Surveying the Text/Haggai

Introduction: Haggai’s name means “festal,” and this gives us a key note for the book. Like other prophets, he rebukes the sins of the people. But unlike most other prophets, the people listen to him, and he promises great glory to come. What we know about Haggai is found in this book, and in Ezra 5:1-2. Along with Zechariah, Haggai is a post-exilic prophet, and his entire recorded ministry lasted only a few weeks in the year 520 B.C. Exiles had returned to Jerusalem after the decree of Cyrus in 539 B.C. They built the altar and the foundations of the Temple, but then got distracted, and began work on their own homes and estates. It is now some 19 years later, and the word of the Lord comes to Haggai. The Text: “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, And I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: And I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of … [Read more...]

Common Sins in Marriage/The Covenant Home 2

Introduction: As we consider some common sins committed in marriage by both men and women, remember the context of federal headship. The responsibility for all these sins lies with the husband. A woman can and should recognize her individual sins before the Lord; her husband's overarching responsibility should in no way lessen her sense of personal and individual responsibility. Properly understood, it should have precisely the opposite effect. The Text: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (Jas. 1:23). On Seeing the Back of Your Own Head: The Word of God is given to us in order to enable us to see ourselves. Apart from this, we cannot really see ourselves. When we examine our own hearts, there are many parts of it which we cannot see. In order to see ourselves properly, we always have to hold up the mirror of the … [Read more...]

Odd Gifts

Love makes a Christian community grow, but gifts give that growth focus and direction. When the Lord ascended into Heaven, He gave gifts to men, and He did this for the edification of the church. “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men . . . And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 8, 11–13). The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit must always be distinguished. At the same time, they must not ever be separated. God intends for them to function together. Now of course, if you had to choose between a church of godly people and a church full of gifted people, you should choose the … [Read more...]

Obligated to Receive

As we learn from Tertullian, our word sacrament comes from sacramentum, a term that was used to describe the oath of enlistment that a soldier would take. This is a covenant meal, and covenants are God-given bonds and obligations. These bonds are not burdensome—His yoke is easy and His burden is light—but His bonds are in fact bonds. We are engaged to His service. When we come to this meal, we are engaging to be faithful. We have already confessed those sins and occasions where we were not faithful, and we come here in order grow in our commitments to Him. We gather here in order to cinch the knots tighter. We do this self-consciously, knowing what we do. The battles we are fighting are difficult, and we need sustenance. What happens here is that we renew our commitment to be faithful and at the same time, for those who come to it honestly, we are given grace to be faithful. We obligate ourselves to be strong, and we are given strength. The Lord is present in the person of His … [Read more...]

Pretty Sure It Is Not You

Flannery O'Conner wrote that everything that rises must converge, but this must also be said of everything that is circling the drain. The shared worldview of our chattering classes appears to me to be nothing more than a vast epistemic sinkhole. This is the kind of thing that could make Turretin exclaim, were he present with us, something like zut alors! which when translated means something like holy smokes. You know, a little inside term of art from one of the great scholars of the Reformation. In order to be cast as a radical and/or a crazy these days all you need do is say something like "a man should be judged by the content of his character, and not by the color of his skin." Total wingnuttery. If you insist on equal weights and measures, no thumb on the scale, whether that thumb be black like Al Sharpton's or white like David Duke's, or Daisy Duke's for that matter, if you maintain something along the lines of "all thumbs matter," as in, keep any kind of thumb off the scale, … [Read more...]

A Coalition of Dust Bunnies


If you have a moment, you might want take a look at this video, starting at about the 45 minute mark. In the course of a panel discussion at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a point I had made about the American and Confederate flags came up. My guess is the point they were likely dealing with was the third point in this post. Being always grateful for a chance to interact with various saints, let me join in on this discussion, albeit somewhat belatedly. In his response, Dr. Akin said that the two situations were different. His reasoning was this -- he said that when the average person looked at the Confederate flag, he would simply think "slavery," and that there is no comparable reaction when people looked at the American flag. There are two responses to this that I would like to offer. First, we could round up quite a few people who do in fact have a visceral negative reaction to the American flag. They do exist, and there are quite a lot of them. It is not … [Read more...]

Play the Man

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #199 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Cor. 16:13–14). Nearing the end of this epistle, Paul gives a small burst of ethical exhortations. This cluster presents an interesting juxtaposition. The first set in v. 13 is quite martial, and then in v. 14 the “battlefield” consists of doing everything in love. One of the things that armed forces do is post sentries. The first exhortation says to “stay awake, be alert, be watchful.” The second says that we are to defend our position, which we do by standing firmly in the faith. The third is an interesting stand-alone verb andrizomai, which literally means to “play the man,” The fourth says that we are to be strong, powerful. So then, what we are told to do here is to be alert, to stand courageously, to be masculine and strong. Where then do we take this? Paul says … [Read more...]

50 Livers a Week

The eighth video is now out. The entire thing takes place over lunch -- over one of the most cold-hearted meals you will ever witness. Take note of the academics who are dismissed because they want to suppress within their own consciences what it is they are doing. But this means that Cate Dyer, the woman in the video, knows what she is doing. She is trafficking in the sale of dead babies, and she knows it. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> … [Read more...]

Their High Altar

The way of death is ancient . . .

There is quite a dramatic difference between "pardon me" and "forgive me." We say the first, for example, in cases of inadvertent error, as when we bump into someone accidentally. We need to say the latter when we knew what we were doing, did it on purpose, knowing full well that we ought not to have. If we bump into someone in a crowded hallway, we ask for pardon. We say "pardon me" or "excuse me." But if that other person was the only one in the hallway, and we lowered our head and ran straight into him, then "pardon me" would be taken as sarcasm. The only thing required is repentance and "please forgive me." Now through the death of Christ on the death, we are offered full and free forgiveness for our sin, confessed as such. We are not offered anything as a supplement to our excuses. When John tells us that God will forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9), he places a conditional upon it -- "if we confess our sins." The word for confess is homologeo, which literally means to … [Read more...]

If the Day of Judgment Had a Little Brother

The problem with such images is the understatement.

In one sense, of course, nothing can compare to the great Day of the Lord. Nothing compares to it, and yet Scripture repeatedly compares things to it. But the Bible does this in such a way as to show that nothing can compare, which is what gives the comparisons such force. “The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: The thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; And they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; And to the hills, Fall on us” (Hos. 10:8; cf. Luke 23:30). So if you want one sort of image for the Day of Judgment, here in the Pacific Northwest we have multiple forest fires to choose from. The flames can get 300 feet high. Use your imagination. . In another sense, there is second  aspect to the Day of Judgment that seems much quieter and less lurid, and yet is far more terrifying. Bu it is only actually terrifying if you think about it, which is what these Planned Parenthood videos are making us all do. These videos are a tiny … [Read more...]