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Sunday's Hymn

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

—Isaac Watts

My favorite YouTube video of this hymn has embedding disabled, but I like this, too:

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. 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.


Round the Sphere Again: Reading

The Bible
Do you have a plan for your Bible reading in the coming year? Nathan Bingham posted a long list of Bible reading plans you could use. I’ve done the whole Bible plans in the past, and I acknowledge their benefits for showing the big picture, but I find them excruciating. I hate doing the kind of fast reading/skimming of the text that I have to do to get through the daily readings. Last year I covered just the gospel of John and Romans in my reading/studying/poring over the text. Most people would find my pace painfully slow, but it works for me. This year I’ll be tackling Ephesians first, and after that I’ll move on to an Old Testament book,  maybe Leviticus

Update: Justin Taylor also has a list of Bible reading plans, including a Bible reading record by Don Whitney that would be useful for someone who is reading through the Bible the way I am.

Other Books
There’ve been more than a few top 10 of 2010 lists posted by others. If I did one of those, it’d include almost every book I read during 2010. (I told you I read slowly.) But here’s a shorter list of books I read in 2010 that were particularly valuable to me and that I recommend to you.

  • 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer. Easy to read and extremely useful for anyone who wants to understand the Bible better. 
  • Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen. An intro to presuppositional apologetics. As I wrote in my review, “If you desire to ‘be ready to give a defense for the hope’—and shouldn’t every believer want this?—you will surely benefit from the substance of this book.”
  • The God Who Is There by D. A. Carson. I didn’t get around to reviewing this one but I’m putting it on my list anyway. Read this to gain an understanding God’s purpose in history.
  • Unleasing the Word by Max Mclean and Warren Bird. I didn’t review this one, either, but if you ever read scripture out loud in public and you want to do the text justice (and who wouldn’t?), this little gem will be invaluable. (And speaking of Max McLean, did you know his whole performance of the gospel of Mark is available online? (Justin Taylor))

Thankful Thursday

I’m thankful that I (finally!) have a car again. I’m thankful that the problem has been diagnosed correctly (finally!) and temporarily fixed until a new hose arrives. I’m thankful that I have people around me who are willing to let me borrow their car or run errands for me when I need it.

I’m thankful that it’s warmed up a little and may warm up even more if the forecast is to be believed. (Can you tell I’m a weather warming sceptic?)

I’m thankful for the hope of spring…and new life.

I’m thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning.

On Thursdays throughout this year, I’m posting a few thoughts of thanksgiving along with Kim at the Upward Call and others.


Theological Term of the Week

religious pluralism
The view that no one religion has an exclusive claim on the truth, and that there are many valid paths to God and salvation.

  • From scripture, Paul addresses a pluralistic culture:

    16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

    22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,  25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

    “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; 

    as even some of your own poets have said,

    “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 

    29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

    32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:16-34 ESV)

  • From The Westminster Larger Catechism:

    Question 60: Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?

    Answer: They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church.

Learn more:

  1. Sam Storms: Religious Pluralism
  2. John Hendryx: Is There More Than One Way to God?
  3. Philip Ryken: How Can Jesus Be the Only Way?
  4. D. A. Carson: The Challenges of Contemporary Pluralism (.pdf)
  5. Dr. Tim Beougher: Understanding the Ism’s: Universalism, Inclusivism, Pluralism, and Exclusivism (mp3)
  6. Doug Groothuis: Are All Religions Created Equal? (YouTube video)

Related terms:

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.


Round the Sphere Again: Inventive

Big Bucks for Stupid Stuff
Eleven silly ideas that made millions (Newsweek). I’ve wrote about one of them a few years ago.

The Mystery of the Magic Screen
“In 1955, a French electrician named André Cassagnes got an idea for a new toy after seeing how an electrostatic charge could hold aluminum powder to glass.” And the rest is history (mental_floss Blog).