Friday, February 8, 2019
Monday, February 4, 2019
The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors is a compilation of yearly presentations given
by Martyn Lloyd-Jones at the Puritan Studies and Westminster Conferences between 1959 and 1978.
The Doctor ranges widely over the history of Reformed Christianity from the Reformation to the nineteenth century, drawing lessons from major figures like Calvin and Knox, Bunyan and Owen, Edwards and Whitefield, and from lesser known men such as Henry Jacob, John Glas and Robert Sandeman.
I've been a serious disciple of Lloyd-Jones' teaching for several years now, listening to his sermons daily which have been recorded for posterity sake on mljtrust.org. He has been called the last of the Puritan preachers for good reason. Not only is his grasp of doctrine sound and convincing, you can hear in his voice what Whitefield called 'the thunder, the lightning and the rainbow' of Spirit inspired prophesying, something that is sorely lacking in the modern church of feel good pluralism and liberalism that all but denies the Doctrine of Sin. And if Christ came not to save humanity from its sin and condemnation through the self sacrificial atonement of the cross, what then? So after reading several of his books, one which I reviewed here, it only seems logical that a very late bloomer like me should come to this book, The Puritans, with a desperate need for a solid starting point from which to survey Protestant church history because studying and reading doctrine exclusively only leaves you lopsided or walking around in circles like a man with one foot tied to the floor.
|John Knox (1513-1572)|
Hard times require a hard gospel. Christ himself said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth: I did not come to bring peace but a sword." -- Matthew 10:34.
The 2015 documentary, Knox, spotlights the political and religious turmoil that this Scottish Reformation preacher lived through during the bloody strife of English Civil War and the period of Scotland's international intrigue while Protestantism struggled to take hold in an era dominated by Roman Catholic church state hegemony. The break from a formal religion that dominated Europe for fifteen centuries was not clean nor easy and, many would argue, still continues to this day but on a more subtle level.
Knox was a man that God made and used for his time. Born of humble circumstances in a backwater country, Knox learned to read and write and then came under the influence of diehard Reformers that shaped his quick mind with doctrinal precision, making him a formidable apologist of Scripture and preacher of the Word sans ceremony or liturgical flourish that the Protestants considered Romish and idolatrous.
Knox, the documentary does a very good job in 77 minutes of summarizing the major episodes of this man's formative and mature years with almost equal weight using the thoughtful narration of Philip Todd, guiding the viewer through the historic places that Knox tread upon in Scotland, such as in Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews, Haddington and other beautiful camera takes throughout the countryside. Authentic Scottish voice overs during animation scenes add a fuller dimension to the documentary. Almost single handedly and with great passionate fervor, John Knox lit the fire of steadfast Protestant Reformation and changed the religious landscape of Britain, and eventually that of America, through his relentless teaching, preaching, traveling and fighting with arms if necessary so that the gospel truth could be brought to everyone in Presbyterian church format.
It's difficult to find a well done documentary on church history these days that is not infected with liberalism and secular bias, so Knox is a great catch and a powerful reminder that we shouldn't take our faith for granted or others will take it away from us eventually. If you are interested in John Knox, I recommend the thoroughly researched biography by Jasper Ridley for further study.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
This month, the CBMW office was surprised by the news that over 200 pastors and leaders in the Netherlands had translated and signed the Nashville Statement. Although the Dutch translation and signatories were released at the end of last year to very little fanfare, that all changed when media outlets in the Netherlands caught wind of the statement and signatories earlier this month. Significant national and even some global backlash quickly followed. Dozens of news reports appeared about the Dutch translation of the statement, including an opinion piece in The Economist.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
PRAYAGRAJ, India (Reuters) - In a desert tent guarded by armed police and a thick-set bouncer, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is blessing a constant stream of pilgrims, who garland her with marigolds and kneel to touch her feet. Continue to Reuters News article.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
EXCERPTThe time has long passed for scholars of every theological persuasion to recognize that the Graf-Wellhausen theory, as a starting point for continued research, is dead. The Documentary Hypothesis and the arguments that support it have been effectively demolished by scholars from many different theological perspectives and areas of expertise. Even so, the ghost of Wellhausen hovers over Old Testament studies and symposiums like a thick fog, adding nothing of substance but effectively obscuring vision. Although actually incompatible with form-critical and archaeology-based studies, the Documentary Hypothesis has managed to remain the mainstay of critical orthodoxy. One wonders if we will ever return to the day when discussions of Genesis will not be stilted by interminable references to P and J. There are indications that such a day is coming. Many scholars are exploring the inadequacies of the Documentary Hypothesis and looking toward new models for explaining the Pentateuch. Continue reading
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Monday, December 10, 2018
For me, as I suspect for many disciples of Christ, there is no doctrine so confusing and unclear as the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Or as the late and venerable Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones rightly explains that, when the subject is approached, our imperfect and sinful nature views often vary between two extremes--utterly fantastic, experientially phenomena claims or stoic denial of any contemporary evidence of His manifestations beyond the New Testament apostolic age. Hopefully, my interpretations of the Puritan John Owen's classic work on this blessed person of the Trinity coupled with my review of Readings in St. John's Gospel by the former bishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, will help the reader to come to his or her own conclusions regarding this vital subject.