Sep 1 2014

Church History: “These issues are not new to the Church”

By: Lillyofthevalley2014

It seems that every high school history teacher explains to their students why history is so important and why we need to study the past.The teachers show that by learning the past we can avoid making mistakes in the future. I enjoy history, but I don’t necessarily love it. My church near Orlando has had a Sunday School block that has gone over Church History. I have found it to be extremely interesting and educational. But is that all it is? Interesting and educational? What else can we gain from Church history? After mulling it over for a while I thought that we could learn from former heresies, traditions, symbology, way of living, and Christian liberty vs antinomianism to name a few. There is no reason why history can’t become imminently practical.

So you can ask, “What is the big deal and why waste your time studying these things?” Reformed professors have taught that when a “new doctrine” or belief comes up in the church we must 1) Look to the Scripture and let Scripture interpret Scripture and 2) Look to church history to see where our Church fathers would have decided (since they are closer to the original source they would be the best to look to).

I hope to write a five part series over the next few weeks that shows how Church history has guided the way for the Church today and how we (especially in the American Church) have strayed off track from our Church Fathers and the implications of changed thinking. I hope to write on the following topics: The Trinity, Inerrancy of Scripture, Orthodoxy vs Orthopraxy, Cessationism, and Ministering to the Poor. Looking at this list it seems like a very daunting task, but I am excited to learn about these things and hopefully share some helpful insight on our History…our Family History. It is from history where we learn and not repeat history’s mistakes.


Aug 25 2014

Competent to Counsel: A Book Review

I have just completed Jay Adams landmark book Competent to Counsel, and before I even get to the review, I want to start out byimages saying that I highly recommend it to any Christian that is serious about using the Scriptures in their lives to help other believers. Around the ’70′s, Mr. Adams was in the pastorate, and from his own failure to counsel one of his sheep, set out to guide the church back to the place it needed to be.
There are many who are very angry with the man, who disagree with how harsh he handled things. But since this is not a history lesson, I will keep it related to the book. Nonetheless, you need to know that there are many who will disagree with this controversial subject. There are people who believe that pastors are not capable of handling ‘real’ difficulties like depression and paranoid schizophrenia. People who believe that psychology is a science, and that we need to use their methods and techniques.

adams
Jay Adams spends a large portion of the book debunking these myths and fables. He shows, time and again, that the Scriptures are sufficient for everything that pertains to life and godliness. But where to begin? This book covers so many different facets it’s not even funny. It delves into the failures and ungodly presuppositions of psychology, as well as going (relatively) in depth in how to do biblical counseling. He sites many credible sources such as Thomas Szasz, a secular psychologist who wrote the book titled, The Myth of Mental Illness, and shows that he has clearly done his homework very well.

One of the most important p0ints Adams gets across is the fact that there has never historically been 3 separate fields, but only 2 when it comes to healing. If you are physically broke you need a doctor. Anything else, you need a ‘soul doctor’ that is, a pastor. It was only recently that psychiatry made a false dichotomy of ‘spiritual problems’ differentiated from ‘mental and emotional problems.

I would say that though the book is written on an easy to read level, accessible to your average laymen, it is perfect, and I even suspect was meant, for seminary reading. Jay Adams, after all, was a professor at Westminster, teaching this very stuff, for a time.

I am not giving a full 10 out of 10 because I would not consider Competent to Counsel one of the most enjoyable reads, in and of itself. I love the topic, so I did find it enjoyable. Do not mistake me, it is a very important book. However, if all the authors I have read, I cannot say Adams is the most gifted. But my love for the book is because its success in defending the sufficiency of the Scriptures in our daily lives. I would listen to the most boring man in the world, if I had to, in order to learn more about such a great topic!

