Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The milkmaid and baker as God's "masks"

In a section on the cultural challenges to our understanding of the doctrine of providence in The Christian Faith, Michael Horton observes:

Luther spoke of the milkmaid and the baker as “masks” God hides behind in order to answer our prayer for daily sustenance. In every gift, God is ultimately the giver; yet tenderly he hides his blinding majesty and otherwise terrifying sovereignty behind the creaturely means that are familiar to us. However, those of us in technologically developed cultures rarely encounter the milkmaids and bakers whose goods we purchase at the supermarket…. Our piety—praying for our daily bread—often seems remote from our actual experience, at least in highly developed societies (p. 353).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Should Ivanhoe (or Owen) be abridged?

I heard a story on the radio this morning about how a Scottish academic named David Purdie is publishing an abridged version of Sir Walter Scott’s classic Ivanhoe (you can read a print version of the story here). Purdie, who is Chairman of the Walter Scott Society, spent the past 18 months cutting the original 179,000 words down to a mere 80,000. The story noted that he has faced backlash from some Scott purists who did not want to see the original text tampered with.

The story reminded me of a chapter I recently glanced through by Jim Renihan in Biblical Shepherding of God’s Sheep (Day One, 2010) in which he quotes an extended section from John Owen’s Exposition of Hebrews which he slightly edited. In the footnotes, Renihan writes: “It has been difficult to know how to present this material from Owen in a modern format. I considered trying to modernize the language, but after careful thought, this did not seem to be a good idea. In my own study, I am convinced that an author’s words are really the best in order to gain a sense of his expression. This may sometimes require a bit of work on the reader’s part” (p. 227). That last line seems a bit of an understatement when it comes to reading someone like Owen whose prose is notoriously dense and labyrinthine.

Though I have a great deal of sympathy for the purists in this discussion, I also know how I have been helped by the Banner modernization and abridgements by R. J. K. Law and Richard Rushing of some of John Owen's works. Owen is sometimes so complex in the original that it takes what is in effect a “translation” to make it comprehensible. Maybe the thing is that each format is appropriate for different tasks. If you want to read and study at an in-depth level you have to deal with the unabridged work. If you want to read at a quicker pace or you want a guide in getting to the meat of what the original author wrote, then the abridgement can be helpful. Reading it might even in the end take you back to the original.


Malcolm Watts on the effect of Reformed Worship

I’ve been reading Malcolm Watt’s What is a Reformed Church? (Reformation Heritage, 2011). Here’s an excerpt comparing the effect of Reformed worship compared to worship in broad evangelicalism:

In Reformed churches, the divine majesty is an article of faith, and it awakens godly fear in every aspect of public worship. There is orderliness in the services, and worshippers are aware that they are in the presence of Jehovah, the God of ineffable majesty. A biblical concept of God—what He is in Himself and what He is to His people—is fitted to inspire loftiest adoration and noblest praise. It certainly banishes light thoughts, flippant expressions, and worldly performances.

A very different atmosphere pervades the majority of modern churches. Even before the service begins, there is worldly and idle chatter. This breaks out again as soon as the service is over, effectively removing every good impression. Hearts do not appear to be devoted to the work of praise; there is careless inattentativeness to Scripture, and there is little intensity of devotion when it comes to prayer. Indeed, in not a few churches, music and group singing so dominates that the service becomes more like a concert. Tragically, there is the same ethos in some Reformed churches. Entering the building on a Sabbath day, one is confronted with styles and content of worship normally associated with modern, Arminian and charismatic churches. Reformed worship should be distinctive. We confess a sovereign God. Our veneration for Him should be demonstrated in the way we make our approach to Him. It should always be in a serious manner and with reverential fear (pp. 13-14).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Are there any Reformed Baptists in Lynchburg?

One of the things we have been prayerfully considering at CRBC is the possibility of establishing a Reformed Baptist preaching point in Lynchburg on Sunday evenings sometime in 2012.  We have had folk, from time to time, visit us from Lynchburg, and we do not know of any 1689 affirming churches there.  We have put a blog site Grace for Lynchburg and are looking to make contact with anyone who might be interested in starting a Sunday evening Bible Study meeting or worship service in the Lynchburg area.  If you are intested or want more info send us an email at info.crbc@gmail.com.  If you know of someone who might be interested, point them to our blog.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Vision (1/26/12): Small children at worship services--Why are they present?

Note: Pastor Steve Clevenger recently posted this article by retired RB Pastor Walter Chantry at his Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog. It is a timely article for any church, especially one which has families with young children, like ours. What can we learn from the ideas Chantry shares about how his church encouraged young children to participate in corporate worship? Here’s the beginning of the article:

There certainly is no Bible verse which tells us when children should begin attending worship services. The customary age at which parents begin to take their children into meetings varies from church to church. It may properly vary among members of the same church, though it tends to follow a pattern because of church decisions touching the nursery, etc. The practice of local churches in this matter comes under the statement made in our Confession of Faith: Chapter I, section 6, paragraph 2:

“We acknowledge that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God and government of churches, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed..”

In our church, parents usually begin to bring their children into our services at the age of two. Our nursery offers to keep children only under two years of age. That policy is not without reasons; though again, it must be emphasized that it is a matter of judgment on the basis of general prudence and general rules of God’s Word.

It is our judgment that children who are two-years-old are usually mature enough to understand when their parents tell them to be quiet and to sit reasonably still for one hour. Furthermore, by the time a child is two, his parents should have progressed far enough in their training of children to be able to enforce such basic orders, which their child can understand. Though teaching this behavior to children may not be easy, it is not unreasonable. It has been done by parents of children with many different character make-ups. Your child is not that unique!

We do wish to provide a nursery for parents when it is really necessary. But, the operation of a nursery takes a number of adults and young people out of our worship service. To extend the age of the children would demand that our women, who serve faithfully and cheerfully, would be absent from worship still more frequently. It is important for all Christians to benefit from the fellowship of the body of God’s people gathered for worship. We feel that regular attendance at worship is so important that we should not be urging others to be absent any more than is absolutely necessary. When it is not demanding too much of parents, thus reasonably to control their children, we do not feel that a nursery should be provided. Of course, exception should be made for all visitors who are not part of the congregation and used to our ways of doing things.

