Did the Ancient Church Muzzle the Canon? Daniel Wallace

Photo credit bible.org

Dr. Daniel Wallace addresses the mystery of the gospels and books that were excluded from the New Testament by the ancient church, such as the Gospels of Mary and Judas.

He teaches some of the rhetoric and restrictions on the church’s decision-making process and confronts the complexities of these decisions that were made so long ago.

VIDEO by WA BibleDepartment This lecture took place at Biola University in 2011.

There are 2 other lecture videos on the subject from Biola University:

Dr. Daniel Wallace – Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary (Photo credit www.dts.edu)

Dr. Wallace influences students across the country through his textbook on intermediate Greek grammar. It has become the standard textbook in the English-speaking world on that subject. Dr. Wallace is also the senior New Testament editor of the NET Bible and coeditor of the NET-Nestle Greek-English diglot. He has been a consultant on four different Bible translations. Recently his scholarship has begun to focus on John, Mark, and nascent Christology. He works extensively in textual criticism, and has founded The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (csntm.org), an institute with an initial purpose of preserving Scripture by taking digital photographs of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts. He has traveled the world in search of biblical manuscripts. His postdoctoral work includes work on Greek grammar at Tyndale House in Cambridge, textual criticism studies at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, and the Universität Tübingen, Germany. He is in demand as a speaker at churches, colleges, and conferences.

The Size of the New Testament Books by Verses

Photo credit http://visualunit.files.wordpress.com

Reclame

Mark Driscoll’s message at Liberty University (April 20,2012)

Published on Apr 20, 2012 by 

On April 20, 2012 at Convocation, North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students, Pastor Mark Driscoll spoke to Liberty University students from Luke 15:11–32, the parable of the prodigal son, on the topic of „The Rebellious and the Religious.” His premise was that sin and religion are equally contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He closed by challenging students to make the most of their time while studying at Liberty.
„Do not waste these years on rebellion. Do not waste these years on religion. Get to know Jesus, He loves you very much,” he said.

Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., and is one of the world’s most quoted pastors. He was named one of the „25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years” by „Preaching” magazine and his sermons are consistently No. 1 on iTunes each week for Religion & Spirituality, with millions of downloads each year. He is also the author of 15 books.

Free audiobook through December 31 – „When I don’t desire God” by John Piper

Here is a great gift to us from John Piper: You have about 8 days to go to http://www.audiobook.com (or click on the photo of the book on the right hand side)and get this book in audio form. Here are the instructions on how to do this:

  1. Go to the book’s link at Christian Audio
  2. Click „Add to Cart”
  3. Enter the code DG1211 and „Apply Coupon”
  4. Checkout and „Download Now”

You can also download the book in pdf form here – Download When I Don’t Desire God (PDF).

From the book cover:

For over thirty years, John Piper has been trumpeting the truth that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” He calls it Christian Hedonism.

The problem is that many people, after being persuaded, find out that this truth is both liberating and devastating. It’s liberating because it endorses our inborn desire for joy. And it’s devastating because it reveals that we don’t desire God the way we should.

When you discover the biblical truth that God commands our happiness in him, the absolutely urgent question becomes: What can I do if I don’t have it?With the heart of a pastor and with radical passion for the glory of Christ, John Piper wants to help you answer that question.

(via)Jonathan Parnell @ http://www.desiringGod.org

David Platt – The Glory of God, the Lostness of Man, and the Gospel of Christ

from the Desiring God 2011 Conference-

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David Platt – The Glory of God, the Lostness of…, posted with vodpod

David Platt: SINGLENESS and the NEXT Generation (Essential Sermon for Families)

(via ) DiscipleMakingIntl.org

Click here to read the verses for this message-1 Corinthians Chapter 7

David Platt, Pastor of Brook Hills Church, advises fro us not to tune out this message. Whether a parent, a young man or woman, whether single or married, this is an important subject for ALL of us in how we pass the Gospel to the NEXT generation. Scripture does not teach that only parents are responsible for the passing on of the gospel. Dr. Platt gives a biblical perspective from 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 (he reads this chapter) and on and through the apostle Paul he shows what the ‘Word’ has to say about singleness and marriage vs. what the ‘world’ says out it. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 7, Paul writes as he comes to this young church at Corinth, a church which operates in a very pagan culture, a culture filled with sexual immorality, perversion, prostitution and so this is where Paul addresses this young church. In this letter, Paul is addressing questions that were being asked and issues that needed to be addressed:

video from http://www.DiscipleMakingIntl.com

While I’m waiting – from Fireproof

John Waller

I’m waiting, I’m waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I’m waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait
And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint

I’ll be running the race even while I wait
I’m waiting, I’m waiting on You Lord
And I am peaceful, I’m waiting on You Lord
Though it’s not easy no, but faithfully I will wait
Yes, I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint
I’ll be running the race even while I wait

I will move ahead bold and confident
I’ll be taking every step in obedience, yeah

While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint

And I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You Lord

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting

Lyrics from Lyricsmode.com

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While I’m waiting – Fireproof, posted with vodpod

Jesus Equal with God – John Piper (essential sermon)

from DesiringGod.org. You can read the entire notes manuscript here.

