Posted in Uncategorized, tagged cognitive rest, Cornelius Van Til, covenant Lord, epistemology, General Revelation, Gordon Clark, history, John Calvin, John Frame, language, logic, philosophy, science, Scripture, triperspectivalism on December 19, 2012 |
1 Comment »
In my second year of seminary, John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God became required reading in the first year. Oh, well. It has only taken me about 20 years to read the book. I began to read it 2 years ago, I think, while I was home “watching” the kids while CavWife taught a group exercise class on Monday afternoons. Last year I spent that time studying and developing a curriculum for the Book of Revelation. Though I no longer watch the kids on Monday afternoons, I resumed reading the book this Fall as time permitted. It was worth the work.
The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (an interesting title) is the first in Frame’s A Theology of Lordship series, of which I have already read The Doctrine of God (Salvation Belongs to the Lord is a shorter version that is quite readable). The title of this book suggests the main concern of the book- how can we know God. This is a book about epistomology, the study of how we know. We often take this for granted and never think through it. Those presuppositions drive many of the debates and arguments we have with people. We often fall into bad argumentation (logical fallacies for instance).
“Our criteria, methods, and goals in knowing will depend on what we seek to know.”
Frame wants to examine our presuppositions, and argue for a presupposition understanding of how we know what we know and what we can know. He starts with knowing God, as Calvin did in The Institutes of the Christian Religion. But he starts with God as Covenant Lord. As Covenant Lord, He made us to think and understand as receivers of revelation. As Covenant Lord, he determines what is revealed to us.
“We do not come to know God, or anything else, in a vacuum. … Still, one has to start somewhere; he cannot relate everything to everything else at once, for otherwise he would be God.”
He touches on subjects like transcendence (God as head of the covenant) and immanence (God’s nearness or involvement with creation), authority, control and presence, knowability and incomprehensibility etc. He moves out of the theoretical at times to show how these tensions reveal themselves in theological debate, particularly the disagreement between Van Til and Clark. In other words, he examines many of the implications of the Creator-creature distinction.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Bible, Gospel Coalition, illustrations, prophecy conferences, Puritans, Reformers, triperspectivalism, William Still, Word of God on May 16, 2011 |
1 Comment »
In the 3rd chapter of his little book, The Work of the Pastor, William Still expands on the topic of feeding the sheep from chapter 1. He is wrestling with a somewhat different set of problems through the majority of the chapter. The main point he tries to make, though he declares two, is “the eternal Word of God is ever contemporary.”
He starts by returning to some familiar ground of chapter 1. We are to preach the whole Word of God, not just a few particular doctrines some call “the gospel”. Don’t misunderstand, he’s not condemning groups like The Gospel Coalition. He’s arguing against people who think all they can do is preach justification week in and week out. He’s talking about avoiding the difficult things of Scripture, and avoiding the reality of sanctification. We must preach through all of the Bible, even the seemingly difficult, ugly or boring passages precisely because they are the Word of God and He has something to say through them.
The Spirit does not just a small number of passages to evangelize people. For instance, Augustine was converted by a passage of Scripture having to do with sanctification. We need to forsake our pet subject, or subjects that make people happy (never-ending conferences on prophecy or healing for instance).
Read Full Post »
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Benny Hinn, Bryan Estelle, Evangelism, faith, God's sovereignty, idolatry, illumination, John Calvin, John Owen, Jonah, Open Theism, redemptive history, repentance, Revival, salvation, Sinclair Ferguson, triperspectivalism, unction on August 14, 2009 |
Leave a Comment »
Jonah miraculously survived 3 days in the belly of the fish/whale. There he was humbled, submitting himself to God who then had the sea dwelling creature spit him up on the shore.
Then the Word of the Lord came to Jonah again. He is again sent to Ninevah, the difference in wording being “the message that I give you.” He is still to call out against it, warning the people to prompt repentance.
Some have argued that it could not have been a genuine revival. How, they argue, could these coverted Ninevites then resume their conquering ways resulting in the defeat and exile of the Northern Kingdom? Students of revivals will notice that often revivals last but a generation. The effects are not permanent. For instance, barely 100 years after the Welsh revivals, Christianity is nearly extinct there. This shows how long their declension has lasted.
