A Word to Fathers on Father’s Day

Ps103-13

On this Sabbath Day, in which we give special remembrance to the calling and blessing of fathers, I call your attention to the Word of God in Psalm 103:13:  “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.”  This verse from the holy Scriptures goes right to the heart of what it means to be a father.  It expresses it in one word:  pity.  A father pities his children.

…Now, that truth of Jehovah’s fatherly pity must be seen in a Christian father.  For the pattern of all of our life is to be holy as God is holy, that is, to pattern our life after God.  For instance, in marriage we must live as God lives with His bride, the church.  Therefore, as fathers, we must seek to conform our earthly parenting and fathering to His heavenly fathering and parenting.  God says, “I have shown My pity to you as My son.  I am your perfect example.  As I have pitied, so you are to pity your children.”  You must cultivate a relationship with your children in which you seek to reflect the fatherly pity of God.

Yes, that means for sure that as a father you are called to meet their earthly needs.  You are to fill their bellies.  You are to clothe their backs.  You are to put a roof over their heads.  And, yes, leave them an inheritance.  But what a horrible thing if that is what fathering means to you—if it is nothing more than that—if you do not prayerfully create a climate of spiritual warmth in your home, of tenderness and pity and affection for your child.  You must be as God, filled with tender pity and affection and compassion in Christ for your child.  Do not say, “Oh, that pity stuff is for wimps.”  Oh, no.  As a father you are to reveal the pity of God.  That means that you must not allow coldness, distance, ill-will, resentment to be the atmosphere of your home.  If you allow that to be the atmosphere of your home between you and your child, if you are guilty of those things, if you are guilty of the abuse of your child, if you are guilty of harboring resentments and ill-will and distance and coldness toward them, you are being ungodly.  You are not as God!

This is the question with which we must confront ourselves as Christian fathers today:  Would you want God to be the kind of parent to you that you are to your children?  Fathers, you and I are confronted by that question today in God’s Word.  Would you want your children to conceive of God’s heart as they conceive of your heart?  That is serious business.  You say, “I never thought about that when I got married.  I never thought about that when I started to have children.  You mean to say to me, pastor, that all of my child’s concepts of God are also to be based upon what they see in me as a father?”  I answer you, “Yes.  That is the teaching of God’s Word.”  That is why we tremble.  That is why we need to be on our knees before God.  That is why we need the holy Scriptures.  That is why we need the faithful church of Jesus Christ to instruct us.  And that is why we need one another in the house of the Lord.  We must work together as men of God, that we might be fathers in Christ.

That is why you need, as a man of God, a husband, father, to know more of your God—more and more of Him.  What will our children think of their heavenly Father?  Much of the answer is to be found in you, especially in those formative, pre-school years.  Oh, we are not perfect.  That is why repentance is so necessary in our lives before our children.  But, you see, if we resent those children; if in our frustration we slap them across the face; if we do not use wise, consistent, biblical discipline applied to the seat of their pants; if instead we rant and we yell and we call them names and we have no time for our kids — if that is the way we go about things and brush it off as insignificant and we go on in those patterns of life, then we are being ungodly.  What will that little boy, that little girl, think when you teach them to fold their hands and pray, “Our Father who art in heaven”?  How will they have the courage to look to heaven and believe that they are precious to their heavenly Father?  That means that you must rear your child conscientiously, principally, from the Word of God.  You must seek to be conformed to the pattern of your heavenly Father.

Taken from the message, “A Father’s Pity,” based on Psalm 103:13 and delivered on the Reformed Witness Hour program for June 15, 2014 by Rev. Carl Haak. You may find the audio version here.

My Summer 2019 Baseball Read

EHarwell-my-life-2001As you may know by now, each summer I try to read a book with a baseball theme – sometimes history, sometimes humor – but always centered on America’s past time and my favorite summer enjoyment. My last one celebrated the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series championship! That was a great read and kept alive my memory of that historic victory by the “Cubbies”.

This year I am reading a book that is a collection of baseball stories from the pen of sports journalist and long-time Detroit Tigers baseball radio announcer Ernie Harwell. Found in a local thrift store this winter, the book is a 2001 Detroit Free Press publication and titled, Ernie Harwell: Stories from My Life in Baseball. (Harwell wrote a baseball column for the Detroit Free Press for many years and other of his stories have been published also.)

