Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2009

The Highest Worship

Based on the the woman who anointed Jesus' feet (Luke 7:36ff): The story in this passage shows what Christ calls "love." The woman came with the opinion that forgiveness of sins should be sought in Christ. This worship is the highest worship of Christ. She could think nothing greater about Christ. To seek forgiveness of sins from Him was truly to acknowledge the Messiah. To think of Christ this way, to worship Him this way, is truly to believe. From The Apology of the Augsburg Confession , III.33

The Lord's Supper: It's Not Just Catholic vs. Protestant

In theology, as in life, it seems that we often want to simplify things into a choice between two alternatives. This is exactly what often happens with regard to the Lord's Supper. On the one hand there is the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation : that the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ. On the other hand, it is assumed, is the Evangelical/Protestant view of memorialism : that the bread and wine are simply reminders of Christ's body broken and blood shed on the Cross. However, what comes as a surprise to many, is that the Evangelical/Protestant view is not necessarily memorialism; there are other Protestant views of the sacrament. In fact right back to the time of the Reformation there have been at least three views of the Lord's Supper among evangelical Protestants. Each of these three views is associated with one of the major reformers. Memorialism is associated with Huldrich Zwingli, the Reformer of Zurich. (Hence it's sometimes

Today is the Day of Atonement

Today is the Day of Atonement in the Jewish calendar (although technically the sun has now set, so I think it's actually over, but better late than never), so here's a good summary of what the day of Atonement was all about, and how it has been fulfilled in Christ.

Apostolic Theology of the Breaking of Bread

Having written an academic journal article on this very theme, I think it's about time to do a wee bit of popularization. So, over the next few weeks, I'm going to post now and again on this topic in nice easy to understand English. So, for today, I simply want to leave you with two quotes from D.P. Williams on the Lord's Supper. I'll leave my comments for the next time. Williams wrote that in the Breaking of Bread: ‘through the agency of the Holy Spirit, and the blessing of Christ, the effectiveness of the Finished Work on Man’s behalf is spiritually experienced and appropriated by them who have entered within the bonds of the Covenant of Grace.’ This meant that for Williams: ‘To neglect and disregard the Holy Sacrament is to disregard the very Covenant itself.’ D.P. Williams, Riches of Grace , Vol. iii, No. 7 (May 1928)

Sneak Preview of the Gospel Driven Life

Only a few more days to go before Michael Horton's latest book, The Gospel Driven Life , comes out. But in the meantime you can have a sneak peak at the first chapter over at the White Horse Inn . Or, you can find out a bit more about the book. As for me, I've got it pre -ordered and can't wait for it to arrive.

The Importance of Adam

Adam is important. Let me just start by stating that fact. Adam is incredibly important. He is not a minor figure in Biblical history, but rather, one of the most important figures. Why? Well, because ' sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin' (Rom. 5:12). As Paul demonstrates in 1 Corinthians 15, every human being is either in Adam or in Christ. We are born 'in Adam' with his sin imputed to us, but by faith God changes our attachment from the first Adam to the second Adam, Christ. This parallel between the first and second Adam's shows us that the first one is not without significance. Yet, the historicity of the first Adam has been widely attacked. Usually the arguments come from more liberal quarters, but now it seems even evangelicals are getting in on the act. Dr Tremper Longman III, a highly esteemed evangelical Old Testament scholar states in a YouTube video currently doing the rounds that 'there are still open questions&#

Don't get Distracted

I'm starting off my lectures on the Pentateuch for another year tomorrow. Perhaps surprisingly, I like to start off near the end of Deuteronomy instead of at the beginning of Genesis. Why? Well, there's a verse near the end of Deuteronomy that I think is very helpful to students who are about to dive into Genesis: The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. ( Deut . 29:29) Genesis is a hugely important book, but it is also one where people find it very easy to get distracted. When teaching Genesis, I know I'm going to get lots of questions about science (and dinosaurs; they always ask about dinosaurs!) and other issues which are not the main focus of the text. Now, I'm not suggesting that we can't learn anything about science from Scripture; as the inerrant Word of God, everything that Scripture says is true, whether it be theology or biology. How

JEPTA Article

Black, Jonathan, 'The Church as Eucharistic Fellowship: A British Apostolic Contribution toward a Pentecostal Ecclesiology', Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association , Vol. xxix, No. 2, pp. 78-89

Exciting Post!

