Archives For Ordinary Pastor

The common good requires some laws that limit personal freedom. This conversation between Tim Keller, Al Mohler, & Collin Hansen is very helpful.

Continue Reading...

I’m reading a bit of Herman Bavinck this morning in preparation for a class with some men in our church. I have been particularly encouraged by his section on God’s goodness. Below is an adaptation of some of his thoughts on the grace of God as an expression of the goodness of God.

The Grace of God is..

God’s goodness is much more glorious when it is shown to those who only deserve evil.

The etymology of the word indicates a bowing and inclination towards another. In other words, the favor that one receives or gives to another.

Used with reference to God, however, its object is never creatures in general, nor the Gentiles, but only his people.

The voluntary, unrestrained, and unmerited favor that he shows to sinners and that, instead of the verdict of death, brings them righteousness and life.

As such it is a virtue and attribute of God (Rom. 5.15; 1 Pet. 5.10), demonstrated in the sending his Son, who is full of grace (John 1.14; 1 Pet. 1.13), and additionally in the bestowal of all sorts of spiritual and material benefits, all of which are the gifts of grace and are themselves called “grace” (Rom. 5.20; 6.1; Eph. 1.7; 2.5,8; Phil. 1.2; Col. 1.2; Titus 3.7; etc), thus radically excluding all merit on the part of humans (Jn. 1.17; Rom. 4.4, 16; 6.14, 23; 11.5ff; Eph. 2.8; Gal. 5.3-4).”

 Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1 p. 214

Here are some good resources to think about and celebrate Reformation Day:

>>Reformation expert Stephen Nichols was recently at Omaha Bible Church for a conference on the Reformation. This is great stuff. If you have read any of his books you know that he makes history very fun and engaging. The audio is below; you won’t be disappointed.

The Road to Worms: Jan Hus, Martin Luther, and Sola Scripture

Wittenberg: The Life of Luther and Commitment to the Church

Flossenburg: Martin Luther to Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cross and Discipleship

Marks of the True Church with Question & Answer

Spare Everything But the Word

>>Also, be sure to see Nichols’ books on key figures in the Reformation-

The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World (Amazon | Westminster)

Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought (Amazon | Westminster)

>>The Gospel Coalition with a great article: Abandon the Reformation, Abandon the Gospel

>>Justin Taylor interviewed Carl Trueman about the 95 Theses. It’s a nice way to get a brief introduction to what happened.

>>Also curtesy of Justin Taylor’s post earlier today:

Today only, you can download for free (in multiple electronic formats) the eBook for Greg Forster’s excellent The Joy of Calvinism: Knowing God’s Personal, Unconditional, Irresistible, Unbreakable Love (Crossway).

Today only, you can download for free the MP3s for R. C. Sproul’s 10-lesson series onLuther and the Reformation, along with a Study Guide (PDF).

At any time you can download for free (in multiple formats) an eBook by John Piper on Martin Luther: Lessons from His Life and Labor. (You can also listen to the original audio version here.)

>>Chris Castaldo helpfully explains what happened when Luther was asked to recant before the Diet of Worms in 1521.

>>The Reformation Polka, what can I say?

>>And here’s the scene from the contemporary Luther film:

>>The following is an hour-long PBS documentary (uhem..) that includes commentary by Alister McGrath (Reformation scholar and author of Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First). It appears to have some nice reconstructions:

I’ve often been asked for a helpful resource on prayer. There are many contemporary books that are especially helpful (i.e. here and here). Over and over again I have been served by the straighforward pastoral counsel by Martin Luther to his barber. Luther outlines how he used the Lord’s Prayer, The 10 Commandments, and The Creed, as a framework, even a scaffolding for his prayers. His thoughtful letter has continued to shepherd me.

Here is an example:

First, when I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer because of other tasks or thoughts (for the flesh and the devil always impede and obstruct prayer), I take my little psalter, hurry to my room, or, if it be the day and hour for it, to the church where a congregation is assembled and, as time permits, I say quietly to myself and word-for-word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do.

It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day

If you have never read this letter I highly recommend you do so. (link)

R.C. Sproul made a children’s book out of it (link) and Carl Trueman wrote a helpful article at The Gospel Coalition on this topic (link).

These two quotes on the knowledge of God provoke worship and joy.

Continue Reading...

God’s Knowledge Brings Worship

The knowledge of God is not only perfect in kind, but also in its inclusiveness. It is called omniscience, because it is all-comprehensive.

Continue Reading...

The Omniscience of God

By the time you reach the age of 36 you assume that you know all of the important details about your family history. Sure, there may be some details that you’ve missed, but overall, you got it. Then a curiously overlooked detail emerges that causes you to pause, muse and ask more questions.

Such was the case the other night when I learned that my great-grandmother was a Baptist. This may not seem like much initially but I assure you it is.

I grew up Roman Catholic. There was not a whiff of evangelical thinking within miles of our family. My parents were not raised with any biblical teaching or preaching. I assumed the case was the same for all of my grandparents and their parents and so forth.

Now I hear that my grandfather’s mom was a Baptist. And apparently not an nominal Baptist. She was a bible reading, bible chewing, bible quoting, genuine New England bible thumper! She was known for her devotion to the Lord. Apparently so was her entire family before her.

Continue Reading…