Age: 16+

Rating: 9/10

 


Aug 18 2014

The Priest with Dirty Clothes: A Book Review

The Priest with Dirty Clothes: A children’s book authored by Dr. R.C. Sproul of Sanford, Florida and illustrated by Justin Gerarthe-priest-with-dirty-clothes-200x247d of Greenville, South Carolina. Dr. Sproul tells his audience up front that this book is his “attempt to help children understand one of the most difficult concepts of Christianity–how we are made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’s Righteousness.” The Priest with Dirty Clothes is based from Zechariah 3:1-5.
Darby and Campbell MacFarland lived in Scotland and made mud pies; getting themselves filthy. Mother was not too pleased considering the clothes were stained for good. Grandpa comes by the house and tells a story about a priest named Jonathan who also had stained clothes. The priest could not stand before the King with these clothes; Malus, the accuser, made sure of that. The priest went to the Prince to ask for help. The Prince explained that the priest’s heart was as stained as his clothes. The priest was to trust in the Prince and to appear before the King with the same dirty clothes. Before the King, the Prince traded His kingly robes and placed the priest’s dirty stained clothes on Himself.
A topic R.C. Sproul discusses through allegory is the doctrine of imputation (Christ’s righteousness being attributed or reckoned to the elect: Romans 4-5) It is one of utmost importance to the Christian’s faith. We are so separated from the Father and need the righteousness of a sinless, perfect Savior. Christ has paid the ultimate, satisfying price of our sin and the Father only accepted His sacrifice. Sproul does a good job of explaining this in a simple enough way to where children can understand. Sproul even points out that there is nothing the priest can do to obtain this righteousness (clean clothes). It is freely given from the Prince. Sproul does not mention specifically the “doctrine of imputation” but the concept is sprinkled throughout the book. Gerard’s artwork is not the best I have seen, but I would still choose his work over the average kids book now a days.
There are questions in back for parents in “guiding your child into a deeper understanding of the scriptural truths behind the book.” This is a fantastic way to get everyone involved in the learning process. Read this book if your children have not yet learned about Christ’s righteousness or could use a reminder of what Christ has done for His people.
**Reviewer will receive a copy of the book due to writing a review**

You can purchase a copy here.


Aug 11 2014

Lessons from R. C. Sproul’s Lawn: Failure to Love

So yet again, I was tending R. C.’s dr sproulyard, except this time he’s moved! Dr. Sproul and his family has decided to downsize, so at this new place was where God decided to teach me more about my failures, that I may grow more like His perfect Son. So there I was, edging the sidewalk, same thing, different day, different place. When I walked by a car, I think maybe a Toyota, I observed the inside was just a devastating mess! Filth and garbage everywhere, even a banana peel just laying there. I mean, mine’s bad, but normally it’s hidden and you can’t tell!

After I noticed the unpleasantly unkempt nature of the car in front of the Sproul residence, I immediately started to defend the Sproul’s saying, “After all, they aren’t perfect. “

I had, like so many others no doubt, put Sproul on a pedestal. Which usually means having very unrealistic ideas and expectations. And you know what the ridiculous thing is? I don’t even know if that car is actually connected with that family or not. I just assumed it was, and then was surprised by what I saw. I still don’t know for sure if it has any connection.

So what’s the lesson, don’t make assumptions? Nope. R. C.’s lawn, (that is, the Holy Spirit using the circumstances, of course) taught me that I was so quick to defend a man I don’t really know, but am so quick to attack members of my own family. How much more wrong can I possibly be?

I have come to realize how much I fail to love. But anymore, I am ok with that; because I know that I am a student in God’s school of love, and that one day, I there will not be any more assignments or tests. One day, I will get to graduate. Honestly, I hope I keep learning lessons from R. C.’s lawns.


Aug 4 2014

God in Our Midst: A Book Review

Daniel Hyde has produced a wonderful book for not only your average church goers, but also for many pastors. God in Our Midst is a great resource because many of us ignore the Old Testament, neglecting it’s beautiful gems. The riches and depths of this book are so vast that I sincerely struggle to give an adequate summary. However, I will still attempt to do so. God in Our Midst explains, with the fullness of the light of the New Testament, what the Old Testament was all about. More specifically, the Tabernacle is explained, in great detail, about how it foreshadowed both Christ and His wonderful work that was performed on Calvary.

