Thursday, January 31, 2008
THE SPECIAL DUTIES OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH TOWARDS GOD
THOUGH I put your duty to your parents first, because it is first learned, yet your duty to God immediately is your greatest and most necessary duty. Learn these following precepts well.
Direct. I. Learn to understand the covenant and vow which in your baptism you made with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, your Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator: and when you well understand it, renew that covenant with God in your own persons, and absolutely deliver up yourselves to God, as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, your Owner, your Ruler, and your Father and felicity. Baptism is not an idle ceremony, but the solemn entering into covenant with God, in which you receive the greatest mercies, and bind yourselves to the greatest duties. It is but the entering into that way which you must walk in all your lives, and avowing that to God which you must be still performing And though your parents had authority to promise for you, it is you that must perform it; for it was you that they obliged. If you ask by what authority they obliged you in covenant to God, I answer, by the authority which God hath given them in nature, and in Scripture; as they oblige you to be subjects of the king, or as they enter your names into any covenant, by lease or other contract, which is for your benefit; and they do it for good, that you may have part in the blessings of the covenant; and if you grudge at it, and refuse your own consent when you come to age, you lose the benefits. If you think they did you wrong, you may be out of covenant when you will, if you will renounce the kingdom of heaven. But it is much wiser to be thankful to God, that your parents were the means of so great a blessing to you, and to do that again more expressly by yourselves which they did for you; and openly with thankfulness to own the covenant in which you are engaged, and live in the performance and in the comforts of it all your days.
Direct. II. Remember that you are entering into the way, to everlasting life, and not into a place of happiness or continuance. Presently therefore set your hearts on heaven, and make it the design of all your lives, to live in heaven with Christ forever. O happy you, if God betimes will thoroughly teach you to know what it is that must make you happy; and if at your first setting out, your end be right, and your faces be heavenward! Remember that as soon as you begin to live, you are hasting towards the end of your lives: even as a candle as soon as it beginneth to burn, and the hour-glass as soon as it is turned, is wasting, and hasting to its end; so as soon as you begin to live, your lives are in a consumption, and posting towards your final hour. As a runner, as soon as he beginneth his race, is hasting to the end of it; so are your lives, even in your youngest time. It is another kind of life that you must live for ever, than this trifling, pitiful, fleshly life. Prepare therefore speedily for that which God sent you hither to prepare for. 0 happy you, if you begin betimes, and go on with cheerful resolution to the end! It is blessed wisdom to be wise betimes, and to know the worth of time in childhood, before any of it be wasted and lost upon the fooleries of the world. Then you may grow wise indeed, and be treasuring up understanding, and growing up in sweet acquaintance with the Lord, when others are going backwards, and daily making work for sad repentance or final desperation. Eccl. 12:1, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, (of all things here below,) I have no pleasure in them."
Direct. III. Remember that you have corrupted natures to be cured, and that Christ is the Physician that must cure them; and the Spirit of Christ must dwell within you, and make you holy, and give you a new heart and nature, which shall love God and heaven above all the honour and pleasures of the world: rest not therefore till you find that you are born anew, and that the Holy Ghost hath made you holy, and quickened your hearts with the love of God, and of your dear Redeemer.  The old nature loveth the things of this world, and the pleasures of this flesh; but the new nature loveth the Lord that made you, and redeemed and renewed you, and the endless joys of the world to come, and that holy life which is the way thereto.
Direct. IV. Take heed of loving the pleasures of the flesh, in over-much eating, or drinking, or play. Set not your hearts upon your belly or your sport; let your meat, and sleep, and play be moderate. Meddle not with cards or dice, or any bewitching or riotous sports: play not for money, lest it stir up covetous desires, and tempt you to be over-eager in it, and to lie, and wrangle, and fall out with others. Use neither food or sports which are not for your health; a greedy appetite enticeth children to devour raw fruits, and to rob their neighbours' orchards, and at once to undo both soul and body. And an excessive love of play doth cause them to run among bad companions, and lose their time, and destroy the love of their books, and their duty, and their parents themselves, and all that is good. You must eat, and sleep, and play for health, and not for useless, hurtful pleasure. 
Direct. V. Subdue your own wills and desires to the will of God and your superiors, and be not eagerly set upon any thing which God or your parents do deny you. Be not like those self-willed, fleshly children, that are importunate for anything which their fancy or appetite would have, and cry or are discontent if they have it not. Say not that I must have this or that, but be contented with any thing which is the will of God and your superiors. It is the greatest misery and danger in the world, to have all your own wills, and to be given up to your hearts' desire. 
Direct. VI. Take heed of a custom of foolish, filthy railing, lying, or any other sinful words. You think it is a small matter, but God thinketh not so; it is not a jesting matter to sin against the God that made you: it is fools that make a sport with sin Prov. 14:9; 10:23; 26:19. One lie, one curse, one oath, one ribald, or railing, or deriding word, is worse than all the pain that ever your flesh endured.
Direct. VII. Take heed of such company and playfellows, as would entice and tempt you to any of these sins, and choose such company as will help you in the fear of God. And if others mock at you, care no more for it, than for the shaking of a leaf, or the barking of a dog. Take heed of lewd and wicked company, as ever you care for the saying of your souls. If you hear them rail, or lie, or swear, or talk filthily, be not ashamed to tell them, that God forbiddeth you to keep company with such as they, Psal. 119:63; Prov. 13:20; 18:7; 1 Cor. 5:12; Eph. 5:11.
Direct. VIII. Take heed of pride and covetousness. Desire not to be fine, nor to get all to yourselves; but be humble, and meek, and love one another, and be as glad that others are pleased as yourselves.
Direct. IX. Love the word of God, and all good books which would make you wiser and better; and read not play-books, nor tale-books, nor love-books, nor any idle stories. When idle children are at play and fooleries, let it be your pleasure to read and learn the mysteries of your salvation.
Direct. X. Remember that you keep holy the Lord's day. Spend not any of it in play or idleness: reverence the ministers of Christ, and mark what they teach you, and remember it is a message from God about the saying of your souls. Ask your parents when you come home, to help your understandings and memories in any thing which you understood not or forgot. Love all the holy exercises of the Lord's day, and let them be pleasanter to you than your meat or play.
Direct. XI. Be as careful to practice all, as to hear and read it. Remember all is but to make you holy, to love God, and obey him: take heed of sinning against your knowledge, and against the warnings that are given you.
Direct. XII. When you grow up, by the direction of your parents choose such a trade or calling, as alloweth you the greatest helps for heaven, and hath the fewest hinderances, and in which you may be most serviceable to God before you die. If you will but practice these few directions, (which your own hearts must say have no harm in any of them,) what happy persons will you be forever!
 2 Cor. v. 17; Rom. 8:9, 13; John 3:3, 5, 6.
 1 Cor. 10:31.
 Psal. 81:10-12.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Calvinism
IMPORTANT DEBATE SCHEDULED!
