K. Scott Oliphint – “I Am Who I Am”

One of the most significant events in the life of the Lord’s people in redemptive history is the exodus. However, as important as the exodus is, it is even more important for us to see that in Exodus 3, God reveals the majestic magnificence of His character. It is a magnificence that contains two glorious truths, inextricably linked, without which the Christian God cannot be understood or worshiped. As important as the salvation of Israel from Egypt is, it cannot properly be understood unless it is framed within the revelation of God’s twofold character as expressed by God’s own declaration and as displayed in the burning bush.

As God comes to Moses, He announces Himself as “the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex. 3:6). Here God identifies Himself as the covenant God, the One who has sovereignly initiated a relationship with His people. The first thing that God wants Moses to recognize is that He is a God who is with His people (v. 12), who will deliver them from Egypt (v. 8), and who has redeemed them for the purpose of worshiping Him alone (v. 12). God is accomplishing His covenant promise to Israel through Moses.

Continue Reading

Benno Zuiddam – Battle for the Bible in the Early Church

Is the Bible the reliable Word of God or a fallible collection of human religious ideas? The purpose of this article is to show that the conflict between secular science and the Bible is not new, but dates back to the days of the early church. Greek scientists like Porphyry and Celsus questioned the reliability of the contents of Genesis, Jonah, Daniel, as well as the factuality of Jesus’ Virgin Birth and Resurrection. This paper will demonstrate how early Greek scholars alleged that the holy Christian Scriptures were unreliable productions of men and will consider the commitment of the early church to these writings as the voice of God.

Often research articles have the aim of stating something that is experienced as new and relevant for a limited group of colleagues with expert knowledge. This paper has a different purpose, namely to translate some of these results from the field of patristic studies1 and make them available to fellow Christian scholars who are active in the natural sciences. This is likely to be encouraging, as the world of the early Christians was in many ways like the post-Christian Western world of the 21st century. What early Fathers embraced as Scripture is now usually also found in our printed Bibles. The fact that they took the Bible as the literal voice of God does not imply their interpretation was always right or that they were unaffected by the philosophies and pressures of their time and cultural surroundings. Likewise for Greek science in the late ancient era: although some philosophers preceded the modern ‘unbelief’ of the Continental Enlightenment Theology in many ways, this article does not claim that their worldview or motivation was identical, or deny that their work is inconsequential when it comes to considering the unusual or ‘miraculous’ in their own tradition.

Continue Reading

Justin Buzzard – Create a Plan to Date Your Wife

Make a Plan That’s Right for You

I know men who have pages and pages of plans for their business, their finances, and their hobbies, but have never written down a single sentence of planning for their marriage. Vows, dreams, ideas, and good intentions aren’t enough. A man needs to plan. Husbands who learn to be intentional with their marriage, just as they are in other domains of life, can be used of God to bring fresh flourishing to their one-flesh union. I encourage a man to view his marriage in one-year chunks and to draft an annual plan for how he will date his wife.

Drafting an annual plan for dating your wife starts with the “air war” of your marriage — this is planning for when your B-52 Bombers will fly overhead to drop major artillery and troops in support of your marriage, helping you push your marriage forward in significant ways.

Continue Reading

Micah and Tracy Fries – Adoption: The Good and Hard Lessons

We recently marked several months of being home with our son who was adopted from the tiny south African country of Lesotho. He is full of life and has a huge personality. He laughs uncontrollably sometimes at things around our house, like when we told him our dog was being a “pill” and the way his dad calls his sisters “chick-a-dee” and “sweet pea.” Watching him figure out how things work and seeing him do things that are very much African (you should see him eat an orange) makes our hearts smile. After having lived and worked as missionaries in Africa, we love having a little African son in our house.

While he has brought much joy and energy to our house, our short time as adoptive parents has brought on a number of other emotional responses—many of which we were unprepared for. Adoption has become a popular topic in Evangelical circles in recent years, and praise God for that. While there are many implications in Scripture that we take seriously, orphan care is an explicit expectation for the Christian, and it’s often been ignored by the church. Unfortunately, however, with the rise of popularity has come a parallel rise in romanticism regarding adoption. Like marriage, often portrayed in media as the meeting of two perfectly suited individuals who spend the rest of their days in wedded bliss, adoption can take on mythical proportions among some Christians, and if they are not careful, they can enter or support it without fully taking stock of how difficult it can be.

