Monday, May 27, 2013

May 26, 2013 | Why the Cross Matters

Sunday we started a new sermon series focusing in on the cross. We began introducing the subject by emphasizing both the centrality and the necessity of the cross. In 1 Corinthians 2:2, Paul states that he has determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This means that when he speaks of marriage, life, the resurrection, the church, unity, or love he does so from the perspective of the cross. The cross to Paul, and to us I pray, is central to everything we believe, teach, do, say, think, and are.

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

In Matthew 16:21-23 the writer tells us that following the events at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus began to tell the disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and die and be raised. The cross, therefore, is necessary. Jesus could have done nothing else. There was no other option.

21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”


For more:
Sermon Notes: The Loved of God
"Precious Blood": A Review
"Death By Love" by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears: A Review
"The Cross of Christ" by John Stott: A Review
"Blood Work" by Anthony Carter: A Review

Sermon Notes: The Loved of God

In Sunday's sermon introducing our new series on the cross, I argued that one of the reasons why the cross matters is because it Personifies the Love of God. At the cross we clearly see His Divine Love for only His radical, unconditional, agape love can explain why He would send His Son to die in the place of sinners like us.

For us, this means we define love by looking at the cross. Throughout the New Testament we find the apostles exhorting believers to walk in love following the example of God in Christ seen at the cross. Thus when we speak of God's love, the New Testament often points us to the cross. I highlighted a few of the verses which support this thesis and below I want to offer even more for you own studies.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:37 – But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ephesians 1:4-5 – just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

Ephesians 2:4-5 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 5:2 – and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

2 Thessalonians 2:16 – Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

Titus 3:4-5 – But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

1 John 3:1a – See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are

1 John 3:16 – We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

1 John 4:9-11 – By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:19 – We love, because He first loved us.

For more:
March 3, 2013 | God Pursues Sinners
November 14, 2010 - God is Love
MacDonald on the Love of God   
March 28, 2010 - Matthew 5:43-48: Love God as He Loved You
Weekly Recommendation: "The God Who Loves"

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Precious Blood": A Review

I've been thinking a lot about blood lately. I've been preaching through the Gospel of Matthew in recent weeks and we are at a major turning point. The confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi changes the narrative drastically. No longer is the story about life, vibrancy, and public miracles. Instead, its about suffering, judgment, wrath, a public death, and blood. Blood.  The Bible is, to say the least, a very bloody book. Not just because it is full of tales with murder and war, but God is a God that requires a lot of it.

It is this thought that moved me to the wonderful book Precious Blood: The Atonement of Christ edited by Richard D. Phillips with contributing chapters by Philip Ryken, Carl Truman, RC Sproul, Joel Beeke, and several others.  The book is basically broken up into two parts:  biblical/systematic theology and historical theology.

The book begins looking at the biblical/systematic theological truth of the atonement.  Why is the cross necessary?  The contributers walk the reader through what Scripture says and why penal substitution is the root meaning of the cross.  The first chapter is fascinating.  Written by Beeke, the author looks at the Passover and relates it to Christ. The parallels between the lamb in Exodus and the Lamb in the Gospels is striking and Beeke draws some conclusions that I had not seen before.  Likewise, the chapter looking at the atoning work of the cross is helpful. Walking the reader through the images of the temple (propitiation), the market (redemption), and the courtroom (justification) is a helpful way to understand the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

The section on historical theology is pretty straightforward.  There's a chapter on the early church and their soteriology, on medieval theology, the Reformers (of course!), the puritans, etc. The two most helpful chapters here are the ones on the theology of the Early Church and on the more contemporary issue of responding to those in the non-violent atonement camp.

Regarding the Early Church, the contributor slowly guides the reader through the complications of asking what the early church believed on this issue.  We must remember, the author notes, that the early church, though wrote theology, were as much apologists for the gospel.  They were having to fight off Gnosticism, Marcionism, docetism, all the while running for their lives from various persecutions.  But that does not mean that nothing is said on the subject.  The author lays out the case in their belief in the recapitulation theory, the ransom theory, and even penal substitution.

But the most helpful chapter to me personally was the last chapter which was a response to the critics of penal substitution.  It is increasingly popular in evangelicalism today to write off penal substitution as a form of "divine child abuse." The chapter walks the reader through what has been said on the subject and how a right view of God, man, Christ, and the cross - as the Bible presents it - demands a correct understanding of penal substitution without all of the unnecessary rhetoric. The author makes an excellent point here.  All of the talk about being open to other views on the atonement, and the author agrees that there is something to Christus Victor and others, this is all really an effort to undermine penal substitution. It is, if you will, a "anything but propitiation," campaign that has gained a lot of traction.

