Thursday, October 8, 2015

They Will Not Prevail

The enemies of God are planners and schemers. In Psalm 2:1-3 the nations and rulers plot and take counsel on how they can break God’s chains. What can we do to escape God? How can we run from Him? How can we evade his rules? What can we do to destroy his Word and make him disappear? Imagine a bunch of corporate lawyers sitting in a back room late at night plotting the overthrow of another company.

In our culture this plotting takes place through things like feminism, sexual freedom, the acceptance of evolution, the careful parsing of God’s word by weak-willed men (and women) so that it becomes impotent, college classes on gender studies, failure to call public leaders to repentance, and a denial of sin as the problem in our lives.

For Christians who love God’s Word and its Author, this scheming can be discouraging. Our resources are paltry. Leaders are dropping like zombies in The Walking Dead. Doctrinal compromise is normal. Every day more laws get passed that destroy the remnants of Christianity that were once in our culture. And what of the Church? She is harassed and persecuted around the world. Where she is not persecuted by the enemies of God she is threatened by wolves who have found their way into the sheepfold. All in all, there are times we wonder if Jesus missed something when He said, “The gates of hell will not prevail against his church” (Matthew 16:18).

There is a great encouragement for us in Exodus 15. Exodus 15:1-21 is the song that Israel sung after the Egyptians had been drowned in the Red Sea.  The song exalts in God’s marvelous power to deliver his people from the strongest of enemies. Verse 9 takes us behind the curtain to see what the Egyptians were planning:
The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.'
The Egyptian army had it all worked out. They were going to overtake that ragtag band of slaves, led by an 80 year old shepherd and destroy them. They were going slaughter them by the seashore spilling their blood all over the sand and then go back to feast. They were cocky and sure of themselves. After all, Israel's back was to the sea and Egypt had the greatest army in the world. What or who could possibly stop them? 

But just like Psalm 2:4 God laughed. Man can plot and scheme, but God is the one who directs history. God’s plans are the only sure plans.  Egypt does not prevail. Instead they are destroyed. Exodus 14:30 says that Israel saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore. Exodus 15:1-10 says God

Threw the horse and rider into the sea
Cast Pharaoh’s army into the sea
Drowned Pharaoh’s choicest of captains so they sank like stones
Dashed the enemy into pieces
Consumed them like stubble
Covered them with the sea

All those plans, all those schemes thwarted in a moment by a God who is not like other gods (Exodus 15:11), but is glorious, fearful, powerful, and a man of war. 

If you are Christian do not fear the plans of the great men of this world. Politicians, professors, movie stars, talking heads, Muslims, and false teachers of all stripes can plot and scheme to tear down God and his people, but in the end they will not prevail. They will come to nothing. They are but a drop in the bucket and dust on the scales (Isaiah 40:18).  Do not listen to the fear mongers in the press or on your Facebook page. Even your Christian friends can get sucked into the vortex that says that God will not deliver and it would have been better to stay in Egypt (Exodus 14:10-12). Tell them to not be afraid. God has already saved us to the uttermost in Christ. We have already seen the salvation of God (Exodus 14:13). Sin, Satan, death, and our enemies have all been put under his feet. Jesus has all authority (Matt. 28:18-20).  He rules over the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5). Why the fear? Why the anxiety? Why the lack of trust? Christian believe him. He rescued Israel. He will rescue us. 

But if you are not a Christian or if you used to profess faith in Christ, but now you are drifting away, you should fear. You will not come through the sea. You can plot, scheme, push those thoughts about death away, hope it is all a myth, ignore God's word, but it will not change a thing. One day you will stand face to face with the God who drowned thousands. If Pharaoh was destroyed by Him, what chance do you have? If his chariots were dashed to pieces on the rocks, what hope have you of escaping by your own power? But He is not all wrath. He is also kind to those who trust in His Son Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:7, 12) and turn to Him. Join the glorious band who have been delivered by the blood of Jesus. Join those of us who because of God's kindness came through on the dry land (Exodus 15:19). You too can see the salvation of God (Exodus 14:13) if you will just trust in Jesus and follow Him.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Clean Upstream

