Acts 10 – The Gentile Pentecost

Today I once again had the privilege of guest hosting Dr. James White’s “Dividing Line” broadcast. After informing people as to Dr. White’s ministry schedule in South Africa we had a couple of surprising and dramatic Royal announcements, including the declaration of a 6th Sola of the Reformation. Thankfully, some sort of sanity was regained as we took a trek through Acts chapter 10, showing why it is one of the most significant chapters in the entire New Testament, revealing why Gentiles have full citizenship in the kingdom of God. Here’s the show:

When to leave a Church

church_16a_smallJeff Robinson is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and a contributing writer for the online church history journal, Credo. He serves as senior fellow for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist History and Tradition and is an adjunct professor of church history at SBTS. He writes:

It is the conversation with church members every pastor dreads but inevitably comes to every man who has shepherded a local flock: “Pastor, we need to meet with you and discuss our future at the church. We have been praying about transferring our membership to another church.” Naturally, you ask the inevitable question, “Why?” The answers are as varied as the variety found in wayfaring members, ranging from “The church up the street has more to offer my youth/children” to “We just don’t find things exciting here anymore,” or most troubling, “We love you and your preaching, pastor, we we don’t really like this church.”

There are certainly legitimate reasons to leave a church and sadly, it sometimes become necessary or even a duty to find a more biblically faithful body. Sometimes churches become theologically or morally bankrupt, leaving a sound believer no choice. But it seems in our self-intoxicated, consumer-driven evangelical culture, what is often referred to as “church hopping” seems to have reached a virtual epidemic. There are a number of reasons for this reality with biblical illiteracy, a loss of a robust ecclesiology, a distaste for authority, the disappearance of church discipline and the decay of meaningful church membership ranking high among them.

When should you leave a church? I think it is helpful to first think through a number of reasons why not to leave a church. Here are a few illegitimate reasons for leaving a church, reasons I have heard over the years:

Because our children want to go to another church. The most spiritually immature (presumably) members of the family should not single-handedly make the most important decision facing a family. This is perhaps the most common reason I have heard for people leaving a church and I find it deeply troubling.

Because there aren’t many people here my age. The body of Christ is supposed to reflect the culture which is made up of a diversity of ages and backgrounds. The church is not a social club, but the gathering of sinners saved by grace. The world should be at odds to explain the church. It should wonder, “What is it that brings together such a diverse collection of people in such a tight bond of love?” Continue reading

Justice and Grace

Sproul_blog2Dr. R. C. Sproul:

In 1966, I was teaching a freshman college course of 250 students and assigned three 5–8 page papers that would be due over the course of the semester on October 1, November 1, and December 1.
I told the students that unless there is a death or they were are in the infirmary, then they would get an F if not turned in on time. When the first paper was due, 225 students turned in the paper and twenty-five did not have them ready.

The twenty-five begged for leniency because they said they were unprepared for college life.

I gave it and said, “’Don’t do it again.”

On the next due date, November 1, fifty students came without their papers and begged for grace because of homecoming.

I said, “Okay,” and gave them an extension.

That made me very popular until December 1.

One hundred students did not have their papers and said, “Don’t worry Professor Sproul, we’ll have them to you in a few days.”

I began marking those students down. Suddenly, they all said, “That’s not fair.”

I pointed to one student who had a late paper in November and December and I said, “Oh Johnson, it is justice that is what you want. Your paper was late in November, I’ll go and mark it an F.”
Complaints about fairness stopped immediately.

When we first receive grace, we are overwhelmed. The second time we get grace, we take it for granted. The third time we fail, we demand grace. The first time we demand grace, a bell should go off in our heads. God never owes me grace, and He never owes you grace.

Concerning the Person of Jesus Christ

Beeke1Dr. Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. He has written, co-authored, or edited seventy books.

At his blog he writes:

Jesus Christ, Our God and Savior

The nature of Christ is one of the most fundamental aspects of the gospel message. Scripture teaches that within His one person Christ possessed both a divine and human nature. His divine nature has no beginning, being from eternity. His human nature began when Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the virgin Mary.

For the believer, Christ’s divinity ensures that His sacrifice was sufficient. The ransom of a soul is costly—such a price is divine blood! The solution to the infinitude of sin was the infinite value of Christ’s obedience—infinite because of Christ’s divine nature. His sacrifice was of everlasting efficacy because He is the everlasting God.

Scripture presents many proofs of Christ’s divinity:

Scripture attests His divinity (Matt. 1:23; Phil. 2:5­–11; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8).

God the Father attests Christ’s divinity (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 9:7; 2 Peter 1:17).

Christ Himself claims divinity. He claims to be one with the Father (John 10:30, 38) as the Son of God (Mark 14:61–62).

Various other persons testify that Jesus is God, such as Thomas (John 20:28); Peter (Matt. 16:16); Paul (Acts 9:5); and even devils (Matt. 8:29).