Dr. James White will be debating Dr. Bart Ehrman. You can read about the debate at this link:
Why do I think this debate is important? Dr. Ehrman has written a number of books that attack the trustworthiness of the scriptures. These books are quoted by Muslims and Atheist when they attack Christianity. Since he is quoted by many who are against Christianity then it is important Christians are knowledgeable about who Dr. Ehrman is and with his writings. We also need to be equipped to answer his criticisms. Dr. White is a great debater and will provide Christians with a great resource once the debate DVD is available.
I would like to provide links to informatioan bout Dr. Ehrman:
Here are three links to the Issues ETC program in which they covered Dr. Ehrman's writings.
Here is a link to a NPR program about Ehrmans's writings:
This program is not from a christian point of view
Religion: Bart Ehrman's 'Misquoting Jesus'
Dec-14-2005, Fresh Air from WHYY
...and intention -- changed the Bible. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why is the result of years of reading the texts in their original languages. Ehrman...
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Search from the Book of the Lord
Several things are implied in Isaiah 34:16, "Search from the book of the Lord, and read:"
1. That man has lost his way, and needs direction to find it, Psalm 119:176, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant." Miserable man has blurred vision in a directionless world, which is a dark place, and has as much need of the scriptures to guide him, as one has of a light in darkness, 2 Pet. 1:19. What a miserable case is that part of the world in that lacks the Bible? They are vain in their imaginations, and grope in the dark, but cannot find the way of salvation. In no better case are those to whom it has not come in power.
2. That man is in danger of being led farther and farther wrong. This made the spouse say, "Tell me, O you whom I love, Where you feed your flock, Where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself By the flocks of your companions?" Song 1:7. There is a cunning devil, a wicked world, corrupt lusts within one's own breast, to lead him out of the right way, that we had need to let go of, and take this guide. There are many false lights in the world, which, if followed, will lead the traveller into a mire, and leave him there.
3. That men are slow of heart to understand the mind of God in his word. It will cost searching diligently before we can take it up, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me," John 5:39.
Our eyes are dim to the things of God, our understanding dull, and our judgment is weak. And therefore, because the iron is blunt, we must put too the more strength. We lost the sharpness of our sight in spiritual things in Adam; and our corrupt wills and carnal affections, that favour not the things of God, do blind our judgments even more: and therefore it is a labour to us to find out what is necessary for our salvation.
4. That the book of the Lord has its difficulties, which are not to be easily solved. Therefore the Psalmist prays, "Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law," Psalm 119:18.
Philip asked the eunuch, "Do you understand what you are reading?" and he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" There are depths there in which an elephant may swim, and will exercise the largest capabilities, with all the expertise they may be possessed of. God in his holy providence has so ordered it, to stain the pride of all glory; to make his word the more like himself, whom none can search out to perfection, and to sharpen the diligence of his people in their inquiries into it.
5. That yet we need highly to understand it, otherwise we would not be commanded to search into it. "Of the times and seasons," says the apostle, "you have no need that I write to you;" and therefore he wrote not of them. There is a treasure in this field; we are called to dig for it; for though it be hid, yet we must have it, or we will waste away in our spiritual poverty.
6. That we may gain from it by diligent inquiry. The holy humble heart will not be always sent empty away from these wells of salvation, when it undertakes itself to draw. There are shallow places in these waters of the sanctuary, where lambs may wade.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Praise for the Incarnation
Sweeter sounds than music knows
Charm me in Immanuel's name;
All her hopes my spirit owes
To his birth, and cross, and shame.
When he came, the angels sung,
"Glory be to God on high;
" Lord, unloose my stamm'ring tongue,
Who should louder sing than I?
Did the Lord a man become,
That he might the law fulfil,
Bleed and suffer in my room,
And canst thou, my tongue, be still?
No, I must my praises bring,
Though they worthless are and weak;
For should I refuse to sing,
Sure the very stones would speak.
O my Saviour, Shield, and Sun,
Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
Ev'ry precious name in one,
I will love thee without end.
The Ten Marks of a Flesh-Pleaser
The signs of a flesh-pleaser or sensualist are these:
1. When a man in his desire to please his appetite, does not do it with a view to a higher end, that is to say to the preparing himself for the service of God; but does it only for the delight itself. (Of course no one does every action conciously with a view to the service of God. Nevertheless, the general manner or habit of a life spent in the service of God is absent for the flesh-pleaser.)
2. When he looks more eagerly and industriously after the prosperity of his body than of his soul.
3. When he will not refrain from his pleasures, when God forbids them, or when they hurt his soul, or when the necessities of his soul call him away from them. But he must have his delight whatever it costs him, and is so set upon it, that he cannot deny it to himself.
4. When the pleasures of his flesh exceed his delights in God, and his holy word and ways, and the expectations of endless pleasure. And this not only in the passion, but in the estimation, choice, and action. When he had rather be at a play, or feast, or other entertainment, or getting good bargains or profits in the world, than to live in the life of faith and love, which would be a holy and heavenly way of living.
5. When men set their minds to scheme and study to make provision for the pleasures of the flesh; and this is first and sweetest in their thoughts.
6. When they had rather talk, or hear, or read of fleshly pleasures, than of spiritual and heavenly delights.
7. When they love the company of merry sensualists, better than the communion of saints, in which they may be exercised in the praises of their Maker.
8. When they consider that the best place to live and work is where they have the pleasure of the flesh. They would rather be where they have things easy, and lack nothing for the body, rather than where they have far better help and provision for the soul, though the flesh be pinched for it.
9. When he will be more eager to spend money to please his flesh than to please God.
10. When he will believe or like no doctrine but "easy-believism," and hate mortification as too strict "legalism." By these, and similar signs, sensuality may easily be known; indeed, by the main bent of the life.
Pastor Harold Chase who preached the series has graciously agreed to interact with our comments and questions about the series. I believe this will be beneficial to all the readers.
Jin Leavenworth who is one of the contriobutiors to the blog has been listening to the series and has written his first houghts. Here they are:
Wow! This is going to be the exact series that I've been needing. Ihave been truly looking for a good, studious work on the subject devoidof any preconceived notions, half truths, and especially venom and"striving."
Great discussion in the first lesson on the intro totextual criticism! Challenging to say the least. I can see a kindredjourney of spiritual growth that the Lord has me on and that you'vealready taken. I too am tired of "Fundamentalism's" attitude. Truthwith the wrong attitude is useless. I too still hold to the KJV andwould, at this point, label myself as "TR Only" and not KJV-only...thefirst lesson really sparked my interest and I'm looking forward to youshowing how you believe the KJV to NOT be solely based on the TR (forthe NT) as I've always been taught.
I think I'd also (on the side) like to see how you came to theconclusion that Baptists (or should I really say true NT churches) areprotestant and came through the dark ages from within the R. Catholicchurch. This isn't what I've always believed but I'm open to your inputon why you hold that position.
