He didn’t choose the lamb

There is a wonderful tie-up between Passover and the Lord’s Supper—the whole Exodus is God’s giant illustration, painted in real time and history, of what Jesus’ salvation is like. It’s all there, especially in the Passover—deliverance from slavery, sheltering under the blood of the perfect lamb slain so that judgment would fall on the lamb not on God’s people, the cups of wine symbolising aspects of redemption, etc.. Yet as a preacher, preaching through Exodus and observing the Lord’s Supper when we studied the Passover, I found myself wondering why did the Lamb not choose the lamb to make his point when he instituted the Lord’s Supper at a Passover meal? Why bread?

It seemed as if it would have been so much clearer: “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world”, “Not one of his bones shall be broken”, the parallel of judgment falling on the lamb, during darkness, so that the people’s sins would be atoned for and they could go free. It was all there. The lamb had been on the table for the Passover meal. It wasn’t as if Jesus suddenly thought up the idea of a sacrament to ‘remember his death […]


Browse Worthy: Online Bullying

One of the peculiarities of the Digital Age is how quickly mass hysteria can arise against someone. Perhaps the most famous case of this phenomenon is chronicled in The New York Times Magazine article “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.” Sacco, with a small number of Twitter followers, tweeted a foolish line that was – rightly or wrongly – interpreted as a racial slur before she boarded an international flight. By the time she reached her destination, her tweet was the top trending one and a virtual mob was calling for her head. She lost her job, her life was threatened, and she has become famous for all the wrong reasons.

Yet it is not only unthinking tweets that can bring someone undue attention. People can purposely target someone with whom they disagree, and try to bring a high degree of public shaming on that person. A case in point is that of BuzzFeed‘s article that came out this week entitled “Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage.” BuzzFeed is a digital media company that delivers news and entertainment over social media. This post on the Gaines, who host the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper“, seems nothing more than an […]


3GT Episode 20: Common Grace? Paranormal Activity?

In this episode, the guys catch up a bit (until the 13 minute mark) and then move into their two main topics: common grace and demon possession.

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/3gt-21.mp3

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The article by Dr. Richard Gallagher can be found here.

My book on the subject of Satan’s fall and its influence on history can be found here for free.


A Congregant’s Guide to Preaching

As I was browsing my book shelves the other day I discovered that I have just over thirty books whose primary subject is the study of preaching. Aside, perhaps, from Charles Spurgeon, that is more books than I have on any other single subject. Of course, that’s probably to be expected. You wouldn’t be surprised to find a lawyer’s shelves full of law books, or a doctor’s with medical books, or even an auto mechanic with mechanical books. Preaching isn’t something I dabble in or fill my spare time with as some hobby. As a pastor, preaching is what I have been primarily called to. John Jennings once wrote: “To preach Christ, therefore, is our charge, our business, and our glory.” That’s why I study preaching and will continue to do so throughout the whole course of my ministry.

But, of course, you don’t have to be a lawyer to study law, a doctor to study medicine, or a mechanic to study mechanics. Neither do you have to be a preacher to study preaching. In fact, as a pastor I don’t simply want my congregation to hear preaching, I want them to know something of what preaching is. I want them […]


18 Proverbs for Church Struggles: What Pain in Church Life Has Taught Me

If my perfect Lord learned obedience through suffering, so must all who follow him.

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Nothing helps like dry and thirsty times to bring out the sweet taste of the Psalms.

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The best prayers are often offered with a libation of tears.

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God provides an oasis in our deserts.  They are called friends.

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If God destroyed a whole generation for grumbling and complaining before they entered the land of promise, what will he do to those who grumble who are in Christ and his church?

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In backyard basketball, we say, “No blood – no foul.”  In other words, quit complaining about every infraction and just keep playing.  That makes for a loose but good paraphrase of Hebrews 12:4-5, “If you have not started bleeding yet, then your trial isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.  Accept the discipline of the Lord and press on.”

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Often silence is the answer.

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As Spurgeon said, those who slander your name would really have something to talk about if only they knew the real truth about you.  When others speak ill of […]


The Dodecahedron of Deception

In about 12 hours times I’ll be back in the pulpit! Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll preach two Lord’s Day sermons, to the hearers in the congregation over which I have charge as a pastor.

