The Truth of the Cross — Free eBook

This week is Holy Week and thanks to Reformation Trust we’re giving away the eBook edition of R.C. Sproul’s The Truth of the Cross. This book serves as an uncompromising reminder that the atonement of Christ is an absolutely essential doctrine of the Christian faith, one that should be studied and understood by all believers.

You can get the ePub edition from the Ligonier Store or the Kindle edition from Amazon.

Offer expires April 30, 2013.

Michael Horton’s Pilgrim Theology: 4 Coordinates of Key Doctrines, Part 1 [Infographic]

We’re excited to share this new infographic - Michael Horton’s Pilgrim Theology: 4 Coordinates of Key Doctrines, Part 1.

The infographic displays some groundbreaking work from Michael Horton’s new theology book, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples.

In part one of the infographic you will view nine key Christian teachings as seen through four “coordinates” — Drama, Doctrine, Doxology, and Discipleship. The teachings in part one include God’s Communicable and Incommunicable Attributes, Creation, the Person and Works of Christ, and more. Download part one today, and come back this Thursday for part two!

Download the full infographic (PDF, 968K. The file may take a few seconds to load — thank you for your patience!)


Why Four Coordinates?

9780310330646What’s gained when we explore theology through the “coordinates” of Drama, Doctrine, Doxology, and Discipleship? Horton reveals his thinking behind his coordinates and compass metaphors in this excerpt from Pilgrim Theology

A compass orients us. It helps us on our journey by helping us to grasp that the Bible is not chiefly about me and my personal experience or morality. Rather, it is the revelation of God and God’s history with us. Its relevance lies not in helping the pious individual to attain spiritual well-being, but in the way it actually introduces us to reality…

Like the directions on a compass, there are four coordinates that guide us in our journey to know God:

  • Drama
  • Doctrine
  • Doxology
  • Discipleship 

All of our faith and practice arise out of the drama of Scripture, the “big story” that traces the plot of history from creation to consummation, with with Christ as its Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. And out of the throbbing verbs of this unfolding drama God reveals stable nouns — doctrines. From what God does in history we are taught certain things about who he is and what it means to be created in his image, fallen, and redeemed, renewed, and glorified in union with Christ. As the Father creates his church, in his Son and by his Spirit, we come to realize what this covenant community is and what it means to belong to it; what kind of future is promised to us in Christ, and how we are to live here and now in the light of it all. The drama and the doctrine provoke us to praise and worship — doxology — and together these three coordinates give us a new way of living in the world as disciples.

Unlike the directions on a common compass, all of these coordinates are engaged simultaneously… In Scripture and in the best of church history, doctrinal reflection has maintained a deeply integrated connection with the biblical narrative, the desire of the heart, and the engagement of the will and the body in worship and life.

Learn more about Michael Horton’s Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples

[via Koinonia]

For those who don’t know of it, you may be interested to hear that Todd Pruitt and Carl “I’m not a celebrity, I’m just high-profile” Trueman are building their empire with a podcast entitled The Mortification of Spin. According to the spin, er … blurb, MoS is

a bi-weekly casual conversation about things that count. Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt serve up a humorous, informal podcast with bite. Join this engaging and thought-provoking conversation on the challenges the Church faces and what counts in the Christian life. Served up with a healthy dose of germane cultural references. Hear for yourself if British accents carry more weight …

The first two episodes are on rockstar pastors in Las Vegas (including notes on the imitation of the world and sanctification) and the king’s court jester (discussing such matters as suffering and the nature of evil).

I cannot promise moody monochrome videos, and I am not sure who is providing the soundtrack, but if those are not going to be a problem for you, doubtless there may be a few who wish to tune in.

from Reformation21 Blog

The Ten Commandments Did Not Begin at Mt. Sinai

Since the beginning of my ministry as a pastor I have been committed to preaching the Bible expositionally. The main way that I do that is by working through books in the Bible verse-by-verse. Recently, in my exposition of Exodus, I have come to chapter 20, 10Commandmswhich contains the Ten Commandments. These “ten words” are of crucial importance not only for understanding God’s ways with His Old Covenant people but also for understanding His ways with us today. These ten laws are unique among all the commandments that God gave to the Israelites.

