Archive for May, 2015

May 28, 2015

The Coming of the Christ (John 7:25-31)

IMG_0017On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached the sermon, “The Coming of the Christ” (John 7:25-31).

Jesus came that by his death, sinners could come truly to know his Father and have salvation.

1. When the Christ Appears—During the Feast of Booths, the common people watch for a Messiah to come who will overthrow Roman rule and establish his throne in Jerusalem. When Jesus begins teaching publicly, they are astonished, knowing the authorities want to kill him. They dismiss him as Messiah on the basis of the popular notion that they would not know his place of origin, when they know well enough that Jesus’ base of operations is the city of Nazareth. Jesus is clear about his origin and his mission: he was sent by God the Father to perform a very specific task.

2. To Know the Father—Jesus shows the Jews that they know less about the coming Messiah than they think they do. Whoever doesn’t know the Son of God, doesn’t know God the Father. The Jews are serving a false god of their own making. That’s why he came as he did: true knowledge of the Father and the Spirit are tied to true knowledge of the Son. To know one is to know all three.

3. Many Believe—No one lays a hand on Jesus, because his time to be crucified has not yet come. Jesus’s time is that which the Father appoints. Many believe in him merely because of his miraculous signs. We don’t know Jesus as we ought. True knowledge of him comes through repentance and faith.

Listen to “The Coming of the Christ” (John 7:25-31) at mcopc.org.

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May 27, 2015

Resurrection and Redemption: A Study in Paul’s Soteriology

Resurrection and Redemption CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

What place does the resurrection of Jesus Christ have in Paul’s teaching concerning salvation?

Richard B. Gaffin Jr. explains in part one that a change has taken place in Reformed theology’s interpretation of the center of Paul’s thought—a change that affects how we should approach Paul’s writings. Gaffin discusses this change and the proper way to approach Paul. Part two uncovers the basic structure of Paul’s resurrection theology and shows the central place of Christ’s resurrection in the whole of Paul’s theology. Part three discusses how Paul develops and uses this resurrection theme in several passages and in connection with the doctrines of adoption, justification, sanctification, and glorification. Gaffin’s conclusion presents the implications of this study for the problems and program of Reformed dogmatics.

Includes a Foreword by Sinclair B. Ferguson

About the Author

Richard B. Gaffin Jr., is professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. He holds the ThM and ThD degrees from Westminster.

Book Details
155 Pages
Publisher: P&R Publishing Company
Publication Date: 1987

Source: WTS Books

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

May 27, 2015

The Book of the Covenant, Part 4 (Exodus 22:16-23:19)

Chuck Cain

On Sunday May 24, 2015 the Adult Sunday School Class reviewed Exodus 22:16 through 23:19.

Exodus 22:16-17 seem to be transitional verses from property laws earlier in Chapter 22 to social justice issues in Chapter 23. Both the Seventh and Eighth Commandments are in view. An elevated view of marriage is upheld as is the valuing and protecting of women.

Exodus 22:18-20 set forth three additional capital charges to those already listed in Chapter 21. These, however, are religious in nature rather than social. They relate to the First Commandment.

In Exodus 21:1-11 Israel was reminded that they were once slaves and therefore should treat their own slaves with mercy. Similarly in 22:21 through 23:9 they are reminded that they were once sojourners and likewise should treat sojourners, the weak, and the poor with mercy. Verses 22:21 and 23:9 are almost identical and bracket this section. Note that 23:1-8 is presented as a chiasm (A-B-C-C’-B’-A’) and relates to the Ninth Commandment. For example, 23:3 (B) requires that the poor not be favored in court; whereas, 23:6 (B’) requires that the poor not be disfavored either.

Exodus 23:10-12 are transitional verses setting forth sabbath laws with an emphasis on showing mercy to the poor and sojourners.

Exodus 23:13 serves as a closing verse to the Book of the Covenant begun at 21:1. It is a final reference to the First Commandment: “make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.”

Exodus 23:14-19 primarily addresses required attendance at festivals. Therefore, the subject is worship, echoing 20:22-26. — Chuck Cain

Listen to Book of the Covenant, Part 4 (Exodus 22:16-23:19) at mcopc.org.