John Piper preaches about – at least three main things going on in John 5:1-24 and that

„None of the physical miracles of Jesus was an end in itself. They all point to something more about him and about the kingdom of God and about the spiritual and moral transformations that he is working.”

Then he preaches about the 2 implications stemming from the Sonbeing in step with the Father ad vice versa:

I said that there were two implications for us from the fact that the Son stays in perfect step with the Father, and the Father acts in perfect step with the Son. One of them we just saw. In the twenty-first century world of teeming pluralism, with religions and worldviews and cultures and lifestyles competing for our allegiance, verse 23 lands like a bombshell: “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

In other words, if you want to know if someone in another religion, or no religion, honors God (has a true worshipful relationship with God), the test that you use to know this is: Do they honor Jesus for who he really is—as the divine Son of God, the Messiah, the crucified and risen Savior of the world, the Lord of the universe and Judge of all human beings? If they don’t, then they don’t honor God. That’s the first implication.

The second is in verse 24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” If we hear the message of Jesus in the Gospel of John taken in its totality—not just some distorted part of it—and, if through that message and that person, we come to trust God as the one who sent him for our salvation, two amazing things happen.

1) We not only will have eternal life, but we already have it, and 2) we not only will not come into the judgment of condemnation, but have already passed through judgment and are safe on the other side. Jesus has become that judgment for us. When we are united to him by faith, his death becomes our death, and his crucifixion our crucifixion, and his curse on the cross our curse on the cross, and his resurrection our resurrection. We have already “passed from death to life”! This is glorious news beyond all words. Exult in this. Know this about yourself as a believer. Be made radically courageous by this.

So the first main issue in this text is the man’s healing and its purpose to lead the man to holiness. And the second main issue in this text is the way the Father and the Son are equal so that when one is acting the other is acting—with the two implications that if we don’t honor the Son, we don’t honor the Father, and if we believe on the Father through the word of Jesus, we have already passed from death to life and are on the other side of condemnation.

and lastly he talks about the issue of healing on the Sabbath:

What’s he saying? I think something like this. My Father and I created a perfect world, a paradise, and then we rested, not that we were tired, but stepped back as it were and enjoy the perfect display of our own glory revealed in our creative handiwork. That’s what Sabbath is for—the restful, focused, enjoyment of God.

But then sin entered the world, and through sin came sickness and calamity and death. And from that moment, my Father and I have been working again. We have been working—in many ways that you don’t understand—to restore a Sabbath paradise to the universe. We have been working to overcome sin and sickness and death.

Even your own law, which contains the Sabbath command, was part of our working to conquer sin and hold back the miseries of unrighteousness and point you forward to a Messiah, a Savior, who would come and perform the decisive acts of restoration and transformation toward the new heavens and the new earth.

When I heal a man, and intentionally do it on the Sabbath, I am showing you something about myself. What was happening at the pool of Bethesda was that my Father and I were revealing the world that is coming. It is a world in which there will be no sickness and a world in which there will be no sin. “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

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1st collector for Jesus Equal with God – John Piper
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The Total Depravity of Man by A.W. Pink (via) PBM Ministries

From PBM Ministries. Chapter 14 is the Summary Chapter of A.W.Pink’s book titled „The Total Depravity of  Man”. A.W.Pink was born in Nottingham,England on April 1,1886; he became a Christian at the age of 22  and he died in Stomoway, Scotland on July 15 , 1952.

The Entrance of evil into the domain of God is admittedly a deep mystery, nevertheless sufficient is revealed in the Scriptures to prevent our forming erroneous views. For instance, it is contrary to the Word of truth to entertain the notion that either the fall of Satan and his angels or that of our first parents took God by surprise or wrecked His plans. For all eternity God designed that this earth should be the stage on which He would display His perfections: in creation, in providence and in redemption (I Cor. 4:9). Accordingly, He foreordained everything which comes to pass in this scene (Acts 15:18; Rom. 11:36; Eph. 1:11). God is not idly looking on from a far-distant world at the happenings of this earth, but is Himself ordering and shaping everything to the ultimate promotion of His glory—not only in spite of the opposition of men and Satan, but by means of them, everything being made to serve His purpose. Nor did the introduction of evil into the universe take place simply by the bare permission of the Most High, for nothing can come to pass that is contrary to His decreed will. Rather, for wise and holy reasons, God foreordained to allow His mutable creatures to fall, thereby affording an occasion for Him to make a further and fuller exhibition of His attributes.

God’s Overruling

From God’s standpoint the result of Adam’s probation was left in no uncertainty. Before He formed him out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, He knew exactly how the appointed testing of Him would eventuate. But more: God had decreed that Adam should eat of the forbidden fruit. That is certain from I Peter 1:19-20, which tells us that the shedding of Christ’s blood was verily „foreordained before the foundation of the world” (cf. Rev. 13:8). As Witsius rightly affirmed of Adam’s sin, „If foreknown it was also predestinated: thus Peter joins together ‘the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God’ (Acts 2, 23).” In full harmony with that fact, note that it was God Himself who placed in Eden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Moreover, as Twisse, the celebrated moderator of the Westminster Assembly, asked in 1653, „Did not the Devil provoke Eve and Adam to sin against God in paradise? Could not God have kept the Devil off? Why did He not? Doth it not manifestly appear that it was God’s will to have them tempted, to have them provoked unto sin? And why not?” God overruled it for a higher manifestation of His glory. Just as without night we could not admire the beauty of day, so sin was necessary as a dark background on which the divine grace and mercy should shine forth more resplendently (Rom. 5:20).

