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The psalmist writes:
Rest in God alone, my soul . . . He alone is my rock (Ps. 61: 8 HCSB).
This world is a dangerous place; full of disease, war, treachery, accidents—you name it! How can you go through life in a calm, restful manner? That’s what the Psalmist is speaking about. Behind a rock was a place to find protection in biblical days. If someone was tracking you down—as Saul tracked David—to locate a large, impregnable rock to use as a wall between yourself and the tracker would be highly desirable. That is why God is frequently called one’s Rock. That is to say, He is the Protector of His people.
In this uncertain life, have you found rest in the only true Rock? There is only one way to do so—through His Son, Jesus Christ Who died in the place of all those who would trust Him as Savior. He bore their guilt and suffered in their place. He is the One Who, alone, can lead you to the Rock of this verse—the “Rock that is higher than I.”
Need rest? Protection? You need the Rock behind which you can lie down and feel safe.
That’s what Psalm 11:8 has to say.
”But what does it mean?”
The verse also compares it to silver that is purified that often.
“Does that mean the Word was impure and had to be purified?”
“Well then, why does it go on to compare it to silver that has to be purified that many times to rid it of all impurities?”
It is not the process of purification that is under comparison.
“What then is?”
The product of the process!
“What do you mean?”
Simply this: as silver that is refined seven times over is said to be totally free from all impurities, so too are the Scriptures totally free from all error and harmful teaching.
The verse means that the Bible is wholly free from error and, therefore, is pure truth! When you turn to its pages, you must have this thought in mind and be willing to accept whatever it says as absolute truth!
“You might say that it is a sterling book then . . . ?”
Everyone’s on one. That includes YOU. It’s interesting how God describes the pathway of His people:
The path of the righteous is like the light of the dawn , shining brighter and brighter until midday (Prov. 4: 18; HCSB).
It’s a path that runs from sunrise till noon! How descriptive! The longer we walk on it the more clearly we see! The brighter life becomes. The more shining the landscape! What a beautiful description the Psalmist give us.
Sometime, shadows do obstruct clear sight; often we tire along the way. But the great truth all of God’s true children must admit is brilliantly expressed in these words!
The closer to the end of the journey, the more the way is illuminated. Jesus Christ is the one Who stands at the conclusion of the walk—how could it be otherwise?
 The righteous are not those who are righteous in themselves, but those who have been declared righteous by faith in the work of Christ on the cross
Here it is:
Who, like Me, can announce the future? . . . Let these gods declare the coming things, and what will take place. (Isaiah 44:7; HCSB).
God is declaring that prophecy proves.
“What do you mean by that?”
Simply this—the fact that the biblical God has predicted the future proves He is the true God. And, to boot, the fact that He alone can make the claim stick! Indeed, because of the latter fact, the former is true too.
Since there is no other challenger who can substantiate his claim, as He can, clearly, the former is true.
“But don’t other gods claim the same?”
Not too many of them even make the claim to predict coming events, but whenever they do they fail the test of giving the predicting facts beforehand—and, indeed, often long before—in writing that is publically received and tested as to its truth.
“What do you mean by that—and how is it tested?”
Simply in this way: hundreds of scriptural prophesies have been written, received, kept intact, etc., for hundreds (often thousands) of...
The occasion was the fall of Eutropius, the imperial minister in Constantinople who had attacked the church and had even forbidden her to offer refuge to political prisoners. Yesterday he broke his own law and fled to Chrysostom’s church for sanctuary. Chrysostom admitted him, and when the soldiers in hot pursuit reached the door of the church, they were met by Chrysostom, who declared, “You enter here over my body” (the origin of our expression ‘over my dead body’). Now one day later, the entire town has gathered to hear Chrysostom preach. What will he say?
Many standing in the tightly packed crowd are furious. They are convinced that Chrysostom missed a great opportunity to rid the community of one of the church’s vilest enemies. Why has he received Eutropius? What can he say in his defense? They have come to find out.
From the front of the church, those who are regular attendees...
Last week we looked at Deut 17:14–17 and discovered three prohibitions for Israel’s kings that Christian leaders can follow in principle today. This week, we’ll read through Deut 17:14–20 again and see the import of the positive commands for the king in Deut 17:18–20.
Deuteronomy 17:14–20 (ESV)
14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king...
Each week I post an exposition of our church’s service. Here is this week’s post:
Before us are Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (ESV)
Paul’s words in verse 22, “I have become all things to all men” have, as I pointed out in the last post, has become a rallying point to “anything-goes...
I am writing a series on implications of the idea that culture is essentially the behavior of a people. Last time I asserted that New Testament authors explain cultural differences between various people groups as differences of belief and value.