Jesus attests His transcendence over men and angels. He transcends Jonah and Solomon (Matt. 12:41ff; Luke 11:31ff), Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4), David (Mark 12:36), and John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11); and Christ is superior to angels, who are His servants (Matt. 4:11; Mark 1:13), His army (Matt. 26:53), and those who do His will (Matt. 16:27; 25:31; Mark 8:38).

Attributes of God are ascribed to Jesus, such as eternity (John 8:58), omnipotence (Rev. 1:8), omnipresence (John 1:48), omniscience (John 2:25), and immutability (Heb. 13:8).

He is given honor that is only given to God, such as divine baptism (Matt. 28:19), divine benediction (2 Cor. 13:14), divine worship (Heb. 1:6), and divine honor (John 5:23).

He performs divine tasks, such as forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:10–12), creation (John 1:3), providence (John 5:17), resurrection and judgment (John 5:22), preservation (John 10:28), and redemption and grace (Eph. 1:7).

He makes divine demands, such as faith in His person (John 14:1; 5:24; 6:40; 8:51) and supreme love (Matt. 10:37, 39; Luke 17:33). He accepts religious worship (Matt. 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25).

He is given the names of God: Mighty God and Everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6), the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6), Lord and God (John 20:28), God blessed forever (Rom. 9:5), Lord of all (Acts 10:36), and true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20).

There are five reasons why Christ must be truly God: Continue reading

Does the Bible Teach Original Sin?

storms-sFrom the book Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions by Sam Storms

Ugh! Original sin? It sounds so archaic, so pessimistic, so grimly medieval. For heaven’s sake, this is the era of the Mars rover and the Human Genome Project. And haven’t the most learned psychologists and sociologists assured us that people are by nature good, having been turned to their evil ways not by some inner instinct but through the influence of a deviant culture and substandard education?

Clearly, there are obstacles to our understanding and acceptance of this notion of original sin. Perhaps the first thing we should do, therefore, is to define our terms. The terminology of original sin has been used in any one of three ways. Often people think immediately of the original original sin—the first sin of Adam. Others use this language to refer to inherited sin, the idea that all humans are born morally corrupt and spiritually alienated from God.1 Finally, by original sin some are referring to the causal relationship between Adam’s sin and our sin. In this chapter we will be touching on all three elements.

The Contribution of Romans 5:12–21

The key text for our study of original sin is Romans 5:12–21. A central point to keep in mind in studying this passage is that Paul’s thought is distinctly corporate in nature. Douglas Moo explains:

All people, Paul teaches, stand in relationship to one of two men, whose actions determine the eternal destiny of all who belong to them. Either one “belongs to” Adam and is under sentence of death because of his sin, or disobedience, or one belongs to Christ and is assured of eternal life because of his “righteous” act, or obedience. The actions of Adam and Christ, then, are similar in having “epochal” significance. But they are not equal in power, for Christ’s act is able completely to overcome the effects of Adam’s. Anyone who “receives the gift” that God offers in Christ finds security and joy in knowing that the reign of death has been completely and finally overcome by the reign of grace, righteousness, and eternal life (cf. vv. 17, 21).2

Here is what Paul says:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 5:12–21)

There are five phrases in verse 12 that call for comment. Continue reading

Christology – Questions and Answers

From the “We Would See Jesus: Ligonier 2014 Fall Conference” at Reformation Bible College here is the Question and Answer Session:

Gregory Beale, Michael Morales, Stephen Nichols, R.C. Sproul, R.C. Sproul Jr., and Derek Thomas answer questions ranging from Jesus’ baptism, the atonement, and church history, to their favorite books of the Bible, and the theology of N.T. Wright.

Questions:

Why was it necessary for Christ to be baptized? (1:17)
Derek Thomas, before you ran out of time in your message, what was going to be your third proof point for the resurrection? (3:19)
After Christ accomplished his atonement, when and how, according to God’s moral justice, did the Father’s disposition toward the Son change from unmitigated wrath to redemptive favor? (5:45)
How does Jesus’ identity as the Word qualify Him to uniquely fulfill God’s commission to Adam? (9:15)
Do you believe Jesus Christ carries Mary’s genes, or are His genes unique? (12:05)
The Bible says that Adam was made in the image of God, but it also says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Is Christ in the image of God the same way as we are? If not, why does the Bible use the same terminology, and what marks the difference between our image bearing and Christ’s image bearing? (13:19)
Stephen Nichols, as a church historian, beside the Reformation, what period in church history should we be most interested in? (15:25)
Do you believe we need another Reformation, or another revival in this country? (17:25)
What are some key principles or Scriptures that you gentlemen use to revitalize your faith when you’re severely discouraged or feel very dry in your faith? (21:49)
What are your favorite book of the Bible, or if it is a Psalm, which Psalm? (24:08)
What did Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 1:24 when he calls Christ the wisdom of God? (30:31)
The Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead after three days. If He was crucified on Friday and risen on Sunday, how is this explained? (32:35)
Regarding unconditional election, my son asked me, “What’s the point of creating people if they won’t have an opportunity to be saved?” What do I tell my son? (33:12)
Is Limited Atonement just theological semantics? How important is it for the believer to embrace this doctrine? (36:04)
R.C. Sproul, you quoted Martin Luther saying that justification by faith alone is the foundation upon which the church stands or falls. What are we to believe about N.T. Wright’s doctrine of imputation? What does the New Perspectives on Paul do to sola fide? (41:13)
Many in the Reformed camp believe that N.T. Wright is correct and has a good view on the resurrection, would you agree with that? (43:30)
R.C. Sproul, I’ve heard you mention a connection with Francis Schaeffer in the early days of Ligonier. Can you share with us your relationship with him and how his influence helped you decide the structure of Ligonier Ministries? (45:08)