It has been asserted dogmatically by some that God could not have prevented the fall of our first parents without reducing them to mere machines. It is argued that since the Creator endowed man with a free will he must be left entirely to his own volitions, that he cannot be coerced, still less compelled, without destroying his moral agency. That may seem to be good reasoning, yet it is refuted by Holy Writ. God declared to Abimelech concerning Abraham’s wife, „I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her” (Gen. 20:6). It is not impossible for God to exert His power over man without destroying his responsibility, for there is a case in point where He restricted man’s freedom to do evil and prevented him from committing sin. In like manner, He prevented Balaam from carrying out the wicked desires of his heart (Num. 22:38; 23:3, 20). Also, He prevented kingdoms from making war on Jehoshaphat (II Chron. 17:10). Why, then, did not God exert His power and prevent Adam and Eve from sinning? Because their fall served His own wise and blessed designs.

But does that make God the Author of sin? The culpable Author, no; for as Piscator long ago pointed out, „Culpability is failing to do what ought to be done.” Clearly it was the divine will that sin should enter this world, or it would not have done so. God had the power to prevent it. Nothing ever comes to pass except what He has decreed. As John Gill said, „Though God’s decree made Adam’s fall infallibly necessary as to the event, yet not by way of efficiency, or by force and compulsion on the will.” Nor did God’s decree in any way excuse the wickedness of our first parents or exempt them from punishment. They were left entirely free to the exercise of their nature, and therefore were fully accountable and blameworthy for their actions. While the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the solicitations of the serpent to eat its fruit were the occasion of their sinning, yet they were not the cause. That lay in their voluntarily ceasing to be in subjection to the will of their Maker and rightful Lord. God is the efficient Author of whatever works of holiness men perform, but He is not the Author of their sins.

God’s decree that sin should enter this world was a secret hid in Himself. Our first parents knew nothing of it, and that made all the difference so far as their responsibility was concerned. Had they been informed of the divine purpose and the certainty of its fulfillment by their actions, the case would have been radically altered. They were unacquainted with the Creator’s secret counsels. What concerned them was God’s revealed will, and that was quite plain. He had forbidden them to eat of a certain tree, and that was enough. But He went further, even warning Adam of the dire consequences which should follow his disobedience. Death would be the penalty. Thus, transgression on his part was without excuse. God created Adam morally „upright,” without any bias toward evil. Nor did He inject any evil thought or desire into Eve. „God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13). Instead, when the serpent came and tempted Eve, God caused her to remember His prohibition. Consider the wonderful wisdom of God, for though He had predestinated the fall of our first parents, yet in no sense was He the Instigator or Approver of their sins, and their accountability was left entirely unimpaired.

These two things we must believe if the truth is not to be repudiated: that God has foreordained everything that comes to pass; that He is in no way blamable for any of man’s wickedness, the criminality thereof being wholly his. The decree of God in no way infringes on man’s moral agency, for it neither forces nor hinders man’s will, though it orders and bounds its actions. Both the existence and operations of sin are subservient to the counsels of God’s will, yet that does not lessen the evil of its nature or the guilt of its committers. Someone has said that though God does not esteem evil to be good, yet He accounts it good that evil should be. Nevertheless sin is that „abominable thing” (Jer. 44:4) which the holy One always hates. In connection with the crucifixion of Christ there was the agency of God (John 19:11; Acts 4:27-28), the agency of Satan (Gen. 3:13; Luke 22:53) and the agency of men. Yet God neither concurred nor cooperated with the internal actions of men’s wills, charging them with the wickedness of their deed (Acts 2:23). God overrules evil for good (Gen. 45:8; P5. 76:10), and therefore He is as truly sovereign over sin and hell as He is over holiness and heaven.

God’s Perfect Plan

     God cannot will or do anything that is wrong: „The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works” (Ps. 145:17). He therefore stands in no need whatsoever of vindication by any of His puny creatures. Yet even the finite mind, when illumined by the Spirit of truth, can perceive how God’s admittance of evil into this world provided an occasion for Him to display His ineffable perfections in the fullest manner and to the greatest degree. He thus magnified Himself by bringing a clean thing out of an unclean, and by securing to Himself a return of praise from redeemed sinners such as He does not receive from the unfallen angels. Horrible and terrible beyond words was the revolt of man against his Maker, and fearful and total the ruin which it brought upon him and all his posterity. Nevertheless, the wisdom of God contrived a way to save a part of the human race in a manner by which He is more glorified than by all His works of creation and providence; also, the misery of sinners is made the occasion of their greater happiness. This is a never ending wonder.