I know not all Anabaptists held to trueNT beliefs and that some were heretics...but wouldn't the churcheswithin the Catholic church also be held to the same criticism. Mybelief is that the Lord has always had a believing remnant of local NTchurches (with and w/o the name "Baptist") on them (Matt 28- Lo I amwith you always) and that they existed in hiding mainly through that dark period of the Dark Ages...there is truly not much history writtenon them, and much of what was written was predominately written by theopposition (R. Catholics).
It's hard to write on the run! Keep the faith, keep serving the Lord and thanks for the great series- Iam very much enjoying it, expecting to learn and I'm definitely willingto change and mature in my faith and service to our wonderful Lord. Allfor His glory!
Bro Jim Leavenworth
Victory Baptist Church
The Knowledge of God
The Knowledge of God And Of Ourselves Mutually Connected; Nature Of The Connection
1. The sum of true wisdom--viz. the knowledge of God and of ourselves. Effects of the latter.
2. Effects of the knowledge of God, in humbling our pride, unveiling our hypocrisy, demonstrating the absolute perfections of God, and our own utter helplessness.
3. Effects of the knowledge of God illustrated by the examples,
1. of holy patriarchs;
2. of holy angels;
3. of the sun and moon.
1. Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.
For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone.
In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distil to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility.
For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God.
Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us (see Calvin on John 4:10), that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves.
For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.
2. On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity.
Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also --He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white.
Nay, the bodily sense may furnish a still stronger illustration of the extent to which we are deluded in estimating the powers of the mind. If, at mid-day, we either look down to the ground, or on the surrounding objects which lie open to our view, we think ourselves endued with a very strong and piercing eyesight; but when we look up to the sun, and gaze at it unveiled, the sight which did excellently well for the earth is instantly so dazzled and confounded by the refulgence, as to oblige us to confess that our acuteness in discerning terrestrial objects is mere dimness when applied to the sun.
Thus too, it happens in estimating our spiritual qualities. So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seem most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity.
3. Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God. When we see those who previously stood firm and secure so quaking with terror, that the fear of death takes hold of them, nay, they are, in a manner, swallowed up and annihilated, the inference to be drawn is that men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.
Frequent examples of this consternation occur both in the Book of Judges and the Prophetical Writings; so much so, that it was a common expression among the people of God, "We shall die, for we have seen the Lord." Hence the Book of Job, also, in humbling men under a conviction of their folly, feebleness, and pollution, always derives its chief argument from descriptions of the Divine wisdom, virtue, and purity. Nor without cause: for we see Abraham the readier to acknowledge himself but dust and ashes the nearer he approaches to behold the glory of the Lord, and Elijah unable to wait with unveiled face for His approach; so dreadful is the sight. And what can man do, man who is but rottenness and a worm, when even the Cherubim themselves must veil their faces in very terror? To this, undoubtedly, the Prophet Isaiah refers, when he says (Isaiah 24:23), "The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign;" i.e., when he shall exhibit his refulgence, and give a nearer view of it, the brightest objects will, in comparison, be covered with darkness.
But though the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves are bound together by a mutual tie, due arrangement requires that we treat of the former in the first place, and then descend to the latter.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
It is Saturday and I am spending the day preparing my sermons for tomorrow. As is my usual practice I check out sermonaudio to see what is going on. Today I found two things I think everyone should know about:
1. Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. They have created a sermonbaudio page! No sermons have been added as of yet but I would encourage everyone to keep checking their page until they add some sermons. Here is the link:
2. Something new for your I-Pod: I sent an e-mail the other day to sermonaudio and suggested they make it easier to subscribe to the sermons of entire denomination or group of churches. They listened and have made it so simple.
Here is the announcement they posted on the sermonaudio site:
New! Podcast By MINI or Denomination! You can now podcast sermons by entire MINI groups, church groups, or denominations. Simply select any MINI or denomination group and click on the orange podcast button!
For example: You want to hear all of the reformed baptist sermons each week. You simply go to the reformed baptist page at this link: Reformed
One you are there look for this:
You will then simply click it and you will see
Select Podcast Format Help
• XML Podcast Feed (RSS)
• Apple iPod+iTunes
• Microsoft Zune
If you are using an ipod simple choose the apple ipod+itunes option.
i-tunes will open and you will be subscribed. Every time a new sermon is posted by a reformed baptist church the sermon will automatically be available to you in your i-tunes library.
If anyone needs help doing this please let me know and I can help.
Have a great day and remember to ensure you spend some time preparing for the Lord's Day:
I always tell people to make sure you:
1. Have your clothes ready for tomorrow so you don't have to scramble around in the morning looking for a sock or a tie :)
2. Make sure you have bibles and any other thing you need to take to Church ready.
3. Get plenty of sleep. Going to church tired usually means you will not get much out of it.
4. Pray: Pray for your Pastor and all who will attend the service. Pray God will bless the preaching of his word.
5. Confess: Spend sometime before God confession any sin that could effect your time in church.
6. Be excited. We should always go to church with a joyful heart that we get the opportunity to attend the house of God and be with God's people.
Have a great day and a blessed Lord's Day
Friday, January 25, 2008
THE CHURCH OF YODA
The following is from NPR.
Daniel Jones noticed, as did many other people, that more than 390,000 people across England and Wales had claimed "Jedi" as their religion on the U.K.'s 2001 census. An Internet campaign may have driven up those numbers, but the results held a deeper meaning for Daniel and his brother Barney. That census report became their impetus to start the U.K. Church of the Jedi.
Daniel took on the name Master Morda Hehol and opened the main chapter in Anglesey, Wales, where he lives. Another is open in Surrey, England, and they've had calls from would-be Jedis in Washington and Colorado, people hoping to open chapters stateside. It's no joke to Daniel, who was atheist before adopting Jediism.
"We don't have a deity, we have the Force," says Daniel. "It's more like self-belief. If you believe in yourself, and you manipulate the Force, you can achieve great things."
Services have been held in his backyard garden, with plans to move to a building soon.
"The first part of the sermons we do 'Theory of the Force.'" The group then moves on to classes. "It may be lightsaber training, one month. The next month it may be technology and mind control."
Yes, that includes Jedi Mind Tricks.
You can listen to an audio report on this story at this link: Yoda
Thursday, January 24, 2008
THE ADVENTURES OF A BI-VOCATIONAL PASTOR
Being a pastor is a difficult job being a bi vocational pastor is an adventure! Well not really but being a bi vocational pastor is a very unique experience with many difficulties attached.
You have been to school you have planned and dreamed of the day you would be a pastor. The day finally arrives you are now a pastor however something else happens that you did not plan on, you still have to keep a full time job to support your family.
So now in reality you have 2 full time jobs. By day you are just another worker they may know you are a pastor but they think things like, if he was a good pastor he wouldn't be working here! They see your ministry as more of a hobby for you and not a real job. At church you are called pastor and they don't really think about the fact that you have another job.
