Monthly Archives: April, 2006

Theological and Doxological Meditation #13

The Fall

Q. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?

A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God (Genesis 3:6-8; Ecclesiastes 7:29).

With Tears of Anguish I Lament
Samuel Stennett (1727-1795)

With tears of anguish I lament
here at thy feet, my God
my passion, pride and discontent
and vile ingratitude

Sure there was ne’er a heart so base
so false as mine has been
so faithless to its promises
so prone to ev’ry sin

My reason tells me thy commands
are holy, just and true
tells me whate’er my God demands
is his most righteous due

Reason I hear, her counsels weigh
and all here words approve
but still I find it hard t’obey
and harder yet to love

How long, dear Savior, shall I feel
these strugglings in my breast?
When wilt thou bow my stubborn will,
and give my conscience rest?

Break, sov’reign grace, O break the charm
and set the captive free
reveal, Almighty god, thine arm
and haste to rescue me.

The Liberal Emperor Has No Clothes!

this is an audio post - click to play

May I Introduce You to the ICBI?

“ICBI, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, is a coalition of individuals who represent many works and denominations but who are together taking a united stand on God’s inerrant Word.
What is ICBI’s Purpose?
Our purpose is to take a united stand in elucidating, vindicating and applying the truth of biblical inerrancy as an integral element of the authority of Scripture. This will be done in both academic theology and practical Christian instruction.
Why is ICBI Necessary?
The authority and accuracy of the Bible are foundations of the Christian faith. Yet we are witnessing the erosion of these foundations. As we have observed the preaching in many local churches, the teaching in some seminaries and much popular Christian literature, we sense that sizeable numbers of evangelical believers are being turned away from the Bible as their final authority in matters of Christian doctrine and Christian living.”

I was first introduced to the ICBI through the ministry of Dr. R. C. Sproul. This Council produced three statements containing Articles of Affirmation and Denial, (what evangelicals do and do not believe) concerning Biblical Inerrancy, Biblical Hermeneutics and Biblical Application. For some reason the link above does not contain the statement on Hermeneutics, so you may find that statement by checking out the Origins website. Posted by Picasa

Theological and Doxological Meditation #12

Providence Toward Man

Q. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?

A. When God had created man,
he entered into a covenant of life with him,
upon condition of perfect obedience (Galatians 3:12);
forbidding him to eat
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
upon pain of death (Genesis 2:17).

My Dear Redeemer and My Lord
#238, Trinity Hymnal 
Isaac Watts

My dear Redeemer and my Lord,

I read my duty in your Word;
but in your life the law appears
drawn out in living characters.

Such was your truth, and such your zeal,
such def’rence to your Father’s will,
such love, and meekness so divine,
I would transcribe and make them mine.

Cold mountains and the midnight air
witnessed the fervor of your prayer;
the desert your temptations knew,
your conflict and your vict’ry too.

Be now my pattern; make me bear
more of your gracious image here:
then God the Judge shall own my name
amongst the foll’wers of the Lamb. 

Easter Theology

Resurrection and Justification

How is the resurrection of Christ linked to the idea of justification in the New Testament? To answer this question, we must first explore the use and meaning of the term justification in the New Testament. Confusion about this has provoked some of the fiercest controversies in the history of the church. The Protestant Reformation itself was fought over the issue of justification. In all its complications, the unreconciled and unreconcilable difference in the debate came down to the question of whether our justification before God is grounded in the infusion of Christ’s righteousness into us, by which we become inherently righteous, or in the imputation, or reckoning, of Christ’s righteousness to us while we are still sinners. The difference between these views makes all the difference in our understanding of the Gospel and how we are saved.

Losing Something in the Translation
One of the problems that led to confusion was the meaning of the word justification. Our English word justification is derived from the Latin justificare. The literal meaning of the Latin is “to make righteous.” The Latin fathers of church history worked with the Latin text instead of the Greek text and were clearly influenced by it. By contrast, the Greek word for justification, dikaiosune, carries the meaning of “to count, reckon, or declare righteous.” The verb “to justify” and its noun form, “justification,” have shades of meaning in Greek. One of the meanings of the verb is “to vindicate” or “to demonstrate.”

The Justification of Jesus
The Resurrection involves justification in both senses of the Greek term. First, the Resurrection justifies Christ himself. Of course, he is not justified in the sense of having his sins remitted, because he had no sins, or in the sense of being “made righteous.” Rather, the Resurrection serves as the vindication or demonstration of the truth of his claims about himself.

