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Jun 2013 29 Jun 29, 2013
1

On April 14 of this year I was honored to participate in the thanksgiving service where John Piper was acknowledged for his 33 years at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Some of the service is now available below, one segment of which is my challenge to John. ...Read More

Jun 2013 28 Jun 28, 2013
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What comes to mind when you hear someone refer to the “sovereignty” of God? Here is J. I. Packer’s answer to that question. As you read and reflect upon it, observe the beautiful harmony that exists between God’s causal priority in all things (as stated in the first paragraph) and human responsibility and moral accountability (as found in the second). They are gloriously compatible! The sovereignty of God, writes Packer, means that, “the l...Read More

Jun 2013 28 Jun 28, 2013

“If God contains the fullness of all good things in himself like an inexhaustible fountain, nothing beyond him is to be sought by those who strive after the highest good and all the elements of happiness.” John Calvin, Institutes, Book III, chapter xxv 10....Read More

Jun 2013 28 Jun 28, 2013
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In the first post of this series I briefly surveyed some interesting but inadequate ways in which people have tried to deal with the problem of the slaughter of the Canaanites. In the second post I offered a few initial observations that might help us better understand this otherwise befuddling incident. If you are just now joining in with me on this study, I strongly encourage you to go back and read those first two articles. We are now ready to conclude with some final...Read More

Jun 2013 27 Jun 27, 2013
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“It has often appeared to me delightful,” wrote Jonathan Edwards, “to be united to Christ; to have him for my head, and to be a member of his body; also to have Christ for my teacher and prophet. I very often think with sweetness, and longings, and pantings of soul, of being a little child, taking hold of Christ, to be led by him through the wilderness of this world. That text, Matt. 18:3, has often been sweet to me, except ye be converted and become as...Read More

Jun 2013 26 Jun 26, 2013
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Let me follow up on yesterday’s post by making several observations about how best to make sense of what we read in such passages as Joshua 6:21; 8:24-29; 11:10-15. (1) Although I’m not convinced by this argument, I should point out that numerous scholars have argued that in the ancient near east there was a standard, stereotypical way of talking about warfare in which absolute and comprehensive claims about total victory were often made that exceeded what a...Read More

Jun 2013 26 Jun 26, 2013

Dennis Prager has written a fascinating article entitled, “Why Some Scientists Embrace the ‘Multiverse’” (you can read it in its entirety at National Review Online, June 18, 2013). Last week, in Nice, France, I [Prager] was privileged to participate along with 30 scholars, mostly scientists and mathematicians, in a conference on the question of whether the universe was designed, or at least fine-tuned, to make life, especially intelligent life. P...Read More

Jun 2013 26 Jun 26, 2013
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I’ve seen a lot lately on the subject of the slaughter of the Canaanites and how it affects our understanding both of God and the Bible. I preached through Joshua last year and dealt with this issue as best I know how. Here are my conclusions. One of the things that makes these texts in Joshua so difficult is that prior to Joshua 6:21; 8:24-29; and 11:10-15, we see such wonderful truths about God: his faithfulness, his compassion, his commitment to his people and ...Read More

Jun 2013 26 Jun 26, 2013
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Jonathan Edwards once wrote of an experience he had while walking alone in his father’s pasture: “And as I was walking there, and looking up on the sky and clouds, there came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God, that I know not how to express. I seemed to see them both in a sweet conjunction; majesty and meekness joined together; it was a sweet, and gentle, and holy majesty; and also a majestic meekness; an awful sweetness;...Read More

Jun 2013 25 Jun 25, 2013
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Let me pick up where I left off in the previous post by trying to make sense of this strange reality by mentioning the three primary reasons why God orchestrates life in such a way that his children suffer persecution and trials and opposition from the enemies of the faith. First, give thanks for suffering because of what it accomplishes for you personally. In particular, I have in mind what it accomplishes for your faith and for your future. As for your faith, conside...Read More

Jun 2013 23 Jun 23, 2013
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How do you respond when God gives you something you don’t want? How would you describe your feelings when God brings people, circumstances, and situations into your life that are at best inconvenient and at worst irritating, exasperating, and perhaps even life threatening? Feeling grateful and appreciative and giving thanks to God when he orchestrates life so that you get what you want is easy. But how do you respond on those occasions when you reflect on what you...Read More

Jun 2013 22 Jun 22, 2013
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There is an article in today’s edition of the New York Times (6-22-13) that only adds to the sad story that is ECUSA (the Episcopal Church, U.S.A.). The article, by Mark Oppenheimer, is titled, “For Episcopal Church’s Leader, a Sermon Leads to More Dissent.” As most of you probably know, Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected as presiding bishop of ECUSA in 2006. On May 12 of this year she preached a “sermon” at All Saints Church in th...Read More

Jun 2013 22 Jun 22, 2013
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[I am a subscriber to The Weekly Standard and look forward to its appearance in my mailbox. Yes, that’s right, I actually read the hard copy, you know, the sort made of paper (such dinosaurs do still exist). On May 6, 2013, there appeared a lengthy article by Matt Labash, a senior writer at the magazine, entitled, The Twidiocracy: The Decline of Western civilization, 140 characters at a time (Vol. 18, No. 32). Although I didn’t have time to read it when it fi...Read More