Overall this is an excellent book on an important subject that you need in your library.  The gospel is under assault and books like this will contribute to the recovery of the gospel.  I conclude with the books conclusion:

But what about the culture? Is it true that our postmodern world does not register with the legal considerations of penal substitutionary atonement? If this is so, might it be that the world so little knows the truth about God and that our culture has, in its sensual addictions, as Paul puts it, suppressed the truth of God in unrighteousness and 'exchanged the truth about God for a lie' (Rom. 1:18, 25)? If this is the case, and an assessment of postmodern culture based on a belief in the authority and truth of Scripture is bound to reach such a conclusion, then for Christians to collaborate in so deadly a deception will neither advance the true cause of the gospel nor reflect the merciful love of God towards the world.

But is it really true that the biblical gospel of Christ's atoning death as our penal substitute cannot hope to reach today's world? Once we see that the gospel reveals not another warmed-over version of failed humanistic thinking but, rather, a rejection of Western individualism for a saving, covenantal solidarity with God's own Son, who loved us enough even to take our sins t the cross, then perhaps Williams is right when he suggests that, contrary to its critics, 'penal substitution has a bright future and will preach well.' -225

For more:
Blogizomai - The Problems With Penal Substitution: McLaren on the Atonement
Thesis - Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel 
Theology - God as Butcher: McLaren on Penal Substitution
Blogizomai - Its Not Just a Theory: Stott on Penal Substitution
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution: A Review of the Evidence
Blogizomai - "Salvation Brings Imitation": Piper on Christus Exemplar 
Theology - The Postmodern Social Gospel:  Brian McLaren Proves My Point  
Theology - Allison: A History of the Doctrine of the Atonement  
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 1 - Introduction
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 2 - Christus Exemplar and the doctrine of sin and depravity
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 3 - The History of Christus Exemplar
Theology - Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 4 - Christus Exemplar and Humility
Theology - Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution:  A Look at the Evidence
Reviews - "Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll
Reviews - "In My Place, Condemned He Stood"
Reviews - "It is Well"
Reviews - "The Lost Message of Jesus"

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Death By Love" by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears: A Review

Mark Driscoll is a breath of fresh air in the Emerging Church. That is, if you consider Driscoll as still part of the Emerging Church. Driscoll was one of the first major leaders in the movement but has since removed himself from the movement due to where it was going theologically. For that, I applaud Driscoll for standing on orthodoxy and principle. And his latest book, "Death By Love: Letters From the Cross," is a reflection of his Reformed orthodoxy.

Driscoll characterizes himself as being a Reformed Charismatic pastor. At the outset, this sounds like a contradiction. And as someone who considers himself Reformed and a cessationist, this looks initially like a contradiction, but this is a growing movement nonetheless with men like Driscoll and CJ Mahany holding to this theology.

"Death By Love," is a practical look at a Reformed view of the cross. Driscoll covers issues like justification, substitution, propitiation, and other aspects of the cross. But this is not merely a theological book. It is that, but it is more than dry theology. Each chapter consists of someone in Driscolls life that is need of the gospel message. At the end of each chapter, the authors answer common questions regarding the subject at hand.

This is a book that every Christian needs to read. Not only does Driscoll lay out clearly the gospel message and a theological understanding of the cross, but also the practical, everyday importance of the cross. Redemption is a lifelong process, not something that we deal with one day. Furthermore, Driscoll shows why our ultimate need isn't self-help therapy, but the cross of Christ.

Another thing I appreciated about this book was that it was raw and unadulterated. Driscoll does not offer a sissified, feminized gospel. In other words, Driscoll is driven by the text, the hard truths of the gospel, and does not back down from speaking the truth. He is willing to tell people that they are wicked, the worse of sinners, and not deserving of the cross. In fact, at one point, he spends much time explaining to one certain person how he is the worst person who should rot in hell for what they had done. Driscoll is unashamedly hardcore and straight to the point. There is no room for wimps in this book.

The power of this should be obvious, but it is missed too often in our culture today. Most would read some of Driscoll's words and be appalled at his sternness. We are told to play nice and hope for the best. However, by ignoring the ugliness and seriousness of sin, we rob God of his glory, the cross of it's power, and love of it's overflowing magnitude. It is because Driscoll presents the worse of the worse, the undeserving of the undeserving, that we get a bigger and better glimpse at how amazing God is in His justice and yes, in His love.

I highly recommend this book. It is well worth your time. Every Christian should not only understand the depth of the cross, but also it's practical application. Driscoll does that. He expects much, and he gives much. Go buy this book!