The second implication is that New Testament authors identify people groups (ethnicities, tribes, nations, etc.) as those of common ancestral heritage who share common culture flowing from common values. They do not think about “culture” as such; rather, they think about behavior, and they believe that the gospel changes behavior—it changes a person’s culture. Since culture is a component of religion, where religion changes, so changes culture. This creates a reorientation of race for Christians; since a race is a group that shares common values and practices, Christians will find themselves increasingly alienated from the race into which they were born and drawn into a new race united around biblical values....
Three weeks ago, I gave an introduction to a series on character of the Christian leader. Today the series finally continues. After a read through today’s text, we’ll see that what was written for Israel’s kings then has principles for Christian leaders today.
Deuteronomy 17:14–20 (ESV)
14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to...
Word is going around that the city of Houston is issuing subpoenas for sermons to see if they criticize homosexuality.
Is it true? Who knows. It could be. It might not be. Like a lot of stuff on the internet, it might be overblown. Like a lot of the stuff on the internet, it may be entirely true.
But here’s the question: Why is Houston using court resources and tax payer resources issuing subpoenas for things that are publicly available?
If they want the content of these sermons, can’t they just show up at church? Or download them from the internet?
But it seems like Christians like a persecution complex and tend to go into crisis mode at the drop of a hat. So it’s a great time to note that the end of the world is almost here.
I think if I were a pastor in Houston, I would invite the people charged with this task to come to church and hear it first hand. I speak publicly several times a week, and to be frank, a lot of what I say is not in my notes, and a lot of what is in my notes never gets said. So getting my notes is no guarantee that you will get what was actually said. Not to mention that my notes often contain the opinions of...
The Minnesota Baptist Association recently hosted a panel discussion on the future of Baptist fundamentalism. You can read a summary of it here, or listen to it at … well, nowhere. Apparently, technology hasn’t reached all the way to Minnesota yet.
I heard they actually had the technology but the hamsters got tired of running fast enough to power the generator. But that may be just a rumor as well. Perhaps the participants all decided it would be better to have no audio in order to maintain some plausible deniability. You can always claim you were misquoted, unless the pesky audio exists somewhere.
Of course I digress. Some of these people are my friends. At least they were. But I find the topic interesting and, if the write-up is indicative, the panel discussion seemed interesting as well.
So what do I think of the future of Baptist fundamentalism? Thanks for asking.
I have a few thoughts, which you may have suspected if you have made it this far.
First, I wonder how the lack of agreed upon history affects...
At first, here’s an interesting interview about work and productivity from Stephen Dubner, the co-author of the very interesting Freakonomics. Habits and patterns of work are increasingly important to me. They probably should be for all of us.
At second, here’s a much needed article on Preaching and Piety. Too often, it seems like the beauty of the gospel is being used as a cover for sinfulness. The pastoral qualifications still mean something other than being able to exegete, assemble a message, and deliver it. We should take them seriously.
At third, Andy Naselli links to an article about unmarried couples making out. Andy, in his usual helpful way, highlights a few key points....
Short answer: Biblically, no; practically, perhaps.
Long answer: The public ministry of the Word is sometimes divided into preaching and teaching, with various ways to distinguish between them. Adams (Adams 1982, 5‑6), Zuck (Zuck 1998, 39‑40), and Dodd (Dodd 1980, 7‑35) distinguish between preaching (κηρύσσω and eὐαγγελίζω) and teaching (διδάσκω) in terms of the audience. In this view, preaching is evangelistic activity among unbelievers while teaching is the work of moral or ethical instruction among believers. For Dodd, in particular, the distinction is related to the content, rather than the act of preaching itself (Dodd 1980, 7‑8). Singley (Singley, III 2008, 45‑46) and Prime and Begg (Prime and Begg 2004, 125; cf. Anderson 2006, 93‑94) distinguish between preaching and teaching in terms of intent or goal. In this conception, teaching has as its goal the communication of knowledge whereas preaching has as its goal the movement of the will and emotions to respond to the truth communicated.
While these distinctions may have practical value, it seems doubtful that they can be rigidly sustained from Scripture since the various words used do not...
At first, NASCAR recently instituted a new rule that prohibits drivers or crew members from going on the track or approaching another moving vehicle. I am going to go ahead and go out on a limb here and suggest that if your employees need to be instructed not to stand in the middle of a road where cars are traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour, you should consider something besides a rule, something like, oh I don’t know … sending them back to first grade. I don’t say that to make light of the death of a racer, but seriously, why do you need a rule to tell people to stay out of the way of speeding cars? Isn’t that the first thing parents teach kids when they let them out of the back yard as a toddler? Yes, parents have to supervise that for a few years, but usually that becomes unnecessary. Apparently not if you are a NASCAR driver.
At second, here’s a nice article...
In the midst of Paul’s argument for the bodily resurrection of believers, he offers a proverb: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Cor 15:33). At first it seems a bit out of place—why would Paul be concerned about who the Corinthians are hanging around? Isn’t his focus on what they believe? Paul’s point is that your associations can influence what you believe, and what you believe influences your behavior. That’s one of the reasons why God instructs his believers to practice separation. A failure to separate from false teachers can lead believers to be corrupted by that false teaching—even if they currently have their doctrine correct.
