Daily Archives: June 14, 2013

Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That 14 June 2013

I did not enjoy “The Bible” miniseries for a multitude of reasons. One of those is its misuse and abuse of the concept and phrase, “God is with us.” In that pitiful series, the idea of God’s protection and presence with His people was turned into a catchphrase, and the true magnificence and blessing behind it never was explained, nor was Emmanuel, the ultimate picture of “God with us,” extolled as He should have been. By the end of the first episode of “The Bible,” I never again wanted to hear someone with a bad British accent shout, “God is with us!” Perhaps this is an illustration of how poor and false teaching can ruin some true and wonderful concepts for the genuine believer.

Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi via photopin cc

But let us not abandon biblical concepts simply because they have been distorted by those who do not revere God and His Word. In reality, God truly is with His own. He cares for those who are His, whether in times of trial or in times of joy. He goes before His children in every circumstance, and stands with them even when men do not. This week, I was especially struck by these verses in Paul’s final letter to his son in the faith, Timothy:

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

(2 Tim 4:16–17)

The Lord has promised never to leave nor forsake His children (Heb 13:5; Deut 31:6–8; Jos 1:5). He demonstrated this in Paul’s life right up until the very end, and He will be faithful to those who are His today. We serve a Lord who fulfills His promises. Kind of makes you want to get on your knees in praise and thanks, doesn’t it? Go ahead, we’ll wait.
When you’re done with that, take your laptop or your tablet outside, find a shady spot, sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

  • “As you and I, who have long been brought into the church, think of how we became built upon the foundation, let us praise the hand which laid us in our place.”
  • Some homeschooling parents are starting to demand textbooks that teach evolution. Thanks a lot, BioLogos.
  • At the same time, while dissatisfaction with the public school system grows, so does the appeal of homeschooling.
  • Pope Francis says that a “gay lobby” exists inside the Vatican. Well, color me not surprised.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable. (Thanks to reader Jeff for the tip!)
  • Exposing the marks of counterfeit authority:

Source: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/06/this-n-that_14.html

Does God Change His Mind? – R.C. Sproul

To “change one’s mind,” in the New Testament means to repent. When the Bible speaks of my repenting or your repenting, it means that we are called to change our minds or our dispositions with respect to sin—that we are to turn away from evil. Repent is loaded with these kinds of connotations, and when we talk about God’s repenting, it somehow suggests that God has to turn away from doing something wicked. But that’s not what is always meant when the Bible uses this word.

Using a word like repentance with respect to God raises some problems for us. When the Bible describes God for us, it uses human terms, because the only language God has by which to speak to us about himself is our human language. The theological term for this is anthropomorphic language, which is the use of human forms and structures to describe God. When the Bible talks about God’s feet or the right arm of the Lord, we immediately see that as just a human way of speaking about God. But when we use more abstract terms like repent, then we get all befuddled about it.

What About Moses in Numbers 14?

There’s one sense in which it seems God is changing his mind, and there’s another sense in which the Bible says God never changes his mind because God is omniscient. He knows all things from the beginning, and he is immutable. He is unchanging. There’s no shadow of turning within him. For example, He knows what Moses is going to say to him in Numbers 14 before Moses even opens his mouth to plead for the people. Then after Moses has actually said it, does God suddenly changes his mind? He doesn’t have any more information than he had a moment before. Nothing has changed as far as God’s knowledge or his appraisal of the situation.

What in Moses’ words and actions would possibly have provoked God to change his mind? I think that what we have here is the mystery of providence whereby God ordains not only the ends of things that come to pass but also the means. God sets forth principles in the Bible where he gives threats of judgment to motivate his people to repentance. Sometimes he spells out specifically, “But if you repent, I will not carry out the threat.” He doesn’t always add that qualifier, but it’s there. I think this is one of those instances. It was tacitly understood that God threatens judgment upon these people, but if somebody pleads for them in a priestly way, he will give grace rather than justice. I think that’s at the heart of that mystery.

Is God confused, stumbling through all the different options—Should I do this? Should I not do that? And does he decide upon one course of action and then think, Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea after all, and change his mind? Obviously God is omniscient; God is all wise. God is eternal in his perspective and in his full knowledge of everything. So we don’t change God’s mind. But prayer changes things. It changes us. And there are times in which God waits for us to ask for things because his plan is that we work with him in the glorious process of bringing his will to pass here on earth.

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/does-god-change-his-mind/

Online Theological Resources (Updated)

When it comes to Bible software, I use Logos more than anything else (though I know BibleWorks and Accordance are excellent too).

But what about free online resources? Thankfully, the web has made it possible for almost anyone with a computer to access hundreds of valuable study tools. For people who don’t have immediate access to a sizeable library, that’s great news.

If you’re an avid online Bible student, you are probably already familiar with the ten resources I’ve listed below. But these are the ones that I find most helpful in my own personal study.

Having said that, I’m always looking for new sites, to add even more richness to my online study time. So, if you think of one I’ve missed, be sure to add a comment and mention it.

My Top-Ten Favorite Online Study Resources

1. The John MacArthur Sermon Archive — When it comes to clearly and accurately explaining the Word of God, there is no pastor I trust more than John MacArthur. The fact that he has preached through every verse of the New Testament, and that all of those sermons are available for free online (both in audio and transcript form), means that this resource is as exhaustive as it is valuable. The topical Q&A section is also an expansive resource, giving practical and biblical instruction on a wide variety of issues.

