March 2008


Professor R Scott Clark has written an article on how to evaluate which denomination to serve in. Since I have friends who are planning on serving in numerous denominations, I think that honest discussion like Prof. Clark is exhibiting, is quite helpful for building up of the greater church. I have not digested all of what he is saying, and of course, there are areas in which I disagree with him, but overall, it is quite helpful for those who want to enter seminary but are not sure where the Lord is calling him. Read it here.

Jesus told his disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The disciples cried out, “who then can be saved?” The response is no one! No man can work to earn his salvation. But the sweet blood of Jesus Christ is more efficacious than all the work that a man can do. Thomas Watson, in his Treatise on the Holy Eucharist, comments:

If we had offered up millions of holocausts and sacrifices, if we had wept rivers of tears, this could never have appeased an angry Deity. Only Christ’s blood ingratiates us into God’s favor and makes Him look upon us with a smiling aspect. When Christ died, the veil of the temple was rent. This was not without a mystery, to show that through Christ’s blood the veil of our sins is rent which interposed between God and us.

Acts 17:5-7 But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

The book of Acts deals with the work of the early church in spreading the Gospel from Jerusalem to ‘all the ends of the world’. It is amazing that God chose these men, who in the Gospels, were so foolish and narrow-visioned at times. God used men who were prideful, self-centered, unfaithful (at times), and bigoted to ‘turn the world upside down’!

This should give aspiring Gospel preachers hope. The Gospels’ description of the disciples should be a mirror into our own lack of personal ability (but with Him, all things are possible). We also need to remember that the disciples became the Apostles. The old cliche is that God equips the called, not calls the equipped. He will prepare and secure the needed gifts and abilities. The world still has plenty of places that need to be ‘turned upside down’ for the sake of Christ and his Gospel. Proclaim to the world that there is another king- Jesus Christ! This is our calling.

And what about you? Examine yourself. What will you answer upon the question, “Do you fear God?” Is your focus in your walk of life upon the Lord? Does reverence for His majesty arise within when you think about Him, speak of Him, or hear mention made of Him? Do you reverently bow before Him, and do you tremble if you are about to address Him in prayer? If a sinful thought or motion arises within you, does the fear of God motivate you to suppress it? Does the fear of God prevent you from all sinful association with men, fornication, unrighteousness, lies, backbiting, cursing, wrath, and other sins? Does reverence for God motivate and urge you to the practice of religion and to do whatever the Lord has enjoined you to do as being pleasing unto Him? Or do you love the things of this world? Are all your concerns related to the acquisition and preservation of these things? Do you look to people as if they were able to give or withhold them from you? Do you seek to please them even if it displeases God, and are they the measure of your fear? (III: 295-296).

Jonathan Edwards died of complications from a small pox vaccine. Edwards was a very godly Congregationalist minister that stood for the Reformed faith, for genuine revival through the Holy Spirit, opposition of the half-way covenant, and supported the humanities and the sciences. Edwards is, by far, the greatest American theologian… even though he considered himself an English subject, living in the ‘plantations abroad’.

Of course, all the glory goes to God for the work done through this great father, husband, missionary, pastor, evangelist, teacher, and spiritual mentor. Praise God for building up his church!

What was Edwards’ view of the Scriptures?
“Edwards’ reputation as an avid student of the Bible began during his lifetime; he himself had a hand in spreading word of it. In 1757 Edwards sketched for the Trustees of the College of New Jersey several projects he hoped to publish in the future, including a ‘History of the Work of Redemption’ and a ‘Harmony of the old and new Testament.’ The former was to present a Christian theology as history in which all events in time would be considered ‘so far as the scriptures give any light.’ The latter was to deal successively with the prophecies of the Messiah, Old Testament types, and ‘the harmony of the old and new Testament.’ Of this second project, the ‘Harmony,’ Edwards wrote: ‘In the course of this work, I find there will be occasion for an explanation of a very great part of the holy scripture; which may, in such a view be explained in a method, which to me seems the most entertaining and profitable, best tending to lead the mind to a view of the true spirit, design, life, and soul of the scriptures, as well as to their proper use and improvement.’ Edwards’ untimely death a year later kept him from fulfilling these plans.” -The J.E. Center, Yale University.

This has really been ministering to me lately. I love hearing the Psalms sung- God has wrapped all of the Christian experience up into 150 perfect songs. We should thank him for that!

Today in my class on the Historical Books we were discussing the incident where Saul’s advisors have him get David to soothe soul. We called this a ‘worldly solution’ because what Saul needed to do was to repent and to seek the Lord. Instead Saul drowned out his pain with the lovely melody of a harp.

This great quote by John Calvin was shared which shows the absolute power of music. Music has the ability to be profitable to our lives and it also has the ability to keep us from doing that which needs to be done. He calls it a funnel to the heart- for good or for ill.

Although music serves our enjoyment rather than our need, it ought not on that account to be judged of no value; still less should it be condemned… music can be made profitable to men if only it be free from that foolish delight by which it seduces men from better employments and occupies them in vanity… There is scarcely anything in this world which can more turn or bend hither and thither the ways of men…and in fact we know by experience that music has a secret and almost incredible power to move hearts…When melody goes with it, every bad word penetrates more deeply into the heart…Just as a funnel conveys the wine into the depths of the decanter, so venom and corruption are distilled into the very bottom of the heart by melody. -John Calvin

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