For more:
Doctrine by Mark Driscoll
Death by Love  by Mark Driscoll
Religion Saves by Mark Driscoll
The Radical Reformation by Mark Driscoll
Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"The Cross of Christ" by John Stott: A Review

There are some doctrines every Christian should cherish, study, and rejoice in. The cross of Christ is one of them. There are some books most Christians and every pastor should read. The late John Stott's The Cross of Christ is one of them. I have been told and now concur that this is one of the best and most important books on the cross of Jesus Christ and how we are to understand it.

Stott opens the book asking a simple, yet important, question. In search of a symbol, and every movement and religion has one, why did Christianity settle on the cross? There were, after all, multiple options; the ichthus, empty tomb, Noah's Ark, creation, the manger, etc. Yet at the end of the day, the church chose a Roman cross - an instrument reserved for the worse of criminals - as their symbol. The reason is simple: their is no Christianity without the cross. Their is no gospel without the cross.

The book is broken down into four parts, but it is parts 2 and 3 that get the most press and rightfully so. It is here that Stott the theologian does his best work. Stott seeks to unravel what the cross means and why it was necessary. Stott is an ardent defender of penal substitutionary atonement. To defend this thesis, the writer slowly walks the reader through some of the dominant atonement theories in history and argues that the atonement must be one of substitution and satisfaction. Thus Anselm was on to something with his satisfaction theory (with emphasis on God's honor), but falls just short. The cross satisfies God, but it does so as God in Christ stands as our substitute. Propitiation is made.

But to suggest that this book is just a good defense of penal substitution (as Tony Jones does on the back cover) is to fail to appreciate what Stott does. Stott defends in great detail penal substitution, but the atonement is not limited to that. The current debate over the atonement is really missing this point. Those who rightly affirm penal substitution are quick to reject any and all other theories. The same is true on the other side. Those who deny penal substitution as the root purpose of the atonement usually reject it outright. Stott shows, as I have argued before, that the cross does more and is more than this.

Think of the atonement as a rope with three strands each being important. Though penal substitution is the key purpose of the atonement, other theories are just as valid and ought to be embraced. These include Christus Victor and Christus Exemplar. Stott dedicates an entire chapter to these other two theories but clarifies what the Bible actually says about them. His chapter on victory is very good. His chapter on the cross as God's revelation (Christus Exemplar) rightly rejects Abelard's moral influence theory but does not deny that Scripture affirms that we are to look to the cross and follow Christ's example there.

With all that is great about this book, there were a few things that are worth mentioning that are unfortunate. First, Stott makes a brief comment regarding creation. He notes that the fossil record indicates that predation and death existed in the animal kingdom before the creation of man (67). He then adds that God apparently had a different plan for humans. I am sympathetic toward old earth creationism (though I still remain a young earth creationist), but Stott fails to consider the implications of OEC. He says nothing regarding original sin, the historic Adam, the interpretation of Genesis, etc. in light of an old earth creationism conviction. Instead, we are to just assume that the earth is old without any theological qualms as a result.

Secondly, chapter 10 on the cross and community was a little weak. I feel that Stott really missed a great opportunity to emphasize the church. This is not to suggest that Stott undermines or ignores the importance of the church in the book, but that this would have been a great opportunity to emphasize it. Each stage of redemption - creation, fall, the passion, and consummation - deals with three aspects: the individual, the community, and the cosmos.  God establishes all three in creation, the fall distorts all three through, and cross redeems all three, and the eschaton renews all three. Thus when speaking of the cross and its work of redemption, it is imperative to highlight the church.

Finally, in his chapter on suffering, Stott heavily defends the passibility of God. I for one am stuck on the issue. Is God passible or impassible? Does God suffer or not? Stott gives an emphatic yes and I am not sure Scripture is clear enough on the subject and I'm not sure how Stott presents it is the best. For example, Stott uses the story of the execution of an innocent Jewish boy hung by the Nazis. "Where was God," the onlookers ask. "There hanging" comes the answer. The implication, then, is that God suffers with us. Let me say that I am not necessarily against passibility, however it is a difficult philosophical and theological issue. Stott uses it as a key answer to suffering and I'm not sure Scripture takes us there so clearly.

With all of this said, there is no doubt that this is an excellent book and portions of it will be featured on this site moving forward. His chapter highlighting the four images of the cross, including redemption, propitiation, reconciliation, etc., is an excellent way to explain the effects of the cross and I would recommend the reader to return to it often. Overall, buy this book, read this book, and love this book.