Continue Reading

Paul Tripp – Why Are Stories In The Bible?

I want to introduce to you a series of posts that will focus on stories of people of faith. You will be familiar with some of the names, like Noah and Abel and Enoch, while other biblical characters will be less renowned, like the Widow of Zarephath, who still have important stories to tell.

But before we begin, I need to remind you of something important: the purpose of their stories is not to give you heroes to emulate, but rather to point you to a Person in whom your faith should reside.

You see, these men and women aren’t memorable because they had faith; there’s nothing special about the EXISTENCE of their faith. Rather, these individuals are memorable because they found an immoveable and eternal LOCATION for their faith – the God of the universe.

WITHOUT FAITH

As I’ve written many times before, it’s impossible to exist as a human being and not have faith. Every man, woman and child is born a philosopher and a theologian, organizing their life by a faith-based worldview that determines their thoughts, desires, words and actions. Even if their theology boldly declares, “There is no God!” and their lifestyle is defined by carefree autonomy, they still exist by faith – a belief that there is no God and no eternal consequence for their behavior.

Continue Reading

Samuel Bolton – Sin: The Greatest Evil

Sin truly is, and God’s people apprehend it to be, the greatest evil in the world…If you compare the evil of sin with other evils, you shall see how short all other kinds of evils are to this evil of sin.

1. Most of all, other evils are only outward. They are only such as are on the body, the estate, the name; but sin is an inward evil, an evil upon the soul, which is the greatest of evils.

2. All other evils are only of a temporal nature. They have an end. Poverty, sickness, disgrace — all these are great evils; but these and all others have an end. Death puts a conclusion to them all. But this evil of sin is of an eternal nature that shall never have an end. Eternity itself shall have no period to this.

3. All other evils do not make a man the subject of God’s wrath and hatred. A man may have all other evils and yet be in the love of God. You may be poor and yet precious in God’s esteem. You may be under all kinds of miseries and yet dear in God’s thoughts. But sin is an evil that makes the soul the subject of God’s wrath and hatred. The absence of all other goods, the presence of all created evils, will not make you hateful to God if sin is not there, so the presence of all other goods and the absence of all other evils will not render you lovely if sin is there.

Continue Reading

Geoffrey Kirkland – Diagnosing & Mortifying the Sin of Complaining

Philippians 2:14 — “Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”
James 5:9 — “Do not complain, brethren, against one another…”

THE CORRUPTION OF COMPLAINING

Everyone does it. It’s all around us. In fact, it’s so normalized and pervasive that we hardly even recognize when it actually occurs. The sin of complaining is one of those “respectable sins.” That is, it’s one that’s hardly spoken about, seldom preached against, and still less frequent, a sin with which Christians persistently wage violent war. Complaining is ugly. Complaining is one of the most commonest and frequent sins that’s almost as easy to find and common as the air we breathe.

Complaining isn’t, however, the real issue. Complaining is the outward manifestation of other heart-sins taking place in that moment. Let’s diagnose complaining. When we complain, we manifest three heart-sins that are all taking place together.

First, complaining manifests an attitude of “deservedness.” It’s like saying: “I’m not getting what I feel like I deserve!” Or, to state the opposite: “I am getting what I don’t think I deserve.” And in that moment of a complaint, we soar to the realms of deservedness, specifically, that we deserve something good or better than what we’re actually experiencing.

Continue Reading

R. C. Sproul – Loving God with Our Minds

The human mind is one of the most incredible aspects of creation. It is more powerful than the largest supercomputer and can solve great problems and make great discoveries. That makes the noetic effects of sin especially tragic.

The noetic effects of sin describe the impact of sin upon the nous—the mind—of fallen humanity. The faculty of thinking, with which we reason, has been seriously disturbed and corrupted by the fall. In our natural, unregenerate state, there is some-thing dramatically wrong with our minds. As a consequence of our suppressing the knowledge of God in our sin, we have been given over to a debased mind (Rom. 1:28).

It’s terrible to have a reprobate mind, a mind that now in its fallen condition doesn’t have a scintilla of desire to love God. But that is the kind of mind we chose for ourselves in Adam, so in our natural fallen condition, there is nothing more repugnant to our minds than the love of God. While we remain unregenerate, we have such an antipathy to loving God by nature that we choke at the very thought of Christ’s command to love God with our minds (Matt. 22:37).

