Spurgeon on the Will of God and Man

2 07 2007

Yesterday morning I preached on Romans 8:29-30 on the sovereignty of God in salvation, and made brief allusion to the balance between God’s free election and man’s responsibility. The Pyromaniacs have posted some very useful material from Spurgeon on this issue which can be found here. To top it all, it even has the word ‘usefulness’ in italics. Wow!


Iain H. Murray Interview on Men for Ministry Blog

4 05 2007

Few men have been used more of God to bless and enrich my spiritual life, and my preaching, than Iain H. Murray. His books carry an incisive and analytical edge combined with devotional warmth and reality. Whether it’s his two volume Lloyd-Jones biography, or his astute treatment of evangelicalism in the twentieth century in ‘Evangelicalism Divided’, his books come with a guarantee to bless and challenge.

Iain has very graciously agreed to be interviewed over at the other blog which I help to run, Men for Ministry. His answers and reflections on preaching are extremely helpful.

The Divided Man of Romans 7

1 04 2007

This morning we will be studying Romans 7:14-25 in our service. This is a hotly disputed passage, with evangelical scholars divided over the identity of the person whom Paul is describing. Some hold this to be an autobiographical account of Paul prior to his conversion, others that it is a typical picture of a Pharisee outside of Christ, and still others that this is Paul the Christian presently describing his everyday spiritual life.

In my message I will take the latter view as my starting point with a comparatively small amount of time devoted to proving my point. For those who would like to think about the issues a little more deeply the following audio and text resources will be very helpful. John Piper took six weeks in his own church (Bethlehem Baptist, Minneapolis) to deal with this issue, and I find his arguments fairly compelling. I trust that they will help you.

Who is this divided man? Pt.1

Who is this divided man? Pt.2

Who is this divided man? Pt.3

Who is this divided man? Pt.4

Who is this divided man? Pt.5

Who is this divided man? Pt.6

Elijah resources…

8 02 2007

At Church we’re studying the life and times of Elijah in our midweek prayer meeting and Bible study. Last night I reviewed a few books which are helping me in my preparation, and thought that these might be helpful for folks from the Church who wanted to get copies for themselves.

For a book entirely devoted to Elijah’s life, Pink’s treatment is hard to top. It’s written in an accessible and passionate style, and will be of great benefit to anyone who reads it. I’ve found that anyone I’ve given or recommended this book to has been blessed by it without exception. It is published by Banner of Truth(see the sidebar picture for the link)and can be purchased from them, or ICM sell it at a reduced price.

For a broader treatment of 1Kings Dale Ralph Davis’ The Wisdom and the Folly is simply superb. This book was highly recommended to me during the summer, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Reading Davis is a unique experience in that he manages to combine exegetical integrity, engagement with current criticism, and a quirky sense of humour to make a very readable book. For me, Davis’ book cannot be recommended highly enough, and so fresh are his interpretations on Elijah that it is hard to conduct a series of studies without feeling deeply indebted to the contents of this volume. This is best purchased from ICM, who once again do a serious discount on the RRP (Recommended Retail Price, not Really Reformed Presbyterians!).

I would only recommend this final book if you’re giving consideration to doing some serious study in 1&2Kings. This is partly because of it’s price, it’s relatively small section on Elijah, and also it’s more technical nature. Konkel goes into a lot of detail, with a much less readable style than Pink or Davis, but some of his insights are brilliant. The ‘Contemporary Significance’ section has helped me enormously in applying the text of 1Kings 16-17, with its very helpful analogy of The Market and Baal worship. Not for the faint hearted, but helpful in it’s own way.

I’m using bits and pieces of other books, but those are the main three. I’d love to hear from you on anything that you’ve found helpful on Elijah’s life, whether you belong to our Church, or are simply a drive-by blog reader!

Romans Series: Does James Contradict Paul?

31 01 2007

Recently on Sunday mornings we’ve been considering Paul’s teaching on ‘justification by faith alone’ from Romans chapter 4, and the example of Abraham as an illustration of this truth. It’s a wonderful passage, presenting as it does the sole sufficiency of Christ as Saviour. I trust that through the muddle of my words God has been speaking about the grounds of our confidence as Christians.

One of the issues that I haven’t dealt with on Sunday mornings has been the relationship between Paul’s teaching in Romans 4 and the teaching of James 2:14-26. In James’ epistle there are statements such as ‘was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?’ (v21) and ‘you see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only’ (v24). Right away this presents a problem to our minds, as it appears that Paul’s statements that Abraham was justified only by faith (cf.Romans 4:1-3ff) teach something radically different. How are we to reconcile this issue, presenting as it does an apparent contradiction in the New Testament’s teaching on salvation?

I had thought of writing an article about this myself, and publishing it here on the blog, rather than cluttering a Sunday morning with what would ultimately be a very technical message. In keeping with the ethos of ‘double usefulness’, however, I found an excellent treatment of this subject by John Piper on his ‘Desiring God’ website. The article can be read here, and I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to see how these two passages of Scripture relate to, and ultimately complement, one another. Piper can say things which are beyond my intellectual ability to express, and his generous view of ministry means that I can share his teaching here – and also print copies of his message for folks on Sunday morning who aren’t internet compliant! I trust that his words will bolster confidence in the authoritative integrity of the Scriptures, and help us to understand something of the breadth and richness of our salvation.