Comment: Your God demands human sacrifice for minor thought crimes? Sounds like a jerk.
Response: Thanks for your comment ... God is infinitely holy and we are not. Just the mere sight of Him would be too much for any person to bear. All sin, therefore, justly deserves death so it is not about being a "jerk" but about pure holy justice. Even we need human justice to live on earth... it would be utter chaos without it... Likewise God's standard is perfect and he will bring about justice for every transgression... None of us will be able to stand before such justice on our own.. But God being a God of love ... in the greatest expression of it, came to earth Himself to be a servant who fully absorbed the penalty of sin on behalf of all those who turn in faith to Him.. Jesus came to offer pardon in advance to all who ally themselves with him...And since he himself bore the penalty it could not be more opposite of being a jerk.
And we should take note that sin cannot be forgiven just by the wave of a hand. Debts against us aren't just forgiven in thin air either. Example ... If a friend came to your house and broken your Ming vase, someone has to pay for the vase. Either he pays for it or you absorb the cost of its loss. Likewise God is morally perfect so justice will be carried out for all transgressions. Someone has to pay for them.. Either you pay for them of Christ pays for you. They do not merely dissipate in the air like steam
Comment: Your God demands human sacrifice for minor thought crimes? Sounds like a jerk.
Worshiping false gods was also punishable by death in the Law (Exodus 2t0:2-6, Deuteronomy 13:1-18; Deuteronomy 12:30-32; Deut 18:9-14)... and given that we were all idolaters outside of Christ .. we have all committed sins worthy of death... What do you think the Levitical sacrificial system was for? To point people to the holiness of God, to our own sin and the necessity to die as a result of it. But it also pointed forward to Jesus who bore the death penalty FOR US because as the Last Adam, or True Israel, he obeyed the commands of God perfectly and was the only human being who ever lived who had never committed sin. The detractors always point to homosexual sin or cursing parents without realizing that all sin is worthy of death and we are all guilty before God. That is why we need a Savior. The revelation given in the Old Testament reveals God's holiness with only shadows and glimpses of his revelation of love. Now in the New Testament all sin is still likewise worthy of death but we have One who absorbed the penalty on our behalf. In Christ God not only forgives all forms of idolatry, sexual sin, greed and rebellion but gives us His Holy Spirit that we will no longer be in bondage to them. After the cross, now is an age of mercy. Our Lord's death on the cross brings clemency for a season. But don't take God's mercy for granted. His clemency will end and since the death penalty still stands for sin outside of Christ, the punishment for these and all sins will still be carried out when Our Lord soon returns to judge the earth.
The purpose of the Law according to the Bible:
"Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law NO HUMAN BEING will be justified in his sight, since THROUGH THE LAW COMES KNOWLEDGE OF SIN." .- Rom 3:19-20
by Nate Claiborne
There comes a point when you shift from randomly collecting books that catch your eye to intentionally gathering resources to form a working library. For me, this point came during my last semester of seminary. Partly because I didn’t know where I was moving when I graduated, and partly because I knew that being a teacher would necessitate some kind of decent personal library (key word is “decent” which is different than “exhaustive”), I started getting strategic in what kind of books I sought and bought.
I thought I’d start sharing my strategy as well as give you the rundown on what I’m assembling in my own library. I’m hoping it helps those of you who are in a position to build a modest theological library. But not only that, I hope it helps those of you who probably won’t build a library, but would find knowing what I think is the best go-to resource on a given topic or book of the Bible.
Since there are plenty of resource lists out there, I’m trying to give you more than just a list of books. Part of that means categorizing books based on whether they are more useful for pastoral applications or technical information. In doing that, I’m borrowing to some extent from the categories used on Best Commentaries.
The other part involves tailoring recommendations to different kinds of libraries. Not everyone who is interested in reading theology books is intentionally building a library. However, I imagine theological bibliophiles would like tips on books regardless, and hopefully those of you in this category you can benefit from the posts in this series. Because after all, once you get a certain number of books, you’ve got a library on your hands even if you haven’t been strategic about it (so at least make sure they’re good ones!)
The following reviews are by Nate Claiborne
When it comes to teaching or preaching a book of the Bible, there are plenty of resource and commentaries one could choose from. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity check out several volumes from Baker Books‘ Teach The Text series. If you’re not familiar, each of the volumes in the series offers the following units for each section of Scripture commented upon:
by Geerhardus Vos
The doctrine of election (predestination) is tied tightly to other aspects of Reformed theology. Geerhardus Vos expresses this well in his Reformed Dogmatics (recently published in English for the first time thanks to Logos and Lexham Press – see here and here). Vos asks this question (in vol. 1.5.4): “At what points is the doctrine of predestination or election related to the rest of Reformed doctrine as a whole?” Here’s his answer (summarized):
1) It is a direct consequence of God’s sovereignty, as that has been shaped based on Scripture. Luther came to predestination from man and his salvation. Calvin did so from God. God is everything and the creature is nothing, and the creature, even in its highest importance, remains subordinate to God and must serve him. Whoever gives up the doctrine of predestination must therefore also drop the doctrine of the sovereignty of God and subsequently falsify biblical teaching at numerous places.