May 20, 2015

The Book of the Covenant, Part 3 (Exodus 22:1-15)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, May 17, 2015, the Adult Sunday School Class reviewed Exodus 22:1-15 which lists property laws in the Book of the Covenant.

Although the laws recorded in chapters 21 through 22 seem obscure to modern ears, we are reminded that “ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable….” So even this section holds meaning to us since it is the very word of God.

“The unfolding of thy words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Ps 119:130

“How sweet are thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Ps 119:103

“I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12

Exodus 22:1-15 is comprised of four sections which provide examples of violations of the eighth commandment.

  • The first is in verses 1-4 which is formed in a chiasm. Verses 1 and 4 provide sanctions for theft of property. Verses 2-3 relate to burglary.
  • Section two, verses 5-6, relate to negligence of a neighbor’s property by grazing and fire.
  • Section three, verses 7-13, relate to breaches of trust between friends.
  • Section four, verses 14-15, list responsibilities of borrowers of another’s property.

These verses remind us of the first section of Luke 19 about the tax collector Zacchaeus who in response to Christ’s call stated, “if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” His joy upon receiving Christ was evidenced by his willingness to restore far in excess of the law’s demand.

Listen to The Book of the Covenant, Part 3 (Exodus 22:1-15) at mcopc.org.

May 19, 2015

Marvel and Contempt (John 7:10-24)

IMG_0017-0On Sunday, May 17, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached the sermon, “Marvel and Contempt” from John 7:10-24.

There is no middle ground with Jesus Christ. You either love him and embrace him as your King, or hate him and face him as your Judge.

1. A Public Place in Private—Jesus’s delay in going up to the feast of Booths was not due to indecision, but because he awaited his Father’s timing and permission. Had he gone on his own authority, the God-Man would have sinned and so could not have been our Savior. At last, Jesus goes up privately to prevent both his arrest by the leaders, and a premature “Triumphal Entry” in which the common people might have sought to make him King. We see that Jesus was right to wait, because the Jewish leaders begin questioning Jesus’s disciples about his whereabouts (John 7:11). Likewise, the common people were divided over Jesus (John 7:12-13), and inhibited into public silence about him out of fear of their murderous leaders.

2. An Either/Or Proposition—Jesus begins teaching publicly by permission of the Father in the middle of the feast, timing which complicates arresting him. Whatever he taught at this time is secondary in this narrative to the fact that the people marveled at his learning, since he was not from one of the rabbinical schools. Some may have disapproved of his lack of rabbinic training, while others may have approved—again showing the divisiveness of his presence. Yet the greatest division Jesus causes is between those whose will is to glorify the Father by doing his will, and those who seek to act on their own authority for their own glory contrary to Jesus.

3. Right Judgment—The Jewish leaders sought to kill him because they judged him by a superficial reading of the Law. They were angered that Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath even though they are scrupulous to wound via circumcision on the Sabbath. If circumcision is lawful, so is an act of healing. Their unbelief and hatred leads them to judge him wrongly. Those who do believe and love him will judge that Jesus’s works are perfect. Thus Jesus divides between those who believe and those who disbelieve. The biblical Jesus confronts you with the truth of his divinity and your sin, and you either love him for this by the power of God’s Spirit and live with him forever, or you will hate him and perish in your sins.

Listen to “Marvel and Contempt” (John 7:10-24) at mcopc.org.

May 18, 2015

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Reformed Doctrine of Predestination CoverStatus: Available

Description

Although most famous for his critique of Catholicism in his book Roman Catholicism, most of Boettner’s work concerns topics within Reformed theology. In six sections, his book elaborates upon and defends the “five points” of Calvinism, placing particular stress on the doctrine of predestination. The book’s first two sections introduce and define Calvinism’s basic doctrines, while the third through fifth sections explain and argue for the validity of predestination as a Christian doctrine. The final section gives a short exposition of Calvinism’s role in history. Many, both inside and outside the Reformed tradition, consider Boettner’s summary and defense a staple among writings on Reformed theology. Clear, concise, and finely structured, this book is very accessible to any reader interested in the subject matter.

