Archive for July, 2015

July 23, 2015

When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty

When God Weeps CoverStatus: Checked Out

Publisher’s Description

If God is loving, why is there suffering?
What’s the difference between permitting something and ordaining it?
When bad things happen, who’s behind them–God or the devil?

When suffering touches our lives, questions like these suddenly demand an answer. From our perspective, suffering doesn’t make sense, especially when we believe in a loving and just God.

After more than thirty years in a wheelchair, Joni Eareckson Tada’s intimate experience with suffering gives her a special understanding of God’s intentions for us in our pain. In When God Weeps, she and lifelong friend Steven Estes probe beyond glib answers that fail us in our time of deepest need. Instead, with firmness and compassion, they reveal a God big enough to understand our suffering, wise enough to allow it—and powerful enough to use it for a greater good than we can ever imagine.

About the Authors

Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada is founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community. Joni and Friends provides practical support and spiritual help to special needs families worldwide, and equips thousands of churches in developing disability ministry. Joni is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Diamonds in the Dust, A Lifetime of Wisdom, and A Step Further. Joni and her husband, Ken, have been married for over 30 years. For more information on Joni and Friends, visit www.joniandfriends.org

Steve Estes

Steve Estes

Steven Estes holds Masters of Divinity and Masters of Theology degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary and Columbia Bible College. He is the senior pastor of Community Evangelical Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. With Joni Tada, he co-authored A Step Further and also wrote Called to Die, the biography of slain missionary linguist Chet Bitterman.

Book Details

256 Pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: September 2000
ISBN 10: 0310238358
ISBN 13: 9780310238355

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.

July 22, 2015

New Covenant Temples, Priests and Sacrifices (1 Peter 2:4-12)

Robert Mossotti, OPC Licentiate

Robert Mossotti, OPC Licentiate

On Sunday, July 19, 2015, Robert Mossotti preached about New Covenant Temples, Priests and Sacrifices from 1 Peter 2:4-12.

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’

“They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:4-12 ESV).

We are the earthly dwelling place of God because we are united to Christ, the long-awaited Temple of God among men. For this reason, we have a duty to keep our temple clear of “money changers,” and must submit to Christ’s sanctifying work when we neglect this duty. Those who insist on offering their own sacrifices must repent and trust in the sacrifice of Christ alone.

Listen to “New Covenant Temples, Priests and Sacrifices” (1 Peter 2:4-12) at mcopc.org .
Subscribe to Robert Mossotti’s SermonAudio podcast to hear all of his sermons and Bible studies.

July 21, 2015

Consecration of the Priests and the Altar (Exodus 29)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, July 19, 2015, the Adult Sunday School Lesson completed a review of Exodus 29 regarding consecration of the priests and the altar.

Three animal sacrifices are identified as part of the ceremony. In each case the blood of the animal is applied in various ways to the altar.

The first sacrifice is a bull for the sin offering. Curtain organs are burned on the altar. The remainder is burned outside the camp. Hebrews 13:11-12 identifies this practice as a foreshadowing of Jesus being crucified outside the city as a sacrifice for our sin.

The second sacrifice is a ram for the burnt offering. This offering represented full commitment of the priests and the people.

The third sacrifice is a ram for the fellowship offering. This offering is also identified elsewhere as a peace offering or wave offering. In this case after specified organs are burned on the altar, the breast and thigh are eaten by the priests symbolizing a fellowship meal between them (and the people) and God.

The order of these three offerings differs in Leviticus as identified by J. A. Motyer. In Exodus 29 the order highlights individual need for being forgiven. In Leviticus 1-5 the order is burnt offering (1:3), fellowship offering (3:1), and sin offering (4:2-3) highlighting the order of divine desire. In Leviticus 6-7 the order is burnt offering (6:9), sin offering (6:25), and fellowship offering (7:11) highlighting the order of priestly ministry.

Exodus 29 states that the consecration ceremony for the priests was to last seven days.
The chapter closes with the highly important and oft repeated statement, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.”

Listen to “Consecration of the Priests and the Altar” (Exodus 29) at mcopc.org.

