This and That 12-31-11

Does Anyone in the Media Read the Bible? – “[George] welcomed visitors with large-print messages on the walls. ‘Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise,’ was one, quoting Yeats.”  Yeats!? Did you catch that? I choked on my toast. Did the Times actually just say that “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise” was from Yeats? Unless I had fallen down a rabbit hole, that quote was from the Bible. It’s from Hebrews 13:2 and it’s quite famous. If you didn’t catch it, don’t feel too badly, because you are probably not The New York Times. You are probably not America’s “paper of record”, proud owner of 106 Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism — more than any other newspaper. You probably don’t have squadrons of fact-checkers on your payroll.  I still couldn’t believe what I’d just read, so I kept reading, looking for some explanation. There was none. I then shook the paper to make sure I was reading an actual newspaper, and not, say, an email forward from an aged friend. Nope. This really was the New York Times, the Old Grey Lady, whose motto was “All the News that’s Fit to Print.” And let’s face it, if W.B. Yeats was the real author of the Bible’s “Book of Hebrews,” that really would be big news! – Eric Metaxas

Bible Reading Plans for 2012 – There are lots of ways to read the Bible in a year, and I won’t try to capture all of them. But here are numerous options, in no particular order. You may want to look through it and see what you think would work best for you. – Justin Taylor

Social Media, the Reformation, and the Power of Blogging – Similarly, in our day, the last five to ten years has seen the internet, and blogging in particular, unite those discontented with the problems of Christian fundamentalism. No longer can pastors mold and shape their congregation’s opinion about anything without fear of having their facts checked by a quick Google search. The internet brings us closer to the world of ideas, and closer to other Christian communities too. No longer is John MacArthur some distant radio personality that our pastor warns us about — we can download his messages online and realize that his ministry isn’t as dangerous as our fundamentalist pastor has warned. – Bob Hayton

Since When Is Dick Morris Our Standard for a Patriot? – Dick Morris is the man who gave us Bill Clinton… Then, when Bill Clinton was in his first term as a President, and when the prospect of losing the re-election was real, Dick Morris was appointed to lead the campaign. (Remember Clinton-Gore’96?) While in the campaign, Dick Morris was having an affair with a prostitute, possibly also inviting her to his conversations with the President to impress her. Then, after the scandal was publicized, Morris turned against his own friend, and spent the rest of his political career throwing mud on the Clintons. The “man who has Clinton’s ear” was also described by BBC as the “most ruthless political consultant in the US.” …  He said that no true patriot would vote for Ron Paul. – Bojidar Marinov

Ask RC:  What Now? – A commitment to God’s goodness in calling Denise home, a commitment to God’s goodness in taking her from us, does not put mourning out of bounds. Jesus Himself wept just moments before He knew He would call Lazarus out of that tomb. I am not in the least ashamed of my tears. We mourn, but not as those who are without hope (I Thessalonians 4:13).  We do not fail in our work because we are mourning. We do not fail in our mourning as we work. We beautify each with the other. We will do both in accordance with our convictions. We mourn and we work with hope, knowing that all that we do for the kingdom will withstand that great conflagration of wood, hay and stubble. – R.C. Sproul, Jr


KevCast 04 – Growth in the Ministry with Pastor Greg Locke

Listen to the streaming audio here or download the complete mp3 recording here.

Pastors know everything, right?  That’s why they are pastors afterall…  Sometimes, that’s exactly how we think.  Yet, the truth is, pastors, teachers and other such Christian workers must constantly be growing and maturing as they too walk with the Lord.  So, how does someone in vocational Christian ministry grow in their knowledge while leading others at the same time?  How can a church leader change their position or ministry philosophy without either compromising or losing the trust of their people?  These are just some of the topics we’ll be discussing on this KevCast.

Listen in as we chat with Pastor Greg Locke of the Global Vision Bible Church of Mt. Juliet, TN.  Pastor Locke started off as a troubled teen trying to make in the rap world to a born again evangelist trying to make it in a fundamentalist world rife with legalism and peer pressure.  Yet, liberty shown through as the Lord delivered him through all of this into a ministry focused on the exegetical, in-depth preaching of God’s Word.  This also resulted in planting a church committed to reaching sinful people by proclaiming the grace of the gospel.

You will not want to miss this broadcast!