Furthermore, parents of young children are taking an important step by training their sons and daughters to be still and quiet. They are taking the steps necessary for a child to participate in the worship of God. Two and three year olds recognize some of the hymns they have heard in Sunday School and at home. They know a little about prayer. It is interesting to observe that when rare times of special solemnity come in worship, even the youngest children understand and sense something of the presence of God; for even they are unusually still and hushed. Admittedly, these times are few and the youngest children perceive little of the spoken word. Yet it is vital to forge the pattern of whole families coming before God regularly for worship. It is an important part of Christian family life, and it is important for young children to be part of the family.

Some parents seem to feel that when they have won the battles of stillness and silence, their task is done. So long as Junior doesn’t squirm too much or speak out, all is well. But it will not be long before the child can participate in some things. He is taught the doxology in two and three-year-old Sunday School. The pastor may read Scriptures not unfamiliar. He may mention Daniel, David, or Peter – favorite characters already to young hearts. Surely a four-year-old can be taught to pay some attention.

And fathers should be sensitive to how Bible truths of the worship service apply to their young children. The pastor cannot often bring the application down to pre-school children. But, a father can recall the points and apply them at home later….

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Translation Note: "fellowdisciples" in John 11:16

In some devotional reading the other day I was struck by the word “fellowdisciples” in the AV of John 11:16:

KJV: John 11:16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

This compound term only appears here in the KJV. It is the translation of the Greek tois symmathetais (dative masculine plural of symmathetes, which is a hapax in the NT taken from the common base word for “disciple,” mathetes). The NKJV simply adds a space and translates by “fellow disciples.” When I checked my facsimile of the original 1611 KJV it also includes the space and reads, “fellow disciples.” One wonders if the collapsed “fellowdisciples” came through a later printing error omitting the space or whether it was intentionally chosen by a later editor. However it entered, I like the compound “fellowdisciple” for its accurate representation of the unusual Greek word that appears here.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Textual Note: Matthew 5:44


When preaching last Sunday on Romans 12:14-21, I made comparison throughout to Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5—7). When it came to Romans 12:14 (“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”) I drew comparison to Matthew 5:44. The traditional text, however, is quite different from the modern critical text. A comparison of English translations makes clear the differences:

Translations based on traditional text (emphasis added to phrases omitted in modern text):

Geneva: Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies: bless them that curse you: do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which hurt you, and persecute you.

KJV: Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Translations based on modern critical text:

NIV (1984): Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

NASB: Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you


External Evidence:

A look at the critical apparati for Matthew 5:44 reveals some minor variations in the disputed phrases but, in general, the traditional text is supported by D, L, W, Theta, family 13, 33, and the Majority text tradition.

The modern critical text is, predictably, supported by Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.

Burgon, with typical bite, chides Wescott and Hort for the “deplorable error” of omitting these phrases: “You relied almost exclusively on those two false witnesses, of which you are so superstitiously fond, B and Aleph: regardless of the testimony of almost all the other copies besides:--of almost all the VERSIONS: --and of a host of primitive FATHERS" (Revision Revised, p. 410).  Among the fathers who support the traditional text he cites the following: Justin Martyr (140 AD); Theophilus Ant. (168 AD); Athenagoras (177 AD); Clemens Alexand. (192 AD); Origen (210 AD); Apostolic Constitution (3rd century AD); etc.

Internal Evidence:

One of the canons of modern text criticism is that the shorter reading is to be preferred to the longer reading. It is assumed that longer readings usually represent expansions and harmonization. In this case, it is assumed that the traditional text of Matthew 5:44 reflects a harmonization with Luke 6:27-28, where both the traditional and modern text agree. Compare:

KJV: Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

NIV: Luke 6:27 But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Metzger concludes, “Later witnesses enrich the text by incorporating clauses from the parallel account in Luke 6:27-28” (Textual Commentary, p. 14). He adds that if the traditional reading is original, its omission in early witnesses would be “entirely unaccountable.”

In answer, however, one might ask whether some pious scribes might have been offended by the non-retaliation ethic of Jesus in the traditional text of Matthew 5:44. A similar motivation might have led to the effort to remove John 7:53—8:11. It seems that the “harmonization theory” also assumes a situation where a scribe was intentionally making comparison with Luke 6:27-28 and intentionally tinkering with the text. Is this a plausible scenario? We might also ask about the early witnesses to the traditional text as cited by Burgon. Of course, my guess is that a modern text critic would dismiss these by arguing that the texts of the Fathers were also harmonized to reflect the traditional reading.


In the end, it is the same old story. Do you base your reading on the traditional text that came to be most widely accepted and copied or on the minority reading as reflected in the reading that was ultimately set aside and not copied? The traditional text was, of course, also adopted by the Reformers and became the basis for the Reformation era “vulgar” translations. This traditional reading brings into harmony the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:27-28 and is also reflected in the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 12:14 (demonstrating Paul’s familiarity with the earthly ministry and teaching of Jesus, another contested point in modern scholarship, true even if one only had Luke 6:27-28 to compare). Of course, modern critics see this kind of harmony as suspect. From a preacher’s perspective, however, it is most useful. Surprise: I prefer the traditional text.

God works in mysterious ways

After years of service in Africa, the missionary Robert Moffat returned to Scotland to recruit helpers. When he arrived at church one cold wintry night, he was dismayed that only a small group had come out to hear him. What bothered him even more was that the only people in attendance were ladies. Although he was grateful for their interest, he had hoped to challenge men. He had chosen as his text Proverbs 8:4, “Unto you, O men, I call.” In his discouragement, he almost failed to notice one small boy in the loft pumping the bellows of the organ. Moffat felt frustrated as he gave the message, for he realized that very few women could be expected to undergo the rigorous life in undeveloped jungles. But God works in mysterious ways. Although no one volunteered that evening, the young fellow assisting the organist was deeply moved by the challenge. As a result, he promised God he would follow in the footsteps of this pioneer missionary. And he remained true to his vow. When he grew up, he went and ministered to the unreached tribes of Africa. His name was David Livingstone!

As shared by John Thackway in The Bible League Quarterly, January-March, 2012, p. 167.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Tebow Law" in Virginia gaining ground?

