“Orthodoxy has held for centuries that the cross is an essential of Christianity…If you take away the cross as an atoning act, you take away Christianity.”
In Dr. Sproul’s little book The Truth of the Cross, the author discusses the importance of the atonement to the Christian faith: essentially, without the cross there is no Christianity. In order to understand the need for the atonement, he insists that we really need to understand both the character of God and the nature of sin. As I’ve found with Sproul’s other books, he takes an extremely weighty and significant subject and makes it clear and understandable to the average Christian reader. He explains concepts and terms relevant to the atonement, such as ransom, substitute, redemption, covenant, propitiation, expiation, total depravity, imputation, and others. Continue reading
“Praise and thanksgiving is the work of heaven and he begins that work here which he will always be doing in heaven…None but the godly can praise God aright.”
A painting of Watson by Gustavus Ellinthorpe Sintzenich
The Puritan preacher/writer Thomas Watson (1620-1686) is considered one of our church’s honorary elders (in absentia), since we enjoy reading and referencing his books and sermons so much. A few years ago, we went through his book The Godly Man’s Picture at our monthly ladies’ breakfasts at my church, because of course the term “godly man” in the book’s title doesn’t refer just to the male species but is relevant to women as well. The book was very profitable and stimulated good group discussion about what it means to be a godly person. Although written some 350 years ago, the topic and illustrations are still quite valid and applicable to the Christian life today. Watson is a master illustrator, and as the title of the book states, he uses the Word of God to draw in some detail a portrait of what a godly person looks like, as well as what he or she is not like. Continue reading
“There are no greater riches than Christ, and you feel this especially keenly when they want to take Him away from you, when they forbid you to share these riches with people . . . But people need Him so much! Jesus—is there any name more dear to a redeemed soul?”— Georgi Vins
As Americans, we have enjoyed increasing freedom and prosperity as a nation over the past 200 years. While not every individual has experienced the same level of prosperity or opportunity, generally speaking, we are currently more privileged in many ways than the majority of the rest of the world. We often take our comfort and liberties for granted until we feel they are actually being threatened. We may look at other countries that have had oppressive governments, both in the past and the present, and worry that America could one day find itself moving in a similar direction. One such country that is often used as a comparison is the Soviet Union, the nation behind the dreaded “Iron Curtain.” Continue reading
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.”
I’m afraid that many are going into this Election Day with fear and trembling. Some are concerned that our nation may never recover from the results of the outcome. I’ve had to keep reminding myself that regardless of how this election turns out, our Sovereign God is still in the Heavens, and King Jesus is on His throne. The prophet Isaiah writes in chapter 40:
Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales…
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.
Scarcely shall they be planted,
Scarcely shall they be sown,
Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
When He will also blow on them,
And they will wither,
And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
And with that I would like to share this article from Tim Challies, a Canadian citizen who has had to fight the temptation to fret and despair as he has witnessed what has taken place in Canada’s government. I hope this will help give some perspective:
Put Not Your Trust in Presidents
Whether or not you choose to celebrate the last day of October as Halloween and how you do so falls into the category of liberty of conscience, in my opinion. However, I think it’s unfortunate that so many Christians get caught up in and distracted by Halloween festivities, yet they ignore (or are ignorant of) the fact that October 31st is an important day historically in the church.
Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of the day in 1517 that Martin Luther challenged the erroneous, unbiblical teachings and practices of the church when he nailed his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg. It wouldn’t be until the following year that Luther really came to understand the important doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, as stated in Romans 1:17, “For in [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” He came to see that sinners are justified by God based solely on the work and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and that we contribute none of our own righteousness to our salvation. The themes and focus of Luther’s preaching and writing from that point can be summed up in what came to be known as the “Five Solas” of the Reformation: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, and Soli Deo Gloria; that is: By Grace alone, Through Faith alone, In Christ alone, According to Scripture alone, For God’s Glory alone!
Many good articles have been written about what Martin Luther did and the results that we still see and enjoy today, including this brief overview which was published a couple of years ago on the Ligonier Ministries blog. Continue reading
“For the Auca to have no love for the white man was understandable. Could Christian love wipe out the memories of past treachery and brutality? This was a challenge to Jim and Pete as they hoped to bring the message of God’s love and salvation to these primitive people.”
A few years ago I read Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot (who passed away recently in June 2015), in which she shares the life and writings of her husband Jim Elliott, one of five missionaries who were murdered in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. I was familiar with the incident, but after reading about the life and heart of Elliot, I really wanted to learn more about how God had moved in the lives of these men, bringing them together in that place. I was interested to learn what kind of men these were who were willing to risk their very lives for a people they didn’t know and had a very good reason to fear. I was curious how their plans came about and what actually transpired on that fateful day. Elisabeth Elliot relates this story in first person in her first book Through Gates of Splendor, which was published the year following the five missionaries’ deaths. Continue reading