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Concerning the upcoming year:

January 12, 2014 Leave a comment

My hope is that I will eventually (and finally) reach the end of the Westminster Confession of Faith. While I don’t want to say that you should expect a chapter published per week, that is my goal.

However, this is something that you can expect. I have made a commitment to read forty books by year’s end. You can view my progress here. As I finish each book, I plan to write a short (300 – 400 words) review. As is often the case, a review draws out the author’s disposition to the work; it always seems that a solid opponent provides the clearest balance against which one can read somebody’s latent opinions.

I have already read two books this year (The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, Richard B. Hays [2005] and Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practices in Defense of our Faith, K. Scott Oliphint [2013]). My life outside of WordPress is quite busy. Randall Johnson, who blogs here and here, has asked me to teach a class concerning the person and work of Christ. This class will occupy a large amount of time between now and March. That class, along with my seminary courseload, work schedule, and wedding planning, will  mean that completing the books I want to read will be difficult enough. My hope is to complete each review within a week of finishing the book. If I find the time (and, to be honest, the determination), I will complete the reviews for Hays’ and Oliphints’ books, both of which, if you would like a short review, were excellent.

Addendum, my class has been cancelled. However, I intend to publish my notes throughout the next semester.

Categories: Life, MGMT, Writing

December 3, 2012 2 comments
Categories: Life, MGMT Tags: ,

Into the Future

November 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Endgoal:  PhD, either in Systematic Theology, Church History, or something similar. I have an academic mind. I write. I think. I teach. That’s me. Thinking long-term, that’s my most immediate aim after a Masters program. Just thinking out loud, I want to write. My passion is to see the Church of the risen and living Lord united in spirit and in truth, in the same way as Jesus and the Father are unified. That is, we should be horizontally related to each other in the same way that Jesus and the Father are horizontally related to each other. For, we are one body composed of many members. The members of a body ought to work towards one end. When it does not, something is amiss in the body. Further, beyond horizontal unity, we should be united, as Jesus is to the Father, to Jesus himself. As Jesus submits to the will of the Father, we submit to will of Jesus. This all I get from John 17:20-24. That’s my passion. That’s what I want to see happen. That’s what I believe, since my freshman year (going on four years now), that the Father through the Spirit has impressed on me through the reading and study of his Word.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Those are some quick thoughts going through my head right now.

Battling the Unbelief of Lust

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Battling the Unbelief of Lust

The great error that I am trying to explode in these messages is the error that says, faith in God is one thing and the fight for holiness is another thing. Faith gets you to heaven and holiness gets you rewards. You get your justification by faith, and you get your sanctification by works. You start the Christian life in the power of the Spirit, you press on in the efforts of the flesh. This is the great evangelical error of our day. The battle for obedience is optional, they say, because only faith is necessary for salvation.

Our response: the battle for obedience is absolutely necessary for salvation because it IS the fight of faith. The battle against lust is absolutely necessary for salvation because it is the battle against unbelief. Faith alone delivers from hell and the faith that delivers from hell delivers from lust.

John Piper

October 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Update:

August 21, 2012 3 comments

Hey, guys. This blog will be taking a new direction–although it is understood that any change in non-posting would be a new direction.

That said, this blog will begin to compile research and notes that I make on books that I read. I hope to begin writing serious work again soon. One topic that has troubled me for years is the denominational system, so expect to see Ecclesiological books.

Thanks for your continued reading.

In Christ,

JP

Categories: Life, MGMT

An apology:

A little under a month ago, I experienced laptop difficulties. As such, I was unable to access WordPress for an extended period of time. Although I cannot promise to post as scheduled, I can assure you that at least now the possibility is realistic. You may expect to see various things posted from this point.

Thanks for still following me,

In Christ,

Josh

Categories: Life, MGMT Tags: ,

I’m beginning to compile and undertake research.

I have a number of topic about which I plan to write. Therefore, I have begun to compile research, to ponder the Scripture, and to think about the connections therein, and can I say that I am excited about this? As a teacher in the church to however small a group, my more purpose in this role is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and to gain a fuller understanding of Christ, his word, and his church so that we are not thrown around by false doctrine and misinterpretations of the Word (Ephesians 4:11-14).

Among the topics that I am beginning to research and think about specifically are:

  • Identity and purpose in Christ:  bondservants, children, and priests of the King, as described in Ephesians 5:1, 2.
  • Civil disobedience and civil obedience in the church:  when, if ever, is civil disobedience permitted, to what degree, and for what reasons?
  • The denominational system:  is it a promoted good in the Scripture, is it a permitted good, is it a necessary evil? What do the Scriptures say about denominations, and how do they relate to the unity or disunity of the body?
  • Systematic works on Theology, Christology, Pneumatology, Hamartiology, and Ecclesiology.