They expect you to be prepared when you preach and to be there when they need you. In some ways the bi-vocational pastor finds themselves in a frustrating place. They see themselves as Pastor but they spend over 40 hours a week with people who don;t see them that way. They ask week after week, "hey, what are you doing this weekend?" You have told them a thousand times that you will be preparing for your sermons but they never seem to understand.
Many times they ask you what are you going to do when you leave this job and you will tell them again that you are a pastor and that is what you are going to be doing but they never seem to get it! Back at the church people seem to completely forget that you have spend 40 hours during the week doing your other job. You still have to prepare the sermons, Sunday school lessons etc.
Many forget that you have a family that you have to at least say hi to sometimes! I am writing all of this because of where I am right now. My other job has required of me this week to work from 4:00pm Thursday until 7:00am Friday. My job basically is to answer phones and ensure patients medical needs are properly addressed. I am by myself in a room with a phone, TV, security camera monitors.
I have brought with me a very large back of books, my I-Pod loaded with sermons and news programs and of course a lot of food! So for the next 15 hours I am going to share with the readers of the Preaching Today blog what happens through the night. Because I am a bi-vocational pastor I have some things I must do. Prepare for my sermon Sunday morning. I am preaching on 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. I also need to prepare for the Sunday School lesson. I am teaching through the Puritan Catechism and we are on the section dealing with the attributes of God. I also need to prepare for the Sunday night sermon. I will be preaching on Zechariah 13. So there is a upside for working this shift tonight, I have more time to study then I usually have.
The downside is trying to stay awake and then tomorrow trying to revert back to a day schedule so I can be ready to preach Sunday morning!
I have the weather channel on the T.V. keeping up with the winter storm that is moving into the area. They are expecting freezing rain overnight into the morning. If this happens I will be responsible for ensuring all the employees are called if the leadership decides to delay the report time tomorrow.
On my I-Pod I just listened to the latest news from Africa. It is a podcast by the BBC. I have always been interested in the country of Africa and this way I can hear the latest news everyday.
The key story that has been the focus of many programs the last few week is the crisis in Kenya. I have been posting information about the situation of the Worldview blog. You can read the article at this link: http://www.worldvieww.blogspot.com/
Next on my I-Pod I listened to world news from the BBC.
One major story was about the wall being built on the border between Mexico and the United States.
Another story that was featured was:
Social networking websites could be "romanticising" suicide, an MP claims after the deaths of seven young people from her area in the past year.
You can read the story at this link: Suicide
Going to take a break and eat.
I am back, it is 7:19pm I have a little over 11 hours to go!
Next up on my I-Pod is the White Horse Inn. The title of the program is, Christless Christianity!
Here is the description on the program:
Christless Christianity Countless sermons in churches across the country focus on moralistic concerns and personal transformation. But has Christ gotten lost in the shuffle? Have we inverted Paul's warnings by intentionally preaching ourselves, and not Christ crucified? On this edition of the White Horse Inn, the hosts introduce the new theme for 2008: Christless Christianity!
Here is a link to an article about the same subject: Christless
It is 7:54pm and the bad news is that I already feel tired! I did not sleep in today so it is going to be a long night. As I am listening to the White Horse Inn I am looking at the 1 Corinthians text for Sunday. The good news is that for the most part it is a simple text and I should not have much difficulty in getting it ready. The struggle is going to be tomorrow. When I get off work it will be 7:00am and I am going to feel like I am ready to die. If I go home and sleep to long then tomorrow night I will not want to sleep so then I will be messed up come Saturday!
The White Horse Inn program is over and everyone should take the time to listen.
Next up on my I-Pod is a chapel message from Baptist Bible College.
The text is John 9:4
The speaker states that the verse is about time management.
He has three points:
1. You have to accept your identity: We have to understand that we are the Lord's we are not our own. We have a calling on our life.
2. You must accept responsibility.
3. We have to seize opportunity.
Many stories in the sermon but one thing seriously missing! There is not real teaching about the text. For example:
What is the context?
How does verse 4 connect with the context?
Does the use of terms like, day and night have significance considering the context is Jesus healing a person who is born blind?
no answers were even hinted at for these kinds of questions.
Some of the points may have been good application for the text but the text was never truly taught or interpreted!
The sermon was all about us and Jesus in a sense was forgotten even though the verse was about Jesus!
It is now 8:40pm and I still have many hours to go!
As I sit here I am thinking about just how amazing I-Pods are. I can sit here all night and listen to sermons and programs from all over the world. Christians should use this technology for their own spiritual growth and churches should ensure people can obtain their sermons with an I-Pod.
I just went outside and wow, it is cold!
Still listening to the message from Baptist Bible College. It is just so sad that this is being preached at a Bible college and when this sermon is over I will have not really learned anything about the bible! In fact I will have learned very little about the text! Yes he makes some very good points but why can't pastors expound the Scriptures and then add points of application at the end?
We have the typical closing story at the end. It is a sad story about a gentleman who died on September 11, 2001. The man is Todd Beamer who was on flight 93.
Sermon over and I know no more about John 9 then I did before I listened to the sermon.
It is now 9:00pm I have 10 hours left!
Next up on my I-Pod is the, Orthodixe podcast. I have been saying for the past year that the Greek Orthodox church is growing and that most Christians have no idea what they believe or teach. So I have been listening to Orthodox podcast for 2 years to ensure I can offer and intelligent opinion and engage in a meaningful conversation about the subject.
Here is the link to the blog that is connected to the podcast:
The podcast was hilarious! You can listen to it yourself at this link:
Next up on my I-Pod more Eastern Orthodox podcasts: The Illumined Heart Podcast.
The subject is one that should keep me on the edge of my seat :)
St. John Chrysostom on Marriage and Monasticism.
You to can share in the excitement and listen to the program at this link:
I took a break from the podcast called Jim Leavenworth one of the contributors to this blog. I then ate a apple Cinnamon role! Lots of sugar and I drank a coke lots of caffeine, not very healthy but I feel more awake for now.
Back to the podcast. It is 10:34PM I am still listening to the Illumined Heart podcast. It is a very interesting conversation with a lot of information about church history.
It is 11:23pm the podcast has ended. Next up on my I-Pod more Greek Orthodox podcast. The Illumined Heart podcast on the subject of God: Essence and Energies.
The program is going to deal with Greek philosophy. The program brings to light the idea that in Christianity we believe that God is:
1. Transcendent: This means God is outside of his creation
2. Omnipresent. God is present everywhere at the same time.
These are both true yet seem to be in conflict.
We have a transcendent God who is yet present everywhere.
While listening I checked out Theopedia.com and did a search and found this:
Transcendence of God
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)
The transcendence of God is closely related to his sovereignty. It means that God is above, other than, and distinct from all he has made - he transcends it all. Paul says that there is "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:6). Scripture says elsewhere, "For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods (Psalms 97:9; cf. 108:5).
It is now 12:40am. I have taken some time to walk around and basically try to wake myself up.