July 18, 2015

The Westminster Confession: A Commentary

The Westminster Confession A Commentary CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

In this commentary A.A. Hodge, son and successor of Charles Hodge at Princeton Theological Seminary, analyses the chapters and sections of the Confession, gives proofs and illustrations of its teaching, and helps the learner and teacher by adding a series of questions to each chapter. The result is a fine handbook of Christian doctrine explaining all the leading doctrines of Scripture in simple language.

Archibald Alexander Hodge

Archibald Alexander Hodge

About the Author

Pastor, preacher, missionary, theologian, educator, and churchman, Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823 – 1886) was the first-born son of Charles and Sarah Hodge. Born and raised in the pleasant and intellectually stimulating environment of Princeton, New Jersey, the young Hodge enjoyed the inestimable privilege of being nurtured in the home of Presbyterianism’s greatest biblical scholar and theologian in mid-nineteenth century America. Charles Hodge was a devoted husband and loving father to his children. The loving atmosphere that characterized the Hodge family home bore a rich spiritual harvest in the life of A. A. Hodge. Named after his father’s spiritual mentor and surrogate father, Archibald Alexander, A. A.’s life was embedded in the rich spiritual soil of the Calvinistic orthodoxy and redolent piety for which Princeton Theological Seminary was so well known.

A. A. Hodge graduated from Princeton College in 1841 and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1846. Having developed a love for missions, he and his young bride set sail to serve as Presbyterian missionaries in Allahabad, India. The couple ministered in India for only a few short years; health-related complications necessitated their return to the United States, whereupon A. A. served as a pastor in rural congregations in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

During these years A. A. began writing his major work, Outlines on Theology, which was first published in 1860 and later in a revised and enlarged edition in 1879. He was an emotional and captivating preacher whose popularity grew during the years of his pastoral charges. His gifts as a preacher, teacher, pastor, and author led to his receiving a call, in 1864, to serve as Professor of Systematic Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

In 1878 he returned to Princeton Theological Seminary as Professor of Didactic and Exegetical Theology. A beloved professor, he continued the theological legacy begun by Archibald Alexander and perpetuated by his father. His publications on The Atonement, a popular series of talks published as Lectures on Theology, and A Commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, all demonstrate his self-conscious commitment to the Reformed confessional heritage, as well as the purposeful integration of piety and learning that Princeton Theological Seminary was founded upon. He also co-authored with B. B. Warfield an important article on the inspiration of the Scriptures that remains a classic statement on the subject.

An active spokesman against the dangers of nationalized government-sponsored public education based upon a foundation of scientific naturalism, A. A. Hodge supported an amendment to the United States Constitution that would affirm recognition of the lordship of Jesus Christ over the United States government. His outlook predates modern evangelicalism’s interest in the integration of faith with learning and the development of a Christian worldview which seeks to integrate all aspects of the created order under Christ’s lordship.

Additional publications by A. A. Hodge include an important intellectual and spiritual biography of his father, The Life of Charles Hodge. A compassionate man with a burden for the lost, Archibald Alexander Hodge’s life-long passion for missions and earnest preaching of the gospel — often with tears streaming down his cheeks — endeared him to his students, congregations, and community. He lived as a man who walked with God and whose life was spent bringing others into the same true and living way.

[James M. Garretson in Princeton and the Work of the Christian Ministry, Volume 2 (Banner of Truth, 2012)]

Book Details

432 Pages
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Publication Date: June 1958

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.

July 14, 2015

Priest’s Garments (conclusion), Consecration of Priests (Exodus 28-29)

Chuck CainOn July 12, 2015 the Adult Sunday School Class finished a review of the high priest’s garments described in Exodus 28 and initiated a review of chapter 29 regarding consecration of the priests.

The remaining garments discussed in chapter 28 included the blue robe (underlying the ephod and the breastplate) with a hem ornamented with pomegranates sewn with yarn alternating with bells of gold. The bells apparently signified the need for a careful, reverential approach to worship. Then described is the turban with its golden plate engraved with “Holy to the LORD.” The plate was to be positioned on Aaron’s forehead reminding us of the need to meditate upon God’s word. Finally, the underlying coat (tunic) and undergarments are described. Also described are the garments worn by Aaron’s priestly sons.