Books mentioned by Pastor Look during the broadcast:


Scott Walker on Morning Joe

I thought this was a good discussion of the recall and the surrounding issues.  Governor Walker does a great job of explaining how he is fighting for the middle class.  Here’s the msnbc description:

 A recall process is currently under way in Wisconsin to unseat the state’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Walker joins Morning Joe to discuss the recall effort, which he has called “unusual,” job creation in the state, and how income inequality dominated conversation in 2011.

Unfortunately, wordpress does not like most embedded html code so here’s the link:

Free Books from Monergism

The Necessity of Reforming

the Church
by John Calvin

Available in ePub and Kindle .Mobi formats.

Seriously to Undertake The Task Of Restoring The Church. Presented In The Name Of All Those Who Wish Christ To Reign. First, I must briefly enumerate the evils which compelled us to seek for remedies. Secondly, I must show that the particular remedies which our Reformers employed were apt and salutary. Thirdly, I must make it plain that we were not at liberty any longer to delay putting forth our hand, in as much as the matter demanded instant amendment.

What the Bible Says About the DOCTRINES OF GRACE
by Nathan Pitchford

Available in both Kindle .mobi and ePub formats

A simple categorized scripture list – the entire paper is a list of scriptures, with the exception of a few brief explanatory notes, underscores the truth that this is God’s own word and teaching; and the fact that it would be categorized would facilitate the ready comparison of scripture with scripture so as to lead one to a full-orbed understanding of the biblical teaching. Although I found a few good scripture lists of that nature available online, none of them was laid out in quite the progression that I was looking for, and so I developed my own. I’m posting it here with just the scripture references. The study is also available in print from Monergism Books.

Christianity and Liberalism
by J. Gresham Machen

Available in Kindle .mobi and ePub formats

Machen’s classic defense of orthodox Christianity established the importance of scriptural doctrine and contrasts the teachings of liberalism and orthodoxy on God and man, the Bible, Christ, salvation, and the church. Though originally published nearly seventy years ago, the book maintains its relevance today.  Marked up by Lance Marshall

Summary of Christian Doctrine

by Louis Berkhof

Available in Kindle .mobi and ePub formats

The author’s Systematic Theology presented in briefer form.We admire this book for its clarity and for its fresh presentation of familiar material. The lessons are short and to the point. We know of no book on doctrine we would rather recommend to those who want a volume to which they can turn for a brief but sufficiently complete statement of the Bible’s teachings. Louis Berkhof presents a clear, concise summary of Reformed Christian doctrine suitable for scholastic theological classes, or home study.

The Old Testament Doctrine of Salvation
or, How Men were Saved in Old Testament Times
by William Deas Kerswill

Available in Kindle .mobi and ePub formats

COMPARATIVELY few Christians have more than a vague idea of how men were saved in Old Testament times. Their attitude is not hostile, but only agnostic. It may, or may not, affect seriously their own faith. But to be thus indifferent as to what may be the teaching of the Old Testamen t is at least to open the way for neglect of the New. Few would be prepared to deny that religious distinctions of some nature existed among men of old: few would hazard, either that all were lost, or that all were saved. But few have taken the thought to determine for themselves exactly the line of division. Our Lord placed high value upon the Old Testament Scriptures when he said of them: “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled “; “One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled “; ” They have Moses and the prophets.” He honored the Old Testament Scriptures in his rebuke, “Have ye not read? ” “Hath not the scripture said?” “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures.”

See more here –

Christmas Grace

I kept meaning to post this last week, but I failed.  My apologies.  This is my latest article for the column (Gleanings in Grace) I write for my school newspaper.

Christmas time is coming! Everybody loves Christmas. Why? I can sum it up in one word – presents.

Christmas is a birthday; why not celebrate by giving gifts? However, we often wonder if this makes us lose sight of the real “reason for the season.” To solve this problem, some have suggested that we need to give gifts to Jesus. What have you done for Jesus on His birthday?

However, if we recall our theme of grace – Christ giving to us what we do not deserve and doing for us what we could never do for ourselves – we must ask if this is the right idea. I think it would be best not to focus on what we can do for Jesus but rather on what He has done for us.

Acts 17:25 tells us that God is not in need of anything, yet need him. Our faith focuses not on what we do, but what God has done. John 3:16 reminds us about God’s gift – redemption in Jesus. Let’s make it a point to focus on Jesus this Christmas and praise Him for all He has done. And by the way, this gift to you was meant to be shared.

