The Certainty and Importance of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead

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(About this series)

CHAPTER III THE CERTAINTY AND IMPORTANCE OF THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD

BY REV. R. A. TORREY, D. D.
(Copyrighted by R. A. Torrey in Great Britain and America and published herewith by permission. {sic}

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the corner-stone of Christian doctrine. It is mentioned directly one hundred and four or more times in the New Testament. It was the most prominent and cardinal point in the apostolic testimony. When the apostolic company, after the apostasy of Judas Iscariot, felt it necessary to complete their number again by the addition of one to take the place of Judas Iscariot, it was in order that he might “be a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:21, 22). The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the one point that Peter emphasized in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost. His whole sermon centered in that fact. Its key-note was, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32, cf. vs. 24-31). When the Apostles were filled again with the Holy Spirit some days later, the one central result was that “with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” The central doctrine that the Apostle Paul preached to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers on Mars Hill was Jesus and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18, cf. Acts 23:6; 1 Cor. 15:15.) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the two fundamental truths of the Gospel, the other being His atoning death. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:1. 3, 4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; For I Read more about The Certainty and Importance of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead

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Books of Note - Preaching? and Theology of the Reformers

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Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer

Image of Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching
by Alec Motyer
Christian Focus 2013
Paperback 192

“The Word of God is the constitutive reality at the heart of the Church” (p. 18).

There are as many ideas about how to grow a church as there are books on the subject. There are books that focus on meeting felt needs, worship strategies, small groups and a myriad of other ministries that can be maximized to grow your church. However, what many of these books fail to recognize or address is that the bedrock of growing a church is the ministry of the Word through preaching.

With a biblical focus on the Word of God at the heart of a church Alec Motyer has written Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching. As the Old Testament editor for The Bible Speaks Today series, Motyer has turned his pen to writing on preaching and has written a book that addresses both the biblical-theological aspects as well as some practical issues.

The first five chapters address the nature of preaching. These chapters are exegetically grounded in various passages of Scripture. Motyer defines good preaching as that which has a “sense of being plain and unmistakable” (p. 11). Preaching that is good is to be expositional, that is, “the restatement of a Scripture” (p. 30). Motyer wants to impress upon his readers that preaching is the ground upon which the whole church grows and functions. All ministry grows out of the Word and the preaching of the Word. His exegetical work deals with many NT passages that provide us with the nature and task of faithful biblical preachers. His observation, especially of the book of Acts, is that it is the ministry of the preaching of the Word that drove the growth of the early church. Surely there were other attending contributions, like the work of the Spirit through the Word, but it was always the Word that led the way and was responded to. Read more about Books of Note - Preaching? and Theology of the Reformers

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Separation: Can We Have a Better Debate?

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The biblical doctrine of separation is difficult to discuss. I’ve read, listened to, and participated in quite a few exchanges over the years. More often than not, no movement toward consensus, or even increase in clarity, seemed to result. It’s not unusual for a discussion on the topic to end with—apparently—less mutual understanding than existed at the start, despite the fact that everybody involved seems to genuinely desire to know, live, and teach what the Scriptures require of us. (By the way, long before Internet, this sort of back and forth was going on in magazines, newsletters and pamphlets. It just moved slower in those days.)

So why is the topic so messy?

I don’t fully understand why clarity about separation is so elusive. I do continue to believe, though, that there is ultimately no reason why the various perspectives on the subject can’t be clearly distinguished from one another in accurate and mutually-accepted terms. In other words, though we’re unlikely to ever see complete agreement between conservative evangelicals, 20th century-style movement-fundamentalists, and all the miscellaneous-other among us, it really is possible to reach a point where the differences among us are clear, well understood, and debated mostly on-point—to the benefit of all who seek to know and obey the truth. Read more about Separation: Can We Have a Better Debate?

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Fundamentalist Dead Zones

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Oceanographers sometimes encounter “dead zones”: areas of seawater nearly void of aquatic life. Cellular telephone users also encounter dead zones: areas of landmasses nearly void of signal coverage. Christian fundamentalism has its own variety of dead zones: areas of humanity nearly void of Great Commission efforts. America’s secular college campuses are usually prime examples.

Historian George Marsden’s The Soul of the American University includes a vivid portrayal of the circumstances and events that led to such an untenable situation. It will suffice here to know that it was the fundamentalist/modernist conflict of the early 20th century that ultimately drove a lasting wedge between fundamentalism and America’s secular colleges, public and private. That division continues largely unreconciled today, to the continuing detriment of both.

Obviously this does not mean that fundamentalists are absent from secular campuses today. On the contrary: self-identified fundamentalists are present in large numbers as students, staff, and faculty members at secular campuses nationwide. What it does mean is that fundamentalism—as a distinct subgroup of broader Christian evangelicalism—long ago collectively renounced secular colleges. As secular campuses became less hospitable to Christianity, fundamentalism often uncharacteristically retreated. Read more about Fundamentalist Dead Zones

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Real Worship

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What does real worship look like in the Christian life? We have a wonderful example from King Asa of Judah, the third king after Solomon. Not long after a great and decisive victory over a 1,000,000-man strong Ethiopian army, Asa launches a reform movement in Judah. Read here the words of the prophet Azariah to Asa:

And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:1-7)

We read some familiar things here:

  • The covenant promises of blessings for heartfelt obedience and cursings for rebellious apostasy from Deuteronomy (ch. 28-30) are repeated in v.2.
  • Azariah reminds Asa of the tumultuous days of the judges, when each man did what was right in his own eyes (v.3-6). Those inclined to think Azariah is being melodramatic should review Judges 19 and following.
  • He closes by exhorting Asa to “be strong,” and persevere in faith.