Jun 2013 21 Jun 21, 2013

Now you can own all of Dr. Storms’ articles in the most advanced format available. Logos.com’s four Sam Storms collections feature nearly every article found on this site; you can choose your library here for a limited-time sale price....Read More

Jun 2013 20 Jun 20, 2013
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In an article at Christianpost.com, Jeff Schapiro reports that, Exodus International, the 37-year-old ministry devoted to helping people deal with unwanted same-sex attraction, is to be shut down. According to Schapiro, the Exodus board of directors unanimously voted to shut down the ministry after a year of prayer and dialogue, a press release states. Local groups that were affiliated with the ministry will continue, though they will no longer be under the umbrella of ...Read More

Jun 2013 20 Jun 20, 2013

In the previous article we began a brief study of 1 Peter 3:18 in which the Apostle makes five stunning statements about what Jesus has done for sinners. Here we continue with the final two assertions. (4) When Jesus suffered for sins it was in the place of sinners: it was “for” them, as a substitute. I speak and write often of the sacrifice of Christ as substitutionary. Sometimes people use the word “vicarious” to emphasize that Jesus stepped i...Read More

Jun 2013 19 Jun 19, 2013
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Today John Piper posted this thought-provoking article at www.desiringgod.org. This is a gentle pushback on a popular slogan. There is truth in saying, “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.” It is true that if you don’t feel like doing good to your neighbor love will incline you to “choose” to do it anyway. If you feel like getting a divorce, love will incline you to “choose” to stay married and work it out. I...Read More

Jun 2013 18 Jun 18, 2013
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Ask an average congregation of Christians gathered on a Sunday morning, “What is the Gospel?” and you will be amazed by the array of answers. “Well,” says one, “the Gospel is God’s commitment to the poor and oppressed of the earth. The good news is that God wants to bring liberation to those in bondage to social injustice.” Yes, that is definitely good news and God is committed to bringing liberation to the captive poor. But tha...Read More

Jun 2013 18 Jun 18, 2013

“Pride is the worst viper that is in the heart; it is the first sin that ever entered into the universe, and it lies lowest of all in the foundation of the whole building of sin, and is the most secret, deceitful and unsearchable in its ways of working, of any lusts whatsoever; it is ready to mix with everything; and nothing is so hateful to God, and contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, or of so dangerous consequence; and there is no one sin that does so much let ...Read More

Jun 2013 18 Jun 18, 2013

In the previous post we began by looking at what it means when Jesus beckons us to come to him to find rest for our souls. We looked at those to whom the invitation was given and precisely what it means to “come” to Jesus. We are now prepared to finish our meditation on this incredible passage. (3) If we come to Jesus, what does he promise to provide? Rest! Rest = the soul’s sigh of relief that comes from experiencing release from the anxiety of co...Read More

Jun 2013 17 Jun 17, 2013

The focus of Satan’s efforts is always the same: to deceive us into believing that the passing pleasures of sin are more satisfying than obedience and trusting in the promises of God. But there is great diversity and insidious ingenuity in the way he goes about this task. It behooves us to become familiar with his tactics. Temptation, in and of itself, is not sin. This is critically important, especially for those who suffer from an overly sensitive and tender con...Read More

Jun 2013 16 Jun 16, 2013
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I cannot think of anything Jesus said that is as life-changing or hope-giving as what we read in Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Seriously, were ever more glorious words spoken than these? I’m not overs...Read More

Jun 2013 15 Jun 15, 2013

Physicists and cosmologists are ever in search of what they call “a theory of everything,” or a T.O.E., a hypothesis that is all-encompassing in its explanatory power, a theory that can account for both the sub-atomic world of particle physics and the galactic expanse of supernovae and black holes. Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, is the author of a fascinating book entitled, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidde...Read More

Jun 2013 14 Jun 14, 2013

In a blogpost today, titled “Common Fault Lines in Maintaining an Evangelical Approach to Homosexuality,” Kevin DeYoung responds to an article by Peter Wehner, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. I encourage you to read the entire article, but I want to highlight only one dimension. [By the way, you can follow Kevin’s blog at the Gospel Coalition website, www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung). Kevin responds to the argument th...Read More

Jun 2013 13 Jun 13, 2013
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In vv. 1-3 Paul drew a contrast between love and certain spiritual gifts. He now returns to that emphasis in vv. 8-13. Here is what he says: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When ...Read More

Jun 2013 13 Jun 13, 2013

A lot of people are either unnerved or angry, or a combination of both, by the thought that the National Security Agency (the NSA) has evidently conducted extensive surveillance of American citizens, whether it be of their telephone calls, texts, e-mails, web-searches, or daily conversations. The ultimate outcome of it all, at least from a legal point of view, has yet to be determined. I find it intriguing that people are so concerned about the government knowing what i...Read More

Jun 2013 13 Jun 13, 2013

In vv. 4-7 Paul proceeds to identify no fewer than 15 characteristics of genuine Christian love. He writes: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7), (1) Love is patient – Pa...Read More

