31 October, 2006

Happy Reformation Day

489 Years

O the depth of the riches

both of the

wisdom and knowledge

of God!

how unsearchable are his judgments,

and his ways past finding out!

For who hath known the mind of the Lord?

or who hath been his counsellor?

Or who hath first given to him,

and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

For of him,

and through him,

and to him,

are all things:

to whom be glory for ever.


Romans 11:33-36

30 October, 2006

Where Do You Stand?

When the great doctor of the Reformation was asked to recant his writings since they went against the papacy and the traditions of the church, Luther was slow to speak and was quite articulate. In today's church we tend to be more quick to defend the status quo, and less likely to disrupt the supposed peace in our churches and denominations.

If there are things taught that are contrary to Scripture- we must stand for what is right. If there are practices that are contrary to the Word of God- we must defend the biblical positions.

Brothers and sisters, as heirs of the Protestant Reformation, we have a duty to guard and defend those truths that were recovered almost 600 years ago. I cannot imagine that the serious error and apostasy of the medieval church came in over-night or with one great sweep. We must stand on the Word of our savior. God help us.

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen. -Dr. Martin Luther

29 October, 2006

Sabbath a'Brakel: Benefits of Your Election

The assurance of one’s election also affords much liberty and gives much support in prayer. One may approach unto God and say, “My Father! Hast Thou not known me by name and have I not found grace in Thine eyes? Hast Thou not eternally known me to be one of Thy own, chosen me to be Thy child and the object of Thy love, and wondrously to glorify me by Thy grace, mercy, and faithfulness, which manifests itself in the way in which Thou hast led me and wilt lead me? Therefore, oh Father, consider the trials and tribulations which I fear, the troubles which press me down, and my sinfulness which oppresses me. These matters I desire, these are the needs of my body, and these are my spiritual desires. May it therefore please Thee to look down upon Thy chosen one and upon the object of Thy favor. May it please Thee to hear me and to grant my desire.” How this yields liberty, familiarity, faith that my prayer will be answered, and quiet submission! (I: 249-250).

27 October, 2006

Martin Luther on School Reform

I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.
-Martin Luther

How much more in today's society and in today's places of higher learning. May we love the Scriptures and seek out God in them as dilligent schoolmen in the school of the Lord Jesus Christ.

26 October, 2006

Luther on True Prayer

“All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired, although not in the hour or in the measure, or the very thing which they ask. Yet they will obtain something greater and more glorious than they had dared to ask.”
- Dr. Martin Luther

And what is it, dear Dr. Luther, for which we ask? We ask for none other than the reform of the Church. We desire to see the Bride of Christ, the glorious Church live as a pure bride, devoted to her husband and glorious head.

Brothers and sisters, pray for the Church. Pray that the broken walls of Zion would be rebuilt.

25 October, 2006

Derek Webb- The Church

I have come with one purpose
to capture for myself a bride
by my life she is lovely
by my death she’s justified

I have always been her husband
though many lovers she has known
so with water I will wash her
and by my word alone
so when you hear the sound of the water
you will know you’re not alone

‘cause I haven’t come for only you
but for my people to pursue
you cannot care for me with no regard for her
if you love me you will love the church

I have long pursued her
as a harlot and a whore
but she will feast upon me
she will drink and thirst no more
so when you taste my flesh and my blood
you will know you’re not alone

‘cause I haven’t come for only you
but for my people to pursue
you cannot care for me with no regard for her
if you love me you will love the church

there is none that can replace her
though there are many who will try
and though some may be her bridesmaids
they can never be my bride

‘cause I haven’t come for only you
but for my people to pursue
you cannot care for me with no regard for her
if you love me you will love the church

23 October, 2006

Split Peas

Here is a nice map of all of the main Presbyterian bodies in the USA. It shows the places of origin and the splits that have occured. This is a good resource for Presbyterians who have to try to explain where they are from and why their church was never connected with the PC (USA).

