Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Revivals of Religion

by Charles Hodge

Their nature; their reality; their importance; their dangers.

I. The nature of a revival; or, what is meant by a revival of religion. It is a familiar fact that religion in the soul is sometimes in a lower and sometimes in a higher state. The passage from the one to the other is more or less rapid. So in a church or community. There are periods of decline and periods of refreshing. So under the Old Testament dispensation. So in the times of Christ. So in the time of the Reformation, in the time of Edwards and since. The phrase has here acquired a conventional sense. It is confined to a sudden change from general inattention to a general attention to religion, to those seasons in which the zeal of Christians is manifestly increased, and in which large numbers of persons are converted to God.

II. The reality of any such experience in the Church is denied,

1. By Rationalists and all who deny the supernatural operations of the Spirit of God.

2. By those who deny that the converting influences of the Spirit are ever exerted except in connection with the sacraments.

3. By those whose theory of religion does not admit of instantaneous or rapid conversions; who hold that the germ of piety implanted in baptism is by an educational process to be nurtured into conversion.

4. By those who, while admitting the facts of the Bible on the subject, seem disposed to regard them as belonging rather to the class of miracles than of the normal state of the Church. Granting the facts of supernatural divine influence, there is no objection to the theory of revivals. That is, there is nothing in them inconsistent with the nature of religion or with the modes of divine operation. It is a question of fact. These, of course, from Scripture and history are decisive.

The question of reality may be viewed in another light. That is, Whether any given religious excitement is a genuine revival or not?

1. It is of course not to be taken for granted that every such excitement is a work of God. It may be nothing but the product of acts and eloquence of men, and consist in the excitement of mere natural feelings. Much no doubt which passes for revival is more or less of that character.

2. The criteria for the decision between true and false revivals are the same as those for deciding between true and false religion. These are, First, their origin. Are they due to the preaching of the truth? Secondly, their character. Is the excitement humble, reverential, peaceful, benevolent, holy; or is the feeling manifested proud, censorious. malicious, denunciatory, schismatical, irreverent? Thirdly, their permanent fruits. This is the only certain test. The case of Beaufort, S. C.

3. Perfection not to be expected in revivals any more than in the religion of individuals. Such excitements are not to be condemned because of some evils, and those often great ones.

III. Their importance. This may be estimated, proximately, in two ways.

1. By the importance of the end which they are assumed to answer. The salvation of many souls and the elevation of the piety of the Church.

2. Historically, i.e., by a reference to the effects which they have produced. The day of Pentecost. The Reformation. The times of Wesley in England and the times of Whitefield and the Tennants, Edwards and others in this country. Estimated by these standards, their importance is incalculable.

IV. False views of their importance.

1. That they are the only way in which religion can be promoted. Many say they are the hope of the Church. Many so rely upon them that they expect little or nothing except during such periods. They lie on their oars. They do little, and sink in person and zeal.

2. Another false view is that they are the best way. They are great mercies, but there are greater. When there have been years of famine a superabundant harvest is a great blessing. But it had been better had each harvest been good. There is a better state as well as a greater amount of good in the latter than in the former case. A regular normal increase is better than violent alternations. General permanent health is better than exuberant joyousness alternating with depression.

V. Dangers. These may be learned in two ways.

1. From their nature, or a priori.

2. From experience, or a posteriori.

1. From their nature. Excitement in proportion to its intensity in an individual or in a community calls into vigorous exercise both the good and bad elements which may be extant. It makes the self–righteous, the censorious, the vain, more so. It calls up and calls out all the evil elements in the Church. It sets them on new, unauthorized or improper means of promoting religion. The evil elements often mingle with the good, so as to be far more apparent than the good. The desolations of the thunderstorm or the flood are often more apparent than their benefits.

2. From experience we find that the following evils are apt to attend revivals.

(a) False teachers, false doctrines, false or improper measures, as in the Apostolic age.