The AP had an article yesterday reporting that with Republican control of the senate in the Virginia General Assembly that there will be another effort to pass a so-called "Tebow Law" in Virginia that would allow homeschoolers to participate in public school sports, as they do in 15 other states.  The VHSL is fighting tooth and nail against it.  Here's part of the article from the Virginia Pilot (note the debate in the comments; it was in today's print version of the Daily Progress):

For years, a bill that would open public school sports teams to home-schooled athletes living in their attendance districts has come before the General Assembly and just as often, it floundered, usually before the Senate Education and Health Committee.

But with the Senate under new conservative management with this month's disputed Republican takeover, three bills by Republican House members revive the issue. Sponsors call it the "Tebow Law," named for Tim Tebow, an evangelical former homeschooler who won a Heisman Trophy and led the Gators to a 2008 national title at the University of Florida, then quarterbacked the Denver Broncos into this season's NFL playoffs.

"These people pay taxes that support their public schools. You can't just shut them out from the facilities and activities they're paying for just like everybody else," said Del. Rob Bell, a 44-year-old Albemarle Republican who sponsors one of the bills and is burnishing his conservative credentials for a 2013 race for attorney general.

Florida is among at least 15 states across the country that put no restrictions on home-schooled students who want to play interscholastic sports at public schools in their communities, according a state-by-state summary from the Home School Legal Defense Association. At least 13 states allow home-schooled children conditional or partial opportunities for extracurricular involvement at public schools.


Watson on Providence

I continued the Spurgeon Baptist Catechism series Sunday afternoon with a message on What are God’s works of providence? I was helped by reading the section on this question from Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity (orig. 1692; Banner of Truth, reprint). Here are a few quotes from Watson on the doctrine of providence:

“God is not like an artificer that builds a house, and then leaves it, but like a pilot he steers the ship of the whole creation” (p. 120).

“God takes care of every saint in particular, as if he had none else to care for” (p. 120).

“God’s children sometimes scarce know how they are fed, except that providence feeds them” (p. 120).

“Providence reaches to the very hairs of our head. ‘The hairs of your head are all numbered.’ Matt x 30. Surely if providence reaches to our hairs, much more to our souls” (p. 121).

“Suppose you were in a smith’s shop, and should see several sorts of tools, some crooked, some bowed, others hooked, would you condemn all these things, because they look not handsome? The smith makes use of them all for doing his work.” He concludes, “Thus you see God’s providences are wise and regular, though to us they seem very strange and crooked” (p. 121).

“The falling of a tile upon one’s head, the breaking out of a fire, is casual [accidental] to us, but it is ordered by the providence of God…. Things which seem to fall out casual [by accident], and by chance, are the issues of God’s decrees, and the interpretation of his will” (p. 123).

“God’s providence is greatly to be observed, but we are not to make it the rule of our actions…. Providence is a Christian’s diary, but not his Bible” (p. 123).

“The providences of God are chequer-work, they are intermingled. In the life to come there shall be no more mixture; in hell there will be nothing but bitter and in heaven nothing but sweet; but in this life the providences of God are mixed, there is something of the sweet in them, and something of the bitter” (p. 124).

“If God’s providence should be withdrawn but for a while, creatures would be dissolved, and run into their first nothing” (p. 124).

“Our clothes would not warm us, our food would not nourish us, without the special providence of God” (p. 124).

“Does any affliction befall you? Remember God sees it is that which is fit for you, or it would not come. Your clothes cannot be so fit for you as your crosses” (p. 125).

“The church is the apple of God’s eye, and the eyelid of his providence daily covers and defends it” (p. 127).

“There is no providence but we shall see a wonder or mercy in it” (p. 127).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The gospel: sanctification or evangelization?

The other day I ran across D. H. Hart’s recent post If Wrapping Yourself in the U.S. Flag is in Bad Taste, What About Wrapping Yourself in the Gospel? It has a link to a review by Matthew Lee Anderson of Jared C. Wilson’s book Gospel Wakefulness (Crossway, 2011).

I have been struck for some time by the use of the word/concept “gospel” in New Calvinistic circles. The word “gospel” is prominent in the names of para-church ministries and conference (e. g., “Together for the Gospel” and “The Gospel Coalition”). A number of recent books that have come from New Calvinistic authors have made use of the word “gospel” in their titles and as their subjects. Language about the “gospel” tends to permeate New Calvinistic preaching and teaching, where phrases such as the following are frequently heard:

“We need to remind ourselves of the gospel every day.”

“We need to preach the gospel to ourselves.”

“We need to meditate on the gospel.”

The problem with this language is that it seems primarily to make the “gospel” a focus of personal contemplation and a means of spiritual growth for believers rather than the good news (euangelion) of God’s work in Christ that is to be preached to non-believers. The idea of Christians preaching the gospel to themselves has undertones of the “Sonship” theology. The normative use of the “gospel” in the Scriptures, however, relates to its proclamation to unbelievers. Typical would be Mark 13:10: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” Or, the Great Commission in Mark 16:15: “Go ye and preach the gospel to every creature.” In fact, a little concordance work will show that when the word “gospel” is mentioned in the Gospels and Acts it is almost always done in the context of evangelistic preaching (with “preach” or “preaching” from kerusso). When Paul says he is “separated unto the gospel” (Rom 1:1), he most certainly means that he has been called to an apostolic ministry of preaching the gospel (cf. Rom 15:20: “so have I strived to preach the gospel [euangelizomai], where Christ has not been named”). He can also refer to the gospel as the core content of the evangelistic message that he preaches to unbelievers (cf. 1 Cor 15:1). It is orthodox and not “another gospel” (Gal 1:6).

I once heard a “Sonship” influenced speaker claim Romans 1:15 as justification for the New Calvinistic way of speaking about the gospel. Indeed, Paul does say to the believers, “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Rom 1:15). See, the speaker said, Paul was preaching the gospel to those who were already Christians in Rome. He went on to stress all the ways a Christian might apply the “gospel” to his life. The dative pronoun humin (“to you”), however, more likely has the sense of “among you” or, even, “with you” in Romans 1:15, as Paul anticipated engaging with the Roman Christians in evangelistic preaching. In context, Paul makes clear in the very next verse the evangelistic focus of the gospel of which he is not ashamed, as it is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Rom 1:16).

