31 March, 2007

As You Commune; Think on Christ's Love

Yet another step of Christ's love, for like the waters of the sanctuary it rises higher: that Christ's love should not cease at the hour of death! We write in our letters, "your friend till death." But Christ wrote in another style, "your Friend after death!" Christ died once, but loves forever. He is not testifying His affection to us. He is making the mansions ready for us, John 14:2. He is interceding for us, Hebrews 7:25. He appears in the court as the Advocate for the client. When He has finished dying, yet He has not finished loving. What a stupendous love was here! Who can meditate upon this and not be in ecstasy? Well may the apostle call it "a love that passes knowledge," Ephesians 3:19. When you see Christ broken in the Sacrament, think of this love. Dr. Thomas Watson, 1665

26 March, 2007

Prepare Your Heart

John Willison's Sacramental Catechism was the first book that I have turned to this week in preparation for the Lord's Supper this coming Sabbath. My particular copy is quite special to me. My great friend, Shawn Anderson bought it for me about 6 years ago. It is a second edition and in very nice shape.

The book is a great way to begin preparation for a communion season since it is full of Scripture references and thoughts on how to best prepare and examine yourself. Willison discusses the need for the communicant to have grace before coming to the Lord's table. The Supper is a spiritual feast and one must have an appetite before one comes to a feast. Dead men and men who have no hunger do not have a need or a desire for a great feast. So too, the Lord's Supper is for quickened men and men with a hunger for more grace.

In this week before partaking of this heavenly meal, I am called to search my heart to look for two things. Do I have grace that has resulted in saving faith? Do I have a hunger for greater love and communion with the Lord Jesus Christ?

What is in your heart?

25 March, 2007

Sabbath a'Brakel: Reading Your Bible

He who, in reading the Bible, has accumulated numerous promises to be readily available upon becoming subject to a trial has a great advantage (II: 619).
Therefore read your Bible frequently, and accustom yourself to find a promise or an example for every occasion, and you will experience that evil will neither grieve you, cause your faith to waver, nor cause you to be in despair and to be discouraged (II: 619).

23 March, 2007

Puritan Paperback Series

This Lord's Day we will finish A Treatise on Christian Love by Reverend Hugh Binning. We will be moving into our next book, All Things for Good by Thomas Watson. Dr. Watson originally published this work in 1663 under the title, A Divine Cordial. I have an electronic copy that I am willing to send anyone that would like it. The Banner of Truth edition will set you back about $6.00!

We will meet this Lord's Day following evening worship at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. There will be a fellowship meal during the discussion. Please bring a dish to pass.

22 March, 2007

Douglas Wilson Weighs in on the Birth Control Debate

The issue of whether or not Christians should use birth control is quite a topic! Without the details, it has been discussed from various angles in my home. I cannot say that I have the final word on the issue, nor do I think that it is a closed debate. But it is worth reading on from all angles. Here Douglas Wilson gives his understanding of the debate. I must say, it is quite balanced (believe it or not).

19 March, 2007

The Confessing Church

As Confessional Christians, both Reformed and Presbyterian believers hold to documents that summarize the teachings of Scripture. Why do we do this? Is this necessary? Does this contradict sola scriptura? There are many questions that one must ask before signing on to a Confessional position.

The Confessing Church by Dr. Pipa is a worthy read.

The picture is Jerusalem Chamber in

Westminster Abbey.

This is where the Westminster Standards were written.

18 March, 2007

Sabbath a' Brakel

The object of uprightness is the will of God. God has revealed to His church in the law what He enjoins and what He forbids. The upright person embraces this will willingly and joyfully as being the will of God--without any exception as far as matter, manner, time, or place are concerned (III: 429).

16 March, 2007

Saint Patrick: Presbyterian Father of Ireland

The Celtic Church fought for many years to maintain the rule of Saint Patrick against the pressures of Rome. It was not until c. 900 that Rome finally won over the hearts of the Celtic people, thus taking the ideals of Saint Patrick under the authority of a bishop that Patrick never gave homage to. Patrick is to be commemorated by Protestants as the Evangelist to Ireland. The Lord used Patrick mightily for his honor and Ireland's good.

Thus I give untiring thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently offer my soul as a living sacrifice for Christ my Lord; who am I, Lord? or, rather, what is my calling? that you appeared to me in so great a divine quality, so that today among the barbarians I might constantly exalt and magnify your name in whatever place I should be, and not only in good fortune, but even in affliction? So that whatever befalls me, be it good or bad, I should accept it equally, and give thanks always to God who revealed to me that I might trust in him, implicitly and forever,and who will encourage me so that, ignorant, and in the last days, I may dare to undertake so devout and so wonderful a work; so that I might imitate one of those whom, once, long ago, the Lord already pre-ordained to be heralds of his Gospel to witness to all peoples to the ends of the earth. So are we seeing, and so it is fulfilled; behold, we are witnesses because the Gospel has been preached as far as the places beyond which no man lives. -Saint Patrick

Read the Confessio of Saint Patrick here.

15 March, 2007

Brian McLaren Poster

Here is a nice poster of the Emergent Church guru, Brain McLaren. My fellow seminarian, Michael Dewalt is to be blamed for this one. Pass it around! (And yes, I have read his books, which gives me a voice in the 'conversation'!)
* Addendum: There are many voids that the Emergent Church are filling and they are to be commended for that.

14 March, 2007

War Psalms of the Prince of Peace

Those of us who sing the Psalms in public worship know the benefits of singing imprecations against God's enemies. The imprecatory Psalms are a way for the Church to cry out to God for the suppression of his enemies and the advancement of His kingdom. When evangelicals speak against the imprecatory Psalms, they are speaking against a tool that the Lord has given for His glory and our good.

