Friday, July 31, 2009

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is
the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes: first for the
Jew, then for the Gentile. For
in the gospel a righteousness from God is
revealed, a righteousness that is by
faith from first to last, just as it is
written: "The righteous will live by
faith." Romans 1:16-17
Yesterday I received the August issue of the Reformed Witness. The featured article is a transcript of the November 5, 2006 Reformed Witness Hour broadcast entitled "Protestants! Defend the Gospel!" by Rev. Carl Haak. Here is an excerpt:

The Gospel is beautifully stated in Romans 3:24, "we are justified freely by his grace." God has made us righteous by His grace, by His own unmerited favor, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. That is the legal basis of our justification - the redemption, the purchase that was made by Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ purchased us upon the cross, we are justified freely by His grace.

...The Bible teaches us that the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that is, what He did, - His perfect work on the cross, His innocence - has been legally reckoned to our account, to the account of His elect. God imputed that righteousness to me legally, so that "...the perfect righteousness of Christ, without any merit of mine, out of mere grace, is mine so completely as if I never had nor had committed any sin; [and] as if I had fully accomplished all obedience to the divine law." (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 23)

That is the gospel. The gospel is: Jesus has made me righteous before God on the basis of His work on Calvary.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Way of Salvation (Part 2)

The Plan Unfolds: sin enters the human race

So God created man, delegated to him dominion over all the earth (Gen. 1:26-27), and established a covenant with him (Gen. 2:8-9; Gen. 2:15-17). God gave a command (the law) to man (who represented us) and told him what the penalty would be (" shall surely die.") for disobeying Him.

An intruder (Satan) entered Paradise, and spoke to Eve. Instead of kicking the intruder out and telling him to "go to hell", she entered into conversation with him. This was the beginning of the fall of mankind.

The devil's temptation was_
First: to doubt the Word of God, "Hath God said...?"
Second: to deny the consequence of disobdience, "You will not surely die."
Third: to misrepresent the character of God, "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

In the eating of the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," man decided to assume to himself the right to determine what is good and what is evil; in other words to establish his own standard of morality apart from the word of God.

If these things sound familiar, they should, because this is what characterizes sinful mankind to this day.

Monday, July 27, 2009


God has a Plan

Each of us, according to the Bible, has his or her part in a plan which was conceived in the mind of God before the world began. (Eph. 3:9-11) This plan was set in motion at creation (Gen. 1:1; Gen. 1:27), and will reach fruition when the Son of God is joined with His eternal companion (corporate, redeemed humanity) in what the Scriptures call "the marriage of the Lamb." (Revelation 19:6-9; Rev. 21:2-3) The ultimate purpose of this plan is for the glory of God, as the Shorter Catechism says:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever. (Romans 11:36)

Friday, July 24, 2009

There are some passages of scripture...

My wife, Sheila, and I are reading through the New Testament, one chapter a day. As I opened the E.S.V. to this evening's reading, 1 Corinthians 13, the thought struck me that there are some passages of scripture that are just meant to be read from the King James Version. Other translations just don't have the style, or flavor that these passages seem to call for.

Maybe it is just because of my own familiarity with them, but the Twenty-third Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...", and the third chapter of John's gospel, "...For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life..." seem to be endowed with a certain dignity and majesty by the KJV that other translations cannot match.

And what about the nativity passage in Luke's gospel that begins, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night..."

There are other passages too, but here is what is sometimes called "the love chapter" in all of it's KJV beauty:

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries,
and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come,
then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child,
I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity. (KJV)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Samuel Rutherford Quote

And at the may ...arrive at our Lord's harbor; and be made welcome, as one of those who have ever had one foot loose from the earth, longing for that place where your soul shall feast and banquet for ever and ever upon a glorious sight of the incomprehensible Trinity, and where ye shall see the fair face of the man Christ, even the beautiful face that was once for your cause more marred than any of the visages of the sons of men [Isaiah 52:14], and was all covered with spitting and blood.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some Questions for Jimmy Carter

The headline in AOL News reads, "Jimmy Carter Leaves Church Over Treatment of Women" Carter has finally decided to leave the Southern Baptist Church because, as he put it, " leaders prohibited women from being ordained and insisted women be 'subservient to their husbands.'" The former president had been a member of the denomination for 60 years.

