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This World Is Under Sovereignty PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 April 2013 23:11


Petra's "Whole World"

The history-making Christian Rock and praise band Petra during their 30+ years as a band produced some of the most biblical lyrics in their songs that I have ever heard in Christian music. I would have to start a whole new website to adequately pay homage to Petra's music, which ultimately would be to give glory to God for being lifted up through their music. And indeed there are entire dedicatory Petra fan sites out there, but I would like to post one video here of a song of theirs called "Whole World," which I have been listening to over and over recently. The lyrics (printed below) ultimately speak for themselves.

This world truly is under sovereignty, and mankind does not get to decide (and certainly neither will violent men nor terrorists, who so often fill our headlines) when the end will come, despite the "doomsday prophets in the news". God alone will decide that, and He will not bring about the end by any natural means which could possibly be interpreted as human doing or a natural processes (the book of Revelation is clear about that). And when God does bring the end, it will be in justice and righteous judgment; and it will be decisive and final. Such is God's soveriegnty over this world. There can be no mistake. God's ways are not mankind's ways.

Hearts are failing left and right
Children fear this planet's plight
Fatalistic fears abound
And take their toll without a sound

But through the vague uncertainty
Comes a bold assurity
This world is under sovereignity
Divinely ordered destiny

He holds this world together
With the word of His power
Safe within His hands
'Til its own appointed hour

He's still got the whole world in His hands tonight
And only He knows where the sparrow lands tonight
And nothing in this world can stop His plans tonight
'Cause He's still got the whole world in His hands In His hands tonight

Humanistic lies lament
The holocaust is imminent
Doomsday prophets in the news
Predicting who will light the fuse

The fate of His creation
Isn't subject to a man
The final consummation
Is according to His plan

He's still got you, He's still got me In His hands tonight

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 November 2015 00:51
 
Holiness Should Not Be a Dull or Repulsive Concept! PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 April 2013 21:42


I have noticed over time that as we study the Bible, especially if we have done so often, we occasionally make the mistake of letting certain words fall into a category of "words we are too 'familiar' with for our own good". And by "familiar" here I mean it in a purely ironic sense in instances where we think that we know a word's meaning rather well when infact we really may not. Most of these are "big words" that are used so broadly and so often in Christianity that they may seem to mean everything and nothing at the same time, and can include words like holiness, righteousness, goodness, purity, etc. It's almost like the somewhat humorous adage which states that "Saying that everyone is 'special' is the same as saying that no one is!". In that case we are in danger of having the word "special" lose its meaning to us and when we encounter the word we are either skeptical of it, don't see how something actually can be special (particular, peculiar, and to be appreciated), or simply don't understand what is meant.

In this case I want to deal with the words "holy" and "holiness". Later in a following article I will apply it very specifically in the context of a particular passage of scripture (as all the Bible's words ought to be) to show a very meaningful intent and usage of the word, which has (more often than we may think) a very specific and literal meaning, according even to the etymology and actual use of the word (which has a basic meaning of being set-apart; Hebrew: Qadosh, Greek: Hagios).

The words holy or holiness, first of all, are indeed in some passages applied very broadly as a description for a manner or way in which we should life, and since it is meant to apply to all areas of our life it is necessarily broad in its application in some passages. Yet if we let it, the words "holy" and "holiness" can become droning words that very seldom hit home with any meaning for us, especially if we hear the word misappropriated by someone we spoke with, by a pastor in a sermon we heard, or in our own misunderstandings of the Word of God. This can even happen if we have ever felt like a victim of legalism in which we have been accused on not being "holy" enough. In that case however if we actually allow offense from such occasions to be pervasive in our life we may harden our hearts to holiness which is a very, very, very bad thing! The scripture clearly says, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14; NKJV)

Pastor and preacher John Bevere in his video sermon series, that was recorded as a supplemental teaching for his book A Heart Ablaze, discusses the very important role of holiness in our lives. I heartily recommend his teaching on A Heart Ablaze by the way! The teaching literally changed my life and my understanding of holiness and sanctification forever. In connection to Hebrews 12:14 and our problem of encountering offenses when holiness has been presented to us as something bland or some unattainable demand, and occasionally harshly used against us by means of legalists, John Bevere in one of his sermons for A Heart Ablaze quotes a relevent proverb which says, "A dog that has been scalded by boiling water will fear even the cool water". Water is essential to life but if you have been burned once you may be hesitant to go back to it. However we must see that there is cool water to be found, and know that it is essential to our life! Likewise we cannot be afraid of seeking after holiness because without it we will never see God!

There are so many aspects of holiness that I will have to cover different portions and subtopics as it comes up but I assure you that holiness means some very real, relevant, specific, and powerful things for your life!

