Archive for March, 2009


Shorter Catechism, week 4


Q. 9. What is the work of creation?

A. The work of creation is, Gods making all things of nothing, by the word of his power,[24] in the space of six days, and all very good.[25]


Q. 10. How did God create man?

A. God created man male and female, after his own image,[26] in knowledge,[27] righteousness, and holiness,[28] with dominion over the creatures.[29]

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A headline in this past Sunday’s edition of the Lancaster Sunday News reached out and grabbed my attention. It read, Time for God? Over-scheduled believers squeeze in religion with books, emails, podcasts. In the article, the reporter answers the question as to how busy believers find time for God in their hectic schedules. What struck me in the article was some of the books that are offered in bookstores and online to help God followers to be able to squeeze God into their schedules. Some of the titles of these books include, The One Minute Bible – Day by Day, 5 Minute Theologian: Maximum Truth in Minimum Time, 7 Minutes with God and The One Minute Bible.


As I reflected on these titles, the words of Psalm one (which I had just read yesterday morning in my own devotional time) came to my mind. Read what the psalmist has to say about interacting with the Word of God and the benefit of doing so.


Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

Now if followers of Jesus desire to be like this prosperous tree pictured here in Psalm 1:3 – then it won’t happen with spending one minute or five minutes or seven minutes a day interacting with the Scripture. If we are going to be ALL that God wants us to be (and there’s nothing better!!!) – then we must MAKE time for God and His Word! My guess is that most of us could watch a little less TV for starters – and then go from there. And if you don’t have a hunger for the Word of God then ask God to give you a hunger for it – and then make time for God!

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Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the Holy Spirit

Mark Driscoll


Known affectionately as “the Doctor” because of his medical career prior to preaching, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981) is considered by many to be the preeminent British preacher of the twentieth century. He began working at the famed Westminster Chapel in London the day after World War II broke out. That same year he became president of InterVarsity Europe. Lloyd-Jones was famed for his exposition of the Scriptures as he preached different messages on Friday nights, Sunday mornings, and Sunday evenings for upwards of an hour each, often taking many months to work through even short chapters of the Bible.

Joy in the Holy Spirit

Lloyd-Jones retired from preaching at Westminster in 1968 following a major operation. He said that he believed God stopped him from continuing to preach through Romans because he did not personally know enough about “joy in the Holy Spirit,” which was the text of his forthcoming sermon from Romans 14:17.

Lloyd-Jones is widely admired by Christians from a number of networks, denominations, and traditions. In my own experience this would include Tim Keller, Terry Virgo, and J. I. Packer, all of whom have spoken of their great appreciation for the work of Lloyd-Jones and his influence on their ministry.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Many charismatic Calvinists love Lloyd-Jones because he taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a distinct work of the Holy Spirit separate from regeneration. Furthermore, it is reported that he had his own baptism in the Spirit in 1949, which some have called “the moment when the Charismatic Movement in Britain was born.” Not surprisingly, Lloyd-Jones also opposed the cessationistic teaching that some of the gifts of the Spirit have ceased in our age. He critiqued Calvinists such as B. B. Warfield for quenching the Spirit.

Lloyd-Jones was very much led by the Holy Spirit in his preaching, as evidenced by the fact that he would often wander from his planned talks as the Spirit led and the length of his messages varied greatly. He also preached on television a time or two but refused to do it ever again because he felt the time constraints might also quench the freedom of the Spirit.

For Further Study

For those wanting to study more about Lloyd-Jones, Iain Murray’s two-volume biography is a good place to start. For preachers, Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching and Preachers is a must-read. In addition, if you want to hear him preach, you can. For example, I am listening to his sermons on 1 and 2 Peter from 1959 and taking advantage of a free podcast of his sermons here.

Today, the confluence of a love for Calvinism and the Holy Spirit is found in a growing movement thanks in large part to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and his other works. God is also using men such as my friend C. J. Mahaney for the purpose of blending the best of what is Calvinistic and Charismatic so that the mind is engaged and the passions are ignited for the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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(Latin duo, “two”)

Early philosophical system which sees the universe in terms of two antithetical forces which are continually at odds. These two forces are responsible for the origin of the world. Often the dualist worldview produced a metaphysical separation between the spiritual and physical, with the spiritual being good and physical being evil. Christianity has rejected all forms of a dualism yet its assumptions often find their way into the church.

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A British imam was raping his daughter for ten years, and when she fled her family to avoid being sent to Pakistan for a forced marriage and became a Christian, he led a gang through the streets trying to kill her:


We are all too familiar with the persecution of Christians in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet sitting in front of me is a British woman whose life has been threatened in this country solely because she is a Christian. Indeed, so real is the threat that the book she has written about her experiences has had to appear under an assumed name.


The book is called The Imam’s Daughter because “Hannah Shah” is just that: the daughter of an imam in one of the tight-knit Deobandi Muslim Pakistani communities in the north of England. Her father emigrated to this country from rural Pakistan some time in the 1960s and is, apparently, a highly respected local figure.


He is also an incestuous child abuser, repeatedly raping his daughter from the age of five until she was 15, ostensibly as part of her punishment for being

“disobedient”. At the age of 16 she fled her family to avoid the forced marriage they had planned for her in Pakistan. A much, much greater affront to “honour” in her family’s eyes, however, was the fact that she then became a Christian – an apostate. The Koran is explicit that apostasy is punishable by death; thus it was that her father the imam led a 40-strong gang – in the middle of a British city – to find and kill her.