(b) False views of religion, fanaticism, enthusiasm.

(c) Contempt of the ordinary means of grace, and neglect of them.

(d) Disparagement of religion in the eyes of serious, reflecting men.

(e) Denunciation and schisms.

(f) False views of the proper kind of preaching and neglect of the instruction of the young.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Humbled Himself

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Weather Channel Founder’s Forecast

Interview of John Coleman by William F. Jasper

To read it, follow the link in the post title...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Amazing Indeed

Click on the notes to get the big picture.

  1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind, but now I see.
  2. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved;
    How precious did that grace appear
    The hour I first believed.
  3. Through many dangers, toils and snares,
    I have already come;
    ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
    And grace will lead me home.
  4. When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we’d first begun.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Retrospect of the Lord’s Supper

Charles Hodge

I. Importance of this ordinance.

1. It is a historical fact that the Lord’s Supper is the middle point of the Christian life. Proof of this:

1. In its very perversion in so large a part of the Church.

2. In the practice of the purest churches, and in the experience of Christians. The reason for it is found in the fact that communion with Christ is the sum of Christian piety, and in the fact that such communion is more intimate and palpable in this service than anywhere else,

1. Because of its divine appointment for that end.

2. Because it is a conspicuous outward act, expressive and declarative of our union with the Lord Jesus as his worshippers, and as the members of his body. It is like the day of one’s espousals. It is the public celebration of our union with Christ.

II. Its nature appears from what has been said.

The Lord’s Supper is not a didactic service. Its primary design is not to instruct. It is like the ancient sacrifices in this respect. Instruction is involved in it, but in the act of offering the state of mind required is that of a worshipper. He comes to do, and not to learn. But it is a liturgical service; not a service for the people, but by the people. It is a mistake, therefore, when the minister puts the people in a passive relation, and addresses them as the spectators or attendants. He is but the leader of their act of worship, in which they remember Christ, lay hold of his promise, and devote themselves to him. All parts of the service should bear this character. Hence,

1. The introductory prayer should not be general, but specific.

2. The administration of the elements is a simple act, not to be connected with exhortations or instructions. How inappropriate is it to dwell at a feast on the proper mode of eating, or on the theory of digestion.

3. The concluding prayer also should be a thanksgiving for redemption. After the service, exhortations may be given.

III. Its benefits.

As the Lord’s Supper is a ξοινωνιϚα( koinonia) or communion, and as communion implies reciprocal action between two or more parties, there is a three–fold aspect of the service, or three parties engaged and present in this ordinance.

1. Christ.

2. Believers.

3. Fellow Christians. These are all parties, and are essential to the service.

1. Christ gives himself, his righteousness, his Spirit, and his salvation.

2. The believer receives Christ as the Son of God, as the incarnate God, as his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He engages,

(a) To renounce sin.

(b) To obey Christ.

(c) To devote himself to his service.

3. He communes with his fellow Christians.

(a) Recognizing them as Christians.

(b) Recognizing his union with them as joint members of Christ.

(c) Recognizing all the obligations of mutual love, forbearance and assistance arising out of this relation.

Topics to consider:—

1. Importance or value of this sacrament.

2. Motives to live according to our engagements.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


“It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New addictions :)

Four podcasts found their way to my iPod these past few days, and I am already enjoying them immensely and being blessed by both of them. I really don't understand why I have not found them earlier... But, anyway, better late than never, so my recommendation goes to (in no particular order):

Now I have a great problem - to find this extra time to listen to them, in addition to all the other ones...

Blessings to all who preach the Word.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Lord’s Supper in Relation to Christ’s Death

Charles Hodge

I. The Lord’s Supper is a proof of the fact that Christ died. Any commemoration of an historical fact, when such commemoration dates back to the time immediately subsequent to the event, involves of necessity the truth of the fact. As this commemoration has been uninterrupted and universal, it is the testimony of each succeeding generation to the great fact in question. We should so regard it. It is one important end to be accomplished by the ordinance, and it is a great honor to be of the number of those appointed to keep alive the knowledge of the fact.

