Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review: Francis Schaeffer by Mostyn Roberts

FrancisSchaeffer-MostynRoberts

Title: Francis Schaeffer
Author: Mostyn Roberts
Series: Bitesize Biographies
Publisher: EP Books
Year: 2012
ISBN: 0-85234-792-8
ISBN-13: 978-085234-792-8
Pages: 146
Format: Paperback

Francis Schaeffer is one of the 20th century’s greatest influencers towards thinking Christianity. To him, Christianity was not simply a form of mysticism, and neither was it a leap of faith into the unknown. To Francis Schaeffer, Christianity was rational—not rationalistic. Christianity had all the answers to life’s big questions, and Schaeffer did not shy away from answering those questions.

From academics, to blue collar workers, all were important to Schaeffer, and he believed that each one had to be answered on his own level.

Mostyn Roberts wrote a very easy to read introduction to the life and ideas of Francis Schaeffer. Roberts writes about Schaeffer’s early years all the way to the end of his life in 1984, laying out a history of Schaeffer’s life, but also includes his teachings, apologetics, films, politics and his final battle with cancer.

Schaeffer left a legacy that every Christian would do well to learn from and emulate. Schaeffer taught us that it is important for Christians to think.

If you want to learn about Schaeffer, this is the book to start on. It is easy to read, doesn’t drag things out and it really accomplishes its purpose, which is to introduce the reader to Francis Schaeffer.

Once you are done reading this book, and you would like to know more about Schaeffer, then you can move onto FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: an Authentic Life by Colin Duriez (hardcover, kindle).



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Five More Myths about Bible Translations

About 3 months ago I wrote about Daniel Wallace’s 15 Myths about Bible Translation.

He has also written a blog post called Five More Myths about Bible Translations and the Transmission of the Text.

5moremyths

It is definitely worth reading!



Saturday, March 01, 2014

60 Days–600 Chapters-1900 to go to finish the Bible

williamdicksbiblestudy
Two pages from my Bible in Ephesians.
From reading the title of this blog post, you are probably thinking that my math is all screwy, because how can 600 + 1900 (2500) be the completion of the Bible in chapters? Especially since there are only 1189 chapters in the Bible!

Every year there are hordes of Bible reading plans to follow, and like it or not they are designed to be read from 1 January to 31 December. They are annual Bible reading programs. There are other programs that are designed to be read over 2 or 3 years. I know, many will say that you don’t have to read it starting at 1 January, it could be started at any time. The fact is that these Bible reading plans are promoted on scores of websites and blogs. . ., in the last week or so of December. Which leads the human mind to see these programs, plans or systems as new year’s resolutions. They are designed with the annual mindset.

Well, this year I decided to do it a tad differently! I decided to follow Prof. Grant Horner’s Bible reading system which is kind of designed around a 250 day cycle, or a 28 day cycle, or a 31 day cycle, or an 89 day cycle. . . you get the drift! Horner’s system is designed around ten lists of Bible books of which you are to read one chapter from daily. That makes it 10 chapters each day, each chapter from a different book.

While most reading plans are designed to finish 1189 chapters in a year, Horner’s system is designed to read every chapter in the Bible in 250 days. His longest list of books is 250 chapters long (List 9, OT prophets) and his shortest list is only 28 chapters long (List 10, Acts). It means that by the time List 9 has been completed, Acts would have been read almost a complete 9 times!

The lists are made up as follows:

ghr_system

In 250 days you would have read the gospels just shy of 3 times, the Mosaic books 1.33 times, List 3 just more than 3 times,  List 4 almost 4 times, List 5 a total of 4 times, Psalms 1.66 times, Proverbs 8 times, and Acts almost 9 times. This makes for a lot of reading! By the end of the year, if you have read every day of the year, you would have covered 3650 chapters of the Bible. You would have read Acts 13 times! Do you think you would know Acts just a little by then?

