John Daker Sings “Christ our Lord is Risen Today”

31 01 2012

Steve Wood recently posted the “Worst Church Singer Ever.”  In the spirit of collegiality I humbly submit my own offering.

D.A. Carson: If the Bible cannot be seen as historically accurate, is Christianity a bust?

26 01 2012

There is a profound sense in which the nature of God’s gracious self-manifestation, taking place in ordinary history (however spectacular or miraculous some elements of that revelation may be), ensures that there can be no escape from historical enquiry.  If Jesus Christ never lived, Christianity is destroyed; if he never died on the cross, Christianity is destroyed; if he never rose from the dead, Christianity is destroyed.  However much the ultimate object of Christian faith is God, that faith is incoherent if it affirms a faith in the God of the Bible but not in the God who according to the Bible discloses himself in history that is largely accessible and testable.

-D.A. Carson, Collected Writings on Scripture pg 24

Richard Sibbes: What is necessary to read the Bible? The Holy Spirit!

25 01 2012

Labour for the Spirit of God…Beg of God to seal to our souls that the Bible is his word, and the he would sanctify our hearts to be suitable to the word, and never rest till we can find God by his Spirit, seasoning our hearts, so, that with relish of our souls may suit to the relish of divine truths, that when we hear them we may relish the truth in them, and may so feel the work of God’s Spirit, that we may be able to say, He is our God.

–Richard Sibbes, The Marriage Feast Between Christ and the Church, The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes Vol II pg 496

J.C. Ryle: The Gospel and Personal Joy

25 01 2012

True religion was never meant to make men melancholy. On the contrary, it was intended to increase real joy and happiness among men…The Christian who withdraws entirely from the society of his fellow-men, and walks the earth with a face as melancholy as if he was always attending a funeral, does injury to the cause of the Gospel… It is a real misfortune to Christianity when a Christian cannot smile. A merry heart, and a readiness to take part in all innocent mirth, are gifts of inestimable value. They go far to soften prejudices, to take up stumbling-blocks out of the way, and to make way for Christ and the Gospel.

J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John’s Gospel

Martin Luther: What a glorious thing to have the word of God!

24 01 2012

Oh!  How great and glorious a thing it is to have before one the Word of God!  With that we may at all times feel joyous and secure; we need never be in want of consolation, for we see before us, in all its brightness, the pure and right way.  He who loses sight of the Word of God falls into despair; the voice of heaven no longer sustains him; he follows on the disorderly tendency of his heart and of world vanity, which lead him on to his destruction.

Horatius Bonar: Not what my hands have done

19 01 2012

I recently posted a hymn from Horatius Bonar here.  One of the commenters proposed another Bonar hymn, “Not What My Hands Have Done,” as worth a listen.  I had never come across this particular hymn as my familiarity with Bonar is largely centered around his books and sermons.  Needless to say, the hymn linked below will bless you.  The lyrics are in the video, but I’ve pasted them below just in case you need something to whet your appetite.

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.

Your voice alone, O Lord, can speak to me of grace;
Your power alone, O Son of God, can all my sin erase.
No other work but Yours, no other blood will do;
No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through.

Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest, And set my spirit free.

I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace; I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine, My God, my joy and light.
’Tis He Who saveth me, and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me, I live because He lives.


Eric Metaxas: Cultural Elites The Next Unreached People Group

19 01 2012

came across this fantastic article over at Steve’s blog.  

In the last century, many serious Christians have fallen into the trap of striking an anti-elitist attitude, and often an anti-intellectual attitude, too. We can see how this happened; after all, it was the educated elites who, in the late 19th century, undermined the Scriptures, embraced Darwin, and soon thereafter came to champion a social Gospel at the expense of true biblical theology. Many Christians felt themselves besieged and, in reaction, retreated into a kind of defiant, populist stance, one that had its dukes up, as it were, and was often prideful, rather than humble. In this process, many of the most theologically serious Christians abandoned the mainstream culture to the secular elites, who were now alone on the cultural field, with no real opposition. So, of course, the culture got worse, as we have said, and the unchallenged secular ideas of the elites and intellectuals came to dominate more and more, flowering, one might say, in the Sixties, in whose secular and socially liberal “Boomer” shadow we all still live. Which, of course, made serious Christians yet further hostile to the mainstream culture, and certainly to the elites and intellectuals who dominated it.