2. The Theological Resource CenterThe featured resource on the site is a growing library of video lectures taught by the TMS faculty. These lectures can be watched, free-of-charge, by anyone with an internet connection. The site currently contains eleven full courses, consisting of more than 200 individual lectures. Over the next few months, the library will grow to include over 20 courses, offering hundreds of hours of seminary-level lecture content. When complete, this online video library will cover a wide range of topics including Bible Survey, Grammar and Exegesis, Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, and Biblical Counseling.

3. BibleStudyTools.com – This website came in handy even when I was a seminary student. I especially appreciated the interlinear Bible which worked great with the corresponding BST Greek and Hebrew fonts. While it is no substitute for Logos, this website provides a number of helpful study tools for free—including commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and lexicons. Similar sites include www.studylight.org, www.e-sword.net, and www.blueletterbible.org.

4. Online Commentaries – There are probably two dozen classic commentary sets available online. One of the most expansive lists of online commentaries (organized by book of the Bible) is found here. Though the majority of these commentaries are older (which is why they are now in the public domain), they still represent a wealth of insightful information about the biblical text.

5. BibleGateway.com – I appreciate two things about Bible Gateway. First, it is one of the easiest-to-use Bible searching websites. Finding passages of Scripture in multiple versions is quick and painless. Second, it is home to the online-edition of the IVP commentaries . This is one of the few modern commentaries available for free on the web.

6. Google Books– Of course, if I want to peruse modern commentaries (or other books) without going to the library, I use Google Books. I am a huge fan of Google Books; and if you’ve never used it before, you really should try it out. It is incredible. Admittedly, most of the modern books are limited to only a “preview.” But, you can still search the entire book; which makes it an extremely useful database. And, sometimes you find a gem, like the full version of John Broadus on Matthew or Martin Luther on The Sermon on the Mount.

Another nice feature (especially for seminary students) is that, if you cite a source from Google Books, you can cite the actual page in your footnotes, and not some long, messy URL.

On a side note, if a page is not viewable in Google books (because of the “preview” limitations), you can often find it at Amazon.com, using the “Look Inside” feature. Partnering the Google Books database with the Amazon.com database results in more information online and fewer trips to the library.

Google Scholar is a related resource from Google. This is not quite as helpful as Google Books, and it’s still in a Beta Version. But in essence, what Google Books is to books, Google Scholar is to journals. So, it can still turn up helpful information, especially if you’re looking for journal articles on a given topic. (Of course, a number of schools make their journals available on their websites. For example, if you’re looking to search TMSJ, you can just click here.)

7. iTunes U – So, technically, this resource utilizes iTunes and not your normal web browser … but it is an incredible resource nonetheless. A significant number of theological institutions (as well as other universities and colleges) have made lectures available for free download through iTunes. Now you can get a free seminary-level education while you commute to work or run on the treadmill.

I’ve personally benefited greatly from some of the Church History lectures that are available from various evangelical seminaries. And it’s fun to know I can “sit in” on a class at MIT or Harvard anytime I want–even if I don’t get official credit for it. (For theological students, another website that is similar to this is, though on a smaller scale, is www.biblicaltraining.org.)

8. Christian Classics Ethereal Library – Speaking of Church History, an area near-and-dear to my heart, the Christian Classics Ethereal Library is undoubtedly the largest collection of historic Christian resources on the web. If I’m looking for something from the church fathers, or Augustine, or Aquinas, or Calvin, or the Puritans, CCEL is usually the first place I look.

(Of course, if I’m looking for stuff related to Charles Spurgeon, no site is better than Phil Johnson’s Spurgeon archive.)

9. Bible.org – This site houses an expansive array of articles, organized by both topic and by book of the Bible. Contributors include well-known scholars like Daniel Wallace, Kenneth Boa, Darrel Bock, Eugene Merrill, and John Walvoord. (The site’s connection to Dallas Theological Seminary is no secret.) Also, this site is the home of the NET Bible, which is notable because of the translation notes that accompany the text.

10. Monergism.com – This site is somewhat similar to www.bible.org, though from a more Reformed perspective. Also, it serves largely as a topic-based portal—directing visitors to helpful articles on a wide array of subjects. The site includes an excellent database of sermon manuscripts, making it especially helpful for Bible study.

Source: http://thecripplegate.com/online-theological-resources-updated/

What Did Peter Mean When He said, “The Day of the Lord Will Come”?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

10 Ἥξει δὲ ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης ἐν ᾗ οἱ οὐρανοὶ ῥοιζηδὸν παρελεύσονται, στοιχεῖα δὲ καυσούμενα λυθήσεται, καὶ γῆ καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ ἔργα οὐχ εὑρεθήσεται. 11 Τούτων οὕτως πάντων λυομένων ποταποὺς δεῖ ὑπάρχειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ἁγίαις ἀναστροφαῖς καὶ εὐσεβείαις 12 προσδοκῶντας καὶ σπεύδοντας τὴν παρουσίαν τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμέρας δι’ ἣν οὐρανοὶ πυρούμενοι λυθήσονται καὶ στοιχεῖα καυσούμενα τήκεται. (2 Peter 3:10-12 NA28)

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with great suddenness and the elements will be burned up and destroyed and the earth and the works in it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed, what sort of people ought you to be in holiness and godliness, 12 awaiting and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and destroyed…

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