Pastor Doug Wilson notes in this book
Recognize that sexual sin is not just a sin for which there will be consequences later (although that is true)-sexual sin is itself a judgment for antecedent [prior PJ] sin. Find out what that sin is, and deal with it. Stop floating towards the falls. Work your way upstream.
Many men see lust and sexual sin in isolation from the rest of their sins. Lust is what happens when you see a girl and keep staring and staring or click on that link you swore you wouldn't or when you roll that scene from the movie over and over in your mind. Because this sin is often committed in the dark or in our minds we assume it has little connection to the rest of our sins. But there are clusters of sins that at first glance have little to do with sex that make it easier to cheat on our wives, flirt at work, look at porn, or indulge fantasies in our heads. Here are a few sins upstream that lead to sexual sins downstream. Naturally these intertwine with each other and you can probably think of others.

Laziness: Proverbs 15:19 says the way of a lazy man is like a hedge of thorns. Many a man has found himself entangled in sexual sins because he was lazy in other areas of his life. A man who cannot put in a hard day's work, cuts corners, refuses to maintain his home, hopes he wins the lottery, is too lazy to discipline his children or help his pregnant wife is not likely to work hard when it comes to resisting  the buxom blonde on the screen.

Grumbling:  Throughout the Scriptures God's people are called upon to give thanks. When they don't bad things happen. One could argue that sodomy, one of the greatest sexual sins, begins with a failure to give thanks (Romans 1:21). But we treat grumbling and complaining with kid gloves.  A man addicted to porn has a huge problem. A man who spends most of his life complaining is complimented for being insightful and wise. But porn and grumbling go together. A man who is discontent with his children, his job, his house, and his dog will not be content with his wife. A complaining mouth is a sign of an unfaithful heart.

Lack of Self-Control: Self-control is a central character trait necessary for true holiness. Without self-control other virtues, such as kindness and mercy, lose their balance and beauty.  A man who cannot control his eating, his temper, his schedule, his movie watching, his gaming, his hobbies, and his speech is not likely to control his sexual urges. Yet we are surprised when a man who spends dozens of free hours and hundreds of dollars on hunting or golf cheats on his wife. Why?

Coveting: Of course, lust is a sub species of covetousness. But we don't take other types of coveting as seriously as we take coveting a woman. We recoil at lusting after a women. But a new job...not so much. We just wink. When we are jealous of a friend's pay raise or new house or new truck or...fill in the blank then we are coveting. We believe we deserve more than we have. We believe God has withheld something good from us (Genesis 3:4-6). A longing for a new job, car, house, etc. naturally leads to sexual sin. Covetousness is compared to idolatry in Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5. If we bow down all day we will not suddenly stop bowing at the computer or with a co-worker.

The trouble is the sins listed above do not make our short list of "big" sins. We are lazy, grumbling, out of control, coveting men and then wonder why we cannot resist the cute waitress.  Acre after acre of our lives are untended and full of weeds and we wonder why this one little area has so many snakes in it.

We should fight against sexual sin by regulating our computer habits, guarding our eyes at work, being accountable, memorizing verses, and other regularly suggested means. But we will never  kill our lusts until we begin to put to death these other sins. We will never defeat sexual immorality until we work until we don't want to and then work some more. We will not turn away from porn unless we stop grumbling about God's hard providences.  When we learn to hold our tongue we will also learn how to hold back sinful thoughts. And when we give thanks to God for his gifts we will stop lusting for what he has withheld. These Spirit filled disciplines will help us find victory over our sexual sins. Otherwise fighting lust will be a losing battle, like cleaning up downriver while the sewage continues to pour in upstream.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

No, It Really Isn't That Hard

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Wendy Davis, a Democratic politician from Texas who tried to become governor said this:

She is angry about the threat of Planned Parenthood being defunded. She thinks abortion is great. She thinks it is unfair for women to have carry children to term. 

Several thoughts went through my mind as I read this. First, the use of "literally" is like, totally, lame. 

Second, no one is forcing women into being child bearing vessels. They are born that way.  God made women to bear children. They do not enter this world with no reproductive organs and then some scientist inserts a womb. They enter this world with wombs and breasts, which are for carrying, giving birth to, and feeding children. 

Third, very few women are forced to bear children. The only exception would be a pregnant rape victim. All other women know that having sex can lead to children and they chose to do it anyway. If they don't want children then they shouldn't have sex. Typically we see in this statement by Ms. Davis the divorcing of sex from procreation. She wants to chant, "Make love, not children." The world doesn't work that way. 