That way of salvation, determined and defined in the terms of the everlasting covenant of grace, was one by which each of the divine Persons is exceedingly honored. Jonathan Edwards long ago pointed out:

Herein the work of redemption is distinguished from all the other works of God. The attributes of God are glorious in His other works; but the three persons of the Trinity are distinctly glorified in no other work as in this of redemption. In this work every distinct person has His distinct parts and offices assigned personal properties, relations, and economical offices. The redeemed have an equal concern with and dependence upon each person in this affair, and owe equal honour and praise to each of Them. The Father appoints and provides the Redeemer, and accepts the price of redemption. The Son is the Redeemer and the price—He redeems by offering up Himself. The Holy Spirit immediately communicates to us the thing purchased; yea, and He is the good purchased. The sum of what Christ purchased for us is holiness and happiness. Christ was „made a curse for us… that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3: 13, 14). The blessedness of the redeemed consists in partaking of Christ’s fulness, which consists in partaking of that Spirit which is not given by measure unto Him. This is the oil that was poured upon the Head of the Church, which ran down to the members of His body (Psalm 133, 2).

     It is a serious mistake to regard the Lord Jesus as our Saviour to the exclusion of the saving operations of both the Father and the Spirit. Had not the Father eternally purposed the salvation of His people, chosen them in Christ and bestowed them on Him; had He not entered into an everlasting compact with Him, commissioned Him to become incarnate, and redeemed them, His Beloved never would have left heaven in order that He might die, the just for the unjust. Accordingly, we find that He who loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son has ascribed to Him the salvation of the church: „Who hath saved us, and called us… according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9). Equally necessary are the operations of the Holy Spirit to actually apply to the hearts of God’s elect the good of what Christ did for them. He is the One who convicts of sin and imparts faith to them. Therefore their salvation is also ascribed to Him: „God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thess. 2:13). A careful reading of Titus 3:4-6 shows the three Persons acting together in this connection: „God our Saviour” in verse 4 is plainly the Father. „He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (v.5), „which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (v. 6). Compare the doxology of II Corinthians 13:14.

It is very profitable to ponder the many promises which the Father made to and respecting Christ. Upon the Son’s acceptance of the exacting terms of the covenant of grace, the Father agreed to invest Him with a threefold office, thereby authenticating His mission with the broad seal of heaven: the prophetic office (Deut. 18:15, 18; cf. Acts 3:22), the priestly office (Heb. 5:5; 6:20) and the kingly office (Jer. 23:5; P5. 89:27). Thus Christ did not run without being sent. God the Father promised to furnish and equip the Mediator with a plentiful effusion of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 42:1-2; cf. Matt. 12:27; Acts 10:38). He promised to strengthen Christ, supporting and protecting Him in His execution of the tremendous work of redemption (Isa. 42:1, 6; Ps. 89:21). This undertaking would be attended with such difficulties that creature power, though unimpaired by sin, would have been quite inadequate for it. Therefore the Father assured Christ of all needed help and power to carry Him through the opposition and trials He would encounter. Note how the incarnate Son rested upon those promises (Ps. 16:1; 22:10; Isa. 50:6-8; 69:4-7).

The Father promised to raise the Messiah from the dead (Ps. 21:8; 102:23-24; Isa. 53:10), and it is blessed to observe how Christ laid hold of the promise (Ps. 16:8-11). Promise of His ascension was also made to Christ (Ps. 24:3, 7; 68:18; 89:27; Isa. 52:13). That promise too was appropriated by the Saviour while still on earth (Luke 24:26). Having faithfully fulfilled the terms of the covenant, Christ was highly exalted by God, and made to be Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), God seating Him at His own right hand. That is an economical lordship, a dispensation committed to Christ as the God-Man. God has crowned with glory and honor the One whom men crowned with thorns. The „government” is upon His shoulder.

Christ was assured of a „seed” (Isa. 53:10). His crucifixion must not be regarded as a dishonor to Him, since it was the very means ordained of God whereby He should propagate numerous spiritual progeny. He referred to this in John 12:24. The „seed” promised Christ occupies a prominent place in Psalm 89 (see vv. 3-4, 29-36; cf. 22:30). Thus, from the outset Christ was assured of the success of His undertaking.

As there were two parts to the covenant, so the elect were given to Christ in a twofold manner. As He was to fulfill its terms, they were entrusted to Him as a charge; but in fulfillment of the covenant, the Father promised to bestow them on Him as a reward. In the former sense, they were regarded as fallen, and Christ was held responsible for their salvation. They were committed to Him as lost and straying sheep (Isa. 53:6) whom He must seek out and bring into the fold (John 10:16). In the latter sense, they are viewed as the fruit of His travail, the trophies of His victory over sin, Satan and death ; as His crown of rejoicing in the day to come, when He shall be „glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe” (II Thess. 1:10); as the beloved wife of the Lamb.

Finally, God made promise of the Holy Spirit to Christ. The Spirit was with Christ during the days of His flesh, anointing Him to preach the gospel (Isa. 61:1) and work miracles (Matt. 12:28). But He received the Spirit in another manner (Ps. 45:7; Acts 2:33) and for a different purpose after His ascension. He, as the God-Man Mediator, was given the administration of the Spirit’s activities and operations toward the world in providence and toward the church in grace. John 7:39 and 16: 7 make it clear that the Spirit’s advent was dependent on Christ’s exaltation. That assurance was also appropriated by Christ before He left this scene. On the point of His departure, He said to His disciples, „Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you” (Luke 24:49), which was duly accomplished ten days later. In full accord with what has just been pointed out, we hear the Saviour saying from heaven, „These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 3:1). He „hath,” to communicate to His redeemed individually and to His churches corporately.

