Important New Book: “The Reformed Worldview”

The British Reformed Fellowship (holding its bi-annual conference this week) has just released its latest book, which contains the speeches and Sunday sermons from their last BRF Conference, held in 2010. The book is on a timely and relevant subject for Christians, carrying the title The Reformed Worldview: The Word of God for Our Generation (140 pp.). The authors – originally speakers – are two retired professors of the Protestant Reformed Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI: Prof. David Engelsma and Prof. Herman Hanko, noted for their clear and consistent defense of and witness to the Reformed faith.

With so many competing worldviews clamoring for our attention, particularly that of our young people – not just from the world, but from the church world (even that which calls itself Reformed) – it is essential that we be armed with the truly Reformed, i.e., Biblical worldview! And this book lays that worldview out in plain and powerful language. The contents of the book are as follows:

  1. The Reformed Worldview (D.Engelsma)
  2. The Organic Development of Sin (H.Hanko)
  3. The Abolition of Truth (D.Engelsma)
  4. The Reformed Believer and Money (H.Hanko)
  5. The Sexual Revolution (D.Engelsma)
  6. Towards a One-World Goverment (H.Hanko)
  7. The Unbreakable Scripture (sermon based on John 10:34-36; D.Engelsma)
  8. The Call to Spiritual Cleansing (sermon based on 2 Cor.7:1; H.Hanko)

Rev.Angus Stewart writes in his foreword:

This little book is designed to help Christians (and many others who may read it in God’s good providence) to believe, understand, speak and behave in all spheres of life according to the gospel of the Lord Jesus revealed in the Holy Bible. In other words, its goal is that, by God’s grace, our faith and life be more consciously conformed to a more completely and consistently Reformed worldview, over against the various Antichristian worldviews, especially those  most prevalent and powerful in our modern, Western world. In this way, we will be obeying what Christ calls ‘the first and great commandment’: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind’ (Matt.22:37-38).

There are three (3) main distributors of the book. In the UK and Europe the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, and in the U.S. Hope PRC of Redlands, CA and the Reformed Witness Committee in NW Iowa. Visit these websites to place your order.

Why Read the Bible? – Desiring God

Why Read the Bible? – Desiring God.

This important and encouraging five minute video by “Desiring God” ministries involves godly Bible scholar and theologian D.A.Carson answering the basic question, “Why should we read the Bible?” As believers, we recognize that this activity belongs to the essentials of the Christian life, but maybe we have forgotten the reason and purpose for doing so. Carson will get your mind straight on this and encourage you to read God’s Word with fresh zeal. After all, above and beyond all other reading, the reading of God’s Word must have the priority.

Do We Truly Receive the Benediction?

Another edifying article from this month’s Tabletalk was the weekend devotional (July 28-29) written by Dr. Mark Ross. His article dealt with the blessings of God upon His people as set forth in Scripture – what we usually refer to as “benedictions”. He makes the point that these are not mere “wishes” for blessing and not mere pronouncements (words) but the actual bestowal of God’s blessing on His people. And Ross emphasizes that we often miss out on the power and blessing of these benedictions because of the careless way we treat them.

After referring to and quoting the Aaronitic blessing found in Numbers 6:22-27, Ross has this to say:

These words are familiar because they are a regular part of Christian worship in many places…. But the very repetition that makes them so familiar, as well as their placement at the end of the service, can easily dull us to their significance and cause us to take them for granted or treat them with indifference. By the time they are pronounced, we might already have disengaged from the service, allowing our hearts and minds to begin focusing on things that will be happening later. We close out hymnbooks, pick up our belongings, and prepare to exit the sanctuary or meeting hall. Indeed, by this time in the service, some have already departed, thinking that the important things are now finished and that the benediction is just the spiritual-sounding conclusion (p.63).

Sound familiar? We have been and are guilty of treating God’s blessing this way. But let Ross’ teaching on this change our perspective – and our behavior.