“People who experience mighty revivals may be all the more hardened against God in the generations that follow. The presence of the Spirit of God is a far more delicate matter than we are prone to imagine.” Sinclair Ferguson
This is illustrated in the life of Jonah, and repeatedly in the history of Israel and Judah. So we mich take Paul’s warning against greiving the Spirit seriously. We cannot be sure we will repent of any sin we are tempted to commit. But such disobedience will produce spiritual declension at the least, if not be evidence that the person was spiritually dead to begin with.
God’s evangelistic sovereignty is revealed in this passage, as Ferguson notes. God sent a messenger in Jonah. He authorized the message Jonah would declare. It is good to pray for revival, but we must also evangelize for revival. The God-declared end has a God-ordained means. He sent an evangelist AND He opened their hearts to the message. This is the very reason He sent Jonah in the first place.
The message was simple, but the effect was profound. Historically the Spirit works in 2 ways. The first is in the messenger or preacher, and is called unction (anointing has also been used but this term has recently been hijacked by televangelists like Benny Hinn to mean something quite different). The message is delivered with power and conviction.
“That word can only come with power to our hearers when it has come with power to our own hearts.” John Owen
The Spirit also works in the hearers to illumine them. Paul describes this in 2 Corinthians 3-4. God sheds His light into our hearts that we might see the glory of Jesus. Suddenly people see their need AND the sufficiency of Jesus’ work on behalf of sinners.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, Preaching, Tim Keller, tagged Culture, hearts, Josh Harris, text, Tim Keller, triperspectivalism, Tullian Tchividjian on September 8, 2008 |
Leave a Comment »
In Joshua Harris’ Sermon Notes series, he has a copy of sermon notes by Tim Keller. My admiration just went up a few notches, for I can not understand how in the name of all things holy Keller can preach from those notes. They are in short-hand and don’t seem well-organized to this small mind. But I’ll let Joshua continue:
Tim leads Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and is the author of The Reason For God. I’ve asked my friend, pastor Tullian Tchividjian who leads New City Presbyterian Church, to write an introduction for Tim:
To be a great preacher, one needs to be tri-perspectival in their exegesis. That is, they need to be committed to the exegesis of the Bible, the exegesis of our culture, and the exegesis of the human heart. Some preachers claim that if you exegete the Bible properly, you don’t need to bother yourself with the exegesis of our culture or the human heart. The problem with this view, however, is that the Bible itself exhorts us to apply Biblical norms to both our lives and to our world.
As a preacher myself, I benefit greatly from listening to a wide variety of preachers. In some cases I learn what to do, and in other cases I learn what not to do. But in every case, I learn something. Some preachers teach me how to be a better exegete of the Bible. Others teach me how to be a better exegete of our culture. And still others teach me how to be a better exegete of the human heart. But no preacher has consistently taught me how to do all three in the context of every sermon more so than Tim Keller. His balanced attention to all three forms of exegesis makes him very unique, in my opinion.
Tim knows how to unveil and unpack the truth of the Gospel from every Biblical text he preaches in such a way that it results in the exposure of both the idols of our culture and the idols of our hearts. His faithful exposition of our true Savior from every passage in the Bible painfully reveals all of the pseudo-saviors that we trust in culturally and personally. Every sermon discloses the subtle ways in which we as individuals and we as a culture depend on lesser things than Jesus to provide the security, acceptance, protection, affection, meaning, and satisfaction that only Christ can supply. In this way, he is constantly showing just how relevant and necessary Jesus is; he’s constantly proving that we are great sinners but Christ is a great Savior.
Personally, I am grateful for Tim’s friendship. His interest in me as a person and a preacher shows a side to him that many perhaps do not see. I know how busy he is and how many demands he has and yet he has always found time to talk with me, advise me, meet with me, and in a thousand other ways, help me out. So Tim, thanks for all you do and for who you are. Preach on brother—we’re all listening!