Hart drew on the book review cited above to make the point that rallying around “the gospel” is pointless without also rallying around other defining doctrines. He’d rather be part of the “Presbyterian Coalition” than the “Gospel Coalition.” For me, the review of Gospel Wakefulness points more to confusion in New Calvinistic circles of the “gospel” with “sanctification” rather than “evangelization.”


Muller on Post-Reformation Reformed Views on the Text of Scripture

I recently started reading Richard A. Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2: Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology (Baker, 1993). Of special interest is chapter six “The Canon of Scripture and Its Integrity” (pp. 389-463). Muller stresses the difference between how the post-Reformation men approached the text of Scripture, emphasizing its providential preservation in the extant copies (apographa), in contrast with the modern Princetonian emphasis on the elusive inerrant original copies (autographa). This is the kind of book where I find I want to underline just about every sentence. Here, at least, is part of one outstanding paragraph:

By “original and authentic” text, the Protestant orthodox do not mean the autographa which no one can possess but the apographa in the original tongue which are the sources of all versions…. It is important to note that the Reformed orthodox insistence on the identification of the Hebrew and Greek texts as alone authentic does not demand direct reference to the autographa in those languages; the “original and authentic” text of Scripture means, beyond the autograph copies, the legitimate tradition of Hebrew and Greek apographa. The case for Scripture as an infallible rule of faith and practice and the separate arguments of a received text free from major (i.e., non-scribal) errors rests on an examination of the apographa and does not seek infinite regress of the lost autographa as a prop for textual infallibility (p. 433).


Friday, January 20, 2012

Owen contrasts the inspiration of the Bible with the Koran

In John Owen’s The Divine Original of the Scripture (Collected Works, Vol. 16), he draws a contrast between the innate authority of the Christian Scriptures in comparison to uninspired writings. Of these, Owen refers to the Koran in particular:

“…‘the Scriptures,’ have that glory of light and power accompanying them, as wholly distinguish them by infallible signs and evidences from all words and writings not divine; conveying their truth and power into the souls and consciences of men with an infallible certainty. On this account are they received as from God by all that receive them, who have any real, distinguishing foundation for their faith, which would not be—separated from these grounds—as effectual an expedient for the reception of the Koran” (p. 325).


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Vision (1/19/12): Be kindly affectioned

Note: The following is drawn from the sermon notes from last Sunday’s message on instructions for the loving life (Romans 12:9-13).

The first clause in Romans 12:10 reads: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.”

The first word in the Greek of v. 10 is philadelphia. So, literally, it would begin, “With respect to brotherly love (philadelphia) to one another (be) kindly affectioned.” The word for “kindly affectioned” in Greek is philostorgos. It is a special word that only appears here in the NT but in classical Greek it usually refers to the love and devotion that is expressed in a family. Agape means Christian love; philos means friendly love, eros means romantic love; and philostorgos means family love. So, Paul is saying, with regard to the relationships that you have with your fellow believers in the church, it should be like those you have with your family.

Let me ask you this. If you are a Christian man and you had an argument, even a significant one, with your wife, are you allowed just to dump her and move on to another wife? As a parent, if your child disappoints you, are you allowed just to dump him and pick up a new child? Children, if your parents frustrate you with all their rules (that they say are actually good for you even if you don’t always understand them) are you allowed to take them back to the parent store and get a refund or trade them in for new parents? Of course NOT! But how many people treat their relationship to their brethren within the church in this way?

Paul says, with respect to your relationship to your brethren within the local church, have a family-like love and devotion to them. The KJV rendering of “be kindly affectioned” does not mean “kind” in a sort of syrupy sweet way, but it is “kind” from the old root of “kin.” Be as devoted to your Christian brothers as you are to your “kind” or to your “kin-folk”!

May the Lord grant us a family love (philostorgos) within our fellowship at CRBC.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Text Note on Romans 12:11

In study for last week’s message on Romans 12:9-13, I ran across the textual variant in Romans 12:11 in the clause “serving the Lord [to kurio douleuontes].”

In a handful of manuscripts, the text reads “time” (kairos) rather than “Lord” (kurios). These include: the original hand of D, F, G, and the Latin (both Old Latin and Vulgate). If adopted, the reading would be “serving the time” rather than “serving the Lord.”

Both the traditional text and the modern critical text prefer “Lord” here and this is reflected in translations based on either of these. John Murray offers a footnote on the variant in his Romans commentary (vol. 2, p. 131, n. 20), concluding “we may not adopt kairo as the proper text.”

Of note is the fact that Calvin in his commentary gives credence to “time” and adopts it as the reading, noting, for as the course of our life is short, the opportunity of doing good soon passes away; it hence becomes us to show more alacrity in the performance of our duty.” He is, however, aware of the textual variant, adding, “But as kurio, the Lord, is read in many old copies, though it may seem at first sight foreign to this passage, I yet dare not wholly reject this reading.”

Matthew Poole comments first on the traditional reading, “serving the Lord,” but then adds this note: “Some copies read it, serving the times, in such sense as it does in Eph 5:16 and Col 4:5.”


I don’t think there is any question based on both external and internal evidence that “serving the Lord” is the preferred reading. The discussion in the Protestant exegetes, however, is interesting for the following reasons:

1. It shows that the old men were both interested in and aware of textual issues. This is a point often neglected by moderns who assume that they were ignorant of such issues.

2. It shows the high regard given to the Latin tradition even if it was not strongly supported by extant Greek manuscripts. Though they looked to the original language sources of Hebrew and Greek, there was also weight given to the Latin tradition. In the end, however, the best attested Greek reading here is the one that prevailed in the traditional received text.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CRBC hosts Dr. Andy McIntosh on Creation and Faith on February 11-12

Christ Reformed Baptist Church will be hosting Dr. Andy Mcintosh for two upcoming presentations on Creation and Faith:

Saturday, February 11th at 2:00 pm.  Topic:  "Design Intelligence and the Word of God."

Sunday, February 12th at 2:00 pm.  Topic:  "Creation, God's Timeline, and the Gospel."