Yet the words were spoken to Israel as powerful words of blessing. …It is not a prayer offered by the priest on behalf of the people. It is not, therefore, a word to God from us, or from one of us on behalf of all. It is a word from God to His people, a royal proclamation spoken through His appointed representative, declaring that the Lord’s blessing is given.

…If we had that view of the benediction, we would certainly not let our minds wander off while it was pronounced. It would be eagerly awaited, and we would receive it as rain falling on thirsty ground.

…Like all spiritual blessings, they must be received by faith. They are not mechanical sources of blessing to unbelieving people. But when spoken to believers, the blessing empowers and sustains, refreshing faith and renewing hope, confirming God’s promises to us so that we can meet life’s challenges. Don’t leave church without it (p.63).

Having just been in the house of God yesterday – and with those very words perhaps being the last thing we heard before we exited – let us go back and hear them again – in true faith, so that God’s blessing may truly be upon us and profit us in this week.

Why Do We Draw the Line? – Carl Trueman

Why Do We Draw the Line? by Carl Trueman | Reformed Theology Articles at

The last feature article on this month’s Tabletalk theme (“Drawing the Line: Why Doctrine Matters”) is by Dr. Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. His article treats the “Why?” of the church’s calling to draw doctrinal lines (see my previous Monday posts this month to view the other related articles).

In his article Trueman contrasts “center-focused theology” (i.e., the core doctrines of Christianity – what conservative Evangelicals want today for uniting together) with “boundary theology” (upholding the church’s historic creedal statements on key doctrines of the faith – hence, “boundaries”). As is usually the case with Trueman’s writing, he is perceptive and penetrating in exposing the weaknesses of the “center-focused” position. He demonstrates the importance of the church maintaining her doctrinal boundaries, especially in the face of our current culture and in the face of the ecclesiastical apostasy of our time. Trueman will help you appreciate anew the church’s creeds and confessions.

Below is a quote from the very end of his article. I urge you to read the rest (2 pages) at the Ligonier link above.

Second, much theology, and certainly much creedal formulation, is what we might call negative in character. In other words, it actually tells us what God is not or what He cannot be. As such, even individual Christian doctrines are boundary-forming, not center-focused. For example, to say that God is infinite is to say something negative about God: He has no limits. This formulation sets a boundary: there are lots of things I might be able to say about God, but if at some point I say He has limits, I cross a boundary into error.

It is similar with many of the great creeds. The Chalcedonian Definition defines the person of Christ by declaring that He is one person in two natures. It is actually saying that any formula that posits more than one person or that mixes the natures to produce a kind of metaphysical compound of humanity and divinity has crossed a boundary.

What such boundaries do, of course, is liberate. They tell the church where it is safe to theologize just as fences along the edge of a cliff help to keep people from plunging to their deaths.

Talk of center-focused theology rather than boundary theology is attractive but ultimately specious. It often represents no more than one group using the rhetoric of the wider culture to make itself look good in comparison to others. In fact, to talk theology at all is to talk boundaries and always has been. The only questions are how many boundaries there are and whether one openly and honestly acknowledges them as such.

J.Calvin on Psalm 83: “…Yield to God the honor which belongs to Him.”

Also for our meditation today we consider these thoughts of John Calvin on Psalm 83:2:

When, therefore, the saints implore his aid, it is their ordinary course to lay before him the perverseness of their enemies. It is worthy of notice, that those who molest the Church are called the enemies of God. It affords us no small ground of confidence that those who are our enemies are also God’s enemies. This is one of the fruits of his free and gracious covenant, in which he has promised to be an enemy to all our enemies, — a promise for which there is good cause, when it is considered that the welfare of his people, whom he has taken under his protection, cannot be assailed without an injury being, at the same the done to his own majesty. Meanwhile, let us live at peace with all men, as much as in us lies, and let us endeavor to practice uprightness in our whole deportment, that we may be able confidently to appeal to God, that when we suffer at the hands of men, we suffer wrongfully. The pride and violent assaults of our enemies may be combined with craftiness. But when such is the case, it becomes us to yield to God the honor which belongs to him, by resting satisfied that He can succor us; for to break the proud who foam out their rage, and to take the crafty in their own craftiness, is work which He has been accustomed to perform in all ages.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 83

For our Sunday meditation and preparation for worship today we turn to Psalm 83, the last in the series of songs written by Asaph. This psalm falls into the category of imprecatory psalms, i.e., those songs in which the people of God call for God’s judgment, wrath, and curse to fall on His and their enemies. Many in the church world today criticize and reject such psalms (prayers) as these, claiming they are inappropriate for Christians. Arguing that the God of the NT is a God of love and mercy (only), they say that no Christian today may now pray such prayers of curse and sing such songs of wrath.