Kathleen O’Bannon
CCEL Staff

Source: Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Loraine Boettner

Loraine Boettner

About the Author

Loraine was born March 7th 1901 in Linden Missouri. He lived with his family; his father being a Christian school superintendent and his mother a housewife. Loraine attended his father’s church until he was 18. Then he joined his mother’s church–the Centennial Methodist Church; his mother was of a different denominational background than his father.

In 1917 Lorraine decided to begin his college career. He took up studies in Agriculture at the University of Missouri. He later finished his degree after transferring a year later to Tarkio Presbyterian College. He graduated there cum laude with a B.S. degree. At Tarkio he was greatly influenced by professor J.B. Work, who was a staunch Calvinist. Although Work was of the Reformed position and influenced Loraine greatly, Loraine did not hold to the Reformed Doctrine of Predestination; this did not sit well with him. How ironic it is that later he wrote his Master’s thesis on this subject.

In 1925 he furthered his education while attending Princeton. In 1928 he received his Th.B, and in 1929 his Th.M. While attending Princeton he found the flavor of Calvinistic doctrine to be sweet. While on summer break in his second year he devoured Hodge’s Systematic Theology volumes two and three. After being so influenced by Hodge’s teaching, the urge to write his Master’s thesis on predestination became apparent. While attending Princeton he studied under Hodge’s grandson, Casper W. Hodge. His influence strengthened Loraine in the Reformed doctrines. Loraine also met occasionally with another mentor/friend named Samuel G. Craig, editor of The Presbyterian. Craig and Boettner would meet for dinner to discuss the latest happenings at the college between the liberals and the Reformed influence of Machen.

After graduating from Princeton, Loraine began teaching at Pikesville Presbyterian College in Eastern Kentucky until 1937. While at this school he met his wife to be, Lillian Henry. They married in 1932. He also published Reformed Doctrine of Predestination in 1932; this was an exceptional year for him.

From 1935 to 1939 Loraine worked with Dr. Allis on a magazine called Christianity Today. This was not in any relation to the magazine of today. In 1937 he began working at the Library of Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue; he had left the teaching position at Pikesville. Though working in an environment which was not related to Biblical studies or Theology, he still continued to write producing many books at this stage of his life. Here he revised the Reformed Doctrine of Predestination from his original thesis word count being 8,000 words, to the revised count of 30,000 words.

While in New York City, he attended New York Avenue Presbyterian Church where Peter Marshall was Pastor. In 1948 he moved to Los Angeles because of his wife’s failing health. His wife’s two sisters came to aid in caring for her until she died in 1958. In that same year he returned to Rockport. In 1962, Loraine’s book, recently written book, called Roman Catholicism surpassed his previous work The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination as best seller. This was a startling occurrence since he is best known for his work on the Reformed doctrines. The reason it surpassed his magnum opus was because it was more readable to the people and more a personal issue.

In 1989 Loraine contracted diabetes, leukemia, and cancer. His struggle was drawn out and by the end he had four blood transfusions which decreased his viability each time. At 8pm January 3, 1990 at Fairfax hospital Montana he died.

Certainly this Reformed theologian is studied because of his work The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. His agility in rewriting the doctrines commonly held in a Reformed setting placed him among the current authorities on the subject. It is important to note that he did not introduce any new doctrine, but renewed the old. In this book he explained the traditional five points of Calvinism: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints. He molds into this the theological aspects of the plan and decrees of God; and also the relevant attributes of God. He very convincingly answers criticisms of Calvinism. He also adds a chapter on the history of Calvinism in order to explain the importance of what a theology does after one has embraced its doctrines. Loraine has also written other books such as Immortality” which explain the Christian concepts of death and dying in three specific areas: Physical death, Immortality and the intermediate state. Also, he has written: Studies in Theology, a compilation of articles and books written from 1939 onward. It is compiled in five sections 1) Inspiration of Scripture, 2) Christian Supernaturalism, 3) The Trinity, 4) The Person of Christ and 5) The Atonement. These are among his more popular and important works.

