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$5 Friday from Ligonier
Some great resources here including Blood Work by Anthony Carter.

Not Many Were Wise
James Anderson with insightful analysis of a recent study about the relationship between intelligence and faith.

The Sheer Weightlessness of so Many Sermons
Al Mohler on “Why Expository Preaching Matters.”

6 Seminary Tips from the 18th Century
“What do I wish someone had told me before seminary?” Perhaps this question was on the mind of Samuel Pearce (1766-1799) when he sat down to answer an overdue letter to a young man preparing to enter the Bristol Baptist Academy in 1798.”

Healthy Churches are Messy
Why do some healthy churches look unhealthy from the outside?

10 People You Don’t Want in Your Meetings

7 Ways The Old Testament Deepens Our Love For Jesus

One of the ways that children sometimes try to deepen their relationship with their parents is to travel back to where their father or mother grew up. They might visit historical societies, read archives, and gather newspaper stories and artifacts from old friends. Doing so, they build a bigger and better picture of their father or mother and experience a deeper sense of connection with them and love for them.

In a similar way, Christians go back to the Old Testament to build a bigger and better picture of Jesus Christ. By connecting with His past, we connect better with Him and deepen our love for Him. The Old Testament connects us with Jesus’ past in the following ways (read the rest of this post at where I explain the following points):

  1. We are reading Jesus’ Bible
  2. We are learning Jesus’ language
  3. We are singing Jesus’ songs
  4. We are feeling Jesus’ feelings
  5. We are hearing Jesus’ voice
  6. We are seeing Jesus in action
  7. We are admiring Jesus’ trophies

Full post here.

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Toward a new understanding of modesty
“Actress, designer, and former White Power Ranger Jessica Rey has a mission: to get as many women as possible in one-piece swimsuits. ”

God’s Word to the suicidal
Adrian Warnock gathers together a number of Bible verses to help prevent suicide.

Counting the Cost (accurately)
Why tallies of Christian martyrs vary so widely (HT: Joel Miller)

Richard Baxter on Educating Children
Kim Shay mines the puritans for help in teaching our children. Staing with our kids, Ed Stetzer interviews Jason Helopoulos about his new book on family worship.

The Anger Clock
A perceptive cartoon about how Christians often rush victims to forgive their attackers and abusers.

Gentle Reformation Podcast
Barry York and Austin Brown and I talk about Christ in the Old Testament.

Don’t mess with dispensationalists!

Never in the history of (my) blogging has one short sentence caused so much grief! The offending words appeared in 7 Reasons the Old Testament is Neglected, where I wrote:

Although unintended, the dispensational division of Scripture into different eras tends to relegate the Old Testament to a minor role in the life of the Church, and of the individual Christian.

Not exactly a PhD thesis; and I thought I was being quite gentle (“although unintended,” “tends to,” “minor role” not “no role” or “tiny role”). But almost immediately Twitter started poking its beak into my eye, a friendly pyromaniac built a pyre, and Jesse Johnson lit the match

Now I take my tongue out of my cheek and welcome my dispy friend and Old Testament scholar (see his outstanding work on Proverbs), Dan Phillips, to put me to the sword with his response to my observation.


My friend David Murray is extraordinarily kind to offer a poor, benighted dispensationalist the opportunity to respond to his brief word, as quoted on the Ligonier site. David’s remark was a short except from a book I’ve not yet had the pleasure of reading, so I’ll try to focus on the excerpt alone and not bring in the whole warehouse.

First, I think dispensationalists are owed credit for their reverence towards the Old Testament. At least some Covenant Theology adherents (hereafter CTA – not to be confused with the rock album) used to acknowledge, if grudgingly, the fact that dispensationalists to a man affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of the whole OT, and that they carry that conviction out in how they approach issues of authorship and historicity. By contrast, I could name some famous CTA’s who are best known for what they don’t believe of the OT.

So it is ironic for David approvingly to quote the late Gleason Archer concerning the neglect of the OT, when Archer himself was a towering OT scholar, the author of a terrific book of OT introduction – and a dispensationalist.

Second, if I may adduce myself: I’ve been a convinced dispensationalist for some 40 years. It was my conviction of the divine authority of the OT that led me to start learning Hebrew in the early 70s, take extra classes in it, major in OT studies for my MDiv, do a thesis on Proverbs, and teach an array of classes in Hebrew and OT matters. I’ve always preached and taught extensively from all over the OT. I even wrote this book on Proverbs that is said to have some value to it. In fact, I’m preaching Proverbs right now! Also, I had the great joy of speaking at a conference on Messiah in the OT, in which I argued that the whole OT, literally from first verse to last, pointed to Christ. That was in England… which is near Scotland, right?

All of this, I would insist, is not in spite of my convictions as a dispensationalist, but because of them

Third, blaming us for the OT’s neglect because “the dispensational division of Scripture into different eras tends to relegate the Old Testament to a minor role in the life of the Church, and of the individual Christian” rather makes me scratch my head. David, do you think murderers should be executed, like Cain wasn’t? Do you eat ham sandwiches, and lobster, and bacon? Would you eat pork haggis? Do you wear clothes of mixed fabric? Do you mow your lawn on Saturday? When you sin (if you sin), do you head off for Jerusalem with a lamb to look up the local Aaronic priest?

