Thursday, April 29, 2010

2010 European Virtual History Tour & MP3 Collection

If you could not make it to the Vision Forum Faith and Freedom Tour across Europe this may be the next best thing: The 2010 European Virtual History Tour & MP3 Collection, for $59 (Special offer ends May 3, 2010 ):

This special package allows you and your family to gain new understanding, context, and inspiration by receiving in-the-field video highlights from this historic tour across Europe, and be the first to hear the messages on MP3 from our journey (receive over 40 messages at the special pre-tour package price).

The tour begins on May 2, and runs through May 15.

Here is what you get with your Online Tour Pass:

1. Daily Lectures and Messages: Exclusive daily video messages from the locations that built Western Civilization on subjects ranging from military history to theology to architecture;

2. Interactive Study Course: You can send your questions in to our teachers who will answer many of them via video which will be posted and made available through a private link;

3. Study Material: During the tour, we will pose regular study questions and direct you to additional resources to expand your studies;

4. Advance MP3 Collection of all the audio recorded in the field;*
*The live recordings from the field will be unedited.

To sign up you can do so here: 2010 European Virtual History Tour & MP3 Collection (Special offer ends May 3, 2010. )

Virtual Tour and Online Study Course from Vision Forum.

Monday, April 26, 2010

All We Need is Love?

Repost From American Covenanter
All We Need is Love?

Dead men speaking from the grave on modern heresies
By Horatius Bonar, 1809-1889

Some speak as if the servant were greater than the Master, and the disciple above his Lord; as if the Lord Jesus honoured the Law, and His people were to set it aside; as if He fulfilled it for us, that we might not need to fulfill it; as if He kept it, not that we might keep it, but that we might not keep it, but something else in its stead, they know not what.

The plain truth is, we must either keep it or break it. Which of these men ought to do, let those answer who speak of a believer having nothing more to do with Law. There is no middle way. If it be not a saint's duty to keep the Law, he may break it at pleasure, and go on sinning because grace abounds.

The word duty is objected to as inconsistent with the liberty of forgiveness and sonship. Foolish and idle cavil! What is duty? It is the thing which is due by me to God, that line of conduct which I owe to God. And do these objectors mean to say that, because God has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, therefore we owe Him nothing, we have no duty now to Him? Has not redemption rather made us doubly debtors? We owe Him more than ever; we owe His holy Law more than ever; more honour, more obedience. Duty has been doubled, not cancelled, by our being delivered from the Law; and he who says that duty has ceased, because deliverance has come, knows nothing of duty, or the Law, or deliverance. The greatest of all debtors in the universe is the redeemed man, the man who can say, 'The life that I live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.' What a strange sense of gratitude these men must have, who suppose that because love has cancelled the penalties of the Law, and turned away its wrath, therefore reverence and obedience to that Law are no longer due! Is terror, in their estimation, the only foundation of duty, and when love comes in and terror ceases, does duty become a bondage?

'No,' they may say, 'but there is something higher than duty, there is privilege; it is that for which we contend.'

I answer, the privilege of what? Of obeying the Law? That they cannot away with; for they say they are no longer under Law, but under grace. What privilege, then? Of imitating Christ? Be it so. But how can we imitate Him whose life was one great Law fulfilling, without keeping the Law? What privilege, again we ask? Of doing the will of God? Be it so. And what is the Law but the revealed will of God? And has our free forgiveness released us from the privilege of conformity to the revealed will of God?

But what do they mean by thus rejecting the word 'duty', and contending for that of 'privilege'? Privilege is not something distinct from duty, nor at variance with duty, but it is duty and something more; it is duty influenced by higher motives, duty uncompelled by terror or suspense. In privilege the duty is all there; but there is something superadded, in shape of motive and relationship, which exalts and ennobles duty. It is my duty to obey government; it is my privilege to obey my parent. But in the latter case is duty gone, because privilege has come in? Or has not the loving relationship between parent and child only intensified the duty, by superadding the privilege, and sweetening the obedience by the mutual love? 'The love of Christ constraineth.' That is something more than both duty and privilege added.

Let men who look but at one side of a subject say what they will, this is the truth of God, that we are liberated from the Law just in order that we may keep the Law. We get the 'no condemnation', in order that 'the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us' (Rom. 8:4). We are delivered from 'the mind of the flesh', which is enmity to God, and not subject to His Law, on purpose that we may be subject to His Law (Rom. 8:7), that we may 'delight in the Law of God after the inward man' (Rom. 9:22), nay, that we may 'with the mind serve the Law of God' (Rom. 7:25),that we may be 'doers of the Law' (James 4:11). These objectors may speak of obedience to the Law as bondage, or of the Law itself being abolished to believers; here are the words of the Holy Ghost. The Law of God is just the Law of God, that very Law which David loved, and in which David's Son delighted; and it would be well for such men meekly and lovingly to learn what delighting in it, serving it, doing it are.