It is now 1:10am I have turned on Redeemer Broadcasting, it is a Christian radio network committed to the historic Christian faith. We serve our listeners on both FM radio and internet streaming. Redeemer programming is heard on WFSO Olivebridge 88.3 FM, in areas west of Kingston, NY. The signal is further repeated via translators on 105.3 FM in Kingston, Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie, NY; and on 90.7 FM in Jefferson Heights and Catskill, NY. We offer fine sacred music, Christian teaching, sermons, news, helps for the family, home schooling helps, and engaging interviews.
Redeemer is committed to historical Biblical Christianity. We seek to be thoroughly Biblical, comprehensively catholic, and true to the Reformation faith. We affirm the historic faith as presented in the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, and in the great statements of the Reformation such as the Canons of Dordt, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Belgic and Westminster Confession and Catechism.
You can listen to them via the Internet at this link: http://www.redeemerbroadcasting.org/
It is 5:40am. The last couple of hours has been rough. I stopped listening to anything and walked around. When I get home I am going to be so tired. I did not get to study as much I hoped. I have a lot to do before Sunday
Tonight I have to work from 4:00pm until 7:am! To get ready for this pleasant experience, I stayed up most of the night so I could sleep some today. During the night, I was listening to sermons on my Ipod when I came across a sermon dealing with the KJV and the NKJV.
Most of my formal training for ministry has occurred at KJV only schools. I have attended KJV only churches in the past as well.
Over time I have moved away from such a strong KJV only position. So the sermon last night was very interesting, since it became apparent that the church and the pastor at one time were KJV only supporters but over time have changed their position.
The sermon was part of a very large series. What I want to do today is to point everyone to some of the specific sermons in the series and then provide a link to the entire series.
The sermon series is from Minnesota Valley Baptist Church. Here is a description of the church:
MVBC is a Baptist church preaching the sovereign grace of God in salvation, holding firmly to the doctrines of grace commonly known as Calvinism. The Lord has been very gracious to MVBC, having formerly embraced Arminianism, quick prayerism, antinomianism, and a gospel of lasciviousness that rejects the necessity of the Lordship of Christ in salvation. The Lord brought MVBC to understand the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, the total depravity and inability of man, being dead in trespasses and sins, and the necessity of regeneration to see or enter the kingdom of God, understanding that regeneration must precede repentance and faith. God in His grace caused MVBC to see the unity of the work of the Godhead in His unconditional election before the foundation of the world, the irresistible grace and effectual call of the Godhead, and the limited atonement and particular redemption of God’s elect which actually accomplished the redemption of His people.
Here is a link to the churches web-site: MVBC
Here are some of the sermons in the series:
I would challenge everyone at Victory Baptist Church to take the time to listen carefully and take notes. Most of the men who are contributers to the Preaching Today blog also came from KJV only backgrounds. I would challenge them to listen as well and post comments and thoughts about the sermon series. I am going to contact the pastor who preached the sermon and let him know about the article. I hope he will be willing to interact with any questions anyone may have.
Here is the link to the entire series:
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Joel Osteen: A Case Study in American Religion
Joel Osteen: A Case Study in American ReligionWhy is Joel Osteen so popular? Is he a faithful representative of the Christian Faith, or is his message more about self-help and personal motivation? On this edition of the White Horse Inn, the hosts will examine the theology of this bestselling author as they continue their series "Christless Christianity."
To listen follow this link: Osteen
Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
I found the following news story about the book. Please read the story carefully and think about how the message of this book may impact the church:
Here is the link:
Unknown Christian author’s book skyrockets to best-seller list
Monday, January 21, 2008
THE LION IN WINTER
Blog of the Day Award
Here is the link: Award
Blog of the Day Awards offers the best selection of weblogs and famous blogs on a variety of topics. Selection of Best Blogs of the Day is usually done a few days ahead of time based on nominations up to that point. Criteria include content, quality, creativity, and the personal opinion of the judges. Judges grant up to four awards each day in recognition of outstanding nominees who are recommended by visitors to the site and by a panel of judges who bestow the honor of a Daily Blog Award upon the recipients. Being named a Blog of the Day Awards Winner can be the crowning achievement of a lifetime of work or it can be the beginning of a new chapter in the life of a blogger. Presentation of these awards can bring acclaim and notoriety beyond their wildest imaginings. The accolades and praise heaped upon winners of these prestigious awards can be best described as fabulous and the stuff of legends. We don't care what blog hosting platform your weblog is hosted on. We want the best blogspot blogs, the best wordpress blogs, the best typepad blogs and so forth. If you know a weblog that should be nominated for these Daily Weblog Awards or if your own blog seems to be a likely candidate for the prize, nominate it by submitting a comment to the most recent award post.
The Lost Archive
The Lost Archive
Missing for a half century, a cache of photosspurs sensitive research on Islam's holy text
By ANDREW HIGGINS
January 12, 2008; Page A1
Koran under critical scrutiny
Koran under critical scrutiny
Textual criticism — the discipline of scouring ancient manuscripts for error — may be coming to the Koran, thanks to the discovery of some 450 rolls of film in Germany that capture the evolution of Islam’s ancient holy book over time. (The scholar in charge of them, now dead, apparently lied and said they were destroyed during a bombing raid in World War II.) The Wall Street Journal reports here that the discovery team’s research director says it could lead to the first “critical edition” of the Koran, putting it under harsh lights long reserved for the Bible.
To read the rest of the article follow this link: Koran
The Delusory Hope of Dying on Your Own Terms
by Kristina Robb Dover
I do not agree with everything in the article however I believe it will give everyone many things to think about and ponder. As always I welcome your comments.
Here is the link to the article: morphine
IS THIS TO EXTREME?
Negligent Attitudes Toward the Lord's Day
It was preached at First Baptist Church in Parker, TX
In the first 5 minutes of the sermon the pastor speaks about an issue that he feels is worthy of Church Discipline. My questions to everyone is simple, Do you agree with their position or do you think it is to extreme? Please post your comments.
Here is the link to the sermon:
Here are the links to the latest series:
Did Neanderthals and Modern Humans Share a Common Gene Pool? part 1
Did Neanderthals and Modern Humans Share a Common Gene Pool? part 2—
Did Neanderthals and Modern Humans Share a Common Gene Pool? part 3—
Need Something To Listen To?
In the New York area, only one radio show dares to address relevant topics important to Christians. Chris Arnzen's Iron Sharpens Iron is a live daily broadcast featuring a variety of topics, guests and controversial issues.
For those you with basic questions about Calvinism, a recent show featured a Pastor's roundtable discussing the basics.
For those of you beyond the basics, Chris interviewed Dr. Joel Beeke on a program entitled, "Meet The Puritans."
For those of you worried about Armageddon in the Middle East, Chris interviewed Gary DeMar on the theme of his controversial book Last Days Madness.
For those of you though simply trying to live each day of your life to the glory of God, Chris presented a show entitled Christians in the workplace striking a balance.