But against this, if we believe that all of Scripture is inspired by God, including these imprecatory psalms, then Psalm 83 too belongs to the inspired Word of God, and not only can be prayed and sung but must must be. And, if we believe the unity of the church and people of God, then what God gave His OT church to pray and sing is also fitting for His NT church to pray and sing. And so we do. Besides, we also maintain that God Himself does not change. The God of love and of wrath in the OT is the same in the NT. He remains the One Who loves His people in Christ and Who hates and judges the reprobate wicked.

Now, these imprecatory psalms must be understood properly, and our own attitude and conduct must be proper when we make these our prayers and songs. These psalms are never raised by God’s people out of mere personal hatred for enemies and desire for vengeance – a “get even” spirit. Rather they arise because the church sees her enemies as the enemies of God, and they hate these enemies because they hate God (Psalm 139:21-22; Psalm 83:2,5,12). The people of God desire to see them judged and condemned because the words and actions of their enemies strike at God and at the holy honor of His name. We see that plainly in this psalm as well (vss.16,18). And thus too the people of God, when responding to the wicked attacks of their enemies, do not take matters of judgment and vengeance into their own hands but turn these over to the Lord of heaven and earth. Acknowledging His sovereignty over their enemies and over this evil too, God’s children commit their way in prayer to the God of their salvation and the God of their enemies’ destruction. And yet even in this they desire the conversion of their enemies too. Notice how v.16 reveals the desire of God’s people that their enemies would seek the name of God.

With these things in mind, let us carefully read and meditate on this Word of God as set forth in this prayer of His people. We do not know the precise historical background to this song, but it is fitting for the church militant to sing in all seasons of battle. Whenever she is persecuted and God’s name is blasphemed, this is what she cries in prayer and song. In our own worship today may we learn to pray this way – for the preservation of the church, for the salvation of the elect from all nations, and for the glory of God’s great name.

Psalm 83

Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

3They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

5For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

6The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

7Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

9Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

10Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.

11Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

12Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

13O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

15So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

16Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord.

17Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

18That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

If you wish to read and listen to a versification of Psalm 83 from the Psalter (1912 United Presbyterian), visit this page (scroll down to Psalm 83, #224).


An open letter to Christopher Nolan, Sean Penn and Warner Brothers – Washington Times

HURT: An open letter to Christopher Nolan, Sean Penn and Warner Brothers – Washington Times.

An amazing, direct letter from journalist Charles Hurt to the director (Christopher Nolan), main actor (Sean Penn), and Warner Brothers (the producer) regarding the new movie that was being featured in the theater during the shooting rampage in Aurora, CO this past weekend. This writer “nails” these Hollywood hypocrites for their “concern” for the grieving when the very movie they produced (along with countless others) promotes the violence they want to condemn. The letter was posted this past Tuesday, July 24, 2012, on the Washington Times website (linked above). Here is a portion of the letter; find all of it at the link above.

It is all so perfectly fitting that in the wake of the murderous rampage in which 70 people are shot – 12 fatally, including a 6-year old girl – and countless families are sacked with unspeakable grief, you would take the time to share with us your feelings.

Because, really, at this moment, all that matters to most of us is what a bunch of smutty purveyors of violent fantasy, half-rate actors and an industry of sick narcissism is feeling at this moment.

Director Christopher Nolan, speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of “The Dark Knight Rises,” you told us how much you love going to the movies and how they are “one of the great American art forms.”