A. W. Pink helpfully explains,

Their uniqueness appears first in that this revelation of God at Sinai—which was to serve for all coming ages as the grand expression of His holiness and the summation of man’s duty—was attended with such awe-inspiring phenomena that the very manner of their publication plainly showed that God Himself assigned to the Decalogue peculiar importance. The Ten Commandments were uttered by God in an audible voice, with the fearful adjuncts of clouds and darkness, thunders and lightnings and the sound of a trumpet, and they were the only parts of Divine Revelation so spoken—none of the ceremonial or civil precepts were thus distinguished. Those Ten Words, and they alone, were written by the finger of God upon tables of stone, and they alone were deposited in the holy ark for safe keeping. Thus, in the unique honor conferred upon the Decalogue itself we may perceive its paramount importance in the Divine government.1

When interpreting the Ten Commandments one important consideration to keep in mind is that these laws did not originate with Moses. He did not come up with them on his own. Neither did they come into existence at Mt. Sinai. Rather, God published them there in dramatic fashion. But, as Genesis 1-Exodus 19 make clear, these commandments were in force prior to their being dramatically codified in tables of stone.
Consider the following Scriptural evidence.

• 1st & 2nd Commandments (no other gods; no graven images)

—God punished Egypt with plagues because they broke these commandments: Numbers 33:4b, “On their gods also the Lord executed judgments.”

—Genesis 35:2, God rebuked Jacob because he had not put away the “foreign gods” that were among his family.

• 3rd Commandment (you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain)

—Exodus 3:1-15, at the burning bush God told Moses to honor His Name

4th Commandment (Remember the Sabbath day)

—Exodus 16, God revealed the Sabbath principle in the regulations for collecting manna. He rebuked those who violated it: “It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? 29 “See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day” (16:27-29).

• 5th Commandment (honor your father and mother)

—Genesis 9:18-27, God cursed Noah’s son, Ham, for dishonoring his father by looking on his nakedness.

6th Commandment (you shall not murder)

—Genesis 4:8-16, Cain murdered his brother Abel, and was punished by God for it.

• 7th Commandment (you shall not commit adultery)

—Genesis 19:24-25, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sexual immorality (cf. Jude 7).

• 8th Commandment (you shall not steal)

—Genesis 31:19-32, “Rachel stole her father’s household gods” (idols) and Jacob rightly condemned the crime as being worthy of death, not knowing it was his own wife who was guilty of it (v. 32).

• 9th Commandment (you shall not bear false witness)

—Genesis 20:1-2, Abraham lied about his relationship to his wife, Sarah

• 10th Commandment (you shall not covet)

—Genesis 19:26, Lot’s wife, revealed a covetous heart when she turned back toward Sodom, and was executed for doing so (Luke 17:32)

What does all of this mean? It means that the 10 Commandments did not originate with Moses or at Mt. Sinai. Rather, God verbalized them there and wrote them on tables of stone with his finger on that occasion to formalize and clearly stipulate what He has always required of all people everywhere. These Ten Words are a summary of God’s will for His image-bearers everywhere. In a future post, I will discuss the place of the Ten Commandments in the New Testament.

(For further reading on this I recommend Ernie Reisinger’s The Law and the Gospel and Philip Ryken’s Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis)

1 A. W. Pink, The Ten Commandments (Swengel, PA: Reiner, 1961), p. 5.

from Tom Ascol Blog

Free Audiobook Download of the Month | God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew and John & Elizabeth Sherrill

imageGod’s Smuggler is our free audiobook for February 2013!

In 1955, Brother Andrew smuggled his first Bibles into restricted Eastern Europe. Since then, he and his ministry, Open Doors International, have helped deliver millions of Bibles to Christians in the most high-risk places all over the world.

As Brother Andrew approached the inspection checkpoints, he would pray that the guards would simply not see the Bibles he was carrying - and they never did. In God’s Smuggler, you will hear Brother Andrew’s amazing stories of how, again and again, God aided his mission to bring the Bible into closed countries. Simon Vance provides compelling narration for this story; christianaudio reviewers said they “couldn’t stop listening” to this audiobook.

With thanks to Open Doors International for partnering with us, we are pleased to share this amazing story of God’s provision as the February FREE audiobook of the month.
[unabridged audiobook: 8 hours]
Author: Brother Andrew with John & Elizabeth Sherrill
Narrator: Simon Vance

More great titles just $4.98!