II. It is a continued proof that the death of Christ was the culminating point of his work. Had it been simply designed to keep Christ in mind, it might have been his birth, or his life, or his history that it commemorated. So it has been with other great benefactors of our race. But the fact that his death was selected by Christ himself to be perpetually celebrated, shows that his death was his great work. He came into the world to die. All else was subordinate to this. He wee to be remembered not as teacher or healer, but as dying.

III. The Lord’s Supper commemorates the manner and nature of Christ’s death. It was not an ordinary death, brought about by sickness or decay; but it was a death in which his body was broken and his blood shed. Neither was it a death by lawless violence, only a casualty, but a death judicially indicted. He was condemned to die, by the man who had the power of life and death in his hands. But this mere human judgment was only the form and instrumentality under and by which a divine judgment was pronounced. It was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God that he was crucified and slain. This is true not only in the sense in which all things come to pass according to the counsel of the divine will, but also in the sense that God delivered him up. He laid on him the iniquity of us all. Christ regarded his sufferings and death as imposed by the hand of God. It was to him that he looked. We are to regard the death of Christ as the offering up of his Son by the Father for the sins of the world.

IV. It sets Christ’s death forth as voluntary. He was led, but he was led unresistingly. He laid down his life of himself. He had power to lay it down and power to take it again. Thus he is, exhibited in the prophets and thus also in the evangelists.

V. It sets forth his death in the twofold light of a sin offering and a federal offering. The latter is the former, but the former is not always the latter.

1. As the victim bore the sins of the offerer, so Christ bore our sins.

2. As the death of the victim took the place of that of the offerer, so Christ’s death was vicarious.

3. As the effect of a sacrifice was expiation and propitiation, so was Christ’s death. It removed our guilt; it renders God propitious.

4. As the offerer was certainly pardoned and restored, so is the death of Christ certainly efficacious. It not merely renders salvation possible, but certain.

As a federal offering,

1. It ratifies the covenant. It is the pledge on the part of God that he will fulfill his promise.

2. Therefore it secures for the believer all the benefits of the covenant of grace.

VI. As it sets forth Christ’s death under these two aspects, or as Christ’s death was in fact both a sin offering and a federal offering, so the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of his death as a sin offering and as a federal offering. It is so to the Church, to the spectators, and to the world. It is a continued testimony to all men that Christ died for the sins of the world, the just for the unjust; that his blood is sacrificial and cleanses from all sin.

VII. But to the believing communicant it is more than this. It is the actual reception of the body and blood of Christ, i.e., of their sacrificial benefits. He then and there, as he receives the bread and wine, receives Christ and all his benefits for his spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. This act of appropriation is not an emotional act; It does not imply any special elevation of devout feeling, however desirable that may be; it is not an act of the understanding merely; but it is an act of faith i.e., believing,

1. That Christ died.

2. That he died.

3. That he died judicially.

4. That he died by the appointment of God.

5. That he died for the sins of men, as a sacrifice, and has been accepted as such.

6. That we are partakers of the benefits of his death. We receive them as freely offered.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nearer, my God, to Thee

Sarah F. Adams / Lowell Mason

  1. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
    E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
    Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
    • Refrain:
      Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
  2. Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
    Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
    Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee.
  3. There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
    All that Thou sendest me, in mercy giv’n;
    Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.
  4. Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
    Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
    So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.
  5. Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
    Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
    Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
  6. There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
    There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
    Age after age to be nearer, my God, to Thee.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring stroll

Fredrik on a stroll
Originally uploaded by sveana
We had wonderful weather, and a wonderful time together, me and my little boy. It was our first spring stroll this year, and we were looking for flowers and leaves coming to life everywhere. This little boy is a joy to my heart, always happy, kind and willing to obey, a true child of my dreams. A prayer that God answered and blessed us with him in abundance.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Heart and mouth

“That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Let the River Run Deep

John Piper

I have always felt that the works of the famous British New Testament scholar, F. F. Bruce, are unnecessarily dry. In reading his memoirs, In retrospect, I discovered one of the reasons why. He said, "I do not care to speak much-especially in public-about the
things that mean most to me."1 When you eliminate what means most to you from your writing and speaking, they will be dry. For myself, I would say just the opposite: "I do not care to speak much-especially in public-about the things that don't mean most to me."

