Many churches today no longer use catechisms to train up their people, particularly children, in great theological truths of doctrine. This is a tragedy. We live in a time where biblical and theological literacy is virtually non-existent in many churches. And I believe, a simple catechism is a good answer to curbing this epedemic of theological softness.
Crossway has produced a beautiful and faithful catechism for this very purpose. The New City Catechism was put together by notable pastor, Timothy Keller.
The catechism has 52 answers and questions of some of the most basic doctrines of the Christian faith. It is generic enough that it can be used by both Baptists and Presbyterians (and others who practice infant baptism) but specific enough to bring out the truths of the Gospel that all true believers necessarily agree and adhere to.
It is a simple format. The question is on one side, and the answer and supporting Scripture is on the other. On the answer, portions are highlighted to give shorter answers that kids can memorize.
Further, Crossway has put together several resources to enhance the use of this catechism. A companion site gives digital flashcards, web resources, and access to mobile apps as well. There is also a full curriculum that can be purchased for use in your church.
I am pleased to recommend this resource to all churches and families wishing to raise their congregations and family members to know the great doctrines of our faith.
David continues his series through the Gospel of John and finishes up chapter one.
The end of chapter one is the calling of the first disciples. These were John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. Two of these were known disciples of John the Baptist and they left him to follow Jesus. John was not upset by this for he knew that he must decrease so that Jesus can increase.
In this chapter, Jesus demonstrates his omniscient deity, his humanity, and his compassion and patience. He tells the disciples to “follow Me” and takes them to a place of understanding.
Join David as he preaches this final section in John 1:34-51. The Savior is calling.
Pastors and teachers are always looking for commentaries that help them expound the Scriptures with clarity and ease. This is what the Kerux Commentary series has set out to do. The latest in this series is their commentary on Paul’s letter to the Philippians by Thomas Moore and Timothy D. Sprankle.
In the Editor’s Preface, we see that the focus of the Kerux series is to give preaching units that focus on three different areas. They focus on the exegetical, theological, and homiletical purposes of the text. This means the job of the teacher is greatly eased by giving tools necessary that they would already be using. How does this work?
The first section of the commentary gives a summary of each preaching unit. It starts with a section of the text, for this review we will look at Philippians 2:5-8. Under that, they give the three areas discussed above. So, for example, in this section, the exegetical idea is how Christ modeled a servant. The Theological focus is humility. And, finally, the preaching idea is to climb down the ladder of privilege to reflect the attitude of Christ.
After the three areas of focus, the commentary, in the summary section, lists “Preaching Pointers” that give the preacher/teacher ideas about what they should drive home when delivering the text.
As in most commentaries, the Kerux Philippians volume has an introduction with the typical information about the Epistle such as an outline, authorship, date of writing, location, audience, cultural issues, and the overall historical setting. This helps the teacher with major research into the history of the book saving them time in getting to exegete the actual text.
But where the commentary shines is in the meat of each preaching unit. The volume goes into literary structures, gives an exposition of the text, and then goes into academic analysis of various translations of different Greek words between English translations as well as other theological issues. Finally, it gives application that can be used for your congregation, class, or small group.
In summary, I find that the Kerux Commentary on Philippians is a technical, but easy to follow, commentary that is faithful to the biblical text and theologically conservative. It would serve any pastor or teacher well as part of their personal library. I give it four out of five stars.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.
Building on the Deity of Christ found in the Prologue of John, the Apostle writes about the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world as proclaimed by John the Baptist. This section of Scripture has some of the most beautiful truths in all of God’s Word.
In the first part of chapter one, we saw the Word became flesh. Here, we see the Word as the perfect lamb of God, without sin and spot, that would be sacrificed on our behalf. The imagery and foreshadow of what Christ’s purpose was is unmistakable. Christ came to be a sacrifice for our sins. He would be a sacrifice for all people, not just the Jews.
In the second section of the first chapter, we see the first run-in with the Pharisees. These men had an agenda. They wanted to keep power. They were looking to root out false messiahs and, in doing so, they missed the real Messiah. How tragic!
They questioned John the Baptist and his authority. What authority did he have if he were not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor a prophet? The answer is that he had authority from God. He was the fulfillment of prophecy. He was the voice preparing the way for Christ because Christ had come into the world.
That voice in the desert would serve as the forerunner to Christ. But that forerunner understood that he was below Christ. He said that he was not even worthy enough to tie the strap of Christ’s sandal. Why do we not have that kind of reverence for Christ today?
There is much to learn from the second part of John 1. Let us learn about the true Lamb of God.
I have been meaning to write about this for quite some time and just have not gotten around to it. But it was widelyreported back in November 2019, that Southern Baptist Convention President, JD Greear, has called for the use of Gender-Neutral Pronouns to be more hospitable to those who call themselves transgender.