The grand design in the Spirit’s descent to this earth was to glorify Christ (John 16:14). He is here to witness to the Saviour’s exaltation, Pentecost being God’s seal upon the Messiahship of Jesus. The Spirit is here to take Christ’s place. That is clear from Christ’s words to the apostles: „I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). Until then the Lord Jesus had been their Comforter, but He was on the eve of returning to heaven. Nevertheless, He graciously assured them, „I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you” (John 14:18, margin) . This promise was fulfilled spiritually in the advent of His Deputy. The Spirit is here to further Christ’s cause. The word Paraclete (translated „Comforter” in John’s gospel) is rendered „advocate” at the beginning of the second chapter of his first epistle, and an advocate is one who appears as the representative of another. The Spirit is here to interpret and vindicate Christ, to administer for Christ in His kingdom and church. He is here to make good His redeeming purpose, by applying the benefits of His sacrifice to those in whose behalf it was offered. He is here to endue Christ’s servants (Luke 24:49).

It is of first importance to recognize and realize that the Lord Jesus obtained for God’s people not only redemption from the penal consequences of sin, but also their personal sanctification. How little this is emphasized today. In far too many instances those who think and speak of the „salvation” which Christ has purchased attach no further idea to the concept than that of deliverance from condemnation, omitting deliverance from the love, dominion and power of sin. But the latter is no less essential, and is as definite a blessing as the former. It is just as necessary for fallen creatures to be delivered from the pollution and moral impotence which they have contracted as it is to be exempted from the penalties which they have incurred, so that when reinstated in the favor of God they may at the same time be capacitated to love, serve and enjoy Him forever. And in this respect also the divine remedy meets all the requirements of our sinful malady (see II Cor. 5:15; Eph. 5:25-27; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:14). This is accomplished by the gracious operations of Christ’s Spirit, begun in regeneration, continued throughout their earthly lives, consummated in heaven.

God’s Honor

Not only is the triune God more honored by redemption than He was dishonored by the defection of His creatures, but His people also are greatly the gainers. That too magnifies the divine wisdom. It would have been wonderful indeed had they been merely restored to their original state; but it is far more wonderful that they should be brought to a much higher state of blessedness—that the fall should be the occasion of their exaltation! Their sin deserved eternal wretchedness, yet everlasting bliss is their portion. They are now favored with a greater manifestation of the glory of God and a fuller discovery of His love than they would have had otherwise, and in those two things their happiness principally consists. They are brought into a much closer and endearing relation to God. They are now not merely holy creatures but heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. The Son having taken their nature upon Him, they have become His „brethren,” members of His body, His spouse. They are thereby provided with more powerful motives and inducements to love and serve Him than they had in their unfallen condition. The more of God’s love we apprehend, the more we love Him in return. Throughout eternity the knowledge of God’s love in giving His dear Son to and for us, and Christ’s dying in our stead, will fix our hearts upon Him in a manner which His favors to Adam never could have done.

It is in the gospel that the wonderful remedy for all our ills is made known. That glorious gospel proclaims that Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by Him. It tells us that the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. It announces that sinners, even the chief of sinners, are the ones that are freely invited to come. It publishes liberty to Satan’s captives and the opening of doors to sin’s prisoners. It reveals that God has chosen the greatest of sinners to be the everlasting monuments of His mercy. It declares that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses believers from all sin. It furnishes hope to the most hopeless cases. The miracles which Christ performed in the bodies of men were types of His miracles of grace on sinners’ souls. No case was beyond His healing. He not only gave sight to the blind and cleansing to the leper, but delivered the demon-possessed and bestowed life on the dead. He never refused a single appeal made to His compassion. Whatever the sinner’s record, if he will trust in the atoning sacrifice of Christ he will be saved, now and forever.

You can read more chapters from this book here at Providence Baptist Ministries.

Ian Hamilton – The Sabbath is God’s weekly, and so very gracious provision for His people

I came across this article that almost seems out of place in the frenetic American life. Oh that we may be wise and heed the instruction. The author of the article is Ian Hamilton, Pastor of Presbyterian Church, Cambridge,England. This article was published in The Banner of Truth Trust, United Kingdom.

The Foundations of Godliness

We live in a mad, as well as a bad, world. The pace of life is simply frenetic, and shows few if any signs of slowing down. One danger facing the Christian in this mad, bad world is that we become swept along in the rush and never really take, and make, the time to be still before God. Consequently, the rhythm of our lives lacks any poise, far less peace. We are never off the treadmill long enough to savour the surpassing joy and blessedness of being a Christian. And yet, are we not told that ‘those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength’? (Isa. 40:31); or do we imagine that we can leave off waiting on the Lord and still maintain a vibrant, godly, Christian life? How spiritually deranged Christians can become!