The Southern Baptists' policy of having men only in positions of ministerial authority, and of recognizing husbands as heads of families is nothing new. Nor is it unscriptural. So why has the former president chosen this time to make this departure? In an essay, Carter went on to say this:

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.

Carter has traveled all over the world engaged in many humanitarian projects, and no doubt has seen this type of abuse first hand. However, how he sees this as connected to the Southern Baptists' stand on the ordaination of it's ministers , and male headship in families, baffles me. His choice of the word, "subjugation" is also interesting. One of the Bible's proof texts that support the teaching of the husband as head of the household is:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

(Ephesians 5:22-32)

Notice that the Bible says, " subject to your own husbands...", whereas Mr. Carter uses the word "subjugation", suggesting the image of an enemy that has been crushed and captured. In the verse immediately preceeding the text quoted above, the apostle commands the members of the church to " subject to one another in the fear of Christ." Clearly, the apostle Paul is not instructing all of the believers to submit to abuse from each another.


Does Jimmy Carter really believe that the Southern Baptists' doctrine will lead to "...slavery, violence, forced prostitutiion, and genital mutilation?"

Does he really believe that faithful Baptists will vote to legalize rape?

Does he really believe that Baptists will use their interpretation of the Bible to deny millions of girls and women fair access to education, health and employment?

Does he really believe that the leaders in the Southern Baptist Church have, "for their own selfish ends", chosen to "subjugate women, providing the foundation or justification for persecution and abuse of women..."?

Does Jimmy Carter even know what he is talking about?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Coming of Christ in Judgment

2,000 years ago the Lord Jesus came to earth on a mission; to save his people from their sins. This mission was accomplished when he, now as a man (yet remaining true God), lived a sinless life of perfect obedience to the Father, suffered and died on the cross, bearing our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day. Having accomplished his mission, he ascended back into heaven and since that time he, through the Holy Spirit has been gathering his people from every nation and people-group on earth.

Article 37 from the Belgic Confession is a summary of what we believe the Bible teaches about Christ's second coming to judge the world.

Finally we believe, according to God's Word, that when the time appointed by the Lord is come (which is unknown to all creatures) and the number of the elect is complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty, to declare himself the judge of the living and the dead. He will burn this old world, in fire and flame, in order to cleanse it.

Then all human creatures will appear in person before the great judge-- men, women, and children, who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world.
They will be summoned there by the voice of the archangel and by the sound of the divine trumpet. (1 Thess. 4:16)

For all those who died before that time will be raised from the earth, their spirits being joined and united with their own bodies in which they lived. And as for those who are still alive, they will not die like the others but will be changed "in the twinkling of an eye" from "corruptible to incorruptible." (1 Cor. 15:51-53)

Then "the books" (that is, the consciences) will be opened, and the dead will be judged according to the things they did in the world, whether good or evil. Indeed, all people will give account of all the idle words they have spoken, which the world regards as only playing games. And then the secrets and hypocrisies of men will be publicly uncovered in the sight of all. (Rev. 20:12; Matt. 12:36)

Therefore, with good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people. But it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous and elect, since their total redemption will then be accomplished. They will then receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered; their innocence will be openly recognized by all; and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.

The evil ones will be convicted by the witness of their own consciences, and shall be made immortal-- but only to be tormented in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matt. 25:41)

In contrast, the faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honor. The Son of God will "confess their names" before God his Father and the holy and elect angels; all tears will be "wiped from their eyes"; and their cause-- at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil officers-- will be acknowledged as the "cause of the Son of God." And as a gracious reward the Lord will make them possess a glory such as the heart of man could never imagine. (Matt. 10:32; Rev. 7:17)

So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Sotomayor Vows Impartiality

Sotomayor: "I told them that my decisions will be based on the rule of law."

