Archive for December 2007
Shire Reckoning – It seems that Peter Jackson has signed on to produce the movie version of Tolkien’s, The Hobbit. The Hobbit is due out in 2010 with its sequel following in 2011. No word yet on whether the sequel will be the second part of The Hobbit or whether it will cover new material.
Down with Santa Claus – Thabiti Anyabwile writes a great piece, with which I am in perfect agreement, on why you should celebrate a Santa-less and Jesus-full Christmas.
21 Mormon Questions – Here are some answers offered by Mormon headquarters to questions posed by Fox News. The answers to the questions, paying special attention to the repeated answers, show the modern recasting of Mormonism to appear both Christian and evangelical. Let us not forget that Mormonism is not Trinitarian and therefore not Christian.
Calvin on the Incarnation – “We see, at the same time, what sort of beginning the life of the Son of God had, and in what cradle he was placed. Such was his condition at his birth, because he had taken upon him our flesh for this purpose, that he might “empty himself” (Phil 2:7) on our account. When he was thrown into a stable, and placed in a manger, and a lodging refused him among men, it was that heaven might be opened to us, not as a temporary lodging, but as our eternal country and inheritance, and that angels might receive us into their abode.” – John Calvin, Harmony of the Evangelists, on Luke 2:1-7
WTS Top 10 of 2007 – Check out the top 10 books of 2007 from the WTS Bookstore. You’ll notice it weighted towards counseling and especially the Tripp brothers.
T4G Ads – I happen to think the Together For the Gospel ads for this year’s conference are absolutely genius, not to mention hilarious. Justin Taylor has faithfully posted them as they have come out. Here is the compiled list if you want to look back on them organized by speaker: Mohler, Mahaney, Duncan, Dever, MacArthur, Sproul, Anyabwile, Piper.
“If all things were made for him, then man and angels especially, who are the master-pieces of the whole creation. We have our rise and being from the pure fountain of God’s infinite power and goodness; and therefore we ought to run towards that again, till we empty all our faculties and excellencies into that same ocean of divine goodness.” – Thomas Boston, Works; vol 1, 157.
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” – 2 John 7
Who is the antichrist? Is the antichrist one person or multiple people? John seems to think both. He speaks of both an anitchrist and antichrists in 1 John 2:18. He speaks of a “spirit of antichrist” in 1 John 4:3. A full treatment of the topic of “antichrist” would require a thorough examination of personified evil in Scripture, the devil, the man of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians, as well as the verses mentioned above. That is not the focus of this post.
There are two things I want to point out from John’s theology of antichrist as it pertains to the Christmas season. First, John believes that there are and have been many antichrists. Does he mean then that all these men have been the earthly personification of absolute evil? No, that is not his definition of what is an antichrist. Rather, and secondly, John defines an antichrist as someone who “does not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh.”
Therefore to be anti-incarnation is to be anti-Christ. To be pro-incarnation is to be pro-Christ or put another way it is to be a Christ-ian. Whether or not you think you should celebrate the incarnation at the end of the month of December is irrelevant to the fact that you must celebrate the incarnation. The incarnation must be an important doctrine to you. The church must proclaim loudly that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a man by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul. He was, is, and continues to be both God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person.
This is the truth of the gospel, the truth of Christmas, and the litmus test for spiritual warfare against antichrists. So this Christmas, remember that you are doing spiritual warfare as you worship our Incarnate Savior. Do not be ashamed of the wonderful mystery of the incarnation. Be bold to proclaim what theological label John puts on someone who denies the incarnation: antichrist. At the root of being a Christian at Christmas is not what kind of ornaments are on your tree, what kind of cantata your church choir sings, what sermons series your pastor presents, or what type of gifts you give. Rather, being a Christian at Christmas is confessing that Jesus Christ, the second person in the Trinity, came “in the flesh” in order to “save his people from their sins.”
Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King!
Reformed Conferences 2008 – Challies gives a conference summary for 2008. Are you going to any of these?
Explaining the Eclectic – Sam Storms gives a short explanation of his theology which he summarizes this way, “I am a Calvinistic, charismatic, complementarian, Christian hedonist. If that weren’t enough to confuse you, I am also amillennial and baptistic, though I believe in rule by a plurality of Elders and maintain a moderately sacramental perspective on the spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”
“And listen to the pleas of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen from heaven you dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” – 2 Chronicles 6:21
On his knees with hands spread outward to heaven, the people of God assembled before him, David’s son, Solomon, prayed a prayer of dedication to the temple that had just been completed. He had been born for this moment. His father longed to be the one kneeling there in God’s palace, hands to heaven, praying for the people. But it was not so and this singular honor was bestowed upon Solomon, his son. For days, weeks, months Solomon had waited to be right where he was now, asking Lord to bless this, the temple. His prayer is full of tension, a tension between two truths. First, God is unbounded by space and time. Will God indeed dwell with man on earth? This building, no matter how precise in ornamentation, cannot contain God. Yet, and secondly, God has promised this location, this building, this Mount Moriah, to be the location of his magnified presence, blessing, and worship. And so Solomon prays that the prayers directed toward the temple will receive a hearing with the Lord. He prays that the people who are directing these prayers would receive forgiveness. Solomon never had this tension relieved. His life ended in unanswered mystery over how a certain building in a specific geography could be the focus of the Almighty’s prayer hearing and grace bestowing. Yet, we dwelling on this side of a certain stable in Bethlehem know the relief of Solomon’s tension. For the temple in all its splendor was a sign, a type pointing to the coming of God as man. Then Solomon’s question would be answered. “Can God indeed dwell with man on earth?” Yes, he can and did. Jesus Christ was the realization of the temple. It was a realization he himself would express later in life when he stood outside the second temple and said if you tear this temple down and I will rebuild it in three days. In that sweeping, audacious statement he so linked and fulfilled the institution of temple worship in himself. He was what the temple represented, the magnified presence, blessing, and worship of God. So, follower of Christ, pray Solomon’s prayer with boldness. “O God hear our prayers. When we pray to and through our Lord Jesus Christ, turn your listening ear towards us. He is Emmanuel, God with us. We are not worthy of your attention but he is. He has displayed his worth in carrying out all you have asked of him. Look upon your Son in whom you are well pleased. Look upon the one that has provided propitiation for our sins. Look upon the fulfilled temple, Jesus Christ. The one who was indeed raised up after three days. Look upon him and hear our prayers. And when you hear our prayers, O God, forgive us. For his sake and for your glory.”