, and judging from her own statements and actions I would say she is not a regenerate child of God. It isn't that I'm getting down on my daughter; we're all born this way. She is behaving as any unregenerate self-loving sinner should be expected to act.

Her mother and I have been strict disciplinarians, and we have trained her to not do certain things out of fear of punishment. This includes being defiant towards us and hurting/stealing from her 9 month old little brother, Amos. Recently, however, my wife and I realized that there was a major hole in the discipline she was receiving, because we had not, up to this point, made God a factor in her discipline.

So, seeking to consistently parent her with a healthy respect for God and what He thought about her actions I decided to explain to her, "You know, when you're bad and defiant towards us, we spank you. But the really important part is that when you disobey us you're disobeying God. And it's wrong to disobey God, because you're supposed to love God. He deserves our love, doesn't He?"

Her response was thoroughly practical and modern: "Yeah, He does. But I just don't like it when you spank me."

This got me thinking that much of the modern church has people living for God because they're afraid of going to Hell. But how many people pursue sanctification out of a sense of love for God? The motivations have been reversed from what they ought to be. Instead of repenting and living the Christian life out of a love for the Divine, many evangelicals live without security out of a sense of self-preservation.

Now, my daughter lives out of a fear of temporal punishment, but it isn't a stretch to reflect that once she understands the doctrine of Hell, she'll also live out of a fear of eternal punishment. She can still do both of these things without being regenerate. Anyone can live out of a sense of fear; it takes a new heart for us to obey God out of a sense of love.

Pray for my daughter's salvation. Pray for the Church.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Shock Jock of the Evangelical World

In light of Mark Driscoll's recent sexual innuendos in his series on The Song of Songs titled The Peasant Princess, I have been pondering if Driscoll is the Howard Stern of the Evangelical world.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Poly-Gratia Not just a Duplex

Many in the Reformed world love to speak of the duplex gratia, a term Calvin used to refer to the two graces in salvation of justification and sanctification. While I am in full agreement with everything Calvin meant by this phrase, I think that these two graces have frequently been emphasized to the neglect of the other graces in the ordo salutis. There are other important graces in salvation such as, but not limited to, adoption, regeneration and glorification. These graces are great blessing and the Christian should learn to reveal in these great gifts of God.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Typical Baptism and the Baptism of Jesus

I had the privilege to teach a Bible study on 1 Peter 3:18-22 and Matthew 3 on Baptism at New Covenant Presbyterian Church for Nick Batzig. The audio of the lesson can be found here. I have been interning with Rev. Batzig for almost a week now. I have really enjoyed my time and learned tons. Thanks Nick!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jonathan Edwards learned it, John Piper learned it, and so did John Owen

I couldn't help but be reminded of Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon on Divine Light while reading John Owen today. John Owen writes:
Moreover, be not contented to have right notions of the love of Christ in your minds unless you can attain a gracious taste of it in your hearts; no more than you would be to see a feast or banquet richly prepared and not partake of it for your refreshment. It is of that nature that we may have a spiritual sensation of it in our minds; whence it is compared by the Spouse to apples and flagons of wine. We may taste that the Lord is gracious; and if we find nor a relish of it in our hearts, we shall not long retain the notion of it in our minds. Christ is the meat, the bread, the food of our souls. Nothing in Him is of a higher spiritual nourishment than His love, which we should always desire.

In this love He is glorious; for it is such as no creatures, angels or men, could have the least conception of, before its manifestation by its effects; and, after its manifestation, it is in this world absolutely incomprehensible. (1:338)

Jonathan Edwards 50 years later would write:
Thus there is a difference between having an opinion, that God is holy and gracious, and having a sense of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of its sweetness. A man may have the former, that knows not how honey tastes; but a man cannot have the latter unless he has an idea of the taste of honey in his mind. So there is a difference between believing that a person is beautiful, and having a sense of his beauty. The former may be obtained by hearsay, but the latter only by seeing the countenance. There is a wide difference between mere speculative rational judging any thing to be excellent, and having a sense of its sweetness and beauty. The former rests only in the head, speculation only is concerned in it; but the heart is concerned in the latter. When the heart is sensible of the beauty and amiableness of a thing, it necessarily feels pleasure in the apprehension. It is implied in a person's being heartily sensible of the loveliness of a thing, that the idea of it is sweet and pleasant to his soul; which is a far different thing from having a rational opinion that it is excellent.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Covenant Theology Part 7

Of the Sacraments/ordinances of the New Covenant listen here

1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. ( Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2;12; Galatians 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4 )
2. Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance. ( Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36, 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8 )
3 The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. ( Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38 )
4 Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance. ( Matthew 3:16; John 3:23 ) London Baptist confession 1689

1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17,21 )
2. In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ's own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect. ( Hebrews 9:25, 26, 28; 1 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:26, 27 )
3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, etc. )
4. The denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance, and to the institution of Christ. ( Matthew 26:26-28; Matthew 15:9; Exodus 20:4, 5 )
5. The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before. ( 1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:26-28 )
6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries. ( Acts 3:21; Luke 14:6, 39; 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25 )
7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. ( 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 )
8. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves. ( 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Matthew 7:6 ) London Baptist confession 1689
Of the Law of Christ listen here

I. How de we define Law biblically.
The Law is not the timeless moral will of God (whatever God demands of us)
Rather, the Law is the Sinai covenant, given in the form of a typological republication of the Adamic covenant of works.

Christ, as the Second Adam and the promise seed, fulfilled both the Covenant of Works and the Covenants of Promise (2 Cor 1:20, Eph 2:12, Gal 3:16,29)
Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness. The end of the Law means fulfillment that abrogates. (Rom 10:4)

Believers have been set free from the Law by means of their union with Christ in his death. The Law has jurisdiction over a person only as long as he is alive (Rom. 7:1; Gal. 2:19).
Because we have died with Christ, we are "not under law" (Rom. 6:14-15; 7:4-6; 1 Cor. 9:20; Gal. 3:23-25; 4:4-5, 21; 5:18). This means we are free from its condemnation and from its commanding authority

This freedom from the Law does not mean that believers have been set free from all ethical standards. We are not anomos but ennomos Christou, "under the Law of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2). Having died to the Law, we have been married to another (Rom. 7:4).
This law is called also the New commandment (John 13:34), The royal law (James 2:8) charity (2 Peter 1:7) The great commandment (Matt 22:36)

The Law of Christ is not vague or nebulous. It has been revealed in the indicative and the imperative, which is given concrete expression in the ethical teaching of Jesus (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount) and in the apostolic exhortations to live in accordance with our union with Christ (e.g., Eph. 4-6; Col. 3, etc.).
Although the Law of Christ is not identical with the Law of Moses, it does reach back to the Law of Moses in order to bring over those aspects of its teaching that are rooted in God's righteous nature and man's creation in God's image.

It’s the only way to walk in true victory and holiness (Rom 7:1-6)
For further study read Lee Irons paper here

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Batzig Top 15

A good friend of mine, Nick Batzig, posted a top 15 list of books on the cross and left out the greatest single book (outside the Bible) on the cross. Head over to his post and see if you can figure out what book he left out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Two OPC Ordained Servant Book Reviews

Alan Strange gives a great review of R. Scott Clark's Recovering the Reformed Confessions

Carl Trueman reviews D.G. Hart and John Muether's history of American Presbyterianism called Seeking a Better Country