Archives For Theology

When we are afflicted by the devastating trials of this life it can feel like we are being held underwater. It’s tough to hear, hard to breathe, and frightening. We panic. We get anxious. This is understandable. Life in this broken world is filled with heart-shredding trials that leg-sweep us surprisingly.

In the midst of this it is very important to remember to focus on what we know and not what we do not know. The common question is “why?” This is something we know in part but not in full. In the context of the big picture we understand that the answer to the “why” question is that we live in a post Genesis 3 world. However, the specific nuanced answer to “why” is unknown. We don’t know precisely “why.”

But we do know who God is and how he acts. This is tremendously comforting. In fact, when Job was laid low by trial he never received the answer to the “why” question but he did get a lengthy exposition of the “who.” It may seem like a theological copout but if you are spending time “under-water” in the midst of the waves of the trial then you need something objective, you need to clasp ahold of a dock.

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In my monthly article for Ligonier I wrote about God’s sovereignty. Often people see such high theological concepts as stuffy and impractical. In this article, however, I provide a recent snapshot from our church family that shows it is far more than this. The gist of the article is this: When God’s sovereignty is believed by somebody it is perceived by everybody.

Here is the link to the full article.

I’m really enjoying Michael Horton’s new Systematic Theology, Pilgrim Theology. A few guys at the church are going through it together and really benefiting from the simplicity and clarity that Horton offers. In his chapter on the Scripture he contrasts the Reformation and Roman Catholic understanding of Authority and Scripture…

The churches of the Reformation do not deny the ongoing authority of the church in its representative assemblies, but the key difference is this: whereas the Roman Catholic Church combines Scripture and tradition as one source of magisterial (i.e., ruling) authority, we confess that this belongs to Scripture alone, with tradition as ministerial (i.e., serving). Just as courts interpret the constitution, church courts interpret Scripture. This is why churches from the Reformation affirm the ecumenical creeds and subscribe to confessions and catechisms as communally valid interpretations of God’s Word. Yet again, it must be emphasized that this authority does not arise from the church. It arises from the canon that the church seeks faithfully to interpret in dependence on the Spirit.

To regard Scripture as the church’s constitution is to directly counter the Roman Catholic claim that the church is the mother of Scripture…

The canon, as the constitution of the church, is what constitutes a people as this people, under this government, in this body. Of course, the Reformers and their heirs never doubted that the church came before the completed canon of Scripture in history. However, they insisted that it is the word that always creates the church.

(Note: this book remains on sale for Kindle at $7.99 or Hardback)

ordinary pastorrecommended booksOne of the benefits of being a pastor who blogs is that I often are able to recommend helpful resources to people. Over the last few years I have wanted to put together a reference list for people who were looking for good books. I am thankful that I now have it published on this site.

In the header at the top of the page is a menu “Recommended Reading” under that section there are several sub-lists:

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

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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.

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The Omniscience of God

This morning in our men’s theology class we highlighted this quote concerning God’s omnipresence and omniscience from Herman Bavinck. It is one of those quotes that Velcro’s itself to you.

When you wish to do something evil, you retire from the public into your house where no enemy may see you; from those places of your house which are open and visible to the eyes of men you remove yourself into your room; even in your room you fear some witness from another quarter; you retire into your heart, there you meditate: he is more inward than your heart.

Wherever, therefore, you shall have fled, there is he.

From yourself, whither will you flee? Will you not follow yourself wherever you shall flee? But since there is One more inward even than yourself, there is no place where you may flee from God angry but to God reconciled. There is no place at all whither you may flee. Will you flee from him? Flee unto him.

–Herman Bavinck, The Doctrine of God