31 October 2015

The Reformer You Need to Know: Meet William Farel

Today we mark the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg. It is a great day in the history of the Church. Yes, today is Reformation Day.

The Reformation Wall depicts Guillaume Farel, Johannes Calvin,
Théodore de Bèze and John Knox
When we think of the Reformation, we often think of the "big names." Men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli dominate our thoughts of this era of Church history. The Master's Seminary has helpfully shared brief details of some of those men who began the work of reformation long before that fateful day of nailing in 1517. Today, however, on this Reformation Day in 2015, I would like to introduce you to another important presence of the Reformation: William Farel.

30 October 2015

This 'n' That

I will admit, candy corn is
I am sure I've said it before, but I do not understand Halloween. More specifically, I do not understand adults who celebrate Halloween. I just…don't get it. It actually isn't even the pagan elements of the celebration that bother me most. Don't get me wrong, those are most certainly troublesome, but sometimes I struggle in wondering which is more disconcerting: the celebration of death (which, let's be honest, ought not surprise us considering the state of the world), or the fact that so many grown adults seem to enjoy dressing in costume and celebrating this holiday more than children actually do.

The notion that Halloween has become an adult holiday was making headlines back in 2012, when CNN explained in a report:
The shift from children's to adult holiday can be traced to the 1970s, when Halloween street festivals in several gay neighborhoods in the U.S. began to transform into adult parties featuring lavish and over-the-top costumes.

In the mid-1980s, Halloween gained even more traction among adults, helped by the Coors Brewing Company, who ran an ad campaign featuring TV horror host Elvira. According to Morton, the marketing ploy helped make the ghoulish night a "beer holiday" in the mold of Superbowl Sunday and St. Patrick's Day.…

Halloween also benefits from being seen as a secular celebration, open to all and flexible enough to adapt to the prevailing cultural current…

Hm. And now we see, it really all comes down to…depravity. How utterly unsurprising.

So, with that I suppose I'll prepare myself to venture out into a world of costumed adults. As for you, why not grab that bag of candy that you really had no intention of sharing anyway, and munch away while you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

26 October 2015

Women Bloggers and Biblical Commands

I once received an email from a male reader who rebuked me for not having a big, bold banner across the top of my website that announced that I was a female. The implication was that, since I was discussing biblical truth and "teaching," I was in sin if a man visited my site, read, and learned.

As you can see, that banner never did find its way to this homepage, but the issue raised is one that has never gone away. What is the role of the female blogger? Is she being disobedient to the Lord by using a venue such as this blog to discuss biblical truths?

My fellow female laborer in the Lord, Michelle Lesley, recently asked the question of several women bloggers, and has compiled their answers in her post, "In Case You Were Wondering: Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture By 'Teaching' Men?"

I was honored to be asked by Michelle to contribute to that post, and my complete answer to her question is below. I encourage you to visit Michelle's blog, however, to read the responses shared by other trusted women of the Lord.

24 October 2015

Equipping Eve: Perfect Perspicuity

The word of the day is "perspicuity." There are those in the professing church who would say that true humility admits that we cannot know what the Bible really means. Such a vague view of Scripture has not been the historic position of the Church through the ages, however. Why? Because God's Word is clear about its clarity; it is perfect in its perspicuity.

Click here to listen to this latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here for a list of resources referenced in this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: God's Final Word
Equipping Eve: Life Verses and Labyrinths
Equipping Eve: What God Says About His Word
Equipping Eve: Thou Changest Not

23 October 2015

This 'n' That

Sometimes we need to step back and refocus on the Son.
I'm tired. Weary. Not just physically, but mentally. Perhaps even spiritually. And not just weary of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. No, that can be remedied with a good night's sleep or a completed to-do list. I am weary of two things: the world and its idle pursuits, and the professing church and her idle pursuits.

I am tired of blogging alarms going off every time one false teacher speaks at another false teacher's church or conference. After all, should we expect anything different? I am simultaneously weary and frustrated by some personalities in Christendom who, if examined, fail to engage in ethical, trustworthy journalism. I am even more exhausted by those "discerning" Christians who follow such men and/or women like lemmings. My annoyance with fence-sitters and compromisers increases daily. I have grown exasperated by the growing number of Christians who so easily are enraptured by the ongoing, growing political conversation. Those who think that even the most conservative candidate can "save" America are woefully deceived.

And yet, it is not ultimately about what annoys me or you or any of us. The point is, all of these types of individuals have lost their focus. To be sure, any one of us may unfix our gaze from Christ amid the trials, stresses, and busyness of life, but when our distraction becomes what defines us, or becomes what dictates our day, then we must stop, repent, and refocus. On Christ. On His Word. On His promises. If we do not, then we are really no different from the world. It is my prayer that this blog will always point its readers back to Christ, and not find itself wrapped up in these frivolities. Would you pray with me to that end?