This raises a question that is larger than the relative transparency of our souls. It raises the question about the way in which deep emotions can be expressed in public. What is the place of spontaneity and form in venting the passions of one's heart? This is more of a
problem for me than for Bruce. That's one reason I moved from teaching in college to preaching in the church. I assume passion has a big place in the life of a preacher. So maybe my ruminations on how Jeremiah handles emotions in the Book of Lamentations will fit your soul too.

I will make two observations about "The Lamentations of Jeremiah" and then draw out some implications for the use of spontaneity and form in the expression of "what means most to us."

First, Lamentations is a deeply emotional book. Jeremiah writes about what means most to him, and he writes in agony. He feels all the upheaval of Jerusalem in ruins. There is weeping (1:2), desolation (1:4), mockery (1:7), groaning (1:8), hunger (1:11), grief (2:11), and the horrid loss of compassion as mothers boil their own children to eat them (2:20; 4:10). If there ever was intensity and fervor in the expression of passion from the heart, this is it.

The second observation, then, comes as a surprise: This seems to be the most formally crafted book in the Old Testament. Of the five chapters, chapters 1, 2, and 4 are each divided into twenty-two stanzas (the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet), and each stanza begins with a different letter of the alphabet. They are three acrostics.

Chapter 3 is even more tightly structured. Again there are twenty-two stanzas, but now each stanza has exactly three lines. The three lines in each stanza begin with the same letter, and each of the twenty-two stanzas begins with a different letter in alphabetical order.

This is the only chapter that is not an acrostic. But it still has twenty-two lines in conformity with the acrostic pattern of chapters 1-4. Now what do these two observations imply? First, they imply that genuine, heartfelt expression of our deepest emotions does not require spontaneity. Just think of all the mental work involved in finding all the right words to construct four alphabetical acrostics!

What constraint, what limitation, what submission to form! Yet what passion and power and heart! There is no necessary contradiction between form and fire.

Chapter 3 of Lamentations is the most personal and most intense. Here first-person references abound: "Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!" (3:19). Here the peak of hope is reached: "Great is your faithfulness!" (3:23). But here the author submits himself to the narrowest form in all the book.

After reading Lamentations, we can no longer believe that unpondered prayers are more powerful or real or passionate or heartfelt or genuine or alive than prayers that are thoughtfully and earnestly (and painfully?) poured out through a carefully crafted form. The danger of formalism is real. Prayers and sermons that are read from a manuscript are usually stiff and unnatural and artificial.

But the danger of spontaneity is also great. If the heart is without passion, it will produce lifeless, jargon-laden spontaneity. And if the heart is aflame, no form will quench it.

But not only is spontaneity no necessary advantage and form no necessary hindrance to deep, personal expression of feeling, but even more, formed affection often strikes deeper. Deeper into reality and deeper into the hearer. Formed grief, while not heaving to and fro with uncontrollable sobs, has a peculiar profundity.

Imagine a man's response when he first hears that his wife and children have been taken captive by the enemy and slaughtered. He throws himself to the ground, cries out in torment, rips his clothes, and rubs his head in ashes, until his energy ebbs into a pitiable "No, no, no." Here is utter spontaneity, utterly real emotion, no studied design, no conscious constraints.