The February Free audiobook, and the other offers in this post, are available through February 28, 2013. Never miss a free offer when you subscribe to our newsletter!image

from Blog

Before We Were Separated Brethren…

James Swan

The Called to Communion blog recently presented a number of entries on “the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" following a webpage from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Maybe some Roman Catholics are interested in unity, but I guess it depends on exactly what you read.  For instance, consider the following excerpts from this book with the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur: Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine For the Family and More Advanced Students in Catholic Schools (1875) (pp. 70, 91-93, 97-98).

Q. Does the Lord make use of apostate Catholics, such as Martin Luther, Calvin, John Knox, Henry VIII., King of England, to reform the manners of the people?

A. The thought is absurd. The lives of those men were evil, and it is only the devil that makes use of them to pervert the people still more. The Lord makes use of His saints, such as a St. Francis of Assisium, a St. Dominick, a St. Ignatius, a St. Alphonsus, to convert the people and reform their evil manners by explaining to them the truths of faith, the commandments, and the necessity of receiving the sacraments with proper dispositions, and by setting them in their own lives the loftiest example of faith, purity, and all Christian virtues.

Q. Are there any other reasons to show that heretics, or Protestants who die out of the Roman Catholic Church, are not saved?

A. There are several. They cannot be saved, because

1. They have no divine faith.
2. They make a liar of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost, and of the Apostles.
3. They have no faith in Christ.
4. They fell away from the true Church of Christ.
5. They are too proud to submit to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.
6. They cannot perform any good works whereby they can obtain heaven.
7. They do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
8. They die in their sins.
9. They ridicule and blaspheme the Mother of God and His saints.
10. They slander the spouse of Jesus Christ: the Catholic Church.

Q. What is the act of faith of a Protestant?

A. O my God, I believe nothing except what my own private judgment tells me to believe; therefore I believe that I can interpret Thy written word the Holy Scriptures as I choose. I believe that the Pope is anti-Christ; that any man can be saved, provided he is an honest man; I believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation; that good works, and works of penance, and the confession of sins are not necessary, etc.

Q. Have Protestants any faith in Christ?

A. They never had.

Q. Why not?

A. Because there never lived such a Christ as they imagine and believe in.

Q. In what kind of a Christ do they believe?

A. In such a one of whom they can make a liar, with impunity, whose doctrine they can interpret as they please, and who does not care about what a man believes, provided he be an honest man before the public.

Q. Will such a faith in such a Christ save Protestants?

A. No sensible man will assert such an absurdity.

A CTC blog entry from last year asks, Do You Wan to Go to Heaven? which addresses, “So do you mean to say that if I decide to skip Mass on Sunday, and then drop dead on Monday, I will go to Hell?” Which, after various considerations, is affirmed (but not given the typical loopholes and qualifications that many other Roman websites do). The article presents an apologetic against “once saved always saved” etc. and explains to ill-informed Protestants why going to mass is so serious for Roman Catholics that if missed, qualifies as a mortal sin: “When we ‘skip Mass’ we are deciding that we would rather be elsewhere than in the presence of God the Father, with the angels and saints, in that perfect act of worship which is the presentation of the sacrificial Lamb of God to the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.”

Compare this to: Just Why Are Only 20% of Catholics Attending Mass? Here, a priest explains why only a small percentage of Roman Catholics actually go to mass (poor homilies, poor music, poor hospitality). “A Protestant once said: “If you Catholics really believed what the Church teaches about the Mass and the Most Holy Eucharist, your churches would be full and you would see Catholics crawling on their knees to attend Mass!

Interesting. CTC is busy calling wayward Protestants to “communion,” but 80% of their fellow brethren are in danger of hell. Most Protestants, according to a Roman paradigm, just don’t know Rome is the true church. That is, many Protestants could at least make it to Purgatory due to ignorance. This seems to me to be a poor strategy for CTC. Their goal: “Our aim is to effect reconciliation and reunion between Catholics and Protestants, particularly those of the Reformed tradition." Perhaps calling their fellow brethren to actually attend communion would be a more consistent use of CTC’s bandwidth.

from Pros Apologian

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