Free eBook Download
The amazing prophecies in Ezekiel 38 & 39, have received a lot of attention recently because of current events in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, & Russia. This remarkable prophecy predicts that a great power to the far north of Israel and a coalition of nations will attack Israel and be destroyed supernaturally by God on the mountains of Israel.
This special eBook by my friend, the late Dr. John Weldon, explains to you these incredible prophecies and how current world events point to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the sake of the Gospel,
Dr. John Ankerberg
Category Archives: Reference
10 Essential Pre-Reformation Writings
If there is one area in which young Reformed men preparing for seminary have generally failed to give adequate attention it is to the writings of that period of church history from the Apostles to the Reformation. There are obvious reasons for this. One such reason is that we live on this side of the Reformation where so much theological refinement has occurred. Many newer converts who have just begun to drink deeply of the pure exposition of Scripture in the writings of the Reformers–and in the writings of those who stand on the shoulders of the Reformers–do not have the patience, desire or knowledge base to sift through less than consistent theological expositions in the writings of those leading up to the Reformers. Another reason is that there is little guidance from a Reformed perspective as to what works are beneficial to read from this period, as well as how to read them with a critical eye. It was for this latter reason that the French Reformed theologian of the 17th Century, John Daille, wrote his Treatise Concerning the Right Use of the Fathers. Daille goes to great length to explain the benefits, challenges and errors in the writings of our early church theologians.
It is important for us to understand that the Reformation did not take place in a vacuum. It was B.B. Warfield who explained that “Augustine…gave us the Reformation” and that “the Reformation, inwardly considered, was just the ultimate triumph of Augustine’s doctrine of grace over Augustine’s doctrine of the Church.” Several years ago we interviewed Michael Haykin on Christ the Center to speak about the benefits of studying “The Church Fathers.” In light of all this, below is a list of 10 Pre-Reformation works that I would recommend to every young seminarian and pastor. While many, many others could be recommended, the following works from the Pre-Reformation era have been significant aids to my own Christian life, as well as to my preaching and teaching:
1. Irenaeus Proof of the Apostolic Preaching – Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who was himself a disciple of the Apostle John. There are many helpful observations about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments in this work. Ligon Duncan notes that this is, in a very real sense, the first treatment of Covenant Theology post the apostolic writings.
2. Irenaeus Against Heresies – The greatest single diatribe against Gnosticism–an early heresy in the Church. The Apostle John is believed to have been writing against this error in 1, 2 and 3 John. The strength of this work is the way in which Irenaeus gives us a more detailed explanation of the teaching of the Gnostics, as well as a robust rejection of it based on the truth of Scripture. While Gnostic heresies often sound more like sci-fi than a codified religious system they posed a serious threat to Christianity in the first two Centuries.
3. Justin Martyr The Apologies – While not of the caliber or theological acumen of Origen or Augustine, Justin’s work is important both for the historical setting and for the apologetical argumentation. These works are a defense of Christianity against the attacks of pagan philosophy. The early church historian Eusebius described Justin in the following manner: “Justin was the most noted of those that flourished in those times, who, in the guise of a philosopher, preached the truth of God, and contended for the faith also in his writings.”
4. Augustine City of God – The historical setting alone makes this one of the most important books in all of church history. Augustine wrote this just after Rome fell to the Visgoths in 410; and, he did so, in part, to defend Christianity against attacks that suggested that the fall of Rome is due to the presence of Christians. Additionally, he is defending Christianity against competing religions. In this work, Augustine sets out (in somewhat laboriously comprehensive fashion!) the nature, conflict and discord between the earthly and heavenly cities.
5. Augustine Confessions – One barely needs to emphasize how important this autobiographical work about one of the church’s greatest minds is for the training of men preparing for ministry. The beauty of Confessions is the way in which Augustine weaves together his own testimony in language of theological and devotional prayer to God.
6. Anselm Proslogium – The Proslogium is one of the most masterful apologetical texts in all of church history. In short, it is an explanation of what has been commonly called the Ontological argument for the existence of God.
7. Anselm Cur Deus Homo – One of the most significant work on substitutionary atonement in all of church history. This strength of this work is the ease with which it may be read as well as the potency of the arguments about the necessity of the death of the God-Man. It is a must read for every seminarian and pastor.