* The promoting of this map does not mean that I promote schism of any kind, nor does it justify why the Presbyterian churches are in such a state of chaos. Remember- the Lord prayed that we would be one as the Father and the Son are one. Much shame is on the Presbyterians for their schismatic ways.
Hebrew grammar test this Thursday and a vocabulary test a week from tomorrow. Pray for me.

22 October, 2006

Sabbath a'Brakel: On Reading the Word

Read, search, and meditate upon the Word of God with all diligence and persistence. This should even be the practice of kings. "And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life" (Deu. 17:19). It is the duty of scholars as well. "Give attendance to reading" (1 Tim. 4:13). It is the privilege and obligation of the lowly and of every individual. "Search the Scriptures" (John 5:39); "Have ye not read?" (Mat. 12:3).

The eunuch read while riding in his chariot (Acts 8:28). The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). How everyone ought to practice this in private, prior to going to work, both by himself alone, and with his family! At noon when one nourishes his body, he ought also to nourish his soul. In the evening after work, one must end the day by seeking some refreshment from the Word of God. In the meantime, while engaged in his occupation, by meditating upon what has been read, the soul will maintain communion with God. He will be enabled to understand the spiritual meaning as well as to experience the power of God's Word. This will cause the soul to grow in grace, protect against vain thoughts, control the tongue, suppress corruptions, and direct man to fear God (I: 77).

21 October, 2006

Mother Kirk and Her Translations

I have not read the book- but here are some quotes that were sent to me from a fellow seminarian during a discussion on translation and textual traditions. If the quotes are reflective of the quality of the book, then it is quite worthy as a read.

'Now when the Reformers first rejected the abuses of the Roman Catholic church, they did so on the basis of Sola Scriptura - the Roman Catholic church responded by collecting all the variant textual readings and then holding them up in front of the Reformers and asked, which one is scripture alone? you need the Roman Catholic church and the Pope to tell you.'

'The Reformers responded, not as scientists, examining every textual manuscript (which they couldn't anyway, because the Vatican had most of them), but as confessing Christians, and said that the Sola Scriptura was contained in the manuscript family which contained the overwhelming number of manuscripts = the Received Text. (80% of all manuscripts).'

'The Reformers looked at the variant texts and saw what man can do (that is, thousands of scribal errors). Then they looked to the Received Text (or Textus Receptus; not the same as the Majority Text), and saw what God does (that is, He uphold His Word accurately).'

'All the protestant bible tanslations up to the KJV used the Received Text, until the NIV introduced textual criticism. Now most Bibles include the variant texts, because they're thought to be older and better. This is leaving the thoughts of the Reformers.'

20 October, 2006

Goals of Education

John Milton described Christian education by way of the telos, or the purpose of education. Today we seem to have reduced Christian education to mean the same thing that secular education means except with prayer and Bible reading.

Secular education plus Bible and prayer does not make Christian education, but sets up false dichotomies in the minds of our children. The realm of education cannot be removed from the idea of submission to God. Education needs to reflect our faith and our deepest core values.

The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, and to be like him.
-John Milton, Of Education, 1644

17 October, 2006

The Magnifying Glass and the Sackcloth

Why do we as Christians have such a difficult time living with the perspective of heaven in our minds and hearts? Why do we, as Christians, often struggle with worldliness and find that most of our anxieties are related to the temporal and not related to pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ. Why do we live with roots so deep into this world when the Bible tells us that we are mere pilgrims passing through. When we will fix our eyes on the prize, which is Jesus Christ in glory? When will we be found singing those pilgrim psalms as we march on to that city whose builder and maker is God? When will the ties to this world be cut so that we may be truly free to serve Christ as we ought?