Chapter 29 describes the consecration of the priests. (Leviticus 8 is almost an identical chapter.) The word “consecrate” literally means “fill the hand.” That is, the priests were to have their “hands full” in full commitment to their service. Then three ceremonial acts are described. First, the priests are to be washed with water. Second, they are to be dressed in their priestly garments. Third, they are to be anointed with oil. These acts remind us that now we as new covenant priests (1 Peter 2:9) have been baptized (washed in the waters of regeneration), robed in righteousness (declared righteous), and anointed with the indwelling Holy Spirit.

A final part of the consecration ceremony involved three animal sacrifices on the bronze altar: a sin offering, a burnt offering, and a fellowship (or wave) offering. These will be studied further in the next lesson.

Listen to “Priest’s Garments (conclusion), Consecration of Priests” (Exodus 28-29) at mcopc.org.

July 13, 2015

An Eternal Band of Brothers (1 Peter 1:22-2:3)

Robert Mossotti

Robert Mossotti

On Sunday, July 12, 2015, licentiate Robert Mossotti preached the sermon “An Eternal Band of Brothers” from 1 Peter 1:22-2:3:

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Just as Christ’s Kingdom is made up of living beings, so too, his Kingdom is made up of loving beings. While your living brings you into the Kingdom, it is your loving that shows you truly belong there.

1. Purified by the Truth—The word of God, by which we are spiritually born, will sanctify the believer and fortify him against temptation (see also Psalm 119:1-16).

2. Loving One Another—Believers purified by the word of God have genuine love for their brothers in the Lord (cf. 1 John 4:20).

3. Imperishable Seed, Imperishable People— The imperishable gospel brings believers to life by which they will bear the fruit of love for one another.

Listen to “An Eternal Band of Brothers” (1 Peter 1:22-2:3) at mcopc.org.

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July 10, 2015

Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism

Seeking a Better Country CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

Seeking a Better Country is a readable and lively survey of American Presbyterianism since its founding in 1706. Its aim is not to celebrate but to understand how Presbyterians formed one of the largest and most influential denominations in the United States, and those historical developments that led to their decline.

Darryl G. Hart

Darryl G. Hart

About the Author

D. G. Hart (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) directs the honors programs and faculty development at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and serves Westminster Seminary California as adjunct professor of church history. He has written or edited more than fifteen books, including Defending the Faith, a biography of J. Gresham Machen. He is coeditor of the American Reformed Biographies series.

Book Details

288 Pages
Publisher: P&R Publishing Company
Publication Date: June 2007
ISBN 13: 9780875525747

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.

July 9, 2015

Calvinism: A History

Calvinism CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

This briskly told history of Reformed Protestantism takes these churches through their entire 500-year history—from sixteenth-century Zurich and Geneva to modern locations as far flung as Seoul and Sao Paulo. D. G. Hart explores specifically the social and political developments that enabled Calvinism to establish a global presence.

Hart’s approach features significant episodes in the institutional history of Calvinism that are responsible for its contemporary profile. He traces the political and religious circumstances that first created space for Reformed churches in Europe and later contributed to Calvinism’s expansion around the world. He discusses the effects of the American and French Revolutions on ecclesiastical establishments as well as nineteenth- and twentieth-century communions, particularly in Scotland, the Netherlands, the United States, and Germany, that directly challenged church dependence on the state.

Raising important questions about secularization, religious freedom, privatization of faith, and the place of religion in public life, this book will appeal not only to readers with interests in the history of religion but also in the role of religion in political and social life today.

Darryl G. Hart

Darryl G. Hart

About the Author

D. G. Hart is visiting professor of history, Hillsdale College, and former director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, Wheaton College. He is author of more than a dozen books, including most recently From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism.

Book Details

352 Pages
Publisher: Triliteral LLC (Yale University Press
Publication Date: July 2013
ISBN 10: 0300148798
ISBN 13: 9780300148794

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.

July 6, 2015

The Courtyard, Bronze Altar, Priest’s Garments (Exodus 27-28)

Chuck CainOn July 5, 2015 the Adult Sunday School Class reviewed Exodus chapters 27 and 28.

Having completed chapters 25 and 26 which describe the tabernacle structure and its contents, we step outside “heaven” into the tabernacle courtyard depicting “earth.” Here we first encounter the bronze altar on which animal sacrifices will be offered for sins. The design of this altar is described in Exodus 27:1-8. The remainder of this chapter describes the courtyard fencing which is to be 150′ by 75′. Also described is the beautiful gate to the courtyard.

