30 August, 2006

True Universalism

One day all people will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. All men will one day fear Him as they ought as well as cry out to Him for mercy. All men will spend eternity in direct response to their relationship with Christ on earth. Ryle rightly calls hell, truth known too late. Does this not call out for a response from you and me, as well as put a burning desire within that we should warn sinners of this truth? But most importantly, should this not cause us to 'gossip' the truths of the Gospel to those around us?

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The change that will come over the minds of unconverted men after death is one of the most fearful points in their future condition. They will see, know and understand a hundred things to which they were blind while they were alive. They will discover, like Esau, they have bartered away eternal happiness for a mere 'mess of pottage'. There is on infidelity, skepticism or unbelief after death. Hell is truth known too late. -JC Ryle

28 August, 2006

Bills From Books

I just purchased most of my books for this semester. (95%). My total cost was $659.70. This price is high, but it is not as outrageous as undergraduate book prices. Each book that I purchased today will be added to my pastoral library which will prove to be one of my greatest resources after ordination.

When I was doing my undergraduate studies I had a math class that I dropped within the first 2 weeks of class. When I took the $90 book back to the bookstore they informed me that they would not be using this text next year and they refused to buy it back. I left it on the counter with the attendant and left. There is no time in my life ever that I would need this book. The price that one pays for undergraduate books is out of control!

Lydia had a Human Anatomy book that she used in one of her undergraduate courses. She sold it on eBay for about $70 to recover some of the cost. We did not insure this item and it got lost. Not only did we lose the book, we had to pay that girl her $70 back. Double whammy.

I still at am ease about the cost of my books today. Building a good theological library is quite important to me. It is a catalyst for the reading of sound theological literature. $670...Wow.

A New Year Begins

My new school year at Puritan Seminary begins this week. I look forward to another year of study and of spiritual enrichment that the seminary encourages. This year will bring new challenges as I begin my Hebrew studies as well as go out to preach in the churches (Lord willing). Please pray for me as I again take up the challenge of balancing family, school, church, and work.

27 August, 2006

Your Lord's Day a'Brakel

The subject of this virtue is the heart of the believer…. The seat of uprightness is neither to be found in the countenance, the clothing, the mouth, nor in their actions, but in their heart. Their intellect is illuminated by a wondrous light, the will embraces the spiritual matters which are revealed to them by that light, and their passions go out after those matters in order to have them in possession and to perform them in a manner pleasing to the Lord. They thus have an internal propensity, and that propensity shines forth in their countenance, clothing, words, and deeds (III: 428-429).

24 August, 2006

Standing on Holy Ground

How often do we forget that when we come to worship (whether private, family, or public) we are entering into communion with the true and living God. Too frequently we allow our thoughts to wander to the things of this world and we refuse to train our hearts and our minds to focus and to come before Him with grace in our hearts.

How much would backslidings and faint-heartedness cease if we would be aware of our standing on Holy Ground.

When we come to a sermon, or when we take the Bible in our hands to read, God cites and summons us...His majesty is present therewith, and we are present in His sight. -John Calvin

21 August, 2006

Abortion is Okay Under SOME Circumstances

Today, at a press conference, our great 'Christian' president was asked what he thought of the abortive drug 'Plan B' . His reply had nothing to do with the fact that this drug may cause murder, nothing to do with the law of God 'Thou shalt not kill', or even about the necessity to teach abstinence as a 'moral alternative'.

Instead of these answers, our president, who claims Jesus Christ as Savior, said that he thought that 'Plan B" should only be available by prescription. Wow!

20 August, 2006

Your Sabbath a'Brakel

Oh, that you were truly destitute and perplexed! Then there would be hope for your salvation, not because of your perplexity, but because there is a Surety for such perplexed ones--Jesus Christ, whose voice sounds forth, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mat. 11:28). To you who are perplexed, without hope, destitute, and troubled, I proclaim that there is one Savior--a Savior unknown to the heathen. Although they know that there is a God, nevertheless they do not know that there is a Savior and Surety who is proclaimed among us. This Surety calls you, invites you, and promises to save you if you come to Him. Therefore rejoice in such a blessed reality. Look outside of yourself, go to Him, receive Him by faith, and be saved (I: 491).

19 August, 2006

The BVM in Milky Rich Goodness?

The so-called Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared in chocolate according to a recent article.

