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This article is a continuation of our ongoing Friday series by Dr. Adams dealing with homiletics (preaching). To read previous articles check out our archives.
I am not concerned here with evangelistic preaching, so-called. My concern is with the sort of edificational preaching that goes on every Sunday in Bible-teaching churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, the gospel can never be preached without also having evangelism in view. But the sort of evangelism that takes place in the regular gathering of the people of God will be that kind of evangelism that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 14:23–25—incidental evangelism.
What I am talking about is the way in which the letters of the New Testament are written by preachers, whose preaching style and content are plainly apparent in them. These books were written to Christian churches and to saved individuals; that means that the purpose of these books was not strictly evangelistic. They dealt with such themes as heresy, schism, lack of love, encouragement, truth: matters you discuss with believers. But—and here is the main point—no matter...
In discussing problems with Christian counselees, we often find ourselves deeply involved in matters concerning the providence of God. People want to know “Why?” But it isn’t always possible to respond to that question in any specific way. If it is, fine; but that is the exception, not the rule.
So what do we say? Well, of course many different things—responses that fit each individual situation—but there are some principles (abstract as they may be) that people usually find helpful.
In referring to Paul’s imprisonment at Rome (Philippians 1) we show how God used it to convert soldiers as well as encourage others to go preach. As we open up the passage at some length, the following encouraging principles emerge:
Whether or you are able to see all or even only part of what it is that He’s up to, you can rely on the fact because of Romans 8:28,29.
What is providence? It is the working out of God’s plan by God Himself. Unlike Deism, Christianity teaches that God plans His work,then works His plan. Deists believe that having...
In seminary, in one form or another, you were taught “Be sure to apply the truth that you are teaching.” That is good advice; it follows biblical precedent and precept and points to an important fact that continually needs to be reemphasized. But how does one apply truth to life? On that question advice differs and/or often thins out. It is easy to gain assent to various truisms and noble goals, but it is when you turn to the discussion of ways and means that differences begin to appear. Everyone wants peace. So far, agreement is easy, but people will battle fiercely over how to obtain it. So too, all homileticians insist on the necessity for application but argue for widely differing methods of applying truth. Therefore, I shall focus my comments not so much on the commonplace areas of agreement but on the points of difference in an attempt to provide some sort of guidelines for proceeding through this homiletic maze.
To begin with, briefly let us consider the meaning of the word application so that we may understand from the outset what it is that we are discussing. The verb “apply” etymologically means “to fold or lay upon.” The idea of...
This doctrine, which by many is derided as esoteric, is anything but. It has very important moral and social implications. But before turning to that, let’s set forth what is meant by the term and why it must be accepted as biblical.
Traducianism is the teaching that not only the body but also the soul is passed down by natural generation. That is to say, in contrast to the rival doctrine called Creationism there is no time from conception on when there was not a soul present in the child. Creationists believe that a new soul is created for every child but differ as to whether it is placed within him at conception or possibly at some other time preceding birth.
Now, the proofs for traducianism are many, among which I shall mention these:
Most counseling cases involve more than one person. There are exceptions, of course. But they are few and far between. Even when it appears that but one individual is involved, upon further investigation, you will frequently discover that there is a mother or father, a relative or friend—or someone else—who plays an important role in the counseling problem you are considering. Because of this, it is important to understand the basic dynamic that underlies many of the interpersonal difficulties that you will encounter.
I have titled this posting “The Issue and the Relationship” because it sets forth the two essential factors that you will always have to consider when counseling more than one person. More often than not you will find that the husband and wife, parent and child, neighbor and neighbor, church member and church member, will present the principal problem in terms of the issue: “He wants to buy a boat when he knows that we simply can’t afford it!,” “He cheated me in a business deal,” This kid is incorrigible—she drinks, does drugs and plays around with any stud who comes along.”
The issue is always intriguing and tempts a counselor to focus...
In Acts 1:12-26 Peter says that Judas Iscariot had to be replaced (see Acts 1:16, 21). The vacancy his defection (and suicide) created could not be left open, otherwise Scripture would be broken. After all, what Judas had done and what, then, the remaining apostles had to do was prophesied, according to Peter, by David in the psalms, specifically in Pss 69:25 and 109:8 (see Acts 1:20). The problem with all this, however, is that on a first reading, at least, neither of these psalms is obviously prophetic, much less “spoke[n] . . . concerning Judas” (see Acts 1:16), which raises the question: Why did Peter think—and his hearers agree!—that these psalms warranted his claims and, therefore, called the early Christians to action?