One result of this hostility to mainstream culture, and to the secular elites who dominated it, is that Christians more and more abandoned “worldly” centers of cultural influence, taking their salt and light with them like peeved children taking their marbles and going home. So the cultural centers like New York City only slid farther into secularism, and farther from the values of the rest of the country. And because of the rise of the media culture in the last fifty years, the influence of these increasingly secular cultural centers only increased. People who thought they could hide in small towns far from places like New York – found that their children were going upstairs to watch their own tv’s, and getting the values of New York and Hollywood elites anyway.

So Christians have become particularly hostile to cultural elites, whose unchallenged ideas were destroying the culture. And we have often behaved as though we somehow had God’s permission to hate these elites, because not only were they especially wicked, but also wealthy and powerful and famous. We have little difficulty bringing the love of the Gospel to exotic people groups, but elites are something else. Whom does Jesus love less? Which deserves hell more? Or is it that, like the Prodigal son’s elder brother, and like Jonah, it is God’s grace that we most fear? Have we seen the Pharisee, and is he us? If that’s true, then it turns out we are sinners, too, in need of God’s grace. Or did we think we could get to heaven simply by not watching HBO?

Go on over and read the whole thing here

Horatius Bonar: I am what I am because of…what?

17 01 2012

The following is a hymn written by Horatius Bonar, the 19th century Scottish Puritan.  I like the hymn because it so succinctly, poetically, and properly attributes to God what belongs to God and to me what belongs to me.  A good meditation for some “closet time” (Matt 6.6).  

A Spiritual Song based on 1 Cor XV.10

All that I was, my sin, my guilt,

My death, was all my own:

All that I am I owe to Thee,

My gracious God alone.


The evil of my former state

Was mine, and only mine;

The good in which I now rejoice

Is Thine, and only Thine


The darkness of my former state,

The bondage,- all was mine;

The light of life in which I walk,

The liberty is Thine,


The grace first made me feel my sin,

And taught me to believe;

Then, in believing, peace I found,

And now I live, I live.


All that I am, e’en here on earth,

All that I hope to be,

When Jesus comes and glory dawns,

I owe it, Lord, to Thee


J.C. Ryle on the importance of song in the Christian’s life

17 01 2012

The following is taken from the Preface of J.C. Ryle’s little known Hymns for the Church on Earth, a collection of some 300 hymns selected by Ryle for their potential for spiritual edification.  In Ryle’s words he hopes this collection of hymns “shall do good to the weakest lamb in Christ’s flock.”  I have linked through to the book at the bottom so that you could enjoy Ryle’s selection, which is largely meant for private edification rather than public worship.

Of the value of the hymns, it is needless to say anything.  The children of the world may regard psalm-singing, or hymn-writing, with indifference, or ill-disguised contempt.  But the true-hearted servants of that Saviour, who “sung a hymn” before He went out to the Mount of Olives, have ever loved, in every age, to “teach and admonish one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs.”  (Coloss. iii. 19).  The Bible, on which they love to feed daily, abounds in hymns of praise.  The heaven, which they hope to inhabit one day, will be the abode of eternal praise.  A thankful, hymn-singing spirit has always marked the days of a Church’s spiritual property.  It is a pleasant thought, that, however much Christians may disagree in pulpits, on platforms, and in prose writing, they are generally of one heart, and one mind, in praise and power.

Click here to access Ryle’s book

In Praise of the Savior’s Grace: And can it be!

12 01 2012

This song ran across my playlist this morning while doing some sermon prep and I just had to share it.  The video below has a wonderful quote from John Newton before a brief introduction to this famous Wesley hymn.  I’ve posted the lyrics in full directly below the hymn.  It would do your soul well to meditate upon the words.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.