In his encounter with the philosophers at Athens, Paul declared: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Here Paul points to the Resurrection as an act by which the Father universally vindicates the authenticity of his Son. In this sense, Christ is justified before the whole world by his resurrection.

The Justification of Sinners
However, the New Testament also links Christ’s resurrection to our justification. Paul writes, “It shall be imputed to us who believe in him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:24-25).

It is clear that in his atoning death Christ suffered on our behalf, or for us. Likewise, his resurrection is seen not only as a vindication of or surety of himself, but as a surety of our justification. Here justification does not refer to our vindication, but to the evidence that the atonement he made was accepted by the Father. By vindicating Christ in his resurrection, the Father declared his acceptance of Jesus’ work on our behalf. Our justification in this theological sense rests on the imputed righteousness of Christ, so the reality of that transaction is linked to Christ’s resurrection. Had Christ not been raised, we would have a mediator whose redeeming work in our behalf was not acceptable to God.

However, Christ is risen indeed!

Romans 4:25 bugged me for years and I used to ask everyone I knew whom I thought might know something, and the only answer I ever got was, “Because God’s Word says so.”

Thanks to Ligonier Ministries for this short article detailing the relationship between Christ’s resurrection and our justification. Be sure and click on the link above in the title, “Easter Theology” and patronize their ministry. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll learn about God, do so on your knees and allow the theology to become doxology (praise)! Posted by Picasa

Theological and Doxological Meditation #11

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On Providence

Q. What are God’s works of providence?

A. God’s works of providence are,
his most holy (Psalm 145:17),
wise (Isaiah 28:29),
and powerful preserving (Hebrews 1:3),
and governing all his creatures
and all their actions (Psalm 103:19; Matthew 10:29).

God Moves in a Mysterious Way (click title to play)
William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”),
#128, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)

God moves in a mysterious way
his wonders to perform;
he plants his footsteps in the sea,
and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
of never-failing skill
he treasures up his bright designs,
and works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break
in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust him for his grace;
behind a frowning providence
he hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
unfolding ev’ry hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
and scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
and he will make it plain.

Easter and Images

This Good Friday I was reading Matthew chapter 27 in my ESV to my children, regarding Christ’s appearance before Pilate, his crucifixion and burial and came across an interesting translation choice in verse 59: “Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud.”

Shroud?

An evangelical translation using the word “shroud” in reference to the material used in burying the body of the Lord Jesus Christ? I thought evangelicals always asserted that Christ’s body was wound in strips of cloth (notice the plurality). Compare John 19, verse 40: “So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” Would this be what an unbeliever would call a discrepancy? How shall we resolve this?

What saith Calvin? I know, that’s everyone’s first instinct, isn’t it?

Well, his only comment on the “linen cloth” (singular) in Matt. 27:59 reads, “from which we infer, that Christ was honorably buried.” No help on the “discrepancy.”

Next expert—What saith the Dispensationalists? The NET Bible (New English Translation), contains “translation notes,” which many do not, but of course if you saw how thick a NET Bible is, you’d know what kind of theology geeks like myself are drawn to it, despite its apparent Dispensationalist bias.

Voila! A translation note on the single piece of material referenced in Matt. 27:59 and even a “tn” for its plural counterpart in John 19:40! Naturally, these are two different Greek words. The ESV translates the Greek word, sindon, as “linen shroud.” http://www.studylight.org/ defines this Greek word, “linen cloth, esp. that which was fine and costly, in which the bodies of the dead were wrapped.” The NET’s translation note adds nothing to this.

An explanation hoping to resolve the discrepancy between singular and plural words is found, however, in the NET’s translation note on John 19:40. Here’s what it said:

“The Fourth Gospel uses ojqonivoi” (oqonioi”) to describe the wrappings, and this has caused a good deal of debate, since it appears to contradict the synoptic accounts which mention a sindwvn (sindwn), a large single piece of linen cloth. If one understands ojqonivoi” to refer to smaller strips of cloth, like bandages, there would be a difference, but diminutive forms have often lost their diminutive force in Koine Greek (BDF §111.3), so there may not be any difference.”

Because there is precedence for “diminutive forms” losing their “force” in Koine Greek, we are to allow Matthew’s singular noun to inform our interpretation of John’s plural noun.