Source: Christian Classics Ethereal Library

May 17, 2015

Gaffin Clarifies Pentecost for Glen Clary

WMLS BannerOn Friday and Saturday, May 29-30, 2015, a number of us from Mid-Cities Presbyterian Church are attending the 2015 B.B. Warfield Memorial Lecture Series: Pentecost and the Work of the Spirit Today with Dr. Richard Gaffin, at St. Edward’s Chapel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The promotional material for the conference introduces the topic as follows:

What happened on Pentecost? What are the implications of what took place on Pentecost for the church today? What expectations ought Christians to have for the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and the lives of others? Christians today continue to be divided, sometimes deeply, over the answers to these questions. During the 2015 B.B. Warfield Memorial Lecture Series we will examine the Bible for the sound and reliable answers it alone provides.

Perspectives on Pentecost CoverLooking forward to our trip to attend this conference, the May Spotlight selection is Dr. Gaffin’s book Perspectives on Pentecost: New Testament Teaching on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. One of our two copies is still available for members to check out in the church library. Solid Reformed answers to this controversial theological question are available for those who may be dealing with the issue in their personal lives.

An example of the effectiveness of this book in clarifying the truths related to the Day of Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the cessation of the revelatory spiritual gifts comes from the testimony of Rev. Glen Clary, pastor of Providence OPC in Pflugerville, Texas. Pastor Clary writes:

I read Perspectives on Pentecost many years ago when I was pastoring a Pentecostal church. The book completely revolutionized my theology.

I had not realized how much of my beliefs about the Holy Spirit had been derived from my own personal experience rather than from scripture. Of course, I had always appealed to scripture to support my beliefs, but I was interpreting scripture through the lens of my own experience.

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Rev. Glen Clary, Pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Pflugerville, Texas.

As a Christian with a high view of scripture, I knew that my beliefs needed to be based on scripture, and I endeavored to do that. However, my doctrine of the Holy Spirit was so shaped by my experience that I was misinterpreting scripture.

Gaffin’s book gave me a whole new paradigm for interpreting the Bible. Understanding the gift of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost as an event that belongs to the historia salutis (the history of redemption) rather than the ordo salutis (“the order of salvation,” or the Holy Spirit’s applying to a person the benefits of redemption wrought by Christ’s life, death and resurrection) completely transformed my interpretation of Acts 2.

Further, Gaffin’s teaching that tongues and prophecy are modes of revelation presented a serious challenge to me because I already held that special revelation had ceased, yet I didn’t want to give up speaking in tongues.

Perspectives on Pentecost enabled me to grasp the true teaching of scripture on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. It forced me to reexamine my beliefs and practices in light of the Word of God, the only infallible rule for faith and life (subscribe to Glen Clary’s sermon podcast at SermonAudio.com)..

How has Perspectives on Pentecost affected your understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, and in the exercise of your spiritual gifts? Share your story in the comments below. We would love to interact with MCOPC Library patrons on the teaching of the Word of God on the subjects of the Spirit and the gifts, and if you have the opportunity to go, you are certainly welcome to join us in Oklahoma City to listen to the author himself lecture on similar themes. If you are able to attend, write to info@mcopc.org for more information.

May 15, 2015

My Time Has Not Yet Come (John 7:1-9)

IMG_0017-0 On Sunday, May 10, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached the message, “My Time Has Not Yet Come” (John 7:1-9).

Though the world hated him, Jesus obeyed his Father’s plan rather than the pressure of his brothers so that you and I would be saved.

1. Proposal for a Death Sentence—Jesus’s unbelieving half-brothers suggest that Jesus to go publicly to Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths and work miracles to recover from his recent major loss of disciples. Those who don’t believe in Jesus think they know better than him what he ought to do. This suggestion is unwittingly a temptation to avoid the shame of his crucifixion on a tree according to his Father’s timing, since Jesus knows the Jewish authorities desire his death. Therefore, Jesus refuses their advice.

2. The World Hates Me—Jesus explains that he can’t go as they suggest because his public teaching and miraculous works testify to the world that their works are evil, and he is hated for it. Let us be thankful for Jesus’s obedience to his Father’s plan to save us from sin. Let us rest in the knowledge that if we are hated for not affirming the sin of the world, we are in good company with our sinless Savior. As Christ loved the world and died for her, we are called to love the world as he did. Jesus loved his brothers by standing against them, and we are called to do the same.

Listen to “My Time Has Not Yet Come” (John 7:1-9) at mcopc.org .