I grew up listening to him on the radio and have fond memories of his lively broadcasting (For example, after a player was called out on strikes, he would declare, “He stood there like a house by the side of the road!”).

This book contains Harwell’s short stories of baseball players, managers, and events and is written in the same lively and interesting style with which he announced the games. They are fun to read. Allow me to share one with you today involving a famous MLB pitcher who had Michigan roots, longed to play for the Tigers as a child, started with them, but was traded and became famous with another team [He is now a TV announcer for MLB.]. Here you go:

John Smoltz was destined to be a Tiger. His grandfather worked on the Tiger Stadium grounds crews. And as a Lansing [MI] sandlotter, John dreamed of the day when he would pitch for the Tigers.

He signed with Detroit on Sept.22, 1985, and began to pursue that dream. Then came the shock of his baseball life on Au.12, 1987.

‘I was in the dugout at Glen Falls [NY]’, he recalled. Somebody handed me two notes. One said, “Urgent. Call your father.” The other said to call Tiger Stadium.’

John called his dad first.

‘Have you heard?’ his father asked?

‘No, what?’

‘You’ve been traded to Atlanta. I saw it on the news.’

‘I couldn’t believe it, ‘ John said. ‘My dream of pitching for the Tigers was over. I called Tiger Stadium and Dave Miller confirmed the trade. Detroit was swapping me for Doyle Alexander. The Braves wanted me to report immediately to Richmond.’

…Since he was 7, Smoltz had loved the Tigers. He heard all their games on the radio. His dad and brothers would drive from Lansing to see the Tigers. His grandfather would interrupt his grounds crew duty, grab John by the hand, and introduce him to team executives Bill Lajoie and Jim Campbell.

‘Someday,’ his grandfather would say, ‘this young man will be pitching for you guys.’

…He was a Tiger for three years until the Alexander trade. Then he became a star with Atlanta.

But he will never forget Aug.12, 1987, and the trade that changed the career of a young pitcher who had been destined to be a Tiger. [pp.20-22]

Ann Arbor’s Wonderful Libraries

20190606_161757

Last week Thursday and Friday my wife and I took a few days off to explore the city of Ann Arbor, a couple of hours east of Grand Rapids.

20190607_103851

And while Ann Arbor is home to the mighty victors, the University of Michigan Wolverines, it is also home to a great study and research university, supported by its wonderful libraries, archives, and special collections.

20190606_132444

Plus, the downtown area is packed with great eateries (Zingerman’s famous deli – our lunch stop!) and shops, including a few bookstores.

20190606_142116

We spent time visiting several of the libraries, including the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, the sister center to the Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids (both operated by the National Archives).

20190606_142924

 

There are terrific displays of Ford’s life and work, as a student-athlete at UM (he played football), as a long-time congressman from Grand Rapids, then as the Vice-president of the U.S. under R. Nixon, and then as President. The other side of the library features Ford’s influential wife Betty. It is worth your while to visit this important presidential library.

20190607_101130

But there are other libraries that hold amazing treasures too. Probably my favorite is the William Clements Library, named after one of the university’s early regents who donated his collection of rare books, maps, etc. to UM and for which this library was built in 1923.

20190607_101651

It is a beautiful old structure, designed with Italian renaissance style. And the holdings are truly amazing.

20190607_103935

Another wonderful library was the Hatcher Graduate Library, especially its special collections. This included a room which held the desk of poet Robert Frost who taught at UM,  the rare St. John’s Bible, and a 2nd-3rd century Greek papyrus (P-46) of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians (chapters 11-12).

20190607_104009

20190607_105522

But the other libraries are wonderful too (all in a cluster in the central campus area), such as this one.

20190607_110426

20190607_110758

And so is the Museum of Art located in that same cluster.

20190606_160547

20190606_160625

One of the first rooms you enter is full of art with Christian and biblical themes – from the Flood to Esther, to St. John on Patmos.

20190606_134934

20190606_134945

And, of course, among the shops in town we visited was a classic old bookstore, and another store that had some neat book art.

20190606_134158

But don’t worry, our trip was not just about libraries and bookstores. We also did some other shopping, spent a few hours at Ikea in nearby Canton, and played a round of golf on the way home. Two great days of relaxing while profiting from the world of books, archives, and history.20190607_100724-effects
The Lawyers Club at UM.