You are devastated that such an “innocent and hopeful place” — here you are talking about the movie theaters that play your twisted movies — would be violated in such an “unbearably savage” way. I mean, really, who could think up such monstrous hatred and nihilistic violence? Umm, have you watched any of your own movies lately?

And, in the selfless modesty that is the hallmark of an Academy Awards ceremony, you tell us that your “feelings” about the massacre are so deeply profound that the mere words of the English language built up over hundreds of years are simply not up to the task of describing them. Wow. You do have a gift for fantasy.

But the real clue that you remain shrouded in guilt-free delusion is when you mention the “senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.”

Senseless? Really? If by “senseless” you mean carried out almost precisely from the scripts of your own movies, then, sure, it was “senseless.”

There are many reasons why Christians ought to condemn (in word and deed – as in not attending and watching such filth!) the productions of the film industry in this country. Hurt gives us one more. The culture of our land is indeed narcissistic (look up that word if you need to) – and deadly – especially from a spiritual point of view. Is it time for us to renew our own personal opposition to “Hollywood” with all that it represents? Do we need to reaffirm what the antithesis means for our lives? Things to think about as we seek to live out of our new life in Christ.

Hey, Boston: Leave Chick-fil-A Alone |

Hey, Boston: Leave Chick-fil-A Alone |

No doubt you have heard about the huge backlash against the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain this past week after its COO, Dan Cathy, made comments defending the Bible’s view of marriage and criticizing homosexual marriage. Since then he and his Christian-based company have been bashed by about every liberal organization and individual there is – from gay-rights activists (as we would expect) to Jim Henson (creator of the “Muppets” and supplier of toys for the kids meals at the restaurant) to the mayors of Chicago and Boston. The latter actually told Chick-fil-A to “stay out of Boston”! Michelle Malkin provides some great comments on this intolerance of the “tolerant”, “inclusive” left. Here is part of her commentary; read the rest here.

This week, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston.” He recklessly slandered the company by accusing it of “discriminat(ing) against the population.” And he warned ominously: “If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies.”

Drawing on the city’s history, he railed against the restaurant empire’s plans to build a franchise near a famed path: “We’re an open city. We’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever …the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”

…Menino must have a …good reason for meddling with government licensing decisions and turning away one of America’s most successful private employers, right?

Wrong. Menino’s beef with the beloved chicken sandwich supplier is as full of holes as Chick-fil-A’s trademark waffle fries. It’s Menino who is engaging in blatant viewpoint and religious discrimination against an out-and-proud company whose leadership embraces biblically based principles and values.

In an interview with the Baptist Press last month, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy talked about his personal support of traditional family values and fidelity.
“(Guilty) as charged,” he told the reporter. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

As I reported last year, the Cathy family’s commitments to “glorify God” and “enrich the lives of everyone we touch” have made them public enemies of the progressive left. Never mind that the company’s community service initiatives have supported foster care, summer camp scholarships and marriage enrichment. Never mind Chick-fil-A’s family-strengthening and faith-enhancing decision to forgo profits and close every Sunday to give workers a day of worship and rest.


Focus on the Family also had a video commentary about it on their “Citizen Link” program. You may watch that below.

Library Cartoons

And for the other part of our Friday Fun, a few library cartoons gleaned off the web. Enjoy – and have a great Friday. Hope your weekend is filled with good books!




Your Cartoon Is All Over The Net But I Cant Find Anything About You

Published in: on July 27, 2012 at 6:04 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Piano Guys – 5 on 1 Piano!

I featured “The Piano Guys” once before (“Nearer my God to Thee” on 9 cellos) and it is time to do it again. This is a remarkably creative use of the piano – 5 men on 1 piano, using various parts to perform the song “What Makes You Beautiful”. Though the song this time is secular, you will be amazed at their skill. Part of our “Friday Fun” this week – enjoy! And if you haven’t seen some of their other videos (like Jon Schmidt on the piano playing “Waterfall”), be sure to check those out as well.

Published in: on July 27, 2012 at 5:48 AM  Leave a Comment