Both sessions will be held at the Covenant Lower School, 1000 Birdwood Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

Here is Dr. McIntosh's bio:

Professor Andy McIntosh (Leeds) holds an emeritus chair in Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory, and has lectured and researched in these fields for over 20 years. He has a PhD in combustion theory from the aerodynamics department of what was then Cranfield Institute of Technology (now Cranfield University), a DSc in Applied Mathematics from the University of Wales and worked for a number of years at the Royal Aircraft Establishment. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Institute of Energy, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Aeronautical Society. A chartered mathematician and engineer. author of over 180 papers and articles, his research has been in combustion in fluids and solids. His work has also included investigations into the fundamental link between thermodynamics and information, and in the last few years he has been involved in research in the area of biomimetics where the minute combustion chamber of the bombardier beetle has inspired a patented novel spray technology with applications to fuel injectors, pharmaceutical sprays, fire extinguishers and aerosols. This research was awarded the 2010 Times Higher Educational award for the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology.

Andy became a Christian in 1969 and is committed to a belief in the Biblical Creation account maintaining that Genesis is crucial to our understanding of the Gospel. He has authored the book “Genesis for Today” (Day One, 4th Edition, 2010), contributed to the books “In six days” (Master Books, 2009) and “Should Christians embrace Evolution?” (IVP, 2009), and has appeared on a number of TV and radio programs. He delights to present the scientific evidence for Creation and passionately believes that there is no excuse for scientific minds not to accept the truth of Creation. Favorite talks (most available on DVD) are ‘Creation- so what’s the issue?’, ‘Intricacies of Flight’, ‘Design, Intelligence and the Word of God’, ‘Fossils, Dinosaurs and the Bible’, ‘The Flood and the return of Christ’, ‘Genesis, Babel and the Nations’, ‘Design, Thermodynamics and Information’ and ‘Faraday – man of science, man of God’. He is married with 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reluctant response to the latest evangelical video fad

OK, so I usually try to avoid doing blog posts about anything that is "relevant," but I did have two students from CRBC ask me last week what I thought about the video from Seattle based Jefferson Bethke titled Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus that has gone viral, especially via Facebook, among young evangelical types. Both our students picked up on the fact that something wasn't quite right about the video's message.  Hooray for them!  It also got some discussion on the RB pastors yahoo list.  Here are two critiques:

Second, a spot on video response from Lutheran Dude (though I'm not crazy about the baptismal regeneration undertones):

Sermon of the Week: The AV: Its Relevance Among the Young in a Multicultural Society

Iranian born Reformed Baptist Pastor Pooyan Mehrshahi preached a message at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Trinitarian Bible Society on The Authorised Version:  Its Relevance Among the Young in a Multicultural Society.  Pastor Mehrshahi ably critiques and responds to the objections of those who claim that the venerable AV is no longer "relevant."  Worth hearing.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Note on translation of Romans 12:4

I noted in comments related to last week’s sermon on Romans 12:3-8 the divide between older and modern commentaries on the spiritual gift list in vv. 6-8. Older commentators apply this list to the officers of the church (elders and deacons) while modern commentators tend to interpret this list as generally applicable to all believers.

I also found several interesting translation and interpretation related issues in this passage. One involves the translation of the noun praxis in v. 4.

The KJV renders it as follows: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office (praxis).”

The Geneva Bible gives a similar rendering of praxis: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not one office.”

It seems that this translation choice for praxis as “office” in v. 4 is related to the interpretation of the gift list in vv. 6-8 as applying to office bearers. Modern translations of praxis in v. 4, on the other hand, reflect the modern interpretation of the gift list as egalitarian in application by choosing to render the word as ‘function” rather than “office.” Examples:

NIV Romans 12:4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,

NAS Romans 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,

NKJ Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

ESV Romans 12:4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,

Here is a place where the older translations (Geneva, AV), emerging from the Reformation context, diverge from modern translations in a way that reflects a distinctive interpretation of the passage.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Vision (1/12/12): Borrow not a few

In my “state of the church” report at our annual CRBC membership meeting last evening, I shared some reflections from the miracle of the widow’s oil in 2 Kings 4:1-7.

First, the narrative tells of a great need (v. 1). There was a certain woman, the wife of a prophet, whose husband had died. She came to the prophet Elisha in her distress. The creditors were coming ready to sell her two sons into slavery to pay her debts.

Second, there were only meager means (v. 2). Elisha asks, “What shall I do for thee?” He then asked what of any value she had in her house. She replied that she had nothing, “save a pot of oil.”

Third, there was a miracle of provision and blessing (vv. 3-7). Elisha told the desperate women to go to her neighbors and to borrow vessels, adding “borrow not a few” (v. 3). The woman did as commanded, pouring out her oil into the borrowed vessels. Miraculously the oil did not cease to flow till all the vessels were filled. Only when the last one was full, do we read, “And the oil stayed” (v. 6). By selling the miraculously supplied oil she had all she needed to pay her debts (v. 7).

I suggested that the church often finds herself in the situation of the widow. We are poor, in a state of need, and completely dependent on the Lord for help. Consider also the gaping needs of the world all around us. From a worldly perspective, we have only meager means. Still, the Lord commands us to gather our vessels, and he is then so often pleased to provide beyond all that we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

As we enter the year ahead we look forward to experiencing all the ways God will bless, grow, provide, fill, stretch, and encourage us, as we depend on him for everything.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The "charismata" of Romans 12:6-8

I preached last Sunday on Many Members in One Body (Romans 12:3-8).  I summarized the core meaning of the text as follows:  that it is necessary and central for a Christian to be rightly joined to a body of believers where spiritual gifts and spiritual offices are being exercised to the glory of God and to the blessing and benefit of man.

The most intriguing aspect of interpreting this text is understanding the seven "gifts" (charismata, v. 6) listed in vv. 6-8: prophecy, ministry, teaching , exhortation, giving, rule, and mercy.

