October 9, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_R. C. Sproul’s book, The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word, is free for Nook and Kindle. I don’t know how long it will last. While we’re talking free ebooks, Monergism has over 150 free ebook, and they are all good.

Why Did God Allow Satan to Harm Job and His Family? Certainly, this is a question worth grappling with.

Will Christians Be Secretly Raptured? If you think so, I’d encourage you to read this Gospel Coalition piece.

Kevin DeYoung helpfully writes about things we won’t regret. I want to keep my regrets to a minimum.


Left Behind

October 6, 2014

The movie we’ve all been waiting for is here. Here is a review from a professor at one of the schools I graduated from (Talbot). It is a fairly warm review. However, I’m not sure how objective Alan Hultberg, the article’s author, can be given that the pre-trib view is hardwired into the school’s Statement of Faith. Job security might dictate that he go along with the film’s theology. Scholar, Craig Keener, offers a critique that isn’t so positive. Here is a quote:

Many people in these churches take for granted that this is what the Bible teaches. They may be surprised to discover that no biblical text specifically and unambiguously mentions believers being removed before the final tribulation. That limitation may be why we have no clear record of any interpreter noticing the view in the Bible before 1830.

Regardless of how accurately the film reflects the truth of the Bible, we can pray that God will use renewed interest in the end times to draw people to himself.


August 19, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Last week we were up at our family’s cabin above Butte Meadows. There are a couple of phone lines but no TV and very slow internet. This to say we hadn’t heard a thing about Ferguson until we returned. I’m not qualified to comment in any way about the event. Thabiti Anyabwile is moving back to the States. I do think what he writes is worth thinking about. Ray Ortlund appreciates his honest post.

John Piper articulates what happens to us at conversion. This a helpful primer about our salvation.

This month’s free audio book from Christian Audio is Anna and the King. “This poignant story of Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam has captured the fancy of millions worldwide through not only the book, but the play The King and I. Wonderfully narrated by Anne Flosnik and nominated for a prestigious Audie Award in 2013, it is certainly one of the most entertaining audiobooks we have given away.”

Often when reading the Bible we interpret too literalistically. Don’t throw rocks yet. When something is symbolical we can easily miss the point of what is being said. I’m “all thumbs.” What do you picture when I say that? Yeah, you don’t imagine that I have five thumbs on each hand. Clumsy, yes, but not five thumbs. Too often when trying to interpret prophecy we default to a literal interpretation. So when the Bible says that there is no sea in heaven does it mean that there will be no long walks on the beach? R. C. Sproul unpacks the meaning of this enigmatic line.


March 7, 2014

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_With Russia on the move, the end time pundits and their wackiness kick into high gear. Kim Riddlebarger sorts through the latest insanity.

Here are some intriguing pictures from the past. They range from tragic to terrific. Then there are those food lies that will make you question whether on not you can trust anyone.

Randy Alcorn helpfully think about how we as believers should respond in an increasingly hostile culture.

Always entertaining …


May 22, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_You have heard me say many times that while the law directs it in no way empowers obedience. Grace does. Tullian reminds us of this truth. The shortest path to obedience is grace.

Eschatology is certainly one of the areas where evangelicals disagree. Why is this? Usually it comes down to two hermeneutical issues. The first is the question of whether a passage is symbolic or not. If a passage is meant to be one way, literal for example, and we interpret the other way we will get the passage wrong every time. The second issue is how the New Testament reshapes Old Testament promises. Some see that it doesn’t; others understand that the shadowy promises of the Old Testament look radically different under the full light of the New Testament. R. Scott Clark touches on both of these issues in helpful way in this fairly short piece.

Finally, R. C. Sproul’s Critical Questions books are all free in the Kindle format.


September 12, 2012

I love my girls but I’d often harass them about how they would throw. They’d hear, “You throw like a girl.” Here’s an interesting piece about the throwing gap. Of course, the problem goes away when you use a frisbee instead of a ball.

Go to the local Christian bookshop and you will find many books that attempt to link what is happening in the news to Bible prophecy. I, for one, loathe this stuff. My bookshelves sag under the weight of these worthless tomes that become quickly out of date following the next president/disaster/war. Randy Alcorn expresses much the same thought.

Here’s some advice for the woman who struggles with the idea of hospitality. Here is the summary:

So go on, de-clutter if you need to. Or embrace the clutter and use your imperfect home to comfort imperfect people. God’s Truth is that our homes are on loan and should be used to bless others. Embracing this truth is the best cure for the Can’t-Have-People-Over Syndrome.

Arguing cogently and fairly can be a tricky proposition. What works on the fly in our heads might not actually lead to an understanding of the truth. Justin Taylor unpacks a Mike Horton piece about avoiding logical fallacies. Now, if I can just remember this stuff.

Mark Altrogge talks about what to do when we don’t have a desire to obey God. This is a followup to the piece I pointed to on Monday about not having to sin. Confess, pray, step out in faith.

Steven Lawson’s “The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards” is $0.99 for Kindle.

I must confess that I didn’t watch any of the political conventions this year. Not one minute. I’m such a cynic when it comes to politics. I do think that politics is important, I just don’t have the stomach for all the corny self-promotion. It is embarrassing. It’s like watching a mocumentary like The Office. I have heard that the Dems were jumping up and down on the pro-choice drum. Even Cokie Roberts, who isn’t in any way conservative, said, “I think this Democratic Convention was really over-the-top in terms of abortion. Every single speaker talked about abortion. At some point, you start to alienate people. Thirty percent of Democrats are pro-life.”

Keeping in mind my confessed ignorance, let me post what I think had to be the high point of the DNC. It is the closing prayer by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. What were they thinking letting a Roman Catholic pray?


July 16, 2012

Why are you cast down my soul? Mark Altrogge reminds us of our truth; truth that extracts us from discouragement.

