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Tuesday
Sep022014

Heidelberg Catechism

Question 51. How does the glory of Christ, our head, benefit us?

Answer: First, by his Holy Spirit he pours out heavenly graces upon us, his members. (a) Then, by his power he defends and preserves us against all enemies. (b)

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep012014

Book Review: What's Your Worldview?`

Click image to purchase on Amazon.comAn Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions by James N. Anderson

I’ve been quoting What’s Your Worldview? in my recent Theological Term posts, and I figure if I’m going to quote a book that much, I ought to at least do a short review, right? (See below for a list of theological terms containing excerpts from this book.)

As the subtitle says, this is an interactive book. You won’t—and shouldn’t—it read straight through. The introduction tells us it’s a little like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, with questions to answer (or choices to make) that determine where you go next in the book. 

James N. Anderson is associate professor of theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and an ordained minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

In this case, the questions for the reader found in Part 1 are the big questions with the answers that together form a philosophical view of reality—or a worldview. The reader’s answers finally take them to a page that briefly indentifies and describes their own worldview, and also points out a few of its shortcomings.

The interactive concept behind this book is clever, making a difficult subject accessible—and James Anderson’s humor makes it entertaining, too. If you’re looking for an in-depth treatment of the subject of worldviews, you’ll be disappointed, but What’s Your Worldview? can’t be beat as a beginner book especially suitable for high school and college students, or anyone else who needs an introduction to worldview thinking.


Theological Terms with excerpts from What’s Your Worldview?:

Sunday
Aug312014

Sunday's Hymn: How Vast the Benefits Divine

How vast the benefits divine which we in Christ possess!
We are redeemed from guilt and shame and called to holiness.
But not for works which we have done, or shall hereafter do,
Hath God decreed on sinful men salvation to bestow.

The glory, Lord, from first to last, is due to Thee alone;
Aught to ourselves we dare not take, or rob Thee of Thy crown.
Our glorious Surety undertook to satisfy for man,
And grace was given us in Him before the world began.

This is Thy will, that in Thy love we ever should abide;
That earth and hell should not prevail to turn Thy Word aside.
Not one of all the chosen race but shall to Heav’n attain,
Partake on earth the purposed grace and then with Jesus reign.

—Augustus M. Toplady

 

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

Friday
Aug292014

Linked Together: Questions About Creation

Two suggestions for weekend reading.

Why Did God Create the World?
There’s new book by Ben Stevens—a reworking of a dissertation by Jonathan Edwards—that seeks to answer this question. Here’s a quote from it.

Creation must have arisen because of the way it accomplishes something God values. God values things like goodness, truth, and beauty. And yet those words are simply labels we have come up with to describe things that were, before creation, all him. So I think we are logical to conclude that if God could have created the universe to expand and increase himself—and, implicitly, all the things that we have come to know in the abstract as goodness, truth, and beauty—then that best explains the logic behind his decision to create a universe in the first place.

If you want to know more, read the rest of this excerpt (The Gospel Coalition), or better yet, read the book

What’s the Point of All This Futility?
Romans 8 tells us that God subjected creation to futilty. Why would he do that? The answer is counterintuitive, but is shouldn’t surprise us. 

God does things very differently from us (Isaiah 55:8). But there is a pattern. This is a God who chooses death as the means to life (Hebrews 2:14-15), foolish things as the means to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27), humility as the means to exaltation (1 Peter 5:6), and poverty as the means to riches (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Is it any surprise that he also chooses futility as the means to hope?

Read the rest (John Bloom at Desiring God Blog).

Thursday
Aug282014

Thankful Thursday


I’m thankful 

  • for sunflowers and for my favorite color, yellow.
  • for all the little cherry tomatoes I’ve eaten this summer. There are only four left to ripen on my tumbler tomato plant, but they are the last of daily picking for six weeks or so.
  • for the four season. It’s hard to let summer go, but it goes with the promise to return again, and for that I’m thankful. 
  • for cheap flights, which help us stay connected to friends and family. So many in my family have benefited from them recently and more will be flying places in the weeks to come. 
  • for the love of the brethren. I’ve seen examples lately and I’m thankful for believers who sacrifice to care for other believers. 
  • for the Holy Spirit who makes new people from old.

Also thankful today:

What are you thankful for? Leave a comment with your thanksgiving, post your thanksgiving on your blog, or tweet it. Give me the link by email or in a comment and I’ll add your thanksgiving to the list in the post.