Finally, is it really that hard to feed and educate a bunch of children? Raising children is hard work. But feeding them and educating them is not the most difficult part. In fact, I have never had a problem feeding or educating my children. One year I made less than thirteen thousand dollars and my children (at that time I had four) were still fed, clothed, and educated. Currently, I have nine children. My wife has not worked for money in many years. I am a pastor. In other words, I am not rich, have a lot of children, and my wife does not work. You might think I would struggle to make ends meet. But that is not the case. We feed our children just fine without using government money.  We home school our children and they regularly score above the national average on tests. In other words, I pay for my kids school and I pay for someone else's kids school. My church is kind to me, but I know that even with nine children I could feed and educate them on a lot less than what I currently make. 

Everyone does not have to do it my way, though I think you should avoid the schools of Molech. And I know there are hard cases where it is difficult to pay the bills. But most people by hard work, careful use of resources, sacrifice, and a refusal to buy everything being sold by the advertisers can feed and educate their children, even when they have a lot of them. It is getting harder to make ends meet. But that is because of all the taxes being taken from the people to fund overseas wars, public school, welfare, and Planned Parenthood. We can feed and educate our children as long the Republicans and Democrats will let us keep our money.  So the answer is not more government programs or abortion. The answer is lower taxes, hard work, and lots of little feet. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Hard Working, Theologically Sound Church That Must Repent

Ephesus was one of the more important cities in the New Testament. At various times it is associated with Paul, the apostle John, Apollos, Timothy, and Priscilla and Aquila. Paul preached there for 3 years (Acts 20:31). At least four New Testament letters are addressed to this church, Ephesians, I and II Timothy, and Revelation 2:1-7. Many commentators also believe that John's three epistles were written to the church in that area as well. Outside of these letters, Paul also wrote several letters from Ephesus(I Cor. 16:8-9). All of this paints an impressive picture of Ephesus' importance in the New Testament age.

Ephesus contained the Temple of  Diana, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This temple was 425 feet long and 260 feet wide. It was also a safe haven for criminals. If you committed a crime you could go there and be safe from prison. Immorality was rampant in the temple. Orgies were common place along with men who had been castrated so they could serve Diana. Ephesus also had a coliseum that rivaled the one in Rome, one of the biggest harbors in Asia Minor, and she was a major postal route where you could easily get to other cities. A large, important, sexually immoral, idolatrous city, right along a major road, with a huge harbor, and many people. It  made Paul drool with excitement (I Cor. 16:9).

Ephesus is in modern day Turkey
When we meet the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7 she is working hard for the name of Christ. The word translated "labor" in Revelation 2:2 and 2:3 means to work until one is sweating. It is used by Paul in II Timothy 2:6 to describe the "hard-working" farmer. This church is not a lazy 25 year old living in his mother's basement. She is diligent, hard working, preaching the gospel, making disciples, worshiping God, and evangelizing her neighbors. Most importantly, they do not do this for self glory, but they do it for the name of Jesus (Rev. 2:3). Their motivation was correct.

But the church at Ephesus was not just fighting the good fight. They were persevering. Lots of churches fight the good fight for a few years or maybe a couple of decades. But Ephesus had not become weary. She was pressing forward, showing patience in her labors. She did not become discouraged and give up. She did not get tired of pushing away false teachers. She did not become tired of working for the Kingdom. She was still in the fight.

The church at Ephesus had been warned by Paul that savage wolves would come in and try to destroy the flock (Acts 20:30). Therefore when we read about her in Revelation she is carefully guarding her doctrine. She "cannot bear evil men." She tests men who claim to be apostles (Rev. 2:2). She hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans, a group that probably promoted idol worship and sexual immorality within the church (Rev. 2:6). Notice here that she does not just reject sin. She rejects the men who bring that sin into the body. Evil men, men living wicked lives, are cast out. False teachers, no matter how many degrees they have and what their reputation, are tested. If their doctrine is false and they are found to be liars they are rejected. (See also  II John 1:10, III John 1:9-10).

Ephesus is a hard working, theologically sound, persevering church, that is working for the name of Jesus. What could possible be wrong?