I sure hope this doesn’t mean the Shroud of Turin relic is for real! No, that doesn’t necessarily follow. Fortunately, our faith does not rest on our acceptance of physical relics which purport to convey the actual image of our Lord and Savior. Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), but just because the Greek words used for that in which the image of the invisible God was buried seems to lean toward a singular sheet, it does not follow that the actual image of the image of the invisible God will do us any spiritual good. By all indications, we will only tend toward idolatry in either thought, word or deed. Besides, even if that is Jesus’ image on the Shroud of Turin (I’m still rooting for its lack of genuineness, given the contradictory results from the mountain of ongoing research, but mostly its status as a Roman Catholic relic), the kind of image the New Testament points us toward is an image in the sense of a reflection of God’s moral nature, not a physical representation.

“But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV).

May this Easter, yes Easter, weekend be used by the Holy Spirit to call us to a closer communion with God, who, in the Person of the Father, sent his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to perfectly reflect the glorious moral image of his Father for us; to willingly receive the consequences of our Adam-imputed, and actual, inability to perfectly reflect the Father’s glorious moral image, so that we may by his grace through faith in his promise as we hear it preached, read it in his Word, sing it in our psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, be more and more transformed into God’s glorious moral image by the power of resurrection of the Image of the Invisible God!

An Easter Sign I Can Get PASSION-ate About!!! (In a Good Way)

Driving home from work, I found a ripe banana in the trash bin of badly written church signs. This sign was lettered by a nearby Assembly of God church. This, once again, is not a photo of the actual sign, but a facsimile of it with the help of www.churchsigngenerator.com. The Lord Jesus Christ is no longer hanging on a cross, he is no longer lying in a borrowed tomb, Christ has risen, sinners may now be justified by faith because of his righteousness alone. The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ . . .

* veiled his eternal, divine attributes . . .

* humbled himself by taking on the form of a servant in his incarnation . . .

* Perfectly keeping the Covenant of Works which our first human father, Adam, failed to keep, thereby earning eternal life . . .

* Silently suffering the ridicule, rejection, hatred and violence of the self-righteous . . .

* Although sinless, received sin’s penalty, death, on behalf of those whom God the Father gave him before the world was created . . .

* Lay buried in a borrowed tomb . . .

* Rose from the dead, indicating that the sacrifice he’d just offered to God the Father had been received and that justification has actually, and irrevocably, been obtained for those whom the Father chose and gave to him . . .

. . . is the reason any of us has a hope beyond the grave, has the grace to believe, receive, and gratefully love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ who was sent to us by the Father; the benefits of whose work are graciously and effectually applied by the Holy Spirit to those who, realizing their lack of righteousness before the Holy God and Creator of the universe, repent of their sins and believe this Good News!

If you have never considered the claims of God’s Law on you, may you realize by examining its perfect standard, that you fall short and have no righteousness to stand on before God, repent of your sins and turn to Christ in faith which is evidenced by loving and grateful, though imperfect, obedience and call on him for salvation today!

If you have called on the Lord, renew your faith in him in response to the reminder of all that he is and has done for you, and renew your repentance from the works that betray your lack of love and gratitude for your gracious, loving, merciful Savior!

And remember to have a wonderful Easter weekend, beloved, because Christ’s empty cross and Christ’s empty tomb point us to the fact of full salvation through his death and resurrection!!!

AMEN

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Theological and Doxological Meditation #10

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The Creation of Man

Q. How did God create man?

A. God created man male and female,
after his own image (Genesis 1:27),
in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness
(Colossian 3:10; Ephesians 4:24),
with dominion over the creatures (Genesis 1:28).

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah! (click title to play)
#110, Trinity Hymnal  (© 1990)
William J. Kirkpatrick

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
from the heavens praise his name;
praise Jehovah in the highest,
all his angels, praise proclaim.

All his hosts, together praise him,
sun and moon and stars on high;
praise him, O you heav’ns of heavens,
and you floods above the sky.

Let them praises give Jehovah,
for his name alone is high,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is elalted,
and his glory is exalted
far above the earth and sky.

Let them praises give Jehovah,
they were made at his command;
them forever he established,
his decree shall ever stand.

From the earth, O praise Jehovah,
all you seas, you monsters all,
fire and hail and snow and vapors,
stormy winds that hear his call.