I got some exciting post today: the latest issue of JEPTA ( Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association ), containing an article written by me! It's strange to see one's name in print.

A Prayer for Theological Students

As today was the first day of the new academic year at CTS , what could be more appropriate than a prayer for theological students? O HEAVENLY Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ did command his disciples to proclaim the glad tidings of thy saving love to all mankind: Pour out thy Holy Spirit, we beseech thee, on all who are now in training for the Ministry of thy Church; make them to be modest, humble, and constant in their labours, and to have a ready will to obey all spiritual discipline; that they may become faithful ministers of thy Word and Sacraments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen . - From the Canadian Book of Common Prayer

Corporate Confession

Some have questioned whether Confession of Sin has a place in contemporary worship. Such acknowledgement of our shortcomings may be perceived as a "downer" or "turnoff" to congregants who have little background in church. However, it is reasonable to question whether worship is Christian worship at all if there is no opportunity for confession. Human confession is the reflex response of divine encounter. If there really has been no confession in a worship service, then there has been no real apprehension of God. His praise necessitates our humility. We cannot truly honour his worth without sensing our unworthiness. We cannot really see who he is and fail to bow. - Bryan Chapell , Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009)

Mighty in His Incarnation

These words come from one of the great Welsh Revival Hymns (not the 1904 Revival but an earlier one). Mighty Christ from time eternal, Mighty, He man's nature takes, Mighty, when on Calv'ry dying, Mighty, death itself He breaks. See His might, Infinite, King of heaven and earth by right! Mighty was He in heaven's purpose, Mighty, in the pledge to save, Mighty, from His birth to Calv'ry Mighty, bursting from the grave. Still will He Mighty be When things hidden now we see. You can even hear the tune on Youtube complete with pipe organ.

Why the Incarnation?

The Incarnation is when God the Son became man, and so became the God-Man, fully God and fully Man in two distinct natures but one person. So, why did God the Son become incarnate? Well, here are 4 easy to remember reasons: Revelation - The incarnate Christ reveals the Father to us ( John 1:18 ; 14:9 ) Salvation - Only a sinless man could pay for sinful men ( Heb 2:14-17 ); Only God could bear the full weight of an infinite punishment. Destruction - To save sinners, sin had to be dealt with. 1 John 3:8 tells us that Christ came to 'destroy the works of the devil' (i.e. sin). So Christ became incarnate in order to defeat and destroy sin. Motivation - Although it's not the only reason He came, or even the most important, the Bible is clear that Christ incarnate is an example for believers to follow. You won't be saved by following Christ's example, but for those who have been saved, what better example could there be than the only sinless person ever to have

A Tool To Help You Memorize Scripture

Have you ever wanted to make little cards to help you memorize Bible verses, but found the making of the cards more difficult/time consuming than the actual learning of the verses? If so, perhaps this is the tool for you : a free internet based programme that automatically turns the references you type in into printable cards containing the ESV text of the requested verses.

Athanasius on the Cross and Salvation

'through death deathlessness has been made known to us' ( On the Incarnation , §54)

Preaching to make us more like Christ

The purpose of God's Word is to transform us into the image of Christ. The Word radically changes the way we live. This is why it's more important for me to preach Leviticus than to give them tips on parenting. The reality is that Scripture is not a guidebook for a lot of the things folks are going through. It's given to us for one purpose: to make us look more like Christ. When we look more like Christ, then when we're walking through grief or a parenting challenge, we find ourselves in touch with Holy Spirit of God, who is able to walk us through those things we're battling day in and day out. No other book in the Christian bookstore can get them in touch with the Holy Spirit of God. From Christianity Today's interview with David Platt . I know I've mentioned this interview before, but it really is worth reading.

Goodbye TNIV, Hello New NIV

After only a few short years the TNIV is going off the market and a new new NIV will be taking its place in 2011. Justin Taylor has the details .

The Necessity of the Incarnation

I'm teaching on the Incarnation & the Hypostatic Union this Friday, and as I've been thinking about the subject, a few questions from the Heidelberg Catechism came to mind: 15. What kind of a mediator and redeemer then must we seek? One who is a true and righteous man, and yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, One who is also true God. 16. Why must he be a true and righteous man? Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should make satisfaction for sin, but one who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others. 17. Why must he also be true God? That by the power of His Godhead He might bear in His manhood the burden of God's wrath, and so obtain for and restore to us righteousness and life. 18. But who now is that Mediator, who in one person is true God and also a true and righteous man? Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness.