The following episode of the Reformed Forum’s new podcast, East of Eden, was tailor-made for the readers of this blog! East of Eden is a podcast devoted to discussing all things Jonathan Edwards. Not the recent politician with good hair and a bad reputation, but the eighteenth century preacher of the First Great Awakening who became known as the theologian of revival. In this week’s episode, the co-hosts interview a guest to be named below as they discuss Edwards’ sermon on “The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth.” One comment made by Nick Batzig sums up nicely both the sermon and the theme of this blog: “You can have truth in the mind without godliness in the heart, but you can’t have godliness in the heart without truth in the mind.”
Later, I will update this post with a transcript of the context of the preceding quote. In the meantime, listen to the entire episode, “Christian Knowledge,” to be challenged to inform your godliness with a thorough understanding of the truth which accords with godliness (Titus 1:1).
I just added the website of author Simonetta Carr to my Recommended Sites page. She is the author of a series of children’s books called Christian Biographies for Young Readers. These are beautifully illustrated and informative stories of the lives of heroes of the faith to which most children’s books do not get around to featuring. Carr’s series includes titles on the lives of Athanasius, Augustine, John Calvin, John Owen and most recently, the martyr Lady Jane Grey.
I strongly recommend that you get these titles and read them to your children of any age. They are simple enough for your toddlers to get it, but informative enough to educate your interested pre-teens and even young teens, like my daughter, will enjoy them, too. She’s already submitted a request for her copy of Lady Jane Grey. She saw a movie about this martyr on Netflix last year and when I asked what the story was about, she explained that Grey was going to be killed for being a Protestant. Profoundly, yet humorously, she added, “A good way to die.”
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Arlington, Texas-based “Watchman Fellowship is an independent, non-denominational Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age.”
I just received a notification that they have just completed a profile on Rob Bell, Emergent (read: “Postmodern Liberal”) rock star and author of the controversial book Love Wins. The profile summarizes Bell’s personal and ministry history, and his doctrinal stand on issues such as “God’s Immanence in Other Religions” and “No One Reaches a Point of No Return“, “Hell Leads to Restoration” and “A Violent God is not the God of the Gospel” and provides a Biblical Response to “Inclusivistic Universalism“, on how “Reconciliation of ‘All Things’ does not mean All People“, and points out that the “Final Judgment is not Redemptive.”
Read Watchman Fellowship’s Profile on Rob Bell here.
Read their other profiles here.
Notice that Watchman Fellowship is one of my “Featured Sites” to the right. Their logo in my list links to their website. I highly recommend their informative work to you.
In all my searching and discussing the issue of the interpretation of the days of creation in Genesis 1, Google directed me to a statement from Westminster Theological Seminary declaring the results of their research into the history of how this issue has been treated by the leaders of the Augustinian and Reformed traditions going all the way back to Augustine himself. The statement is called, “Westminster Theological Seminary and the Days of Creation.“
The discussion among Presbyterians revolves around the reasons the Westminster Divines selected the language they did in when they framed the chapter on Creation in the Westminster Confession of Faith. The phrase in question will be highlighted in the following citation:
I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.
The question is raised as to why the wording “in the space of six days.” Why not simply “in six days”? The statement explains:
“The paraphrase view is doubtful because if the Standards had intended simply to utilize biblical language, “in six days” would have sufficed and been a more natural choice. The words “the space of,” as the other view above recognizes, seem deliberately chosen as an interpretive or clarifying addition that functions both to affirm and to exclude or negate.
To make the long story short, the statement concludes that the divines intended to exclude Augustine’s view that God created everything instantaneously inspiring the six days, as Calvin described the view (which he did not hold), “for the mere purpose of conveying instruction.” You can read more about this discussion in the statement itself. You can link to it from the title above, and I have also added a link to the page on my “Recommended Sites” page for future reference.
Finally, here’s a quote that sums up the entire issue as they see it. I find it rather helpful:
With Augustine and E. J. Young, the revered teacher of our senior faculty members, we recognize that the exegetical question of the length of the days of Genesis 1 may be an issue which cannot be, and therefore is not intended by God to be, answered in dogmatic terms. To insist that it must comes dangerously close to demanding from God revelation which he has not been pleased to bestow upon us, and responding to a threat to the biblical world view with weapons that are not crafted from the words which have proceeded out of the mouth of God.