When I first read this I assumed it must be some sort of joke or satire. But it was not. It was published on Greear’s website as well. So I decided to look more into what Greear actually has said and what he is advocating for.
First, he does state that gender is determined by DNA:
The real answer is genetics: However things look on the outside, sex (male/female) is hardwired into our DNA.
However, Greear qualifies this by going into modern-day qualifiers that muddy the waters. He then goes on to describe intersex individuals, which is a known anomaly but definitely not the normal course of events in human DNA and makeup.
And finally, he gets to Gender Pronouns. What are we to do with pronouns for people who refuse to acknowledge, or are confused about, the sex that they have been given by God? Here is what Greear says:“When we apply Paul’s linguistic approach to the pronouns we use about transgender people, I believe we arrive at a posture of pronoun hospitality: a willingness to accommodate the pronouns of our transgender neighbors regardless of our own views about the Christian ethics of gender identity” (11.10).
Based off of Acts 17
J. D. Greear
So Greear goes the “hospitable” route on gender pronouns. But why? Why should we do this?
In this position, Greear misses the mark of biblical fidelity. If we allow people to use preferred pronouns, as opposed to the pronouns that actually describe their gender, we are allowing them legitimacy in their sin. People who support this viewpoint can say that is not the case but it is. Why would you let someone continue in the lie that they portray every time they say they are something that they are not? There is simply no justification for it other than to say you have sold out to the culture.
In the past week we have heard many reports about the instability in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Iran. We hear about wars and rumors of wars. We hear about the politics. We hear about imminent attacks. The 24/7 news cycle puts us in a state of fear, anxiousness and worry.
But in these troubled times we need to remind ourselves what Paul said to the Philippian church. Be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6-7).
So what are we to do? The answer is simple. Pray. We are to pray and read the Word of God. We are to rest in His arms knowing that He is the one who makes the decisions. He decides our futures. He decides what will or will not happen to us. Our lives do not rest in the arms (or weapons) of men but of God.
What did Jesus say?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:26–34 (ESV)
We do not need to worry about what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow will take care of itself. All we need to concern ourselves with is that we are right with God and that we are spreading His Gospel to a weary land.
Starting a new series on Sunday Nights on the Gospel of John, David Taylor preaches on the Word became flesh.
The Gospel of John shows the majesty of the deity of Christ. This is found no better than in the opening prologue of the Gospel. Jesus is the Word, the Word is God. That Word, Jesus, is the Light of the world. However, the Word was rejected by most unless they were granted to Him by the Father.
David goes verse by verse through this glorious section of Scripture to bring out the truths of who Christ is, and what our relation is to Him.
Thoughts on the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation
By now most people have heard about the proposal coming from leaders in the United Methodist Church regarding the separation of the denomination over issues of homosexuality. It is being called the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation. It is being heralded as a great compromise for an impossible situation. But I wanted to give a few thoughts on it.
First, why is it that those who are staying true to the teaching of Scripture and the United Methodist Church, which still holds homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, are the ones who are being forced out? Why should those who do not want to follow Scripture and defy the church the ones that get to keep the church? I’ve read articles about this very thing and none of them hold any logic that falls within the realm of reality.
Second, why are we earmarking so much money for social justice issues in this proposal? I have a real problem with the idea of reparations and that is exactly what this proposal includes, to the tune of $39 million dollars. This money is to support communities “historically marginalized by racism.”
Third, for churches who just want out of anything to do with United Methodist this plan is a non-starter. Yes there is a traditionalist denomination that would be started. But for those who have issues other than just human sexuality with the church this does not help us. If we wanted to join a different denomination, or just be independent altogether, we must go through the same exit plan that there is now and must obtain the approval of our annual conference. This, as every other plan, leaves the local church virtually powerless.
On the other hand, the plan is not finalized. It will be debated, discussed, and amended. So there is hope that the plan can be improved to help “the little church” that just wants a clear-cut exit. Only time will tell.
As I am writing this we are just 24 hours away from the start of a new year. Much has happened this year. We have seen another denomination battle it out over LGBT in the United Methodist Church. We have seen a mother try to force her little boy to be chemically castrated and “transitioned” to a “girl.” And we have seen the impeachment of another U.S. President.
The year has shown that humanity is declining further into sin. Biblical literacy is falling among evangelicals. Times are perilous.
As I reflect on 2019 I continue to see the need to call for a new reformation. We need to take a stand as Christians for the truth of Scripture. Scripture needs to return to prominence as our final authority. We need to stand against leaders in the church who would take us away from what Scripture says to find another way in this world. We need to boldly proclaim the Gospel.
In 2020, let us take our stand. Let us lift the name of Jesus with the truths of Scripture. Let us not bow down to the culture and surrender. Let us be ready for the fight. Let us proclaim truth. Let us not be afraid to offend because the truth is offensive as darkness hates the light. Let us not worry about being politically correct. Let us worry about the Truth and let us proclaim it with bold authority.