For more on Stott and Penal Substitution:
Its Not Just a Theory: Stott on Penal Substitution
John Stott on the The Human Enigma

Theology Thursday | Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution: A Review of the Evidence
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
God as Butcher: McLaren on Penal Substitution  
The Postmodern Social Gospel:  Brian McLaren Proves My Point  
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution:  A Look at the Evidence
"Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll 
"Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll
"In My Place, Condemned He Stood"
"It is Well"
"Precious Blood": A Review

For more on the atonement:
Allison: A History of the Doctrine of the Atonement
"Salvation Brings Imitation": Piper on Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 1 - Introduction
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 2 - Christus Exemplar and the doctrine of sin and depravity
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 3 - The History of Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 4 - Christus Exemplar and Humility
Sanctification Demands It: The Necessity of the Atonement

"The Cup & the Crucifixion" Spoken Word

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hallelujah! What A Savior - Ascend The Hill

This hymn also goes by the name "Man of Sorrows What a Name." I really like this version.

"Blood Work" by Anthony Carter: A Review

It has been said that Christianity is a bloody religion. critics usually make this accusation, pointing to the wars, inquisitions, trials, and executions carried out over the years in the name of Christianity. We must admit that blood has been wrongly shed in the name of so-called Christianity, but Christianity would be a bloody religion regardless. it is a blood religion not because o the blood shed by people in wars and inquisitions, but because of the blood shed by Jesus Christ. (1)

To read the Bible with any seriousness and sober discernment is to see the shedding of blood or the implications of it on practically every page. If the history of redemption is a story told in pictures, the blood of Christ is the paint with which the story is portrayed. (2-3)

The Bible is a bloody book. One can barely turn a page of Scripture without seeing its distinct stain on the page. From the sacrifice of an innocent animal to cover the nudity of Adam and Eve, to the murder of Abel, to the Day of Atonement, to the countless murders, wars, and rapes, to the cross itself, to the martyrdom of the first saints, and even in the end when Christ returns with a sword. There is an over-abundance of blood throughout Scripture.

The good news of Jesus Christ by which men are saved, the church is established, the Kingdom is inaugurated, and the cosmos retaken itself is a bloody gospel. To many such a theme is confusing and strange especially in the 21st century. In his book Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accoplishesh Our Salvation (Reformation Trust, 2013), Anthony Carter delves into the theme of blood and how it assures our propitiation, salvation, justification, reconciliation, ransom, redemption, cleansing, sanctification, peace, and every major soteriological theme in Scripture.

I picked up this book simply because I have become convinced that missing from Christianity is an emphasis on blood. As the author illustrates throughout the book, the great hymns of old were filled with blood. "What can wash away my sin," the hymn writer asks. "Nothing but the blood of Jesus." Another reminds us "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins." A fountain full? What happened to the blood.*

Perhaps the greatest benefit of Carter's book is it clear reminder that one cannot speak of grace or salvation without an emphasis on blood. The blood of goats are not enough, the writer of Hebrews tells us, and cannot save. Instead what we need is the penal substitutionary blood of the Lamb of God.

The outline of the book is simple. Each chapter looks at a major theme of soteriology and shows how blood defines it. So perhaps we could sum up the contents of the book as follows:
  • Blood purchases us
  • Blood Propitiates the Wrath of God
  • Blood justifies us
  • Blood brings us near to God
  • Blood makes peace
  • Blood cleanses us
  • Blood sanctifies us
  • Blood elects us
  • Blood ransoms us
  • Blood frees us
A couple of thoughts. First, the theology is sound and Reformed. As the above outline shows, there is an entire chapter dedicated to the subject of election and the author makes reference and develops it throughout the book. Beyond the question of predestination (and I am reformed myself), defends orthodox soteriology and though the language of blood might be strange for us today, this book would not have been so unique in the past. What I find helpful about Carter's approach to this subject is it reminds us that Scripture utilizes a number of images and ideas to describe and define salvation. Redemption reminds us of our slavery to sin. Justification reminds us of our guilt before God. Cleansing reminds us of the filthy nature of sin. We should not be surprised, then, that blood covers them all.

Secondly, this is not an academic book. Carter is not interested in old debates over the nature of Scripture, various theologies of salvation (liberation theology, liberalism, the social gospel, etc.), or atonement theories (moral influence, Christus Victor, etc.). Carter seeks to explain what role blood plays and how it accomplishes our salvation as revealed in Scripture. An academic book typically finds itself in debating both debates of the past and debates of the present. Carter avoids this. This is neither a praise nor criticism of the book, but a confession as to what sort of book this is. This also means that Blood Work is accessible to the average Christian.

Thirdly, the writer is good but it is not great. This brings with it the benefit of it being more accessible to the average Christian new to theology and the theme of blood, but at times the writing is almost too simple. I do not want to suggest, however, that there are no memorable quotes or powerful paragraphs. Consider the following.

