Monday, December 18, 2006

Free China 2008

Please check out this website and show your support for a Free China.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Christian Life 101

Here are some basic and foundational titles from an evangelical perspective that deal with how to live the Christian life. Enjoy (all avaliable from or

The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the Liberating Power of the Cross...Every Day by Jerry Bridges

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney

Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by R. Kent Hughes

Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle with the first edition of "Holiness" edited and authored by J.I. Packer

Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney

Growing Your Faith: How to Mature in Christ by Jerry Bridges

The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction by Sinclair Ferguson

One Thing: Developing a Passion for the Beauty of God by Sam Storms

Holiness by J.C. Ryle

Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper

What Jesus Demands from the World by John Piper

The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter

Sin and Temptation by John Owen

Monday, December 11, 2006

Shocking Youth Message Stuns Hearers - So Shocking and Biblical the Preacher Was Never Invited Back

Listen or watch this message. May God raise up more faithful people like himself, especially in Canada. Tell me what you think!

Thanks to Peter Dearlove for pointing this out.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Thomas Watson: Evangelicalism's Best Kept Secret

The last while I have been slowly reading The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson. The richness of clear practical biblical wisdom, penetrating insight, eye opening illustrations, and the passionate and convicting message has been blowing my mind. I left my times reading this book with greater joy and a greater sense of God's grace. I think that there is more richness on two pages of this book than in most modern Christian books. Here are some quotations, but I recommend that you make it an important goal this year to read it. You can access a shorter version online or order from Banner of Truth Trust.

"to intimate that sorrow for sin must exceed sorrow at the grave; and with good reason, for in the burial of the dead it is only a friend who departs, but in sin God departs" (24).

"We are to find as much bitterness in weeping for sin as ever we found sweetness in committing it. Surely David found more bitterness in repentance than ever he found comfort in Bathsheba" (24).

"Our hearts must go along in our confessions. The hypocrite confesses sin but loves it, like a thief who confesses to stolen goods, yet loves stealing" (29).

"The more we are ashamed of sin now, the less we shall be ashamed at Christ's coming" (44).

"Christ is never loved till sin be loathed. Heaven is never longed for till sin be loathed" (45).

"Sound repentance begins in the love of God and ends in the hatred of sin" (45).

"'madness is in their heart while they live' (Eccles. 9:3). So for men to love sin, to hug that which will be their death, to sport with damnation, 'madness is in their heart'" (48).

"...a true convert seeks the destruction of every lust. He knows how dangerous it is to entertain any one sin. He that hides one rebel in his house is a traitor to the Crown" (54).

"As God has two places he dwells in, heaven and a humble heart, so the devil has two places he dwells in, hell and a hard heart. It is not falling into water that drowns, but lying in it. It is not falling into sin that damns, but lying in it without repentance: 'having their conscience seared with a hot iron' (1 Tim. 4:2). Hardness of heart results at last in the conscience being seared. Men have silenced their consciences, and God has seared them. And now he lets them sin and does not punish - 'Why should ye be stricken any more?' (Isa. 1:5) - as a father gives over correcting a child whom he intends to disinherit" (62).

"Repentance is necessary: 'except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish' (Luke 13:5). There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears. Repentance is required as a qualification. It is not so much to endear us to Christ as to endear Christ to us. Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet" (63).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Doctrine Makes the Difference: Piper, Barna, and Living Differently

Here is a sample of an interesting article from a few years ago by John Piper:

"God gives good press to doctrine. But surveys of evangelicals usually do not—until recently. In God’s book, knowing his Son and believing true things about him is liberty. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). God’s self-revelation in the Bible is not a wax nose. Paul calls it “the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17). It’s a standard, a yardstick, a pattern. You measure truth by it. Elsewhere he calls it “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), and the “pattern of the soundwords” and “the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13-14). It does not change. Our everlasting salvation is determined by whether we believe it: “Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). Depart from the doctrine, and you depart from Christ. Or, better, keep watch over your doctrine and “you will save . . . yourself” (1 Timothy 4:16).

That’s high praise for good doctrine. You would think evangelicals would agree. But we are more likely to hear things like, “Christ unites; doctrine divides,” or, “Ask, ‘Whom do you trust?’, not ‘What do you believe?’” The minimization of biblical doctrine is common. But if we are not willing to get a high estimation of doctrine from God, perhaps we can get it from George Barna.

He has been surveying American evangelicals to see if we practice what we preach. He is finding that we don’t preach doctrine from the Bible, and therefore don’t practice differently from the world."

To read the rest of the article go here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why High School Graduates are Leaving the Church

Here is an interesting post on why Kirk Wellum thinks that high school graduates are leaving the church; let me know what you think:

Yesterday when Zondervan's newsletter "To The Point" arrived in my inbox I was reminded again that Christianity is struggling, at least in this part of the world. One of the most noticeable headlines read: College-age Exiting Church The Church Is At Crisis Levels. The accompanying news blurb went on to talk about how youth leaders are preaching the alarming exit of college students from the church and yet churches don't seem to be grasping the significance of the loss of even one youth. Later they mention that according to some youth ministry groups 70% to 80% of youth involved in Christian ministry in high school walk away from their faith within one year of graduation. In response to these very sad statistics, there are a number of high profile youth organizations who are coming together to help youth "transition from high school to college so that they more readily retain their Christian faith".