Here are just a few themes discussed in the book:God in Our Midst

The Day of Atonement: The one day, each year that the High Priest, and him alone, could enter the Holy of Holies to offer a sacrifice to God on behalf of the people. This represented the work our Lord would do on the Cross.

The High Priest: The only person able to enter into God’s presence, that we who are wretched and without hope, may be restored to the God whom we were cut off from because of our sin. Aaron, the first high priest, signified, pointed to, the true High Priest, Jesus Christ.

The Holy of Holies: The place where God dwelt, where no one can go, upon penalty of death, except the High priest, of course.

God chose to live with His people, and though this may sound like it’s not a big deal, it truly is. Because of man’s constant sinning, there was a constant need for continual sacrifice. Not to mention the fact that the blood of goats and bull could never satisfy God. It is difficult to imagine how a perfectly clean God would live, and want to live, amongst an unclean people. How a righteous God would live with unrighteous people. And we see why God was able to do this, the sacrifice of His only Son. My favorite part about the whole book is how much better of an understanding I know have of just how miraculous and special it is to have God living with us, in fact, as New Testament Christians, inside us.

Originally I was pessimistic about the book. I have studied these concepts and have taken a course discussing Biblical Theology in the Old Testament. But I have to say, this book would have been incredibly helpful, and I wished I had read it before, or perhaps during, class. Unfortunately, Christians, and pastors too, are neglecting the Old Testament, in spite of the fact that the OT is the overwhelming majority of sacred Scripture. The better we understand the Tabernacle and the Old Testament, the better we will understand both our Lord and His work. This book has really deepened my appreciation of the study of the Old Testament. I will now be making sure to emphasize the gospel message hidden in the OT to my children. If you would like to enrich your knowledge and understanding of the Bible as a whole, or more specifically, Christ and His death, this is a wonderful way to do so.

 

You can purchase your copy here: God in Our Midst

**Reviewer will receive a copy of the book due to writing a review**

 


Jul 28 2014

Lessons from R. C. Sproul’s Lawn: Humble Service

I am thrilled merely by getting a chance to mow the lawn of Dr. Sproul. I suppose this is sort of like getting to mow thR. C. Sproule lawn or open the door the president of the United States. Or perhaps be a limo driver for your favorite hero. Not many people get to do something like that, let alone meet their favorite heroes. Clearly I am fortunate.filler filler filler filler filler filler filler filler filler
You know, he doesn’t know me, yet I am happy, getting no praise, no attention. Well, pretty much anyways. I am totally thrilled to help out, by helping maintain his lawn, even without a thanks. And yet again, as I reflected on this, I learned another lesson from R. C. Sproul’s lawn. I fail to love others like this. filler filler filler filler filler filler filler filler filler
Why am I not like this with my own family? Why are we not like this for God? How often do we become disgruntled because we do not get the appreciation we ‘deserve’? Perhaps we should look to our suffering Savior, who is not praised as He deserves. Our Lord is not worshiped like He should be.

I guess perhaps I should not focus on how I am not getting the thanks and praise I want, but focus on giving the thanks and praise my Lord rightly and truly deserves. I don’t deserve any; He deserves all.

 


Jul 21 2014

The Prince’s Poison Cup: A Book Review

The Prince’s Poison Cup: A children’s book written by Dr. R.C. Sproul, a pastor and theologian from Sanford, Florida. This book was illustrated by Justin Gerard. This wonderfully illustrated book shows children the price Jesus had to pay for sins as our Ultimate Atonement. prince

The story begins as a little girl named Ella Ruth was sick, did not want to drink her medicine, asking her Dad why it tasted so bad if it was good for her. So Grandpa comes to the scene, sharing an important lesson that, “sometimes things that seem terrible are actually very good.” Grandpa tells the story of the King of Life who created a beautiful and perfect park with subjects he ruled over. This story uniquely covers the biblical account of the Fall through redemption. The King created a fountain and told His subjects, “The water in the fountain will harm you. Do not drink it.”