Prof Horner recommends using the same Bible every day, the same one you always use. You will gain an affinity for the Bible you use. And, it helps for recollection. After reading the same passages from the same Bible for several years, you will start recalling entire pages in your mind, says Prof Horner. (Read more here.) You can also find Prof Horner’s system on Facebook. You can find his 10 Lists in a document that explains the whole system here. Simply print out the lists, and then cut them into individual strips and you will have bookmarks for each list.

What I’ve done to help myself keep track of what I have read was to create 2 documents. One is simply a foldable checklist of each chapter from each book in each list. Click here to download this checklist. Then I also created an Excel spread sheet with each list’s books and chapters (some repeated) all the way down to row 250. This way I can keep track with where I am supposed to be at all times while repeating some books several times. Click here to download this spread sheet.

What I have found with this system of reading is that there is no time to get bored or stuck in a rut. With the subject matter changing several times in a sitting, my attention is held fixed to the Scriptures.
tollelege

UPDATE:
2 March 2014 - I have updated the Excel spread sheet. I have added a date column and a day column. The Date column is the first column. The dates start in row 2. If you did not start on 1 January with this program, then in the Date column, row 2, change your starting date and all the succeeding dates will change too. That way you can keep a check on your progress no matter when you start the program. The second column is the Day column. This you must leave as is. It simply gives you an idea of which day you are on in your reading progress. In my progress, yesterday (1 Mar 2014) was day 60. It means that I have read 600 chapters.

I hope this all helps!


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Leon Morris on The Atonement: Freedom

“It is one of the curious things in life that Christians have all too often neglected [freedom]. Purchased at such great cost, they have promptly looked for some new servitude. Even in the early church it was not long before some people began to speak of Christianity as ‘the new law’ and to subject themselves to a legalism every bit as trying as that of which the New Testament writers complained in Judaism. And this has continued in the history of the church. Again and again it is not liberty in Christ which has characterized believers, but strict conformity to some new rule they have made or found. This may involve a rigorous asceticism or the firm conviction that the way forward is by observance of some sacramental discipline or the like.  At the other extreme it may be  by conformity to a new license, so that all who prefer an ordered way are held to be false to true Christianity. Mankind has a fiendish ingenuity in discovering ways of bringing itself into bondage. Paul’s words are far from being out of date.” (Leon Morris, The Atonement: Its Meaning & Significance, IVP Academic, Downer’s Grove, IL, 1983, p126)



Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Leon Morris on The Atonement: Access

slain-lamb“Our sins separate us from God (Is. 59:2). We have no way of remedying the situation. But Christ has opened for his people the way into the very presence of God. This does not mean an occasional access. Christians live day by day in the assurance that the way into the presence of God is open wide. They need the mediation of no earthly priest. Indeed, now all of life is lived in God’s presence. This is the most important truth for the average Christian. The average person is just that – average. He or she has no great importance in the eyes of the world. Indeed that is one of life’s frustrations. When an injustice is done to us we have no access to the great ones who might put things right. We are continually pushed around by low-grade bureaucrats and kept in our place by office receptionists. It is possible to spend hours awaiting the pleasure of some subordinate official. This is part of life and if anything can be done about it I do not know what it is. But believers have access where it really counts. Christ’s fulfilment of the Day of Atonement ceremonies has opened up the way into the presence of God for the humblest of his people. Nothing on earth can take away what it means in terms of prayer and of companionship.” (Leon Morris, The Atonement: Its Meaning & Significance, IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL, 1983, p87)



On Forbidden Women

prostitute(1)  My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding;  (2)  That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge.  (3)  For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech;  (4)  But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.  (5)  Her feet go down to death, Her steps take hold of Sheol.  (6)  She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it. . . (20)  For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?  (21)  For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths.  (22)  His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin.  (23)  He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.
(Prov 5:1-6, 20-23)



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Next Greek-English lexicon: Liddell-Scott