You know that feeling when Mom says, "Son you did really good on that test, but..." Or when a parishioner says, "Great sermon, but..." Well that is what Jesus does. He knows their works (Rev. 2:2) both good and bad.  Revelation 2:4 is one of the  most famous verses from Revelation. Despite all the good there is one bad thing. And it is really bad. They have left their first love.

There is some debate about what this means, but I think it refers to that affection and love the church had for Jesus and His people when they were first founded. For John love of Jesus and love the church cannot be separated (I John 3:15). I believe this church had lost her love for Jesus, that inward passion and fervor for Him that naturally leads to sacrifice for Jesus and His people. In the beginning it was not this way. Paul stayed there 3 years. They wanted to learn and grow. They hungered for the Word. They burned their pagan books in the streets no matter how much they were worth (Acts 19:19-20). They loved Paul (Acts 20:37-38). The book of Ephesians is one of the few New Testament books with no clear indication of major problems. Jesus is telling them to remember what it was like. Jesus tells them to do those works they did at the beginning (Rev. 2:5).

How did they get this way? Revelation does not tell us. But I think they were fighting many, many battles. They were trying to keep false teachers and false theology out. They had been doing this for some time and have not grown weary. They were in a horribly wicked city. They were just trying to survive. In the middle of all this, it was hard to keep one's love burning hot. Yes, they protected the members of the church at Ephesus. Yes, they were still fighting. But were they loving one another? Was their passion for Jesus clear and evident?

We might think that verses 2-3 got Ephesus out of the woods. But Jesus is clear. They must repent. This word is used 8 times in the seven letters to the seven churches. Repent or perish is one of the key messages given to these churches. If that love does not return He will come soon and take away their lampstand (Rev. 2:5). The lampstand means their standing as a church will be lost (Rev. 1:20). Jesus will take his Spirit away from them. They will stop being a city on a hill and a light to world. They will become the darkness they are trying to fight.

So What?
Churches need to test teachers, no matter what their pedigree. Just because a man claims to be an apostle or pastor or good teacher does not make him right. Members need to know God's Word and the theology taught in it so they can spot false teachers.

False teachers and wicked men should be rejected, not just their teaching. There is some truth in the phrase hate the sin love the sinner. But when it come to false teachers, liars, and men who reject apostolic doctrine they are to be shown the exit door. The only way to get rid of the sin is to get rid of the sinner.

Churches must learn to endure.  My generation is frankly awful at this. We have a hard time sticking with one wife, much less being faithful to Christ our whole lives. This carries over to churches who are faithful for a few years, but then falter. Often this comes down to a failure to pass on apostolic doctrine (II Timothy 2:2). Persevere may be the single most important message that can be given to young Christians and young churches.

Lack of love is not made up for by having solid theology. Christ our Lord perfectly modeled love and fidelity to truth. He expects his churches to do the same. A true church will not pit doctrine and love against one another. She will guard her orthodoxy. But she will also guard her heart making sure that in the midst of battle it does become hard and cold.

When we are rebuked through the Word the only option is to repent. Jesus expects his people to hear his voice and obey him. Failure to do so will end in a church being stripped of her title and left bereft of the Spirit. This is especially important for leaders in the church. We must model repentance when the Word dictates such a change.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Review: The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the GardenThe Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A unique book for introducing children to the big picture of Scripture. I have not read any book like it. DeYoung moves from the garden to the major events in the history of Israel to Jesus to Heaven. He does all this in a book that can be read in one sitting and is packed with wonderful illustrations.

Some of my friends have disagreed with parts of it. But I am not sure I agree with any book in its entirety, especially one interpreting Scripture. DeYoung emphasizes Israel's failings. I wish he had put more time into those who were faithful in Israel. He mentions them, but then reminds us that they were sinners too. He emphasis on God's faithfulness is excellent. But at times this comes at the expense of faithful men and women throughout the history of God's people. To prove God is faithful one does not have to minimize the faithfulness of his people. DeYoung also leaves out creation, which is odd.