Regarding sin:
  • How do we know that someone understands the blood of Christ in his life? We know it by the fact that he or she is not out for revenge, but is living out redemption. 10
  •  The human condition is not just a bucket of errors; it is an ocean of iniquity. 34
  •  Thus, it is important to see that the Bible portrays sin not just as an action but also as a tyrannical master. 43
  •  The tragedy of sin is not just that it kills, but that it defiles, it violates, and it dirties our consciences, our hands, and our lives beyond our ability to clean them. 71
Regarding the blood of Christ:
  •  The blood of Christ gives us a home. The blood of Christ becomes the flag and color under which we stand. The blood of Christ takes those who were once strangers and makes them family. As the Bible says, we are “no longer strangers and aliens, but . . . fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). Simply put, the blood of Christ brings us near to God. As Stott reminds us:
    And this nearness to God which all Christians enjoy through Christ is a privilege we take too frequently for granted. Our God does not keep his distance or stand on his dignity, like some foreign potentate, nor does he insist on any complicated ritual or protocol. On the contrary, through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit we have immediate “access” to him as our Father. We need to exhort one another to avail ourselves of this privilege. (40)

Regarding the blood of Jesus and reconciliation:
  •  The blood of Jesus tears down the walls of hostility and brings peace and prosperity of soul. It takes a people who are not His people and makes them His people under God, indivisible. The blood of Christ, spilled at the cross, is so powerful that it destroys all the foolish, oxymoronic statements we sometimes hear: “selfish Christian”—there is no self at the cross, only Jesus; “stingy Christian”—the cross is the greatest motivation for giving there could ever be; “proud Christian”—the ground at the foot of the cross is the humblest in the history of the world; or “racist Christian”—at the cross there is no Jew or Gentile, black or white, Arab or Asian. There is only Christ and those who are washed in His blood.
    In Christ, the ethnic and racial identities that separate and often become the source of animosity and even enmity lose their power to divide. The blood of Christ overcomes them. There- fore, Christians must remember that there is only one family of God. We not only fly the same flag and fight under the same banner, but we share the same blood. That blood has brought us near—to God and each other. Racial and ethnic bloodlines are not omnipotent. The blood of Christ is. When the blood of Christ brings us near, it brings us to the cross and asks us this question: “Do you remember?” Let us remember that the blood of Christ has reconciled us to God, ended the hostility, and transformed us from enemies to friends. Let us remember to pray as the songwriter suggests:Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget thine agony, Lest I forget thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary. (57-58)

Consider also some of the following helpful illustrations. First a story about Augustine:
The story is told that Augustine, the fourth-century theologian and bishop of Hippo in North Africa, after confessing faith in Jesus Christ, ran into a former mistress on the street. Immediately upon recognizing her, Augustine reversed his course and began moving swiftly in the opposite direction. The woman, surprised at seeing Augustine and equally surprised at the reversal of his route, cried out, “Augustine, it is I.” Augustine, continuing to move away from her, replied, “Yes, but it is not I.” (79)

Secondly a legend about Abraham Lincoln:

The story is told that Abraham Lincoln went down to the slave block and there noticed a young black girl up for auction. Moved with compassion, he bid on her and won. Upon purchasing her, Lincoln told the disbelieving girl that she was free. In her surprise, she said, “What does that mean?”

“It means you are free,” he replied.

“Does that mean,” she asked, “I can say whatever I want to say?”

“Yes, my dear, you can say whatever you want to say.”

“Does that mean I can be whatever I want to be?” “Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.”

“Does that mean I can go wherever I want to go?” “Yes, you can go wherever you want to go.”

At that, the girl, with tears streaming down her face, said, “Then I will go with you.”

Admittedly, this account is probably more legendary than legitimate. Yet it does communicate an important spiritual truth. Like the young girl on the slave block, we, too, have been redeemed and set free. The Bible reminds us in 1 Peter 1:18–19 that if we are in Christ, we have been “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [our] forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” The blood of Christ is of incalculable value, and for that reason it alone is able to ransom sinners from their slavery to sin. (99-100)

More could be given, but this should make the point. Carter is not a great writer, but is a memorable one. Then again, when one proclaims the wonderful gospel, how can we not be? Carter wants the reader to not just have his head filled with a better understanding of the biblical theme of blood and the role it plays in our salvation, but to instead use this great theology to bring us to praise. It is not an accident that the great hymns and praise songs quoted throughout the book are used. If this is true regarding the blood of Jesus, and it is, then how can we not worship.

O precious is that flow
That makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

* The author provides an entire appendix of his book to songs on the subject of blood.

Reformation Trust was kind enough to provide a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review.

