What I Read Online – 03/22/2012 (a.m.)

22 Mar
    • Even more specifically, Piper addresses the relation of blacks and whites in the church in America in light of our history with slavery, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement. While acknowledging that the Reformed faith has a checkered history relating to slavery in America, Piper argues that the Reformed faith (shorthand for biblical Christianity) has the internal resources for self-criticism and correction  and offers hope to those trapped in the wretched vice-grip of the sin of racism.  
    •  My first thought is that the relation between blacks and whites is the most obvious one in the American context but it is by no means the only racial divide either in this land or in other lands.  In this book it serves as the paradigm case and offers us insight into the dynamics of race and ethnicity involving other groups.  Whites and blacks have no corner on this market.  
    •  More often than not, racism gets entangled with theological and cultural matters. It is only the grace of Christ that can free us from the miasma of this specific sin.
    • At the end of the day, the only satisfactory answer to racism is the reconciling blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and the integrating ministry of the Holy Spirit that glorifies God the Father.  When we are reconciled to the Father by the Son through the Spirit, this spills over into reconciliation with our fellow human beings.
    • For all the interest generated by the sign-language experiments with apes, three things are clear. First they do have the capacity to manipulate a symbol system given to them by humans, and to communicate with it. Second, unfortunately, they have nothing to say. And third, they do not use any such system in the wild…There is in fact very little overlap between chimpanzee and human communication. (emphasis mine)
    • Alongside of this, in a more generic sense, every effort to reform his own life or to promote increased holiness or zeal in the church will be met with countless distractions and intensified opposition against him and against the church as a whole.
    • In part, this is due to a heightened awareness of sin. As he unpacks the issues, as he studies the strategy and tactics of the enemy, he becomes more conscious of the ways and means employed to contend with the saints. He finds increasing evidence of certain sins in his own life because he is increasingly aware of what to look for; he finds exposed his lack of holiness in a particular area because he is more attuned to what ought to be present. He becomes more conscious of outcrops of sin and lacunae in holiness among the congregation precisely because he is increasingly sensitive to the contours of godliness that ought to be present.
    • However, this is also because of heightened aggression. Whether in himself or in others, he finds that there is a real battle taking place in the life and service of the Christian, a battle in which he himself is called both to take a prominent part and to set an example.
    • So, let us not underestimate the reality of this spiritual warfare, nor its specific and aggressive manifestations, not least in the life of the man whose particular duty it is to explain, apply and model the godliness which God requires, personally and corporately.  Do not expect the ministry to be a life of ease, but a life of perpetual and increasing striving against sin and for godliness. Pray for your pastors and teachers, that they might withstand in the evil day, and having done all, might stand (Eph 6.13), and so help you to stand also.
    • It is right there, in the fact that the preacher is still wrestling, still preaching, still striving, still standing and even renewing his strength so that – contrary to all he deserves and all he might expect and despite all the opposition he faces – he mounts up with wings like eagles, he runs and is not weary, he walks and does not faint (Is 40.31).
    • Ligonier Ministries and Compass Cinema are partnering together to produce a new video curriculum on economics from a biblical perspective, called Economics for Everybody. they write, “We want it to be fun, interesting, and perhaps even a bit controversial.”


      You can follow Thomas Purifoy’s blog on the project here, and watch the first lesson below:

    • The logical For (gar) is important: this verse explains how it is that the Son can exercise divine judgment and generate resurrection life by his powerful word. It is because, like God, he has life-in-himself. God is self-existent; he is always ‘the living God’. Mere human beings are derived creatures; our life comes from God, and he can remove it as easily as he gave it. But to the Son, and to the Son alone, God has imparted life-in-himself.


      This cannot mean that the Son gained this prerogative only after the incarnation. The Prologue has already asserted of the pre-incarnate Word, ‘In him was life’ (1:4). The impartation of life-in-himself to the Son must be an act belonging to eternity, of a piece with the eternal Father/Son relationship, which is itself of a piece with the relationship between the Word and God, a relationship that existed ‘in the beginning’ (1:1). That is why the Son himself can be proclaimed as ‘the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us’ (1 Jn. 1:2).


      Many systematicians have tied this teaching to what they call ‘the eternal generation of the Son’. This is unobjectionable, though ‘the eternal generation of the Son’ should probably not be connected with the term monogenēs (sometimes translated ‘only begotten’: cf. notes on 1:18). In the immediate context, it is this eternal impartation of life-in-himself to the Son that grounds his authority and power to call the dead to life by his powerful word.

