Thursday, December 14, 2006

God the Father, God the Son... and the Sun (John Owen on Hebrews 1:3)

John Owen commenting on the phrase found in Hebrews 1:3 “He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God” or as the older version had it, “the brightness of glory.”

“ the first expression here used, “The brightness of glory,” the apostle intends to set forth unto us the relation of the Son to the Father by an allusion unto the sun and its beams, or the light of fire in iron, some relief may thence be given unto our weak understandings in the contemplation of this mystery, if we observe that one known rule, whose use Chrysostom urgeth in this place, namely, that in the use of such allusions every thing of imperfec­tion is to be removed, in their application unto God. A few instances we may give unto this purpose, holding ourselves unto an allusion to the sun and its beams.

1. As the sun in comparison of the beam is of itself and the beam of the sun; so is the Father of himself, and the Son of the Father.

2. As the sun, without diminution or partition of its substance, without change or alteration in its nature, produceth the beam; so is the Son begotten of the Father.

3. As the sun in order of nature is before the beam, but in time both are co-existent; so is the Father in order of nature before the Son, though in existence both co-eternal.

4. As the beam is distinct from the sun, so that the sun is not the beam, and the beam is not the sun; so is it between the Father and the Son.

5. As the beam is never separate from the sun, nor can the sun be without the beam, no more can the Son be from the Father, nor was the Father ever without the Son.

6. As the sun cannot be seen but by the beam, no more can the Father but in and by the Son.

From Hebrews, Volume 3, Banner of Truth, 92.

Don't Call ME When Your Pet Dolphin Falls Sick

Long arms of world's tallest man saves dolphins in northeast China

BEIJING (AP) - The long arms of the world's tallest man saved two dolphins in northeast China by reaching inside of them to remove plastic they had swallowed, state media reported Thursday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How to Read John Owen – You Must Read Out Loud!

With Justin Taylor and Kelly Kapic’s recent release of Owen’s “volume 6” on Sin and Temptation, I thought it might be helpful to describe how I have used this work over the years.

About 10 years ago, someone (was it Geoff Thomas?) mentioned that they had spent many years reading Owen out loud with a small group of men. They would take turns reading and let anyone interrupt at any point to comment or seek clarification from the group. That sounded like one of the goofiest things I had ever heard at the time, but I am an “Outloud-Owen-Reading-Evangelist” now!

This technique for reading Owen addresses two of the main stumbling blocks most readers face.

1. “There is no denying that Owen is heavy and hard to read” understates J.I. Packer in his introductory essay to The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. But this heaviness is quickly lightened when the ears hear what the eyes see. Owen takes “two senses” reading, if he is to be read with understanding. And often there is someone in the group who knows the definition of the odd antiquated word or saying – if not, arm one of the men with a dictionary (and another with an English Bible to look up passages referenced).

2. The second stumbling block to easy reading is the sheer applicability of the material. Reading Owen is a little like watching your own open-heart surgery – it is tempting to squirm. But having other men there to hold your feet to the fire helps guard against the rationalization and self-justification that tempt the solo reader.

I am currently reading with two of my seminary students (both members of our church). We may make our way through 3-4 pages (about one chapter) of material per week, but there is so much to ponder and apply in that short space that one would not want to go much further. We meet for 1 hour 15 minutes – 15 minutes to fill our coffees and catch up a bit; 45 minutes to read out loud with discussion; and 15 minutes to pray.

I think every man ought to be required to do this at least once with brothers in the Lord. There has simply never been anything written other than the Scripture itself that so effectively teaches how to battle our flesh. Every page is a fresh revelation! And I think this marks my 4th time reading out loud and about the 10th time I have read the volume.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Good Riddance, Sweet Safety

North American’s favorite idols are safety and security. We arm border guards and build walls and live in gated communities and manage our investments and join health clubs so that we can remain safe and secured.

But Jericho is crumbling... at least for Christians.

And I think that is a good thing.

Canada is no longer a Christian nation, regardless of what is engraved into the exterior of the Peace Tower of our Parliament buildings or sung in our national anthem. And the enemy “out there” is increasingly evident “in here” as the first hints of persecution waft toward the church.

Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms has become a sword for whoever happens to be “most politically-correct” and the only philosophy absolutely rejected in the academy or the workplace is any philosophy that speaks absolutely about God’s morals. Even from within our broader ranks, “Christians” are becoming more a social change group than a group of people called out of the world to live to the glory of God in all things.

So, it is less safe and less secure to live like a Christian today than it was 20 years ago.

And I am thankful.

I do not long for persecution, in fact, it scares the daylights out of me... but as some have said, “The church never lived so well and preached so powerfully as when it was on the brink of death.”

And I am encouraged.

I see the lines between “profession” and “possession” becoming more focused. I see young men living with more zeal and a greater awareness of the cost of following Jesus than I ever have before. I see those who really know Christ stepping up to the plate, unsure of how they will get on base, but willing to swing with all their heart if that is what it will take to stay true to their Master.

Good riddance, sweet safety. You were never more than a mirage anyway.

Mohler: Is Morality Relative When It Comes to Relatives?

Is Morality Relative When It Comes to Relatives?:
"This new development raises a problem that may hit many evangelical Christians closer to home than we would like to admit. Most evangelicals know enough to resist the ideological allure of moral relativism. Nevertheless, when a relative becomes involved, even many evangelicals blink and become moral relativists of a very different sort.

In order to keep family peace, show love to a loved one, or avoid awkward conversations, major moral issues are simply overlooked. Some even change their position on questions of grave moral significance, only because a relative is involved.

This happens with reference to divorce, cohabitation, homosexuality, adultery, and any number of other issues. It is a habit we must break.

Moral integrity demands clear and convictional moral thinking, based in the infallible wisdom of God's perfect Word. Love demands that we love persons, no matter what their sin may be. Honesty demands that we admit the difficulty of knowing how to combine moral integrity and love with perfect pitch. The Gospel demands that we tell the truth with love.

No one ever said this was going to be easy. But becoming a moral relativist when a relative is involved is a path the faithful Christian cannot take. We must resist moral relativism -- even with relatives."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sermon Audio of Dr Haykin on Luther. Calvin and Tyndale

Dr. Haykin has new audio files available on Luther, Calvin and Tyndale! You don't want to miss these!

Is This Where the "Wild at Heart" Should Go?

(Al Mohler) Thank God for Testosterone? Confusion About Christian Manhood:

"The movement is largely correct in its identification of contemporary Christianity as feminized and feminine. The problem is their apparent adoption of a cartoonish distortion of masculinity as the answer."

[UPDATE: This is rather funny. I just figured out my dear bride grew up in the same home town in Indiana as Brad Stine. For the record, Mrs. Kerux found a real man!]

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"God Contracted to a Span...": An Amazing Hymn Concerning the Incarnation of Our Lord

We will be singing this hymn today in our morning worship, d.v. It is a remarkable consideration of Christ's becoming man. We will be singing to the tune of LENOX.

God Contracted to a Span
Let earth and Heav’n combine, Angels and men agree,
To praise in songs divine, Th’ incarnate Deity,
Our God contracted to a span, Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made Man.

He laid His glory by, He wrapped Him in our clay;
Unmarked by human eye, The latent Godhead lay;
Infant of days He here became, Infant of days He here became,
And bore the mild Immanuel’s Name.

See in that Infant’s face, The depths of deity,
And labor while ye gaze, To sound the mystery
In vain; ye angels gaze no more, In vain; ye angels gaze no more,
But fall, and silently adore.

Unsearchable the love, That hath the Savior brought;
The grace is far above, Of men or angels’ thought:
Suffice for us that God, we know, Suffice for us that God, we know,
Our God, is manifest below.

He deigns in flesh t’appear, Widest extremes to join;
To bring our vileness near, And make us all divine:
And we the life of God shall know, And we the life of God shall know,
For God is manifest below.

Made perfect first in love, And sanctified by grace,
We shall from earth remove, And see His glorious face:
His love shall then be fully showed, His love shall then be fully showed,
And man shall all be lost in God.

Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord (London: William Strahan, 1745), number 5. Public domain.