How healthy, once again, to reflect on the timely warning James gives to would-be hearers lest they become ‘sermon-tasters’. It is also a forceful reminder to pray for the sort of Word-doing that is part & parcel of proper Word-hearing.

James puts this matter of sermon application so unforgettably in 1.22 of his epistle:

“Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Having taken a few moments to identify some traps that ensnare sermon hearers each week, I have begun to realise how multifaceted this sermon-tasting deception can be. This explains in part the slightly weird title ‘Dodecahedron of Deception.’ Here, then, are twelve traps & pitfalls, that hearers may fall into & must prayerfully seek help to avoid or escape, when they attend their meeting-house tomorrow!

We deceive ourselves when….

1. We apply the message to others for whom we feel the sermon is most fitting, whilst failing to apply it to our own case & heart, for which God intended it.

2. We take great delight in the subject, style, sound or structure […]


Like That First Thanksgiving of Old

Friends are coming today.
They will join our little feast. 
Expected, we will pray and eat,
Offering thanks for God’s goodness
Of food and friendship,
Like that first Thanksgiving of old.

Yet other visitors have come.
Uninvited, yet welcome.

Last night he stood there,
Staring at me from the woods.
His pride and power
Fitted sharply upon his head.
The buck was wary, snorting,
Flicking his tail,
Uneasy with my presence.

Early this morning
Another visitor stopped by.
A new neighbor –
Friendly, and humble of heart.
We spoke of splitting wood,
Family,
Books we have read, and…
Hunting.

Could perhaps next Thanksgiving
Both these unexpected visitors
Be invited to our table?
One a provision of food,
The other that of friendship,
Like that first Thanksgiving of old.


Happy Wife. Happy Life.

The beeps. The buzzes. The vibrations. The earbuds. The squinting eyes. The bluish glow. They all indicate that the world has invaded our homes in new ways through online portals, and it clamors for our attention. Relationships at home suffer when we are so distracted that we abandon the ones we love…or ought to love. That leads to sadness and loneliness. The unmitigated invasion of the online world into our homes ruins marriages. As husbands know, a happy wife means a happy life. Conversely, when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Part of the problem, especially for men, is that these online portals call us to legitimate responsibilities in the world beyond the home in addition to the illegitimate ways they clamor for our attention. The good news is that there is nothing new. Even in Moses’ day, God addressed the challenge of a man’s responsibility in the world and his calling to make his wife happy.

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken” (Deuteronomy 24:5).

Notice the key: dedicated […]


A Bit of Audio

A few picks for the podcast inclined:

Intelligence Squared Debates: Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship? A fair-minded debate exploring the issue.
Sam Harris Podcast, Waking Up: The Most Powerful Clown. While Sam Harris certainly lands on the left, his analysis of Trump is still fair at many points and deserves a listen (though keep in mind he is an outspoken atheist).
Unbelievable: What Happened at the Cross? N.T. Wright and Tom Schreiner debate. In typical fashion, N.T. Wright foregrounds what should be situated more in the background. This leads to a misplacement of emphasis which can prove to be more than a little frustrating.

On quick note, the next episode of 3GT should be releasing soon.  Do forgive our tardiness!  But it should be a good one. So stay tuned!


At Seventeen – Harry Wilkey (1942-2016)

Harry Wilkey passed into glory last week at age 73. He lived most of his life as a quadriplegic after being injured at age 17. My grandfather was his pastor at the time. Sterling, Kansas was his lifelong home. He was a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Harry was a friend of our family and an encourager to me. With his family’s encouragement, I’m posting his testimony here. Jesus was faithful to Harry, and, by God’s grace, Harry was faithful to Jesus. Now, his soul is with the Lord. His body, which is still united to Christ, will be held by the grave…but only until the resurrection.

At Seventeen

A personal testimony to God’s increasing grace

By Harry Wilkey

At age seventeen, a Nickerson High graduate, I packed up my stuff and made my first move away from home to Sterling College.  I had no clue that God would cut short my stay.  Many choices faced me there.  It surprised me that a Christian college offered most options of worldliness right there on campus.  Some fellow dorm mates involved themselves in pornography, gambling, and homosexuality.  We watched, smiled, and some cheered as one fellow daily dressed up […]