May 12, 2015

The Book of the Covenant, Part 2 (Exodus 21:12-36)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, May 10, 2015, Chuck Cain lead the Adult Sunday School class through a review of Exodus 21:12-36. This portion of the Book of the Covenant has three sections.

Section 1 describes capital crimes in verses 12-17. Unlike laws of governments today, ancient laws were paradigmatic. That is, their intention was to provide to the judges examples only without full inclusion of every possible permutation. For example, consider verse 15: “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.” The judges of Israel would have considered striking ones grandmother as a violation of that law; whereas, judges today might have considered such a violation as a loophole allowing the perpetrator to go free.

Note the use of chiasm in these verses as a mnemonic aid. Verses 12 and 14 are alike while verse 13 is somewhat different. Also note that verses 15 and 17 are closely related while verse 16 is not. Verses 15 and 17 indicate that parental authority was highly esteemed probably to serve as a platform for esteeming God’s authority.

Section 2 describes personal injury crimes in verses 18-27. In particular note that injury to an unborn child was considered a serious offense (verses 22-23). These are highly pro-life statements indicating that even the unborn were considered to be created in the image of God. They infer that an abortionist would deserve the death penalty.

Verses 22 and 23 also serve as a jumping off point for discussion of lex talionis, laws of retaliation, in verses 22-25. Laws like “an eye for an eye” seem harsh by today’s standards, but they were really not. These are cited to prevent neither excessive penalties nor lenient ones. There is no record of a judgment whereby one’s eye was gouged out as a penalty for damaging the victim’s eye. Rather a comparable penalty or fine was to be imposed. It could not be the death penalty (excessive) nor a trivial fine (lenient).

Section 3 describes criminal negligence laws in verses 28-36. Note again the chiastic format: verses 28-32 are echoed in verses 35-36; whereas verses 33-34 relate to a somewhat different subject.

Listen to The Book of the Covenant, Part 2 (Exodus 21:12-36) at mcopcorg.

May 11, 2015

Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Redemption Accomplished and Applied CoverStatusAvailable

Description

The atonement lies at the very center of the Christian faith. The free and sovereign love of God is the source of the accomplishment of redemption, as the Bible’s most familiar text (John 3:16) makes clear.

For thoughtful Christians since the time of the Apostle Paul, that text has started, not ended, the discussion of redemption—and few interpreters have explored in depth the biblical passages dealing with the atonement as penetratingly or precisely as John Murray, who, until his death in 1975, was regarded by many as the foremost conservative theologian in the English-speaking world.

In this enduring study of the atonement, Murray systematically explains the two sides of redemption: its accomplishment by Christ and its application to the life of the redeemed. In Part I Murray considers the necessity, nature, perfection, and extent of the atonement. In Part II Murray offers careful expositions of the scriptural teaching about calling, regeneration, faith and repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, union with Christ, and glorification.

Source: WTS Books

John MurrayAbout the Author

Professor John Murray (1898-1975) was recognized in his own lifetime as one of the leading Reformed theologians in the English-speaking world.

Born at Migdale, near Bonar Bridge, Scotland, he attended Dornoch Academy, and served with the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) in France during the First World War, losing an eye in the conflict. After the War, he pursued studies, first at the University of Glasgow (MA, 1923), and then at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA (1924-27).

In 1929 he was invited to teach Systematic Theology at Princeton, and did so for one year, before joining the Faculty of the newly formed Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. There he shared with such scholars and Christian leaders as J. Gresham Machen and Cornelius Van Til in the great struggle to maintain the old Princeton tradition in theology, represented by the Hodges and B. B. Warfield. He was ordained in 1937 by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, USA.

John Murray remained at Westminster until his retirement in 1966. He returned to his native Scotland, married Valerie Knowlton in December 1967 and enjoyed a brief period of fatherhood prior to his death in 1975. A careful scholar, an eloquent lecturer, a moving preacher, and the author of many outstanding articles and books, Murray’s driving passions were to declare Christ’s Word, advance his cause, and bless his people.

The Trust publishes his Collected Writings in four volumes, and his Redemption – Accomplished and Applied, in which he expounds particular redemption, stresses union with Christ, and sees adoption as the apex of the redemptive privileges.

Source: Banner of Truth Trust

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.