The King’s subjects, in disobedience, drank the water, and so left the park, building their own city called The City of Man. In the middle of the City was another fountain filled with poison. This poison was “made up of the King’s anger of the people’s disobedience.” Though the people disobeyed, there was a plan to redeem the people. The King’s Son, the Prince, was to go to City of Man and drink this deadly poison to save the people. Through the Prince’s sacrifice, the people could be redeemed; their hearts could turn from stone to flesh.

This story has some very simple, yet deep, theological implications. Some of these theological topics are that the King had every right to destroy the city (justice), the people’s hearts turned to stone (depravity), the Prince drinking the cup of the King’s wrath (propitiation), the healing of the people (redemption), and the immense love of the King. All to this to say that the Gospel was beautifully woven into the story. It is never too young for children to be learning about these important truths. It will be easy for the children to pay attention to the story as I was periodically  held in suspense myself.

Most Christian children’s books these days lack substantial meaning and are shallow.  R. C Sproul’s books are intertwined with deep seated meaning that will not only teach the children but the parents as well.  This book has helpful questions in the back of the book for parents to ask their children and to engage in theological conversations. Why keep the children in the kiddy pool when they can be in an ocean? We just need to teach them to swim first, which is the goal of this book.

Here is an example, “THE POISON THE PRINCE HAD TO DRINK WAS MADE UP OF “THE KING’S ANGER OVER THE PEOPLE’S DISOBEDIENCE.” DOES GOD GET ANGRY ABOUT SIN?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. (Romans 1:18a)

I think that this is a great way for parents to not be lazy in simply reading the answers to their children and to customize the answer depending on the age of the child. I recommend this book for children of all ages; making a great gift for children or expectant mothers. Read this book if you desire to deepen your child’s understanding of Scripture and the Gospel.

You can purchase your copy here: The Prince’s Poison Cup

 

**Reviewer will receive a copy of the book due to writing a review**

 


Jul 14 2014

Former Lesbian Jackie Hill

jackie hillMany people, even in the reformed church, are starting to think that homosexuality is biological, that it can’t really be helped. A Christian woman is standing up and saying that God is powerful enough to change her. This amazing woman tells her story:

As early as the age of four, she experienced gender confusion and felt like she should’ve been a boy. Her next birthday brought sexual abuse which only led to more misunderstanding.

By six years old, Hill began imitating male tendencies, even standing over the toilet to urinate. Homosexual desires emerged. She fondled girls on the playground as a kindergartener.

Though these indicators are not guarantees, we nonetheless see that there is a connection with gender confusion and homosexuality. When a boy is imitating a girl, or a girl is imitating a boy, they are confused: there is no if, and, or but about that. Unfortunately, we are starting to think that these things are ‘normal’ for kids to do.

Homosexual dreams became frequent and Hill felt attracted to her female friends up until high school. No one knew. A sense of shame that haunted her since her sexual exploration on the playground kept her secret a secret.

“As a girl, I was never really called pretty, affirmed or was the focus attention of males,” said Hill.

Fathers, listen closely. If you are applauding your daughters for their strength instead of their beauty: you are wrong. It is imperative that we have a right understanding of both our daughters and homosexuality. We cannot point our daughters in the right direction if we blame their sin on ‘genetics’. Nor can we point them in the right direction if we encourage to be ‘tough and strong and brave like the boys’ and to ‘do everything the boys do’. Our actions and words have consequences. We fathers need to realize just how powerful our words can be to our children, or in Jackie’s case, lack of them.
Check out the full scoop below:

http://wadeoradio.com/former-lesbian-jackie-hill-responds-to-macklemores-same-love/


Jul 7 2014

Lessons from R. C. Sproul’s Lawn: Hypocrisy

R. C. SproulI have had the great pleasure of getting to mow the lawn, well o.k., edge and weed-eat, the lawn of my favorite theologian and teacher. And believe it or not, it’s kind of starting to suck. R. C. Sproul has a beautiful house, with a magnificent lawn, and I didn’t want to screw it up. Of course, I was also in a hurry, because in the landscaping business, time is money.

So while I was edging one of the beds that goes around a group of trees, my boss was off behind the house mowing. He couldn’t see me you see. So I decided to hurry up, extra fast! And right away I knew my motive was because I didn’t want him to come and see me doing things wrong! I did not want him to see me screwing things up.

