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February - July 2013 Posts


Because There Was No Sun… It has become increasingly popular for theologians to appeal to Meredith Kline’s 1958 “groundbreaking” article, “Because It Had Not Rained...” in order to propagate a dechronologization of Genesis 1. The principle argument behind the formulation of the Framework Hypothesis is that God–from the beginning–used natural processes in the preservation and cultivation of botanical organisms. For instanc


Old Testament Personal Types and Shadows of Christ I continue to be amazed at the wisdom of God in giving us types and shadows of Christ throughout the pages of the OT. There is, perhaps nothing so faith-building in the OT–apart from the explicit Messianic prophecies–as God’s covenantal structuring of history that gave us people, places, and events to prefigure the coming Messiah. In their chapter on “God’s Covenant with Man,” the Westminster Divi


The River and the Tree of Life In Ezekiel 47 the prophet sees an unusual sight.  This is not the first unusual thing Ezekiel has seen as he gets a guided tour of a new temple.  The prophet is exposed to all sorts of changes in the design of the temple, its sacrificial system, and in the surrounding allotment of land to the twelve tribes of Israel.  God is making all things new, as it were.  Jerusalem, the temple, and the priest


A Bad Court In Which To Be Tried If there is one thing that those who know me well can agree upon it’s the fact that it’s not hard to fish an opinion out of me. I am all too painfully aware that sometimes this can be a strength and, more often than not, a weakness. The Scriptures speak of the strength of sharing strong, informed and wise convictions at the right times and the right places (Prov. 10:13; 24:7; 25:11-12); this was d


William Fitch Sermons In 2 Timothy, the apostle Paul instructed his young protegee with some important departing counsel: “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).” As one who has been the beneficiary of so many faithful teachers and mentors, I have come to appreciate how significant such mentoring is to the development


The Wisdom of the Son In ”The Songs of the Son (Seeing Christ in the Psalms),” we saw that–although there is a rise of interest in Christ-centered biblical interpretation of the OT–”one of the areas of redemptive-history that desperately needs a renewed focus is that of Christ in the Psalms and OT wisdom literature.” It was suggested, in that post, that “among some of the more helpful works on these books are Nancy Gut


A Covenantal Approach to the Song of Songs* The more I read and study the Song of Songs, the more impressed I am with the biblical theology that structures Solomon’s thoughts. It has not been an easy task to bring together the biblical-theological themes while at the same time doing justice to the text. Here is an attempt to develop these concepts in order to prove the Christology of the greatest of Scripture’s redemptive-historical Songs:


Tolerance that Parodies Love It shouldn’t surprise us–but we all too often find ourselves wondering at the relevance with which an author of a bygone generation speaks into the atmosphere of our contemporary culture. Such has frequently been the case for me when I have read J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism and his What is Faith? Such also has been true for me when I read many C. S. Lewis’ shorter works. Writing


C.S. Lewis on Beauty and Idolatry In his inimitable sermon, “The Weight of Glory,” C. S. Lewis made one of the most significant observations about the reality of beauty and idolatry. Building on the idea that the beauty and joy we find in created things and experiences is merely a reflection of the beauty and joy of God, Lewis explained that making those created things ultimate things for the beauty seen in them is idolatry : The


John’s Use of the Song of Songs in the Book of Revelation In recent years the book of Revelation has been subject to new investigation into the role that earlier portions of the canon played in its composition—particularly respecting Old Testament revelation in the form of quotes and allusions.[1] With the release of his monumental commentary on the Apocalypse, G.K. Beale has given New Testament scholars a substantial treatment of the book of Revelation


Book of Hebrews Resources As we enter into the new year, I am excited about starting a new sermon series at New Covenant on the book of Hebrews. As I’ve done in the past, I would like to share some of the resources that I have found most useful for sermon preparation. Below is a list of the sermons, articles, commentaries and other theological volumes on the book of Hebrews from which I’ve most benefited: SERMONS (Audio)


Jonathan Edwards on Christ and the Song of Songs While preparing a lecture on “Jonathan Edwards’ Christology of the Song of Songs” for the Jonathan Edwards for the Church Conference, I happened across a fascinating historical and theological discovery. Having begun his Notes on Scripture very early in his ministry (1724),  Edwards wrote the final entry #507 in 1756–just two years before he died. This entry is a comparison between the Song of Son


