• Books

    More or Less

    J.T. English’s “Deep Discipleship” is fixing to be an awesome book. The introduction alone was incisive and direct. I’ll share just a little bit of something that caught my attention. He’s talking about misdiagnosing the church’s ills in regards to discipleship. Everyone has an opinion in my experience. But English is right, most people seem to think the church requires too much of people. To this English has the following to say: Deep discipleship is about giving people more Bible, not less; more theology, not less; more spiritual disciplines, not less; more gospel, not less; more Christ, not less. Deep Discipleship, p8 I wholeheartedly agree. How can we give people…

  • Books,  Theology

    Though Surrounded with Outside Enjoyments

    As we pass Christmas and march forward to the new year, this passage from my assigned reading this week stood out to me: We should not rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven. We should above all things desire a heavenly happiness: to be with God and be well with Jesus Christ. Though surrounded with outward enjoyments, and settled in families with desirable friends and relationships; though we have companions whose company is delightful and children in whom we see many promising characteristics; though we live by good neighbors and are generally loved when we are known; yet, we should not take our rest in these…

  • News

    Where The Battle Rages

    I am midway into Systematic Theology 3, the last of the three course cycle. During Systematic Theology 2, we read most of Stephen Wellum’s God the Son Incarnate, excepting the first two chapters on the need for a warranted Christology and the three related to recent kenotic alternatives to classical Christology. With a break for the Christmas holiday, I went back and finished the book, and the following stood out in the first couple of pages I read: If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment…

  • Biblical Studies,  Books,  Theology

    Man As Created Person: God Must Take the Initiative

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of preaching John 13:1-20. It is a great passage, dwelling on humility, self-sacrifice, and God’s providential love and relational knowledge. One of the major topics I addressed was the way in which we need Jesus to initiate relationship with us. And the building tension with Judas, juxtaposed against Jesus’ own example, gave ample room to talk about moving from the position of rebel, into a re-prioritization of life centered on God’s own character and plan, “gospel lenses”. During the conclusion of the message, I took some time to draw attention to the way I regularly see God work in our body, drawing things together without…

  • Biblical Studies,  Books,  News,  Theology

    In The Mail – Fall Term 1

    I’ll be taking Systematic Theology parts 1 and 2 through the fall terms, and the third portion sometime later. Fall Term 1 starts August 1, so I had to order my textbooks. Today was the day they arrived! I do love getting books in the mail (hint, hint)! Actually, From the Mouth of God had arrived weeks back, as I ordered it well in advance. But the others all arrived boxed up together. Quick run through of what we have: From the Mouth of God – Sinclair B. Ferguson God’s Greater Glory – Bruce A. Ware (the prof!) Trinitarian Theology – Keith S. Whitfield (editor) The Doctrine of God –…

  • No Shortcut to Success
    Books,  Pastoring,  Social Sciences,  Theology

    Worldview and Discipleship: The Excluded Middle

    Since the second day of T4G 2022, I’ve been reading no shortcut to success, and I have been loving it. But chapter 8 took things to a whole other level as it addressed worldview and discipleship. There is just so much in it to commend to you, my reader. Getting There More than once I’ve heard it said that if you can only read a part of this book, read chapters 1-3. And those first few chapters, where Matt Rhodes lays out the issues he is seeing on the field, are great. They are clear, helpful, challenging. But more than anything, I reached the end with a feeling of, “A…

  • Biblical Studies,  Books,  Theology

    Complete Patience

    Speaking on pastoral caution when dealing with change, and recounting advice given to him by a trusted and “seasoned” pastor, H. B. Charles Jr. points the reader at 2 Timothy 4:2. Rather than focus on the “preach the Word” part, these men instead point us to the closing words, “…with complete patience and teaching.” Some great comments flow out of this: “Complete patience” is long-suffering. It is patience with difficult people, not just difficult circumstances. This is not an easy thing to do. Remember, Moses stood courageous before Pharaoh and demanded that he let the people of God go free. But when those same people started complaining, Moses sinned against…

  • Books,  Theology

    Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs

    Concise Theology is well worth the read. In short bursts of two to three pages each (usually), J.I. Packer proceeds to lay out historic Christian beliefs for his readers. While I would have loved to see just a bit more at times, overall, I thought the pacing and breakdown was excellent. Packer is pastoral, caring for the body of Christ, and passionate, reveling in the glories of Christ, the work of the Spirit and the majesty of the Father. Even when I either disagreed or would have stated something slightly differently, I found him to demonstrate humility and patience, no easy task when your intent is to be concise. The…

  • Books,  Theology

    Election: A Pastoral Doctrine

    Continuing this morning in Concise Theology, I offer the following: The doctrine of election, like every truth about God, involves mystery and sometimes stirs controversy. But in Scripture it is a pastoral doctrine, brought in to help Christians see how great is the grace that saves them, and to move them to humility, confidence, joy, praise, faithfulness, and holiness in response. It is the family secret of the children of God. We do not know who else he has chosen among those who do not yet believe, nor why it was his good pleasure to choose us in particular. What we do know is, first, that had we not been…