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Monday
Jul212014

Heidelberg Catechism

Question 45. How do we benefit from the resurrection of Christ?

Answer: First, by his resurrection Christ has overcome death, so that he could make us partakers of that righteousness which he purchased for us by his death; (a) secondly, by his power we too are raised up to a new life; (b) and lastly, Christ’s resurrection is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. (c)

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul192014

Sunday's Hymn: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great;
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is for ever.

—Martin Luther

St Olaf Choir

(This is a different translation than the one I’ve posted. The rhythm of the third verse is supposedly something like the way the hymn would have been originally sung.)

 

Piano and violin

Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

Friday
Jul182014

Linked Together: Questions About God

A few suggestions for your weekend reading and thinking.

His Nature
Why do Christians believe God exists as Trinity if the word Trinity isn’t found in the Bible? The short answer.

Why do Christian formulas use so many negatives when making assertions about God? The answer is a mystery.

What is idolatry? Here’s the fundamental definition.

His Work
What does it mean that all things work together for the believer’s good (Romans 8:28)? Think of it as “a glimpse of hindsight in advance.”

Thursday
Jul172014

Thankful Thursday

Join me in thanking God for the past week’s blessings.

I’m thankful for perfect sunny summer weather all week long. I’m thankful for a trip to the beach and another pool party in the back yard.

I’m thankful that God feeds the nesting birds busy raising families in my yard. I’m thankful that God feeds me, too, both with food from my garden and food from the grocery store.

I’m thankful for my son’s new job—God’s provision for him and his family, which will be expanding by one in December. Yes, one more grandchild and one more thing to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for the gift of faith. I’m also thankful that I can ask God to “help my unbelief.” I’m thankful that Jesus gives peace to troubled hearts.

Persis was also thankful today.

What are you thankful for? Why not leave a comment with your thanksgiving?

Thursday
Jul172014

An Authoritative Message

Michael J. Kruger disagrees with the widespread scholarly opinion that the authors of the New Testament were unaware of their own authority. In the fourth chapter of The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate, he examines key passages in the New Testament that show the writers

consciously wrote books that they understood to contain the new apostolic revelation about Jesus Christ and therefore to have supreme authority in the church.

For example, compare these two statements from John’s gospel. First, there’s this promise from Jesus to his disciples:

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27 ESV)

Then there’s John’s statement about himself near the end of his book:

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things … .(John 21:24 ESV)

Kruger writes,

… [I]t seems that John 21:24 is a declaration to the reader that Jesus’ promise in 15:26-27 to send authoritative witnesses has been fulfilled—the very book they are reading is the authoritative testimony of Jesus’ Spirit-filled disciples.

I’m over halfway through this book. I quite like it, but then I’m fascinated with everything canon related.

Since the goal of The Question of Canon is to challenge the dominant view in the academic field of modern canonical studies, it’s of less general interest than Kruger’s previous book on the canon, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books, which investigated whether Christians have warrant for believing the New Testament canon is correct. (I reviewed Canon Revisited here.) But if you’re a canon geek like me, you’ll probably enjoy The Question of Canon. Although Kruger is a scholar, he writes so that anyone who is interested can understand, so don’t let the your own non-scholarly status keep you away.