Hannah Shah says her story is not unique – that there are many other girls in British Muslim families who are oppressed and married off against their will, or who have secretly become Christians but are too afraid to speak out. She wants their voices to be heard and for Britain, the land of her birth, to realise the hidden misery of these women.


Hannahs description in the book of the moment when her “community” discovered the “safe” home where she had fled after becoming an apostate is terrifying. A mob with her father at its head pounded and hammered at the door as she cowered upstairs hoping she could not be seen or heard. She heard her father shout through the letter box: “Filthy traitor! Betrayer of your faith! Cursed traitor! We’re going to rip your throat out! We’ll burn you alive!”


(Via Betsy’s Page.)

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1. Who or What Defines Reformed?

2. Calvinism Old and New

3. For Those Just Tuning In: What is the Federal Vision?

4. A Word to Students in the Midst of Controversy

5. Thinking About the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals?

6. Covenant Theology is Not Replacement Theology

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He Hideth My Soul

Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915

The blind American poet, Fanny Jane Crosby, did not begin writing gospel texts until she was in her mid-forties. But from then on, inspiring words seemed to flow constantly from her heart, and she became “the happiest creature in all the land.” Friends stopped in frequently to see her with requests for new texts for special occasions.

One day Fanny was visited by William Kirkpatrick, a talented gospel musician who had just composed a new melody that he felt needed suitable words to become a singable hymn. As William sat at the piano and played the tune for Fanny, her face lit up. She knelt in prayer, as was always her custom, and soon the lines to this hymn began to flow freely from her heart.

The life of Fanny Crosby can be as uplifting to us as her wonderful hymns. Her lyrics revealed the triumph God gave her over a life of blindness. She wrote at least 8000 hymn texts during the remaining years of her life and she traveled extensively as a speaker throughout the country in her later years. She said it was her continual prayer that God would allow her to lead every person she contacted to Christ.

1. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,

A wonderful Savior to me;

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,

Where rivers of pleasure I see.


2. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,

He taketh my burden away;

He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved,

He giveth me strength as my day.


3. With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,

And filled with His fullness divine,

I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God

For such a redeemer as mine!


4. When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise

To meet Him in clouds of the sky,

His perfect salvation,

His wonderful love I’ll shout with the millions on high.



He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock

That shadows a dry, thirsty land;

He hideth my life with the depths of His love,

And covers me there with His hand,

And covers me there with His hand.

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The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, ESV)


“Question everything” seems to be the keystone of the modern manifesto. You see the attitude (if not the actual phraseology) all around us. This is the era of the “noble skeptic,” where the one who doubts is exalted above the one who believes.


There is probably room for a discussion of the interplay between doubt and unbelief, but I’m going to limit the current discussion to unbelief. It occurred to me recently that many of the problems people face with God can be boiled down to this simple premise of unbelief. “Did God really say…” was good enough for the snake in the Garden, and it has been dogging the human race ever since.


The companion to this is the negative side of the notion alluded to in the Bible quotation above. God hasn’t punished me yet, therefore He is either a) incapable of doing so; b) indifferent to doing so, or c) unwilling to do so.


Part of our Scripture passage today was the parable in Luke 20:9-18. It centers around tenants who will not acknowledge the owner’s authority over them – a message from Jesus to the Pharisees and Scribes. The lunacy of their thinking is made clear by verse 14, where after they see the landowner’s son they say to themselves “This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.” They are completely deceived, both about their own standing, and about the landowner’s future reaction. “…What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others” (vs. 15-16). They didn’t believe the landowner capable of taking the actions he did.


Whether people reject God’s judgment of them based on the idea that “He doesn’t exist, therefore I have nothing to fear,” or “a loving God would never do this,” the outcome is the same: they are wrong, and they will pay a heavy price for it.


That type of unbelief leads to greater sin, and the idea that “if God hasn’t done anything to me yet, He never will.” We talked about this briefly in Sunday School today, and one comment I thought particularly insightful was that although a person say this outright, it is still in their hearts, and by their actions it is evident that this is exactly what they think. I would surmise, although I haven’t read it yet, that this was what Stephen Charnock was referring to in his treatise on “practical atheism.”


For our own part as believers, if we believe that God will judge, we must act on that belief, and do everything we can to save others from their judgment.


And for those who question God in unbelief, consider the message of Scripture over and over: the wrath of God has not yet arrived, not because He is lacking in ability, but because He is kind and patient, and wanting everyone who will to repent. Even now, despite your blaspheming, your utter rejection of Him, He provides you with daily needs – air to breath, your heart beating, and all the rest. Even now, He still invites you to come. Consider what the punishment will be for the complete refusal to even acknowledge His goodness in providing everything down to the very basic needs.


Paul’s call to the men of Athens still applies today: The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31, ESV)


Repent of unbelief, before it is too late.


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[T]he Sermon on the Mount is a description of character and not a code of ethics or of morals. It is not to be regarded as a law- a kind of new ‘Ten Commandments’ or set of rules and regulations which are to be carried out by us-but rather as a description of what we Christians are meant to be”

D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Vol.1, [IVP, 1966], 23.

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Dear Father, author of all true wisdom,Thank you that you do not send your emissaries out as mere recruiters. They are not just to baptize but to preach the Good News about Jesus, that he doesn’t just want us to “join his club” but he wants us to be like him, yes, to be him, to be his body, in the world.Thank you for not appealing to us with elegant ideas or eloquent speech, lest the message of the cross be emptied of its power. For while this word of the cross is utter folly to those who are perishing, to us who are being saved by it, it is your power.Grant me the courage and strength to trust you when worldly wisdom sounds convincing.In the name of the one who empowers me to live according to his righteousness, I pray. Amen.

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