"For Jacinto, the discovery came just in time. The single mother said she has struggled with personal problems for months and says she was about to lose her faith.
"I have big problems right now, personally, and lately I've been saying that God doesn't exist," she said, pulling the dog-eared prayer card out of her pocket. "This has given me renewed faith."

Whoever said that Rome breeds superstition must not really believe in the ability of dark chocolate.

18 August, 2006

A Scottish Christian Heritage

I must say that I am excited to begin this book. The forward has even gotten me excited!

From the forward:
To have books is not the same, however, as reading them. It is not only books that need to be handed on. Continuing testimony to their worth is no less needed, and I hope this volume will be a help to that end.
These pages are not principally about books. The theme is rather people and movements; yet the books from those times bring the abiding spiritual lessons to us and prevent the history becoming an excercise in nastalgia. The best Christian books never leave us as mere spectators. As one of these authors once advised a friend, 'Study the Spirit's work for the purpose of experiencing it.'

17 August, 2006

In ___ We Trust

Have you ever wondered about all of those 'forwards' that people send you asking you to sign a petition to keep In God We Trust on the penny? Or the one about the woman who dies after jumping out of her car to meet Jesus in the rapture? Or the one that tells of the Koran predicting the American military cleansing the lands of Allah? You can read up on all of the great amounts of religious trash that circles the internet and see for yourself what is true or untrue.

Free Will Hymnology

'Rabbi' John Duncan, a staunch Presbyterian and much loved missionary to the Jews of Budapest, once said of the hymns of Charles Wesley,
I have a great liking for many of Wesley's hymns, but when I read some of them, I ask, 'What's become of your free-will now, friend?'

15 August, 2006

The Approachability of the Lord Jesus Christ

Many people make excuses about why they do not approach the Lord in prayer. Some feel as though they are not 'Christian' enough to approach Christ yet. They desire to approach him, but they want to renovate their own lives first. This is a tragedy in thinking.
Others desire to approach Christ, but they feel as though their problems are insufficient to approach the Throne Room of Grace. They think that Jesus is more concerned with greater matters than they can supply.
Friends, the doors of Grace have been opened wide for all kinds of sinners. Walk through them and receive the grace and the healing that you desire.

Dear reader, what is your state? Are you feeble in prayer? Are you tired in prayer? And yet, is there anything of real want, of real desire in the heart? Is it so? Then draw near to God. Thy frame will not be more favorable tomorrow than it is today. You will not be more acceptable or more welcome at any future period than at this moment. Give yourself unto prayer. I will suppose your state to be the worst that can be, your frame of mind the most unfavorable, your cross the heaviest, your corruption the strongest, your heart the hardest; yet betaking yourself to the throne of grace, and with groanings that cannot be uttered, opening your case to the Lord, you shall adopt the song of David, who could say in the worst of frames, and in most pressing times, 'But I give myself unto prayer' (Ps.109.4) ~Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878

12 August, 2006

Sabbath Morning a'Brakel

No one could be Surety and bring man to God but He who was God and man in one Person. The Son of God first had to be personally united to the human nature before sinful man could be restored into friendship and union with God. Behold, how great a work it is to save a sinner! What manifold wisdom was required to conceive such a remedy! All the holy angels together could not have conceived such a remedy as God has conceived and revealed. They are desirous to look into this, but they shall never be able to comprehend it. What a blessing it is that none but He was able to do this, that He has sent His own Son for this purpose and caused Him to unite personally with the human nature! What omnipotence is required to execute such a design! (I: 511).

11 August, 2006

To Spank or Not to Spank

The spanking of children is a topic that sends many strong emotions stirring through the hearts and minds of Christians. Some Christians say that spanking is 100% necessary to be obedient to God in the area of the rearing of children. Other Christians believe that spanking is borderline abuse or just bad parenting.

It seems to me that the word of God promoted the idea of chastisement quite clearly. My confession is that in my family we do use spanking as one of the disciplinary techniques for raising our children. When one spanks it needs to be out of love and with the goal of restitution of the relationship between parent and child; but more importantly, between family and God.

Charles Bridges is one of my favorite commentators on the book of Proverbs. He presents a balanced view as well as a Christological view of the topic.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction
shall drive it far from him. -Proverbs 22.15

What parent, what instructor of children, will not bear sad, but decisive, testimony to the foolishness of the child? 'A little innocent' --is the miscalled name of fondness and fancy. One only of Adam's race, and he--adored be his name! preserved by his holy conception (Luke, i. 35)--lays claim to it. Foolishness is the birthright of all besides. The early development of waywardness and passion,--even before the power of speech;* before the child is capable of observing and imitating those around him--is a touching, but undeniable, evidence of the innate principle. Resistance therefore cannot begin too early. Education should commence even in the cradle.

