The Gospel According to David

I’ve just finished preaching on Psalm 19.12. I was attempting to preach the text taking careful note of context. Having now descended the pulpit my thoughts crystallised as I drove home. I have come to think of this Psalm as ‘The Gospel According to David’. I have a sneaking suspicion Paul had its structure in mind when he wrote the Gospel to the Romans.

The Glory of God in Creation – Supressed v1-6

It is this universal knowledge of God the Gentiles have spurned. Like the gushing of a fountain silent speech pours forth on earth. The sun’s relentless rays leave a magnificent message. It’s heat melts Arctic ice because no land escapes God’s light. This rejected knowledge of God leaves all men without excuse. Indeed they heard, say Paul, for:

“Their voice has gone out to all the earth and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10.18) “…For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are […]


“The Best We Can Hope For”

“Great news! That’s the best we can hope for.”  So began a recent email from a friend responding to the results of a bone marrow biopsy I had last week.  Back on August 25, 2016, I began a clinical trial to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a disease I have been battling for the last four years (see more here).  Having been treated once already, I became a relapsed patient last summer.  By God’s grace, the treatment options have improved tremendously since I was treated the first time with chemotherapy.  The trial protocol called for a bone marrow biopsy last week.  This procedure is a more definitive test for the presence of leukemia cells in the place in the body where they begin life.  We already knew that the treatment seemed to be working from very sensitive blood tests.  The bone marrow biopsy came back negative – no detectable cancer cells in my blood or bone marrow.  Thus, my friend’s response. 


The Eschatological Insufficiency of the Archaic

In the church, as in life, it’s often hard to give up things that have become old friends. Sometimes, it’s hard to know when they have outlived their usefulness, and we must exercise wisdom in removing archaic fixtures.

You might have seen that Basking Ridge Presbyterian’s 600-year old white oak tree has died. Under that tree in Bernards, New Jersey, George Whitefield preached to over 3,000 people in 1740. Legend has it that George Washington picnicked beneath its outstretched limbs. My own ancestors worshiped at that church; indirectly, the shade of that tree has helped shape my own soul. That which served so well has died and must be removed.

Remove archaic fixtures we must, because devotion to the archaic reveals in us an insufficient eschatology. Loving what met needs in the past over what meets the need of the moment fails to anticipate the glory that is to be revealed. It trades a vision for the glory of Christ for earthly forms that are passing away. With the Apostle Paul, we must always seek fidelity to Christ as we count everything as loss for the sake of Christ that we may ultimately attain the resurrection from the dead. With Paul, we forget […]


3GT Episode 35: Incrementalism or Abolitionism?

To start things off, the boys open the mailbag and get excited. They discover there are such creatures as English Presbyterians, and one has even listened to every 3GT episode. Another listener responds to our Lord’s Day episode with an encouraging testimony in the workplace.

Then Aaron rewinds to Episode 22 and brings us back to the issue of abortion and the pro-life movement. Should Christians be content with small steps of progress? Or should our simple aim be to outlaw this awful practice? And does the Bible speak to our approach? With little lives on the line, we must keep this issue ever before the church without losing the gospel in the process.

Thank you to the Westminster Conference for sponsoring this episode! Being held September 8-9, 2017, at RPTS, this year’s theme is “Post Tenebras Lux: Celebrating 500 Years of Martin Luther’s Influence.” Be sure to register early as space is limited! Also, listen for how you can win a digital anthology of all the past Westminster Conferences.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/3gt-episode-351.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!


What a Weekend!

My heart overflows with joy this morning. So I’ve decided just to practice the original idea of blogging and do “web logging” today of what I experienced this weekend. The Lord is so good to his people.

Friday night my daughter’s Christian school put on a talent show. Run by the students, it was a fun night of watching young people put their considerable gifts on display, from piano playing to high school boys spoofing ‘N Sync. In the process, they raised nearly $1500 to encourage one of the school’s families who is involved in developing orphanages in Haiti. The enthusiasm of the youth was contagious, and made me grateful for the community the school provides for our family.

With a cool but pleasant spring Saturday, I delighted in getting out in the yard and working on projects with my family. Mowing, trimming, and blowing got the lawn back into shape. I attacked the winter’s algae in our little fishpond with new filters and a UV light. The back porch was swept and washed down to ready for visits there. These and other projects left my middle-aged body at the end of the day with those happy muscular aches that promise a […]


Christ’s Love For God’s Folk

Don’t you just love church?