Continue Reading

Marshall Segal – 10 Things You Should Know about Dating

1. Live on mission…and then find a spouse.

Instead of making marriage your mission, make it God’s global cause and the advance of the gospel where you are, and look for someone pursuing the same. If you’re hoping to marry someone who passionately loves Jesus and makes him known, it’s probably best to put yourself in a community of people committed to that. Join a small group, not just a group of single Christians but one actively on mission together. Get plugged into a ministry in your church that’s engaging the lost in the local community. Focus on the harvest, and you’re bound to find a helper.

2. Keep the end in sight.

In all your dating, keep your last first date in mind. The only thing worth dating for is a marriage—a lifelong, life-on-life love like Jesus’s love for us. Nothing else is worth all the risks we take when we begin to share our heart with someone else. Nothing else can protect us from diving in too quickly or jumping ship when things get hard. Nothing else can stand out enough from the world around us to say something significant about Jesus. Marriage has to be the big and beautiful goal of our dating before we are ever ready to date well.

Continue Reading

Michael Boling – Avoid Lashon Hara (Evil Tongue)

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. (Psalm 34:13)

There is a term used by Jewish rabbinic tradition called lashon hara. I submit most have not heard of this term in the Hebrew parlance; however, it is a concept firmly rooted in Scripture. Lashon hara means “evil tongue” and is derived from passages such as Leviticus 19:16 and Proverbs 10:18. With that said, perhaps the most notable verse that speaks to the issue of lashon hara is Psalm 34:13.

What exactly then is meant by “evil tongue?” There is no shortage in Scripture of passages that speak of the tongue or how to define godly and ungodly verbal interaction with not just our fellow man, but also regarding how we speak of God. Notably as it relates to the tongue and God, we can point to Exodus 20:7 which declares, “You shall not take the name of the God in vain.” In other words, evil tongue as it relates to God involves but is not limited to trying to make the name above all names common. For more insight into what it means to take the name of God in vain, check out my post on this subject.

As lashon hara relates to our fellow man, there are all types of examples. Evil tongue involves things such as gossip, lying, bearing false witness, slander, malice, anger, bitterness, perversion, and honestly the list can go on and on.

It is no wonder the Apostle James saliently noted,

“Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:4-12)

I humbly admit that lashon hara is something for which I continually struggle. It is far too easy to gossip, lie, and slander another person. At the moment in which lashon hara occurs, there is a certain sense of evil satisfaction, a belief that somehow you have stuck it to another person. They deserved it after all right? After all, nothing wrong with a little water cooler gossip about that co-worker and nothing wrong with setting someone straight on social media to include a few choice words to boot, right?

The answer to those questions is a resounding no. Lashon hara (evil tongue) should never be part of the daily walk of a child of God. For starters, He commands us to never treat Him that way and furthermore, we are to love God and love others. Love can be stern and corrective; however, love never involves lashon hara. Evil tongue is a hallmark of the wicked. Tearing down and destroying one another with our tongue is the complete opposite of how the body of Messiah is to operate.

Why then do we fall prey so often to lashon hara? I firmly believe it is like a gateway drug if you will. It seems alluring at the time and we make believe words do not matter when in reality they do. If what we say to one another did not matter, God would not repeatedly outline what godly speech looks like. Since He does all throughout Scripture, what we say and how we say it is of the utmost importance.

If you struggle with evil tongue, I encourage you to pray to God for forgiveness and to seek forgiveness from those you may have hurt by engaging in lashon hara. This will likely take a great deal of humility, but it is a necessary first step in resisting and purging yourself of this pernicious behavior.

I also encourage you to do a biblical study on the tongue. Note how Scripture outlines the manner in which we should treat one another with our speech. This will involve noting both good examples of proper speech as well as bad examples given in Scripture of speech. The good, the bad, and the ugly are provided in Scripture for a reason.

Finally, realize that more often than not, silence is golden. Lashon hara often stems from immaturity in this area of our life, a desire to fly off the handle to satisfy self. As the old saying goes, “If you do not having anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.” Or as my mother used to remind me, “Zip your lip.”