Sinclair Ferguson, William Still and Eric Alexander Crieff Fellowship Lectures My introduction to Sinclair Ferguson led, in turn, to my grateful discovery of William Still and Eric Alexander. I can honestly say that having listening to and read everything I could find by these men for well over a decade now, I have not been influenced more by any three preachers and theologians in the 20th Century. William Still, who is responsible for mentoring several of our great Reformed


Jesus on the Inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture In his chapter, “The Attestation of Scripture,” in the  The Infallible Word, the late professor John Murray made one of the most profound and significant observations about the inerrancy and infallibility of the Old Testament from Jesus’ use of one single word out of Psalm 82. In his disputation with the Jews, Jesus proved and defended the truth of His own Deity (which was under attack) by an app


5 Reasons to Join (or Not Join) a Church Plant   The books and blog posts which have been written for church planters today are legion. You can scarcely visit a Christian blog or website without stumbling upon someone’s thoughts about church planting–its dynamics, difficulties, benefits and/or pitfalls. When we moved to Savannah, GA in 2009 to plant New Covenant Presbyterian Church, I tried to gather as many resources as I could find. From th


The Emmaus Sessions: Christ and Redemptive History Last year we started “The Emmaus Sessions” at New Covenant Presbyterian Church. The series is designed to focus on the hermeneutics of Christ in the Old Testament by touching on the major points of redemptive history. We plan on continuing this series sometime in the summer and fall. For now, you can find all the current audio and video of the lectures below: The Emmaus Sessions Audio A Tale of T


The Songs of the Son With a resurgence of interest in Christ-centered biblical interpretation and preaching, one of the areas of redemptive-history that desperately needs a renewed focus is that of Christ in the Psalms and OT wisdom literature. Among some of the more helpful works on these books are Nancy Guthrie’s The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Ray Ortlund Jr.’s Proverbs: Wisdom


No More Consciousness of Sin? There is a very wonderful verse in the book of Hebrews that I have been thinking about for years now. After the writer sets out the theology of Christ as the better Priest and the better sacrifice of a better Covenant, he contrasts the Old Covenant sacrifices (which were continually offered) with the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. Then he draws this conclusion: “For the law, having a shadow of t


A Pastor’s Love for Christ The following is an article I wrote for the May 2013 edition of Tabletalk Magazine. It is a memorial for a man who exemplified more than any I have ever met what it meant to be motivated by and to exhibit the love of Christ in Christian ministry: Dr. John H. Skilton was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for almost fifty-eight years (1939–1998). He was o


Why We Fear Grace I love John Owen. I don’t know if there is a Puritan I would rather spend the rest of my life studying. I love his writings for their intellectual depth, rich Christological and Gospel-centered content and the fact that he did not blindly follow traditional interpretations of Scripture (he thought through the Scriptures for himself). So, you can imagine my deep surprise when I came across the foll


Why Was Christ Veiled in the Law? In his commentary on the book of Hebrews, John Owen makes an important observation about the Old Covenant Law and why God gave something that was so burdensome to Israel–something that veiled Christ–if it was meant to point to Christ. Owen noted: Because these institutions were to be so glorious, that they might be shadows of heavenly things, and the people unto whom they were given, were carnal,


Proud vs. Broken People Most of the Christian books, sermons and theological material that my father gave me as a boy failed to catch my attention; but, for some reason, I’ve never forgotten Nancy Demoss’ chart contrasting proud/broken people. I need this more today as a husband, father, pastor and friend than when I was young:   Proud, Unbroken People Broken People 1. Focus on the failure of others 1. Are overw


The Covenant of Grace in Eternity and Time With the release of Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum’s Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants several important questions about what historic Covenant Theology teaches have once again resurfacing in the broader Reformed world. Michael Horton has done an admirable job of answering some of the challenges raised with regard to Covenant Theology in his review at


When God Swears to God Many years ago I came across–what I continue to consider to this day to be–the most interesting tract I’ve seen. Taking first place in the evangelistic tract category is actually not all that difficult since most tracts are horribly predictably and uncreative.  If ever believers have ignored the admonition of our Lord Jesus to “be wise as serpents” it is in the tract-writing ministry department. T