Still it is a great read because of its length, illustrations, the emphasis on God keeping his promises, and the way it gives kids the big picture of the Bible.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Calvin Preaches About the Sabbath

Calvin's rejection of the Sabbath as a new covenant ordinance is used by many contemporary Christians to alleviate their obligations on the Lord's Day.  The thought goes something like this: "The Sabbath ordinance from the OT has been done away with. Therefore no day is to be elevated above another. We can work and carry on commerce on any day we wish, as long as we attend a worship service at some point. And Calvin the great reformer agrees with us." Calvin's position has been the subject of much debate. Richard Gaffin thinks Calvin's position is different from that expressed in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. Even if that is the case, and not all agree it is, in practice there was little difference between Calvin's position and that of the Puritans even though the theology behind the practices was not the same. This is an important point because many Christians today are not as concerned with Calvin's theology of the Sabbath as they are with finding a way to justify their own loose 21st century Sunday practices. Over at TCI, they explain why  the underlying theology is different and yet it worked out the same by looking at Calvin's view of the two kingdoms. My goal in this post is to show one example of Calvin preaching about the Sabbath and the expectations he gave to his people as he did so. Here are several paragraphs from Calvin's sermon on Deuteronomy 5:12-14 preached in 1555. He has just finished giving a long explanation of how the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ and calls upon his congregation to trust in God and kill the sins in our lives. He is preaching justification by faith and sanctification in the first part of the sermon.  Then he follows with these long paragraphs that I have broken up for easier reading.
Now we must come to the second point which emphasizes that the Sabbath day was a type of civil order for the training of the faithful in the service of God. For that day was ordained in order that people must assemble themselves to hear doctrine of the law preached, to participate in the sacrifices, and to invoke the name of God. With respect to that, it applies to us as much as to the ancient people. For although the figurative aspect has been surpassed, I affirm what Paul says in the Letter to the Colossians: that nevertheless what is said of this order still applies and has it usage.
And what is this order? It is to assemble ourselves in the name of God. Indeed it is true that that must always be done, but because of our weakness, even because of our laziness, it is necessary for one day to be chosen. It we were as ardent in the service of God as we should be, it would not have been necessary to ordain one day of the week, for without a written law each would have assembled himself morning and evening in order that we might have become increasingly edified in the Word of God. And whereas we are so inclined toward evil that nothing is required to debauch us, that practice would still be necessary for us; thus we have need of assembling ourselves every day in the name of God. But what is the actual case? We see with what great pain people assemble themselves on Sunday and how necessary it is to use force to retain a large part of the world. Thus seeing such a weakness in ourselves, let us acknowledge that this order was not given solely to the Jews in order for them to have a certain day on which they might assemble themselves, but at the same time it applies to us. 
Nevertheless, we have to note that there is more and that indeed it would be a meagre thing to have a rest regarding physical activity, but not involving anything else. What is necessary then? That we should strive toward a higher end than this rest here; that we should desist from our works which are able to impede us from meditating on the works of God, from calling upon his name, and from exercising his Word. If we turn Sunday into a day for living it up, for our sport and pleasure, indeed how will God be honored in that? Is it not a mockery and even a profanation of his name? But when shops are closed on Sunday, when people do not travel in the usual way, its purpose is to provide more leisure and liberty for attending to what God commands us, that we might be taught by his Word, that we might convene together in order to confess our faith, to invoke his name, and to participate in the use of the sacraments. That is the end for which this order must serve us. 
Now let us consider whether those who call themselves Christians require of themselves what they should. There is a large group which thinks that Sunday exists for the purpose of enabling them to attend to their own affairs and for one thing and another. The rest glut themselves and are shut up in their houses because they do not dare display manifest scorn on the streets; in any case, Sunday is nothing more than a retreat for them in which they stand aloof from the church of God
Now from the foregoing we see in that attitude we hold all Christianity and the service of God. For what was given to us in order to help us approach God, we use as an occasion for alienating ourselves from him even more. And as a result we are led astray. We must recover it all. Is not such a diabolical malice in men? Would to God that we had to look hard for examples and that they were more rare. But as everything is profaned, we see that the majority hardly care about the usage of this day which has been instituted in order that we might withdraw from all earthly anxieties, from all business affairs, to the end that we might surrender everything to God. 
Here are a few other quotes from the sermon.
We no longer have this figure and shadow for the purpose of keeping a ceremony as rigid as it was under the bondage of the law. Rather its purpose is to gather us in order that according to our weakness we might be trained to devote ourselves better to the service of God, that we might have this day fully dedicated to him to the end that we might be withdrawn from the world, as we have said, that is serve us for the rest of our life. 
In order to demonstrate the liberty of Christians, the day has been changed, seeing that Jesus Christ in his resurrection has delivered us from all bondage of the law and has severed that obligation.
Here is the final section of the sermon.
It [the Sabbath] was a day of the week in which they [the Jews] were to rest, today, having understood that it was abolished with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have the spiritual rest that we might dedicate ourselves fully to God, renouncing all our senses and all our affections. In addition, we have the external order-insofar as it applies to us- which exists for the purpose of enabling us to set aside our affairs and earthly business in order that, abstaining from everything else, we might meditate on the works of God and be trained to recognize the favors which God bestows on us. Furthermore, it inspires us to recognize the grace which he daily offers us in his Gospel that we might be conformed to it more and more. And when we have spent Sunday in praising and glorifying  the name of God and meditating on his works, then throughout the rest of the week, we should show that we have benefited from it.
The entire sermon is worth reading. Here is what Calvin preached to his congregation about their obligations on Sunday. Calvin expected commerce and business to cease. He expected Sunday to be entirely set aside for the worship and praise of God. He chastised those who chose to disregard the day and spend it wrapped up in earthly affairs. The lack of bondage to the Old Testament Sabbath laws did not alleviate the obligation to have one day entirely devoted to the Lord. Calvin does not have a problem with saying the Old Testament Sabbath was fulfilled in Christ and yet the New Testament saints still must gather weekly for an entire day of worship, rest, and fellowship. In practice, Geneva would reprimand and at times discipline those who violated the Lord's Day.

