Archive for October, 2015

October 28, 2015

Hear, O Israel (John 10:22-30)

Sermons JohnOn Sunday, October 18, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Hear, O Israel,” from John 10:22-30.

Jesus Christ is of one substance with the Father but who became a man; he is the Good Shepherd out of whose hands no one may snatch those who believe in him.

1. Insufficiency of Evidence–The miraculous signs of Jesus reveal him as the Son of God and the Messiah; however, though we point to evidence of his divinity, his miracles and the historical fact of his resurrection, and many will refuse to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence because evidences alone are unable to generate the faith sinners need to be born again.

2. Faith Comes from Hearing–Jesus’ sheep hear his voice because they’ve been enabled to hear by the Holy Spirit. Those who never hear it, neither want to, nor are they able to hear his voice.

3. The Strength of the Shepherd–Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. If you’ve been effectually called, you will call on the name of the Lord.

Listen to “Hear, O Israel” (John 10:22-30) at mcopc.org.

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October 27, 2015

Gnosticism and Docetism

The Pleroma in the Valentinian System

The Pleroma in the Valentinian System

On Sunday, October 25, 2015, elder Wayne Wylie taught on Gnosticism, and introduced Docetism in his series on Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Elements of the ancient heresy of Gnositicism include the ideas of dualism, the elitist attitude of the “Gnostikoi” who are the chosen few favored with secret knowledge of Gnostic doctrine, and some discussion of how this two-tiered attitude is reflected in various Christian movements to this day. Another prominent custom among modern Christians which bears some parallel to the notion that Christians have direct knowledge of God apart from Scripture is in the notion of receiving individualistic “guidance by the Holy Spirit,” often appealed to in day-to-day decision making. Important varieties of Gnosticism, such as that of the arch-heretic Marcion and the school of Valentinus were also introduced.

In Gnosticism, knowledge of Gnostic doctrine, rather than faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, is the key to a redemption comprised of the escape of the spirit from the body at death.

Docetism was also introduced. “The word [Docetism] is derived from the Greek dokeo, meaning “to seem” or “to appear.” According to Docetism, the eternal Son of God did not really become human or suffer on the cross; he only appeared to do so. The heresy arose in a Helenistic milieu and was based on a Dualism which held that the material world is either unreal or postitively evil. The basic thesis of such docetics was that if Christ suffered he was not divine, and if he was God he could not suffer [from class handout].”

Listen to “Gnosticism and Docetism” at mcopc.org.

October 27, 2015

The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-21)

Podcast Art JohnOn Sunday, October 11, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “The Good Shepherd” from John 10:1-21.

Jesus Christ is the Door of the sheep and the Good Shepherd. He is the only way we may be saved, and he gently leads us through this life and into the next.

1. I Am the Door—The Pharisees are illegitimate shepherds. The true shepherd comes to the flock by means of true doctrine and obedient life. The true shepherd is not passive, but rather, active in guarding the sheep. “Life more abundantly” is often misused by false teachers. Spiritual, rather than material, abundance is meant by and provided by the Good Shepherd.

2. I Am the Good Shepherd—A shepherd seeks his own lost sheep, binds up the wounded, defends them from wolves. Jesus needs nothing from us, but gives us all things.

3. I Lay Down My Life—The Good Shepherd loves his sheep though they are unlovable in their sin. The Son knows his people as well as he knows his Father in heaven. The Bible reveals to us all we need to know about our Good Shepherd. Though not comprehensive knowledge, it is sufficient. Because of his love, the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Listen to “The Good Shepherd” (John 10:1-21) at mcopc.org.

October 26, 2015

Introduction and Review: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church

Click image to read more about this book.

Click image to read more about this book.

On Sunday, October 18, 2015, Elder Wayne Wylie reviewed “Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church” which he taught through the 18th century about a year and a half ago. After a couple of weeks of review, Wayne will resume where he left off dealing with Pietism and Revivalism.

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) sets a prominent theme the student of heresies in church history must keep in mind. The heresies with which the modern church contends are merely variations on heresies which the church throughout history has always had to correct.

The concepts of “heresy,” “error,” “dogma” and “orthodoxy” are defined, compared and contrasted.

Why are there more controversies and heresies associated with Christianity than with any other religion? This stems largely from the fact that most religions are based on morality, whereas Christianity is based on propositional doctrines which are rooted in historical events.

Heresy forces the church to define what we mean by the doctrines we confess. The earliest heresies dealt with who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What was he like? How much does one really need to know about the nature of the triune God, and the person and work of Jesus Christ?

Listen to “Introduction to Heresy and Orthodoxy” for all of this and more at mcopc.org.

October 26, 2015

Outcasts Accepted (John 9:8-41)

Podcast Art JohnOn Sunday, October 4, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “Outcasts Accepted” from John 9:8-41.

Jesus Christ finds people that have been abandoned, rejected and cast out, and he calls them to himself.

1. Blind Skepticism—It’s understandable that the people were skeptical of the claim of the man born blind to being made able to see, but their response in taking him before the Pharisees betrays their unbelief. The Pharisees, unable to come to consensus, ask him for his opinion, which leads him to confess that Jesus is a prophet.

2. The Formerly Blind Leading the Blind—The man born blind already understands more about Jesus than do the Pharisees. Unafraid, he confessed that Jesus is from God. Lacking humility to hear his believing reasoning, the Pharisees cast him out of the synagogue.

3. Found By Jesus—Jesus identifies himself as the Son of Man referenced in Isaiah, and the man healed of blindness confesses faith and worships Jesus. Jesus is the supreme revelation of God to man, and the Judge to come on the Last Day. Worship of Jesus is the duty of those chosen for redemption by him. Hypocrites who claim to see are blind to Jesus as the true Object of worship.