Aren’t Christian brothers and sisters the most delightful, excellent folk? It is hard to describe the joy harmonious fellowship with godly people brings! Those providential meetings with unknown believers on vacation; long conversations into the evening at a conference or convention; the smiling face, each Sabbath, of some of the best people who you know; a time of sweet psalm-singing when your heartbeat seems as one; knit together in love through God’s grace in the heart; there’s nothing on earth like gathering with God’s well-functioning family!

Do brothers ever get on your nerves?

Perhaps that is why it’s so painful when church fellowship misfires – when instead of bringing joy believers just add to stress and sorrow. An ill-judged statement, a selfish thoughtless action, an unfounded suspicion, an unwarranted accusation, or trivial difference in opinion – these are the raw materials that supply Satan with ammunition, and give the Devil occasion to sow mischievous seeds of division between good and godly folk. You’ve been spared great heartbreak if you’ve never witnessed schism, or seen a church divided or at loggerheads with those who love the Lord!

A psalm delights in saints!

When suspicions are arising and patience has worn thin, we are wise to […]


A Caution to Heresy Hunters

Recently I came across the following surprising quotation from Charles Hodge, professor of Princeton Seminary from 1820-78:

‘It is not enough that a doctrine be erroneous, or that it be dangerous in its tendency; if it be not subversive of one or more of the constituent elements of the Reformed faith, it is not incompatible with the honest adopting of our Confession. It cannot be denied that ever since the Reformation, more or less diversity in the statement and explanation of the doctrines of Calvinism has prevailed in the Reformed Churches.’ (David B. Calhoun, Princeton Seminary, Faith and Learning, 1812-1868, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1994, p.217)

Charles Hodge was one of the leading exponents and defenders of the Reformed faith in the 19th century, yet he showed a remarkable tolerance towards those who did not see things in theology in exactly the same way as he did. In its historical context, Hodge was referring those who held to ‘the New Divinity’ (also called Edwardseanism, Consistent Calvinism or Hopkinsianism). Amongst other things its adherents presented the atonement as the outworking of God’s love or a demonstration of his moral government rather than as a substitutionary satisfaction for sin.

Now, I am certainly not defending […]


African American Preaching at RPTS

The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary where I teach is blessed to have local African Americans from the Pittsburgh area studying here. Serving in a denomination that is historically a predominantly Anglo-Saxon one, the presence of these students has been a rich blessing to our community as the Lord helps us see the greatness of his kingdom in its diversity and power. We rejoice that the dividing walls are broken down in Christ where “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female,” for we are all one in Christ (Gal 3:28). Yet we can also discuss, appreciate, and laugh good-naturedly over our different backgrounds, traditions, and races as we learn from one another.

I love having these men in my preaching classes. Many of them have been preaching a long time before they arrive here, and they often do more teaching with their own preaching than I can hope to impart to them. More than once a brother a few shades darker than me has asked after witnessing a typical Presbyterian-style sermon, “Do I have to preach like that?” I usually like to respond, “Please don’t!”

For one of the lessons we do learn […]


Church Administration: A Simple Formula

Put bluntly, through trial and error — mostly error — God has taught us a lot about practical administration in the church. Like many pastors, I’ve often believed this was beneath me or at least some type of distraction. But here in our local congregation as well as in other places I’ve been involved, I’ve come to learn the importance and the effectiveness of a well-run church. 


3GT Episode 34: Sing Praises with a Psalm!

Though not a guest on our podcast, Dr. Robert Godfrey has us talking again about one of our favorite subjects – the psalms and the joy of singing them. From the experiential union with Christ a worshiper can have to the worldview they encourage, these Three Guys love Theologizing about the psalms. And in case you are ever shipwrecked on a “three hour tour, a three hour tour,” one of us reveals how you can sing many of them to the tune of Gilligan’s Island!

Thank you to the Westminster Conference, with this year’s theme of “Post Tenebras Lux: Celebrating 500 Years of Martin Luther’s Influence,” for sponsoring this episode! Being held September 8-9, 2017, at RPTS, you will want to be sure to register early as space is limited! Also, listen for how you can win a digital anthology of all the past Westminster Conferences.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/3gt-episode-34.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

References cited

Why I Love the Psalms | Robert Godfrey

Learning to Love the Psalms: A Live Interview with W. Robert Godfrey

The Book of Psalms for Worship Starting Kit

Psalters for Singing and Worship

CDs of Psalm Singing

Sandra McCracken Website

Shane & Shane Website