Pollination and Insuppressible Glory

The spectacular footage in this clip from 3.16 on led me to marvel, and to worship God: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1) Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg  honors a blend of evolutionary thought mingled with the neo-pagan mysticism of the Gaia hypothesis, suppressing the truth by not giving honour to God as God, nor giving thanks to Him (Rom. 1:18-21). But the footage reveals tremendous intricacy and mystery declaring God’s glory all around us, even in a groaning, fallen creation (Rom. 8:22). How incredibly beautiful heavenly glory must be. How incredibly beautiful and marvelous the new creation will be!

–from the archives

The Greatest Promotion

latimer-ridley-woodcut-detailThe English Reformer Hugh Latimer (c.1487-1555) wrote the following to his friend and fellow minister, Nicholas Ridley, as they sat imprisoned awaiting a likely death penalty by burning during the reign of Queen Mary:

“Be of good cheer in the Lord, remember what he requires of you, and what he promises you. Our common enemy will do no more than God will permit him. “God is faithful, which will not suffer us to be tempted above our strength,” &c. They can but kill the body, which must die regardless. They cannot even do that when they want, but when God wills, when the appointed time has come… Give a reasonable account of your faith, if they will quietly hear you; if not, you know, in a wicked place of judgment a man may keep silence following the example of Christ. Don’t let them deceive you… with their fallacies. As Paul says, “Let no man deceive you.” Continue reading

A Good Elder

The Ordination of Elders in a Scottish Kirk, 1891 “At the meetings of Session, his genial temper, his strong good sense, his business habits, and his familiarity with the law and practice of the church made him a model clerk.

But, it was in his relations to the congregation generally, and to the members residing in his own district in particular, that his value as an elder most strikingly appeared. He was always ready with a warm welcome to every new member, and had a kind word even for the stranger who might turn aside to worship in the New North for a single day. His presence at both services on Sabbath could be confidently reckoned on; and those who attended the prayer meeting will not soon forget the simplicity, the directness, and the fervor of his prayers. Continue reading

Thinking About Jesus

Open Bible“Brothers and sisters, we ought to think of Jesus Christ as we do of God, as judge of the living and the dead. And we ought not to belittle the one who is our salvation, for when we belittle him, we also hope to receive but little. And those who listen as though these are small matters do wrong, and we also do wrong, when we fail to acknowledge from where and by whom and to what place we were called, and how much suffering Jesus Christ endured for our sake.

What repayment, then shall we give to him, or what fruit worthy of what he has given to us? And how many holy acts do we owe him? For he has given us the light; as a father he has called us children; he saved us when we were perishing. What praise, then, shall we give to him, or what repayment in return for what we have received? Our minds were blinded, and we worshiped stones and wood and gold and silver and brass, things made by humans; indeed, our whole life was nothing but death. Continue reading

New Banner Books and Giveaway

The Banner of Truth has some good things out this month:

The_Mouth_of_God Sinclair Ferguson’s latest is now out. From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading and Applying the Bible is the first fruits of Ferguson’s retirement from full time pastoral ministry. The book discusses how the Bible as we know it came into being, why we should trust it, and how our lives will look different as a result: “Why the Bible? The brief answer is that Christians believe God communicates through the Bible. He reveals himself in its pages, speaks in its sentences and does so in order to bring us to trust, know, and love him. Through the Bible God makes himself known to us, just as we make our thoughts and plans known to others through the words we speak. To change the metaphor, it acts as the lens through which we begin to see who he is, what he has done for us, and what his will is for our lives. Continue reading

Morality without Godliness?

Dr MLJ“You cannot have morality without godliness. There in a phrase, it seems to me, I have indicated the whole trouble during the last fifty years in particular. There are good people in the land who are very much concerned about morality; but they are not concerned about godliness. You simply cannot have morality, finally, without godliness. And the last half century has proved that to the very hilt. If we go back a hundred years and more we find that the great emphasis was upon godliness. But then a generation came which said in effect, Morality is very good and it is most essential for the country, but of course we do not want this godliness any longer; we no longer believe in the supernatural, we do not believe in miracles, we do not believe that Christ is the Son of God–He was no more than a great moral teacher–and so, of course, we must shed all this godly part of it. And they did so. They thought that they could preserve morality without the godliness. But you see what has happened. Continue reading

What Does Faith Look Like?

latimer-ridley-woodcut-detailWhat does faith look like in the Christian life? What is its character? The Westminster Confession of Faith summarizes Scripture telling us that saving faith “is different in degrees, weak or strong.”

We can see these contrasts both between Christians, and in any individual Christian. Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were both courageous in faith during the English Reformation, yet at the point of martyrdom, at the stake to be burned, Ridley was struggling, weak in faith, very much in need of the encouragement of Latimer, his brother in Christ: “Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out.” The apostle Peter was so weak in faith as to flat out deny Christ to the servant girl; weeks later, by grace, he was strong in faith, fearlessly “street preaching” in the public square in Jerusalem, in the heart of the city that had crucified Jesus. Continue reading

Understanding Faith

Weltchronik_Fulda_Aa88_317r_detailHave you ever thought about what saving faith is or what it does? God’s Word tells us that faith is a gift of grace: our faith has been obtained “by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1) It is something given to us—without our having done anything to merit it. The theologian Thomas Boston describes our receiving faith this way: “We are born spiritually blind, and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace… There is, in the unrenewed will, an utter inability for what is truly good and acceptable in God’s sight.” Even elect souls attempt to resist “when the Spirit of the Lord is at work, to bring them from the power of Satan unto God.” God’s Word plainly declares our inability to create or conjure up spiritual life, including faith, from within. Continue reading