In his great goodness, the Lord has anticipated our need for rest and recreation. In the fourth commandment, our kindly Lord has so structured the weekly rhythm of his creatures that we have a day in which to draw breath, re-order our wearied minds, renew our tired bodies, and engage in soul-refreshing worship. The Sabbath day is not only a day set apart for the Lord, it is a day set apart for the good of his creatures: ‘the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ (Mark 2:27). Today, however, many Christians give the impression they are wiser than God. Too often the blessing of the Sabbath day is neglected, and lost, because we use it to catch up on work or studies, most often left undone by poor planning in the previous days of the week. Not only do we dishonour the Lord when we misuse his day, we rob ourselves of the renewing blessings of a life that has waited on the Lord with his people (see Isa. 58:13-14).

The Sabbath day is woven into the moral framework of God’s creation (the fourth commandment simply codifies an existing creation ordinance). Our Maker, who is also our Husband, knows our needs; he never forgets that we are dust. If Adam in his innocence needed a Sabbath day, how much more do we need God’s day of rest to renew our wearied bodies and tired minds.

The Sabbath is God’s weekly, and so very gracious, provision for his people. But you are not to imagine that you have to wait a whole week before you ‘wait upon the Lord’. The example of our Lord Jesus is instructive. Luke tells us that ‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ Quiet times were basic to the rhythm of the Saviour’s life. He needed time alone with his Father. He needed to wait upon the Lord to renew his strength. His humanity was no charade, he felt the strain of constant service. Are we holier than our Saviour? If he needed to spend time often alone with his Father, do we not need to do the same? A daily quiet time is not a luxury, it is a necessity!

It is sadly fashionable in some Reformed circles to pour scorn on the quiet time, as if it were a pietistic cop-out from the rigours of serving Christ. I must confess that I am all for more piety. The more pious a man or woman is, the more they will, like their Saviour, feel the need to set time aside to draw near to God. In his presence our minds are re­ordered, our souls are refreshed, even our bodies are strengthened.

We live in a mad, bad world. Equip yourself to face it and not be overwhelmed by it, by honouring the Sabbath day, and by imitating the example of the Saviour, who ‘often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ He needed to, and he did. We need to and we must.

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Why is it Christians Believe What They Believe? (Lee Strobel)

I never tire of listening to Lee Strobel’s life story, as he poignantly and honestly describes his life lived under atheism and the journey he undertook to learn whether the Jesus of the Bible really lived, died and was ressurected because as he says, „If all that is true, then it has major implications for our lives”. Enjoy, one of Chicago’s finest journalists, who today worships the living God!

Interview of the decade- John Piper with Rick Warren (video)

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Did Moses really write Genesis? Russell Grigg

Creation Ministries International via Apologetics315

A deadly hypothesis denying that Moses had anything to do with Genesis, based on spurious scholarship, is still widely being taught to future Christian leaders.

by Russell Grigg

Egyptian ruins

Egyptian ruins. Internal evidences in the text of the Pentateuch indicate that the author was familiar with Egyptian customs, as would be expected of Moses.

Nearly all liberal Bible colleges and seminaries, and sadly some which profess conservative evangelical doctrine, approvingly teach the ‘documentary hypothesis’, also known as the ‘JEDP hypothesis’.

What is the documentary hypothesis?

This is the liberal/critical view which denies that Moses wrote Genesis to Deuteronomy. It teaches that various anonymous authors compiled these five books (plus other portions of the Old Testament) from centuries of oral tradition, up to 900 years after Moses lived (if, in this view, he even existed). These hypothetical narrators are designated as follows:

  • J (standing for what the documentary hypothesists would term Jahwist) supposedly lived about 900–850 BC. He/she/they allegedly gathered the myths and legends of Babylon and other nations, and added them to the ‘camp-fire stories’ of the Hebrews, producing those biblical passages where the Hebrew letters YHWH (‘Jehovah’) are used as the name of God.
  • E (standing for Elohist) supposedly lived about 750–700 BC in the northern kingdom (Israel), and wrote those passages where ’Elohim is used as the word for God.
  • D supposedly wrote most of Deuteronomy, probably the book found in the temple in Jerusalem in 621 BC. (2 Kings 22:8).
  • P supposedly represents a Priest (or priests) who lived during the exile in Babylon and allegedly composed a code of holiness for the people.
  • Various editors R (from German Redakteur) supposedly put it all together.

The idea of multiple authorship of these books was first proposed by Jean Astruc in Paris in 1753. However, the foremost exponent was Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918), who ‘restated the Documentary Hypothesis … in terms of the evolutionary view of history which was prevalent in philosophical circles at the time’.1,2 He claimed that those parts of the Old Testament that dealt with sophisticated doctrine (one God, the Ten Commandments, the tabernacle, etc.) were not truth revealed by the living God, but were ideas that evolved from lower stages of thinking, including polytheism, animism, ancestor worship, etc.3 Hence the ‘need’ to find or fabricate later authors. One of the main arguments was that writing had supposedly not been invented yet at the time of Moses.

Thus the documentary hypothesis undermines the authenticity of the Genesis Creation/Fall/Flood accounts, as well as the whole patriarchal history of Israel. It presupposes that the whole of the Old Testament is one gigantic literary fraud, and calls into question not only the integrity of Moses, but also the trustworthiness/divinity of Jesus (see point 5 below). No wonder the critics have embraced it so warmly!