For more:
"The Cross of Christ" by John Stott: A Review
"In My Place, Condemned He Stood"
"It is Well"
"Precious Blood": A Review 
"Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll 
Its Not Just a Theory: Stott on Penal Substitution
John Stott on the The Human Enigma
Theology Thursday | Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution: A Review of the Evidence
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
God as Butcher: McLaren on Penal Substitution  
The Postmodern Social Gospel:  Brian McLaren Proves My Point  
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution:  A Look at the Evidence
Allison: A History of the Doctrine of the Atonement
"Salvation Brings Imitation": Piper on Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 1 - Introduction
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 2 - Christus Exemplar and the doctrine of sin and depravity
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 3 - The History of Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 4 - Christus Exemplar and Humility
Sanctification Demands It: The Necessity of the Atonement 

Matthew 1-18 | The King Has Come: The Gospel According to Matthew Series

At the first of each year, we pause to survey the Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ. Since 2009, we have been looking at Matthew's Gospel and have now made it through the first 18 chapters. Below are all of the sermons available along with a number of other links and resources.

December 6, 2009 - We Are the Reason for the Season:  The Necessity of the Virgin Birth 
December 13, 2009 - Matthew 1:1ff - Was not recorded.
December 20., 2009 - Worship the King:  The Folly of Misplaced Allegiance 
December 27, 2009 - Repentence:  Costly Grace 
January 10, 2010 - Matthew 4:12-20 - Follow Me:  The Call to Surrender and Leave 
January 17, 2010 - Matthew 5:1-12 - If Your Joyful and You Know It . . . 
January 24, 2010 - Matthew 5:13 - Stuck Between Salt and Manure:  The Call to Preserve the Gospel 
January 31, 2010 - Matthew 5:14-26 - Its Dark in Here:  The Call to be the Light of the World 
February 7, 2010 - Matthew 5:17-20 - Medium Rare is Unbiblical or What Do Christians Do with the Law
February 14, 2010 - Matthew 5:21-22 - I Am a Murderer . . . And So Are You 
February 21, 2010 - Matthew 5:23-26 - Resetting What Was Broken:  The Necessity of Reconciliation
February 28, 2010 - Matthew 5:27-30 - America's Pastime: Our Lust for Lust 
March 7, 2010 - Matthew 5:31-32 - The Gospel and Divorce:  What Does the Bible Say?
March 14, 2010 - Matthew 5:33-37 - Allergies to Toast, the Gospel, and Integrity
March 21, 2010 - Matthew 5:38-42 - I Surrender!  I Surrender!
March 28, 2010 - Matthew 5:43-48 - Love God as He Loved You
April 2, 2010 - Matthew 6:1-4 - Camouflaged Gold:  Why Christians Should Give In Secret
May 30, 2010 - Matthew 6:5-8 - Jesus on Prayer:  Our Inward Motivations
June 6, 2010 - Matthew 9-13 - The Model Prayer 
June 13, 2010 - Matthew 6:14-15 - The Forgiven Forgive:  The Inseparable Reality of the Gospel of Forgiveness
June 27, 2010- Matthew 6:16-18 - The Gospel of Self-Denial:  Why Fasting is Biblical and What it Says About Our Faith
July 11, 2010 - Matthew 6:19-24 - Investing in the Kingdom of God  
August 1, 2010 - Matthew 6:25-34 - Worry and the Providence of God:  What Our Anxiety Says About What We Believe About God 
August 8, 2010 - Matthew 7:1-6 - Judge Not But Please Remove This Speck.  Its Killing My Eye:  Learning to Judge Righteously, Not Hypocritically   
August 15, 2010 - Matthew 7:7-12 - The Golden Rule and a Community of Love
August 22, 2010 - Matthew 7:13-14 - The Gospel is for Fools:  How to Empty a Church and Grow a Kingdom
August 29, 2010 - Matthew 7:15-23:  Watch for False Gospels
September 5, 2010 - Matthew 7:24-29 - Not By the Hairs of My Chinny Chin Chin:  Standing on the Rock of the Gospel   