As I have thought about this report there are a number of things that come to mind. First, the statistics are tragic because behind each one is a real person who has been exposed to Christianity and has walked away thinking that it is not all that it was presented to be. This in spite of specialized youth ministries, campaigns to save them from dating, an endless array of Christian educational options, the rearrangement of church services to cater to the younger generation, special music and camps and programs and on and on. And the fact that they have walked away like this means they will be even more difficult to reach again because now they will have a "been there, done that attitude toward Christianity."

Second, this is not just a structural, organizational problem. The use of language borrowed from the business world like "helping youth transition from high school to college so they more readily retain their Christian faith" is theological nonsense and perhaps begins to reveal the real heart of the problem. Genuine Christian faith cannot be lost. If teens or anyone else has not come to participate in the New Covenant there is nothing that anyone can do to help them more readily retain their faith. Our problem today is with inadequate views of the gospel and the Christian life. What we are facing is a situation where far too few have experienced the life changing power of the Spirit of God in which he writes the law of God upon the hearts of those in whom he comes to dwell. It is time to face the fact that too many who participate in church programs are not Christians.

Third, I am fully aware that there are ups and downs in the Christian life. I know all too well that believers can backslide and sometimes fall into grievous sins. But these experiences must not be allowed to warp our understanding for the gospel and the change Jesus makes in our lives. Otherwise, we are left with a very inadequate message indeed. A telling example of the point I am making can been seen in some of the things that have been said about the recent revelations of Ted Haggard. There is no denying that his difficulties are tragic and the damage done is profoundly disturbing. But equally disturbing in my mind are commentaries in which the writer/speaker laments the fact that we are all totally depraved and then reminds us that except for the grace of God we are all in the same boat. While it is true that by nature we are totally depraved, if we are Christians we have known the liberating, life-changing power of the grace of God! We are not what we once were! Sin is a contradiction to the work of grace within us. As Christians we know the "exception" of grace and this makes all the difference in the world! This is precisely why situations like Haggard's are so remarkably sad.

Personally, I think the time has come to look seriously at New Covenant Christianity. The demands of the New Covenant are far-reaching. We are told that without holiness we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14) and that is not speaking about our positional holiness or the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed to us. The holiness in view is that righteousness of life that is produced in us; that's right, in our lives and hearts as a result of our experience of God's grace and our subsequent and inevitable battle against sin. We are not perfect, nor will we be until glory. But we must not give the impression that we are all wallowing in sin and uncleanness as if we have not known God's amazing grace. As Christians we are supposed to know joy and victory over sin now, in this life. In glory God's work in us will be complete and every last vestige of sin will be removed, but that should not take away from the fact that something significant has happened to us now!

Returning to where I started, all of this is significant for youth ministry because it means that what needs to be recovered is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in all of its New Covenant splendor! This is what needs to be taught to young people. The need for repentance and faith. They must be told that while it is a privilege to have Christian parents, that in itself does not make them little Christians. They are not the "King's Kids" unless they have personally known that regenerating work of God. And if they have known that work they will live for the glory of God through all the ups and downs of life including the time when they "transition between high school and college". Jesus is a powerful Savior! And if we have not known his power and are not continuing to know it, it is because we do not know his salvation! We must stop distorting the biblical presentation of salvation to fit our weak, backslidden and disobedient lifestyles. We must not give false comfort to the people of God by speaking as though the only difference between us and famous fallen preachers is the fact that we have not been caught. Unfortunately, that is probably true more often then it should be but if that is the case it merely shows how far we have wandered from the truth and experience of the gospel. It should not be this way. No wonder the world is unimpressed. If this is the way it is with us then we have seriously misrepresented Jesus when we speak about him as the Savior who saves his people from their sins!

"Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace."

"Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are lead by the Spirit of God are the children of God."

Romans 6:13-14 and Romans 8:12-14

Friday, December 01, 2006

New Book Against Abortion

Here is an amazing book that is coming out soon:

Title: Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice
Author: Francis J. Beckwith
List Price: $65.00 (hardcover) / $23.99 (paperback)
Page count: 272
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Pub Date: September 30, 2007
ISBN: 0521691354

Book Description: Defending Life is the most comprehensive defense of the prolife position on abortion ever published. It is sophisticated, but still accessible to the ordinary citizen. Without high-pitched rhetoric or appeals to religion, the author offers a careful and respectful case for why the prolife view of human life is correct. He responds to the strongest prochoice arguments found in law, science, philosophy, politics, and the media. He explains and critiques Roe v. Wade, and he explains why virtually all the popular prochoice arguments fail. There is simply nothing like this book.

Thanks to Justin Taylor.