I didn't believe it till I heard these interviews, but there are still followers of Sun Myung Moon (the "Moonies") around. Chris presented two shows discussing the recent activities of the Moonies. Of particular importance are their new methods of infiltrating evangelical Christianity virtually undetected. Part one had a few Moonies call in, Part two can be found here.
Remember Evangelicals and Catholics together? Hold on, now get set for Evangelicals and Muslims together! A document was recently created and signed by a number of Muslim clerics, scholars and intellectuals entitled "A Common Word Between Us And You." A subsequent document was created and signed by a number of noteworthy Evangelical Christians titled: "Loving God & Neighbor Together." Chris devoted two programs to address this "unity" between Muslims and Christians.
In the first program, Chris and Steve Camp discussed, ""Peace At Any Price: Ecumenism Gone Mad." In the second program, Chris interviewed David Wood (contributor to Answering Islam).
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Islam’s New Tactic
I received the following e-mail and I think it contains some very important information:
Richard Bennett is my friend, in agreement with the 1689 LBCF and a former
Roman Catholic priest. His materials are well-researched and reliable,
addressing important issues fearlessly and faithfully.
This latest is a shocking expose of "Christian leaders" compromising with Islam, and even
asking forgiveness of Allah (!), including Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and
many others. I encourage you to be aware of this widespread apostasy from
biblical Christianity in our day.
Yours in the gospel,
D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
THE LOST TOMB OF JESUS PART 2!
Friday, January 18, 2008
A Two-Fold Apologetic Procedure
Here is a section from my reading assignment
Taken from Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen
Chapter 14: A Two-Fold Apologetic Procedure
“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world?
Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
Paul could stake his apologetic for Christian faith on this set of rhetorical
questions (1 Cor. 1:20), knowing that the word of the cross destroys the world’s
wisdom and brings its discernment to nothing (v. 19). The unregenerate heart,
with its darkened mind, evaluates the gospel as weakness and folly (vv. 18, 23),
but in actual fact it expresses God’s saving power and true wisdom (vv. 18, 21,
What the world calls “foolish” is in reality wisdom. Conversely, what the world
deems “wise” is actually foolish. The unbeliever has his standards all turned
around, and thus he mocks the Christian faith or views it as intellectually
dishonorable. But Paul knew that God could unmask the arrogance of unbelief
and display its pitiable pretense of knowledge: “the foolishness of God is wiser
than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (v. 25). Although the
unbeliever sees the Christian faith as foolish and weak, that faith has the strength
and intellectual response to expose “worldly wisdom” for what it truly is: utter
foolishness. God has chosen the (so called) foolish things of the world in order
that He might put to shame those who boast of their (so called) wisdom (v. 27).
In the face of God’s revelation the unbeliever is “without an apologetic” (cf. Rom.
1:20, in the Greek). His intellectual position has no worthwhile credentials in the
long run. When he comes up against the intellectual challenge of the gospel as
Paul would present it, the unregenerate is left with no place to stand. The
outcome of the encounter is summarily expressed by Paul when he declares,
“Where is the wise? Where is the disputer of this world?” The fact is that God
makes foolish the wisdom of this world, and thus the genuinely wise unbeliever is
not to be found. The man who can adequately debate and defend the outlook of
this world (i.e., unbelief) has never lived. Rejection of the Christian faith cannot
be justified, and the intellectual position of the unbeliever cannot be genuinely
defended in the world of thought. The Spiritual weapons of the Christian
apologist are mighty before God unto the casting down of every high imagination
that is exalted against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:4–5). The unbeliever, as
we saw in the last study, is a fool in the scriptural perspective, and as such his
position amounts to a hatred of knowledge (Prov. 1:22, 29); his intellectual attack
on the gospel stems from “knowledge” which is falsely so called (1 Tim. 6:20).
The apologist should aim to put this pretense of knowledge (which is, at base, a
hatred of knowledge) to shame; he should manifest the foolishness of this world’s
“wisdom.” This calls for much more than a piecemeal attempt to adduce vague
probabilities of isolated evidences for the reasonableness of Christianity. It
requires, instead, the full scale demonstration of the unreasonableness of anti-
Christianity in contrast to the certainty of truth to be found in God’s word. Dr. Van
The struggle between Christian theism and its opponents covers the
whole field of knowledge… Christian theism’s fundamental contention is
just this, that nothing whatsoever can be known unless God can be and is
known… The important thing to note is the fundamental difference
between theism and antitheism on the question of epistemology. There is
not a spot in heaven or on earth about which there is no dispute between
the two opposing parties (A Survey of Christian Epistemology, den Dulk
Christian Foundation, 1969, p.116).
The method of reasoning by presupposition may be said to be indirect
rather than direct. The issue between believers and non-believers in
Christian theism cannot be settled by a direct appeal to “facts” or “laws”
whose nature and significance is already agreed upon by both parties to
the debate… The Christian apologist must place himself upon the position
of his opponent, assuming the correctness of his method merely for
argument’s sake, in order to show him that on such a position the “facts”
are not facts and the “laws” are not laws. He must also ask the non-
Christian to place himself upon the Christian position for argument’s sake
in order that he may be shown that only upon such a basis do “facts” and
“laws” appear intelligible…
Therefore the claim must be made that Christianity alone is reasonable for
men to hold. And it is utterly reasonable. It is wholly irrational to hold to
any other position than that of Christianity. Christianity alone does not
crucify reason itself… The best, the only, the absolutely certain proof of
the truth of Christianity is that unless its truth be presupposed there is no
proof of anything. Christianity is proved as being the very foundation of the
idea of proof itself. (The Defense of the Faith, Philadelphia: Presbyterian
and Reformed, 1995, pp.117–118, 396).
The fool must be answered by showing him his foolishness and the necessity of
Christianity as the precondition of intelligibility.
In Proverbs 26:4–5 we are instructed as to how we should answer the foolish
unbeliever—how we should demonstrate that God makes foolish the so called
“wisdom” of this world. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like
unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own conceit.”
The two-fold apologetic procedure mentioned by Van Til above is here described.
In the first place, the unbeliever should not be answered in terms of his own
misguided presuppositions; the apologist should defend his faith by working
within his own presuppositions. If he surrenders to the assumptions of the
unbeliever, the believer will never effectively set forth a reason for the hope that
is in him. He will have lost the battle from the outset, constantly being trapped
behind enemy lines. Hence Christianity’s intellectual strength and challenge will
not be set forth.
But in the second place the apologist should answer the fool according to his
self-proclaimed presuppositions (i.e., according to his folly). In so doing he aims
to show the unbeliever the outcome of those assumptions. Pursued to their
consistent end presuppositions of unbelief render man’s reasoning vacuous and
his experience unintelligible; in short, they lead to the destruction of knowledge,
the dead-end of epistemological futility, to utter foolishness. By placing himself on
the unbeliever’s position and pursing it to its foolish undermining of facts and
laws, the Christian apologist prevents the fool from being wise in his own conceit.
