Ravi Zacharias (1946 – 2020)

This man wrote the book that led me to see Jesus of Nazareth as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16).

A few years ago before his young colleague Nabeel Qureshi went to be with the Lord, I told Nabeel about the impact of Ravi’s ministry on me when I was 16. Nabeel replied saying that he would let Ravi know since they were currently driving in a car together.

That was nice, but I look forward to telling Ravi in person one day—in glory.

True Catholicity

J.H. Merle d’Aubigné:

The residence of Tyndale and his friends in foreign countries, and the connections there formed with pious Christians, testify to the fraternal spirit which the reformation then restored to the church. It is in Protestantism that true catholicity is to be found. The Romish Church is not a catholic church. Separated from the churches of the East, which are the oldest in Christendom, and from the reformed churches, which are the purest, it is nothing but a sect, and that a degenerate one. A church which should profess to believe in an episcopal unity, but which kept itself separate from the episcopacy of Rome and of the East; and from the evangelical churches, would be no longer a catholic church; it would be a sect more sectarian still than that of the Vatican, a fragment of a fragment. The church of the Saviour requires a truer, a diviner unity than that of priests, who condemn one another. It was the reformers, and particularly Tyndale, who proclaimed throughout Christendom the existence of a body of Christ, of which all the children of God are members. The disciples of the reformation are the true Catholics (The Reformation in England, Vol. I, p. 367).

Holidays in the Reformed Tradition

Introduction

Many Christians in Reformed churches today fall into two categories with regards to Christian holidays: staunch rejection of them as not Reformed or uncritical observance of them. In this position paper, my aim is to demonstrate that Christian holidays, specifically what have been called the five evangelical feast days, are both historically Reformed and profitable for the Church today.

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Favorite Books A.D. 2019

This is the fifth year that I have tracked my reading, both recording my favorite books and also my overall reading on Goodreads. Previous years: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.

  1. Institutes of the Christian ReligionJohn Calvin (Beveridge trans.)
  2. Principle of ProtestantismPhilip Schaff
  3. Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Vols. I, II, III (particularly Vol. III)
  4. Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s SupperKeith Mathison
  5. Andrew and the FiredrakeDouglas Wilson
  6. Reformed DogmaticsHeinrich Heppe
  7. Can We Trust the Gospels? Peter J. Williams
  8. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American WestStephen Ambrose
  9. A Failure of NerveEdwin Friedman
  10. The Theopolitan VisionPeter Leithart
  11. The Virtue of NationalismYoram Hazony

Mary, Our Example

This exhortation was given on December 8, 2019 at Christ Church Downtown.

Many years ago, a messenger of God named Gabriel visited a young virgin in the city of Nazareth. Her name was Mary, and she was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.

After greeting Mary and comforting her, the angel Gabriel presented her with a message from the Lord:

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:31–33).

“But how can this be?” asked Mary in all sincerity, “since I do not know a man?”

Gabriel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).

And Mary, in all meekness and humility, responded to the greatest mystery of our faith saying: “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38).

This Lord’s Day I want us to consider the Virgin Mary, our example in the faith.

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Loveless Orthodoxy

 

This sermon was preached at Christ Church Downtown on September 15, 2019 in Moscow, ID.

The Text

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,

These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Rev. 2:1-7).

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Postmillennialism That Counts

The following exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown. 

Here at Christ Church, many of us hold to an eschatological position called ‘postmillennialism.’  Postmillennialism, put simply, is the optimistic belief that the gospel will be victorious in history, and that the nations of the earth will be largely won to Christ prior to His return in the end.

This is not a new doctrine in Church history. From Athanasius to Calvin, many have found this truth in their study of the Scriptures. And as an evangelical church in the Reformed tradition, we too share this vision. While you may only hear a sermon specifically on this topic from time to time, this confident attitude and expectation permeates how we worship, how we raise our children, how we work, and how we generally live in our community.

But sometimes, even though this conviction undergirds much of our activity, we can forget this great hope and expectation in the busyness of our daily lives as husbands, wives, parents, children, students, and employees. It is one thing to intellectually agree that by God’s grace, the world will be won, someday, down the line, and in a future that you can barely imagine. It is another thing to live, and work, and fellowship, and study, and evangelize, praying and expecting to see this happen in front of your own eyes.

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Calvin on the Sabbath

Foundational to right worship and liturgical practices is an undergirding conviction regarding when to gather for worship and what this day looks like. The fourth commandment in the Decalogue reads, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Thereforethe Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Ex. 20:8-11). This commandant of the Jewish Sabbath under the Old Covenant is fairly clear and straightforward. But how does it relate to the New Covenant and what Christians refer to as ‘the Lord’s Day’?

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The Memory of the Righteous

The following exhortation was given at Christ Church Downtown.

Proverbs 10:7 reads, “The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.”

Or put another way, the name of the righteous is blessed in being remembered—there’s memory of it, while the name of the wicked will perish, being ultimately forgotten.

Now one can think of many infamous and wicked men, such as Hitler, and ask then why their names live on; while countless missionaries or ordinary Christians who led many to the Lord in their lifetimes have been forgotten by their communities and even their families.

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Are You Wicked or Wise?

The following was preached at Christ Church Downtown during our time of exhortation prior to our confession of sin and assurance of pardon.

“He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning” (Proverbs 9:7-9).

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