In all of this, however, and though some may think it to be frivolous, I hope that you have not grown weary of enjoying your week in review (kind of): 

16 October 2015

This 'n' That

Some weeks there just isn't much to say, or not enough time to write what I would like. Those are the weeks when I say to myself, "You know, my readers probably just need to hear from someone far more wise, far more learned, far more wonderful." And those are the days when I turn to the great men of old who have gone before us in Church history and who have left behind the treasure of their words and spiritual insights. With that, I turn this week's intro over to the great Puritan, Thomas Watson:
Thomas Watson
When God calls a man by His grace, he cannot but come. You may resist the minister’s call, but you cannot the Spirit’s call. The finger of the blessed Spirit can write upon a heart of stone, as once He wrote His law upon tables of stone. God’s words are creating words; when He says, ‘Let there be light’, there was light, and when He says, ‘Let there be faith,’ it shall be so. When God called Paul, he answered to the call. ‘I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision’ (Acts 26:19). God rides forth conquering in the chariot of His gospel; He makes the blind eyes see, and the stony heart bleed. If God will call a man, nothing shall lie in the way to hinder; difficulties shall be united, the powers of hell shall disband. ‘Who hath resisted his will?’ (Rom. 9:19). God bends the iron sinew, and cuts asunder the gates of brass (Psalm 107:6). When the Lord touches a man’s heart by His Spirit, all proud imaginations are brought down, and the fort-royal of the will yields to God. 
(Thomas Watson, All Things for Good, 108-109, thomaswatsonquotes.com)
Aren't you glad I handed over the reigns? All that is left to say is, "Amen and amen." Now go ahead and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

10 October 2015

Equipping Eve: Interview with Phil Johnson (Part 2)

In this episode of Equipping Eve, Erin continues her discussion with Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You. It's a potpourri conversation, covering topics such as women's ministries, Bible study, and the apparent doctrinal downgrade within the visible church.

Click here to listen to this latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here to listen to sermons by Phil Johnson.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Interview with Phil Johnson (Part 1)
Equipping Eve: Counted Worthy to Suffer
Equipping Eve: Thou Changest Not

09 October 2015

This 'n' That

Some of you may recall my confession a couple of years ago that art fairs are one of my guilty pleasures. Well, last weekend found me at another local art fair and the excursion brought an interesting twist. As I walked down the street toward the festivities, I looked up, and there on the corner was the local funeral home…advertising an open house. Yes, an open house. And yes, there was a banner.

Better yet, there was free popcorn. Sadder still, I had already seen many people walking back to their cars with little bags of said popcorn. So apparently the gimmick worked. But I have to wonder, what does one do at a funeral home open house? Do they display their selection of coffins and urns? Do they take you into the basement and show you where they embalm the bodies? I do not understand. Open houses are typically for less morbid events, so what was the purpose of this? There is something particularly macabre about munching on freshly popped popcorn while wandering the halls of a building designed to house the dead before laying them "to rest."

Further, I cannot help but wonder, were any of the visitors told this one essential piece of information: that it is appointed unto man once to die, and then comes judgment? I doubt it. Decorative coffins and elaborate floral arrangements do nothing for the person whose soul has already reached its destination. I almost wished I had had a competing banner: "Repent, and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ so that your soul may be saved from the wrath of a just and holy God." But then, that would be a really big banner.

Well, this week's roundup is probably no comparison to free popcorn and coffin peeks, but it will have to suffice. So grab that bag of Orville Redenbacher out of the microwave, then sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind):

02 October 2015

This 'n' That

The God who created the heavens is the God
of all wisdom.
We are surrounded by the wisdom of this world. A world which knows nothing of the wisdom that is from above (James 3:17) is the world which consumes our lives: whether it is work, school, or perhaps friends or family, the world's wisdom appears to dominate. But does it really, or is it merely an illusion?
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe... 
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
(1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
The wisdom of God—the true wisdom that comes from above—this is what dominates. Though for a little while it seems as though the philosophies of men will prevail, we can know that it is God's wisdom which saves and sanctifies. And it is God's wisdom which will one day decimate the wisdom of this age.

If you are a Christian, aren't you thankful for this wisdom, and for your all-wise God? Aren't you thankful for the divine wisdom which chose to bring salvation to men by means of Christ and His work on the cross? Aren't you thankful for this wisdom which sanctifies? Do you seek this wisdom from above? I pray you do. Wondering where to begin your search? Open your Bible and read.

And of course, though it is not a biblical mandate, there is an element of wisdom that emerges each time you take a few moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):