'Do we make void the Law by faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Law' (Rom. 3:31), that is, we set it on a firmer basis than ever. That Law, 'holy, and just, and good,' thus doubly established, is now for us, not against us. Its aspect towards us is that of friendship and love, and so we have become 'the servants of righteousness' (Rom. 6:18), yielding our members servants to righteousness (Rom. 6:19). We are not men delivered from service, but delivered from one kind of service, and by that deliverance introduced into another, 'that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter' (Rom. 7:6), as 'the Lord's freemen' (1 Cor. 7:22), yet Christ's servants (1 Cor. 7:22). Thus obligation, duty, service, obedience still remain to the believing man though no longer associated with bondage and terror, but with freedom, gladness and love. The Law's former bearing on us is altered and, with that, the nature and spirit of the service are altered, but the service itself remains, and the Law which regulates that service is confirmed, not annulled.

Some will tell us here that it is not service they object to, but service regulated by law. But will they tell us what is to regulate service, if not law? Love, they say. This is a pure fallacy. Love is not a rule but a motive. Love does not tell me what to do; it tells me how to do it. Love constrains me to do the will of the beloved one; but to know what that will is I must go elsewhere. The Law of our God is the will of the beloved One, and were that expression of His will withdrawn, love would be utterly in the dark; it would not know what to do. It might say, 'I love my Master, and I love His service, and I want to do His bidding, but I must know the rules of His house, that I may know how to serve Him.' Love without law to guide its impulses would be the parent of will-worship and confusion, as surely as terror and self-righteousness, unless upon the supposition of an inward miraculous illumination, as an equivalent for law. Love goes to the Law to learn the divine will, and love delights in the Law, as the exponent of that will; and he who says that a believing man has nothing more to do with Law, save to shun it as an old enemy, might as well say that he has nothing to do with the will of God. For the divine Law and the divine will are substantially one, the former the outward manifestation of the latter. And it is 'the will of our Father which is in heaven' that we are to do (Matt. 7:2), or proving by loving obedience what is that 'good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God' (Rom. 12:2). Yes, it is 'he that doeth the will of God that abideth for ever' (1 John 2:17). It is to 'the will of God' that we are to live (1 Peter 4:2), 'made perfect in every good work to do His will' (Heb. 13:21), and 'fruitfulness in every good work' springs from being 'filled with the knowledge of His will' (Col. 1:9,10).

God's Way Of Holiness. Horatius Bonar. Evangelical Press 1979, 12 Wooler Street, Darlington, Co. Durham, DL1 1RQ, England. First Published 1864. Pages 68-88.

The Saint and the Law. Horatius Bonar.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Teach Me, O Lord, Thy Way of Truth

Below is a hymn I came across in the Trinity Hymnal that I had not sung before, but will from now on:

Teach Me, O Lord, Thy Way of Truth - #451
From Psalm 119:33-40

Teach me, O Lord, thy way of truth,
And from it I will not depart;
That I may steadfastly obey,
Give me an understanding heart.?

In thy commandments make me walk,
For in thy law my joy shall be;
Give me a heart that loves thy will,
From discontent and envy free.?

Turn thou mine eyes from vanity,
And cause me in thy ways to tread;
O let thy servant prove thy Word
And thus to godly fear be led.

Turn thou away reproach and fear;
Thy righteous judgments I confess;
To know thy precepts I desire;
Revive me in thy righteousness.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Denominations or Associations?

I recently finished reading Denominations or Associations?: Essays on Reformed Baptist Associations edited by James M. Renihan and highly recommend this book .

I have always struggled with the autonomous view of ecclesiology that many Baptists hold to. To me it never seemed to hold up to what we see of the early church in Acts 15. It seems from scripture that while the local churches were not dependent on other churches they were in some fashion interdependent as Acts 15 shows. This interdependency is sadly lacking in the Baptist church today and even in Reformed Baptist circles. I have for some time thought that there needed to be a manner in which churches interacted that was more scriptural. That manner of interaction is clearly put forth in this book.

The book is made up of a number of essays that touch on various aspects of how Reformed Baptist churches should associate and most involve the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and article 26 that deals with The Church, specifically section 15:

26:15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of doctrine or administration, wherein either the churches in general are concerned, or any one church, in their peace, union, and edification; or any member or members of any church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many churches holding communion together, do, by their messengers, meet to consider, and give their advice in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled, are not intrusted with any church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any churches or persons; or to impose their determination on the churches or officers.
( Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 25; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 John 4:1 )

In looking at this section it becomes clear that the word “communion” used in the context of the time refers to an association of churches that went far beyond simply eating together or partaking in some variety of activities. This association, or communion, instead extended to the he health and vibrancy of the church by having a mutual association that in many ways contradicts the often over emphasized autonomy of the local church we see today.