I have already created two teachings in what I called "The Holiness Series" which you can read at the links below if you would like to dive into this topic more:

1.  Being a People of One Thing
2.  Sanctification Unto God

I will over time bring up more specific topics and post them. Those two papers above are of practical and broad application. My next article will be on a specific and interesting use of the word "holy" in connection to Aaron as the High Priest who God appointed in the book of Exodus which I think will actually inform us greater of the broader applications of the word. Here in this article though I just wanted to open this topic up again to say that holiness should be very alive and full of meaning in our thoughts, heart, and mind and should never be a dull or repulsive concept to us! I hope that in these studies you may come to understand holiness better and allow the holiness of God to sanctify you and set you apart for the purpose He that has ordained for you in Jesus Christ His Son!

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 14:00
 
Good Friday: Tenebrae PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 April 2013 12:46


Good Friday: Tenebrae (Service of Shadows)

This past Friday it was Good Friday. As the weekend was approaching I had a sudden urge to experience a service that was a bit more traditional than I am normally accustomed to, and so I decided to look around for any Churches that were having liturgical services in my area. This year I really wanted to avoid just thinking of Easter on "the day of" yet only scarcely thinking of it before or after that glorious Sunday. And since I do not attend a Church that observes Lent I do not have much opportunity to observe that in a congregational setting, and I really wanted to dive deeper and meditate on Easter (better yet: Resurrection Sunday), as well as the entire season leading up to Resurrection Sunday, to reverently respect what Christ did for me.

So after looking around I ended up attending a night service at a nearby Lutheran Church where they held a very reverent and moving Good Friday "Service of Shadows" (Tenebrae), where candles are lit at the beginning of the service and messianic prophecies (from the Psalms and Isaiah) of Christ's suffering and judgment on our behalf, in order to purchase our atonement, are read. After each passage is read one candle is put out and the lights are dimmed a little more. There was also about half a minute of silent reflection for the congregation after each scripture was read and the flame was extinguished.

The message given in the middle of the service was on Christ's sufficiency and being all-in-all as the Alpha and Omega, as being everything that we need and the only way to eternal life. By the end of the service the entire sanctuary was dark and one candle remained shining. Then there was a closing hymn and also a moment for silent meditation on Christ's sacrifice, and then everyone left the darkened sanctuary in complete silence while thinking on Christ's great sacrifice and love for us.

What an experience! So different from noisy sanctuaries with background music as you walk out and feel-good messages. It is sometimes good to soberly reflect on what the Lord has done for us and to bow our hearts before Him. Yet strangely, if you do, it will warm your heart even more and increase your awe and reverence for the great and loving God whom we serve, and who gave His life up for us.

Tenebrae Bulletin


"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives within me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Soli Deo Gloria!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 20:14
 
Robert Dick Wilson's "Is the Higher Criticism Scholarly?" PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 08:37



IS THE HIGHER CRITICISM SCHOLARLY?

By Robert Dick Wilson, Ph.D., D.D.

Professor of Semitic Philology in Princeton Theological Seminary

[Originally Published in 1922]

[See footnotes below for web format credit]


FOREWORD

"As a man is interested in his roses, and doesn't think of the thorns," so he studied language. That was Professor Wilson's answer to my query when I expressed amazement at the range of his linguistic explorations, covering some forty-five languages and dialects. His answer helped me to understand.

And as we sat by the fire in his study at Princeton, with the signs of his labor all around us, on shelves, and tables, and desk – yes, and on the floor, I came to understand still better the stories I had heard of his learning, and of his masterly methods in the defense of the Scriptures.

When he was a little chap, four years old, son of a leading merchant in the town of Indiana Pa., he could read. He began to go to school at five, and at eight he had read, among other books, Rawlinson's "Ancient Monarchies."

That merchant father was a man of sound culture and good sense. He was president of the board of trade of his county, and president of the local school board – with ten children in his own home.

When Robert was nine years old he and a brother were taken by their father on a journey to Philadelphia. One of the exciting and memorable experiences of the trip was the visit to a bookstore on Chestnut Street, where the father left the boys for a little while, so that they might select a number of books of their own choosing. When he returned they had gathered about fifty volumes, including Prescott, Robertson, J. S. C. Abbot, and similar standard works – examples of the "light reading" that these children enjoyed.

Robert prepared for college in the Indiana public school, and was ready for the sophomore class at Princeton when he was fourteen years old. However, he did not enter his class – the class of 1876 – until he was at the advanced age of seventeen, for as he naively and rather apologetically remarked: "I had a good deal of headache between my fourteenth and twentieth years, and then typhoid. After that my headache disappeared. I really couldn't half do my work before that."

In college young Wilson specialized in language, psychology, and mathematics. In such Bible courses as he then studied he says he got "a very low grade of 90, which pulled down my average."