Why are you cast down O my soul?  Why are you anxious? Here’s why – because you’ve taken your eyes off God. You’ve quit hoping in God. You’ve taken God out of the equation.  When we quit hoping in God and believing we shall yet praise him, there’s nowhere else to go but down.

Here R. C. Sproul discusses the Rapture. As usual, I appreciate what he says.

I once spoke with one of the leading representatives of this school of thought, a man who teaches the “pretribulation” rapture. I said to him, “I do not know a single verse anywhere in the Bible that teaches a pretribulation rapture. Can you tell me where to find that?” I’ll never forget what he said to me: “No, I can’t. But that’s what I was taught from the time I was a little child.” I told him, “Let’s get our theology from the Bible rather than from Sunday school lessons we heard years and years ago.”

You might have heard that an Arizona pastor was recently jailed for having a Bible study in his home. This is alarming on a number of levels, however, I’m not sure this is so much a religious issue as it is a private property issue.

“Messy Church: A Multigenerational Mission for God’s Family” is free today for Nook and Kindle. I’m not sure where the author goes but I like the idea of the title. So often churches are age-graded so that parents and children can escape each other. I think the church functions best as a multigenerational family. Also the book “The Gift of Work: Spiritual Disciplines for the Workplace” is $1.99 for Kindle. The subtitle is “learning to thrive in your job.” Sounds interesting.

Want To Study Revelation?

February 9, 2012

I often hear requests to study Revelation. I went through the book in Sunday School soon after I landed in Cottonwood. No doubt, I’ll do it again in the future. In the meantime, here the wonderful theologian and pastor, Sinclair Ferguson, unpacks the books in 23 parts. I’ve haven’t listened to what he has to say but I can assure you that his teaching is first rate.

As you might have heard, Harold Camping has resigned from Family Radio and repented of his sin. Obviously, this is a good thing. The whole ordeal reminds me of how difficult it is to run well for an entire life. Family Radio was a strong ministry for years. I remember hearing as a little kid how much my grandmother, who lived in the Bay Area, appreciated the ministry of KEAR. We need to be on our knees asking for the grace needed to run well until God calls us home.

My letter in the Bowman newsletter this month discusses the situation with Mr. Camping. It should arrive in mailboxes tomorrow. If you don’t mind reading the article from a screen instead of paper, here it is:

As you probably know, Harold Camping was again wrong in his prediction concerning the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus was supposed to gather his elect (Matthew 24:31) on October 21, 2011. (I know you know the prediction was wrong, but you might not have known about the prediction in the first place.) This is the third time he’s missed the date of Christ’s return. Back in the early 90’s Camping had predicted that Jesus would return in 1994. Then, earlier this year, he was adamant that Jesus would return on May 21. Some were so convinced of his veracity that they sold their stuff and gave the proceeds to Camping’s ministry in an effort to promote the message of salvation. While their desire to spread the good news is commendable, their spiritual radar was definitely either turned off or malfunctioning.

What do we learn from this third strike from Mr. Camping? First, we need to have at least a rudimentary grasp of the basic truths of the word lest we too are gullible. Jesus was exceedingly clear in Matthew 24:36 that no one would know about the timing of his return. The angels don’t know; the Son in his humanity didn’t know. If this is true, why in the world would we think that Mr. Camping or Mr. Lugg or anybody else would know the date of Jesus’ return? Language means something. Words are strung together on a page to communicate something specific. When Jesus said, “no one knows,” he meant “no one knows.” When we can reshape a clear message into something that means the very opposite, we’re in trouble. (I, of course, realize that there is such a thing as irony.) This manipulation of the text happens frequently in our day. The word of God is a precious gift. We must guard and heed its clear message.

Second, even though we don’t know when Jesus will return, we do know the basic outline of the last days. Space prohibits me from mapping out the contours of the future. Broadly, we know that Jesus will return and then there will be the judgment (Matthew 16:27, 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12). This schema is repeated over and over again throughout the New Testament. But, more narrowly, we know that, “Our gathering together to him … will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1-3). Pastor Bob just covered this in his Sunday school class. The truth of these verses is clear. While we don’t know the day or the hour of the Son’s return, we will know when he’s in the neighborhood. We’ll know because “the rebellion” (Pastor Bob says that this is a reference to some in the visible church falling away.) will have taken place and the “man of lawlessness” (the Antichrist) is revealed. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:4 wrote that the day (the return of Christ, 4:16) won’t surprise believers. All this say, since the rebellion has not occurred and the Antichrist hasn’t been revealed (He has to be a global figure.), we know that Jesus isn’t going to return today. So, even if Mr. Camping were able to manipulate “no one know the day or the hour” to mean, “I know the day,” other scriptures indicate that Christ’s return could never have happened on October 21.

Finally, while Camping’s date setting was flawed on a number of levels, it did have one positive result. (Negatively, the lost had another reason to scoff at believers and our God.) It forced people to think about their preparedness for Christ’s return. This is never a bad thing. After Jesus announced his return in Matthew 24 he said, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” The Second Coming is an exciting truth. It reminds us that one day everything will be made right and we’ll be ushered into God’s glory. It reminds us to live for what really matters. People’s eternal destiny is at stake. How foolish we are when our resources are primarily used to make this brief life comfortable. Let’s live like we really believe Jesus is coming for us. Stay awake!

In Case You Missed It …

October 25, 2011

Because of my usual hurried pace, I forgot to keep tabs on the Second Coming, of all things. Remember, Harold Camping, in his third revision, said that Jesus would return last Friday, October 21? It’s a good thing that Harold was wrong because on Friday I was trying to put a sermon together and had totally forgotten to pack my bags. I guess we’re back to no one knowing the day or the hour and the command to, “Stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”