Apart from my other lexicons I already have (Davidson’s “The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon,” Osburn’s “A Hebrew and English Lexicon to the Old Testament,” BDB’s “The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon,” Mounce’s “The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament,” Friberg, Friberg and Miller’s “Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament,” Louw & Nida’s “Greek-English Lexicon” in two volumes, Thayer’s “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament” and Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker’s “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian literature”), today I received my “An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon” by Liddell & Scott.

liddellscottlexicon_wbg_sm



Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Challenge to Pray for Your Daughter Everyday of January 2014

Father_and_daughter_1
Image courtesy of Fatherhood
As Christian parents our greatest mission on earth is to raise children to love God and His gospel in Christ Jesus. We are to present the gospel to them, and to pray for them.

Hot on the heels of the August 2013 challenge to Pray For Your Wife, came the October challenge to Pray For Your Son.

Now, starting on 1 January 2014 is the Pray For Your Daughter challenge. You can join the challenge on its Facebook page. Joining this challenge will assist you with:

  • Focus – You will know what to pray for and not just repeat the same things everyday.
  • Accountability – You will be held accountable by the group.
  • Challenge – You will be challenged to go deeper in the way you pray for your daughter.
  • Encouragement – You will be encouraged to press on, even if it seems like God’s answers aren’t coming when you want them to.

Visit the challenge page to find out more of the details. You may even be able to assist.



Saturday, December 28, 2013

How long does it take to read your Bible in a year?

bibleThat is like asking, “How much are your $3 ice-creams?” If you read your Bible in a year, that is how long it will take!

If you are planning to read your Bible through in 2014, then there are a load of plans to follow. You can get several at Justin Taylor’s blog. So, I won’t bore you with another list of Bible reading plans.

Justin points to a website that gives you the details on how many verses/words you will read in a session. At 200 words a minutes, and about 10.7 minutes a day, you will finish reading the Bible in 3922.9 minutes, or 65 hours, 22 minutes, 54 seconds. That makes it 2 days, 17 hours, 22 minutes, 54 seconds if you read it non-stop from beginning to end! Not so bad considering a year of 365 days!

If you read at 250 words per minute (wpm), you will complete it in 2 days, 4 hours, 18 minutes, 16 seconds.

Here comes the kicker: if you can read at 400wpm, you will complete reading your Bible in 1 day, 8 hours, 41 minutes, 22 seconds!

During that time you will have read around 31243 verses and depending on the translation, many tons of words!This is definitely do-able, isn’t it? Then get planning!



Friday, December 27, 2013

Jesus Came, God With Us

It has been shown already that historically, Jesus did indeed exist; hence, He had to have been born. We know that He existed. Simple historical fact.

However, the coming of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, was not just an historical event to look back on. There was a reason for His coming! There is meaning to that great event.

jesuscametodie

Jesus came to this earth to die for sinners, to save His people from their sins! So, without any embellishments, here are some passages that tell us the reason for Christ’s coming!

Mary “will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21)

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mk 10:45)

“For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (Jn 18:37)

“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.” (1 Jn 4:10)

“Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:2 ESV)

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16 HCSB)

“for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:28)

“(5)  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  (6)  who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  (7)  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  (8)  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Php 2:5-8)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21)

Christ “gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal 1:4)

“Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit.” (1 Pet 3:18 NET)

“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” (Heb 13:12)

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Pet 2:24)

“(14)  Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  (15)  and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Heb 2:14-15)

“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 Jn 3:8)

“(14)  For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh,  (15)  He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.  (16)  He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it.” (Eph 2:14-16 HCSB)

“(51)  Now [Caiaphas] did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,  (52)  and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (Jn 11:51-52)

“(27)  ‘For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,  (28)  to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.’” (Ac 4:27-28)



Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Spirit does what the law could not–sanctification

(3)  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,  (4)  so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  (5)  For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  (6)  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,  (7)  because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,  (8)  and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  (9)  However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Rom 8:3-9)

john-piperJohn Piper delivers a thought provoking sermon on “How the Spirit Does What the Law Could Not Do,” based on Rom 8:3-9. Piper intends answering the following questions in his sermon:

“Did he turn us away from the law for justification and then send us back to it for sanctification? Is the law the first and chief and decisive focus of our lives if we want to triumph over our rebellion and our craving for God's creation over God? If we want to love our enemies and not return evil for evil, and have patience and kindness, and be bold and courageous in the cause of righteousness, and endure hardship joyfully in service of the gospel, and spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples, then where shall we turn for help? How do we become holy, loving, and Christ-like after we are justified by faith alone?

