Monday, 29 February 2016

3 years of unabashedly uneven blogging...

It was roughly 3 years ago I decided to start a blog (Feb. 16, 2013), and I've blogged unevenly ever since.  Some posts are about current issues facing the church today, some about things I'm reading, some about things I've preached or studied, some just pointing to other people's thoughts that I appreciate.  I certainly don't (and can't) keep up with the pace of things worth blogging about.  Hopefully people have explored some of the more prolific bloggers in the links I've provided (not all of which I agree with, by the way - should go without saying but I just said it anyway). 

Some posts are longer and more reflective than others.  For me, this has been a function of the time it takes to blog thoughtfully and the amount of time I have to do it.  I am committed to not allow blogging to take time away from family, work or church commitments....and yes, that is why my blogging is often sporadic and uneven in quality of depth.  Oh well.  I've always had the itch to write and I really wanted a venue to practice the craft.  For those who've been reading, I really hope some of what you've read has been beneficial for you. 

I plan to post some of the many book reviews I've written over the years and that can currently be found on Goodreads or Amazon.  They are also uneven in length and depth but hopefully they will be helpful.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Seeing Christ in the Old Testament

An excerpt from Hans Boersma's essay in his book, Imagination & Interpretation:

Recapitulation is an interpretive method that takes its starting point in the climactic Christological or salvation historical events.  Irenaeus sees Christ as recapitulating all of human history...

This principle of recapitulation means that for Irenaeus the proper way to read the Old Testament is with the question in mind:  how does this passage speak about Christ?  Some Old Testament passages do this, of course, by means of prophetic messianic announcement, so that the reader can discern a prophecy-fulfillment schema.  But the Old Testament narratives generally do not have such a plainly intended future reference to Christ.  Irenaeus nonetheless insists that also such narratives have reference to Christ.  For instance, by means of the tenth plague, God "saved the children of Israel, showing forth in a mystery the Passion of Christ, by the immolation of a spotless lamb, and by its blood, given as a guarantee of immunity to be smeared on the houses of the Hebrews" (Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching).  Christ "was sold with Joseph, and He guided Abraham; was bound along with Isaac, and wandered with Jacob; with Moses He was a Leader, and, respecting the people, Legislator.  He preached in the prophets...." (Irenaeus, Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus).

When Irenaeus insists on Christ's presence in the Old Testament narratives, he does not mean that there is no difference between Old and New Testament.  Quite the contrary!....the salvific events of the new covenant are climactic in the absolute sense of the term.  Instead, what Irenaeus does by locating Christ in the Old Testament is to acknowledge the interpretive significance of Christ for the Old Testament.  With the coming of Christ, it is no longer possible to regard the historical events of the Old Testament as simply that.  The incarnation has embedded a deeper level of interpretation into the Old Testament narratives.  Christ has now become the only proper interpretive lens for reading the Old Testament.

                       - Hans Boersma, Imagination & Interpretation: Christian Perspectives, p. 22-23, emphasis mine

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Somethings I read...

     "The cross gives us a right view of ourselves.  The cross gives us a proper estimation of ourselves.  Our righteousness is unmerited.  Our status is unearned.  What we bring is our sin and shame.  What we receive is an inheritance of glory.  Everything we have and everything we are is the result of God's grace.  So the cross keeps us humble.
     "The cross gives us a right view of other people.  Grace is a great leveler.  If my righteousness is unmerited and my achievements are God's work in me, then I can't claim any superiority.  I can't look down on other people.  And so Paul says:  'Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God' (Romans 15:7)."
                                                                                        - Tim Chester, Ordinary Hero, p. 32

     "If we rightly direct our love, we must first turn our eyes not to man, the sight of whom would more often engender hate than love, but to God, who bids us extend to all men the love we bear to him, that this may be an unchanging principle:  whatever the character of the man, we must yet love him because we love God."
                                                                                         - John Calvin, Institutes, 2.8.55

Thursday, 4 February 2016

D.A. Carson on Assurance of Salvation

There is quite a large number of Bible commentators and theologians that I consult when preparing a sermon or a Bible study, or just pursuing some question in my personal studies.  However, the list is significantly shorter when it comes to people I always consult, whose commentaries I always purchase if they've written one on a book of the Bible I am studying, or if they've written a book on a particular topic that I am going to dig into.  One of those people is Don Carson. 

I have used his books in teaching through Philippians, in preaching through Matthew, and in studying various topics of theology and the Christian life.  Several years ago I attended a pastor's conference where he was the key note speaker.  Let me just say that God used him to encourage me in ministry for the next couple of years.  The clip linked below will show you why - the man knows the gospel and lives in the Word.

Justin Taylor has posted a powerful illustration of the ground of the believer's assurance of salvation.  This illustration came during one of Carson's talks at a recent Bethlehem College & Seminary Pastor's Conference.  Take the time to watch it here.  Regarding assurance of salvation, may this encourage you to look not to the amount of your faith but to the object of your faith - Jesus Christ crucified and risen.