Thus the tabernacle compound has four zones pointing to the holiness of God:

1. The Holy of Holies where God’s glory was to reside above the cherubim of the mercy seat. Only the designated high priest could enter there, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement with blood.
2. The Holy Place where only the designated priests could enter to service daily the incense altar, the bread table, and the lamp.
3. The courtyard where Israelites could enter to bring their sacrifices to be offered up by the priests.
4. Outside the courtyard would reside the rest of the world, the Gentiles, the uncircumcised, the unbelievers.

In chapter 28 the priests’ garments are described. The high priest is to wear a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a tunic, a turban, and a sash. Later, underwear will also be described. A detailed description of each garment is provided to Moses. These holy garments are for glory and beauty and point to our High Priest, Jesus Christ.–Chuck Cain

Listen to “The Courtyard, Bronze Altar, Priest’s Garments“ (Exodus 27-28) at mcopc.org.

July 6, 2015

The Valley of Vision

The Valley of Vision CoverStatus: Checked Out

Publisher’s Description

The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature.

Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to “supply” prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.

Arthur Bennett

Arthur Bennett

About the Author

Arthur Bennett (1915-1994) was a Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, sometime Rector of Little Munden and Sacombe, Hertfordshire, and was for seventeen years a tutor in Biblical Theology and Christian Doctrine at All Nations Christian College. He died in October 1994 aged 79. Canon Bennett has been highly appreciated across the world for his book of Puritan prayers The Valley of Vision. This title was published by the Trust in 1975 and it has been widely valued ever since. The quiet, devotional ethos of its pages was the ethos in which the author lived. Bennett did not live to see the wide influence the book was to have, particularly in the United States, following his death.

Arthur Bennett was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, and moved with his family to Barnsley when he was five years old. He left elementary school at the age of thirteen to work as a ‘lather boy’ in his father’s barber’s shop. He gave his life to Christ in his mid-teens at a Salvation Army mission in the town, and became convinced that God wanted him to serve in some form of Christian ministry.

In 1934 he joined the Church of England ‘Church Army,’ and was assigned to what was then the common practice of ‘caravan evangelism,’ becoming a member of a number of teams travelling around Britain. By the mid 1930’s he was spending considerable time in the villages of East Anglia, travelling in a horse-drawn caravan, with other church army cadets and a captain. They worked with the local parish churches and communities to share the gospel. It was while serving in the village of Elmsett, Suffolk, that Arthur met and fell in love with Margarette Jones (from Carmarthenshire in South Wales), who was teaching in the village school.

In 1940 Bennett was accepted by Clifton Theological College, Bristol, and completed a two-year course leading to ordination in the Church of England. That same year (1942), he and Margarette were married in St. Johns Church Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire. In thirty-nine years of ministry Arthur served the parishes of Christ Church, Huddersfield; St Mary’s, Chesham; Gunton, Lowestoft; Christ Church, Ware; and ultimately, through the years 1964-1981, All Saints, Little Munden, Hertfordshire. Through the latter period he was also a Lecturer at All Nations Christian College.

He retired to Clapham, Bedfordshire, but continued his writing and preaching. In 1992 he and Margarette celebrated 50 years of marriage and ministry together. After a short illness Arthur died in 1994 and was buried in the churchyard at Little Munden, Hertfordshire. The inscription on his gravestone reads, ‘Let me find thy joy in my valley.’ Margarette died in 1997 and the inscription ‘In Thy presence is fulness of joy’ was added to the headstone. They left five children and fourteen grandchildren.

At his funeral, the Bishop of St Albans said, ‘Never one to take centre stage, Arthur has always sought to deflect attention from himself to others, and supremely to the Lord Jesus Christ.’ In addition to The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett was the author of several titles by other publishers: Rural Evangelism (London: A.R. Mowbray, 1949), Table and Minister (London: Church Bookroom Press, 1963), Travels with a Horse-Drawn Caravan (Worthing: Churchman Publishing, 1989), and Calvary’s Hill (London: Avon Books, 1993).

Book Details

240 Pages
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Publication Date: November, 1975

Source: WTS Books, 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.