January 2, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-17 - "Be Cleansed":  The Great Healer & His Great Gospel
January 16, 2011 | Matthew 8:18-27 - The High Worth of Discipleship   
January 23, 2011 | Matthew 8:23-34 - Knowing is Only Half the Battle:  The Authority & Power of King Jesus
January 30, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-9:8 - Chasing a Tail Named Idolatrous:  Our Enslaved Idolatry and How Jesus Sets Us Free 
February 6, 2011 | Matthew 9:1-8 - Anything You Can Do . . .:  Why Forgiveness Is Greater Than All Our Sin 
February 13, 2011 | Matthew 9:9-13 - "Its Just a Flesh Wound:  Jesus, the Liberating and Transforming Gospel, and Why We Need It 
February 27, 2011 | Matthew 9:14-17 
March 6, 2011 | Matthew 9:18-10:4 - Be Ye Restored:  The Gospel of Jesus & the Gift of Restoration 
March 13, 2011 | Matthew 10:5-42 - The Few.  The Proud.  The Christian.
March 20, 2011 | Matthew 11:1-19 - Jesus in a Box: Why Jesus and the Gospel is Better Than Our Idols
April 3, 2011 | Matthew 12:1-21:  The Burden of Religion and the Rest of the Gospel
April 17, 2011 - Matthew 12:38-50
January 1, 2012 | Matthew 13:1-23 - Like Soil: The Kingdom, the Gospel, the Church, & You
January 8, 2012 | Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 - Like Wheat & Weeds: The Kingdom, the Gospel, the Church, & You
January 15, 2012 | Matthew 13:31-35 - Like Mustard Seeds & Leaven: The Kingdom, the Gospel, the Church, & You  
January 22, 2012 | Matthew 13:44-46 - Like Treasure: The Kingdom, the Gospel, the Church, & You
January 29, 2012 | Matthew 13:47-58 - Like a Net: The Kingdom, The Gospel, the Church, & You
February 5, 2012 | Matthew 14:1-12 - Off With His Head: When the Gospel Infiltrates the Kingdom of Man
February 12, 2012 | Matthew 14:13-36 - More Than a Hint: Jesus is the Son of God & Why That Matters
February 19, 2012 | Matthew 15:21-28 - Desperado, Don't Come to Your Senses
March 4, 2012 | Matthew 16:29-39: Location. Location. Location.
January 27, 2013 | Matthew 17:24-27 - We Are Free Indeed: The Glorious Truth of the Gospel
February 10, 2013 | Matthew 18:1-4 - Children Only: The Secret to being great in the Kingdom of God
February 17, 2013 | Matthew 18:5-14 - Primum Non Nocere: The Kingdom & the Treatment of Children
February 24, 2013 | God Hates Sin
March 10, 2013 | Matthew 18:15-20 - This Will Hurt Me More Than It Will Hurt You: The Kingdom & the Discipline of Children
March 17, 2013 | Matthew 18:21-35 _ Forgive As Much As You Have Been Forgiven By God in Christ

How Much Do You Hate Others?:  The Necessity of Being Fishers of Men 
In More Detail:  Repost of Beautitudes 
Light of the World:  Pentecost Weighs In 
Augustine's Pears:  Lust's Lust 
Bonhoeffer:  Truth and the Cross 
Bonhoeffer - "By Willing Endurance We Cause Suffering to Pass 
Just War Theory - What Christians Have Had to Say 
Love Your Enemies:  Even If He is a Murderer
Some Light Reading: On Lust
Augustine's Pears: Lust's Lust
Pornography is Not Just a Male Problem  
Matthew Thus Far:  Matthew 1-5  
Calvin on Prayer:  Why Bother?
Grudem on Prayer:  Why Bother?
Is This How We Pray?  
Some Light Reading:  On Prayer and Forgiveness  
Wax on Forgiveness  
Colson on Forgiveness  
Calvin on Fasting  
Bonhoeffer on Treasures in Heaven     
Treasures in Heaven and the Great Commission:  An Important and Timely Sermon  
Calvin on Treasures in Heaven 
DC Talk - Things of This World  
MacArthur on Anxiety 
A Parable from Home Improvement 
Bonhoeffer on the Golden Rule 
Bonhoeffer on Anxiety 
MacArthur on Anxiety  
Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?:  A Children's Tale With a Biblical Message  
We Are a Motley Crew: MacArthur on the Healing of the Hemorrhaging Woman
MacArthur on Matthew's Use of Isaiah 53 

We Are Children: MacArthur Introduces Matthew 18:1-4
Come Like Children: MacArthur Explains the Riddle

Other Sermons from Matthew:
July 22, 2012 | Matthew 4:1-4 - Hungry? Why Wait?: Learning to Feast When on a 40 Day Fast
August 8, 2012 | Matthew 4:5-7 - Don't Jump: Why the Gospel is Greater Than Self-Vindication
August 15, 2012 | Matthew 4:8-11 - My Kingdom Come: Why the Gospel is Greater Than Kingdom Building Idolatry

Other Series:
The Sermon on the Mount Series
Matthew Thus Far:  Matthew 1-5
Matthew 8-12 - The King Has Come: The Gospel According to Matthew Series
The Last Week of Jesus: From Triumphal Entry to Triumphal Grave Series 
The Tempter and the Tempted: Overcoming Temptation With the Gospel of Christ Sermon Series
Jonah: Salvation is From the Lord Sermon Series
Faith in the Midst of God-Ordained Storms Sermon Series 
Ruth: Where Providence and Grace Kiss Sermon Series
Haggai: Consider Your Ways Sermon Series

