Today, October 31, being Reformation Day, Ligonier Ministries is generously offering a set of free ebooks, videos and audios relating to the Reformation. They are free for today only, and can be accessed here:
This is a chance to acquire free resources by the likes of R.C. Sproul and Steven Lawson on such topics as The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther and Luther and the Reformation. Quite a gift from Ligonier!
From St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in London, “This Simply Cannot Be!” is taken from “God’s Word Triumphant”, part of their Sunday evening series Going Global. Here the Rev. William Taylor challenges the position of the scientific materialist within the context of a wider exploration of Acts 14:8-20, which contrasts pagan superstition with the biblical belief in a Creator God. You can download the full message for free here.
Recently, 3000 American adults were surveyed on what they believed theologically. The results have been compiled and it is clear that if this is a representative sample, the state of theology in the United States is not healthy.
Thanks to Ligonier Ministries’ making the survey results available, you can view an infographic, listen to Dr. R.C. Sproul discuss these findings on Renewing Your Mind, or download the official white paper and survey with key findings. The audio by Dr. Sproul is very much worth hearing, and the infographic makes the survey’s results quite clear. There is much work to be done by the Church in America.
From the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Bernier of Providence REC in Texas, here is a sermon titled Strength in the inner man, with an excellent thought on what one thing – above all others – we should ask God to grant us. Quoting Ephesians 3:14-19, Dr. Bernier tells us:
This was the prayer of the apostle Paul to God the Father on behalf of the church: that…
He would grant you, … to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye May be able to comprehend … the love of Christ … that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
The first part of this prayer requires what we could call an “upgrade” in our spiritual life, to be “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man”.
The inner man is the spiritual dimension of our existence, that part of us which carries above all else the image of God within us, our spiritual life.
“God is a Spirit” and he created us in his image as spiritual beings also, that we may grow out of our corruption to “worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24.
This is the reason why our inner man must be strengthened with power. Our inner man has become weak by the corruption and bondage to sin and death, making us weak in our understanding of the truth and incapable of enjoying perfect freedom from sin and communion with God which is the purpose of our creation.
If you’ll read the rest of the message, you’ll find Dr. Bernier makes an excellent case for our need to beseech God “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”
Here is another presentation by Dr. William Lane Craig, noted scholar and apologist for the Christian faith, on “The Doctrine of Man.” In this one he talks about theories on whether there is no soul – either a reductive or a non-reductive physicalist view, which he explains well – and lists shortcomings of these views. The argument he gives about what there being no real soul would mean for free will is significant:
Thirdly, free will seems impossible to reconcile with either reductive or non-reductive physicalism because on these views there is no causal connection between the states of awareness. The only causality is on the purely physical level. So that is totally determined by the laws of nature and the initial material conditions. So there just isn’t any room for freedom of the will. So on this view, again, free will is an illusion – you never really do anything freely. And that flies in the face of our experience of ourselves as free agents. I can freely do certain things or freely choose to think about certain things. I am not simply determined by my brain states. So freedom of the will – if you believe in that – gives you reason to believe in the reality of the soul and to reject these reductive and non-reductive physicalist views.
The transcript can be read here, or you can watch the video below.
From the Rev. Clive Hawkins of St. Mary’s Church, Basingstoke in the United Kingdom, here is an audio sermon on Are we culpable? that is based on Romans 1:18-23. Here, Rev. Hawkins addresses that famous passage in St. Paul’s Epistle that describes “the downward spiral” of human sinfulness. Are we all culpable for our sin? In this message, Rev. Hawkins answers that question and outlines God’s case against sinful man.
Have you ever thought about who John the Baptist was, and what was his purpose and calling? A cursory look at the Gospels might give one the impression we don’t know much about him. But F.B. Meyer, an English Baptist pastor who lived and worked over a century ago, wrote a book titled John the Baptist that sheds a great deal of light on John’s role and ministry. John the Baptist is one of the most intriguing characters in Scripture, and if you want to know more about him, this is a great place to look – and it is free in Kindle format!
Since I have been thinking about baptism recently, I wanted to mention the book by the estimable Fr. Peter Toon of blessed memory, Mystical Washing & Spiritual Regeneration:Infant Baptism and the Renewal of the Anglican Way in America. The complete text of the book is available at the link, thanks to the New Scriptorium site. In Chapter One, Dr. Toon writes:
We all agree that the preaching of the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and with clarity and warmth, is absolutely necessary. So also is the vocation of the church to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” in American society and culture, and for devoted Christians to engage in good works, which bring glory to God and help mankind. Yet, sooner or later, we have to face the question of Baptism, which, by the institution of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one and Only means of entry into the kingdom of God and the family of God, bringing with it the promise of everlasting life and the forgiveness of sins. In the Creed, said each day in the Daily Office, we declare: “I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sin.”
Thus how we present, explain, and administer Baptism within fulfilling the Great Commission is crucial for it is God’s Sacrament and God’s Way of admitting (a) those who repent of sin and believe the Gospel, and (b) the infant children of baptized Christians, into his kingdom and family. Over the centuries the Church has not taught that Baptism is a human act or good work of dedication offered to God; but, rather that it is a gracious, Fatherly act of God upon and in a human being, who humbly receives it in trust and thankfulness. Therefore, if we neglect, dumb-down, or wrongly use this unique Sacrament, then we affect not only the full work of evangelization and catechesis, but also the beginnings and developing of the life of sanctification and service of Christians within the local church. And, if we make mistakes on a large scale, then attempting to renew the Anglican Way in the Americas will be severely disturbed and endangered.
If you agree with this thesis, the book is very much worth reading.
This talk by Dean Phillip Jensen comes from a series of talks on Genesis 1-12 sometime ago at a conference. The title of this video is “The Promise of Knowledge” and it is based on Genesis 3:1-24.