The things of this world appear to us more, and those that are to come less, than they are; and hence it is that many are so hot and eager for things that be in the world, and so cold and heartless for things that be in heaven. Satan is here a mighty artist, and can show us all earthly things in a multiplying glass; but when we look up to things above, we see them as through sackcloth of hair: but take thou heed, and be not ruled by thy sensual appetite that can only savour fleshly things, neither be thou ruled by carnal reason, which always darkeneth the things of heaven. But go to the Word, and as that says, so judge thou. That tells thee all things under the sun are vanity, nay, worse, vexation of spirit; that tells thee that the world is not, even then when it doth most appear appear to be. Wilt thou set thine heart upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings, and fly away as an eagle towards heaven. The same may be said for honours, pleasures, and the like; they are poor, low, base, things to be entertained by a Christian's heart.
-John Bunyan, Paul's Departure and Crown

16 October, 2006

Dark Corners of the Soul

One of the great dangers of those who claim faith in Christ is not living in a way that reflects what one believes. Often people who have some theological knowledge are deceived in that they do not live in a way that reflects the grace of God that they claim. This is a very serious error for which each Christian needs to be on guard.

As we study the Scriptures and as we read sound theological books that encourage us and spur us on to greater godliness; we need to search out our own heartsand minds for the sin of hypocrisy. Each one of us have those dark little corners of our heart and mind that still need to be crucified and brought under the discipleship of Christ.

Let us live unto Christ, out of gratitude, for all that he has done and be careful to live out that which we profess.

"A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant."

15 October, 2006

Sabbath a'Brakel: The Devil's Assault During Prayer

Since the devil knows what strength, comfort, and benefit may be derived from prayer, he uses all the power and subtlety at his disposal either to keep you from praying or to trouble you while praying.
(1) He will suggest as many other activities to you as he possibly can, divert your thoughts elsewhere, and induce you to postpone prayer to a given time (having something else to do first).
(2) Sometimes he suggests that prayer is a work so difficult that you cannot do, are entirely unfit for, are presently in too sinful a condition, and that you should thus wait for a season when you will be more fit for it.
(3) Sometimes he gives a deep impression that prayer is both ineffective and fruitless.
(4) Sometimes the devil, as if throwing in a handful of dust, is also busy casting other thoughts into our minds while we are praying (IV: 239-240).

12 October, 2006

Preaching at Southfield RPCNA

Please pray for us as we travel to Southfield Reformed Presbyterian Church this weekend.

Nathan will be preaching both services and hopes that the Lord blesses the people of Southfield through the preaching of the Word. I am quite excited to have the opportunity to preach in such an historical church in Michigan's history. (This church is older than our state!)

Pray also that as we get to know these brothers and sisters in Christ bridges will be built to further the kingdom of God in Christ. Pray for us.

*It was also brought to our attention that Rev. Rick Miller of Dutton United Reformed Church had a stroke this week. Pray for him, his family, and his congregation as they work through this tragic event.

10 October, 2006

Christopher Love on Prayer

Prayer is one of the greatest weapons that the Christian Church has. She can fight against Satan, against the world, and against her members flesh with storming the throne room of Grace. Christ has attached great promises to prayer and it is one of God's primary means to work out His will in human history. Prayer is often neglected, and as James has said, we have not because we ask not.

There are many who pray sometimes and leave off praying again. Now this very much dulls men's affections in prayer. There is a Proverb: Use makes perfectness. I am sure it is so in the duty of prayer. Let a Christian pray often and he will come to pray well, and to pray with much enlargedness of heart. Let him leave off prayer and will find his heart exceeding straitened.

Take a key. If you use it frequently it will be bright, but if you lay it aside it will soon grow rusty. This it will be with a man's heart. Use prayer much, keep it close to the performance of a duty, for that is the way to have your heart bright. Let this key of prayer, which often opens heaven be used; it will be kept bright and your prayer will enter heaven. But let this key of prayer be laid aside and be seldom used and it will quickly grow rusty again. Your prayers and performances will not be able to enter heaven, and you will not be able to perform duty in this manner which God expects. If you do not watch your prayer with all carefulness, you will lose your zeal and fervent affection, and your desire after God in duty.
-The Zealous Christian, c.1653

08 October, 2006

The Kisses From Christ's Mouth

Is your experience of Christ one of doctrine and cerebral belief, or is it one that encompasses all your affections? Many Calvinists err in being focused on the mind at the expense of the affections. God has called us to love him with heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Our brethren in the Old Economy understood this as they longed for the day of full salvation. They longed to be kissed with the kisses of the Redeemer's mouth.

