30 June 2014

Knowing the Bible: Year 2

It's been a lot of fun to steer along the Knowing the Bible series for Crossway. This summer 6 more volumes are added to the 6 that were released last summer, with another 8 already submitted for release next summer and another 8 under contract for the summer after that. We intend to complete the whole Bible in six years.

Here's one more video intro, from Kathleen Nielson, to orient you to one of the newer volumes. The two dashing chaps below are editing the series (think Gandalf and Sam).

09 June 2014

What is the Bible?

Here's about the best summary I've read, from the introductory matter in the Bibles created by our friends The Gideons:
The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened and the gates of Hell disclosed.
Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

05 June 2014

Do You Want a Beautiful Wife?

Tim Savage of Camelback Bible Church in Phoenix has some of the best teaching on Christian marriage I've come across. Here are some posts, each one quite brief.

A sample:
Many men say they want beautiful wives.

Few men understand how much the beauty of a wife depends upon her husband.

Worry, criticism, ‘helpful’ critique – all of these things tear down a wife. After a few years of nothing but fault-finding from her husband, she begins to show the signs of weariness, like a public building.

But welcoming love and encouragement builds up a wife. Pretty soon, she looks like an opulent palace.

Several years ago, I had a friend who was getting ready to marry a woman who had a bit of a checkered past. Her personality was, to be honest, abrasive. She was cantankerous and strong-willed, and I could not imagine how my very good friend thought they were suitable for a life-long partnership.

As they were courting each other, I worked up the courage to tell him about my concerns. He listened respectfully, and then responded with four simple words: ‘But I love her.’

At the time, I dismissed it as sentimental drivel. I wondered why he was so blinded by emotion that he couldn’t take my concerns seriously.

But over the years, those words – ‘But I love her’ – have been translated into a remarkable work of glory. In later years, when I met the happily married couple again, I noticed a wife whose character was still strong, but also full of gentleness and kindness. A bit of heaven itself appeared on her face.

How did it happen? Clearly, she had been transformed by the daily gift of her husband’s love.

When a husband loves his wife, as Christ loves the church, she becomes a beautiful creature. She is cleansed, by the washing of water with the word. She becomes spotless, holy and blameless without blemish. She comes to her husband in splendor. (Ephesians 5:26-27)

Men have been talking for centuries about changing society for the better. They’ve poured a vast amount of energy and countless time into the endeavor. The result: an explosion of technology, but little improvement in the level of happiness in our lives. If only husbands would pour that amount of energy and time into their wives! Society would be transformed overnight – as marriages were transformed by the power of God into an image of divine beauty.
HT: Wade Urig

04 June 2014

Disposes of the Whole Thing

When God pardons, he does not say he understands our weakness or makes allowances for our errors; rather he disposes of, he finishes with, the whole of our dead life and raises us up with a new one.

He does not so much deal with our derelictions as he does drop them down the black hole of Jesus' death. He forgets our sins in the darkness of the tomb. He remembers our iniquities no more in the oblivion of Jesus' expiration.
He finds us, in short, in the desert of death, not in the garden of improvement; and in the power of Jesus' resurrection, he puts us on his shoulders rejoicing and brings us home. 
--Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom,  Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus (Eerdmans, 2002), 188

02 June 2014

Why I Love Covenant Seminary

This pretty much sums it up. Seminary should feel more like the Shire than Mordor.