 To him language was the gateway into alluring fields that drew him strongly. He prepared himself for college in French, German, and Greek, learned Hebrew by himself, and took a hundred-dollar prize in Hebrew when he entered the seminary.

"But how did you ever do it?" I asked. The professor's eyes twinkled, and he smiled at my surprise. 
"Well you see," he replied, "I used my spare time. When I went out for a walk I would take a grammar with me, and when I sat down to rest, I would take out the book and study it a little, and learn what I could. I made up my mind that I wanted to read the great classics in the originals, so I just learned the languages in order to do that.

"I would read a grammar through, look up the examples, making notes as I went along, and I wouldn't pass by anything until I could explain it. I never learned long lists of words, but I would read a page through, recall the words I didn't know, and then look them up. I read anything that I thought would be interesting to me if it were in English. I got so interested in the story that I was unconscious of the labor – as a man is interested in his roses, and doesn't think of the thorns. So I learned Greek, Latin, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Biblical Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, and so on."

Now Robert Dick Wilson in all these crowded years was not clear concerning his true calling in life. Before he went to the seminary, he and a brother of his gave much time to evangelism. At Indiana they were in such work for a year and a half, and with ample evidence of God's blessings upon their labors, in great numbers of souls led to Christ. That work was particularly attractive to young Wilson, on fire as he was, and is today [1922], for the furtherance of the Gospel.

But his seminary studies caused him to feel that there was a great need for a type of Bible scholarship that was not so subjective as much of the teaching he heard, but objective and thorough in dealing with facts that could be known only by exhaustive research over the whole range of ancient languages related to the Bible. He faced the question seriously – should he go on in the highly attractive and necessary work of preaching in which he had been so greatly blessed, or was God calling him to years of toil in comparative obscurity and seclusion, in order to let his life count for the defense of the Scriptures on the basis of linguistic and historical facts, which only arduous and patient toil could reveal? He chose under God's guiding hand the life of a scholar, and thousands have thanked God, and other thousands will yet thank him, that this servant of His said, "Here am I; send me"

What Robert Dick Wilson then believed, and now believes with all his heart is this: that textual and historical Biblical controversies should be taken out of the region of subjective personal opinion, into the region of objective, clearly attested fact. It was to this task that he set himself, and no labor was to be too long or tedious or exacting to enable him to reach that goal.

He could not at that time learn Babylonian in America, so he went to Heidelberg, determined to learn every language that would enable him the better to understand the Scriptures, and to make his investigations in original documents.

So to Babylonian he added Ethiopic, Phoenician, all the Aramaic dialects, and Egyptian, Coptic, Persian, and Armenian. He studied in Berlin with Schrader, who was Delitzsch's teacher, called the father of Assyriology. He studied his Arabic and Syriac under Sachau, and Arabic under Jahn and Dieterichi; Hebrew under Dillmann and Strack, and Egyptian under Brugsch. He became conversant with some twenty-six languages in these years devoted to language acquisition.

For Professor Wilson had a plan, carefully worked out during his student days in Germany, under which he proposed to spend fifteen years in language study, fifteen years in Biblical textual study in the light of the findings of his studies in philology, and then, God willing, fifteen years of writing out his findings, so that others might share them with him. And now it is our privilege in this booklet to read, in terms that we can all understand, some of the gloriously reassuring facts that he has found in his long pilgrimage through ancient days.

Just a single glimpse of how long it has been startles the superficial and the scholarly student as well, when either learn that in order to answer a single sentence of a noted destructive critic, Professor Wilson read all the extant ancient literature of the period under discussion in numerous languages, and collated no less than one hundred thousand citations from that literature in order to get at the basic facts, which when found showed that the critic was wrong. It was largely a case of superior scholarship – in accordance with a good definition of the scholarly temperament – "that rare combination of profound insight, sustained attention, microscopic accuracy, iron tenacity, and disinterested pursuit of truth, which characterizes the great scientific discoverer or the great historian."

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2013 11:26
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Quotes about the Scriptures PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 25 June 2011 22:48


"When the French monarch proposed the persecution of Christians in his dominion, an old statesman and warrior said to him, 'Sire, the church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.' So the hammers of infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures. If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die and the book still lives."

- Horace L. Hastings (Quoting Theodore Beza [1519-1605])

"The greatest proof that the Bible is inspired is that it has withstood so much bad preaching!"

- A.T. Robertson (1863-1934)


"When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, "It is
talking to me, and about me."

-Soren Kierkegaard


"The letter of Scripture is a veil just as much as it is a revelation; hiding while it reveals, and yet revealing while it hides."

—Andrew Jukes

More quotes about the Scripture may be found at the following link: 

http://www.theologue.org/QuotesAboutBible.htm

Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2013 11:34
 
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