The book looks at the time of the LBC and shows the thinking of such associations as the Abingdon Association (1652). It is in looking at scripture the LBC and the associations of the time that we get a clear picture that the Baptist church, particularly Reformed Baptist churches, of today has moved away from its moorings. It is a move that needs to be reversed for the church to be what God intendeds it to be; an interdependent family of believers and not the independent autonomous group it often is. I think this independence not only affects the church as a whole but the mindset begins to filter down to the individuals and creates issues at that level as well.

I highly recommend this book and would pray that this is the direction the church, and especially Reformed Baptist Churches, would head.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Great Authors Webinar Series

Vision Forum is having a Great Authors Webinar Series from April 15th to May 27th:

Gather your family for seven engaging evenings of learning online as part of Vision Forum’s exclusive Great Authors Webinar Series. Hear live lectures from seven leading authors discussing their timely books, and engage in interactive Q&A — all part of an intimate online discussion with your favorite Christian authors. A valuable supplement to any home school program, this special webinar series offers a great opportunity for families to study important subjects together — a powerful educational tool for home education, church, and family.

The Great Authors Webinar Series — featuring Doug Phillips, Dr. George Grant, Dr. John Morris, Douglas Bond, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr., Kevin Swanson, and Dr. Voddie Baucham — will cover a broad range of topics: from biblical economics to creation apologetics; from an inside look into the lives of important culture-changers such as Margaret Sanger and John Calvin, to practical points of cultural and family reformation, and more.

April 15 – Doug Phillips – Why Poetry Matters — Poems for Patriarchs
April 22 – Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. – Biblical Economics and the Christian Family
April 29 – Dr. John Morris – The Truth about the Fossil Record
May 6 – Dr. George Grant – The Most Dangerous Woman of the 20th Century
May 13 – Douglas Bond – The Wonderful and Mysterious Life of John Calvin
May 20 – Kevin Swanson – The Future Christian Republic
May 27 – Dr. Voddie Baucham – How to Be a Man

You can also get the books spoken of in the webinar at a discount if you order them when you register.  Of course you can buy the set separately but the cost when registering for the seminar is much less.

The Ah the Life blog is having a drawing to give a free passe to this series.

Coming Soon: The Documentary IndoctriNation

Trailer for Colin Gunn’s new documentary IndoctriNation.

Some other clips from the IndoctriNation website:

You can see more clips on the website, here.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Thoughts on Resurrection Day

As we approach Resurrection Day I wanted to leave you with some thoughts for tomorrow:

Remember that just as God called the Hebrews out of their bondage to the Egyptians to come worship Him (Ex 5:1-3) and to be made His people (Ex 6:7) He calls us out of our bondage to worship Him and be His people. Thus the cross is not about us but about God and His work through Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection to call a people to Himself to worship Him. Let us not be so inwardly focused to forget the true focus is to be on God not us. I fear that all too often Resurrection Day ends up, in reality, being about us and not God.

While the cross is a gruesome thing I think that often we lose sight of how truly horrendous it was when we simply focus on the act of crucifixion. This is not to minimize its painfulness and its humiliation but to say there is much more going on than the torture that is often depicted in movies. Yes it was painful and a disgrace to be crucified but many men died such a painful and humiliating death. Yes, this act is heightened by it being done to the Son of God but we need to see more of what is going on. The true pain and suffering we need to realize was the fact that on the cross Christ took on the sins of His people (1 Ptr 2:21-24); past, present and future. The pain of those sins is so much more than the external pain we so often focus on. This is what we need to see and realize when we think of the cross. It is because of this great sacrifice we can come to God through Christ who was not only the final High Priest (Heb 4:14) but also the final sacrifice(Heb 9:24-26).

As far as celebrating Resurrection Day we need to realize that we in effect are to do this every time we take of the Lord’s Supper. We should have the same desire to remember all that God has done in His Son when we partake of the elements of the Lord’s Supper that we have on Resurrection Day. The Lord’s Supper should remind us that God in sacrificing His Son (Is 53) has allowed us to draw near to Him (Heb 4:16; 7:19; 10:22). As with the various celebrations God instituted in His word they were to be reminders and not the only times to contemplate what God has done. Let his be true of Resurrection Day and for that matter the Lord’s Supper. Let us remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for His people daily by lives which are to be lives of worship. Lives that offer up continual worship to Him because of what was done on the cross (Heb 13:15).

I am sure there is more that could be said but these are some thoughts that come to mind on the eve of this year’s Resurrection Day.

“He has Risen”