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Archive for the month “March, 2014”

Choices, Choices, Choices

Live Life! God's way

Each day is filled with a multitude of choices, each with a range of significance. A believer in Christ has divine assistance available each moment. Will we choose wisely or foolishly? Will we choose with our own comfort or “eternity’s values in view?”

Today’s hymn by Horatius Bonar reminds us of the necessity of surrender to and engagement with God’s will. As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (surely one of the most difficulty prayers ever prayed) “Not my will but Thine be done.” Luke reminds us his sweat was as great drops of blood, because of the agony in which his body, soul and spirit were engaged.

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Oh, lead me by Thine own right hand,
Choose Thou the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it can…

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A Solution in Search of a Problem

The Problem with Passion

Once It Was The Blessing

Live Life! God's way

“Sinless perfection” – I’ve discussed it, studied it somewhat, longed for it, but concluded it will not be my reality until I reach heaven. Christ does ‘break’ the power of cancelled sin, but thus far this is a painful and prolonged process. O, I’ve heard testimonies of others – “I used to struggle BUT…” I’ve heard many sermons, had books and seminars recommended that “This is it….this is the key to victory!” yet honestly the struggle continues.
I am encouraged however that I am not left to struggle against sin in my own strength – God has given me (sealed me) with His Holy Spirit and has confirmed His residency in many ways. O to ‘keep in step with the Spirit,’ more often, to ‘sow to the Spirit’ and not ‘to the flesh.’ As some might say, “Aye, there’s the rub!” (Or for my ESL friends – “This is the…

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A Taxonomy of the Pastor-Theologian: Why PhD Students Should Consider the Pastorate as the Context for Their Theological Scholarship

Lucid Theology

John Calvin's St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva John Calvin’s St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva

After seven or so years of theological training (from undergrad and now midway through seminary), one question often posed to me goes something like this: “So, Ivan, what ministry do you sense the Lord calling you to? What’s next after you graduate?” By now I probably sound like a broken record when I explain how I’m torn between the pastorate and teaching, of how I would love to be a pastor in a local church but how I would also love to teach in an academic setting.

On my bad days such thinking causes me to carry an existential angst, anxious about the future and uncertain about what lies ahead. On my better days I’m reminded of God’s sovereign leading and acknowledgement that either way I must be an unashamed workman and an example of Christ-like virtue (cf. 1 Tim. 4:12; 2 Tim. 2:15…

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An Open Letter to the Reformed and Never Reforming

Polemics Report


The oft-heard phrase in Reformed circles, ‘Semper Reformanda,‘ came first from Jodocus van Lodenstein – a Dutch Reformed stalwart who coined the expression in a devotional publication in 1674. According to Lodenstein and others who began to use this terminology, it was not enough for a resurgence of Biblical literacy to reform the doctrine of the church, but also by necessity must reform its practices and do so continually. The principle is simple – the church is always in need of being Reformed by the Word of God. Notice, it’s not that the church reforms (as though it’s the church performing the action). The church is being reformed by the Word of God. That’s the true essence of Semper Reformana. In short, it’s not being “Reformed” (as a one-word term) as though Reformed is a status of what has been accomplished.  It’s actually “being Reformed” as a…

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“For the Sake of My Name”: Why God’s Pursuit of ‘His’ Glory Secures Our Good

Via Emmaus

glory Understanding the glory of God and God’s purposes in salvation history can be hard. First, the God’s singular pursuit of his glory is hard to accept because it crushes our innate man-centeredness. Second, the glory of God is hard to understand because it requires a wide-ranging biblical theology to see how God pursues his glory in salvation and judgment.

And yet, because glory stands at the center of God’s character (Isa 48:9-11), his creation (Ps 19:1), his purposes for humanity (Isa 43:6-7), and his plan of redemption (Eph 1:6, 12, 14), it is vital to see how God’s glory relates to salvation.  Indeed, it is necessary to relate God’s glory and humanity’s redemption, because Scripture repeatedly speaks of his glory as the ultimate reason why he suspended his judgment on Israel, sent his Son for the world, and poured out his Spirit on the church.

To see how God’s glory…

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What Does Genuine Mercy Look Like?

Via Emmaus

mercyWhat does mercy look like?

In Matthew 5:7, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” The mercy that God will give refers in this passage to the divine favor that God will grant to his merciful children on the day of judgment. But what does it mean to be merciful now? 

In my Sunday sermon, I sought to answer that question and here is the answer I gave.

In response to the gospel and enabled by the Spirit, mercy gives to the needy, forgives the offender, in order that all might give thanks to God.

Thematically, mercy gives and forgives for the sake of thanksgiving. Let me unpack that definition.

Mercy Gives

In the days of Jesus, giving alms to the poor was a regular part of the faith. In the same sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches that giving is an expected practice of…

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Carey Grant and Forgiveness

Exploring Kenotic Christology: A Book Review

An excellent review.

Via Emmaus

This review goes back a couple years, but it gets at an issue that continues to be espoused—namely the idea that Christ “emptied” (kenosis) himself of some of his divine attributes.

Evans, C. Stephen (ed.).  Exploring Kenotic Christology: The Self-Emptying of God.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 360 pp. $34.95.

Exploring Kenotic Christology is a compilation of 12 essays edited by Stephen Evans.  From start to finish the goal of the book is to make a place for the “kenotic view” of Christ’s incarnation alongside, or in replace of, the “classical view.”  Introducing the writers, Evans writes, “Most of the authors can fairly be described as advocates of kenotic Christology, at least in the sense that they are convinced that this approach is a promising one to explore, even if not all of them are convinced of its final adequacy” (5).

In the assigned essays, this statement…

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