The solution to this puzzle lies along the following two lines: (1) The early Christians read Pss 69, 109 and other psalms of lament messianically. They did this principally, I suspect, because this is the way Jesus read these psalms (see, e.g., John...
Among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, there is a rather troubling document dated from the year 1 B.C. It’s a letter written by a husband to his wife. The husband is out of town, and the wife is apparently expecting to deliver a child in the near future. Here’s the text:
Hilarion to his sister Alis, many greetings, also to my lady Berous and Apollonarion. Know that I am still in Alexandria; and do not worry when all the others return. I am staying in Alexandria. I ask you and entreat you, take care of the child, and if I receive my pay soon, I will send it up to you. Above all, if you bear a child and it is a male, let it live; if it is a female, expose it. You have told Aphrodisias, “Do not forget me.” But how can I forget you? Thus I’m asking you not to worry.
The 29th year of Caesar, Pauni 23 (P.Oxy. 4.744).
This letter is somewhat well-known due to its striking content. Almost as an aside, Hilarion instructs his wife that if she gives birth to a daughter, she is to expose the girl (i.e., to...
Just a reminder that the Rice Lectures are now just two weeks away on Wednesday, March 19. Pastor Peter Hubbard, who is the teaching pastor at North Hills Community Church in Taylors, SC, will be presenting three lectures based on his new book Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church.
The lectures will run from 8:30 a.m. till noon. A free lunch will be provided afterward. There is no cost to attend the Rice Lectures. However, for planning purposes, all guests are requested to register in advance so that adequate seating and food can be provided. Registration can be completed by calling (313) 381-0111, ext. 400, or sending an email to email@example.com.
If you have spent time counseling men in the areas of purity and pornography, you have probably, like me, struggled to find a resource that is biblical, straightforward, pastoral, and pure itself. In my opinion, Heath Lambert has written such a book, titled Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace (Zondervan, 2013). This book is designed as a resource both for those fighting against the sin of viewing pornography and for those helping those who are.
I recently read through the book while preparing for a retreat, and found it to be extremely practical. Lambert has served as a pastor and now as a teacher, and is also the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC–which, in my view, bodes well for this organization). Lambert is biblical, pastoral, hopeful, and straightforward in his counsel.
Here are a few quotes I highlighted from the Kindle edition I...
I’ve visited sub-Saharan Africa a few times and have started to get a handle on the grassroots economic theory that dominates the local villages: zero-sum economics. In brief, traditional African culture understands that there is a fixed amount of wealth available at all times, so if one villager becomes wealthy, he necessarily does so at the expense of others, who conversely become poor. In such a model, a man who works hard, earns money, and starts socking that money away in a bank account is immoral, because by “hoarding” this money, he is denying his neighbors the opportunity to prosper or even to survive.
The effects of this economic theory are manifold. Some of these are not entirely bad—the Africans I met tended to be relational, communitarian, less penurious than the average American, and even quite generous (of course they expected the same from me, so this wasn’t pure altruism, but there is a certain civility in African society that is rather pleasant). Still, the problems with this theory were glaring. People still hoarded, but deceitfully and hypocritically; envy often outpaced magnanimity. But the most obvious problem of zero-sum economics was that,...
In some circles Calvinism unfortunately has a reputation for being sinfully contentious, especially when self-labeled Calvinists are arrogant and when non-Calvinists misunderstand what Calvinism really is.
This 94-page book should help:
John Piper. Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace. Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2013.
It’s available as a free PDF.
Related to this are three edifying videos. If you haven’t watched them, I don’t think you’ll regret watching them. And if you have watched them, watch ’em again!
It’s probably the best overall book on suffering because it shrewdly addresses the issue from three angles:
As with Keller’s other books, this brims with wisdom from decades of fruitful pastoral ministry.3 Videos
1. Trailer (1:43 min.):
2. Word to Pastors and Caregivers (2:05 min.):
Doug Moo is my favorite exegete on Romans, a letter he has studied carefully for over forty years. (See my chronological list of his publications on Romans.)
So I’m delighted that Logos Bible Software recently released a new course: Doug Moo on Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
Alex Chediak. Preparing Your Teens for College: Faith, Friends, Finances, and Much More. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2014. 64-page sample PDF.
Chediak’s 2011 book is for teens. This one is for their parents. Both are helpful guides.
And WTS Books has a special sale on Chediak’s book starting today.