Theology

  • Books,  Pastoring,  Theology

    To Transform Men, Women and Nations

    We live in an age of easy-believing. Many of those professing the name of Christ offer a false gospel, trading in a parody of Jesus’ message that demands neither conviction for sin nor alignment with God’s will. Words like “love” are used to cover up and condone sin rather than shine a redemptive spotlight on it. God is reduced to a doting uncle, who loves us but is largely out of the picture, leaving man to rescue himself. He would never punish, and sin is something that can be forgiven without a concern for holiness or justice. The words of Jesus provide a strong contrast: “If anyone would come after…

  • Cover Art from Princeton and the Christian Ministry
    Books,  Pastoring,  Theology

    Folly of the first magnitude

    Random quote by one Archibald Alexander that I found noteworthy: It is evident, therefore, that he who trifles with the truth, trifles with his own life. To be indifferent about truth, is a folly of the first magnitude. To be governed by mere inclination, taste or fashion, in the adoption of our religious opinions, is indicative of a diseased and dangerous state of mind. Truth is so vital and so necessary to the existence and perfection of a pious character, that we cannot be too solicitous to acquire correct knowledge. Pride, prejudice, and partiality, should be laid aside, and the love of truth should be kept alive in our souls.…

  • Books,  Theology

    No destroying angel can touch us

    Our residency has been reading The Pastor in Prayer this month, and it has been a powerful book so far. What great prayers, what firm conviction! What a heart for the church, for the nations, for the lost! Such high praise is well warranted. This afternoon’s prayer, from “Intercession for the Saints,” stood out especially to me. Here is but a taste: …our Father, we would earnestly ask that every believer here may feel the power of the sprinkled blood most vividly and consciously. May we hear Jesus say by it, ‘Ye are clean, clean every whit’; and may we have a sense of entire security, because Thou hast Thyself…

  • Books,  Pastoring,  Theology

    Permission to Love One Another

    February’s residency read was The Pastor and Counseling by Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju. I think this book is a great introduction to the pastor’s call to really shepherd the flock. It is also a great place to begin thinking about how the call of the pastor has a trajectory of whole body involvement in discipleship, including biblical counseling. Chapter Seven, especially, points the reader to consider how the whole body works together for health of individuals and church alike: A culture of discipleship means that members don’t have to sign up for anything to get permission to love one another. It is a church culture where it is normal…

  • Books,  Theology

    First, Daily, and Last Word

    I finished Ray Ortlund’s The Death of Porn the other day. The appendix is a short article titled “A Man’s Identity”, by David Powlison. The whole thing is great, as is the rest of Ortlund’s book, but this quote in particular grabbed my attention: Your true identity is who God says you are. You will never discover who you are by looking inside yourself or listening to what others say. The Lord gets the first word because he made you. He gets the daily word because you live before his face. He gets the last word because he will administer your “comprehensive life review.” David Powlison, “A Man’s Identity” (the…

  • Books,  Theology

    First to Wound, Then to Heal

    I was gripped by today’s reading in Refreshment for the Soul. Temptation and sin waging war, Satan in all his boastful taunting, it is helpful to read of the savior’s mercy. Of his patience. Of his own temptations, of his victory. But mostly of his grace poured out on me in my sin and weakness: Let this support us when we feel ourselves bruised. Christ’s way is first to wound, then to heal. No sound, whole soul will ever enter into heaven. Think when in temptation, Christ was tempted for me; according to my trials will be my graces and comforts. If Christ be so merciful as not to break…

  • Books,  Theology

    Though Surrounded with Outside Enjoyments

    As we pass Christmas and march forward to the new year, this passage from my assigned reading this week stood out to me: We should not rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven. We should above all things desire a heavenly happiness: to be with God and be well with Jesus Christ. Though surrounded with outward enjoyments, and settled in families with desirable friends and relationships; though we have companions whose company is delightful and children in whom we see many promising characteristics; though we live by good neighbors and are generally loved when we are known; yet, we should not take our rest in these…

  • Biblical Studies,  Books,  Theology

    Man As Created Person: God Must Take the Initiative

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of preaching John 13:1-20. It is a great passage, dwelling on humility, self-sacrifice, and God’s providential love and relational knowledge. One of the major topics I addressed was the way in which we need Jesus to initiate relationship with us. And the building tension with Judas, juxtaposed against Jesus’ own example, gave ample room to talk about moving from the position of rebel, into a re-prioritization of life centered on God’s own character and plan, “gospel lenses”. During the conclusion of the message, I took some time to draw attention to the way I regularly see God work in our body, drawing things together without…

  • Biblical Studies,  Books,  News,  Theology

    In The Mail – Fall Term 1

    I’ll be taking Systematic Theology parts 1 and 2 through the fall terms, and the third portion sometime later. Fall Term 1 starts August 1, so I had to order my textbooks. Today was the day they arrived! I do love getting books in the mail (hint, hint)! Actually, From the Mouth of God had arrived weeks back, as I ordered it well in advance. But the others all arrived boxed up together. Quick run through of what we have: From the Mouth of God – Sinclair B. Ferguson God’s Greater Glory – Bruce A. Ware (the prof!) Trinitarian Theology – Keith S. Whitfield (editor) The Doctrine of God –…

  • No Shortcut to Success
    Books,  Pastoring,  Social Sciences,  Theology

    Worldview and Discipleship: The Excluded Middle

    Since the second day of T4G 2022, I’ve been reading no shortcut to success, and I have been loving it. But chapter 8 took things to a whole other level as it addressed worldview and discipleship. There is just so much in it to commend to you, my reader. Getting There More than once I’ve heard it said that if you can only read a part of this book, read chapters 1-3. And those first few chapters, where Matt Rhodes lays out the issues he is seeing on the field, are great. They are clear, helpful, challenging. But more than anything, I reached the end with a feeling of, “A…