The Kingdom of God seeks, receives and never forsakes believers who have been rejected by their unbelieving family or society.

Listen to “Outcasts Accepted” (John 9:8-41) at mcopc.org.

October 19, 2015

Bezalel and Oholiab (Exodus 35:20-38:8)

Chuck CainOn September 27, 2015, the adult Sunday school class studied Exodus 35:20 through 38:8.

This section describes the eagerness of the Israelites to contribute the materials and the work needed to construct the tabernacle. Both men and women “who were of a willing heart,” “whose hearts stirred them,” and “whose heart moved them” brought a freewill offering. The people’s contributions were so great they were asked to cease bringing material! The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Co 9:7).

Also the Lord filled Bezalel and Oholiab with the Spirit of God giving them skill, intelligence, and knowledge as craftsmen and with the ability to teach others. In many respects this section anticipates the spiritual gifts given to church members.

Chapter 36 describes Bezalel’s crafting the curtains, frames, pillars, and bases for the tabernacle structure. This section largely duplicates the designs for these items previously given to Moses in Chapter 26.

The remainder of this section describes Bezalel’s crafting the seven items of furniture for the tabernacle: the ark, the mercy seat, the table, the lampstand, the incense altar, the altar of burnt offering, and the basin. Again, this section duplicates the descriptions provided for these items in Chapters 25, 27, and 30.–Chuck Cain

Listen to “Bezalel and Oholiab” (Exodus 35:20-38:8) at mcopc.org.

October 19, 2015

While I AM is Still Near (John 9:1-7)

Podcast Art JohnOn Sunday, September 27, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “While I AM is Still Near” from John 9:1-7.

The Lord may be found only while he is here on earth. First, he was present in person; now he is present in his Body, the Church.

1. Who Sinned?—The fall of Adam brought the world into a state of sin and misery; therefore, we live with the daily consequences of our corporate sin in Adam in a fallen world.

2. God’s Works on Display—The real purpose of the man’s blindness, was to put the work of God on display. Doing the works of Jesus is the duty of followers, too.

3. As Long as I am in the World—The miraculous signs of Jesus reveal him to be the Creator and the Son of God. Jesus was the Light of the world during his earthly ministry. Since his ascension to the right hand of the Father, his Body, the church illuminates the world. As she does the works of the Father who sent the Lord Jesus into the world, it is sight to the blind, and life to the dead.

Listen to “While I AM is Still Near” (John 9:1-7) at mcopc.org.

October 19, 2015

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics

Bible and Homosexual Practice CoverStatus: Checked Out

Book Description

Gagnon offers the most thorough analysis to date of the biblical texts relating to homosexuality. He demonstrates why attempts to classify the Bible’s rejection of same-sex intercourse as irrelevant for our contemporary context fail to do justice to the biblical texts and to current scientific data. Gagnon’s book powerfully challenges attempts to identify love and inclusivity with affirmation of homosexual practice.

. . . the most sophisticated and convincing examination of the biblical data for our time. –Jürgen Becker, Professor of New Testament, Christian-Albrechts University

Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

About the Author

Robert A. J. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He co-edits Horizons in Biblical Theology, and has published in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Novum Testamentum, and Catholic Biblical Quarterly.

Book Details

522 Pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: September 2002
ISBN 10: 0687022797
ISBN 13: 9780687022793

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.

October 12, 2015

The Spreading Flame: The Rise and Progress of Christianity from Its First Beginnings to the Conversion of the English

Spreading Flame CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

In this history of the early Christian Church, Professor Bruce divides the complex story into three sections. The first, The Dawn of Christianity, deals with the Church from its infancy to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The second section, The Growing Day, continues the story up to the accession of Constantine in A.D. 313 and the Church’s consequent official status. Light in the West, the final part, is about Christianity in Rome and its spread to the British Isles after the barbarian invasion. The picture that emerges is of the Church as an unquenchable spiritual force organized for tribulation, whose spiritual resources are never more unlimited than in times of seeming disaster. A wealth of quotations from Jewish and classical sources, combined with F.F. Bruce’s straightforward style, make this book a valuable contribution to the study of the history of the Church.

Source: Amazon

Frederick Fyvie (F.F.) Bruce (1910-1990)

Frederick Fyvie (F.F.) Bruce (1910-1990)

About the Author

F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England. Author of numerous commentaries and other books, he served as general editor of the NICNT series from 1962 to 1990.

Source: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company

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.

October 1, 2015

Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Theologians on the Christian Life)

Luther on the Christian Life CoverStatus: Checked Out

Book Description

Martin Luther’s historical significance can hardly be overstated. Known as the father of the Protestant Reformation, no single figure has had a greater impact on Western Christianity except perhaps Augustine. In Luther on the Christian Life, historian Carl Trueman introduces readers to the lively Reformer, taking them on a tour of his historical context, theological system, and approach to the Christian life. Whether exploring Luther’s theology of protest, ever-present sense of humor, or misunderstood view of sanctification, this addition to Crossway’s Theologians on the Christian Life series highlights the ways in which Luther’s eventful life shaped his understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Ultimately, this book will help modern readers go deeper in their spiritual walk by learning from one of the great teachers of the faith.

Dr. Carl Trueman

Dr. Carl Trueman

About the Author

Carl R. Trueman (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is the Paul Woolley Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary and pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Ambler, Pennsylvania. He was editor of Themelios for nine years, has authored or edited more than a dozen books, and has contributed to multiple publications including the Dictionary of Historical Theology and The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology.

Book Details

224 Pages
Publisher: Crossway/Good News Publishers
Publication Date: February 2015

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.