Review by Bob Mattes of ReformedMusings
Bottom line up front: Take a little of your Christmas cash and buy this book, then read it cover to cover. The gospel is under attack on many fronts, even from those with advanced degrees who claim to be Reformed. Mr. Bond sets record straight in the modern battle over the gospel of grace.
I have to admit my skepticism when I first received a copy of Douglas Bond‘s Grace Works! (And Ways We Think It Doesn’t). In this day and age, we see the free use of euphemisms like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is anything but democratic or accountable to the people. The history of the Church records power and sovereignty of God in preserving Christ’s bride, but it also contains the record of heretics and their heresies that claimed to be true to the Scriptures whilst gutting the gospel of grace.
Douglas Bond’s book, though, remains true to its title and will prove to be a great blessing to the modern Reformed church if widely read. Mr. Bond serves as a ruling elder (RE) in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and writes as one with first-hand experience with the errors that he corrects in his book. Given the presbytery in which he serves, I have no doubt of what he sees on a regular basis. Overall, RE Bond displays an excellent knowledge of both church history and current controversies over the gospel.
After reading Michael Kruger's comments and the essay he comments on, I just want to add further comment on Kurt Eichenwald's description of Christians in this week's Newsweek:
He began his article describing Christians as follows:
"They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshiping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation."
Really? While there is no doubt I have many personal faults as do most of my fellow Christians. But I have been a Christian since December of 1985 (the most theologically conservative type of Christian) and I have not personally known any Christians during this time among my college friends, church-going friends or otherwise who even remotely fit this description. I have known a lot of Christians and have served here and overseas as well. But the above, as a sweeping description of Christians, is pure fantasy and not reality.
Indeed, the news media get does occasionally report a "big news story" of some remote church in the sticks with about 10 members who burn a Koran or who shout about how God hates homosexuals more than other sinners. And publications like the Huffington Post and Salon almost daily posts essays which are an obvious attempt to chip away at people's faith.
by James Smith, 1863, New Park Street, London
We are at best — a company of poor, lost, and ruined sinners. We have no power to help ourselves — nor will to apply unto another. But Jehovah has revealed himself as "The God of Salvation." His wisdom drew the plan, being prompted by his love. And to eternal love and infinite wisdom — we are indebted for that glorious scheme, which brings glory to God — and salvation to man.
"The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." God appeared in human nature — to save his people from their sins. He labored, and suffered, and died, the just for the unjust — to bring us to God with honor, and to Heaven with certainty.
"He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." He has . . .
made an infinite atonement;
completely paid his people's debt;
blotted out the handwriting that was against them;
overcome the world;
spoiled principalities and powers;
opened the way into the holiest by his blood;
procured the Holy Spirit to be the quickener, sanctifier, and teacher of his church;
and ascended to Heaven, to plead their cause and silence their accusers!
The Holy Spirit comes in the name of Jesus, to honor his work by calling his people "out of darkness into his marvelous light."
Under his quickening — they live;
by his teaching — they become wise unto salvation;
through his operations — they are washed, sanctified, and justified.
The Sermons of Charles Spurgeon: Vol. 1 (1-200) by C. H. Spurgeon (free)
The Sermons of Charles Spurgeon Part 2, 201-400 by C. H. Spurgeon (free)
We’re Just Friends by Chuck Milian (free);
Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke ($1.99);
Note to Self by Joe Thorn ($0.99);
Faithmapping by Mike Cosper & Daniel Montgomery ($0.99);
Not By Sight by Jon Bloom ($0.99);
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessice Thompson ($0.99);
Finding God in the Hobbit by Jim Ware ($1.99).
1.) FIRST THIS HAPPENS:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
2.) IT LEADS TO THIS:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
3.) AND RESULTS IN THIS:
…“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
4.) ABSENT #1 and #2, THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE IS THIS:
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:49-50). And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’ (Mark 9:47-8).
5.) IF YOU’RE NOT LIVING #2, DECEIVING YOURSELF ABOUT #3, AND TRYING TO DENY #4, PRAY FOR #1. PERSIST TILL EFFICACIOUS:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out (John 6:37).
A SKEPTIC’S PRAYER: