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Topic: Theology

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.7

The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praised of His glorious justice.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.7

When thinking about election and reprobation, we must remember that because all men fell with Adam, God is not obligated to save anyone. When you give a gift to a family member, other people do not have the right to demand that you therefore give them a gift as well. Salvation is a gift and God dispenses it as He pleases.

The Potter, says Paul, has rights over the clay (Romans 9:21). He has the right to save whom He will and pass over whom He will. If His goal were to promote pots in general, then creating some destined for destruction would be silly. But His goal is His own glory, so He uses some pots to show His grace and some to show His justice. In all this He not only maintains His righteousness, but also manifests it.

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.6

This post is a continuation of my series on the Westminster Confession.

As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.6

One of the teachings that keeps Calvinism from becoming stagnant is the belief that God has ordained the means whereby the elect are saved. That means is faith, but how can anyone believe without hearing? Moreover, how will they hear unless someone is speaking? (Romans 10:14) • • • Read More • • •

Immodesty, Shame, and the Market of Flesh

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the first thing they tried to do was cover themselves. They sought out modesty to cover their shame, but it was wholly insufficient. Their flesh was hidden, but the sins of their flesh were left hanging in the breeze like so much dirty laundry. God Himself had to cover their sin and it’s worth noting that He did so through death. • • • Read More • • •

Culture and Kingdom Episode 007

In this episode, Chris fixes his microphone, we talk about sportsing, and we have our first ever After Show. The idea for the After Show is that we talk about topics that our listeners are less likely to find interesting. This will generally be heady theological stuff since Chris is in seminary and I sometimes like to pretend I am.

We’re very interested in hearing your thoughts, so listen to the episode and then shoot us an email.

Old Covenant: Shadows and Patterns

Writing about the Old Covenant is something of a difficult task. If you look at your Bible, you’ll note that three quarters of it are largely dedicated to the Old Covenant. Beyond that, the only thing more misunderstood in contemporary evangelicalism than the Old Covenant is, perhaps, the book of Revelation. This, by the way, is not a coincidence.

When Christ came to His covenant people, He came to a people who had every Old Testament book that we have but hardly understood any of it. This is not a fault of the Old Testament. Man’s inability to see Christ in the temple furniture is not a deficiency in the carpentry. It’s also not a deficiency in our eyes; we have them and they work, but we don’t see. By faith, we can see Christ everywhere—in the Old Covenant and the New. Without faith, we can’t even see Him in the gospels. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.5

Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.5

If you’ve ever felt like you have nothing to offer God, then this doctrine is very good news. If you’ve ever thought that there is nothing in you that makes you more acceptable to God then your unbelieving neighbors, this doctrine says that you are right and that it’s all a part of the plan. • • • Read More • • •

Culture and Kingdom Episode 006

It’s been a while, but Chris and I finally got another episode out. Broadly speaking, the topic is the Charlie Hebdo incident. Some details include secularism’s tactics, the battle of worldviews between secularists and all religion, Christianity’s response to both, and Christian use of satire and related tactics.

I think our podcast is finally starting to come together. Having a flowing conversation with someone on the internet, and especially someone you don’t know very well, is very challenging. I think we’re getting better at it, but we’d love your feedback.

One last quick note: I’m not a pacifist. When I said that killing is wrong, I simply meant that murdering people is not an acceptable method for fighting a battle of worldviews. Civil government is given the sword in Romans 12 and it ought to use it, but use it justly—in accordance with God’s Law. Anyone else killing someone is almost always unlawful and therefore sin.

That aside, here’s Episode 006: A Conflict of Worldview

Buttery Smooth Institutes eBook

One of my reading projects for the past several months has been that of slowly plodding through Calvin’s Institutes. It’s a long work and it isn’t easy reading. This was made especially difficult because I was using an especially cumbersome translation—that of Mr. Henry Beveridge.

I used that translation because it was the only one available in eBook format—until recently. I just discovered that Amazon has released Battles’ translation of the Institutes for Kindle. It’s a little on the pricey side, but quite worth it. It’s also quite a bit cheaper than a print copy.

One of the reasons it was taking me so long to get through the book was because of the rough, puritan-esque translation style of my old copy. It was a little like drinking cough syrup. This edition, however, is buttery smooth and quite readable. I highly recommend it.

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.4

These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.4

There are at least two reasons why this hard truth is good news to us. The first is that it means that if we are in the number of the elect, we cannot be removed from them. The second is that, despite our pitiable efforts and failures in the field of evangelism, God will still save His elect. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.2

Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.2

A common explanation for God’s election of certain persons and not others is to say that God chose the elect based on foreseen faith. This position not only lacks biblical evidence, it also runs directly contrary to biblical teaching regarding God’s sovereignty and man’s depravity. • • • Read More • • •

Christmas Gifts as Types of Christ

In our pride, we humans have developed a grotesque aversion to gifts. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a gift is “a thing given willingly to someone without payment.” While we have a pretty decent concept of “a thing given willingly to someone” we’ve managed to entirely surrender the “without payment” bit.

When we receive gifts, we feel the bizarre compulsion to give something in return. If, for example, you had no plans of getting your cousin something for Christmas, but then he gets you something completely out of the blue, you feel the need to run out to Walmart and buy something that at least appears to be of similar value. “Oh, I have something for you! I just left it at home by accident.” • • • Read More • • •

Joy to the World and Christ’s First Advent

As a small child, I didn’t think very much about the lyrics to Joy to the World. It was just a song about how Jesus came to save us. When I was a little older, I was told by an adult that the song actually has no business being a Christmas song at all. “He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found”? Look at the news! This song is clearly about Christ’s second advent and the millennial kingdom—so I was informed. I readily agreed and began heartily mocking anyone who dared to even whistle that tune within a month of December the 25th.

But in order to see the Kingdom of God, you must become like a child. It turns out that a childlike interpretation of the song is the correct one and we would all do well to learn from them. Things become quite muddled when we bring out our eschatological charts and start watching FOX News. The people who told me that Joy to the World wasn’t a Christmas song had ignored the song’s authorial intent. The song was more intentionally written then most of our Hillsong tainted ears can easily grasp. • • • Read More • • •

Evangelical Scrooge

Fundamentalist Christianity was dead: to begin with. There can be no doubt. It was as dead as a door-nail. Its petrified, stone-cold corpse was buried long ago. No one bothered to mourn it because, quite frankly, neither it nor anyone else ever bothered to rejoice in its existence.

Now for those of you who may not know, “fundamentalist Christianity” or “fundamentalism” is a term used by Christian bloggers to speak of a sort of overly-serious, often self-righteous, and typically grumpy form of Christianity. There are a lot of other definitions out there and the word has morphed a lot over time, but that’s the one we’ll be using in this post. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.1

This week, we start into chapter three of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is about God’s Eternal Decree:

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Westminster Confession of Faith: 3.1

This is an excellent expression of the Biblical doctrine of sovereignty. I’ve written a good bit about this doctrine elsewhere, but I think it would be helpful to say a few additional things. • • • Read More • • •

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