Taking Up the Hammer and the Nails There is remarkably sobering picture in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian, as he makes his way toward the celestial city, comes to the house of a man named Interpreter. Now this interpreter is clearly the apostle Paul by the description made of him; and interpreter shows Christian seven different scenes in this house that highlight various aspects of the Christian life, dangers and


On Getting As Little Truth As Possible For several years now I have tried to find a statement, made by J. Gresham Machen, that I read as a young Christian about the importance of  growing deeply in our study of Scripture and theology. Machen sought to challenge the common attitude of men who, “devote most of their energies to the task of seeing just how little of Christian truth they can get along with.” In his book What is Faith? Mach


Jesus’ Compassion for Sinners As I work through an exposition of the letter to the Hebrews at New Covenant I’ve been struck afresh by the greatness of the compassion of Jesus, our great High Priest. So often we hear people say–when they are going through some difficult trial or temptation–something along the lines of, “I just want to talk to someone who has been through this.” This is entirely understandable. In fact, the writ


The Difference Between a Prophet and a Priest In his outstanding article “The Priesthood of Christ in the Epistle of Hebrews,” Geerhardus Vos explained the chief difference between the office of prophet and priest–specifically as it relates to the fulfillment of both offices in Christ: The first and most general element entering into the author’s conception of a priest is that of  leadership based on identification with those who are led. A p


A Biblical Theology of Mountains I’ve always loved spending time in the mountains. I’ve lived in the Blue Ridge mountains, hiked the Sangre de Christo mountains, travelled through the German Alps and skied the French Alps. There is something mystical and majestic about these natural structures which tower over the rest of creation. Not surprisingly, the Scriptures have quite a lot to say about mountains. Mountains are used as an


The Holy Spirit Says… In Hebrews 3:7, the writer introduces one of the many  Old Testament citations found in this letter with the words, “As the Holy Spirit says…” In setting up Psalm 95:7-9 in the manner in which he did (with the Holy Spirit presently speaking in the OT text), the writer intended to draw attention to the fact that God is the living speaker in all of the Scriptures. Scripture is not something that los


John Newton’s Olney Hymn of Gospel Types If you’ve never read through the Olney Hymns you are missing out on a great blessing. Chances are good that you’ve sung one if you worship in a church that holds a high view of historic hymnody. Two of the more memorable hymns in the project were “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” John Newton, the great slave-trader turned slave of Christ, wrote several of


The Importance of Time Management If there is one area of life I imagine most of us wish we could improve upon it would be, without a doubt, that of time management. It’s not simply those who foolishy squander time who need to grow in this respect–it’s anyone trying to balance the responsibilities of family, work, church and personal care. Everything that fills our schedules can fall under one of these four categories and, in many


Jesus and the General and Special Revelation of God One of the most important subjects to which we can give our thoughts is that of the relationship between general and special revelation. These two categories of God’s self-revelation are often approached as if they were two planets orbiting in concentric circles yet never touching one another. Such an approach misunderstands God’s original intention for these two forms of revelation in relation to


Sinclair Ferguson Sermon Series Collective We have John Hendryx to thank for making so many of Sincliar Ferguson’s sermon series audio available at Monergism. Below you will find all of the Ferguson series that John has gathered from Tapes from Scotland, First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC and various other places: Old Testament: Genesis Joshua Ruth 1 Kings 2 Kings Nehemiah Psalms Daniel Joel Jonah Haggai Zechariah Malachi New Testam


Warfield, Biblical Doctrines and Confessionalism B.B. Warfield, in his article on “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity,” made a significant observation regarding the Scripturally accurate formulation and articulation of biblical doctrines. The locus classicus, and test case for Warfield, was the doctrine of the Trinity. He explained that the historical doctrine of the Trinity “can be spoken of as a Biblical doctrine…on the principle that the se


“Textual, Expository, Redemptive-Historical, Applicatory” Preaching? Let’s be honest, none of us has the handle on preaching and no two ministers preach the same. John Chrysostym, Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Davies, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Archibald Alexander, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and James Boice were some of the model preachers in the history of the church and they all had unique approaches to expounding God’s

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