But picture this man a week later, when the services are over and the friends have departed, and he is alone with the weight of his loss. The excruciating pain of the first blast is gone, and now there is the throb and ache of an amputated soul. What does he do to express this deep and settling grief? Between the periodic heaving sobs he reaches for a form and begins to make his lamentation.

Studied, crafted, pondered, full of power. When the time comes, he will read or recite this lamentation. But no one will say of this formed grief: "It is canned." On the contrary, it will strike deeper than the sobs. It will show more of what he has brought up from the depths.

Emotions are like a river flowing out of one's heart. Form is like the riverbanks. Without them the river runs shallow and dissipates on the plain. But banks make the river run deep. Why else have humans for centuries reached for poetry when we have deep affections to express? The creation of a form happens because someone feels a passion. How ironic, then, that we often fault form when the real evil is a dry spring.

Years ago I wrote a poem called "The Innkeeper," about the pain that the innkeeper may have experienced when Herod's soldiers came to kill the baby boys and started the slaughter at the innkeeper's place-"the price for housing the Messiah here." In the introduction I pondered why poets struggle to let deep emotion flow through narrow forms of art.

Why this struggle? Why does the poet bind his heart with such a severe discipline of form? Why strain to give shape to suffering? Because Reality has contours. God is who He is, not what we wish or try to make Him be. His Son, Jesus Christ, is the great granite Fact. His hard sacrifice makes it evident that our spontaneity needs Calvarylike discipline. Perhaps the innkeeper paid dearly for housing the Son of God. Should it not be costly to penetrate and portray this pain?2

Many pastors are not known for expressing deep emotions. This seems to me especially true in relation to the profoundest theological realities. This is not good, because we ought to experience the deepest emotions about the deepest things. And we ought to speak often, and publicly, about what means most to us, in a way that shows its value.

Brothers, we must let the river run deep. This is a plea for passion in the pulpit, passion in prayer, passion in conversation. It is not a plea for thin, whipped-up emotionalism. ("Let's all stand up and smile!") It is a plea for deep feelings in worthy forms from Godbesotted
hearts and minds.

1. F. F. Bruce, In Retrospect: Remembrance of Things Past (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980), 304.

2. John Piper, The Innkeeper (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998)
Used by permission of Broadman & Holman Publishers. Excerpted from "Brothers We Are Not Professionals," copyright 2002 by John Piper.
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Christian Fellowship as Expressed in the Lord’s Supper

by Charles Hodge

The meaning of words in Scripture is often best understood by adverting to their literal signification. Thus, κοινωνια, communion, means having things in common, from κοινο, common; and of οι κοινωνοι are those who have things, or something in common. We are said to have communion by the cup, to take part in, to partake of the blood of Christ, and by the bread to be made partakers of his body; and hence, since the bread is one, we are κοινωνοι, we have in common, we jointly partake of one and the same body, and thus become one body. There is an intimate and real union effected by this joint participation. What is it that Christians have in common in the Lord’s Supper, which makes them one? The answer to this question has split churches and caused rivers of blood to flow.

1. Some say it is the real body and blood of Christ. They say either that the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood, or, that while the bread and wine retain their own nature, the body and blood of Christ are really and locally present in, with and under them, and are received by the mouth.

2. Calvin said that what believers have in common in the Lord’s Supper is the power of Christ’s glorified humanity, which is miraculously communicated, being received, not by the mouth, but by faith.

3. The Reformed say that what they have in common is the sacrificial virtue of Christ’s body and blood. They all partake of the benefits of his death, and of his life, and in virtue of this communion they have fellowship one with another. They are united, 1st. Not outwardly only by the profession of the same religion. 2d. Not merely as a society under one head, and one organization. 3d. Nor as a family, fold, or kingdom is united as the objects of the same care, and recipients of the same benefits. But, 4th. Inwardly and really as partaking of the same life, clothed in the same righteousness, and animated by the same Spirit; and, therefore, 5th. They are united as members of the same body.