Obama: "The Living, Breathing Document deniers won't know what hit them."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Touch A Life

Last Friday afternoon, I heard an interview with Pam Cope on KBRT AM-740's program, Talk From The Heart. Pam is the founder of the Touch a Life Foundation. The organization was formed to rescue "street children" who are often victims of human trafficking. Some are forced into prostitution and/or domestic servitude. Currently, Touch a Life operates programs in Ghana, Viet Nam, and Cambodia. Find out more about them by clicking on the link in this post, or on the sidebar.

This little girl participates in the feeding program in Viet Nam

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy 500th Birthday - John Calvin

Today John Calvin is celebrating his birthday in the presence of his beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is for us to carry on the legacy of this servant of God by telling others of the Gospel of free grace. This is what Calvin devoted his life to, both in his preaching and writing.

Enter a drawing to win a copy of this book
at FishWithTrish
Please read Trish's post here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"After all, there is a Protestantism still worth contending for, there is a Calvinism still worth proclaiming, and a gospel well worth dying for" (CH Spurgeon)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Theologian

Calvin brought to the study of theology a passion for biblical truth and a coherent understanding of the Word of God

In contrast to modern day Fundamentalism, John Calvin insisted that the Bible's teachings can not be properly understood unless seen within the framework of Scripture's overarching themes. Interpretation of individual doctrines and passages of scripture must not be taught in isolation from the coherent substance of the whole Bible. Calvin did not invent a system of theology to which he forced the scriptures to conform, as his detractors suggest, but attempted to recognize the paradigm provided by the Bible, itself.

Continuing in our celebration of Calvin's 500th birthday, here is an article by R.C. Sproul from this month's Tabletalk magazine, titled, "The Theologian."

Monday, July 6, 2009

John Calvin

On July 10th we will be celebrating the 500th birthday of the man who has been called, "The Theologian of the Reformation." Here are five short articles from Ligonier Ministries about the man who God used to shape the theology of the Protestant Reformation, and bring the church back to the Biblical doctrine of salvation By Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, because of Christ Alone, for the Glory of God Alone. (click the link below)

Celebrating 500 Years of John Calvin

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Do Christians have a license to sin?

A blogger left this comment on Ray Comfort's "Atheist Central."

His is a common response among non believers (and even many professing Christians) who have heard that salvation is by grace rather than works (Ephesians 2:8-9), however have not grasped the truth that God really effects a spiritual rebirth in those He saves. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

I replied to this commenter later in the thread with some scripture from John's first epistle, and a quote from the Heidelberg Catechism showing what the church confesses about the new life that the Christian posesses. We do not get a "get out of hell free card" so we can sin as we please with impunity. The saying, "I love to sin, God loves to forgive; what a great arrangement," is not true in the Christian life.

Even more important is this: Jesus said of the woman who washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much...." A Christian who has been forgiven and saved from his sins by Christ's suffering and dying in his place, will love Jesus. And when he sins, he will be sorrowful from the heart for having done so. The new life in Christ is one of gratitude and loving obedience to him who bought you with his life's blood.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The "Stranger" and the "Land"

Although Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land was, and is, my favorite science fiction classic, his novel itself had little to do with my selection of a blog name. Initially, it described how I perceived myself when I first ventured into the "blogdom." I had been receiving Ray Comfort's posts by email for several months, and wondered where all these "comments" were that Ray sometimes referred to. After I accidently found them, it took me a few more weeks to figure out how to get a comment published. When I clicked on "publish" and it didn't immediately take my comment, I thought it was because I was doing something wrong. I was definitely a stranger in what was to me a very strange land.

Thanks to my four "charter" followers for your patience, but especially to Ryk. He has been waiting for so long that I see he has become a skeleton. No cob-webs?

Please check out the "favorite web sites" that I have linked below, as they will give you some idea of my interests.