God: Proper Theology Proper Sermon Series
Fruitie-Tales: Living By the Fruit of the Spirit
Basic Christianity Series
Revelation Study

Husbands, Love Your Wives: 8 Ways To Do So

We find ourselves between two important national holidays: Mother's Day and Father's Day. As such it is right that we regularly take time to focus on marriage, family, and parenting. In a recent article at the Ligonier Ministries website, William Boekestein offers 8 admonitions for how husbands ought to love their wife. I think the following is helpful. Here is the basic outline:

1. Love Her Heart - Emotional Love
2. Love Her Mind - Intellectual Love
3. Love Her Body - Physical Love
4. Love Her Soul - Spiritual Love
5. Love Her Relationships - Relational Love
6. Love Her Humanity - Realistic Love
7. Love Her Calling - Supportive Love
8. Love Her Maker - Theological Love

For more, read the article here.

For more:
June 17, 2012 | A Help-Mate For Him: Eve and Biblical Femininity - Father's Day 2012
May 13, 2012 | Men Are Priests: Why Christ is a Better Man Than Adam - Mother's Day 2012
May 8, 2011 - Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Womans - Mother's Day 2011 
May 9, 2010 - Manly God for Godly Men:  A Word to Men on Mother's Day
The Maternal Nature of God: Jim Wallis and the Emergent Worldview
God is Not a Dude:  Rob Bell and the "She" Video

Jonah: Salvation is From the Lord Sermon Series

We have finished yet another sermon series this time on the wonderful book of Jonah. Below are the links to all of the sermon/sermon notes as well as all of the articles and other resources.


April 7, 2013 | Jonah 1:1-3 - You Can Run But Not Hide: Why That is Really Good News
April 14, 2013 | Jonah 1:4-17 - Grace Goes Both Ways You Know: Why that is Really Really Good News
April 21, 2013 | Jonah 2:1-10 - Salvation is From the Lord: Why I Stand Amazed  & Not Condemned
May 5, 2013 | Jonah 3:1-10 - Some Things Never Change: Divine Stubbornness & Why Grace is Unconditional
May 19, 2013 | Jonah 4:1-11 - Should I Not Have Compassion?


How Are We to Understand Jonah: As Historical?
How Are We to Understand Jonah: As Midrash?
How Are We to Understand Jonah: As Allegorical?
Holman Dictionary on Jonah
Bibledex on Jonah
VeggieTales and Jonah
Man Swallowed By Hippo & Lived to Tell About It

Other Series

Faith in the Midst of God-Ordained Storms Sermon Series 
God: Proper Theology Proper Sermon Series  
The Sermon on the Mount Series
Matthew Thus Far:  Matthew 1-5
Matthew 8-12 - The King Has Come: The Gospel According to Matthew Series
The Last Week of Jesus: From Triumphal Entry to Triumphal Grave Series
Fruitie-Tales: Living By the Fruit of the Spirit
Basic Christianity Series
Revelation Study

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 19, 2013 | Jonah 4:1-11 - Should I Not Have Compassion?

Sunday we finished our series on Jonah. I trust it has been as beneficial to you as it has been to me.

But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”
Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. So the Lord God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.”

Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” 10 Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?


April 7, 2013 | Jonah 1:1-3 - You Can Run But Not Hide: Why That is Really Good News
April 14, 2013 | Jonah 1:4-17 - Grace Goes Both Ways You Know: Why that is Really Really Good News
April 21, 2013 | Jonah 2:1-10 - Salvation is From the Lord: Why I Stand Amazed  & Not Condemned
May 5, 2013 | Jonah 3:1-10 - Some Things Never Change: Divine Stubbornness & Why Grace is Unconditional
May 19, 2013 | Jonah 4:1-11 - Should I Not Have Compassion?

For more:
How Are We to Understand Jonah: As Historical?
How Are We to Understand Jonah: As Midrash?
How Are We to Understand Jonah: As Allegorical?
Simul justus et peccator: Luther & the Heart of the Gospel
I Hear You: A Sermon Illustration
Holman Dictionary on Jonah
Bibledex on Jonah
VeggieTales and Jonah
Man Swallowed By Hippo & Lived to Tell About It

The Baptist Faith & Message 2000

Here is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

I. The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

II. God

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

A. God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

B. God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

III. Man

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.

V. God's Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

VII. Baptism and the Lord's Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

VIII. The Lord's Day

The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.

X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

XI. Evangelism and Missions

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

XII. Education

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.

XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

XIV. Cooperation

Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.

XV. The Christian and the Social Order

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

XVI. Peace and War

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.