Observe--it is foolishness, not childishness. That might belong to an unfallen child. No moral guilt attaches to the recollection "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child." (1 Cor. xiii. 11.) A child is to be punished as Mr. Scott wisely observed--'not for being a child, but for being a wicked child.' Comparative ignorance, the imperfect and gradual opening of the faculties, constitute the nature, not the sinfulness of the child. The holy "child increased in wisdom." (Luke, ii. 52.) But foolishness is the mighty propensity to evil--imbibing wrong prin- ciples, forming bad habits, entering into an ungodly course. It means the very root and essence of sin in a fallen nature--the folly of being revolted from a God of love. It includes all the sins of which a child is capable-lying, deceit (Ps. lviii. 3), wilfulness, perverseness, want
of submission to authority (Job, xi. 12)--a fearful aptness for evil, and revulsion against good. It is not the sheet of pure white paper; not the innocent, or even the tractable, creature, easily guided by proper means, that we have before us; but a little heart full of sin, containing all the seeds of future evil, multiplying to a fruitful harvest. We delight in our children's harmless play. We would make ourselves one with them in their sportiveness. But this foolishness-- visible every hour before our eyes--never let it be a subject of sport, but of deep and constant sadness. Nor let childhood plead as an excuse for this foolishness. Children's sins may not be chargeable with the guilt of adult responsibility; yet God has awfully shewn, that they are sins against Himself. The judgment on the "little children" of Bethel is enough to make "both the ears of" thoughtless parents "to tingle." (2 Kings, ii. 23, 24)

But whence the origin of this foolishness? "Look unto the rock whence we are hewn." Look unto "Adam" our father, and unto "Eve that bare us." (Isa. li. 1, 2.) As is the root, so ate the branches. As is the fountain, so are the waters. Our nature was poisoned at the spring. Our sinful parent, having lost God's image, could only "beget a son after his image" (Gen. v. 3)--a sinner begetting a sinner. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John, iii. 6), and could be nothing else. Now "who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" (Job, xiv. 4; xxv. 4.) The creature therefore is produced into being with a radical enmity to God;--"by nature" therefore "a child of wrath."
(Eph. ii. 3.) The entail is held from "our first father," and can never be cut off. There is no division of this sad inheritance. Each of his children has the whole. His Maker testifies, that he is "a transgressor from the womb, that his heart is evil from his youth."1 In shame he acknowledges the testimony--"Behold! I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Ps. li. 5.) If the joy of a child's birth blot out the remembrance of its pain and sorrow (John, xvi. 21), yet must not this joy be chastened in the humbling recollection of what
the child brings into the world--foolishness? That self-will, that proud independence, that shakes the very foundations of society, is the birth-sin of our fallen nature. Nor does it lie only on the surface, like some childish habits, easily corrected. It is bound in the child's heart,
'held firmly there by chains invincible to human power.'* It is incorporated into his very nature. And so various are its forms, so subtle its workings, that the wisest parent is often at a loss how to detect and treat the evil.

The prescribed remedy, however, is clear. It is vain to bid the foolishness depart. And little inclination is there in the child himself to drive it far away. The rod of correction is distinctly named, and repeatedly inculcated, as God's own means for this important end. And surely the thought of having been an instrument of producing nature envenomed against a God of love must constrain the parent to use the means thus divinely appointed for destroying the deadly

Only let the child see, that, as with our heavenly Father, love is the ruling principle;1 that we follow the example of the wisest and best of parents, that we use his rod for driving men from foolishness;2 that, like him, we "chasten, not for our pleasure, but for our child's profit" (Heb.
xii. 10); not from caprice or passion, but from tenderness to his soul. Use the Lord's means, and we can then, what otherwise we cannot do, wait in faith for the promised blessing. Many a stirring movement of the flesh will be restrained. Man's will will be put down, and God's will
gain the supremacy. Shame of sin will issue in abhorrence; and in this sorrow and humiliation the path of wisdom will be chosen, loved, and followed. (Chap. xxix. 15.)