Asa, already a proven reformer (2 Chron. 14:2-5), takes heart and re-doubles his efforts. He rids the land of abominable idols, both in his own borders and in territory recently captured from the Northern Kingdom of Israel (v.8). He repairs the altar at the temple in Jerusalem (v.8). The fact that this literal house of God on earth had been allowed to languish in disrepair says much about the spiritual state of Judah!

Asa also gathers all the Israelites and foreign converts to Judaism in the Kingdom together (v.9-10). Interestingly, this included a large number of Israelites who had defected from the Northern Kingdom; “for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him” (2 Chron. 15:9b). God’s light cannot be hidden, and these faithful men and women are a testimony to that light! They forsook family, home and comfort to make a new life in another land; they considered the comforts of the world as nothing compared to the true worship of God! Read more about Real Worship

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Postmodernism 7 - The Postmodern Church

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From Sunesis. Posted with permission. Read the series.

The quotation below is from www.vintagefaith.com. (This site is currently down, with a promise that it will be revised and restarted January 1, 2013—yes, that’s the correct date; even the postmoderns struggle with maintaining relevance.)

There is a rising feeling among emerging church leaders and followers of Jesus, that in many modern contemporary churches, something has subtly gone astray in what we call “church” and what we call “Christianity.” Through time, church has become a place that you go to have your needs met, instead of being a called local community of God on a mission together. Through time, much of contemporary Christianity subtly has become more about inviting others into the subcultures of Christian music, language and church programs than about passionately inviting others into a radically alternative community and way of life as disciples of Jesus and Kingdom living. Sadly, we are now seeing the results of this. While many of us have been inside our church offices busy preparing our sermons and keeping on a fast-paced schedule in the ministries and internal affairs of our churches, something alarming is happening on the outside. A great transformation is happening in our own neighborhoods, schools, and colleges. What once was a Christian nation with a Judeo-Christian worldview, is fast becoming an unchurched post-Christian nation. Tom Clegg and Warren Bird in their book Lost In America claim that the unchurched population of the United States is now the largest mission field in the English-speaking world and fifth largest globally. There are many great churches ministering to modern-minded people, but we must be also be passionate about emerging generations who aren’t connecting with current forms of ministry and thinking. Yet, there are some exciting things developing and stirring. So many people are beginning to experience the same sort of unsettledness and beginning many positive and healthy conversations. More and more emerging leaders are re-seeking the Scriptures, studying the early church and church history and rethinking a lot of what we are doing. In our desire to engage the current culture and emerging generations, perhaps we need to spend time looking more to the values and ancient roots of our faith, instead of looking out primarily for what is “cutting edge,” the next “model” or the latest programs. Vintage Faith is simply looking at what was vintage Christianity. Going back to the beginning and looking at the teachings of Jesus with fresh eyes and hearts and minds. Carefully discerning what it is in our contemporary churches and ministry that perhaps has been shaped through modernity and evangelical subculture, rather than the actual teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures. We need to begin asking a lot of questions again. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. Too much is at stake not to.

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Teach Like a Girl

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Doris Day in "Teacher's Pet," 1958.

Over the holidays, I took a bit of time away from writing. In a pastor’s family, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are one full-out sprint. There’s all the normal busyness as well as a full calendar of Advent-related activities—pageants, cookie exchanges, evening fellowships, and caroling. Once we hit Christmas Day, though, things tend to settle down, and I have time to visit with family and do extra reading.

One of the books I discovered over the holidays is a collection of vignettes about the women of the New Testament. I was prepping for this year’s women’s Bible study at church and like any good teacher (who is consistently running just shy of deadline), my first stop was the Amazon search engine. I typed in “Women of the New Testament” and one of the first entries was written by, of all people, Abraham Kuyper. Apparently in the midst of reforming turn-of-the-century Dutch society, establishing an entire branch of theology, and pastoring multiple congregations, Kuyper also had time to write on women of the Bible. (Abraham Kuyper: Statesman, Theologian, and Father of the Modern Women’s Bible Study?) Read more about Teach Like a Girl

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Book Review - What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About

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In What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible, Jason DeRouchie brings together 16 other evangelical OT scholars to produce a truly one-of-a-kind resource. Rather than being a work by scholars for scholars, this is a work for the Church. The Old Testament is expounded and analyzed from the perspective of the cross of Christ, and the result is an unpacking of the Gospel in the Old Testament. Today’s believers are provided a practical approach to reading and studying the Old Testament. And as the authors remind us, the Old Testament was the Bible of Jesus and the early Church.

The book surveys each of the 24 books of the Old Testament—24 books according to the Hebrew numbering, that is. And the Hebrew order of the books of the Old Testament is the order the contributors to this volume follow. Each chapter gives a brief introduction as to the setting and author of that Hebrew book and then focuses on a discussion of the book’s major themes with particular regard to how it fits into the overall canonical structure. Jason DeRouchie provides introductions to each of the major sections of the Hebrew Bible: the Torah (or Law), the Prophets, and the Writings, as well as an overview of the entire Old Testament. Throughout the volume, there are beautiful, full-color photos of scenes from the Holy Land. Additionally, there are countless charts and tables on helpful subjects relating to the material covered. Memory verses and suggestions for additional reading round out each chapter. The KINGDOM Bible reading plan is also included as an appendix and will help readers in continuing to read through and appreciate the Hebrew Bible in the canonical order this book stresses. Read more about Book Review - What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About

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