Pentecost 2019: In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day – A. Kuyper

rev1-10

Like him [the apostle John], we must be caught up in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.

…With the exertion of all their strength in their divine calling, but at the same time being diligent in their calling in this world while simultaneously being ‘in the Spirit,’ are two things that are mutually exclusive. The most we can ordinarily achieve is that in the context of our daily work and all our troubles is that the Spirit of God supports us and guards us, maintains and warns us, stimulates and inspires us, and protects us from destruction.

But to realize something greater and higher as our basic condition all day long, and not just during the moments we pray, so that everything working together serves that purpose, we need the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day. This means that we need a day when the Lord works in a special way and when we are still. To that end, two things are true simultaneously. First, the Sabbath serves to bring us into the Spirit. Next, being in the Spirit is the only thing that makes the Sabbath a reality for the Christian.

When those converge and complement one another, the Sabbath encircles us with a quiet freedom, and we find ourselves in the Spirit. That’s when we hear behind us that voice that sounds like a loud trumpet. It is clear and penetrating. Then our soul experiences a blessed fellowship as he lays his right hand on us and tenderly says: ‘Don’t be afraid, for behold, I was also once dead but am now alive. Yes, I live eternally, and no one else but I holds the keys of death and hell.’

This is when there is Sabbath in us and around us!

This is to receive the eternal Sabbath already in this life.

The prayer rising from the hearts of God’s children is that that Sabbath might increase in their lives.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.376-78.

This particular meditation (#11 of Volume 2) is titled “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” and is based on Revelation 1:10  – “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”

The Real Power to Obey God’s Voice – J. Calvin

JCalvin1Hence we collect, that it is not in our power to obey what God commands us, except this power proceeds from him.

Here the Prophet narrates that he was chosen by the command of God. For God never prostrates his people so as to leave them lying upon the earth, but continually raises them afterwards. As to the reprobate, they are so frightened at the sight of God, that they utterly fall and never rise again. But it is different with the faithful, because the pride of the flesh is corrected in them; then God stretches forth his hand to them, and restores them, as it were, from death to life. And this difference we must mark diligently, because we see the impious often dread the voice of God. But if they disdainfully despise him when speaking, they are frightened by his hand when some signs of his wrath and vengeance appear: but yet they remain lifeless. In like manner the faithful dread the voice of God, but the result is altogether different, as we see here: because after God has humbled them, he commands them to be of good courage, and shows that he intended nothing else but to establish them by his power. At the same time the Prophet teaches that nothing was accomplished by this voice till the Spirit was added. God indeed works efficiently by his own words, but we must hold that this efficacy is not contained in the words themselves, but proceeds from the secret instinct of the Spirit. The Prophet therefore shows us both truths. On one side he says, I heard the voice of God, so that I stood on my feet: God thus wished to animate his confidence: but he adds that he was not raised up by the voice, until the Spirit placed him on his feet

This work of the Spirit, then, is joined with the word of God. But a distinction is made, that we may know that the external word is of no avail by itself, unless animated by the power of the Spirit. If any one should object, that the word was useless, because not efficacious by itself, the solution is at hand, that if God takes this method of acting there is no reason why we should object to it. But we have a still clearer reply: since God always works in the hearts of men by the Spirit, yet his word is not without fruit; because, as God enlightens us by the sun, and yet he alone is the Father of Lights, and the splendor of the sun is profitless except as God uses it as an instrument, so we must conclude concerning his word, because the Holy Spirit penetrates our hearts, and thus enlightens our minds. All power of action, then, resides in the Spirit himself, and thus all praise ought to be entirely referred to God alone. Meanwhile, what objection is there to the Spirit of God using instruments? We hold, therefore, that when God speaks, he adds the efficacy of his Spirit, since his word without it would be fruitless; and yet the word is effectual, because the instrument ought to be united with the author of the action. This doctrine, thus briefly expounded, may suffice to refute foolish objections, which are always in the mouths of many who fret about man’s free-will: they say, that we can either attend to the word which is offered to us or reject it: but we see what the Prophet says. If any of us is fit for rendering obedience to God, the Prophet certainly excelled in this disposition, and yet the word of God had no efficacy in his case, until the Spirit gave him strength to rise upon his feet. Hence we collect, that it is not in our power to obey what God commands us, except this power proceeds from him.

