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A List of Powerful Sermons and Essays for your Weekend Reading

For your weekend reading I wanted to pass along some classic sermons and essays that have had a deep impact:

Imitating the Incarnation (.pdf)
by B. B. Warfield

The Religious Life of Theological Students
by B B Warfield

Man's Utter Inability to Rescue Himself
by Thomas Boston

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection
by Thomas Chalmers

What Did the Cross Achieve?: The Logic of Penal Substitution
by J. I. Packer

A Day of Sober Rejoicing
by Francis Schaeffer

The Emotional Life of Our Lord
by B. B. Warfield

The Martyrdom of Polycarp
Translated by John Lightfoot

Introductory Essay to the Death of Death
by J. I. Packer

What is Christianity?
by J. Gresham Machen

History & Faith
by J Gresham Machen

The Good Fight of Faith
by J. Gresham Machen

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 13:34 -- john_hendryx

Does All Meaning in the Universe Center Around Human Beings?

Recently a good friend of mine, who is an atheist, who seems convinced of total depravity, sent me a Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode (Parental Guidance recommended) where his guest, a world-renowned physicist makes some astonishing claims. Professor Brian Cox is an English physicist and Professor of Particle Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester in the UK.

Among many of the claims Professor Cox makes in the podcast episode, my friend asked me to comment on the segment where he said that since we are all there is in the universe, all meaning the in universe centers around humans. He claims we ought to locate the miracle in the here and now. This is the miracle. We are living it right now.

Here are a few comments in response to this idea put forward by Professor Cox:

Without knowing what the purpose of a typewriter is, we cannot determine its worth or excellence. Similarly, we cannot realize human excellence if we don't have a grasp of human purpose.  Apart from this, we end up with only practical and emotional outcomes. Modernity has in many ways, stripped us of a telos, or our search for an ultimate end. But without an external, objective source of meaning and purpose, we are left with only being informed and driven by subjective feelings.

I would argue that people flourish the most, not when they invent their own meaning and value, but when they tap into their value and meaning as God’s image-bearers.

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 16:53 -- john_hendryx

Do Not Grow Weary in Declaring God's Word

There has never been a time when so much sound biblical teaching has been available at the fingertips of the ordinary person. And, thank the Lord, much of it is free. On the other hand, there has never been a time when such a vast amount of poor and heretical theology has been available to the same people. So much that I cannot keep up with it all.

Many of our brothers and sisters are held captive by bad or inconsistent theology... theology that will not be able to bear the weight of the onslaught of ideologies and plausible arguments being waged against the Church. We should not behave angrily as if this was entirely their fault. It seems plausible to many Christians because that is all they have ever known. So we must patiently, with gentleness and respect pluck them from the fire by openly declaring the whole counsel of God. Is it sad that one of the greatest mission fields is the visible church itself and it grieves me to see it, but we must press on and simply carry out our role to proclaim the word of God, and let Him determine the results. So do not grow weary. He is sovereign and will take your faithful work and make it fruitful.

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 14:12 -- john_hendryx

A Page from Hell's Playbook: the Subterranean Origins of Certain Equality and Justice Doctrines

by Dr. Thaddeus Williams

If I were the devil—which some of you may believe after reading on—if my sworn mission was to devour the Christian faith from the inside out, then here is what I would NOT do. I would not slither into a Sunday service, breathing blasphemy and dragon fire, bragging about my triumphs at Auschwitz, commanding the congregation, “Deny that God is God!” I would not be an idiot.

I would dress up to look like justice, compassion, or equity, or some other ideal Christians would be quick to ‘Amen!’ I would sink my teeth and suck the true, biblical content from those words—not that many of the Enemy’s people know the true, biblical content of those words to begin with—then inject it with the venom of new meaning, a meaning that is antithetical to the Enemy’s definition of such silly words. Then I could get nearly every faithful Tom, Dick, and Sally to deny the Godhood of God while they think they are merely being more just and compassionate. I could get them to deny the Gospel itself while they think they are merely caring for the oppressed. Even better, I will include in that injection certain policies that are almost certain to further hurt the oppressed, the same policies I’ve used over and over to crush image-bearers. It’s the perfect evil trifecta I try to achieve in all my ploys. Rob worship from the Enemy, dupe the Enemy’s church, and inflict even more oppression on as much of that despicable race who bears the Enemy’s obnoxious image as possible.

Sat, 02/09/2019 - 17:47 -- john_hendryx

Inclusion, Exclusion and Prejudice: Ellen Page, Chris Pratt and the MSM

I understand that actress Ellen Page called out Chris Pratt for attending an 'infamously' anti-LGBTQ church. While not commenting on his specific church, I am trying to get my head around this common secular logic which they seem to apply to just about any local church or school which takes the Bible seriously.
 