    • But Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury (b. July 2, 1489; d. March 21, 1556), will never enjoy the luxury of having his failures overlooked. His greatest public failure is closely related to why we still remember his story.
    • But Cranmer’s death resembles many ordinary stories where Christian leaders needed to stiffen their backbones but didn’t. We wish we had taken a stronger stance, not capitulated so much, been a bit clearer without so much backtracking. It’s likely that none of us will have entire reformations pending upon our decisions. But all Christian leaders must be courageous and ambitious, looking to Christ for our security and humbly admitting when we’re wrong
    • As a credobaptist (one who believes in baptizing only professing believers), I find paedobaptism (baptizing the covenant children of believers) unpersuasive for numerous reasons: (1) there is no explicit mention of or instruction for paedobaptism in the NT; (2) paedobaptists assume without warrant that “household baptisms” mean that that there must have been infants in the households and ignore the fact that Paul “spoke the word to all . . . who were in his house” (Acts 16:32); (3) the practice of baptism was routinely connected with repentance and faith; (4) the theology of baptism requires repentance and faith—as Paul says, we are “buried with [Christ] in baptism” and “raised through faith” (Col. 2:12), and  Peter virtually defines baptism as “as an appeal to God for a good conscience” (1 Pet. 3:21); (5) entrance into the covenant people of God is by spiritual birth, not physical birth—the design of which is that all who belong to God’s covenant people truly know him (Heb. 8:11).
    • First, we should not be afraid of getting it wrong, because even the apostles did
    • We’re called to baptize and disciple all who give profession of faith in Jesus as the risen Lord and Master of their lives.
    • we should be fearing suffocating baby Christians
    • Because if it is, we’re essentially telling the youngest of baby Christians (new converts of whatever age) to continue living without breathing, without taking in grace through God’s appointed means.
    • Since proper baptist doctrine withholds participation in the Lord’s Supper, membership, and pastoral oversight to those who have already been baptized as believers, we’re withholding just about every corporate means of grace from this infant believer. And then we tell them to ‘prove’ their life in Christ, all the while denying them the oxygen their growth and life so desperately needs
    • There’s now an iPhone/iPad app that provides music for songs and hymns broken down into sections and the user can select which section to play in which order, even changing in the middle of a song
    • Charles Spurgeon tenaciously held to the doctrine of unconditional election. By necessity, this biblical truth flows from belief in human depravity. Because the will of man is utterly dead and cannot choose God, God must exercise His sovereign will to save. Out of the mass of fallen humanity, God made an eternal, distinguishing choice. Before the foundation of the world, He determined whom He would save. Spurgeon contended that were it not for God’s choice of His elect, none would be saved.


    • Because God’s sovereign election of individual sinners is clearly taught by Scripture, Spurgeon insisted that it must be preached: “God gave me this great book to preach from, and if He has put anything in it you think is not fit, go and complain to Him, not to me. I am simply His servant, and if His errand that I am to tell is objectionable, I cannot help it. Let me tell you, the reason why many of our churches are declining is just because this doctrine has not been preached.” Spurgeon recognized that a refusal to preach the truth of sovereign election is a hindrance to the growth of the church. Such preaching is necessary if sinful men are to receive the seed of the gospel.


    • From a positive perspective, Spurgeon boldly declared that preaching unconditional election is evangelistic. He said, “I have never preached this doctrine without seeing conversions, and I believe I never shall.” When people asked him how he reconciled preaching election with extending the gospel, he asserted, “There is no need to reconcile them, for they have never yet quarreled with one another.” He was right. Divine sovereignty and gospel evangelism go hand in hand, the former preparing the way for and ensuring the success of the latter.


      • We strongly agree. Pithy, insightful.
      • We strongly agree while recognizing that an improved tone could win others over. (Think Tim Keller.)
      • We strongly disagree while being put off by the tone. For example, last week he called the NIV a “gender bender” translation, asking, “Who wants a Bible translation with hormone shots and breast implants?” (Wilson uses the KJV.)
    • It isn’t always a comfortable or easy space to occupy, but it is where we find ourselves
    • TSCF groups on campus aren’t replacement communities for local church, not because they are ‘inadequate’ for the job but because that is not the job they are attempting to do.
    • Sure, there are times when students get things wrong, student communities for mission start to look and feel (and smell!?) like ecclesial communities. But that is not the design or intent. Inevitably the tide flows back toward the core vision and mission of the groups and then we see fewer tensions with local church leaders.
    • We fear young adults drifting away from church and so we seek to tie them in to service. It is one strategy but not the only one, and I would argue not the best.
    • This model is for a 2-3 year period and works best when there are supportive local churches of which these students can be part
    • Finally, I’ve come to know Joe and Peter in the context of student ministry here in NZ. The fellowship has been warm and the partnership is keenly felt and greatly appreciated. Thanks for the opportunity to share.
    • It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that first hand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than second hand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 22/03/2012 in Current Issues


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