We have indeed no right to demand to see God's reasons for his ordinance. Yet we may be permitted, in part at least, to trace its workings. Habits are of immense value, as wrought into the character by the Holy Spirit. But there must be a beginning, and the use of means to fix the principle. If a child be punished for falsehood; to avoid future punishment, he abstains, and speaks the truth. As he advances, he finds the blessing and comfort of the right path. He
learns gradually to speak truth from a higher motive. Insensibly his conscience acquires tenderness respecting it; and it becomes a principle in his character. Thus the rod of correction performs its work with permanent benefit.

* Augustine mentions a living demonstration of the fall--the sight of an infant, before
it could speak, shewing an evident look of envy and passion towards another infant about
to share its nourishment. He adds--in reference to himself--'When? I beseech thee, 0
my God, in what places, when or where, was I innocent?'--Confess. lib. i. c. 7.

10 August, 2006

Some new blogs

Eva Lemmon? has added another blog to her already hard-to-beat blogging.

Droll has decided to rejoin us with another attempt at blogging. I hope that he does well..he has great things to say.

Loretta has made another attempt at blogging as well. After an incident of blogging about work while at work...has she learned her lesson?

Are there any other new good blogs that I should check out? What was that new Joe Schelling address? Leave a comment about a blog that you think that I may be interested in and if I like it I will put it on my blogroll.

09 August, 2006


The Geneva Bible has recently been updated with current English spelling, modern font, and complete with the 1599 notes that have been loved by Protestant Christians for years. This would be worth the purchase for anyone who prefers the Byzantine Textform but does not really enjoy the Authorized Version (King James). When you read the Geneva Bible you see that the Reformed believed in having a Bible translated into the vulgar or common tongue. I prefer this translation and am ecstatic that it is available once again for use by the people of God.

Click here for a short history of the Geneva Bible by Gary DeMar.

07 August, 2006

Catechism 101

Training children in theological education can be tough for most Christians. It is especially the duty of the father, although in our culture the mother is usually the spiritual head.

In my family, the Children's Catechism has been a helpful place to start with our two children who are under 3 years-old. Soon we will begin the Shorter Catechism, but as children who do not have well-developed verbal skills- we start with the children's catechism.

05 August, 2006

Lord's Day a'Brakel

On a Church's Lack of Discipline (A Word to Office Bearers)

You are the cause that the church is becoming degenerate to the core. You are responsible for all the consequences of this. As a result, God's Name is dishonored, many people are kept from joining the church who otherwise would do so, souls are destroyed who by the use of the keys of God's kingdom would repent, and the flourishing of godliness is obstructed. You will be the cause that one member imitates the other in the commission of evil, and that the godly are oppressed and secretly must sigh over the wretched condition of the church. Know that the Lord will bring you into judgment for all these things, and that there you will have to give an account of the manner in which you have ruled the church entrusted to you and concerning the souls over whom the Lord appointed you as an overseer. The Lord will demand the blood of all those souls who will perish due to the neglect of the use of this key. Oh, what a weighty responsibility this is, and how dreadful will God's judgment be upon all unfaithful elders! Oh, that many would never have been elders! Oh, that all elders would be stirred up and, in this matter, would lift up their hearts in the ways of the Lord! (II: 185).

04 August, 2006

A Case of Conscience: Fiction and Other Entertainment

An amazing amount of ink (pixels?) has been spilled concerning the topic of fiction and what I see as a more broad topic- entertainment.

We live in an age of entertainment, where people no longer find their identity by what they do for work and where they worship; but we live in an age of 'what do you do for fun?'. Our Reformed forefathers were not kill-joys, as fiction writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne portray, but were people who attempted to define 'what they do for fun' in the context of how it will make them able to serve God and man in a refreshed manner.

In Richard Baxter's Christian Directory he gives many thoughts to meditate upon when choosing a sport, recreation, or other entertainment. I would like to share a few that may help us in our discussion of fiction as well as carry it to other means of recreation:

Keep a watch upon your thoughts and fancies, that they run not after sports and pleasures. Else you will be like children who are thinking of their sport, and longing to be at it, when they should be at their books or business.

Avoid the company of... time-wasters. Come not among them, lest you be insnared [sic]. Accompany yourselves with those that delight themselves in God (2 Timothy ii.22).

See to the sanctifying of all your recreations, when you have chosen such as are truly suited to your need; and go not to them before you need, nor use them beyond your need. See also that you lift up your hearts secretly to God, for His blessing on them; and mix them all along as far as you can with holy things; as with holy thoughts and holy speeches.

Be much more severe in regulating yourselves in your recreations, than in censuring others for using some which you mislike. For you know not their case, and reasons, and temptations...