In a sermon on this passage, Alistair Begg gives his pastoral exhortation to believers who do not separate from false churches, urging them to apply this verse.
If you hang around with these people who say there is no resurrection of the dead, although you think there is, you’ll start to believe just as they do. And when you start to believe as they do, then you will start to behave as they behave. And he said “I want you to understand it, bad company corrupts good character.”
The Mid-American Conference begins this Thursday, October 16, at the Inter-City Baptist Church, 4700 Allen Road, Allen Park, MI. The theme is “Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel.” The speakers are:
A few weeks ago, Mark Snoeberger had a post arguing that in the matter of salvation, especially the issue of regeneration, there are only two possible options, which he labeled as Calvinism and Arminianism. As might be expected, there was some push back to the idea of this two-option-only proposal. Mark also alluded to an ongoing series of blog posts on this issue titled “Why I’m Not a Calvinist…or an Arminian,” which is currently up to five parts. I would like to try and reinforce the point that Mark was making.
The real issue comes down to the question of who saves us. Does God save us, or do we, with some help from God, save ourselves? That’s rather stark, so let me expand upon that. What I mean, and what I’m trying to get at, is who is the ultimate decider in the matter of our...
Last month a new book was released titled A Conservative Christian Declaration. Co-authored by six men (Kevin Bauder, Scott Aniol, David de Bruyn, Mike Riley, Ryan Martin, and Jason Parker) this fairly short volume (92 pp.) is intended to articulate “a fully orbed conservative Christianity that includes both doctrine and practice” (6).
Although six men are listed on the book’s cover, Scott Aniol appears to be the guiding force behind the book. In the introduction, he writes, “in July 2013 I gathered together a group of pastors and ministry educators to discuss the future of conservative Christianity” (6). This book was written as a result of that meeting.
After the book’s introduction and preamble follows a list of fifteen “Articles of Affirmation and Denial.” The bulk of the book is then comprised of short explanations of these...
Among the many promises of John 14–17 are several that anticipate heightened activity by the Holy Spirit in the apostolic era. These have long been a source of both comfort and confusion to NT believers. Assurances that the Spirit would assume new functions of “bringing to remembrance” Christ’s words (14:25–26) and empowering the testimony of the disciples (15:26–27) gave confidence to the early church that Christ had not abandoned his people when he ascended to be with the Father. But they also raise questions about the nature of the Spirit’s work. Are these promises offered generally to all NT believers? And if so, were OT saints summarily denied these benefits as they struggled to bear witness to the superiority of Yahweh? IOW, can we expect the Spirit to do more spectacular things for Christian believers as they witness for him today than he did for earlier generations of God-worshipers?
The answer to this question is complex, and I cannot hope to give a comprehensive answer in a single blog post. But the conundrum is reduced at least in part when we correctly see at least some of the promises of John 14–17 as having a narrower scope than is often assumed. While...
I just happily added The Center for New Testament Textual Studies NT Critical Apparatus to my Logos library.
From the resource’s introduction:
Welcome to the CNTTS textual database. The database is presented in the form of a textual apparatus that includes as much of the textual data as possible. The base text is that of the 3rd edition UBSGNT. The sources for the manuscript readings are given below, but in brief come primarily from our own collations with some information also derived from the works noted below. Part of the ongoing work is to verify the information derived from others by means of our own collations.
Work began on this project in 2000, with some foundations having been put in...
“Flesh and Spirit.” Tabletalk 38, no. 10 (October 2014): 22–24.
Vern S. Poythress. Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014.
Here’s what Poythress calls “The Real Problem with Gambling” (pp. 279–81):
The preceding appendix has analyzed a number of gambling systems by which gamblers hope to “beat the odds” and make a killing. We could consider still more systems. In each case, careful calculations of the probabilities show that the gambler will not win in the long run. In fact, in casino games the probabilities are always stacked against the customer, so that in the long run the casino consistently takes in money from every form of gambling that it offers on its premises.
The calculation of probabilities is a form...
James M. Hamilton Jr. With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology. New Studies in Biblical Theology 32. Downers Grove: IVP, 2014.
The book of Daniel contributes to the Bible’s unfolding redemptive-historical storyline.
Like a plug in an outlet, the book joins itself to the Bible’s broader narrative, and, as the currents course through, the light of revelation shines on the way things will go until God brings about the promised consummation (see chapter 2).
The literary structure of the book of Daniel (chapter 3) demonstrates that the biblical authors used wide-angle strategies to communicate (cf. chapter 9). The books of the Bible are like cathedrals, with...
Jeramie Rinne answers that question with six statements in Church Elders: How to Shepherd God’s People Like Jesus (9Marks; Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), 19–29.
You know you’re qualified to serve as an elder if . . .
Rinne unpacks each statement in his short, well-reasoned book.