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Full Coffers and Empty Bellies

"Ye write, that I am filled with knowledge, and stand not in need of these warnings. But certainly my light is dim when it cometh to handy-grips. And how many have full coffers and yet empty bellies! Light, and the saving use of light are far different. Oh, what need then have I to have the ashes blown away from my dying-out fire! I may be a bookman and (yet) be an idiot and stark fool in Christ's way. Learning will not beguile Christ." (Rutherford, 390)
I love knowledge. I love reading theology and contemplating the high things of God and how he interacts with man. It really is one of my passions. And yet, Rutherford here smacks me between the eyes with the proverbial 2x4. "How may have full coffers and yet empty bellies!" How many of us have so much precious knowledge of God, Scripture, the nuances of theological terms--and yet our saving light is dim! Our light is dim when it comes to handy-grips, to actually living and walking in it. There is indeed a differ…

Virtual Book Club: The Whole Christ (part 2 of 11)

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Ferguson opens chapter 2 by asking a fundamental question: What is the gospel? "The extent to which the answer we give determines how we preach and communicate the gospel." (565)
What had happened with the Scottish church in the 18th century was that it had fallen into a legalistic pitfall of limiting the offer of Christ to those who seemed eligible. They fell into an unbiblical version of Calvinism where the offer of grace could only be genuinely given to someone who showed signs that they were of the elect. This is unquestionably wrong. As Evangelista says in the Marrow of Modern Divinity: "I beseech you, consider, that God the Father, as he is in his Son Jesus Christ, moved with nothing but with his free love to mankind lost, hath made a deed of gift and grant unto them all, that whosoever shall believe in this his Son, shall not perish, but have eternal life."
Ferguson then goes to show how this universal offer to all does not go against the Westminster Confessio…

Thankful

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Thanksgiving was timely this year. Just a week before we gathered at my mom and dad's with family and friends, my little boy Hudson was born. He was 7 pounds 2 ounces. 20 inches long. The delivery was fantastic and everything seemed to line up perfectly. I am so blessed.
In fact as I write it is 1:09 AM--and he is up and getting some food. Apparently this is how babies roll (I am learning as I go if you could not tell).
When I was in the hospital with Montana during the active labor portion of childbirth, there were a few moments when I was struck with the "bigness" of what was occurring. This was not any momentary event. This was not just another task that we stress over or try to manipulate as best we can. What I got to see was the miracle of life--and I felt quite small and powerless as I witnessed this little man enter the world. It was truly an unbelievable experience, one I will never forget.
And now where there was two of us entering St. Mary's hospital--there …

Virtual Book Club: The Whole Christ (Part 1 of 11)

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Chapter 1: How a Marrow Grew

The year is 1717. Your name is William Craig. You are standing before the Scottish presbytery of the town of Auchterarder as a young candidate for ministry. This is an examination, often known for tricky questions and theological traps.

A member of the presbytery asks that you agree to the following statement: “I believe that it is not sound and orthodox to teach that we forsake sin in order to our coming to Christ, and instating us in coming to God." How would you have responded? Is it "not sound to teach that we forsake sin in order to our coming to Christ?"

The poorly worded statement has since been known as the Auchterarder Creed. And while Craig initially agreed with the statement, the following meeting he revoked his signature and explained his position. The church took away Craig’s license to preach the gospel, but the story goes far beyond the young minister to be. It sparked the “Marrow Controversy”.

Through a chain of appeals against t…

Virtual Book Club: "The Whole Christ"

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Book reviews are good. They get the general gist of a book, but summaries by nature of their brevity fall short of grasping the plum-depths of the writings described. Reviews are a way to get your feet wet in a way; insight interest in others, but really nothing more than that.
Something I have wanted to do on “Homeward Bound” (but have lacked the patience) is to dive through a deep, good book chapter by chapter; where each chapter would have a post of its own. In this way I would hopefully reflect on a fuller picture of the book and reflect that picture to you. I would get a better conception of the information I have read by writing, and you would get more information than a cursory review. Everyone wins!
The book I plan to do this with is one that I have recently read and have been left grappling with. It is entitled The Whole Christ (2016) by Sinclair Ferguson. Alex Havrilla, a good friend of mine, recommended the book to me—and last Sunday I was thanking him that he had!
Why this bo…

Psalm 131

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My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

Do you ever wish you were...different? Better?
Sometimes I do. Sometimes I wish I was gifted differently. Sometimes I wish I was more extroverted, was a more natural leader; or that I was less fearful and had greater confidence.
Sometimes I wish I was smarter, that I had an answer to every Spiritual question that anyone asked me--and could put down falsehood with an effortless snap of the finger. Sometimes I look at other Christians and I see their public speaking gifts, their boldness for the faith, their charisma--and I find myself growing jealous.
"Why can't I be more like that, Lord? Why can't I be different?"

How to View Christians of the Past

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The other day, I ran across someone who said something along the lines of: "we should not to listen to the Calvins, the Luthers, the Augustines...etc.--when we have the Bible as the perfect and inerrant Word of God. Man is prone to error, God's Word is all we need."
And as someone who has found much value in the Christians who have gone before us, this prompted me to ask the question: At what point does our love for the very rich Christian history and the "developments, or applications of the Word of God over the course of time" become misguided? Is this not what the Catholics do? They let their love for tradition and the role of the church replace and add to the Word of God. They view the church's interpretation as the final authority, the church's later councils and subsequent statements as authoritative.
We cannot do that.
So, the question is: as Bible believing Christians, what role should Christians throughout church history (and specifically their t…