Was Moses J, E, D, P, or R?

Answer: He was none of the above. Rather, Moses himself was both writer and editor of the Pentateuch, and these five books were composed by him in about 1400 BC , not by unknowns at the time of the Exile. This does not mean that Moses did not use other written sources available to him (see later), or that he wrote the last few verses of Deuteronomy 34 that record his death. Talmudic (Rabbinic Jewish) tradition has always been that these were added, under divine inspiration, by Joshua.

There is no external evidence at all in support of J, E, D, P, or R. What were their names? What else did these alleged literary savants write? History, both Hebrew and secular, knows nothing of them. They exist only in the fertile imaginations of the inventors of the documentary hypothesis.

Evidence for Moses authorship of the Pentateuch

Clay tabletsClay tablets like this were ideal for long-term written records. Far from ‘Flintstones’ clumsiness, these could be held in one hand.
Patriarchal records may have been carried on the Ark, later used by Moses in compiling Genesis (under inspiration).

The evidence that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, often referred to in the Bible as ‘the Law’ (Hebrew torah), is overwhelming:

  1. Contrary to the views of Wellhausen and others, archaeological research has established that writing was indeed well known in Moses’ day. The JEDP hypothesis falsely assumes that the Iraelites waited until many centuries after the foundation of their nation before committing any of their history or laws to written form, even though their neighbours kept written records of their own history and religion from before the time of Moses.4
  2. The author is obviously an eyewitness of the Exodus from Egypt, familiar with the geography,5 flora and fauna of the region;6 he uses several Egyptian words,7 and refers to customs that go back to the second millennium BC.8
  3. The Pentateuch claims in many places that Moses was the writer, e.g. Exodus 17:14; 24:4–7; 34:27; Numbers 33:2; Deuteronomy 31:9, 22, 24.
  4. Many times in the rest of the Old Testament, Moses is said to have been the writer, e.g. Joshua 1:7–8; 8:32–34; Judges 3:4; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 21:8; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Ezra 6:18; Nehemiah 8:1; 13:1; Daniel 9:11–13.
  5. In the New Testament, Jesus frequently spoke of Moses’ writings or the Law of Moses, e.g. Matthew 8:4; 19:7–8; Mark 7:10; 12:26; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:46–47; 7:19. Jesus said that those who ‘hear not [i.e. reject] Moses’ would not be persuaded ‘though one rose from the dead’ (Luke 16:31). Thus we see that those churches and seminaries which reject the historicity of Moses’ writings often also reject the literal bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. Other New Testament speakers/writers said the same thing, e.g. John 1:17; Acts 6:14; 13:39; 15:5; 1 Corinthians 9:9; 2 Corinthians 3:15; Hebrews 10:28.

Does this mean that Moses wrote Genesis without reference to any previous information? Not necessarily. Genesis comprises narratives of historical events that occurred before Moses was born. Moses may very well have had access to patriarchal records and/or reliable oral traditions of these events. In that case, such records would certainly have been preserved by being written (probably on clay tablets) and handed down from father to son via the line of
Adam-Seth-Noah-Shem-Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, etc.

There are 11 verses in Genesis which read, ‘These are (or ‘This is the book of’) the generations of …’ The Hebrew word toledoth translated ‘generations’ can also mean ‘origins’, ‘history’, or even ‘family history’, and each verse comes either before or after a description of historical events that involved the person named.9 The most likely explanation is that Adam, Noah, Shem, etc. each wrote an account of the events that occurred either right before or during his lifetime, and Moses, under the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit, selected, compiled, and edited these to produce Genesis in its present cohesive form.10

Genesis does not show a progress from idolatry to monotheism, as Wellhausen’s evolutionism requires. Rather, the Bible begins with an original revelation of God, which was later rejected to the point that the Hebrew nation itself descended into idolatry and so was given over to captivity by God.

What about the different words used for God?

Let us consider this in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. The word ’Elohim is used for God 25 times in Genesis 1:1–2:4a.11 It has the idea of an awesome and faithful Being, having creative and governing power, majesty and omnipotence, who is above the material world He created. It is a lofty title (= ‘God’) and is the appropriate word for Moses to have used for the first factual report of God’s creative activities.12

In Genesis chapter 2 from verse 4, the Hebrew uses the letters YHWH to refer to God. Sometimes translated ‘Jehovah’, it is more often translated ‘LORD’ (in small capitals), and is the most commonly used term for God in the Old Testament (6,823 times). It means ‘the One who always was, now is, and ever shall be’ and is the deeply personal name of God. It is therefore used in His personal and covenant relationships with people. Genesis 2:4b ff is the detailed account of how God made Adam and Eve, and of the setting He prepared for them.13 Here they were meant to live and work in loving covenantal fellowship with Him14 and with each other. It was entirely appropriate therefore that Moses should have used YHWH in writing this section of Genesis. In Genesis 2, YHWH is joined to ‘Elohim to form the compound name YHWH-’Elohim (= the Lord God). This identifies the covenant God YHWH as being one and the same as ’Elohim, the almighty creator. There is no logical reason (particularly any based on the term used for God) to ascribe this account to any other author(s).