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, that is, be reconciled to me, and let me know that he is so; let me have the token of his favour." Thus the Old-Testament church desired Christ's manifesting himself in the flesh, to be no longer under the law as a schoolmaster, under a dispensation of bondage and terror, but to receive the communications of divine grace in the gospel, in which God is reconciling the world unto himself, binding up and healing what by the law was torn and smitten; as the mother kisses the child that she has chidden. "Let him no longer send to me, but come himself, no longer speak by angels and prophets, but let me have the word of his own mouth, those gracious words (Luke iv. 22), which will be to me as the kisses of the mouth, sure tokens of reconciliation, as Esau's kissing Jacob was." All gospel duty is summed up in our kissing the Son (Ps. ii. 12); so all gospel-grace is summed up in his kissing us, as the father of the prodigal kissed him when he returned a penitent. It is a kiss of peace." -Matthew Henry, Canticles

A Sabbath a'Brakel Call to Self-Denial

A person who does not deny self:
(1) is a slave of his lusts, makes that which is of the world his portion, and insists that his lusts be satisfied at any cost.
(2) entertains great thoughts about himself.
(3) has this proud disposition of the heart engendering a desire to be honored and perceived as such.
(4) has himself in mind when he is or intends to be in presence of people.
(5) takes careful notice of what everyone says of him.
(6) will immediately be displeased at heart if, in his estimation, he is not loved, served, and revered according to his wishes.
(7) is envious of others if they receive more love and honor, and do more business than he does.
(8) becomes sorrowful and despondent if others do not fulfill his desires.
(9) will be a zealous Christian in the realm of religion, as long as he can gain love, honor, and profit--yes, he even wants to be counted among the most orthodox (III: 404-405).

07 October, 2006

Jack be Nimble, Jack Be Quick- Jack Go Under Limbo Stick

It seems as though the Church of Rome, which claims to never change, is changing their position on where unbaptized babies go when they die.

03 October, 2006

Approaching God in Character

Our day and age has brought about what we deem as the "worship wars". The worship wars are Christians battling out their perception of worship. Generally the debates revolve around preference and who prefers hymns versus "contemporary" songs. These churches also desire to battle over things such as organs versus guitars and drums.

The problem with this whole argument is that no one has taken the time to stop and to ask what God desires in all of this. The American church has not stopped to ask about God's character or how he has revealed himself in his Word. The debate usually never leaves the horizontal aspect of ascetics, preference, or "the way that I see it is...".

God has revealed himself in his Word and we need to reflect that character. He has also revealed principles of worship and we must bow to his sovereign will... God is in His holy temple- let the whole earth be silent.

God is a Spirit infinitely happy, therefore we must approach him with cheerfulness; he is a Spirit of infinite majesty, therefore we must come before Him with reverence; he is a Spirit infinitely high, therefore we must offer up our sacrifices with deep humility; he is a Spirit infinitely holy, therefore we must address him with purity; he is a Spirit infinitely glorious, we therefore must acknowledge his Excellency... He is a Spirit infinitely provoked by us, therefore we must offer up our worship in the name of a pacifying mediator and intercessor.
-Stephen Charnock

02 October, 2006

Dr. Joseph Pipa

Se Dr. Joey Pipa will be lecturing this evening at
Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.
His topic will be the
sanctifying of the Lord's Day.
This is a much neglected topic in today's Christianity- even in Reformed Churches which hold this in high regard.
If you are able to attend, it is at 7:30pm.
If you are unable to attend, you can request a copy in tape, CD or mp3 format.

01 October, 2006

Your Lord's Day a'Brakel

The effect of spiritual courage is a courageous prevailing in the battle and a courageous perseverance in obedience toward God. That competence or propensity which never translates into deeds is useless. God has given His children grace for that very purpose--not that it would remain dormant and concealed within them, but in order that they would labor with it (III: 336-337).