8. Athanasius On the Incarnation – One of the most significant works on the two natures of Jesus in all of church history. As was said above about the strength of Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo so too with this work.
9. Chrysostom Homilies on Hebrews – The man whose name means “golden-mouthed” is remembered for his great preaching gifts. Thankfully, we have numerous expository sermon series in print from which to glean expositional insight and homiletical clues. His sermons on Hebrews are among the most well-loved.
10. Bernard of Clairvaux Commentary on the Song of Songs – With the exception of his references to the writings of Augustine, John Calvin cited no one as much as Bernard. The majority of Calvin’s references to Bernard’s writing come from Barnard’s commentary on the Song. It is clear that the Genevan Reformer was well versed in it. Bernard’s commentary on the Song is really a compilation of his expositional sermons on this sweet book of Scripture. It is a seminal work on the Christology reading of the Song in church history. Many of the Puritans appeal to it in their own expositions of the Song.
*This post originally appear at Feeding on Christ.
Barna Update | New Post-Christian Stats & Ranking by Cities
2015 Sees Sharp Rise in Post-Christian Population
Is America a post-Christian nation? Not quite—but in just two years, the percentage of Americans who qualify as “post-Christian” rose by 7 points (from 37% in 2013 to 44% in 2015), bringing the number very near the halfway mark.
Across the United States, cities in every state are becoming more post-Christian—some at a faster rate than others.
What cities are the most “post-Christian” in 2015? How have the rankings changed since 2013—and where does your city fall?
Why You Are Still Alive – The Immune System Explained (video)
Can The Existence and Nature of Hell Be Defended? (Free Bible Insert)
While the Bible clearly describes Hell as a reality, many of our non-believing friends and family members are unsurprisingly repulsed by the idea. Why would God create such a place, and what would ever provoke Him to send people there? As Christians, we know our ultimate authority is God’s Word, so it’s tempting to simply trust what God has revealed without any further philosophical investigation. But we can prepare ourselves for those who reject the authority or teaching of the Bible by examining the evidence from Scripture along with the rational explanations and philosophical foundations supporting the Biblical claims. God has commanded us to be ready to defend the tough truths of the Christian worldview as we share our hope in Jesus:
1 Peter 3:15-16
…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence
So let’s take a look at some common objections to the existence and nature of Hell as we defend the truth of the Christian Worldview.
Worship Song Ratings Page
This Worship Song Ratings page is here to help churches, pastors and worship leaders in choosing music for their churches. The ratings on this page are based solely on the lyrics of the songs we have rated, not the music. Music is a subjective thing for most people and hard to rate for everyone. But the lyrical content can be rated as to how well it upholds Biblical teachings … or not.
SRN June 2014 Update and Newsletter – Chris Lawson
With the growing trend of many Christians, professing Christians, and even non-Christians involving themselves in Christianized New Age literature (God Calling, Jesus Calling, Have Heart, The Jesus Letters, etc.) and mystical occult-oriented practices (centering prayer, breath prayers, Christian mantras, Christian yoga, Christian séances, passive listening prayer-journaling, etc.) I thought it might be helpful to write more on how these types of things can be an open Gateway to Ghosts, Hauntings and Apparitions. It is not just undiscerning adults that are engaging in such things, undiscerning youth are too. Effectively targeted by Emerging Church and New Spirituality leaders, many people are falling prey to such things.
My June 2014 SRN Newsletter (PDF) is now online and an HTML page will be available soon, on my new SRN website.
Gateway to Ghosts, Hauntings and Apparitions (Part 2): Resistance Phenomenon and God’s Condemnation of Occultism – By Chris Lawson
Spiritualism: Satan’s Tool – By Ben Alexander
I do recommend reading PART 1 (April 2014 SRN Newsletter) of this series first, to gain a clear understanding of God’s loving care toward us, and the serious consequences of involving oneself and one’s family in occult practices, even when they are made to look “Christian.”
Gateway to Ghosts, Hauntings and Apparitions (Part 1): Occultism and the Paranormal – By Chris Lawson
One of Satan’s Final Masquerades – By Sandy Simpson
Mantra Meditation: A Warning! – By Chris Lawson
Mantra Meditation – By Ray Yungen
Lastly, I am happy to say that we have rounded the corner after six long months of behind the scenes footwork. A small note about this is available on page 2 of the June newsletter.
Proclaiming the Gospel and Encouraging Biblical Discernment!