Concerning this fellowship of Christians, the Scriptures teach,

1. That it depends on union with Christ. It is because every believer is a partaker of Christ, is united to him, as a branch to the vine, that they are united to each other.

2. That this union is the most intimate and lasting which can exist among men. It is more intimate than the family relations, and outlasts them. I do not say that it has such a hold on the affections, but that it has its roots deeper in our nature. The family relations belong to our social and earthly life. This is a union which belongs to our spiritual and eternal life.

3. It is a catholic union. It has nothing to do with church distinctions. It underlies the differences of ecclesiastical organizations. Greeks, Latins, Lutherans and Reformed, if one with Christ, are one body; and this we are bound to recognize. It is a great sin against Christ and against his body, if we refuse to recognize as a fellow–Christian, or refuse Christian fellowship to any true Christian because he differs from us in anything whatever.

This union is Catholic, not only as uniting Christians of all denominations, but of all ages, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, barbarian, Scythians, bond and free. These distinctions are real. They are not to be ignored, but they are all superficial, outward and transient. Underneath them all is this majestic bond of union, which unites all these classes as one body in Christ Jesus.

4. This inward mystical union reveals itself in the consciousness. 1st In a common faith. 2d. In common love, reverence and devotion to Jesus Christ. 3d. In mutual love. 4th. In common experience, hopes and aspirations.

5. It reveals itself in the conduct. 1st. By mutual recognition. 2d. By intercommunion. 3d. By mutual forbearance, and by acts of charity and benevolence.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


A journey in time:

My grandmother, born in the central Poland in 1903, never saw the sea. Her greatest dream to go and spend
some days at the seashore never came true. She died in 1978, on her birthday, and this sorrow died with her, but her longing got inherited by her daughter - my mother, and by me, her granddaughter.
My mother, born in 1927, and still alive today, has had the opportunity to travel a bit and to see several European countries. The seashore to her is an obvious sight, not only in Poland, but in Italy, in Spain, in France.
And I, born somewhat later, :), am sitting now with my brand new Swedish passport, planning a trip to the U.S.A. next January...

Makes one wonder what boundaries my sons are going to break. During the last 100 years the three women in my family have made this incredible journey, the journey of life, courage, opening horizons, living through two world wars, communism, moving abroad, marrying a foreigner...

The latest lag of the journey is multidimentional, comprising the journey home, to my first King, to my citizenship in heaven. I cannot thank God enough for it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Gospel

“ Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4)

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Monday, April 14, 2008


Here is an example of how Christians should defend the faith. This is a part of a debate that took place on Saturday. I am humbly proud of knowing this amazing Brother in Christ, and my prayers are with him every day.

Dr. James R. White:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

True faith

“Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ophra and her New Earth

Woe to the false teachers...

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
(2Pe 2:1-3)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Power outage

Funny how it is... On my arrival to work I was met with silence and darkness. The power outage in the village had cut off our electricity completely. You probably need to know that our school, the place I work at, is one of the wonders of technology. Well, when it works, of course. A wonderful institution, completely dependent on electrical power. But when it goes, it leaves us powerless in the double meaning of the word.
I can so clearly see the paralells to our spiritual life through this situation... We are empowered by God and sustained by Him in everything we do. We rely on His support without even thinking about it, treating it as something obvious, and the longer we are in Him, the more obvious the power is. But what happens when God permits evil? When He purposefully turns off the power of His energy, for a time? How do we react then? Is it then an act of panic on our side, losing trust and hope? Or do we still preserve the overwhelming belief that the energy Giver is there, soon lifting us up?
I know that this analogy is lacking, but good enough anyway, to make me think rationally and without panicking.
By the way - the power was back after some 20 minutes... And a period of chaos thereafter. All systems had to be restored, alarms were going off all the time, every clock had to be manually set to the right time... We still knew how to exist, and how to make all those adjustements, in order to regain our normality of existence.
It is again a good paralell to our spiritual life - if you are steadfast in God, not even the major crisis is going to destabilize you, you will still remember how to live and how to know what is essential, and you will know how to be restored to His presence.
Funny how a power outage can become a religious experience :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lectures - Common attacks against Reformed Theology

Over at Lane's blog an interesting series of lectures given by Dr. James R. White.
I must also go and listen to them. ASAP.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Ideas have consequences

A brilliant serial killer videotapes his debates with college faculty victims. The topic: His moral right to kill them. Writted and directed by Brian Godawa.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

True life

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by The Listener's Audio Bible.)