In the introduction I noted:

This passage is one place (along with 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4) in Scripture where we find a listing of spiritual gifts (charismata, v. 6).  The modern tendency is to focus on such gift lists as potentially applying to all Christians generally.  We create spiritual gifts inventories and use them like evangelical Myers-Briggs personality assessment instruments (I’ve even used such myself a few times earlier in my ministry) to figure out which gifts we possess.  But as I read through our passage this week, I was struck by the fact, however, that this passage must be understood in the context of the Biblical church and its government.  As we shall see, when Paul lists these gifts I believe he was thinking primarily about spiritual qualities that the officers of the church were to possess and exercise with the body for its edification, rather than about the distribution of these gifts within the body at large.
I later added:
This list is one of those places where you see a divide in interpretation between modern commentaries and “old school” (Reformed Fathers, Puritan, or old path) commentaries. Modern interpreters tend to take this list and apply it to all believers. The old men, however, seem to be united in saying that Paul is speaking here about the particular gifts that are to be possessed and exercised by the officers of the church (namely the elders and deacons). 
In favor of the old school interpretation is the fact that in the other two places where there is an emphasis on spiritual gifts it is associated with church officers. Compare 1 Corinthians 12:28-31 and, especially, Ephesians 4:8-11 where the "gifts" (here domata) given by Jesus are the offices themselves (both extraordinary, like apostles, prophets, and evangelists [I take the office of evangelist to be extraordinary as it composed the apostolic associates including those who would write Gospels like Mark and Luke]) and ordinary (like pastors and teachers).

To confirm this distinction between modern and old school interpretations of this passage, just compare the comments on this passage in standard evangelical commentaries (like MacArthur's or the ESV) and then contrast it with the view taken by the old commentators like John Calvin, Matthew Poole, or Matthew Henry.

Here is how I summed up my exposition of the seven "gifts":

Having looked at these seven gifts more closely, we can see who each one of them corresponds to the special functions of the church officers:

The Elders, in particular, are to be engaged in prophesying (preaching), ministering (diakonia) the word, teaching (didasko), exhorting (parakaleo), and ruling (proistemi).

And the deacons in the ministry (diakonia) of the tables, in giving, and in mercy.

These offices are gifts that God has given to his church for their care and edification.


Monday, January 09, 2012

Paul: "through the grace given to me"

I preached yesterday on Many Members One Body from Romans 12:3-8.  In the opening exposition, I reflected on Paul's statement in v. 3 that he writes "through the grace given to me":

Paul is speaking to the church at Rome (1:7). He is addressing “every man that is among you.” These are the same “brethren” called out in v. 1. Paul is appealing to his authority as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1). He speaks “through the grace given to me.” This is not only the grace of all salvation, but the grace of his apostleship. Cf.: “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor 15:9). This is why Paul calls his apostleship a grace gift to him.

I recently heard a radio interview with a man named Tim Goeglein who worked on the staff of President George W. Bush. This man has recently written a book titled The Man in the Middle about his White House experiences.  He told of a time when it was uncovered by a reporter that he had plagiarized some material in several newspaper articles. He went to President Bush, ready to hand in his resignation, and told him about the incident. Then Goeglin said: "Before I could get barely a few words out … he looked at me, and he said, 'Tim, grace and mercy are real. I have known grace and mercy in my life, and I'm extending it to you. You're forgiven.’”

That is a pretty powerful story of forgiveness, but Paul’s is even greater. A holy God took a man who had persecuted his people and he made that same man an apostle.

Having climbed to his perch of apostolic authority, what does Paul say to every man among the Romans? He says, “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” He begins here with a call to humility.

John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion wrote, “…if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, first, second, third, and always I would answer ‘Humility’” (II.II; pp. 268-269).


Saturday, January 07, 2012

Calvin on Prayer

For devotional reading, I’ve started working my way through John Calvin’s section on prayer in the Institutes (Book III; chapter xx). Strange how some could accuse Calvin’s doctrine of being cold, clinical, or sterile, when he writes so warmly about prayer and piety. Some quotes (all from the Battles translation):

“…we clearly see how destitute and devoid of all good things man is, and how he lacks all aid to salvation. Therefore, if he seeks resources to succor him in his need, he must go outside himself and get them elsewhere” (p. 850).

“Words fail to explain how necessary prayer is, and in how many ways the exercise of prayer is profitable” (p. 851).

“….our most merciful Father, although he never sleeps or idles, still very often gives the impression of one sleeping or idling in order that he may thus train us, otherwise idle and lazy, to seek, to ask, and entreat him to our great good” (p. 853).

“The eyes of God are therefore watchful to assist the blind in their necessity, but he is willing in turn to hear our groanings that he may the better prove his love toward us” (p. 853).

Friday, January 06, 2012

What is the work of creation?

Note:  I've been enjoying preaching on Sunday afternoons at CRBC through Spurgeon's Catechism.  Here are my notes from last Sunday's message:

What is the work of creation?
Spurgeon Catechism Series:  Question 9

Genesis 1:1

CRBC January 1, 2012

We return to our catechism series where the initial focus is on the being and work of God. The catechism stresses the unity of God. There is one God but also this one God is three persons. The Biblical God is a Trinity. It then proceeds to tell us what this God does. He is a decreeing God. He ordains “whatsoever comes to pass.” Then, as we saw last week, he is an executing God. He is the great Executive. And he executes his decrees in two spheres: creation and providence.

Today we move to consider the first of those two spheres, creation.

Question 9: What is the work of creation?

Answer: The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

There are five parts in this response that we can explore by five corresponding questions:

First, we might ask: What is meant by “the work of creation.” This simply means everything that is in existence. It means the vast physical universe and every element within it, from the largest planet to the smallest microscopic organism.

I did a “Grace Points” radio devotional last year titled “Bigger than we knew” in which I made reference to an article in the the journal Nature which reported the recent scientific conclusion that there are a mind-blowing 300 sextillion stars in the universe, or three times as many as scientists previously calculated. That is a 3 followed by 23 zeros. Or 3 trillion times 100 billion.

They now estimate that there are 100 billion to a trillion galaxies in the universe each holding from 100 billion to a trillion stars.

I concluded in that article: “The world is bigger than we knew. We are even more in awe of our Creator.”

The vastness of creation is truly mind-boggling. In Psalm 8 David marveled:

3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him?

In addition to the physical, visible world, God also created the spiritual, invisible world. He created heaven as his dwelling. He created the angelic creatures, the hosts of heaven, the principalities and powers, many of which, like man, would rebel against him.