Taken from Calvin’s Commentary on Ezekiel, chap.2:1-2, which reads, “And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. ” Emphasis (bold type) added.

 

Jesus’ Prayer for Glorification – and Our Prayer for It

God the Father blessed the Son as the Mediator of the elect with a predestined glory that included his promised reward for faithful accomplishment of his work. The glory promised to him included being the Head of the church, Savior of the world, and visible image of God crowned with glory and honor.

God gave this glory to Christ, then, at the very moment that God predestined him to it, even though it was obscured to men in his state of humiliation. Because the Son was a preexistent person, this was not only possible but also suitable to God’s grand design and purposes. The Son knew before the foundation of the world the glory that would be his as Mediator. He voluntarily entered into this world of sin and misery, knowing that he alone would redeem the world from its present state of bondage and decay. Rightly, then, he asked for his glory as the One who would fulfill the preordained purposes of God.

We can and must pray for those things that have been given to us from before the creation of the world. God has blessed us in eternity with all spiritual blessings in Christ, including a conformity to his image (Rom.8:29). We can pray, ‘Father, glorify us, by making us like your Son in this life by faith and in the life to come by sight.’ We possessed this glory when we were chosen in Christ (Eph.1:4-5), but the fulfillment of this glory, which is ours, since we are raised with him already (Col.3:1), is still to come. Until then, we must pray for this reality to take place.

prayers-jesus-jones-2019Taken from chapter 11 (“Jesus Prayed for the Glory He Had Before the World Existed”) of Mark Jones’ new book, The Prayers of Jesus – with the subtitle Listening to and Learning from Our Savior (Crossway, 2019), pp.99-105.

The significance of this prayer of Jesus recorded in John 17:4-5 is that God answered this petition of our Lord when he exalted His Son, in His resurrection but also in His ascension, the reality and blessedness of which we just marked as the church of Christ (this past Thursday, May 30).

That prayer of our Lord in the upper room hours before his death was this: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

Published in: on June 2, 2019 at 7:54 AM  Leave a Comment  

Ascension Day Thoughts – A. Kuyper

Night Sky, Hyden, Western Australia.

On this Ascension Day 2019, I give you some moving words from Abraham Kuyper, after reading ahead and finding this appropriate meditation on Christ’s ascension in his newly translated work Honey From the Rock (see details below).

No, the Lord God saves! actually saves! He saves both body and soul.

And what’s truly beautiful is not the apparent defeat of saving love, as tragically moving as that may be. No, the only thing that is truly beautiful, moving, and holy is the saving love that also triumphs. It not only descends into the stream but is also capable of rising out of the stream. He not only succeeds in rising from the stream, but he carries the drowning person out of that stream of misery with him and sets him on the throne where he himself had been before. [Kuyper has used the illustration of a parent out of love being willing to plunge himself into a stream to save his drowning child, but perhaps not being strong enough to get himself and the child back out of the raging torrent. And now he is contrasting that with the saving work of God in Christ.]

This is the reason  why the ascension of Jesus is so beautiful, my good readers. It’s why it’s so majestic and so completely glorious. For here we see overwhelming power. Here is complete victory. Here we have ascending once again out of a majestic and beautiful struggle. Here we witness climbing higher, being lifted up until he is again finally ‘where he was before’!

He’s there despite everything that opposed him. The laws of nature opposed him. The elements opposed him. The human flesh he assumed opposed him. Even the love found in the hearts of his disciples opposed him. It all pulled him down. It all held him down. It all resisted his ascending.

But even so, nothing withstood him.

He vanquished it all.

He ascended.

And oh, the miracle of divine omnipotence! In ascending he carried the entire church of the redeemed along with him on high. Those who dwell above! Those living now! And those who have yet to live. All God’s children!

Look! Look at him standing there in heaven with his treasure, the souls of the redeemed in his arms.

All the angels are adoring him.

All the martyrs and prophets are kneeling before him.

The Father is crowning him!

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.242-43.

This particular meditation (#75 of Volume 1) is titled “Ascending to Where He Was Before” and is based on John 6:61b-62 (KJV), “When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?”