“What do you do? Where do you turn? What is your focus and passion? How do you fight for holiness and love and Christ-likeness? You must fight. The alternative of pursuing holiness is to perish (Hebrews 12:14). How do you fight? Is law the key that unlocks a life of love?”

You can either read or listen to his sermon here!



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Journey in Heresy: A Short Review

“(6)  I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;  (7)  which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  (8)  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  (9)  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Gal 1:6-9)

A Journey in HeresyThe book we are looking at in this blog post is as follows:

Title: A Journey in Heresy: A Theological Novel
Author: Richard P. Belcher
Publisher: Richbarry Press, Fort Mill, SC
Year of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-883265-31-2
Pages: 174

Belcher has written 24 book in his Journey series. Based on the 3 books I have read (A Journey in Grace, A Journey In Sovereignty, and the current book under review), I would recommend others to read these books too.

A Journey in Heresy is a book about a Baptist Theological Seminary where a conspiracy is afoot to replace the current head of the Evangelism department with a more erudite evangelist who brings in thousands of “decisions” a year for Christ. The problem with this scenario is that those who want the new man—Jacob Johnson Maxwell—to take over the evangelism department, want him there purely because he brings in all these “decisions.” Little do they know about this man’s heretical teachings, and it takes three men at the seminary, Ira, Dink and Dr. Sisk, to unmask the teaching of Maxwell. Dink, that is to take the brunt of the conspiracy, is tasked by the president of the seminary, Dr. Sisk, to research Maxwell’s teaching, and so starts a series of teachings on Maxwell’s theology by Dink.



Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas is from the devil and all such mythical declarations

merrychristmas
Every Christmas a slew of well meaning Christians—I hope—come out of the woodwork to declare Christmas a pagan celebration and that Christians should not celebrate it. I’ve been through this whole saga too many years ago, but thank God He saved me from such nonsense. Of course, many of these mythical notions about Christmas started with Alexander Hislop’s book, The Two Babylons, which by the way has been debunked thoroughly. And many still accept this book as the bible on all things Christmas, etc.

Just to enlighten those that still think that Christmas is going to send us straight to hell, here are two articles on the matter that is worth reading:
Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies — Christmas and Sol Invictus by Joseph Abrahamson. A quote:

“Remember first that the Christian faith is as old as the curse on Satan in Genesis 3:15. And while pagan worship of the sun certainly existed in Rome before the spread of the fulfillment of that promise in Christ came to the city; the celebration of Sol Invictus as a god in Rome actually came as pagans attempted to suppress Christianity. This early attempt as suppressing Christianity by means of the pagan worship of Sol is found in the Historia Augusta, a pagan history of Rome compiled in the fourth century AD.”

The other article is Was Jesus Born on 25 December? by Peter Hammond. A quote from Hammond:

“It is true that one Roman Emperor, Aurelian, did attempt to inaugurate 25 Dec. as a pagan festival "the birth of the unconquered Sun." This was in AD 274. Aurelian was attempting to breathe new life into a declining paganism devastated by the advances of Christianity. However, the Roman pagan festival was instituted after the Christians had already been celebrating the birth of Christ on that day for many decades. Their pagan festival was an attempt to create an alternative tradition, which already was associated with the birth of Christ, and of some significance to the Roman Christians. This is not a case of Christians imitating the pagans. The pagans were attempting to imitate the Christians, by celebrating the Sun on the day when Christians celebrated the Son of God.”

May you have a
Merry Christmas!