So, when we look at the creation, man should know there is a Creator. He gives us two books of revelation: the book of creation and the book of Scripture.

Thomas Watson in A Body of Divinity observes:

“The creation is the heathen man’s Bible, the ploughman’s primer, and the traveler’s perspective glass” through which he sees the “the excellencies which are in God” (p. 113).

“The world must have a maker, and could not make itself. If one should go into a far country, and see stately edifices, he would never imagine that they had built themselves….so this great fabric of the world could not create itself, it must have some builder or maker, and that is God” (pp. 113-114).

Second, we might ask, “From what did God make the world?” The catechism affirms that God’s creation was “of nothing.” Scripture affirms creatio ex nihilo. Thomas Watson: “God brought all this glorious fabric of the world out of the womb of nothing” (p. 114). This is contra the ancient notion that the world was made from some eternal building blocks. Scripture affirms, however, that there is only one who is “from everlasting to everlasting”:

KJV Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

He made even the formless void (Hebrew:  tohu wabohu; Gen 1:2) over which his Spirit hovered at creation.

Third, we ask, “How did God make creation?” And the response: He made creation “by the word of his power.” That is by the fiat power of his word. Compare:

KJV Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Creation is an act of the triune God.

God the Father creates: See Psalm 90:2 above.

God the Son creates: See: John 1:3: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

God the Spirit creates: See Genesis 1:2.

Fourth, we ask, “In what time frame did God make the world?” The catechism simply accepts the historicity of the Biblical narrative in faith, affirming that God completed his work of creation “in the space of six days.” So, it affirms a six day creation. The third Scripture proof:

KJV Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

This has been the component most under attack in the modern era. This is not a problem for the believer, howeer, if we consider that God might have created the world with the appearance of age. Adam was not made an infant but a full grown man. There is, as Francis Schaeffer said, in the end “no final conflict” between Scripture and science.

It is interesting to see that the old Puritan fathers did not see the point of this clause as simply verifying the historicity of the Bible’s account of creation, a fact which they took for granted. But in their exposition, the real gold here was found in the way that the six day pattern of creation established the Sabbath as a perpetual ordinance. So Thomas Vincent exposits:

In what time did God create all things?

God created all things in the space of six days. He could have created all things together in a moment; but he took six days’ time to work in, and rested on the seventh day, that we might the better apprehend the order of the creation, and that we might imitate him in working but six days of the week, and in resting on the seventh.

Finally, “How does God now view his creation?” And the answer is that it was “all very good.” This is the Lord’s own pronouncement concerning the creation that is repeated on each day of creation that it is “all very good” (see Genesis 1). This goodness has been marred by the fall but not obliterated.

Again, contra so many world religions, Biblical faith sees the world as good. It is not God, but it is good. It is to be mastered but not to be worshipped. Thus, Biblical faith gives us science and technology and blessing.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Vision (1/5/12): New Year's Resolutions for Believers

I heard a radio interview this week with an executive from a major national weight loss program who said the first week in January was like the “Super Bowl” for his business. Indeed, the start of a new year often leads to the making of resolutions. Let me suggest some resolutions the believer should seriously consider:

1. Read through the Bible in 2012. There are a number of reading schemes you might consider. One popular plan is that drawn up by the Scottish minister Robert Murray M’Cheyne (look here). You can also just begin a consecutive reading through either the OT or NT. Tremendous things happen to us spiritually when we consistently read and meditate upon God’s word.

2. If you are not now a member of a local church, join one. There are no perfect churches. You should be able to find one, however, that is Christ-centered and Bible-focused. In fact, if you live in the Charlottesville area, I happen to know of a very winsome congregation I can recommend. We can add to this that if you have not yet been baptized, then submit yourself to this ordinance of our Lord (Matt 28:19-20) and show that you love him by obeying his commandments (John 14:15). As we tell our children, delayed obedience is disobedience.

3. Commit yourself to consistent churchmanship. This means supporting the Lord’s Day worship services that are hosted by your church. It also means being a faithful steward of your time, money, and talents. Do this cheerfully, expectantly, and contentedly.

4. Develop the discipline of prayer. You might be aided by making a set time for prayer and/or by making a designated place for prayer. Pray for the officers of your church, for your fellow members, for your family, for the salvation of the lost, for your personal needs, for the nation, for missionaries and ministers. Take advantage of opportunities for corporate prayer in Lord’s Day worship and at mid-week prayer meetings.

5. Pursue personal ministry. This might be outreach to a widow or home-bound person. It might be sending encouraging notes to a missionary. It might be visiting a prison or nursing home. It might be taking on a responsibility in the church. The possibilities are truly endless.

I believe that if we take up resolutions such as these the Lord will richly bless us in the year ahead.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

A book is like nature or the world

Here's a good quote to follow up the annual reading list post:

"If you ask a living teacher a question, he will probably answer you.  If you are puzzled by what he says, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking by asking him what he means.  If, however, you ask a book a question, you must answer it yourself.  In this respect a book is like nature or the world.  When you queston it, it answers you only to the extent that you do the work of thinking and analysis yourself."

--Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book (Touchstone, 1972):  p. 15.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 Top Ten Books

Image:  My favorite bookstore discovered in 2011:  Riverby Books in Frederickburg, Virginia

Time for my annual reading review. You can view past reading lists from 2008, 2009, and 2010.  Here are ten of the top books I read in 2011 (in no particular order):

1. William O. Einwechter, English Bible Translations: By What Standard? (Chapel Library, 2010): 52 pp.

This little booklet is the best short treatment I have found on the importance of the traditional original language texts in choosing an English Bible translation. You can get cheap copies from Chapel Library. I have given many away in 2011.

2. W. Gary Crampton, From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism: A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subjects of Baptism (RBAP, 2010): 126 pp.

This is a solid defense of believer’s baptism written by a former paedobaptist. Great book to share with our Presbyterian friends.

3. Albert N. Martin, Preaching In the Holy Spirit (Reformation Heritage Books, 2011): 67 pp.

A great booklet on preaching that can really only be understood by preachers. Reads like a Puritan work.