1st Quarter Books 2019 – PRC Seminary Library (Part 2)

A few weeks ago I started (belatedly) to post here my list of significant book acquisitions for the first quarter of this year, a list I put together for the faculty, students, and Theological School Committee. Tonight we will finish that list, looking at five sections – creeds, dogmatic theology, practical theology, philosophy, and miscellaneous.

As noted before, part of my reason for posting this list here is not only to show you the kind of books the seminary adds to its library, but also to stimulate you to find something to read. Yes, there are books here for the layman and laywoman, for the young adults and for teenagers. Browse this list and perhaps you will find something of interest to you.

I might also add that not all of these are new books, nor are they always sought after. I purchase a fair amount of used and bargain books, and we also get some that are donated to us, which we always appreciate.

saving-reformation-godfrey-2019

Creeds, Confessions, History of

  • Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dort / W. Robert Godfrey. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2019.


Dogmatics, Theology, Historical Theology

  • Glaphyra on the Pentateuch, Volume 1: Genesis / Saint Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, approx. 370-444; Nicholas P. Lunn, translator; Gregory K. Hillis. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2018 (Fathers of the Church: A New Translation) v. 137
  • Thomas Aquinas / K. Scott Oliphint; Michael A. G. Haykin; Nathan D. Shannon. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2017. (Great Thinkers)
  • Martin Luther and the Called Life / Mark D. Tranvik. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2016.
  • The Fatherhood of God in John Calvin’s Thought / Karin Spiecker Stetina. UK: Paternoster, 2016.
  • Giving Glory to the Consubstantial Trinity: An Essay on the Quintessence of the Christian Faith / Michael A. G. Haykin. Greenbriar, AR: Free Grace Press, 2018.
  • The Select Works of William Huntington / William Huntington, 1745-1813. ; J.R. Broome. Brackendale Grove: Gospel Standard Trust Publications, 1989.
  • Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology / Gregory A. Boyd; Paul R. Eddy. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.
  • Confessing the Faith: Christian Theology in a North American Context / Douglas John Hall. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1998.
  • Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-Secular Theology / James K. A. Smith; John. Milbank. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.
  • Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense / N. T. (Nicholas Thomas) Wright. New York: Harper One, 2006.
  • Mere Calvinism / Jim S. Orrick. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2019.
  • Inerrancy and the Church / John D. Hannah; J. I. Packer; John H. Gerstner; John D. Hannah. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984.
  • The Voice of God in the Text of Scripture: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics / Oliver Crisp, editor; Fred Sanders, editor; William J. Abraham; Oliver. Crisp. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.
  • The Renewal of Trinitarian Theology: Themes, Patterns, & Explorations / Roderick T. Leupp. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008.
  • Connected: Living in the Light of the Trinity / Sam. Allberry. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2013.
  • God With Us: Exploring God’s Personal Interactions with His People Throughout the Bible / Glenn R. Kreider. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2014.
  • A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture / Scott. Hahn. Cincinnati, OH: Servant, c1998.
  • The Doctrine of Election in Reformed Perspective: Historical and Theological Investigations of the Synod of Dordt 1618-1619 / Frank van der Pol; Gunter Frank; Eric A. De Boer; Herman J. Selderhuis. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019 (Refo500 Academic Studies), vol. 51
  • Knowing Creation: Perspectives from Theology, Philosophy, and Science / Andrew B. Torrance, ed.; Thomas H. McCall, ed.; Simon. Oliver. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018.
  • How I Changed My Mind About Evolution: Evangelicals Reflect on Faith and Science / Kathryn Applegate, editor; J. B. Stump, editor; Deborah Haarsma. ; Kathryn Applegate. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016.
  • The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 / J. Richard Middleton. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2005.
  • The Fool and the Heretic: How Two Scientists Moved Beyond the Labels to a Christian Dialogue About Creation and Evolution / Todd C. Wood; Darrel R. Falk. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2019.
  • Lectures in Systematic Theology: Volume III – Doctrine of Christ / Greg Nichols. ; Rob Ventura. San Bernardino, CA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2018.
  • Christology in Cultural Perspective: Marking out the Horizons / Colin J. D. Greene. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2004.
  • Anchored in Grace: Fixed Points for Humble Faith / Jeremy Walker. Minneapolis, MN: Cruciform Press, 2015.
  • By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me / Sinclair B. Ferguson; Henry L. Orombi. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2010.
  • If: The Conditionality of the Gospel and the Real Danger of Apostasy / Todd Pylant. Benbrook, TX: Word of God Speak Publishing, 2012.
  • Repentance in Christian Theology / Mark J. Boda; Gordon T. Smith; Ronald K. Rittgers; Mark J. Boda. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2006.
  • Holy Baptism: Word Keys Which Unlock the Covenant / Duane Edward. Spencer; James B. Jordan. Tyler, TX: Geneva Ministries, 1984.
  • The Lord’s Supper as the Sign and Meal of the New Covenant / Guy Prentiss Waters; Dane C. and Miles V. Van Pelt Ortlund. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019 (Short Studies In Biblical Theology)
  • The Battle for the Sabbath in the Dutch Reformation: Devotion or Desecration? / Kyle J. Dieleman; H. J. Selderhuis. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019 (Reformed Historical Theology, v.52)
  • The Future of Everything: Essential Truths About the End Times / William Boekestein. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2019.