When the Lord Jesus taught the Church to pray, he gave both positives and negatives for His kingdom work. We too, as we sing imprecations, and pray for the suppression of God's enemies, should remember that these songs are part of the corpus of inspired songs. I fear that many evangelicals have chosen not to sing these because they appear to be less-than-Christian. They do the Church a disfavor.

The hatred is there in the imprecatory psalms- festering, gloating, undisguised- and also we should be wicked if we in any way condoned or approved it, or, worse still, used it to justify similar passions in ourselves.
-CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1958), p. 22.

12 March, 2007


People often ask why God allows suffering. Many post-moderns have concluded that suffering is outside of God's will and that he really does not have control over it. I believe that Augustine answers the question well when he rephrases it. He does not ask why God allows suffering; but what suffering will reveal. When people suffer, their true character comes out. The fruit that a tree produces depends on the life in their roots.

Though the sufferings are the same, the sufferers remain different. Virtue and vice are not the same, even if they undergo the same torment. The fire which makes gold shine makes chaff smoke… Stir a cesspit, and a foul stench arises; stir a perfume, and a delightful fragrance ascends. But the movement is identical.
-Augustine, City of God

11 March, 2007

Sabbath a'Brakel

Prayer is a sanctifying duty. After having been with God on the mountain, Moses' countenance had become radiant. When the Lord Jesus prayed, a holy radiance came upon Him (Mat. 17:2). This still occurs if we have been much in prayer. Even if it appears that the matter for which we have specifically prayed has not been received, we shall nevertheless come away from prayer with a holy and radiant soul. Reflect upon this and your soul will take flight, and you will be desirous to pray (III: 469).

08 March, 2007

Some Reformed Presbyterian History

It was purchased by the RPCNA in 1923. )

I have doing a lot of reading on the history of the RPCNA. What amazes me is the number of congregations that disappeared between the years 1888-1930. There was a major division in 1899 in which the church lost nearly 50% of its membership. It does seem as though the Lord has been pleased to cause her numbers to grow in the last 40 years though. Pray for her.

On the account of the high attainments, unpopular principles, and strict
discipline of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, her numerical growth has been
slow, but her moral strength and salutary influence have been greatly increased…
The ‘ridicule’ once made of them for advocating their principles of Bible civil
government has changed to the ‘admiration’ of those who have the grace to preach
the rights of King Jesus over the nations of the earth… All that is needed for
the reformation of society and the settlement of all controversies is a faithful
application of the Word of God.
William Melancthon Glasgow, Growth of the Covenanter Church. Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter. Vol. XXVI. No. 12, December 1888, p.27

Tertullian on A Godly Marriage

The ancient Roman world was one that had a very low view of marriage. The love between a husband and wife was seen as inferior to the 'love' that a homosexual relationship could bring. The Christian Church fought against this idea and showed forth the beauties of what a life according to the Word of God would accomplish in a home. Below is a text from c.160 by the theologian Tertullian (the theologian who coined the term 'Trinity'). This type of marriage would be counter-cultural to the typical Roman marriage. Is it counter-cultural to our view of marriage as well?

How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in spirit. They are, in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake of God’s Banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. Tertullian, c.160

05 March, 2007

Christian Love in Action

Our Puritan Paperback book study got off to a great start. There were over 20 people in attendance and the participation was very good. We have started with Hugh Binning's Christian Love. What a convicting treatise. I imagine that when blood was being spilled over doctrinal differences, Christian Love was more difficult than in our fat and cozy culture. I pray that the Lord uses this study for his glory and our good!

Now, imagine then, what excellency is in this grace, which is made the character of a son of God, of one begotten of the Father, and passed from death to life? 1 John 3.10,14. 'In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: Whosoever doth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren: he that loveth not his brother, abideth in death.' 1 John 4.7. 'Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.' And truly it is most natural, if it be so, that the children of our Father love each other dearly. It is monstrous and unnatural to see it otherwise. But besides, there is in this a great deal of resemblance of their Father, whose eminent and signal property it is, to be good to all and kind even to the unthankful; and whose incomparable glory it is to pardon iniquity, and suffer long patiently. A Christian cannot resemble his Father more nearly than in this. Why do we account that baseness in us which is glory to God? Are we ashamed of our birth, or dare we not own our Father? Shall we be ashamed to love them as brethren whom he hath not been ashamed to adopt as sons, and whom Christ is not ashamed to call brethren?

Any thoughts on which Puritan Paperback we should do next? Mrs. Sikma recommended John Owen. I think that we will have to work our way up to Owen!

Next meeting:
March 24th following evening worship.
Held at Puritan Reformed Seminary
during a fellowship meal.

04 March, 2007

Sabbath a'Brakel: The beauty of the Church

In this church there is both glory and elegance. For a moment give attentive consideration to the glorious state of that kingdom and its true subjects. The earth and the nations are enveloped in darkness; however, wondrous light is to be found in the church. The glory of the Lord illuminates this city of God and the Sun of Righteousness enlightens it with His light. Outside of her is nothing but pollution, abominations, and ungodliness; however, within there is her holiness, purity, and glory…. Ought not everyone therefore to delight himself in Zion, and be desirous to be a member of this church, a fellow citizen of the saints, and a member of the household of God? Should not everyone be desirous to submit himself to the protection and government of this King? For not only are all the these things said concerning this kingdom and this King, but all are most certainly true. (II: 58).