Wouldn't it actually be anti-LGBTQ to EXCLUDE those who identify as LGBTQ by withholding the gospel from them? More and more people like Page assume that declaring the gospel to LGBTQ people is somehow discriminatory, but the opposite it true - it is radically inclusive. It is actually the same gospel that we all need for our sins. Jesus did not die for good people but for sinners like me. So no one is being singled out as if some deserved God's grace but others do not. Theologically conservative churches (like mine) do not exclude any people from any nation with any sin, who by grace, willing come to Christ to be saved from it. And that's why we have sinners of all types in our pews. It seems what people (like Page) are offended by is that LGBTQ is even classified as sin to begin with. These false narratives are really a kind of tactic and grandstanding that is getting really boring.
Sat, 02/09/2019 - 13:42 -- john_hendryx

Changing Laws does not Change Hearts

"On the issue of social justice, it is important to remember that changing laws does not change hearts. Changing a law may get you compliance, but it will never get you repentance, which is--or should be--the goal (at least for those who profess to be followers of Christ). Unjust laws are the by-product of unjust hearts (Mk. 7:17-23). As Christians, we must not only desire that people *do* right, but that they *be* righteous (Rom. 12:2)." - Darrell Bernard Harrison

The new social justice movement has very little (if any) understanding of human nature and the degree of our corruption as human beings. If they had free reign to enact every law and educational reform they wanted, do they honestly think it would solve the worlds problems? It would not even scratch the surface. Our problem is much, much deeper than that. The problem with humanity is pre-political. It is a spiritual problem.

This inherent denial of total depravity in the movement reveals a complete lack of self-awareness. Jesus did not come to die for good people but for sinners. The kingdom of heaven is not for people who think they are righteous, but for those who know they are not. When you can only see other people's sin and not your own, you do not even have a basic understanding of the gospel. Forgiveness towards others is not possible for people who think they need no forgiveness. And since the social justice movement will never solve all the world's problems, they will always remain unforgiving and demand justice now. 

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 13:15 -- john_hendryx

You Did Not Choose Me - Commentary on John 15:16

by John Calvin

16.You have not chosen me. He declares still more clearly that it must not be ascribed to their own merit, but to his grace, that they have arrived at so great an honor; for when he says that he was not chosen by them, it is as if he had said, that whatever they have they did not obtain by their own skill or industry. Men commonly imagine some kind of concurrence to take place between the grace of God and the will of man; but that contrast, I chose you, I was not chosen by you, claims, exclusively, for Christ alone what is usually divided between Christ and man; as if he had said, that a man is not moved of his own accord to seek Christ, until he has been sought by him.

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 22:14 -- john_hendryx

M. Night Shyamalan and the Necessary Shattered-Glass World

Guest Post by Jared Moore

[Glass has several things that may violate your conscience. Know your conscience. Be sure to look it up before you watch at Plugged In or Common Sense Media.]

*Additionally, if you want some very detailed interaction with Glass from a Christian worldview, check out the Glass episode of the Pop Culture Coram Deo Podcast (available on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, TuneIn, Pod Bean, etc.).

Sat, 02/02/2019 - 11:53 -- john_hendryx

Augustinian Theology Vs. Semi-Pelagianism

by R. C. Sproul

This classic issue between Augustinian theology and all forms of semi-Pelagianism focuses on one aspect of the order of salvation (ordo salutis): What is the relationship between regeneration and faith? Is regeneration a monergistic or synergistic work? Must a person first exercise faith in order to be born again? Or must rebirth occur before a person is able to exercise faith? Another way to state the question is this: Is the grace of regeneration operative or cooperative?

Monergistic regeneration means regeneration is accomplished by a single actor, God. It means literally a “one working.” Synergism, on the other hand, refers to a work that involves the actions of two or more parties. It is a co-working. All forms of semi-Pelagianism assert some form of synergism in the work of regeneration. Usually God’s assisting grace is seen as a necessary ingredient, but it is usually dependent on human cooperation for its efficacy.

The Reformers taught not only that regeneration does precede faith but also that it must precede faith. Because of the moral bondage of the unregenerate sinner, he cannot have faith until he is changed internally by the operative, monergistic work of the Holy Spirit. Faith is regeneration’s fruit, not its cause.

According to semi-Pelagianism regeneration is wrought by God but only in those who have first responded in faith to him. Faith is seen not as the fruit of regeneration, but as an act of the will cooperating with God’s offer of grace.

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 16:21 -- john_hendryx

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