He can conclude, “Where then is the wise dispute of this world?!” There is none,
for as the history of humanistic philosophy so clearly illustrates, God has made
foolish the wisdom of the world. It is confounded y the “foolish” preaching of the
Always Ready, Covenant Media Foundation, 1996, pp. 59–62.
LifeWay Research: Unchurched Americans Turned Off by Church, Open to Christians
NASHVILLE—A majority of unchurched Americans are turned off by the institutional church and don’t have a biblical understanding about God and Jesus, yet they believe Jesus makes a positive difference in a person’s life and would enjoy an honest discussion with a friend about spiritual matters.
Those are just a few of the findings from a new study of unchurched Americans conducted by LifeWay Research in partnership with the North American Mission Board’s Center for Missional Research. LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources, and the North American Mission Board are both entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The results of the study, which polled 1,402 adults who had not attended a religious service at a church, synagogue or mosque in the previous six months, are available at LifeWayResearch.com.
The findings have important implications for Christian churches and individuals who want to effectively reach unchurched people with the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ, said LifeWay Research director Ed Stetzer.
"A full 72 percent of the people interviewed said they think the church ‘is full of hypocrites,’" Stetzer said. "At the same time, however, 71 percent of the respondents said they believe Jesus ‘makes a positive difference in a person’s life’ and 78 percent said they would ‘be willing to listen’ to someone who wanted to share what they believed about Christianity."
Here is the link to the entire article: Church
Here are links to more research. There is a lot to read and think about.
Church Dropout Study
Reasons 18 to 22 Year Olds Drop Out of Church
Results from a recent LifeWay Research study uncover reasons 70% of young adults stop attending church for at least a year between ages 18 to 22.
Parents, Churches Can Help Teens Stay in Church
Comparisons of teens who stay in church and those who drop out reveal several things that parents and churches can do to encourage more teens to stay in church.
Church Dropout Study Podcast Part 1
Church Dropout Study Podcast Part 2
Listen as Dr. Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, and Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, discuss the study results.
Church Dropouts How Many Leave Church and Why Powerpoint
Teen Influences on Church Dropouts Powerpoint
Church Dropouts Faces of Young Adults Ages 18_22 Powerpoint
Thursday, January 17, 2008
What is Free Will?
Watch R.C. Sproul teach on this subject:
What is Free Will?
First Temple seal found in Jerusalem
A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said Wednesday.
The 2,500-year-old black stone seal, which has the name "Temech" engraved on it, was found earlier this week amid stratified debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.
According to the Book of Nehemiah, the Temech family were servants of the First Temple and were sent into exile to Babylon following its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.
The family was among those who later returned to Jerusalem, the Bible recounts.
The seal, which was bought in Babylon and dates to 538-445 BCE, portrays a common and popular cultic scene, Mazar said.
The 2.1 x 1.8-cm. elliptical seal is engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense altar with their hands raised forward in a position of worship.
crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar.
Under this scene are three Hebrew letters spelling Temech, Mazar said.
The Bible refers to the Temech family: "These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city." [Nehemiah 7:6]... "The Nethinim [7:46]"... The children of Temech." [7:55].
The fact that this cultic scene relates to the Babylonian chief god seemed not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal, she added.
The seal of one of the members of the Temech family was discovered just dozens of meters away from the Opel area, where the servants of the Temple, or "Nethinim," lived in the time of Nehemiah, Mazar said.
"The seal of the Temech family gives us a direct connection between archeology and the biblical sources and serves as actual evidence of a family mentioned in the Bible," she said. "One cannot help being astonished by the credibility of the biblical source as seen by the archaeological find."
The find will be announced by Mazar at the 8th annual Herzliya Conference on Sunday.
The archeologist, who rose to international prominence for her recent excavation that may have uncovered King David's palace, most recently uncovered the remnants of a wall from Nehemiah.
The dig is being sponsored by the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute where Mazar serves as a senior fellow, and the City of David Foundation, which promotes Jewish settlement throughout east Jerusalem.
Here is a Picture of the seal:
Here is a link to the story: Seal
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
WHE WE USE THE CATECHISM
Many may ask why we use a catechism? To answer that question I am posting a section from the Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson. I believe he does a great job answering the question of the use of catechisms.
Body of Divinity
By Thomas Watson
1. A Preliminary Discourse on Catechizing
"If you continue in the faith grounded and settled." Col. 1:13.
Intending next Lord's day to enter upon the work of catechizing, it will not be amiss to give you a preliminary discourse, to show you how needful it is for Christians to be well instructed in the grounds of true religion. "If you continue in the faith grounded and settled."
I. It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith.
II. The best way for Christians to be settled is to be well grounded.
I. It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith. It is the apostle's prayer, "May the God of all grace establish, strengthen, settle you." That is, that they might not be meteors in the air—but fixed stars. The apostle Jude speaks of "wandering stars". They are called wandering stars, because, as Aristotle says, "They do leap up and down, and wander into several parts of the heaven; and being but dry exhalations, not made of that pure celestial matter as the fixed stars are, they often fall to the earth." Now, such as are not settled in true religion, will, at one time or other, prove wandering stars; they will lose their former steadfastness, and wander from one opinion to another. Such as are unsettled are of the tribe of Reuben, "unstable as water," like a ship without ballast, overturned with every wind of doctrine. Beza writes of one Belfectius, who his religion changed as often as the moon. The Arians had every year a new faith. These are not pillars in the temple of God—but reeds shaken every way. The apostle calls them "damnable heresies." A man may go to hell as well for heresy as adultery!
To be unsettled in true religion, argues lack of judgment. If their heads were not giddy, men would not reel so fast from one opinion to another.
To be unsettled in true religion, argues lightness. As feathers will be blown every way, so will feathery Christians. Therefore such are compared to infants. "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." Ephesians 4:14. Children are fickle sometimes of one mind sometimes of another, nothing pleases them long. Just so, unsettled Christians are childish; the truths they embrace at one time, they reject at another; sometimes they like the Protestant religion, and soon after they have a good mind to turn Papists.
 It is the great end of the word preached, to bring us to a settlement in true religion. "And he gave some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the edifying of the body of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children." The word is called "a hammer". Every blow of the hammer is to fasten the nails of the building; so the preacher's words are to fasten you the more to Christ; they weaken themselves to strengthen and settle you. This is the grand design of preaching, not only for the enlightening—but for the establishing of souls; not only to guide them in the right way—but to keep them in it. Now, if you be not settled, you do not answer God's end in giving you the ministry.
 To be settled in true religion is both a Christian's excellence and honor. It is his excellence. When the milk is settled it turns to cream; now he will be zealous for the truth, and walk in close communion with God. And his honor. "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness." It is one of the best sights to see an old disciple; to see silver hairs adorned with golden virtues.