Did you catch that? Exegeting the Text (normative), our hearts (subjective/existential) & our culture (situational/circumstantial). Too often Reformed guys focus on the text to the exclusion of our hearts and culture. Emergent guys can focus on the culture to the exclusion of the text. And the wheels on the bus go round and round. To properly understand and apply the Text we must do all three.
This past Sunday I was so overwhelmed by the Text that I didn’t exegete the culture as much as I wanted to. And it made my sermon the poorer. Since Nehemiah was identifying himself in solidarity with the sins of his culture. The sins of my city are often the sins of the churches there, too. I did some of that, but didn’t spell it out sufficiently.
Rabbit Trail: How many of you pastors are usually disappointed with your sermons on a regular basis?
Read Full Post »
Posted in Atonement, Biblical Theology, Christian Living, Justice, Ministry, Missions, Theology, tagged Justice, mercy, Nehemiah 1, obedience, Prayer, sanctification, substitutionary atonement, triperspectivalism on September 4, 2008 |
Leave a Comment »
Yesterday I was meeting with a group of pastors to talk about our sermon text, Nehemiah 1. In the course of our discussion Tim Rice mentioned the ‘grid’ he uses: Christ’s work for us & Christ’s work in us. The example he gave, since we were discussing prayer, was Jesus praying for us and the work of the Spirit in us so we pray with Jesus.
In light of where the text was taking me regarding Nehemiah’s name (YHWH has comforted or the comfort of YHWH), I saw Christ’s work through us. He not only comforted Nehemiah, but comforted Jerusalem through Nehemiah (see 2 Corinthians 1).
I thought of this in the triperspectival grid this morning.
Christ’s work for us (normative) => Christ’s work in us (existential/subjective) => Christ’s work thru us (circumstantial/situational)
This is how I need to be thinking as I approach sermons.
Christ died in our place <= His Work for Us => Christ obeyed in our place
Mortification of sin <= His Work in Us (sanctification) => Vivification of godliness
Justice <= His Work thru Us (service) => Mercy
Discipleship (inward) <= His Work thru Us => Mission (outward)
This warrents some more thinking, but first I must return to Nehemiah 1!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Biblical Theology, Books, Church, Mark Driscoll, Ministry, Theology, tagged approval, comfort, control, Dan Allender, David Fairchild, Drew Goodmanson, feedback, grace renewal, Jesus, John Frame, king, legalism, Mark Driscoll, Mission, priest, prophet, spiritual gifts, triperspectivalism, union with Christ on July 29, 2008 |
4 Comments »
I recently had a dialogue with another pastor about the office of prophet, priest and king in church leadership. He had been re-reading Dan Allender’s Leading with a Limp, chapter 14: Three Leaders You Can’t Do Without (wow, how did I not blog on that chapter?!). He wondered what my primary & secondary gifting were (prophet-priest if you’re interested). One of these days I may try to put my more theologically oriented material into a leadership oriented book working through these issues.
In the meantime, I visited Drew Goodmanson’s blog and he had links to the Acts 29 regional conference in Raleigh. He and David Fairchild had some seminars working through this triperspectival view of leadership. I highly recommend them after listening to them today. The first was on the foundations of triperspectival leadership, and the second was on the applications of triperspectival leadership. David provided some background into their church plant, the struggles they had and how they have benefited from applying John Frame’s triperspectivalism to church leadership.
Here are some thoughts I jotted down in my notebook to keep track of them:
“When you plant (a church) you’re reacting to something you think you’ve seen wrong in the church, so you’re in this heavy, heavy deconstruction mode.” David relating advice given by Mark Driscoll
There are differences between how Jesus exercised His office during the Incarnation and how He exercises it now in His exaltation (yes, still incarnated). For instance, while on earth He preached directly to the people. In his heavenly prophetic ministry, He worked through the Spirit to complete the giving of Scripture and works through the Spirit in the preaching of the same Scripture. In His earthly priestly ministry He offered up His body as the perfect sacrifice for sin. In His heavenly priestly ministry He lives forever to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25).
Read Full Post »