Let them praises give Jehovah,
for his name alone is high,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted
far above the earth and sky.

All you fruitful trees and cedars,
all you hills and mountains high,
creeping things and beasts and cattle,
birds that in the heavens fly,

kings of earth, and all you people,
princes great, earth’s judges all;
praise his name, young men and maidens,
aged men, and children small.

Let them praises give Jehovah,
for his name alone is high,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted
far above the earth and sky.

"Covenant" versus "Relationship"

Historic orthodoxy (Catholic and Protestant) has recognized the basic mode of God’s revelation to and communion with Man in terms of the concept of covenant. The concept of covenant can be generally understood by observing the biblical accounts of God’s taking the initiative to bestow the knowledge of his being, personhood and attributes on his fallen creatures, announcing an unconditional promise to them, and at times presenting conditions for various reasons with various effects.

In nineteenth through twenty-first century American Christianity, however, the term most popularly utilized to represent God’s revelation to and communion with man is the term, “relationship.” The use of this term is detrimental to a clear understanding of God’s “relation” to man, because our use of this term generally grows out of the common romantic or humanly familial senses of the word. Furthermore, the fact that the term is utilized as opposed to “covenant” is evidence of the widespread lack of sound theological and biblical discipleship among American Christians, a group described by German neo-orthodox theologian (no, I don’t endorse “neo-orthodoxy”) Dietrich Bonhoeffer as “Protestantism without the Reformation.”

Anti-Intellectualism: Archenemy of Captain Headknowledge!










Read the Christianity Today article, “Full Gospel’s Fractured Thinking.”

This is an interview with the author of a new book analyzing the state of anti-intellectualism in the Pentecostal tradition. But if you’re not Pentecostal, don’t rush into this article assuming they’re the only culprits guilty of this disease within the ranks of Christianity; you’d better be ready to receive a dose of this medicine yourself!

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV Posted by Picasa

Theological and Doxological Meditation #9

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On Creation

Q. What is the work of creation?

A. The work of creation is,
God’s making all things of nothing (Genesis 1:1),
by the word of his power (Hebrews 11:3),
in the space of six days,
and all very good (Genesis 1:31).

All Things Bright and Beautiful
#120, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
Cecil F. Alexander, 1848

All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.

Each little flow’r that opens,
each little bird that sings,
he made their glowing colors,
he made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain,
the river running by,
the sunset, and the morning
that brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden,
he made them, every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
the meadows where we play,
the flowers by the water
we gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.

The Corinthian Creed copyright 2005, John Douglas …

The Corinthian Creed
copyright 2005, John Douglas Chitty
(these are the lyrics sung in the audioblog below)

We believe that Chirst died for our sins
according to the Scriptures;
That he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures.

Then he appeared to Peter,
then to the Twelve;
after that he appeared to more than
five hundred brothers at the same time.

Then he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles;
and last of all,
he appeared to Paul,
as to one born out of due time.

chorus
We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins,
According to the Scriptures,
the third day, he rose again.

We believe in resurrection
for if the dead don’t rise,
our faith is vain,
we’re still in sin,
and lost is he who dies.

But Christ in fact is risen,
the firstfruits of the dead.
For as all die in Adam,
so all live in Christ, their Head.

Christ our King rose first,
so, when he comes, shall we,
for he must reign and conquer
till his last foe, Death’s, defeat!

repeat chorus

Why, then, do we suffer,
if the dead in Christ won’t rise?
If so, let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we will die.

Do not be deceived,
wake up and do what’s right.
Do not go on sinning
like the ones who lack God’s light.

But someone will ask,
“What kind of bodies will arise?”
You fool! No seed, when planted, will grow
unless first it dies!

repeat chorus

We believe there is a natural body,
and one of the Spirit.
The natural body perishes,
sin’s curse is buried with it.

As Christ raised the third day,
at last in all his glory,
so will those who follow him
and trust the Gospel story.

Adam of the earth,
Jesus Christ of heaven.
As we’ve borne Adam’s image,
We will bear Christ’s image, even!

repeat chorus

We believe when Christ our King returns
all sleeping saints to waken,
we may not all sleep,
but all will gain a transformation.

So will come to pass
the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory,
sin is finally smitten.”

But thanks be to God,
through Christ, our Victory!
Be strengthened in his service,
knowing death won’t end the story!

We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins.
According to the Scriptures,
the third day he rose again!

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