 Such as are not settled in the faith can never suffer for it. Sceptics in religion hardly ever prove martyrs. Those who are not settled, hang in suspense; when they think of the joys of heaven they will espouse the gospel—but when they think of persecution, they desert it. Unsettled Christians do not consult what is best—but what is safest. "The apostate (says Tertullian) seems to put God and Satan in balance, and having weighed both their services, prefers the devil's service, and proclaims him to be the best master: and, in this sense, may be said to put Christ to open shame." He will never suffer for the truth—but be as a soldier that leaves his colors, and runs over to the enemy's side; he will fight on the devil's side for pay.
 Not to be settled in the faith is provoking to God. To espouse the truth, and then to fall away, brings an ill report upon the gospel, which will not go unpunished. "They turned back and were as faithless as their parents had been. They were as useless as a crooked bow. They made God angry by building altars to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols." Psalm 78:57-58. The apostate drops as a wind-fall into the devil's mouth!
 If you are not settled in true religion, you will never grow. We are commanded "to grow up into the head, even Christ." But if we are unsettled there is no growing: "the plant which is continually replanted, never thrives." He can no more grow in godliness, who is unsettled, than a bone which is out of joint can grow in a body.
 There is great need to be settled, because there are so many things to unsettle us. Seducers are abroad, whose work is to draw away people from the principles of true religion. "These things have I written unto you, concerning those who are trying seduce you." Seducers are the devil's agents. They are of all others, the greatest felons—who would rob you of the truth.
Seducers have silver tongues, which can pawn off bad wares; they have a sleight to deceive.
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Ephesians 4:14. The Greek word there is taken from those who can throw dice, and cast them for the best advantage. So seducers are impostors, they can throw a dice; they can so dissemble and sophisticate the truth, that they can deceive others. Seducers deceive by wisdom of words. "By good words and fair speeches they deceive the hearts of the simple." They have fine elegant phrases, flattering language, whereby they work on the weaker sort.
Another sleight is a pretense of extraordinary piety, so that people may admire them, and suck in their poisonous doctrine. They seem to be men of zeal and sanctity, and to be divinely inspired, and pretend to new revelations.
A third cheat of seducers is—laboring to vilify and nullify sound orthodox teachers. They would eclipse those who bring the truth, like black vapors which darken the light of heaven; they would defame others, that they themselves may be more admired. Thus the false teachers cried down Paul, that they might be received, Gal 4:17.
The fourth cheat of seducers is—to preach the doctrine of liberty; as though men are freed from the moral law, the rule as well as the curse, and Christ has done all for them, and they need to do nothing. Thus they make the doctrine of free grace a key to open the door to all license to sin.
Another means is—to unsettle Christians by persecution. 2 Tim 3:12. The gospel is a rose which cannot be plucked without prickles. The legacy Christ has bequeathed, is the CROSS. While there is a devil and a wicked man in the world, never expect a charter of exemption from trouble! How many fall away in an hour of persecution! "There appeared a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns; and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven." The red dragon, by his power and subtlety, drew away stars, or eminent professors, who seemed to shine as stars in the skies of the church.
To be unsettled in good, is the sin of the devils. They are called, "falling stars;" they were holy—but mutable. As the vessel is overturned with the sail, so their sails being swelled with pride, they were overturned. 1 Tim 3:3. By unsettledness, men imitate lapsed angels. The devil was the first apostate. The sons of Zion should be like mount Zion, which cannot be removed.
II. The second proposition is, that the way for Christians to be settled—is to be well grounded. "If you continue grounded and settled." The Greek word for grounded is a metaphor which alludes to a building that has the foundation well laid. So Christians should be grounded in the essential points of true religion, and have their foundation well laid.
Here let me speak to two things:
 That we should be grounded in the knowledge of fundamentals. The apostle speaks of "the first principles of the oracles of God." In all arts and sciences, logic, physics, mathematics, there are some rules and principles which must necessarily be known for the practice of those arts; so, in divinity, there must be the first principles laid down. The knowledge of the grounds and principles of true religion is exceedingly useful.
(1.) Else we cannot serve God aright. We can never worship God acceptably, unless we worship him regularly; and how can we do that, if we are ignorant of the rules and elements of true religion? We are to give God a "reasonable service." If we understand not the grounds of true religion, how can it be a reasonable service?
(2.) Knowledge of the grounds of true religion much enriches the mind. It is a lamp to our feet; it directs us in the whole course of Christianity, as the eye directs the body. Knowledge of fundamentals, is the golden key which opens the chief mysteries of true religion; it gives us a whole system and body of divinity, exactly drawn in all its lineaments and lively colors; it helps us to understand many of those difficult things which occur in the reading of the word; it helps to untie many Scripture knots.
(3.) It furnishes us with unshakable armor; and weapons to fight against the adversaries of the truth.
(4.) It is the holy seed of which grace is formed. It is the seed of faith. Psalm 9:10. It is the root of love. "Being rooted and grounded in love." The knowledge of the fundamental principles conduces to the making of a complete Christian.
 This grounding is the best way to being settled: "grounded and settled." A tree, that it may be well settled, must be well rooted; so, if you would be well settled in true religion, you must be rooted in its principles. We read in Plutarch of one who set up a dead man, and he would not stand. "Oh," said he, "there must be something within." So, that we may stand in shaking times, there must be a principle of knowledge within; first grounded, and then settled. That the ship may be kept from overturning, it must have its anchor fastened. Knowledge of principles is to the soul—as the anchor to the ship, which holds it steady in the midst of the rolling waves of error, or the violent winds of persecution. First grounded and then settled.
Use one: See the reason why so many people are unsettled, ready to embrace every novel opinion, and dress themselves in as many religions as fashions; it is because they are ungrounded. See how the apostle joins these two together, "unlearned and unstable." Such as are unlearned in the main points of divinity, are unstable. As the body cannot be strong which has the sinews shrunk; so neither can that Christian be strong in true religion, who lacks the grounds of knowledge, which are the sinews to strengthen and establish him.
Use two: See what great necessity there is of laying down the main grounds of true religion in a way of catechizing, that the weakest judgement may be instructed in the knowledge of the truth, and strengthened in the love of it. Catechizing is the best expedient for the grounding and settling of people. I fear one reason why there has been no more good done by preaching, has been because the chief heads and articles in true religion have not been explained in a catechetical way. Catechizing is laying the foundation. To preach and not to catechize, is to build without foundation. This way of catechizing is not novel, it is apostolic. The primitive church had their forms of catechism, as those phrases imply, a "form of sound doctrine," and "the first principles of the oracles of God." God has given great success to catechizing. By thus laying down the grounds of true religion catechistically, Christians have been clearly instructed and wondrously built up in the Christian faith.
It is my design, therefore (with the blessing of God); to begin this work of catechizing the next Sabbath day; and I intend every other Sabbath, in the afternoon, to make it my whole work to lay down the grounds and fundamentals of true religion in a catechetical way. If I am hindered in this work by men, or taken away by death, I hope God will raise up some other laborer in the vineyard among you, who may perfect the work which I am now beginning.