Recent blog posts
We have several detailed accounts of Paul preaching the Gospel. It is very interesting to see how different his message is when he is preaching to pagan Gentiles as compared with his message to Jews.
The two occasions are:
It is quite remarkable how similar these two sermons are. I have laid the two passages out in parallel here: Paul preaching to pagan Gentiles--Acts 14 and 17 laid out in parallel.
Here are some observations:
What is the Gospel?
Back when I was in my early 20’s a friend asked me how she could become a Christian. I thought I had all the answers and had read all the best Reformed books, but was frustrated at the questions she kept coming up with. There seemed to be a mis-match between the books I read and how it was done in the New Testament.
Years later, when I came to do my M.Div thesis, I thought “this is a chance to really come to grips with this question.” I narrowed the subject down to Gospel Preaching in Acts✽ and systematically analysed the contents of the book.
I’ve heard it said that if you removed the parts of the Bible that deal with the presence of God, you would end up with the genealogies, Proverbs & Philemon, and maybe not even that!
Everyone recognizes that this is one of the most important subjects that there is, yet very little is written about it apart from the description of some experiences. So here I am attempting to begin to develop the theology of the subject.
I believe that there are three ways that the Bible speaks about God’s special presence:
So the big question is: Why do we often not experience God’s presence the way we would like to?[read more...]
There are two common errors regarding repentance, both of which I believe are quite dangerous.
I believe that a combination of these two ideas delayed my own salvation for years since I found myself unable to work up a strong feeling of guilt for sin, and thought that I could not come to Christ until I had these feelings of repentance.
I have just written an article which describes these errors and does a study on the use of the word in the Old and New Testaments.
I also preached an evangelistic sermon on "What it means to repent" which is based on Acts 17. There is a certain amount of overlap in content, but the sermon is obviously much more popular in presentation. The notes and audio download can be found here:
I remember coming across this phrase as a section heading in Paul, an Outline of his theology by Herman Ridderbos. It was so exciting to read and I felt as if whole vistas of understanding were opened up to me.
That book together with Resurrection and Redemption by Richard Gaffin are two books that have made the biggest impact on me in my understanding of the Apostle Paul.
I imagine these concepts like a great range of underwater mountains that penetrate the surface of the ocean as groups of islands. In the same way, once you grasp Paul's underlying framework, you can see it poking through in numerous places in his letters.
For me, one of the most fundamental of the fundamental structures is Paul's teaching on the "Two Worlds", or if you prefer, "Two Aeons". Jesus leaves the old, entering the tomb and then is raised a new being. We follow by virtue of being united with him. This my picture of how I think of it:
What does Microsoft have to do with Moses and the burning bush?
Back in the early 90's, Microsoft developed a remarkable piece of software, Windows NT. (Anyone who knows me will know that I am no fan of Microsoft but this product was an exception.)
What was most amazing about this software was that conventional wisdom was that it was impossible to develop something of that size and complexity in the timescale, even with a huge team. In 1994 a Wall Street Journal writer named Pascal Zachary obtained permission to interview all those involved and write a book.
The book is in some places shocking and even a little scary, because it becomes clear that what enables the project to succeed is the cult-like leadership qualities of the project leader, Dave Cutler, and his abilities to motivate his "followers" (employees) to the point where nothing else in their lives mattered, outside of working on his team. Here is a quote from the book:[read more...]
Last Sunday evening I spoke at TACF on the subject of "What it means to live under the New Covenant" as part of their "Equipping series". Of all the subjects I speak on, this is probably the one that is most important and foundational for the Christian. It is also one that I get very excited about.
I have uploaded the video to Youtube:
If the above video does not play smoothly for you try the following link:
Please don't be offended at the way I have involved the audience in role-playing some of the scenes. I am not trying to be disrespectful to God, I just feel that there is much more of an impact when people are more involved.
All my notes (fairly detailed), illustrations and Scripture passages are at loveintruth.com/newcovenant - What it means to live under the New Covenant
The video can also be downloaded to your computer from the following links:
There is a debate going on right now about whether a church that holds to believer's baptism should allow someone who has not been baptized to be a member, or even to break bread together with the rest of the church.
I find myself very much in agreement with Sam Storm, who writes:
Let me be clear on one thing. I am a credo-baptist, not a paedo-baptist. That is to say, I believe that only those who believe in Jesus Christ should receive the ordinance of water baptism. I also believe that the proper mode of baptism is by immersion. Ligon Duncan, on the other hand, is a Presbyterian paedo-baptist. Because of this, both Mark Dever and Al Mohler made it clear that if Duncan were in attendance at either of their churches they would not permit him to partake of the elements of the Lord's Supper.[read more...]
Today I preached on Psalm 90
Not very encouraging. Let's see how it continues...
...But it gets worse:
I believe in grace, not legalism. Today I preached on the sermon on the mount in Luke. I came face to face with the problem that Jesus preached a lot of commands, and ended the sermon saying that those who kept the commands would be preserved and those who didn't would be destroyed (the house on the sand).