The same principles apply in the rest of Genesis and throughout the Old Testament.

The JEDP system is self-contradictory, as its proponents need to break verses into sections and even credit parts of sentences (that use more than one term for God) to different writers. Such a hotchpotch would be unique in ancient Middle Eastern literature.

The ‘scholarship’ used to promote the documentary hypothesis would be laughed out of court if applied to any other ancient book!

Computer agrees: Genesis had only one author

The following quote comes from Omni magazine of August 1982:

‘After feeding the 20,000 Hebrew words of Genesis into a computer at Technion University in Israel, researchers found many sentences that ended in verbs and numerous words of six characters or more. Because these idiosyncratic patterns appear again and again, says project director Yehuda Radday, it seems likely that a sole author was responsible. Their exhaustive computer analysis conducted in Israel suggested an 82 percent probability that the book has just one author.’

Conclusion

Ultimately, the author of Genesis was God, working through Moses. This does not mean that God used Moses as a ‘typewriter’. Rather, God prepared Moses for his task from the day he was born. When the time came, Moses had all the necessary data, and was infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit as to what he included and what he left out. This is consistent with known history, and with the claims and principles of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15–17; 2 Peter 1:20–21).

On the other hand there is no historical evidence, and no spiritual or theological basis whatsoever for the deceptive JEDP hypothesis. Its teaching is completely false; the ‘scholarship’ that promotes it is totally spurious. Propped up by the theory of evolution, it exists solely to undermine the authority of the Word of God.

Related articles

References and notes

  1. Josh McDowell, More Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Here’s Life Publishers, 1981, p. 45. Return to text.
  2. Notable exponents of Wellhausenism were Samuel R. Driver in England (1891), and Charles A. Briggs in the USA (1893). Since Wellhausen’s time, other liberal critics have ‘found’ up to 40 alleged contributors to the Pentateuch, including an Edomite source S and a Canaanite source K — there are almost as many subdivisions as there have been ‘experts’ finding sources! Return to text.
  3. Adapted from Dave Breese, Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave, Moody Press, Chicago, 1990, pp. 89 ff. Return to text.
  4. Adapted from Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Zondervan, Michigan, 1982, pp. 51–52. Return to text.
  5. In Genesis 13:10 the Jordan valley is compared with ‘the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar’—appropriate only for readers unfamiliar with the Jordan Valley in Palestine but acquainted with Egypt. Hence written near the time of the Exodus from Egypt, not many centuries later. Return to text.
  6. The crop sequence in Exodus 9:31–32 is Egyptian, not Palestinian. The trees and animals referred to are mostly indigenous to Egypt or the Sinai Peninsula, not Palestine, e.g. the acacia tree, used for the tabernacle furniture, is native to Egypt and Sinai, but is hardly found in Canaan, except around the Dead Sea. The skins prescribed for the outer covering of the tabernacle in Exodus 26:14 (Hebrew tachash), were most likely those of the dugong or sea cow (Zool. Sirenia)—found in the sea adjacent to Egypt and Sinai but foreign to Palestine. See ref. 4, p. 46 ff. Return to text.
  7. More Egyptian loan words are found in the Pentateuch than anywhere else in the Bible, as would be expected if the author was Moses ‘learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians’ (Acts 7:22). The very name ‘Moses’ is Egyptian not Hebrew (Exodus 2:10). Return to text.
  8. There is no mention in the Pentateuch of the temple, or that Jerusalem would be its future location — the only centre of worship mentioned was the tabernacle, a tent. Return to text.
  9. Genesis 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1; 36:9; 37:2. The first of these, ‘These are the generations of the heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 2:4), does not mention a human name, as no man was present during Creation Week until day six. The information was probably revealed by God to Adam, who then recorded it (ref. 10). Return to text.
  10. Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1976, pp. 22–30; also Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee, personal communication, April 1998. Return to text.
  11. ’Elohim is a Hebrew plural form meaning ‘two or more’. In Genesis 1:1 it occurs with the verb ‘created’ (Hebrew bara’) in the singular form. It is thus a plural noun with a singular meaning, suggesting the uni-plurality of the Godhead. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is thus foreshadowed in the Bible right from the very first verse. See also the use of the word ‘us’ in Genesis 1:26 and 11:7. Return to text.
  12. Note that the power of God associated with the use of this word is seen much more clearly in His having created the vast contents of space, as well as the astounding complexities and minutiae of life on Earth, in the short timespan of Creation Week, rather than in any long-drawn-out evolutionary timetable. See C.V. Taylor, The First 100 Words, The Good Book Co., Gosford, NSW, Australia, p. 3, 1996. Return to text.
  13. There is no contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2. In Matthew 19:3–6, Jesus quoted from both accounts together, 1:27 and 2:24, showing them to be equally authoritative and fully supplementary. See also D. Batten, ‘Genesis Contradictions?Creation 18(4):44–45, 1996; R.M. Grigg, ‘Should Genesis be taken literally?Creation 16(1):38–41, 1993. Return to text.
  14. Cf. Hosea 6:7: ‘But they like men [Hebrew: literally ‘like Adam’ or ‘in Adam’] have transgressed the covenant …’ Return to text.

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