Image result for the future of everything boekestein

Philosophy, Logic, Ethics

  •  God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Identity / Andrew T. Walker; R. Albert Mohler, Jr. Centralia, WA: The Good Book Company, 2017.

Practical Theology – Christian Living, Church government, Counseling, Family, Marriage, Missions, Pastoral Ministry, Prayer, Preaching, Sermons, Worship

  • Sound Doctrine: How A Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God / Bobby Jamieson; Mark Dever. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013 (9Marks Building Healthy Churches)
  • The Spiritual Life / Campegius Vitringa; Richard A. Muller; Charles K. Telfer, Transl.; Charles K Telfer. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2018.
  • Step by Step: Divine Guidance for Ordinary Christians / James C. Petty; Susan Lutz. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Pub., 1999.
  • The Lordship of Christ: Serving Our Savior All of the Time, in All of Life, With All of Our Heart / Vern S. Poythress. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016.
  • Holding Fast the Faithful Word: Sermons and Addresses by Samuel Miller / Samuel Miller, 1769-1850; Kevin Reed. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2018.
  • Preaching the Old Testament / Scott M. Gibson; Haddon W. Robinson; Dennis R. Magary; Scott M. Gibson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006.
  • The Scottish Psalmody / General Assembly. Free Church of Scotland (Continuing); William B. Scott. United Kingdom: Riley Dunn & Wilson, 2013.
  • Trinity Psalter Hymnal / Trinity Psalter Hymnal Joint Venture; Alan D. (OPC) Strange; Derrick J. (URCNA) Vander Meulen. Willow Grove, PA: Trinity Psalter Hymnal Joint Venture, 2018.
  • Liturgical Forms and Prayers of the United Reformed Churches in North America: Together with the Doctrinal Standards of the URCNA / United Reformed Churches in North America. Wellandport, ON: United Reformed Churches in North America, 2018.
  • Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity / Eugene H. Peterson, 1932-2018. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1990.
  • The Potter’s Rib: Mentoring for Pastoral Formation / Brian Williams. Vancouver: Regent College, 2005.
  • How to Help People in Conflict: Becoming a Biblical Peacemaker / Jay E. Adams. Stanley, NC: Timeless Texts, 2005.
  • A Practical Theology of Missions: Dispelling the Mystery, Recovering the Passion / Eric E. Wright. Leominster, U.K.: Day One, 2010.
  • Principles of Reformed Mission Ministry: An Organisational and Exegetical Study – Matthew 9:35-38 and Acts 13:1-4; 14:21-28; 15:36-41 & 16:2 / Peter Back. Stoke-on-Trent: Tentmaker Publications, 1999.
  • The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World / Paul. Copan. ; Kenneth D. Litwak. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014.
  • The Missionary Fellowship of William Carey / Michael A. G. Haykin. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2018 (The Long Line of Godly Men Profiles)
  • God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation / (2nd ed.) Andreas J. Köstenberger; David W. (David Wayne) Jones. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.
  • Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood / Gene E. Veith; Mary J. Moerbe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.
  • Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them: Schizophrenia Through a Mother’s Eyes / Simonetta Carr; Michael Horton. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2019.
  • The Silent Shades of Sorrow: Healing for the Wounded / C. H. (Charles Haddon) Spurgeon, 1834-1892; Zack Eswine. Scotland: Christian Heritage, 2015.
  • Passions of the Heart: Biblical Counsel for Stubborn Sexual Sins / John D. Street; Heath Lambert. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2019.