I am excited about these things. I hope to have rough drafts of at least one of these ideas ready by June.

Updated Statement of Faith.

Question: A Christian’s Struggle with Pornography and the Foundation of Freedom

February 15, 2012 Leave a comment

An anonymous questioner asked me the following:

Pornography. How to break it? I honestly have the desire to, and I sometimes do for a couple weeks tops. But it always finds its way back. It’s so deeply embedded, and it’s messed me up psychologically. Need deliverance!

The following is my response:

Before we go further, let me begin by making this as clear as I possibly can:  nothing I say to you will have absolutely any value unless you are disciple of Christ, by which I mean that your faith for salvation is in the effective, redemptive work of Christ on the cross evidenced by his resurrection. Unless that it is the ultimate reality that guides your life, any desire that you have to flee from sin will be ultimately me-focused, egoistic, prideful, and sinful. It will do you no good to flee from unrighteousness to righteousness unless your fleeing to righteousness is through the blood of Jesus Christ by the power of the indwelling and active Holy Spirit.

So, now that we have established that initial framework, let’s continue. First, I want to encourage you in Christ. The nature of Christ’s death and resurrection is world-changing. It effectively bears the wrath of every sin past, present, and future of every believer in Christ that has, is, or will ever exist.

Because Christ, as a perfect lamb without spot, bore the sins of all the children of God on the cross, every sin that every believer will commit is atoned for. It is covered. It is wiped away. And because Christ was resurrected, we know that his death was sufficient for our salvation.

In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His (the Father’s) grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. . .

Ephesians 1:7, 8

Through and in Christ we have redemption. We have been bought from the grave. For that reason Paul reminds us that in Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Christ’s death was sufficient to cover the sins of the children of God.

Now, there are a few reasons that God has saved us from our sins. The first, and primary, one is this:

  • “According to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5b, 6a)

God is pleased in redeeming his children, and he does so that there may be eternal praise in his grace, which is accomplished in eternity. Meaning, the more aware we are of how sinful we are the more we are able to exult in the glory of God’s grace. When we being to understand the magnitude of the nature of God’s holiness and the magnitude of the nature of our sin and the inescapable fact that God’s grace is infinitely larger than our sin, when that begins to occur, we exult in his grace more and more daily. That is why Peter will tell the believers in his second epistle to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). As we more fully understand our sin and God’s holiness, we grow in the knowledge of God and we grow in the grace of God, for then we realize how desperately we need it. In Christ’s words,

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

Luke 7:47

A particular child of God is forgiven no more and no less than any other child of God; however, one particular child of God may be far more aware of his own sins, and as a result of God’s grace, than another.

So, looking back to the Ephesians 1 verse, as we more fully understand the depths to which God went to secure the redemption of his children, the more fully are we able to exult in his grace and in his glory, which is a driving motivation behind salvation.

The second driving force behind our salvation is a more practical, but only because of its nature, force for our salvation, and one that may help you more:

  • “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:4

We were chosen, saved, indwelt with the Spirit, to be holy and blameless. That is what we strive for by the power of the Spirit upon receiving salvation. Therefore, as Paul exhorts in 1Corinthians,

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

Now, I want to draw to your mind some key things that will help you.

  1. You were bought at a price, and therefore you are not your own. What price was it at which we were bought? It was with the precious blood of Christ, which is much more precious than gold or silver. (1 Peter 1:18-21) Keep in mind this precious blood of Christ whenever you are faced with temptation. Know that this blood was shed for every sin you and I will ever commit.
  2. If you are in love with the things of this world, the love of the Father is not in you. John is perfectly clear here:  the love of the Father does not share a suite in your heart for the love of this world. It is all or nothing here. In the same way that Christ calls us to abandon all to follow him, we must abandon our affections for the things of this world to love God as we should, including the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (1 John 2:15-17)
  3. We are set free from the things of this world by setting our eyes on heavenly things. That is how we avoid temptation, or at least walk in the power that the Spirit grants to rise above it. Paraphrasing John Piper, a little soul makes little temptations mighty and huge, whereas a large soul makes large temptations tiny and worthless. (Colossians 3:1-4)

There is hope. But that hope is only through the gospel of Jesus Christ, through which gospel we have been sealed by the Spirit and enabled to walk in the all-enabling power of God.

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