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Showing posts from January, 2010

The End of an Era (well, for me at least)

Today was my last day teaching at seminary. Or rather, today was supposed to be my last day teaching at seminary. My last class actually had to be cancelled due to bad snow. So the end has already been and gone without me even noticing. No more chalk-dust or class debates. After 5 years teaching theology (the last 3 of which at CTS) I'll certainly miss it, but although the setting and the structure might be changing, teaching the Bible and Christian doctrine is not something I'll be leaving behind. It's not just seminary students after all who need to be taught the truth of God's Word. Every Christian needs teaching. That's why Christ placed teachers in His church (Eph. 4:11) and not simply in educational establishments. That's why elders must be 'apt to teach' (1 Tim. 3:2) and not just able to organize. After all, one of the marks of the early church was that 'they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine' (Acts 2:42). So the teac

Us-focused or God-focused: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

It seems that some really good Christians do not realize that the Holy Ghost is doing the extraordinary today - this Pentecostal blessing, the fullness of the Spirit is not something merely to prepare us for heaven, but to bring to fruition the purposes of God. So said Pastor Thomas Rees back in 1939 at the Penygroes Convention, and His point is still important today 70 years later. The focus of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not on us, but on God and His purposes. Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit primarily as an experience we have. In that case the focus falls on us; we're at the centre. It's true that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience, and an important one at that, but the most important aspect is that it is an experience given by our Triune God for His own glory and purpose. God the Father has promised the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49), God the Son has poured it out (Acts 2:33) and it is God the Spirit

2 Great Reasons Not To Fear Evangelism

Recently a few different people in a few different contexts have asked me questions about fear and evangelism. Unlike us, it seems the first Christians didn't really associate fear and evangelism. The words used to describe their witness are words like 'assurance' and 'boldness'. But we have the same message and same commission as them, so that means we too can evangelize with assurance and boldness, instead of fear. The Bible makes it clear that we have no reason to fear. Most Christians are probably quite familiar with the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. We've memorized the 'go and make disciples' bit. But have you ever noticed what Jesus says in the immediate context? Right there where He tells us to 'go and make disciples' He also gives us two great reasons not to be scared to do so. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nation

Lloyd-Jones on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Christian experience and Christian doctrine belong together. Consider these words of 'the Doctor': Would you know the Christian truth, would you know the Christian doctrine? Would you have a firm grasp and understanding of God's great and glorious purpose? The highway to that is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It gives greater light and knowledge and instruction than anything else, and it does so in order that we may be witnesses. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable , p.111

Objecting to Objections: Don't Let Political Correctness Keep You From Evangelism

Trevin Wax posted a piece over on the Gospel Coalition blog pointing out what's wrong with some common objections to "proselytism" (or as most of us tend to call it, evangelism). It's in response to a recent controversy in America involving someone we don't know on this side of the Atlantic, but the objections to the objections are just as relevant on this continent as they are on that one. In conclusion, proselytism (or evangelism) is a good thing logically (as well as biblically).

For Aspiring Academics

Carl Trueman has written an article for 9 Marks which should be compulsory reading for any aspiring Christian academics. Pointing out the dangers of craving academic respectability, Trueman reminds us that such should not be the true goal of evangelical academics: The highest achievement any evangelical theological scholar can attain is not membership of some elite guild but the knowledge that he or she has done work that strengthened the church and extended the kingdom of God through the local church. Academic rigour is a good thing, but academic responsibility can become a poisoned chalice. After all, our chief end is to glorify God, not please our peers.

Pentecost Means A Person

Pentecost then means a Person, moreover a Holy Person not tongues, nor miracles, and, in some respects, not even power. These are only outward evidences, and must always be subordinate to and demonstrative of that fact. They are the results of filling and not the filling itself, the gifts and not the Giver. A. Ferran (past principal of the Apostolic Church Bible College), A Running Commentary in the Acts of the Apostles , 38

The Best Books I Read in 2009

Well 2010 has come upon us, so that means another year of reading has come to an end. So what were the best books I read last year? 1. Michael Horton, The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World Horton tends to make it to the top of my lists of best books, but much as I like many of his books, The Gospel Driven Life is his best yet. It's not only non-Christians that need the Gospel, Christians do too. (I could also have mentioned Christless Christianity .) 2. Timothy Ward, Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God The most important theological book of the year. Finally an evangelical look at the doctrine of Scripture which is neither polemic, apologetic or distracted. I've already written a review and even went so far as to give away a copy in Apostolic Theology's first ever competition. 3. Dennis E. Johnson, Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures My all time favourite book on preaching. While many pre

The 6 o'clock News

Some evenings the 6 o'clock news is not very exciting. Recently events in the UK have led to predictability in the subject matter of many of the news stories, if not in the details. So whilst the news may always be informative, it is not very often out of the ordinary. Tonight, however, the news was very much out of the ordinary. Some of the main stories from the BBC website earlier in the day didn't even make it to our screens, so it certainly wasn't predictable. And tonight's out of the ordinary news stories not only informed, but also got me thinking. The snow dominated tonight's news. With over 8000 schools closed, transport networks grinding to a halt and city centres abandoned the wintry weather really was the biggest thing to happen in Britain today. Yet who would have thought that in the 21st Century one of the world's most developed countries could be conquered by a bit of precipitation? Despite all our advances in technology, snow can still bring th