Jun 2013 12 Jun 12, 2013

Growing up, as I did, a Southern Baptist, I often heard appeals that we should “re-dedicate” our lives to Jesus. This typically involved walking an aisle during an altar call, filling out the appropriate box on a decision card, and then standing in front of the congregation in order to make the declaration public. I’m not here to pass judgment on this practice as I experienced it, but rather to point you to what I think is a beautiful example of what it...Read More

Jun 2013 12 Jun 12, 2013

We’re looking at Paul’s portrayal of genuine love in 1 Corinthians 13. Let’s start by looking at vv. 1-3. There Paul writes, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my ...Read More

Jun 2013 11 Jun 11, 2013
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Howard Hendricks (b. 1924), longtime and influential professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, passed away earlier this year on February 20th. When I arrived on the campus at Dallas in September of 1973, I was justifiably in awe of “Prof.” I can still recall the orientation lunch for the incoming freshman class. I don’t know if DTS still hosts this event, but when Ann and I arrived we had the providential privilege of sharing a table with Hendricks. I r...Read More

Jun 2013 10 Jun 10, 2013

Everyone, including non-Christians, appear to love 1 Corinthians 13. If you don’t believe me, think back on the many wedding ceremonies you’ve attended where non-Christians were getting married. I’d venture to say that at least in half of them 1 Corinthians 13, the so-called “love” chapter in the Bible, is including in the ceremony. And if it’s a Christian wedding, you can almost always count on it being read or recited or in some way ...Read More

Jun 2013 9 Jun 9, 2013
3

Many charismatics and proponents of deliverance ministry often speak of ancestral sin and the generational demonic spirits that they believe frequently accompany it. Appeal is made to Exodus 20:5-6 - "You shall not worship them [i.e., false gods or idols] or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands,...Read More

Jun 2013 8 Jun 8, 2013
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In Romans 12:6 Paul says this about the spiritual gift of prophecy: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith.” Some have argued that the word “faith” (literally, “the faith”) refers to those objective truths embodied in the gospel tradition (as, for example, in Galatians 1:23 and Philippians 1:27). In other words, on this view Paul is referring to the reveal...Read More

Jun 2013 7 Jun 7, 2013
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From John Owen’s incredible treatise: The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. “The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either: 1. All the sins of all men 2. All the sins of some men, or 3. Some of the sins of all men. In which case it may be said: a. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so none are saved. b. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for a...Read More

Jun 2013 6 Jun 6, 2013
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What reasons does Jesus give to us for not being anxious? There are eight of them. (1) Worry is unlawful (v. 24). To see this point, we have to go back into vv. 19-24. In brief, worry is a violation of the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me!” Worry is idolatry! When you worry you become a slave to whatever it is that you fear. Anxiety is an idolatrous dependence on something other than God. To worry is to serve and subject yourself t...Read More

Jun 2013 5 Jun 5, 2013

It is indescribably disheartening to see how many Christians continue to live beneath their privileges as children of God. I’m not talking about material or financial privileges or even physical privileges. I’m talking about the joy, freedom, peace, and confidence that are ours in Jesus and because of what he’s done for us. It truly grieves me that so many Christians experience so very little of these blessings. They muddle through life fearful rather t...Read More

Jun 2013 5 Jun 5, 2013

[Once again the Resurgence blog has asked permission to post an abbreviated version of one of the chapters from my book, Tough Topics. This time they’ve chosen the topic: What did Jesus mean when he said, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged’? If this interests you, I suggest you read the much longer chapter in the book. Short of that, here is the edited version from Resurgence.] Whereas it comes as no surprise that most Christians have at least one favo...Read More

Jun 2013 4 Jun 4, 2013

We left off in the previous article after the third of six observations related to Paul’s prayer in 2 Thessalonians 3:5. There the apostle prayed: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” (4) My fourth observation concerns the reality of the love of God for you and me. Having dealt with victims of virtually every imaginable form of abuse or sin, both rich and poor, both well known and anonymous, I’v...Read More

Jun 2013 4 Jun 4, 2013

Part of the genius of Jonathan Edwards’s conception of the will and genuine human freedom is the way in which he can affirm how the latter is compatible with necessity. Here’s how he did it. If a person should choose evil in consequence of that necessity which is external to his will and imposed upon him by constraint of natural forces, he is absolved from moral responsibility. But if he behaves unlawfully because of a necessity that is in his will and consi...Read More

Jun 2013 3 Jun 3, 2013

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5). As I noted in the previous post, Paul’s aim in this prayer is to remind us that if we hope to endure and press through seasons where all we can think of is quitting, we need to experience the reality of God’s abiding affection for his children. So let me make several observations, some of which are in the form of a question, some are principles...Read More

Jun 2013 2 Jun 2, 2013

I dare say that all of us, at some time or other in the course of our Christian lives, reach the point at which we feel we can’t go on any farther, any longer. The obligations and responsibilities and duties that lay ahead of us are simply overwhelming. The demands placed on us by work and family and church feel insurmountable and suffocating. The expectations that well-meaning friends put upon us are unrealistic and the burden is simply too much to bear. We feel p...Read More