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Monday, April 07, 2008

He is simply right

So what that he is an atheist? He is right, and he has to be listened to. Thank you, Dr. James White, for this pointer. Maybe some Swedish liberal watches it and actually starts to think...?
I am so optimistic...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Abba, Father! we adore Thee

1 Abba, Father! we adore Thee,
Humbly now our homage pay;
'Tis Thy children's bliss to know Thee,
None but children "Abba" say.
This high honor we inherit,
Thy free gift through Jesus' blood;
God the Spirit, with our spirit,
Witnesseth we're sons of God.

2 Thine own purpose gave us being,
When in Christ, in that vast plan,
Thou in Christ didst choose Thy people
E'en before the world began.
Oh, what love Thou, Father, bore us!
Oh, how precious in Thy sight!
When to Thine own Son Thou gav'st us,
To Thy Son, Thy soul's delight.

3 Though our nature's fall in Adam
Shut us wholly out from God,
Thine eternal counsel brought us
Nearer still, through Jesus' blood;
For in Him we found redemption,
Grace and glory in Thy Son;
O the height and depth of mercy!
Christ and His redeemed are one.

4 Hence, through all the changing seasons,
Trouble, sickness, sorrow, woe,
Nothing changeth Thine affections,
Love divine shall bring us through;
Soon shall all Thy blood-bought children
Round the throne their anthems raise,
And, in songs of rich salvation,
Shout to Thine eternal praise.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A bit of history in my life

I got my certificate of Swedish Citizenship today. After 15 years I finally decided it was time to make the leap and get it.

It feels a bit strange to be a citizen of two countries :-)

All to the Glory of the Highest !

Friday, April 04, 2008


“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by The Listener's Audio Bible.)

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace (No. 2).

by Charles Hodge

I. By means of grace is meant the means of divine appointment for the purpose of conveying grace.

By grace is meant,

1. Some divine gift.

2. Divine or supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit. Where there are no such means of grace, their saving gifts, so far as we know, are not conferred. To those to whom God does not send his word, he does not send salvation.

II. The Lord’s Supper is a means of grace. What is the special gift and the special nature of the divine influence which it is intended to convey?

The Roman Catholic doctrine on this subject is,—

1. That each sacrament has its own special grace connected with it.

2. That that grace can be obtained in no other way. The benefits conveyed by baptism can be obtained only by baptism; so of orders, penance, extreme unction, etc.

3. That this gift, or the effect produced, is indelible, like the impression of a seal. Truth and error are here mixed. The error is,

1. In asserting that the gifts conveyed by the sacraments can be obtained in no other way.

2. In making certain rites sacraments, which are not such.

3. In making the gift or impression indelible. The truth is, that there is a difference between baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The former symbolizes the washing of the soul from guilt and pollution by the blood and Spirit of Christ; and these are the gifts specially conveyed. The latter while it

1. sets forth the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sins, and (

2. involves an appropriation of this sacrifice to the souls of believers, is

3. specially designed as the expression of our union with Christ and with one another. The special benefit, therefore, which it is designed to convey, is this fellowship with Christ and his people. And the special divine influence or inward grace, with which it is attended, is the consciousness of such union.