One of my “Featured Sites” (see sidebar) is the King James Bible Trust, an online resource for the ongoing British commemoration of the quadricentennary of the King James Version of the Bible. Check it out, if you haven’t done so already. The King James Bible Trust features a calendar of events taking place around the UK and the US, music and writing competitions, but one of my favorites is their YouTube Bible, “the King James Bible Trust’s ambitious project to create a complete reading of the King James Bible on YouTube. Our readers will comprise of actors, sportsmen and women, musicians, politicians and most importantly … YOU!” Anyone can submit a video of his own reading any chapter from the KJV that has yet to be contributed to the YouTube Bible (see this list). Below is a sample for your enjoyment. Subscribe to the page and watch them as they are added.
A couple of weeks ago, I discovered all the extra features available for my “gravatar” and fell in love! If you don’t know what a gravatar is, look down at the “Recent Comments” widget in my sidebar. See the square picture of Captain Headknowledge next to a recent comment? Hover your pointer over it. Did the black box appear with links and a little about me? Now, do you see the recent comments by others at the same spot? A one-color design instead of a picture of themselves. To me, they look like square snowflakes. That means these guys haven’t signed up for a gravatar.
Since I took advantage of all of the gravatar’s features, it now also appears at the bottom of each of my blog posts. See below where it says, “About John D. Chitty?” Then it features my gravatar and to the right it shows my new slogan. If you don’t see it, that means you’re on the home page. Click on this posts link so you see the reply box. Now you should see it.
Watch the following video showing you what a gravatar can do for you, and then sign up at Gravatar.com. I’m tired of looking at those square snowflakes. I want to know more about you!
- (The following was originally posted on March 3, 2006. It reappears here in a slightly edited form.)
“You can’t help nobody if you can’t tell ‘em the right story.” Jack Cash, brother of Johnny Cash, as portrayed in the movie, Walk the Line.
Every story is about fall and redemption in one way or another. There would be no plot if there were no problem to solve or conflict to resolve. The story of the entire human race is that of its fall and redemption. Your story is about your fall and your redemption. The mission of the church is to tell this story; to introduce the characters to the plot: they’ve fallen and they can’t get themselves up on their own, their problem is so bad, they can’t solve it themselves, they need Another to solve it for them, the conflict that has entered their life has killed them, and they need Another to return them to life.
Stories are often considered mere entertainment. And to be sure, the church in this Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-22) generation has caught on to the idea that entertainment will help them tell the Story. Even if at times they’re telling the right story, that of the fall of man into sin and the sinless Christ who was crucified and raised for sinners, they’ve wrapped it up in so much entertainment that many are in danger of overlooking the Gift because they’re so fascinated by the wrapping paper. If sinners are distracted from the Story by trappings geared toward appealing to their interests, or meeting their felt needs, the church can’t help them. At other times, the church forgets to get around to the Story at all because they’re so aware of all the other stories in the Bible. “Christians don’t need to hear the Story this week, they’ve already heard and believed and received it, now they need to hear what they need to do,” and thus the Story is placed on the shelf in the interest of relevance or practicality. But no matter how much they mean to help, they “can’t help nobody if [they ain’t tellin’ ’em] the right story.”
The church seeks to tell a story, but all too often it’s not the Story they were commissioned to tell (Matthew 28:19-20). Many times they tell their own story. A story about how they’ve picked themselves up by their own bootstraps, a story about what a great example they are. When this is the story they tell, the Holy Spirit won’t bring sinners to life, nor will he empower believers to serve. All applications and all examples, and all pastoral autobiography are not to stand alone. They are to be built on the firm foundation of the Story, explicitly told each week.
We’ve fallen into sin so there’s nothing we can do to redeem ourselves:
the sinless Christ was crucified because we are sinners who deserve to die;
Christ rose from the dead on the third day because God has accepted Christ’s death in the place of sinners who come to believe and repent of their sins;
saved sinners are called to be holy and to serve others, which brings them into conflict with the sin that yet remains in their natures and they aren’t always able to be holy and serve others (Romans 7).
That’s why the Right Story must remain central: The Gospel is for Christians, too!