My Top 10 Books of 2013

It is the time of year that many look back over the year to assess the year’s successes, failures, and hardships. For those that enjoy reading, there were also successes and failures, and sometimes hardships when reading books. Successes in the books read, failures in the books not read or finished, and hardships to grind through some books.

top10books2013

Of course, my list of books will not be the same as someone else’s list of books, since our interests will be different, and there are few people in the world who have actually read the same list of books this year. The books I will list here did not come from another list at all. These are the top 10 books that I have personally read this year.

10. Love Your God with All Your Mind, J.P. Moreland

In the evangelical world there are opposites in many areas. Not the least of those opposites are in the area of the mind and the spirit. However, what has probably been neglected the most in evangelicalism is the importance of the mind. In this book, J.P. Moreland takes very seriously the imperative that Jesus highlighted for the questioning scribe:

“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.” (Mk, 12:30)

Moreland highlights the use of the intellect as Christians in God’s kingdom in the areas of evangelism, apologetics, worship and vocation. The evangelical has many times loved the Lord with great zeal, but neglected to love God with the mind.

I finished this book on 23 June 2013.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

1 Peter: A Commentary by Karen Jobes

karenjobes_1PeterI just finished with Karen Jobes’ commentary on 1 Peter, a commentary in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

As would be expected from a commentary, this was indeed a commentary! Who would have thought that? Seriously, I have found that Jobes’ commentary was extremely helpful, and that she didn’t shy away from difficulties with either the text or the meaning of the text.

This series that the commentary of 1 Peter is a part of, has been created to address the needs of pastors and those involved in preaching and exposition of the Word of God. Those that are serious about preaching through the Scriptures book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse will find great benefit in this commentary. On the other hand those that are used to preaching topical sermons and who don’t really do exposition of Scripture will only waste their money and time, since they probably won’t want to spend the time working through a commentary as thorough as this one! However, anyone who is serious about studying Scripture, and willing to look at textual issues—which Jobes handles superbly in a proper evangelical way—and issues of the Greek language behind 1 Peter, will truly benefit, and indeed enjoy this commentary.

Why did Jobes write yet another commentary on 1 Peter? She hopes to offer 3 distinct contributions which she mentions in the Author’s Preface. (Location 96 in the Kindle edition)

  1. She presents a new theory on the historical background of 1 Peter.
  2. She attempts to make the role of the Septuagint for interpreting 1 Peter more accessible.
  3. She presents an analysis of the syntax used in 1 Peter based on the principles of bilingual interference to question the regularly repeated opinion that the Greek of 1 Peter is of a high quality.

The structure of the book simply follows the flow of Peter’s letter, and then finally ends with an analysis of the Greek of 1 Peter. I have looked at several commentaries in the past, and what makes this one unique, at least for me, is that it is so thorough in dealing with the issues.

In my opinion, Jobes certainly succeeds in the handling of 1 Peter in her commentary. Those that want more depth in preparation for their sermons and expositions of the text will definitely not be disappointed.

Jobes stuck to the text of 1 Peter in such a way that it makes it easy for the reader follow. What I did find slightly confusing at times is that Jobes would deal with critics and then start with possible answers to the critics based on her studies of other commentators of 1 Peter. Then she would start giving her own opinion, and just when you think she is done on the point, she would go back to more opinions and possible scenarios from other commentators. I would have liked it more if she gave all the ideas and comments from other commentators and then to conclude with her own ideas on the issues. However, this is certainly not a deal breaker. The fact that she is so thorough makes up for any “anti” points concerning this commentary, of which I do not have many.

So, who should and should not read this commentary? Pastors, preachers and teachers of the Scriptures should certainly use this commentary. Also, those that want more depth beyond the mere handling of surface issues. On the other hand, if all you want is a devotional type of commentary, then this is perhaps not for you. This commentary is not for the super-spiritual ones among us, since this book may just make you work more at studying the Scriptures than you really want to!

Will I recommend this commentary? Certainly!



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