This is proved from what Paul says to the Corinthians, from the 6th chapter of John, although not directly referring to the Lord’s Supper, and from the general faith of the Church manifested in calling the Lord’s Supper a Communion. Hence we should specially expect and pray for this special grace when we go to the Lord’s table, and we should come away cherishing the feeling that we and Christ and his people are one. Hence also it is called a feast of love, and animosities between brethren are considered a special hindrance in this ordinance.

III. How is this grace conveyed?

1. Not by any inherent virtue in it.

2. Not by the supernatural power of the administrator.

3. Therefore not uniformly, nor to all. Some fail entirely of the blessing; some receive far more at one time than at another.

4. But it is conveyed to believers, and to those only; that is, to those who believe, 1st. In Christ and his gospel. 2d. In the special promise of God in connection with this ordinance. 3d. To those, therefore, who appropriate its blessings by faith.

5. As faith is the subjective condition, so the Spirit is the efficient cause. It is by his working in those who by faith receive the sacraments; thus their benefits are conveyed.

In this there is an analogy with the word.

1. It does not benefit all.

2. It does not benefit the believer always in the same way or measure.

3. Its sanctifying benefit is to those who by faith receive it.

4. This faith is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, by which also all its saving fruits are produced.


1. We should greatly value the Holy Supper. Protestants are apt to go to an extreme in opposition to Catholics.

2. We should be careful in our preparation for the communion.

3. And we should see to it that we are the better, and not the worse for our attendance on the Lord’s table.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace (No. 1).

by Charles Hodge

I. The Lord’s Supper has ever been regarded as a source of power.

1. Some attribute to it nothing more than the moral power of a rite, significant of divine truth.

2. Others, on the opposite extreme, attribute to it an inherent, divine vine or supernatural power. Some attribute this supernatural power to the elements themselves; others, to the divine word or promise which is connected with the ordinance. These views agree, 1st. In denying that the efficacy is due to the ab extra influence of the Spirit. 2d. That it is not conditioned by the inward state of the communicant.

3. The doctrine of our church is, First, That the effect intended is not regeneration, nor justification. But it is, 1st. The renewed application of the blood of Christ. 2d. Our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. Secondly. That these effects are not due to any supernatural power in the elements, or in the rite, or in him who administers it, but solely to the blessing of Christ and the operations of his Spirit. Thirdly. That the condition of this power, on our part, is faith. That is, if we have faith, we experience the power of the sacrament; if we have it not, we do hot experience it.

II. By faith here is not meant,

1. The general belief of the gospel, or plan of salvation as revealed in the Scriptures; nor

2. Does it mean saving faith. It is Dot true that every true believer receives Christ, feeds upon him to his spiritual nourishment at the Lord’s table, any more than it is true that every such believer is always spiritually edified by prayer or the reading of the Scriptures.

3. But it is faith in what the Scriptures teach concerning this ordinance. 1st. That it is a divine appointment, not a human device. 2d. That it is designed to commemorate the death of Christ. 3d. That it is a means of communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, i.e., first, a means of communicating to us the benefits of his death; and, second, a means or occasion of intercourse with our souls. Hence this includes,

(a) Faith in his presence in the ordinance.

(b) Faith that he is what he is, the Son of God in our nature, our prophet, priest and king.

(c) Faith that he loves us. This is indispensable. 4th. That it is a means of uniting all believers as one body. They become one by their joint participation of the same head. This is the faith requisite for profitable communion.

III. The reason is, that without it we are not in a proper state to receive the benefits of the ordinance, and with it we are. It constitutes the receptivity. If informed that a parent whom we had not seen for a long time was in a room awaiting us, it is plain,

1. that if we did not believe that he was there; or,

2. if we believed that the person really there was not our father; or,

3. that, although our father, he did not love us or acknowledge us as his child, then we should not be prepared to meet him. But if we believed all these three points, it would constitute our preparation, and we would not fail of being delighted by the interview. So of the Lord Supper, if we believe that Christ is there; that he is our God and Saviour; that he loves us, then we are sure of the benefits of his presence.