Then it hit; I was convicted about how hypocritical I was. I did not really care about R. C.’s lawn looking good, I cared about me looking good. I did not really care about doing a good job, just looking like I do a good job. If I really cared, I would want my boss to stop me before I ruin the whole lawn! But only wanted to hurry up, for sinful motive.

Naturally, I had to reflect on how much of other times I have  ‘loved’ only hypocritically, ‘served’ in this same manner, and in my own home? Tough lesson, but God taught me in a rather gentle way. Now, with the Lord’s help, I can correct such ways. Thanks R. C. for the lesson you never knew you taught me.


Jun 30 2014

The Lightlings: A Book Review

lightlingsThe Lightlings: A children’s book written by Dr. R.C. Sproul, a pastor and professional theologian from Sanford, Florida. This book was set in a fairy tale like land with creatures that made me think of fairies. In this ornate and picturesque book (illustrated by Justin Gerard), Dr. Sproul covers the theme of light and darkness with the driving questions, “Why am I afraid of the dark?” and “Why are people afraid of the light?” It is easy for the reader to remember these questions as the book flows through the Biblical story of creation, the fall, and redemption.

The Lightlings starts off with Charlie Cobb asking his mother questions. Mrs. Cobb tells Charlie to ask his grandpa. So Grandpa begins to tell his Once Upon a Time story. The Lightlings are creatures created by the King of Light (creation). Due to rebellion (the Fall) of the Lightlings, the King of Light removes his light from the forest. It is only a matter of time when there is no light left and the Lightlings had to, “grope around as if they were blind.” It was only a matter of time when a very dim light appeared in the distance. Curious Lightlings travelled far to see what the light was. Low and behold, a little Baby Lightling was born to set the Lightlings free from darkness (Redemption). This little Baby Lightling was a gift from the King of Light. This story of redemption is the Gospel in ‘full light’.

Dr. Sproul uses Biblical language and hints of other Bible stories that would familiarize the reader with the Scriptures. The author also uses big words, like ‘reverence’ for small readers to get acquainted with. It’s difficult for me to watch older kids read and listen to books that do not stretch their minds and vocabulary. I am thankful this book is not one of them.

At the end of the book, Dr. Sproul gives helpful questions and verses for parents. These questions promote practical theological conversations between parents and young children. This method of parents teaching their children theology reminds me of Charlie’s mother at the beginning of the book. She makes a promise to her son that she will not forget to turn the night light on. She says, “I won’t leave you in the dark.” In a sense, parents will not leave their children ‘in the dark’ about God’s truths but will light “The Way” for their children.

If I could add two things to the book it would be a more clearer gospel presentation and a more practical reason of why children do not need to be afraid of the dark. Besides the King of Light sending Jesus to be the Light of the World, the only other clear Gospel teaching is when the Grandpa says to Charlie, “all of us who love this Son will live with Him forever in heaven.”

A few reasons Dr. Sproul gives for why Charlie does not need to be afraid of the dark are because, “we were made to live in the light, those who love this Son will live with Him forever in heaven, [in heaven] there will be no darkness at all, and the King of Light brought [His Child] into the darkness…as a present.” While these are true, I think it may be difficult for children to fully understand. However, by not having these answers extremely clear, it does allow for the parents to jump in and fill the gaps. It is a perfect place to start.

It has been a pleasure to see another side of Dr. R.C. Sproul. I have read a few other of his books and it has been a blessing to see that there are some sound theological books out there for our children (and adults) to read and to grow from. This book would be a great gift to any family member. I am looking forward to reading more of Dr. Sproul’s children books and putting them on the kid’s book shelf.

Age Recommendations: For kids reading the book on their own I would recommend ages 8+. This book does seem like it would be best for parents to read with their children of all age ranges due to the rich allegory and reminder that Jesus Christ came into darkness to be the Light of the World and to save sinners from their sins.

If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so here: The Lightlings

Rating: 9/10

**Reviewer will receive a copy of the book due to writing a review**