Can Science Explain Everything?

Misc. (Apologetics, Culture, Education, Music, Politics, Science, Work, World Religions, etc.)

  • Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education / Michael J. Anthony; Warren S. Benson; Daryl Eldridge. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.
  • Making Disciples: The Challenge of Christian Education at the End of the 20th Century / Norman E. Harper. Memphis, TN: Christian Studies Center, 1981.
  • Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ / Darrell L. Bock; Daniel B. Wallace. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007.
  • Lifestyle: A Biblical/Philosophical Study of Christianity and the Culture It Produces / R.E. Knodel. United States: XLibris, 2012.
  • Can Science Explain Everything? / John C. (John Carson). Lennox. UK: The Good Book Company, 2019.

Itching Ear Epidemic

But this [a lack of solid biblical, expositional preaching] doesn’t seem to bother many churchgoers. In fact, if given the option between a systematic, verse-by-verse exposition of a book of the Bible or a more topical message where verses are plucked from all over Scripture and combined to create a special series on practical issues like marriage, parenting, sex, money, work, dating, stress, etc., most churchgoers would pick the topical series as their favorite because in their minds it in easier and more enjoyable to listen to and is seemingly more helpful to their everyday lives. This should come as no surprise since the charge Paul gave to Timothy was given with a view to the future when the church ‘will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears fro the truth, and will turn aside to myths’ (2 Tim.4:3-4). We are living in that time period about which Paul warned Timothy.

There are lots of people in churches today who will not put up with sound, doctrinal preaching. They are intolerant of anyone who gets up behind a pulpit and preaches truth that confronts their sinful lifestyle or makes them feel uncomfortable. They flat-out refuse to sit there and listen. If they feel like the preacher is stepping on their toes, they either run him out of the church or find another church where the preacher strokes their ears and makes them leave church feeling good about themselves. They successfully insulate themselves from what they consider the offensive truths of the Bible by surrounding themselves with preachers who caress them rather than confront them, who tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. They evaluate preachers based not on whether their teaching lines up with the Scriptures, but on whether it tickles their fancies, scratches them where they itch, and satisfies their craving to always be encouraged and entertained. It seems most people these days prefer listening to light, uplifting, entertaining messages. If given the choice, they would rather hear fictional stories than biblical truths.

ExpositoryListeningTaken from chapter 4 of Ken Ramey’s book, Expository Listening: A Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word , (Kress Biblical Resources, 2010). This chapter treats Paul’s warning to Timothy in 2 Tim.4:1-4 and is titled “The Itching Ear Epidemic” (pp.51ff.). In it the author speaks both to preachers and to listeners.

in light of what Ramey writes here, we may examine ourselves concerning our own propensity for “itching ears.” Have we been affected by this epidemic found in the churches about us? May God give us a hunger for the pure preaching of the gospel according to His Word and make us faithful listeners of such spiritual food.

Seminary Library Furniture Available!

20190522_105713
Final stages of moving books and shelving today.

Seminary library furniture available!

20190522_154500

The majority of the books have been moved into the large multi-purpose room in the middle of seminary.

We are gutting the library this summer (in process as we write – all the books and shelving have been taken out this week and moved to other areas of the building – see above photo) for the big renovation project (mostly cosmetic – new paint, carpeting, ceiling tiles, lighting, wood trim – and furniture).

20190522_144649
Used credenza available

Which also means we are looking for a good home for some of the furniture that will be replaced: a large conference table with 8 wood-framed, padded chairs (church council room – school library?), several desks, a credenza (with side doors, hanging file drawers). If interested, email me at cjterpstra@sbcglobal dot net for more info (I’ve attached a few here).
20190517_170933
Conference table available

20190518_125410
8 Padded wood-framed chairs available

20190517_170948
Library desk available

These items would be pick-up items only (we can’t deliver). We can discuss price/donation when you make contact.

20190522_154759
The view of the library at end of today (no the study carrels are NOT available!).

Thanks – and spread the word!

Published in: on May 22, 2019 at 11:11 PM  Leave a Comment