Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Books on Definite Atonement

As a follow up to last Sunday's sermon, here are some good resources on the doctrine of definite atonement, or, as Lee Gatiss calls it, the doctrine of "personal intentional effective atonement."

If you are new to the subject, a good place to start might be R. C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross. Dr. Sproul provides an accessible overview of what Christ accomplished on the cross, and he also deals with the issue of definite atonement. If you want to go a bit more in depth you can read John Murray's standard, Redemption Accomplished and Applied.

Zeroing in on books that deal specifically with issue of the extent of the atonement, you should not avoid the weighty tome by John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. On the other hand, I do not recommend that you start with this book unless you are used to seventeenth century theological writing.

Instead, I recommend that you pick up a copy of Lee Gatiss' For Us and For Our Salvation. It is brief (134 pp), clear, learned, and charitable.It is a great place to start.

But my favorite book on definite atonement is now From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, edited by David and Jonathan Gibson. It is a first-rate piece of work. It is clear and comprehensive. It made me rejoice anew in the power and glory of the cross.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Whole World

Yes, we really do mean to say that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and we mean to say it loudly and clearly because the Bible says that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). But if we reject universalism, and even hypothetical universalism, then how does that work?

Join us this Lord's Day to open your hearts to the awesome power and scope of Jesus Christ's work on the cross.

Songs
Crown Him with Many Crowns (52)
Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed? (141)
Arise, My Soul, Arise (174)
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (137)

Scripture Reading
Old Testament: Numbers 22:1-21; Psalm 91
New Testament: John 7:1-24

Sermon
Propitiation for the Sins of the Whole World (Part 2) - 1 John 2:2

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Children and Our Music

Over at Religious Affections Ministries website, Scott Aniol continues to publish brief articles explaining "A Conservative Christian Declaration." I have contributed some thoughts on Article 14: On Our Children, which you can read here.

And while you are over there, you really should check out Harold Best vs. Ken Myers on Musical Meaning. Myers has been a voice of sanity in this area for some time, and I hope he gets a wide hearing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Tale of Human Nature

A few weeks ago I read Walter A. McDougall's Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877. It's a book full of jocular pugnacity. McDougall enjoys skewering American pretense, but he does so as a man who believes that "the United States (so far) is the greatest success story in history" (xii). He sees American history as "chock-full of cruelty and love, hypocrisy and faith, cowardice and courage, plus no small measure of tongue-in-cheek humor. American history is a tale of human nature set free." Thus he concludes, "So how you, the reader, respond to this book will depend in good part on how you yourself (all pretense aside!) regard human nature."

I commend this book to you. It will inject life into that delightful and dreadful task of coming to know ourselves. In particular, I appreciated McDougall's insights into America's civil religion, for American civil religion has long been a major force subtly competing with Christianity.

You can watch an introduction to this book here on C-Span. McDougall gives some comments on civil religion around the 45 minute mark.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tenebrae Service

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. is our Tenebrae Service to commemorate our Lord’s death in our place on the cross. This service is unique in that we focus wholly on the stark, dark reality of the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sin. Even though our lives in Christ are characterized by joy, that joy came at great cost, and if we are not to treat that joy frivolously, then we must have a place for sobriety and even mourning. This service is our opportunity to do this together as a congregation. The Tenebrae Service is not a time for fellowship, and so we ask you to leave quietly at the conclusion of the service, pondering the weight of your own sins that Jesus took in your place. Pray for the Lord to touch your heart with the glorious gravity of the cross.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Propitiation for the Whole World

The Bible was not written to be a brickbat. Sadly, 1 John 2:2 has sometimes been used in that way, heaved out of context and hurled at theological opponents' heads as if it would settle the debate, in particular, the debate over the question, "For whom did Christ die?"

We are not out to bash heads this Lord's Day. We are out to win hearts with what the Scripture actually says. We have considered (to some degree) the context of 1 John 2:2 in order to clearly place before our eyes God's purpose in giving us this text. Now we want to gain the confidence and joy that comes from knowing that we have the true God and eternal life by laying hold of the strong truth that "he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world."

Songs
Chosen of God (290)
Salvation! O My Soul, Rejoice! (291)
The Church's One Foundation (221)
A Debtor to Mercy Alone (614)

Scripture Reading
Old Testament: Numbers 21:21-35; Psalm 98
New Testament: John 6:60-71

Sermon
Propitiation for the Sins of the Whole World - 1 John 2:2

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Knowing that You Know Jesus

The older we get in this life, the more we realize that true friendships are a cherished treasure. They are a place our hearts can rest. They are a source of never-failing joy.

This is but a human analogy of the ultimate home for our hearts, our relationship with God. Throughout our earthly pilgrimage, there is nothing like knowing that we have come to know him.

This Lord's Day we will begin to tap into that rest and joy. Join us!

Songs
Come, We That Love the Lord (223)
Trust and Obey (525)
Psalm 84
May the Mind of Christ My Savior (476)

Scripture Reading
Old Testament: Numbers 21:1-20; Psalm 97
New Testament: John 6:22-59

Sermon
Knowing that You Know Jesus - 1 John 2:3-6