Sunday, July 20, 2014

For The Lord's Day

God Substituting Himself for Man
"The concept of substitution may be said to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone." ~  John Stott in The Cross of Christ

Sunday, July 13, 2014

For The Lord's Day

"When a person sees the excellence of the gospel, he senses the beauty and loveliness of the divine scheme of salvation. His mind is convinced that it is of God, and he believes it with all his heart...The light of the gospel is the glory of Christ, his holiness and beauty...Clearly, it is this divine light, shining into our hearts, that enables us to see the beauty of the gospel and have a saving belief in Christ. This supernatural light shows us the superlative beauty and loveliness of Jesus, and convinces us of his sufficiency as our Savior. Only such a glorious, majestic Savior can be our Mediator, standing between guilty, hell-deserving sinners such as ourselves, and an infinitely holy God. This supernatural light gives us a sense of Christ that convinces us in a way nothing else ever could."  – Jonathan Edwards in "True Grace Distinguished from the Experience of the Devils"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

For The Lord's Day

“Grace makes sense to us only in light of the sin to which it provides the remedy. Consequently, the more sensitive we are to sin, misery and danger, the more clearly we will grasp the wonder of God’s salvation. Grace is only ‘amazing’ when we see that it is ‘a wretch like me’ it saves. Only sinners seek Jesus as a Savior!” ~ Dr. Sinclair Ferguson in Puritans – Ministers of the World

Sunday, May 4, 2014

For the Lord's Day

“Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the Gospel or else it is the deadliest enemy of the Gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough; intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The Church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life." ~ J. Gresham Machen, founder of Westminster Seminary

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: Taking God at His Word - Kevin DeYoung

As Christians, we are supposed to be “people of the book.” In Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is knowable, necessary, and enough, and what it means for you and me Kevin DeYoung, in a fresh, clear and witty way presents the Doctrine of Scripture in way the average church goer can understand and appreciate. With a minimum of technical terms he defends the Bible’s sufficiency, clarity, authority and necessity in eight very readable chapters.
As a pastor, this is the sort of work I can easily give to church members and not worry that the material is too technical for them. And, it did my heart good to read this book and re-inforce my own thinking on the Scriptures.
Pastor DeYoung presented much of this material at the recently concluded Together for the Gospel gathering in Louisville.  You may listen to his audio presentation here:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Together for the Gospel

Since 2006 I have attended this biannual conference in Lousiville. This year's theme was the Unashamed of the Gospel. Here is the link to the conference:
Enjoy! I did.

Book Review

From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological and Pastoral Perspective
Reviewed by Thomas E. Troxell, Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA), Sun City West, AZ 85375
David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, editors
Crossway, 2013 $50.00
667 pages plus bibliography and three indicies.
ISBN: 978-1-4335-1276-6

This is a tome, in every sense of the word, but its size ought not to be a discouragement for pastors and serious readers of theology.  However, this work is probably not for every church library. The title is taken from Samuel Stone’s hymn The Church’s One Foundation, the last two lines of the first verse:

                From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
                With his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.

This book seeks to answer in a comprehensive way the question “For whom did Christ die?” from the Reformed/Calvinistic perspective. The work seeks to be a corrective for all the wrong ideas and attitudes the come from the “L” (limited atonement) in the acronym “TULIP.” As a Calvinist I would agree that “limited” conjures up ideas of a stingy God and that the term “definite atonement” is much more to the point. There are twenty-three essays by twenty-one authors representing a cross section of present-day Reformed scholarship.

The book seeks to deal with “four interrelated aspects of the doctrine: its controversies and nuances in church history, its presence or absence in the bible, its theological implications, and its pastoral consequences.” (p.37)

"The doctrine of definite atonement states that, in the death of Jesus Christ, the triune God intended to achieve the redemption of every person given to the Son by the Father in eternity past, and to apply the accomplishments of his sacrifice to each of them by the Spirit. The death of Christ was intended to win the salvation of god’s people alone." (p. 33)

This is a work to be savored, like a fine wine with all its complexities. I would say that J. Alec Motyer's chapter (10) "Stricken for the Transgression of My People: The Atoning Work of Isaiah's Suffering Servant" [Isaiah 52:13-53:12) is worth the price of the book. [This is particularly striking as I write this review during Lent in 2014.] The two final chapters by Pastor/Teachers Sinclair Ferguson and John Piper deal pastorally with the subject, something this pastor appreciates.

I believe this quotation from Editor David Gibson captures the aim of the book: “Definite atonement is beautiful because it tells the story of the Warrior-Son who comes to earth to slay his enemy and rescue his Father’s people. He is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep, a loving Bridegroom who gives himself for his bride, and a victorious King who lavishes the spoils of his conquest on the citizens of his realm.” (p. 17)

Should one need a more nuanced review I would send you to the reviews by Aaron Denlinger and Tom McCall at Reformation21:

I agree with Tom McCall when he states “both adherents to DA [definite atonement] and opponents of the doctrine stand to benefit from this book.” As a reformed pastor I found this work to be a great addition to my library. It is a thorough-going treatment of Definite Atonement not seen since the Puritan John Owen’s “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.”