This is a red herring that should be laid to rest. Whether 2, 3, or 7, all Christians recognize “eras” in God’s unfolding revelation. Before they got defensive, CT theologians even had a word for it. What was it, now…? Oh yes, I remember: dispensation.”

Fourth, that said, I will admit that dispensationalists have not all done the job we should of stressing the unity of Scripture, the vast degree of continuity, the oneness of the redemptive story. While I’ll opine that CTAs have erred in hammering flat some of the many distinctive developments in God’s plan (past and future) to suit their views of unity, I will also confess that, in reaction, we dispensationalists have sometimes overstressed the distinctives. We may sometimes be guilty of giving our folks a view of the Bible as a series of disconnected episodes rather than an overarching narrative. It’s an area in which I’ve grown myself over the years. I think that’s a fault of individuals, though, not of the system.

Though more could be said, I’ll stop here, sincerely thanking my gracious host (and beloved brother) for this opportunity to put in a word from his faithful brothers laboring here at the back of the theological bus.

Digital Poster: 10 Ways the Law Exalts Jesus

The law exalts Jesus?

Is the law not the enemy of Jesus?

Yes, if used wrongly, if used as a means of getting to Jesus by obeying it. But not if it’s used rightly, if used as God intended it to be used. For example, here are ten ways the law exalts Jesus.

1. An Exhibition of Christ’s Character: A person’s words tell us a lot about him. As Jesus is God’s eternal Word, who equally with the Father and the Spirit inspired God’s written Word, and also became God’s enfleshed Word, the law reveals the Son’s character as well as the Father’s and the Spirit’s

2. An Exposition of Jesus’ Life: The 10 Commandments tell us what Jesus’ life was like toward God and toward man, what He was like inwardly and outwardly.

3. An Example of Jesus’ Teaching: Jesus’ first sermon was on the moral law. He did not simply repeat it, but amplified, enhanced, and extended it.

4. An Examination in Jesus’ Light: The law shines the holy light of Christ into our lives, exposing our sin, convicting us, and showing our need of Christ and His obedience.

5. An Explanation of Christ’s Death: The law not only shows us our need for Jesus’ death but also explains the nature of it. If we look at it from the human viewpoint, the death of Jesus was the greatest act of lawlessness ever perpetrated. If we look at it from the divine viewpoint we see the justice of the law being executed.

6. The Extent of Jesus’ Death: Just as the law was concerned with reversing the effects of sin on the whole creation, so, in some significant ways, Jesus’ death reversed the creation-wide effects of sin. Though not intended to save every sinner in the world, Jesus’ death did have as one of its ultimate aims the restoration of order and life to a disordered and dying world.

7. The Execution of Jesus’ Judgment: The penalties attached to the law and their execution anticipate the final judgment that will fall on the disobedient and the ungodly.

8. The Enjoyment of Jesus’ Presence: Obeying the law did not and could not save, but it was linked to the Lord’s felt presence and the flourishing and enjoyment of spiritual life in the saved soul (Lev. 26:12; John 14:21).

9. An Entrance into Jesus’ Home: The law gives us an insight into a community that will only ever be perfectly established in heaven. There we will see the law’s order perfectly and beautifully honored and practiced – holy worship, holy rest, holy relationships, holy conversation, holy everything and everyone.

10. The Exaltation of Jesus’ Glory: The law exalts Jesus in the believer’s mind and heart by giving us a clearer sight of our need of Christ and also of the perfection of His obedience.

Let’s use the law as a friend, not as an enemy. Let’s use it as God intended, to magnify and honor Jesus in our lives.

This is one of a series of digital posters that Dave VanBrugge and Cameron Morgan designed to accompany Jesus on Every Page. If you buy the book before August 31, you can get all eight posters as part of a package of $100 of Old Testament freebies. RHB have the book for sale at a lower price than Amazon! 

RSS/Email readers may have to click here to view the poster. If you click on the image you should be able to see an enlarged pdf version of it.

How the Law Exalts Jesus

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Joost van der Westhuizen: Still Fighting on his Deathbed
Moving pictures and story about one of the greatest rugby players ever, now dying of motor neurone disease aged 42. If you Youtube his name you’ll find some incredible clips of powerful athleticism. Looks like he has also gone through some kind of conversion experience following a period of terrible immorality. He says, “But I know that God is alive in my life and with experience you do learn. I can now talk openly about the mistakes I made because I know my faith won’t give up and it won’t diminish.”

My Family Looks Different
I enjoyed Alicia Rollins discussion of her racial and spiritual identity. I love the way she ends: “I think because I am adopted it has always felt very natural to extend loyal and committed love to people who are not my family. The example of my parents helped create a mindset of what the truest family relies on – Christ’s blood. It’s important to make other people feel like they belong. Christ’s blood has a way of doing this.”

Your 4 Priorities for Seminary
Final year student, Matt Smethurst, has some good advice for Seminary newbies (and oldies too).

Are You The Worst Sinner You Know?
Joe Thorn hopes so.

Sergeant dismissed for saying nothing
And a warning along the same lines from Denny Burk.

Dear Pastor, Bring Your Bible To Church
From a plea for less technology to a plea for more! Not Tweeting? Repent!