The bad thing about only having a 200 word limit is that I don’t always get to fully develop my thoughts.  After all, at heart I’m still a Baptist preacher.  I can hardly clear my throat in 200 words…  So, I did want to mention here that I do understand what people mean when they talk about giving gifts to Jesus.  I don’t necessarily think that is bad concept. In fact, it is a great idea.  As Christmas has become an excuse for materialism, it is wonderful to shift the focus on something as noble as praising the Lord.  Please don’t get the idea that I am against parents, families and churches who wish to do something for the Lord during this season.

However, reflecting on this theme of grace, I think it is better to talk about sharing Christ’s gift with others rather than giving our gifts to Him as if Jesus were the little orphan child with nothing in his Christmas stocking.  We serve a sovereign God who is worthy of our praise, attention and effort.  It is entirely appropriate for Christians to make a special effort during this holiday season to make Him known to others and praise His glorious name through acts of mercy and worship.

This and That – 12-24-11

Stop Ignoring Joseph – …we need to be careful that we don’t reduce Joseph simply to a truthful first-century Bill Clinton: “He did not have sexual relations with that woman.” There’s much more to be said. Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, but he is his real father. In his adoption of Jesus, Joseph is rightly identified by the Spirit speak­ing through the Scriptures as Jesus’ father (Luke 2:4148). – Russell Moore

Denise Sproul Memorial Message –  A little bit over a week ago I got a phone call from my son. Denise was beside him.R.C. Jr. said to me, “Dad, we have a tough decision to make. The doctors here at the hospital have recommended that we put Denise in hospice. She may have a few days left of consciousness and peace that she can spend with her husband, family and kids. And yet on the other hand, they have one last experimental, intense chemotherapy they can try. The medical odds of success were astronomical against it. What should we do?” I said, “Son, if it were me on that bed, I would choose hospice. I wouldn’t want any more medication or any more suffering there. However, if I were a mother and there was one chance in a thousand that I could survive for the sake of my children, I’d take that chance.” … Like Paul, she was torn between two alternatives. One—to depart and be with Christ. Two—to endure more affliction for the sake of her children. And that’s the decision she made. I said to R.C., “Whatever she decides, we’ll have to stand behind that decision, especially you.” And he did. She made the decision, but the physicians were not able to get her platelets high enough to even have this final medical solution that she was willing to undertake… And so she came home. She got to see her children one more time—her parents, her sister, her siblings—and then she died. And the second alternative came to pass in the providence of God, which the apostle Paul assigned a value to. You heard what he said to the Philippians: “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, parenthetically, which is far better.”  – R.C. Sproul

Can We have A Truce on the “War on Christmas?” – Here’s the real deal… we’ve already destroyed much, if not most, of the religious signficance of Christmas.  Seriously, celebrating the birth of the Christ child is a side-bar at best in a month filled with gross materialism and consumerism, gluttony,indebtedness, insane busyness and for many too much booze.  Sure, the 3x per year church attenders get their fix of religiousity at the annual Christmas Eve Communion Service in which millions of people participate in a sacred church ordinance unworthily.  Sure, many of us set a nativity set on top of the TV or the bar.  Yep, we drop a buck in the red kettle or send a shoebox to an Ethiopian child.  But when it comes right down to it, I don’t think Jesus feels honored by the way we celebrate the alleged (and probably inaccurate) date of His birth.  He probably feels sad… Whether or not there is a “War on Christmas” we know that there is a spiritual warfare that happens every day of the year.  It began in heaven, took root in Eden and will not be settled until the end of this age.  Everyday the genuine believer should face spiritual opposition if they are seeking to live Biblically and authentically.  Scripture tells us that the Gospel will be a constant offense to the non-believer.  It has the stench of damnation for those who the condemned.  It is a Sword and not a dove to those who reject the Bible, repentance, Jesus and grace.  That’s the real “war” we face.  – Dan Burrell

A Moving Confession From James R. White

I cannot tell you how much I appreciated these words from Dr. White.  I know as a Current Events teacher so often I am guilty of a lack of outrage at sins that have become so common place in our society.  Yet, Dr. White reminds us that not only must we need to be outraged at such perversions such as homosexual marriage, but that rage should be matched with tears – the same tears that fell from the eyes of Jeremiah weeping over the sins of his people.