They must be reminded that even though they’ve been saved they still need to hear the Gospel addressed to them (1 John 1:9) to cleanse them so they can progress on the journey to glorification by way of sanctification (Proverbs 4:18).
When the preacher neglects to tell the church the Right Story, he can’t help the church grow in grace.
- (Dr. R. Scott Clark gives a fuller, more Christ-centered summary of the Right Story at Westminster Seminary California’s Valiant for Truth blog. Read his post, “The Christian Life.”)
If you haven’t visited the Captain’s “Creeds, Etc.” page lately, you might find it rather helpful. Just click the link thereto found at the top of this page, and you will find several historic and modern “catholic” creedal statements, Protestant Confessions of Faith and Catechisms, and various other helpful doctrinal statements, both historic and modern.
No Botox jokes, now. But I’m rather pleased with the new theme, plus you may be interested to peruse my overhauled Creeds, Etc. page. What do you think?
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.
In 2010, there were 39 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 426 posts. There were 31 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 51mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.
The busiest day of the year was August 20th with 91 views. The most popular post that day was You Have Not Because You Ask Not!.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were stufffundieslike.com, facebook.com, fundamentallyreformed.com, networkedblogs.com, and kjvonlydebate.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for jack chick, captain headknowledge, john calvin, j frank norris, and “jack chick”.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
You Have Not Because You Ask Not! December 2008
Jack Chick Earns the Respect of the Underground Comics Industry April 2010
Meet the Godfather of Fundamentalism, J. Frank Norris June 2010
“Extent” August 2010
About Me September 2007
Here’s an idea. Since I’m no longer linking to my feedburner email subscription service and whenever I get my Google account mess straightened out, I’m going to be closing that account, which will affect those of you who have been receiving email notifications of my posts for the past couple of years. It might be wise if you just go ahead and unsubscribe from that service yourself and then subscribe to my new WordPress subscriber service. I think that would be the simplest route for now.
Also, if any of you are interested in a great interview regarding Islam, you might enjoy checking out this Sunday’s episode of The White Horse Inn, “Christianity Confronts Islam.” Michael Horton interviews former Muslim and converted Christian, Sam Solomon, regarding the nature of Islam. In the light of all the popular reassurances that “Islam is a relgion of peace,” even though we see little popular moderate Muslim resistance to Islamic terrorism, Solomon’s words will be a sober reminder that things aren’t as rosy as the politically correct culture would have us believe. We in the West must not forget what an ever-present threat and danger Islamic terrorism is to us all. Let this interview be your next reminder.
I used to use Feedburner as my email subscription service, but now that WordPress has set up their own service, I’ve switched over. If you used to receive email notifications through Feedburner, you probably still will. Somehow, I’ve gotten my wires crossed and can’t access Feedburner anymore, so I can’t yet figure out how to discontinue it. If any of you who aren’t receiving Feedburner emails, and would like to subscribe, just look for the box not far below the Captain’s portrait at the top of the sidebar.
Shortly after Angel Contrares finished drawing the new and improved Captain Headknowledge portrait, featuring John Calvin
wearing Superman’s colors (see this post), and he posted it on his Facebook page, and I copied it with his permission and uploaded it to my Facebook page as well as adding it to the sidebar here, I got a surprising Facebook message from a lady in the Netherlands saying she works for a “glossy” (that’s apparently Dutch for magazine) that is planning to celebrate John Calvin’s 500th birthday (see this, that and the other post), featuring, in part, ways that Calvin is being celebrated around the world. Now, I may be mistaken, but I thought the glossy lady said she’d mail me a copy of the magazine, but I’ve yet to see it; however, I just peeked at the “Calvijnglossy” website and noticed that they’ve posted their collection of “Calvijn” images on the site. You can check it out here. Then you can click on the Captain’s image and see a full-size copy of it here.
Kinda fun, huh? I’ve never been published overseas before. Or is that Angel? Anyway, happy birthday to John “Calvijn”!
Professional Clown Caricaturist, Angel Contreras is from Chicago, and he’s here to help! The beautiful new portrait of Captain Headknowledge you see to the right was a gift from the immensely talented artist whose artwork some of you may have noticed enhancing James White’s Alpha & Omega Ministries website (http://aomin.org). Well, you know, email is indeed one of God’s good gifts in this new electronic media! Need I say more?