4. John Owen, Spiritual Mindedness (as revised by R. J. K. Law) (Banner of Truth, 2009; original 1681): 249 pp.

Owen was my “Puritan of the Year” for 2011. This extended meditation on Romans 8:6 (“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”) is devotional gold. As with much of Owen, it must be read slowly and not all at once.

5. Joel R. Beeke and Anthony T. Selvaggio, Sing a New Song: Recovering Psalm Singing for the Twenty-First Century (Reformation Heritage, 2010): 19 pp.

A stimulating anthology of articles on the importance of psalm singing in Scripturally regulated worship.

6. John Murray, Romans, Vol. I (Eerdmans, 1959): 408 pp.

Murray has been my companion over the last several years as I have preached through Romans. I completed Volume I in 2011 and will be working on Volume II in 2012. Murray writes in devotional prose, expounding and exploring the heights and depths of this greatest of Paul’s epistles.

7. D. C. Parker, Codex Sinaiticus: The Story of the World’s Oldest Bible (The British Library/Hendricksen, 2010): 195 pp.

D. C. Parker is perhaps the world’s most influential academic text critic. Though I do not agree with his conclusions on NT text criticism, this book is a valuable introduction on a popular level to this very influential early codex and to its recent online version. Most interesting is Parker’s demythologizing of the legends surrounding Tichendorf’s discovery of this ancient manuscript at St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai.

8. John Owen, The True Nature of a Gospel Church and Its Government, in Volume 16 of The Works of John Owen (Banner of Truth, 1968 reprint): pp. 1-208.

This book has shaped my convictions on ecclesiology more than anything I have ever read, beyond Scripture. I re-read it this year after first reading it in 2009. Look for more from me on this book in 2012.

9. John Bunyan, The Jerusalem Sinner Saved: Good News for the Vilest of Men (Reiner Pub., 1968): 112 pp.

A lesser known Bunyan classic. The “Jerusalem Sinner” is the chief and worst of sinners, but God delights in saving such men to show the better his glory. A humbling work.

10. R. L. Dabney, The Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson (Sprinkle Reprint, 1983): 742 pp.

I read this book in honor of the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War (aka, The War Between the States) in 2011 (1861-1865). Who could not be stirred by the piety of Jackson?

Here are some other notable reads in 2011:

John Owen: Mortification of Sin (orig. 1656; Banner of Truth, 2004) [re-read]; Communion with God (Banner of Truth, 1991); The Holy Spirit (Banner of Truth, 1998);

Other Puritans: Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 (Banner of Truth, 1971; orig. 1660); Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (Sprinkle, 2005); Thomas Watson, Heaven Taken by Storm (orig. 1669; Northampton Press, 2007).

Banner “Pocket Puritans”: John Flavel, Binge Drinking (2008); Thomas Brooks, United We Stand (2009); John Flavel, Sinful Speech (2009); John Flavel, Impure Lusts (2008); Thomas Brooks, Repent and Believe (2008)

Text and Translation of Scripture: James B. Williams, Gen. Ed. From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man: A Layman’s Guide to How We Got Our Bible (Ambassador-Emerald International, 1998); Leland Ryken, The Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English Translation (Crossway, 2011); Robert B. Stewart, Ed. The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue (Fortress, 2011); Gordon Clark, Logical Criticisms of Textual Criticism (Trinity Foundation, 1986); C. P. Hallihan, The Authorised Version: A Wonderful and Unfinished History (TBS, 2010);

Bible Study: James Montgomery Boice, Romans, Vol. 2 (Baker, 1992); James Montgomery Boice, Romans, Vol. 3 (Baker, 1993); John MacArthur, Beware the Pretenders [A Study of Jude] (Victor, 1980); Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Christian Focus, 2000); Matthew Poole, “Commentary on 1 Samuel.”

Biography and Church History: Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Thomas Nelson, 2010); S. M. Houghton, My Life and Books (Banner of Truth, 1988); Iain Murray, John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock (Banner of Truth, 2011); David Teems, Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2010); Paul Brewster, Andrew Fuller: Model Pastor-Theologian (B & H, 2010); John Rippon, A Brief Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late Rev. John Gill, D. D. (Sprinkle Pub., 2006); Michael Haykin, A Cloud of Witnesses: Calvinsistic Baptists in the 18th Century (Evangelical Times, 2006);

Theology and Ministry: David Engelsma, Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel (RFPA, 1980); Bruce A. Ray, Celebrating the Sabbath: Finding Rest in a Restless World (P & R, 2000); David Murray, Christians Get Depressed Too (Reformation Heritage, 2010); William Rushton, A Defense of Particular Redemption (orig., 1831; Primitive Publications, n. d.); Greg Nichols, Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God’s Covenants (Solid Ground, 2011); Carl R. Trueman, Reformation: Yesterday, Today, and Forever (Christian Focus, 2000, 2011);

Miscellaneous non-theological: W. S. Davis, A Day in Old Athens (Biblo and Tannen Reprint, 1960); Mark Steyn, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (Regnery, 2011); Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2007).

Other notable booklets, tracts, and pamphlets: Richard Bennet, From Tradition to Truth: A Priest’s Story (Chapel Library, 1998); Peter Masters, Your Reasonable Service in the Lord’s Work (Sword & Trowel, 1987, 1994); Peter Masters, The Power of Prayer Meetings (Sword & Trowel, 1995, 2011); Peter Masters, The Purpose of the Lord’s Supper (Sword & Trowel, 1995, 2011).


Monday, January 02, 2012

New "Reformed Baptist Trumpet"!

I sent out the October-November-December 2011 issue of the Reformed Baptist Trumpet e-journal last Saturday (on the last day of the year).

You can read a pdf here or find this and past issues of the Trumpet here.  You can also request to be added to the mailing list by sending your request to reformedbaptist.va@gmail.com.

In this issue:

Editorial: 2012 Keach Conference p. 2

Article: Joel Beeke, Consider Christ in Affliction pp. 3-9

Article: Malcolm Watts, God’s Everlasting Covenant pp. 10-15

Book Review: Greg Nichols, Covenant Theology pp. 16-19

Book Review: The Reliability of the New Testament pp. 20-24

Paradosis: Spurgeon on Inspiration and the Down Grade pp. 24-25