Arizona Monsoon

Monsoon from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

Mike Olbinski writes:

All summer long when I’m chasing storms, I’m also time-lapsing. It’s actually my main goal when I’m out there. A clip here and a clip there. Some days you get nothing great, some days you get SIX amazing scenes in a single afternoon. A powerful rain shaft. An intense hail core dump. Shelf clouds. Dust storms. Lightning. The Milky Way. That’s what I’m capturing out here in Arizona between June 15th and September 30th every year, which is our official monsoon window. And this is the result of all that time spent.

My favorite part of capturing all this is when I sit down to create this final film. While some scenes are worthy of standing on their own, a lot of them need to be part of something bigger. And when I start laying it out, they suddenly morph into this collection of storm imagery that tells the story of my summer.

This year I wanted to raise the bar. Not compared to everyone else, but my own personal bar. I licensed music this time. I wanted two amazing songs and I think I found them. Powerful, fast-paced, intense. Nothing gives life to your clips like a beautiful soundtrack.

People who follow my work may notice this year’s edition has a new name. I decided I wanted something very simple and to the point. From now on, this will be the “Monsoon” series.

I’m incredibly proud of this film. I’ve probably felt the same way every year in the past, but there is something about this summer that blew away the others. And I think it’s because I’m better at what I do. I’m finding the structure in storms like I never have before. Our haboobs (dust storms) were limited this year, but those days were amazing, as you’ll see. And I caught even more lightning this summer than the last two years combined. I think the scenes are more powerful and cinematic than ever. And for this final product, I’ve quickened the pace and I believe I’m finally showing the monsoon in all its beauty and glory.

There are over 45,000 frames in this film. I drove over 14,000 miles across Arizona. This takes work, time and patience. The month of July felt like a huge failure. It was a rough start. It seemed as if the year was going to be brutal and I’d be lucky to capture anything good. And then it all changed and I’m here now releasing what I feel is my best overall work to-date.

I’d like to thank a few people. Dustin Farrell, Sean Parker, Jesse Attanasio, Joel Schat and Bryan Snider. All of you helped me in some way. Answered my technical questions, helped me switch to better software, enabled me to take another leap in quality and inspired me. I appreciate your friendships and willingness to share.

Mostly though, I have to thank my family. My two older kids, Lyla and Eli (6 and 2 1/2) were along for the ride for many of these storms. The final shot in the whole film was one where my wife was out of town and I took all THREE of the kiddies with me, including my youngest who just turned one. I’ll always remember that moment. The Milky Way blazing in the sky, I was feeding the baby a bottle, and taking turns with Lyla who did the best she could until her arm got tired and I took back over. Out there on a dark road off Interstate 10. Meeting another photographer named Val and just enjoying a spectacular moment with my kids all being a part of it.

And to Andy Hoeland for being my forecaster buddy who helps me with figuring out when good things might happen!

My wife though. Jina. Wow. She believes in me like no one else could or ever will. She knows what I have to do and empowers me to do it. In fact, while I want this film to be amazing for everyone watching, I truly want to impress her the most. It means that all the time away this summer was worth it. Because life is a little bit nuts during the monsoon in our house, where I’ve returned from a chase at 6:30am having being out for 16 hours straight, only to go back out later that night after only a two hour nap.

I say it a lot and I’ll say it again. I wouldn’t be here without her. And I love her for it.

Technical Details and Credits

This past spring I purchased an eMotimo and Dynamic Perception rail system…but I ended up not using them. At all. I wanted to. Believe me. But many of these clips aren’t very long in real time. Sometimes less than 15-20 minutes in a lot of cases. If I took the time to set-up a rail or panning head, I’d be missing a lot. So none of the clips this year use outside motion control.

I used two Canon 5D Mark III’s along with a Rokinon 14mm 2.8 and Canon L lenses, like the 17-40mm, 16-35mm, 50mm, 35mm and even the 135mm. I didn’t even use the Promote Control this year, I kept it simple and used various intervalometers, from wired kinds to a wireless versions from Pixel and Vello. A couple of Manfrotto tripods held the cameras down.

Songs: Bernini’s Angels by Kerry Muzzey and Inertia by Dexter Britain