Sunday in Geneva did not look like the practice of contemporary Christians who spend the Lord's Day in regular business and commerce or who spend Saturday doing as they please and then show up for a 6 pm worship service so they can spend Sunday doing as they please. At times, I agree with those who think the Sunday restrictions of our fathers in the faith were too tight. However, we cannot read back into Calvin what we wished he would have said and done. Calvin did not support the Sabbath as a continuing ordinance. But one can also see, especially in his sermons, that Calvin would have considered current Sunday practices by Christians as loose and making a mockery of God and His Word.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to DieFifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was looking for a short book about the atonement to put on a book rack. Piper's book will fit that need. However, it is not perfect. As one reviewer said, there is a lot of overlap between the chapters. He is repetitive. Second and more glaring, though typical for Piper, he does not really bring the Old Testament into it. There is no big picture of Jesus as fulfilling the covenant or Jesus as Israel. This might be because he was trying to get at what the atonement achieved instead of what caused it. But at the least one of the reasons Christ came to die was to fulfill Scripture. This is not mentioned explicitly. His failure to incorporate OT themes and the covenant makes this book weaker. He could have taken ten of his reasons out added more OT themes and made the book a lot more robust. Still as a basic lay introduction to Christ's work it is good.

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Book Review: What is Baptism

What Is Baptism? (Crucial Questions, #11)What Is Baptism? by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A solid, but brief introduction to baptism with short sections on the covenant, the meaning of baptism, the mode, and infant baptism. Typical Sproul, clear without being too specific, gets his point across without being mean to those who disagree. A good little booklet to hand out to new believers.

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Book Review: 50 Crucial Questions about Manhood and Womanhood

50 Crucial Questions About Manhood and Womanhood50 Crucial Questions About Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great introduction to most of the main issues surrounding feminism and the church's capitulation to it. The answers are not comprehensive, but they are good and will point the reader in the right direction. The great benefit of this short book is the amount of ground the authors cover. I am not sure any reader will agree with everything. But most readers will learn something and even where they disagree will find their views challenged. It would be a good book to put on a book table or to hand to someone who is curious about the key teachings in Scripture on male female roles in the church and in the home.

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Book Review: Why Do We Baptize Infants?

Why Do We Baptize Infants? (Basics of the Reformed Faith)Why Do We Baptize Infants? by Bryan Chapell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short, but clear introduction to infant baptism that shows the covenant background to the sacrament and why the New Testament does not deviate from that the Old Testament as regards children and their status. A good little pamphlet to hand out to new Christians or to those new to Reformed theology.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8